Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Marty Peretz recounts the history of Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel and Israel’s unsuccessful efforts to give the Palestinians their state. He observes: “Now, the Obama administration is engaged in another try at the peace process, egged on presumably by the preposterous idea that, if Bibi only utters the magic phrase ‘two-state solution’ and halts construction even for natural growth in every single one of the settlements, America’s troubles in the world of Islam will not only ease but be transformed. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton, our martinet secretary of state, has enthusiastically rushed to formulate these instructions to Israel in the harshest possible terms. ” So did Peretz have Obama pegged all wrong? Those who saw this coming would rather be wrong than say, “We told you so.”

At some point maybe everyone can give up on the fiction that the Europeans really want Guantanamo closed: “Italy’s interior minister insisted Saturday that any decision to accept Guantanamo inmates must be unanimously made by members of the European Union and expressed worry the suspected terrorists might move easily through the union’s loose borders.”

What, you want consistency? “President Obama’s expressed hope today in his weekly address ‘that we can avoid the political posturing and ideological brinksmanship that has bogged down this (Supreme Court nomination) process, and Congress, in the past’ runs against another historical first for the 44th president: his unique role in history as the first US President to have ever voted to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee.”

The “magic may be wearing off” at CNN. It’s ratings have plunged. Perhaps there isn’t much audience for Obama-cheerleading masquerading as unbiased journalism. Whoops– the new Newsweek might want to take note.

James Carafano gets it right: “Just repeating the assertion that the Iran and North Korea threats are not imminent misses the point–a ‘slow go’ missile defense program only encourages both countries to advance their programs faster and leaves the US open to strategic surprise. Obama failed his first real foreign policy test-now even some on his side of the fence are urging him revisit a bad decision. We should all do what Joe Biden said, help the president when he is tested-let’s help him change his mind on cutting missiles defense.”

The car industry frets that Americans will break the new car habit. Hmm. Maybe building hybrid cars that are $3000-4000 more per vehicle is exactly the wrong strategy.

Ilya Somin explains just how problematic “empathy” is in judging: “When critics of the [Lily] Ledbetter decision claim that the conservative justices lacked ‘empathy’ for the plaintiff, they mean not that the conservative justices were unaware of her feelings, but that they failed to identify with them sufficiently. As Barack Obama recently put it, ‘the quality of empathy’ he looks for in judges includes ‘understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes’ [emphasis added]. Advocates of judicial empathy claim not only that judges sometimes must determine the mental states of litigants, but also show sympathetic ‘identification’ with them. At the very least, they want judges to put themselves in litigant’s shoes to a far greater extent than merely knowing what the litigants think or feel. And they want that kind of empathy to be a basis for judicial decisions in some important cases.” That would be the same as bias, right?