Posted by: mutantpoodle | November 2, 2007

Newsbits: Bush Whines; Hillary Shines; Joe-Rudy smackdown!

dog-on-newspapers_smWell, it wouldn’t be the end of the week if we didn’t have some petulant Bush fit to look back on with fondness disgust. This time, it’s about his poor, battered nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey.

Mukasey, of course, is taking heat for his unwillingness to deem waterboarding, which was a technique used during the Spanish Inquisition, for chrissakes, torture.

And to George W. Bush, that’s just terribly unfair.

He may be referring to the fact that he hasn’t redacted the part of the constitution that requires Mukasey to be confirmed by the Senate, but he claims it’s because the US interrogation program is classified, and Mukasey hasn’t been “read into” the details. And Mukasey keeps dodging the question, saying it’s “hypothetical”, and that if waterboarding is torture, then it’s illegal – but won’t make a judgment about the waterboarding itself.

I’m not sure I get what’s hypothetical – we know what waterboarding is, after all – and it’s either torture or it ain’t. (For the record, John McCain says it is, and he, for all his issues, has a wee bit of credibility on this issue.) A hypothetical would be whether it would be ok to use it in a a so-called “ticking bomb” scenario, and maybe (and I am being EXTREMELY generous here) that’s what Mukasey is getting at.

But that would mean it’s ok sometimes and not others, which sounds dangerously like moral relativism, and we know how the GOP feels about that, don’t we?

And about people questioning anything this President does.

If the Democrats have a spine, Mukasey won’t make it out of the Judiciary Committee. Sadly, I am not hopeful, if only because Dianne Feinstein still sits there.

In Wellesley, Massachusetts, Hillary Clinton proved you can go home again, this time to a raucus, standing-room only speech at her alma mater, Wellesley College. (My only experience with Wellesley College came on an ill-fated night when a group of young men from Brown left the cozy confines of campus and found Wellesley – our, um, target for the evening, on break, and actually started following busloads of coeds to a party they were going to at – I am not making this up – Harvard Medical School. What’s worse, we lost the buses. The rest of the evening went downhill from there.)

During Hillary’s speech she mentioned this anecdote about her applications to law school:

…she had been admitted to both Harvard and Yale Law Schools and was at a Harvard cocktail reception for prospective students when she was introduced to a famous law school professor.

“One of my friends said, ‘Professor So-and-So, this is Hillary Rodham, she’s trying to decide between us and our nearest competitor,’” Mrs. Clinton said. “And he looked down at me, and he said: ‘Well, first, we don’t have a nearest competitor. And secondly, we don’t need any more women.’”

There were loud gasps from the audience.

“So,” Mrs. Clinton said when the gasps had died down, “I decided to go to Yale.” The crowd broke into laughter and applause.

I’ve heard this story before, and I’d be shocked if educated women of Hillary’s generation didn’t identify with it in a heartbeat. What I wonder is whether women who are a generation or two behind her will get it the same way. If so, it’s an awfully powerful weapon, on a subconscious level, for her campaign.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani, who received the most pointed barb in Tuesday night’s debate, fired back at the barb-er, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, and in entirely predictable fashion.

Let’s review, shall we? Biden pretty much nailed Rudy with this one-liner:

And the irony is, Rudy Giuliani, probably the most underqualified man since George Bush to seek the presidency, is here talking about any of the people here. Rudy Giuliani… I mean, think about it! Rudy Giuliani. There’s only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There’s nothing else! There’s nothing else! And I mean this sincerely. He’s genuinely not qualified to be president.

The moment I heard that, I knew we were going to hear about Biden’s plagiarism of Neil Kinnock in 1987. And the one thing I can say about Rudy is, as far as being a predictable hack, he’s never disappointed me.

“The good senator is quite correct that there are many differences between Rudy and him,” Katie Levinson, the campaign’s communications director, said in a statement that brought up the accusations of plagiarism that sank Mr. Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign.

“For starters,” Ms. Levinson said in the statement, “Rudy rarely reads prepared speeches, and when he does, he isn’t prone to ripping off the text from others. And Senator Biden certainly falls into the bucket of those on the stage tonight who have never had executive experience and have never run anything. Wait, I take that back; Senator Biden has never run anything but his mouth.”

“Such a desperate attack from Senator Biden,” she said, “is to be expected considering I, Katie Levinson, have a better chance of becoming president than he does.”

I, for one, wouldn’t put the odds at much different for all three of them. But more fun is surely to follow.

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