Skip to comments.James Taranto and Mickey Kaus on Kudlow this afternoon discussing the meltdown of Dick Durbin
Posted on 06/18/2005 12:48:00 AM PDT by ambrose
Friday, June 17
James Taranto and Mickey Kaus on Kudlow this afternoon discussing the meltdown of Dick Durbin
My friend Larry Kudlow, on his CNBC show Kudlow & Company, held blogger court this afternoon with Mickey Kaus of Slate, and Wall Street/Opinion Journal's James Taranto. Here's the transcript from earlier this afternoon:
LK: Welcome back, everyone. You know, we always say that what happens in Washington matters to business, and to Wall Street, but has the president dropped the ball on two issues, tax reform, and is Congress giving up on social security? Those are big for the stock market. And why is it no one's putting up a huge fight when Gitmo was called a gulag, and the Patriot Act is being undermined? Who won the election in 2004 anyway? Have I forgotten something? Well joining me now to help revive my memory, we've got James Taranto, editor of Opinion Journal.com, and co-editor of Presidential Leadership, and our friend Mickey Kaus of Slate.com. Mickey, let me go to you first. Is there kind of a malaise in the Bush White House? Or is the president just lying low, and waiting to strike, and we're all misunderestimating him?
MK: I think there's a malaise. You're the first person I've heard use that word. I was waiting for it to show up. I blame social security reform. I think, and it's a mystery to me, why, after the elections in Iraq, when things start to look good, the polls and support for the war suddenly plummet. I don't understand it. The only explanation I can come up with is Bush's domestic agenda was so unpopular, and wasn't addressing the selfish concerns of the voters, that they said well, this Iraq thing is a distraction, and they didn't like Iraq, either. And I think if he drops social security, or back-burnered it, he'd find the Iraq numbers going up.
LK: Well, let's see. James Taranto, do you agree with Mickey? Now let me just add, as I did in our Political Marketplace segment, Al Hubbard is interviewed in the Financial Times, saying, they are not going to drop social security, and they're not looking for an exit strategy, nor are they going to drop tax reform, although the Washington Post reported that they are looking for an exit strategy on social security. How do you see it, James?
JT: Well, I don't know it they're looking for an exit strategy or not. It seems to me this is a long-term process of persuasion. I mean, social security for decades was the third rail of American politics. No one dared touch it. And so I think in that sense, they have made a lot of progress. On tax reform, I thought the story was that President Bush was heading up a commission that was going to report in some months. So that's being put off for now, but I think he intends to tackle it at some point. I would add also, that the president's current problems pose a danger for the Democrats. And that is, you know, we've seen recently a great disinhibition of the angry left base of the Democratic Party. They're just acting like lunatics. You've got all of Howard Dean's crazy comments. You've got Charley Rangle saying that liberating Iraq is as bad as the holocaust. You've got Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, likening American troops to Nazis. You've got yesterday, Representative John Conyers held a make-believe impeachment hearing on Iraq, and you know, I think...
LK: It's the loony left.
JT: It is the loony left.
LK: It's the loony left.
JT: It is the loony left, and I think what's happening is the media, by reporting on all these bad poll numbers for the president, has persuaded the left that the public is on their side, and that has liberated them, in their own minds, to behave like idiots. And I don't...
LK: Mickey, real fast. Twenty seconds until the break, and then we'll come back. Is James right? Or am I right? Is this the loony left? I mean, Howard Dean looked bad, but Durbin looks worse.
MK: I agree, and they're the best friend Bush has right now. I think you and James are right.
LK: Okay. There's an honest man, Mickey Kaus. I love it.
LK: Mickey...let me come back to you on this point, though. Cheney called Howard Dean over-the-top. Bush at a fundraiser said the Democrats were obstructionist, believing in the philosophy of the stop sign, and then yesterday the White House labeled Durbin's gulag stuff as reprehensible. Now that's pretty effective politics. My question, though, Mickey, is does that help the president get his agenda of taxes and social security and energy and judges and John Bolton through the Senate and the House?
MK: No. I think he's going to get Bolton, but what it does is it deflects attention from the Democrats' real issues. I mean Guantanamo is a real embarrassment, in a PR sense. And it's much more troubling than the Patriot Act, which it seems to me so far, a phony issue. The Iraq war, the Democrats have a legitimate point. I don't think the war is going nearly as badly as they say it is, but the public does. And they have an honest issue, and they just blow it when they let the president distract attention by saying that Durbin's an idiot, which he is.
LK: Well, I think Bush is going to give a speech to the nation on Iraq, and if he doesn't, I think he ought to. James Taranto, let me come back to you on these issues. Again, the stock market is really focusing, laser-like, on social security and tax reform. But let me shift. We're all worried about homeland security. I was very disappointed 34 Republicans voted with the librarians, and against the Patriot Act. What do you make of that? Where's that coming from?
JT: Well, it may just be grandstanding, and of course, this is the House version of the bill. The Senate will have its own version of the bill. Hopefully, that provision will be stripped in conference committee, when they get together to reconcile the versions. The...You know, this particular provision dealing with library and bookstore records have never actually been used, so it may be that it's more of a symbolic defeat for the president than of substantive...
LK: But it did come up in the rehashing in 2001, before the bombing, this came up when they were trying to track down some of these terrorists at the airplane flying schools in Arizona, if my memory serves me. By the way, it was 38 Republicans. James, let me ask you, this is a toss-up for both of you. Straw poll in South Carolina. Hillary, 45. John Edwards, 36. Governor Mark Warner, 35. And the late, great John Kerry, 4. James Taranto, who are you picking in that group?
JT: Well, I guess I'd have to say Hillary is the front-runner right now, assuming that she decides to run, which is likely but not certain. I'm surprised John Kerry did that well.
LK: Yea, I'm surprised he did that well, too. Mickey Kaus, we've got fifteen seconds. Quick comment? Hillary, front runner? Does this clinch the nomination?
MK: Not by a long shot. And that's a very good showing for Warner. I mean, it shows that the Democrats are looking for a Hillary alternative if they can find one.
LK: Democratic governors, too, like Richardson and Bredeson and Warner. They're going to be in the hunt. Mickey Kaus, James Taranto, thanks a million for coming on a Friday night.
End of interview.
I'm hoping Bush will address this. He needs to get out in front of this stuff, as Lincoln did against the Democrat Copperheads of his time.
"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged."
GWB has a terrific opportunity to take the Demos down a notch and IMO he needs to have a TEXAS RANGER moment!
Put a Durbin head on the Whitehouse fence! Yeaaaahhh, that's the ticket, he could make a couple pairs of Durbin boots too. Forget about any lowering of the partison DC screaming. Git yer 6 shooters and the Remingtons, saddle-up!
I hope the Republican Party in Illinois - which seems to be a shambles - can pull itself together and mount a credible candidate against Turban Durbin. There is no fundamental reason why the Land of Lincoln should be a blue state.
Republicans should point out that the police deptartment run by the same Chicago Democrat machine that put Durbin in the Senate has done far worse to suspected criminals than anything done at Gitmo and Abu Gharib by American service members.
Yes, from that laundry list of recent rants, you'd think the left had lost its collective mind. So far, the only democrat I've heard offer even the mildest rebuke of Durbin, was Jay Rockefeller, and all he said was, "I would have used different words".
Sean played the tape of a gutsy New York reporter who repeatedly asked Hillary what she thought of Durbin's remarks, but she refused to comment.
But what now? John McCain will have the entire hour on Sunday's Meet The Press. Will Russert even ask him about Durbin's comments?
Will Durbin's non-apology apology get him off the hook?
The talking points memo must have gone out to all card carrying liberals. Any of them who've been forced to comment on Durbin at all say variations of: "using the Nazi analogy is a bad thing".
I hope our guys keep up the attack on Durbin.
I hope someone reminds voters that Durbin's remarks expose the left's lack of understanding of the military, and their hatred for the military. For certain, his remarks explain why voters have never, and should never, trust liberals to run the military.
There is a little town called Chicago...
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