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Posts For: June 27, 2009

Declaring War on the American Economy

The Cap-and-Trade bill that passed the House yesterday will be a declaration of war on the American economy if it ever is enacted into law. It is ostensibly supposed to help the American economy transition from the old, carbon-based industrial economy to the broad, sunlit (and presumably unpolluted) uplands of a post-industrial one. According to an infomercial masquerading as an AP news story,  the “climate bill may spur energy revolution.” Overlooked by the AP and other minions of the left is the fact that that revolution has been underway, largely without the federal government’s help, for more than a generation now. In 1970 a one-percent increase in GDP meant a one-percent increase in oil consumption. Today its means less than a third of one percent increase in oil consumption. It would be considerably less than that had the left not brought the development and exploitation of nuclear power to a screeching halt thirty years ago because too many of them went to see The China Syndrome. (The producers, to be sure,  arranged, in a stroke of commercial genius, for the movie to open twelve days before the accident at Three-Mile Island occurred.)

And as Kim Strassel pointed out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the so-called science behind this massive bill is looking increasingly shaky.

If it’s enacted in its present form, what the cap-and-trade bill will certainly do is

1) Massively increase federal power not only over the economy but over daily life as well. Building codes have always been the province of the states, but this bill, according to one blogger, would require federally mandated energy audits before you could change a window in your home and specifies the number and location of electrical outlets to be permitted;

2) Start a trade war with India and China by slapping tariffs on goods from countries that don’t conform to US standards on carbon emissions;

3) Act like the governor on a steam engine, increasingly slowing down the economy through energy taxes whenever the economy accelerates. In other words, its virtually guarantees economic stagnation at best. And most economists who are not working for liberals think it will be far more economically pernicious than that.

This last, at least, is in the great tradition of the Democratic Party. The party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, tried to deal with the high-handed ways of the Royal Navy and French privateers by a blockade–not of their ports, but of ours. Thomas Jefferson, in other words, went to war with the American economy. In a series of acts beginning in December, 1807, that Congress passed at Jefferson’s behest, American merchants were forbidden to trade with any other country on pain of fines of $10,000 and forfeiture of goods.  The U.S. Navy was dispatched to help enforce the act by stopping vessels leaving American ports. Port cities (which at that time were all large American cities and many small ones) plunged into depression. Smuggling across the Canadian border grew so extensive that Jefferson actually declared parts of northern New England to be in a state of rebellion. The New England economy came close to collapse as it was then heavily dependent on foreign trade. (The American merchant marine at this time–mostly New England owned and built–was second in size only to Britain’s.)

The Embargo Act was, politically and economically, an utter disaster, as anyone who understood anything about commerce, economics, and human nature could have foreseen. Indeed, Jefferson’s Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, did understand and wrote the president, “As to the hope that it may. . . induce England to treat us better, I think is entirely groundless. . . . Government prohibitions do always more mischief than had been calculated; and it is not without much hesitation that a statesman should hazard to regulate the concerns of individuals as if he could do it better than themselves.”

Good advice from a very wise man who did this country many a good service. Too bad Thomas Jefferson didn’t take it. Nor, alas, will his present-day successor if he gets a chance to sign this utterly misbegotten bill.

The Cap-and-Trade bill that passed the House yesterday will be a declaration of war on the American economy if it ever is enacted into law. It is ostensibly supposed to help the American economy transition from the old, carbon-based industrial economy to the broad, sunlit (and presumably unpolluted) uplands of a post-industrial one. According to an infomercial masquerading as an AP news story,  the “climate bill may spur energy revolution.” Overlooked by the AP and other minions of the left is the fact that that revolution has been underway, largely without the federal government’s help, for more than a generation now. In 1970 a one-percent increase in GDP meant a one-percent increase in oil consumption. Today its means less than a third of one percent increase in oil consumption. It would be considerably less than that had the left not brought the development and exploitation of nuclear power to a screeching halt thirty years ago because too many of them went to see The China Syndrome. (The producers, to be sure,  arranged, in a stroke of commercial genius, for the movie to open twelve days before the accident at Three-Mile Island occurred.)

And as Kim Strassel pointed out yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, the so-called science behind this massive bill is looking increasingly shaky.

If it’s enacted in its present form, what the cap-and-trade bill will certainly do is

1) Massively increase federal power not only over the economy but over daily life as well. Building codes have always been the province of the states, but this bill, according to one blogger, would require federally mandated energy audits before you could change a window in your home and specifies the number and location of electrical outlets to be permitted;

2) Start a trade war with India and China by slapping tariffs on goods from countries that don’t conform to US standards on carbon emissions;

3) Act like the governor on a steam engine, increasingly slowing down the economy through energy taxes whenever the economy accelerates. In other words, its virtually guarantees economic stagnation at best. And most economists who are not working for liberals think it will be far more economically pernicious than that.

This last, at least, is in the great tradition of the Democratic Party. The party’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, tried to deal with the high-handed ways of the Royal Navy and French privateers by a blockade–not of their ports, but of ours. Thomas Jefferson, in other words, went to war with the American economy. In a series of acts beginning in December, 1807, that Congress passed at Jefferson’s behest, American merchants were forbidden to trade with any other country on pain of fines of $10,000 and forfeiture of goods.  The U.S. Navy was dispatched to help enforce the act by stopping vessels leaving American ports. Port cities (which at that time were all large American cities and many small ones) plunged into depression. Smuggling across the Canadian border grew so extensive that Jefferson actually declared parts of northern New England to be in a state of rebellion. The New England economy came close to collapse as it was then heavily dependent on foreign trade. (The American merchant marine at this time–mostly New England owned and built–was second in size only to Britain’s.)

The Embargo Act was, politically and economically, an utter disaster, as anyone who understood anything about commerce, economics, and human nature could have foreseen. Indeed, Jefferson’s Secretary of the Treasury, Albert Gallatin, did understand and wrote the president, “As to the hope that it may. . . induce England to treat us better, I think is entirely groundless. . . . Government prohibitions do always more mischief than had been calculated; and it is not without much hesitation that a statesman should hazard to regulate the concerns of individuals as if he could do it better than themselves.”

Good advice from a very wise man who did this country many a good service. Too bad Thomas Jefferson didn’t take it. Nor, alas, will his present-day successor if he gets a chance to sign this utterly misbegotten bill.

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Talk About an Education

The president is getting a lesson on Iran and despotic thugs. He’s also apparently learned something about the architecture which George W. Bush put in place to conduct the war on terror: it works! Or at least there is no viable alternative. The Washington Post reports:

The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.

After months of internal debate over how to close the facility in Cuba, White House officials are increasingly worried that reaching quick agreement with Congress on a new detention system may be impossible. Several officials said there is concern in the White House that the administration may not be able to close the facility by the president’s January deadline.

Well, I’m sure the ACLU and Left blogosphere will have a meltdown. Once again, those who cheered the president on and took his campaign rhetoric seriously are left disappointed. As the Post puts it:

Instituting long-term detention through an executive order would leave Obama vulnerable to charges that he is willing to forsake the legislative branch of government, as his predecessor often did. Bush’s detention policies suffered successive defeats in the courts in part because they lacked congressional approval and tried to exclude judicial oversight.

Still unclear is exactly where this indefinite detention will occur. But at least we know that all that talk about “shredding the Constitution” was just that — talk.

The president is getting a lesson on Iran and despotic thugs. He’s also apparently learned something about the architecture which George W. Bush put in place to conduct the war on terror: it works! Or at least there is no viable alternative. The Washington Post reports:

The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.

After months of internal debate over how to close the facility in Cuba, White House officials are increasingly worried that reaching quick agreement with Congress on a new detention system may be impossible. Several officials said there is concern in the White House that the administration may not be able to close the facility by the president’s January deadline.

Well, I’m sure the ACLU and Left blogosphere will have a meltdown. Once again, those who cheered the president on and took his campaign rhetoric seriously are left disappointed. As the Post puts it:

Instituting long-term detention through an executive order would leave Obama vulnerable to charges that he is willing to forsake the legislative branch of government, as his predecessor often did. Bush’s detention policies suffered successive defeats in the courts in part because they lacked congressional approval and tried to exclude judicial oversight.

Still unclear is exactly where this indefinite detention will occur. But at least we know that all that talk about “shredding the Constitution” was just that — talk.

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Well, Aside From It Being Futile and Deceitful. . .

David Ignatius explains that the Obama administration’s fixation with Israeli settlements is fully embraced by Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, all of whom show little sympathy for the obvious inability of the Israeli government to control natural growth within its settlements. But even if one did not object to the U.S. reneging on past agreements or to its “dictating” to a supposedly close friend, there is a hitch. Ignatius explains:

The Obama team is assuming that if it can pressure Israel into a real settlements freeze, the Arabs will respond with meaningful moves toward normalization of relations — which will give Israel some tangible benefits for its concessions. But that hope appears to be misplaced.

Oh, so the whole thing is wildly realistic and destined to fail? Well, yes. Like the Soviets of old who airbrushed out inconvenient reminders of bygone eras, the president can entirely excise out sixty years of Palestinian rejectionism from his Cairo speech. But he can’t change reality. Even if Netunyahu set up an “apartment police” and every East Jerusalem add-on apartment were torn up and every settlement removed,  there still would be no viable interlocutor to negotiate with Israel and no expressed desire by the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state. So what then is the point of beating up on our ally?

You’ve got me. It is the triumph of ideology over reality. And it is evidence as to just how deceitful was Obama’s campaign rhetoric with regard to Israel and the Middle East. We know what he said then. It bears no resemblance to the current approach. Had he revealed his hand during the campaign certainly then-candidate Clinton, who professed to be a great friend of Israel, would have seized on the issue.

But now they are together, joined at the hip in their hostility and their futile effort to bludgeon Israel in the hopes it will bring about peace. While they are contemplating what happened to their grand plans for engagement with Iran they might also want to rethink this approach to Israel. And those who believed Obama’s professed understanding and empathy for the plight of Israel can decide if it is time to stop making excuses and begin to openly criticize and oppose the administration’s wholly misguided policies.

David Ignatius explains that the Obama administration’s fixation with Israeli settlements is fully embraced by Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel, all of whom show little sympathy for the obvious inability of the Israeli government to control natural growth within its settlements. But even if one did not object to the U.S. reneging on past agreements or to its “dictating” to a supposedly close friend, there is a hitch. Ignatius explains:

The Obama team is assuming that if it can pressure Israel into a real settlements freeze, the Arabs will respond with meaningful moves toward normalization of relations — which will give Israel some tangible benefits for its concessions. But that hope appears to be misplaced.

Oh, so the whole thing is wildly realistic and destined to fail? Well, yes. Like the Soviets of old who airbrushed out inconvenient reminders of bygone eras, the president can entirely excise out sixty years of Palestinian rejectionism from his Cairo speech. But he can’t change reality. Even if Netunyahu set up an “apartment police” and every East Jerusalem add-on apartment were torn up and every settlement removed,  there still would be no viable interlocutor to negotiate with Israel and no expressed desire by the Palestinians to recognize a Jewish state. So what then is the point of beating up on our ally?

You’ve got me. It is the triumph of ideology over reality. And it is evidence as to just how deceitful was Obama’s campaign rhetoric with regard to Israel and the Middle East. We know what he said then. It bears no resemblance to the current approach. Had he revealed his hand during the campaign certainly then-candidate Clinton, who professed to be a great friend of Israel, would have seized on the issue.

But now they are together, joined at the hip in their hostility and their futile effort to bludgeon Israel in the hopes it will bring about peace. While they are contemplating what happened to their grand plans for engagement with Iran they might also want to rethink this approach to Israel. And those who believed Obama’s professed understanding and empathy for the plight of Israel can decide if it is time to stop making excuses and begin to openly criticize and oppose the administration’s wholly misguided policies.

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Mousavi, Out

The Iranian protests are now squarely a citizens’ affair:

Mousavi said he would seek official permission for any future rallies, effectively ending his role in street protests organized by supporters who insist he won the election.

“The problem is we have no one to lead us,” a 30-year-old resident of Isfahan told AP on Saturday on condition of anonymity because he feared government reprisal. “We are waiting for a new message, but Mousavi does not want to continue, because after all he is part of the system.”

This was never about a choice between two leaders: awful and awful with good PR. It was about a choice between two systems of governance: tyrannical and consensual. That’s why Barack Obama’s early declaration of the outcome’s irrelevance was off the mark. Democracy is so potent a force that even the poor counterfeit orchestrated by the mullahs proved too addictive to contain.

With the protests breaking away from the personality of Mousavi and with Mousavi’s getting reabsorbed into the corrupt theocracy, it’s more important than ever that the U.S. make clear its support for Iran’s citizens. We are, after all, aligned with them against Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This should now be easier for our president to articulate, as it no longer means endorsing Mousavi by default

The Iranian protests are now squarely a citizens’ affair:

Mousavi said he would seek official permission for any future rallies, effectively ending his role in street protests organized by supporters who insist he won the election.

“The problem is we have no one to lead us,” a 30-year-old resident of Isfahan told AP on Saturday on condition of anonymity because he feared government reprisal. “We are waiting for a new message, but Mousavi does not want to continue, because after all he is part of the system.”

This was never about a choice between two leaders: awful and awful with good PR. It was about a choice between two systems of governance: tyrannical and consensual. That’s why Barack Obama’s early declaration of the outcome’s irrelevance was off the mark. Democracy is so potent a force that even the poor counterfeit orchestrated by the mullahs proved too addictive to contain.

With the protests breaking away from the personality of Mousavi and with Mousavi’s getting reabsorbed into the corrupt theocracy, it’s more important than ever that the U.S. make clear its support for Iran’s citizens. We are, after all, aligned with them against Khamenei and Ahmadinejad. This should now be easier for our president to articulate, as it no longer means endorsing Mousavi by default

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High Theater: Cap-and-Trade Sneaks By

We had some unusual high theater in Congress on Friday and it was in the House no less, where the usual strict rules tend to eliminate dramatic interludes. But this was anything but usual.  Minority Leader John Boehner, who under the rules for the vote had unlimited time to speak, decided to start reading the 300-page amendment that was added at 3 am into a bill already 1200 pages long. Few if any members had read, let alone located, the new bill on which they were voting.  Politico described the scene which unfolded:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), running the debate for his party, asked repeatedly Friday afternoon if there was even a copy of the current version of the bill anywhere in the House chamber. Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher – sitting in the speaker’s chair although she’s already been confirmed as Obama’s undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security — repeatedly dodged the question.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s sponsors, finally rose to say that a single copy of the current version of the bill was available at the speaker’s desk and on the Internet, which members would have to leave the floor to access.
But that wasn’t enough for Boehner, whose move threatened to postpone a vote well into the evening – on a day that has already seen hours of contentious debate.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), one of the bill’s sponsors, interrupted Boehner’s filibuster with a parliamentary inquiry as to whether there was any limit to how long the Ohio Republican could speak – and suggested that he was hoping to talk so long that member might leave before the vote.

“It’s the custom of the House to hear the leader’s remarks,” replied Tauscher, who looking apologetic as Republicans applauded.

“Reclaiming my time,” Boehner said, “the gentleman’s had his 30 years to put this bill together. And the House is going to spend a whopping five hours debating the most profound piece of legislation to come to this floor in 100 years. And the chairman has the audacity to drop a 300-plus page amendment in the hopper at 3:09 a.m. this morning. And so I would ask my colleagues, don’t you think the American people expect us to understand what’s in this bill before we vote on it?”

“And so to get to page 34,” he continued.

What a scene. But alas it finally ended and the vote ensued. We knew where this was likely to wind up –after all the White House was engaged in some first-rate arm-twisting. Many Democrats who vowed to stand up the to White House received a phone call and melted like butter.

Republicans, encouraged by a stem-winder from Eric Cantor, voted overwhelmingly but not unanimously against the bill, declaring it to be madness to vote for a huge tax, job-killing bill in a recession. Democrats lost a stunning forty-four votes from their side — members who simply didn’t want to face the music back home. (The Democrats had to go so far as to fetch Patrick Kennedy, who had been out for rehab, and John Lewis, who had heart surgery, and  delay the resignation of Ellen Tauscher, who is heading to the State Department.)

The bill finally cleared by the slimmest of margins, with only 219 votes. Among those who didn’t  jump off the train and were left to take the heat on the Democratic side were Ohio Reps. John Boccierri and Mary Jo Kilroy (who has had two nail-biter elections in a row), Baron Hill of Indiana, Freshman Mark Schauer from Michigan and Virginia Freshman Tom Perriello. I’m sure the voters in Midwestern and other energy-producing states will be asking why their representatives voted to ship jobs from already high unemployment states overseas. Other Democrats who didn’t exactly live up to their self-styled reputations as fiscal conservatives include Heath Schuler, Carol Shea-Porter and Freshman Alan Grayson.

The freshmen who took the plunge may see visions of Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, the Democratic freshman who walked the plank for Bill Clinton’s energy tax in 1993 and promptly lost her seat. But maybe voters are more forgiving. After all, the recession should be over by 2010, right?

Eight Republicans, including three members from New Jersey and John McHugh (who has been tapped as Secretary of the Army) voted yes. In addition both Mark Kirk of Illinois and Mike Castle of Delaware, who may mount runs for Senate, voted yes perhaps hoping that their largely Blue states will think better of them for having supported the House Democratic leadership. If they do run, they’ll have some explaining to do in the primary.

Now it’s on to the Senate. Perhaps. A Senate source said bluntly, “They’re going to have a harder time getting votes in the Senate.” Gosh, if that is right did 44 Democrats and 8 Republicans cast their votes and incur untold grief for nothing? The only thing worse than taking a hard vote is seeing the other body reject it and criticize those who buckled under pressure from the White House.

The House members now head back to their districts during the July 4 break. Perhaps those who carried the day will get a ticker tape parade for passing a huge energy tax in order to save the planet. (Well, limit America’s output at any rate, because China and India will be delighted to pick up the slack.) Or maybe they will get an earful. Stay tuned.

We had some unusual high theater in Congress on Friday and it was in the House no less, where the usual strict rules tend to eliminate dramatic interludes. But this was anything but usual.  Minority Leader John Boehner, who under the rules for the vote had unlimited time to speak, decided to start reading the 300-page amendment that was added at 3 am into a bill already 1200 pages long. Few if any members had read, let alone located, the new bill on which they were voting.  Politico described the scene which unfolded:

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), running the debate for his party, asked repeatedly Friday afternoon if there was even a copy of the current version of the bill anywhere in the House chamber. Democratic Rep. Ellen Tauscher – sitting in the speaker’s chair although she’s already been confirmed as Obama’s undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security — repeatedly dodged the question.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the bill’s sponsors, finally rose to say that a single copy of the current version of the bill was available at the speaker’s desk and on the Internet, which members would have to leave the floor to access.
But that wasn’t enough for Boehner, whose move threatened to postpone a vote well into the evening – on a day that has already seen hours of contentious debate.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), one of the bill’s sponsors, interrupted Boehner’s filibuster with a parliamentary inquiry as to whether there was any limit to how long the Ohio Republican could speak – and suggested that he was hoping to talk so long that member might leave before the vote.

“It’s the custom of the House to hear the leader’s remarks,” replied Tauscher, who looking apologetic as Republicans applauded.

“Reclaiming my time,” Boehner said, “the gentleman’s had his 30 years to put this bill together. And the House is going to spend a whopping five hours debating the most profound piece of legislation to come to this floor in 100 years. And the chairman has the audacity to drop a 300-plus page amendment in the hopper at 3:09 a.m. this morning. And so I would ask my colleagues, don’t you think the American people expect us to understand what’s in this bill before we vote on it?”

“And so to get to page 34,” he continued.

What a scene. But alas it finally ended and the vote ensued. We knew where this was likely to wind up –after all the White House was engaged in some first-rate arm-twisting. Many Democrats who vowed to stand up the to White House received a phone call and melted like butter.

Republicans, encouraged by a stem-winder from Eric Cantor, voted overwhelmingly but not unanimously against the bill, declaring it to be madness to vote for a huge tax, job-killing bill in a recession. Democrats lost a stunning forty-four votes from their side — members who simply didn’t want to face the music back home. (The Democrats had to go so far as to fetch Patrick Kennedy, who had been out for rehab, and John Lewis, who had heart surgery, and  delay the resignation of Ellen Tauscher, who is heading to the State Department.)

The bill finally cleared by the slimmest of margins, with only 219 votes. Among those who didn’t  jump off the train and were left to take the heat on the Democratic side were Ohio Reps. John Boccierri and Mary Jo Kilroy (who has had two nail-biter elections in a row), Baron Hill of Indiana, Freshman Mark Schauer from Michigan and Virginia Freshman Tom Perriello. I’m sure the voters in Midwestern and other energy-producing states will be asking why their representatives voted to ship jobs from already high unemployment states overseas. Other Democrats who didn’t exactly live up to their self-styled reputations as fiscal conservatives include Heath Schuler, Carol Shea-Porter and Freshman Alan Grayson.

The freshmen who took the plunge may see visions of Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, the Democratic freshman who walked the plank for Bill Clinton’s energy tax in 1993 and promptly lost her seat. But maybe voters are more forgiving. After all, the recession should be over by 2010, right?

Eight Republicans, including three members from New Jersey and John McHugh (who has been tapped as Secretary of the Army) voted yes. In addition both Mark Kirk of Illinois and Mike Castle of Delaware, who may mount runs for Senate, voted yes perhaps hoping that their largely Blue states will think better of them for having supported the House Democratic leadership. If they do run, they’ll have some explaining to do in the primary.

Now it’s on to the Senate. Perhaps. A Senate source said bluntly, “They’re going to have a harder time getting votes in the Senate.” Gosh, if that is right did 44 Democrats and 8 Republicans cast their votes and incur untold grief for nothing? The only thing worse than taking a hard vote is seeing the other body reject it and criticize those who buckled under pressure from the White House.

The House members now head back to their districts during the July 4 break. Perhaps those who carried the day will get a ticker tape parade for passing a huge energy tax in order to save the planet. (Well, limit America’s output at any rate, because China and India will be delighted to pick up the slack.) Or maybe they will get an earful. Stay tuned.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

School reform is everywhere as a campaign issue — in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, in the Virginia gubernatorial race and now in the New York mayor’s race. In each case it is the Republican (or former Republican) trying to make it an issue. We’ll see if voters bite.

Haven’t quite taken politics out of science yet: “Scientific findings at odds with the Obama Administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change are being suppressed as a result of political pressure, officials at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) charge.”

Nor have we entered into a new era of government accountability. Pejman Yousefzadeh explains that “being an IG in the Obama Administration appears to be a dangerous and risky thing. Congress and the media should ask why this should be the case, and why speaking truth to power is so frowned upon.”

Ben Smith has an interesting report on the conflicting and varied takes on the Dennis Ross move from State to NSC. Dan Senor thinks it’s a move up for Ross and a ding for George Mitchell, while others think it’s nothing of the kind. What is clear is that there are many, many cooks in the kitchen. What is also clear is that Obama will need a new Iran policy at the very time Ross is leaving a post with Iran as its sole focus. We’ll see if Ross becomes a major player or, lacking a specific portfolio, is marginalized.

Is Reagan’s support for Solidarity a model for Obama and Iran?

Chris Christie turns the tables on Rep. Steve Cohen in a kangaroo hearing intended to embarrass Christie during his gubernatorial run. Didn’t turn out that way. Maybe he’ll use it in his ads.

Republican Bob McDonnell tries to make cap-and-trade an issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Sounds like he’s banking on the economic recession continuing and laying the blame on the policies of his opponent’s party. Hey, it worked for the Democrats when George W. Bush was in the White House!

A new feminist icon  or “media genius” is born: “Jenny Sanford, the first lady of South Carolina, left her husband alone to burble at length about his yearlong affair with a woman from Argentina. Instead Ms. Sanford released a statement that was hard hitting and to the point: she said she wanted her marriage to continue but demanded nothing less, as her price, than her husband’s ‘repentance.’ On Friday, she told reporters she had known of the affair since January but had waited for her children’s school year to end before separating from him.” What happens when the liberal punditocracy finds out she is a conservative and a Christian?

Even Ruth Marcus has figured it out that “to work, the public plan has to be able to set prices and, at least at the outset, require providers to participate if they want to remain eligible to accept Medicare patients.” She asks “Is a public plan — without the need to turn a profit and with lower administrative costs — inevitably going to be more cost-effective than a private competitor?” And if it’s not, taxpayer subsidies and regulations will drive the private competitors out of business. This is the point, after all.

School reform is everywhere as a campaign issue — in the New Jersey gubernatorial race, in the Virginia gubernatorial race and now in the New York mayor’s race. In each case it is the Republican (or former Republican) trying to make it an issue. We’ll see if voters bite.

Haven’t quite taken politics out of science yet: “Scientific findings at odds with the Obama Administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change are being suppressed as a result of political pressure, officials at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) charge.”

Nor have we entered into a new era of government accountability. Pejman Yousefzadeh explains that “being an IG in the Obama Administration appears to be a dangerous and risky thing. Congress and the media should ask why this should be the case, and why speaking truth to power is so frowned upon.”

Ben Smith has an interesting report on the conflicting and varied takes on the Dennis Ross move from State to NSC. Dan Senor thinks it’s a move up for Ross and a ding for George Mitchell, while others think it’s nothing of the kind. What is clear is that there are many, many cooks in the kitchen. What is also clear is that Obama will need a new Iran policy at the very time Ross is leaving a post with Iran as its sole focus. We’ll see if Ross becomes a major player or, lacking a specific portfolio, is marginalized.

Is Reagan’s support for Solidarity a model for Obama and Iran?

Chris Christie turns the tables on Rep. Steve Cohen in a kangaroo hearing intended to embarrass Christie during his gubernatorial run. Didn’t turn out that way. Maybe he’ll use it in his ads.

Republican Bob McDonnell tries to make cap-and-trade an issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Sounds like he’s banking on the economic recession continuing and laying the blame on the policies of his opponent’s party. Hey, it worked for the Democrats when George W. Bush was in the White House!

A new feminist icon  or “media genius” is born: “Jenny Sanford, the first lady of South Carolina, left her husband alone to burble at length about his yearlong affair with a woman from Argentina. Instead Ms. Sanford released a statement that was hard hitting and to the point: she said she wanted her marriage to continue but demanded nothing less, as her price, than her husband’s ‘repentance.’ On Friday, she told reporters she had known of the affair since January but had waited for her children’s school year to end before separating from him.” What happens when the liberal punditocracy finds out she is a conservative and a Christian?

Even Ruth Marcus has figured it out that “to work, the public plan has to be able to set prices and, at least at the outset, require providers to participate if they want to remain eligible to accept Medicare patients.” She asks “Is a public plan — without the need to turn a profit and with lower administrative costs — inevitably going to be more cost-effective than a private competitor?” And if it’s not, taxpayer subsidies and regulations will drive the private competitors out of business. This is the point, after all.

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