OK, one last WFB post. I remember reading this
nearly four years ago and thinking how I would one day miss Buckley. The last sentences are sad and beautiful. But don't cheat. Read the whole thing. ...Update
-- From Kevin
I just read the Atlantic article you linked to, and especially the closing sentences you highlighted. Watch this piece from Charlie Rose, where he asks Buckley if he wishes he was 20 years old, it is about as honest as you can get. I found it pretty damn moving actually. It is at the 2:45 mark.
Angelina Jolie on ... Iraq?
Actually, it's not a bad column.
William F. Buckley: 1925-2008, Part II
The best WFB obit
so far. It's British (of course). ...Update
-- Jonah has launched a pre-emptive argument
about an anticipated liberal argument over WFB -- without realizing the anticipated liberal argument has already been argued
(see last few lines). More on the argumentative mindset here
. ...Update II
-- Of course, a Hub Blog friend and I have since discussed the possibility that Jonah already knew that the anticipated liberal argument had already been made, therefore Jonah's pre-emptive argument wasn't really a pre-emptive argument, just an argumentative ploy to make him look smart for anticipating an anticipated argument. ... I hadn't thought about that scenario the first time around. ... My friend also noted: 'I'm really worried about this country.' ...Update III
- 2.-29.08 -- Charles writes in:
Reading Jonah Goldberg on William F. Buckely is like watching a dog look at a bicycle. The dog can snap at the heels of someone riding the bike, but it is never going to get up and ride that thing itself. I'm completely uninterested in the NR crowd's take on Buckley's passing. They have so little in common with him that keeping the title of the magazine is an insult to Buckley's memory.Update IV
-- Here's Peggy Noonan on WFB
. I'd put Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the same 'cultivated' category that seems missing in today's politics. ...Update V
manages to get into one strip mentions of the Sox ceremony at the White House, President Bush's grandmother joke, John Kerry and 'Manny Ortez,' Republican spending policies, William F. Buckley, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Tip O'Neill, John Kennedy, the Irish and 'O'Bama.' ...
'The politics of hope have been a bust,' Part II
The politics of hope haven't been a bust
in Louisiana. Granted, Katrina and extremely low ethical standards to begin with made the gains possible and seemingly large in scope. But at least they're real 'reform and transformation.' ... Repeat: Closing tax loopholes, pushing a biotech bill and proposing resort casinos aren't what most of us would consider reform or transformation. ...
William F. Buckley: 1925-2008
A lot has already been written about William F. Buckley and his very sad death. But I especially liked these notes by Rick Perlstein
, a liberal who once interviewed Buckley for a book and later became Buckley's friend; James Wolcott
, who appreciated Buckley's style and substance (read last few sentences to get an idea how much WFB's style and substance will be missed); and our very own Peter Porcupine
, who praises Buckley while acknowledging his 'mass of odd contradictions.' They all show the mostly good, sometimes bad and occasional ugliness of Buckley. Via the Huffington Post
, there's also this recent memorable exchange
between Buckley and Norman Podhoretz, showing Buckley's inherent honesty when confronted by facts:
'Aren't you embarrassed by the absence of these weapons?' Buckley snaps at Podhoretz. He has just explained that he supported the war reluctantly, because Dick Cheney convinced him that Saddam Hussein had WMD primed to be fired. 'No,' Podhoretz replies. ...
Whenever I feel embarrassed by my own reluctant support of the war, I'll try to remember that much better men like Buckley made the same mistake and maintained their honor by admitting it. ... Conservatives will miss Buckley more than they realize. ...
'The politics of hope have been a bust'
Now that Just Words is out of the way (for the moment), some are looking at Deval Patrick's record as governor in order to get an idea what might lie ahead for Obama as president. Joan
have jumped on the topic. Now Fred Siegel
weighs in with a piece headlined "Yes, We Can’t - From Ralph Waldo Emerson to Deval Patrick, the politics of hope have been a bust." Siegel flatly states that Patrick's "governorship has been a failure to date." I wouldn't go that far. Patrick has lately scored some impressive legislative victories. He's no Jane Swift. But I do agree with this graf:
Patrick hasn’t delivered reform, much less the transformation that both he and Obama promise. This should come as no surprise. Obama’s utopian vision of transcending the interests that make up the fabric of our democracy is unlikely to fare any better than the “politics of hope” did in Emerson’s time. The key question at hand is whether Obama’s Edenic bubble bursts before or after the election.
Closing tax loopholes, pushing a biotech bill and proposing resort casinos aren't what most of us would consider reform or transformation. ... FYI: The Obama bubble started hissing after JustWords-gate, as much as some would like to dismiss the incident. But the bubble obviously hasn't burst yet -- to Hillary's chagrin. ...Update
-- From Bert:
Siegel’s article seems to indicate only liberal Democrats have hope for systemic change…As if John McCain hasn’t risen to prominence on some of the same sentiment in a different dress...As if George W didn’t tout his Democratic Lieutenant Governor and pledge to change the tone of Washington in 2000…As if Reagan hasn’t been cast by conservatives as the GOPs Kennedy-like hero, albeit without the tragic premature end. (He did get shot!) Wasn’t “It’s Morning in America” all about the politics of hope on a national AND global stage?
Will the 2008 GOP convention have a sing reading “Abandon hope all ye who enter here”?
'Busy re-typing obituaries ...'
From Brighton Reader:
Dan Kennedy's sway over Media Nation is clearly in question. Despite his demand that the fourth estate just write about the race, they are busy re-typing obituaries for Hillary Clinton's campaign - Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd and this piece on the news side.
When was the last time that the voters of Texas or Ohio had any say at all in a primary contest, for either party? Immigration and trade agreements are far more important to Texas and Ohio, and the country, than ethanol is to Iowa. Write about that.
I guess I'm guilty of obit posting too. ... As I said, now watch Hillary win Texas and Ohio. ...Update
The NYT is taking advance-obit writing to new highs (or lows). Adam Reilly
warned about this. ... Update II
-- Hillary ain't giving up
: ’The White House Is No Place for Training Wheels.' ... She's quoting others, of course. ... Like the Little Rhody attire. ...Update III
: 'Who will tell her that it's over ...?' ...
'Imagine the Punditsphere if ...'
Reader No. 1's counterintuitive take on the subconscious-torpedo theory, l'affaire McCain, Mrs. Obama's non-adulthood pride, and an apparent Sox signing that would have made big news a few years ago:
1- Subconscious torpedo theory aside, can we imagine the Punditsphere if President Clinton had not campaigned this year? Equally easy to hypothesize the headlines - he doesn't really want her to win (a la Gore in 2000); Hilary's advisors demonstrate their lack of political savvy by keeping such a popular former President on the shelf... maybe the answer is simpler, to quote Nancy Cartwright/Bart Simpson.
2- Begging to differ with Hubblog, but I have a hard time imagining independent voters (other than journalists overly familiar with the sausage factory of American politics) allowing the current McCain business to become a determinant factor in voting (absent dramatic developments) ... for a few reasons.
One: independents turned off by lobbyists are already going to vote for Obama.
Two: in the privacy of the voting booth, how many voters are really turned off by politicians who hang out with lobbyists? Contemporary America is now a land of advocates and middlemen - lawyers, advertisers, consultants, etc. Why isn't John Edwards (an advocate himself posting as enemy of the advocates) still in the Presidential race?
Thinking pragmatically, and not philosophically, for a moment: government makes many important decisions. The bigger the government, the more decisions to be made.... so, enter the advocates and the middlemen. I suspect most voters grasp this logic.
Three: the issues on which this election will play out has not really come into focus ("change" is too high-level). But it's easier to imagine any or all of these being pivotal: Iraq; America's place in the world (still pretty high level); the economy; inflation; the value of my house and my 401(k). Hard to put garden-variety political lobbying ahead of any of this. (Don't Abramoff me... 2006 was also an election about Iraq).
3- I think the telling aspect of Mrs. Obama's quote was the "...first time in my adult lifetime..." When will somebody ask Mrs Obama about her pride in the USA pre-Ivy leagues?
4- Keeping expectations low in light of his recent performance and health, we might find some satisfaction in this signing during the long hot baseball summer...
'Not smart to use former President Bill Clinton'
Kevin's subconscious-torpedo theory
by the Clinton camp. ... Hillary comes across in the article as resolute and sympathetic. But she really is up against 'national fatigue with the Clintons' and the Obama 'phenomenon.' ... Now watch her win Texas and Ohio. ...Update
: 'Some say Bill never wanted her to win. I don’t believe that. I think among Hillary’s disappointments now is realizing her husband’s lost some of his magic, his election genius, his perfect political pitch.'
Not so quiet on the set
Hollywood bigwigs are scouting out the South Shore
for a possible major film studio. Let's hope state and local leaders move relatively fast on this -- which I suspect has far more long-term economic potential than resort-destination casinos. Studios elsewhere are both major consumers and developers of all sorts of high-tech gadgetry, so it's not just about employing technicians, spotting actors on Newbury Street and enjoying scenes of Boston in Dennis Lehane-based flicks ...Update
-- Fixed the original Lehane typo. ...
'Like Las Ramblas in Barcelona and the Embarcadero in San Francisco'?
Fred Salvucci thinks
the Rose Kennedy Greeway could 'eventually rival cherished public spaces like Las Ramblas in Barcelona and the Embarcadero in San Francisco.' But I'm afraid Jerold Kayden, a Harvard professor of urban planning, may be right:
One would be hard-pressed to say this is a creative, cohesive, singular public space that will redefine the city of Boston. ...And that is too bad, when you have that much space.
I see too many Ye Olde Towne touches, too many compromises, too little money, too many pols slipping in pet mandates (the Armenian proposal, a supermarket, the very name itself, etc.), and, well, I don't see Las Ramblas and Embarcadero. I assume it's going to be better than City Hall Plaza. But that's not saying much. ...
'Clinton Unloads on Obama's 'Destructive' Tactics'
Is she still around?
'A Tale of High-Flying Speculation'
Here's a new book I want to read: Brandeis University professor Jane Kamensky's 'The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse.'
... And it happened right here in Boston. Sounds fun. And timely, considering all the dismal subprime and housing news of late. ... I thought of Kamensky's book, a review of which I saw in Fortune magazine but can't find online, after reading John's post on city foreclosures
and Paul's post on nightmare city planners
in the '60s. Eight high-rise condo towers along the Commonwealth Ave. Mall? ... A quickie summary
of Kamensky's book:
And we thought the dudes from Enron were a piece of work!!
Andrew Dexter, Jr. 'bought' (read swiped) real estate property left behind by Tory sympathizers heading back to England after the Revolutionary War. Then he flipped them - using banks that were printing paper money for the first time. It is a tale of a confidence man and capitalism versus the Puritans and conservatism set in New England.
Like I said, sounds fun.
'With whom he has a common enemy'
Boston's very own Jay Severin is now pulling a classic conservative pivot: abandoning principles for a good partisan fight.
... It's the same argumentative mindset
that I talked about in December in my non-review review of Jonah Goldberg's sophomoric 'Liberal Fascism.'
... Severin did get one thing right on his blog
: The media is now going after
McCain's ridiculous assertion he didn't intervene on behalf of Paxson Communications. ... The Washington Post has picked up the McCain-lobbyists ball and run like hell after the NYT's embarrasing fumble. Of course the Globe's Walter Robinson
had the same Paxson-McCain story eight long years ago. Notice how Robinson diplomatically distances himself
from the Times story. ... The NYT piece may have galvanized conservative support for McCain. But the overall lobbyist angle -- not the blonde-lobbyist angle -- will hurt McCain among Independents who don't care about fighting the 'common enemy.' McCain's reputation for 'straight talk' is getting ripped apart. ...
Big small deals, Part II
Before jumping into the controversial NYT-McCain piece again, you ought to read this Washington Post article
first: 'The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists.' McCain's campaign manager, chief political adviser, top fundraiser, chief of staff and senior advisers are all lobbyists -- some of them still on lobbyists' payrolls. This
is the story. Not
the unsubstantiated speculation that he boinked one of the lobbyists. ...
Reading all the articles and posts yesterday about the jumbled/flimsy/truly weird NYT piece, it seems readers and commentators fall into two general categories: Those who thought the blonde-lobbyist angle was mere window-dressing for a larger piece about McCain's ties to lobbyists -- and those who thought McCain's ties to lobbyists were mere window-dressing for the blonde-lobbyist angle. I was among the former yesterday -- and I was wrong. This TNR article
, via Dan
, makes clear the Times reporters were pushing the blonde-affair angle while editor Bill Keller was trying to steer it toward the lobbyist angle. The result: a schizoid mess. Maybe the Times will later prove McCain had an affair with the lobbyist. But they sure didn't prove it yesterday. As a result, I share Charley's anger
at the piece. But at the same time, it did create an opening for the Washington Post to exploit and inform. ...
FYI: I got another thing wrong in my own jumbled post yesterday: This is a big media and political story. The losers? The NYT and McCain. The winners? WaPo and Obama. ...Obama wins because A.) the lobbyist angle will stick and hurt McCain B.) the entire affair vaguely feels like something out of the Clinton-era '90s in Washington. ... Final note: Check out the NYT comments section
on the article. A lot of outrage in all directions. ...Update
-- Dan has a good post
on the McCain/NYT affair. He also points to yet another solid Washington Post story
that shows how the McCain-Iseman relationship should of and could have been handled without the innuendos. It may yet turn out there was a sexual relationship. But it wasn't proven yesterday by the NYT. ...
Big small deals
Here I am trying to figure out whether Just Words was a small big deal or a big small deal -- and now this
about McCain. The two incidents do have something in common: They ding the characters of Obama and McCain. But they're not big deals on their own. They're big small deals that could add up to something more serious later. File them in the back of your mind for future Belichick-like tendency references. ...
As for McCain, the much dreaded/anticipated NYT story is just an attempt to rehash the Keating Five scandal -- something that was going to be rehashed sooner or later. But the somewhat flimsy piece uses an eight-years-ago flirtatious relationship with a then-30something lobbyist to show that Mr. Integrity still has flaws. Well, no shit. He's flawed. One of McCain's mistakes has been to set himself up as a pious I Cannot Tell A Lie pol. It's almost ridiculous. I've never liked his Straight Talk Express schtick. McCain showed only a few days ago that his straight talk can be bent. (Google "McCain and torture and pander" to see my point.) He's now being measured by the press in the same way he says he measures himself. He asked for it. But that doesn't mean we have to measure him in the same way he measures himself. Compared to other Washington pols and presidential candidates (hello there, Mitt), McCain, by and large, is a principled guy who's not afraid to take unpopular stands in the middle of an election (such as supporting the surge in Iraq and immigration reform). Yet he's also a little bit of a bombastic loose cannon, sort of like Nicolas Sarkozy, though no one can quite match Sarko (check out his latest poll numbers
). We'll have to live with McCain's pious flaws if he's elected president. We'll have to live with Obama's pious flaws if he's elected president (assuming he gets past Billary). But I don't mind. The two are overrated. But at least they're not Mitt or Hillary. Thank God. ...Update
-- Tufts University's Danial Drezner
: 'As a potential Obama-can, I'm still on the fence.' ...Update II
-- 'McCain vows war with NYTimes'
... Notice there's a pandering anti-NYT component to the counterattack strategy. ... P.S. - I liked this Marc Ambinder
line: "There's lots of fairly well-reported innuendo about a lobbyist named Vicki Iseman and a well-written recapitulation of the case against McCain as a good judge of optics... ... but nothing to suggest that McCain compromised his political principles." Well, he did get close to her and took a ride on her client's corporate jet. But agreed: no big deal. I regret putting the word 'somewhat' before 'flimsy' above.
'Gut Check Time'
Time to stick a fork in Hillary? Reading this
), you have to wonder. I'll wait to see if Mickey's
emerging reverse-momentum theory ("mutnemom") works in Texas and Ohio. But I have my fork (and champagne) at the ready. ...Update
: 'Clinton's campaign is now effectively dead.'Update II
-- AP's Ron Fournier
: 'It's panic-button time.' ... He does caution that it's not quite over. He had to add that, considering the craziness of this year's campaign. ... Via RCP
'Devack Obatrick' Part III
He's hurt a bit but keeps on ticking.
... It doesn't diminish JustWords-gate, which is one of those incidents that bites back later as other evidence adds up. It just does. ...Update
- 2.20.08 -- Brighton Reader:
Listening to the speeches last night, I was again struck by Hillary Clinton's emphasis on specifics and Barack Obama's repetition of the eloquence of others. "Yes, We Can"...."The fierce urgency of now".....well, now what? There were a few prescriptions in the middle of the stadium-chat, but his delivery reveals his priorities - change, inclusion, something somehow ephemerally different, sort of like HRC's Wellesley commencement address. And man, was it long!Update II
Another point is the battle for face time. Candidates no longer wait for their opponent to finish, but walk on stage and try to stomp on the network coverage of the other guy. Networks need to figure out a way to deal with this, and not by just giving more time to pundits and alleged analysts.
- 2.20.08 -- Dan's Guardian piece
is about Obama, Just Words and the media. He's right about the media pouncing on this story and drawing it out, whether it's a big deal or not. ... Dana Milbank
looks at Obama's other lifted quotes, but concludes: "Whatever we should be respecting, Obama had a ready answer for the questions about his originality: another big primary win." ... BTW: I think Obama's lifting of quotes is a form of plagiarism. But it's a gray-area plagiarism with a very small 'p' -- and that's why I don't think it's a big deal on its own. But remember: Caddy-gate in isolation was not a big deal for Deval. It took Curtain-gate and Aide-gate and Ameriquest-gate to establish a pattern and start people wondering. The small things add up. ...
'Devack Obatrick,' Part II
Obama. But it's more than just the lifting of a few paragraphs from Deval's speeches: The bubble may have burst
on Obama. From Kevin Drum:
This backlash meme is already widespread, and you can almost feel in the air that it's about to explode into a feeding frenzy. In other words, it ain't over yet. Wisconsin and the two weeks after it should be interesting, shouldn't they?
Then there are those fickle Gen-Xers
As an ironic, contrarian, so-hip-it-hurts Gen X-er, I just can't love you anymore. I can't like you because … because, well, everyone else does. And suddenly supporting you just seems soooo last week.
There's also Michelle's 'first time'
comment that's equally damaging in its own pricking-the-bubble way. Mickey
: "For whatever reason, she sure seems to have a non-trivial chip on her shoulder and it's not a winning quality." ... For the record: I'm rooting for Obama to beat Hillary. But I'm not wild about the guy. There is something to the it's-just-rhetoric argument. Haven't we learned anything about high expectations after Deval? Still, I'd prefer to choose between McCain and Obama this November. Anyone but Billary. ... P.S. -- Hub Blog's Manhattan WMD Spy got a laugh out of Obama's camp referring to Hillary as 'Jaws.' The image of a giant fin circling Obama sticks to the mind. ... Just when you thought it was safe to declare a probable winner in the Dem race. ....Update
-- Kevin: 'Moonbat Karaoke.'
... David's ultimately right
: JustWords-gate, for now, is just an 'unwanted distraction.' But these things have a way of adding up -- and I think they're starting to add up quickly. ...Update II
-- More at Adam's site
. ... BTW: I'm not saying this is the 'beginning of the end' for Obama. Stealing a line from Churchill in these stealing-lines days, it's more a case of the 'end of the beginning' for Obama, who's been brought down to earth by the affair. It's a toss-up, in my opinion, who's going to win the Dem nomination. ...Update III
-- David Brooks
: 'Obama Comedown Syndrome' (for reasons other than JustWords-gate).Update IV
-- Adam R
The real question, I think, is where Axelrod's thoughts and convictions end and Obama's and Patrick's begin.
Or, to put it differently: could Obama not sound like Patrick if he wanted to?
'Holloring too loud at Andy up in Fenway'?
The Red Sox really get under the skin
of Hank Steinbrenner. The role reversal between the two teams (and cities) is the most pleasant unexpected benefit of '04, the Giants-Pats game not withstanding. ...
... At least he's not stealing an entire persona, i.e., past Dem candidates imitating JFK with one hand in their coat pocket while brushing back a lock of hair with the other, the curled index-finger point, the ocean-set photos, the Robert Frost quotes, swift boat tales, etc, etc., etc. ...
HB quick hits
I like Charley’s random quick-hit posts
in general – so I’m going to shamelessly copy the format at Hub Blog. Here goes:
-- ‘Massachusetts has that reputation’
- Besides Daniel Tavares, three other Massachusetts ex-cons have terrorized the exact same
Washington county where Tavares murdered two victims last year. Needless to say, they’re not thrilled with Massachusetts in Pierce County. … It makes you wonder how much cons swap post-release travel plans and experiences while in prison. “I hear Tacoma is a nice place to settle down with a mail-order bride – isolated, nice people to terrorize, far enough away for Massachusetts parole officers to think it’s Mongolia.”
-- Not cheering
- I liked this op-ed
about going to Celts game and watching the kids watch the ‘cheerleaders.’ The opening lines:
Do you remember that excruciating moment as a child when you saw your first movie sex scene - and you were sitting in between your mom and dad at the multiplex? You sank lower in your seat, your heart beating fast, just wishing the kissing would be over already.
Now picture the embarrassment in reverse – with parents sinking lower in their seats as little Johnny and Janey eat their popcorn and take in the ‘cheerleaders.’ Hey, I like the Celt cheerleaders. But I don’t have kids in tow at games either.
-- That stumbling Deval
- One week he alledgedly suffers a setback after Obama fails to carry Massachusetts in the Dem primary. The next week he has his best week ever as governor, scoring big on the corporate-taxes and biotech fronts. I guess Sal really showed him.
- A made-for-tabloids story
if there ever was one. … Howie
: “I wouldn’t think of inquiring if his purse is a real designer brand or a knockoff.”
-- ‘The Day of Battle’
- Rick Atkinson’s second book
on WWII is just as good as the Pulitizer Prize-winning first
. The number of Allied blunders and FUBAR situations is astounding. But at least Allied leaders adapted and won the war in four years – unlike certain contemporary wartime leaders who stubbornly refused to adapt and acknowledge FUBARs for more than three long years. The war in Iraq enters its sixth year next month.
'Customers have been lied to for years'
A permanent bureaucracy in action.
... Think about the collective mindset that allowed an entire bureaucracy to lie to the public as a matter of official policy -- and to keep that lie a secret for years. Thousands of T personnel had to have known. Managers. Bus drivers. Dispatchers. Maintenance workers. How do you begin to reform such an agency? Who do you discipline first? How deep do you go? They were all in it together. Us versus them. The permanent bureaucracy versus the public. Did they all prick their fingers and take blood oathes over pension brochures that they'd never betray the organization? ...Update
- 2.16.08 -- Lots of comments at UH
and Media Nation
. Dan makes a good point: The timing of the confession is a little suspect, though it doesn't distract from the lying. ...
'Wrong, sorry, let's try another question' Part II
I noticed that the No. 1 emailed story
at the NYT is headlined 'Dumb and Dumber: Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?' ... I know, I know. Another story about the elites calling the rest of America dumb. It's a tired 'perennial' indeed. Anyway, it reminded me of Armchair Gen. Brighton Center's post the other week
about European journalists parachuting into the U.S. to find dumb Americans -- when they have their own 'Wrong, sorry, let's try another question'
-- Armchair Gen. Brighton Center adds: "It gets worse: 1 in 4 Brits
say Churchill didn't exist. Well, the Labor Party propaganda machine has apparently done it's job. Great lead on the article." ... I liked the poll results on Eleanor Rigby. ...
Cancel the coronation?
Was it only last week that I was dumping
on Obama's Super Tuesday performance? Amazing what a week can do to an old-fashioned thumb-sucking analysis. So Dan's right
that the media should hold off on declaring the Dem race over. The odds are now against Hillary. But there's still Texas and Ohio and superdelegates and, well, the Clintons, who are typically preparing to take 'potentially incendiary steps'
to win over delegates. I'm not counting Hillary out. ... One thing I did get partially right: the Dem race, so far, has resembled Bunker Hill, not World War I trench warfare. In retrospect, Potomac Primary Day was the third and seemingly successful charge up the hill for Obama's forces. They took the redoubt and lead in an almost anti-climatic way. But the war isn't over. Both sides are now digging in for a siege. ...
'Our choice ... our selection ... we selected ... we judge'
How strange has the conservative-journalism world become? Power Line has been touting
its first-ever book award -- Norman Podorhetz's 'World War IV'
-- and noting how it was 'our choice' and 'our selection' etc., etc. But then I read this City Room post
about its award dinner the other night:
John H. Hinderaker, one of the Power Line bloggers, said it was uncertain how the award would look in the future, who would present it, where the prize money would come from — and even if there would ever be another. This one came together mainly because the anonymous donor wanted to honor Mr. Podhoretz’s “World War IV,” Mr. Hinderaker said.
So there was never really a 'choice' or 'selection'? It was a book award in which only one book could win? ... PL's original 'we judge'
announcement made clear that the $25,000 award money came from an anonymous donor. But, unless the evil NYT got it wrong, PL didn't exactly point out that the donation came with an apparent stipulation that one book and one book alone could win. ... PL's original announcement also noted that its planned awards ceremony "promises to be a 'new media' milestone." Yeah, I'd say that turned out to be the case. ... Past coverage of the book award here
The subconscious-torpedo theory
For the record, Kevin's subconscious-torpedo
theory came before Radley's subconscious-sabotage
theory. ... Last month, Kevin urged me not to despair
about the validity of his theory that Bill would find a way to wreck Hillary's campaign. Yesterday's Potomac Primaries could be one step closer toward that validation -- and toward Kevin possibily winning a Nobel Prize in Alpha male-spousal chemistry analysis. ...
'Villa Bois Joli'
I just love these eat-your-heart-out
snob stories from Europe. The best part about Villa Bois Joile: It's been blessed with salt and
its bathroom tiles came from Tuscany. I kid you not. Bathroom tiles from Tuscany. ... More in the upper-middleclass-Americans-in-Euro home series here
... P.S. - I love these Euro home stories more than NYT wedding announcements. They got it all. P.S.P.S. - I didn't see a Christmas in Tuscany story in December. Maybe an Easter in Tuscany story is in the works? ...
The Boston Sports Misery Index
For a second there, I thought Dan
was going to wallow again in Sox-horror-show cliches. But it's a good column that puts last Sunday's Pats loss into perspective: It wasn't the worst Boston sports loss in history. I'd agree with Dan's No. 1 choice: the '86 Sox. I'd go with the 2003 Sox over the '78 Bucky Dent playoff game as the second worst loss. But that's just my opinion about Nos. 2 and 3. I agree with Dan's overall top three choices. ... Similar to the economic Misery Index
, my Boston Sports Misery Index has two components: 1.) The loss has to be heartbreaking 2.) It had to reflect and reinforce a history of mental pain and anguish. Using the Boston Sports Misery Index, the Pats loss was heartbreaking -- but it followed three Pats Superbowl wins in recent years. Using the Boston Sports Misery Index, the Sox could end this year with a heartbreaking loss -- but the two recent World Series wins would assuage some of the pain. Bottom line: We still live in good times, despite 2008's rough start
-- The inverse of the Boston Sports Misery Index, i.e. the Boston Sports Nirvana Index, dictates that the 2004 Sox triumph was the biggest Boston sports win in history. No. 2 is close: the '70 Bruins or the 2002 Superbowl Pats. I'd go with the Pats. ... The Celts' wins in '74 and '81 were also sweet, breaking a string of losing years, etc. ... The Celts' '60s dynasty teams don't fit into either index. The most amazing team in Boston sports history, the Russell-led Celts just kept winning and winning and winning. ...
The most overlooked important story of the week, Part II
toured Afghanistan and Iraq last month and reports that what should have been implemented in 2003 is working in 2008:
The debate over troop numbers may be missing the point. What's making the real difference isn't how many Americans are on the ground but how they are being used. That's true at both ends of the spectrum -- hard power and soft. And, as commanders learn to use these tools of counterinsurgency effectively, they may also be able to operate with fewer people and a lighter footprint.
Exactly what Meehan and many others were saying and urging years ago.
What to do?
Was it really only six nights ago that the Pats lost? Is spring-training really starting next week? OK, so this is the only non-Pats-Sox weekend in between. What to do? First, watch the Celts.
Leon Powe. I knew I liked him.
Second, it's a good weekend to try out new recipes. I'm going with this
tonight. The Hub Blog father's already tried it and raved about it. ... Afterward, I might watch a movie selected from this list
, compiled two years ago during a similar lull between all-things Sox and Pats. ... Tomorrow and tomorrow night are gloriously free. ... Recipe and photo via NYT
-- In between this week's primary/caucus results, Anali is also thinking food
, pointing out a roundup of comfort-food recipes
. The Prawns in Coconut Curry
, Kawhai Fish Cakes
, and Classic Onion Soup with Gruyere
caught my attention. I almost gagged at the thought of Hamburger Gravy with Mashed Potatoes
, but it looks pretty good, sort of an upside-down Shepherd's Pie with corn on the side. ...Update II
-- Just because we're in between the Pats and Sox seasons this weekend doesn't mean we can't talk about the Pats and Sox this weekend. Dan
ponders the Schilling shoulder saga. Soxaholix
ponders the possible omens of the Pats loss and Schilling shoulder saga.Update III
- 2.10.08 -- Tried out the recipe. Very good. But a little dry. Next time I'm using both fish stock and white wine (I used only wine last night). ...
The most overlooked important story of the week
. ... It's a tragedy that it took the military so long to figure out that 'stabilizing worn-torn nations' is often as important as 'defeating adversaries on the battlefield.' Afghanistan and Iraq prove it. ... As noted a while back by then Armchair Gen. Savin Hill (now Armchair Gen. Brighton Center):
Like what the hell, the US Army didn't foresee a role involving occupation duties and guerilla-style insurgency -- a decade after Mogadishu?
Way back in September 2003, Marty Meehan was saying the same thing
as noted at the time in HB
The question is not whether to deploy more American soldiers or get our allies to add forces, but how to bring the right mix of people to the task.
We need more military police to help keep order, more civil affairs officers to guide the Iraqis in organizing basic government functions, more special operations commandos with experience in counterinsurgency operations, and more intelligence specialists to gather information. ...
Congress shouldn't try to micro-manage postwar Iraq. But the first barrier we must surmount is the Bush administration's stubborn resistance to any change in course.
From the start, the administration has been so tied to ideologically driven wishful thinking that it can't bring itself to admit that best-case scenarios have been overtaken by real-world events.
Remember: Meehan wrote these words in the fall of 2003, when the president was running around the White House saying he didn't want to hear the word 'insurgency' and Rumsfeld and his cheerleaders were still touting the anti-stabilization strategy of 'fly traps.' ... Remember too: The army had all but banned the study of counterinsurgency until 2005. ... P.S. - For three years after Meehan's op-ed, Congress never forced the White House to 'get serious about rethinking its plan.' It took the American people in the 2006 election to force the White House to 'get serious about rethinking its plan.' It took an election -- not military reality on the ground -- to finally change things. Think about that the next time the president brags he makes war decisions based on their military merits alone. ...
'Shame on you, Chelsea'
The 'pimped out'
controversy is minor. It'll blow over and soon be forgotten. But before it fades away, recall the reaction of some on the left after Chelsea had the nerve to back America and Americans in the weeks after 9/11. Samples here
. ... The hard left and right. They're the problems. Not Chelsea, who at no time has sunk to the lows of her critics. ...
'Romney Campaign Mistake List'
An excellent post
by John Ellis on Romney's mistakes and collapse. ... Again, one quibble: Mitt adopted and executed the 700 Club strategy. It took a cynical character to look people in the eye and repeatedly spout nonsense that he knew was nonsense, day after day, speech after speech, interview after interview, for nearly two long years. At what point do you stop blaming the consultants and start blaming the candidate who so casually brushed aside integrity and honesty? Mitt lost because Mitt's character allowed him to be multiple Mitts. ...
'Maybe we overcompensated'
Reading this analysis
, I was struck how sincerity was never a plausible option for Mitt and his strategists. Even the attempt to come across as 'honest and straightforward' was ultimately calculated and contrived. ... John Farrell
, brace youself: Bay Buchanan
, a Romney staffer and sister of Pat Buchanan, declared after Mitt's withdrawal yesterday: “We see him as our future leader.” ... Good point
: Reagan, Bush I, Dole and now McCain all lost GOP nomination fights before they won a nomination fight. Unfortunately, the Glorious Future Leader (pronounce it with a Rocky-and-Bullwinkle Russian accent for full effect) understands this. ... I enjoyed this conservative broadside
at conservative blowhards:
It is as if they think U.S. senators should spend the day pointing peashooters at each other. They don't want results. They want a food fight.
This is not the conservative base; it is the kiddie wing of the Republican Party. At the end of the day, it is all about the McCain haters' precious feelings.
It's the same argumentative mindset that prompted a kiddie conservative to write an entire book
settling old name-calling scores. ... You calling me a fascist? You're the fascist!
... The future of the 'conservative movement' is, figuratively and literally, not very bright. ...
Mitt reportedly is suspending
his campaign. Here's the CNN report
. ... Hat tip to Byron York
, who noticed a curious thing this morning: a dramatic drop-off in Romney emails. He called to find out what was up and, well ... The best obituary of Mitt's campaign was written more than month ago.
The only thing John got wrong was Michigan. Mitt carried the state, merely delaying the inevitable. Actually, I'd add one small quibble to John's obit: Mitt's 700 Club strategy was ultimately his decision, not his consultants' decision.Update
... No endorsement of McCain.Update II
-- Now it's really official: The blimp has hit ground.
'Did not match the fervor'
OK, so it's just one analysis
that happens to agree with my analysis: Obama's tie Tuesday felt like a loss. But the new analysis gets to the heart of why it's going to be so difficult for Obama to beat Hillary: women. ... Margery
notes the huge female turnout yesterday in Massachusetts and the almost blind determination among many to vote for Hillary. Margery: "The fact that we’re not really electing a woman, but a couple, Round II, seems not to bother these women. Since I’m a woman too, I sometimes wonder: Is it me?" ... The exit polls
indicate that Obama chipped away at Hillary's female support. But it wasn't nearly enough. ... Many are saying the ongoing Obama-Hillary fight is like a WWI war of attrition. But so far it's looked more like Bunker Hill. Obama's forces gallantly march up the hill and almost take the redoubt -- only to retreat after a tough fight. They've charged the redoubt two times now -- and been repulsed two times. Hillary's powder
seems to be running dry. Will a third charge be the charm? Will Obama's force take the redoubt but still lose the war? ... And that's Hub Blog's military-history lesson of the day, folks. ...
To the local front: Is Ralph Martin
mulling a run for mayor? I don't buy into the notion that Menino has been wounded by Tuesday. If he's vulnerable today, it's because he was vulnerable on Monday. ... Mitt
is running around with a fork stuck in his head. It's over, but he doesn't know it. ... BTW: Stand by the Hack-Progressive Alliance trend analysis below. But it obviously doesn't explain everything, such as, oh, 58 percent of the voters being women. ...Update
-- From Reader No. 1:
Full disclosure: I'm a Michael Barone fan and this is one of the more thoughtful analyses of what has happened so far with the campaigns and the candidates. ...
On the other hand, Mort's math identifies quite well how steep the mountain is for Republicans.
I've read both articles. They're quite good.Update II
finds a nice rebuke to the 'tantrum prone wing' of the Republican Party. ... While at John's site, scroll down for a quick video from the Blizzard of '78.
Not so gloomy Tuesday
Stick a fork in Mitt. He's done.
... One can't say the same for the Dem race, though I think Hillary's performance yesterday was more impressive. How many more times are Obama's forces going to claim victory for closing the gap but not closing the deal? Sometimes the best way to determine a winner in a close race is to ask: Who's happier? Hillary, says Dana Milbank
, who has a fun take on 'Spin Tuesday' from Hillary's headquarters:
With mechanized precision, celebrity surrogates fanned out in the ballroom to deliver a victory message. "Who do you want? I've got Governor Spitzer; I've got Rob Reiner," offered a young Clinton aide, as if vending hot dogs.
We'll take one of each.
"It's a big, big night for Hillary," announced director cum pundit Reiner. ...
"She's going to be demonstrating a national base that's very hard to overcome," offered New York governor-pundit Eliot Spitzer.
In Massachusetts, Hillary's victory
was big. Period. As Howie
puts it, "Eddie King, this one’s for you, baby!" ... There really was a Hack-Progressive divide within the Hack-Progressive Alliance last night. Look at vote returns by towns
. Obama generally carried the affluent-academic towns. Hillary cleaned up in the old lunch-bucket towns. Don't think this spells civil war within the alliance. I'll believe that's happening when Deval fields his own legislative candidates. But he won't. The alliance will heal with time. ... All in all, not a bad night for Hub Blog. One of my two least favorite candidates lost. The other marches on. It's better than both winning. ...Update
: Romney spent $10 million in California alone. He also thinks McCain has "all but clinched" the GOP nomination. ... Much more over at RealClearPolitics.com.
-- Adam R
: Don't make a big deal about the endorsements. Agreed. It wasn't a rejection of Ted Kennedy and won't harm him a bit here. But Deval is a slightly different matter. A lot of DiMasites wanted to see him embarrassed. It was personal. ...Update III
-- OK, so Obama leads in the delegate count
. It's not insigificant. He's still a contender. But the gut still says he needed to do better last night -- and didn't. Thus the glum mood among Obama's supporters. ...
'One more madcap adventure'
explains why the French are nervous about Sarko. ... I still
think he's going to wake up one morning and decide he doesn't like America anymore. So enjoy his pro-American tilt for now. It probably won't last. ...
After the Pats loss, I figure the wheel of fortune is spinning against us this wretched week and assume Hillary and Mitt will do well today. ...
'The real Super Bowl MVP is ...'
Reader No. 1 suspects the real MVP wasn't on the field:
The broad strokes are obvious: the Giants replayed Super Bowl 36, this time with Tom Brady standing in for Curt Warner as the quarterback who takes a vicious beating.... but it begs the question: how does an offensive line that played so well for 18 games, making all kinds of time for Tom Brady to run up those otherworldly passing numbers, get absolutely and (key word) collectively shredded?
One theory: go back to where the most brilliant coach of all time got his start: $25 a week in the film room. You watch football games on film to see tendencies, patterns - and the Patriots provided a lot of offensive film to look at this year, so a lot to work with. Is it possible that the real Super Bowl MVP is an intern who breaks down game film in the Meadowlands? Yes, it will be a long offseason
If the preceding hunch is accurate, many would see it as a fitting end to this particular season. We need Ron Jaworski to go to the videotape!
The average score of Super Bowl losers: 15.1 *
The Pats scored 14 on Sunday. The average score of Super Bowl losers over the previous 41 years
of Super Bowls was 15.1 * It shows the Pats were a classic Super Bowl loser in terms of scores. ... But to show that stats can lie: The Dolphins went undefeated by beating the Redskins 14-7 in the '73 Super Bowl, the lowest score for a Super Bowl victor in history. ... The Pats could have won Sunday if they had just risen above Super Bowl loser mediocrity. But they didn't. Defense won the game for the Giants. Any doubts? ... P.S.
- Pre- and post-game comments by members of the '72-'73 Dolphins show they lack class. Is Don Shula still trying to get over the previous greatest Super Bowl upset in NFL history? (Hint: The other NY team. **) ... Think about it: If Don can so successfully and brazenly recast his personal coaching history, can't Bill Belichick after his own fiasco? Go Pats, 2008! ...
* I calculated these numbers very quickly. Any mistakes are mine. General conclusions I stand by.
** I don't care what experts say about the Rams-Pats 2002 Super Bowl. The greatest previous upset in professional football history was the Jets-Colts 1969 Super Bowl. Don Shula, take a bow. ...
'If Mr. Hub Blogger does not ...'
A Hub Blog friend and reader exposes the truth about last night's game:
If Mr. Hub Blogger does not admit that the Patriots Loss in Yesterday's Super Bowl was due in direct correlation to his watching the game in a Rhode Island bar, I shall alert the members of the Patriot Ownership, the Coaching staff and all the fans where to locate the famous blogger on given nights so that their revenge may be extracated. Sincerely, a future ex-Hub Blog reader
I admit I abandoned my superstitious 2007 Pats-game routine yesterday. I accept full responsibility for 18-1.Update
-- Adam Reilly
has compiled his own jinx-blame list. ...Update II
-- My friend writes in: "You're Forgiven ... it's just that the world needed to know."Update III
-- There's one person Bert won't be forgiving: Arlen Specter. From Bert:
He hates the Patriots, he’s a bitter Eagles fan who calls into sports talk radio down there once a week. He wants to embarrass the Patriots leading up to what could be the biggest accomplishment in the history of the NFL.
That’s what we heard about him last week.
But then I heard Specter gets a lot of money from Comcast (a Penn based company?). Then this morning I heard a clip of him questioning the NFL’s heavy handed way of protecting the Super Bowl by prohibiting game watching parties by social clubs that charge admission because some of the common offenders are churches.
So this week I suspect Specter is going after the NFL more than the Patriots and it’s not because he’s an Eagles fan, but because he’s bought and paid for by Comcast. Remember, if you will, the battle between Comcast and the NFL.
Kevin was all over the pathetic Specter-Comcast angle
before the game.
The better team won
The Giants were a better team tonight. They were highly impressive, especially their front-seven defense. Their last drive was the mark of a true champion. ... I feel bad for the Pats. They worked so hard all season. It will be a very long off-season for them. ...
I hope I'm wrong. But I see a tough game today. The Pats should win. But it won't be easy. ...P.S.
-- I care
- but not today. The Pats and NFL, BTW, deny the report. ...
Broadcast vs. print Republicans, Part II
to those on the print side who are consciously or subconsciously distancing themselves from the broadcast blowhards. ... Again, the broadcast-vs.-print-Republicans divide isn't a precise predictor of presidential preferences. Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin all despise McCain. Then again, all three have been, or want to be, broadcast blowhards, right? ... A clear exception to the emerging b-vs.-p rule is National Review, which in early December endorsed the phony conservative
, actually arguing that Mitt was the 'most conservative viable candidate.' Well, he was never the 'most conservative' and he's certainly not 'viable' now. So you can just sense NR trying to squirm its way out of its embarrassing Mitt endorsement. The reason? A light bulb that briefly flickered on over Jonah's head
George W. Bush moved the party leftward and/or damaged the image of the GOP in many respects precisely because he was given the benefit of the doubt by conservatives who saw him as "one of us."
Forget the 'leftward' and 'benefit of the doubt' stuff. That's just Jonah's way of shifting blame to Bush, similar to how Andrew Sullivan once tried to blame his early backing of Bush on Bush, i.e., Andrew trusted him and Bush betrayed him. No, the real explanation is more simple: many conservatives chose partisanship over principle during the Bush years. They put on the partisan blinders to sword fight the left on behalf of a phony conservative. They couldn't resist a fight
with their old adversaries. Now the broadcast blowhards are asking the troops to once again embrace a phony conservative -- and some conservatives are finally having second thoughts about the strategy of fighting for phony purity. ...
Broadcast vs. print Republicans
On one side there's the broadcast blowhards of the Republican Party out to stop McCain: Hewitt, Hannity and Limbaugh. On the other side there's the print Republicans now effectively backing McCain: The WSJ
and New York Post
. It's an intriguing punditocracy divide. It doesn't break down perfectly. But it's damn close. ...
'Hot, hot, hot'
Who could they be talking about?
Hint: “It’s like when Tony Bennett suddenly became hip again after the kids discovered him."
'One of the most analytically advanced'
The New England Patriots -- of course
. From the Technology Review article:
After the team's head coach, Bill Belichick, read a paper by well-known economist David Romer about how teams are generally too conservative on fourth down, he began using historical data to develop a table to determine when the team should punt and when it should go for the first down. In the past couple of years, Belichick has been one of the most aggressive coaches when it comes to going for it on fourth down, says Schatz.
Tech Review piece via Mark
-- The TR article mentions stats-crazy Football Outsiders
. After crunching the numbers, FO concludes
that the Pats will win: 'Not definitely. Just probably.' ... I like its Superbowl XXXI comparison. Sounds right. The Giants should give the Pats a tough game. But ...Update II
-- Bert has his own analysis
and points out this excellent ESPN article
on Pats nerd-in-chief Ernie Adams. From the article:
Or there's Rutgers statistics professor Harold Sackrowitz, who got a call from Adams a few years back. Adams wanted to talk about some research Sackrowitz had just completed, dealing with how teams try two-point conversions far too often. Adams sent the professor the Patriots' when-to-go-for-two chart, and asked Sackrowitz to tear it apart. Of the 32 NFL teams, the statistician told the New York Times, only the Patriots called.
'Wrong, sorry, let's try another question'
Armchair Gen. Brighton Center checks in:
Thought you would get a kick out of this: quiz show answers gone wrong. If you've ever seen the inevitable European reporter walk around the streets of (invariably) New York and quiz people to show how dumb Americans are, this is a nice change of pace - from the UK Daily Mail.
I liked the 'doctor' answer. ...
'Hillary Clinton needs a Sister Souljah moment' -- for Bill
Mitt spent $35 million
of his own money on the campaign as of the end of the year -- and he's authorized another 'seven figure'
ad buy for next Tuesday. I'm figuring he'll have dropped at least $60 million by the time it's over. ... So Mitt is accusing McCain of 'Nixonian' tactics. Wonder how Hugh Hewitt
, a former Nixonite
and big Romney cheerleader, feels about that. He'll never honestly say. He's too much of a hack. ... Hewitt, Sean Hannity and now Ann Coulter are lining up against McCain. The three blowhards of the airwaves. That's your Republican Party, dear Republicans. ... Ann says Hillary is 'more conservative' than McCain and she plans to 'campaign' for Hillary. Really. She said it.
... Speaking of Hillary, Brighton Reader has some free advice (sort of along the lines of showing her emotional human side):
Back in the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton denounced black hip hop performer Sister Souljah for remarks that were widely deemed as racist against whites. It got him some criticism from African-American leaders like Jesse Jackson, but served to make the point that he was a centrist Democrat who could stand up to special interests.
Hillary Clinton needs a Sister Souljah moment. The conundrum she faces is that it involves her husband. Now, the clearest way would be a divorce, but that doesn't seem to be an option. Somehow, at some point, she needs to put some distance between them. Not on policy, but appearances. She needs to make the point that she understands people don't want a sequel to the drama of the 1990's. She makes the case that she has learned from her mistakes on health care. Similarly, she needs to demonstrate that a potential Hillary Rodham White House would have a different zeitgeist than William Jefferson's. ...
I can just picture it now: After a few days of practice, Hillary delivers a calculated but not overly damaging criticism of her husband. The press scurries over to Bill for a reaction. He bites his lip and lowers his head and mutters something about how he's sorry and was just trying to help his wife. ... Actually, she didn't come across that bad last night, according to Dan
. ... Once again, I didn't see the debate. I was on Republican Suicide Watch over at Fox. ...Update
-- Via Jon
, the latest Rasmussen poll
shows Mitt crunching McCain in Massachusetts. ...