News of the Tautological

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on May 14, 2014

The following is an excerpt from’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.


Image by ChrisReal .com

Image by ChrisReal .com

News of the Tautological

  • “Firefighters Stop Schenectady Fire”–headline, Times Union (Albany, N.Y.), May 13
  • “Game 7 the Only Way to End Bruins-Canadiens”–headline, Boston Globe, May 13
  • “Police Seek Man Who Robbed Bank in Surprise”–headline, Arizona Republic, May 13

Bottom Stories of the Day
“Obama Says Congress Should Pass Bills That Have Majority Support. Except Keystone XL. And Things He Opposes.”–headline, Washington Post website, May 12

Wag the Dog
Daniel Halper of The Weekly Standard calls attention to this passage from “Stress Test,” the new memoir by former Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner:

I remember during one Roosevelt Room prep session before I appeared on the Sunday shows, I objected when Dan Pfeiffer wanted me to say Social Security didn’t contribute to the deficit. It wasn’t a main driver of our future deficits, but it did contribute. Pfeiffer said the line was a “dog whistle” to the left, a phrase I had never heard before. He had to explain that the phrase was code to the Democratic base, signaling that we intended to protect Social Security.

Halper notes that Geithner would not have been the only administration official “to have misled the American people on the Sunday talk shows,” but he misses the real significance of the anecdote: The revelation–as this column has long suspected–that it’s the left, not the right, that uses and responds to “dog whistles.”

A member of the Congressional Black Caucus has revealed that he received a threatening phone call from a prominent white politician, ABC News reports:

The call came at 2:15 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2008, awaking Rep. James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina. He instantly recognized the voice on the other end of the line.

It was Bill Clinton and he was angry.

“If you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one,” Clyburn recalls Clinton screaming at him, a moment the congressman recounted in his new memoir, “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black.”

“He was very upset,” Clyburn told “The Fine Print” of the incident. “His wife had just suffered a major defeat in the South Carolina primary, and I had not been involved in it, but Bill Clinton thought otherwise.”

Clyburn had promised to stay neutral in the nomination battle, which he did until he endorsed Barack Obama in June. ABC reports that “Clyburn said his relationship with Clinton has healed somewhat” and that he “is now excited by the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016.” Yeah, right. We just hope he’s learned to screen his calls.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”