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Flotsam and Jetsam

Kudos on the do-over oath. (Whose idea, I wonder?) The Constitution is not horseshoes — close doesn’t count. But conservatives should enjoy what may be the last moment in which strict constitutional interpretation carries the day in the Obama administration.

Two other presidents repeated the oath.

The New York Times declares that the Palestinian question brings “tough choices” for President Obama. Who knew? Lots of things are “tough” in the Obama Presidency — if only they were easy like they were for George W. Bush.

John Taylor dissects President Obama’s national security remarks and grammar.

Call me a cynic but unlike David Broder I don’t think President Obama’s race or age is going to make it easier to craft bipartisan tax and fiscal policy. By claiming the problem is just “emotional baggage” from the past, Broder ignores the very real differences of opinion on fundamental policies that separate the parties. In fifty years of covering Washington could he have missed that?

Minority Leader John Boehner gets to the heart of the matter on Guantanamo’s “closing” — where do we put them?

Tim Pawlenty sounds like a presidential candidate, a fairly articulate and wonky one.

Some people take issue with President Obama’s castigating legitimate political debate as “childish.” (h/t Megan McArdle) To be fair, some of the style of political discourse is pretty childish, but he does take the unity message a bit far. Writing off political opponents as “cynics” whose arguments are not legitimate disagreements but ones which “no longer apply” doesn’t sound very respectful or bipartisan. (That would be when you recognize the legitimacy of your opponents’ positions and incorporate some of their ideas.)  Didn’t another President get lambasted for characterizing dissent as unpatriotic or taking an “if you’re not with me, you’re against me” stance? Hmm.

Does E.J. Dionne realize that the “era of responsibility” is straight from the Clinton playbook (“those who do the work and pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules”)? No, it’s all completely new and revolutionary!

Somehow it doesn’t seem that new: “President Obama’s new lobbying rules are fueling the concerns of senators from both parties regarding the nomination of William Lynn to become deputy defense secretary. Obama signed an executive order Wednesday strengthening the restrictions on lobbyists and former lobbyists entering his administration.  . . Lynn lobbied on behalf of defense contractor Raytheon Co. until last year and now stands to be in a position to make decisions on a plethora of the defense giant’s programs as the new manager of the Pentagon.”

I rarely agree with Gail Collins, but on Tim Geithner I do: “The idea that there’s only one man who can save the day in a time of great economic crisis is worrisome, given the number of indispensable financial giants who’ve turned out to be deeply dispensable on second look. (Let us pause to remember a presidential campaign past, in which McCain said that if Alan Greenspan, then the Federal Reserve chairman, were to die, he should be propped up and kept on the job anyway.) Perhaps there’s no time to start digging up a new Treasury secretary at this point. But we are starting the new era with the bar set surprisingly low.”

Virtually every word of this from Nicholas Kristof is absurd and patently false: “The Bush policy of (mostly) disengagement and obliviousness to Palestinian suffering has made it harder to achieve a peace that is the best hope for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Mr. Obama’s calls Wednesday to Middle Eastern leaders were helpful, and he should immediately make clear that he wants Israel to halt the settlements and ease repressive restrictions on the West Bank.” Didn’t Bush spend endless time pursing a fantasy peace process and formally declare U.S. policy to be a two state solution? And is there is a shred of evidence that suggests Israel’s West Bank settlement policies affect Hamas? Didn’t Israel withdraw completely from Gaza?

George McGovern sounds what is sure to be the next rallying cry of the Left: out of Afghanistan.

Ex-McCain advisor John Weaver thinks it might be a problem on Meet the Press if the new head of the RNC belonged to a whites-only club. Just on MTP, you think?



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