Carol Platt Liebau

Friday, February 29, 2008

Find Me Here

The address of the Townhall blog where I'll be posting is:

Hail and Farewell (at least for now!)

For almost four years, I have posted to this blog almost every day. I have loved every minute of it, and it has been an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to persuade, entertain, correspond with and hear from you.

But professional and family commitments have been making it increasingly impractical for me to continue a largely single-person blog. For that reason, I have accepted the kind invitation of the thinkers and writers at Townhall to join them on the main blog there, at least through the election in November. My main focus will be on cultural issues, and if there's any topic that you think merits comment or discussion, please do email me and let me know.

I hope that all of you -- yes, even those of you who disagree with me loudly and regularly -- will come over and continue to comment on my posts there. I am posting the blog's address immediately above.

Finally, please accept my warmest thanks and most grateful appreciation for the blessing of your readership. I hope I'll continue to hear from you, both in the comments to my Townhall posts, and through the contact information listed on this page.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


William F. Buckley has died.

He was the quintessential man of ideas, whose brilliance and vision helped establish the modern conservative movement. His obvious intellect put the many radicals he debated over the years to shame and his work had the kind of influence of which most writers can only dream.

He was also a gentleman and a person of deep and abiding religious faith.

May he rest in peace. God bless -- and thank you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Final Showdown

No doubt understanding that it's tonight or never, Hillary Clinton has apparently gotten over the "honor" of debating Barack Obama, and decided instead to rough him up -- with limited success.

Having nothing to lose, she has clearly decided she's got to play tough . . . worrying about her likability hasn't gotten her too far against Obama, so the tough-as-nails version of Hillary Clinton has re-emerged. The problem for her, of course, is that her grievance mentality has, too.

What, after all, was that strange allusion to Saturday Night Live and getting Barack a pillow? Does she understand how profoundly uninterested most people are in whether the press has been asking Hillary the first question in the debates? (Apparently not -- never underestimate the self-absorption of a Clinton).

Most of the debate was just a spicier stew of accusations and counter-accusations -- edging further and further to the left. Things got interesting when Russert started asking Barack some tough questions about his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan. Too bad he didn't bother to press Barack on Wright, and even let him practically rework the question before answering it.

If I were a Democrat primary voter hearing all this for the first time, I'd maybe start to get a leeetle nervous. Makes you wonder what other shoes might drop for Barack Obama if the press ever got aggressive, doesn't it?

But what's remarkable is that -- showing the keen political savvy that's lost her her frontrunner status -- Hillary couldn't let it go. She had to jump in to try to get a cheap advantage, and ended up looking foolish when Barack simply went along and acceded to her request to "reject" as well as "denounce" Farrakhan's support.

In fairness to Hillary, it does seem as though she gets the grilling first. Wouldn't you have liked to know if Barack knew about Putin's successor? And isn't Russert seeming to get just a bit more in her face than Barack's?

That's My Old Boss

Kit Bond calls the Democrats on their shameful refusal to reauthorize the Protect America Act.

Don't believe that it's not hurting national security -- and this piece explains how.

More on the Obama Photo Affair

It's all at Sweetness and Light.

Apparently, there's controversy over whether the picture of Barack Obama in Somali (Sunni Muslim) garb is genuine or a fake. Why doesn't a hardworking member of the press just ask him whether he ever donned the clothes -- that is, if s/he can get access to him to ask a question at all (see immediately below)?

Here's the nub of the issue: There's nothing wrong with dressing like the locals when one travels. The reason the Obama people are so incensed at the picture, however, is because they fear that Barack Obama looks more "authentic" in the garb than an older white male (like George Bush, Dick Cheney or, say, John McCain) would.

That's true, it's a downside, and it's unfair. But then again, the fact that Barack Obama isn't your typical older white male presidential candidate has also helped him plenty (it's hard to believe that an ordinary-looking, older white male with a resume as thin as Obama's -- even if an inspirational speaker -- would be beating Hillary at this point and causing voters literally to swoon). So, like so much else, there's an upside, and there's a downside.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Reticent & Removed? Get Used to It!

This story details Barack Obama's inaccessibility to the press -- remarkable, especially given the almost uniformly glowing coverage he's received.

Well, the press had better get used to it. Barack the glad-hander may give the impression that he's a warm, fuzzy, accessible guy. But his style of leadership -- at least once he has the job -- is anything but. He was a largely absentee President of the Harvard Law Review, and approachability was never his strong suit. When the New York Times' Michael Powell described him as possessing a "Barcalounger manner about him these days, padding about those campaign stages like a man commanding his den," it was all too reminiscent of his style at Gannett House (home of the Review) during his law school days . . . at least when he showed up. Barack was famous for "working from home."

That being said, whatever Barack does, don't expect the press coverage to become too critical. GOP'ers aren't the only ones afraid of coming across as racist -- and no good liberal reporter will want to be accused of having crippled the campaign of the first African American with a real shot to be President.

Not Counting Out a Clinton

There's always the chance that Hillary Clinton could come back, as this AP story makes clear.

The one fact that explains everything that Americans will see from Clinton is her gaping, yawning need to hold political power. It's something she feels not just motivated to do -- but entitled to.

She will never go away gracefully unless there is something in it for her -- whether, as speculated here by my co-blogger, it's a Supreme Court seat or a realistic chance to run again another day.

The fact that she continues to launch increasingly desperate attacks suggests that she knows that this is her big shot, and that no deal is in the works. That's good news for Republicans.

Perhaps the biggest problem for Hilary is that Democratic voters want to "feel good" about whom they're supporting. She doesn't have the coolness factor of Obama -- and in liberal circles, women aren't generally considered to have been as "oppressed" as African-Americans have been (they've never been a "discrete and insular minority," for one thing). Those two factors will do more than anything to doom her chances.

Law of Unintended Consequences

My Townhall column (here) notes that The New York Times' evidence-free rumor-mongering about John McCain and Vicki Iseman has real life consequences for women in the working world.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Clinton "Legacy"

Mark Steyn tells some hard truths about the vaunted Clinton magic; that is, with husband and wife alike, there was no "there" there -- aside, of course, from a heaping helping of chutzpah.

As Hillary's looking ever less likely to emerge as the inevitable nominee she was supposed to have been, it's worth pausing a moment to remember that the supposed "good old days" of the Clinton presidency weren't, it appears, as beloved by normal Americans as the Clintons and the press perhaps thought.

The American public gave its seal of approval to the Reagan presidency when it elected George H.W. Bush for "four more years" of the same. Eight years after throwing him out of office (in large part for failing to follow in Reagan's footsteps), weary of Clintonian scandal, voters acknowledged the essential decency of Bush pere and elected his son to the presidency in what has to count as one of the oddest apologies (or greatest acts of buyers' remorse) in history.

Now contrast. Bill Clinton's vice-president didn't get the gig despite eight years of peace and prosperity. They can blame it all they want on Gore's supposedly lackluster campaign skills, but recall that George H.W. Bush was no ball of fire on the campaign trail, either, and he still managed to win. And now, what was supposed to have been the Clinton Restoration -- the electoral expression of soulful yearning for a return to the good old days of the '90's -- isn't, to all appearances, going to happen.

Perhaps no one should have been surprised that Bill Clinton's shadow wasn't longer -- after all, he never succeeded in winning a majority of the vote even (as Mark Steyn points out) against a remarkably weak opponent in 1996.

Vote counts don't lie. It's looking like Bill's supposed political legacy (like the dreaded Clinton "machine") was just another Clintonian sleight of hand where not-too-much was dressed up as oh-so-much-more -- until it became evident that the emperor (and empress, for that matter) had no clothes at all.

Pay no attention to the couple behind the curtain!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A "Profound Effect" Indeed

When pro-choices discuss how many women die with "back alley abortions," somehow deaths like these never seem to be counted.

An English artist hanged herself after her twins were aborted. The coroner is quoted as saying "It is clear that a termination can have a profound effect on a woman's life."

Indeed. And on the lives of her unborn children. May this poor woman's soul rest in peace.

Does The Tide Turn?

This story from The Washington Post points out the rising number of irreverent Obama web sites. Obviously, they're a reaction to the quasi-religious veneration of Obama's "followers" -- and the refusal of the MSM to treat him with anything but raw adoration.

But the sites also point to a law of political gravity. The fact is that no man can sustain the degree and kind of support, verging on worship, that Obama has received -- especially when so much of it is based not on his policies, but on some kind of cult of personality.

The Hillary people know this. But what must be frustrating for them is to wonder whether, by the time some of the air comes out of the Obama balloon, it will be too late.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Strange Company

Is anyone in the MSM willing to ask Barack Obama about some of the company he's kept?

Back in the High Life . . .

If Hillary Clinton were going to be the Democratic nominee for President -- a circumstance that looks more unlikely with every passing day -- issues like this would deservedly take center stage.

According to the linked report, the Clintonistas have spent donor money like water, enjoying nights at the Four Seasons, $100,000 party trays, and so much, much more.

First, if Hillary's campaign management skills are emblematic of the management skills she'd bring to The White House, it's no doubt a blessing that it's not looking like she's going to get there. The spending and management seems like what we might expect from people who have never had to worry about the kind of expense management that's expected in most parts of the private sector. And if the Clinton people are so free-spending with donor-raised money that the candidate has to work for, just think of how they'd treat taxpayer money!

Second, it strikes me as entirely fair for her donors to be outraged. No doubt, as the article points out, the Hillary people expected that the money would simply continue to flow in and so their outrageous spending wouldn't matter. But that doesn't excuse their profligacy.

Hillary has solicited money from people of even modest means, who have probably been asked to send what they can "spare" so that she may run for President of the United States. When she and her staffers live like pashas on those peoples' dimes, it's not just unseemly -- it's wrong.

When I worked on the Bond and Ashcroft campaigns, it was always made very clear even to senior campaign staff that expenses were to be carefully watched -- not just because it's hard to raise money, but because that money wasn't really ours . .. it had been donated by people who had worked hard for it in order to advance a specific cause, ie., the election of a candidate.

Justice Rodham-Clinton?

This is guest blogger wile e coyote.

I smell a rat.

Hillary's life has been spent in the pursuit and enjoyment of power. She will not go quietly into that good night.

If she withdraws short of the convention and throws her support behind Obama, it's because there was a juicy backroom deal.

Vice Presidents don't have legacies, but Supreme Court Justices sometimes do.

I would like the media to ask Obama if he will/would/might nominate Hillary to the Supreme Court. Hammer this issue until Election Day.

Given a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House, Senate rules could be suspended to avoid a filibuster. Republicans considered just this tactic when they last controlled the Presidency and Senate.

With the prospect of Hillary on the Supreme Court, McCain's efforts as part of the Gang of 14 don't look so foolish, or un-conservative, do they?