Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Personal Aside: Dems’ Burris Struggle Demands an Answer…Rahm’s Extended African Stay…Barack’s CIA Pick…Liberal Media’s Pre-Digested Reputations for Your Convenience


Burris Story: Who Did They…Do They… REALLY Want?

The highly incompetent Harry Reid is capable of all kinds of blunders. He pronounced the Iraq War irrecoverably lost just as the surge started which set us on the path to victory. He insisted Justice Clarence Thomas was seemingly illiterate when many legal scholars praise Thomas’ writings for their cogency. While the goof-up over Rod Blagojevich’s incompetence stems from long-range acceptance by Illinois Dems included Richard Daley and Mike Madigan…in order to keep a bad governor in power so dimpled darling Lisa Madigan could remove him as a successor …the Dem imbroglio over Roland Burris’ seating into a national phenomenon lies squarely with Reid. And begs the question: why? Does it have an Illinois reason? Who’s behind it? Why are the media not asking why a denizen of Searchlight, Nevada (pop: 250) who himself is in serious danger of defeat in 2010 should be telling Illinoisans who their senator should be…or should not be? Why are Illinois Dems so passive about it?

Why did Reid allow himself to give a telephoned ultimatum to Blagojevich as to who the governor should NOT NAME to the U.S. Senate…when anyone with common sense should know that the same information could have been relayed by staff? Reid’s ham-handed stupidity is the reason. There is no doubt that Burris’ appointment is legal. So why should Secretary of State Jesse White, defile his own reputation by refusing to certify Burris and act like a cipher? Why is Barack Obama so strangely quiet about how his seat should be filled? For that matter, why are U.S. Senate Republicans i.e. the Senate Leader Mitch McConnell so strangely quiet?

What’s likely is that the Illinois Supreme Court will attest to Burris’ right to the seat and order White to certify him…and that Burris will be seated. There should be no deal offered by Reid which in itself disgraces the Senate. Reid has no right whatsoever to con Burris into agreeing not to run in 2010 or to resign as soon as Lt. Gov. Quinn takes over. That transgresses Burris’ constitutional right. He can run or not run basis his own inclination and the idea of a Senate majority leader trying to intimidate him is ridiculous.
Of course large segments of the supine Illinois media…in their haste to defend the reigning panjandrums of the state Democratic party in order to keep good relations with the jingos of their party…have blasted Burris. They include the seriously-limited Richard Roeper of the “Sun-Times” …who shouldn’t be a commentator nor even film critic for that matter but a writer of obits for a semi-weekly…who stresses the immaterial issue of whether or not Burris is the best qualified to be senator. He is adequate--but that’s not the question. The BIG ISSUE which the Illinois media ignore is this: By their stupid opposition to Burris’ appointment, WHO are the Illinois Dem leaders seeking to hold the seat for? They are pressing forward with great urgency to impeachment and conviction so that Lt. Gov. Quinn can take over and make the appointment.

The question WHO is unasked…either because the media are too much in the tank or are too intellectually slow to perceive. Again: WHO DO THE LEADERS…PRESUMABLY DALEY AND MADIGAN…PREFER ULTIMATELY AS THE NEXT SENATOR? Lisa Madigan? Maybe but maybe not. There is every reason to suppose that she and her poppa want her to be governor which is a far better position for future eminence. My good friend and City Club President Jay Doherty proposed Chris Kennedy earlier, the son of Bobby Kennedy and the highly regarded manager of the Merchandise Mart. The sudden burst of publicity for Caroline Kennedy in New York would argue that, paired with Chris and old Teddy, it would be more than a surfeit of Kennedys in the Senate. But Caroline seems to have nearly self-destructed.

The question continues: who do the ruling Illinois Dem leaders prefer for the next governor, Pat Quinn to name? Frankly (this is a personal view) as I know Chris Kennedy I don’t think from a purely liberal Democratic perspective it would be too bad (although we would agree on virtually nothing). But I suspect there is someone else in the wings—not Chris Kennedy, not Lisa—but someone else. WHO? That must explain why the furor over Rolland Burris, a very average man but certainly not the empty suit some anti-Blago Dems and their media camp-followers maintain.

Rahm’s Extended African Stay.

If I were to have a private drink with Lynn Sweet…an insider, consummate liberal and Dem loyalist who subscribes to the liberal agenda top to bottom and who knows all there is to know about the Illinois Democratic and now national Dem psyche…and were I to ask her why Rahm Emanuel is on an extended stay in Africa…chances are with great indirection she would tell me. Or give me a hint. But on my radio show, she played the party spokesperson never deviating from The Message. He always planned to be in Africa at this time, she said. REALLY? And away this long? When Barack is two weeks away from inauguration and Rahm is to be the chief of staff…and he is under probe by Patrick Fitzgerald for possible improper dealings with Blago over a Senate appointment? You mean, it just so happened that he had arranged a longstanding tour of Africa at this time? Impossible. And the fact that the supine Illinois media…with notable exception…are swallowing this is evidence of the decadence of news-gathering.

If he has sneaked back to the U.S. and is here, the fact that this has not been reported is unpardonable. The auxiliary fact that he is missing in action…and out of play… when he is to take over the administrative side of the Oval Office and his absence is not questioned by the Dem surrogate media here and in Washington is unpardonable.

Leon Panetta.

It so happens that 40 years ago, in 1969, I had quite a bit to do with Leon Panetta…now Obama’s designee for CIA director…when we were both in the Nixon administration. Panetta was the director of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of HEW run by Nixon’s close friend Robert Finch at the same time when I was assistant commerce secretary in charge of minority enterprise. Our mutual work brought us together…for coffee and confabs near the Commerce building at a deli. Panetta had been a legislative assistant to Tom Kuchel, the then liberal Republican senator from California and number two in the GOP senate hierarchy. He was a Republican then. We were and are both Catholics. Abortion was not an issue then. But civil rights was for him—and a broken promise was for me. After we dealt together on ways our two offices would cooperate, we discussed our jobs fully.

He was upset because the Nixon administration was…he felt…not serious about enforcing civil rights. I was upset because, having been hired by the administration purportedly to get minorities assistance to enable them to gain capital formation and government assistance to set up their own businesses, I noticed a change in direction that severely limited. We got together often over coffee several times to discuss our mutual concerns. Then Republican Leon was far more liberal than I and was determined that government take a more liberal tack on solving race problems. I was in the strange position of defending the Nixon administration where he was concerned…but not where I was concerned. I would say, “Leon, you took this job knowing full well that in the campaign of `68 Nixon advocated a less activist stand on civil rights enforcement than Humphrey. Nevertheless you took the job. You really have no cause to feel betrayed.”

And he would say: “Well, then, why do YOU feel betrayed?” And I would respond: “I feel betrayed because all during the `68 campaign Nixon talked about what he called Black Capitalism and promised that he would initiate a strong effort. I took this job under that assumption only to find that there had been a change in direction unbeknownst to me before I took it. But my program is not a civil rights program but an economic one…using the same power the SBA has had since 1953 to encourage small business. But if I may say so that isn’t the same with you, Leon. Nowhere did Nixon say he was going to intensify a drive for civil rights.”

He would respond that he was talking about civil rights enforcement, not adoption of a new program like mine…and so our conversations went. He went public and left the Nixon administration to join the liberal Republican John Lindsay mayoralty and ultimately left the Republicans to become a Democrat. I went public about my dissatisfaction, stayed with the Nixon administration through my work in the Peace Corps and have stayed Republican. Indeed, becoming far more conservative than I ever had previously. But I had—and have—great respect for his integrity and acumen…not withstanding that I oppose his pro-abort stand as congressman…entirely disagreeing with the concept of a Catholic twisting his conscience in such a way to support the process in the House and as Clinton’s chief of staff…thoroughly opposing his being named to the National Review Board by the Catholic bishops when his pro-abort stand was so vehement. We haven’t spoken since those days in the Nixon administration. He is now 70, ten years younger than I.

With respect to Leon’s appointment as CIA director, I have several points to make. First, he is an able man…and not a man of the left…obviously has been chosen to protect Obama’s back from being stabbed in a very sensitive agency. George W. Bush made a great mistake in keeping the Clinton holdover George Tenet. Tenet either directly cooperated with or was powerless to interfere with a coterie of CIA operatives who were hotly anti-Bush, who leaked agency secrets in an effort to ruin Bush and who throughout the Iraq War actively consorted against the president of the United States. So from the standpoint of political astuteness, I think Obama is wise to have a good friend run the agency who will protect Obama’s back.

But second, there is no doubt that the appointment is a reward for the political left. How so when Panetta is not a man of the left? Simple: by naming him instead of John Brennan. At first Obama intended to appointment John O. Brennan, an intelligence expert, who withdrew because of the pressure against his support of what the left felt was harsh interrogation measures by the Bush people. His withdrawal was a great setback because the so-called “harsh interrogation measures” were part of a program that deterred further terrorist attacks against the American people. As one who is not acquainted with CIA procedures, Panetta will be at a disadvantage. The softies in the agency will try to co-opt him. By not naming Brennan, it can be said that Obama endangered all of us by supporting those who want lax and slack enforcement procedures.

Pre-Digested Reputations.

The liberal national coterie…media, establishment papers and entertainment figures combined with the so-called ivy league intelligentsia… has developed to a high art the knack of pre-digesting political and governmental reputations for news consumers’ easy reference. Yesterday I browsed Yahoo news summary and saw a list of the so-called Great Political Gaffes of 2008. First to be listed was the choosing of Gov. Sarah Palin by John McCain. It was just listed there as a fact…easy to go down in one gulp. The nomination of Sarah Palin was not a gaffe but was responsible for shoring up McCain’s weakness with the conservative grassroots. Recall that until the economic malaise happened, McCain-Palin ranged from 4 to 5 points ahead of Obama-Biden.
While the McCain senior staff woefully bobbled the Palin candidacy, keeping her away from conservative news outlets while it prepped her for outwardly hostile outlets—Charlie Gibson of ABC and Katie Couric of CBS—their strategic mistake should not be laid to Palin. That, of course, is ignored by the smug commentators and comedians—NBC’s Jay Leno (the Jaw), CBS’sDavid Letterman, NBC’a Conan O’Brien and Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart. Palin’s strength was just duplicated again in the special Georgia U.S. senate runoff where her campaigning immeasurably bolstered the Republicans and secured the reelection of the incumbent Republican senator. No one…utterly no one…has taken on the faltering, floundering Joe Biden in the same way notwithstanding that Biden has not only made gaffes—but has caused some serious wondering about his competence (as, for example, he offhandedly talked about FDR appearing on TV to steady the nation after the 1929 stock market crash, an event that was heavily downplayed by the coterie).
“The gaffe of nominating Sarah Palin” is just one of the liberal coterie’s highly developed art of pre-digesting political reputations. Another is “the stupidity and ignorance of George W. Bush” in contradistinction to the people he ran against, Al Gore (a law school and theology drop-out) and John Kerry whose warrior status was questioned by the Swift Boat veterans (whose authenticity has been slurred by pop media) and whose position as the richest man in the Congress is due to his gigolo status of marrying mega-multi-millionaire John Heinz’s widow (after he divorced another heiress when she suffered depression).

Here are some other successful pre-digested reputation packages: The withdrawn, near-sleep-walking inattention of Dwight Eisenhower as president who acted as a kind of retired chairman of the board. Thoroughly repudiated by the findings of scholar Fred Greenstein in his book “The Hidden Hand Presidency.”…the detached lazyness of Ronald Reagan who purportedly allowed his staff to run him—disproved now by the facts of his towering reputation…the brilliance of JFK the intellectual—disproved by books that underscore his obtuseness on foreign affairs and his womanizing…the supposed hands-on attention of Jimmy Carter—shown to be concerned with details such as who is using the tennis courts while he misinterpreted the Cold War…the so-called inattention of Calvin Coolidge, the last president to respect the line items of constitutional responsibility of the presidency.
Perhaps you have some other examples. BTW people who have trouble posting on this blog for some reason (some do, some don’t) can go to my email at as an alternative.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe there's no who; maybe the resistence to Burris may be explained as a consequence of a more fundamental problem, that Blago must resign before he tips to something that mustn't be revealed. Perhaps everything else is an unintended consequence of needing his resignation so very badly.