Archive of Articles for December, 2008
Is Rick Warren, pastor of a California mega-church and author of The Purpose Driven Life considered unacceptable in American society at large? Was Obama's invitation to Warren to speak at his inauguration akin to, in today's world, inviting a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, or a blatant misogynist to speak? To put it another way, is Rick Warren beyond the pale?
Three names suggest themselves in this category. The first, sad to say, is Sarah Palin. While some dismiss her with the term (which she herself uttered on Saturday Night Live) "Caribou Barbie," my educated guess is that we have not seen the last of Alaska's governor on the national stage. Because while the list of things Palin lacks is long and daunting, she has one star quality which may prove to be strong enough to cancel all the rest out -- charisma. A politician can learn about such mundane things as world events and how to speak with political finesse, but charisma can't really be learned -- it's more of an innate quality. And Palin's got it. For those laughing at the prospect of Sarah Palin ever reappearing, I caution that when Ronald Reagan first ran for president, we all laughed at him, too. An actor becoming president? Pre-pos-terous! So don't underestimate charisma, or Palin's ambition.
I fully admit I would rather be at home now than covering the annual "sit on Santa's lap" photo-op for politicians, but I seem to have annoyed my editor, so here I am -- your intrepid holiday reporter. While I fully admit that I did spike the punch at our annual holiday party, I explain this away in traditional Washington fashion -- by stating that I was young and irresponsible when this occurred. Last week, I was much younger and much more irresponsible than I am now. Ahem. Besides, nobody got hurt (much) and I think everyone had a much better time at the party as a result... the "Elf Incident" aside.... Anyway, this explains why I was assigned to cover this particular event -- instead of being snug at home in my bed, wondering what a sugarplum looks like (in case one should dance in my head tonight).
I am not usually an enormous fan of California's senior senator. But I have to give Dianne Feinstein credit where credit is due, and praise her for stepping up to the plate on introducing some accountability and limits to the Wall Street bailout money. Also (being filled with the holiday spirit) I have words for praise for Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN) and even Joe Lieberman (Joe Liebermans For Joe Lieberman Party - CT).
I would suggest that no employee of any Wall Street firm getting taxpayer money can make any more than a union autoworker. That would be a good place to start from.
Welcome to our annual awards! For the past three years, this column has paid homage (translation: "ripped off their gimmick") to the McLaughlin Group television show by handing out our own year-end awards (while using the same categories). This will be a two-part column, with the second installment appearing one week from today. And feel free to watch the McLaughlin Group on your local PBS station this weekend, to compare my picks with theirs.
We haven't done one of these in a while, but between working on tomorrow's column (don't miss Part One of our annual awards show!) and all the usual holiday stuff, I don't have enough time for more than a few short items here. Oh, I did want to say thanks to everyone who has donated so far to the "Send Chris To The Inauguration Fund" as we have just topped halfway towards our giving goal. I sincerely appreciate the support.
The Illinois Supreme Court has just, without comment, rejected what was in essence a coup attempt by the state Attorney General, which would have installed the Lieutenant Governor in Governor Blagojevich's place. Attorney General Lisa Madigan's legal reasoning was, to put it mildly, unique. She tried to make the case that the Governor was "unfit for duty" and therefore had to be replaced so the state could continue to function. The entire episode raises a bigger question: could this ever happen to the President of the United States? The answer turns out to be: "Yes, but... it'll probably never happen."
This is not a follow up to what I wrote last Friday, because this isn't about Illinois Governor Blagojevich's "crude" language. Instead, I write today about Blaggy's crude tactics. Because I'm kind of having a hard time condemning him for doing almost the same thing as what other politicians do more successfully (and completely "legally") with a wink and a nod. There's a game, and there are certain rules to the game. Blaggy went a bit too far, and was caught. He is now paying the price. But what he "got caught" at isn't that all that different from what many (if not most) politicians -- of both parties -- do.