Friday, December 10, 2010

Triangulation, Ahoy!  A good observation from Peggy Noonan today, apropos our advice to Obama.  Peggy says:
President Obama was supposed to be announcing an important compromise, as he put it, on tax policy. Normally a president, having agreed with the opposition on something big, would go through certain expected motions. He would laud the specific virtues of the plan, show graciousness toward the negotiators on the other side—graciousness implies that you won—and refer respectfully to potential critics as people who'll surely come around once they are fully exposed to the deep merits of the plan.  Instead Mr. Obama said, essentially, that he hates the deal he just agreed to, hates the people he made the deal with, and hates even more the people who'll criticize it.
This is what I meant when I said Obama doesn't have the temperament to triangulate.  He's too morally self-satisfied to compromise effectively.  He's supposed to increase his standing when he makes a deal.  With this, he just made himself look petty and supercilious.
Word of Warning:  Jane's getting serious.  Just thought I'd let you know.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wanna buy a watch?

Guy buys a Rolex at a Navy Exchange fifty years ago. Wears it every day until he puts it in a drawer 10 years ago. Finds it recently and puts it on eBay for $9.95. Turns out it is a Rolex Submariner Ref 5510 (what Connery wore in "Dr. No", "Goldfinger" and "Thunderball"). Final bid: $66,100. Bonus: the seller used to party with Christopher Reeve back in the 80s.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sex and State Secrets?  You don't have to like Julian Assange to get the feeling that his current legal jeopardy in not wholly unconnected to his current endeavor.

I don't know what to make of the guy.  However the leaks reached him, is he any more culpable than, say, the NYT when they published the Pentagon Papers?  That's a hard argument to make.  And while a military employee might be guilty of espionage or treason for leaking the stuff to him, it's hard to make the case that Assange carries the same burden, being in many ways simply a journalist.  An activist journalist, to be sure -- but again, the Times's decisions to publish some leaks and not others were not made in a moral or political vacuum.

All that said, Assange does come across as a bit of a dick -- e.g., sleeping with some starf*cker "activist" cutie and then asking her to buy his train tickets because he has no cash and doesn't want the Americans tracking his credit card usage.  Can't you just hear him playing it up to her?  "Make love to me again, darling, for I will remember you, even as dark forces gather to take my life.  I am but a pawn in this larger game.  Oooh, and buy me this copy of Time.  I'm on the cover."

But it's hard to prosecute a guy for being a dick, as much as two women may regret their assignations with him after finding out he was not exactly monogamous.  (Young, handsome, subject of world's attention, focal point of rage among the establishment, cult hero to the professional left -- and you think he's not getting ass like Mick Jagger circa 1968?)

Look, I get why this is a problem and an embarrassment for the goverment, the military, the country.  But their whining hardly sounds different from that of the two ladies making the sexual complaints against him.  Or, more accurately, the U.S. goverment sounds like a 15-year-old girl who texted a snapshot of her tits to her boyfriend, then found it on the web later in the week.  Welcome to the new world.

Monday, December 06, 2010

This Looks Like A Good Start: 12 suggestions on what to cut from the federal budget in 2011. In particular I'm a fan of items 3, 4, 8, and 11 but I don't see anything I can't live without on the list.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Obama the Centrist?  This subject is beginning to get an airing over at the Corner, too.  I think one of the points they work over is germane here:  how does Obama sell this?  As I said, I don't think Obama can triangulate -- he's not going to flip-flop the way Clinton did, partly because he's a bit to morally self-satisfied.  But, as Jonah mentions, Clinton could sell you on it.  He could switch sides on an issue and tell you that's how he felt all along.  I just don't see Obama pulling that off.

Worse, this is the guy who rode the liberal wave to Washington, and the left is already pushing him away with both hands, calling him "Bush's third term."  Any obvious move to the center, Clinton-style, and Obama will only add to this base-shedding problem.

I like Flyer's idea of a big Obama lurch to the left.  I doubt it will happen, but wouldn't that be fantastic?  For him to double down at this point would show he has balls like church bells.

Speaking of testicular fortitude, Flyer is right that Obama has clearly not taken the opportunity to show North Korea anything other than watered down diplo-speak.  This is a bad sign.  Could it be that he will spend his next 18 months in a state of paralysis?  Remember how he kicked the can on Afghanistan policy for so long, listening to the experts, weighing the options?  Could that become the theme of his presidency, overreach followed by two years as Pelosi's court eunich?