Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

I’ve resisted any mention of the lawsuits and obsessive chatter challenging whether President-elect Barack Obama was really born in the U.S. Others have voiced my view: this is nutty stuff brought to us by the crowd (literally in the person of lawyer Phillip Berg) who thinks 9-11 was an inside job. The only difference is that when the loony stuff appears on the Right, respectable conservative outlets deride it; when it’s on the Left it finds a home in respectable liberal publications itching for new visibility in the 24/7, internet news world.

A sampling from a very witty speech by R.Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.: “We libertarian conservatives are the people whose ideas have spread throughout the world, to India, to China. Even Senator Obama seems to be picking them up. This September, as he slipped behind Senator John McCain in the polls, Senator Obama finally identified himself as a tax cutter. Today he is an advocate of growth. Possibly in the months ahead he will keep the lights on at the Pentagon. Yet I suppose we should have known all along that he recognized the fragility of individual liberty. After all, Senator Obama has been a smoker, a real smoker, a cigarette smoker. And he is sending his children to private schools!”

Peter Robinson makes a compelling case for Jeb Bush to run for Senate. Among the more compelling reasons: “Already esteemed among Cubans in Florida, he would be able to make the conservative case to Mexicans, Central Americans and other Hispanics in the rest of the country. Although determined to gain control of the borders–’that’s a responsibility of the federal government right now’–he insists that legal immigration is good for the nation. Hispanics are ‘as American in their pursuit of traditional dreams … as any other group.’ Writing off Hispanics, he told me, is ‘wrong’ and ‘stupid.’” (Fred Barnes has similiar thoughts here.)

But I do understand that the public may tire of the same families recycling through government. My favorite: Caroline Kennedy vs. Andrew Cuomo for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. Not one of them would have gotten into the mix with the last name of “Jones.” (Better check and see if David Paterson has any unemployed relatives.)

A small anecdote should remind politicians that people are always watching.

Marty Peretz points out two more of the umpteenth examples of human rights double standards by Arab countries. I wonder if Susan Rice will be so exacting in her criticism.

The most successful GOP governor most people have never heard of? Mitch Daniels.

The Daniels’ example makes columns like this bemoaning Republicans’ “insoluble” problems seem silly. The solution? Well, they can start by getting competent, hard working leaders who are committed to reform and enacting conservative policies to solve real problems. It usually works pretty well at the ballot box.

If you think the economy is in trouble, read what Andy Stern, head of the SEIU, has in mind — protectionism, nationalized health care, massive government spending,  and card check legislation for starters. Yikes. We’ll see if he succeeds with his plan, which appears to be “nothing less than to remake American capitalism from the ground up.”

Could the Minnesota Senate race finally be over? Put it this way, the recount is over and Norm Coleman is still ahead. But the fight, I sense, is far from finished.

Why does Joe Biden need his own economist? Likely because the ones working for the President won’t have much time for him. I wonder if he’ll have his own Secretary of State also. Because the one working for the President . .  .

Ann Romney has a lumpectomy and puts out a classy email with a good health reminder. A complete healing of body and soul, we hope.

President-elect Obama should ban kiss-and-tell books from his advisors? Imagine if George Bush had tried such a thing.