Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

John McCormick observes that Obama’s high personal popularity hasn’t carried over to his Supreme Court nominee. It didn’t carry over to his Guantanamo policy either. Could it be that when the whole country pays close attention to a controversial issue, the issue itself and common-sense concerns (e.g. Are the Uighurs dangerous people? Is Sotomayor a proponent on impartial justice?) matter more than Obama’s personal magnetism? Nah!

Speaking of Guantanamo, the Obama administration adopts the Bush administration’s position that the Uighurs have no right to be released in the U.S. Andy McCarthy points out that ”the President tends to do the right thing only after knuckle-dragging right-wingers push back against his (and his Justice Department’s) reliable inclination to do the wrong thing.” Sounds like the lesson for the Right is: keep it up!

Ms. Pelosi, your swamp needs draining: “Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.) has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury looking into the PMA Group, a once-high flying lobbying firm that collapsed after a federal raid in November.” (Helpful background can be found here.)

David Broder sees another part of the swamp: “When the Illinois Democrat was elevated to the White House, Reid inherited Roland Burris as the Senate successor to Obama. Reid almost certainly would have preferred someone else. But now all three — Obama, Reid and Burris — are linked in a way that poses a challenge for the Democrats in the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections. . . The Burris case is before the Senate ethics committee, which has set no deadline for action. The question is what Reid and Obama will say and do about Burris’s intention to brush all this off and act as if he were entitled to retain his Senate seat. Republicans — and everybody else — will be watching.”

Joe Lieberman calls for a bipartisan approach on Iran. However:  ”A realistic response requires that we first recognize that the danger posed by the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities cannot be divorced from its broader foreign policy ambitions and patterns of behavior — in particular, its longstanding use of terrorist proxies to destabilize and weaken its Arab neighbors and Israel, to carve out spheres of Iranian influence in the Mideast, and to tilt the region toward extremism.” I don’t sense that we’re there yet — even (especially?) in the administration.

Apparently not all the Hispanic jurists in attendance agreed with Sotomayor’s wise Latina perspective at that Berkeley symposium in 2001. Well, that means it wasn’t a slip of the tongue, right? Otherwise she could have, at the very least, used language as clear as her colleagues in affirming that her ethnicity “does not mean that I apply a different standard of justice, because that is wrong.” I think it’s crystal clear that Sotomayor was saying the opposite.

Bill Kristol points out that Robert Gibbs might not be the best person to parse Sotomayor’s word choice. Well, there’s always Joe Biden. ( You gotta’ wonder what’s going to slip out of his mouth on some of the more controversial aspects of the nomination. Perhaps he’ll spend the summer on the funeral circuit.)

Liz Cheney weighs in on Sotomayor’s “troubling” comments. (It seems that Liz Cheney is becoming a go-to Republican on even non-national security issues.)

It never ends: “Human rights activists at odds with President Obama over his recent national security decisions are indicating that they might legally challenge the U.S. military’s use of Predator drones, a weapon that intelligence officials say is their single most effective tool in combating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” And when the “activists” start throwing around terms like “war crimes” the Obama lawyers might consider whether it’s such a good idea to punish another administration’s lawyers for their legal advice.