Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

From the “George Bush isn’t president anymore” file: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of voters now say the country’s economic problems are caused more by the policies Obama has put in place. That’s a 12-point jump from a month ago.”

Chris Cillizza says Obama still wants to pick a fight with Dick Cheney about national security. Ummm, I think that already happened. And Obama lost. But let’s go for two out of three!

And not many people like the Obama stimulus plan: “Barely half of Americans are now confident that President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus measure will boost the economy, and the rapid rise in optimism about the state of the nation that followed the 2008 election has abated, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Overall, 52 percent now say the stimulus package has succeeded or will succeed in restoring the economy, compared with 59 percent two months ago.”

Politico figures it out: “Eroding confidence in President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and ability to control spending have caused his approval ratings to wilt to their lowest levels since taking office, according to a spate of recent polls, a sign of political weakness that comes just as he most needs leverage on Capitol Hill.”

Like a hapless witness in a protection program, Dennis Ross is shuffled hither and yon. Iraq perhaps?

Jeffrey Goldberg is at it again, this time debunking Andrew Sullivan’s excuses for the inexcusable pro-Iran rhetoric which Roger Cohen spewed pre-June 12: ”In fact, he [Cohen] made a name for himself internationally as one of the leading Western apologists for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, arguing that the regime was substantially benign and that engagement with these murderers was practically a moral necessity. He saw nothing coming, nothing at all. He has even admitted as much.”

In case you had any doubt: “Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem are included in the US demand that Israel halt ‘settlement’ construction, including for natural growth, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told The Jerusalem Post during a press briefing on Monday.” By the way, does anyone still think this is the central issue in the Middle East?

Even the UN has taken a break from Israel-bashing to warn the mullahs about “use of force against civilians in Iran and urged authorities to respect civil rights in dealing with protests over presidential election results.”

Uh-oh: “Stocks sank Monday, ending at three-week lows, as the World Bank’s weak outlook on global growth and a selloff in commodity prices sent investors heading for the exits. . . . The World Bank cut its 2009 forecast, predicting that global growth will shrink by 2.9% versus its earlier forecast for a 1.7% contraction. Global trade is expected to plummet 9.7% this year, it said. Developing countries have been especially hard, with the exception of booming China and India.”

Opponents of Sotomayor’s nomination gear up: “Senate Republicans are expected to begin formally making their case against the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court on Tuesday with a series of speeches questioning her involvement in a Puerto Rican civil rights group and her positions on a number of legal issues. On tap for a series of floor speeches: gun rights, the role of ‘empathy’ in her rulings as a federal judge, and whether she has allowed foreign laws to inform her decisions in the past.” Perhaps they will spend some time on Frank Ricci as well.

Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America thinks Obama “may become the most hostile president to Israel ever.” Well, let’s say things haven’t started out well. Klein: “There are many leaders in the organized Jewish world who have privately discussed this issue with me, and say they are deeply concerned about Obama’s actions and policies toward Israel . . . He is relentlessly pressuring Israel while applying virtually almost no pressure on the Palestinian Authority to fulfill its written obligations.”