Defund the veep! Now that Dick Cheney has declared the vice president’s office to be a fourth branch of government, he has acknowledged that the executive isn’t unitary after all, says U.C.L.A. law professor Jonathan Zasloff at the academic group blog The Reality-Based Community. Zasloff wants the Democratic Congress to include this line in next year’s budget: “None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to fund or support in any way the Office of the Vice President of the United States.”
“It is by now obvious, if any further proof were necessary, that Cheney and Addington have never been particularly interested in defending constitutional principles,” writes Yale law professor Jack Balkin at the legal group blog Balkinization. “They do not seek to preserve executive power. They seek to preserve their own power. They discarded the canard of the unitary executive as soon as it became inconvenient.”
Why hasn’t a Christian conservative presidential candidate gained the support of Iowa’s socially conservative Republican caucus-goers (who, for example, voted Pat Robertson second in 1988)? Ross Douthat thinks one man has a chance to break though: Smike Brownbuckabee.
Her campaign will go on: Peggy Noonan thinks Hillary Clinton’s selection of Celine Dion’s “You and I” for her campaign song demonstrates Clinton’s devious political genius. “Why would Hillary pick a song distinguished only by its schmaltzy averageness?” Noonan writes in The Wall Street Journal. “Because she thinks it’s the kind of music a likable, feminine middle class woman would like? Because her consultants researched the exact number and nature of fans who go to Celine Dion’s show in Vegas each years, and determined they are the exact middle of America? Because it focus-grouped well? All of the above?”
Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, who is an adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, thinks the fact that Romney disagrees with him on immigration policy should be considered a point in Romney’s favor. “No sensible voter would think less of a candidate who has advisers who sometimes disagree with him,” Mankiw writes on his personal blog. “But a sensible voter should think less of a candidate who has no advisers who ever disagree with him.”
Liberals, Divas and Abusers
Another surprised liberal for Michael Moore: The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, author of “Sick,” reviews Moore’s “Sicko.” “Moore has not always been the most intellectually rigorous storyteller — or, for liberals, the most useful ally,” Cohn concedes. He writes of “Sicko”:
I spotted plenty of intellectual dishonesties and arguments without context — enough, surely, to keep right-wing truth squads (and some left-wing ones) busy for weeks. Moore also couldn’t help but stick in unrelated jabs about the Bush administration’s efforts to fight terrorism and insisted on hyping Cuba’s medical system — an awfully poor way to counter the generations-old slander that universal health care is tantamount to “socialized medicine.”
Still, by the time the final credits ran, it was hard to get too worked up about all of that. Because, beyond all the grandstanding and political theater, the movie actually made a compelling, argument about what’s wrong with U.S. health care and how to fix it. Sicko got a lot of the little things wrong. But it got most of the big things right.
All by herself: “If the S.A.T.’s analogies section tested politics and pop culture, even the dimmest teenager would agree that ‘Hillary Clinton: Politics = Celine Dion: Music,’ ” writes Los Angeles Times columnist Rosa Brooks. “Both Clinton and Dion have enjoyed astounding career success. Both showed early talent but are now widely accused of being sellouts. Dion’s interesting, edgy early songs were replaced, during her bid for superstardom, by trite and formulaic crowd pleasers; Clinton’s interesting, edgy early policy positions were replaced, during her bid for elected office, by trite and formulaic crowd pleasers.”
The Los Angeles Times editorial page calls the United States “a human rights abuser“: “As long as the U.S. continues to deny due process of law to ‘enemy combatants’ detained indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay, and as long as it commits extrajudicial kidnappings of terrorism suspects and ships them to countries known to torture detainees, it will remain guilty of cruel and tyrannical behavior.”