Daily Archives: February 9, 2004

Fait Divers: Potpourri

Christopher Hitchens:

“I’m a single-issue person at present, and the single issue in case you are wondering is the tenacious and unapologetic defense of civilized societies against the intensifying menace of clerical barbarism.”

Which, if we’re to take him seriously, makes Snitch’s support of George W. Bush and Company a total mystery.

William Saletan:

“Why did Americans elect a president who thinks this way? Because they wanted a leader different from Bill Clinton. They liked some things about Clinton, but they were sick of his dishonesty in the Monica Lewinsky affair and his constant shifting in the political winds.”

Would someone point out to the befuddled gentleman that Al Gore, not Bill Clinton, ran against George W. Bush in the 2000 election? Moreover those “sick of his dishonesty in the Monica Lewinsky affair” were scuzzy Beltway whores like Sally Quinn, not actual everyday Americans like Pravda‘s readers.

Howie Kurtz’s Online chat with his readers:

Washington, D.C.: Mr. Bush insisted again yesterday that facts be put into proper “context.” So why doesn’t someone — anyone — in the media ever put the oft-asserted rationale that Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons in the past into “context” when Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, et al cite it as a reason for war. He used those weapons during the Reagan-Bush administration, which responded by sending Donald Rumsfeld to shake Hussein’s hand and assure him that he remained our ally against Iran. I know this has appeared in print at the Post and elsewhere, but no one, to my knowledge, ever mentions it to the president.

Howard Kurtz: As you say, it’s been in print a lot, but there aren’t that many opportunities to mention it to the president. He doesn’t do many interviews and doesn’t hold many news conferences.

A nice dodge. But then only a nanosecond later. . .

Baltimore, Md.: I was disapointed by Russert’s interview, as I felt he let the President skate on a number of issues and stonewall with “stump speech” type rhetoric. Yesterday’s interview represented the last time, in all liklihood, that the President will face questions in a forum that he doesn’t fully control. Particularly troublesome was the military service question; Russert should have asked him, point blank, to account for his service time with specific times, dates, assignments, etc., information which would be required of any political appointee as a requisite to employment. Generally, there was no “grilling” of the type that Russert has exhibited in the past, leading me to believe that he was perhaps intimidated by both the President and the surroundings. What is your take? Also, what type of ground rules do you believe were in place, and how did the intereview come about in the first place? Would this be a case where Rove simply called Russert and offered the intereview? Thanks

Howard Kurtz: The interview, as I reported last week, was suggested by Bush, and Communications Director Dan Bartlett called NBC, which was happy to oblige. I think if you look at the transcript you’ll see many instances in which Russert followed up, but by choosing to devote the first 33 minutes to Iraq and terrorism, he didn’t leave himself much time for sustained follow-up on domestic issues. By the way, Bush will probably have to do more interviews over the course of the year, and then there are the debates.

So which is it, Howie? “Doesn’t do many interviews” or “Bush will probably have to do more interviews over the course of the year, and then there are the debates” ? How many opportunities will Dubbya get to lie to us? And how will you spin it when he does?

And Speaking of Dubbya Lies —

there’s this whopper

President Bush believes states can use contract law to ensure some of the rights that gay partners are seeking through marriage or civil union, a South Carolina congressman said Sunday.
The subject of contracts and gay marriage came up while the lawmaker, Rep. Jim DeMint, was traveling with the president and the rest of the South Carolina Republican delegation on Air Force One last week. He described the conversation, first reported in the new issue of Time magazine, as politicians shooting the breeze rather than an in-depth policy discussion.

“Sorta-kinda-on-the-record-but-don’t-hold-me-to-it-we’re-just-trying-to- please-the-Log-Cabinettes-OK?”

Paraphrasing the president’s remarks, DeMint said: “He said he was not going to condemn anyone, that the need to have various types of agreement does not mean we need to redefine marriage. ‘If people want to have contracts on hospital visitation and benefits, that’s OK.’ ”
Responding to questions on Sunday about the Time article, Claire Buchan, a White House spokeswoman, said: “States, through their contract law, have the ability to address some of the issues that advocates of gay marriage are raising, such as hospital visitation rights and insurance benefits and the ability to pass on one’s estates to another. What the president has said is that he strongly believes in the sanctity of marriage, so that’s what he is saying.”
Buchan noted that civil contracts were available to heterosexual couples as well.
Recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, a Canadian court and the top court in Massachusetts have pushed the administration into a delicate balancing act.

Conservative groups are lobbying the White House to endorse a constitutional amendment defining marriage as something that can take place only between a man and a woman. At the same time, the White House wants to appear empathetic with gays who tell of hospitals forbidding them to visit partners on their deathbeds.

Isn’t that nice they’re so concerned about us once we’ve Bought the Farm ?

But not so fast. As anyone who survived the first onsluaght of the AIDS epidemic knows, such contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. A blood relative with a reasonably intelligent lawyer can break it like a breadstick, leaving the “longtime companion” out in the cold with nothing.

Only the contract that is Marriage really counts.

But we can’t have gays and lesbians encroaching on such “sanctity” can we?
No that’s for the likes of Neal Bush — a man who didn’t let “sanctity” get in the way of his contracting genital herpes from third world sex workers, as revealed in his (doubtless sanctified), divorce.

But we don’t want to shoot that breeze, do we?