Hillary Clinton may or may not make a good president, but there’s near unanimity in opinionland that you shouldn’t let her DJ your next party. The selection of Celine Dion’s “You and I” as the winner of Sen. Clinton’s online campaign-song contest has received denunciation across the political spectrum.

Mother Jones’s Jonathan Stein presents the leftist critique: “great if you like shrieking Canadians and awful if you have taste.” The New Republic’s Michael Crowley advances the unconventional neoliberal/neocon slant: “pretty lame.” And National Review’s Jonah Goldberg adheres to the conservative line: “really bad.”

The “Sopranos” spoof starring both Clintons ­and Johnny Sack that the campaign uses to introduce the choice, on the other hand, garners nearly unanimous praise. (Although this Ron Paul supporter/blogger, who must embrace the Tony-was-shot school of “Sopranos” exegesis, dislikes what he perceives as the “foreshadowing of the Clintons’ political assassination.”)

Some commenters are playfully jabbing Sen. Clinton for “outsourcing her campaign theme song,” in the words of The Chicago Tribune’s Frank James, because she picked a Canadian singer.

More damning, however, is the Joe McGinnis-like discovery by TPM Cafe’s Greg Sargent and Eric Kleefeld: “The song was originally written for…an ad campaign for Air Canada.” Who says presidential politics is indistinguishable from marketing?


  • Iraq is a conflict between warring bands of true believers: The evangelical atheism of Christopher Hitchens includes an intellectual orientation that is not unlike that of militant jihadism, argues Villanova humanities professor Eugene McCarraher in a review in Commonweal of Hitchens’ book “God Is Not Great.”

    “Hitchens’s uplifting predictions about the God-less future are most savagely belied by the catastrophe in Iraq, where the bogus distinction between religious and secular violence can be seen in all its ideological duplicity,” McCarraher says. Hitchens sees the war’s Iraqi victims as merely “the collateral damage of enlightenment,” McCarraher suggests. He writes:

    While pointing to the sanguinary unreason of “fundamentalists,” the war’s advocates have offered up the lives of thousands in sacrifice to a future of Market and Democracy. An Iraqi killed by a U.S. Marine is just as dead as if she were dispatched by a jihadist. Both Hitchens and the jihadist would contend that her death is part of a larger struggle between the forces of light and darkness.

  • National Journal columnist Jonathan Rauch has a theory for why the immigration bill is going nowhere: “The most basic decision any immigration bill needs to make is this: How many immigrants does the country need and want? Bizarrely, this was the one question that the debate over the Senate bill did not seem to concern itself with.”


A lot of liberals blame Colin Powell for persuading them to support the notion of getting into the Iraq war, but is Colin Powell also to blame for the Bush administration’s inability to get the United States out of the Iraq war? In a roundabout way, yes, suggests Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, in The Boston Globe’s “Ideas” section.
In a long essay arguing for the abolishment of the position of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Bacevich says Powell is indirectly to blame for the nation’s poor military leadership since he stepped down as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Bacevich writes:

Having learned from Powell’s tenure that a talented, high-powered JCS chairman can produce big-time political headaches, the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have opted for officers who could be counted on not to make waves. They have done so by selecting anti-Powells to serve as JCS chairmen — officers who, whatever their other admirable qualities, have possessed few of the attributes that made Powell so formidable. Since 1993, the position of JCS chairman has been filled by a succession of colorless, compliant generals — honorable and good soldiers to the man, but none demonstrating anything approaching Powell’s smarts, flair, and shrewdness. Mediocrity can be a cruel word, but as a description of those who have succeeded Colin Powell as the nation’s top military officer, it is apt.

One of those mediocrities, Bacevich says, is the soon-to-depart General Peter Pace. He writes:

History will render this judgment of Pace, who succeeded General Richard B Myers as chairman in September 2005: As U. S. forces became mired ever more deeply in an unwinnable war, Pace remained a passive bystander, a witness to a catastrophe that he was slow to comprehend and did little to forestall. If the position of JCS chair had simply remained vacant for the past two years, it is difficult to see how the American military would be in worse shape today.

Almost without exception, Bacevich writes, Gen. Pace “has loyally accommodated himself to whatever the boss has wanted, even to calamitous policies that have done immeasurable harm not only to the country but to the armed services to which he has devoted his life.”

Perhaps Gen. Pace comforts himself, however, by telling himself that it’s all Colin Powell’s fault.