Monday, October 6, 2008

Blame America

“If you think our current economic difficulties are all about subprime mortgages, securitization, the drying up of credit, falling house prices and the like, think again. That’s not how the rest of the world sees it. … Foreigners see this as the end of what Henry Luce memorably called the American Century. America caused the world’s economic problems; America will pay a terrible price.

“‘Everything happening now in the economic and financial sphere began in the United States. This is not the irresponsibility of specific individuals but the irresponsibility of the system that claims leadership,’ gloats Vladimir Putin. Well, he would say that rather than blame the collapse of his country’s stock market and the flight of capital on his confiscation of foreign investment and invasion of Georgia.

“But Putin is not alone in pillorying the U.S. ‘The origin and center of gravity of the problem is clearly in the USA,’ German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck pronounced. And Gordon Brown, the prime minister of America’s putative ally, Great Britain, says that his nation’s economic problems were imported from America. Name an economic problem, and its origin is George Bush’s USA, and the radical deregulation policies of the neoconservatives. That gets the local politicians off the hook. … The important thing is that the American model is dead. Or so they think - hope, to be precise.”

- Irwin M. Stelzer, writing on “A Touch of Xenophobia in the Night?” on Oct. 3 at the Weekly Standard

Race to the end

“Before being found guilty of kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon, O.J. Simpson spent his three-week trial in Nevada complaining to friends and associates that he’s a victim of racism.

“If only the Dream Team had still been around to defend him! If only Johnnie Cochran wasn’t dead! If only you hadn’t stormed a seedy hotel room with a gang of armed thugs to get some stupid old trinkets!

“‘This is really depressing,’ O.J. told an associate. ‘I feel like I’m back in the ‘50s - a black man in a white justice system. The judge is helping the prosecution as much as she can. I only hope one juror does the right thing.’”

- Ian Spiegelman, writing on “O.J. Simpson Plays the Race Card, Loses” on Oct. 5 at Gawker

Honesty problem

Sarah Palin has a credibility problem. In her interviews, she tried to provide answers to questions when she clearly didn’t have them. What came out instead was an odd, twisted, mish-mash of words that more closely resembled the management wisdom of David Brent than that of a future Vice President.

“Some have characterized this as dishonesty, and I tend to agree. It would be far better if she simply indicated that she had asked to be briefed on the details of an issue she did not yet fully understand than to pretend to give an answer that meant absolutely nothing. By choosing to simply reword the question in a meaningless train wreck of syntax, she not only demonstrated that she didn’t know, but proved she was desperate to hide her ignorance. …

“Let me show my own annoyance for a moment when I ask, ‘Governor Palin, How stupid do you think we are?’ Anyone who has ever been put on the spot and didn’t want to look ignorant has probably rambled their way through an incoherent answer. Palin is unwilling (or not allowed) to be up front about this … . It’s the same squirrely nonsense my kids do when they think they can stay out of hot water by deceiving their parents about what really went down.”

- Steve Skojec, writing on “Palin’s Credibility Problem” on Oct. 4 at

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