Wednesday, October 4, 2006

On digestion:

Anyone, like Malcolm, who remembers the incomparable Theodore H. White will recognise the style of Tom Moran in today's New Jersey Star-Ledger:
US Sen. Robert Menendez slid into the corner booth at his favorite diner in Union City, and reached for his coffee.
His eyes were a bit puffy from lack of sleep. The man looked like he needed a jolt.
With five weeks to go, the incumbent Democrat is slightly behind in most recent polls against a raw upstart, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr.
Malcolm got that while he, also, was in a New Jersey diner, drinking his coffee, and indulging in a cholesterol-heavy breakfast. And he knew he was getting value for money, the characteristics of good journalism -- a story with information and opinion.

Moran does a great job in depicting the grit in the sandwich, the wasps in the marmalade:
Chris Lyon, a political hit man who was last seen fleeing New Hampshire after the attorney general there deemed his tricks too sleazy for the Granite State.
It seems Lyon was spreading rumors that the wife of a gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire was a member of a cult that worshipped orgasms. That is not a joke.
Lyon, it seems, is now working for the Republican challenger, Kean, and has:
... become pen pals with Robert Janiszewski, the former Hudson County executive who is now in prison on corruption charges.
Yes, Janiszewski is a liar with a grudge against Menendez. But Kean needs dirt, and he's not real fussy about the source.
Moran's punch-line is worth the build-up:
Is Menendez corrupt? This is New Jersey and you can lose a lot of money betting on the integrity of any politician.
(Malcolm read that, and pointed it out to a Rhode-Islander: the response was, in effect and polite language, that RI claims precedence on any relative corruption index).

The significance of all this, apart from being a stylish column which warmed Malcolm's vitals, is that Menendez could be the Democrat's stumbling block. As things stand, the Dems stand a good change of taking both Houses of Congress (thank you, Mr Foley!), needing fifteen gains in the House and five in the Senate. If Menendez goes down, that screws up the arithmetic.

Meanwhile, the Op-Ed page of today's New York Times deserves Brownie points: anyone in search of some real ginger should reach for Maureen Dowd. Here's her intro:
Tom Lehrer said that political satire was rendered obsolete when Henry Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize for prolonging the Vietnam War.
But even the inventive Lehrer could never have imagined that Dr Strangelove would get a second chance to contribute to misleading the public about a military catastrophe in a misunderstood land -- a do-over in scarring the American psyche and reputation in profound ways.
Dowd's theses are that, first:
  • Kissinger deliberately extended the Vietnam war up to the 1972 Election, "so that if any bad results [of a peace plan] follow they will be too late to affect the election."
And that's quoting Bob Haldeman [gulp, swallow]. She then ties this into Bob Woodward's new book:
"State of Denial", the sequel to "Bush is a Genius":

  • The second thesis is that Dubya has a Freudian thing about his father, and turned to Rumsfeld and Kissinger to overcome this demon:
As Mr Woodward notes, part of Rummy's allure for W. was the fact that Poppy Bush considered him an arrogant, Machiavellian sort who could get you in deep doo-doo.
The real Tabasco. The NYT make Dowd subscription only, and sadly but rightly so, she's 24-carat. And she's alongside Thomas L Friedman's column:
It is so important that the Republicans lose [in November], because if the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld-Rice team can get away with the grotesque incompetence they hav exhibited in Iraq -- a war that was not preordained to fail, but was never given a proper chance to succeed -- it makes this country look like a banana republic.
So Malcolm had a lovely brekkie at the Milburn Diner. Every one of his prejudices was burnished by marvellous prosesmiths. More! More! he cries. Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Subscribe with Bloglines International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites