Rich Lowry: “If every Obama-era negotiation is as clear-eyed and unsentimental as that over the fate of Capt. Richard Phillips, the nation’s interests will be well-served.” Unfortunately, as demonstrated by his policy moves on North Korea and Iran, every negotiation is not so clear-eyed. And as Lowry points out, the task is made more difficult because Secretary Gates is the only cabinet official being forced to do more with less: “Emphasizing counterinsurgency within a reduced budget means cheating other priorities and hoping that the next big conflict looks like today’s irregular ground wars.”
The battle over tenure for Joseph Massad, author of “On Zionism and Jewish Supremacy“ and well-known Israel-basher, at Columbia University is not quite over. (Massad, subject of the film Columbia Unbecoming, was previously brought up on university charges for bullying a student who defended Israel.) The question remains: will Lee Bollinger and the Board of Trustees put the stamp of approval on such a figure?
Comedy gold again from Jake Tapper, when he asks Robert Gibbs why unemployment is now higher than the president said it would be without the stimulus. The real answer: just as Christina Romer previously researched, these things hardly ever work because the economy gets better before the money is spent.
Club for Growth continues to torment Arlen Specter.
And Club for Growth’s former president Pat Toomey makes it official: he’s challenging Specter.
Yes, the puppy is cute and, yes, the media is an embarrassment. But neither is news.
Another trip, another blame America fest: “President Obama plans to take his message of partnership to Latin America and the Caribbean this week, but he will face a group of leaders far less forgiving than their European counterparts were about the United States’ central role in the global financial crisis.” Well, I guess the president will have to apologize that much more fervently.
A Czech writer doesn’t think much of Obama’s call for a world without nukes. A taste, from the New York Times, no less: “Since Obama was short on specifics, allow me to fill in the gaps in his vision with some minor details. First, rogue states and other troublemakers should swear to abandon any thoughts of nuclear weapons. We can begin with Comrade Kim Jong-il. Second, Israel should be persuaded to lay down its nuclear arms before its loving neighbors. In other words, it ought to give up the nukes that are its guarantor of deterrence and survival.” Too bad the Times already gave away the one conservative op-ed slot.
Steve Pearlstein cautions against rushing through a new regulatory scheme and reminds us: “Getting all this right would be useful in preventing future financial crises, but don’t confuse it with a panacea. Much of the current crisis could have been prevented if the existing patchwork of agencies, using their existing powers, had simply done their jobs. Congress can create a better regulatory structure and can expand regulatory powers, but in the end, the one thing it can’t legislate is the good judgment of the regulators.” Still, creating a coherent, predictable set of rules for institutions and investors and getting the Fed back to its role as independent banker are worthy endeavors.
The NY-20 absentee ballot count and challenges drag on. Probably a silly move to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand’s ballot. By the way, determining which of hundreds of challenged absentee voters are really “residents” is going to be a battle royale and a mind-numbing court fight over hundreds of voters. A useful analysis is here. I think we’ll have a resolution in Minnesota long before this one.
And the Daily Kos crowd is nervous about the NY-20 election judge.
Even the New York Times sounds a bit skeptical about the Obama plan to reinvent America while we’re still mired in a recession: “As Mr. Obama acknowledged, many Americans think he is taking on too much at once, or, conversely, not doing enough at all, or just wondering how all the pieces of his agenda fit together. A flurry of government action has yet to reverse the nation’s economic calamity, and while Mr. Obama said again that he detects ‘glimmers of hope,’ he pleaded for patience from an instant-gratification society that usually responds to crisis with ‘a lurch from shock to trance.’”
Glenn Reynolds explains the tea party protests — and why both political parties may be at risk if previously inactive ordinary people get the idea they don’t need professional politicians.
Some familiar Republican names will show up at some of the 750 tea parties nationwide.