Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Mary Landrieu is the first Red State Senate Democrat to announce a firm “no” on the public option for healthcare. What, she doesn’t think voters in 2010 would reward her for taking over 17% of the economy? The public option could become as toxic as card check — the more people know, the less they like it.

Michael O’Hanlon on defense spending: “After three months of very impressive decisions regarding national security, President Obama made perhaps his first significant mistake. It concerns the defense budget, where his plans are insufficient to support the national security establishment over the next five years. Thankfully, this mistake can be fixed before it causes big harm — either by Congress this year or the administration itself next year.”

Kevin Hassett: “I’ve finally figured out the Obama economic strategy. President Barack Obama and his team have been having so much fun wielding dictatorial power while rescuing ‘failed’ firms, that they have developed a scheme to gain the same power over every business. The plan is to enact policies that are so anticompetitive that every firm needs a bailout.” He focuses on the end of the deferral of multinational taxation. But it’s equally true of cap-and-trade, nationalized healthcare, and the Employee Free Choice Act. Almost like they don’t believe in free market capitalism, huh?

Megan McArdle on a potential plan to regulate non-TARP banks’ compensation: “Maybe Uncle Sam will discover the perfect scheme that has so far eluded everyone else.  But we’d probably get a better return on their mental effort if we had them figure out how to turn lead into gold. . . But this feels more like a trial balloon than a fleshed out plan, so for now, I’ll hold off on the capitalist panic.”

The Supreme Court declines to stop Chrysler’s secured creditors from being run over by the Obama and UAW juggernaut.

The New York Times is out to get Michael Bloomberg with some blatant poll massaging.

Marty Peretz finds further proof the Obama administration has thrown in the towel on stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Listening to Hillary Clinton’s threats of retaliation should Iran strike Israel with nuclear weapons, Peretz concludes: “So instead of her forcing Iran to look at the consequences of building nuclear weapons she has them thinking about whether, when they have an atomic arsenal– they will really attack the Jewish state.  Which the president of Iran has said he would.”

Ron Kampeas (who often seems much more concerned with attacking Republicans’ motives than with covering Israel) is annoyed again: this time it’s about the Republican Jewish Coalition raising the question as to whether the Obama administration is adhering to past understandings regarding Israeli settlements. Let me make it easy: have the Obama administration stop dancing and spell out what its position is with regard to prior commitments made by the Bush administration. As soon as the Obama administration — what is the phrase? — starts saying the same thing in public that it does in private we’ll know if it is reneging on prior agreements, denying they exist or simply seeing how far it can push Israel around as part of its Muslim charm offensive.

Money doesn’t buy you everything: Terry McAuliffe gets whipped, Creigh Deeds is the Democratic nominee in the Virginia gubernatorial race and it will be an interesting battle between Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell, suggesting that Virginia isn’t very Blue after all: “The Virginia battle also should quiet pundits who thought the commonwealth was turning into a deep blue Democratic state. Both men have conservative credentials — Deeds has in the past been endorsed by the National Rifle Association — and both will have to work to build connections to Northern Virginia, home to most of the state’s voters.”

Camille Paglia: “Within the U.S., the Obama presidency will be mainly measured by the success or failure of his economic policies. And here, I fear, the monstrous stimulus package with which this administration stumbled out of the gate will prove to be Obama’s Waterloo. All the backtracking and spin doctoring in the world will not erase that major blunder, which made the new president seem reckless, naive and out of control of his own party, which was in effect dictating to him from Capitol Hill.”