Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

Three million . . .  four million. . . do I hear five million jobs? Upping the job “creation” number  sounds like something that was fifth or sixth on a staffer’s list of “Ways to get Americans to agree to a trillion dollars of debt.” The President-elect’s credibility is a precious thing and shouldn’t be frittered away with silly stunts like this.

And his media magic is waning. David Broder says the President-elect has taken a “drubbing” over the Bill Richardson and Blago/Roland Burris messes. So is the honeymoon over?

P.J. O’Rourke goes even farther: “Is it too soon to talk about the failed Obama presidency just because Obama isn’t president yet? That depends upon how quickly Barack Obama is able to apply the lessons he’s learned from Management Secrets of the Illinois Governors. So far he’s not doing very well. He has allowed America’s current number one jackleg, crackpot, smut-mouth, slime-licking politician to give the Obama Senate seat to a lovable old African-American doofus whom no one has the heart to execrate. Roland Burris will be the kind of ornament to this year’s Senate that the broken plastic Rudolph with its antlers missing was to last year’s Christmas tree.” (All kidding aside, it’s obviously too early to declare the presidency failed or even seriously damaged, but Obama’s image of infallibility has bitten the dust.)

Katon Dawson tells the New York Times the concern about his more than decade-long membership in a whites-only club is “so bogus.” (What is he– in sixth grade?) That’s probably what Harry Reid said about concerns over the backlash which might be triggered by throwing Burris out in the rain. What do you think is the first fact every single MSM outlet will mention if Dawson is eliminated? But it doesn’t matter what the MSM says because the GOP doesn’t have an image problem with minorities and has plenty of adherents, right? Oh, wait.

Grover Norquist explains Obama-nomics: “Taking a dollar from one side of the economy and spending it in another state is just moving wealth, jobs or income around. Nothing is created. Imagine Obama taking a bucket of water out of one side of the lake and carrying it around to the other side of the lake and then holding a press conference to have himself filmed ‘filling the lake with water.’ Does anyone outside of dead economists named Keynes believe that the level of water in the lake is now higher? That is his plan. It won’t work. We will waste billions building pyramids (ours are horizontal and called light rail and get fewer visitors than the pyramids). We will be left with the stench of corruption. Debt. And the kind of economic recovery people lived through in the 1930s–high unemployment, low wages, little investment.”

If you think the Bush administration made hash out of the Six Party talks, opened the door to big government and didn’t have the nerve to insist the car companies make fundamental changes you are in good company — with Vice President Dick Cheney. More than anything else, the Stephen Hayes interview reveals the degree to which Cheney was not calling the shots, at least in the second term.

Is Dick Durbin making sense on taxes?

Mitt Romney usually makes sense on taxes — which is one reason the House Republicans are inviting him to present his economic recovery ideas. He’s one of the few Republican candidates who came out looking better at the end than the beginning of the presidential race. (He’s also avoided any hint of intra-party nastiness, which is both smart and welcomed. Come to think of it, that might be why he seems less damaged than all the other former contenders.)

The language is a bit harsh in this piece, but I agree with this insight on Sarah Palin: “She would be wise to spend the next three years studying and formulating a world view rooted in facts. This is what Rudy Giuliani did after a less-than-stellar campaign for mayor of New York City that saw him lose to David Dinkins in 1989. He roared back four years later to serve two terms. Palin must do the same if she’s ever going to expand her popularity — or be taken seriously by anyone — beyond that narrow, aging and shrinking band of the Republican Party that likes things the way they were 20 years ago.” And really, the “media is unfair” routine is getting old.

Another observer finds President-elect Obama’s biggest problems reside on the Democratic side of the aisle: “Senator Reid’s gratuitous comments the other day that, ‘he does not work for the President’ is the first shot over Obama’s bow. The Democrats control everything, but in reality will they be in control? Can they control themselves?”  I think the answers are “sometimes” and “no,” respectively.

Lately I’ve been finding myself in surprising  agreement with some leftwingers around the blogosphere. Here’s today’s edition, this time from Salon: enough with the “Al Franken stole it” talk.