This has really been crazy week in politics. The American political system was in turmoil all week and, of course, the saga that leads up to the election played out like an episode of Dallas. Well, maybe not Dallas. I guess we need a new prime time soap opera called “DC.” I just thought I’d summarize a few choice headlines from the week.
1. Bill Clinton Goes Off on Fox News: I’m sure most of you have seen this by now. It was rather remarkable; last time I saw him that ticked he was saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…Ms. Lewinsky.” Conservatives tried to spin the interview as an “angry Clinton is out of control” moment and liberals were just happy that a Democrat finally showed some backbone and didn’t kowtow to Bush. My favorite headline about this story is this one–“Angry white man meets the smirk“. I’m not necessarily thrilled with the content of the article, but I had to laugh at how the “smirk” has taken such a prominent role in contemporary politics. President Bush has perfected it. While some debated the smirk, others asked whether or not the “blow-up” was orchestrated.
2. Virginia Senate Race–Racist vs. Misogynist: Jim Webb, the Democrat, has a nice history of assailing women in the military. I watched the debate between him and George Allen on Meet the Press. You can watch the debate in its entirety here. The gender question comes up 30 minutes into the discussion. Webb refuses to denounce his 1979 statements, but he did admit that he regrets, saying the Naval Academy is a “horny woman’s dream.” However, it’s not just 1979, as recently as 1997 he made similar comments. He very half heartedly backs down (ever so slightly), from his earlier position. Of course, Allen is no better. He opposed gender integration at VMI, but he admits in the Meet the Press interview that he was wrong. While Webb has a “women problem,” Allen has a racism problem. He called an Indian American man macaca, and said “welcome to America.” Apparently, macaca is a racial slur (one I was not familiar with), but I think the “welcome to America” comment leaves no doubt about his views. But it isn’t just the macaca issue that brings out his bigotry. Allen also revealed his anti-Semitism when he was caught by surprise and was apparently offended that someone “discovered” his Jewish roots. In the process, he declared his love for ham sandwhiches, to prove that he is not Jewish. The most recent racist gaffe for Allen includes the revelation that Allen used the N-word in college. It’s not like Jim Webb is much better. He has called affirmative action state sponsored racism (check the Meet the Press interview) and goes on to revise his position ever so slightly to say that not only African Americans should benefit from affirmative action and that poor white “cultures” should also be included. So I guess poor white people and Blacks should get affirmative action, but Latinos, Asians, and American Indians should not. It looks like the people of VA have a great choice.
3. Woodward Releases Book on Bush Denial–Bush Denies Denial: Ok, I couldn’t really find an article of Bush directly denying anything about the book, but his press secretary did call the book cotton candy. Apparently, the book also lays out the internal conflict in the administration, making the White House look like an episode of Survivor with alliances and backstabbing.
4. New York Attorney General Candidate Tries to Wiretap Husband: This New York Attorney General Candidate has a big problem–her husband. Seems that she thought he was cheating on her, so she decided to enlist former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik to wiretap her husband’s boat. The feds intercepted the conversation and have launched an investigation into the legality of this. I didn’t know that it was illegal to eavesdrop on your spouse, and I have heard conflicting reports about whether or not this would have been legal to do. Personally, I would not think this was a big deal if it was an isolated event, but legal woes, including jail time, have followed the husband for years. When you read this time line provided by the local newspaper, Jeanine Pirro doesn’t exactly come out smelling like roses either.
5. Florida Congressman Resigns After Sending Sexually Suggestive Emails to Underage Page: Yes, just when you though the Dateline catch a predator series was over……OK, I’m just joking. Dateline didn’t catch this guy online, but somebody did, and his email reads just like one of those “Dateline Catch A Predator” chatlogs. What makes this case even more absurd is that this guy served on the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus. He even proposed legislation that would crack down on child sex offenders.
I’m sure there are some other great political stories out there this week that I missed. Please do share them in the comments section. I thought these rather salacious stories read more like National Enquirer headlines. What if anything do you think this crazy week in government says about the state of the American political landscape?