1. No-Show Outrage
All four of the top Democratic candidates bowed to the pressure of the liberal blogosphere and opposed the nomination of Michael Mukasey for U.S. attorney general.
Why do they oppose Mukasey? Mukasey refused to consider water-boarding a form of torture. It is, in fact, torture, though Rudy Giuliani thinks, "it depends on how you do it."
Highlights from these candidates' statements include platitudes like these from Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.):
"We don't need another attorney general who believes that the President enjoys an unwritten right to secretly ignore any law or abridge our constitutional freedoms simply by invoking national security. And we don't need another attorney general who looks the other way on issues as profound as torture."
The total number of Democratic presidential candidates showing up to vote in the Senate on the issue:
. I can understand it's rather difficult to work Senate votes into a campaign schedule. But the faux outrage doesn't cut it.
The leading offender is Obama. He also expressed considerable outrage over the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran but couldn't find his way to Washington to vote.
2. Clinton: Cat Killer
Yes, there's a new addition to the already considerable "We hate the Clintons and want to make money off of it" book parade. Written by Kathleen Willey, the book is titled
Target: Caught in the Crossfire of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Willey first came to fame in 1993 when she made claims that President Bill Clinton groped her in the White House. Sounds plausible, though I can't say that it happened. She failed to testify during Clinton's impeachment hearing, however.
Her new book contains a rather fantastic story. Hillary Clinton supposedly plotted a kitty caper to kill two of Willey's cats. Lenore Skenazy in the
related the story that Clinton was behind some scary scalawags who stalked her and then tried to kill the cats.
Conservative talk show host Melanie Morgan "confirmed" the story after talking to a private eye hired by Hillary:
The talk show host supposedly said to the private eye, "Aren't you ashamed of what you did to Kathleen?" And the private eye supposedly replied that the only thing he was ashamed of was that "Hillary did not pay me in a timely fashion."
Nice. I have to admit I'm surprised a book publisher would bother to print this. It might affect the credibility of the author.
I leave you with a link to
wonkette.com's rendering of it in pictures (particularly enjoyable if you like
3. Earmark Insanity
I'm all for helping disadvantaged kids; I'm also all for getting more people to play golf. But I'm not sure it's a good idea for the government to put those two things together.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.) did just that. It was revealed that he sponsored a $3 million earmark to support a First Tee program -- a program initiated by the PGA -- in his home state. The program will take place at the James Clyburn Golf Center in Columbia, S.C.
The earmark sneaked its way into a defense authorization bill. The money was a small portion of a mammoth $471 billion bill, which included a grand total of $5 billion in member spending.
A spokesperson for Clyburn said the bill funds the "Life Skills character education program" and is related to defense because it benefits the families and children of those in the military.
This earmark seems particularly tough to justify. It doesn't support the economy of South Carolina, and I'm not sure it really helps disadvantaged children. I can feel the taxpayer anger coming.
4. Follies of Youth
Andrew Sullivan wrote a recent piece in
trying to make the case for Obama. I don't think it was successful. In the piece, it suggested Obama's generation was better suited for change.
Obama endorsed that opinion on the campaign trail in Iowa:
"I think there's no doubt we represent the kind of change that Senator Clinton can't deliver on and part of it is generational. Senator Clinton and others, they've been fighting since the '60s, and it makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done."
I don't want to be the one to take a harsh look at reality, but I will if I must. The vast majority of people who vote, particularly those in Iowa, are Clinton's age -- baby boomers.
I think depending on college kids and other younger voters to get out and vote for him in Iowa is a huge mistake. The caucus generally attracts a small number of Iowa voters who are diehards.
I wish the senator from Illinois the best of luck with that strategy.
5. Kerik Country
Giuliani has several skeletons in the closet. The most visible one popped back into the public view this week: Bernard Kerik, former NYPD chief of police.
Kerik's problem began to be noticed when Giuliani recommended him to President Bush to head the newly minted Department of Homeland Security. The nomination quickly unraveled.
The problems continue for Kerik. Today he was formally indicted on charges of conspiracy, tax evasion, wire fraud and lying to the IRS. He surrendered to the authorities.
Giuliani, however, continues to stand by his man. Early in the week he made some incredible statements in support of Kerik and made bizarre parallels that may come back to haunt him:
"Sure, there were issues, but if I have the same degree of success and failure as president of the United States, this country will be in great shape."
The Justice Department official prosecuting him said of Kerik's crimes: "If a free cup of coffee is wrong, Kerik's long list of alleged crimes is repugnant."
Giuliani knows how to pick 'em and then stick with them.