Dispatches > The Buzz

QuickTakes

Issue: "Bush's tax-cut plan," March 10, 2001
  • "Slick Hillie": The toniest paper in New York City has had enough of Hillary Clinton. The New York Observer demanded the freshman senator's resignation in a front-page editorial, dubbing her "Slick Hillie." In their Manhattan-eyed view, the editors say Mrs. Clinton doesn't live up to the standard set by Robert F. Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Forget about seeing her run for president in 2004, they suggest. "Had she any shame, she would resign," said the editorial, noting that her "political viability" is dead after just eight weeks in office. The Observer's core argument is straightforward: If Bill was involved in wrongdoing, so was Hillary. The inauguration of George W. Bush gave people a chance to rethink their devotion to the former first family. "The Clintons have spent the last eight years treating the American electorate with dismissive contempt," said the Observer. "The rage unleashed in the last few weeks is that of an aggrieved partner who has wised up at last."
  • Et tu? The pardon story just won't go away. The Wall Street Journal's free online site OpinionJournal.com last week chronicled the growing list of neoÐClinton haters-that is, former Clinton defenders who have had their fill. Opinion Journal called attention to The New York Times's Bob Herbert, who used terms like "stench," "thoroughly corrupt," and "weird" to describe the ex-president and his scandals. The liberal newspaperman delivered a body punch concerning the pardons that threaten to "destroy him" and his senator wife: "He may finally be getting his due." Columnist Joseph Sobran summed it up this way: "Their unseemly exit has inspired the greatest crisis of faith since Darwin assailed the book of Genesis."
  • And the winner is ... At last, we all know that President Bush won the election, according to a Miami Herald report. An independent audit showed Al Gore gaining just 49 votes, even when playing by the exotic game of chad-hunting. Even without judicial intervention, the results would have been the same. Thomas L. Jipping, vice president of the Free Congress Foundation, noted in a commentary that this really doesn't matter, since the first count was the best count: "An illegitimate count is not made legitimate because you like the results."
  • Sick chic: "Hannibal Lecter, romantic hero?" That's how John Leo reads America's ongoing fascination with Tom Harris's character. He says the media sees him as akin to the Unabomber: "stormy and controversial, maybe, but darned attractive." In short, he's whacked in the head, but still fascinating and perversely appealing. Mr. Leo also notes that the Marquis de Sade's works are getting attention due to the Oscar-nominated movie Quills (see Gene Edward Veith's essay on p. 41). "If a sympathetic case can be made for Hannibal and de Sade," Mr. Leo remarks, "is there any place where the Hollywood culture will draw a moral line?"
  • Privacy, please: Whom do you trust with your medical records? Conservative activist and commentator Phyllis Schlafly says that the rise of computerization creates a big problem: Employers, drug companies, bureaucrats, and social engineers want to dig through your data. She argues that new federal regulations, quietly issued by the HHS under Donna Shalala, contain privacy rules riddled with dangerous loopholes. Mrs. Schlafly hopes that these rules will be reformed by the Bush administration so that private information stays that way.
  • Endangered humans: Environmentalists laud the Endangered Species Act as a great help for mankind, but its absurd implications endanger otherwise law-abiding citizens. Columnist Debra Saunders points to the case of an Orinda, Calif., man who pled guilty to three misdemeanor counts because he moved some endangered frogs and tadpoles away from a development site. Prosecutors wanted John J. Zentner to serve 10 days in jail, but he agreed to do community service and pay stiff fines instead. Ms. Sanders noted that first-time drunk drivers don't face these penalties: "Zentner hopes that his punishment serves as a warning to people who don't take the Endangered Species Act seriously."

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