A Candidate in Every Pot
Let's see, now: on the democratic side, there's Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Loose-Lips Joe Biden, with Wesley Clark and just maybe Al Gore waiting in the wings. For the Repub-licans, there's Sam Brownback, James Gilmore, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, John McCain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Tom Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson, with Chuck Hagel and just maybe the Newtster himself waiting to pounce.
Imagine, if you dare, the candidate debates coming up. If I remember my Greek architecture right, the reason the Parthenon had eight columns in front was that the Greeks had figured that no one could apprehend more than eight things in a row. Athens may have fallen, but the rule still goes. Giving 12 candidates equal time in a two-hour debate, allowing a scant 15 minutes for introductions, reading the rules, and posing questions, means allotting just eight minutes and 45 seconds to each candidate to actually talk. Scarcely worth showing up, whether you're a candidate or (especially) a spectator.
Here's a plan for the debates during primary season: Pair these guys off, as they do in tennis tournaments. Who knows? Attend a debate, and you may get Clinton vs. Obama. Then again, you may get Gravel vs. Gilmore. What stories you'd have for your grandchildren!
-- Harold Meyerson --
Reassuring news: Immigrant-bashing Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo isn't spending all his valuable time running for president. He's still concerned with the workings of Congress, and recently sent a note to the House Administration Committee demanding the abolition of the Congress' race-based caucuses -- chiefly, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democrats' Hispanic Caucus. Lamentably, he didn't include his own party: After all, the entire Republican congressional delegation appears to the naked eye to be race-based -- the race in question, of course, being white. 48 of the 49 GOP senators are white, while 199 of the 202 GOP representatives are (non-Hispanic) white, too. There's not a single black Republican in either chamber. In the spirit of grand bargains, we might entertain the abolition of the black and Hispanic caucuses if the Republicans are willing to chuck their party. Deal?
Who could object to a new Museum of Tolerance? In 2004, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center announced it would erect a version of its museum in the heart of Israeli West Jerusalem, designed by Frank Gehry himself. The digging commenced -- only to stop when it began turning up human skeletons. Turns out the site had been a Muslim cemetery dating back to the 13th century, and active at least until the 19th century. Muslim tradition has it that associates of the Prophet Muhammad are buried there (no less likely, when you think about it, than Abraham being interred in Hebron). Center and Jerusalem city officials argue that Muslims paid no heed to the site before the current incident, but in January, Israel's High Court of Justice ordered the city and the center to explain why it should permit the construction to continue. The tolerance of Tolerance remains to be seen.
Dinesh D'Souza, the Rishwain Research Scholar at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, has a new book out. It's called The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. (See our D'Souza-related quiz, below.) As befits a credentialed scholar, the author is careful to define his terms. Regarding the titular "enemy," he offers up a list of about a hundred, "a roster of people and groups that deserve the label of domestic insurgents" -- i.e. those seeking to assist Osama bin Laden in achieving victory over George Bush in the war on terrorism. Prospect readers should take heart in the knowledge that we are, indeed, doing our part for the cause: Two of our co-founders, Paul Starr and Robert Reich, made the cut, though, frustratingly, editors Robert Kuttner, Harold Meyerson, and Michael Tomasky all
Meanwhile, others who made the list include Paul Begala, Senator Jack Reed, and Mumia Abu-Jamal. (The writer Thomas Frank is, for some reason, listed twice.) As insurgencies go, this seems like an awfully motley crew, but who are we to dispute the findings of a kinda-sorta Stanford scholar?
President Bush has always been concerned about global warming -- you knew that, right? On February 7, following the release of a big new UN report on climate change, two White House flunkies, Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Marburger and Council on Environmental Quality Chair James Connaugton, released a letter making just this claim. "[C]limate change has been a top priority since the President's first year in office," they wrote. "Beginning in June 2001, President Bush has consistently acknowledged climate change is occurring and humans are contributing to the problem." As Prospect senior correspondent Chris Mooney pointed out on his blog, the evidence offered up by the two amounted to a few comically cherry-picked quotes misconstruing the intended meaning of Bush's words. Bush was saying as recently as June that "there is a debate over whether [global warming]'s manmade or naturally caused." The debate over Bush's views on global warming was surely resolved a long time ago.
Meanwhile, if even the president is now trying to rewrite his own history on global warming, we take it that America's elites have basically gotten the message on the issue. But just in case they haven't: The rising temperatures in California are threatening the wineries of Napa Valley. Currently, the average temperature in Napa is 64. Even a one degree rise would doom its chardonnay, according to a report in insidebayarea.com. A degree or two more might wipe out the merlot, syrah, and (gasp) cabernet, though the zinfandel apparently could handle the heat. And as Napa goes, so, for all we know, goes France. Hence, the wine-lovers' battle cry: If you want your café standards, raise those CAFE standards.
Dinesh D'Souza -- Beyond Parody?
Find out by taking our quiz! Below are seven real quotes from his new tome, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, along with three fake ones. Whoever can spot all three ringers gets a fellowship at the Hoover Institution.
1."Islamic radicals like bin Laden, who once considered ‘America' the enemy, have come to recognize the left as a crucial ally."
2. "The left wants America to be a shining beacon of global depravity, a kind of Gomorrah on a Hill."
3. "To paraphrase the Beatles, Islamic terrorists get by with a little help from their left-wing friends."
4. "The left is serving as bin Laden's public relations team in America."
5. "The United States is no longer united; one side seems dedicated not to defeating the Islamic
radicals but to defeating the United States."
6. "If you want to understand liberal family values, a good place to start is the Abu Ghraib scandal."
7. "Americans may find it hard to see the connection between our no-fault divorce laws and our vulnerability to terrorism, but it is hardly lost on the terrorists themselves."
8. "Undoubtedly torture can be misused, but then the criticism should focus on those misuses."
9. "On the enemy's side, if bin Laden can be considered the commander in chief and Zawahiri the secretary of defense, Michael Moore could
surely qualify as press secretary."
10. "In short, the left is the domestic insurgency that provides a counterpart to the Iraq insurgency. It is at least as dangerous as any of bin Laden's sleeper cells."
(ANSWERS: 3, 7, 9)
Any noticeable changes in hill life since the Dems took over?
"After 12 long years of feeling like the Maytag repairman, I can finally legislate on behalf of working families through-out America."
--Rep. Pete Stark, (D-CA)
"Our nation's first female House Speaker, a Democratic majority, more women in leadership positions—it's all noticeable."
--Rep. Loretta Sanchez, (D-CA)
"We could finally pass legislation to take the spotted owl off the Senate cafeteria menu."
--Sen. Ron Wyden, (D-OR)