Category Archives: Dennis Kucinich

What Kucinich saw on that fateful night

Got another nice message today from a nice person who is glad I’ve been advocating for single-payer, but disappointed in me for dismissing the viability of Dennis Kucinich’s candidacy:

I want to thank you for making the case for single payer healthcare and pointing out that none of the candidates except for Dennis Kucinich is advocating any real reform of our broken system.  I take exception, however, to your suggestion that Kucinich is not a "viable" candidate.  Polls consistently show that Kucinich’s views on the issues are most in line with what Americans want:  out of Iraq, single-payer healthcare, helping American workers and industry instead of China, immigration reform, support for small family farms and the middle class, etc.  And the UFO stuff is really getting old.  Why doesn’t anyone in the media mention that Ronald Reagan, beloved by many, also reported seeing an unidentified flying object?   Neither he nor Kucinich claimed to have an "alien encounter."  Yet you and the rest of the mainstream media insist on trying to marginalize Dennis Kucinich.  Why?  He’s a man of courage and integrity with bold ideas, and he’s only "nonviable" as long as you and other members of the media keep SAYING he is.  It’s time that people started taking Kucinich seriously.  He’s our best and only hope for this country, and he has my unwavering support and my vote.  – Anne O’Berry

Two quick points:

  1. I have larger objections to the Kucinich candidacy than the UFO story, as I’ve explained. In fact, I have defended him on the UFO thing. But when I was writing the original column, and had just written the part about how hyper-libertarians act like they "believe that ‘government’ is some scary thing that intrudes on their lives from out there somewhere, like a spaceship full of aliens with ray guns that will turn us all into toads or something," the UFO thing just made for a nice segue.
  2. Although I sympathize, today was not the best day to complain about the UFO thing, since it is actually back in the news. The WSJ dug into the story beyond the cursory quote we’d heard from Shirley MacLaine. Here’s a link, if you can get to it.

And if you can’t, here’s an excerpt:

    As they sat down to a dinner, Mr. Kucinich spotted a light in the distance, to the left of Mount Rainier. Mr. Costanzo thought it was a helicopter.
    But Mr. Kucinich walked outside to the deck to look through the telescope that he had bought Ms. MacLaine as a house gift. After a few minutes, Mr. Kucinich summoned the other two: "Guys, come on out here and look at this."…
    After a few minutes, the lights moved closer and it became apparent that they were actually three charcoal-gray, triangular craft, flying in a tight wedge. The girlfriend remembers each triangle having red and green lights running down the edges, with a laser-like red light at the tail. Mr. Costanzo recalls white lights, but no tail….
    The craft held steady in midair, for perhaps a minute, then sped away, Mr. Costanzo says. "Nothing had landed," he says. "No strange beings had disembarked. No obvious messages were beamed down. When they were completely out of sight, we all looked at each other disbelieving what we had seen."
    At Mr. Kucinich’s suggestion, they jotted down their impressions and drew pictures to memorialize the event. Mr. Kucinich kept the notes, according to Ms. MacLaine, who said he promised her recently that he would try to find them….

Can anyone (any viable candidate, that is) say ‘single-payer?’: Column version

Editorial Page Editor
CAN ANYONE among those with a chance of becoming president say “single-payer?” If not, forget about serious reform of the way we pay for health care.
    It doesn’t even necessarily have to be “single-payer.” Any other words will do, as long as the plan they describe is equally bold, practical, understandable, and goes as far in uprooting our current impractical, wasteful and insanely complex “system.”
    And the operative word is “bold.” Why? Because unless we start the conversation there, all we might hope for is that a few more of the one out of seven Americans who don’t have insurance will be in the “system” with the rest of us — if that, after the inevitable watering-down by Congress. And that’s not “reform.” Actual reform would rescue all of us from a “system” that neither American workers nor American employers can afford to keep propping up.
    But the operative word to describe the health care plans put forward by the major, viable candidates is “timid.”
    “Single-payer” is definitely not that — at least, not within an American context. Seen from the perspective of most advanced nations — which accept medical care as just another part of a nation’s infrastructure, like roads and post offices — it’s no big deal.
    Not here, though — not by a long shot. Here, we have too many people preprogrammed to go ballistic at the mention of “single-payer.” That’s because of the identity of that payer.
    It’s… well, it’s the government!
    This column will now take a short break while libertarians run around shrieking until they turn blue and fall over… da-da-dum-dum, hmmm… readers might want to go look at the Sunday comics until we resume… da-dee-da-dahhh… Still screaming, so let’s get another cup of coffee… Ah, that’s good stuff
    OK, we’re back, and they’re still screaming, but we’ll just have to accept that they’re going to do that, and proceed.
    “Government,” in America, is a word that we use for a free people banding together to do something that we can do far better working together than working separately. Some people don’t accept that fact. They seem to believe that “government” is some scary thing that intrudes on their lives from out there somewhere, like a spaceship full of aliens with ray guns that will turn us all into toads or something.
    Those people are one of the two big reasons why you don’t hear any presidential candidates saying “single-payer” except Dennis Kucinich. You may recall recent reports that Mr. Kucinich had a close encounter with a UFO, and it was a positive experience, so I guess he’s just not scared of the aliens any more.
    But the major candidates are. Or rather, they’re scared of being labeled as extremists. Also, they don’t want to offend the health insurance companies whose reason for being would disappear under “single-payer.”
    Last week, I got a press release from a labor union that complained “that no Republican candidate has a plan to ensure all Americans have access to health care.” That’s true. But the union, which represents blue- and pink-collar workers in health care, was missing the fact that the leading Democrats are little better.
    “Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been engaged in a bitter back-and-forth over whose health plan covers more people,” The Wall Street Journal reported last week. “Former Sen. John Edwards has jumped in, saying his plan is the best of all.”
    But what they’re fighting over are plans that would pull varying numbers of the uninsured into the same overly expensive, wasteful, maddening system of private health insurance that the rest of us are caught in. Conveniently, they say their plans would be paid for by repealing the “Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.”
    Maybe you could pay for a health plan that way — as long as it doesn’t provide real reform.
    Make no mistake: A single-payer national health plan would cost a lot of money, and you would pay for it in new taxes. The good news is that most of us would probably still pay less than we currently pay in premiums.
    According to the Web site of Physicians for a National Health Program, which promotes single-payer, “This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.”
    But when not even touchy-feely liberal Democrats have the guts to say it’s worth paying a new tax to make health care affordable for all, even when that’s the hottest domestic issue among voters (which would not be the case if the insured majority were happy), we’re in trouble.
    Little wonder that Dow Jones’ MarketWatch reported last week that “Those who hope the 2008 presidential election will finally bring about drastic health-care reform may well end up finding it’s a case of politics and business as usual, experts say.” The same article noted that Hillary Clinton has received $1.8 million in contributions from accident and health insurers, followed by Barack Obama with $1.45 million, Mitt Romney with $1.09 million and Rudy Giuliani with $1.08 million.
    That, by the way, is money that you and I and the guy down the street paid for health care that didn’t go to health care.
    Given the odds against substantive reform — betw
een the government haters, the insurance industry and Big Pharma, all of whom have a demonstrated willingness to outlast the rest of us in any protracted political fight — the only way we’re going to see significant change is if a president is elected with a mandate for bold reform. Only a president is elected by the whole nation, so only a president would ever have that kind of juice.
    Unfortunately, as previously noted, none of the viable candidates will say “single-payer.”
    But I will: Single-payer. Single-payer, single-payer! Now, do you have anything better to say?

Can anyone say, ‘single-payer?’

Day after day, I become more certain that we need to scrap our entire health-insurance system, and go to a single-payer national plan. It would cover everyone in a simple and straightforward manner that wouldn’t require a Ph.D. in filling out forms to navigate, it would put enough healthy (for the moment) people into the system to make it affordable for those who need care at a given moment, and would give us a gigantic bargaining bloc (forbidden in Medicare Part D, thanks to Big Pharma) for containing drug costs. In other words, it would make sense.

And here’s the really, truly amazing thing about it. Nobody, but nobody, in the political mainstream will stand up and suggest it. In fact, political candidates go to great lengths, through all kinds of gyrations, to avoid it. This is so even though I have only heard three credible reasons why not to at least suggest it, to get a conversation started:

  • The medical insurance industry doesn’t want it, because it does away with it’s reason to be.
  • Big Pharma doesn’t want it, because if we banded together, it would no longer be able to overcharge for the drugs it pays billions to advertise.
  • The idea of us banding together to act in our common interest offends some people’s ideology.

Yeah, I hear other objections — waits for procedures, reduction of choices — but those will be the features of ANY approach that works in lowering costs. The insurance companies have been telling what treatments we can and can’t have, and which doctors we can see, and which pharmacies and hospitals we can go to, for decades now.

Anyway, this little post isn’t about going into the details; this post is simply about the fact that we’re not even having a national conversation about whether to do this. With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, who doesn’t count because he doesn’t have a prayer of being elected, nobody is out there touting this idea, so that we can at least debate it. And rest assured, we won’t be doing anything bold in this area unless someone is elected with a mandate to do so.

There are people laboring in the field out there trying to drum up support for HR676, which would create a single-payer system, but you don’t usually hear about them. The one advocate of the approach best known to people on this blog is our regular contributor Paul DeMarco, a Marion physician, is a founding member of a group called South Carolinians for Universal Health Care that is pushing for it (I believe, and Paul will correct me if I’m wrong, that the group is affiliated with Physicians for a National Health Program. Some of his fellow single-payer advocates came to see the editorial board yesterday. The video above shows Sabra Smith, a practicing nurse and PhD student at USC School of Nursing, talking about why she got involved with Dr. DeMarco’s group.

The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich

I don’t have anything to say about this (at least, nothing more than I already said); I just liked The Washington Post‘s headline, which I reproduced verbatim above. I also like the blurb teasing to the story:

    Dennis Kucinich is the happiest candidate in the presidential race. True, he is polling in the low single digits. But he has his wife, Elizabeth.

Here’s the actual story.

Ya gotta love it when a headline riffs on T.S. Eliot. It’s way literary.

Lay off Dennis the Menace. Hillary, too


At last night’s debate, Tim Russert sought to have fun at Dennis Kucinich’s expense, and succeeded.

"Did you see a UFO?" asked the immoderate moderator. "I did," said Mr. Kucinich, and the place burst into laughter. He struggled on to explain, "ItDennis
was (an) unidentified flying object, OK. It’s like — it’s unidentified. I saw something."

If you see an object in the sky and you don’t know what it is, it’s an unidentified flying object. But you see, Superficial America — the version of America that exists on television, on blogs, at press conferences, and throughout political campaigns — has officially decided that Dennis the Menace, whom we all know as flaky to begin with, has duly outdone himself by admitting that he saw a UFO at (and this is the really rich part) Shirley Maclaine’s house. Everybody laugh now.

Yeah, Dennis is a fringe kind of guy, but this is unfair. It’s part of the dumbing-down and oversimplifying function of mass media, and people who live their lives as extension of said media. Call them the Blathering Classes. This shorthand culture demands that everyone fit into an assigned cubicle, preferably one of two choices in each case: Left or Right, Democrat or Republican, winner or loser, conservative or liberal, black or white, yes or no.

We saw the same foolishness at work in the way the other candidates jumped on Hillary Clinton for having answered a question about Gov. Spitzer’s immigrant driver’s license proposal pretty much the way I would:

"You know, Tim, this is where everybody plays ‘gotcha.’ It makes a lot of sense… what is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problem. We have failed, and George Bush has failed. Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this — remember, in New York; we want to know who’s in New York, we want people to come out of the shadows. He’s making an honest effort to do it; we should have passed immigration reform.

John Edwards, who would never be accused of holding a nuanced or complex few of any emotional issue, pounced:

"Unless I missed something, Sen. Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes, uh, just a few minutes ago. And, I think this is a real issue… for the country. I mean, America is looking for a president  who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them.

To my view, a person who explains that this is not an issue with a simple answer, and explains why — which Mrs. Clinton did — is the one who is being straight with us. To expand on something I’ve said before, anyone who thinks there’s a simple answer on this one is either not really thinking, or is NOT being straight with us.

Obama was no better:

I was confused on Sen. Clinton’s answer. I, I, I can’t tell whether she was for it or against it, and I do think that is important. One of the things that we have to do in this country is to be honest about the challenges that we face.

Excuse me? She just did that.

Joe Biden said he wasn’t running against Hillary Clinton; he was running to be leader of the free world, a job he’s actually prepared for over lo these many years. Maybe that’s why he’s doing so poorly; Superficial America has no patience for that sort of thing.

Which candidate do YOU hate the most?

Ahillary             "NEVER? Whaddaya mean, ‘never?’"

Seems like I’ll stoop to anything to get you to click on a blog post, doesn’t it? Sorry about the headline. Tacky. I would never encourage you to hate anyone.

But my point was to share with you the results of this Zogby poll, which found that half the electorate says it would never vote for Hillary Clinton. She has the highest negatives, and Mike Huckabee and Bill Richardson have the lowest, going by that standard. (You may have already read about this, as it came out Saturday, but I’m just now getting around to checking the e-mail account the release came to). An excerpt from the report:

    While she is winning wide support in nationwide samples among Democrats in the race for their party’s presidential nomination, half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.
    The online survey of 9,718 likely voters nationwide showed that 50% said Clinton would never get their presidential vote. This is up from 46% who said they could never vote for Clinton in a Zogby International telephone survey conducted in early March. Older voters are most resistant to Clinton – 59% of those age 65 and older said they would never vote for the New York senator, but she is much more acceptable to younger voters: 42% of those age 18–29 said they would never vote for Clinton for President.
    At the other end of the scale, Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrats Bill Richardson and Barack Obama faired best, as they were least objectionable to likely voters. Richardson was forever objectionable as President to 34%, while 35% said they could never vote for Huckabee and 37% said they would never cast a presidential ballot for Obama, the survey showed….

Here’s the full list:

Whom would you NEVER vote for for President of the U.S.?


Clinton (D)


Kucinich (D)


Gravel (D)


Paul (R)


Brownback (R)


Tancredo (R)


McCain (R)


Hunter (R)


Giuliani (R)


Romney (R)


Edwards (D)


Thompson (R)


Dodd (D)


Biden (D)


Obama (D)


Huckabee (R)


Richardson (D)


Not sure


I got to thinking about it just now, and wondered for the first time which, of all the candidates, would I be least likely to choose at this point? Here’s how I would rank them personally:

Mind you, that’s just off the top of my head, based on what I know now, without any of my editorial board colleagues setting me straight on any of the calls. And I’ll admit I cheated on one — I can’t even picture "Hunter," much left summon up any relevant impressions, so I just sort of buried him in the pack toward the "less likely" end, hoping no one would notice.

How about you?

Part of the Democratic base is in for a bitter disappointment

Flash forward to January 2009, and what do you see? Here’s what I see — a profoundly disaffected portion of the Democratic base.

They’ll either be furious because the GOP will have won the White House for another four years, or furious because a Democrat won, and yet we still have troops in Iraq.

Now mind you, I’m basing this on my assumption that neither Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul nor Mike Gravel is president. Indulge me in this for a moment, if you will.

If you look at comments by responsible, grownup-type Democratic elected officials in response to the Petraeus testimony, you get respectful quibbling over matters of degree — maybe we should draw down a little more quickly, or some such.

It’s only among the unelected professional whack jobs out there whipping up the grass roots that you hear Let’s pull every last American in uniform out of Iraq yesterday!

This is a disconnect that could have serious repercussions, not only for the Democratic party, but for the country.

The problem is that Democratic elected officials, who know better, have thought they had to humor the more excitable antiwar folks up to now, and have never felt like they could say, Hold on, folks — what you’re asking for is completely unrealistic. Think what you want about the decision to go into Iraq — and I’m with you that that was a bad call — but now that we’re there we’re stuck with this problem on our hands for some time to come.

The only way to avoid the crash between reality and expectations that I predicted at the top of this post will be if some of the top Democrats start leveling more along those lines. If not, look for a real mess in 2009.

Now we know how debates can be stupider


    "I think this is a ridiculous exercise."
            — Joe Biden


If the frontiersmen who trashed the White House after Andrew Jackson’s inaugural had had YouTube, it would have looked like what we saw out of Charleston Monday night.

No, I take that back. The yahoos who had to be lured back out of the mansion with ice cream in 1829 were not this insipid. They were real; they were who they were, and I shouldn’t malign them by comparing them to the "Ain’t I cute" questioners on the "YouTube debate."

Gail Collins has it exactly right on today’s op-ed page, as I’ve said before (sorry; can’t show it to you — you know how the NYT is. You can’t have a serious debate with five or six or — come on, eight? — candidates on the stage. But there are worse things than the debates we had seen up to now — people who would occupy the most important job in the world being subjected to "Reality TV," and having to be deeply respectful of this abuse. (Certainly I think it’s a very important question," said Chris Dodd to the first one. It wasn’t.)

Joe Biden was only answering one of the questions that came out of this process in the quote above, but it easily applied to the evening — or most of it. Some of the questions were questions that should have been asked. But they would have been better asked by people who did not see themselves and the message. And they say politicians are narcissistic.

I like YouTube. I love YouTube. It can be fun. It can be useful. But unless it is applied much better than it was in this case, it cannot bring intelligence or coherence to a format that is far too fragmented and distracting already — the free-for-all debate among anyone and everyone who says he or she wants the nomination.

If you wish to learn what was said — and I certainly don’t blame you if you didn’t watch it — without the distractions of the posturing, mugging, simpering and snideness of the the questioners hitting you full in the face — here’s a transcript. But it doesn’t help much.

Did I get anything out of this debate? Yes. I saw once again that behind all the "I want to get out of Iraq faster than Cindy Sheehan does" posturing by this crowd seeking the affections of the angry base, serious people know that it’s not that simple. Obama: "At this point, I think we can be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in." Of course, he went on to promise a quick retreat, but I think he knows better (at this point, I’ll grasp at any straw for hope that someone who might be president might have a clue). Biden: "You know we can’t just pull out now." Of course, he then quickly proposes a pullout, but at least he has a coherent plan. I think it’s an extraordinarily dangerous plan (creating an independent Kurdistan on Turkey’s border?), but it’s a plan.

I could go into other "issues," such as Chris Dodd’s white hair, or Anderson What’s-His-Name’s white hair, or whether John Edwards is better for women than Hillary Clinton (his wife says so, but let’s not go there), or how black Barack Obama is. But I think it’s safe to say that we’ll hear more about such things as the months grind slowly on.

Bottom line: We didn’t learn anything more from this than the middle-school slam-book stuff we had known before: Hillary projects presidential; Obama is smart and charismatic; Biden and Richardson are experienced, Gravel is certifiable, Kucinich is irritating, Edwards is a demagogue, and Dodd is uninteresting.

But hey; I can pander to the masses as much as the next guy: What did you think?


Democratic Debate Column


Orangeburg debate just
a start, but a good one

By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
AS BOB COBLE walked out of a breakfast meeting Friday, the bearlike New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson placed him in a loose, amiable headlock and asked what he would have to do to get him to support his bid for the presidency.
    “You’ll have to squeeze harder than that,” I thought. As the governor knew, the Columbia mayor is a John Edwards man.
    But for those who had not made up their minds, the “debate” in Orangeburg Thursday night was a better-than-expected opportunity to begin the winnowing process.
    Eight candidates in 90 minutes is patently ridiculous. But those who planned and executed it, from South Carolina State University to MSNBC, can take pride in making the most of the situation.
National media, as expected, focus on which of the “two candidates,” Hillary or Obama (like Madonna, they no longer need titles or full names), came out on top. Some stretch themselves and mention ex-Sen. Edwards.
    OK, let’s dispense with that: Sen. Clinton presented no surprises, rock star Obama came across as pretty stiff playing in this orchestra — nothing of his usual, charismatic rolling thunder. Ex-Sen. Edwards did his usual shtick.
    But some of us tuned in to learn something new. I did. And I didn’t care which of the overexposed, anointed titans of fund-raising would be a more ideologically pure party standard-bearer. Those of us who spurn both parties — in other words, those of us who actually decide national elections — were looking for someone we might vote for (if such a person survives the partisan gantlet far enough to give us the chance). We’ll be looking for the same when the Republicans meet at the Koger Center May 15.
    I don’t think any of us got any conclusive answers. But the questions posed were good enough to provide some impressions, however scattered, that at least made the event worth the time invested:

Best new impression: I had heard good things about Gov. Richardson, but not met him before. The debate, plus his call-in to a radio show I was on Friday morning, made me want to find out more. I liked the fact that he was real, honest and unscripted, perhaps the result of being a governor and actually dealing with real problems instead of living in Washington’s 24-hour partisan echo chamber.

Best old impression: Could Sen. Joe Biden contain his gift of gab well enough to play well with others on such a crowded stage without his head exploding? “Yes.” Since I’ve heard him speak in our own board room for two hours almost without pause, this was a pleasant surprise. I’ve always liked the guy, but this is one Irishman who didn’t just kiss the Blarney Stone; he took it home with him.

Commander in chief? I expected the candidates to compete to see who was most against our involvement in Iraq and for the longest time. But if it’s fairly judged, Dennis Kucinich wins that pointless contest hands-down. It’s also a barrier to me, since I consider giving up in Iraq to be anathema. So I looked to see who was leaving themselves any room to present a more credible position in the general election, when it’s no longer necessary to court The winners of that contest: Sen. Biden, followed by Sen. Obama.

Second funniest moment: The look in John Edwards’ eyes when he acknowledged being filthy rich, just before going into his nostalgic boilerplate about having been poor once upon a time. This is a much-rehearsed look for him, intended to look like wide-eyed candor. But it struck me like, You bet I’m rich, and lovin’ it, too. Probably an anomaly in the camera angle.

Making Kucinich sound reasonable: A writer on summed it up better than I can, as follows: “When the candidates were asked who owned a gun, (Ex-Sen. Mike) Gravel was one of those who raised his hand. ‘I was worried that he meant he had one with him at the moment,’ said a senior adviser to a top candidate.” I hadn’t gotten around to including a link to this particular candidate on my blog. After Thursday night, I don’t think I’ll bother.

Common sense: You could tell who really wanted to be president. They raised their hands to say they believed there’s such a thing as a global War on Terror, and didn’t raise their hands to support Dennis the Menace’s move to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney. Outside of partisan blogs there’s something we call the real world; everyone except Rep. Kucinich showed that they live in it at least part-time.

The most enduring litmus test: Even after all the times I’ve seen and heard this, the grip of the abortion lobby on the Democratic Party still strikes me as astounding. Is there any greater demonstration of the power of party uber alles than hearing a Roman Catholic such as Sen. Biden emphatically saying, “I strongly support Roe v. Wade,” and asserting complete faith in the existence of a right to privacy in the Constitution?

South Carolina’s shame: Only one thing was mentioned all night that let you know this took place in South Carolina — the Confederate flag at our State House. So much for our wish to build a new image based on hydrogen research and the like.

    The event helped me begin to focus on this process, which has been easy to ignore with everything going on in South Carolina. There will be many debates, interviews and other opportunities before the winnowing is done. Whether this newspaper will support, or whether I personally will vote for, any of these candidates is a question that it is far too soon to answer.
    But this was a start.

Goin’ to the candidates’ debate

Did any of y’all catch us on the radio this morning? What did you think?

I thought Mike did great — far more knowledgeable and focused than I was. And Andy did a good job of lining up phone-in guests — Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, Joe Scarborough, Jeff Greenfield.

If you missed it, and still want to listen, here it is.

Beyond that, if you haven’t shared your thoughts on the debate itself, here’s another opportunity to do so.

Oh Dennis, you Menace!

A colleague shared with me today a photograph that provides the answer to two long-burning questions:Mrskucinich

Q1. Does Dennis Kucinich ever smile?
Q2. Why does he keep running for president when he doesn’t have a chance?

The answers are as follows:

A1. Yes. That’s his wife, Elizabeth, age … well, all I could find is that she was 31 years younger than he.
A2. It’s a great way to meet babes.

How do other candidates stack up on this critical issue? Well, Chris Dodd brags constantly about his young wife — that is, he brags about his young children, which for an old goat like him amounts to the same thing. But to his credit, he doesn’t give her her own picture page on his Web site (unless I missed it).

Both ladies, however, were briefly on display Thursday night — the backs of their heads, anyway. (Nice hair, huh? Hubba-hubba.):