Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Democrats peak, Richardson flunks, and a Rupert fantasy

Quick hits on a very busy day:

Why do I get the feeling that the congressional Democrats peaked yesterday?

They had their “signing ceremony” for the doomed bill that would have tied Iraq war money to a pullout timetable, and they delivered floor speeches mocking President Bush for his “Mission Accomplished” event. But now, lacking the votes to override his veto, they’ll start giving ground. The timetable language will be jettisoned; instead, Democrats will try to require that the Iraqi government get its act together – or else.

But even their attempts to codify “benchmarks” probably won’t get very far, either. The Democrats need a considerable number of Republican votes in order to get any leverage with Bush, but GOP lawmakers have already signaled that, while they’re open to the idea of benchmarks, they’re nevertheless not very interested in requiring that the Iraqis actually suffer any consequences if such benchmarks are not met. And, given the fact that the Maliki government is politically weak, and is beholden to some of the Shiite militias that are sowing the sectarian violence, tough consequential benchmarks probably wouldn’t work anyway.

So when the Democrats essentially come up empty in their clash with Bush, what will be the reaction among antiwar liberals in the party base? They’ll probably fume online, citing the mandate of the '06 elections and turning up the heat on the ’08 presidential candidates; on the other hand, the status quo in Washington would mean that Bush continues to own the war.


Speaking of Democrats, let us rebuke ’08 president candidate Bill Richardson for flunking an important history test.

It all began last Thursday night, in a debate featuring all the Democratic candidates. When asked to name a Supreme Court justice whom he would regard as a model for future nominees, Richardson invoked Byron “Whizzer” White. Many liberals didn’t like that answer, because it turns out that Whizzer dissented on Roe v. Wade, arguing against legal abortion.

Flash forward to the weekend, when Richardson showed up at the annual California Democratic convention. He was asked by reporters about Whizzer, and he replied: “White was in the 60s. Wasn't Roe v. Wade in the 80s?"

There are a few problems with that answer. First, it was clear that Richardson didn’t even know how his ideal high court judge had voted in one of the most important legal rulings of the 20th century. And, second, he didn’t even know when that ruling was handed down. (It was 1973, not “the ‘80s.”)

I argued a few weeks ago that it was no big deal when candidates flunked the price of a gallon milk. I’d argue here that it’s a bigger deal when a candidate flunks basic contemporary history.

And I’d also suggest that if a Republican presidential candidate had placed the Roe ruling in the wrong decade, there would have been much talk in liberal circles about how such a remark was further proof of the GOP’s cavalier disrespect for the right to choose.


News item, May 1, 2007: Rupert Murdoch, New York Post owner and conservative empire magnate, offers $5 billion to buy the Wall Street Journal...

The Wall Street Journal, front page, May 1, 2012:

A gang of thugs and perverts, perhaps in cahoots with terrorist cells emboldened by the weak policies of the Democratic administration in Washington, have infiltrated the New York City firms that try to police lending practices in the commercial real estate market, insider sources allege.

One blonde beauty at Moody’s Investors Service, in a gut-wrenching cry for help, captured on a 911 tape exclusively obtained from police, is rumored to have said that a fiend stormed her office while the comely brunette was attempting to crack down on lenders who have been offering 10-year, interest-only loans with back-end balloon payments. "Please help me!" she cried out. "This terrorist action is hurting decent flag-waving Americans who want to minimize their financial risks in commercial property deals! Please make him stop!"

It is not yet known whether the commercial real estate crisis is Bill Clinton's fault. Nor is it yet known whether the Moody’s employe’s dramatic plight, at the hands of the rumored perverts, has any connection to the current Democratic administration’s recent decision to forestall military action in the Middle East in favor of stepped up diplomatic efforts. But rock icon Britney Spears declared yesterday, “Unlike my feelings about the last president, I do not support this current president.”

Watch for further reports on this outrage next week, exclusively, here in the Wall Street Journal, as well as in The New York Post, The Times of London, The Sun of London, The Weekly Standard magazine, on Fox News and 35 affiliates nationwide, on the British Sky satellite network, and on my (A book is in the works at HarperMorrow, and movie rights have been optioned at Twentieth-Century Fox.)

“Attack on the Bond Ratings Firms” will appear immediately following the conclusion of our current print/broadcast series, “The Dominance of the Liberal Media."