Commentary Magazine


Posts For: June 8, 2009

Commentary of the Day

David S. Mazel, on Jennifer Rubin:

Hubris meet unprofessional.

The President is on holiday and has the nerve to tell those who are working to work harder. That’s poor management, but then we know that the President has very limited experience running anything. Then, as if out of a bad skit, Senator Grassley sends a message that is reminiscent of a spoiled child. Such childishness on both parts. Oy.

It’s bad form for a President to spend so much time talking and not working, as our President is wont to do. But it’s equally bad form for a Senator to publicize his own rantings and in a such an unprofessional format (for a Senator, that is, not so for a teenager). Couldn’t Mr. Grassey call the White House or send an email? At least he wouldn’t be limited to what, 160-characters or such. And maybe the message would read a bit better, too.

And what’s worse is these same guys are working on our nation’s health care. Good grief. Everyone had better start taking better care of themselves, because if this is any indication, when it comes to health care, we are all on own.

Good luck to all of us.

David S. Mazel, on Jennifer Rubin:

Hubris meet unprofessional.

The President is on holiday and has the nerve to tell those who are working to work harder. That’s poor management, but then we know that the President has very limited experience running anything. Then, as if out of a bad skit, Senator Grassley sends a message that is reminiscent of a spoiled child. Such childishness on both parts. Oy.

It’s bad form for a President to spend so much time talking and not working, as our President is wont to do. But it’s equally bad form for a Senator to publicize his own rantings and in a such an unprofessional format (for a Senator, that is, not so for a teenager). Couldn’t Mr. Grassey call the White House or send an email? At least he wouldn’t be limited to what, 160-characters or such. And maybe the message would read a bit better, too.

And what’s worse is these same guys are working on our nation’s health care. Good grief. Everyone had better start taking better care of themselves, because if this is any indication, when it comes to health care, we are all on own.

Good luck to all of us.

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Shelby Steele Unplugged

In a breathtakingly blunt column, Shelby Steele argues that the Sotomayor nomination reveals Obama’s promise of post-racialism to be a lie:

Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme that it sometimes crosses into outright claims of racial supremacy, as in 2001 when she said in a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, “a wise Latina woman . . . would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male.”

The White House acknowledges that this now famous statement — both racist and dim-witted — was turned up in the vetting process. So we can only assume that the president was aware of it, as well as Judge Sotomayor’s career-long claim that ethnicity and gender are virtual determinisms in judging: We need diversity because, as she said in her Berkeley lecture, “inherent physiological or cultural differences . . . make a difference in our judging.” The nine white male justices who decided the Brown school-desegregation case in 1954 might have felt otherwise, as would a president seeking to lead us toward a new, post-racial society.

And, as Shelby observes, rather than rejecting the model of perpetual grievance and identity politics, Obama chose someone who exemplifies it: “But in the real world of Supreme Court nominations, where there is a chance to actually bring some of that idealism down to earth, he chooses a hardened, divisive and race-focused veteran of the culture wars he claims to transcend.”

Her many speeches (“wise Latina” and others), the perpetual agitation for more minority hiring in elite schools, and the membership in La Raza and like-minded organizations do convey the picture of someone utterly devoted to racial preferences and identity politics. These are the telltale signs of what Steel calls “challengers” –  those who see “the moral authority that comes from their group’s historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites — whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development.” But does this matter for a judge? Very much so – and we’ve seen it play out. As Shelby points out:

Challengers are essentially team players. Their deepest atavistic connection is to their aggrieved race, ethnicity or gender. Toward the larger society that now often elevates and privileges them, they carry a lingering bad faith — and sometimes a cavalier disregard where whites are concerned, as with Judge Sotomayor in the Ricci case.

Well, I’m not sure it’s bad faith (and I wouldn’t attribute any ill-will on her part to the nation at large), but it certainly requires that one suspend disbelief (to borrow a phrase) that there are no resulting casualties in the practicing the politics of race. Frank Ricci reminds us that there are.

And let’s not forget: on the Supreme Court, with a lifetime appointment, there will be few, if any, restraints on her ability to apply that mentality to the cases before her and to use her perch on the Court to spread the “challenger” gospel. Given that, the Senate should think hard, very hard about this nomination.

In a breathtakingly blunt column, Shelby Steele argues that the Sotomayor nomination reveals Obama’s promise of post-racialism to be a lie:

Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme that it sometimes crosses into outright claims of racial supremacy, as in 2001 when she said in a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, “a wise Latina woman . . . would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male.”

The White House acknowledges that this now famous statement — both racist and dim-witted — was turned up in the vetting process. So we can only assume that the president was aware of it, as well as Judge Sotomayor’s career-long claim that ethnicity and gender are virtual determinisms in judging: We need diversity because, as she said in her Berkeley lecture, “inherent physiological or cultural differences . . . make a difference in our judging.” The nine white male justices who decided the Brown school-desegregation case in 1954 might have felt otherwise, as would a president seeking to lead us toward a new, post-racial society.

And, as Shelby observes, rather than rejecting the model of perpetual grievance and identity politics, Obama chose someone who exemplifies it: “But in the real world of Supreme Court nominations, where there is a chance to actually bring some of that idealism down to earth, he chooses a hardened, divisive and race-focused veteran of the culture wars he claims to transcend.”

Her many speeches (“wise Latina” and others), the perpetual agitation for more minority hiring in elite schools, and the membership in La Raza and like-minded organizations do convey the picture of someone utterly devoted to racial preferences and identity politics. These are the telltale signs of what Steel calls “challengers” –  those who see “the moral authority that comes from their group’s historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites — whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development.” But does this matter for a judge? Very much so – and we’ve seen it play out. As Shelby points out:

Challengers are essentially team players. Their deepest atavistic connection is to their aggrieved race, ethnicity or gender. Toward the larger society that now often elevates and privileges them, they carry a lingering bad faith — and sometimes a cavalier disregard where whites are concerned, as with Judge Sotomayor in the Ricci case.

Well, I’m not sure it’s bad faith (and I wouldn’t attribute any ill-will on her part to the nation at large), but it certainly requires that one suspend disbelief (to borrow a phrase) that there are no resulting casualties in the practicing the politics of race. Frank Ricci reminds us that there are.

And let’s not forget: on the Supreme Court, with a lifetime appointment, there will be few, if any, restraints on her ability to apply that mentality to the cases before her and to use her perch on the Court to spread the “challenger” gospel. Given that, the Senate should think hard, very hard about this nomination.

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Funny Math? Hysterical

A friend emails me: “Are the 600,000 imaginary jobs Obama promised yesterday in addition to the 2,000,000 imaginary jobs previously created or saved, or is the old number just inoperative?” Good question. Back in April the president said we already had saved 150,000 jobs. But throughout January and February administration officials promised to “save or create” 3.5 or 4 million jobs. Then they began to say 2 million. But these aren’t, you know, real jobs. They are something called “job equivalents.” (Do they bear the same relationship to “jobs” as “processed cheese” to “cheese”?) But the administration has already admitted the obvious –”it’s such a moving target” — that it’s all pretty meaningless. What isn’t meaningless is that unemployment is at 9.4% and we’ve lost 2.9 million jobs this year.

So the honest answer to my friend’s question: No one knows how many, if any, jobs we’ve “saved or created.” (By the way, do we deduct the 95,000 direct and indirect jobs to be lost with the closing of the F-22 production line?) But we have spent $787B plus interest to get them. If there are any.

A friend emails me: “Are the 600,000 imaginary jobs Obama promised yesterday in addition to the 2,000,000 imaginary jobs previously created or saved, or is the old number just inoperative?” Good question. Back in April the president said we already had saved 150,000 jobs. But throughout January and February administration officials promised to “save or create” 3.5 or 4 million jobs. Then they began to say 2 million. But these aren’t, you know, real jobs. They are something called “job equivalents.” (Do they bear the same relationship to “jobs” as “processed cheese” to “cheese”?) But the administration has already admitted the obvious –”it’s such a moving target” — that it’s all pretty meaningless. What isn’t meaningless is that unemployment is at 9.4% and we’ve lost 2.9 million jobs this year.

So the honest answer to my friend’s question: No one knows how many, if any, jobs we’ve “saved or created.” (By the way, do we deduct the 95,000 direct and indirect jobs to be lost with the closing of the F-22 production line?) But we have spent $787B plus interest to get them. If there are any.

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Obama, a “Sort of God”?

On Friday evening Newsweek editor Evan Thomas had an extraordinary exchange with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Thomas, commenting on Obama’s Cairo speech, said, “I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world, he’s sort of God.” And when Thomas was asked by Matthews, “Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?” Thomas replied:

Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn’t felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task. We’re seen too often as the bad guys. And he — he has a very different job from — Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is “we are above that now.” We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial.

These comments reveal several notable things.

The first is that it is now impossible to mock the media’s adoration for Obama. In the past, if conservatives had said that MSM commentators viewed Obama as God, people would have assumed they were exaggerating in order to make a point. But in this instance, there is no exaggeration; Thomas stated that Obama is “sort of God.” It appears as if in their unguarded moments, Thomas and those like him really do view Obama as the Anointed One, a political Messiah, not only a gift from heaven but the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Keep in mind that Thomas is viewed as a serious journalist for what was once seen as a serious mainstream publication: Newsweek. Now Newsweek long ago set aside any pretense of objectivity when it came to Obama; every week it takes up palm branches for him. Still, it is a bit jarring to see the bias so obvious, so up front, so proudly out in the open. In that respect, Thomas’s comments are useful; they reveal a cast of mind that no one can now deny.

No political figure in modern American history has been so adored by the press. JFK came closest — but even he was not deified, even in death. The depth and intensity of the passion for Obama among the press is something young children need to be shielded from.

A second thing to note in Thomas’s comments is his assertion that “we [the United States] were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way.” Well, it might have felt that way to many conservatives. But to many liberals, it was actually something very nearly the opposite. It’s worth reminding those on the Left with selective memories that Reagan was mocked and ridiculed as a dangerous figure, trigger-happy, a war-monger, reckless and provocative. His support for the Nicaraguan contras, his build-up of America’s defense, the installation of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe to counteract the Soviet deployment of SS-20s, and Reagan’s talk about the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” unnerved and infuriated liberals.

“I wonder how many people, reading about the ["evil empire"] speech or seeing bits on television, really noticed its outrageous character,” Anthony Lewis wrote in the New York Times in March 1983. “Primitive: that is the only word for it. … What is the world to think when the greatest of powers is led by a man who applies to the most difficult human problem a simplistic theology — one in fact rejected by most theologians?… What must the leaders of Western Europe think of such a speech? They look to the head of the alliance for rhetoric that can persuade them and their constituents. What they get from Ronald Reagan is a mirror image of crude Soviet rhetoric. And it is more than rhetoric: everyone must sense that. The real Ronald Reagan was speaking in Orlando. The exaggeration and the simplicities are there not only in the rhetoric but in the process by which he makes decisions.”

Commentators like Lewis and magazines like Newsweek had contempt for Reagan’s approach; it is only now, after history has vindicated him, that we’re supposed to believe we all supported Reagan and that Americans were seen as “the good guys.”

A third important thing to take away from Thomas’s comments is why Obama is so beloved by some reporters and commentators. Reagan, Thomas says, was “all about America.” But Obama is “above that now.” He is “standing above the country” he was elected to represent. And in doing so, we’re not just “parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial.”

That is an extremely and probably unintentionally revealing set of comments by Mr. Thomas. For the president to speak on behalf of his nation as Reagan spoke up for America is viewed as unsophisticated, narrow-minded, and bigoted. Obama, in the eyes of his supporters, has transcended such things. According to the logic of Thomas, Obama deserves to be praised precisely because he does not, in the first instance, represent America. At his best, Obama is a “citizen of the world,” standing “above the country.”

Some of us have a different, quainter notion of such things. We believe America is, in the words of Lincoln, an “inestimable jewel” — an imperfect and extraordinary nation that deserves our affection and deepest attachment. We believe, as Lincoln and the founders did, that the fate of this republic is inextricably tied to the principles upon which it was founded. We actually do not want our President to “stand above the country.” And we do not believe it is particularly sophisticated to disparage as chauvinistic and provincial those who speak up for her. Nor, I might add, do we view Obama as “sort of God,” or anything close to God. The fact that Evan Thomas and those who view the world as he does, do see Obama in supernatural terms tells you everything you need to know, and probably nothing you didn’t know.

On Friday evening Newsweek editor Evan Thomas had an extraordinary exchange with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Thomas, commenting on Obama’s Cairo speech, said, “I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world, he’s sort of God.” And when Thomas was asked by Matthews, “Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?” Thomas replied:

Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn’t felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task. We’re seen too often as the bad guys. And he — he has a very different job from — Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is “we are above that now.” We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial.

These comments reveal several notable things.

The first is that it is now impossible to mock the media’s adoration for Obama. In the past, if conservatives had said that MSM commentators viewed Obama as God, people would have assumed they were exaggerating in order to make a point. But in this instance, there is no exaggeration; Thomas stated that Obama is “sort of God.” It appears as if in their unguarded moments, Thomas and those like him really do view Obama as the Anointed One, a political Messiah, not only a gift from heaven but the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

Keep in mind that Thomas is viewed as a serious journalist for what was once seen as a serious mainstream publication: Newsweek. Now Newsweek long ago set aside any pretense of objectivity when it came to Obama; every week it takes up palm branches for him. Still, it is a bit jarring to see the bias so obvious, so up front, so proudly out in the open. In that respect, Thomas’s comments are useful; they reveal a cast of mind that no one can now deny.

No political figure in modern American history has been so adored by the press. JFK came closest — but even he was not deified, even in death. The depth and intensity of the passion for Obama among the press is something young children need to be shielded from.

A second thing to note in Thomas’s comments is his assertion that “we [the United States] were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way.” Well, it might have felt that way to many conservatives. But to many liberals, it was actually something very nearly the opposite. It’s worth reminding those on the Left with selective memories that Reagan was mocked and ridiculed as a dangerous figure, trigger-happy, a war-monger, reckless and provocative. His support for the Nicaraguan contras, his build-up of America’s defense, the installation of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe to counteract the Soviet deployment of SS-20s, and Reagan’s talk about the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” unnerved and infuriated liberals.

“I wonder how many people, reading about the ["evil empire"] speech or seeing bits on television, really noticed its outrageous character,” Anthony Lewis wrote in the New York Times in March 1983. “Primitive: that is the only word for it. … What is the world to think when the greatest of powers is led by a man who applies to the most difficult human problem a simplistic theology — one in fact rejected by most theologians?… What must the leaders of Western Europe think of such a speech? They look to the head of the alliance for rhetoric that can persuade them and their constituents. What they get from Ronald Reagan is a mirror image of crude Soviet rhetoric. And it is more than rhetoric: everyone must sense that. The real Ronald Reagan was speaking in Orlando. The exaggeration and the simplicities are there not only in the rhetoric but in the process by which he makes decisions.”

Commentators like Lewis and magazines like Newsweek had contempt for Reagan’s approach; it is only now, after history has vindicated him, that we’re supposed to believe we all supported Reagan and that Americans were seen as “the good guys.”

A third important thing to take away from Thomas’s comments is why Obama is so beloved by some reporters and commentators. Reagan, Thomas says, was “all about America.” But Obama is “above that now.” He is “standing above the country” he was elected to represent. And in doing so, we’re not just “parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial.”

That is an extremely and probably unintentionally revealing set of comments by Mr. Thomas. For the president to speak on behalf of his nation as Reagan spoke up for America is viewed as unsophisticated, narrow-minded, and bigoted. Obama, in the eyes of his supporters, has transcended such things. According to the logic of Thomas, Obama deserves to be praised precisely because he does not, in the first instance, represent America. At his best, Obama is a “citizen of the world,” standing “above the country.”

Some of us have a different, quainter notion of such things. We believe America is, in the words of Lincoln, an “inestimable jewel” — an imperfect and extraordinary nation that deserves our affection and deepest attachment. We believe, as Lincoln and the founders did, that the fate of this republic is inextricably tied to the principles upon which it was founded. We actually do not want our President to “stand above the country.” And we do not believe it is particularly sophisticated to disparage as chauvinistic and provincial those who speak up for her. Nor, I might add, do we view Obama as “sort of God,” or anything close to God. The fact that Evan Thomas and those who view the world as he does, do see Obama in supernatural terms tells you everything you need to know, and probably nothing you didn’t know.

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From Paris: Why Aren’t You Working Harder?

The president, who has distinguished himself on domestic policy by passively deferring to anything Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can come up with, has annoyed the key Republican on healthcare. The AP reports:

Obama, after months of standing back and leaving the details of health care legislation to Congress, inserted himself firmly into the debate in recent days, including using his weekly radio address Saturday to declare “it’s time to deliver” on health reform.

That didn’t sit well with the Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, which has been laboring to come up with a health care bill that Democrats and Republicans can support.

Grassley is a frequent user of Twitter — the Internet-based social connection service allows users to send mass text messages called “tweets” — and he directed two angry “tweets” Sunday morning at Obama. The president was wrapping up an overseas trip with some time in Paris with his family.

Grassley’s first tweet: “Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us ‘time to deliver’ on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.”

A short time later: “Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a ‘hammer’ u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL.”

But the president has a problem if he makes clear what he wants. Will he come out in favor of taxing benefits? Will he say how to pay for the enormous cost of covering millions of previously uninsured Americans? (At least the New York Times editors are honest in explaining that lots of more taxes will be needed and that it won’t all pay for itself as the Obama team has suggested for months.) He’ll have to lay it out – and take the political hits. Or he could continue to “phone it in” and hope Ted Kennedy comes up with something both Congress and voters can swallow. But it’s probably not a good idea to phone from the City of Lights.

The president, who has distinguished himself on domestic policy by passively deferring to anything Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can come up with, has annoyed the key Republican on healthcare. The AP reports:

Obama, after months of standing back and leaving the details of health care legislation to Congress, inserted himself firmly into the debate in recent days, including using his weekly radio address Saturday to declare “it’s time to deliver” on health reform.

That didn’t sit well with the Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the Finance Committee, which has been laboring to come up with a health care bill that Democrats and Republicans can support.

Grassley is a frequent user of Twitter — the Internet-based social connection service allows users to send mass text messages called “tweets” — and he directed two angry “tweets” Sunday morning at Obama. The president was wrapping up an overseas trip with some time in Paris with his family.

Grassley’s first tweet: “Pres Obama you got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us ‘time to deliver’ on health care. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.”

A short time later: “Pres Obama while u sightseeing in Paris u said ‘time to delivr on healthcare’ When you are a ‘hammer’ u think evrything is NAIL I’m no NAIL.”

But the president has a problem if he makes clear what he wants. Will he come out in favor of taxing benefits? Will he say how to pay for the enormous cost of covering millions of previously uninsured Americans? (At least the New York Times editors are honest in explaining that lots of more taxes will be needed and that it won’t all pay for itself as the Obama team has suggested for months.) He’ll have to lay it out – and take the political hits. Or he could continue to “phone it in” and hope Ted Kennedy comes up with something both Congress and voters can swallow. But it’s probably not a good idea to phone from the City of Lights.

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Moral Equivalence Tour — the Iranian Fallout

What was most noticed in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s interview yesterday on ABC’s “This Week” was her seemingly bellicose warning to Iran that any nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as an attack on the United States. Some are interpreting this extension of America’s nuclear umbrella over the Jewish state as an expression of warm support that ought to reassure any Israelis nervous about Iran’s fast track into nuclear capability.

However, before we get all warm and fuzzy over Hillary’s reiteration of her presidential campaign rhetoric about defending Israel, let’s place this statement in the context of her current position and President Obama’s speech in Cairo last week. What was missing from both the Clinton statement and Obama’s speech was a declaration from the United States that Iran’s enrichment of uranium and, indeed, its drive for nuclear capability had to be stopped in its tracks. Instead, Obama merely mouthed some vague platitudes about non-proliferation while Clinton was jumping ahead to dealing with the policy implications of a situation in which Iran already had a nuclear weapon.

The point is that despite Obama’s campaign rhetoric about an Iranian nuke being a “game changer,” his administration has, in effect, already given up on trying to stop the game from irreversibly changing.

It is clear that these statements should give cold comfort to Israel or anyone who worries about the consequences of Tehran acquiring nuclear capability. Israel doesn’t want or need the United States to come to its rescue after an Iranian nuclear bomb has exploded. Sympathy or even retribution after another Holocaust would be pointless. What Israel and other countries rightfully fearing Iranian nukes need is American leadership for serious sanctions that will prevent such a weapon from ever being built. Since such a campaign is clearly off the table for Obama, the question then must be posed as to how he and Clinton plan to weasel out of their commitments to stopping Iran. The answer? They seem to be waiting and hoping for this week’s Iranian presidential election to produce a winner other than incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give them an excuse to back down even further.

Will it happen? Today’s New York Times feature on the election indicates that Mr. Hussein Moussavi, whom the paper described as a “reformer,” is leading in unofficial polls. While Moussavi, one of the few approved by the ruling Islamist mullahs to run for the post, does not appear to be any more moderate on the question of aiding terror, threatening Israel, or boosting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he may be a bit more presentable than the repulsive Ahmadinejad. In other words, while he may actually be a Holocaust denier, if elected, he may not talk much about it.

Though Iranians may be eager to seize any opportunity, even in these decidedly unfree elections, to show their dissatisfaction with the direction their country is taking, the distinctions between reformers and non-reformers in Iran have not been significant in terms of actual policy. But they may be sufficient for Obama and Clinton to justify their walking away from a policy for restraining Iran.

What was most noticed in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s interview yesterday on ABC’s “This Week” was her seemingly bellicose warning to Iran that any nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as an attack on the United States. Some are interpreting this extension of America’s nuclear umbrella over the Jewish state as an expression of warm support that ought to reassure any Israelis nervous about Iran’s fast track into nuclear capability.

However, before we get all warm and fuzzy over Hillary’s reiteration of her presidential campaign rhetoric about defending Israel, let’s place this statement in the context of her current position and President Obama’s speech in Cairo last week. What was missing from both the Clinton statement and Obama’s speech was a declaration from the United States that Iran’s enrichment of uranium and, indeed, its drive for nuclear capability had to be stopped in its tracks. Instead, Obama merely mouthed some vague platitudes about non-proliferation while Clinton was jumping ahead to dealing with the policy implications of a situation in which Iran already had a nuclear weapon.

The point is that despite Obama’s campaign rhetoric about an Iranian nuke being a “game changer,” his administration has, in effect, already given up on trying to stop the game from irreversibly changing.

It is clear that these statements should give cold comfort to Israel or anyone who worries about the consequences of Tehran acquiring nuclear capability. Israel doesn’t want or need the United States to come to its rescue after an Iranian nuclear bomb has exploded. Sympathy or even retribution after another Holocaust would be pointless. What Israel and other countries rightfully fearing Iranian nukes need is American leadership for serious sanctions that will prevent such a weapon from ever being built. Since such a campaign is clearly off the table for Obama, the question then must be posed as to how he and Clinton plan to weasel out of their commitments to stopping Iran. The answer? They seem to be waiting and hoping for this week’s Iranian presidential election to produce a winner other than incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give them an excuse to back down even further.

Will it happen? Today’s New York Times feature on the election indicates that Mr. Hussein Moussavi, whom the paper described as a “reformer,” is leading in unofficial polls. While Moussavi, one of the few approved by the ruling Islamist mullahs to run for the post, does not appear to be any more moderate on the question of aiding terror, threatening Israel, or boosting Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he may be a bit more presentable than the repulsive Ahmadinejad. In other words, while he may actually be a Holocaust denier, if elected, he may not talk much about it.

Though Iranians may be eager to seize any opportunity, even in these decidedly unfree elections, to show their dissatisfaction with the direction their country is taking, the distinctions between reformers and non-reformers in Iran have not been significant in terms of actual policy. But they may be sufficient for Obama and Clinton to justify their walking away from a policy for restraining Iran.

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Re: Shameful

On Friday, word came that the House Democratic leadership, in defiance of the president’s wishes, was unwilling to prevent passage of the Lieberman-Graham Amendment seeking to block release of the detainee abuse photos. Sens. Lieberman and Graham have put out a press release that, in part, reads:

The President has said that the release of the photos of detainees in U.S. custody would “put our troops and civilians serving our nation abroad in greater danger.” We agree with the Commander in Chief.

“We will employ all the legislative means available to us including opposing the supplemental war spending bill and attaching this amendment, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, to every piece of legislation the Senate considers, to be sure the President has the authority he needs not to release these photos and any others that would jeopardize the safety and security of our troops.

“The release of the photos will serve as propaganda and recruiting tool for terrorists who seek to attack American citizens at home and abroad.  We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated.  The photos do not depict anything that is not already known.  Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

It seems inconceivable that the Democratic House leadership would defy their president and imperil the safety of American troops to curry favor with the netroot fringe of their party. But perhaps the threat of seeing the measure come up on each and every piece of legislation and seeing business grind to a halt will convince them to re-orient their priorities. And as for the president, now that he’s back from Paris, perhaps he could weigh in as well.

On Friday, word came that the House Democratic leadership, in defiance of the president’s wishes, was unwilling to prevent passage of the Lieberman-Graham Amendment seeking to block release of the detainee abuse photos. Sens. Lieberman and Graham have put out a press release that, in part, reads:

The President has said that the release of the photos of detainees in U.S. custody would “put our troops and civilians serving our nation abroad in greater danger.” We agree with the Commander in Chief.

“We will employ all the legislative means available to us including opposing the supplemental war spending bill and attaching this amendment, which was unanimously adopted by the Senate, to every piece of legislation the Senate considers, to be sure the President has the authority he needs not to release these photos and any others that would jeopardize the safety and security of our troops.

“The release of the photos will serve as propaganda and recruiting tool for terrorists who seek to attack American citizens at home and abroad.  We should strive to have as open a government as possible, but the behavior depicted in the photos has been prohibited and is being investigated.  The photos do not depict anything that is not already known.  Transparency, and in this case needless transparency, should not be paid for with the lives of American citizens, let alone the lives of our men and women in uniform fighting on our behalf in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

It seems inconceivable that the Democratic House leadership would defy their president and imperil the safety of American troops to curry favor with the netroot fringe of their party. But perhaps the threat of seeing the measure come up on each and every piece of legislation and seeing business grind to a halt will convince them to re-orient their priorities. And as for the president, now that he’s back from Paris, perhaps he could weigh in as well.

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Mistrusting the President

With all this talk about Obama engaging the masses in the Middle East, there’s one crowd he failed to engage effectively — or maybe didn’t care to at all. While during the electoral race Obama and his team were working extra hours to ease Israelis’ concerns about the unknown candidate (for domestic political reasons) — with some success — recent weeks have made Obama more suspicious to Israelis than ever before. According to a recent poll, 51% of them find the president’s policy “disappointing.”

Some left-wing writers and bloggers have argued that Israelis, generally speaking, might support Obama’s “plan.” They do not support settlement activities and do not want to get into a fight with the American administration over settlement freeze. Of course it isn’t that simple. Israelis support “freeze” in principle but oppose it if it applies to “natural growth.” That’s exactly the battle that the Israeli government is now having with the Obama administration. More generally, Israelis now have very little confidence in the president’s good intentions, as two polls published last week demonstrate.

One of them found that:

53 percent believed Obama’s policies were not good for Israel and just 26% said they were good. The rest did not respond. Fifty-one percent said Obama cared more about the Palestinian desire for a state than about Israeli security, and just 22% said he put Israel’s security needs first.

The other (Hebrew only) found that 59% of Israelis believe Obama favors the Arabs over Israel, and 29% went as far as to say Obama is “hostile” toward Israel (40% defined him “impartial” and only 21% said he was a “supporter” of Israel).

Note that both these polls were taken before the Cairo speech, and that new polls will be published later this week, from which we might learn how Israelis reacted to the president’s message. It is also worth noting that recent remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might make it more difficult for Israelis to differentiate between her and the president. There are no reliable polls to indicate that Israelis trusted Clinton more than they trusted Obama to begin with, but that is a reasonable assumption (Israeli Americans overwhelmingly voted for Clinton in the Democratic primaries).

Why is this bad news even for those hoping to advance the Obama administration’s goals? Because Israelis, time and again, proved to be more responsive to demands coming from administrations they trusted (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush), than to those coming from administrations they did not trust (the second half of Jimmy Carter’s term, George H. W. Bush).

With all this talk about Obama engaging the masses in the Middle East, there’s one crowd he failed to engage effectively — or maybe didn’t care to at all. While during the electoral race Obama and his team were working extra hours to ease Israelis’ concerns about the unknown candidate (for domestic political reasons) — with some success — recent weeks have made Obama more suspicious to Israelis than ever before. According to a recent poll, 51% of them find the president’s policy “disappointing.”

Some left-wing writers and bloggers have argued that Israelis, generally speaking, might support Obama’s “plan.” They do not support settlement activities and do not want to get into a fight with the American administration over settlement freeze. Of course it isn’t that simple. Israelis support “freeze” in principle but oppose it if it applies to “natural growth.” That’s exactly the battle that the Israeli government is now having with the Obama administration. More generally, Israelis now have very little confidence in the president’s good intentions, as two polls published last week demonstrate.

One of them found that:

53 percent believed Obama’s policies were not good for Israel and just 26% said they were good. The rest did not respond. Fifty-one percent said Obama cared more about the Palestinian desire for a state than about Israeli security, and just 22% said he put Israel’s security needs first.

The other (Hebrew only) found that 59% of Israelis believe Obama favors the Arabs over Israel, and 29% went as far as to say Obama is “hostile” toward Israel (40% defined him “impartial” and only 21% said he was a “supporter” of Israel).

Note that both these polls were taken before the Cairo speech, and that new polls will be published later this week, from which we might learn how Israelis reacted to the president’s message. It is also worth noting that recent remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton might make it more difficult for Israelis to differentiate between her and the president. There are no reliable polls to indicate that Israelis trusted Clinton more than they trusted Obama to begin with, but that is a reasonable assumption (Israeli Americans overwhelmingly voted for Clinton in the Democratic primaries).

Why is this bad news even for those hoping to advance the Obama administration’s goals? Because Israelis, time and again, proved to be more responsive to demands coming from administrations they trusted (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush), than to those coming from administrations they did not trust (the second half of Jimmy Carter’s term, George H. W. Bush).

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And It Is Likely to Get Worse

In a recent Gallup poll Obama has a 61% job-approval rating. Not bad (although the president’s showing among all polls has been less positive of late). His Achilles heel however is his fiscal policy. “At the low end of the spectrum, only 45% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of federal spending, and 46% of his handling of the federal budget deficit.” And on the economy more generally, Gallup finds:

Obama’s job approval rating for his handling of the economy has dropped from 59% in February to 55% today, while his disapproval rating has risen by 12 points, from 30% to 42%. The fact that Obama’s approval on the economy has become more negative over this time period is of interest, given that Gallup’s measure of consumer mood has become more positive between March and the current time.

Might it be that Americans don’t like a $1.8 trillion deficit, nationalization of car companies, and a $787 billion stimulus plan that hasn’t done much of anything (except “scam” some people and balloon the national debt)? It seems those rubes who showed up at the Tea Party protests were more in tune with the majority of Americans than the Obama team and the Congress. But stay tuned — let’s see what happens if Congress passes a mammoth energy tax in the guise of cap-and-trade, unemployment continues to rise, or General Motors doesn’t miraculously turn around. In other words, this is likely to be the high point in the popularity of the Obama economic agenda.

In a recent Gallup poll Obama has a 61% job-approval rating. Not bad (although the president’s showing among all polls has been less positive of late). His Achilles heel however is his fiscal policy. “At the low end of the spectrum, only 45% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of federal spending, and 46% of his handling of the federal budget deficit.” And on the economy more generally, Gallup finds:

Obama’s job approval rating for his handling of the economy has dropped from 59% in February to 55% today, while his disapproval rating has risen by 12 points, from 30% to 42%. The fact that Obama’s approval on the economy has become more negative over this time period is of interest, given that Gallup’s measure of consumer mood has become more positive between March and the current time.

Might it be that Americans don’t like a $1.8 trillion deficit, nationalization of car companies, and a $787 billion stimulus plan that hasn’t done much of anything (except “scam” some people and balloon the national debt)? It seems those rubes who showed up at the Tea Party protests were more in tune with the majority of Americans than the Obama team and the Congress. But stay tuned — let’s see what happens if Congress passes a mammoth energy tax in the guise of cap-and-trade, unemployment continues to rise, or General Motors doesn’t miraculously turn around. In other words, this is likely to be the high point in the popularity of the Obama economic agenda.

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The Blind Spot on Iran

It’s nice to see that the scales have fallen from the Obama administration’s eyes when it comes to North Korea. The New York Times, which in this case serves as the semi-official government mouthpiece (just as the Times of London once did for the British government), reports:

Mr. Obama, aides say, has decided that he will not offer North Korea new incentives to dismantle the nuclear complex at Yongbyon that the North previously promised to abandon.

“I’m tired of buying the same horse twice,” Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said last week while touring an antimissile site in Alaska that the Bush administration built to demonstrate its preparedness to destroy North Korean missiles headed toward the United
States.

Instead, the administration is trying to figure out how to get tough with North Korea — even to the point of reversing some of President Bush’s unwarranted concessions:

The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.

The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Behind this shift of policy is a growing realization that the assumptions made by preceding administrations about North Korea are incorrect:

While Mr. Obama was in the Middle East and Europe last week, several senior officials said the president’s national security team had all but set aside the central assumption that guided American policy toward North Korea over the past 16 years and two presidencies: that the North would be willing to ultimately abandon its small arsenal of nuclear weapons in return for some combination of oil, nuclear power plants, money, food and guarantees that the United States would not topple its government, the world’s last Stalinesque regime.

Now, after examining the still-inconclusive evidence about the results of North Korea’s second nuclear test, the administration has come to different conclusions: that Pyonyang’s top priority is to be recognized as a nuclear state, that it is unwilling to bargain away its weapons and that it sees tests as a way to help sell its nuclear technology.

The administration is to be commended for its realism in this case and its realization that there are, after all, limits to what diplomacy can achieve if not backed up by credible threats. The question is why, having seen the light on North Korea, the administration is now about to commit the same mistake that its predecessors made in dealings with Pyongyang in its own relations with Tehran?

What makes the administration think Iran is any more open to giving up its nuclear weapons program than North Korea is? All the evidence indicates that Iran is dead-set on going nuclear — just as North Korea was. If they undertake negotiations it will be as a smokescreen and delaying mechanism to give them time to weaponize. And by all indications Obama is going to play right into their hands.

It’s nice to see that the scales have fallen from the Obama administration’s eyes when it comes to North Korea. The New York Times, which in this case serves as the semi-official government mouthpiece (just as the Times of London once did for the British government), reports:

Mr. Obama, aides say, has decided that he will not offer North Korea new incentives to dismantle the nuclear complex at Yongbyon that the North previously promised to abandon.

“I’m tired of buying the same horse twice,” Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates said last week while touring an antimissile site in Alaska that the Bush administration built to demonstrate its preparedness to destroy North Korean missiles headed toward the United
States.

Instead, the administration is trying to figure out how to get tough with North Korea — even to the point of reversing some of President Bush’s unwarranted concessions:

The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology.

The administration also said it was examining whether there was a legal basis to reverse former President George W. Bush’s decision last year to remove the North from a list of states that sponsor terrorism.

Behind this shift of policy is a growing realization that the assumptions made by preceding administrations about North Korea are incorrect:

While Mr. Obama was in the Middle East and Europe last week, several senior officials said the president’s national security team had all but set aside the central assumption that guided American policy toward North Korea over the past 16 years and two presidencies: that the North would be willing to ultimately abandon its small arsenal of nuclear weapons in return for some combination of oil, nuclear power plants, money, food and guarantees that the United States would not topple its government, the world’s last Stalinesque regime.

Now, after examining the still-inconclusive evidence about the results of North Korea’s second nuclear test, the administration has come to different conclusions: that Pyonyang’s top priority is to be recognized as a nuclear state, that it is unwilling to bargain away its weapons and that it sees tests as a way to help sell its nuclear technology.

The administration is to be commended for its realism in this case and its realization that there are, after all, limits to what diplomacy can achieve if not backed up by credible threats. The question is why, having seen the light on North Korea, the administration is now about to commit the same mistake that its predecessors made in dealings with Pyongyang in its own relations with Tehran?

What makes the administration think Iran is any more open to giving up its nuclear weapons program than North Korea is? All the evidence indicates that Iran is dead-set on going nuclear — just as North Korea was. If they undertake negotiations it will be as a smokescreen and delaying mechanism to give them time to weaponize. And by all indications Obama is going to play right into their hands.

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When In Doubt, Rewrite History

Austan Goolsbee was out spinning on Fox News Sunday. (Andy McCarthy does an able take-down on a number of counts.) But Goolsbee’s prevarication on the car bailout (“We are only in this situation because somebody else kicked the can down the road, and that’s really an understatement”) was too much for Dana Perino who responded:

Taking over the White House doesn’t come with a magic pen to rewrite history. If the Obama transition team had not wanted us to provide breathing space for the automakers – with an express condition of future proven viability – they should have said so at the time, and those concerns would have been given considerable weight and may have changed the outcome. It was, in fact, the new administration that decided last week to go whole hog and put taxpayers on the hook for a 60 percent stake in a company that has not proven in concrete terms how it will become viable in the future.

Yes, conservatives may think that the Bush administration was wrong not to end the government gravy train when it had the chance but it takes a special brand of chutzpah for Democrats (who excoriated Sen. Bob Corker for trying to do just that) to claim this wasn’t what they wanted all along. One thing is clear: if this were not a political and economic loser, the Obama team wouldn’t be blaming Bush for it.

And the Obama administration has gotten so smug that it thinks it has impunity to blame Bush — no matter what the facts. But here Perino and Bush economic advisor Keith Hennessey have the goods — the latter providing the tick-tock on the car rescue efforts in the waning days of the Bush administration.

No one much likes the GM nationalization plan, but the effort to shift blame to the Bush team for an awful decision which is politically unpopular and economically unwise is both dishonest and cowardly. It’s the Obama Motors Company — and he should take responsibility for his own decision-making.

Austan Goolsbee was out spinning on Fox News Sunday. (Andy McCarthy does an able take-down on a number of counts.) But Goolsbee’s prevarication on the car bailout (“We are only in this situation because somebody else kicked the can down the road, and that’s really an understatement”) was too much for Dana Perino who responded:

Taking over the White House doesn’t come with a magic pen to rewrite history. If the Obama transition team had not wanted us to provide breathing space for the automakers – with an express condition of future proven viability – they should have said so at the time, and those concerns would have been given considerable weight and may have changed the outcome. It was, in fact, the new administration that decided last week to go whole hog and put taxpayers on the hook for a 60 percent stake in a company that has not proven in concrete terms how it will become viable in the future.

Yes, conservatives may think that the Bush administration was wrong not to end the government gravy train when it had the chance but it takes a special brand of chutzpah for Democrats (who excoriated Sen. Bob Corker for trying to do just that) to claim this wasn’t what they wanted all along. One thing is clear: if this were not a political and economic loser, the Obama team wouldn’t be blaming Bush for it.

And the Obama administration has gotten so smug that it thinks it has impunity to blame Bush — no matter what the facts. But here Perino and Bush economic advisor Keith Hennessey have the goods — the latter providing the tick-tock on the car rescue efforts in the waning days of the Bush administration.

No one much likes the GM nationalization plan, but the effort to shift blame to the Bush team for an awful decision which is politically unpopular and economically unwise is both dishonest and cowardly. It’s the Obama Motors Company — and he should take responsibility for his own decision-making.

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Oh, That

As historically dishonest and obnoxious in its moral relativism as Obama’s Cairo speech was, it was most egregious and damaging in its treatment of Iran — or its non-treatment of Iran’s nuclear threat. On the Fox News Sunday round table all of the commentators agreed that Obama has essentially thrown in the towel on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Charles Krauthammer observed:

[The president] basically gave what was the weakest statement ever given by a president on the Iranian nuclear issue. He said nothing about enrichment. He didn’t even mention uranium enrichment. And he made it sound as if the entire dispute is over the interpretation of the nuclear proliferation treaty.

Indeed, the president suggested we don’t even have the right to tell Iran what it can and cannot do. But this is worse than his fractured re-telling of the Israeli-Palestinian history, as Bill Kristol notes:

You know, we were talking about at the beginning — it just — when you read those three paragraphs, they’re really startling. I mean, there are three U.N. security resolutions which the Bush administration went to a huge amount of trouble to try to get the Europeans signed on. The Russians and Chinese signed on. He doesn’t mention them.

Iran is in violation with its enrichment program of U.N. — this isn’t American Bush, you know, imperialism. This is the U.N. Security Council, and he doesn’t mention that fact. He really — he is really conceding an Iranian nuclear weapon and then the question becomes does Israel accept that.

[. . .]

And you know, it’s all fair and nice to talk about this peace process, but he has increased the chances of an Israeli strike on Iran.

And so the question remains: will Obama’s cockeyed history lesson get all the parties (which Palestinian party?) to the table for some grand deal or does that stalemate remain while a dangerous confrontation develops between Iran, on one hand, and Israel and its shaken Arab neighbors on the other? If, like Obama, you believe that all that was missing from the “peace process” was the emergence of Obama on the world stage and a dollop of U.S. hostility toward Israel, you think the former. If you don’t buy that, then there is cause for worry. (And,by the way, if the “peace process” blooms and a deal is reached, don’t we still have the problem of a nuclear-armed Iran?)

As historically dishonest and obnoxious in its moral relativism as Obama’s Cairo speech was, it was most egregious and damaging in its treatment of Iran — or its non-treatment of Iran’s nuclear threat. On the Fox News Sunday round table all of the commentators agreed that Obama has essentially thrown in the towel on preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Charles Krauthammer observed:

[The president] basically gave what was the weakest statement ever given by a president on the Iranian nuclear issue. He said nothing about enrichment. He didn’t even mention uranium enrichment. And he made it sound as if the entire dispute is over the interpretation of the nuclear proliferation treaty.

Indeed, the president suggested we don’t even have the right to tell Iran what it can and cannot do. But this is worse than his fractured re-telling of the Israeli-Palestinian history, as Bill Kristol notes:

You know, we were talking about at the beginning — it just — when you read those three paragraphs, they’re really startling. I mean, there are three U.N. security resolutions which the Bush administration went to a huge amount of trouble to try to get the Europeans signed on. The Russians and Chinese signed on. He doesn’t mention them.

Iran is in violation with its enrichment program of U.N. — this isn’t American Bush, you know, imperialism. This is the U.N. Security Council, and he doesn’t mention that fact. He really — he is really conceding an Iranian nuclear weapon and then the question becomes does Israel accept that.

[. . .]

And you know, it’s all fair and nice to talk about this peace process, but he has increased the chances of an Israeli strike on Iran.

And so the question remains: will Obama’s cockeyed history lesson get all the parties (which Palestinian party?) to the table for some grand deal or does that stalemate remain while a dangerous confrontation develops between Iran, on one hand, and Israel and its shaken Arab neighbors on the other? If, like Obama, you believe that all that was missing from the “peace process” was the emergence of Obama on the world stage and a dollop of U.S. hostility toward Israel, you think the former. If you don’t buy that, then there is cause for worry. (And,by the way, if the “peace process” blooms and a deal is reached, don’t we still have the problem of a nuclear-armed Iran?)

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Joe Sestak is getting into the U.S. Senate race: “It would take an act of God for me to not get in now.” Unlike Evan Thomas, he doesn’t mean Obama.

Is Terry McAuliffe heading for a drubbing in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary tomorrow? Looks like it.

Obama has been telling us that covering millions of more previously uninsured Americans actually will wind up “saving” money because we’ll use the magic of technology and fiddle with reimbursement formulas. The Wall Street Journal editors wonder: “What if this particular theory turns out to be a political illusion? What if the speculative cost savings never report for duty, while the federal balance sheet is still swamped with new social obligations that will be impossible to repeal? The only possible outcome will be the nationalization of U.S. health markets, which will mean that almost all care will be rationed by politics.” Sort of  the way it’s worked out in every other industrialized country with nationalized health care, huh?

Gordon Brown and Labour are in trouble. A sagging economy and an ethics scandal and poof — the era of “permanent” Labour government may come to an end. Funny how easily the aura of invincibility can disappear.

Meanwhile: “Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe’s largest economies Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere. Some right-leaning parties said the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis.” Maybe we should be more like Europe.

Josh Patashink can’t figure out why affirmative action can’t be left up to the states. Well, there is this document — it’s old, I know — called the Constitution. It has a 14th Amendment. It has an Equal Protection clause. It guarantees Frank Ricci and every American citizen “the equal protection of the laws.” It’s the same thing that keeps Georgia — or any state – from discriminating against African Americans. Connecticut can no more “experiment” with discriminating against Ricci than any state can “experiment” with discriminating against those labeled as a member of a disadvantaged minority. Looks like the Sotomayor nomination will provide some much needed constitutional education for the public and media.

Card check impacts the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. The Democrats are ducking; the Republican is making an issue of his opposition. So you can figure out pretty much where the electorate is.

Obama’s attempt to ignore and distort history on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn’t go unnoticed by Charles Krauthammer. Conservatives, if nothing else, should on this and other matters of national security call out Obama when he misrepresents history. To paraphrase Pat Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own policy, but not their own history.

Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor sent the president a letter with 20 pages worth of suggested cuts totally $375B in savings. The media and the president are mum.

Ron Kampeas seems confused that Republicans — “trashers of Kyoto and the ABM treaty” he calls them – could be concerned about the U.S. written commitments with regard to settlements. Hmm. The vote on Kyoto headed off by a 95-0 vote on the Byrd-Hagel Amendment. That would be Democratic Senator Harry Byrd. Democratic President Bill Clinton never formally submitted the Kyoto Treaty to the Senate because there was clearly no support for it. George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty (under the terms of Article XV of the Treaty) and never denied it existed. As for the Obama administration, Kampeas gets one thing right: Hillary Clinton is tap dancing because the facts are not on her side. But she could clear it up — release all the documents in question. It would be the transparent thing to do.

Joe Sestak is getting into the U.S. Senate race: “It would take an act of God for me to not get in now.” Unlike Evan Thomas, he doesn’t mean Obama.

Is Terry McAuliffe heading for a drubbing in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary tomorrow? Looks like it.

Obama has been telling us that covering millions of more previously uninsured Americans actually will wind up “saving” money because we’ll use the magic of technology and fiddle with reimbursement formulas. The Wall Street Journal editors wonder: “What if this particular theory turns out to be a political illusion? What if the speculative cost savings never report for duty, while the federal balance sheet is still swamped with new social obligations that will be impossible to repeal? The only possible outcome will be the nationalization of U.S. health markets, which will mean that almost all care will be rationed by politics.” Sort of  the way it’s worked out in every other industrialized country with nationalized health care, huh?

Gordon Brown and Labour are in trouble. A sagging economy and an ethics scandal and poof — the era of “permanent” Labour government may come to an end. Funny how easily the aura of invincibility can disappear.

Meanwhile: “Conservatives raced toward victory in some of Europe’s largest economies Sunday as initial results and exit polls showed voters punishing left-leaning parties in European parliament elections in France, Germany and elsewhere. Some right-leaning parties said the results vindicated their reluctance to spend more on company bailouts and fiscal stimulus amid the global economic crisis.” Maybe we should be more like Europe.

Josh Patashink can’t figure out why affirmative action can’t be left up to the states. Well, there is this document — it’s old, I know — called the Constitution. It has a 14th Amendment. It has an Equal Protection clause. It guarantees Frank Ricci and every American citizen “the equal protection of the laws.” It’s the same thing that keeps Georgia — or any state – from discriminating against African Americans. Connecticut can no more “experiment” with discriminating against Ricci than any state can “experiment” with discriminating against those labeled as a member of a disadvantaged minority. Looks like the Sotomayor nomination will provide some much needed constitutional education for the public and media.

Card check impacts the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. The Democrats are ducking; the Republican is making an issue of his opposition. So you can figure out pretty much where the electorate is.

Obama’s attempt to ignore and distort history on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn’t go unnoticed by Charles Krauthammer. Conservatives, if nothing else, should on this and other matters of national security call out Obama when he misrepresents history. To paraphrase Pat Moynihan, everyone is entitled to their own policy, but not their own history.

Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor sent the president a letter with 20 pages worth of suggested cuts totally $375B in savings. The media and the president are mum.

Ron Kampeas seems confused that Republicans — “trashers of Kyoto and the ABM treaty” he calls them – could be concerned about the U.S. written commitments with regard to settlements. Hmm. The vote on Kyoto headed off by a 95-0 vote on the Byrd-Hagel Amendment. That would be Democratic Senator Harry Byrd. Democratic President Bill Clinton never formally submitted the Kyoto Treaty to the Senate because there was clearly no support for it. George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM Treaty (under the terms of Article XV of the Treaty) and never denied it existed. As for the Obama administration, Kampeas gets one thing right: Hillary Clinton is tap dancing because the facts are not on her side. But she could clear it up — release all the documents in question. It would be the transparent thing to do.

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Will North Korea Influence Iran –Or Is It the Other Way Around?

Henry Kissinger writes:

Acquiescence in the North Korean nuclear program would fly in the face of American foreign policy since we shepherded the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty through the international community in 1967, as well as of the policy President Obama put forward only two months ago in Prague. It would undermine the prospects of the proposed negotiations with Iran.

What if we just give up and let North Korea have its nuclear weapons? Not a good idea, he cautions:

De facto acquiescence in a North Korean nuclear program would require a reconsideration of U.S. strategic planning. More emphasis would need to be given to missile defense. It would be essential to redesign the American deterrent strategy in a world of multiple nuclear powers — a challenge unprecedented in our experience. The enhanced role of non-state actors with respect to terrorism would have to be addressed. The concepts of deterrence against state actors are familiar, though not in a world of multiple nuclear powers. They have little or no relevance to non-state actors operating by stealth.

Well, one can appreciate the concern for how capitulating to North Korea might impact Iran. But didn’t the president essentially throw in the towel already on Iran with his mumbo-jumbo about “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons” and his wish-upon-a-star desire that Iran share our non-proliferation goals? So perhaps the dangerous acquiescence has already taken place — and North Korea is taking its cues accordingly.

But Kissinger’s words of warning about the dangers of letting rouge states have their nukes is, of course, as applicable to Iran as it is to North Korea. Nevertheless, Obama seems content to let the Iranians move ahead with their nuclear program — no viable game plan to stop them, no concern for the international agreements Iran has and continues to violate, and no game plan for “containing” Iran, should it acquire such weapons.

We are finding out what happens when our foes suspect the American president is all talk: they ignore him and go merrily along their way.

Henry Kissinger writes:

Acquiescence in the North Korean nuclear program would fly in the face of American foreign policy since we shepherded the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty through the international community in 1967, as well as of the policy President Obama put forward only two months ago in Prague. It would undermine the prospects of the proposed negotiations with Iran.

What if we just give up and let North Korea have its nuclear weapons? Not a good idea, he cautions:

De facto acquiescence in a North Korean nuclear program would require a reconsideration of U.S. strategic planning. More emphasis would need to be given to missile defense. It would be essential to redesign the American deterrent strategy in a world of multiple nuclear powers — a challenge unprecedented in our experience. The enhanced role of non-state actors with respect to terrorism would have to be addressed. The concepts of deterrence against state actors are familiar, though not in a world of multiple nuclear powers. They have little or no relevance to non-state actors operating by stealth.

Well, one can appreciate the concern for how capitulating to North Korea might impact Iran. But didn’t the president essentially throw in the towel already on Iran with his mumbo-jumbo about “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons” and his wish-upon-a-star desire that Iran share our non-proliferation goals? So perhaps the dangerous acquiescence has already taken place — and North Korea is taking its cues accordingly.

But Kissinger’s words of warning about the dangers of letting rouge states have their nukes is, of course, as applicable to Iran as it is to North Korea. Nevertheless, Obama seems content to let the Iranians move ahead with their nuclear program — no viable game plan to stop them, no concern for the international agreements Iran has and continues to violate, and no game plan for “containing” Iran, should it acquire such weapons.

We are finding out what happens when our foes suspect the American president is all talk: they ignore him and go merrily along their way.

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