Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dogs, Not Barking

(An occasional item about things that are not in the news, which is itself newsworthy).

Item 1: We're now eight months into the new administration, and you know what's missing? Scandal. Granted, we did have confirmation follies with Daschle and the various Commerce Secretary stuff, and I suppose if one squints hard it's possible to see the flap over the Obama effort to collect health care reforms fictions as a scandal. But no Bert Lance, and no White House travel office. Not a surprise -- these people, unlike the Carter and Clinton crews, are seasoned professionals -- but still a pretty big deal going forward (Clinton's WH was professional, mostly, but extremely inexperienced at running a presidency. Carter's WH was not, um, completely filled with unqualified disasters).

Item 2: The fizzling procurement issue. Some of the key bills are still in progress, but it sure seems to me that Obama (and Gates) are getting away with some serious changes in this area. The military could be fighting back with leaks and backstabbing, and that doesn't seem to be the case. I'm with Fred Kaplan on this being pretty important, and the key indicator is that Fred Kaplan hasn't written on it (at least I don't think so) for two months. Among the questions this raises, by the way, is whether military support on this is promising for DADT repeal down the line, or if it's a trade-off for going slow on DADT. I suspect the former.

Item 3: You may know that the American death toll in Iraq last month was a record-low eight; you probably don't know that this month's death toll is only two to date. Besides from the obvious good news of fewer dead service members, I would think that this is also good news for those worried that Obama will be sucked into a morass in Afghanistan if things go badly there, and good news for Obama in that his successful implementation of liberal's main goal there (i.e. getting out) may give him more leeway with them in Afghanistan.

Item 4 (continuing item): The Democrats continue to be sneaky on the Fairness Doctrine by doing nothing! I'm glad to see that conservatives haven't given up, though -- I don't have links, I'm afraid, but I've seen a few references recently, including a C-SPAN show over the weekend that was devoted to it. I didn't watch carefully, but presumably the complete inaction on this one by the Dems is further proof that it's their top agenda item.

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