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Flotsam and Jetsam

A thought provoking piece on whether “return at any cost” bias in Hebrew press coverage of efforts to recover Gilad Shalit is weakening Israel’s hand. “Even those who attempt to suggest that releasing hundreds of the worst terrorists who are sure to strike again, both by slaughtering innocent Israelis and by kidnapping additional ones for future trades, are forced first to reiterate that they also would be acting as the Schalit family has been if it were their own child in captivity.”  

Charlie Rangel first expressed qualms about the AIG bonus tax. But then he joined the populist mob. Still, he’s quite cozy with the insurer: “But Mr. Rangel’s indignation was a reversal of his position earlier in the week, when he opposed heavily taxing the bonuses and warned his colleagues to restrain themselves from allowing the public outcry to warp their judgment. What is more, the congressman’s relationship with A.I.G. is a complicated one; as recently as last year, he was trying to woo the company to donate $10 million to a school to be named in his honor. And while A.I.G. officials mulled the request, Mr. Rangel supported a provision in a tax bill that saved the company millions of dollars. ”

Rahm Emanuel is using the Situation Room for political arm twisting. Makes you miss the Clintons, who just rented out the Lincoln Bedroom.

Will the mullahs still respect Obama in the morning? Yes, the Iran video was an embarrassing display of bowing and scraping to the “Islamic Republic of Iran” — with nary a mention of our own interests or suggestion that there are negative consequences for Iran’s continued human rights atrocities or nuclear program.

Meanwhile, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is upset that Obama is not the change he was waiting for. Perhaps MSNBC can book Iran’s Supreme Leader on Rachel Maddow or he can get his own Huffington Post column.

I hope the White House and Congress are pleased with their handiwork: “Longtime pillars of the community are now pariahs living in fear, hiding behind locked gates and security guards amid the public outrage over bonuses paid with taxpayer bailout money. . . Death threats have been pouring in since the brouhaha broke, the company said, and its workers are taking no chances.”

Charlie Cook on Congressional Republicans pulling into a tie with Democrats in generic polling: “If Republicans really have pulled even or slightly ahead among independent voters, that is a very ominous sign for Democrats, an indication that Obama’s talking the talk of bipartisanship isn’t sufficient and that he and the Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill have to walk the walk.” And fixing the economy would help, too.

Which do you think drew more people — the tea parties or the Obama pro-$3.6-trillion-budget canvassers? The whole grassroots/take back the country schtick doesn’t really work once you are the one in power.

I wonder how many White House spinners will descend on Tom Friedman for this one: “Right now we have an absence of inspirational leadership.”

The Washington Post editors hope the president will rethink his budget now that the CBO has revealed what the real deficit numbers will look like down the road: “Mr. Obama should treat the CBO report as an incentive to fulfill his repeated promises, during and after the campaign, to make hard choices on the budget.” Yeah, righhht.

Mitt Romney has the advantage of having run for president once — and it shows. His stance on the AIG bonuses and the confiscatory tax bill seems rather more mature than most of what is coming out of Washington.



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