Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Gosh, with poll numbers like this Chris Matthews may need his current job for awhile. Could it be that all that leering, fawning and screaming didn’t endear him to the public?

Donna Brazile is quite correct about the President-elect staying out of the Georgia Senate race. Aside from his more important transition tasks, there is the very real risk the Democrat Jim Martin loses after an Obama visit, which will be seen as the latter’s first political loss. Also, if Obama is making headway neutralizing Republican opposition why poison the well by hitting the campaign trail again?

Roger Simon of Politico confesses: “I do not understand why some people are opposed to a $25 billion government bailout of the U.S. auto industry.” Hmm. Could it be that it’s throwing away money, preventing needed reform, and subsidizing irresponsible management and horrid labor agreements? And as for his bizarre suggestion that we “eliminate” the Iraq War because it “is a program that doesn’t work,” I think General Petraeus has demonstrated that the best way to “eliminate the Iraq war” is to “eliminate” the enemy (i.e. “win”) and go home — which is what we are in the process of doing.

A very smart take on Republicans’ mistakes with Hispanic voters and the immigration issue. I’ll add one: not getting behind Mike Pence’s immigration plan, which was a common sense and tough-minded approach.

Hard questions for Tim Geithner’s confirmation hearing. Perhaps he will communicate better and make better choices about which entities to “save” once he is in charge. But isn’t the lesson that government can rarely tell which ones should be rescued?

It’s bizarrely wrong to assert that Barack Obama doesn’t have a debt to repay to Big Labor. Labor unions spent hundreds of millions of dollars electing Democrats at all levels of government. Rest assured, they expect something in return.

The Minnesota Canvassing Board unanimously told Al Franken to take a hike. As far as the Democratic attorney general (who voted with the rest of the Canvassing Board members to deny the absentee ballot claim) and the recount process in general, everyone in Minnesota seems to have done their job properly. Now we’ll see if Harry Reid or the courts manage to wrestle the narrow win away from Norm Coleman. (The lesson of Florida 2000 remains: once the “winner” is declared it is very hard to displace him.)

We may have a shortage of jobs, economic growth, and fiscal discipline, but we have plenty of economic advisors. They keep coming and coming and coming. This is either a brilliant scheme to get diverse viewpoints or a recipe for bureaucratic gridlock. Others are wondering the same thing.

There are many ways to distinguish between Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, but here’s a fundamental one: she governed like a fiscal conservative (cut taxes and the budget) and he like a tax and spend populist.

How far he’s fallen — might a primary challenge to Sen. John McCain in Arizona be possible? He did not exactly endear himself to the Right, so I wouldn’t rule out that possibility, even if the chance to unseat him is slim at best.

A fine, forceful statement from the President-elect condemning the attacks in India — and an unfortunate reminder that our enemies really don’t care who is in the White House.

The Charlie Rangel shoes keep dropping, putting Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an embarrassing spot: “The uncomfortable state of limbo with one of the most senior chairmen has provided an opening Republicans and outside ethics experts to criticize Pelosi’s standards and question her pledge to ‘drain the swamp.’ Democratic leaders and rank and file members have also been remarkably silent about what to do with Rangel.” The inept Republicans, however, didn’t make much use of this in the election, did they?