Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

Canada isn’t taking Guantanamo detainees.

Germany isn’t either. Obama didn’t have the nerve to even ask. “It’s going to be a longer process of evaluation,” says the president. Seems so. It may last the rest of his presidency.

Was Sotomayor trying to hide the ball on a “death penalty=racism” speech? Perhaps, or maybe she and the Obama team are in such a race to get this done they made a sloppy error. All the more reason to slow this down to a reasonable pace so a thorough investigation of the nominee can be undertaken.

Liz Cheney ties Andrea Mitchell up in knots.

What a difference a year makes. For example: “Obama, who prides himself on his oratory and devotes time to carefully choosing his phrases, used the words ‘terror,’ ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorism’ 11 times when talking to AIPAC last year. In Cairo, those words weren’t used at all, with Obama instead referring to ‘extremists.’” And then there was the whole undivided Jerusalem gambit — that lasted a couple of days as I recall. And funny how he didn’t do the whole Palestinians-enslaved American Blacks analogy at AIPAC. And he left out “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” Boy, he sure snookered that crowd.

What if the House Democrats strip out the Lieberman-Graham amendment prohibiting release of the detainee abuse photos? Greg Sargent gets it: “If House Dems do strip the measure, which is strongly opposed by civil libertarians and House liberals, it could make the White House look incapable of keeping Dems in line for something Obama says is necessary for troop safety.” Well, and those House Dems wouldn’t look so great outside the netroot fan base.

Governing is a drag: “Democrats have hit heavy turbulence as they enter a crucial period, with the heart of their agenda in the balance. The first week after the Memorial Day recess saw a major split emerge between conservative and liberal Democrats over health care, a war supplemental spending bill punted for another week amid internecine sniping, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) cracking her whip to get reluctant committee chairmen to act swiftly on the climate change bill.”

Unions are “investing” (gotta love that word) in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. But in a right to work state “labor’s presence in Virginia politics has required some fancy footwork by the unions and those they support.” Because the candidates getting all that dough wouldn’t really want to admit they are being . . . er. . .  “invested” in, right? A local political analyst says: “[Republican Bob] McDonnell will try to show that unions are excessively powerful and threatening, something that has not been the case in Virginia. Certainly, the business community is very, very concerned about card-check. What I’m not so sure about is whether it’s going to drive the vote of rank-and-file Virginians.” I suppose we’ll find out in November.