Best of the Web Today – November 9, 2007
By JAMES TARANTO
Vote for the Miserable Failure
Think you’ve got problems? Consider the perils of Susan Estrich. Divorced, she has to eke out a living as a lawyer to support her two children. The demands of that job mean she doesn’t get to see the kids as often as she likes. She is overweight and lacks the discipline to exercise regularly. Her house is a mess, and unethical rug cleaners wrecked her living-room floor.
Wait, it gets worse. Her nanny lacks medical insurance because the application form is too confusing for Estrich to fill out. Estrich herself has health care, but complications from a recent surgical procedure have her feeling worse than ever. Her kids are ungrateful. And she doesn’t even have a boyfriend!
“Most days,” Estrich writes in a FoxNews.com column, “I feel like a failure at most of the things I try to do, and the only question is the matter of degree.”
Clearly, she is presidential material.
Estrich isn’t throwing her own hat into the ring, but the purpose of her column is to explain that she favors Hillary Clinton because Mrs. Clinton, like Estrich, falls well short of being a “superwoman”:
A funny thing happens when she makes a misstep, takes a hit, becomes the target for a prolonged mass attack. Her numbers, especially among women, often go up. The chit chat you hear from regular women is that “they’re after her,” and even though, or rather especially because, that is the wrong thing for her to say publicly, it resonates even more strongly privately.
When Hillary is the perfect candidate, the superwoman in teflon, it’s a little hard to connect. When she isn’t, when she makes a mistake, takes a hit, when her face tells you she’s ready to scream in frustation that the guys are never this tough on each other, a funny thing happens.
She starts looking familiar. She becomes ones [sic] of us. Just another girl trying to make it in a world that wasn’t made for her.
I know it’s wrong, but it’s when I like her best. I even imagine her sitting in a hotel room, the way I am now, beating herself up for all the things she did wrong today, and for all the things that went wrong even if she didn’t do it. You go girl! We’re with you.
It reminds us of a quote from Dick Gephardt, in a September 2003 debate:
This president is a miserable failure! He is a miserable failure! . . . He’s a miserable failure on this issue! . . . This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy and on the economy! . . . Why would we want to keep anything of the Bush tax plan? It’s a miserable failure!
Who’d have thought that four years later, being a miserable failure would be a selling point?
Recent polls show that Americans trust Democrats more than they trust Republicans, but Sen. Joe Biden says Democrats do not reciprocate Americans’ feelings, according to Andrew Cline, editorial page editor of the Manchester, N.H., newspaper:
Biden said in an interview at the New Hampshire Union Leader this afternoon that too many Democrats, including the frontrunners for the presidential nomination, do not have faith in the American people.
“We’ve got to trust the American people more,” Biden said.
“I think they’ve really lost faith in the American people in terms of leveling with them,” he said of his leading rivals.
When he asks groups of Democrats if they think the American people are stupid because they elected George W. Bush twice, most respond that, yes, they do, he said. He said he thinks that attitude is a real problem for the Democrats, who fail to understand how smart and pragmatic the American people really are.
Actually, studies have shown that a near-majority of Americans have below-average intelligence. But maybe they’ll be dumb enough to believe Biden’s flattery.
Sen. Joe Lieberman gave a speech yesterday in which he had tough words for the left wing of his party:
There is something profoundly wrong–something that should trouble all of us–when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran’s murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops.
There is likewise something profoundly wrong when we see candidates who are willing to pander to this politically paranoid, hyper-partisan sentiment in the Democratic base–even if it sends a message of weakness and division to the Iranian regime.
Jon Ward of the Washington Times reports on another speech yesterday that struck a similar theme:
Karl Rove teed off this afternoon on the liberal netroots, the coalition of far-left blogs and advocacy groups who are a new power bloc in the Democratic party. . . .
Mr. Rove cited the results of a study that found that writers and commenters on liberal blogs such as DailyKos.com cursed far more than writers and commenters on conservative Web sites such as FreeRepublic.com.
“My point is not that liberals swear publicly more often than conservatives. That may be true, but that’s not my point,” Mr. Rove said. “It is that the netroots often argue from anger rather than reason, and too often, their object is personal release, not political persuasion.”
When Al Gore’s running mate and George W. Bush’s political strategist sound like echoes of each other, that gives you some idea of just how kooky the fringe left is.
KSM as Soldier
New York Times columnist Gail Collins, the milder Maureen Dowd, tries to make fun of Rudy Giuliani and instead ends up making an enormous blooper:
Let it be known that nothing, including the extensive evidence that prisoners being tortured confess to things that aren’t true, is going to stop a President Giuliani from wringing every last drop of inaccurate information out of the evildoers.
“They talk about sleep deprivation. I mean on that theory, I’m getting tortured running for president of the United States. That’s plain silly,” he said at a town hall meeting in Iowa. You would really think after all the trouble Mitt Romney got for equating life in the Mitt Mobile with service in Iraq, people would be a little careful about comparing the perils of the campaign trail with military service.
“Military service”? Is this what Gail Collins thinks Khlaid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubayda and their ilk are engaged in?
More Tortured Analogies
Reader David Brown takes issue with our contention that anyone who really believes “waterboarding” is torture would be calling for the prosecution of the protesters who performed that procedure on one of their own:
A guy who voluntarily agreed to it? It sounds like on this view, if people believe that walking up to somebody in the street and punching him in the face should be prosecuted, they must in logic also believe boxers should be prosecuted. Am I missing something?
Yes you are! The most important difference between a boxing match and an unprovoked assault is not that the former is consensual, but that it is a stylized form of fighting, with rules designed to minimize the risk of injury. We’re pretty sure that if someone set up “boxing” events in which the participants didn’t wear gloves and were encouraged to bloody each other as much as possible, this would be illegal. As, for that matter, are prearranged street fights, gang rumbles and duels, notwithstanding that all are consensual.
The Associated Press reports on another bad analogy, offered by a leading Senate Democrat:
[Attorney General Michael] Mukasey, his opponents argued, refused to say whether waterboarding is torture and put the onus on Congress to pass a law against the practice.
“This is like saying when somebody murders somebody with a a baseball bat and you say, ‘We had a law against murder but we never mentioned baseball bats,’ ” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. “Murder is murder. Torture is torture.”
Leahy is begging the question. The issue with waterboarding has nothing to do with the implements used; it is whether the procedure itself fits the definition of torture. Leahy’s “argument” is like saying that it is wrong to kill an enemy combatant on the battlefield because “murder is murder.”
“The theft of millions of tax dollars has led to several resignations within the upper levels of the D.C. government,” reports Washington’s WTOP-FM:
Six people were arrested Wednesday morning and accused of stealing more than $16 million through a property tax scheme. Two of those arrested were city employees.
If they’re convicted, Rep. Danny Davis can get them jobs with the federal government!
Life Imitates ‘The Simpsons’
- “Homer buys Marge a Koi pond as an anniversary present, but the pond becomes a home for a rare screaming caterpillar. The EPA makes Homer responsible for the screamapillar, but when he tries to kill it the court sentences him to do community service.”–“The Simpsons” episode summary, “Frying Game,” originally aired May 19, 2002
- “Testimony Begins at Simpson Hearing”–headline, Associated Press, Nov. 9, 2007
We Blame George W. Bush
“Feds: Houston Faces Cocaine Shortage”–headline, KHOU-TV Web site (Houston), Nov. 9
‘Whatever You Do, Don’t Throw That Stinky Thing!’
“Prosecutors in Nowak Trial Appeal Order to Toss Evidence”–headline, Associated Press, Nov. 8
Too Much Information
“Coaches to Wear Protection Next Season”–headline, Associated Press, Nov. 8
As Exciting as Watching Paint Dry
“New TV Shows Drying Up as Strike Sets In”–headline, Associated Press, Nov. 8
Dwarf Demands Air Supply
“Wind Demands Dwarf Supply”–headline, Oregonian, Nov. 9
Breaking News From 1600
“Hamlet Shaken by Murder Then Suicide”–headline, Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 9
Breaking News From 1917
“Harry S. Truman Group Heads Toward War Zones”–headline, Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk), Nov. 5
Breaking News From 1993
- “Italy: U.S. Black Hawk Crashes; 5 Dead”–headline, New York Times, Nov. 9
- “Somalia: Bodies Dragged Through Mogadishu”–headline, New York Times, Nov. 9
News You Can Use
“It’s Official: You Don’t Have to Live in France”–headline, Reuters, Nov. 8
Bottom Story of the Day
- “GRFD Chief Not Hired in Colorado”–headline, WOOD-TV Web site (Grand Rapids, Mich.), Nov. 9
- “Politics of Ethanol Is to Make More, Iowans Agree”–headline, Reuters, Nov. 9
Larry Sabato and the Meaning of Life
From Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball:
If any of our observations depress you–and that is not our intention–try to keep it all in perspective. Our sun is one of a hundred million stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and there are 100 million galaxies in the universe. Though mainly yet undiscovered, there are trillions of planets besides our own. Our concerns and our politics are insignificant in the great scheme of things. Somewhere out there is a presidential election that makes sense–and certainly one that has a better organized system of party nomination (with no states named Iowa and New Hampshire). Maybe one day these wiser creatures, preferably not colored Blue or Red, will visit and help us along. If the reports about his encounter with the UFO are true, Dennis Kucinich may already have communicated with them. Let’s see what he has to say in the next debate…
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.
(Carol Muller helps compile Best of the Web Today. Thanks to John Nernoff, Darren Gold, John Williamson, Jon Ward, Ed Lasky, Brian O’Rourke, Geoff Hazel, Jed Flint, Robert Koontz, Matt Bradley, Robert Jones, Ken Frazer, Steve Kirsch, Ron Durling, Max Lebediuk, Bruce Goldman, Brian Azman, Yehuda Hilewitz, Tim Willis, Don Stewart and Adam Phillips. If you have a tip, write us at email@example.com, and please include the URL.)
URL for this article: http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=
Today on OpinionJournal:
- Karl Rove: The Democratic Congress is more interested in acting out than in taking positive action.
- Peggy Noonan: Things are tough all over, but Mrs. Clinton is no Iron Lady.
- Steve Moore: If tax-cut strategies don’t work, why are they so popular abroad?
- The Journal Editorial Report: Tune in this weekend for discussions of Pakistan’s troubles and Wall Street’s.
And on the Taste page:
- Collin Levy: Honoring the war dead–without protest.
- Rob Long: A striking Hollywood scriptwriter says it’s time to change the business.
- Clark Strand: The baby boom and the Buddhist bust.
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