And now the most interesting two minutes in television, the latest from the political grapevine:
More Left Than the Other Left
Former Vice President Al Gore has now staked out a position on health care to the left of Hillary Clinton, and to the left of all the current prospective Democratic presidential candidates. ABC News reports that at a synagogue on New York's West Side last night, Gore said he's come reluctantly to the conclusion that a single payer system is needed. This, of course, is the system now being used in such places as Canada and Great Britain, which have government-administered national health plans. Such an idea was rejected by Hillary Clinton and her health care task force a decade ago as too radical.
Congresswoman or Robin Hood?
Nancy Pelosi, the new House Democratic leader, may be a San Francisco liberal with a voting record to match, but the Washington Post would like you to know that she's also a "canny political tactician," who "emphasizes her credentials as an expert on national security," who has been a spectacular success in getting her rich friends in San Francisco to give her campaign money, which she has spread around to less fortunate Democratic candidates across the country. Post columnist Mary McGrory said Pelosi Republican counterpart Tom Delay is "all coercion and threat" while Pelosi is "all persuasion and smiles."
Mum Wasn't the Word
Bob Shrum, James Carville and Stan Greenberg, the team of pollsters and consultants who advised Bill Clinton and Al Gore, say the election last week was a "political earthquake" but not an "electoral earthquake." The problem, they say, is that Democrats failed to speak out boldly enough on such issues as the economy, prescription drugs and Social Security, and paid "the price of silence." Republicans may have won the election, they say, but "it is still the Democrats’ moment."
Having a Blast With the Cops?
The chief suspect in the terrorist bombing of that nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, apparently had a wonderful time during a 50-minute interview with the police last night, with reporters watching. The suspect, 40-year-old mechanic known simply as Amrozi, laughed and joked with Indonesia's police chief, telling him how "delighted" he was at the slaughter he had caused. With Western reporters watching through a glass, but unable to hear, Amrozi at one point pointed to them and said, "Those are the sorts of people I wanted to kill." The Australian newspaper The Age says after that comment the room full of police broke up laughing.