A Hero In Pakistan

has been murdered:

Death threats were a constant in Bhatti’s life for many years. He once told me that he had never married because he did not think it would be fair to a wife and children to subject them to this concern. His work was his life: At the end of each day, he left his government Cabinet office and headed over to his office at the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, where he continued to help Pakistan’s persecuted minorities until late into the night.

“I personally stand for religious freedom, even if I will pay the price of my life,” he had said when he received the USCIRF award. “I live for this principle and I want to die for this principle.”

Sadly, he got what he wanted. I’d like to comfort myself with the thought that this was the work of extremists, but in Pakistan, the extreme is the norm. And they have nukes.

What A Government Shut Down Wouldn’t Be

A train wreck:

We’re in a different political environment now in two important respects. The first is the media. There was no Internet or blogosphere in 1995; Fox News Channel did not start until October 1996; talk radio was in its infancy, with Rush Limbaugh already an important national voice but with few other conservative hosts on the air.

In that environment, liberal-inclined media were able to tell the story and frame the issue the way they liked without much dissent. ABC’s Peter Jennings could compare voters who supported Gingrich Republicans to infants having a tantrum. Such voices don’t have a monopoly today.

The second significant difference is that in the mid-1990s the economy was growing and it was not clear why we needed to limit government spending. We could afford more for this, that and the other thing.

Now we’re in straitened circumstances, just out of a severe recession (though many voters don’t think it’s over just yet) and in a very restrained and anemic recovery. We’ve seen that a substantial increase in government spending — from 21 percent to 25 percent of gross domestic product — hasn’t done much to stimulate economic growth. And we’ve seen that government kept growing even as the private sector suffered.

As I’ve said in the past, I don’t think that Bill Clinton would have won in 1992 with today’s media.

Myths Of George Bush

Elizabeth Bumiller shocks her interviewer:

DU: What are some of the biggest misconceptions about President George W. Bush, and which stereotypes are actually true?

EB: Bush is actually not stupid at all. But he was rigid in a lot of things. He was not as intellectually curious as other presidents; not especially reflective — I think that’s obvious in his recent book. He was different in Washington than he was in Texas as governor. In Texas he was known for reaching across the aisle, and working with adversaries, and that just never happened in Washington. He also got socked with 9/11, and that changed everything. I don’t think you could ever write enough on how much that completely stunned and shell-shocked him and his administration. That accounts for some of the rigidness. One on one, he was extremely personable, very easy to approach, very casual. He demanded utter loyalty from his staff, and his staff by and large was exceptionally loyal, and that was something that always stunned people.

Emphasis mine. Who knew?

The thing that I find weird is the logic in her other criticism, though: “He was different in Washington than he was in Texas as governor. In Texas he was known for reaching across the aisle, and working with adversaries, and that just never happened in Washington.”

Hmmmmmm…Bush in Austin, one thing happened. Bush in Washington, a different thing happened.

Which is it that’s more likely, that Bush magically changed when he went from Austin to Washington, or that there was something different about Austin than Washington? Like maybe the Democrats in the latter weren’t willing to be reached to across the aisle?

Besides, the charge itself is nonsense. What do you call the deal to vastly increase government involvement in education by working with Teddy Kennedy, or dramatically expanding Medicare with Democrats, if not “working across the aisle”? So she’s wrong on both the history and the logic.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!

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