Monday, October 03, 2005

The Frank Rich Clown Show

Frank Rich is a pathetic excuse for a liberal, and it's sad that so many look to him for liberal opinion. Consider his Sunday column, a pretty typical Rich combination of smug self-satisfaction, non-sequitur, and sucking up to John McCain.

Rich starts with ridiculing the idea that Tom DeLay might return as majority leader. How Rich knows that this won't happen, he never says. Then the smug self-satisfaction:
Those who still live in the reality-based community, however, may sense they're watching the beginning of the end of something big. It's not just Mr. DeLay, a k a the Hammer, who is on life support, but a Washington establishment whose infatuation with power and money has contaminated nearly every limb of government and turned off a public that by two to one finds the country on the wrong track.

Rich has the same disease that afflicts his New York Times colleague Maureen Dowd. The more questionable his assertion, the more supercilious his language. You see, if you aren't hip to the impending political death of Tom Delay and the whole Washington establishment, then you're not living in the reality based community, you poor fool.

And how do we know that the Washington establishment is coming to an end? Well, Rich tells us, Andrew Ferguson declared the "end of the Republican Revolution" in a Weekly Standard piece back in December. That's the non-sequitur. Ferguson's piece, which is recommended reading, didn't declare the end of the Republican establishment. Rather, it detailed how the Gingrichite "revolutionaries" like Jack Abramoff and his cronies had become corrupted by power and money. Citizen Cain thinks that this overstates moral decline theme, since these people seemed pretty corrupt from the get-go. But Ferguson nicely shows how the supposed revolutionaries stopped even pretending to care about issues that they had previously used to good effect, such as the nefarious power of money and lobbyists and special interests.

The conservative Ferguson expresses a hope that the Republican grass-roots will wise up to the corruption of their Congressional leaders, but predicts no collapse of the Washington establishment. Rather, he sadly notes that things are the same as they ever were:
That closed, parasitic culture of convenience--with its revolving doors, front groups, pay-offs, expense-account comfort, and ideological cover stories--is as essential to the way Republican Washington works, ten years after the Revolution, as ever it was to Democratic Washington.
Don't get me wrong. I hope that Rich is right and that the whole "Washington establishment" will be turned out of office and that "infatuation with power and money" will cease to contaminate "nearly every limb of government." Would that it were so. But the arrest and conviction of one or two lobbyists or procurement officials doesn't constitute an overthrow of the establishment.

Rich never really says how this revolution will come to pass, until his last paragraph, when he suggests a deus ex machina of-- are you ready?-- John McCain.
The one notable anomaly is John McCain, who retains a genuine hunger for reform, a rage at the corruption around . . .
You get the idea. This is what passes for liberal utopianism these days. Sad.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sully Explains

On Thursday, Citizen Cain asked Andrew Sullivan to clarify his sourcing is for the accusation that Donald Rumsfeld has demanded that underlings "break" or "destroy" Capt. Ian Fisback. Fishback has accused the Army of abusing Iraqi detainees.

Now, Sullivan blogs:
Obviously, I don't reveal sources, especially in a sensitive matter like this. But in this case, it behooves me to say that a very reliable source who has consistently provided very accurate information in the past gave me the information that a third party used the words attributed to him about Rumsfeld. I did not speak directly to the third party. Yesterday, I contacted the source again. The source does not retract the quote, which is attributed to a third party. But others I have since been in contact with, who are just as familiar with the situation, and one who is more so, differ and have said that the quote is unfair to Rumsfeld and that while Rumsfeld is following the case very closely, his view is not as extreme as that quote suggested; that he is merely paying very close attention to the case; and concerned about the accuracy of the accusations.

Strange how the prose style of this normally fine writer breaks down when he discusses this topic. But if I'm reading this correctly, Sullivan talked to a reliable source that heard someone else say that Rumsfeld said "break or destroy." But others "who are just as familiar with the situation" think that actually Rumsfeld is just interested in finding the truth. Hmm. Not exactly rock solid.