Poor, "Poignant" Tom Daschle - December 3, 2004

December 3, 2004
Poor, "Poignant" Tom Daschle
"In the Senate, the Democratic leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who lost his re-election bid, delivered a poignant farewell speech that brought him a standing ovation.But only a few Republicans showed up, and Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, who broke with Senate tradition to campaign against Mr. Daschle in his home state, South Dakota, did not appear until after Mr. Daschle finished speaking.Outside the Senate chamber, the common ground Mr. Daschle spoke of seemed hard to find." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Hulse, November 20.

More Wishful Thinking on the Imminent Republican Collapse

"From the rapacious capitalism of the Gilded Age to the cronyism of Teapot Dome, from the corruption of Tammany Hall to the cultural and fiscal excesses of the Great Society, American history is replete with examples of the price of one-party rule. At the moment, Democrats on Capitol Hill lack even the power to call a committee meeting, issue a subpoena or do anything much more active than complain. But history also suggests a perilous twist on an adage as old as Athens: Whom the Gods would destroy they first give control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. With responsibility for all of government comes accountability for all of government, and the picture is not always pretty." - Todd Purdum in the November 28 Week in Review on the potential fallout of G.O.P. control of Washington.

"Certainly, there have been early signs of elephantine hubris, chief among them the House majority's willingness to rewrite its own ethics rules for the sole purpose of assuring that its majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, would not have to step down should he be indicted as a result of any of the inquiries now swirling around him. Only a dominant party would dare do a thing like that. - Todd Purdum in the November 28 Week in Review.

Soft-Pedaling an Anti-Israeli Terrorist
"In the 1990's, Mr. Barghouti maintained contacts with the Israelis, who viewed him as a future leader with potential. But that changed with the second intifada. Now the Israelis routinely describe Mr. Barghouti as a 'terrorist,' and if he were to win the Palestinian election, it seems unlikely that Israel would work with him, even from his prison cell." - Greg Myre, December 2.

Thank God? Abortion a "Non-Issue" in "More Civil" Italy
"The splintering a decade ago of the Christian Democratic Party, often seen as a main route for the church's influence, along with Europe's deepening secularization, helped make Italy more like other European nations. Despite the teachings of the church against contraception, Italy has one of the lowest birth rates in Europe. Divorce and abortion became legal in the 1970s despite strong opposition from the church. But abortion is a non-issue here - perhaps the best example of the more civil tone of the debate over religion and state. Here, it seems less an argument than a very long conversation." - Ian Fisher, December 1.

The Strange "Heterosexual Ritual" of Homecoming Festivities
But elsewhere, including here at the University of Washington and at some campuses in the South, students have clung to homecoming, and now a raging debate, in many ways mirroring the national debate over same-sex marriage, has begun to ripple across the nation's campuses.Some high schools now hold separate gay proms. But gay students like Mr. Moran say that is not enough. They view homecoming as an opportunity to integrate gay students into a classically heterosexual ritual. - Sarah Kershaw, November 27.

In New Jersey, Liberalism = Tolerance
"New Jersey voters tend to be tolerant on social issues, according to pollsters and political analysts, so [New Jersey Sen. Jon] Corzine's liberal views in favor of stem cell research and abortion rights and against the death penalty are not out of step with much of the state's electorate." - New Jersey reporter David Kocieniewski, December 3.

Pudgy Darlings and the Neo-Cons Who Love Them
"Throughout the autumn, a startling set of posters could be seen plastered across a neighborhood of western Baghdad. Scrawled in Arabic were the words 'We'll be back to end the slaughter in Najaf.' Above them loomed the wan, pudgy face of the former exile leader and onetime darling of the Pentagon's neoconservatives, Ahmad Chalabi." - Edward Wong, December 3.

A Fact-Starved Hunger Anecdote

"In a reflection of a growing need among the working poor, demonstrated in lengthening lines at food banks and pantries, Congress approved an increase of nearly $1.5 billion in the food stamp program." - Katharine Seelye and David Rosenbaum, November 23.

Condi: Not as Bellicose as Feared?
"But just as it proved unwise to draw a straight line then between what the president-elect was saying and how he would act, it may be equally risky to race to the certainty - as many in Washington did last week - that a second Bush administration, unrestrained by the caution of Colin Powell, will lead the United States into an unending series of confrontations with the world, starting with bellicose approaches to controlling the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea. It could turn out that way, for sure. But it has been quite a while since the words 'Axis of Evil' sprang from the president's lips. And during the election campaign, it was clear from the president's words and actions that the limits on American power had begun to sink in on this White House." - From David Sanger's November 21 profile of Condoleezza Rice.

U.S. "Going it Alone in Iraq"? Hardly
"For the first time since the Bush administration began its now-troubled enterprise to reshape Iraq, an international conference of foreign ministers and other senior officials will gather Monday to try to reach a rudimentary consensus on how to stabilize the violence-soaked nation. Washington's past determination to go it alone in Iraq and staunch opposition from many quarters to the American-led occupation have long stymied any international effort on Iraq." - Neil MacFarquhar, November 22.

Reality Check:
"In addition to the United States, 36 countries have committed troops to support the operation in Iraq at some point." - From a graphic to a November 21 Steven Weisman story.

Even on the Sports Page

"At the Summer Games in Athens in August, everyone walked a tightrope of tension. The N.B.A. players, the symbol of American strength and arrogance, were potential targets of violence." - Sports columnist William Rhoden, November 21.

"The economics of fan hostility has yet to catch Nascar drivers, who still talk in Tobacco Road speak with their red-state base as a nifty camouflage for their Wall Street wealth as living, breathing commodities. A racial undertone has yet to develop into an unspoken tension between the stars of Nascar and their racing audience because many of the drivers and their fans share a conservative ideology, evangelical roots and white privilege." - Sports columnist Selena Roberts, November 22.