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Bloviating Zeppelin: June 2004

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Friday, June 25, 2004

A Series of Thoughts: A Blog, A Veep

As a total neophyte to my blogging host ., I'm still attempting to discern how to "make things go," so to speak. I noted this with the very first post but thought: oh well, I just must not have hit the right keys for a hard return. My very first comment did not post with any spaces between paragraphs.

My second post, however, was much, much longer than the first and, upon its first publishing, appeared to be nothing more than one horrendous run-on sentence. Even my family avoided it (and hey, don't we write to family first, in order to proclaim: look, here I am, on the World Wide Web!) -- and rightly so. It was, shall we say, visually ucky. A hint for newbies: go back to the tab under "Settings," click the "Formatting" tab and then under "Convert Line Breaks" click on "yes." What you originally saw under POSTING will now miraculously appear on the final post. Voila!

Some "convservative" or "right wing" pundits and radio hosts have called Democratic candidate John Kerry "John F-Bomb Kerry" for his public usage of the f-word in a Rolling Stone magazine article in late 2003 where he was quoted as saying "I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything'? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f - - - it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did," Kerry told Rolling Stone.

In a WorldNetDaily article dated 12-06-2003, "Stephen Hess, a Brookings Institution presidential scholar, says he can't recall another candidate attacking a president by using foul language in a public interview, according to the New York Post.

" 'It's so unnecessary," Hess told the paper. 'In a way it's a kind of pandering [by Kerry] to a group he sees as hip . . . I think John Kerry is going to regret saying this.' "

Go back to Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004, and Vice President Dick Cheney's f-bomb comment to admittedly dopey Vermont Democratic US Senator Patrick Leahy during a heated exchange on the Senate floor, while awaiting a group senatorial photo out of session. In a terse discussion between the two that touched on politics, religion and money, Cheney told Leahy to "f--- off" or "go f--- yourself." The comment was in response to Leahy's personal attack on Cheney with regard to Halliburton.

"I think he was just having a bad day," Leahy was quoted as saying on CNN, which first reported the incident. "I was kind of shocked to hear that kind of language on the floor."

Now fast forward to Fox News' Friday, June 25th interview by Neil Cavuto of Mr. Cheney:

Neil Cavuto: "What happened?"

VP Dick Cheney: "You could say we had a little floor debate in the United States Senate."

NC: "I heard it was more than a debate."

VP: "Well, it was, I expressed myself rather forcefully. Felt better after I had done it."

NC: "Alright. Did you use the "F" word?"

VP: "Ahhh, that's not the kind of language I usually use."

NC: "The reports were that you did."

VP: "That's not the kind of language that I ordinarily use."

NC: "So what did you tell him?"

VP: "I, ah, I expressed my, ah, dissatisfaction with Senator Leahy."

NC: "Over his comments about you and Halliburton?"

VP: "No. It was partly that, it was partly also it had to do with, ahh, he is the kind of individual who will make those kinds of charges and then come act as though he's your best friend, and I expressed in no uncertain terms my views of his conduct, and walked away."

NC: "Did you curse at him?"

VP: "Probably." (laughter by the VP)

NC: "Do you have any regrets?"

VP: "No. I said it. And I..."

NC: "So let me understand. He comes up and he sees you, says 'Mr. Vice President,' and he's a little nice, shakes your hand, and then what do you do, lit into him?

VP: "Ah. Expressed my unhappiness with the way he conducted himself. Part of the problem here is that instead of having this substantive debate over important policy issues, ah, he had challenged my integrity, and I didn't like that, but most of all I didn't like the fact that after he'd done so, then he wanted to act like, ah, now things are peaches and cream, and I informed him of my view of his conduct in no uncertain terms, and as I say, I felt better afterwards."

NC: "Alright. Now they say you broke decorum for normally a Senate or Congressional session. Technically, I guess, it wasn't in session."

VP: "No, we weren't in session. What we were doing was waiting to take our pictures, our official Senate photos, and I go up and sit in the chair as president of the Senate and preside."

NC: "What was the reaction from the crowdd?"

VP: (Vice President laughing) "I think a lot of my colleagues felt that, ah, what I said badly needed to be said. That it was long overdue."

NC: "Pretty feisty guy, aren't you?"

VP: "Well, I am usually calm, cool, and collected, and ordinarily I don't express myself in strong terms, but I thought it was appropriate here."

Okay. So it happened. But Republicans, gather this: don't typify one side of the aisle as an "F-Bomb" dropper then, as Hugh Hewitt did on his Friday, June 25th radio show, attempt to excuse the Veep of the same precise thing -- no matter the circumstances. It simply is a matter of fundamental fairness no matter which side of the aisle one represents. "Leahy has more hair," "Cheney has less hair," it's about "personal attacks," whatever. All immaterial.

If it's not good for the Dems, it's not good for the GOP -- and, after all, isn't it still all about some semblance of decorum and discussion, when all is said and done? Of course it is. Hugh: I feel badly. You've let me down, sir.

A slap on the wrist to Mr. Cheney and, likewise, to Hugh Hewitt for trying to excuse what he would normally lambaste coming from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Legacy That Won't Go Away

I, like many people, recently watched last Sunday's (June 20th) "60 Minutes" interview of former President Bill Clinton by Dan Rather. And after having watched the series of poofy softballs underhanded to Mr. Clinton (though Dan furrowed his brow a few times in order to appear the ever-serious journalist, and lowered his voice in a reverential fashion), I was reminded once again of Clinton's thirst for the spotlight, his overwhelming reliance on denial and megalomania -- oh gosh, did I offend? Rephrased for ill-educated WJC apologists not up on multisyllabic words: sense of "it's all about me." Of course, those lifestyle hedonists who believe "it's all about me" won't see the humor in this anyway. BABAGOI.

Whereas perhaps a few years ago I would have excoriated Mr. Clinton for the seemingly-odd timing of the release of his new book "My Life," on the apparently sagging polling numbers of Mr. John F. Kerry (JFK -- get it?), I now realize I really should "move on" about this man -- except: he won't let me do that. Just when I thought the right thing had been done -- we'd "moved on" from the Lewinsky and other sordid affairs -- boom. Back comes Bill with his face on the news, out with a book, unveiling a portrait, hitting the proverbial visual Softball Halls of Fame on major media and, oops, maybe having made a mistake on Auntie Beeb with his UK interviewer.

As the BBC News, UK edition indicated: "Mr Clinton reacted after presenter David Dimbleby asked him why he had an affair with Ms Lewinsky when he knew he was under investigation by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr for other matters.

"Wagging his finger and getting visibly agitated, Mr Clinton expressed anger at the media's behaviour.

"He said: "Let me just say this. One of the reasons he [Kenneth Starr] got away with it is because people like you only ask me the questions."

Ouch. But not really.

He hates the name Slick Willy, doesn't mind being called Bubba (according to the Rather interview) but, on the Oprah Winfrey show aired Tuesday, June 22nd, admitted the he did not expect to "get caught." He said the pressure to "get him" came out of the frustration of his adversaries with Whitewater. When asked by Oprah, "why didn't you tell the truth from the start?" there was a large pause. Large. Clinton said that he considered what he should do and thought about former President Grover Cleveland, who had a child out of wedlock. Except that the difference was: Cleveland didn't have someone trying to put him in jail. Ah, I get it now. It's all about Bill in his role as The Victim. "I was all alone again," Bill said on Oprah. "Just the way I had been as a little boy." Did anybody know (the full situation, the truth), did you tell anybody? Oprah asked. "No. Nobody. I was all alone. You know, before I got married to Hillary I was afraid that I'd spend my whole life alone. I was always afraid that I would never make a successful marriage because there was part of me that was just walled off to everybody else."

Mr. Clinton also said that "you can make all your judgments about me." But he was afraid that if he told the truth, "he'd [Starr] indict a lot of people and I'd be run from office and the bad guys would win."

The Bad Guys. Who would those Bad Guys be, Mr. Clinton? People who were asking you to tell the truth? I know: when the going gets tough, the tough get to lying. Gosh, you didn't think you'd get caught. And that's the Bitch Kitty of it all, isn't it? You simply got caught. I hate it when that happens.

Time perhaps for a current Clinton Reality Check (CRC). Let's look at some reviews of Mr. Clinton's new book, "My Life," from the clearly left-leaning New York Times and then the Associated Press. Michiko Kakutani of the Times wrote that the book, like his 1993 DNC speech, is "so long winded and tedious that the crowd cheered when he finally reached the words 'in closing. . .' " Kakutani typifies the book "as a mirror of Mr. Clinton's presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities. . ." She further describes the book as "sloppy, self-indulgent," (do ya think?) "and often eye-crossingly dull -- the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history."

"Legacy." I'm sorry, did I just write the word legacy?

Or the Associated Press "My Life" review: "The effect is mind-numbing. It's like being locked in a small room with a very gregarious man who insists on reading his entire appointment book, day by day, beginning in 1946." Or the summation of the review: "You dig and you dig. And in the end, it just isn't worth it."

This is going so poorly now, let's allow some facts to get in the way:

- 40 government officials were indicated or convicted in the wake of Watergate under Nixon;
- There was a total of 31 convictions for Iran-Contra and HUD scandal under Reagan;
- 47 individuals and businesses pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration. There were 61 indictments or misdemeanor charges. 14 persons were imprisoned.

Clinton was or had:
- The first president to establish a legal defense fund [and actually acquire persons to contribute];
- The first president to be accused of rape;
- The first president to be sued for sexual harassment;
- The largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case;
- The greatest number of witnesses against him to flee the country or refuse to testify;
- The greatest number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation;
- The first president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance, and, only one of two ever impeached.

Number of times persons (partial list: I don't have that much space!) testified in court or before Congress they didn't know, or didn't recall something:

- Hillary Clinton: 250
- Bill Kennedy: 116
- Jennifer O'Connor: 343
- Patsy Thomasson: 420

And, of course, Bill Clinton claimed he would have "the most ethical administration ever."

James Carville once said: "If they focus on Clinton's accomplishments it'll have to be a 10-year course." He also said: "You all will never get over the fact that Bill Clinton was the greatest president in the last 50 years. You'll never get over the fact that this guy in here [GW Bush] can't walk and chew gum at the same time."

Sigh. I repeat, at the risk of being repetitive (The Department of Redundancy Department): this is in fact the Legacy That Won't Go Away -- though not for lack of trying on my part.

It really is quite sad. I have no true animus towards Mr. Clinton. He is a lamentable and pathetic creature, plagued by his upbringing (I shall not even go into the paths created by divorce here) and inflated sense of self esteem and worth. A brilliant mind, yes. A wonderful manipulator, yes. But a legacy?

Here it is: here is Mr. Clinton's "Legacy:"

Semen stains on a dress. "I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Impeachment.

And, oh, Bill? Guess what? You only have yourself to thank for that.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The Original Bloviating Zeppelin Post

With appy-polly-loggies to the fabuloso Hugh Hewitt, here is the first in a, with luck, series of weblog posts to what I hope will become a much-viewed and referred-to site referencing politics on a series of local Sacramento, State of California and US national venues.

Or not.

In conjunction with these postings will likely be a concomitant awareness of Blog Building, Politics, Updating, Life, Disappointment, Music, Language, Hobbies, Motion Pictures and a sense of United States nationalism, sovereignty, perspective, rationality, logic and fact finding.

Am I a Democrat? A solid Republican? A wanna-be Libertarian? A Greenie? Independent? Someone pushing 300 pounds? AHA! I say -- perhaps therein lies the origin of the name!

Or not.

Who knows? But I say: let's take the journey together and see what shakes out from this fresh field of assembled political ramblings and digital saliva. And so, without further ado, please hand me my walker, my drool cup, let me assume the foetal position under my desk and allow me to promulgate decisive, judgmental and discriminating (adj., discerning, judicious) writings from the crests of various Sierra Nevada mountains.