June 16, 2015

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We have Paul Greenberg today because of this delightful quote he brings us from Tom Lehrer.


“When I was in college, there were certain words you couldn’t say in front of a girl. Now you can say them, but you can’t say ‘girl.’ “  –Tom Lehrer …


… Today, to quote Joseph Epstein in a recent issue of the Weekly Standard:

“Owing to the spread of victimhood, we have today a large aristocracy of the suffering, the put-upon and the unlucky. Blacks, gays, women, American Indians, Hispanics, the obese, Vietnam veterans, illegal immigrants, the handicapped, single parents, fast-food workers, the homeless, poets and anyone else able to establish underdog bona fides can now claim to be victims. Many years ago, I watched a show on television that invited us to consider the plight of unwed fathers. We are, it sometimes seems, a nation of victims.”

Victimhood is no longer something to be overcome but celebrated. And the can-do American spirit has become the can’t-do, which is not a good sign for any country.



Roger Simon says Hillary Clinton might be America’s most boring speaker. 

Forget that she lies incessantly and stands for virtually nothing that’s discernible other than her own self-interest, Hillary Clinton is one of the most boring public speakers extant.  I have heard better speeches at high school, maybe even grammar school, graduations than HRC gave in New York Saturday in the second — or is it the third — debut speech of her campaign.

It was problem after problem, cliché after cliché until you couldn’t listen anymore.  Needless to say, there wasn’t a fresh idea. No new solutions to these problems on offer, only generalities. (In case you didn’t know it, she’s for equal pay for women and supports people with disabilities.)  This was a generic speech out of the last twenty years.  I kept wondering who were these automatons waving their flags in the audience.  Maybe they were worried about the high cost of Ambien. Elect Hillary and we won’t need a sleeping pill ever again. …

… But best of all she nattered on about “secret unaccountable money that is distorting our elections.”  What a howler.  From the woman behind the Clinton Foundation?  Were we listening to Saturday Night Live or was it The Onion? …



Daily Beast also posted on Clinton’s relaunch.

… Clinton formally declared her candidacy for the Democratic nomination almost exactly a month ago, in April, with a 2:15 video. “Everyday Americans need a champion,” she said then. “And I wanna be that champion.”

Since that time, Clinton has not been heard from much as she has traveled around, talking to some voters and ignoring questions from the media and trying to seem as normal as possible despite being anything but. Saturday’s event was designed to highlight her champion-ness by contrasting her with the New Deal Democrat, whose Four Freedoms she has attempted to mimic with her own “Four Fights,” the economy, families, campaign finance and national security.

Saturday’s event, according according to The New York Times, was organized by a small group of Clinton insiders including Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide and the vice chair of her campaign and Jim Margolis, who helped orchestrate both inaugurations for President Obama.

The result felt borderline dystopian.

Roosevelt Island, transformed by architects in the 1930s to serve as a “living memorial,” looks like a cross between something out of Grand Theft Auto and a ghost town. It has a fake forest, and brutalist apartment complexes. Its abandoned insane asylum was turned into a luxury highrise.

Roosevelt Island’s Amalgamated Bank, owned by unions and serving unions, now sports a sign declaring it proud to be the bank of Hillary For America. …



Jonathan Tobin posts on HRC’s reintroduction.

… Like past attempts by politicians to re-imagine themselves (“new Nixon”), Hillary’s second start to her campaign was to a large degree a sleight of hand maneuver. Her problems stemmed from blows to her reputation from revelations about her bizarre use of private emails and the ethical questions that arose once the press began scrutinizing the Clinton Family Foundation. Clinton’s inability or unwillingness to candidly address these issues dovetailed with her refusal to speak to the press after she began her campaign to give her the impression of a woman trying to run for president in a bubble.

Clinton is supposed to start giving interviews to local press outlets this week while still shunning more aggressive national reporters. But the problem goes deeper than whether she’s dodging the press altogether as opposed to giving canned and evasive answers to questions. If Clinton’s trust and favorability ratings are under water, it’s not because she hasn’t given interviews. It’s because the public understands that she is a chameleon who will change her positions as often as she changes her accent. Her willingness to adopt a southern drawl in the south and then drop it when north of the Mason-Dixon line is one of the most obvious and shameless bits of pandering by a politician since Thomas Edison first recorded sound. But while that might be forgiven, the country has also noticed that Clinton has made a hard left turn on both foreign and domestic issues that gives the lie to her pose as a “fighter.”

The most obvious instance this past week was her steadfast refusal to take a stand one way or the other on the trade bill that failed in the House last Friday because rank and file Democrats opposed President Obama. Clinton had been on record supporting this concept throughout her time as secretary of state and before that in the Senate. But she stayed silent as Obama went down to a humiliating defeat and then said nothing about it the next day in her speech. …



Jennifer Rubin takes her turn. 

After a lackluster relaunch speech, Hillary Clinton continued to hide from the media, thereby leaving the stage to her less than capable flacks and her critics, including increasingly frustrated reporters and hostile pundits. The speech was nothing special (“It seemed to me to highlight some of her weaknesses as a campaigner; there was a rote quality to her speeches, a certain leaden quality, even the audience to me looked a little bit rote,” observed Peggy Noonan), but it was certainly better than what followed.

Karen Finney and John Podesta both stumbled as they tried to explain why Clinton could not say now precisely what her position on trade authority is. Jake Tapper cracked, “I had Karen Finney on the show yesterday, and I thought I was going to have an aneurysm trying to get a position from her.” In telling us Clinton needs to see the deal first, her aides are in essence saying she has no position of her own, no vision of what a trade deal should look like. Chris Wallace admonished Finney that Clinton didn’t need to know what was in the deal to take a position on trade authority. (“Karen, we’re not talking about the trade deal here. We’re talking about giving President Obama the same authority that President Clinton had on NAFTA so that when he finally does negotiate a deal, he can give it to Congress and they can either vote it up-or-down but they can’t amend it.”) Following Finney, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told Wallace, “That was one of the most painful interviews I think I have watched in a long time. I just — I can’t believe that — pick a position. I mean, I — that’s what leaders do.”

Nor could Finney explain why Clinton wasn’t a hypocrite for condemning hedge fund managers while taking a quarter of a million dollars in speaking fees. If her message on Saturday was raw meat for the liberal base, her biography can’t be forgotten. …

… It is telling that the son of one president and the brother of another is more accessible, more revealing and more direct than Hillary Clinton. In failing to even attempt to speak for herself and stand up to questioning, she repeated the cardinal sin that has defined her first few months as a candidate: She lacks the political courage and skill to expose herself and tell voters what she really thinks. You can’t run for president while running from your record, the voters and the media — especially if you have as many flaws as she does.