- Chris Matthews, the man who knows everything about American politics (he says) posed the question of what the Vice President of the United States would have as his/her daily schedule if Hilary wins the oval office. Matthews believes that with Bill back sleeping in the family quarters there will be nothing for a post-Cheney VP to do because Bill will be doing "all that."
This Mathewsian fancy pre-supposes that future presidents will find it necessary to give the VP anything at all to "do." The VP is the president of the senate and his/her other duty is to wait to see if the president will die during their time in office. Perhaps the odd funeral might be offered as something to fill the day.
As with a dead marja' among the Shia, a departed president's taqaliid (opinions) should die with the end of his/her term. Some sort of handicraft might be a good pastime for the VP. One could always try to write historical fiction. I could offer advice on that.
- Admiral Mike McConnell (the Director of National Intelligence) appeared on "Meet the Press" to assure us that we do not "torture" our "guests." When pressed he gave a definition of torture that left open many possibilities. An absence of permanent physical injury seemed to be the central criterion in deciding if something may not be done in the name of the Republic. He said several times that we "do not torture." I suppose that Torquemada might have made a similar claim. Hey! I don't know if we "torture." I hope not.
McConnell was asked by Tim Russert to "square" an interview he had given a couple of years ago with his present status as a senior official of the Bush Administration. In the interview he voiced opinions much like mine concerning the administration's manipulation of the intelligence process before the war. He did not deny those statements but he said that he now finds that Bush and Cheney are completely open to the opinions of the intelligence community. The implication seems to be that maybe he "got it wrong" before.
I am sure he is right in finding that Bush and Cheney et al are no longer concerned with what the IC thinks. They have developed ways of manipulating public opinion that are far more subtle and effective than any NIE could ever be.
- Finally, on McLaughlin's Circus, Arianna Huffington opined that Bob Gates' tears at a banquet in honor of a fallen USMC officer showed that he believes that "these men are dying in vain." My God!. What planet does she come from? People cry on battlefields, old battlefields. Go and look. Gettysburg would be a good example. I have seen them weep there. She should go and look at the flowers laid on the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge or across the paws of the wolfhound at the Irish Brigade monument. I doubt if the people who leave the flowers think that those men died in vain. pl