Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

From on independent voters’ view of Obama’s performance: disapproval 46.6 percent, approval 45.5 percent.

The Economist poll is the latest showing Obama below 50 percent—48 percent to be exact. And this might have something to do with the decision to investigate CIA operatives: “In this week’s poll, only 39% approve of the president’s handling of terrorism—down from 43% last week, and a new low.”

You think his American poll numbers are bad: “The number of Israelis who see US President Barack Obama’s policies as pro-Israel has fallen to 4 percent, according to a Smith Research poll taken this week on behalf of The Jerusalem Post. Fifty-one percent of Jewish Israelis consider Obama’s administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israel, according to the survey, while 35% consider it neutral and 10% declined to express an opinion.”

New Hampshire Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes interacts with a voter at a health-care town hall: “When Hodes explained that the House version of the bill was deficit-neutral but included a ‘surcharge’ on the wealthiest Americans, [local headmaster Jim] Clements quickly interjected. ‘That’s another name for higher taxes?’ he asked, and Hodes clarified that was indeed what he meant.”

John McCain says there’s been no real negotiation on health care. He must not have heard: Obama won.

Another lukewarm Democrat on ObamaCare: “U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said that a so-called ‘public option’ in the health care bill is optional for him—and said he is not yet committed to backing the plan being put together by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus. Tester said Wednesday he could envision voting for a health care reform bill with or without the option that would let the uninsured buy into a Medicare type government program. ‘I don’t need it either way,’ Tester told The Associated Press between meetings with constituents. ‘I could either support it or not support it. It’s all in the design.’ ”

Stephen Hayes eviscerates Greg Sargent on whether the enhanced interrogation techniques worked. Given their effectiveness, Hayes observes regarding the CIA’ s Inspector General report: “It is no wonder the left is compelled to distort its contents.” One almost senses that the Left can’t even bring themselves to read the contents. Or have they lost the ability to engage real opposition on the facts?

News flash for New Republic readers: there is a ”highly convincing argument that radical Islam today is in fact a totalitarian movement with totalitarian ideology and totalitarian methods.” No! Next thing you know, we’ll find out they want to kill Jews and Americans.

An apt summary of Ted Kennedy by Bill Kristol: “He continued to advocate policies that had long-ago been proven — in my view — not to work, and the one thing, again, beside his personal life, the one thing I really would not forgive him for was the speech denouncing Robert Bork totally unfairly. He was entitled to oppose Robert Bork when he was nominated to the Supreme Court, but this famous speech in which he made it seem as if Bob Bork was in favor of segregating blacks and discriminating against people was really not — a low-point in popular American politics.” Another low point was his personal attacks on now Justice Sam Alito. Kennedy was in a class by himself when it came to judicial nominees.

No, Mitt Romney is not silly enough to run for Senate in Massachusetts. I think he’s had quite enough trouble with the divergence between Bay State and national Republican politics. And what does he want to do in the Senate anyway?

Marc Ambinder on the Virginia gubernatorial race: “In Virginia, Republican Attorney General Bob McDonnell has run a pitch-perfect gubernatorial campaign, focusing almost entirely on the economy, eschewing cultural issue propaganda, touting his ties to Northern Virginia, not being scary, portraying his opponent, Creigh Deeds, as a tax-and-spend Democrat. . . . Deeds is more conservative on cultural issues than his reputation would suggest, and that could help him in some areas. He will need Barack Obama to be more popular than he currently is, and Deeds will need to replicate his 2005 success among black voters. (It did not help matters when Doug Wilder, the former Democratic governor, refused to endorse him.)” Deeds’s social-conservative record does, however, make his effort to scare voters on abortion a bit more problematic.