Shouting 'Cross the Potomac
but never a Monday morning quarterback
adrag1 at msn.com [until the QP server gets fixed]
willv at comcast.net
Virginia Pundit Watch Will Vehrs' Weekly Column at Bacon's Rebellion
DC Metro Blog Map
UVA Center for Politics and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Predictions 2002
Spinsanity - Countering rhetoric with reason
On the Third Hand
A blog by a proud member of the Bellicose Women's Brigade
Mark A. Kilmer's Political Annotation
A Nickles Worth of Free Advice
Where HipHop and Libertarianism meet
Note To Self
"Crash"'s way kewl blog
The Rallying Point
Mind Over What Matters
Off the Kuff
What She Really Thinks
Talking Points Memo
the talking dog
The Rittenhouse Review
The Lefty Directory
Common Sense and Wonder
Jim Miller on Politics
Croooow Blog: Rantings and ravings on the news of the day.
The Road to Surfdom
The Volokh Conspiracy
perfunctory links(We think it's "the Mother of links pages for news and pundit junkies" - eds)
Independent Gay Forum
Town Hall: Conservative News and Information - The Conservative Movement Starts Here
Saturday, March 02, 2002
Charge of The Press Brigade
Tony AdragnaI took a little license with Tennyson's masterpiece
Half a blog, half a blog,I reworked the whole poem [actually, I just changed some critical verbiage] - see it at From Left Field
War and Peace
Will VehrsHo, hum, another "peace plan" for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This one, too, will find its way into the dustbin of history.
Al Qaeda and Taliban pockets? Let's call in air strikes on them. And let's try not to take prisoners, either, since the Europeans don't seem to like the way we treat them.
You can safely ignore the print pundits, today, Tony. I'm gearing up for tomorrow already. My prediction of tomorrow's Punditwatch headline: Debating Whether to Debate Foreign Policy.
There Is No Media Cabal!
Tony AdragnaIf there is, they're sure lousy at agreeing on a plan of action.
Today's top story is a toss up between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Taliban Trouble (WT picks both on their website).
The Saudi Plan is doomed! It calls for recognition and normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states,, but as I see it the plan doesn't address the problem facing Israel on the ground. Israel isn't at war with any Arab states - it's at war with militant extremist groups. Certainly states provide support to those groups, but I don't see that support going away after Israel concedes the territory in question. Even Egypt, which has been at peace with Israel for more than twenty years, can't bring itself to stop its Jew bashing. And let's not forget from where OBL and his leutenants came -- Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- which begs the question: How can the Arab nations issue a guarantee to Israel if they can't control their own extremists?
WT and LAT take different tack on the Taliban story. WT reports on the regrouping of Taliban and al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan
"We are seeing pockets of al Qaeda and pockets of Taliban," Gen. Rosa told reporters at the Pentagon. "There's hundreds of folks, and we don't know the makeup, but they're certainly not friendly."That's right folks - this is why we need to keep after al Qaeda til they're vanquished. It's like crabgrass: if you don't get it all, it springs right back up as if you never did anything. The LAT story gives a clue on where the Taliban forces are coming from. In a story titled "Vengeance Is Taking Its Toll in Wake of Taliban", the LAT said:
Since December, Pushtuns have been fleeing their villages across the north, long the bastion of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. They began showing up by the thousands in faraway refugee camps on the southeastern border with Pakistan throughout January and February, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.Anybody wanna lay odds that alot of those "refugees" aren't making it to the refugee camp, but meeting up with their old comrades instead? I'm not condoning what appears to be vigilantism mixed with ethnic cleansing, but I'm also no naif - some of these refugees are not innocents.
My pick for non-story of the day is WP reportage on the "shadow government." They led with it yesterday, and reprised it today. No big news, folks - they're at the same undisclosed location where Mr. Cheney has been spending much of his time. Neither the press nor Congress ought be surprised or upset - a highschool social studies class coulda figured this one out.
What are the pundits saying today, Will?
QP For Saturday
StaffFor your Saturday pleasure, QP offers Above the Fold and Blog Watch II, both PM and AM editions. There's also the new Punditwatch daily edition.
Also, as is customary on Saturday, QP links you to the Ipse Dixit caption contest that is usually dominated by members of The Refuge. This week, unfortunately, QP was shut out of the winner's circle on the suggestive jockey/young lady picture, but a new and potentially dangerous competitor made his debut: Dan Dickinson, quipmaster extraordinaire.
Friday, March 01, 2002
Taking Up The Hammer
Tony AdragnaWill, you know I probably shoulda said something earlier about my disagreement with Krauthammer on his current piece. He says the following:
Being subordinate they can tolerate. Irrelevant they cannot. They may have been subordinate to the United States in the Cold War, but in that great twilight struggle, they manned the front lines, gamely fielding huge land armies against the Warsaw Pact. We provided the nuclear guarantee. They provided the boots on the ground. We were the dominant partner.I don't disagree that the Europeans are redundant in this war. And I don't disagree that the Europeans are petulant. Where I diverge is on the notion that the people we're dealing with now were ever relevant. Look at who we're talking about here:
- The French: how many years did they refrain from NATO, only to return after the Cold War was over? Besides, there has always been a large Socialist streak in the French Republic.Those voices have always been irrelevant, so what's changed? I'll tell ya what - Maggie Thatcher left, that's what. That one powerful voice drowned out all the nattering nabobs, and the nabobs are in charge now.
Update: I also hafta take exception with the "boots on the ground" part. I reremeber something about the US basing a fairly large standing army of full time professional soldiers in Europe during the Cold War. Most of those countries we were defending relied - and still do - heavily on "National Service" types for the bulk of their troop strength. There's also the fact that the best air forces in theatre happened to be US Air Force and Naval Air Foce contingents. And don't get me started on sea power - 6th Fleet still has no real competition. Sure, we couldn't have taken on the Pact by ourselves, but Europe couldn't have done without us either - SIOP aside...
Hong Kong Harangue
Tony AdragnaOh, Hong Kong, I remember you well!
My trips to Hong Kong took the form of a recurring six day liberty call while in transit to Sasebo after having spent a month (or two) in Chinhae, Korea ( there's a nice picture of USS Frank Cable AS40 doing what we used to do on USS Proteus AS19 when we would visit - alas, the "Old Pro" is no longer: it's a younger ship Navy. But, I digress...)
Us "old hands" (read: anybody who had been to Hong Kong previously, and fell in love - everybody else was a cherry) would do anything to get duty on the first day in port, after which we would have five days of unrestricted, shameless partayin'. It went like this:
Day One: Duty til 0800 the next day.Those were the days, shipmates!
And don't forget the shopping. Everybody refers to NYC as the capitol of capitalism - day was when I woulda disagreed: my vote went to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong isn't a place that I would want to visit anymore. My neighbor still goes frequently, but that's because shopping is her opiate - she wouldn't notice the world blowing up around her if she were in the middle of a delightful purchase. Me, after listening to what Martin Lee has to say, I just couldn't sit at my favourite corner of Ned Kelly's pub without being depressed at what's happening to my grand old city. If things had gone the way that they were supposed to, then Martin Lee would be Hong Kong's Chief Executive. Instead, Hong Kong has ended up with a kow towing to Beijing shipping magnate who cares nothing 'bout democracy so long as he's got power and money.
But, what the hell happened to Chris Patten?( tanks fer da linkage Glenn) Time was when he was a hero of democracy, too.
Eat When You Can…
Tony AdragnaDid you learn that in the Infantry, Will? We didn’t worry about that in the Navy because we were always well fed. At least you had good dining company...
I know that Kelly was most likely being hyperbolic-for-effect, but I didn’t too much care for where his rounds were landing. Krauthammer, on the other hand, is somebody whom I can find no fault with right now. He mentioned his attitude with respect to Israel pre-9/11, and I note that my agreement also predates the war on terror. I might disagree with The Hammer on some peripheral matters, but at the core is that same sentiment that Anne expressed.
I can’t comment on Fleischer – I haven’t a clue what he said because I never listen to him (the mute button is such a wonderful thing to behold).
I still haven’t written my long overdue essay on “partitions”, but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that classic example of where diplomatic solutions – especially those arranged by a third party – only work to resolve conflicts that are already resolved. Absent genuine agreement between parties you might be able to suppress open hostilities, but the conflict continues. If these parties could really get together and decide that they’ve had enough, then a brokered cease-fire might do some good. Until then, the proper strategy ought be to do everything militarily possible to vanquish the foe.
My only concern, as it has always been, is that the Israelis need to be a bit more discriminating in who they target. It’s a good sign that the IDF didn’t just go in with bulldozers this time, and went the extra step in trying to give civilians more than adequate opportunity to get the hell outta Dodge.
Two Minute Drill
Will VehrsThis tiresome feature returns with a blog news flash and tying a few loose ends.
Mini-Blogger Bash I just got back from lunch with Fritz Schranck, proprieter of the excellent Sneaking Suspicions blog. He was here in Richmond on business and made some time to meet me. Fritz is one of those people who writes in perfect pitch with his personality: he is thoughtful, witty, and empathetic. Just as his blog demonstrates, he has a wide breadth of interests and specialized knowledge that is fascinating to explore. I tried to get him to gossip about fellow bloggers, but he was unfailing respectful of all our colleagues. Hope you had a safe trip back, Fritz--it was a pleasure.
Tony's Loose End Tony, in our Pundit Talk of Wednesday, you defended President Carter against the humorous, but ultimately vicious attack Michael Kelly made on the former President for his criticism of Bush's "Axis of Evil." I admit to wincing while I laughed. Some labels in politics stick no matter what the nuance. Carter being feckless is one that he will probably never shake, no matter what the ultimate historical record. I would just say that this type of scathing commentary, with absolutely no middle ground, is popping up with increasing frequency from conservative leaning and liberal leaning columnists. At the very least writers should let go of the "killer rabbit" angle to every mention of Carter.
Joe's Loose End Joseph Britt, also in Pundit Talk, asked about my preferences in punditry. He enjoys "unpredictability" and I would agree. I respect the columnists who don't take cheap shots and at least respect the views they disagree with. William Safire is a wonderful contrarian. E. J. Dionne, Jr., while predictable, makes the best case for liberal Democrats. Robert Novak (the hardest working--3 columns a week) and Nicholas Kristof are the best reporters. I prefer Jim Hoagland over Tom Friedman on foreign affairs, but both do solid reporting. Maureen Dowd is the most inconsistent. George Will is not a contrarian, but I respect that he actively ventures into the territory of those one would think oppose his philosophy and writes fairly about them. I find Paul Krugman, Molly Ivins, and Bob Herbert much too predictable. David Broder seems to have moved very strongly to the left recently and seems increasingly frustrated that his beat, government and politics, is not as important as it was pre-9/11. I believe another blogger made the same comment about Broder and I wish I could remember who so I could give credit.
Changes Coming, Fast and Furious
Will VehrsNow that you've posted Above the Fold and I've posted today's Punditwatch, we're in business with our new format. I'm optimistic that this will be an improvement for QP.
Isn't it interesting that the Washington Times broke that story on the Georgian diplomat? Sometimes even a so-called "conservative rag" will break a story that could paint a conservative Republican administration in a bad light. Realpolitik is often not pretty and this is a perfect example. (Nixon's latest transcripts are another.) I'm sure the parents of the victim will be outraged and find much support. If springing Makharadze was indeed the linchpin of the deal to put US troops in Georgia, only time will tell if it was a pact with the devil or a bold gamble.
I have always been rabidly pro-Israel. "Unilateralism" in the face of European tut-tutting is now gaining currency as a US policy; why shouldn't it work for Israel in an area where it is militarily superior? Wasn't it Anne Applebaum in Slate who wrote a while back that peace between implacable foes is only achieved when one essentially destroys the other? I agree with that formulation, but I question its durability for Israel. The Sharon government is rapidly losing support. What will the probably inevitable new government do?
What was the Ari Fleischer dust-up over Clinton's Middle East peace efforts really about? With mentions of a disinformation agency still in the air, I have to wonder if the whole thing was calculated and played out according to a "clever" script. I just can't figure out the audience.
I'll Defend Their Right to Fight To The Death...
Tony AdragnaSo, we have begun, Will. As promised, I've reprised Above The Fold, and I promiss to be dilligent. Since reading the paper should be the first thing everybody does on a daily basis, I figured that the top stories would be a good place to start our daily discussions. Now, if I could only get all of the newsrooms to agree on the top stories...
Today I'll hafta go with the Israel story, which is the only one that appear above the fold in all three print additions that I'm able to look at (the Washington Times online doesn't publish an image of their front page).
From the reporting it looks very much like the Israelis have finally launched theri own "War on Terror." What am I saying? Haven't the Israelis been fighting these people for ages? Well, yeah, but there's something different happening. Up till now the methodology used against the Palestinians has been to engage in either retaliatory raids, or limited engagements targeted at specific groups. If I'm reading this correctly, it looks like the Israelis are now opting for the "Krauthammer Plan" - go in and clean 'em out; don't stop 'til you're done. I hope it works, because it's the only plan that has any chance of bringing security and peace to both Israel and Palestinians. You can't have peace with people who have vowed to fight to the death...
A story that should get more coverage is WTs second story - the one about the Georgian diplomat. For those who don't remember, Gueorgui Makharadze is the guy who, in 1997, was driving drunk in Dupont Circle when he hit a car being driven by a 16 year old girl from Kensington, Md. There was a big to do about whether he could be prosecuted, but Shevardnadze wisely cleared the way by revoking the guys diplomatic status. Now Makharadze is being allowed to leave after only serving 3 1/2 years.
Why should the story get more coverage? Because it comes on the heels of an agreement to let US troops operate in Georgia. Coincidence?
[This is Change # 2 - we're going to try to focus our daily discussions on the top stories and Will's daily Print pundit picks]
Change #1--Print Punditwatch
Will VehrsPunditwatch is my pride and joy. It's always a pleasure when you get to write about something you love, something you'd do even if you didn't write about it. That's Punditwatch for me.
The TV version of Punditwatch tries to be timely, usually within an hour of the last major show's telecast. That timeliness fits in well with the compressed "news cycle" of the blogosphere (Mickey Kaus, who's written about compressed news cycles, ought to update his theory to include the effect of blogs. Put that on your assignment desk, Mickey!) Print Punditwatch, covering a week of syndicated newspaper pundits on Wednesday morning, is a more reflective look at what the opinion makers have been saying. That doesn't fit so well with the blogosphere time continuum. By the time I review all the pundits, most of the provocative columns have been dissected by bloggers far and wide. I feel constrained about not joining the discussion until I've published, and Tony, ever the gentleman, avoids pundits for fear of incurring my anal-retentive wrath about poaching on my territory.
With that in mind, I'm going to begin making Print Punditwatch a more or less daily column, short and to the point. The implications of that, and the opportunities it will present Quasipundit, will be more fully explained by the big guy here, Tony Adragna. TV Punditwatch will continue as it has since its inception.
Later today, I will post today's Print Punditwatch over at Punditwatch. I will try to publish it early each day, right after Blog Watch II. Had I published yesterday, here's what it would have looked like:
Running With Rahm
Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal (requires subscription) analyzes former Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel's campaign for a House seat from Chicago. Hunt predicts an Emanuel victory in the Democratic primary, a view not shared by local reporters. Bill Safire looks at all the ex-Clintonites running for office and ends with one bit of self-serving bias:
Of Clinton alums running in primaries, I'm rooting for Emanuel. It's a solid Democratic seat anyway, and he was the one White House aide gutsy enough to return my calls.
Safire also reveals a Cuomo connection. Richard Cohen reviews Joe Klein's new book about Clinton, The Natural. Klein's assessment is sad and true. Like heavy duty math? George Will tells how to calculate if you're obese. Bob Novak warns of a "'liquidity'" crisis in the wake of "congressional hysteria and demagoguery" over Enron. Jim Hoagland turns to playwright Arthur Miller for the right metaphor to describe Jonas Savimbi: "Africa's Willie Loman."
For those interested in media bias conspiracies involving the pundits, Howard Kurtz reviews Washington Monthly Editor Paul Glastris' "Why Can't the Democrats Get Tough?" Kurtz also discusses The New Republics discovery of a leader in ethics reform: Robert Torricelli.
Best Bets: Safire and Kurtz; Cohen if you love Clinton.
Comments on this change and the new Print Punditwatch format are encouraged before I get intractably anal-retentive about it.
Thursday, February 28, 2002
Will VehrsOne improvement QP will try to make is to have a foolproof way of getting copy from our excellent guest commentators. My email was dead today and I couldn't get Joseph Britt's morning response to Tony and myself in Pundit Talk. It's there now and worth a read. My apologies to Joe for getting his piece up so late and to our readers for leaving you to find cutting edge opinion elsewhere today ....
Message From The Editors
Adragna & VehrsOn October 9, 2001 QuasiPundit was boldly launched into the ether-sphere. This project began when its founder took the challenge -- presented by a certain artificial life form sometimes known as “The Prof”, “Instantman”, “The Hyperblogger”, and various other appellations – to do the outrageously simple: Start you own blog.
QuasiPundit has changed considerably since then. What was once the voice of a single sometime-radical liberal waking up to the realities of a world gone not to the Donkeys or the Elephants, but to the dogs, has grown into QuasiPundit.com and its incomparable PunditWatch; not so out there From Left Field; and the oft described as “very different” Shouting ‘Cross The Potomac. Of all the changes, the most fortuitous was the enlistment of Will Vehrs, without whom all this would still be “the voice of a single…”
And, let’s not forget the readers ( we love y’all), our fellow bloggers (for noticing us – we notice you too), and the media, especially the pundits (without whom we’d be starved for material).
But, we’re not done yet: we think we can do this better than we’ve been doing this so far. We’ll explain as we go, but we just want to forewarn of some impending changes.
Thanks for all of the support!
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Pundits Miss Libations Scandal!
Will VehrsJoseph Britt has read today's Punditwatch and found the pundits wanting. Check out his first commentary in the Pundit Talk special.
Update: I've replied to Joe beneath his post--we'll just keep this threading down for today.
This Just In Joseph Britt unveils the Hunch-O-Meter in his second post!
Update 8:00 PM Tony just couldn't resist going after Will's Pundit of the Week [sorry, make that 9:00 PM]
You can find the original
Punditwatch Spawns Pundit Talk
Will VehrsThe latest Print Punditwatch has been posted. Michael Kelly gets the coveted "Pundit of the Week" prize (how many pundits of the week can I award?), Tom Friedman gets a lot of exposure, is Krugman krumbling?, and fine dining in Russia are the big topics.
For a change of pace, this week's Punditwatch will be followed for the next two days or so by Pundit Talk, a discussion between Joseph Britt and myself on the issues raised by our friendly talking heads. I'll let everyone know as each new post is made. Tony, fresh from refereeing the Paul v. Jesus bout, may also join in the fun.
Too Much To Do!
Tony AdragnaDidn't get around to Blog Watching tonight - I was busy with the Paul v. Jesus dispute. I had to knock that essay out: strike while the iron is hot...
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
They Paid Him A Bonus, Yada Yada Yada,