Commentary Magazine


Posts For: July 7, 2008

WANTED: IT Supervisor

Hey, CONTENTIONS readers!  COMMENTARY is looking for an in-house IT person who can:

— serve as a systems administrator in both Windows and Unix environments
— work with PHP/CF/SQL
— physically set up and manage server systems
— manage Commentary‘s website in-house
— set up and manage email servers
— set up an internal network in the Commentary offices
— manage, organize, and secure Commentary office data
— perform load testing and log analysis, and other statistical and performance tests
— work with WordPress
— preferably work with Flash

SALARY IS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE. The candidate should be energetic and self-motivated. Also he/she should be excited about learning new interactive technologies as they evolve, and very good at working with others. Also must be willing to take on more responsibility as the position evolves.

Please send resumes, with references and portfolio, to applicants@commentarymagazine.com. And please tell your friends.

Thanks!

Sam Munson,
Online Editor

Hey, CONTENTIONS readers!  COMMENTARY is looking for an in-house IT person who can:

— serve as a systems administrator in both Windows and Unix environments
— work with PHP/CF/SQL
— physically set up and manage server systems
— manage Commentary‘s website in-house
— set up and manage email servers
— set up an internal network in the Commentary offices
— manage, organize, and secure Commentary office data
— perform load testing and log analysis, and other statistical and performance tests
— work with WordPress
— preferably work with Flash

SALARY IS HIGHLY COMPETITIVE. The candidate should be energetic and self-motivated. Also he/she should be excited about learning new interactive technologies as they evolve, and very good at working with others. Also must be willing to take on more responsibility as the position evolves.

Please send resumes, with references and portfolio, to applicants@commentarymagazine.com. And please tell your friends.

Thanks!

Sam Munson,
Online Editor

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Real Change, At Last

Here is DNC chairman Howard Dean in a recent conference call:

This is very much in keeping with Senator Obama’s philosophy and, I might add, my philosophy as well. I think it’s very fitting, especially the way Sen. Obama got here with his enormous grassroots operation.

What has Howard Dean so enthused about Barack Obama’s candidacy? What development is so harmonious with the political philosophy and bottom-up momentum of the Democratic nominee’s campaign? Why, Obama’s decision to accept formally his nomination at a football stadium instead of at the site of the Democratic national convention. This is what “change” has come down to:

In a break with tradition, Barack Obama will accept the Democratic presidential nomination at Invesco Field at Mile High, a 76,000-seat stadium, rather than at the site of the party’s national convention across town.

Democratic Party officials said the decision to move Obama’s speech on the final night of the Aug. 24-28 convention to the giant open-air football field of the Denver Broncos was a natural extension of the Illinois senator’s efforts to open up the political process.

Can’t you just feel the New Politics? No? Well, try. Because on everything from gun control to Iraq to FISA, Obama is learning about old-fashioned compromise. Invesco Field is just about all that’s left of that trademark spirit of change.

Howard Dean is right about one thing, though. Switching the site of Obama’s grand coronation from a 21,000-seat arena to a 76,000-seat stadium is certainly “in keeping with Senator Obama’s philosophy.” If that philosophy is recognized as a blend of self-congratulatory pomp and mindless hero-worship. Keeping things creepy in that special brand of Orwellian Obamaspeak we’ve come to enjoy, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote, “We’re going to kick off the general election with an event that opens up the political process the same way we’ve opened it up throughout this campaign. Barack has made it clear that this is your convention, not his.” Such generosity is truly humbling.

Here is DNC chairman Howard Dean in a recent conference call:

This is very much in keeping with Senator Obama’s philosophy and, I might add, my philosophy as well. I think it’s very fitting, especially the way Sen. Obama got here with his enormous grassroots operation.

What has Howard Dean so enthused about Barack Obama’s candidacy? What development is so harmonious with the political philosophy and bottom-up momentum of the Democratic nominee’s campaign? Why, Obama’s decision to accept formally his nomination at a football stadium instead of at the site of the Democratic national convention. This is what “change” has come down to:

In a break with tradition, Barack Obama will accept the Democratic presidential nomination at Invesco Field at Mile High, a 76,000-seat stadium, rather than at the site of the party’s national convention across town.

Democratic Party officials said the decision to move Obama’s speech on the final night of the Aug. 24-28 convention to the giant open-air football field of the Denver Broncos was a natural extension of the Illinois senator’s efforts to open up the political process.

Can’t you just feel the New Politics? No? Well, try. Because on everything from gun control to Iraq to FISA, Obama is learning about old-fashioned compromise. Invesco Field is just about all that’s left of that trademark spirit of change.

Howard Dean is right about one thing, though. Switching the site of Obama’s grand coronation from a 21,000-seat arena to a 76,000-seat stadium is certainly “in keeping with Senator Obama’s philosophy.” If that philosophy is recognized as a blend of self-congratulatory pomp and mindless hero-worship. Keeping things creepy in that special brand of Orwellian Obamaspeak we’ve come to enjoy, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote, “We’re going to kick off the general election with an event that opens up the political process the same way we’ve opened it up throughout this campaign. Barack has made it clear that this is your convention, not his.” Such generosity is truly humbling.

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Parlor Game

Michael Crowley joins the favorite parlor game of pundits over the last week: try to figure out what Barack Obama is saying on Iraq. Crowley notes that, despite his current lingo, Obama never spoke about “stability” much during the Democratic primary, remarking:

If, however, Obama is now linking a U.S. troop presence to “stability,” that’s a very big deal. It’s also something I imagine must infuriate Hillary Clinton, who seemed to view things this way and was badly outflanked on her left as a result. I say the jury’s still out.

We’ll put aside for a moment things Clinton has a right to be infuriated about (e.g. abortion, NAFTA, and other flip-flops), but I do agree with the “jury’s still out” part. And maybe the jury will still be out for weeks or months to come as Obama wends his way along a path to finally embracing the surge, if that is indeed where he is going.

Abe, on the larger issue of Iraq in the campaign, I agree to a certain extent that John McCain may be a victim of his own success. By removing the specter of calamity in Iraq he makes voters more willing to gamble on an inexperienced commander-in-chief like Obama. However, there are two countervailing considerations.

First, if in fact the surge also amounts to a stunning victory against Al Qaeda that is big news and McCain, in Eisenhower-like fashion, can lay claim to a great national victory. That is a big “if,” but the prospect of a major advance in the war on terror which goes beyond Iraq is still, I think, a substantial feather in McCain’s cap.

But second, and more important, Iraq may mean more than just Iraq. McCain needs to explain why the candidates’ contrasting performances, judgment and, yes, character evidenced in dealing with Iraq are worth consideration beyond that one issue. Presidents, it is a truism, are selected as much for who their public character — tenacity, judgment, leadership, etc. — as for specific policy positions. (That is in part how McCain beat Mitt Romney in the primary.) And that is why the McCain camp sees a gift in Obama’s faltering, equivocating, and double-talking effort to shift positions on Iraq. It proves their point about presidential timbre and leadership.

Will it work? There are examples on both sides of the debate as to whether voters reward the candidate with superior public character. But it takes a sophisticated and adept campaign to sell that issue and, to quote Crowley, the “jury’s still out” on whether the McCain camp is up to the task.

Michael Crowley joins the favorite parlor game of pundits over the last week: try to figure out what Barack Obama is saying on Iraq. Crowley notes that, despite his current lingo, Obama never spoke about “stability” much during the Democratic primary, remarking:

If, however, Obama is now linking a U.S. troop presence to “stability,” that’s a very big deal. It’s also something I imagine must infuriate Hillary Clinton, who seemed to view things this way and was badly outflanked on her left as a result. I say the jury’s still out.

We’ll put aside for a moment things Clinton has a right to be infuriated about (e.g. abortion, NAFTA, and other flip-flops), but I do agree with the “jury’s still out” part. And maybe the jury will still be out for weeks or months to come as Obama wends his way along a path to finally embracing the surge, if that is indeed where he is going.

Abe, on the larger issue of Iraq in the campaign, I agree to a certain extent that John McCain may be a victim of his own success. By removing the specter of calamity in Iraq he makes voters more willing to gamble on an inexperienced commander-in-chief like Obama. However, there are two countervailing considerations.

First, if in fact the surge also amounts to a stunning victory against Al Qaeda that is big news and McCain, in Eisenhower-like fashion, can lay claim to a great national victory. That is a big “if,” but the prospect of a major advance in the war on terror which goes beyond Iraq is still, I think, a substantial feather in McCain’s cap.

But second, and more important, Iraq may mean more than just Iraq. McCain needs to explain why the candidates’ contrasting performances, judgment and, yes, character evidenced in dealing with Iraq are worth consideration beyond that one issue. Presidents, it is a truism, are selected as much for who their public character — tenacity, judgment, leadership, etc. — as for specific policy positions. (That is in part how McCain beat Mitt Romney in the primary.) And that is why the McCain camp sees a gift in Obama’s faltering, equivocating, and double-talking effort to shift positions on Iraq. It proves their point about presidential timbre and leadership.

Will it work? There are examples on both sides of the debate as to whether voters reward the candidate with superior public character. But it takes a sophisticated and adept campaign to sell that issue and, to quote Crowley, the “jury’s still out” on whether the McCain camp is up to the task.

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Yuck

As reported by United Press International:

Toddlers who say “yuck” when given flavorful foreign food may be exhibiting racist behavior, a British government-sponsored organization says.

The London-based National Children’s Bureau released a 366-page guide counseling adults on recognizing racist behavior in young children, The Telegraph reported Monday.

The guide, titled Young Children and Racial Justice, warns adults that babies must also be included in the effort to eliminate racism because they have the ability to “recognize different people in their lives.”

The bureau says to be aware of children who “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuck’.”

“Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships,” the guide says.

Staff members are advised not to ignore racist actions and to condemn them when they occur.

So what if the kid is crazy about gefilte fish, but ends up joining Hamas? Or he loves chicken tikka and becomes a National Front wingnut?

As reported by United Press International:

Toddlers who say “yuck” when given flavorful foreign food may be exhibiting racist behavior, a British government-sponsored organization says.

The London-based National Children’s Bureau released a 366-page guide counseling adults on recognizing racist behavior in young children, The Telegraph reported Monday.

The guide, titled Young Children and Racial Justice, warns adults that babies must also be included in the effort to eliminate racism because they have the ability to “recognize different people in their lives.”

The bureau says to be aware of children who “react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying ‘yuck’.”

“Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships,” the guide says.

Staff members are advised not to ignore racist actions and to condemn them when they occur.

So what if the kid is crazy about gefilte fish, but ends up joining Hamas? Or he loves chicken tikka and becomes a National Front wingnut?

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Re: Then Again

Continuing with the Sunday shows’ carping, the liberal pundits after the holiday weekend aren’t very pleased with Barack Obama on the topic of Iraq. E.J. Dionne didn’t much care for the do-over Obama press conferences last Thursday:

Republicans are pressing Obama on Iraq because they know that any new moves he makes will be interpreted, fairly or not, as a change in position and that this will hurt him with two groups: the antiwar base of the Democratic Party and independent voters, many of whom are just tuning in to the campaign. Painting Obama as a shameless shape-shifter is a way for his opponents to dull the enthusiasm (and inhibit the campaign contributions) of the war’s staunchest foes. And if this image stuck, it could also hurt Obama among independents. They might vote for a hawk or a dove, but not a chameleon.

The New York Times editors seem peeved as well:

But after promising to immediately begin drawing down troops by one or two brigades a month, [Obama] is now giving himself wiggle room by suggesting he will let military commanders set the pace.

Perhaps Obama should remember his own admonition in the Reverend Wright affair: “Well, when you’re in national politics, it’s always good to pull the Band-Aid off quick, and I think that’s what, you know, the, the, the political consultants will tell you. ” He should figure out what his new policy is, explain it clearly (and without multiple pressers in a day) and try to make his case as best he can that his judgment and leadership on the surge were superior to McCain’s. It won’t be easy. But procrastinating and equivocating aren’t helping matters.

Continuing with the Sunday shows’ carping, the liberal pundits after the holiday weekend aren’t very pleased with Barack Obama on the topic of Iraq. E.J. Dionne didn’t much care for the do-over Obama press conferences last Thursday:

Republicans are pressing Obama on Iraq because they know that any new moves he makes will be interpreted, fairly or not, as a change in position and that this will hurt him with two groups: the antiwar base of the Democratic Party and independent voters, many of whom are just tuning in to the campaign. Painting Obama as a shameless shape-shifter is a way for his opponents to dull the enthusiasm (and inhibit the campaign contributions) of the war’s staunchest foes. And if this image stuck, it could also hurt Obama among independents. They might vote for a hawk or a dove, but not a chameleon.

The New York Times editors seem peeved as well:

But after promising to immediately begin drawing down troops by one or two brigades a month, [Obama] is now giving himself wiggle room by suggesting he will let military commanders set the pace.

Perhaps Obama should remember his own admonition in the Reverend Wright affair: “Well, when you’re in national politics, it’s always good to pull the Band-Aid off quick, and I think that’s what, you know, the, the, the political consultants will tell you. ” He should figure out what his new policy is, explain it clearly (and without multiple pressers in a day) and try to make his case as best he can that his judgment and leadership on the surge were superior to McCain’s. It won’t be easy. But procrastinating and equivocating aren’t helping matters.

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Assessing Helms

Marc Thiessen, President Bush’s chief speechwriter, who spent years working for Jesse Helms, has a fond remembrance of his late boss in the Washington Post today.No doubt other conservatives are feeling equally nostalgic for the late senator, a constant thorn in the side of liberals during his many years in Washington. Fred Barnes, for instance, wrote an admiring account of Helms’ influence in 1997 that the Weekly Standard website has posted today.

My own assessment of Helms, for what it’s worth, is considerably less positive. I don’t deny his important role in helping Ronald Reagan in 1976 and advancing other worthy causes over the years. But we should not gloss over the repugnant aspects of his record. Helms began his career as a segregationist, and he never really repented. Indeed he continued to use race-baiting, disguised to varying degrees, to win tough races up until the end of his career. He filibustered a bill in 1983 to create a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.–a genuine American hero–and he ran a notorious commercial in 1990 against African-American challenger Harvey Gantt in which a narrator proclaimed (over a picture of white hands crumpling a rejection notice), “You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota.” As David Broder, who seldom met a Washington politician he didn’t like, put it when Helms retired in 2001, he was “the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country.”

Even on foreign policy, where his record was largely laudable and sometimes heroic (as in his championing of Soviet dissidents), there is room for conservatives to criticize some of his actions. Leave aside his petty and vengeful crusade to deny Bill Weld, an effective prosecutor and governor, an innocuous appointment as ambassador to Mexico. I am more troubled by his virulent attacks on virtually all international treaties and institutions.

Thiessen puts the best face on it when he writes, “He secured passage of bipartisan legislation to protect our men and women in uniform from the International Criminal Court. . . . He won majority support in the Senate for his opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” But he doesn’t address the obvious question: Is it in America’s interest to diss the International Criminal Court when it can be a useful tool for holding war criminals in places like Darfur to account? And does it make sense for the U.S. not to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty even while voluntarily refusing to test its own nuclear weapons, thereby earning international opprobrium for no practical reason?

Helms represented a strain of what my colleague Walter Russell Mead calls “Jacksonian” sentiment that puts a premium on preserving American “sovereignty” at all costs, even when it hurts American attempts to exert influence in the world. That is a sentiment that the Bush administration has sometimes fallen prey to, in the process complicating efforts to advance the President’s broader agenda.

In praising other Helms achievements, Thiessen notes that he “secured broad, bipartisan support to reorganize the State Department.” Actually his State Department reorganization, which he engineered in league with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1997, backfired. Helms sponsored legislation to fold the U.S. Information Agency into the State Department and to put the U.S. Agency for International Development under State’s aegis. Albright liked those changes because they enhanced her power and theoretically aligned those agencies in closer accord with U.S. foreign policy. But the practical result has been a further diminution of USIA’s and USAID’s resources and usefulness. The U.S. has paid a heavy price since 9/11 for not having better instruments of public diplomacy and nation-building available. In fact, we are continuing to pay a price for those shortfalls today in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other battlefields around the world.

That is a part of the Helms legacy that should not be applauded by conservatives–at least not by those who are interested in having the U.S. play a leadership role in the world.

Marc Thiessen, President Bush’s chief speechwriter, who spent years working for Jesse Helms, has a fond remembrance of his late boss in the Washington Post today.No doubt other conservatives are feeling equally nostalgic for the late senator, a constant thorn in the side of liberals during his many years in Washington. Fred Barnes, for instance, wrote an admiring account of Helms’ influence in 1997 that the Weekly Standard website has posted today.

My own assessment of Helms, for what it’s worth, is considerably less positive. I don’t deny his important role in helping Ronald Reagan in 1976 and advancing other worthy causes over the years. But we should not gloss over the repugnant aspects of his record. Helms began his career as a segregationist, and he never really repented. Indeed he continued to use race-baiting, disguised to varying degrees, to win tough races up until the end of his career. He filibustered a bill in 1983 to create a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr.–a genuine American hero–and he ran a notorious commercial in 1990 against African-American challenger Harvey Gantt in which a narrator proclaimed (over a picture of white hands crumpling a rejection notice), “You needed that job and you were the best qualified. But they had to give it to a minority because of a racial quota.” As David Broder, who seldom met a Washington politician he didn’t like, put it when Helms retired in 2001, he was “the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country.”

Even on foreign policy, where his record was largely laudable and sometimes heroic (as in his championing of Soviet dissidents), there is room for conservatives to criticize some of his actions. Leave aside his petty and vengeful crusade to deny Bill Weld, an effective prosecutor and governor, an innocuous appointment as ambassador to Mexico. I am more troubled by his virulent attacks on virtually all international treaties and institutions.

Thiessen puts the best face on it when he writes, “He secured passage of bipartisan legislation to protect our men and women in uniform from the International Criminal Court. . . . He won majority support in the Senate for his opposition to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.” But he doesn’t address the obvious question: Is it in America’s interest to diss the International Criminal Court when it can be a useful tool for holding war criminals in places like Darfur to account? And does it make sense for the U.S. not to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty even while voluntarily refusing to test its own nuclear weapons, thereby earning international opprobrium for no practical reason?

Helms represented a strain of what my colleague Walter Russell Mead calls “Jacksonian” sentiment that puts a premium on preserving American “sovereignty” at all costs, even when it hurts American attempts to exert influence in the world. That is a sentiment that the Bush administration has sometimes fallen prey to, in the process complicating efforts to advance the President’s broader agenda.

In praising other Helms achievements, Thiessen notes that he “secured broad, bipartisan support to reorganize the State Department.” Actually his State Department reorganization, which he engineered in league with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1997, backfired. Helms sponsored legislation to fold the U.S. Information Agency into the State Department and to put the U.S. Agency for International Development under State’s aegis. Albright liked those changes because they enhanced her power and theoretically aligned those agencies in closer accord with U.S. foreign policy. But the practical result has been a further diminution of USIA’s and USAID’s resources and usefulness. The U.S. has paid a heavy price since 9/11 for not having better instruments of public diplomacy and nation-building available. In fact, we are continuing to pay a price for those shortfalls today in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other battlefields around the world.

That is a part of the Helms legacy that should not be applauded by conservatives–at least not by those who are interested in having the U.S. play a leadership role in the world.

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Bush and Medvedev

Today, President Bush met Dmitry Medvedev for the first time since the latter became the nominal leader of Russia in May. Both men are attending the Group of Eight summit in northern Japan. It is the American’s eighth and last such meeting and the Russian’s first. “I reminded him that yes I’m leaving, but not until six months, and I’m sprinting to the finish,” Bush said, as he struggled to keep himself relevant. “So we can get a lot done together, and you know there are a lot of important issues like Iran.”

Funny he should mention that particular one. Medvedev, who publicly referred to Bush as “George,” said he stood on the same page as his new American friend when it came to the Islamic Republic. “There are certain questions on our agenda where we agree, and these are the matters pertaining to Iran and North Korea,” the Russian said. “We had a good discussion about Iran,” Bush said, for his part.

Is that so? If there were a good discussion leading to agreement between Moscow and Washington, the mullahs would eventually end up friendless: China and others would have no choice but to fall in line. Yet Russia and the United States are not so united, and the Iranians know it because they are defiant as ever. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is attending a meeting of eight developing nations in Malaysia, today rejected the latest nuclear offer from the world’s major powers as “illegitimate.”

When it comes to Iran, the common ground between the United States and Russia appears to be shrinking, in part because of Moscow’s anger over the basing of missile defense sites in former Soviet client states in Eastern Europe. Instead of trading pleasantries with his Russian counterpart, it’s time for Bush to propose a trade: we abandon missile defense in Europe and Russia abandons Iran. This is something we can afford to do. Missile defense is necessary for states that cannot—or might not–be deterred by nuclear retaliation. In the Middle East, the one state that meets this definition is Iran. If Iran can be defanged, however, there’s little point in basing interceptors and radar to protect Europe.

President Bush, as he acknowledged today, does not have much time left in office. As a practical matter, the only way he can end the Iranian nuclear threat without the use of force is to obtain Russia’s cooperation. Perhaps the Russians are just using missile defense as an excuse, but at this moment Mr. Bush has the opportunity to put them to the test.

Today, President Bush met Dmitry Medvedev for the first time since the latter became the nominal leader of Russia in May. Both men are attending the Group of Eight summit in northern Japan. It is the American’s eighth and last such meeting and the Russian’s first. “I reminded him that yes I’m leaving, but not until six months, and I’m sprinting to the finish,” Bush said, as he struggled to keep himself relevant. “So we can get a lot done together, and you know there are a lot of important issues like Iran.”

Funny he should mention that particular one. Medvedev, who publicly referred to Bush as “George,” said he stood on the same page as his new American friend when it came to the Islamic Republic. “There are certain questions on our agenda where we agree, and these are the matters pertaining to Iran and North Korea,” the Russian said. “We had a good discussion about Iran,” Bush said, for his part.

Is that so? If there were a good discussion leading to agreement between Moscow and Washington, the mullahs would eventually end up friendless: China and others would have no choice but to fall in line. Yet Russia and the United States are not so united, and the Iranians know it because they are defiant as ever. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is attending a meeting of eight developing nations in Malaysia, today rejected the latest nuclear offer from the world’s major powers as “illegitimate.”

When it comes to Iran, the common ground between the United States and Russia appears to be shrinking, in part because of Moscow’s anger over the basing of missile defense sites in former Soviet client states in Eastern Europe. Instead of trading pleasantries with his Russian counterpart, it’s time for Bush to propose a trade: we abandon missile defense in Europe and Russia abandons Iran. This is something we can afford to do. Missile defense is necessary for states that cannot—or might not–be deterred by nuclear retaliation. In the Middle East, the one state that meets this definition is Iran. If Iran can be defanged, however, there’s little point in basing interceptors and radar to protect Europe.

President Bush, as he acknowledged today, does not have much time left in office. As a practical matter, the only way he can end the Iranian nuclear threat without the use of force is to obtain Russia’s cooperation. Perhaps the Russians are just using missile defense as an excuse, but at this moment Mr. Bush has the opportunity to put them to the test.

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It’s Not the War, Stupid

In February, John McCain said that if he could not convince the American public that the U.S. was winning the Iraq War, he would not make it into the White House. He was exactly wrong.

Believe it or not, McCain is a victim of his own success. He supported the troop surge that turned Iraq from a hopeless disaster into a critical triumph–the same troop surge that’s allowed Americans to let Iraq slip from their radar. With the war no longer perceived as a pressing calamity, what care American voters which candidate has the best Iraq plan?

Americans no longer need to be convinced that the U.S. is winning. From a McCain campaign standpoint, progress in Iraq occurred almost too quickly after that February pronouncement. There was no palpable shift in public attitudes, just a stealthy flood of change that suddenly left McCain’s invaluable contribution looking irrelevant. And Barack Obama’s camp is taking full advantage. Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice recently said “Sen. McCain, he’s running for commander in chief of Iraq,” and Obama “believes we need to focus on the full panoply of threats we face.” This disingenuous characterization will gain more traction in voters’ minds than the McCain camp’s many accurate attempts to expose Obama’s misjudgment and indecision on Iraq.

At a certain point in the war (perhaps it was when the number of American troop deaths surpassed the number of those killed on 9/11, or it was the admission of no WMD, or the Abu Ghraib scandal, or it was the umpteenth high-profile suicide bombing, or the umpteenth declaration of “civil war”) Americans decided they wanted to move on more than they wanted to win. Talk of withdrawal began to drown out talk of victory. And talk of victory became surreal and deconstructed, anyway. In 2006, Nancy Pelosi said,” “You can define victory any way you want,” and added that war was merely “a situation to be resolved.”

John McCain made the mistake of defining victory according to tradition and of trying to win a situation most just wanted to resolve. McCain’s decisive challenge was not convincing Americans of the possibility of U.S. victory. His challenge was convincing Americans that such a victory was vital and moral, even in spite of the prices paid. In the wake of the Bush administration’s chronically mishandled public relations, McCain inherited an unenviable, if not impossible, task. Americans are through hearing moral and existential arguments about the need to win foreign wars. They want to know what they’re getting on the domestic front. In helping America dodge the biggest bullet she’s faced in modern history, John McCain has also helped steer the electorate toward Obama.

In February, John McCain said that if he could not convince the American public that the U.S. was winning the Iraq War, he would not make it into the White House. He was exactly wrong.

Believe it or not, McCain is a victim of his own success. He supported the troop surge that turned Iraq from a hopeless disaster into a critical triumph–the same troop surge that’s allowed Americans to let Iraq slip from their radar. With the war no longer perceived as a pressing calamity, what care American voters which candidate has the best Iraq plan?

Americans no longer need to be convinced that the U.S. is winning. From a McCain campaign standpoint, progress in Iraq occurred almost too quickly after that February pronouncement. There was no palpable shift in public attitudes, just a stealthy flood of change that suddenly left McCain’s invaluable contribution looking irrelevant. And Barack Obama’s camp is taking full advantage. Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice recently said “Sen. McCain, he’s running for commander in chief of Iraq,” and Obama “believes we need to focus on the full panoply of threats we face.” This disingenuous characterization will gain more traction in voters’ minds than the McCain camp’s many accurate attempts to expose Obama’s misjudgment and indecision on Iraq.

At a certain point in the war (perhaps it was when the number of American troop deaths surpassed the number of those killed on 9/11, or it was the admission of no WMD, or the Abu Ghraib scandal, or it was the umpteenth high-profile suicide bombing, or the umpteenth declaration of “civil war”) Americans decided they wanted to move on more than they wanted to win. Talk of withdrawal began to drown out talk of victory. And talk of victory became surreal and deconstructed, anyway. In 2006, Nancy Pelosi said,” “You can define victory any way you want,” and added that war was merely “a situation to be resolved.”

John McCain made the mistake of defining victory according to tradition and of trying to win a situation most just wanted to resolve. McCain’s decisive challenge was not convincing Americans of the possibility of U.S. victory. His challenge was convincing Americans that such a victory was vital and moral, even in spite of the prices paid. In the wake of the Bush administration’s chronically mishandled public relations, McCain inherited an unenviable, if not impossible, task. Americans are through hearing moral and existential arguments about the need to win foreign wars. They want to know what they’re getting on the domestic front. In helping America dodge the biggest bullet she’s faced in modern history, John McCain has also helped steer the electorate toward Obama.

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Plame and Martinez

New York Times Public Editor, a.k.a. ombudsman, Clark Hoyt devoted a long column yesterday to, essentially, defending his employer’s decision to publish the name of the CIA interrogator who got Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to talk. Hoyt endorses the Times‘s conclusion that it was somehow in the public interest to learn Deuce Martinez’s name, despite the pleas of Martinez himself and CIA Director Michael Hayden not to publish it–and despite the experience of another CIA operative who had gone public after interrogating another Al Qaeda big shot:

When I asked [John] Kiriakou for full details about his experience, he said he received more than a dozen death threats, many of them crank. His house was put under police guard and he took his family to Mexico for two weeks after the C.I.A. advised him to get out of town for a while. He said he lost his job with a major accounting firm because executives expressed fear that Al Qaeda could attack its offices to get him, though Kiriakou considered that fear unreasonable.

Hoyt’s defense might have been more convincing if he had made any attempt to distinguish Martinez’s case from that of Valerie Plame. Recall, after all, how the Times editorialists and columnists hyperventilated for years about Plame’s outing–an action that, in the immortal words of columnist Paul Krugman, was “both felonious and unpatriotic”. But there was not a mention–not one–of La Plame in Hoyt’s article. So it remains a matter of speculation how outing one CIA operative can be “felonious and unpatriotic,” while outing another CIA operative–one who has made even bigger enemies–is necessary for “trying to tell the public about some of the government’s most important and controversial actions.”

New York Times Public Editor, a.k.a. ombudsman, Clark Hoyt devoted a long column yesterday to, essentially, defending his employer’s decision to publish the name of the CIA interrogator who got Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to talk. Hoyt endorses the Times‘s conclusion that it was somehow in the public interest to learn Deuce Martinez’s name, despite the pleas of Martinez himself and CIA Director Michael Hayden not to publish it–and despite the experience of another CIA operative who had gone public after interrogating another Al Qaeda big shot:

When I asked [John] Kiriakou for full details about his experience, he said he received more than a dozen death threats, many of them crank. His house was put under police guard and he took his family to Mexico for two weeks after the C.I.A. advised him to get out of town for a while. He said he lost his job with a major accounting firm because executives expressed fear that Al Qaeda could attack its offices to get him, though Kiriakou considered that fear unreasonable.

Hoyt’s defense might have been more convincing if he had made any attempt to distinguish Martinez’s case from that of Valerie Plame. Recall, after all, how the Times editorialists and columnists hyperventilated for years about Plame’s outing–an action that, in the immortal words of columnist Paul Krugman, was “both felonious and unpatriotic”. But there was not a mention–not one–of La Plame in Hoyt’s article. So it remains a matter of speculation how outing one CIA operative can be “felonious and unpatriotic,” while outing another CIA operative–one who has made even bigger enemies–is necessary for “trying to tell the public about some of the government’s most important and controversial actions.”

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McCain’s Rational Health Care Plan

You have to love the headline on the AP story about McCain’s health-care plan: “McCain’s Health Plan: a Threat to Employer Plans?” This is a bit like headlining a 1950’s health-care story: “Salk Vaccine: a Threat to Polio?”

Employer-paid health insurance has been the primary cause of the situation we are now in and the whole point of McCain’s plan would be to end it. These plans are ubiquitous (covering over half the population) only because of an accident of history. Employers, desperate for workers during World War II, couldn’t compete with higher salaries because of wage and price controls. So they began throwing in non-wage benefits, such as health insurance. After the war, the IRS moved to tax this form of income. But by that time so many people had “free” health insurance from their employers that they howled and Congress forbade the IRS to do so.

This created the economically ridiculous situation of employers paying for health insurance with pre-tax income and individuals having to buy it with after-tax income. (Only recently have long-suffering free lancers–such as the present writer–been able to deduct health insurance as a business expense.) No small part of the current health insurance mess comes from this one fact. For the history that led to that mess, see here.

McCain’s plan would give individuals a tax credit to buy health insurance, while employer-paid health insurance would become taxable as income (but not subject to the FICA payroll tax). In other words, it would move the tax deduction from the company to the individual. It would make individual insurance more affordable and much employer health insurance more expensive, causing people to drop the latter and buy the former while employers increasingly drop coverage altogether.

Individuals would then be able to buy the sort of health insurance best suited to them, instead of having no economically rational choice but to take the one-size-fits-all plan of the employer. A 25-year-old bachelor in good health is very unlikely to get seriously sick in the next year. What he needs is inexpensive catastrophic health coverage in case of very bad luck. A 55-year-old might well prefer a more comprehensive policy, given the propensity of 55-year-old bodies to have things go wrong and to develop chronic conditions that require frequent monitoring.

The McCain plan, along with a law allowing individuals to buy health insurance anywhere in the country (thus enabling them to escape the often dozens of unwanted and expensive mandates pushed through many state legislatures by special interests), would go a very long way to solving the problem of affordable health care and reducing the number of uninsured with minimal government interference.

It is clear, at least to me, that the left wants the current system to collapse altogether and so make a government-run system unavoidable. That’s why nothing has been done to rationalize the current health-care situation in the last fifteen years, since I wrote the article cited above. Barack Obama is being disingenuous, to put it mildly, when he complains that the McCain plan would “shred” the employer-based health insurance, as though he were its greatest defender.

You have to love the headline on the AP story about McCain’s health-care plan: “McCain’s Health Plan: a Threat to Employer Plans?” This is a bit like headlining a 1950’s health-care story: “Salk Vaccine: a Threat to Polio?”

Employer-paid health insurance has been the primary cause of the situation we are now in and the whole point of McCain’s plan would be to end it. These plans are ubiquitous (covering over half the population) only because of an accident of history. Employers, desperate for workers during World War II, couldn’t compete with higher salaries because of wage and price controls. So they began throwing in non-wage benefits, such as health insurance. After the war, the IRS moved to tax this form of income. But by that time so many people had “free” health insurance from their employers that they howled and Congress forbade the IRS to do so.

This created the economically ridiculous situation of employers paying for health insurance with pre-tax income and individuals having to buy it with after-tax income. (Only recently have long-suffering free lancers–such as the present writer–been able to deduct health insurance as a business expense.) No small part of the current health insurance mess comes from this one fact. For the history that led to that mess, see here.

McCain’s plan would give individuals a tax credit to buy health insurance, while employer-paid health insurance would become taxable as income (but not subject to the FICA payroll tax). In other words, it would move the tax deduction from the company to the individual. It would make individual insurance more affordable and much employer health insurance more expensive, causing people to drop the latter and buy the former while employers increasingly drop coverage altogether.

Individuals would then be able to buy the sort of health insurance best suited to them, instead of having no economically rational choice but to take the one-size-fits-all plan of the employer. A 25-year-old bachelor in good health is very unlikely to get seriously sick in the next year. What he needs is inexpensive catastrophic health coverage in case of very bad luck. A 55-year-old might well prefer a more comprehensive policy, given the propensity of 55-year-old bodies to have things go wrong and to develop chronic conditions that require frequent monitoring.

The McCain plan, along with a law allowing individuals to buy health insurance anywhere in the country (thus enabling them to escape the often dozens of unwanted and expensive mandates pushed through many state legislatures by special interests), would go a very long way to solving the problem of affordable health care and reducing the number of uninsured with minimal government interference.

It is clear, at least to me, that the left wants the current system to collapse altogether and so make a government-run system unavoidable. That’s why nothing has been done to rationalize the current health-care situation in the last fifteen years, since I wrote the article cited above. Barack Obama is being disingenuous, to put it mildly, when he complains that the McCain plan would “shred” the employer-based health insurance, as though he were its greatest defender.

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Not Buying It Either

Jan Crawford Greenburg weighs in on Barack Obama’s latest comment on abortion and reaches the same conclusion as I: his exceptionally finely-drawn explanation about his opposition to a mental health justification for late-term abortions still is inconsistent with Roe v. Wade. She writes:

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, Obama said mental health exceptions—which are a real battleground issue in the abortion debate–can be “rigorously” limited to only those women with “serious clinical mental health diseases.” He said mental health exceptions are not intended permit abortions when a woman simply “doesn’t feel good.” “It is not just a matter of feeling blue,” Obama said. Here’s the problem with that, and why Obama’s remarks are so startling. Obama is trying to restrict abortions after 22 weeks to those women who have a serious disease or illness. But the law today also covers some women who are in “mental distress,” those women who would suffer emotional and psychological harm without an abortion. This standard has long been understood to require less than “serious clinical mental health disease.” Women today don’t have to show they are suffering from a “serious clinical mental health disease” or “mental illness” before getting an abortion post-viability, as Obama now says is appropriate. And for 35 years—since Roe v. Wade—they’ve never had to show that. So Obama, it seems to me, still is backing away from what the law says—and backing away from a proposed federal law (of which he is a co-sponsor) that envisions a much broader definition of mental health than the one he laid out this week. . . 

It is obvious at this point that Obama is furiously trying to escape the implications of his own words. I don’t for a moment believe he intends to put women to the test of establishing the degree of their mental distress to obtain late-term abortions or to revise the Freedom of Choice Act or to roll back Roe v. Wade. He either didn’t understand what he was really saying in the initial magazine interview or he figured that no one on the pro-choice side would cry foul. The latter is not a bad bet — the pro-choice lobby isn’t, I suspect, about to “out” Obama for his garbled understanding of abortion law or to claim he really isn’t committed to their cause.

What this does show is the depths of intellectual trickery to which Obama will stoop to try to give the impression of moderation. Whether voters are pro-choice, pro-life, or somewhere in between, they may find this effort to fool both sides distressing (provided the media covers it and explains it as cogently as Greenburg does).

But they certainly shouldn’t be surprised. Playing both sides, fudging differences, and denying he is contradicting himself is now standard operating procedure on everything from Obama’s broken pledge on campaign financing to his stances on Iraq. It is one thing to flip-flop, but quite another to lie about doing it. Obama seems to have picked up the habit of doing both.

Jan Crawford Greenburg weighs in on Barack Obama’s latest comment on abortion and reaches the same conclusion as I: his exceptionally finely-drawn explanation about his opposition to a mental health justification for late-term abortions still is inconsistent with Roe v. Wade. She writes:

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, Obama said mental health exceptions—which are a real battleground issue in the abortion debate–can be “rigorously” limited to only those women with “serious clinical mental health diseases.” He said mental health exceptions are not intended permit abortions when a woman simply “doesn’t feel good.” “It is not just a matter of feeling blue,” Obama said. Here’s the problem with that, and why Obama’s remarks are so startling. Obama is trying to restrict abortions after 22 weeks to those women who have a serious disease or illness. But the law today also covers some women who are in “mental distress,” those women who would suffer emotional and psychological harm without an abortion. This standard has long been understood to require less than “serious clinical mental health disease.” Women today don’t have to show they are suffering from a “serious clinical mental health disease” or “mental illness” before getting an abortion post-viability, as Obama now says is appropriate. And for 35 years—since Roe v. Wade—they’ve never had to show that. So Obama, it seems to me, still is backing away from what the law says—and backing away from a proposed federal law (of which he is a co-sponsor) that envisions a much broader definition of mental health than the one he laid out this week. . . 

It is obvious at this point that Obama is furiously trying to escape the implications of his own words. I don’t for a moment believe he intends to put women to the test of establishing the degree of their mental distress to obtain late-term abortions or to revise the Freedom of Choice Act or to roll back Roe v. Wade. He either didn’t understand what he was really saying in the initial magazine interview or he figured that no one on the pro-choice side would cry foul. The latter is not a bad bet — the pro-choice lobby isn’t, I suspect, about to “out” Obama for his garbled understanding of abortion law or to claim he really isn’t committed to their cause.

What this does show is the depths of intellectual trickery to which Obama will stoop to try to give the impression of moderation. Whether voters are pro-choice, pro-life, or somewhere in between, they may find this effort to fool both sides distressing (provided the media covers it and explains it as cogently as Greenburg does).

But they certainly shouldn’t be surprised. Playing both sides, fudging differences, and denying he is contradicting himself is now standard operating procedure on everything from Obama’s broken pledge on campaign financing to his stances on Iraq. It is one thing to flip-flop, but quite another to lie about doing it. Obama seems to have picked up the habit of doing both.

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Re: Where Is This Story?

I second you heartily, Jennifer, and wanted to add some thoughts of my own.
The offensive in Mosul, and the larger success in the struggle against AQI,  are achievements of staggering importance. Iraq is, after all, the nation which al Qaeda itself made the central battleground in the war against jihadism. Everyone, on every side, knew the stakes of the struggle. If al Qaeda prevailed against America in Iraq, it would rightly rank among our allies and our enemies as among the most important victory jihadists had ever attained.

Not long ago it became fashionable to declare that Iraq was a finely concealed trap set by bin Laden; that, as the author Peter Bergen declared, bin Laden had defeated President Bush; that the war in Iraq was the best recruiting mechanism al Qaeda could have ever hoped for; that Iraq set back the war against terrorism in incalculable ways; and that the victory by al Qaeda in Iraq was a crushing blow against American credibility.

The war itself was lost, it was said; all that remained to be determined was the exact terms of our surrender. Some wanted a full-scale retreat, others embraced the Baker-Hamilton report as the vehicle for our retreat, while still others argued that Iraq needed to be partitioned into three separate ethnic regions (Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish). Countless pundits, members of almost the entire foreign policy establishment, and virtually the entire Democratic Party believed Iraq was in a death spiral from which it could not escape.

Those counsels of despair were not only premature, they were, it turns out, quite wrong. And rather than the Iraq war being a massive set-back in our struggle against militant Islam, it is now plausible to argue that it will be, on balance, a net plus.

The final verdict on the Iraq war is as yet unknown. Iraq, for all the indisputable strides it was made in the last year, remains a fragile nation. A series of unfortunate events could turn the wheel the other way. Nor does the success of the so-called surge and all the good that has come as a result of it excuse the enormous planning failures when it came to the occupation stage of the war. The Iraq war has cost us far more in blood and treasure than it ever should have. Nevertheless, driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country is, in the words of the Times of London story, “the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.”

That war will go on, as will the struggle for the future of Islam. But we are in far better shape than anyone could have imagined during those difficult days in early 2007, when most of the nation and the political class had given up on Iraq.

President George W. Bush, General David Petraeus, and the brave men and women serving in Iraq, almost alone, did not. All three deserve our gratitude and respect for having saved Iraq from descending into civil war and unending grief, and for having dealt al Qaeda a blow from which it might not recover.

I second you heartily, Jennifer, and wanted to add some thoughts of my own.
The offensive in Mosul, and the larger success in the struggle against AQI,  are achievements of staggering importance. Iraq is, after all, the nation which al Qaeda itself made the central battleground in the war against jihadism. Everyone, on every side, knew the stakes of the struggle. If al Qaeda prevailed against America in Iraq, it would rightly rank among our allies and our enemies as among the most important victory jihadists had ever attained.

Not long ago it became fashionable to declare that Iraq was a finely concealed trap set by bin Laden; that, as the author Peter Bergen declared, bin Laden had defeated President Bush; that the war in Iraq was the best recruiting mechanism al Qaeda could have ever hoped for; that Iraq set back the war against terrorism in incalculable ways; and that the victory by al Qaeda in Iraq was a crushing blow against American credibility.

The war itself was lost, it was said; all that remained to be determined was the exact terms of our surrender. Some wanted a full-scale retreat, others embraced the Baker-Hamilton report as the vehicle for our retreat, while still others argued that Iraq needed to be partitioned into three separate ethnic regions (Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish). Countless pundits, members of almost the entire foreign policy establishment, and virtually the entire Democratic Party believed Iraq was in a death spiral from which it could not escape.

Those counsels of despair were not only premature, they were, it turns out, quite wrong. And rather than the Iraq war being a massive set-back in our struggle against militant Islam, it is now plausible to argue that it will be, on balance, a net plus.

The final verdict on the Iraq war is as yet unknown. Iraq, for all the indisputable strides it was made in the last year, remains a fragile nation. A series of unfortunate events could turn the wheel the other way. Nor does the success of the so-called surge and all the good that has come as a result of it excuse the enormous planning failures when it came to the occupation stage of the war. The Iraq war has cost us far more in blood and treasure than it ever should have. Nevertheless, driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country is, in the words of the Times of London story, “the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.”

That war will go on, as will the struggle for the future of Islam. But we are in far better shape than anyone could have imagined during those difficult days in early 2007, when most of the nation and the political class had given up on Iraq.

President George W. Bush, General David Petraeus, and the brave men and women serving in Iraq, almost alone, did not. All three deserve our gratitude and respect for having saved Iraq from descending into civil war and unending grief, and for having dealt al Qaeda a blow from which it might not recover.

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But What Did He Do?

Barack Obama often quibbles with those who say his career in public life is short and his accomplishments slight. He frequently points to his time as a community organizer. But not even the New York Times can find evidence that he accomplished much in that job. The Times reports:

In recent days, Mr. Obama has imbued those years with even greater significance, invoking them last week as inspiration for his plan to deliver social services through religious organizations. He told a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on Saturday that as a community organizer he “let Jesus Christ into my life” and “I dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works.” It is clear that the benefit of those years to Mr. Obama dwarfs what he accomplished. Mr. Kellman said that Mr. Obama had built the organization’s following among needy residents and black ministers, but “on issues, we made very little progress, nothing that would change poverty on the South Side of Chicago.”

In short, this experience made good material for his book (a third of the pages are devoted to this period in his life) but he didn’t do much. (Other than try to grab credit for a neighborhood effort on asbestos testing in public housing.)

It seems that Obama — whether as an author, community organizer or senator – has derived great attention and credit for his internal journeys of self-discovery, but left very little evidence of having accomplished much for others. It has been said many times that, to a greater degree than any previous major party presidential candidate, he lacks a record of leadership and accomplishment (national, public, or private sector). More than that, however, there is something almost eerie about a man who slides through life with praise for having been there, but has little to show for what he did. (He is truly putting to the test the Woody Allen adage that 90% of life is showing up.)

It is unclear why Obama’s imprint has been so slight. Was it not important for him to achieve concrete gains in his career, or was he always looking ahead to the next job? Did he not have the leadership skills? Or was he too conflict-adverse to push through ideas to a successful conclusion? (The pattern of tip-toeing around dicey issues, as John Edwards pointed out, was also apparent in Obama’s state senate career.) We don’t know. But if getting things done, impacting an organization and forcing action are what we expect and need from a president, Obama’s past offers little evidence as to how or if he can do that successfully once in office.

As Obama’s image as a messianic leader of New Politics fades, voters may begin to ask more mundane questions like: What has he done of significance? And what does he stand for? His answers to those questions will be illuminating, because at this point we just don’t know.

Barack Obama often quibbles with those who say his career in public life is short and his accomplishments slight. He frequently points to his time as a community organizer. But not even the New York Times can find evidence that he accomplished much in that job. The Times reports:

In recent days, Mr. Obama has imbued those years with even greater significance, invoking them last week as inspiration for his plan to deliver social services through religious organizations. He told a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on Saturday that as a community organizer he “let Jesus Christ into my life” and “I dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works.” It is clear that the benefit of those years to Mr. Obama dwarfs what he accomplished. Mr. Kellman said that Mr. Obama had built the organization’s following among needy residents and black ministers, but “on issues, we made very little progress, nothing that would change poverty on the South Side of Chicago.”

In short, this experience made good material for his book (a third of the pages are devoted to this period in his life) but he didn’t do much. (Other than try to grab credit for a neighborhood effort on asbestos testing in public housing.)

It seems that Obama — whether as an author, community organizer or senator – has derived great attention and credit for his internal journeys of self-discovery, but left very little evidence of having accomplished much for others. It has been said many times that, to a greater degree than any previous major party presidential candidate, he lacks a record of leadership and accomplishment (national, public, or private sector). More than that, however, there is something almost eerie about a man who slides through life with praise for having been there, but has little to show for what he did. (He is truly putting to the test the Woody Allen adage that 90% of life is showing up.)

It is unclear why Obama’s imprint has been so slight. Was it not important for him to achieve concrete gains in his career, or was he always looking ahead to the next job? Did he not have the leadership skills? Or was he too conflict-adverse to push through ideas to a successful conclusion? (The pattern of tip-toeing around dicey issues, as John Edwards pointed out, was also apparent in Obama’s state senate career.) We don’t know. But if getting things done, impacting an organization and forcing action are what we expect and need from a president, Obama’s past offers little evidence as to how or if he can do that successfully once in office.

As Obama’s image as a messianic leader of New Politics fades, voters may begin to ask more mundane questions like: What has he done of significance? And what does he stand for? His answers to those questions will be illuminating, because at this point we just don’t know.

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Cutting Terror Funding

Today Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli forces shut down three Hamas charities: “A girls club, a school, and the headquarters of the Solidarity charity.” Witnesses said troops confiscated computers, documents, cash and furniture,” the Post reports.

Doubtless there will be those who chalk this up to the unremitting cruelty of the Zionist war machine. And indeed, it is not a small problem that Hamas, in addition to killing, maiming, and orphaning innocent Israelis, also provides services to the Palestinian population, not just in Gaza but also in the West Bank, in a way that makes it nearly impossible to track exactly which funds are used for terror, and which not. But even their non-terror activities are often clearly deployed in the support of atrocity: By giving lifelong benefits to the families of suicide bombers, for example, or by running schools that preach terror and jihad; or by using the charities as front organizations for the flow of weapons and arms — the entire organization is built to ensure a perpetual flow of death.

The obvious solution, which has been adopted by the U.S. and other countries, is to illegalize the organization as a whole, raid its charities, shut its services, close it down. Most of these services should be provided by the Palestinian Authority’s government or by non-terrorizing organizations. According to a report in Haaretz today, the IDF has put Hamas’ civilian infrastructure in its sites. Terror needs money to survive; it can be stopped only when we do whatever is necessary to stop the flow.

Today Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli forces shut down three Hamas charities: “A girls club, a school, and the headquarters of the Solidarity charity.” Witnesses said troops confiscated computers, documents, cash and furniture,” the Post reports.

Doubtless there will be those who chalk this up to the unremitting cruelty of the Zionist war machine. And indeed, it is not a small problem that Hamas, in addition to killing, maiming, and orphaning innocent Israelis, also provides services to the Palestinian population, not just in Gaza but also in the West Bank, in a way that makes it nearly impossible to track exactly which funds are used for terror, and which not. But even their non-terror activities are often clearly deployed in the support of atrocity: By giving lifelong benefits to the families of suicide bombers, for example, or by running schools that preach terror and jihad; or by using the charities as front organizations for the flow of weapons and arms — the entire organization is built to ensure a perpetual flow of death.

The obvious solution, which has been adopted by the U.S. and other countries, is to illegalize the organization as a whole, raid its charities, shut its services, close it down. Most of these services should be provided by the Palestinian Authority’s government or by non-terrorizing organizations. According to a report in Haaretz today, the IDF has put Hamas’ civilian infrastructure in its sites. Terror needs money to survive; it can be stopped only when we do whatever is necessary to stop the flow.

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Where Is This Story?

You have to read a UK paper to get this story:

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror. After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul. A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10. Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.

By way of contrast, the Washington Post has a front page story on pit bulls and an obligatory tale of McCain’s troubles with conservatives, with a page ten story on Iraq bombings that is completely silent on the action in Mosul. The New York Times op-ed on Iraq gives no indication its editors are aware of events in Mosul.

But it can’t be — Barack Obama says that Iraq has been a distraction in the war on terror and that we have to leave Iraq to find and defeat Al Qaeda. Well, if he and his advisors limit their reading to the front pages of the mainstream U.S. newspapers it is understandable that they might persist in this view. We wait with great anticipation for the New York Times to discover this news, for the rest of the MSM outlets to pick it up, and for Obama to declare that this is totally consistent with his previous understanding of the Iraq war.

And mainstream reporters are confused as to why they lack credibility?

You have to read a UK paper to get this story:

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror. After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda’s dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant “last stand” in the northern city of Mosul. A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10. Operation Lion’s Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans’ 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.

By way of contrast, the Washington Post has a front page story on pit bulls and an obligatory tale of McCain’s troubles with conservatives, with a page ten story on Iraq bombings that is completely silent on the action in Mosul. The New York Times op-ed on Iraq gives no indication its editors are aware of events in Mosul.

But it can’t be — Barack Obama says that Iraq has been a distraction in the war on terror and that we have to leave Iraq to find and defeat Al Qaeda. Well, if he and his advisors limit their reading to the front pages of the mainstream U.S. newspapers it is understandable that they might persist in this view. We wait with great anticipation for the New York Times to discover this news, for the rest of the MSM outlets to pick it up, and for Obama to declare that this is totally consistent with his previous understanding of the Iraq war.

And mainstream reporters are confused as to why they lack credibility?

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