FUBAR

Thompson spied for Nixon in Watergate

Fred Thompson gained an image as a tough-minded investigative counsel for the Senate Watergate committee. Yet President Nixon and his top aides viewed the fellow Republican as a willing, if not too bright, ally, according to White House tapes.

Thompson, now preparing a bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, won fame in 1973 for asking a committee witness the bombshell question that revealed Nixon had installed hidden listening devices and taping equipment in the Oval Office.

Right-wing blowhards don’t cut it in DC

Conservative Talk Radio may be popular among the unwashed masses but right-wing blowhards can’t cut it in the Nation’s Capitol.

In fact, any political talk show is doomed to ratings oblivion in Washington.

Politics may run the city but political talk radio falls on deaf ears.

One immigrant’s view of America

Lit up this week by the patriotic feelings that descend like sparks from an Independence Day skyrocket, I am moved to ask the traditional question: “Is this a great country — or what?”

Not to be an ingrate, but it’s the “or what?” tail of the question that I find interesting. The first part is obvious. Of course, it’s a great country. As the kids say, duh!

Don’t close Gitmo: Expand it!

President Bush and his appointees should yank their tails from between their legs, stand up, and fight for Guantanamo.

While suspected al Qaeda associates deployed their Mercedes-Benz bombs in London last week, Congressional Democrats announced plans to halve Gitmo’s funding. On June 29, as alleged Muslim terrorists prepared to ignite their Jeep Cherokee bomb the next day at Glasgow’s airport, the Supreme Court announced it would hear fresh Gitmo lawsuits.

While human-rights groups holler for Guantanamo’s closure, the administration whispers the same message.

Striking a blow for free speech

Conventional wisdom is already gathering around the idea that the U.S. Supreme Court took a sharp conservative turn last week as it completed its latest term. But at least one of the cases cited in that analysis does not support the conclusion.

In Federal Elections Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the court’s 5-4 ruling breathed new life into the First Amendment, finding that Congress had overstepped its authority to regulate political speech.

For GOP, payback will be a bitch

Long after President George W. Bush has retired to his Texas ranch, his fellow Republicans may have to deal with Hispanic voter backlash over his failed immigration reform.

In 2008, in presidential and congressional elections, Latino voters, an increasingly important demographic in US politics, will get their first chance to hand out blame for the collapse of the sweeping immigration bill last week.

Love & marriage? No kidding around

First comes love, then comes marriage — but these two things are no longer inextricably linked to nor necessarily followed by “the baby carriage.”

A new poll by the Pew Research Center finds that Americans are de-linking children as the sine qua non of successful marriages. In fact, they now tell pollsters they rate “having children” as the ninth most important out of 10 markers of successful marriages.

Land of the unfree

America is about slavery. It was this grotesque, anti-human institution that shaped our Constitution, and it was slavery that formed some of our most basic attitudes about government, producing destructive political behavior to this very day.

You can believe that story if you choose this Fourth of July week, or you can believe something else: that the historians who give vent to it are bunkum artists whose sensational revisionism achieves the double objective of getting them noticed and of debasing this remarkable land in which we live.

July 4th: Reflection & renewal

The Fourth of July celebrates community, local as well as national. Parades featuring people in uniform — scouts, firefighters and police as well as the military and others — traditionally are a fixture. Military uniforms remind us of the role of war in our history — and our present.

From ancient times, parades have been vital to the reintegration of warriors into society. War is profoundly disruptive and disturbing as well as dangerous. Even the rare man who finds combat invigorating and rewarding is in severe need of an honoring welcome after the killing ends.

Coverups spawn more coverups

On the night he became president of the United States under the most unprecedented of circumstances, Gerald Ford stood in the East Room of what was officially his new home and nailed the essence of governance in a single sentence: “I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together …” By that standard, the government of President Bush and Vice President Cheney came unglued long ago.