Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Flotsam and Jetsam

John McCain comes out against Sonia Sotomayor.

A very impressive Liz Cheney dissects Obama’s foreign policy at a RedState gathering.

Gregory Craig, whose advice on everything from release of the detainee-abuse photos to Guantanamo to Hugo Chavez has landed the administration in hot water, may be out.

Maybe they should just stick to saying ”soon”: “Don’t back Sen. Mike Enzi into a corner with a health care deadline. Blowing off the latest target date, the Wyoming Republican, a top negotiator on the Senate health care bill, says a Sept. 15 deadline set by Senate Democrats for the stalled Finance Committee bill is bogus.”

Now even liberal lawmakers are miffed at Nancy Pelosi over health care.

Ira Forman, head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, weighs in on “birthers,” but he won’t answer a query about Mary Robinson. When the Medal of Freedom winners were announced, the NJDC noted the two Jewish recipients but was entirely mute on Robinson.

Richard Cohen doesn’t think much of “hate crime” legislation: “The real purpose of hate-crime laws is to reassure politically significant groups — blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays, etc. — that someone cares about them and takes their fears seriously. That’s nice. It does not change the fact, though, that what’s being punished is thought or speech.”

Rahm Emanuel pressured the networks to carry the president’s prime-time press conference even though the nets would lose money. The Obama spinners say the networks carry him because he’s “good for ratings.” Hmm. No. That’s why Emanuel had to strong-arm them. Someone should bring it up in a shareholders’ meeting — doesn’t sound like the network brass is looking after the bottom line.

Robert Gibbs says no middle-class tax hike. But who believes that? “The undeniable reality is that you can’t run a European-style welfare-entitlement state without European-style levels of taxation on the middle class (and eventually without low European-style growth and high jobless rates). It’s looking more and more like Mr. Obama’s no-middle-class-tax pledge was one of the greatest confidence tricks in American political history.”

All that “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel for nothing: “Jordan on Monday joined Saudi Arabia in publicly rejecting U.S. appeals to improve relations with Israel to help restart Middle East peace talks, throwing a damper on the Obama administration’s push for Arab support behind new negotiations.”

And here’s the real lesson: “David Makovsky, co-author of the book of the Middle East ‘Myths, Illusions and Peace,’ assessed that the US focus on the ‘perfect’ — a complete freeze — instead of the more doable ‘good’ of halting settlement expansion had raised Arab expectations to the extent that now they don’t want to negotiate with Israel, as it is resisting the freeze. ‘It’s hard to ask the Arabs to be more Zionist that the US on settlements,’ he said. ‘We can’t meet those expectations, and instead of facilitating an early resumption of talks, we’re totally blocked.’” In short: Obama has made things worse.

A Saudi-funded school was granted permission to expand a facility in northern Virginia. Don’t worry: “The stuff about killing, it’s not there anymore.” Well, yes, the textbooks “clearly remain guided by Wahhabism, the fundamentalist school of Sunni Islam that is dominant in Saudi Arabia. [Critics] object particularly to some references to the marriage of children and say other concerns remain.”