25 July 2007

Bob Novak reminds us how the economy works

Er, the D.C. economy, at any rate. From his latest exclusive newsletter:
[F]amily members of senators and congressmen from both parties and in all regions of the country have for years benefited directly from the "Washington economy" of lobbying firms and government contractors, many of which would not even exist without the infusions of taxpayer money that earmarks provide each year. ... This has never been considered improper, but few Americans know that a very small number of Washington-connected families negotiate, appropriate and benefit from large expenditures of taxpayer money on a small number of companies through the earmarking process.

Another interesting bit from his latest is his take on the dust-up between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at the recent Democratic YouTube debate. Of Clinton, Novak quips, "This debate will likely be remembered as the performance in which [she] finally learned to lighten up and act a bit human [emphasis his], eschewing the debilitating and robotic persona she normally affects in public speaking situations." Not sure exactly what Novak means by "act a bit human"; is this what he had in mind?

Crows Novak, "When offered the opportunity to exploit rival Barack Obama's lack of experience, she hit a home run." Uh, did she? He continues on Obama: "[He] delivered a gaffe on a foreign policy question that highlighted his lack of experience and could cost him...

"His unqualified willingness to meet with a number of rogue world leaders," he states, "was suddenly thrown into sharp contrast with Clinton's careful answer that she would not meet with anyone if she believed that the visit was going to be used as a propaganda piece to humiliate the United States."

Katrina Vanden Heuvel at The Nation makes a mockery of Novak's (and others') rah-rahing of Clinton's "careful answer" and alleged foreign relations superiority by simply saying, "Witness how far Clinton's nuanced experience got her when confronted with the 2002 Iraq war resolution."

But Clinton does have a point about being used as a propaganda piece. A president should always leave it to his lesser, nameless footsoldiers to do the grunt work with unsavory world leaders. Ronald Reagan was wise enough to do that with Saddam Hussein, sending some guy named Rumsfeld over there to meet with him. Whatever happened to those two, by the way?

Rummy & Saddam, a special friendship

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