Politics postsSaturday March 15, 2008
Our long national comeuppance
Gail Collins is both wittier and more substantive than her fellow Times Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd and she's particularly good today on Pres. Bush's speech before the NY financial community on Friday. She writes: "The country that elected George Bush — sort of — because he seemed like he’d be more fun to have a beer with than Al Gore or John Kerry is really getting its comeuppance. Our credit markets are foundering, and all we’ve got is a guy who looks like he’s ready to kick back and start the weekend."
That's pretty much it, isn't it? As long as we were sending other people's kids to die over there (so we wouldn't have to worry about dying over here), we were fine with it. Now it's hitting us where it matters. The volatility of the current market is truly scary and the only solution this guy has is to send out more checks so people can buy more stuff. Except everyone's so worried they're not buying more stuff; they're holding onto their money.
Are his numbers still at 30 percent? Who are these idiots? The atom bomb is old news but at this point you want to quote Alan Ginsberg. I'll finish with more Collins:
"O.K., so he’s not good at first-day response. Or second. Third can be a problem, too. But this economic crisis has been going on for months, and all the president could come up with sounded as if it had been composed for a Rotary Club and then delivered by a guy who had never read it before. 'One thing is certain that Congress will do is waste some of your money,' he said. 'So I’ve challenged members of Congress to cut the number of cost of earmarks in half.'
"Besides being incoherent, this is a perfect sign of an utterly phony speech. Earmarks are one of those easy-to-attack Congressional weaknesses, and in a perfect world, they would not exist. But they cost approximately two cents in the grand budgetary scheme of things. Saying you’re going to fix the economy or balance the budget by cutting out earmarks is like saying you’re going to end global warming by banning bathroom nightlights."
It's 3 a.m. Do you know where your President is?
Good piece here by Larry David on who's better equipped to take that 3 a.m. phonecall.
The biggest problem I'm having with Hillary's campaign is that all of her supposedly winning arguments as to why she'd be a better president than Barack Obama (experience, that 3 a.m. phonecall) are losing arguments against John McCain. He has more experience. If there's a 3 a.m. phonecall — assume a military nature — most Americans would rather have the military man take it. She must know this. And yet the campaign proceeds the way it's proceeding. So she's hoping to win the nomination with one argument and the presidency with another argument — possibly the opposite argument. That's a helluva strategy.
American Political prisoner?
The basics. Siegelman, a Democratic governor in a Republican state, was running for reelection in 2002 when word leaked to the press that he was being investigated by federal prosecutors; he narrowly lost that election to Republican Bob Riley. The investigating prosecutors were both appointed by Pres. Bush and one of them, Leura Canary, was the wife of Republican consultant Bill Canary.
Two years later, as Siegelman was gearing to run for governor again, he's indicted on charges stemming from an alleged Medicaid scam. The case goes to trial. And on the first day the judge throws it out. Says the government has no case.
Then the investigation expands. For eight months Leura Canary is heading it — despite the fact that her husband ran the campaign for Siegelman's opponent, Gov. Riley. The charge is now bribery. The jury deadlocks once, twice, then votes to convict. The problems? The chief witness against him testified in exchange for a reduced sentence on corruption charges. The smoking gun, a check, was actually cut days after the witness claims seeing it in Siegelman's hands. And the supposed quid pro quo of campaign contributions ($500,000) for political favors (the contributor being reappointed to a hospital board) was, according to Grant Woods, a Republican and the former attorney general of Arizona, not bribery at all; it was politics. Akin to putting the President of the United States in jail because he gave a contributor an ambassadorship.
Even so, Siegelman was sentenced to seven years and led away — literally — in manacles, something unheard of for white collar criminals, let alone a former governor.
There's more: He said/she said about Karl Rove targeting Siegelman in 2002. Allegations that Karl Rove directed the DOJ for political advantage.
Fifty two attorneys general of both parties have asked Congress to investigate.