Commentary Magazine


Posts For: October 11, 2009

America’s Not Big Enough for Him

Conservatives couldn’t have dreamed up a clarifying event this effective. But thanks to the Nobel Peace Prize, an epidemic of common sense and queasiness about multiculturalism is breaking out even among liberals.  Howard Fineman writes:

Obama isn’t going to be sworn in as planetary president. But it doesn’t matter; in his mind, he already is. From the time he announced his candidacy, his appeal—and his sense of himself—has been global. After years of war and fear, he would be what George W. Bush was not: a man who thought of the whole world first and viewed it as one multicultural family.

Fineman is inspired enough by this spasm of international foolishness to remind his Newsweek readers that playing to the Nobel Prize Committee and like-minded fans in the “international community” just may not be a good thing. Turns out that the international community doesn’t always want what’s in our best interests:

For one, what the world wants is not necessarily what America needs, or what the voters care about. Most of the world wants us to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Most of the world would like to see the dollar lose its role as the reserve currency. Many, many citizens of the world think that Hugo Chávez is a cool dude and that Iran has every right to buy uranium centrifuges and stash them underground.

But Obama wants to redefine what’s “in our best interests” and, indeed, to redefine the “our.” Obama says he doesn’t want to bug out of Afghanistan but is thinking up ways not to fulfill the mission (his own) of ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban. He talks a good game on the dollar, yet we’re doing nothing to arrest the dollar’s slide.

Liberal pundits have constructed a grand justification for Obama’s creepy un-nationalism: he’s cleverly getting world opinion on our side so he can further our interests. Yes, as Jon Lovitz used to say on Saturday Night Live, “That’s the ticket!” Well, if that’s the case, the “investment” in bad-mouthing America, unilaterally disarming, and turning on allies isn’t paying off. There is precious little to show—other than a prize for him—for all this. And that explains why not just conservatives but mainstream pundits as well are getting somewhat wary of the president, who doesn’t seem very interested in being the president of just one country.

Conservatives couldn’t have dreamed up a clarifying event this effective. But thanks to the Nobel Peace Prize, an epidemic of common sense and queasiness about multiculturalism is breaking out even among liberals.  Howard Fineman writes:

Obama isn’t going to be sworn in as planetary president. But it doesn’t matter; in his mind, he already is. From the time he announced his candidacy, his appeal—and his sense of himself—has been global. After years of war and fear, he would be what George W. Bush was not: a man who thought of the whole world first and viewed it as one multicultural family.

Fineman is inspired enough by this spasm of international foolishness to remind his Newsweek readers that playing to the Nobel Prize Committee and like-minded fans in the “international community” just may not be a good thing. Turns out that the international community doesn’t always want what’s in our best interests:

For one, what the world wants is not necessarily what America needs, or what the voters care about. Most of the world wants us to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan right now. Most of the world would like to see the dollar lose its role as the reserve currency. Many, many citizens of the world think that Hugo Chávez is a cool dude and that Iran has every right to buy uranium centrifuges and stash them underground.

But Obama wants to redefine what’s “in our best interests” and, indeed, to redefine the “our.” Obama says he doesn’t want to bug out of Afghanistan but is thinking up ways not to fulfill the mission (his own) of ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban. He talks a good game on the dollar, yet we’re doing nothing to arrest the dollar’s slide.

Liberal pundits have constructed a grand justification for Obama’s creepy un-nationalism: he’s cleverly getting world opinion on our side so he can further our interests. Yes, as Jon Lovitz used to say on Saturday Night Live, “That’s the ticket!” Well, if that’s the case, the “investment” in bad-mouthing America, unilaterally disarming, and turning on allies isn’t paying off. There is precious little to show—other than a prize for him—for all this. And that explains why not just conservatives but mainstream pundits as well are getting somewhat wary of the president, who doesn’t seem very interested in being the president of just one country.

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Oversight by Default

The Democratic-dominated Congress has made it perfectly obvious that it has no interest in exercising oversight of the Obama administration. No ACORN investigation, no probe into why the administration meandered through nine months of engagement with Iran despite knowledge of the Qom enrichment site, and definitely no hearings on the dismissal of the New Black Panther voting-intimidation case. Into the void has stepped the U. S. Civil Rights Commission. Last week the commission was at it again.

On Friday, the commission’s chairman and four commissioners sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on the subject of ACORN and its involvement in voting fraud, a topic within the commission’s statutory jurisdiction. They reminded Holder of the lopsided Senate and House votes to cut off funding for ACORN, as well as the commission’s previous correspondence to then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate ACORN’s alleged activities (“filing possibly hundreds of thousands of fraudulent voter registration applications in some fourteen states — an invidious invitation for corruption in our election process”). And they called on the Justice Department “to investigate and root out ACORN corruption with a nationwide probe.”

Now, one would think that the Department of Justice, in such a widespread and highly publicized voter-corruption case, would need no urging to investigate and enforce federal law. And one would also think that congressmen and senators who bemoaned the supposed lack of civil rights enforcement in the Bush administration would be interested in determining whether the right to vote of ordinary citizens was infringed upon by a systematic scheme to  dilute lawfully cast votes. But no. So the task of both informing the public and spurring government action falls to an independent commission with limited resources, staff, and budget.

One additional note: the same day that the letter to Holder was sent, the commission sent correspondence to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a list of Democratic and Republican House leaders objecting to the pending health-care bill’s provision giving “preferential treatment [in medical and dental schools and other institutions which train health-care professionals] in admissions to members of underrepresented minorities.” As the commissioners explain, this measure falsely assumes that racial health disparities are caused by a shortage of medical professionals from minority groups and will most likely be found unconstitutional. One can imagine that the newly confirmed civil rights chief Thomas Perez isn’t likely to give similar legal advice to Congress.

It seems then that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is the lone entity in Washington concerned with robust enforcement of federal voting laws without regard to the political connections of the alleged perpetrators and with adherence to constitutionally sound lawmaking on matters of race.

The Democratic-dominated Congress has made it perfectly obvious that it has no interest in exercising oversight of the Obama administration. No ACORN investigation, no probe into why the administration meandered through nine months of engagement with Iran despite knowledge of the Qom enrichment site, and definitely no hearings on the dismissal of the New Black Panther voting-intimidation case. Into the void has stepped the U. S. Civil Rights Commission. Last week the commission was at it again.

On Friday, the commission’s chairman and four commissioners sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on the subject of ACORN and its involvement in voting fraud, a topic within the commission’s statutory jurisdiction. They reminded Holder of the lopsided Senate and House votes to cut off funding for ACORN, as well as the commission’s previous correspondence to then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate ACORN’s alleged activities (“filing possibly hundreds of thousands of fraudulent voter registration applications in some fourteen states — an invidious invitation for corruption in our election process”). And they called on the Justice Department “to investigate and root out ACORN corruption with a nationwide probe.”

Now, one would think that the Department of Justice, in such a widespread and highly publicized voter-corruption case, would need no urging to investigate and enforce federal law. And one would also think that congressmen and senators who bemoaned the supposed lack of civil rights enforcement in the Bush administration would be interested in determining whether the right to vote of ordinary citizens was infringed upon by a systematic scheme to  dilute lawfully cast votes. But no. So the task of both informing the public and spurring government action falls to an independent commission with limited resources, staff, and budget.

One additional note: the same day that the letter to Holder was sent, the commission sent correspondence to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a list of Democratic and Republican House leaders objecting to the pending health-care bill’s provision giving “preferential treatment [in medical and dental schools and other institutions which train health-care professionals] in admissions to members of underrepresented minorities.” As the commissioners explain, this measure falsely assumes that racial health disparities are caused by a shortage of medical professionals from minority groups and will most likely be found unconstitutional. One can imagine that the newly confirmed civil rights chief Thomas Perez isn’t likely to give similar legal advice to Congress.

It seems then that the U.S. Civil Rights Commission is the lone entity in Washington concerned with robust enforcement of federal voting laws without regard to the political connections of the alleged perpetrators and with adherence to constitutionally sound lawmaking on matters of race.

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Announcement

We’re doing some maintenance today, so there will be no new posting until Sunday evening.

We’re doing some maintenance today, so there will be no new posting until Sunday evening.

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