Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Ellen Bork goes after the Obami on their pathetic human-rights record regarding China: “President Obama rejects the ‘purity of indignation’ in response to repression. But the approach he favors–’bearing witness’–is too passive. If there is a new direction for the administration’s human rights policy, it needs to respond effectively to the persecution of a Chinese dissident who represents the most significant movement for political reform in a decade.”

Might it have something to do with ObamaCare? “Republican candidates have bounced back to a seven-point lead over Democrats in the latest edition of the Generic Congressional Ballot. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 44% would vote for their district’s Republican congressional candidate while 37% would opt for his or her Democratic opponent.”

Stuart Rothenberg on the 2010 Senate outlook, which looks dramatically different than it did 11 months ago: “As 2009 draws to a close, Democrats now could lose seats, a dramatic change from January that could end the party’s 60-seat majority in less than two years. And GOP gains could be large enough to sink any major Democratic initiatives not passed before Congress adjourns for the midterm elections.”

Howard Dean stumbles onto a great idea: kill ObamaCare. Now, before you get excited, he wants to use reconciliation to jam through a more liberal bill. But still.

AARP endorses ObamaCare and hundreds of millions in Medicare-funding cuts. Their members, who like their Medicare Advantage and already have problems finding doctors who take Medicare patients, may not be pleased.

Another poll, another batch of bad news for Obama: “A double punch of persistent economic discontent and growing skepticism on health care reform has knocked Barack Obama’s key approval ratings to new lows, clouding his administration’s prospects at least until the jobless rate eases. Fifty percent of Americans in this ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the president’s work overall, down 6 points in the last month; nearly as many, 46 percent, now disapprove. On the economy, 52 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. On the deficit, his worst score, 56 percent disapprove.” And by a 51 to 44 percent margin, they oppose ObamaCare.

After being called a murderer and a double-crosser by the Left, who can blame him? “In an interview today with CNN’s Dana Bash, Sen. Joe Lieberman said it’s possible he will run as a Republican when he campaigns for re-election to his Senate seat in 2012. Although he said it’s most likely he’ll run as an Independent, he’s keeping all his options open.”

The “audacity of debt“: “At least someone in America isn’t feeling a credit squeeze: Uncle Sam. This week Congress will vote to raise the national debt ceiling by nearly $2 trillion, to a total of $14 trillion. In this economy, everyone de-leverages except government. It’s a sign of how deep the fiscal pathologies run in this Congress that $2 trillion will buy the federal government only one year before it has to seek another debt hike—conveniently timed to come after the midterm elections. Since Democrats began running Congress again in 2007, the federal debt limit has climbed by 39%. The new hike will lift the borrowing cap by another 15%.”

Michael Gerson on ObamaCare: “Democratic health reform legislation promises everything to everyone while imposing a series of hidden burdens to make a massive new entitlement affordable, at least on paper. So its authors are in a game of beat the clock: Pass the legislation before those burdens are fully disclosed to the public. … How long before the young and the old, union workers and the millions in desperate need of Botox realize that the health-care free lunch is to be provided at their expense?” I think they’ve figured it out, but senators are voting for it anyway.

Why Walter Russell Mead gives Obama a D and not an F on the Middle East: “This was a complete screw up. The only reason it isn’t an F is that there’s still time to do better.”