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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres








"The recent passing of the sterling former State Sen. Roy Goodman is a sad reminder of a lost breed of politician: the Rockefeller Republican. As hard as it may be to imagine today in a borough without a single Republican elected official, when I was growing up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the ’80s and ’90s, Rockefeller Republicans made up a significant percentage of my elected officials: sensible and noble leaders like Goodman, Assemblyman John Ravitz, City Councilman Andrew Eristoff and Congressman Bill Green. Rockefeller Republicans are sometimes mistakenly characterized these days as having been socially liberal and fiscally conservative. In actuality, however, they were relatively liberal from an economic standpoint, too, particularly in comparison with the overwhelming majority of their party’s members now. Yes, they championed Wall Street and big business—like all but a handful of Democrats on the national level in 2014, including the President—but they understood the virtues of the New Deal, and embraced the social safety net, though they wanted its programs to be administered more responsibly and efficiently. They also pushed for balanced budgets; however, they were not philosophically opposed to raising taxes when necessary to achieve this aim, rather than gutting important services. Beyond their approach to fiscal matters, they were generally advocates for good government reform, and strong supporters of affordable public higher education and infrastructure improvement. In regard to foreign policy, they were typically in favor of using America’s military might to promote and protect the country’s strategic and financial interests abroad. While I myself am not a Republican, I mourn the decline of this wing of the party, because it offered a genuinely palatable alternative to the one-party rule New York City has now." (City&State)





BRUCE BENNETT/GETTY IMAGES



"'Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,' writes Dick Cheney in the Wall Street Journal, suddenly atoning for the costly mistakes of the Bush administration he steered with Donald Rumsfeld and company. The op-ed, co-written by his daughter Liz, even laments the death of 'thousands of slaughtered Iraqis.' Oh? What’s that? Cheney’s speaking not about the ill-fated Iraq war he engineered, but of the more recent battles between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (I.S.I.S.) and the Iraqi government? And the president he refers to is not George W. Bush, but Barack Obama? The gall.The Cheneys are not alone. Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post tallied up the many war boosters 'who were largely discredited when it comes to Iraq' and who have again taken up the battle cry. Seen recently on your TV: Paul Bremer, Bush’s U.S. envoy to Iraq who disbanded the Iraqi army upon his arrival to the country; former deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol; former British prime minister Tony Blair; as well as Bush admin official Andrew Card. Even Judith Miller, the former New York Times writer who, as Calderone writes, 'has become synonymous with the media’s failure during the run-up to the war in 2002 and 2003,' put in an appearance on Fox News. The question of how America should respond to recent gains won, and atrocities committed, by insurgents in Iraq is a complicated one. The question of whether or not we should listen to the people who got it so horribly wrong a decade ago is not." (VF)


John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio are shown in this composite. | AP Photos
Given the vacuum from the libertarian wing, the hawks are driving the Iraq discussion. | AP Photos


"The GOP hawks are back. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio are dominating the congressional debate on how to respond to the growing crisis in Iraq, calling for airstrikes on insurgents and blistering the president’s policies on the Senate floor and in the media. Rubio is chastising President Barack Obama for rejecting the idea of putting boots on the ground while McCain is in such high demand among Senate Republicans that on Tuesday he briefed his colleagues — at their invitation — on his aggressive Iraq policy. As these Republican voices are rising in the Senate, there is less noise than usual from the party’s more libertarian wing, including possible 2016 presidential contenders Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Paul has said little about Iraq, except that airstrikes should be considered and that Obama should seek congressional approval for whatever course he considers. Cruz has said even less. Given the vacuum from the GOP’s libertarian wing, the hawks are driving the Iraq discussion." (Politico)








"Last night in New York: Christopher Buckley and Katy Close,George and Nanette Herrick, Calvin Tomkins and Dodie Kazanjian hosted a book signing reception for their friend, author Sylvia Jukes Morris whose second volume of her biography of Clare Boothe Luce has just been published. 'Price of Fame; the Honorable Clare Boothe Luce' (Random House) was preceded by 'Rage For Fame' – a phrase that she applied to herself in her youth. In other words, she wanted to be famous, big time.That animal (in rage for fame) is an endlessly curious creature to know, particularly when it is a woman, since she has more mountains to climb and battles to wage before acceptance. Clare Boothe was born in 1903 to the generation who were the children and grandchildren of the Suffragettes. This heritage provided the opportunity of taking advantage of the inroads her forebears created. She also had the wit and gumption to carry out her objectives. Her accomplishments on paper remain remarkable. Author, playwright, screenwriter, the first US woman ambassador, politician (Congress), and wife of two very rich men (never a small matter for an ambitious woman)." (NYSD)

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