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[11/28/03 Friday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:20 am [link]
Thanksgivng in Iraq: President George W. Bush may not be the darling of the liberal elites, but much like Ronald Reagan, he is and will be for all time a President beloved by regular, ordinary Americans. His decision to spend Thanksgiving traveling back and forth to Iraq -- so that he could thank our troops personally -- says it all. The fact that he would bestir himself to participate in serving the troops their Thanksgiving meal (reports say that he carried a turkey and passed mashed potatoes) is symbolic, on many different levels, both secular and religious. In any case, it reflects what appears to be one of George W. Bush's personal credos: To lead is to serve. Yes, his visit to Iraq completely upstages Hillary Clinton's photo-op travel to Afghanistan and Iraq -- although that was not its purpose. And yes, some of the self-appointed elites, at the New York Times and elsewhere, will sniff at the secrecy with which the President's mission was carried out. But all of that is unimportant. What matters is that we have a President who was willing to spend Thanksgiving Day away from his family and his home, traveling to a distant land and running the risk of personal harm, all so that he could express his gratitude to those whose enormous sacrifices allow all of us to enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving surrounded by those we love. How richly blessed we are to live in the United States of America, with a president like George W. Bush. Like Ronald Reagan, he makes all people of good will proud to be Americans.

[11/27/03 Thursday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:55 am [link]
All of us at CRO wish you a blessed Thanksgiving day.

[11/26/03 Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 7:06 am [link]
A Mixed Blessing - The Medicare Bill: From a Democratic perspective, it's hard to figure out what all the fuss is about in terms of the substance of the new Medicare bill. With its prescription subsidy, the legislation is the first major new entitlement in almost 40 years. It contains massive increases in Medicare funding. And the provision that was supposed to add market competition into the mix has been marginalized -- it's now become nothing more than a pilot program in only six metropolitan regions that won't even go into effect until 2010 (assuming, of course, that a subsequent Congress doesn't eliminate that part while retaining all the other, costly provisions).

In the short run, of course, it's bad politics for the Dems -- after all, they're the only ones who are supposed to be doing anything for the seniors. And in the short run, it's good news for the President -- who can accuse him of not being compassionate when he's telling the Congress to hand out a big new prescription drug benefit to seniors?

But in the long run, Republicans had better be careful what they wish for -- they will NEVER be able to prove that they are more "compassionate" than Democrats, so long as they define "compassion" the old, liberal way -- as government spending. The Democrats are always going to be the ones who benefit from major new governmental expansions. And the Republicans, inevitably, are going to be faced with demagoguery should they ever try to get a handle on the new entitlement's spending -- which is expected to have cost overrun in a mere two years!

One can only hope that the Bush Administration has not purchased four more years at the price of bad legislation, and a long-term systemic disadvantage for the President's own party.

Might it, one must wonder, have been better just to LET the Democrats filibuster the bill in its original form (allowing some competition) and then just used that fact as a reason to call for a Senate with more Republicans? Sadly, we'll never know.

[Streetsweeper] 7:05 am [link]
Double Whammy: Contributor Hugh Hewitt has two columns out this week. In addition to Those Who Protect Us posted in CRO he has a piece at the Weekly Standard. At the Standard Hewitt tells us he's been doing some interesting parallel reading – a book on Churchill and one on Clinton – the contrast is sobering…


[11/25/03 Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:33 am [link]
Useless Debate: Every time a Democratic debate is on, it's good news for the Republicans. Their venom and lack of moral seriousness highlights the differences between the two parties better than any ad ever could. All the Democratic debates have included numerous low blows, but last night was extraordinary, in at least one particular: One of the candidates -- if memory serves, Wesley Clark -- actually accused the President of visiting the families of British casualties, but not the American families! How outrageous -- and how very, very silly. What's the implication -- that President Bush "cares" about British war dead, but not Americans? Of COURSE President Bush has been in touch with families of American casualties -- the difference between him and, say, President Clinton is that President Bush doubtless chooses to keep these contacts private, and refrains from using them as a media showcase for his "compassion." If such attacks are the best that the Democrats have to offer, they are finished already. No party can prosper when it has sunken to such a level of invective, nor should it.

[in the ebag - Scott Dillard] 6:14 am [link]
Illegals Driving Legally: It was brought to my attention by The Angry Clam a couple of days ago that citizens of Mexico, among other countries, may drive in the US using their valid Mexican driver's licenses. There is no reason for any citizen of Mexico to have a California driver's license to drive legally here. Even illegal aliens from Mexico may drive here using valid Mexican licenses. When it expires, the illegal alien may return to Mexico and have it renewed. This is another nail in the coffin for SB60. I would also hope that if a compromise is reached on allowing illegals to apply for California licenses, it will be part of the package that all information in the background check will be instantly accesible to the Department of Homeland Security.

[11/24/03 Monday]

[Streetsweeper] 7:05 am [link]
A New Sheriff’s in Town: Well, he's large and in charge and hit the ground running last week. I've got stuff in my Streetsweeper's Opinion Bin...
Dan Weintraub tells the tale of the head of the DMV who found out how fast the new Governor’s boom sweeps. An impatient Arnold wages 'shock and awe' on DMV... Steven Greenhut saw the week as The shortest honeymoon ever... and Dan Walters says it was a Terminator who hit Sacramento Schwarzenegger's governorship off to a very 'Rocky' beginning

[11/21/03 Friday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:45 am [link]
MJ: So What? Hewitt is on a tear. He’s wound up that our lovely media have jumped all over the MJ story and ignored President Bush’s magnificent Three Pillars speech AND WORSE have relegated yesterday’s bombings in Istanbul to a mere footnote. We fall all over ourselves staring at the pathetic car wreck of the King of Pop while our closest ally gets whacked for standing with us. Hmm. People must figure that they’ll catch the bombings on another day – there will be more... But Michael in handcuffs slinking into a Santa Barbara police station! Now that’s riveting!... Here’s how Hewitt closed out an early morning post:

Here's an early new Year's resolution: Read Little Green Footballs --every day, from top to bottom, before you go to bed, before you say your evening prayers.  Think of it as an antidote to America's stupid or perhaps cowardly media.  At least when the next big shock comes that these executives have to pay attention to  --attacks on our closest ally don't count, it seems-- you won't be surprised.

[11/20/03 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:58 am [link]
Across the Pond: The speech that President Bush delivered yesterday at Whitehall's banquet hall is destined for immortality. It showed a depth and a moral vision that puts the cynical pandering of the Democratic presidential candidates to shame, and once again proved that America has been blessed with a great president during troubled times.

On a lighter note, it seems clear that the Queen is very much enjoying having President Bush at Buckingham Palace -- the first time that any President since Woodrow Wilson has stayed there. Don't forget that President Bush and the Queen met about a decade ago at a White House dinner given by the President's parents. There, now-President George W. Bush reportedly told the Queen that his cowboy boots, specially made for the occasion, were emblazoned with "God save the Queen." She asked him if he were the "black sheep" of his family. He admitted that he was, and asked her who the black sheep in HER family were.

Quite a lot of cheek, as the Brits would say.

[11/19/03 Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 8:17 am [link]
More JurisImpudence - via Mass: A well-known canon of construction -- i.e. a system by which judges are guided in their interpretation of statutes -- holds that, insofar as possible, laws should be interpreted in such a way as to avoid raising constitutional questions. Analogously, it seems clear that courts should be interpreting laws in a way that, when possible, avoids the serious separation of powers issues implicated by the Massachusetts court's 4-judge ruling effectively requiring gay marriage within the state -- a decision that tells legislators what the law must (somehow) be written to say.

During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, the Supreme Court ruled that that the Cherokee Indian tribes formed a nation with clearly defined boundaries within which “the laws of Georgia can have no force.” Based on this ruling, the citizens of Georgia were prohibited from entering Cherokee territory. And responding to Justice Marshall's ruling Jackson said: "The Supreme Court has made its decision, now let them enforce it."

Like that incident in the 1830's, yesterday's decision and the impasse it threatens are profoundly dangerous moments for democracy. Overreaching by the judicial branch, like what we saw today in Massachusetts, does nothing but breed contempt for the courts and strain the system of separation of powers upon which the framework of American democracy rests. Whatever one's political views on the merits of gay marriage, everyone should be able to agree that any judge willing to wage such a wholesale attack on separation of powers concepts has no business sitting on the bench. Impeach all four of 'em.

[Doug Gamble] 6:33 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: It became obvious early in Arnold Schwarzenegger's run for the governor's office that his was a candidate-driven campaign of instincts. It was apparent in his decision to announce his candidacy on Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" and in his strategy of emphasizing personality over policy and appearing in just one debate, thus insuring maximum attention.

Possessing a strong sense of what he wants to do and how to get it done, Schwarzenegger campaigned from the gut, something unusual in today's consultant-driven politics. In this, he is similar to both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. I expect there were times during the campaign when Schwarzenegger was advised to do something a different way, but he went with his instincts and they proved to be right.

Governing will be more difficult than campaigning, but Schwarzenegger's approach should not change. He will undoubtedly be receiving a lot of advice. Mine would be to keep going with his gut, to keep following the basic instincts that have led him to the pinnacle of success in three different careers.

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:33 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor:
Journeys with George, the documentary filmed by Alexandra Pelosi (daughter of Nancy) as she traveled with the press corps covering George W. Bush's presidential campaign, contains a fascinating insight that will serve the new governor well.

At one part in the film, Pelosi is being shunned by the rest of the press corps, after having reported that virtually all of them had predicted a Gore win. President Bush takes her aside and tells her: "When they see me talking to you, they're gonna act like they're your friends again. But these people aren't your friends. They can say what they want about me, but at least I know who I am and who my friends are."

And that's a profound insight in a very simple package. To succeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger will have to remember who HE is, and who HIS friends are. That's the only way he can maintain a vision and cultivate the instincts that will allow him to prevail in the long run.

[Martha Montelongo - commentator, radio talk show host] 6:33 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: If I could give Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger advice to maximize his administration's chances of success, I would encourage him to keep his optimistic and idealistic way about him, as he delivers on his mandate to turn California's economic and business climate around.

To know that we are honored by the high level of respect for our hard work and entrepreneurship and the expectations he holds of us and the possibility he sees in us, as individuals, and that we will rise to the occasion for the challenges we face, as he leads the charge.

The psychology of the public is a powerful influence in the market place and on the economy. He stepped up to the plate to lead us with optimism, when we were looking down the dark abyss of our State's spiraling dire state of affairs while the politicians who were in charge remained smug, bickering, shrugging their shoulders, pointing fingers at each other and cynically asking us to accept that there was little to be done about it other than to accept more of the same, and to pay more in taxes for less in prospects.

He inspired us with confidence, and his vision of California as a possibility for the renewal of our innovation, our economic, financial and scholastic greatness once again.

That he guard his principles. In Sacramento, the land of politicians, it is easy to forget from where wealth doth spring forth. That he remember the very real, tried and proven effects of lower taxes, how they unleash and un-harness our entrepreneurial spirit and creativity like no government program ever can or ever will. That in the not so long run, versus a quick fix, lowering the cost of doing business and living in California, will produce a multi-fold of growth in revenues to the State coffers incomprehensible to zero sum thinkers.

That growth will be exponential, will shrink the deficit, lead us out of the red, into the black, and will engender a contagious experience of trust, confidence, respect and good will.

That he continue to be a champion for the children. My dear friend, the late Mario Chacon used to say, "If only the children had a union of their own." I would urge our Governor to please continue to be their champion advocate, and to use the bully pulpit.

When the majority of our high school seniors who are in public school cannot pass a high school exit exam that measures for 8th grade reading and math abilities, what promise waits for these children who we allow to be cheated of their opportunity to be prepared for the marketplace upon their entry into adulthood?

Our children are our greatest resource for our future. We owe them the real opportunity to be prepared and empowered with marketable skills in addition to their unleashed, nurtured creativity and innovation.

We spend 45 % of our budget on Education. Real reforms in education with substantive accountability, not more spending in education, are what the children need. Results need to be the bottom line. Parents need to be entrusted with choices so that they become active consumers in our most precious commodity, the raising and development of our young.

That he remembers that he asked us to believe in him to bring integrity to the office. He is not for sale. We will honor him for his honor.

That he know that we are grateful for his pledge and service and that we wish him well. In my family we would say to him, Que Dios te guarde, Gracias, y Salud! (God be with you, thank you, and Cheers!)

[Ken Masugi - Director Center for Local Government Claremont Institute] 6:33 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: Understand Progressivism, and how it differs from the principles of the
American Founding, which he referred to in his inaugural address. See my blog post...

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:24 am [link]
The Big Chill: The demand letter sent on behalf of Infotel to Bear Flag League blogger Justene Adamec obviously has deep significance for the future of interactive sites. The question comes down to this: Is the proprietor of a web site like Justene's more like the owner of a television network, or the holder of a bullhorn? If it is the former, that would suggest that there is some responsibility to prevent posts that implicate privacy rights, libel statutes, etc. etc..

If it's the latter, then what Infotel is doing is analogous to this: Threatening to sue the owner of a bullhorn because some thug walked by and yelled something actionable into it (assuming, of course, that the language Infotel's lawyer is objecting to is actionable -- a stretch in itself).

Yes, we could have a world where the only people who can have web sites allowing for reader commentary are the ones who have 24/7 (or a paid staff) available to "edit" the comments coming in. What a waste. Television has traditionally been held to a higher standard because of the limited space on the television spectrum. And newspapers hold themselves out as presenting the edited work of professional journalists (although reading Robert Scheer's screeds in the LA Times raises doubt on both points).

Web sites there for the taking; and the comments they contain -- at least, when they are specifically designated as reader comments -- do not pretend to be anything but what they are . . . the unedited opinions of the people posting them. And one need not agree with them to believe that even the cranks have a "right" to post, so long as they are not otherwise violating applicable law (i.e. no death threats, outright libel, etc. etc.).

If Infotel lawyers have a problem with the content a reader has posted on Justene's site, it seems to me that they should be suing the poster -- not Justene. But that would negate the underlying purpose of the threatened lawsuit -- to chill the robust criticism of its clients. [Fyi - Xrlq is keeping this issue on the front burner]

[11/18/03 Tuesday]

[Brian Janiskee -Cal. State, San Bernardino & Claremont Institute] 8:52 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: Keep your promise. Do not raise taxes.

[Matt Klink - CRO contributor & political consultant] 7:55 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: My advice to Gov. Schwarzenegger is simple. Act quickly. Don't get bogged down in the morass that is Sacramento politics. Gov. Schwarzenegger has a mandate from the California electorate to change "business as usual" in Sacramento. But, he must act and do so now! Already, we're hearing Democrats offer "advice" to the governor about replacing revenue lost by yesterday's repeal the car tax, feeble attempts to salvage some sort of "compromise" on Davis' pander to Latino voters (SB 60, granting illegal aliens drivers licenses) and general Democratic grumblings about wanting to work with the governor but only going "so far." In short, if Gov. Schwarzenegger follows the status quo, "go along to get along" suggestions of Legislature Democrats, only the body not the leadership will have changed in Sacramento. Gov. Schwarzenegger must be bold. He must be decisive. He must move quickly before Legislative Democrats unite to stop any reform. And, when the Dems do unite, Arnold must not be afraid to make his case directly to all Californians.

[Patterico - CRO contributor & blogger Patterico's Pontifications] 7:55 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger is now our Governor. If I could give Governor Schwarzenegger any advice on how best to succeed, I would tell him:

* Keep state money flowing to the local governments for basic local services like police and fire departments. If you don't, the backlash will be broad and fierce.
* Don't let your success be defined by things you can't control -- such as whether you can work with the Democratic majority in the Legislature. President Bush made this mistake when he promised to "change the tone" in Washington. He reached out to your uncle Teddy on several issues. Now Teddy Kennedy is saying that the justification for the Iraq war was a "fraud" that was "made up in Texas." You can't control the pit of Democratic vipers in Sacramento. Go above their heads to the people.
* You ran on an image of leadership. Live up to that image. There are tough choices to make. Don't dodge these difficult decisions. Make them, and justify them to the people. This will not be easy. You must show strength and determination. If you do this, the people will follow.

[Ben Boychuk - Managing Editor The Claremont Review of Books Claremont Institute] 7:55 am [link]
Q&A - Advice to the new Governor: Terminate bureaucrats with extreme prejudice.

[Nicholas X. Winter] 7:55 am [link]
Q&A: We asked our CRO Q&A panel the following question:
If you could give Arnold Schwarzenegger any advice to maximize his administration's chances of success, what would you tell him?

We’ll be posting the answers over the next couple of days as they come in, but first out of the box was Ben Boychuk, Managing Editor, Claremont Review of Books:

“Terminate bureaucrats with extreme prejudice.”

And Patterico and Matt Klink were hot on the trail...

[11/17/03 Monday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:47 am [link]
JurisImpudence: Just two weeks after one leaked memo revealed the stench of partisanship coming from the left on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, yet another memorandum -- a Judiciary Committee staff strategy memo from 2001-02, when Democrats controlled the committee -- has been leaked to the Wall Street Journal. (By the way -- why aren't any of the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalists from the New York and Los Angeles Times finding, or writing about, any of this stuff?)

The memo proves conclusively what everyone has known all along -- that much of the Democratic recalcitrance on selected judicial nominees is merely an act of obedience to activist groups including People for the American Way, National Abortion Rights Action League and the NAACP. One juicy quote from the memo: "They [the activist groups] also identified Miguel Estrada as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail [and] he is Latino . . .."

Looks like there may be some racists there on the left. Targeting a nominee on account of his ethnicity is pure racism -- nothing more, nothing less. Adding his two cents, Teddy Kennedy pronounced the nominees -- including Texas Justice Priscilla Owen, California Justice Janice Rogers Brown, and California judge Carolyn Kuhl -- to be "Neanderthals." Highly ironic -- coming from the Sage of Chappaquiddick, known in more recent years for allegedly molesting a waitress at a Capitol Hill restaurant and allegedly showing up at a costume party dressed as something he called a "Tyrannosaurus sex"!

What a disgrace to have the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee of the "world's greatest deliberative body" conclusively revealed as nothing more than the handmaidens of left-wing special interest groups. Wonder what the "elite media" would have to say if committee Republicans had been found taking orders from, say, the Christian Coalition???

[11/14/03 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:45 am [link]
Slowly Melting Down: One has to wonder about California Democrats' sense. How stupid do they think we are? Attorney General Bill Lockyer leads a charge against Arnold Schwarzenegger for his alleged sexual improprieties -- knowing all the time that he himself has made crass, improper and unwelcome advances in the past. Did he think no one would find out, remember, or note the hypocrisy?

And then there's the inimitable Barbara Boxer. Hugh Hewitt was playing priceless clips of her tirade on the floor of the U.S. Senate, as she was busy trying to sully the reputation of both a better and a more intelligent woman -- Judge Carolyn Kuehl. Apparently, in Barbara Boxer's world, a vote to confirm this most capable judge for a seat on the Ninth Circuit would constitute an affront to those who suffer from breast cancer (it's a waste of time even to present the tortured logic that theoretically underlies this ridiculous proposition). Barbara Boxer continued to whine that she had to "stand up" for the victims . . .. Thankfully, I have not suffered from the affliction of breast cancer, but on behalf of all right-thinking women and Kuehl supporters throughout the state, I say: "Sit down, Senator. You're an embarrassment." Just listening to clips of Barbara Boxer on the Senate floor convinces me that that I'd rather have my head set on fire and put out with a sledgehammer than listen to an entire speech by this small-minded and small-souled woman.

[11/12/03 Wednesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:45 am [link]
A Fresh Wind: Proving that there is a bright side to even the bleakest situations, the pending installation of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the existence of California's budget deficit may be prompting some to take a second look at bloated expenditures. Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that LA's schools' chief operating officer has ordered staff members to reduce unnecessary spending on conferences and staff development meetings, which were costing the district $20 million last year. Of course, some government spending addicts will start to moan at the thought of the budget being balanced at the expense of "the children" and their teachers. But by the end of the story, one learned that some training sessions had been taking place at the Wilshire Hotel -- when a district board room would do, or when expenses could be minimized by training smaller groups. Samuel Johnson once noted that the prospect of hanging "concentrates the mind wonderfully." Apparently, the election of a new, fiscally conservative governor, coupled with gaping budget deficits, can have the same salutary effect.

[11/11/03 Tuesday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:55 am [link]
1-800-HeGrope: Is is just me or has our Attorney General gone off the ledge? In the Times...”Lockyer told San Francisco radio station KGO that he had heard — not first-hand — of another alleged incident within the last year, and he suggested setting up an 800 number for women to report accusations against the incoming governor.” Gee, do we think the switchboard will be able to handle all the calls?

[11/10/03 Monday]

[Doug Gamble] 9:33 am [link]
GropeGate: Although I did not vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger, I support him as a Republican, trust he will be a great governor and hope he beats back his Democratic challenger in 2006, whoever that might be. But he has got to put this "groping of women" matter behind him once and for all.

One way not to do it is to hire his own private investigators to look into the charges made by various women. Let's be honest; if a Democratic governor of California investigated himself there would be justifiable howls of outrage and scorn from Republicans. Any investigation of whether Schwarzenegger is or is not a serial groper not only has to be fair, it has to be seen to be fair. So forget an investigation paid for by Schwarzenegger himself, the results of which would be doubted by many if he is exonerated. That would only keep the story alive.

I don't know what's going on in the mind of Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who hinted last week that he knows of Schwarzenegger giving unwanted attention to a woman within the past year, but the governor-elect should go to Lockyer and say, in effect, "Put up or shut up." If Lockyer thinks a crime has been committed then let him launch an investigation as the state's chief law enforcement officer, or let him tell what he knows to an appropriate police department so it can investigate. If not, he should drop the whole thing. Although Lockyer supposedly told Schwarzenegger in private that the groping issue would not go away, the fact is it had gone away until Lockyer revived it.

Schwarzenegger has already apologized for inappropriate behavior in the past, and the statute of limitations on those incidents has expired. Unless charges are brought against him in the matter suggested by Lockyer last week, Schwarzenegger and his people should have nothing more to say about the accusations. Since indications are that most of the people of California want the groping question to die, please lower it into a grave and throw dirt on it.

[11/8/03 Saturday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:18 am [link]
CBS Dumping The Reagans: Many distinguished commentators, including Hugh Hewitt and Bruce Thornton, seem either indifferent about or actually opposed to CBS' decision to move The Reagans to Showtime. Hugh Hewitt stated on his web site that "President Reagan would just laugh at the left and its latest attempt to diminish his legacy," and just didn't seem exercised at all about CBS' attempted hatchet job. And maybe he is right. Bruce Thornton seems to believe that by insisting that the CBS movie be withdrawn, conservatives are acting like the censorious liberals that are the bane of so many college campuses.

Bruce Thornton's analysis is, as usual, a good one; likewise, it pains me to disagree with Hugh Hewitt, so great is my respect for his intellect and true goodness. But disagree with them I do. To me, it was perfectly justified for conservatives to raise the roof about this matter -- and demand that the movie, which was being represented as a truthful historical depiction, actually make some attempt at presenting the truth, or else be withdrawn. Unlike the liberals who cannot stand challenges to their own chosen policies, I invite any liberal to take on President Reagan -- the liberal will lose. But it should be a fair fight -- not one where fictional words are created in order to propagate a deliberate distortion of President Reagan's character, beliefs and nature.

Yes, we could have waited for the movie to air and then complained. But by then, the damage is done. Having anything aired on television gives it at least a veneer of legitimacy -- and millions of people would have seen a shameful piece of left-wing propaganda, and at least some (particularly the young or the forgetful) would assume it was the truth. What conservatives did was nothing more than launch a preemptive strike on a cruel smattering of lies and distortions, designed to put an ailing President Reagan and his wife in the worst possible light -- and to marginalize many of the same conservative principles that are held by our current president.

By withdrawing the piece, CBS in effect conceded that the portrait that was emerging of President Reagan, as depicted by James Brolin, was NOT the truth. Yes, perhaps there will be a chilling effect; maybe liberals will think twice before they try to produce a piece of propaganda that must resort to fiction -- but is presented as "truth" -- in order to attack conservatives, Christians or any other class that is disfavored by the media elite.

But I don't think that's a bad thing. The creators of whatever's left of our common culture have a responsibility. If they want to make up a liberal "Superman" president and neanderthal conservative legislators, they are free to do so -- watch, e.g., the West Wing (I don't, anymore). That's fiction, everyone knows it's fiction, and that's perfectly fair (although tedious).

I remember being in high school when The Day After was released in 1983 -- a TV movie that depicted the aftermath of a nuclear explosion in the U.S. It was nothing more than a sermon in favor of nuclear disarmament -- and in the school newspaper at the time, I wrote that the network broadcasting that screed shouldn't be wrapping political propaganda in the guise of "non-political entertainment." The situation with the Reagans is analogous (and even more egregious, since it was actually claiming to be "history"). Got a point to make? Go for it -- but those who set forth a piece of propaganda with an implicit assertion that it is the truth have an obligation to make sure that it's as accurate as it can possibly be. And if they can't win the argument on its merits -- whether about Ronald Reagan or nuclear disarmament -- they shouldn't be slimy enough to fictionalize everything so that the facts are suddenly in their favor. But maybe they sense that it's the only way they can win.

[11/7/03 Friday]

[Nicholas X. Winter] 6:55 am [link]
Stirling Runs: CRO columnist Larry Stirling [a former judge and state senator] is heading back into the public arenea... Here's a statement we got from Larry in the e-bag...

Citing a need to help newly elected Governor Arnold Swartzenegger reform the State of California in the best interest of all of its citizens, long-time San Diegan Larry Stirling filed a notice of intent to seek the 39th Senate District seat being vacated by Dede Alpert.

The 39th District encompasses large parts of the City of San Diego, and the City of Coronado.

Stirling pointed out that until the recall of Governor Davis and the election of Governor Swartzenegger, the Democrat party controlled both houses of the legislature and every constitutional officer.

“There is no doubt” said Stirling, “what continuation of one-party domination of California will bring about, complete financial ruin of the State to the detriment of our schools and other important public services.”

“If you care about our kids and our future, it is time to giver Governor Swartzenegger the support he needs to bring about a major reform in the way the California”

[11/6/03 Thursday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 6:18 am [link]
Conservative Tide: It's interesting to read the (limited) reporting on the gubernatorial elections in Kentucky and Mississippi, where Republicans took seats previously held by Democrats. Prudence dictates against using these results to draw sweeping conclusions about 2004 -- remember when the Democrats crowed about winning in New Jersey and Virginia in 2001, a year before their sweeping defeats in the 2002 congressional elections?

Even so, there is reason for optimism. In both Kentucky and Mississippi, the Democrats worked hard to "tie" the Republican candidates to President Bush and the "Bush economy." They may well have been successful in doing so -- but being linked to President Bush didn't hurt these candidates the way that being linked to, say, President Clinton used to hurt Democrats. And it should be noted that in the past year, five Democratic gubernatorial seats in the south have switched to Republicans -- in South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama in 2002, and now Kentucky and Mississippi. And that's not even counting our little recall election out here.

That's why Howard Dean is making a ham-handed attempt to woo the southerners with the "Confederate flags on their pick-up trucks." Democrats know they have a BIG problem in the South -- they just seem powerless to fix it. We hope.

[11/5/03 Wednesday]

[Doug Gamble] 5:33 am [link]
CBS Whacked: With CBS' cancellation of its outrageous smear on the Reagans, the Hollywood left has just taken a huge hit in the culture war. The fact that public indignation could actually force a major television network to scrap a long-planned miniseries scheduled for airing during sweeps week is not to be underestimated. In fact, it may mark a turning point in the leftist media's efforts to portray conservatives as ignorant monsters, both in news programs and entertainment venues.

But whether it does or not, cancellation of "The Reagans" from the CBS schedule and shifting it to the Showtime graveyard demonstrates what can happen when "We the people" determine that enough is enough. Congratulations to everyone who participated in keeping CBS' lies about the Reagans from reaching 106-million homes. Much to the shock of Barbra Streisand and her husband James (Mr. Streisand) Brolin, we won one more for the Gipper!

[11/4/03 Tuesday]

[Carol Platt Liebau] 5:54 am [link]
Gray in Chief: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Gray Davis hasn't ruled out running for office again in the future. Not to be snippy -- but why don't they tell us something that we don't know already? Even from his behavior on Election Night, it was clear that Davis will not relinquish his ambitions and his attachment to the government trough very easily. At the risk of piling on, it must be noted that his behavior since being recalled has been gracious -- sad to say, uncharacteristically gracious. That's because Davis intends to leave office, count on nostalgia and ongoing problems in the state to create a rosy glow around the memory of his tenure, and then try to prove that -- contrary to what F. Scott Fitzgerald said -- there are indeed second acts in American life, riding back into office as the Comeback Kid II. As the old Saturday Night Live skits modeled on Arnold Schwarzenegger used to say: Hear me now and believe me later: Gray Davis still looks in the mirror and sees a U.S. President looking back. I think he's seriously deluded if he thinks he's ever going to hold major office again. But then again, who would have thought that Bill Clinton could lie under oath, engage in Oval Office sexual hijinks, be impeached and continue to enjoy high popularity ratings? After witnessing that debacle, we can never say "never." Then again, Gray Davis lacks Clinton's alleged charm and winning ways. He needs to learn to let go, and face the cold hard reality of life in the private sector.

[11/3/03 Monday]

[Doug Gamble] 6:03 am [link]
Maybe... During the gubernatorial recall campaign, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would not raise taxes unless there was some kind of emergency or disaster. President Bush last week issued a disaster designation in the wake of the tragic wildfires in southern California.

We won't know what Schwarzenegger really has in mind for the state and its taxpayers until after he takes office Nov. 17, and it's probably unfair to speculate. But having said that, are any other Tom McClintock voters thinking what I'm thinking?

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