We finally have an Obama doctrine. It is the 223 words of the White House statement on the death of Fidel Castro. It is blank of moral judgment, empty of indignation, blind to injustice, dismissive of history and indifferent to injury. A dictator has died and Barack Obama sent him off with lazy weasel words: "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him." History will also record Obama's failure to condemn.
Following the Oct. 4 vice presidential debate, Donald Trump's son Eric was asked how Mike Pence had done. He answered as a Corleone—maybe not the storied Michael because he was the youngest, and not Fredo since he was weak and destined to be fired in the manner of those times, but possibly Sonny since Eric looked CNN's Wolf Blitzer hard in the eye and said of Pence, "I really think he represented (BEG ITAL)the family(END ITAL) and I think he represented the party incredibly, incredibly well tonight." So spoke the Godfather's son.
Kellyanne Conway and I have a difference of opinion. She thinks that Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and other once-important Democrats ought to call off the anti-Trump demonstrations now tying up several square blocks of several cities because, as she said about Trump, "This man is our president." It took her a while, but Conway finally gets it right: Yes, that's what the kids are protesting.
Beyond the precedent that the Justice Department, particularly the FBI, bends over backward not to interfere in a presidential election, there is yet another precedent, this one established during the Monica Lewinsky investigation: A high official, under pressure from both Congress and the press, can lose his mind. The mind belonged to Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel, who back in the winter of 1997, signaled he had more than enough of Bill Clinton, sex that wasn't sex, a dress no longer suitable for a casual date, and other such matters and was quitting.
Now WikiLeaks is all over the place, a veritable downpour of the once secret, both consequential and trivial—more the latter than the former, it seems. Taking a lateral from Moscow, the organization has gutted the Democratic National Committee, revealing that it had taken sides in the primary fight between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It later opened a digital vein into the most secret thoughts of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager and a former White House chief of staff. Like the DNC, he, too, favors Hillary.
I have a man in mind. He is in his 60s, successful, handsome in his way with a commanding voice, an apartment in the city, a place in the country and a driver to take him there. Before I had ever met him, I knew him by reputation. So, in a far different way, did lots of women. At a dinner party, his hands roam under the table. After I learned about that man, I started to ask around. I asked women not just about him but about their dinner party experiences in general.
The New York Times' David Sanger had an interesting observation in a recent article on Vladimir Putin's bizarre foreign policy. Russia, Sanger wrote, is a "declining economy with the gross domestic product of Italy." So how come it manages to push around the United States, which has the world's biggest economy and, as President Obama put it just last week, "by a mile, the greatest military on earth"? Because the United States has, by a mile, a president who is cautious to the point of timidity and prudent to the point of appearing heartless.
NEW YORK—Frank Luntz, the Republican political consultant, is a master of the political epigram. Under his tutelage the estate tax became the death tax and global warming became climate change. So Luntz, once again going to the heart of the matter, recently put an either-or question to a group of about 50 people: What would you rather see, Donald Trump's taxes or Hillary Clinton's emails? Upon that question hinges the election.
Back when I worked for the claims department of a major insurance company, I got stuff. Some of the stuff consisted of tickets to Broadway shows and sporting events and sometimes I got bottles of booze, Canadian Club being a popular choice for some reason. These items were tendered to me by auto appraisers, repair shops and other firms, large and small, that wanted the business my company could offer. Corrupt souls that they were, they offered these items as bribes. Pristine young man that I was, I accepted them as gifts. I was, in my own modest way, Hillary Clinton before her time.