Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Senate Lemming Caucus

Hugh Hewitt gets a good laugh at the expense of Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. On Thursday, both Ted Kennedy and John Kerry announced their support of a filibuster of Judge Alito's Supreme Court nomination. But as Hewitt says, while Harry considered the possibility of joining the filibuster call, he "stopped long enough to count votes before he came charging out of the tunnel with no team behind him."

Reid's admission that the Lemming Caucus is a few votes shy of 40 is, of course, a tremendous disappointment to those of us who had hoped to watch Democrats finally kill off their few remaining Red-state senators, the way they destroyed Max Cleland's re-election bid in 2002 by insisting that every employee of the Department of Homeland Security must belong to the AFL-CIO. I mean, the GOP is going after Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bill Nelson of Florida, no matter what. But a filibuster over Alito would be the answer to Karl Rove's prayers.

Q. Senator Nelson, can you explain why your Democratic colleagues won't permit an up-or-down vote on Judge Alito's nomination?

A. Well, to be honest with you, there's this weird-looking freak named Ralph Neas. When Ralph Neas says "jump," Ted Kennedy says, "How high?" So while Sandra Day O'Connor would dearly love to be retired and relaxing someplace warm and sunny, instead she's going to die in Washington, D.C., because Ralph Neas thinks Judge Alito is "out of the mainstream."

Q. So what you're saying is, whoever's name is on the ballot in November, if we vote for a Democrat ....

A. You're voting for the dictatorship of Ralph Neas.

Beltway Republicans, heaven knows, live in something of an echo-chamber. But given the pronouncments of their leaders, the Democrats seem much more insulated from political reality in the Red states. Zell Miller tried to talk sense to them, but DC Democrats live in an insular fantasy world of "penumbras and emanations," where ordinary Americans are up in arms about the NSA spying on terrorists, where everyone is upset that the Geneva Conventions aren't observed at Club Gitmo -- the United States of Canada, in other words.


And, of course, everyone's entitled to their fantasies (we've all got a few of our own) but as a political strategy, liberal wet dreams spell disaster for Democrats as a national party. The GOP puts up with Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Chris Shays in order to stay reasonably competitive in some of the Blue states, but the Democratic leadership always seems to be coming up with new ways to bungle away a few more seats in Jesusland.

I've often thought that people in Washington (in both parties) just need to get out more. Somebody needs to organize a conference on "Red State America" -- maybe Labor Day Weekend at Berry College in Rome, Ga. In between the usual lectures, panels and seminars, attendees would go spend half a day at the Armuchee Bluegrass Festival, ride up to Summerville some other day and hang out with Ryan Jarrett, and maybe ... I don't know ... go to Wal-Mart. Whatever, just so that they could be exposed to ordinary Americans who don't give a crap what Ralph Neas or the New York Times thinks about anything. Republican or Democrat, it would be good for anybody in Washington, D.C., to get down to Jesusland and meet some of the finest people in the world.

-- MCCAIN

UPDATE (about an hour later): It's impossible to satirize Democrats, because whatever parody or lampoon you come up with, they'll manage to do things that are funnier than anything you could ever make up. So imagine my chagrin when I popped over to Michelle Malkin's and learned that Ted Kennedy is blogging on DailyKos. It's like the set-up for a bad joke: "A fat Irish drunk stumbles into the Internet and ...."

Friday, January 27, 2006

Campbell trial -- 'That's my ho!'

Today's latest from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

[Former City Council member Lee] Morris testified to how some members of the council became concerned after [Mayor Bill] Campbell’s administration was awarding contracts on an emergency basis without involving the council.
One of those agreements, Morris said, involved R&D Testing and Drilling, owned by Campbell friend Ricky Rowe. Without bidding the job, the city gave the contract to R&D to remove contaminated dirt from D.L Stanton Park, which had been built on a landfill. ...


With regard to Rowe’s materials testing company getting a drilling contract, Morris said, “My concern was that we used a drilling and testing company, and we ended up spending $8.4 million” on the Stanton Park cleanup. Rowe died in 2004.

And then there's this:

[Former contract compliance director Michael] Sullivan earlier testified how contractor Ricky Rowe, a close friend of the mayor, once described his relationship with Campbell.
"[Rowe] used the term when he referred to the mayor as 'That's my ho,' Sullivan said. When prosecutor Russell Vineyard asked what Rowe meant, Sullivan responded, "I took it that he meant he had bought the mayor — he owned the mayor."
Sullivan, fired by Campbell in 1996 because of sexual harassment accusations, said Rowe, who died in 2004, told him he often gave the mayor cash while on gambling trips.
Under cross-examination, [defense attorney Jerry] Froelich reminded Sullivan that during a 1998 interview with the FBI, Sullivan said the "ho" reference meant Rowe had access to Campbell — not to having bought him off.


Great defense: It depends on what the meaning of "ho" is!

I went on record early in saying that no Atlanta jury would ever convict Bill Campbell of jaywalking, and I haven't seen anything yet to make me change that prediction. The prosecution is hampered by the fact that Rowe, a key partner in Campbell's alleged corruption, is dead. So Sullivan is giving hearsay testimony. Lee Morris is a rich white "good ol' boy" Buckhead lawyer type -- his word is worthless to an Atlanta jury.

If Campbell wasn't corrupt, he must be regretting his scrupulousness now that he's watching the incompetence of the federal prosecution. I imagine Campbell is sitting there at the defense table, thinking: "Man, I could have stolen everything that wasn't nailed down and gotten away with it."

So, again, the prediction: Not guilty.

The AJC is doing a Campbell trial blog, for anyone wishing to keep track, but I am having difficulty finding a URL for the main blog index.

- MCCAIN

Xenophobic imperialist warmonger ...

And Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat, of course:

Reports of armed Mexican outlaws crossing the border to clash with U.S. forces led to demands that the president send troops to protect American lives.
It sounds like a story ripped from this week's headlines, when Texas sheriff's deputies pursued marijuana smugglers protected by machine-gun wielding men in Mexican military uniforms.
So far, the White House is speaking of its "concern about the reports" of Monday's border crossing, which a spokesman described as "an incident that is under investigation." Yet in 1916, when Pancho Villa's bandits raided Columbus, N.M., a Democratic president didn't hesitate.
President Woodrow Wilson sent Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing to lead an expedition into Mexico. A $5,000 bounty was offered for Villa's capture, and Army posters invoked "The Flag, Old Glory" in calling for 25,000 recruits: "Come on, boys, be ready to shoulder the trusty Springfield."

Amazing what a great writer can do with an old story like that. Thanks to Clayton Cramer for his excellent research on that notoriously racist newspaper, The Los Angeles Times.

- MCCAIN

UPDATE: I've been Googling like crazy today, but so far have been unable to find any "WILSON LIED, PEOPLE DIED" T-shirts.

UPDATE 1/28/06: The "Pershing Option" meme for the Southwest border continues gaining traction, even among those who oppose any serious effort to defend U.S. borders:

Yet the blame-everything-on-Mexico crowd — American politicians, cable and radio-talk-show hosts and right-wing activists — are clamoring for armed American troops, Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles to be sent to the border.
They are angrier than a nest of rattlesnakes, demanding President Bush send in Pershing's successor.


"Clamoring" and "demanding" are perhaps a bit too strong. I think the "right-wing activists" (at least what I understand from their arguments at extremist Web sites) would be content if maybe Mr. Bush would gently remind Vicente Fox that the American people, though peace-loving and patient, can be a mite ornery when repeatedly provoked. Of course, the anti-war left has been "clamoring" and "demanding" that the U.S. pull its troops out of Iraq, and I'm willing to bet the G.I.s over there would much rather be occupying, say, Cozumel or Cabo ....

The difference

Two years ago, when Lynn first proposed the project that became DONKEY CONS, the question soon arose: WHY?

If, as our research showed, Democrats were consistently more often involved in crime and corruption than Republicans ... why? This question is approached from several different angles in the book, but one basic answer is that Republican voters won't tolerate corruption. Partisan loyalty is not enough to protect a Republican politician caught in genuine wrongdoing. There is a noticeable difference:

Democrats seem to routinely survive scandals that might have a career-ending impact for Republicans. Many in the GOP defended Nixon during the Watergate scandal, but in the end it was Republican leaders, including conservative icon Barry Goldwater, who convinced Nixon to resign rather than put the country through an impeachment ordeal. When it was revealed that House Speaker Bob Livingston had carried on an adulterous affair, he resigned in disgrace. When South Dakota Rep. Bill Janklow was convicted of manslaughter in an auto accident, he resigned in disgrace. Implicated in similar scandals, Democrats like Bill Clinton, Barney Frank, and Ted Kennedy were vigorously defended by their fellow Democrats and remained in office.

Simple as that. Duke Cunningham? Gone. Good-bye. Sayonara. Nobody whining about a "vast left-wing conspiracy." And if any Republicans involved with Jack Abramoff are proven to be genuinely corrupt (and when you get to Chapter 12 of DONKEY CONS, you might get a good hint or two of what we think about this), they'll be gone, too. Toast. History. Ciao. It doesn't matter how "safe" their seats are, or how many years of loyal service they've devoted to the GOP. Republican voters don't like being tainted by scandal, and anybody who's crooked can't count on partisan loyalty for protection.

Here's an example: Vermont Judge Edward Cashman. He's the guy who sentenced a child molester -- who had violated a girl repeatedly for 4 years, beginning when she was only 6 -- to just 60 days in jail. Saying that "punishment is not enough," Cashman said convicted child molest Mark Hulett had only "borderline" intelligence, so he was "not going to warehouse" the perp in prison, because the perp couldn't get "treatment" in prison. ("Treatment"? People in Vermont might be forgiven for thinking Mark Hulett's "treatment" ought to come in .38-caliber doses. Repeat dosage until effective.)

And Judge Cashman is a Republican:

Cashman, 62, is a burly, balding and bearded figure, and a strait-laced ex-military man. Soon after he was appointed to the Vermont District Court bench in 1982 by a Republican governor ...

But did that protect him? Did Vermont Republicans rally to defend their fellow partisan on the bench? Hardly:

Republican House leaders ... continued pushing a demand that an embattled judge resign because of a sentence he imposed on a sex offender. ...

They insisted that they would not be satisfied until the House Judiciary Committee takes up a resolution demanding the resignation of Judge Edward Cashman. ...

Most Republicans "want action on the resolution that's been filed," said GOP Leader Peg Flory, R-Pittsford.

Now, if there is one guy on Fox TV that Democrats hate most, who is it? Bill O'Reilly, of course. In DONKEY CONS (Chapter Seven, to be precise) we acknowledge that O'Reilly can be a bit ... well, let's say, difficult.

But who led the charge against Judge Cashman? O'Reilly. Now, O'Reilly claims to be independent, not an ideologue, not a partisan. But that never stopped Democrats from painting O'Reilly as Exhibit A of the right-wing Republican media machine.

Yet, despite the fact that O'Reilly's research staff must have immediately known that Judge Cashman is a Republican, that didn't stop O'Reilly or any other Republican from denouncing the judge and his astonishingly lenient sentence in the Hulett case.

That's the difference, see? That's why the Republicans have no Alcee Hastings types, no Ted Kennedys -- no Republicans who stay in office after such disastrous disgrace. (Well, Sen. John McCain of "Keating Five" notoriety is still in office, but he's the Democrats' favorite Republican, so go figure.) And it may be that, knowing that having an "R" besides your name can never defend you against scandal the way a "D" can, corrupt politicians are less attracted to the Republican party.

Of course, Democrats won't ever give Bill O'Reilly any credit for going after a Republican judge, but it's an important fact. And if any Republicans in the Abramoff scandal are genuinely dirty, don't be surprised to see O'Reilly loudly calling for their resignations.

(By Thursday, it seemed the judge had reconsidered: Hulett got 3 to 10 years.)

-- MCCAIN

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hear! Hear! A hero

Well, it's about time. Major shout-out to Michael Fumento for his insightful comment on conservative cannibalism:

This is a time to band together against the witch hunters, not to succor those who aid them. The ultimate purpose of the hunt is not to remove individuals but to weaken the entire conservative and free-market movement. As my case shows, innocence is no defense. We either present a united front or we watch as, one by one, we're each led to the stake.

Exactly so. I have long admired Catherine Seipp -- whose vignettes of the Hollywood Left are priceless -- but it appears to me that Fumento has a point in his contention that she was too quick to pull the "ethics" trigger against him, and that he was tried, condemned and burned at the stake for violating a standard which almost any D.C. think-tank operative could be said to have violated. Speaking of the Business Week article that "outed" him as supposedly pimping for Monsanto, Fumento points out:

Nowhere does it say I took money for any column or story. It says I solicited a grant from Monsanto for a biotechnology book I was working on. (It doesn't say, but should, that such solicitations from philanthropies and corporations are the general rule for writers of policy books.) It says my think-tank employer accepted the grant and paid me a salary while I worked on the book.
Using a bizarre set of rules that writer Eamon Javers made up on the spot, applied specifically to my circumstances, and then made retroactive, Javers decided — bizarre though it sound — that a book grant received in 1999 should be disclosed in columns written in 2006 — and presumably forever
.


It would be easy for me to condemn the entire Beltway think-tank universe as corrupt, since no think tank would ever be foolish enough to hire me. But the fact is, it takes money to run a think tank, and not all of the endowment of the big policy shops -- Heritage, AEI, Cato, Hudson, etc. -- comes from deep-pocket ideological zealots. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, sir.) High among the Beltway Beatitudes is, "Blessed be the wonk who knows what 'development' means." I'm sure when Fumento scored the Monsanto grant, the guys at Hudson were exchanging high-fives. (OK, that was what us writer-types call a "metaphor." If anybody's ever met a think-tank wonk, it's hard to picture one of them doing an enthusiastic high-five.)

Soliciting grants to support research is the name of the game for think-tankers, in other words, and the general attitude is, "the more the merrier." Besides which, it wasn't as if Fumento was fronting for Mainway Toys (makers of the very popular "Bag O' Glass"). Monsanto is a reputable company -- at least as reputable as, say, the New York Times, Inc. -- and who says that a grant from Monsanto automatically taints a book about biotechnology?

The case against Fumento should be silly to any journalist with half a brain and a functioning conscience. I've spent 20 years in the newspaper business. By the standards of the "more-ethical-than-thou" crowd, I was beyond the pale the first time I ate a free chili dog provided to me by the Gordon Central High School Band Boosters Club. I've eaten my share of free chili dogs since then, and to the Mystic Knights of Journalism Ethics, I say ... well, perhaps Monty Python said it best.

Unlike some of the hyperambitious journalists inside the Beltway -- the kind who came straight out of Ivy League universities and never covered a city council meeting or a Fourth of July parade for a small-town weekly -- I didn't get into this racket because I wanted to save the world or win a Pulitzer. No, like my hero, Hunter S. Thompson, I became a sportswriter "because sportswriting was the only thing I could do that anybody was willing to pay for."

Hunter was a leftie, of course, but he was also a genius, and while almost every journalist under 50 now claims to have been a lifelong admirer of Thompson, it seems to me that very few of them have ever understood the man. Thompson was a hardened cynic who absolutely hated the true-believer save-the-world types. But he had this crazy idea that journalism is ultimately about the truth. Not necessarily The Truth, but facts anyway. What kind of ethical "compromises" did Thompson make when he partied with the Hell's Angels or sat talking pro football with Dick Nixon? Who cares? He wrote the facts, or at least the truth. (Did anybody ever get to the bottom of Ed Muskie's ibogaine addiction? See Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72, [New York: Popular Library. 1973], pp. 150-154; the evidence on p. 153, I believe we can all agree, is more or less conclusive.)

Hunter absolutely despised the ridiculous pretense of so-called "objective" journalism. He called Hubert Humphrey a "gutless old ward-heeler" -- a stone-cold truth that had the additional benefit of being ROTFLMAO funny. Along with Tom Wolfe, Thompson was one of the few working journalists from the '60s who ever wrote anything worth reading, because he was one of the few journallists who ignored all that "neutral objectivity" stuff (and anybody who's ever read Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 knows that Hunter called it something a bit stronger than "stuff").

Though I could never hope to imitate Thompson's genius -- I've tried a time or two, and will let the reader judge how miserably I failed -- I loved his irreverence toward the pieties of the high priests of the Cult of Objectivity. Long before anyone had heard of Jason Blair or dreamed of the "Tailwind" farce or imagined Dan Rather's debacle, Thompson saw through the MSM's charade of "ethics" and "objectivity." In addition to his wacky notion that maybe journalism should have something to do with facts, Thompson borrowed a great idea from Mark Twain: "Hey, why not have some fun -- and share it with the reader?" (If I could get a fat grant from Monsanto, I'd be happy to write 5,000 words arguing that Thompson's most legitimate living heirs are P.J. O'Rourke and Ann Coulter. I don't know if Monsanto is into gonzo journalism, but it never hurts to ask.)

If I seem a little worked up about this, it's not because my publisher just delivered a case of Wild Turkey and an eightball of top-grade crank to help me meet my deadline here at the Seal Rock Inn in San Francisco* -- listening to the Allman Brothers and, hey, where's my Mojo Wire? -- but because I care very seriously about facts. Facts do matter. Or should.

For all the times I've been slammed and smeared, there's one thing about my writing at The Washington Times I'm very proud of: I get my facts straight. A Nexis search will show you that I've filed something over 400 bylined news articles for the Times in the past 7+ year. This is pretty good, because (a) I'm paid to edit, not to write; and (b) I am a phenomenally lazy person. But in all of those 400+ news articles, I've only made 6 errors that required corrections, and most of those were simple typos, as when I wrote "Winston Blount" instead of "Winton Blount." I never made up any West Virginia tobacco fields or fictional junkies. I never mistook a Word document for a 1972 National Guard record. I never did a lot of the stupid or dishonest things that the Olympian gods of Objective Neutral Journalism have done, in other words.

And the same is true of Michael Fumento. If there are errors in his books or in his columns, by all means, point them out. If he falsely claimed that toxic sludge is good for you, or that Monsanto has patented vaccines for male-pattern baldness and bad breath, please document the evidence. I'd love to see it. If Fumento had ever written a story with a Rockville, Maryland, dateline filed from a bar in Brooklyn, maybe I'd give a rat's rear end what Sharon Waxman had to say about it. In the meantime, I'll pay no attention to New York Times reporters presuming to know anything about "journalistic ethics."

Michael Fumento wrote one of the bravest books ever written about AIDS. At a time when hysterics Left and Right were trying to convince Americans that AIDS was on the verge of wiping out the entire human population, Fumento seems to have gotten a gonzo idea stuck in his head: Hey, what about the FACTS? Next to the courageous Randy Shilts, it may be that Fumento did more than any other journalist to lead us away from the panic-pit over AIDS that gripped much of the media during the 1980s.

Fumento was predictably slammed as a gay-basher for pointing out that it was unlikely that the average middle-class suburban housewife was in danger of contracting AIDS from a toilet seat (or a waiter, or her hairdresser). But facts are facts. And by debunking both PC propaganda and ignorant fear, Fumento's book was one of the things that put an end to all that crazy talk about quarantining HIV-infected people.

But despite this memorable achievement, some people were too quick to believe that Fumento had sold his soul for a Monsanto grant, just because Eamon Javers said so.

It's time to wake up and smell the Fear and Loathing, people. You cannot forever feed the tiger hoping to be eaten last. You might think that the smearing of Fumento is merely the re-militarizing of the Rhineland, but we're way past that part of the story. No, I'd say what happened to Fumento is more like the Sudetenland in this particular extended metaphor, and it seems to me it's time to reconsider whether imitating Neville Chamberlain is sound strategy.

I bristle every time someone on the right tries to distance themselves from "mean-spirited" Ann Coulter because of her defense of McCarthy, or suggests that maybe Michelle Malkin "went too far" when she dared to seek the facts about internment. The facts are the facts and, in Ann's case, the jokes are the jokes. If you're not grown up enough to cope with unpleasant facts or a bit of sarcastic hyperbole, that's not Michelle's or Ann's problem. And if you are too naive to understand that think-tank researchers live and die by grant money, then maybe you should just stick to safe "objective" sources like the erstwhile employers of Walter Duranty and Herb Matthews.

I'm not here to pick a fight with anybody. As I said, I've long admired and enjoyed Catherine Seipp's writing. She's clever and witty. And heaven knows there are times I've hit the "send" button and lived to regret it. But at some point the conservative movement has got to stop acting like the Donner Party or a rugby team trapped in the Andes.

Or else someday the history of the conservative movement will be ... well, history, like the history of the Whig Party (suggested title: First They Came for Mel Bradford).

Me, I'm standing athwart history and yelling STOP!

Who's with me?

MCCAIN

* NOTE: This is what we writer-types sometimes call a "joke." My publisher, NelsonCurrent, doesn't supply whiskey or drugs to its writers, besides which I'm sober as a judge, and I've never even been to San Francisco. This "joke" was intended as a humorous reference to Hunter S. Thompson's notorious (and perhaps exaggerated) substance abuse, specifically the circumstances described on pp. 15-21 of Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 (New York: Popular Library. 1973).

-------------------
UPDATE 11/27:
Catherine Seipp continues to defend her contention that Fumento is corrupt.

Michelle Malkin defends Fumento, but says, " still think Mike erred in failing to disclose the grant when his book was published." OK, that's news to me. I would have certainly thought that, in the acknowledgements of such a book, Fumento would have said something like "grants from Monsanto ... [names of other grant-givers] helped support the research for this book." Does the word "Monsanto" not appear anywhere in the acknowledgements?

Well, the whole "full disclosure" trend is rather recent. I remember a few years back when "full disclosure" became a columnist catch-phrase to the point of being a cliche. But again, if Fumento's book is accurate and factual, the book stands on its own merits. There's nothing wrong with getting paid to tell the truth. It's only when you start telling Americans that Microsoft Word fakes (provided to you by an ax-grinding crackpot) are authentic National Guard records from 1973 that you've got a real ethics problem. Perhaps more information will become available.

And, as Mrs. Malkin points out, these standards seem to be applied inconsistently:

If the Fumento Standard is now the standard on newspaper op-ed pages, it will be interesting to watch the NY Times apply it--retroactively and across-the-board. Have its op-ed contributors who are attached to left-wing think tanks taken money directly or indirectly from unions and failed to disclose? How about open-borders pundits who have solicited, received, or been offered money from businesses who oppose immigration enforcement? Maybe the Times will assign a reporter to investigate.

- MCCAIN

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bush may not have erred, BUT Hillary did


Democratic operatives are reportedly salivating over news of the existence of five photos of President Bush with Jack Abramoff -- the poster-boy for the so-called "culture of corruption --the lobbyists' sons, and Raul Garza Sr., then-chairman of the casino-owning Kickapoo Indian tribe. As Knight Ridder reports, "The photos aren't proof of any wrongdoing on Bush's part. But they do put him in the uncomfortable position of standing next to a convicted felon who's become the symbol for all that's wrong with Washington."

Always with the "but" in the Democratic guilt-by-association game. The photos don't prove anything, BUT. Bush may not have done anything wrong, BUT.

BUT…not much has been said about the fact that Sen. Hillary Clinton, likely the next Democratic White House nominee, was in 2000 photographed with three-time convicted felon Peter Paul at the swank Hollywood galas Paul underwrote to the tune of $1.2 million, a direct contribution to her bid for the senate.

The Clinton campaign claimed not to know that Paul, an entertainment executive and partner with Spider Man creator Stan Lee in Stan Lee Entertainment, had been convicted on drug and fraud charges, BUT…Bill Clinton was allegedly willing to accept a promise of $16 million in cash and stock in return for his pledge to promote Paul's company after he left the White House, according to a lawsuit Paul filed in California superior court in 2004. Paul is suing both Clintons for fraud and deceit, unfair business practice, and civil conspiracy, claiming Bill Clinton accepted Paul's beneficence when his wife's senate bid was on the line BUT...reneged on his promise to stump for Stan Lee once she was elected.

Media have looked askance at Paul’s suit because he is an ex-felon, BUT...the Federal Election Commission in December 2005 agreed with Paul on his claims regarding Hillary’s campaign finance misdeeds and fined the group $35,000. Her treasurer, Andrew Grossman, signed a conciliation agreement in which he admitted to filing three false campaign finance reports, which omitted $721,895 in in-kind contributions from Paul.

Paul notified Hillary in writing of the first FEC filing errors BUT...her campaign filed at least one more false report. If Paul, though an ex-felon, is telling the truth about the FEC claims, might he be telling the truth about Bill Clinton's $16 million pay-to-play promise? And did Hillary know about it? A California judge on Feb. 3 will decide whether she must tell.

Meanwhile, Bush, the Republican, is reportedly photographed with a felon and is guilty until proven innocent BUT...Hillary, the Democrat, is photographed with a felon, her campaign is proven guilty and she joins in the "culture of corruption" chorus with a straight face.

-- Vincent

Ix-Nay on the An-Play

I keep reminding myself that this blog is about promoting sales of DONKEY CONS, not Michelle Malkin's UNHINGED. But last night, I happened to notice Kathryn Jean Lopez's column at National Review Online, and now find myself about to promote yet another book.

Ms. Lopez (aka K-Lo to the galley slaves who pull the oars at NRO's "Corner" blog) points to the bizarre hatred poured out toward Kate O'Beirne's WOMEN WHO MAKE THE WORLD WORSE:

[Y]ou might think that Kate O'Beirne should be pretty pleased. It would appear that, as of Thursday morning, not only had at least 500 people read her new book, but it had made enough of an impression on them that they were compelled to review it on Amazon.com. ...
[W]e see that one blogger gives kudos for faux reviewers' work: "I want to thank everyone who aided in the sacking of Kate O'Beirne's book Women Who Make the World Worse over at Amazon."
Here's how another blogger gave his marching orders: "Go on over there. Get yourself an Amazon account if you don't have one and write yourself a review of Ms. O'Beirne's book. You can sign your review with an Amazon ‘pen name’ if you don't want to be spammed with conservative hate-dreck. The goal is to ensure that Ms. O'Beirne's book has a one star rating so no one will go out and buy it who would not have already done so."


Now, I think I might once have shook Mrs. O'Beirne's hand at a Heritage Foundation event featuring my late friend Balint Vazsonyi, but I don't really know her. Still, to the extent that I am familiar with her work, she's pretty much a mainstream Reaganite. She's very much pro-defense and has been a critic of the "women in combat" agenda, but there are plenty such people in the world, and I don't remember Mrs. O'Beirne ever going off on some opaque rant about "hunting giraffes" and women getting infections (although that notable Gingrich moment was actually a [sadly bungled] reference to a legit Pentagon study about a genuine problem).

So I was somewhat familiar with Mrs. O'Beirne's ouevre, and when I first heard of her book, didn't expect it to be anything particularly controversial, seeing as how her position on the ideological matrix was certainly not extreme. So what's the book about?

[S]he takes on America’s leading feminists—including Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Smeal, Maureen Dowd, Kate Michelman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and even Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. She confronts them with hard evidence of how women like them have done more harm than good over the last four decades.

What's the controversy? A Heritage Foundation type who doesn't much care for Hillary Clinton -- how dare she!! What? Are the people who're attacking O'Beirne just very enthusiastic "Sex and the City" fans? Ardent admirers of Kate Michelman? I simply don't understand this.

Is it just that O'Beirne is a woman who criticizes feminist orthodoxy? Lots of those around: Phyllis Schlafly comes to mind, as do Carolyn Graglia, Danielle Crittenden, Wendy Shalit, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, et cetera. (I am particularly fond of Mrs. Graglia's radical views of sexuality -- lucky Lino!)

Why go after Kate O'Beirne? Why now? I'm mystified, but K-Lo says:

I'd just ignore it, but in the interest of making the world better (that's the kinda woman I try to be) I’d like to get some of this on record. Maybe it will help the Left admit it has a problem.
"I've never seen such a cynical attempt by liberals to torpedo a book's Amazon ratings," Kate's editor at Sentinel, Bernadette Malone, told National Review Online earlier this week. "It's particularly galling since hardly any of the reviewers seem to have even bought or read the book." Unfortunately, it may be a trend in the making, however. By late Thursday, I had received book-smearing reports involving Mark Levin's "Men in Black" on activist judges and Fred Barnes's upcoming "Rebel-in-Chief" on President George W. Bush, too.


OK, OK, I'm just enough of a cynic to imagine that maybe some conservatives have figured out that the way to sell lots of books is to have yourself viciously denounced by the left-wing blogosphere. (I mean, c'mon: Fred Barnes, menace to Democracy As We Know It? He's a pussycat, about as dangerous as Ward Cleaver.) So maybe the whole VRWC is setting up Mary Rosh/Jeff Gannon type fake left-wing blogs, and using those to incite unsuspecting lefties into smearing their books, thereby generating "buzz," and ....

WAIT A MINUTE! I nearly gave away the whole thing, right? Somehow the neocons running VRWC Inc. failed to get me my new secret decoder ring in time, and so I must have missed the double-encrypted memo explaining that this is all hush-hush. I certainly wouldn't want to give away any national-security secrets, like how only certain brands of aluminum foil are genuinely effective against CIA mind-control rays.

But seeing what's happened to Kate O'Beirne really opened my eyes to the reception that's awaiting DONKEY CONS. I mean, if kind and gracious Kate gets this kind of treatment -- oh, boy! I am serious in saying that this prompted some prayer on my part. Then again, if Kate O'Beirne is the spawn of Satan and Fred Barnes is [insert your favorite Nazi ad hominem here], I guess by April the left will have exhausted its vocabulary of vituperation and our book will be greeted with nothing but hoarse, gasping sounds.

I tell you, when that Karl Rove cooks up a strategy, it's always a humdinger. Great work, Karl. (And mum's the word on the in-tay oil-fay -- your secret's safe with me!)

- MCCAIN

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The message from Milwaukee

Been a bit busy lately doing galley proofs, so there's a lot of catching up to do. But let's start with the "Milwaukee 5," the Democrat Party activists who last week walked away from their Election Day crimes. To borrow a phrase from Billy Ayers: "Guilty as hell, free as a bird."

After a two-week felony trial culminating with notes from a conflicted jury, four Kerry-Edwards campaign workers - including the sons of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt - had their charges in the Election Day 2004 tire-slashing reduced to misdemeanors and accepted the deal.
The fifth Democratic staffer accused of crippling Republican vans won a jury acquittal by sticking with a fight against the felony charge. ....

All five defendants had been charged with damaging 40 tires on 25 rented vans parked outside Republican Party offices on W. Capitol Drive, hours before they were to be deployed for electioneering. The repair costs easily exceeded the felony threshold of $2,500, yet there was little evidence about what each man had allegedly done.
Prosecutors built most of their case on testimony from out-of-state Democratic operatives who had come to work on the Wisconsin campaign alongside the defendants - Marvin Pratt, 33, Lewis G. Caldwell, 29, Lavelle Mohammad, 36, Justin Howell, 21, and Sowande Omokunde, 26.
The witnesses said the local men boasted about their crippling attack on the Republican vehicles.

The jury sent an unmistakable message: It's open season on Republicans in Wisconsin.

There is no doubt that tires were slashed on 25 GOP vans on the eve of Election Day.

There is no doubt that these tires were slashed by operatives of the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

Yet, though these crimes were committed by Democrats determined to affect the outcome of a presidential election, nobody is going to prison: "Guilty as hell, free as a bird."

Please notice the intrusion in the Milwaukee trial of the "Stop Snitchin'" mentality:

Defense attorneys tried to characterize the party professionals as liars who set up the defendants - loosely tied to the scene by cell-phone records and the hazy memory of a security guard - as fall guys for the crime.

This is a clear message to any Democrat whose good conscience might prompt him to blow the whistle on fellow Democrats involved in felonious attempts to influence the outcome of an election: Democrats will destroy your reputation and smear you as a liar if you dare to tell the truth.

And, by the way, has anybody seen Kathleen Willey's cat?

-- MCCAIN