THE BLOG
02/22/2006 07:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Can You Say 'Permanent Bases' and Things About Which I Can't Get Exorcised or Excited

Altercation

Can You Say 'Permanent Bases'? Tom Engelhardt does a much better job of explaining that than I can, here.

Now tell me these people aren't evil.

This does not exactly rise to the level of evil, but it is pretty awful.

And this is pretty funny but I worry that this whole "Bush is a Dope" thing is a Rovian plot to cover up the evil that lurks beneath. On the other hand, the man is willing to go to quite the distance in proving the former.

Friendly Faces in the Press Corps: We're not going to say that President Bush was looking for a friendly face when he sat down with the White House press corps earlier today for a roundtable, but he did call on his own communications guru Dan Bartlett by accident after a round of questions regarding the ports deal:

THE PRESIDENT: I don't see why not. Again, you're asking -- I need to make sure I understand exactly what they're asking for.

Yes. Oh, you're not the press.

MR. BARTLETT: I could ask a question. You showed some strong leadership today -- (laughter.)

It's here.

McCain the "straight-shooter" continued: "'The president's leadership has earned our trust in the war on terror, and surely his administration deserves the presumption that they would not sell our security short,' McCain said in a statement."

Things about which I can't get exorcised or excited even though it would (or would have been) politically convenient:

1. UAE-owned ports
2. Cheney shooting his friends in the face
3. Larry Summers saying women may be physiologically different than men in ways that have unknown significance
4. That thing Bill Bennett said about abortion, which was just fine in context, I thought
5. Danish cartoons and rioting Moslems

I mention these things because I get mail about them, and occasionally see blog items taking me to task for not discussing them. I keep having to repeat this, but this is not a newspaper and I am not a public figure. The port thing seems to be silly to me and it makes smart people seem really dumb. Look at this catch of Maureen Dowd by TP:

TP's nominee for most obvious yet asinine port comment: "Maybe it's corporate racial profiling, but I don't want foreign companies, particularly ones with links to 9/11, running American ports." That's not Bill O'Reilly or Lou Dobbs. It's MoDo. Memo to Maureen: Foreign companies are already managing "the majority of key U.S. ports." And by the way, what exact links did the UAE government have to 9/11?

I don't mind if politicians want to exploit public ignorance in the service of a good cause. I particularly don't mind it if makes trouble for anyone in the Cheney household for any reason whatsoever. But don't ask me to do it for dumb reasons. In the cases of Summers and Bennett, ditto, sort-of. Summers' behavior toward Cornel West was unconscionable and Bennett is just a bad guy. So if they get hit for the wrong reasons, I'm not sure I see it as my responsibility to champion their causes, even though, if asked, I'll give a straight answer. (When I do cross lines, as I did to defend John Fund from charges of abusive behavior, it caused me no end of hassles by the way, and for what?) Finally, with regard to rioting Moslems who don't like cartoons, I have zero sympathy whatever. If I lived in one of those wonderful Northern European social democracies, moreover, I'd sure I'd take a hard-line anti-immigration position. (What right do these people have to come and destroy the welfare states and liberal social polities they played no role in building and whose values they do not even accept?) On the other hand, what the hell do I really know about the situation, aside from having read a few articles? What is this idiotic idea that having a blog makes you an expert on anything in particular?

Sleazeballs for Gore? Interesting: From "The Note:"

G.O.P. operative Roger Stone writes in the New York Observer about the "uncanny parallels" between Al Gore in 2008 and Richard Nixon 40 years earlier. LINK

His touting of global warming over the last years, Sen. Clinton's position on the war in Iraq, and the popular perception that he was "robbed" of the White House, might just be what it takes for Al Gore to make another go of it, writes Dick Morris in his column in The Hill. LINK