Patterico's Pontifications


Andrew Sullivan: An Anti-Clinton Compilation

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics — Justin Levine @ 11:06 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Like many, I have become exasperated over much of Andrew Sullivan’s writings in recent years for reasons that will be familiar to many. (I choose not to specifically list them here in the hopes of minimizing sidetracked debates that would be best tackled at another time.)

Still, I would argue that in recent months, Sullivan’s pluses outweigh his minuses in such a way that demands repeated visits to his blog.

First, there is the fact that his views remain genuine (regardless of what you may think of them). He clearly isn’t writing to pander to a political party, partisan aims, or some reader constituency. That remains refreshing. Plus, he makes an honest attempt to at least air or link to dissenting views.

Second, he remains a great critic of pop culture, humor and aesthetics which comes out in his blog entries. [You can insert the obligatory, “Well of course he is. He’s gay.” But that would be a well-worn and tiresome observation.]

Third, and most importantly, he remains an unapologetic and unabashed Clinton hater – As am I.

I respectfully submit that Sullivan remains the best figure out there right now to articulate why good old-fashioned Clinton hating is not an irrational response as Clinton apologists would try to have some believe, but that there are instead very real and rational reasons behind it. It goes beyond policy disagreements. It even goes beyond the specifics of Lewinsky and the other sexual escapades (including what I believe is a credible allegation of rape by Juanita Broaddrick). It simply goes to the issue of a level of blatant lying, political calculation and emotional immaturity/insecurity that no head of state should embody (though certainly the sexual scandals from Bill, and Hillary’s cynical ‘forgiveness’ of them are a strong symptom of these qualities).

Many Democrats are now waking up to this reality, now that the Clinton machine is aimed against their preferred candidate. If Hillary wins the Democratic primary, it will re-focus back on the Republicans and most Democrats will forgive Team Clinton. But be forewarned, Democrats: If Hillary wins the Presidency with a Democratic Congress, the Clinton sleaze machine will still re-target many many of who oppose their will since there will be no Republican majority bogeyman to oppose.

Sullivan understands that a return to 90’s partisanship stemming from a Clinton dynasty would be inevitable and disastrous for this country.

Emotional maturity and a non-arrogant form of self-security remain among the great important qualities that people crave in a leader – though it is a particular craving that most are rarely able to articulate to pollsters. Though I jumped off the Bush bandwagon some time ago from a policy standpoint, the one thing I still greatly admire him for is that he has held on to these qualities, while many of his critics have never displayed them in the slightest. Same dynamic with Reagan.

With those thoughts in mind, I give you a compilation of wonderful and deeply satisfying anti-Clinton posts from Andrew Sullivan during the last few weeks alone. After reading them, I suspect you will agree that Sullivan remains a writer that should not be dismissed.

Links below –


Open Thread: Debate and Current State of the Campaign Horse Race

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 10:12 pm

I was too busy to watch tonight, and I’m afraid I haven’t been following the horse race lately due to work pressures, which are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

But feel free to comment!

Hillary’s Healthcare Records

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:09 pm

I’m late commenting on the news that Judicial Watch has (some of) Hillary’s secret healthcare records. Good for them.

But — unless I missed it — they’re just summarizing them.

Why not post them all?

Dennis Kucinich Bows Out

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Dennis Kucinich has dropped out of the Presidential race:

“Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the Democratic race for president.

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his “transition” tomorrow.

“I want to continue to serve in Congress,” he said. Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary. Kucinich is seeking a seventh term in Congress, but his long-shot bid for the White House has drawn four Democratic opponents.”

Unfortunately for Kucinich, I doubt many people will notice his absence from the Presidential race. Nevertheless, let’s take this opportunity to enjoy a photo of Dennis Kucinich and his wife, the lovely Elizabeth Kucinich:



Tim Rutten: Incompetent? Or Indifferent to the Truth? I Offer My View

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:00 am

Below, Jack Dunphy has a post about Tim Rutten’s recent column on financial disclosure at the LAPD. Read that post before you read this one. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

I wanted to add a few points of my own, but I’m doing it in a separate post rather than an update, because I don’t people to be confused about who is saying this — and I don’t want Jack to be held responsible for what I’m about to say.

Which is this: it’s quite clear that Tim Rutten didn’t want to know about any instances of leaking or accidental disclosure of confidential police information, because any such facts would have presented an inconvenient obstacle to the rant Rutten wanted to write. If Rutten had truly wanted to know about the security of these files, he should have talked to Jack. Rutten knows who Jack is. He knows how to get in touch with him.

And, if Rutten bothered to become even minimally acquainted with the issue he was writing about, he would have seen that Jack had written a piece for Pajamas Media about this very issue, in which Jack set forth the potential problems:

The LAPD has at times been famously sloppy with its record keeping. At a press conference announcing their opposition to the financial-disclosure plan, Protective League officers displayed photographs showing hundreds of boxes stacked in the hallways at Parker Center, the LAPD headquarters building. These boxes contained files that are presumably confidential, yet there they were, piled nearly to the ceiling and available for inspection by anyone curious enough to stop and have a peek inside. Supposedly confidential personnel information has on many occasions been leaked to the media, and officers have little faith that their financial records will enjoy any more protection than those boxes stacked in the hallways do today.

If Rutten hadn’t thought to contact Jack, then how about calling the Police Protective League? Rutten names the Protective League in his column as a group vehemently opposed to disclosure. Calling them seems like a fairly obvious step, but Rutten didn’t take it. Is Rutten really that incompetent? I doubt it. If he really wanted to see if LAPD had mishandled anything, I think he would have known who to call.

Instead, he called up the fox den to ask if there have been any nasty incidents involving foxes guarding the chicken coop. And guess what? Nobody could think of any!

Because, you see, Tim Rutten didn’t really care about the truth. He just wanted to look like he did.

Tim Rutten Misses a Few Points

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,General — Jack Dunphy @ 3:38 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

In June 2004 I sat down at one of my favorite restaurants for lunch and conversation with L.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten. Rutten surely would have no quarrel with my description of him as a liberal, yet despite our political differences we found there was much we had in common and could agree on. The result of that lunch was a column (no longer available at the Times website, but excerpts posted here) in which Rutten was surprisingly laudatory of my work for National Review Online, and in which LAPD Chief William Bratton described my writing as “extraordinarily thoughtful.” If asked about me today, both Rutten and Bratton might well offer a different opinion.

In Wednesday’s L.A. Times, Rutten addressed the latest controversy to roil the LAPD, namely the provision in the federal consent decree, under which the department must operate until 2009, that mandates financial disclosure for officers assigned to anti-gang and narcotics units. The consent decree, imposed by the U.S. Justice Department on the LAPD in the wake of what became known as the Rampart scandal, has been in effect since 2000, but the exact form this financial disclosure would take was subject to much debate and negotiation, and last month the police commission voted to implement a system over the objections of the L.A. Police Protective League, the labor union that represents LAPD officers below the rank of captain.

Most of the 500 or so officers affected by this action have announced they will not voluntarily turn over the financial records sought by the department and instead accept reassignment to other jobs within the department. The information officers are being asked to provide includes account statements on all assets and liabilities, even those jointly held with others not employed by the LAPD. The Protective League has launched an advertising campaign claiming that providing this information will expose officers to the risk of identity theft or worse.

In his column, Rutten calls these claims “preposterous” and “baloney,” and lays out what he believes are the political expediencies that motivated L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley and some members of the city council to support the Protective League’s position. Rutten writes:

The hysteria the league has tried to whip up over this reform is worse than absurd. Does anyone on the council seriously believe that officers’ safety will be endangered because personnel information will leak to criminals, as the league alleges? If the LAPD is such an incompetent custodian of its personnel records, then perhaps officers should be allowed to keep their home addresses private as well. That’s a matter of physical security, after all. Moreover, after several calls to Parker Center, nobody at LAPD headquarters could recall a single example in which personal information concerning any officer leaked from there to a criminal.

First of all, you could make a thousand calls to Parker Center, or a million, for that matter, and it would only be through the most staggeringly uncommon luck that you would make contact with someone with any significant knowledge about what actually happens out on the streets of Los Angeles. Perhaps the people with whom Rutten spoke weren’t around back in 1985, but there are still some of us who remember the murder of Detective Tom Williams, who was shot and killed while picking up his six-year-old son from school in Canoga Park. Williams had earlier that day testified against Daniel Jenkins in an attempt-murder and robbery case, and when Jenkins was unable to hire someone to kill Williams he did it himself. (Jenkins was convicted of Williams’s murder and sentenced to death. Alas, he lives on.)

I don’t recall if detectives were able to determine how Jenkins came to learn where Williams’s son attended school, but it’s safe to assume he also knew where Williams lived. This was 23 years ago, long before the Internet made such once-private information so easily accessible and transferable, so it’s hardly inconceivable that Jenkins obtained the information from someone within the LAPD.

And it’s hardly inconceivable that someone might make mischief with the information LAPD officers are being asked to provide if it should fall into the wrong hands. As Rutten would have learned had he bothered to inquire, the LAPD is indeed, at least occasionally, an incompetent custodian of its personnel records. I learned this myself not long ago when I went in search of my own personnel package. It was not stored where it should have been, and there was no record of who had checked it out. It mysteriously reappeared some days later, but still there was no indication as to who had taken it or for what reason. I remain skeptical of the assurances given that officers’ financial records will be any more securely stored than was my own file.

But however remote the chances of being victimized by the leaking of an officer’s financial records may be, they still outweigh the benefit of providing them. There isn’t a soul alive who truly believes that this provision in the consent decree will detect or deter corruption in the least, an opinion expressed in a Times editorial that ran on December 20. In a department of more than 9,000 officers it’s all but certain there’s a crook or two in the bunch, but whoever they are they’re sure to be clever enough to hide their swag where it won’t be found.

Last week Chief Bratton made an appearance at the LAPD’s 77th Street Division, in South-Central Los Angeles, where he commended the officers for their efforts in reducing crime in 2007. But his mood darkened, I’m told, when an officer had the temerity to raise a question about financial disclosure. Financial disclosure, Bratton told the room, would soon be a fact of life in the LAPD, and he would gladly accept the resignation of any cop who had a problem with it.

This is precisely the kind of language we used to hear from Bratton’s predecessor, the much-reviled Bernard Parks, with the result being that hundreds of cops left the LAPD to join other departments. In 1992 there were 1,092 murders in Los Angeles, but the number declined steadily until 1998, when Parks disbanded the LAPD’s anti-gang units in a panicked and misguided overreaction to the Rampart scandal, which, as bad as it was, involved only a handful of officers at a single police station. Murders increased every year Parks remained as chief and only began to decline when he was let go.

There were 394 murders in Los Angeles in 2007, the lowest total since 1970. If this imprudent imposition of financial disclosure leads to the expected exodus of anti-gang and narcotics officers, you can expect the 2008 total to be higher.

— Jack Dunphy

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I have further thoughts here.

23 Days of Waiting for a Correction

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 12:03 am

Today marks 23 days since the L.A. Times end-of-the-year political quiz resurrected the canard that George W. Bush “[e]rroneously said Nelson Mandela was dead.” Bush quite clearly said no such thing; he was making an analogy. I wrote about this error here, on January 1 — and wrote the Readers’ Representative about it that same day.

On January 13, I sent a follow-up note. On January 15, she replied that she was still awaiting word from the editors. That was over a week ago. Today is January 24.

There’s a reason I call it the Dinosaur Media.

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