A Whitewater blowhard's tough road. Plus: A GOP TV ad's manufactured outrage.
Topics: Politics News
Leach’s Mena streak
The headline above today’s front-page Times feature on Iowa Rep. Jim Leach describes him as a “moderate.” While that reflects his voting record, the complaint that he “enables” right-wing Republicans rings true. During the Clinton era, Leach turned into Newt Gingrich’s abject Igor, happy to undertake the dirtiest work against the speaker’s enemies in the White House. The normally soft-spoken Leach was among the loudest Whitewater blowhards in the House. Finding nothing there, he proceeded to abuse his House Banking Committee chairmanship to open a bogus probe of the Mena airport cocaine-smuggling hoax, as Murray Waas reported in Salon. He did so at Gingrich’s behest, with the connivance of unsavory figures from Richard Mellon Scaife’s Arkansas Project. Despite heavy-breathing press leaks designed to smear Bill Clinton, Leach and his staff spent three years (and many thousands of staff hours in the House and other agencies, including the CIA) without producing a hearing or even a final written report. A Leach spokesman did eventually admit that there was no evidence whatsoever against Clinton. One of those famously frugal, independent-minded Iowans ought to ask the congressman why he spent millions of taxpayer dollars on such poisonously partisan frivolity.
Senior moment mystery
Still in Iowa, the nasty Republican campaign to unseat Sen. Tom Harkin has taken a bizarre turn that deserves national press attention. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been running a TV commercial that shows an elderly woman voicing her dismay that the Democrat betrayed her with his votes to tax Social Security. Now this same lady — or someone who looks exactly like her — has showed up in a different NRSC ad. The second ad, however, finds her in South Dakota, sitting in a coffee shop next to an elderly man while he complains about Sen. Tim Johnson’s votes on Social Security.
Is that angry guy in the coffee shop her husband? Or are they both just actors, pretending to be local citizens? For that matter, is the coffee shop really in South Dakota, or somewhere else? I only ask because the sad-eyed woman reciting her sob story in the anti-Harkin ad is most definitely an actor, as a Des Moines Register columnist revealed yesterday. (And the vote she’s complaining about took place in 1983!) If the NRSC and its consultants were capable of shame, they would be mortified by this exposure. Of course if they were capable of shame, they wouldn’t try to bamboozle the good people of Iowa with such blatant frauds, would they?
[1:53 p.m. PDT, Sept. 16, 2002]
“If diplomacy fails”
Did Gen. Rove plan all along to roll out the Iraqi threat as an election distraction, or did the Democrats blunder massively by demanding a war debate? Dana Milbank discusses, while glancing toward evidence that Rove and his boss are indeed wagging the dog. Such “reprehensible” conduct would directly contradict the brief, blunt, solemn exposition of the president’s views on U.S. military intervention abroad in his campaign bio, “A Charge to Keep.” The relevant passage is on Page 55, following an incomplete account of his years in the Texas Air National Guard.
“I also learned the lesson of Vietnam. Our nation should be slow to engage troops. But when we do so, we must do so with ferocity. We must never go into a conflict unless we go in committed to win. We can never again ask the military to fight a political war. If America’s strategic interests are at stake, if diplomacy fails, if no other option will accomplish the objective, the Commander in Chief must define the mission and allow the military to achieve it.”
Somewhat later, he does mention “firmness with regimes like Iraq and North Korea.” And he explains, “Ours should not be the paternalistic leadership of an arrogant big power, but the inviting and welcoming leadership of a great and noble nation.”
I know he didn’t really write his book — politicians rarely do — but did he read it?
Meanwhile, today’s Times reports that the reluctant Saudis will acquiesce in an assault on Iraq — but only if it is sanctioned by the U.N. Now there’s a lesson for our “muscular” armchair warriors. Multilateral engagement is not just morally superior to unilateral arrogance; it works better, too. They seem unlikely to learn, especially if they nurture the fantasies explored in a Scottish newspaper’s alarming Sunday exposé of Bill Kristol’s Project for a New American Century. The Glasgow paper describes a September 2000 report prepared for the group, titled “Rebuilding America’s Defense: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” as “a secret blueprint for U.S. global domination.” A report bearing the same title on the PNAC Web site can be downloaded here.
Those smart, compassionate Swedes yesterday cut off the rightward trend in recent European elections, returning the Social Democratic coalition to power with significantly more seats than they got four years ago. Special note to the Wall Street Journal editorial page and its acolytes: The party pushing tax cuts, the Moderates, lost more seats than any of the other six parties in this election — no doubt because while Sweden still has the highest taxes of any nation in Europe, it is enjoying strong economic growth, negligible inflation and low unemployment (and also remains in the world’s top 10 in both living standards and human development, according to the editors of the Economist).
[11:15 a.m. PDT, Sept. 16, 2002]
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- “I just want the U.S. to send my father home”
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11