Quote of the day

[w]hen the GOP enforces a party line vote against the stimulus bill and then goes on Sunday morning talk shows to complain about the lack of bipartisanship in the White House, it’s like a shopkeeper complaining that he’s got no sales while he’s waving a gun at anyone who tries to enter the store.

John Scalzi at Whatever.

"The Dark Side" reviewed

I recently read Jane Mayer’s brilliant book “The Dark Side”, about the way in which the Bush regime embraced and justified a policy of torture. I kept meaning to blog about it, but now (via Appel, standing in for Sully) I see that Publius has written a review which says pretty much what I would have said (but better).

In reading Mayer, one striking aspect of the administration’s anti-terrorism policies is how completely haphazard and impetuous they were. There was practically no deliberation within the government, particularly among the branches who (1) actually knew something about this stuff; and (2) were, you know, statutorily authorized to do something.
Instead, a lawless cabal of ignorant people – Yoo, Addington, etc. – decided to craft national anti-terrorism policy having basically no experience in the relevant fields (military, terrorism, etc.). The disparity between (1) the magnitude of decisions being made, and (2) the relative ignorance of the people making them is simply staggering.

Please check it out.

More Than A Mere Man…

Alex Massie draws our attention to what is probably the most over-the-top description of John McCain yet written. This is from David Gelernter in the Weekly Standard:

There is no single English word for McCain the hero, the moral entity. But in Hebrew he would be called a tsaddik–a man of such nobility and moral substance that he approaches holiness. If this assertion sounds crazy, that only shows how little we have thought about the issue.

Who knew? But doesn’t this sound just a little bit… oh, I don’t know, elitist?!

Emotion Vs. Reason

In an interesting riff on Emotion Vs. Reason, Michael Batz argues that….

…part of the reason that Obama is winning is not because he is speaking about policy, but because he has won the argument that we SHOULD be talking about policy. He has managed to convince people that in these times its important to vote with our brains, and that he’s the right guy for that vote.

There is some irony here. Obama won the primaries based upon very strong rhetoric and some hopeful idealism that had, at its core, a very emotional pull. His public persona before the convention was the lofty speaker who glossed over specifics, but he has pivoted substantially into the serious let’s-talk-numbers guy. It is pretty remarkable, when you think about it.


A thoughtful observation from James Fallows:

I remember how often, how vehemently, and with what certainty Obama’s detractors during the Democratic primaries said that he could not, possibly, in any way, in any real world, withstand the onslaught of GOP negative campaigning once it geared up against him. That he’s been seriously underestimated twice — by the Hillary Clinton camp, and now by McCain — doesn’t prove his potential in office but is interesting.