Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

The Wall Street Journal editors get to the heart of the matter: “Rarely has a Presidential speech been so immediately and transparently divorced from reality as Mr. Obama’s in Prague. The President delivered a stirring call to banish nuclear weapons at the very moment that North Korea and Iran are bidding to trigger the greatest proliferation breakout in the nuclear age. Mr. Obama also proposed an elaborate new arms-control regime to reduce nuclear weapons, even as both Pyongyang and Tehran are proving that the world’s great powers lack the will to enforce current arms-control treaties.”

Over at the Washington Post they don’t think much better of the “confused” and “muddled” policy where “the administration has already made clear that its main response will be to offer more diplomatic attention, sweetened with ‘incentives’ — in other words, exactly what Mr. Kim was seeking?”

Vote canvassing in the NY-20 continues and the lawyers have descended. One of them is ahead.

President Bush always had a good arm and never copped out by throwing from the base of the mound.

Mickey Kaus suggests a “Plan C” for anti-card check forces: “What reforms might they want? Tougher investigations of union corruption? Or a ‘level playing field’ that would allow employers to contact workers outside of work (if unions are to get ‘equal access” at work)? Or an ‘free employer speech’ clause that would let management frankly warn that if a given plant is unionized it might be shut down–as long as the warning is truthful? Or a provision that allows management to give raises–rebuild the middle class!–in the runup to a unionization vote?” Could it be that after hundreds of millions spent in electing sympathetic politicians Big Labor could come out worse legislatively than they started? Business would consider a stalemate to be a huge win.

Sam Stein at Huffington Post terms Blanche Lincoln’s defection “perhaps, the most devastating blow yet” to card check. (I’d argue it was Arlen Specter, but from the perspective of Big Labor trying to maintain a stiff upper lip, he’s right.) Sure enough, the AFL-CIO’s spinner says it’s no big deal and they’ll get everyone on board in the committee/amendment process. Righhht.

Secretary Gates tries to kill the F-22 and, with it, 95,000 jobs. Congress will have the last word on this one. (Forty-four Senators and over 190 Congressmen previously signed onto letters supporting the program.)

Speaking of jobs, it seems that with all those idled factories and shuttered retail outlets, “even if the recession miraculously ended tomorrow, economists estimate that at least three years would pass before full employment returned and output rose enough for the economy to operate at full throttle.” Uh oh. Perhaps Obama should think about “saving” 95,000 of those jobs.

Some tough reviews of Gates’s handiwork are coming in. James Inhofe makes a YouTube clip from Afghanistan.

Ford is restructuring its debt and renegotiating its labor deals without running to the government. As one of its lawyers said: “It is refreshing to see a company doing something without the government, and not going to the government and waiting to be bailed out.” Perhaps they should say that in their ads.

Give Robert Reich credit: he wants to stop the whole bailout scam. Go into bankruptcy or go out of business, but not onto the public dole. I wonder why no one in the administration is listening to him.