Ross Mackenzie

In the tradition of Gary Hart’s observation that “you can get awful famous in this country in seven days,” some quotations by and about the three principals remaining in the presidential contests . . .

John McCain: “Some would withdraw (from Iraq) regardless of the consequences. Others say we can withdraw now and then return if trouble starts again. What (the Democrats) are really proposing, if they mean what they say, is a policy of withdraw and re-invade. . . . To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility. It is a failure of leadership.”

Statistician and columnist Michael Barone: “(Regarding Barack Obama’s) longtime association with Weather Underground bomber William Ayers: The Weather Underground attacked the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other public buildings; Ayers was quoted in The New York Times on September 11, 2001, as saying, ‘I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.’ It was at Ayers’ house that Obama’s State Senate candidacy was launched in 1995; Obama continued to serve on a nonprofit board with Ayers after The Times article appeared.”

Hillary Clinton: “I remember landing (in Tuzla, Bosnia, in 1996) under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base. . . . That is what happened.”

Obama: “You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. . . . And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Kathleen Willey, from her new book: “Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton”: “Hillary Clinton is no martyr. If Hillary cares that her husband chases anything in a skirt, if she’s repeatedly devastated and surprised that the sex fiend she married continues to be a sex fiend, her sad predicament should not be mistaken for sacrifice. . . . She has stayed (with him) for more than 30 years. She makes excuses. She blames the vast right-wing conspiracy. . . . She enables her husband’s sexual addiction and his predatory activities. In the trade, she gets her shot a power, her turn at the presidency.”

Fox News and NPR analyst Juan Williams: “When Barack Obama, arguably the best of this generation of black or white leaders, finds it easy to sit in the Rev. Wright’s pews and nod along with wacky and bitterly divisive racial rhetoric, it does call his judgment into question. And it reveals a continuing crisis in racial leadership.”

Democratic Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, in an interview with the Charleston Gazette — for which he subsequently apologized: “McCain was a fighter pilot who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.”

Columnist Christopher Hitchens: “It (now) seems that the more vapid and vacuous the logo, the more charm (or should that be ‘charisma’?) it exerts. Take (Obama’s) ‘Yes We Can,’ for example. It’s the sort of thing parents might chant encouragingly to a child slow on the potty-training uptake. As for (Obama’s) ‘We Are the People We Have Been Waiting For’ (in which case, one can only suppose that now that we have arrived, we can all go home), I didn’t think much of it when Rep. Dennis Kucinich used it at an anti-war rally in 2004.”

McCain: “I believe President Bush should evaluate his participation in the ceremonies surrounding the Olympics and, based on Chinese actions, decide whether it is appropriate to attend. If Chinese policies and practices do not change, I would not attend the opening ceremonies.”

Jack Kemp, former Congressman, vice-presidential candidate, and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: “I love what Bobby Kennedy said in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1968: ‘To ignore the potential contribution of private enterprise is to fight the war on poverty with a single platoon, while great armies are left to stand aside.’ Barack, let’s get together with, say: John Bryant of Operation Hope in Los Angeles; Ambassador Andrew Young of Good Works International; Bob Woodson of the Neighborhood Enterprise Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Ted Forstmann of Forstmann Little & Co. in New York; Russell Redenbaugh, a U.S. civil rights commissioner in Philadelphia; and economist Art Laffer. We can discuss how best to tackle the issue you raised in your March 18 speech, when you identified the lack of economic opportunity for people of color as one of our nation’s greatest challenges. Any interest, sir?”


Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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