Random Thoughts Before the Holiday

For a recess week, there is a lot in the news that deserves commentary, but not a lot of time to write in my blog before I go on vacation. So here are some random thoughts:

•    Richard Cohen wrote a good piece in The Washington Post today about the Supreme Court decision on segregation and education. That follows a similar piece by Juan Williams in The New York Times last week. They both point out that big-city school systems have been resegregated for years, and it has nothing to do with Supreme Court and little to do with spending. It has to do with school quality. By and large, white parents don’t send their kids to big-city schools. They move to the suburbs or they send their kids to private schools. Why? Because the school systems are horrible, and have been horrible for a while. The Bush administration has tried hard to reverse this race to the bottom by insisting on higher quality and higher expectations, but the teacher’s unions and the corrupt bureaucracies have resisted. But it is not just the schools that fail the students. Cohen quotes Barack Obama, who has pointed out that parents deserve some of the blame. It is about time to have a real discussion on school reform and bring parents into the discussion. Perhaps this Supreme Court decision will spark such a debate. 

•    President Bush did the right thing by commuting Scooter Libby’s sentence. It was a stupid sentence and a stupid investigation and a stupid charge. History will judge this Scooter Libby affair as a symbol of Washington’s over-fascination with itself. Bush stopped the madness. Good for him. I get a particular kick out of the Clinton people complaining about this decision. The former president basically put pardons on the auction block and the Hillary Clinton’s brother actually made money off of the Marc Rich pardon. For Hillary Clinton to say anything about this decision is very dangerous for her because it will increase scrutiny of her involvement in one of the darkest episodes in her husband’s presidency.

•    I am stunned that so many people are stunned by John McCain’s money troubles. While I like McCain, he has become the consummate Washington insider, embracing the two things most hated by people outside the Beltway: the war and the immigration bill. His fundraising collapse should surprise nobody.

•    Obama is for real. $32 million says so. The rock 'n' roll status says so. The huge crowds that follow him around say so. Obama actually speaks in real sentences, not the pablum proffered by front-runner Hillary. The national polls confuse me, though. Hillary is still far ahead of Obama in every one of them. The good news for Republicans is that this fight could get nasty. As James Carville once reportedly said, I hope this fight gets ugly early. With Obama’s huge money advantage and better message, let’s hope he can slow down the Hillary Express this summer.