Friday, December 16, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via islandconnections)

In: Jeff Zucker. Never bet against Kurt Andersen, who predicted -- against the prevailing conventional wisdom of the chattering classes -- that NBC's Jeff Zucker would get kicked upstairs. And he did.

Still, we are somewhat baffled as to how a man gets a promotion for declining primetime ratings (Can someone say: Joey?). Plus, what about all those reports of Zucker's immanent decline?

Whatever. According to Bill Carter of the Old Gray Lady:

"The implications of Mr. Zucker's promotion were clear: Mr. Wright and the G.E. chairman, Jeffrey R. Immelt, have designated him as NBC's second-in-command.

"Mr. Zucker, who had been on a different floor from Mr. Wright, will move his office to the 52nd floor of the NBC headquarters in Rockefeller Plaza, Mr. Wright's location.

"NBC's announcement yesterday did not address the implications. The announcement was couched in terms of a realignment of NBC's television management in anticipation of more rapid changes in how TV content is sold and distributed.

"When asked if the changes meant that Mr. Zucker was now positioned as his successor, Mr. Wright said jokingly, 'Absolutely; all he has to do is survive 2006, 2007 and so forth.' But he did not dispute the notion that the promotion put Mr. Zucker, who is 40, in line behind him."


(image via

Out: President Yoweri Museveni. President Museveni is the best President in Uganda's history; Museveni represents stability. He has brought the country from the brink of economic collapse (Courtesy of Idi Amin's pathological tyranny) to a culture of modest growth with expansive democractic reforms (A robust free press, elections, etc).

That is why we were quite astonished to hear that after promising that he wouldn't run again -- after 19 years in power -- Museveni has decided to do so.

The Wagnerian ring of power, alas, is difficult to slip off. According Reuters:

"The party of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni formally nominated him on Thursday to stand in 2006 elections, which the opposition says are already tainted by the jailing of his main rival.

"Last month's arrest of Kizza Besigye -- the biggest challenger to Museveni's 19 years in power -- has alarmed foreign donors and thrown Ugandan politics into turmoil ahead of polls due to be held in the east African state by mid-March.

"Wearing a dark suit, yellow tie and baseball cap, Museveni was cheered by fans as he walked with his wife and officials of the ruling Movement party into a stadium near the capital Kampala where electoral authorities received nominations.

"Once feted by the West and hailed as a new breed of African leader for his economic reforms and strides against HIV/AIDS, critics say Museveni is now showing traits of the continent's old-fashioned 'Big Men.'"


(image via WashingtonPost via AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

In: A Bush-McCain Alliance. The President's ceding of moral and ideological ground on the torture debate to Senator McCain suggests that, as The Corsair wrote a week or so ago, a McCain-Bush alliance is in the nascent stages. The President is, arguably, not as simple as he is made out to be in the Establishment Media. The alliance with Senator John McCain suggests an "Golden Gut" of political shrewdness. There is no doubt that post-Katrina, post-Murtha, post-quasi-lame duck, post- polling in the high 30s approval ratings, the President is aware -- with crystal clarity -- that his legacy will be Iraq.

That having been said, in his present battered political condition, there is no one better to carry on the Bush legacy than Senator John McCain.

Why? One, John McCain is a true believer in the Iraqi project. McCain supported the war, has supported the aftermath, supports, like Murtha, the troops, and he will follow up -- if elected President, with help from George Bush's base -- with protecting a unified Iraq as a central front in the global war on terror. This is precisely what The President wants to secure his legacy; no one else can guarantee it beeter than McCain.

Two, Senator John McCain is beloved by the media. It is not enough that one wants to be a wartime Winston Churchill sort of leader, that glorious boycrush of all politicans in the West. One must be, in addition to Churchillian, an effective communicator. The President may have made the calculation -- or, perhaps he spied the late night comedy shows -- that he is not an effective natural communicator. McCain is; he exudes the gravitas of High Politics. McCain would be the other half of the BushPresidency-Iraq equation, the piece that wins over, or at least wins favorable coverage, from the media elite.

Three: John McCain has paid his dues. The Republican Party is, eo ipso, a party of clear hierarchies (Can someone say: Dole?). The opaqueness surrounding the 2000 South Carolina primary notwithstanding, Senator McCain has stood loyally at the President's side, occasionally even planting a manly kiss at his cheek. McCain also reportedly turned down John Kerry's quixotic cross-party offer of Vice President, instead supporting Bush-Cheney.

Four: A Bush-McCain alliance, covering the right and the center, guarantees deep Democratic Party headaches in 2008. But it doesn't guarantee that Tom Tancredo cannot run to McCain's right, possibly as an independent -- Reform Party? -- and thus elect a Democrat President.


scory said...

I'm genuinely upset at Museveni's decision to run again. Museveni brought to Uganda a desparately needed leadership that appeared to have moved beyond the "big man" leadership that has plagued the political and social development of other post-colonial states. More than that, he has contributed to regional stability in substantive and demonstrable way.

Museveni need only look to Tanzania to see that political leadership in sub-Saharan Africa can be transferred by fair and free elections. His decision to support the rule of law and free and fair elections would benefit to the people of Uganda, far more than whatever personal gain he may achieve through holding on to the Presidency.

Having lived in Kenya in the late 80's I saw first hand the disruption of Amin and Obote in Uganda, and daily experienced the disruption that former President Moi brought to Kenya. I'm glad to see you still keep your eye on, and care for, East Africa!

I promise next time I'll post an appropriately snarky comment. said...

In my view one and all may read this.