Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

George Will reminds us that Obama’s stimulus was actually “Stimulus II,” following on the heels of George W. Bush’s $168B effort in 2008. And look where we are heading: “Will a person or institution looking for a place to invest $1 billion seek opportunities in the United States, where policy decisions are deliberately increasing taxes, debt, regulations and the cost of energy, and soon will increase the cost of borrowing and hiring? Or will the investor look at, say, India. . . Which nation, India or the United States, is apt to have the higher economic growth over the next decade? Yet while government diminishes America’s comparative advantages, liberals are clamoring for . . . higher taxes.”  

Bill Kristol on the unraveling ultra-liberal agenda: “Rahm Emanuel famously said, ‘Never let a serious crisis go to waste.’ The American people, to their credit, seem unwilling to let the Obama team exploit this crisis as thoroughly as they’d like to. Now it’s up to conservative leaders — and Republican politicians — to do two things: thwart Obama’s liberal power grabs and rebuild a conservative governing agenda.”  

The Washington Post’s ombudsman lets it rip on the “salons.” He also blows the cover story of the Post’s management, who originally tried to pin this on an over-eager business developer: “By having outside underwriters, the Post was effectively charging for access to its newsroom personnel. Reporters or editors could easily be perceived as being in the debt of the sponsors. And by promising participants that their conversations would be private, those attending would be assured a measure of confidentiality that the news department typically opposes. [Publisher Katharine] Weymouth and [Executive Editor Marcus] Brauchli came to realize all this was wrong — but only after the controversy erupted. In separate interviews this week, they acknowledged this with candor, regret and embarrassment.” But not before they were less than candid about their knowledge and involvement in the effort.  

Not content to allow conservativea trumpet the Left’s lack of “empathy” for the Frank Ricci’s of the country or to turn the Sotomayor hearing into a national lesson on the adverse consequences of identity politics, People for the American Way is now running a smear campaign against the dyslexic firefighter. I think this is called “Swift-boating” — or maybe just atrocious political judgment.  

Obama’s Honduras policy isn’t winning over Congress: “There are tentative signs from Democrats in Congress of support for the forces that removed Honduras President Manuel Zelaya from power at the end of June. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of a key House subcommittee with jurisdiction over Honduras, roundly criticized both factions at a Friday hearing. But he also stopped short of calling for Zelaya’s immediate reinstatement, which he’d done in previous statements.”  

Perhaps not a good idea for Arlen Specter to attack his Democratic-primary opponent Joe Sestak for being a ” flagrant hypocrite” and for avoiding party affiliation because he was serving in the armed service. (Honestly, you can’t make this up.) Sestak strikes back: “We’ve learned today that Arlen Specter can abandon his party, but he just cant quit making Republican swift-boat attacks on the integrity of Democrats who served in our military. My question to Arlen Specter is this: do you regret voting for George Bush and John McCain? Why should Democrats support someone like you who actively campaigned as recently as last year for politicians with values like George W. Bush?”  

In case you thought this is a prime opportunity to rein in frivolous lawsuits that contribute to unnecessary medical procedures and runaway costs: “Republicans see the debate over health care reform as their latest opportunity to reform the medical malpractice system — but they hold out little hope that this will occur.” Well, not so long as the trial lawyers give generously to the Democratic Party. Par for the course: “‘I honestly really don’t see this as a health care issue,’ said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Instead, the Senator, a former Rhode Island attorney general, argued that medical malpractice is more of an ‘intruder’ into the debate to protect insurance companies, hospitals and doctors from being accountable for their mistakes.”