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Married Democratic Senator Nominated Girlfriend for U.S. Attorney

So, here’s a story about an extramarital liaison which should have legs.  It has more relevance to our public discourse than any tale of a golf player’s indiscretions.  And reveals more about corruption in our nation’s capital than the irresponsible actions of a junior Senator who carried on with a staffer.

Here we’ve got a committee chairman, playing a key role in drafting health care legislation, not merely carrying on with a staffer, but doing so while nominating her for a position of power and authority:

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ office confirmed late Friday night that the Montana Democrat was carrying on an extramarital affair with his state office director, Melodee Hanes, when he nominated her to be U.S. attorney in Montana. According to a source familiar with their relationship, Hanes and Baucus began their relationship in the summer of 2008 – nearly a year before Baucus and his wife, Wanda, formally separated in April. The Senator has since divorced his wife.

Glenn Reynolds, whose post alerted me to the story quips, “At least the former Mrs. Baucus didn’t attack him with a golf club.

For some reason, I don’t think the MSM will give this story the same coverage they gave to that featuring another Western Senator, but from the other side of the aisle.

What Barack Obama could learn from Winston Churchill

Perhaps, as one of his first acts as President of the United States, instead of returning a bust of Winston Churchill to our friends in the United Kingdom, Barack Obama had studied the life and leadership of that great man, he could better lead this great nation.   That Englishman “inherited” far worse problems from his two immediate predecessors than the American did from his.

And wheareas instead of demonstrating “bottomless reservoirs of gracelessness” in faulting those predecessors for “the terrible mess he inherited” as Obama has done toward his immediate predecessor, Churchill, according to Paul Johnson, showed magnanimity toward those flawed leaders:

Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meanness of life:  recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges, waging vendettas.  Having fought hard, he washed his hands and went on to the next contest.  It is one reason for his success.  There is nothing more draining and exhausting than hatred.  And malice is bad for the judgment.  Churchill loved to forgive and make up.  His treatment of Baldwin and Chamberlain* after he became prime minister is an object lesson in sublime magnanimity.  Nothing gave him more pleasure than to replace enmity with friendship, not least with the Germans.

An object lesson Obama is in sore need of learning.  In his speech on Afghanistan, by one pundit’s count, he “adverted at least half a dozen times to the supposed blunders of his predecessor.”  And he’s not the only official in his Administration who eschews such Churchillian magnanimity in order to lambaste George W. Bush.  In an email to supporters touting Obama’s Afghanistan speech, Vice President Biden “said of the new policy towards Afghanistan: ‘It’s a clean break from the failed Afghanistan policy of the Bush administration, and a new, focused strategy that can succeed.’

Why must they always define their policies by contrasting them to the “failed” ones of W instead defending them on their own merits?

Wonder how we could make a teaching moment for these two?

* (more…)

Holiday Party this Sunday, December 6 @ 4 PM in LA

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:21 pm - December 4, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,LA Stories

Just one last reminder about the GayPatriot holiday party this coming Sunday, December 6 in Los Angeles, starting at 4 PM. E-mail me for details.

A reader’s questions on attitudes toward homosexuality and abortion

More often than not, a reader pens a comment which deserves a post of its own.  And so it is with the questions DRH posed in response to my piece opposing the judicial resolution of gay marriage:

1) Do you really think homosexuality will *ever* become a non-divisive issue?

2) How do you think the divisiveness surrounding abortion would have played out had the outcome of Roe been different?

These are great questions. I think the first is more easily answered than the second.  That latter being one of the great “What Ifs” of contemporary American history.

Right now, to the first, I’ll say I don’t know, but the signs clearly point in the direction of it becoming a non-issue.  It certainly is less of an issue than it once was, with the divisions clearly surrounding state recognition of gay marriage.

To the second, I think that in the absence of Roe, there would still be divisions over abortion, but they likely wouldn’t be a harshly drawn as they are today.

Where Obama doesn’t have his heart, America may achieve a victory (and he’ll deservedly get the credit)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:32 am - December 4, 2009.
Filed under: Credit to Democrats,War On Terror

in the forty-eight hours and some since President Obama spoke to the nation to outline his new strategy on Afghanistan, I’ve moved from concern about the absence of conviction in his rhetoric to cautious optimism about his relative indifference to the war effort.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think he wants us to lose the war there, far from it.  It’s just that I think he’d rather focus on other things.

And as far as Afghanistan is concerned, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it may be a good thing, indeed, a very good hence my slight change of heart since I heard him speak.

When he addressed the nation, he didn’t seem to have his heart in his speech as he has in past addresses. Yet, the nut and bolts of his strategy are pretty sound.  Not just that, he has in charge of the effort two men involved in the successful “surge” in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates who supervised that shift his strategy from his then-new perch at the Pentagon and General Stanley McChrystal who, as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command in 2007, helped General David Petraeus implement the surge in Iraq.

If the President’s heart is not as much in this effort as it is in overhauling our health care system, he likely won’t micromanage the war as LBJ micromanaged Vietnam, devoting his time to his domestic agenda.  He’ll let the generals win the war based on the broad guidelines he set and the conditions on the ground.  With General McChrystal in charge, the President has picked a good man.  Should he let his fight the war according to the plans that outstanding soldier has outlined, we’re likely to succeed in Iraq, achieving the victory Obama refused to call by its name.

Even so, should we win Iraq, Obama will deserve a substantial share of the credit.  He’s the guy who tapped McChrystal.  And he’s the one who signed off on his strategy.

RELATED:  Charles Krauthammer disagrees.