Happy Anniversary, Checkers Speech!

It was on this date in 1952 that Richard Nixon fused politics and the new technology of television to rescue his political career. Without this speech, we may never have enjoyed one of the greatest presidents of all time. Here is Richard Nixon talking about the Checkers speech many years later. And finally, here is how the Checkers speech inspired Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick speech.
Garry Wills gives a superb account of the Checkers speech in Nixon Agonistes. Wills reminds us that just before Nixon was to give the speech live on television before a huge national audience, Tom Dewey had telephoned Nixon on behalf of Eisenhower and essentially ordered him to resign as the vice presidential candidate at the conclusion. Dewey: “Can I say you have accepted?” Nixon: “You will have to watch the show to see — and tell them [Eisenhower’s advisers] I know something about politics too!”

Teabagging and Such

First: is all of this venom directed at Obama over health care particularly nasty because he’s black? I’m not sure I agree with this one, because Clinton got dragged through the mud on this too, but it’s an interesting thought.

Here’s a rather amusing look at some of the Great Americans who showed up at the teabagger rally on Saturday. (nod to Milo, whose facebook page I found this and the above thing on.)

Fiscal conservative Andrew Sullivan had this to say about teabaggers a few months ago: These are not tea-parties. They are tea-tantrums. And the adolescent, unserious hysteria is a function not of a movement regrouping and refinding itself. It’s a function of a movement’s intellectual collapse and a party’s fast-accelerating nervous breakdown.

On 9/11, Obama suggested a Day of Service to honor the dead. In response, Rush Limbaugh said “Community service is one of the baby steps towards fascism.” Wow, you can’t really argue with insanity.

On the other side of the coin, here’s something I don’t quite get: if Obama is doing this for all the right reasons, why won’t he even consider tort reform?

Ted Kennedy and Michael Vick

mary_jo_kopechne_31Bob T. just sent me an article by Mark Steyn about how news people are airbrushing the Chappaquiddick incident out of the national consciousness. Overall I think Stein’s point is pretty lame: when Ronald Reagan died, not a lot of people made note of the fact that he started his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, MS (where Civil Rights workers had been murdered in 1964), that he once called Jefferson Davis a hero, or that he was a big supporter of pro-apartheid South Africa. As a public figure, these things were certainly fair game, but to bring them up would have been in poor taste during his funeral. Furthermore, Steyn is just flat wrong. It doesn’t get much more mainstream than ABC News, and here is a pretty comprehensive piece they did on Kopechne shortly after Kennedy died.

Ted Kennedy made a series of horrific decisions 40 years ago, and I certainly think that plenty of people have every right to not forgive him for it. It will always be a part of his legacy, regardless of what Steyn believes, and it almost certainly prevented him from ever making a viable run at the Presidency. But keep in mind, this was his funeral, and it is not customary to rip someone as they are riding down the street in a hearse, even if they were a jerk. It’s kind of tacky. 

But it brings up an interesting question: who is more deserving of our forgiveness, Ted Kennedy or Michael Vick? Vick did something awful, and it was cold and calculated. At the same time, it involved animals and not humans. Kennedy, on the other hand, made a series of awful decisions and it resulted in a dead young woman. He got drunk, he drove a young woman who wasn’t his wife towards her hotel. He drove off a bridge. He emerged alive but decided not to call for help and instead “sleep it off”. While not as calculated as Vick’s situation, it was perhaps even colder. But it was passive and not aggressive. Vick killed dogs with his bare hands. Kennedy certainly did not intend to kill Mary Jo Kopechne, but he left her to die after he made a decision to sleep it off instead of diving down or calling for help. So I am curious as to what you guys think: who is more deserving of our forgiveness?

Malcolm X’s Birthday

Today would be Malcolm X’s 84th birthday. I can certainly say that the Autobiography of Malcolm X was one of the most fascinating and important books I have ever read. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favor. He is certainly one of the most intriguing thinkers in American history.

Larry Flynt, Real American Hero

hustlerSiegelmanarticle.jpgLarry Flynt is in the news quite a bit these days. First of all, he’s requesting a bailout from Congress for the porn industry: The economy has hurt their businesses, too, Flynt and (Girls Gone Wild Owner Joe) Francis said — sales of XXX DVDs are down 22 percent — and they want $5 billion from the government. Congress must “rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America,” Flynt said. Perhaps the bailout money could go toward Larry’s lawyer fees. He is currently suing two of his nephews for putting out inferior porn under the Flynt family name. And people say Americans don’t take pride in their work anymore!

Ann Coulter Continues to be a Goon

Ann Coulter was bumped off of the TODAY Show yesterday because they decided to interview Tony Blair. Coulter then played the victim card that she is constantly haranguing liberals for making and said that NBC had banned her for life (not true, of course), so then TODAY had her on today and she had a contentious matchup with Matt Lauer. This came a day after a battle she had with Harry Smith in which she said that “Every assassin in the history of the nation has either been a liberal, a communist, an anarchist, someone on the left…they are basically Obama’s base.” Coulter has apparently never heard of John Wilkes Booth, a staunch southern conservative. Of course this whole thing is a ruse to sell books. It is interesting only because it is early January and there ain’t s*** happening in the news. But even then, this whole act is getting pretty tired.

Hey, Remember Those Race Riots We Almost Had in Philly a Couple of Months Ago? Me either.

Michelle Malkin does. You knew this stupid troll was going to say something unbelievably idiotic before the end of the day, and sure enough she did. For those of you who haven’t heard, two geniuses claiming to be from the Black Panthers (great job helping the cause, guys) apparently tried to stop a couple of white people from voting. Well, Michelle Malkin jumped all over it, then went on to describe how Philadelphia almost had a race riot a few months ago. You guys remember that, right? I think it was right after all those white people voted for that black mayor. Well, Michelle Malkin remembers it. She also remembers how we had riots and violence “after the Phillies won, after they won!” Yep, something tells me the Black Panthers were behind the looting of that luggage store. I hear that Black Panthers just looooove to travel. I think Michelle Malkin is a worse human being than Kim Jong Il. I really, really do.

This is really, really cool

What if George Washington hadn’t been the first person to ever turn down the idea of being King for the good of his country? Who would be King now? George had no direct descendants, so the question is kind of tough to answer, but somebody at ancestry.com was able to figure it out. And if GW had declared himself King? Things would probably be about the same as they are now. The man who would be King is a George Bush supporter. Sidenote: my sister had a Custis in her class at school that was a direct descendant of Martha Washington (nee Custis) by her first husband. I wonder if that side of the family would have attempted to overthrow the Washingtons. Probably.
RELATED: A sort of Beckish rap about George Washington. (NSFW) Pretty funny.

Going off the Rails is this Crazy McCain

McCain’s attacks on Obama recently have shrieked of desperation, as the right wing talking points now are the same tired topics that were relevant 6 months ago, when Hillary was trying to knock off Obama. But Obama has proven more evasive than Kerry with the Swift Boat or the Flip flopping, and in the midst of a horrific economic downturn that has American’s freaked, McCain’s attacks about people Obama served on an education board with in the mid 90s is just white noise. Obama won the first debate and he won again last night, with McCain’s only “highlight” being his cringeworthy “That One” comment. McCain’s current strategy seems to be, “I am so disgusted by this man that I won’t even call him by name.” It doesn’t seem to be working. Why? Because we saw hateful character attacks in 2000 by Bush (McCain has a black baby) and in 2004 (Swift Boat) and what did voting out of fear get this country? One of the three worst presidents in the history of this country, a man whose approval ratings are lower than Nixon’s on the day he resigned. McCain seems to have cast his lot, but it simply seems to paint him as a sad, angry old man, willing to shed his dignity and honor to sling mud, thinking that it’s the only way he can pull off an upset and defeat “That One.” It is a sad ending to the storied career of a great American.

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