Monthly Archives: July 2003

Cause For Democrat Worries

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, released this morning, suggests that President Bush has weathered the storm surprisingly well. He still enjoys a healthy 56% approval rating. More important, 66% approve of Bush’s handling of the war on terrorism, far and away the leading issue of the day. And by a 56% to 30% margin, respondents say that Democrats are “mostly playing politics” in attacking the administration’s rationale for »

Fence? Who Needs a Fence?

Coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict tends toward the surreal, but the current controversy over Israel’s fence seems particularly over the top. Consider this photo, which the Associated Press describes as follows: “A masked Palestinian militant of the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades flashes the victory sign as he holds his handgun in the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya Thursday, July 31, 2003. The town is walled off on three sides »

More on Iraq’s WMDs

As we noted last night, David Kay briefed two Senate committees today on his progress in locating Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and understanding Saddam’s illicit programs. This Associated Press story contains only one significant line: “Kay told reporters after talking in secret to the Senate Armed Services Committee that there was a ‘truly amazing’ deception program to throw U.N. weapons inspectors off the trail. We have people who participated »

Catholics who believe strongly in Catholic doctrine need not apply

Here is Byron York’s take on the flap over the pro-William Pryor ad (“Catholics need not apply”) that I discussed yesterday. Writing for National Review Online, York discusses both the politics of the ad and its merits. As to the politics, York finds that the ad has, for the first time, placed the Senate Democrats on the defensive in the debate over judicial nominees. And the ad seems to be »

Good economic news,

reported somewhat grudgingly by the Washington Post. The GDP (a broad measure of production of goods and services) grew at a 2.4 annual rate in the April-June period. This followed two quarters of growth at a 1.4 annual rate, and was “considerably greater than most analysts had expected,” according to the Post. The Post adds that “most forecasters are predicting much sharper gains, with growth reaching and perhaps topping a »

Soccer and politics

For better or worse, when one talks about international soccer, politics are usually lurking in the nearby background. Consider the two teams I saw last night. A.C. Milan is owned by Silvio Berlusconi — yup, the prime minister of Italy. Berlusconi is something of a Ross Perot figure, to over-simplify quite a bit. A hugely successful businessman, he got into electoral politics after virtually the entire political establishment of Italy »

The beautiful (exhibition) game

It was Pele who referred to soccer as “the beautiful game.” Last night I had the pleasure of attending a match that lived up to this billing. The match, at RFK stadium in Washington D.C., featured two giants of European football, Barcelona and reigning European champs, A.C. Milan. Exhibition matches between teams of this calibre tend to show soccer at its best. Players have no fear of losing, so they »

Do as I say, not as I do

John Edwards, Senator, presidential candidate, and wealthy trial lawyer, is four months late on property tax payments to the District of Columbia, according to this story from the Washington Times. The Times also notes that Edwards has been late paying taxes on eight previous occasions, according to records kept by Wake County, North Carolina. On the campaign trail, of course, Edwards routinely attacks tax breaks for the rich and emphasizes »

Sam Phillips, RIP

Sam Phillips was the proprietor of Sun Records in Memphis when an 18-year old Elvis Presley strolled in one day to use the studio’s vanity recording service. Legend (repeated in the obituary linked below) has it that he wanted to record a song as a gift for his mother; the essential Elvis biographer/historian Peter Guralnick believes it was because he wanted to hear what he sounded like. In any event, »

Christian beliefs as a reverse litmus test

Richard Cohen of the Washington Post is upset about an advertisement running in parts of New England that accuses Senate Democrats of blocking appellate court nominee William Pryor because of his Catholic beliefs. Cohen is particularly unhappy with former White House Counsel Boyden Gray, who heads the committee that sponsored the ad, and with former President Bush who lent his name to the cause. Cohen argues that Senate Democrats do »

Kay to Brief Senate

News reports on President Bush’s news conference today focused–rather bizarrely, if you read the whole thing–on his “taking responsibility” for the famous 16 words. There is only one reason why the news media and the Democrats have been able to focus attention on this mini-controversy over a period of weeks. The reason is that weapons of mass destruction have allegedly not been found in Iraq. David Kay, who is in »

President Bush’s Press Conference

The full text of the press conference is here. (It’s interesting, by the way, that on the White House site they don’t do anything to clean up the transcript. As one who deals with transcripts constantly, I can attest that even the most eloquent people don’t seem very articulate when you read a raw transcript.) Here is a portion of President Bush’s comments on Iraq in his prepared text: “The »

Al Qaeda Attack in Kenya Feared

Intelligence agencies are reported to believe that al Qaeda is increasingly focusing its efforts on Africa. According to Debka File, five captured al Qaeda agents in Kenya have disclosed plans for an attack on the new American embassy in Nairobi. The scheme is said to involve a truck bomb, followed by a suicide dive by an airplane loaded with explosives timed to kill survivors and rescuers. »

Meanwhile, back at the economy

Real Clear Politics has two pieces today about the economy. One is by Morton Zuckerman of U.S. News. It expresses major skepticism about whether we’re experiencing, or will soon experience, a recovery. The second is by Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post. It expresses agnosticism on this issue. Reader Stan Brown offered two thoughts on the jobs/unemployment data discussed in the columns: “1) If Congress extends benefits and makes it »

Third Ways then and now

C.S., one of our favorite correspondents, responds to my post about Third Way politics and, in particular, to my comment that in discussions about the Third Way “it was always socialist or liberal parties that were going to show us the third way. Indeed, some suggested that Tony Blair and perhaps Bill Clinton were already doing so.” Mr. S. disagrees. He states: “I’ve always associated the ‘third way’ or ‘third »

Search for Saddam Intensifies

Earlier today in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town, American forces carried out 58 raids and arrested more than 175 people suspected of being Saddam loyalists. Four men who were described as important members of Saddam’s former government were seized. The photo below is of Brig. Gen. Daher Ziana, described as Saddam’s “lifelong bodyguard.” This is, apparently, another indication of the accelerating pace of citizen cooperation following the deaths of Uday »

DLC in the Wilderness

The Democratic Leadership Council is holding its summer conference; the absence of any of the nine Democratic Presidential candidates is an indication of how far leftward the pendulum has swung in that party. DLC members warned against the danger of an electoral catastrophe like 1972 or 1984, as they have been doing–to no perceptible effect–for some time. Indiana’s Evan Bayh struck a typical note: “It is our belief that the »