Friday, July 30, 2010

Insult by non invitation

It seems Democrats these days are expressing their anger by not inviting those one would normally expect to attend. What caught my attention was a piece on Jamie Dimon, the highly competent CEO and Chairman of JP Morgan Chase, and a former supporter of Obama. But he has become a major critic starting with the after-the-fact pay and dividend restrictions for accepting TARP funds, calling them a Scarlet Letter. For this and objecting to provisions of the financial reform bill, he was rewarded with a non invitation to Obama’s bill signing ceremony.

To show insults can work both ways, Obama was not invited to Chelsea’s wedding. It’s not about having too many Presidents present as Obama implied. It is simply that Bill Clinton hates Obama’s guts. It goes back to Obama’s campaign aides accusing Hillary of racism more than once, an unpardonable sin in blue on blue confrontations. But the insult doesn’t stop there. The invitation list is loaded with Clinton supporters who can be more than helpful should Hillary decide to challenge Obama for the nomination in 2012.

While rumors of the list are rife they are quite unreliable, most sources mention Barbara Streisand, Ted Turner, Harold Ickes, Terry McAuliffe, close friend Denise Rich, former British PM John Major and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Clinton loyalists all. Notably absent is Al Gore, Bill’s VP.

Over on Big Government Paul Rahe pens a somewhat tongue in cheek article comparing the upcoming Clinton wedding to the opening scene of the Godfather, where Don Corleone holds a private audience with wedding guests who seek his help. For those who remember the Godfather, Corleone after helping his loyalists, expects and gets their help. The implication is Bill will be asking them to side with him (and Hillary) when he goes “to the mattresses” in a Democratic civil war, the 2012 presidential election cycle.

It’s interesting to see the battle lines forming. My advice: In a mud slinging contest, never bet against the Clintons.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Was the “Russian Spy Scandal” roll up just another White House screw up?

The whole escapade makes no sense. With the exception of the “money man” Christopher Metzos who escaped, none represented a threat. It would have been far better to keep the remaining 10 under observation, as they had been for years. So the question is why did the FBI roll the operation up at this time?

We tend to think operations like this are well thought out and run according to plan. But it is more likely this was an enormous screw up between the FBI and the White House. First, no FBI director in his right mind would conduct such an operation without first notifying the White House. It just doesn’t happen.

There was a sense of urgency however. Metzos was planning to leave the country and he was the one person who had some value. He knew the purpose of this group and he probably had contact or knowledge of other groups in the US. My guess is the FBI’s request for action languished on somebody’s desk at the WH or even made it to the President’s reading folder without action. When it became apparent Metzos was actually leaving the country, likely there was a flurry of activity but with a decision that came too late capture him before he boarded his flight.

The rest is history. At our request he was detained in Cyprus, granted bail and slipped away. The whole spy swap charade appears to be an afterthought. None of the four swapees are US operatives. It’s just an after the fact cover to give some rationality to all of this.