Bloggers are split over the confirmation of Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA, and they are debating a pair of Washington Post editorials on the prospect of the United States engaging in direct talks with Iran. Also, thanks to the National Review, you can now say you liked the Clash before they were "conservative."
General consensus: The Senate confirmed NSA head Gen. Michael V. Hayden as the new director of the CIA Friday, by a vote of 78-15. Hayden may have impressed enough Democrats worried about the abrogation of civil liberties, but cyberspace is a tougher crowd.
"I can think of 15 people who should be very, very careful whenever they pick up a phone ..." offers Paul Bourgeois, an editor at the Dallas/Fortt Worth Star-Telegram, at his blog Startle Grams. "How bad a person does one have to be before the Senate will decline your nomination?" asks lefty Don Bangert at Current Observations. "I'm starting to think that with the long history of thugs holding office, our elected representatives can no longer distinguish 'good' character traits from 'bad' character traits." Philo at the anti-Bush site Bring It On! is in high dudgeon over the Democrats who backed Hayden, including the complicated liberal hawk Joe Biden: "I'd point out that Biden is running for president. Not that I'd support him anyway, but he's now affirmed that he would not be a capable defender of the Constitution. I'd also point out that Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer voted for Hayden. These guys are supposed to be leaders of the Party and yet they continue to abandon their role as advocates for the needs of the American people."
In the comments section of conservative Sistah Toldjah's blog, Mwalimu Daudi writes: "I thought that the Hayden hearings were the Democrats' big chance to lay the public groundwork for impeaching Bush on the NSA terrorist surveillance program. The MSM told us so, anyway. We were promised fireworks and big juicy revelations. What happened?" Gulf War I veteran and political scientist James Joyner at Outside the Beltway puts forth an easy resolution to any conflict of interest between Hayden's military and civilian duties: "[G]iven that he is surely entitled to the maximimum military pension already, it's unclear why Haden wouldn't retire and double dip as a senior civilian employee anyway. That it would remove one major cause for concern without having any obvious downside is a bonus."
Read more about Hayden's confirmation.
Tête-à-tête with Tehran? The Washington Post (Note: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.) ran two editorials Friday on whether to hold direct talks with Iran. Charles Krauthammer argues for State Department omerta until sanctions are tried; David Ignatius reads between the lines of Ahmadinejad's letter and this latest overture and posits Tehran's willingness to compromise. Who's right?
Liberal Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly'spopular Political Animal blog thinks Krauthammer is a "loon" and ripostes to the editorial: "Nobody—not one person—is suggesting the Bush abandon Europe and negotiate with Iran unilaterally, and Krauthammer knows it. Rather, proponents of engagement with Iran believe that we should negotiate both multilaterally and bilaterally: multilaterally with our allies so that everyone has a stake in success, and bilaterally because sometimes you can accomplish things in private talks that you can't in a more public forum." Matt Yglesias, guest-hosting at the lefty Talking Points Memo agrees: "One thing that's notable, I think, is that Krauthammer's wracking up a real record of misleading his readers on the Iran question. Consequently, while it's obvious to me that he wants a war, I genuinely can't tell why he wants one. The arguments he offers all depend on falseholds at crucial steps."
But at the hard-right TheBullwinkle Blog, Krauthammer wins: "The left did support Bill Clinton's stance with North Korea, the North Korea that now has nuclear weapons thanks to Clinton's handling of the matter. Krautthammer nailed it in his piece, the usual suspects have lined up already. ... The left would gladly accept a nuclear armed Iran, long-term results be damned if the short-term result is being able to blame those nukes on George Bush." AddsThe Strong Conservative:"Ignatius refers to the usual (and worn out) point of Nixon engaging China. He, and the left, fails to see that engaging China was not to open China up to the West, but to frustrate the Soviets."
Read more about Ignatius and Krauthammer's takes on Iran.
The Queen Is Not Dead: The National Review released a list of the "top 50 conservative rock songs of all time," complete with minor exegesis of seemingly status quo-boosting, counterrevolutionary lyrics. Welcome to an age when even the leader of the Tories can be an unabashed fan of the Smiths.
Noting that the No. 1 Burkean tune is the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," Bloomington, Ind., native PJB at (parenthetical remarks) comes up with a different lyric analysis:"Considering the fact that Townshend and Company have an equally dim view of the alternative, it's not quite fair to call the song conservative. Anti-hippy? Sure, but more nihilistic than conservative."
Liberal "Rude One" at the rude pundit says avert your eyes and unplug your ears: "The entire list—fuck, the entire effort—is sad and embarassing, like watching Grandpa do the Macarena now, thinking that he's still hip, that he's been hip for the last 30 years. Because to come up with fifty songs, the readers and editors of the National Review had to neglect, almost entirely, the politics and lifestyles of nearly every single one of the music acts on the list, like, say U2, the Clash, and the Sex Pistols, just for kicks, or noted cross-dressing androgyne David Bowie."
Read more about the National Review's righty rock.