So You Thought the Campaign was Over

The clash between Vice President Biden and Karl Rove over whether Joe scolded President Bush a couple of times during meetings in the Oval Office is tiresome — that is for most people. The election campaign is over but there they are slugging it out as though there is no economic crisis or overseas challenges facing the US. Well, it might be business as usual for the Washington gang but for most Americans it isn’t. They have other worries and ones a little more pressing.

I am not sure why Biden thinks this kind of slugfest is helpful to the administration. Maybe he is playing to the Move On crowd and others on the left disappointed with Obama’s appointments and his decision to ratchet up in Afghanistan and delay a pull-out from Iraq.

Of course, Rove’s comment about how you “should not exaggerate and lie like this when you are the Vice President of the United States” is rich with irony. At least Biden is not exaggerating about weapons of mass destruction or links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Those exaggerations had much greater consequences…

Student Visas — Not a New Tactic

Reporting on the arrests this week of a suspected 12-strong Al Qaeda cell in the north-west of England, my old newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, says: “All but one of the men arrested were Pakistani nationals who came to Britain on student visas. This suggested a possible new tactic by al-Qaeda, which had previously used British-based extremists who travelled to Pakistan for training.” Maybe a new move in the UK, but cast your minds back to 9/11 — several of the hijackers were on student visas in Germany and the US. Not so new, then.

A Twit Twittering

The editor of the Washington Business Journal was a tad ill-timed in an opinion piece he wrote on April 3 disparaging Twitter as a waste of time. “You might sign up, but it won’t be long before you give up, too busy with matters of real importance to waste your time following some dweeb in Dundalk updating the world on his jock itch,”  he wrote in the article headlined Twitter Sucks. In fact as a tool of social protest Twitter was being anything but trivial in its consequences over in Old and New Europe. Some of the more militant of the G20 protesters organised themselves on Twitter to close down a chunk of London’s financial district. And in Moldova, young opponents of the ruling Communists mounted some serious protests using Twitter as well following parliamentary elections.