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Posts For: October 18, 2009

Toxic Intelligence

If the 2007 Iran NIE were a radioactive element, its half-life might extend well beyond the life spans of men and nations. A Wall Street Journal piece from Saturday reveals that its toxic emissions persist: intelligence officials are now “considering whether to rewrite” it. The piece notes, however, that it would be hard to get it rewritten before President Obama’s “informal” December deadline to Iran. Until the NIE is rewritten, its freighted conclusion affords Obama the official latitude to ignore the most threatening implications of any specific development in Iran’s nuclear program, and concentrate on the process—diplomacy, negotiations, deadlines, headlines—rather than its outcome. On paper, it all looks internally coherent.

But how much longer can we wait on this stately process? Iran has been under UN sanctions since 2006. Since the NIE was written, in the summer of 2007, the number of Iran’s operational centrifuges has increased from just under 2,000 to more than 4,500. Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) has increased from 70 kg in late 2007 to more than 1,300 kg by July 2009. The nuclear weapon “break-out” threshold was passed in February 2009; by February 2010 there will be enough LEU for a second weapon. Iran’s weaponization effort through 2003, known to and dismissed by the NIE’s authors as “suspended,” focused on a payload suitable for the existing Shahab-3 missile that can reach Israel. In May 2009 Iran successfully launched a longer-range Sajjil missile that could reach Europe, with a nuclear warhead, by 2015.

Technically, the 2007 NIE did not ignore the uranium enrichment and missile development aspects of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It did not even change the 2005 NIE’s projection of when Iran might achieve a usable nuclear weapon. What it did was unprofessionally showcase a single conclusion about a four-year-old development in the weaponization aspect of Iran’s nuclear program, with the apparent purpose of prejudicing the political debate over preemptive action. It also—again unprofessionally—detoured into policy recommendation with its segment on applying international pressure to Iran.

The community’s current foot-dragging comes off not as judicious but as a ploy to time any revised assessment, yet again, for political impact. The consequences of this practice have unfolded at a relentless pace since 2007. Something Americans need to evaluate critically is the very nature of our thinking about preemption and intelligence. Aren’t the developments the intelligence community has acknowledged to date enough of a pretext for a tougher stance with Iran, up to and including preemption? That decision belongs to our political leaders, after all. It was never intelligence’s call to make.

If the 2007 Iran NIE were a radioactive element, its half-life might extend well beyond the life spans of men and nations. A Wall Street Journal piece from Saturday reveals that its toxic emissions persist: intelligence officials are now “considering whether to rewrite” it. The piece notes, however, that it would be hard to get it rewritten before President Obama’s “informal” December deadline to Iran. Until the NIE is rewritten, its freighted conclusion affords Obama the official latitude to ignore the most threatening implications of any specific development in Iran’s nuclear program, and concentrate on the process—diplomacy, negotiations, deadlines, headlines—rather than its outcome. On paper, it all looks internally coherent.

But how much longer can we wait on this stately process? Iran has been under UN sanctions since 2006. Since the NIE was written, in the summer of 2007, the number of Iran’s operational centrifuges has increased from just under 2,000 to more than 4,500. Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) has increased from 70 kg in late 2007 to more than 1,300 kg by July 2009. The nuclear weapon “break-out” threshold was passed in February 2009; by February 2010 there will be enough LEU for a second weapon. Iran’s weaponization effort through 2003, known to and dismissed by the NIE’s authors as “suspended,” focused on a payload suitable for the existing Shahab-3 missile that can reach Israel. In May 2009 Iran successfully launched a longer-range Sajjil missile that could reach Europe, with a nuclear warhead, by 2015.

Technically, the 2007 NIE did not ignore the uranium enrichment and missile development aspects of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It did not even change the 2005 NIE’s projection of when Iran might achieve a usable nuclear weapon. What it did was unprofessionally showcase a single conclusion about a four-year-old development in the weaponization aspect of Iran’s nuclear program, with the apparent purpose of prejudicing the political debate over preemptive action. It also—again unprofessionally—detoured into policy recommendation with its segment on applying international pressure to Iran.

The community’s current foot-dragging comes off not as judicious but as a ploy to time any revised assessment, yet again, for political impact. The consequences of this practice have unfolded at a relentless pace since 2007. Something Americans need to evaluate critically is the very nature of our thinking about preemption and intelligence. Aren’t the developments the intelligence community has acknowledged to date enough of a pretext for a tougher stance with Iran, up to and including preemption? That decision belongs to our political leaders, after all. It was never intelligence’s call to make.

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$13 Billion Here, $13 billion There . . . .

If you need an example of how deeply embedded the spending culture of Washington is, just consider the administration’s latest proposal.

A recent Fox News Poll reveals that more than three-quarters of Americans think the national debt is so high that it endangers the future of the country. Even 65 percent of Democrats agree with that. The majority has some powerful facts on their side. Fiscal year 2009, which ended on September 30th, had an official (translation: phony bookkeeping) budget deficit of $1.42 trillion, equal to ten percent of the economy. But the national debt actually increased by $1.80 trillion, which is over twelve percent of GDP. You have to go back to World War II to find such figures. The Congressional Budget Office expects the debt to double over the next five years and possibly triple over the next ten, even if the proposed health-care reform doesn’t add to it (which is about as likely as the sun rising in the west tomorrow morning).

The one bright spot in these dismal figures is that, because there was a slight deflation in fiscal 2009, no cost-of-living increase is needed this year for Social Security recipients to have their real income remain constant. Indeed, because of the deflation, they are better off today than they were a year ago, as cost-of-living adjustments only ratchet up, not down.

So how has the administration handled this rare piece of fiscal good news? It has suggested sending everyone on Social Security a check for $250 to compensate them for there being no cost-of-living increase. That would add another $13 billion to the national debt. To be sure, that is a mere bagatelle compared to the rate at which the national debt is increasing. It rose by twice $13 billion just in the first 15 days of this month. But, to update Senator Everett Dirksen’s famous dictum, $13 billion here, $13 billion there, and the first thing you know is you’re talking about real money.

The fact that the Social Security cost-of-living increase this year would be negligible if not nonexistent has been obvious for months. It would not have taken a PR genius to present this as the good news it is and note that it helps reduce the growth of the national debt. It’s amazing how well people react when you tell them the truth.

Instead, the Obama administration has proposed sending seniors their grandchildren’s money.

If you need an example of how deeply embedded the spending culture of Washington is, just consider the administration’s latest proposal.

A recent Fox News Poll reveals that more than three-quarters of Americans think the national debt is so high that it endangers the future of the country. Even 65 percent of Democrats agree with that. The majority has some powerful facts on their side. Fiscal year 2009, which ended on September 30th, had an official (translation: phony bookkeeping) budget deficit of $1.42 trillion, equal to ten percent of the economy. But the national debt actually increased by $1.80 trillion, which is over twelve percent of GDP. You have to go back to World War II to find such figures. The Congressional Budget Office expects the debt to double over the next five years and possibly triple over the next ten, even if the proposed health-care reform doesn’t add to it (which is about as likely as the sun rising in the west tomorrow morning).

The one bright spot in these dismal figures is that, because there was a slight deflation in fiscal 2009, no cost-of-living increase is needed this year for Social Security recipients to have their real income remain constant. Indeed, because of the deflation, they are better off today than they were a year ago, as cost-of-living adjustments only ratchet up, not down.

So how has the administration handled this rare piece of fiscal good news? It has suggested sending everyone on Social Security a check for $250 to compensate them for there being no cost-of-living increase. That would add another $13 billion to the national debt. To be sure, that is a mere bagatelle compared to the rate at which the national debt is increasing. It rose by twice $13 billion just in the first 15 days of this month. But, to update Senator Everett Dirksen’s famous dictum, $13 billion here, $13 billion there, and the first thing you know is you’re talking about real money.

The fact that the Social Security cost-of-living increase this year would be negligible if not nonexistent has been obvious for months. It would not have taken a PR genius to present this as the good news it is and note that it helps reduce the growth of the national debt. It’s amazing how well people react when you tell them the truth.

Instead, the Obama administration has proposed sending seniors their grandchildren’s money.

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What Will Jones Say?

When last we left the J Street Conference story, the lawmaker-hosts were dropping like flies. Sens. Schumer, Gillibrand, Cochran, and Lincoln had departed, as had a growing list of congressmen. It isn’t hard to see why they might not want to appear at the confab, as this details in reviewing some of the slated speakers and background on the J Street crowd:

  • Avrum Burg, former speaker of Israel’s Knesset (parliament), is closely associated with J Street; he declared that “to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end,” then went on to compare Israel to “pre-Nazi Germany.”
  • Prominent J Street member Henry Siegman compared Israel to South Africa under apartheid; he also appears to support the Walt and Mearsheimer conspiracy theory about a “Jewish lobby” that controls the American government (search on Power Line for many posts about this offensive and antisemitic absurdity — enthusiastically and monetarily endorsed by Israel’s great friend, former president Jimmy Carter);
  • J Street receives much of its funding from Arab-American and Muslim-American organizations, as well as from Palestinian and Iranian lobbying groups;
  • J Street is “bitterly hostile to the democratically-elected government of Israel” (especially now, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu);
  • Another luminary invited to speak at the Gala Dinner is “poet” Josh Healey, who suggests that Israel is at least metaphorically “writing numbers on the wrists of babies born in the ghetto called Gaza,” yet another equation of Israel to the Nazis; Healy extols a march he joined for “Palestinian solidarity.”

But the administration isn’t running away from the Israel defamers. Oh no! The administration is sending National Security Adviser James Jones. And why wouldn’t they? J Street has been blocking and tackling for Obama’s effort to put daylight between the U.S. and Israel. J Street has been cheering the engagement strategy and is opposing (as the Russians, mullahs and Hillary Clinton all are) moving ahead with sanctions. Of course the Obami want to press the flesh and encourage the J Street gang. (Can we now dispense with the fiction that the Mary Robinson Medal of Freedom award was some sort of oversight? Robinson, you may recall, was supported by J Street flacks. All one big happy family.)

But what is it that Jones will say? He could review the results of the policies that J Street cheered. The “daylight between the U.S. and Israel” strategy has been a bust and Obama’s anti-Israel gambit has reduced his support in the Jewish state to 4% while bolstering  Bibi Netanyahu’s standing. (Like Rahm Emanuel, J Street’s fondest hope is regime change, in democratic Israel that is.) Then there is Iran’s Qom secret facility, which would seem to suggest that engagement with deceptive thugs is a losing tactic. Maybe then some sober assessment by Jones would be in order. Hmm. That’s not likely to engender a warm reception however.

Perhaps Jones could take the opportunity to condemn the Goldstone report unequivocally, repudiating the handiwork of the UN Human Rights Council. That would be a breath of fresh air. But again, not what the J Street crowd is looking for. (Like Chas Freeman, when the ugliest of Israel bashers emerges, J Street goes mute.) Maybe Jones will have the nerve to restate the administration’s opposition to negotiating with Hamas. Still, that is  a view that doesn’t sit so well with the J Street crowd.

In sum, Jones will have a choice — ingratiate himself with the grab-bag of left-wingers masquerading as a “pro-Israel” outfit ,or put some … what is the word?… ah, daylight between the administration and the Israel-bashers. The spotlight will certainly be on him, and the expectations are high to make clear just how far the Obami are willing to go in alienating Israel and taking issue with the large majority of Americans (Jews and otherwise) who favor both sanctions and a military option to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. By showing up at the Israel-hate fest, the administration is going where no other administration, it is safe to say, would be willing to be seen. Now let’s see what they make of the visit.

When last we left the J Street Conference story, the lawmaker-hosts were dropping like flies. Sens. Schumer, Gillibrand, Cochran, and Lincoln had departed, as had a growing list of congressmen. It isn’t hard to see why they might not want to appear at the confab, as this details in reviewing some of the slated speakers and background on the J Street crowd:

  • Avrum Burg, former speaker of Israel’s Knesset (parliament), is closely associated with J Street; he declared that “to define the State of Israel as a Jewish state is the key to its end,” then went on to compare Israel to “pre-Nazi Germany.”
  • Prominent J Street member Henry Siegman compared Israel to South Africa under apartheid; he also appears to support the Walt and Mearsheimer conspiracy theory about a “Jewish lobby” that controls the American government (search on Power Line for many posts about this offensive and antisemitic absurdity — enthusiastically and monetarily endorsed by Israel’s great friend, former president Jimmy Carter);
  • J Street receives much of its funding from Arab-American and Muslim-American organizations, as well as from Palestinian and Iranian lobbying groups;
  • J Street is “bitterly hostile to the democratically-elected government of Israel” (especially now, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu);
  • Another luminary invited to speak at the Gala Dinner is “poet” Josh Healey, who suggests that Israel is at least metaphorically “writing numbers on the wrists of babies born in the ghetto called Gaza,” yet another equation of Israel to the Nazis; Healy extols a march he joined for “Palestinian solidarity.”

But the administration isn’t running away from the Israel defamers. Oh no! The administration is sending National Security Adviser James Jones. And why wouldn’t they? J Street has been blocking and tackling for Obama’s effort to put daylight between the U.S. and Israel. J Street has been cheering the engagement strategy and is opposing (as the Russians, mullahs and Hillary Clinton all are) moving ahead with sanctions. Of course the Obami want to press the flesh and encourage the J Street gang. (Can we now dispense with the fiction that the Mary Robinson Medal of Freedom award was some sort of oversight? Robinson, you may recall, was supported by J Street flacks. All one big happy family.)

But what is it that Jones will say? He could review the results of the policies that J Street cheered. The “daylight between the U.S. and Israel” strategy has been a bust and Obama’s anti-Israel gambit has reduced his support in the Jewish state to 4% while bolstering  Bibi Netanyahu’s standing. (Like Rahm Emanuel, J Street’s fondest hope is regime change, in democratic Israel that is.) Then there is Iran’s Qom secret facility, which would seem to suggest that engagement with deceptive thugs is a losing tactic. Maybe then some sober assessment by Jones would be in order. Hmm. That’s not likely to engender a warm reception however.

Perhaps Jones could take the opportunity to condemn the Goldstone report unequivocally, repudiating the handiwork of the UN Human Rights Council. That would be a breath of fresh air. But again, not what the J Street crowd is looking for. (Like Chas Freeman, when the ugliest of Israel bashers emerges, J Street goes mute.) Maybe Jones will have the nerve to restate the administration’s opposition to negotiating with Hamas. Still, that is  a view that doesn’t sit so well with the J Street crowd.

In sum, Jones will have a choice — ingratiate himself with the grab-bag of left-wingers masquerading as a “pro-Israel” outfit ,or put some … what is the word?… ah, daylight between the administration and the Israel-bashers. The spotlight will certainly be on him, and the expectations are high to make clear just how far the Obami are willing to go in alienating Israel and taking issue with the large majority of Americans (Jews and otherwise) who favor both sanctions and a military option to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. By showing up at the Israel-hate fest, the administration is going where no other administration, it is safe to say, would be willing to be seen. Now let’s see what they make of the visit.

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Re: Running Against the Post and Obama

Sure enough, there is fresh evidence today that the Washington Post’s enthusiasm for Creigh Deeds’ tax plans is misplaced. The press in Hampton Roads (a voter-rich area) reports that Virginians are “adamant” about not raising taxes:

Almost one of every four likely voters indicated that if the state needs to make more budget cuts, they want to start with transportation spending. . . Almost 60 percent of those polled said higher taxes aren’t needed and transportation improvements can be made without additional revenue. Those who identified themselves as Democrats were divided on the question, but Republicans and independents strongly opposed new taxes. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The polling details are even worse for the taxophile Deeds:  nearly 69 percent oppose raising the gas tax and more than 58 percent like his opponent Bob McDonnell’s plan to sell state-owned liquor stores to raise revenue for roads.

This illustrates just how out of step with Virginian voters the Post’s editorial judgment is. The Post is obsessed with abortion and gay rights. The voters are worried about taxes and roads. The Post loves the idea of new taxes. The voters hate it. It is therefore not a bad thing for a candidate to be out of step with the views of the Post’s editors. In fact, it may be a sign that he’s positioned precisely where he should be — both to win and to show up the editorial board which has long bedeviled Virginia conservative candidates.

Sure enough, there is fresh evidence today that the Washington Post’s enthusiasm for Creigh Deeds’ tax plans is misplaced. The press in Hampton Roads (a voter-rich area) reports that Virginians are “adamant” about not raising taxes:

Almost one of every four likely voters indicated that if the state needs to make more budget cuts, they want to start with transportation spending. . . Almost 60 percent of those polled said higher taxes aren’t needed and transportation improvements can be made without additional revenue. Those who identified themselves as Democrats were divided on the question, but Republicans and independents strongly opposed new taxes. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The polling details are even worse for the taxophile Deeds:  nearly 69 percent oppose raising the gas tax and more than 58 percent like his opponent Bob McDonnell’s plan to sell state-owned liquor stores to raise revenue for roads.

This illustrates just how out of step with Virginian voters the Post’s editorial judgment is. The Post is obsessed with abortion and gay rights. The voters are worried about taxes and roads. The Post loves the idea of new taxes. The voters hate it. It is therefore not a bad thing for a candidate to be out of step with the views of the Post’s editors. In fact, it may be a sign that he’s positioned precisely where he should be — both to win and to show up the editorial board which has long bedeviled Virginia conservative candidates.

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The Buck Doesn’t Stop with Biden

Toby Harnden writing in the Telegraph is worried that the president is listening to Joe Biden. Harnden rightly notes that over decades Biden has gotten almost every national security issue wrong and has made his career pontificating in the Senate, not making executive decisions. So Harnden ponders that perhaps Obama has been led astray by Biden. After all, the Afghanistan war decision-making process is so laborious and the anti-McChrystal side so cock-eyed in its thinking that it just might be Biden’s handiwork. He observes:

Having supposedly already settled on an Afghan strategy in March, he is giving a very public impression of Hamlet as he wrings his hands and conducts endless White House debates — with details leaked to the press — about what to do. These Afghanistan policy seminars are principally designed to demonstrate that Mr Obama is not the hot-headed “decider” President George W Bush. But the dithering is projecting a dangerous uncertainty about the West’s intentions to an Afghan people craving assurance that Nato is fully committed, and in for the long haul.

And Harden frets that the Biden-influenced Obama is seeking “a middle way — a ‘splitting the baby’ option that could be the worst of all possible worlds.” And naturally, the Left has adopted Biden as its standard-bearer of equivocation and timidity.

But really, there isn’t much sense in blaming or praising Biden. This is a repeat of the “Darth Vader” characterization of Dick Cheney, supposedly the “real” decision-maker and policy setter in the Bush administration. But, in fact, presidents are responsible for their own wars and presidencies. The Iraq surge was George Bush’s just as the Afghanistan war dithering is Obama’s. Biden may well be the most vocal advocate of the “we’d rather not do what it takes to win” faction. But Obama, had he the will or inclination to do so, could have short-circuited the White House seminars. He didn’t and it is he who is presiding over an embarrassing display of public angst, motivated, it seems, by domestic policy concerns. This is Obama’s decision and his war now. If he chooses not to do what is needed to win it, the fault lies with him alone.

Toby Harnden writing in the Telegraph is worried that the president is listening to Joe Biden. Harnden rightly notes that over decades Biden has gotten almost every national security issue wrong and has made his career pontificating in the Senate, not making executive decisions. So Harnden ponders that perhaps Obama has been led astray by Biden. After all, the Afghanistan war decision-making process is so laborious and the anti-McChrystal side so cock-eyed in its thinking that it just might be Biden’s handiwork. He observes:

Having supposedly already settled on an Afghan strategy in March, he is giving a very public impression of Hamlet as he wrings his hands and conducts endless White House debates — with details leaked to the press — about what to do. These Afghanistan policy seminars are principally designed to demonstrate that Mr Obama is not the hot-headed “decider” President George W Bush. But the dithering is projecting a dangerous uncertainty about the West’s intentions to an Afghan people craving assurance that Nato is fully committed, and in for the long haul.

And Harden frets that the Biden-influenced Obama is seeking “a middle way — a ‘splitting the baby’ option that could be the worst of all possible worlds.” And naturally, the Left has adopted Biden as its standard-bearer of equivocation and timidity.

But really, there isn’t much sense in blaming or praising Biden. This is a repeat of the “Darth Vader” characterization of Dick Cheney, supposedly the “real” decision-maker and policy setter in the Bush administration. But, in fact, presidents are responsible for their own wars and presidencies. The Iraq surge was George Bush’s just as the Afghanistan war dithering is Obama’s. Biden may well be the most vocal advocate of the “we’d rather not do what it takes to win” faction. But Obama, had he the will or inclination to do so, could have short-circuited the White House seminars. He didn’t and it is he who is presiding over an embarrassing display of public angst, motivated, it seems, by domestic policy concerns. This is Obama’s decision and his war now. If he chooses not to do what is needed to win it, the fault lies with him alone.

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Running Against the Post and Obama

Not exactly a shocker that the Washington Post, which strove mightily to make up for Creigh Deeds’s deficiencies (not much substance, abominable debate performances, and a horridly negative campaign, to name three), would endorse him in the Virginia gubernatorial race. And the height of hypocrisy is to claim that it is Bob McDonnell who “staked out the intolerant terrain on his party’s right wing, fighting a culture war that seized his imagination as a law student in the Reagan era.”

No, it is the Post that made this a culture war, or tried to, while McDonnell was talking taxes, cap-and-trade, jobs, and transportation. And if there was any doubt, the Post fans the flame, inciting its readers with the claim that “we worry that Mr. McDonnell’s Virginia would be one where abortion rights would be curtailed; where homosexuals would be treated as second-class citizens; where information about birth control would be hidden; and where the line between church and state could get awfully porous.” Not since Ted Kennedy’s slam on Judge Robert Bork’s America have we seen such venom, and venom with so little factual support.

But  the Post can’t help itself. They wax lyrical about Deeds’ plans to tax Virginians, a major issue in the campaign that hasn’t worked to Deeds’ benefit. One wonders whether dwelling on and praising Deeds’s promise to raise taxes really helps the Post’s favored son. Perhaps the Post once again has done Deeds no favors.

The effort by the Post nvertheless seems to be too little too late. In part, the fault lies with the Obama administration, which has given McDonnell fertile ground to plow. Deeds, in the final couple of weeks, is going to the “hope and change” well, trying to invoke Obama. But is this a help in 2009 or a hindrance? McDonnell, for his part, would love to continue talking about the Obama agenda and the encourage Virginia’s moderate and conservative voters to send a message and slow down the liberal freight train. So far, that message has been working to McDonnell’s advantage.

McDonnell, if he prevails, will be a Republican rock star. After all, how often can one candidate run against both the Washington Post and Obama and win?

Not exactly a shocker that the Washington Post, which strove mightily to make up for Creigh Deeds’s deficiencies (not much substance, abominable debate performances, and a horridly negative campaign, to name three), would endorse him in the Virginia gubernatorial race. And the height of hypocrisy is to claim that it is Bob McDonnell who “staked out the intolerant terrain on his party’s right wing, fighting a culture war that seized his imagination as a law student in the Reagan era.”

No, it is the Post that made this a culture war, or tried to, while McDonnell was talking taxes, cap-and-trade, jobs, and transportation. And if there was any doubt, the Post fans the flame, inciting its readers with the claim that “we worry that Mr. McDonnell’s Virginia would be one where abortion rights would be curtailed; where homosexuals would be treated as second-class citizens; where information about birth control would be hidden; and where the line between church and state could get awfully porous.” Not since Ted Kennedy’s slam on Judge Robert Bork’s America have we seen such venom, and venom with so little factual support.

But  the Post can’t help itself. They wax lyrical about Deeds’ plans to tax Virginians, a major issue in the campaign that hasn’t worked to Deeds’ benefit. One wonders whether dwelling on and praising Deeds’s promise to raise taxes really helps the Post’s favored son. Perhaps the Post once again has done Deeds no favors.

The effort by the Post nvertheless seems to be too little too late. In part, the fault lies with the Obama administration, which has given McDonnell fertile ground to plow. Deeds, in the final couple of weeks, is going to the “hope and change” well, trying to invoke Obama. But is this a help in 2009 or a hindrance? McDonnell, for his part, would love to continue talking about the Obama agenda and the encourage Virginia’s moderate and conservative voters to send a message and slow down the liberal freight train. So far, that message has been working to McDonnell’s advantage.

McDonnell, if he prevails, will be a Republican rock star. After all, how often can one candidate run against both the Washington Post and Obama and win?

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Other than this, no sweat: “Three forces threaten Democrats in the 2010 elections: populist anger on the right, disaffection in the middle and potential disillusionment on the left.”

And the White House is in a spat with a Big Labor ally.

Noemie Emery on Polanski, Letterman, and Nobelists embarrassing themselves: “If there were a Nobel Prize for shark-jumping, these people would share it: They have proved themselves more inane than their critics imagined. With friends such as these, the left hardly needs enemies. And with enemies such as these, the right may not really need friends.”

And  from the side-splitting take by P. J. O’Rourke: “The peace prize committee members have achieved what Buddhists call satori. Enlightenment came to them through contemplation of an ancient Zen koan, ‘What is the sound of one American president doing *$@#-all?’ The answer is “ka-ching” — a $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize. The five members of the prize selection committee (chosen by the Norwegian Parliament, apparently at random from the local methadone clinic) will now travel the world offering all of humanity release from the endless cycle of death and rebirth.”

The Washington Post editors make a key point: if we are concerned about Afghanistan governance the answer is not to bug out: “A confirmation by Mr. Obama that he will provide the troops and other resources necessary to turn back the Taliban will by itself strengthen the government’s authority around the country, and it could give it the confidence to take on necessary reforms. In contrast, if Mr. Obama withholds the resources that U.S. military commanders say they need, Afghanistan’s government will look for other means of survival — and Afghans will turn to other authorities.” Seems like a redux of Iraq: liberals again are ready to find the government not up to their standards, and therefore a convenient excuse for doing what they wanted to do anyway (i.e., leave).

Yeah, whatever happened to sending NATO troops to Sudan? Biden and Obama have had another change of heart. Apparently appeasement is too tempting for this crowd.

The $250 bribe to seniors provokes this response from Newt Gingrich: “‘Let’s run up the debt and taxes on our grandchildren!’ That could be the slogan of the Obama administration and the liberal Democrats who control Congress. On every front they are increasing spending, increasing taxes, or both.”

It make sense that a Philadelphia paper would endorse Jon Corzine — he’s been great for business start ups. In Pennsylvania.

Other than this, no sweat: “Three forces threaten Democrats in the 2010 elections: populist anger on the right, disaffection in the middle and potential disillusionment on the left.”

And the White House is in a spat with a Big Labor ally.

Noemie Emery on Polanski, Letterman, and Nobelists embarrassing themselves: “If there were a Nobel Prize for shark-jumping, these people would share it: They have proved themselves more inane than their critics imagined. With friends such as these, the left hardly needs enemies. And with enemies such as these, the right may not really need friends.”

And  from the side-splitting take by P. J. O’Rourke: “The peace prize committee members have achieved what Buddhists call satori. Enlightenment came to them through contemplation of an ancient Zen koan, ‘What is the sound of one American president doing *$@#-all?’ The answer is “ka-ching” — a $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize. The five members of the prize selection committee (chosen by the Norwegian Parliament, apparently at random from the local methadone clinic) will now travel the world offering all of humanity release from the endless cycle of death and rebirth.”

The Washington Post editors make a key point: if we are concerned about Afghanistan governance the answer is not to bug out: “A confirmation by Mr. Obama that he will provide the troops and other resources necessary to turn back the Taliban will by itself strengthen the government’s authority around the country, and it could give it the confidence to take on necessary reforms. In contrast, if Mr. Obama withholds the resources that U.S. military commanders say they need, Afghanistan’s government will look for other means of survival — and Afghans will turn to other authorities.” Seems like a redux of Iraq: liberals again are ready to find the government not up to their standards, and therefore a convenient excuse for doing what they wanted to do anyway (i.e., leave).

Yeah, whatever happened to sending NATO troops to Sudan? Biden and Obama have had another change of heart. Apparently appeasement is too tempting for this crowd.

The $250 bribe to seniors provokes this response from Newt Gingrich: “‘Let’s run up the debt and taxes on our grandchildren!’ That could be the slogan of the Obama administration and the liberal Democrats who control Congress. On every front they are increasing spending, increasing taxes, or both.”

It make sense that a Philadelphia paper would endorse Jon Corzine — he’s been great for business start ups. In Pennsylvania.

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