- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 23, 2008

By the numbers

“In the 110th Congress, there were 236 Democrats in the U.S. House, 49 in the Senate, and two ‘Independents’ who caucused with Democrats. Of those 287 congresscritters, 74 were members of the New Democratic Coalition, which is affiliated with the [Democratic Leadership Conference],” Chris Bowers writes at www.openleft.com.

“Overall, 25.8 percent of the Democratic members of the 110th Congress were openly affiliated with the DLC. An additional 31 members of Congress are affiliated with the Blue Dogs, but not with the New Democratic Coalition. If the Blue Dogs are included, the overall DLC-Blue Dog membership in Democratic congresscritters increases to 36.6 percent, and 38.1 percent in the House,” Mr. Bowers said.

“Now, compare this to Obama’s Cabinet selections. Of the 18 Cabinet members (not counting Joe Biden, who I have seen listed as a Cabinet member at times), 16 are Democrats. Of those 16, eight are affiliated with the DLC, or 50 percent. Obama’s Democratic Cabinet selections have twice the DLC representation of the Democratic membership of Congress. …

“No Blue Dogs seem to have been selected for the Cabinet, but even so the DLC-Blue Dog membership in Obama’s Cabinet is higher than the DLC-Blue Dog membership of the Democratic caucus in the House or Senate. Adding in the two Republican members, and Obama’s Cabinet has a Republican-DLC majority. The 55.6 percent DLC-Republican representation in Obama’s Cabinet closely mirrors the overall DLC-Republican representation in the Senate (55 percent in the incoming Senate, plus freshman new NDC members) and House (53.6 percent, plus freshman NDC members).”

Caroline and Sarah

George Bush, we were told ad nauseam was born on third base and thought he had hit a triple. But when it comes to Ms. [Caroline] Kennedy, her liberal lineage and assumed charisma weirdly nullified the same tired media charges of entitlement that have been customarily leveled against almost every affluent, well-connected Republican politician from Mitt Romney to George Bush,” Victor Davis Hansen writes at pajamasmedia.com.

“There were also several liberal media complaints against Gov. Sarah Palin, most prominently three - that she lacked experience for high federal office; that she avoided the media whenever possible; and that she either would not or could not opine on world affairs.

“But Gov. Sarah Palin had been an elected official for some 16 years, winning and losing elections until assuming the governorship - always at odds with an entrenched male hierarchy that had run Alaska for years. Through it all, Palin mothered five children without either capital or connections. She endured at the very beginning of her national run a vicious press as interested in ridiculing her as a rube in fancy store-bought clothes as it is catching a glimpse of Caroline’s glitzy labels,” Mr. Hansen said.

“We know in our hearts that Charles Gibson and Katie Couric, who mercilessly grilled pro-life, Christian Sarah Palin with the poor white twang, would pull in their talons - if given the chance to dialogue with Caroline. Yet there is no evidence that Caroline Kennedy knows any more about Waziristan than did Sarah Palin; there is a great deal of evidence that it is far more difficult for a nobody mom of five to make it through the electoral process into national politics from Alaska than it is for a Kennedy daughter of a president to be appointed from the Upper East Side to fill a liberal New York Senate seat.”


“The Arabs, who once upon a time boasted Averroes and Avicenna, are now reduced to eulogizing a boorish act of agitprop as a heroic achievement,” Tunku Varadarajan writes at www.forbes.com, referring to the shoe-throwing incident in Baghdad.

“America gave us Martin Luther King; South Africa gave us Mandela; India gave us Gandhi; the Arab world gives us … Muntadhar al Zeidi. A people who invented the zero are now reduced, themselves, to zero. Only a people who live under the boots of their rulers celebrate the throwing of a shoe at a guest,” Mr. Varadarajan said.

“Muntadhar’s Arab celebrants have fellow-travelers in the West, of course - chiefly among the anti-Bush mass on the left; but the latter’s reaction to the shoe-throwing has been one of vitriolic glee, not self-congratulatory jubilation. The Western liberal’s hatred of Bush is an ideological hatred; it may be as potent as the hatred of Bush in Arab breasts, but at least it is a hatred that has its origins in the mind, in differences of opinion.

“The Arab reaction, by contrast, has been damningly, disturbingly emotional and visceral. A vast swath of people, from Morocco to Iraq, have found cultural and tribal, even civilizational, catharsis in a 20-second display of theater comprising the hurling of shoes - and of that most beloved of Arab epithets, ‘dog.’

“It makes one want to yelp: Is this the best they can do? Is this how their heroism is now defined? To me - to many - this is alarming proof of the depth of Arab impotence, of the Lilliputian self-image that drives Muslim Arabs to take to terrorism, to assault that which they cannot comprehend. The irony that has been lost on them is the fact that in the entire Arab world, only in Bushified Iraq could such an act of protest be possible.”

Return engagement

“They’re baaaack!!!” Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter writes.

“Just when you thought the Clintons had gone the way of the Macarena and John Wayne Bobbitt - consigned to the dustbin of the 1990s - Hillary and Bill Clinton are about to blast into our lives again, with all the excitement that might mean for them, for us and for the world. Like major movie stars, they may find second acts in high-quality supporting roles that might just display their talents better than when their names had top billing on the marquee,” Mr. Alter said.

“Of course, we don’t know yet how comfortably Hillary will work in harness as secretary of state under President Barack Obama. We don’t know if Bill will be able to improve his strained relationship with Obama enough to be trusted with the kind of major diplomatic assignment he would crave. And we don’t know how the world’s most chronicled marriage will play out on the world stage.

“But certainly this Featured Return Engagement offers them both a huge opportunity. Preoccupied with economic woes at home, Obama simply won’t have time to spend a big chunk of his first year in office on the road. In many ways the crucial restoration of America’s prestige in the world will fall instead to the Clintons.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or e-mail Greg Pierce.

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