Bloggers on the proposed power-sharing arrangement in Pakistan.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Aug. 30 2007 6:06 PM

Bhuttocracy

Bloggers discuss Pervez Musharraf's possible political arrangement with his old antagonist, John Edwards' shabby car talk, and the legacy of Hilly Kristal of CBGB.

Bhuttocracy: Talk in Pakistan is of a possible power-sharing deal between current President Pervez Musharraf and exiled former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. If the rumors are right, Musharraf would step down as the head of Pakistan's army and serve another term as a strictly civilian president, pending his re-election this fall. Bloggers assess this unexpected contingency.

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Conservative Philip Klein at the American Spectator's AmSpecBlog writes: "From a U.S. policy perspective, this could avoid the worst case scenario of Musharraf losing power, but it reinforces how vulnerable he actually is. What worries me is that it seems that U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been entirely built around Musharraf, but it's increasingly important to begin to think of strategies for dealing with the country in a post-Musharaff era. He may hang on for now, but he won't be there forever."

CHUQ at the grab bag Studies and Observations argues that Bhutto's play is for total control of Pakistan: "Think about this! Bhutto wants Musharaff to give up his control of the army, the only thing that keeps him in power, other than the US. Bhutto is leery of the army because her father was PM he was killed by an army coup. She just wants to cover her butt. Right? I say not really, she wants Musharraf to be weakened and she will make her move to seize complete control of the government."

At the subcontinental blog Sepia Mutiny, amardeep posits: "Musharraf realizes that neither Sharif nor Bhutto are likely to beat him in an open election, especially if he pits one against the other and the opposition parties are divided. By seeming to give away power, he stands to gain the stamp of democratic respectability on the world stage. That would mean at least five more years in power, and no more whining from Benazir Bhutto about this and that."

"It may seem odd to say that ending military leadership is bad for democracy," suggests Kamran Nazeer at the Guardian's Comment is Free. "However, the advantage of having the general-as-president is that he is less dependent on traditional party politics. That model of politics is tribal and feudal, whereby power is transmitted from the people to political leaders through major landowners, industrialists and imams. The great hope that Musharraf manifested for a while, when he first came to power, was that he was going to wreck this structure."

Read more about the Musharraf/Bhutto arrangement.

Eco-weenie, heal thyself:  Stating that America is the "worst polluter on the planet," John Edwards told a labor group Tuesday that Americans are "going to have to change" and give up SUVs. Just don't ask Edwards to sacrifice his 28,000 square-foot house or his Chrysler Pacifica. "I have no apologies whatsoever for what I've done with my life," he said. This one's just too easy.

Democratic presidential blogger Ben Smith at Politico explains: "All the candidates ride around, particularly in Iowa, in big cars — Hillary rode an 18-wheeler; Obama rented an RV; and Edwards, whose convoy is often mini-van centric, had this Cadillac SRX Crossover (15 mpg) beside him in Iowa on his arrival from announcing his candidacy for president in New Orleans, according to his Flickr stream."

Law prof Glenn Reynolds at InstaPundit calls a photo of the Edwards estate with at least four SUVs outside "pretty damning," and he quotes fellow legal eagle Professor Bainbridge: "Does this remind anybody else of Ted Kennedy's simultaneous support for renewable energy and opposition to the wind farm proposed to be built near his Massachusetts home? It's a particularly nasty form of NIMBYism when you have the power to force others to make sacrifices you aren't willing to make."

Scared Monkeys joins the hypocrisy pile-on:  "This request would not be so out of line if John Edwards only followed his own advice. Americans demand of their leaders, leadership. Not candidates telling them what to do and ignoring their own advice. There is more to energy conservation than SUV's candidate Edwards. What's the carbon foot print on your home? How green a policy do you have during your campaigning?"

And conservative classicist Victor Davis Hanson at the National Review's Corner is flummoxed: "Doesn't John Edwards know that the one taboo subject for elite Democratic candidates-is the SUV? We all know that they like them for themselves and hate them for others, and somewhere tucked in the their multi-door garages one sits hidden behind the Priuses."

Read more about Edwards' SUV woes.

Blitzkrieg, stop: Hilly Kristal, the legendary founder of New York punk venue CBGB, has died of cancer at 75. The proprietor responsible for launching the Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie, and the Talking Heads is warmly remembered.

Natalie Davis at the Armchair Activist mourns: "This scribe spent too much time at CBGB, both as dedicated music nut and as a promoter, and will be ever grateful for some mindblowing experiences, both scary and sublime. Rock on in the great beyond, Mr. K, rock on."

 "When my wife & I went to NYC on our honeymoon a couple of years ago, I insisted that we make a pilgrimage to CBGB, and the sense of history I felt from just standing in that front doorway was overwhelming," writesScrutiny Hooligans' Arratik. "I'm glad I was able to at least see it once in all of its glory before it closed. Thank you for everything, Hilly."

Read more about Kristal.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.

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