- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 3, 2007

First hubby?

“Billary is back. The strangest, most volatile, yet arguably the most successful political marriage in American presidential history is once again enthralling or appalling Americans, depending on how they remember those volcanic, scandal-plagued years of the Bill Clinton administration. It scarcely seemed possible at the height of the dramas that chased them from office in early 2001, but six years later, Bill ‘n’ Hill are on the road to the White House again. …

“[W]hat may prove the defining issue of Hillary’s presidential campaign [is] how to deal with ‘the Bill problem.’

“It is not just the familiar saga of Bill’s sexual scandals and the fear that they might recur. The other part of Hillary’s problem … is a charisma imbalance that is magnified whenever Bill appears in public with his wife. ‘When Bill drapes his hands over the podium and looks at you, there’s this aw-shucks demeanor. He’s completely unpredictable, so you listen,’ [Republican pollster Frank] Luntz says. …

“Yet however difficult it may be for Hillary to avoid being overshadowed by her husband, she needs the glamour and excitement he provides. ‘He is her best cheerleader, fundraiser, surrogate, liaison to the [Democratic] Party, political consultant and chief adviser,’ says Dick Morris, a former Clinton aide. ‘She cannot reach the presidency without him.’ ”

— Tony Allen-Mills, writing on “Hillary can’t live with him — can’t live without him,” in the Sunday Times of London

Europe’s guilt

“Europe’s genius is that it knows too well the fragility of the barriers separating it from its own ignominy. … Europe is constituted inside the very doubt which denies its existence, seeing itself with the pitiless gaze of an intransigent judge.

“This suspicion weighing down our most notable successes risks degenerating into self-hate, into facile defeatism. … Observe the wave of repentance ravaging our latitudes, especially our principal Protestant and Catholic churches. …

“Contrition is not reserved for the chosen, nor is moral purity given like a moral allowance to those who say they are humiliated and persecuted. For too many countries, in Africa, in the Middle East, in South America, self-criticism is confused with the selection of an easy scapegoat who can explain their unhappiness: It is never their fault, always someone else’s, the American Great Satan or the little European Satan.

“This is the problem in Europe today: No policies of great import can be achieved through guilt.”

— Pascal Bruckner, writing on “‘Re-Arming’ Europe,” yesterday at OpinionJournal.com

Spelling bias

“When California homeschooler Evan O’Dorney, 13, won the National Spelling Bee on Thursday night, the [New York Times] reacted with a yawn.

“Instead of focusing on the winner, the New York Times ran a story about an immigrant from India who lost in the second round of the competition. That boy, Kunal Sah, 12, who is living in Utah, had hoped a victory would secure his family’s legal status in the United States. Thus, the Times managed to use the National Spelling Bee as one more forum for pushing the plight of immigrants. …

“The media as a whole studiously ignored the ongoing story of homeschoolers scoring remarkable successes at the National Spelling Bee. …

“CBS’ The Early Show’s Russ Mitchell interviewed Evan and his parents, but home schooling never came up. Same with Al Roker’s and Meredith Vieira’s interview with the family on NBC’s ‘The Today Show.’ ”

— Robert H. Knight, writing on “Home Schooling? How Do You Spell That?” Friday for the Culture and Media Institute at www.cultureandmedia institute.org

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