Thursday, February 28, 2008

R.I.P. WFB

Yesterday morning at the age of 82, while working in his study, we lost William F. Buckley.

Mr. Buckley captivated many of us for decades with his columns, speeches, debates, appearances on TV talk shows, his authoring of 50+ books, his harpsichord-playing, creation of National Review and a seminal television program for serious political discourse called "Firing Line."
WFB, Wikipedia
In my twenties, I'd watch television debates with awe and amusement as Mr. Buckley gracefully routed his opponents. He had no equal then.  I'm not sure he has one today.  Millions of Americans, I'm guessing under the age of 35, have little appreciation of this man's enormous gifts and contributions to contemporary conservative thought.

He advocated for free markets and limited government before it was cool to do so.  He warned about secularism before it reached the proportions with which we now contend. He was also America's most charming intellectual. His command of language, politics, economics, history and philosophy is legendary.

But it's often the subtle things we recall about those we've known (or wish we had known).  I'll never forget that devilish, enlightened sparkle in his eyes flashing at the same moment his expansive smile would emerge. That radiant face revealed something more than the intellectual gifts for which he is often parodied.
WFB with Ronald Reagan, Wikipedia

What I saw in those signature Buckley facial expressions was an abundant joyfulness and love of life beaming straight through the camera lens and into our homes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Does Rivera know something?

Geraldo Rivera, Wikipedia
Yesterday, my wife and I watched incredulously as we observed Gerlado Rivera interviewing Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones on FOX.

The first reaction was that we must have missed some bombshell discovery like a photograph of Senator McCain on a boat with a babe in Bimini.

No we didn't miss anything like that because there has been zero evidence to support such a "smoking gun" which made us wonder, why in the world would Geraldo Rivera be interviewing these women about the McCain story in the New York Times?

Unless Mr. Rivera knows something that the rest of us do not, linking the stories of these women and their affairs with Bill Clinton to the current McCain story, is shoddy journalism.  And if Mr. Rivera does know something, he ought to report it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's over for Hillary Clinton

It's over for Sen. Hillary Clinton.

It doesn't matter what happens in Texas, Ohio, or elsewhere. Her presidential bid is finished. Forget your delegate counts (pledged or not) and your polling data.

Consider instead the NY Times blog today and posts under the story, "Clinton Sharpens Her Attack on Obama"

Try to find authors supporting Mrs. Clinton. Instead, overwhelmingly, you'll find items from Democrats, that sound like this one...

"I went to an ivy league college with a lot of people who remind me of Mrs. Clinton. Bright, articulate, driven, but with an off-putting sense of entitlement. A know-it-all attitude that brooks no dissent."

It's as if scores of the party faithful are now emboldened to express heretofore repressed criticisms of Ms. Clinton, because they no longer fear retribution. Maybe this is cathartic for them.  In any event, it is over.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hucka-strength


Excerpt published in the New York Times Politics Blog, 2.19.2008

Last night I attended the Mike Huckabee rally in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. The room size was well chosen. Swelling with hundreds of people and dozens of signs, it must have translated into a great television picture.

The crowd was largely white, middle-class and peppered with people from all age groups. Their spirit was buoyant, lively and good-natured throughout.

The former Governor of Arkansas speaking for some 30+ minutes, delivered a flawless speech laced with endearing stories and humour that delighted the crowd, even though it included some now shopworn idioms (that all candidates resort to at this stage) including how he plans to "nail the Going Out Of Business sign" on the door of the IRS.

Mike Huckabee, Wikipedia
Mr. Huckabee looked fresh, energetic and thoughtful throughout his time at the stump. You didn't get the sense that this guy is going away any day soon. He knows how good he is, how far he has come with so little cash and that he now has something to trade.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A gem from Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, Wikipedia
I'm still chuckling about a recent Ann Coulter appearance televised on C-SPAN.  Ms. Coulter is less than enchanted with John McCain's candidacy.  Nonetheless, I believe Ms. Coulter and 95% of all Republicans would prefer Sen. McCain over Hillary Clinton.

Nonetheless, here's the gem...after briefly contemplating a question from an audience member as to whether there could be any positive aspect associated with the Clintons returning to the White House, Ms. Coulter replied calmly,

"At least we'd get the silverware back."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Reflections on a summit for prosperity

Yesterday on a snowy wet Saturday, the Wisconsin Chapter of Americans For Prosperity (AFP) held its "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Pewaukee and attendees were treated to speeches from Dinesh D'Souza, Steve Moore and local Sheriff David Clark.

Attendees also witnessed a color guard, a stirring video of the late Ray Charles singing "America The Beautiful" and a film that celebrated the life and legacy of President Ronald Reagan. There was much more. If AFP hadn't delivered quality, I wouldn't have stuck around for 8 hours.

Other items from my notepad:

Wisconsin Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen made a notable distinction about Thomas Jefferson's seminal contribution to the Declaration of Independence of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,"  Mr. Van Hollen noted that unfortunately, Jeffersonian thought among many people in our nation has devolved into an expectation for government entitlements. Jefferson never envisioned life, liberty and the guarantee of happiness.  Rather, the founding idea was to help people by removing obstacles, by protecting them and by giving them a fair chance, but not through taxpayer sponsorship.

Todd Berry of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance gave a sober, tightly-constructed review of Wisconsin's fiscal mess and the accounting chicanery used to screen out our "structural deficit." Republicans are not without blame as significant red ink extends back to the Thompson administration (Governor Thompson's groundbreaking WorkFare policies, notwithstanding). As Mr. Berry's group is purely nonpartisan, he couldn't (or at least he chose not to) identify explicitly by name, more recent causes of our fiscal morass. Mr. Berry said "we" created off-the-books debt by issuing bonds to fund transportation projects. Yet, the last mega-debit to the transportation account was delivered two budget cycles ago - compliments of Governor Jim Doyle and his "Frankenstein veto" when he transferred $400 million to public education funding.  That move was not authorized by the legislature and of course it was not a "we" who was responsible - it was a "him."