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Flotsam and Jetsam

Nina Easton writes: “President Obama’s ‘new era of responsibility’ has already drawn criticism as a magician’s math act: Add a trillion-dollar universal health care plan to a trillion-dollar (including interest) stimulus package to another quarter-trillion for bank bailouts to 7% average increases in domestic agency spending and — voila! –the federal deficit drops by half in four years.” The trick, she says, is getting Democrats to vote for this hooey.

Put CBS on the Robert Gibbs target list. Its reporter doesn’t like the mortgage bailout either.

And Peter Nicholas reports that this is going to be tricky: “President Obama is facing misgivings about his policy agenda from inside his own party, with prominent Democrats objecting to parts of his taxation and spending plans and questioning the White House push to do so much so fast. .  . Complicating matters, Obama is asking the political system in Washington to absorb a slew of legislation and policy shifts rivaling what President Franklin D. Roosevelt put forward 76 years ago. Going all-in, in poker terms, puts a strain on a legislative system accustomed to a more incremental approach.”

Chris Dodd isn’t the only powerful Democrat with friends at mortgage companies. “As mortgage foreclosure rates hit record highs, one small group of homeowners remains relatively immune to the pressures confronting millions of other Americans: those at the highest levels of the Obama administration. At least seven top officials—as well as the president himself—have reaped the benefits of mortgage deals ranging from discounted rates to reduced and subsidized mortgages to free housing, largely due to their stature or as perks of previous employment.” Life is good I suppose when taxes are optional and mortgage deals fall into your lap.
Obama’s approval ratings begin to slip in Newsweek and Rasmussen polls. A blip? Or evidence people are waking up to the impact of Obama’s words and actions on their 401K balances?

Karl Rove brings things down to earth: “It’s too soon to say whether Obama will end his first term more like Clinton or Carter, but one thing is clear: Obama may have won the widest electoral victory since 1988, but six weeks into his presidency, his approval rating is average, rather than extraordinary.”

Peter Robinson nails it: “The elite journalists, I repeat, got Obama wrong. The troglodytes got him right.” Perhaps the former are blinded by style and imprisoned by their own cultural snobbery, while the latter have gotten good at spotting the phonies who are selling them a bill of goods.

Chas Freeman’s son plays the Israel Lobby card: “His appointment is being challenged these days by a small cabal of folks that believe first and foremost in the importance of allegiance to Israel as a core U.S. priority.” Pretty clever getting all those Chinese dissidents to object, huh?

Boy was Jeffrey Goldberg right: “I get the sense that some of Freeman’s defenders want to see him in government not because he’s a professional contrarian but precisely because he’s viscerally anti-Israel.”

And as much as Andrew Sullivan would like to curry favor with his netroot friends, he unwittingly reveals just what an ignoramus Freeman is.

Marty Peretz sums up: “I believe that the Freeman appointment is the most disastrous one Obama has made. It is both unprofessional and cruel.” Yes, Freeman is the Chinese government’s “patsy,” and the candidate whom Peretz vouched for and lauded is now “putting this man at the center of our intelligence apparatus.” Unless, after letting this drag out needlessly for over a week, Obama retreats and shoves Freeman under the bus. What are we to make of the president’s judgment?


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