Archive for the ‘The Campaign’ Category

Simon Jenkins on Party Politics, in the London Review of Books

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Perhaps because I’m not British, I found it difficult to follow Simon Jenkins’s review of The Cost of Democracy: Party Funding in Modern British Politics, by K D Ewing.  But the review wasn’t the important part. (“The Leader’s Cheerleaders,” London Review of Books, 20 September 2007). Mr Jenkins made his own views about party politics very clear, and it didn’t take long for my faint surprise to turn into ringing endorsement.

Simon Jenkins on Party Politics, in the London Review of Books.


Morning News: Where to Begin?

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

The Times is probably the same paper every day; it’s I who change. Most mornings, I can’t get the turnip to bleed; the very newsprint seems to be reverting to its aboriginal sawdust in my hands. This morning, however, is different.

¶ Sharing page A18 are stories about Fundamentalist Mormons and Liberal Episcopalians. Warren F Jefffs, son of the redoubtable Rulon, has been convicted as an accomplice to rape. All he did was arrange the marriage of a fourteen year-old girl to a cousin whom she didn’t care for. He wasn’t even in the room! But he wasn’t allowed to hide behind the fig-leaf of religious expression, either.

The prosecutor, Brock Belnap, said religion was not only irrelevant, but also a deliberate distraction that he said the defense was trying to inject to cloud jurors’ judgment. He said after the verdict that he expected an appeal.

As for the Episopalians, they seem prepared to bury their hatchets (if not very deeply) to repel the obnoxious intrusions of primarily Third-World brethren within the Worldwide Anglican Community.

Contrary to recent news reports that the conservatives were close to forming a unified new structure, Bishop Minns said there were no plans to announce the formation of a new Anglican body that would consolidate all the conservative groups that have broken with the Episcopal Church under one umbrella.

¶ Then, there’s the “What Can We Do About Protecting Our Kiddies From These Sociopathic Rap Lyrics” perennial. This would not be a particularly interesting story if it were not for the craven self-interested testimony of “industry” executives.

Under questioning, Mr. Bronfman and Doug Morris, chairman of the Universal Music Group, stood by the industry’s existing method of handling explicit content, including the voluntary labeling of graphic CDs with parental-advisory stickers. Though they defended the industry’s practices, Mr. Bronfman and Mr. Morris lamented that efforts to restrict young listeners’ access to explicit music had become futile amid the proliferation of copyrighted songs and videos online.

In other words, it’s the government’s fault for not granting the “industry” even more rapacious intgellectual-property rights than it already rather feudally enjoys.

¶ The only story with no sex oomph – and this is odd, considering the source, is Marc Santora’s “Candidates Battle the Slow Season for Fund-Raising.”

Mr. Giuliani seems to have outdone other campaigns with his effort in Kazakhstan, a country made famous, or infamous, by the movie “Borat,” starring the British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen. Though only Americans can contribute to presidential campaigns, Kazakhstan has many American oil and gas workers in addition to an office of the law firm where Mr. Giuliani was a partner, Bracewell & Giuliani of Houston.

He will appear in a videoconference, the campaign said.

His fund-raising there is raising eyebrows among human rights activists, primarily because President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been accused of being antidemocratic and abusing individual rights.

I’ll bet you anything that Mr Nazarbayev has an excellently-stocked humidor.

Morning News: The Reformed Roué

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

One begins to suspect that, if anyone can keep Rudy Giuliani out of the White House, it’s Times columnist Clyde Haberman. In today’s piece, “Call Him an Oddball if You Must, but Do Call,” Mr Haberman recounts the following extraordinary lapse in common sense – “extraordinary,” except that it has already happened once before on the campaign.

Non-New Yorkers got a taste of it the other day when Mr. Giuliani interrupted his speech — a very important speech — to the National Rifle Association in Washington. His cellphone rang. It was his wife, Judith. Smack in the middle of his talk, he whipped out the phone.

“Hello, dear,” he said in a syrupy voice. “I’m talking to the members of the N.R.A. right now. Would you like to say hello?” He listened, and laughed. “I love you, and I’ll give you a call as soon as I’m finished, O.K.?” he said. He listened a bit more. “O.K., have a safe trip. Bye-bye. Talk to you later, dear. I love you.”

Campaign aides said it was a spontaneous moment, with Mrs. Giuliani calling just before she boarded a plane.

Granted, lots of people call loved ones before a flight. But a presidential candidate doesn’t shut off his phone, and instead takes a call, in the middle of a major speech? The episode was so bizarrely cutesy-poo that more than a few people in the audience went, Eeeww! Nor was it an isolated incident; the same thing happened in Florida three months ago.

Mr Giuliani is behaving as ridiculously as the reformed-roué papa in Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend.

Judy Bachrach on Judi G

Friday, September 7th, 2007

D’you know, I just had the most surprising idea. If you believe in reincarnation, why not backwards reincarnation. Something that might explain how Leona Helmsley, who died last month, has already been reincarnated as the new Queen of Mean, Judi Giuliani. Oops, I’m supposed to call her “Judi,” although that’s how she was called until stricken with delusions of grandeur. Now she is “Judith.” Go for it, I say: what could be classier that “Giuditta Giuliani”?

Judy Bachrach on Judi G, in Vanity Fair.