TUESDAY, MARCH 18, 2008
DAVID, WE HARDLY KNEW YE
David Paterson was sworn in as governor of New York yesterday, replacing the disgraced Eliot Spitzer, who resigned after being caught hiring premium-priced prostitutes.
Within a few hours of his swearing in, Paterson admitted that he'd been involved in extra-marital affairs. Not only that. His wife had been involved in extra-marital affairs:
The thunderous applause was still ringing in his ears when the state's new governor, David Paterson, told the Daily News that he and his wife had extramarital affairs.
In a stunning revelation, both Paterson, 53, and his wife, Michelle, 46, acknowledged in a joint interview they each had intimate relationships with others during a rocky period in their marriage several years ago.
In the course of several interviews in the past few days, Paterson said he maintained a relationship for two or three years with "a woman other than my wife," beginning in 1999.
As part of that relationship, Paterson said, he and the other woman sometimes stayed at an upper West Side hotel — the Days Inn at Broadway and W. 94th St.
But there's good news...
Gov. Paterson denies using state or campaign money to pay for liaisons with another woman during a rocky patch in his marriage.
Now there's a public servant - watching out for the people's money. And the Days Inn. Our new governor has a sense of proportion, of modesty. Not like that Spitzer guy, who spent thousands a night on his ladies at fancy-pants hotels like The Mayflower.
Look, it's New York. My state. We learn to adjust for things. David Paterson, you'll make a great governor.
Michelle Paterson, New York is the home of modern feminism. Betty Friedan wrote "The Feminine Mystique" here. It's inspiring to know that you do exactly what your husband does. Welcome. You'll make a great...well, whatever they call it.
March 18, 2008. Permalink
Barack Obama's speech on race today is one of the most anticipated addresses by a presidential candidate since Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech in 1952. In that speech, Nixon only had to explain away a slush fund. Obama has to explain away his two-decades association with an America-hating pastor. Nixon declared that, no matter what anyone said about him, he'd keep a little cocker spaniel named "Checkers," that someone sent his kids. Obama will probably declare that, no matter what anyone says about him, he'll keep his relationship with his pastor, although he'll probably keep the clergyman on a leash shorter than the one Nixon bought for the dog.
There's a crisis atmosphere in the Obama campaign:
Faced with what his advisers acknowledged was a major test to his candidacy, Senator Barack Obama sought on Monday to contain the damage from incendiary comments made by his pastor and prepared to address the issue of race more directly than at any other moment of his presidential campaign.
Though he has faced questions about controversial statements by the pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., for more than a year, Mr. Obama is enduring intense new scrutiny now over Mr. Wright’s characterizations of the United States as fundamentally racist and the government as corrupt and murderous.
Obama's favorable rating has dropped dramatically. His soaring ascent has stopped:
The episode has left Mr. Obama tending to a firestorm fed by matters no less combustible than faith, patriotism and race. It could help Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign advance its argument that Mr. Obama is “unvetted,” and that he is less electable than Mrs. Clinton come fall.
The great difference between the Checkers era and this one is that Nixon didn't have a battalion of cable-news pundits waiting to pounce once he got off the air. This will be a fascinating, and long day in American politics.
March 18, 2008. Permalink
SOWELL ON OBAMA
Thomas Sowell, the distinguished African-American conservative writer, has a harsh take on Obama today. It may be that, on the delicate matter of race, only an African-American can say the things that Sowell is saying. He essentially accuses Obama of living a double life:
The bad news is that Barack Obama has been leading as much of a double life as Eliot Spitzer.
While talking about bringing us together and deploring “divisive” actions, Senator Obama has for 20 years been a member of a church whose minister, Jeremiah Wright, has said that “God Bless America” should be replaced by “God damn America” — among many other wild and even obscene denunciations of American society, including blanket racist attacks on whites.
Now that the facts have come out in a number of places, and can no longer be suppressed, many in the media are trying to spin these facts out of existence.
Spin number one is that Jeremiah Wright’s words were “taken out of context.” Like most people who use this escape hatch, those who say this do not explain what the words mean when taken in context.
In just what context does “God damn America” mean something different?
Spin number two is that Barack Obama says he didn’t hear the particular things that Jeremiah Wright said that are now causing so much comment.
It wasn’t just an isolated remark. Nor were the enthusiastic responses of the churchgoers something which suggests that this anti-American attitude was news to them or something that they didn’t agree with.
If Barack Obama was not in church that particular day, he belonged to that church for 20 years. He made a donation of more than $20,000 to that church.
In all that time, he never had a clue as to what kind of man Jeremiah Wright was? Give me a break!
Senator Barack Obama’s political success thus far has been a blow for equality. But equality has its down side.
Equality means that a black demagogue who has been exposed as a phony deserves exactly the same treatment as a white demagogue who has been exposed as a phony.
We don’t need a president of the United States who got to the White House by talking one way, voting a very different way in the Senate, and who for 20 years followed a man whose words and deeds contradict Obama’s carefully crafted election-year image.
That's tough medicine. And I have a feeling that will be the tone of the Republican attack, no matter what Obama says today. For there are apparently hours more of Rev. Wright's rantings, and each quote gets Obama in deeper and deeper.
March 18, 2008. Permalink
COME ON DOWN, UNLESS YOU'RE A CANDIDATE
Florida, like Rodney Dangerfield, gets no respect. If it isn't being beaten down by hurricanes, it's being litigated in an election case before the Supreme Court.
Now, Florida can't even get into the Democratic National Convention. Even high college board scores won't help. Florida broke party rules by holding its primary as early as it did. Thus, its delegates have been banished. This is very upsetting to Hillary Clinton, who won the primary. It may even be upsetting to voters. Suggestions were floated to hold a new primary, but now that seems out of the question:
WASHINGTON — The Florida Democratic Party chairwoman on Monday officially buried the possibility of redoing the state’s disputed January presidential primary, saying there was no practical or affordable way to conduct a new election.
The chairwoman, Karen L. Thurman, essentially threw up her hands after failing to secure approval for a new election from state officials or the campaigns of Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
She said in a statement late Monday that party officials in Florida had proposed such a plan last week. It was unceremoniously shot down, she said.
“Thousands of people responded,” Ms. Thurman said. “We spent the weekend reviewing your messages, and while your reasons vary widely, the consensus is clear: Florida doesn’t want to vote again. So we won’t.”
Michigan faces the same problem. Clinton won there as well, but no delegates were awarded because the primary violated one of the party's commandments, which were discovered on a windmill farm chiseled in tofu. Combined with Barack Obama's warmth toward an anti-American preacher, this two-state dilemma is a major threat to the Democratic Party. How can the party present itself to the American people, having nominated a presidential candidate with two major states not permitted to vote? I don't think that's the change America can believe in.
The Dems aren't exactly handing victory to John McCain. But they have given some remarkable gifts.
March 18, 2008. Permalink
There's other news. So many people find the violent uprising in Tibet, against Chinese rule, just too embarrassing. After all, it might interfere with the China Olympics and the wonderful TV coverage we all expect.
Now, the UN, swinging into action, takes pretty much the same point of view. Once again the United Nations proves its worth as the parliament of nations. Not. The story:
UNITED NATIONS — Even as the Dalai Lama called for international involvement and a U.N. investigation into violent clashes over the weekend in Tibet, U.N. Security Council members are carefully avoiding the subject, saying yesterday that the issue "does not belong" in U.N. deliberations.
The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, Wang Guangya, said the anti-government demonstrations in Lhasa, in which at least 13 people were killed, were "definitely" not discussed at a luncheon yesterday with Secretary-General Ban, nor should such an "internal issue" have been raised there. Mr. Wang also told The New York Sun that Tibetan "troublemakers" were seeking to sabotage the Olympic Games this summer in Beijing.
Secretary of State Rice has called on China to exercise restraint, as has Mr. Ban. Both have said they are keeping a close eye on the situation, which some observers have warned could lead to major unrest on the eve of the Olympics. Wary of a possible diplomatic clash with China, however, America has not called for international action to address the Tibet situation.
During the luncheon yesterday with the 15-member Security Council, "We discussed the situations in Darfur, Sudan, Kosovo, Chad. Also Somalia and Cyprus," Mr. Ban told reporters. He said the United Nations would monitor the situation in Tibet and called on China to exercise restraint and for all concerned to "avoid further confrontation and violence." But he said no one raised the issue at the monthly luncheon get-together.
I've got an idea. Why don't the Tibetans change their name to "the Palestinians"? They could even name part of Tibet "Gaza." Then watch the UN move with all deliberate speed. Oh, and once they change the names they should contact Jimmy Carter. He'll be over there as fast as the Saudis can supply an airliner.
You know, that might work.
BOLTON ON NORTH KOREA
Speaking of the UN, we used to have an ambassador there who understood the place. Unfortunately, this panicked Senate Democrats,who refused to confirm him. So, he's no longer there. But John Bolton has not gone gently into that good Assembly chamber. Here he comments on the chance, just the chance, that the Bush administration may be getting real on North Korea:
There are signs, albeit small ones, that the Bush administration may be reaching the end of its patience with the Six-Party Talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. These signs could prove illusory. But as it nears its end, the administration has a serious responsibility: It must not leave its successor with an ongoing, failed policy. At a minimum, President Bush should not bequeath to the next president only the burned-out hulk of the Six-Party Talks, and countless failed and violated North Korean commitments.
Since they were conceived in spring 2003, the Six-Party Talks have stumbled around inconclusively. And for the last 13 months, Pyongyang has ignored, stalled, renegotiated and violated the Feb. 13, 2007 agreement.
You can see why the Democrats loathed Bolton. I mean, the man sees the world clearly. How smart is that?
Pyongyang is now stonewalling yet again on its promise to disclose fully the details of its nuclear programs, including its uranium enrichment efforts and its outward proliferation. The successful Israeli military strike against a Syrian-North Korean facility on the Euphrates River last September highlighted the gravity of the regime's unwillingness to do anything serious that might restrict its nuclear option.
President Bush should spend the next 10 months rectifying the Six-Party concessions and put North Korea back under international pressure -- efforts that would be welcomed by Japan, and South Korea's new, far more realistic President Lee Myung-bak.
What do you think the odds are that this will happen, what with Condi Rice and the Bush 41 glee club entrenched at State? Don't hold your breath.
President Bush will not likely be able to solve the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Nonetheless, he still has time to implement policies that will allow him to leave office with the nation back on offense -- thereby affording his successor the chance to vindicate a return to the original Bush administration national security strategy.
Well said. In Bush's first term we felt we were on the offensive. American morale was high. Now we seem enmeshed in constant mush, with no real advances anywhere. And the two leading Democratic candidates seem emotionally opposed to the idea of victory, or even the word itself. Calling John McCain. Hurry.
March 18, 2008. Permalink
I'll be back later, probably before our Evening Update, to discuss Obama's speech of the century, or the half hour, or whatever.
March 18, 2008.