David Blaska, that super delegate of truth, welcomes you to Stately Blaska Manor. He would offer you some Courvoisier, but it seems young Ruben Mamoulian made his rounds early today.
A fawning admirer suggested to that doyenne of (what used to be called) the legitimate stage, Lynn Fontanne, that she and Alfred Lunt consented to do but one Hollywood movie (The Guardsman, 1931) because they could not be "bought." The child was soon set wise. "My dear, Lunt and Fontanne can be bought. We just cannot be bored."
Yes, we have a theme today and do visit Ten Chimneys.
I don't mind lying and stealing. Just don't pander me.
So, I am not terribly troubled by Barack Obama's cozy relationship with the Antoin Rezko, once his top fundraiser, now on trial for felony extortion and wire fraud. The Clintons' stalling over releasing their tax returns and whether it is tied to some finagled finances with regard to Bill's library seems like just so much déjà vu all over again. (If she does get elected, put extra patrols on Fort Marcy Park.)
But here is what scorches my toast: pandering for votes. Both Hillary and Barack have been caught pandering in full daylight. And the way to do that in rust belt Ohio is to blame NAFTA. Which is odd on Hillary's part, since she was co-president (to hear her tell it) when Billary enacted it.
Now, in fact, in the first 10 years of NAFTA, 15 million jobs were lost and 17 million created, according to Ben Bernanke's study conducted in 2004 when he was still a Federal Reserve governor. Only 2.5% of the lost jobs resulted from import competition, according to an opinion piece by Hudson Instituter Rod Hunter in Friday's Wall Street Journal.
No doubt that, had Hillary come along 100 years ago, she would have won the support of the farrier's union.
This NAFTA bashing caught Canada's attention, naturally enough, since it and Mexico are our principal partners in that trade agreement. Not to worry, Barack Obama's people told Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office. Just campaign rhetoric. Don't take it seriously. John Nichols in Friday's Progressive Dane newspaper says Hillary is just as guilty.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reported:
According to the memo obtained by The Associated Press, Mr. Obama's senior economic adviser told Canadian officials in Chicago that the debate over free trade in the Democratic presidential primary campaign was "political positioning" and that Mr. Obama was not really protectionist.
The memo says: "Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S. economic outlook, Mr. Goolsbee candidly acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in the Midwest, during the primary campaign.
It went on: "He cautioned that this messaging should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."
But Harper is denying that Hillary did the same, according to the Toronto newspaper. However...
The revelations about (Harper chief of staff Ian) Brodie's conversation with CTV have left a key unanswered question that holds some implications for the U.S. election.
Sources who overheard that conversation say he specifically mentioned that Canadian diplomats did get assurances from the Clinton camp -- and he never raised Mr. Obama's name.
Contrast that with John McCain, who famously told voters in Michigan's Republican primary that lost manufacturing jobs "aren't coming back." Dissing ethanol in Iowa. And decrying water boarding during the Republican debates when the likes of Mitt Romney were trying to out-tough Jack Nicholson's general in A Few Good Men.
John McCain has sacrificed for this country. With the Clintons, it's all about what you can do for them. Obama, maybe it really is all words without meaning.
Quotes of the day:
"I always thought of Hillary as the Ma Barker of the Clinton gang in those years (Bill's presidency). When the going got tough, when the Feds were closing in and the boys were whimpering in the corner, Ma would slap the fight back into them." -- Daniel Henninger in the March 7 Wall Street Journal
"Clinton can't compete on personality, but a knife fight is her only real hope of victory. She has nothing to lose because she never promised to purify America." -- David Brooks in the March 7 New York Times
The winter of my discontent
Wm. F. Buckley Jr. is dead. Brett Favre has retired. The stock market is down to its lowest point in a year. I drive in slot car tracks made of ice. It has been a long and lonely winter. And Robert Slottke, whom I have talked about on these electronic pages, has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 54 but he lives as an inspiration of courage under duress. He was determined to enjoy what he could of his life until it left him.
Similarly, but on a grander scale, I was struck by the many testimonials to the late Wm. F. Buckley extended by the young writers and struggling artists he befriended, mentored and championed. Imagine starting your own magazine at age 30. The National Review was an incubator of greatness.
Like his political godchild, Ronald Reagan, Buckley was the happy warrior. He brought an élan and brio to conservative thought, chased the loonies out of the conservative movement, defined it as internationalist rather than isolationist (what a volte face that liberalism would become economically and militarily isolationist), claimed God's proper place in the Public Square, put his faith in the individual rather than the collective, excommunicated Communism as an absolute evil, celebrated Western culture, spawned the intellectual renaissance of the Right that continues to this day. It is liberalism that is the force of reaction. The ideas are still with the conservative moment.
It's called joie de vivre
Has any athlete showed more pure, boyish joy in playing his game than Brett Favre? Perhaps no one since Babe Ruth. Throwing snowballs in his greatest game (the victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the conference semi-final), slap-fiving a surprised referee and hoisting not only the diminutive Donald Driver on his shoulders after a touchdown pass, but the very large Greg Jennings.
Oh, that everyone could enjoy what they do like Bill Buckley and Brett Favre!
I'll get my Brett Favre commemorative edition of Sports Illustrated like everyone else. But you may find it more difficult to find the Bill Buckley edition of The National Review. The best testimonial comes from the man who may have seen him last, a young pianist of Russian Jewish immigrant parents who recognized his debt to a great man:
I wrote to Bill at the age of 18 expressing my gratitude to him for having emboldened Soviet Jews to come to this great nation, and asking for the opportunity to express my gratitude to him by playing the piano. Now, here we were, 14 years later, toasting to all good things with vodka and red caviar. It was very special and soon our glasses were refilled.
As has mine, even at this writing and, I am certain, well into the future, by Brett, Wm. F., and Robert.