George Will has a must
read, taking on two of our favorite candidatess:
Although Huckabee and Edwards profess to loathe and vow to change Washington's culture, each would aggravate its toxicity. Each overflows with and wallows in the pugnacity of the self-righteous who discern contemptible motives behind all disagreements with them and who therefore think that opponents are enemies and differences are unsplittable.
In the meantime, Scott Johnson at Power Line spots
Huckabee circulating a bogus quote from Abe Lincoln, as Richard Nixon
once did. This comes soon after he attributed a Godfather quote to
Sun Tzu. What is it with this guy anyway?
watched last night's debates allegedly in the process of inebriation,
but had it together enough to observe:
Did you know that Hillary has experience? Experience with change? Change that only her experience, her experience with change, can bring about? And that she's a woman, a woman bringing change with her experience of womanness? Yeah, me neither.
Harvard economics prof Greg Mankiw listened
to the Democrats debate
while sober. (I mean, Professor Mankiw was sober. I think.) One
candidate "demonstrates extraordinary ignorance (or perhaps
extraordinary disingenuousness)"; one candidate "shows extraordinary
clarity and honesty"; and one "offers some typical vacuous blather".
Try to guess who was who. Hint: Edwards is none of the three, especially
not the honest one.
Dave Barry's in New Hampshire, and unfortunately I've missed seeing
him so far.
Follow the saga of DICK HARPOOTLIAN (so far) here, here,
But those who watched the debates saw history in the making, as it became clear, over the course of the evening, that one person, and one person only, embodies the wisdom, the judgment, the maturity and -- yes -- the simple humanity that this nation desperately needs in its next president: Charlie Gibson.Just a couple days to go, guys. We'll make it. Probably.
Unfortunately he can't afford the pay cut. This means we're stuck with the actual candidates, who, as I say, are in a testy mood, as was evidenced in the Republican debate when John McCain and Mike Huckabee, during a particularly testy exchange over illegal immigration, gave Mitt Romney a wedgie. The Democrats, meanwhile, continued their ongoing obsessive argument about change -- who is the most for change; who has done the most changing; who can change with the changing times to bring change to those who need a change; who has taken the time, with all this tromping around New Hampshire night and day demanding change, to change their underwear; etc.
Well, that's what Kathryn Jean Lopez claimed anyway. National Review Online's "Right Night" event at Manchester, New Hampshire's Radisson was held in a room adjacent to a room containing a Clinton rally, at which the former president spoke. Kathryn—I call her Kathryn—made a brief visit to the other side, and reported, on her return, that Bill Clinton had to pause his speech during one of our room's outbreaks of applause and laughter.
But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. I drove over to Manchester late yesterday afternoon. Traffic in the Queen City was worse than usual, and that's saying something. Many, many people were out and about doing campaign-y type things. Every snowbank, it seemed, had sprouted an infestation of "X for President" signs.
[The purpose of which I have never quite got, by the way. Has anyone done research on the efficacy of campaign signs? Are people more likely to vote for Dennis Kucinich if they see ten signs for him, spaced two feet apart, on the onramp to the Route 4 bypass? "Ah, no, I was gonna vote Kucinich, but I went with Obama, since I saw twelve signs for him in a single snowbank on my way to the dump on Saturday." Does that happen? Maybe it does, I dunno.]
But I eventually made my way through to one of the last spots in a handy parking garage, and finally found the event. By the time I got there, it was standing room only, though. So I stood.
The event was sponsored by the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack. A college official (didn't catch his name) gave a lengthy intro to the three raconteur/panelists from National Review, Jonah Goldberg, Rob Long, and Mark Steyn. Anybody who's read these guys knows that they can be, and usually are, very funny and insightful. Fortunately, they were pretty good in person too. (I was going to say they were good "on their feet", but they actually had some comfy chairs to sit in.)
So for a couple hours they talked, unstructured, riffing off each other. It was very entertaining; I was going to take some notes and report some "good stuff", but standing made that more difficult. Also, there was free food. Including nature's most perfect food, which is the bacon-wrapped scallop on a toothpick. (I'm grateful to the hosts, although my arteries might differ.)
One bit of controversy erupted when they took questions from the floor. A guy who had been reading NR since the sixties—about as long as I have, in other words—said he'd admired Bill Buckley's position against "Caesarism" back then, and excoriated the current magazine staff for its complacency about the same thing today under Dubya; specifically, he was exercised about the legal (or, as he claimed, extralegal) treatment of "enemy combatants".
That's not a totally wacky position; certainly a number of folks at Cato would have been in sympathy. But the questioner overdid it, rantwise; Long, Goldberg, and (especially) Steyn countered his heated rhetoric with reasonableness leavened with a bit of humor, and the overwhelming majority of the crowd weren't sympathetic to this point of view either.
Anyway, it was too soon over. I got to speak to several people of note. I've been a Shawn Macomber fan for years now, we've corresponded in e-mail, and I finally got to meet him in person. I complimented him on his great article in the current issue of Reason on the oppressive atmosphere on Liberty Island; it's not on the web yet, but I'll link when it is. (If you can't wait, subscribe.)
I was also able to muscle my way to speak briefly with Jonah Goldberg. I mention that I'd had his book (Liberal Fascism) on order at Amazon since October of 2005. He seemed a little sheepish at this, but graciously thanked me anyway. Amazon promises it's coming this week, I'll believe it when I see it.
I'm also pretty sure I saw, but was to shy to speak to, Mickey Kaus (of Kausfiles fame). I woulda shoulda coulda told him that I enjoyed his book The End of Equality, and that our current political discourse on the topic is poorer to the extent that it didn't make a bigger impact. (Not that I bought into all of his policy recommendations, but they weren't The Same Old Eat the Rich Same Old.)
Certainly there were some other famous folks there I did not recognize. Maybe that was Ramesh Ponnuru? Probably, but how can you ask that diplomatically?
Also, on my way out, I noted—really—Tim Russert hastening the other direction down a hallway, cellphone clamped to his ear. I smiled in recognition. And even though this only took at most a couple of seconds, I could tell he was totally accustomed to being recognized in public; he smiled back and gave a nod that said: "Yes, I am that guy on TV; thanks for acknowledging that, but please don't try to engage me."
I hope he was able to interpret my nod equally as well: "Wouldn't think of it, Tim. Just going home. Too bad about the Bills."