Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

You have to admire Sidwell Friends Head of School, Ellis Turner for telling Sidwell’s most famous parent to butt out on snow closing decisions: “‘No question, the president is right,’ Turner wrote. ‘The next time it snows, we would like to invite him to help us make the decision. His involvement will make it much easier to explain to our students why they won’t be able to spend the day sleeping and sledding.  .  .Or, I suppose Sidwell Friends could merge with Punahou, move our classrooms to Hawaii and never worry about the weather.” Wow, if Turner ever considers a career shift we could someone who isn’t cowed by the President in the press corps.

Aptly mocking the Al Gore worship on Capitol Hill, Dana Milbank notes “The Goracle’s powers seem to come from his ability to scare the bejesus out of people.” Well, and the scientific and economic illiteracy of lawmakers helps too.

Ahmadinejad doesn’t reciprocate the President’s touchy-feely sentiments.

The House Republicans get new-media savvy with a behind-the-scenes take on their day fighting the Pelosi stimulus bill.

Republicans have figured out they should run against Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid — and their stimulus bill — and not against the President.

Someone might want to run against Chris Dodd in 2010. “Friend of Angelo” continues to stonewall on his promised release of documents, apparently unaware we are in a new era of transparency.

Joe Biden and Tim Geithner disagree on whether China is engaged in currency manipulation. Perhaps we can get Larry Summers or Hillary Clinton to break the tie. Or Paul Volker. Well, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

Perhaps we should send out a search party for Dennis Ross. According to TNR, the administration first needs to decide what its Iran policy will be (Hmmm, grovel or not grovel?) But that seems to be what Ross should be figuring out.

Charles Krauthammer is dismayed: “Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.” Will the insulting response from Ahmadinejad also convince the President that it is counterproductive? Let’s hope so — but I fear it’s not the last of this sort of blather.

The House GOP members may have inspired their Senate colleagues to hold the line on the stimulus bill.

The record turnout, especially among minority voters, means that the hysterical claims of “voter suppression” by  opponents of voter I.D. were false. But we knew that — since they never managed in all the litigation to come up with an actual plaintiff who wanted to vote but couldn’t.

Kathleen Parker, deprived of her Sarah Palin foil, is back to making sense: “Two impressions emerge from President Barack Obama’s first week in office: Partisanship has reached a tipping point when the new president is circling the fire hydrant with a conservative talk-radio personality. And, the new president is sounding an awful lot like the old one. Let’s roll the tape. ‘I won. I will trump you on that.’” The new one does have the media on his side, but it is remarkable how fast the luster fades.