Commentary Magazine


Posts For: July 13, 2010

Peerless Satirical Brilliance

Iowahawk’s latest — a picaresque tale in the 18th century style featuring the Rev. John St. Edwards and the Reverend Albert des Gores II. He calls it “The Two Randy Vicars.”

Iowahawk’s latest — a picaresque tale in the 18th century style featuring the Rev. John St. Edwards and the Reverend Albert des Gores II. He calls it “The Two Randy Vicars.”

Read Less

RE: Vindication On Sudan?

Unlike the Washington Post reporter who assured us that the U.S. had been vindicated on its approach to Sudan, the AP has figured out what’s going on:

The words of the Obama administration were unequivocal: Sudan must do more to fight terror and improve human rights. If it did, it would be rewarded. If not, it would be punished.

Nine months later, problems with Sudan have grown worse. Yet the administration has not clamped down. If anything, it has made small conciliatory gestures.

Activists say the backtracking sends a message that the United States is not serious about confronting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, whom an international court charged with genocide on Monday.

The report highlights that there has never been any real method of measuring whether our “engagement” is working, despite the promise by UN Ambassador Susan Rice that there would be “significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still.” In practice, the Obami have done nothing:

“There will be no rewards for the status quo, no incentives without concrete and tangible progress,” said the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. “There will be significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still. All parties will be held to account.”

Since then, there has been backsliding, as the administration has acknowledged. It issued a statement Friday, together with Norway and the United Kingdom, criticizing Sudan for worsening human rights violations throughout the country and for breaking cease-fires in Darfur, noting its use of aerial bombardment and the deployment of local militias.

Yet the U.S. has not punished Sudan. Instead, it has offered small incentives. The State Department recently expanded visa services for Sudanese citizens in its embassy in Khartoum. It also sent a low-level representative to al-Bashir’s inauguration.

Administration officials say Sudan is regularly discussed at high-level meetings. Officials say they use indicators to measure progress in Sudan, but have declined to say what those indicators are. Even a top lawmaker dealing with Africa issues, Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., said he has difficulty getting information.

“I haven’t heard what the benchmarks are or what specifically will be done if they are not met,” said Payne, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Africa subcommittee.

The White House’s top Africa policy adviser, Michelle Gavin, said the administration never intended to have specific metrics that would automatically prompt a reaction. Instead, the White House would use the indicators to continually reassess its policy.

But there has been no reassessment. I don’t often agree with the Center for American Progress, but the head of its anti-genocide program is spot on when he concludes that giving Sudan a “pass” was a mistake:

“If the parties, particularly the ruling party, do not understand that there will be real consequences for a return to war, and real benefits for peace in the country, then the U.S. has lost its biggest point of influence in the effort to avert the worst-case scenario.”

In other words, whether by design or execution, the Obama policy has been a complete failure. Sounds like the Middle East.

Unlike the Washington Post reporter who assured us that the U.S. had been vindicated on its approach to Sudan, the AP has figured out what’s going on:

The words of the Obama administration were unequivocal: Sudan must do more to fight terror and improve human rights. If it did, it would be rewarded. If not, it would be punished.

Nine months later, problems with Sudan have grown worse. Yet the administration has not clamped down. If anything, it has made small conciliatory gestures.

Activists say the backtracking sends a message that the United States is not serious about confronting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, whom an international court charged with genocide on Monday.

The report highlights that there has never been any real method of measuring whether our “engagement” is working, despite the promise by UN Ambassador Susan Rice that there would be “significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still.” In practice, the Obami have done nothing:

“There will be no rewards for the status quo, no incentives without concrete and tangible progress,” said the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice. “There will be significant consequences for parties that backslide or simply stand still. All parties will be held to account.”

Since then, there has been backsliding, as the administration has acknowledged. It issued a statement Friday, together with Norway and the United Kingdom, criticizing Sudan for worsening human rights violations throughout the country and for breaking cease-fires in Darfur, noting its use of aerial bombardment and the deployment of local militias.

Yet the U.S. has not punished Sudan. Instead, it has offered small incentives. The State Department recently expanded visa services for Sudanese citizens in its embassy in Khartoum. It also sent a low-level representative to al-Bashir’s inauguration.

Administration officials say Sudan is regularly discussed at high-level meetings. Officials say they use indicators to measure progress in Sudan, but have declined to say what those indicators are. Even a top lawmaker dealing with Africa issues, Rep. Donald Payne, D-N.J., said he has difficulty getting information.

“I haven’t heard what the benchmarks are or what specifically will be done if they are not met,” said Payne, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Africa subcommittee.

The White House’s top Africa policy adviser, Michelle Gavin, said the administration never intended to have specific metrics that would automatically prompt a reaction. Instead, the White House would use the indicators to continually reassess its policy.

But there has been no reassessment. I don’t often agree with the Center for American Progress, but the head of its anti-genocide program is spot on when he concludes that giving Sudan a “pass” was a mistake:

“If the parties, particularly the ruling party, do not understand that there will be real consequences for a return to war, and real benefits for peace in the country, then the U.S. has lost its biggest point of influence in the effort to avert the worst-case scenario.”

In other words, whether by design or execution, the Obama policy has been a complete failure. Sounds like the Middle East.

Read Less

It’s Time to Tea Party Again

Powerline has a great clip of a town hall meeting in the 27th Congressional district of California, represented by Democrat Brad Sherman.

Congressman Sherman actually claims not to have heard of the New Black Panther case or its dismissal by the Justice Department. The crowd is not amused, to put it mildly.

I hope YouTube is positively crawling with clips like this one for the rest of the summer.

Powerline has a great clip of a town hall meeting in the 27th Congressional district of California, represented by Democrat Brad Sherman.

Congressman Sherman actually claims not to have heard of the New Black Panther case or its dismissal by the Justice Department. The crowd is not amused, to put it mildly.

I hope YouTube is positively crawling with clips like this one for the rest of the summer.

Read Less

Rand Paul Really Is Against the Afghanistan War

Rich Lowry tells us that Rand Paul let on that his foreign-policy views aren’t much different than his father’s. Rich writes:

He clearly thinks we have no business being in Afghanistan anymore, although he’s very reluctant to come out and say it. At one point he even seemed to suggest he doesn’t want to give his personal view of the war out of respect for the Constitution (it’s not the role of Congress to micro-manage wars.

(He does know that Congress funds wars, right?)

Whoa. We just went through a flap with Michael Steele over his statements on Afghanistan. Granted,  Steele added to his woes by making the obnoxious and inaccurate comment that it was Obama’s war. But the substance of Steele’s comments were rejected by every Republican official — except Rep. Ron Paul — and by the vast majority of conservative pundits. In a chorus, they declared that this war is essential to America’s security and that support for it is a basic tenet of the GOP. So what, then, is the rationale for those conservatives to support Paul for the Senate?

In a real sense, this is more troubling than his civil rights lunacy. The 1964 Civil Rights Act isn’t coming up for a vote anytime soon, but support for the war sure will. If he’s fundamentally opposed to a critical aspect of the war on Islamic terror — and doesn’t have the courage to say so — it’s hard to fathom why voters who want a robust effort to defeat Islamic terrorists shouldn’t be very, very concerned. Sometimes politics triumphs over policy; but on issues of war and peace, shouldn’t good policy trump partisan loyalty?

Rich Lowry tells us that Rand Paul let on that his foreign-policy views aren’t much different than his father’s. Rich writes:

He clearly thinks we have no business being in Afghanistan anymore, although he’s very reluctant to come out and say it. At one point he even seemed to suggest he doesn’t want to give his personal view of the war out of respect for the Constitution (it’s not the role of Congress to micro-manage wars.

(He does know that Congress funds wars, right?)

Whoa. We just went through a flap with Michael Steele over his statements on Afghanistan. Granted,  Steele added to his woes by making the obnoxious and inaccurate comment that it was Obama’s war. But the substance of Steele’s comments were rejected by every Republican official — except Rep. Ron Paul — and by the vast majority of conservative pundits. In a chorus, they declared that this war is essential to America’s security and that support for it is a basic tenet of the GOP. So what, then, is the rationale for those conservatives to support Paul for the Senate?

In a real sense, this is more troubling than his civil rights lunacy. The 1964 Civil Rights Act isn’t coming up for a vote anytime soon, but support for the war sure will. If he’s fundamentally opposed to a critical aspect of the war on Islamic terror — and doesn’t have the courage to say so — it’s hard to fathom why voters who want a robust effort to defeat Islamic terrorists shouldn’t be very, very concerned. Sometimes politics triumphs over policy; but on issues of war and peace, shouldn’t good policy trump partisan loyalty?

Read Less

RE: What’s the Problem?

Like Ambassador Bolton, Sen. Joe Lieberman thinks more is better when it comes to defenders of Israel. In a statement, he explains: “Given the security challenges facing the United States and Israel, I welcome a new voice dedicated to strengthening the critical alliance between our country and our valued ally.”

Really, who among the truly pro-Israel could object?

Like Ambassador Bolton, Sen. Joe Lieberman thinks more is better when it comes to defenders of Israel. In a statement, he explains: “Given the security challenges facing the United States and Israel, I welcome a new voice dedicated to strengthening the critical alliance between our country and our valued ally.”

Really, who among the truly pro-Israel could object?

Read Less

Obama’s Whiplash Diplomacy

The executive director of the Arab American Institute, James Zogby, writes that the Obama-Netanyahu press conference last week gave him “a bad case of whiplash”:

I had fair warning that this visit would be different than the last, reportedly testy, encounter between these two leaders. And so I should have been prepared for the fact that tough love would be replaced by just plain love. I just wasn’t prepared for how much love. And so I confess that I found the apparent public pass Netanyahu received on settlements, the U.S. threat to boycott a summit on Middle East non-proliferation, and all the “unwaverings” and “unbreakables” to be a bit too much to ingest.

Wait until Zogby finds out that the “testy” meeting last March (the one held after-hours, with no photos and no press, with Netanyahu leaving the White House unescorted late at night, having been ambushed by Obama) was actually a “terrific” meeting. That is the description Obama used in his interview with Israeli TV last week — the first he has given to Israeli media in the 18 months of his administration.

It is in fact all a bit whiplash-producing and somewhat reminiscent of the old saying about history in the Soviet Union — there the future was always known; it was the past that kept changing. In Obama’s new narrative, relations with Netanyahu are not only currently excellent but retroactively terrific as well.

Obama’s “unwavering commitments” are becoming the new “let me be clear.” They include his “unwavering” commitments to comprehensive immigration reform (which left Lindsey Graham unconvinced); to NASA (after he slashed its budget); to the gay community (in response to their growing impatience); and to Afghanistan (at least until next July). After canceling the U.S. commitment to build an anti-missile shield in Poland, Obama sent Joe Biden to tell the Poles: “Make no mistake about it: our commitment to Poland is unwavering.” This is the same message Biden delivered to Georgia, even as Russian troops continue their occupation while Obama’s reset proceeds apace. It is the rhetorical response of choice after Obama’s actions or inaction call into question one of his commitments.

After a year of sending signals to the international community that the U.S. commitment to Israel was wavering, it is good that it is unwavering again. But after November 2, whiplash may strike again. It would not be the first time.

The executive director of the Arab American Institute, James Zogby, writes that the Obama-Netanyahu press conference last week gave him “a bad case of whiplash”:

I had fair warning that this visit would be different than the last, reportedly testy, encounter between these two leaders. And so I should have been prepared for the fact that tough love would be replaced by just plain love. I just wasn’t prepared for how much love. And so I confess that I found the apparent public pass Netanyahu received on settlements, the U.S. threat to boycott a summit on Middle East non-proliferation, and all the “unwaverings” and “unbreakables” to be a bit too much to ingest.

Wait until Zogby finds out that the “testy” meeting last March (the one held after-hours, with no photos and no press, with Netanyahu leaving the White House unescorted late at night, having been ambushed by Obama) was actually a “terrific” meeting. That is the description Obama used in his interview with Israeli TV last week — the first he has given to Israeli media in the 18 months of his administration.

It is in fact all a bit whiplash-producing and somewhat reminiscent of the old saying about history in the Soviet Union — there the future was always known; it was the past that kept changing. In Obama’s new narrative, relations with Netanyahu are not only currently excellent but retroactively terrific as well.

Obama’s “unwavering commitments” are becoming the new “let me be clear.” They include his “unwavering” commitments to comprehensive immigration reform (which left Lindsey Graham unconvinced); to NASA (after he slashed its budget); to the gay community (in response to their growing impatience); and to Afghanistan (at least until next July). After canceling the U.S. commitment to build an anti-missile shield in Poland, Obama sent Joe Biden to tell the Poles: “Make no mistake about it: our commitment to Poland is unwavering.” This is the same message Biden delivered to Georgia, even as Russian troops continue their occupation while Obama’s reset proceeds apace. It is the rhetorical response of choice after Obama’s actions or inaction call into question one of his commitments.

After a year of sending signals to the international community that the U.S. commitment to Israel was wavering, it is good that it is unwavering again. But after November 2, whiplash may strike again. It would not be the first time.

Read Less

What’s the Problem?

Ambassador John Bolton comments via e-mail on the Emergency Committee for Israel:

I don’t understand why so many people accept the Obama Administration’s ritualistic recital of the pro-Israel catechism, rather than looking at its specific policies and actions. You can say “unbreakable relationship” as many times as you want, but it has no real-world impact. I don’t see how anybody can object to a new group that simply points out the obvious disjunction between what Obama and his acolytes are saying and what they are actually doing.

Indeed. The reaction on the left will speak volumes about its sensitivity on just this point. Are the leftists pro-Obama’s-Israel-policy, or are they truly pro-Israel? There is a difference, one they’d rather not have highlighted, especially in an election year.

Ambassador John Bolton comments via e-mail on the Emergency Committee for Israel:

I don’t understand why so many people accept the Obama Administration’s ritualistic recital of the pro-Israel catechism, rather than looking at its specific policies and actions. You can say “unbreakable relationship” as many times as you want, but it has no real-world impact. I don’t see how anybody can object to a new group that simply points out the obvious disjunction between what Obama and his acolytes are saying and what they are actually doing.

Indeed. The reaction on the left will speak volumes about its sensitivity on just this point. Are the leftists pro-Obama’s-Israel-policy, or are they truly pro-Israel? There is a difference, one they’d rather not have highlighted, especially in an election year.

Read Less

California Really Is in Play

Politico reports:

It looks like that demon sheep has showed up snarling on Sen. Barbara Boxer’s doorstep. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the controversial Silicon Valley executive who exploded into the California Senate race with a series of colorful viral videos, is holding the Democratic senator to at least a tie, according to two polls released in the last week. An automated SurveyUSA poll published Monday showed Fiorina narrowly ahead of Boxer, leading the three-term senator, 47 percent to 45 percent. That’s within the poll’s four-point margin of error, but it comes just days after the Field Poll showed Boxer with only a narrow advantage in her fight for a new term, leading Fiorina by three percentage points.

At the very least, these polls will force the Democrats to spend millions (California is a mighty expensive state to campaign in) and will put pressure on Boxer to emerge from her cocoon and agree to Fiorina’s invitation to debate. Boxer has frankly coasted through many election cycles with candidates who were inept or underfunded (or both). Now that she has a viable, articulate opponent, she’ll have to explain her dogged pursuit of a far-left agenda. Maybe that is what California voters want, but I’m thinking they’ll be startled to see just how shrill and liberal their incumbent senator is.

Politico reports:

It looks like that demon sheep has showed up snarling on Sen. Barbara Boxer’s doorstep. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the controversial Silicon Valley executive who exploded into the California Senate race with a series of colorful viral videos, is holding the Democratic senator to at least a tie, according to two polls released in the last week. An automated SurveyUSA poll published Monday showed Fiorina narrowly ahead of Boxer, leading the three-term senator, 47 percent to 45 percent. That’s within the poll’s four-point margin of error, but it comes just days after the Field Poll showed Boxer with only a narrow advantage in her fight for a new term, leading Fiorina by three percentage points.

At the very least, these polls will force the Democrats to spend millions (California is a mighty expensive state to campaign in) and will put pressure on Boxer to emerge from her cocoon and agree to Fiorina’s invitation to debate. Boxer has frankly coasted through many election cycles with candidates who were inept or underfunded (or both). Now that she has a viable, articulate opponent, she’ll have to explain her dogged pursuit of a far-left agenda. Maybe that is what California voters want, but I’m thinking they’ll be startled to see just how shrill and liberal their incumbent senator is.

Read Less

Democrats Upset Their Lagging Support for Israel Is an Issue

David A. Harris, the President and CEO of the National Democratic Jewish Council, had this response to the launch of the Emergency Committee for Israel and, specifically, to ECI board member Gary Bauer (who observed that this is “the most anti-Israel administration in the history of the United States”):

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and others have it right when they stress the importance of bipartisanship in supporting a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. In contrast, Gary Bauer shows this new group’s true colors when he wildly and wrongly bashes the Obama Administration as “the most anti-Israel administration in the history of the United States.” President Obama has gathered a global coalition against Iran, and strengthened strategic ties with Israel to unparalleled heights. Playing partisan games with support for Israel is wrong, period.

Well, that, in a nutshell, explains why the ECI is needed. This is an extreme example of flackery; of course, this group is an adjunct of the Democratic Party and has never publicly crossed Obama — not even when he awarded the Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson. But the tendency among liberal Jews to offer a knee-jerk defense for the Obama administration (and the preposterous assertion that the relationship with Israel is better than ever) leaves those who want a strong voice for Israel, not for the administration’s Israel policy, wanting more forceful leadership. The ECI certainly has room to run in this political landscape.

While it would be delightful to have stalwart bipartisan support for Israel, Harris and his fellow Democrats aren’t carrying their own weight. Gallup and other polls have noted the growing disparity between Democrats and Republicans in their support for Israel. While Americans as a whole remain very supportive of a strong U.S. – Israel relationship (63 percent in a February Gallup poll) the gap between Republicans (85 percent) and Democrats (48 percent) is huge and historically unprecedented.

You can see that ECI and other genuinely pro-Israel groups have their work cut out for them.

David A. Harris, the President and CEO of the National Democratic Jewish Council, had this response to the launch of the Emergency Committee for Israel and, specifically, to ECI board member Gary Bauer (who observed that this is “the most anti-Israel administration in the history of the United States”):

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and others have it right when they stress the importance of bipartisanship in supporting a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. In contrast, Gary Bauer shows this new group’s true colors when he wildly and wrongly bashes the Obama Administration as “the most anti-Israel administration in the history of the United States.” President Obama has gathered a global coalition against Iran, and strengthened strategic ties with Israel to unparalleled heights. Playing partisan games with support for Israel is wrong, period.

Well, that, in a nutshell, explains why the ECI is needed. This is an extreme example of flackery; of course, this group is an adjunct of the Democratic Party and has never publicly crossed Obama — not even when he awarded the Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson. But the tendency among liberal Jews to offer a knee-jerk defense for the Obama administration (and the preposterous assertion that the relationship with Israel is better than ever) leaves those who want a strong voice for Israel, not for the administration’s Israel policy, wanting more forceful leadership. The ECI certainly has room to run in this political landscape.

While it would be delightful to have stalwart bipartisan support for Israel, Harris and his fellow Democrats aren’t carrying their own weight. Gallup and other polls have noted the growing disparity between Democrats and Republicans in their support for Israel. While Americans as a whole remain very supportive of a strong U.S. – Israel relationship (63 percent in a February Gallup poll) the gap between Republicans (85 percent) and Democrats (48 percent) is huge and historically unprecedented.

You can see that ECI and other genuinely pro-Israel groups have their work cut out for them.

Read Less

RE: RE: Sometimes the Sky Really Is Falling

I certainly agree with Pete and Jennifer that things are looking really bleak for the Democrats right now, with the House majority in grave danger, the large Senate majority likely to become, at best, a very small Senate majority, many governorships likely to flip from D. to R. and many state legislatures likely to add members to Republican ranks, just in time for the decennial gerrymandering following the census.

There is nothing so fatal to success in a political campaign as the certainty of winning. President Truman was widely reviled (“To err is Truman”). The Democrats had fractured, with Henry Wallace walking out with the far left and Strom Thurmond walking out with the Dixicrats. Truman was political toast.

But Dewey, sublimely confident, talked in generalities and avoided controversial topics. Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s catty — and all too accurate — remark that he looked like “the groom on a wedding cake,” began to penetrate the national consciousness. Truman went after the “do-nothing 87th Congress” (which, in fact, had done a lot) and “gave ‘em hell.” He carried 28 states and took 303 electoral votes (to 189 for Dewey and 39 for Thurmond). And the Democrats took back both houses of Congress.

“When you’re ten points ahead, run like you’re ten points behind” is excellent political advice. So is having a coherent program for the future and giving the other side hell. At the moment, I only see the last as being part of the Republican battle plan.

I certainly agree with Pete and Jennifer that things are looking really bleak for the Democrats right now, with the House majority in grave danger, the large Senate majority likely to become, at best, a very small Senate majority, many governorships likely to flip from D. to R. and many state legislatures likely to add members to Republican ranks, just in time for the decennial gerrymandering following the census.

There is nothing so fatal to success in a political campaign as the certainty of winning. President Truman was widely reviled (“To err is Truman”). The Democrats had fractured, with Henry Wallace walking out with the far left and Strom Thurmond walking out with the Dixicrats. Truman was political toast.

But Dewey, sublimely confident, talked in generalities and avoided controversial topics. Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s catty — and all too accurate — remark that he looked like “the groom on a wedding cake,” began to penetrate the national consciousness. Truman went after the “do-nothing 87th Congress” (which, in fact, had done a lot) and “gave ‘em hell.” He carried 28 states and took 303 electoral votes (to 189 for Dewey and 39 for Thurmond). And the Democrats took back both houses of Congress.

“When you’re ten points ahead, run like you’re ten points behind” is excellent political advice. So is having a coherent program for the future and giving the other side hell. At the moment, I only see the last as being part of the Republican battle plan.

Read Less

Vindication on Sudan?

The Washington Post reports:

The International Criminal Court’s judges on Monday charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with orchestrating a bloody campaign of genocide against Darfur’s three main ethnic groups, the first time the Hague-based court has accused a sitting head of state of committing the most egregious international crime.

The three-judge pretrial chamber issued a formal arrest warrant for Bashir — the second time it has done so — on three counts of genocide. They include the crime of targeted mass killing, the causing of serious bodily or mental harm to members of a target group, and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction. “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. al-Bashir acted with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups,” the judges concluded.

But then the Post makes the assertion that this provides a “a degree of vindication to the United States, which has stood largely alone in characterizing the killing in Darfur as genocide.” Well, yes, but it also represents a complete repudiation of this administration’s attempts to engage Sudan, not to mention the work of its much criticized envoy Scott Gration. For sometime now, activists have been hammering the administration precisely because it has failed to treat Bashir as a war criminal and has instead pursued a feckless policy of engagement. The criticism has come from both the left and the right.

In sum, Obama has been dragging his feet rather than leading on this issue. There are plenty of reasons to be wary of giving the ICC too much latitude, but in this case it is filling a void left by the utter absence of leadership from the U.S. This is how America loses standing and forfeits its superpower status to multilateral institutions. It can hardly been seen as a vindication, then, when the ICC grasps the mantle of leadership on human rights from an indifferent U.S. president.

The Washington Post reports:

The International Criminal Court’s judges on Monday charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with orchestrating a bloody campaign of genocide against Darfur’s three main ethnic groups, the first time the Hague-based court has accused a sitting head of state of committing the most egregious international crime.

The three-judge pretrial chamber issued a formal arrest warrant for Bashir — the second time it has done so — on three counts of genocide. They include the crime of targeted mass killing, the causing of serious bodily or mental harm to members of a target group, and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction. “There are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. al-Bashir acted with specific intent to destroy in part the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups,” the judges concluded.

But then the Post makes the assertion that this provides a “a degree of vindication to the United States, which has stood largely alone in characterizing the killing in Darfur as genocide.” Well, yes, but it also represents a complete repudiation of this administration’s attempts to engage Sudan, not to mention the work of its much criticized envoy Scott Gration. For sometime now, activists have been hammering the administration precisely because it has failed to treat Bashir as a war criminal and has instead pursued a feckless policy of engagement. The criticism has come from both the left and the right.

In sum, Obama has been dragging his feet rather than leading on this issue. There are plenty of reasons to be wary of giving the ICC too much latitude, but in this case it is filling a void left by the utter absence of leadership from the U.S. This is how America loses standing and forfeits its superpower status to multilateral institutions. It can hardly been seen as a vindication, then, when the ICC grasps the mantle of leadership on human rights from an indifferent U.S. president.

Read Less

Robert Gibbs at It Again

One way in which press secretary Robert Gibbs resembles his boss, the president, is that the weaker the case they have, the more petulant and smug they both become. We saw that behavior play out again yesterday, when Gibbs was asked about the recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees approximately one third of all health-care spending in the United States.

Dr. Berwick is controversial because he has spoken as a besotted lover of the British health-care system. “I am romantic about the National Health Service,” he said in 2008, referring to the British single-payer system. “I love it.” Dr. Berwick went on to call it “such a seductress” and “a global treasure.” On rationing care, Dr. Berwick said that, “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” He has argued that one of “the primary functions” of health regulation is “to constrain decentralized, individual decision making” and “to weigh public welfare against the choices of private consumers.” And Dr. Berwick insists that, “any health-care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must — must — redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.” (For a fuller examination of Dr. Berwick’s views, see this and this.)

Now, it may be that Dr. Berwick’s views are reasonable and defensible. It may be that his quotes have been taken out of context. It may even be that Dr. Berwick is the perfect person for this job. That is what hearings are meant to determine. Yet the hearings have been bypassed.

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer blamed Republicans. “Republicans in Congress have made it clear in recent weeks that they were going to stall the nomination as long as they could, solely to score political points,” Pfeiffer said. “But with the agency facing new responsibilities to protect seniors’ care under the Affordable Care Act, there’s no time to waste with Washington game-playing.”

Like so much of what the Obama administration says, this charge is flat out false. It is not the GOP that is playing games but rather the White House. As ABC’s Jake Tapper reported last week:

Republicans were not delaying or stalling Berwick’s nomination. Indeed, they were eager for his hearing, hoping to assail Berwick’s past statements about health-care rationing and his praise for the British health care system. … speaking not for attribution, Democratic officials say that neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nor Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, were eager for an ugly confirmation fight four months before the midterm elections.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said that, “The nomination hasn’t been held up by Republicans in Congress and to say otherwise is misleading.” He said he requested that a hearing take place weeks ago, before this recess.

It’s obvious what’s going on here. The Obama administration is afraid to engage in another debate about ObamaCare, having been trounced in the past. The president’s team fears that Dr. Berwick’s comments are both too controversial and too revealing. So Obama decided to skip the nomination hearing. The administration, unable to defend its actions, offers up — in the person of Robert Gibbs — a testy and transparently silly explanation of its position. What Gibbs cannot answer is this: If Dr. Berwick is so qualified, why not have the hearing and, if Republicans in fact attempt to block his nomination, recess appoint him in August? Why not allow Dr. Berwick to explain, in a public setting, what his true views are?

Gibbs, unable to provide a reasonable response to these questions, reverts to behavior that seems to be a second nature to him: condescension, mockery, brittleness. And, of course, he must reach for the requisite straw man (in this instance, portraying his critics as involved in a conspiracy theory).

I imagine there have been more off-putting press secretaries than Mr. Gibbs. I just can’t think of who they might be.

One way in which press secretary Robert Gibbs resembles his boss, the president, is that the weaker the case they have, the more petulant and smug they both become. We saw that behavior play out again yesterday, when Gibbs was asked about the recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees approximately one third of all health-care spending in the United States.

Dr. Berwick is controversial because he has spoken as a besotted lover of the British health-care system. “I am romantic about the National Health Service,” he said in 2008, referring to the British single-payer system. “I love it.” Dr. Berwick went on to call it “such a seductress” and “a global treasure.” On rationing care, Dr. Berwick said that, “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” He has argued that one of “the primary functions” of health regulation is “to constrain decentralized, individual decision making” and “to weigh public welfare against the choices of private consumers.” And Dr. Berwick insists that, “any health-care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must — must — redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.” (For a fuller examination of Dr. Berwick’s views, see this and this.)

Now, it may be that Dr. Berwick’s views are reasonable and defensible. It may be that his quotes have been taken out of context. It may even be that Dr. Berwick is the perfect person for this job. That is what hearings are meant to determine. Yet the hearings have been bypassed.

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer blamed Republicans. “Republicans in Congress have made it clear in recent weeks that they were going to stall the nomination as long as they could, solely to score political points,” Pfeiffer said. “But with the agency facing new responsibilities to protect seniors’ care under the Affordable Care Act, there’s no time to waste with Washington game-playing.”

Like so much of what the Obama administration says, this charge is flat out false. It is not the GOP that is playing games but rather the White House. As ABC’s Jake Tapper reported last week:

Republicans were not delaying or stalling Berwick’s nomination. Indeed, they were eager for his hearing, hoping to assail Berwick’s past statements about health-care rationing and his praise for the British health care system. … speaking not for attribution, Democratic officials say that neither Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., nor Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, were eager for an ugly confirmation fight four months before the midterm elections.

Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said that, “The nomination hasn’t been held up by Republicans in Congress and to say otherwise is misleading.” He said he requested that a hearing take place weeks ago, before this recess.

It’s obvious what’s going on here. The Obama administration is afraid to engage in another debate about ObamaCare, having been trounced in the past. The president’s team fears that Dr. Berwick’s comments are both too controversial and too revealing. So Obama decided to skip the nomination hearing. The administration, unable to defend its actions, offers up — in the person of Robert Gibbs — a testy and transparently silly explanation of its position. What Gibbs cannot answer is this: If Dr. Berwick is so qualified, why not have the hearing and, if Republicans in fact attempt to block his nomination, recess appoint him in August? Why not allow Dr. Berwick to explain, in a public setting, what his true views are?

Gibbs, unable to provide a reasonable response to these questions, reverts to behavior that seems to be a second nature to him: condescension, mockery, brittleness. And, of course, he must reach for the requisite straw man (in this instance, portraying his critics as involved in a conspiracy theory).

I imagine there have been more off-putting press secretaries than Mr. Gibbs. I just can’t think of who they might be.

Read Less

RE: Sometimes the Sky Really Is Falling

Pete, your insights proved quite timely. The ABC/Washington Post poll has nothing but bad, very bad, news for Obama:

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy. …

Overall, more than a third of voters polled — 36 percent — say they have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the federal government is working.

This spells trouble for Obama’s fellow Democrats:

Democrats nationally remain on the defensive as they seek to retain both houses of Congress this fall. Registered voters are closely divided on the question of whether they will back Republicans or Democrats in House races. Among those who say they are sure to cast ballots in November, 49 percent side with the GOP and 45 percent with Democrats.

Overall, a slim majority of all voters say they would prefer Republican control of Congress so that the legislative branch would act as a check on the president’s policies. Those most likely to vote in the midterms prefer the GOP over continued Democratic rule by a sizable margin of 56 percent to 41 percent.

In short, Obama has lost the confidence of the voters on the issues that matter most. (“Just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove.”) They will take it out on those with a “D” next to their names in November.

Pete, your insights proved quite timely. The ABC/Washington Post poll has nothing but bad, very bad, news for Obama:

Public confidence in President Obama has hit a new low, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. Four months before midterm elections that will define the second half of his term, nearly six in 10 voters say they lack faith in the president to make the right decisions for the country, and a clear majority once again disapproves of how he is dealing with the economy. …

Overall, more than a third of voters polled — 36 percent — say they have no confidence or only some confidence in the president, congressional Democrats and congressional Republicans. Among independents, this disillusionment is higher still. About two-thirds of all voters say they are dissatisfied with or angry about the way the federal government is working.

This spells trouble for Obama’s fellow Democrats:

Democrats nationally remain on the defensive as they seek to retain both houses of Congress this fall. Registered voters are closely divided on the question of whether they will back Republicans or Democrats in House races. Among those who say they are sure to cast ballots in November, 49 percent side with the GOP and 45 percent with Democrats.

Overall, a slim majority of all voters say they would prefer Republican control of Congress so that the legislative branch would act as a check on the president’s policies. Those most likely to vote in the midterms prefer the GOP over continued Democratic rule by a sizable margin of 56 percent to 41 percent.

In short, Obama has lost the confidence of the voters on the issues that matter most. (“Just 43 percent of all Americans now say they approve of the job Obama is doing on the economy, while 54 percent disapprove.”) They will take it out on those with a “D” next to their names in November.

Read Less

Does the Left Have the Nerve to Run Against Israel?

It’s no surprise that the likes of M.J. Rosenberg, whose hatred of Israel and venom for its defenders is practically unmatched, is screeching that the Emergency Committee for Israel has accused Joe Sestak of being “un-American.” He’s not paying attention — Sestak is being accused of being anti-Israel. A specialist in dual-loyalty charges like Rosenberg should know the difference. And I can’t begin to figure out his bizarre assertion that those who care about Iran going nuclear shouldn’t bother with “local Pennsylvania politics.” It is the U.S. Senate we’re talking about, right? Mr. Rosenberg, not only your animus but also your panic is showing.

But it’s worth trudging through that hooey to get to this comment from a Rosenberg reader:

As a Democrat I hope Sestak wins, but I find it interesting that far from defending his position on the letter about the Gaza blockade, he will now bend over backward to make sure people in Pennsylvania know how much he disagrees with you, Mr. Rosenberg, on what needs to be done with Israel. For the next six years Joe Sestak will say everything and do everything that AIPAC wants and to that I say: AMEN!

Well, this is the rub, isn’t it? Sestak signed the Gaza 54 letter, but now that he’s in a Senate race, he has signed on with a majority of his House colleagues in a letter supporting Israel on the flotilla and implicitly criticizing the administration. Did he have a change of heart, or does he merely lack the nerve to be as forthright about his views with the Pennsylvania electorate as he was with his J Street backers?

And what of the anti-Israel left? Aren’t they just a bit peeved that first Obama and now Sestak has dropped the Israel-bashing? You would think that they, too, would have the power of their convictions. Why do they prefer to fuzz up the differences between Sestak and his opponent on Israel? Wonder if it has anything to do with the political toxicity of their anti-Israel stance. But Rosenberg’s reader has one thing wrong: Sestak isn’t likely to get elected by conning the voters that he is AIPAC’s best friend. J Street — and ECI — will make that very hard.

It’s no surprise that the likes of M.J. Rosenberg, whose hatred of Israel and venom for its defenders is practically unmatched, is screeching that the Emergency Committee for Israel has accused Joe Sestak of being “un-American.” He’s not paying attention — Sestak is being accused of being anti-Israel. A specialist in dual-loyalty charges like Rosenberg should know the difference. And I can’t begin to figure out his bizarre assertion that those who care about Iran going nuclear shouldn’t bother with “local Pennsylvania politics.” It is the U.S. Senate we’re talking about, right? Mr. Rosenberg, not only your animus but also your panic is showing.

But it’s worth trudging through that hooey to get to this comment from a Rosenberg reader:

As a Democrat I hope Sestak wins, but I find it interesting that far from defending his position on the letter about the Gaza blockade, he will now bend over backward to make sure people in Pennsylvania know how much he disagrees with you, Mr. Rosenberg, on what needs to be done with Israel. For the next six years Joe Sestak will say everything and do everything that AIPAC wants and to that I say: AMEN!

Well, this is the rub, isn’t it? Sestak signed the Gaza 54 letter, but now that he’s in a Senate race, he has signed on with a majority of his House colleagues in a letter supporting Israel on the flotilla and implicitly criticizing the administration. Did he have a change of heart, or does he merely lack the nerve to be as forthright about his views with the Pennsylvania electorate as he was with his J Street backers?

And what of the anti-Israel left? Aren’t they just a bit peeved that first Obama and now Sestak has dropped the Israel-bashing? You would think that they, too, would have the power of their convictions. Why do they prefer to fuzz up the differences between Sestak and his opponent on Israel? Wonder if it has anything to do with the political toxicity of their anti-Israel stance. But Rosenberg’s reader has one thing wrong: Sestak isn’t likely to get elected by conning the voters that he is AIPAC’s best friend. J Street — and ECI — will make that very hard.

Read Less

Game On in Pennsylvania — and California

Ben Smith reports that the Joe Sestak campaign has taken exception to the accusation that he isn’t pro-Israel. Although Sestak spoke at a CAIR fundraiser, signed the Gaza 54 letter, and is J Street endorsed (precisely because he’s shown to have more in common with Rep. Ron Paul than Sen. Joe Lieberman when it comes to the Jewish state), his campaign says it is “silly” to question his pro-Israel bona fides. The campaign spokeswoman for Pat Toomey’s campaign, Nachama Soloveichik, responded to our request for comment:

Joe Sestak has consistently aligned himself with the Congressional faction that is most hostile to Israel. Everyone in that faction of politicians also calls themselves “pro-Israel.” Talk is cheap.

This sounds like a good debate topic: who’s the real friend of Israel, Toomey or Sestak? Why would J Street, which has cheered Obama’s Israel-bashing, opposed Iran sanctions, and called for a lifting of the Gaza blockade, invest in Sestak? The voters of Pennsylvania deserve some candid answers.

Meanwhile, in the California Senate race, Israel may become an issue as well. Barbara Boxer has enjoyed strong Jewish support in the past, but she has been utterly silent when it comes to Obama’s serial-bashing of Israel. This is not going unnoticed by the Carly Fiorina campaign. Fiorina press secretary Andrea Saul tells me: “Carly Fiorina is a strong supporter of Israel and recognizes the importance of our countries’ partnership. While she has been disappointed by President Obama and his administration’s approach to Israel since he took office, she hopes that efforts such as this group’s will help ensure our elected officials will stand on the side of our longstanding Democratic ally and continue to strengthen our ties with the country, not the opposite.”

So what say you, Barbara Boxer? A debate in California on this subject would also be enlightening, given the fact that Boxer has been more critical of the general who called her “Ma’am” than of the Obami assault on Israel.

Ben Smith reports that the Joe Sestak campaign has taken exception to the accusation that he isn’t pro-Israel. Although Sestak spoke at a CAIR fundraiser, signed the Gaza 54 letter, and is J Street endorsed (precisely because he’s shown to have more in common with Rep. Ron Paul than Sen. Joe Lieberman when it comes to the Jewish state), his campaign says it is “silly” to question his pro-Israel bona fides. The campaign spokeswoman for Pat Toomey’s campaign, Nachama Soloveichik, responded to our request for comment:

Joe Sestak has consistently aligned himself with the Congressional faction that is most hostile to Israel. Everyone in that faction of politicians also calls themselves “pro-Israel.” Talk is cheap.

This sounds like a good debate topic: who’s the real friend of Israel, Toomey or Sestak? Why would J Street, which has cheered Obama’s Israel-bashing, opposed Iran sanctions, and called for a lifting of the Gaza blockade, invest in Sestak? The voters of Pennsylvania deserve some candid answers.

Meanwhile, in the California Senate race, Israel may become an issue as well. Barbara Boxer has enjoyed strong Jewish support in the past, but she has been utterly silent when it comes to Obama’s serial-bashing of Israel. This is not going unnoticed by the Carly Fiorina campaign. Fiorina press secretary Andrea Saul tells me: “Carly Fiorina is a strong supporter of Israel and recognizes the importance of our countries’ partnership. While she has been disappointed by President Obama and his administration’s approach to Israel since he took office, she hopes that efforts such as this group’s will help ensure our elected officials will stand on the side of our longstanding Democratic ally and continue to strengthen our ties with the country, not the opposite.”

So what say you, Barbara Boxer? A debate in California on this subject would also be enlightening, given the fact that Boxer has been more critical of the general who called her “Ma’am” than of the Obami assault on Israel.

Read Less

Time to Focus on What Matters

John Bolton has his eye on the ball and some practical advice for those who perceive that Obama’s nonproliferation strategy is a failure:

As Tehran and Pyongyang can plainly see, President Obama’s nonproliferation strategy is intellectually and politically exhausted. But U.S. exhaustion will not lead to stasis. North Korea and Iran will continue their nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the face of our feeble policy.

What can be done? Bolton suggests that lawmakers and opinion makers “must demand increased intelligence collection on the North Korea-Iran connection. Where possible without compromising sources and methods, this information should be disseminated to increase public awareness.” Perhaps even more important, Bolton recommends:

Slowly, but now with increasing certainty, analysts have come to understand that Iran is going to become a nuclear-weapons state sooner rather than later. Arab states have understood this for some time and have hoped for a pre-emptive U.S. strike. But that will not happen under Mr. Obama absent a Damascene conversion in the Oval Office.

What outsiders can do is create broad support for Israel’s inherent right to self-defense against a nuclear Holocaust and defend the specific tactic of pre-emptive attacks against Iran’s Esfahan uranium-conversion plant, its Natanz enrichment facility, and other targets. Congress can make it clear, for example, that it would support immediate resupply and rearming to make up for Israeli losses in the event of such an attack. Having visible congressional support in place at the outset will reassure the Israeli government, which is legitimately concerned about Mr. Obama’s likely negative reaction to such an attack.

What is remarkable is that virtually no lawmaker or Jewish organization to date has done this — not remotely. They have, by and large, marched in lockstep with the administration, holding out hope in the face of abundant contrary evidence that engagement and then sanctions were serious attempts to dismantle the nuclear program, and if push came to shove that “all options would be on the table.” But engagement was a failure, Obama missed an opportunity to back the Green movement, sanctions are too little, too late, and Obama shows no interest in the use of military force.

It would be tragic if Obama abdicated his role as leader of the Free World to thwart Iran’s nuclear plans. The blow to American stature and credibility after the “unacceptable” was allowed to happen on his watch would be immense. But it would be catastrophic if Obama hindered Israel in the event the Jewish state acted in its own defense. Israel’s friends should begin now, not a month or a year from now, to make clear to the White House that Obama will find no support in Congress, among American Jewry, and in the entire country (which remains pro-Israel) for anything less than unqualified and unconditional support for Israel should force be required.

The Jewish community has gotten distracted by the “peace process.” It’s not only futile — it’s a dangerous sideshow that has allowed the administration to escape criticism for an entirely ineffective Iran policy. What matters now — and should be fully debated in the election — is what America will do to defuse the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Islamic revolutionary state. Yes, it is an emergency.

John Bolton has his eye on the ball and some practical advice for those who perceive that Obama’s nonproliferation strategy is a failure:

As Tehran and Pyongyang can plainly see, President Obama’s nonproliferation strategy is intellectually and politically exhausted. But U.S. exhaustion will not lead to stasis. North Korea and Iran will continue their nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the face of our feeble policy.

What can be done? Bolton suggests that lawmakers and opinion makers “must demand increased intelligence collection on the North Korea-Iran connection. Where possible without compromising sources and methods, this information should be disseminated to increase public awareness.” Perhaps even more important, Bolton recommends:

Slowly, but now with increasing certainty, analysts have come to understand that Iran is going to become a nuclear-weapons state sooner rather than later. Arab states have understood this for some time and have hoped for a pre-emptive U.S. strike. But that will not happen under Mr. Obama absent a Damascene conversion in the Oval Office.

What outsiders can do is create broad support for Israel’s inherent right to self-defense against a nuclear Holocaust and defend the specific tactic of pre-emptive attacks against Iran’s Esfahan uranium-conversion plant, its Natanz enrichment facility, and other targets. Congress can make it clear, for example, that it would support immediate resupply and rearming to make up for Israeli losses in the event of such an attack. Having visible congressional support in place at the outset will reassure the Israeli government, which is legitimately concerned about Mr. Obama’s likely negative reaction to such an attack.

What is remarkable is that virtually no lawmaker or Jewish organization to date has done this — not remotely. They have, by and large, marched in lockstep with the administration, holding out hope in the face of abundant contrary evidence that engagement and then sanctions were serious attempts to dismantle the nuclear program, and if push came to shove that “all options would be on the table.” But engagement was a failure, Obama missed an opportunity to back the Green movement, sanctions are too little, too late, and Obama shows no interest in the use of military force.

It would be tragic if Obama abdicated his role as leader of the Free World to thwart Iran’s nuclear plans. The blow to American stature and credibility after the “unacceptable” was allowed to happen on his watch would be immense. But it would be catastrophic if Obama hindered Israel in the event the Jewish state acted in its own defense. Israel’s friends should begin now, not a month or a year from now, to make clear to the White House that Obama will find no support in Congress, among American Jewry, and in the entire country (which remains pro-Israel) for anything less than unqualified and unconditional support for Israel should force be required.

The Jewish community has gotten distracted by the “peace process.” It’s not only futile — it’s a dangerous sideshow that has allowed the administration to escape criticism for an entirely ineffective Iran policy. What matters now — and should be fully debated in the election — is what America will do to defuse the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Islamic revolutionary state. Yes, it is an emergency.

Read Less

Is the American Dream Alive?

You decide (h/t Veronique de Rugy, and congratulations on her impending U.S. citizenship):

In the current debate over immigration, we lose sight of who wants to come here and why. Yes, there is a distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and we need to secure the borders. But if you believe in opportunity, freedom, and the idea that America is indeed a “shining city on a hill,” we should want to welcome those who believe in those things too.

You decide (h/t Veronique de Rugy, and congratulations on her impending U.S. citizenship):

In the current debate over immigration, we lose sight of who wants to come here and why. Yes, there is a distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and we need to secure the borders. But if you believe in opportunity, freedom, and the idea that America is indeed a “shining city on a hill,” we should want to welcome those who believe in those things too.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

Indiana tilts Red: “Indiana still has the look of a likely Republican Senate pickup, with former Senator Dan Coats remaining comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponent Brad Ellsworth. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Coats with 51% support, while Ellsworth earns 30% of the vote, his poorest showing to date.”

Media moguls are blue about the economy: “Lingering anxiety over the state of the economy colored the proceedings at the annual Sun Valley media and tech mogul gathering, which wrapped during the weekend. On the sidelines of the Allen & Co. camp, execs predicted a long and slow U.S. recovery, which could also affect the advertising market. A few expressed fears of a double-dip recession.” All that money donated to the Obama campaign was the worst investment they ever made.

Orin Hatch explains why Elena Kagan shouldn’t don the black robes: “Over the Supreme Court’s long history, justices who were nominated without past judicial experience have had an average of 21 years of legal practice. Ms. Kagan has two. Her experience is instead academic and political. … I asked for her own views, but she instead told me what Congress said, what she argued before the Court, and what the Court held. … She would not even admit that she had in fact written the 1996 memo about partial-birth abortion that not only bore her name but included her handwritten notes. After three attempts, all she would say is that it was in her handwriting; I suppose that left open the possibility that it had been forged.” And then there’s her judicial philosophy, such as it is.

Sen. Brown caves: “U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) said in a written statement Monday he plans to support the financial-overhaul bill, taking the White House and Democrats to the verge of the support needed to pass the bill.”

Marco Rubio hauls in the greenbacks: “Marco Rubio raised more than $4.5 million in the second quarter, his campaign said, beating rival Charlie Crist’s previous record. Crist raised $4.3 million in his first fundraising quarter of the race, back when he was a Republican, a national record for the cycle.”

A golden opportunity for the GOP: “Republicans are set up to gain a large number of governorships nationwide. At a minimum, the GOP could gain eight, giving the party 32, but larger gains are very possible.”

A silver lining for Obama, says Larry Sabato: “A GOP House would be a godsend in one way: it would give Obama someone to blame for everything, and presidents almost always look better by comparison to Congress. In that sense, it would help his reelection bid.” And a bonanza for the American people: “[I]t would also signal the end of an ambitious Obama legislative program. With Democrats now guaranteed to lose lots of Senate and House seats — even if they maintain narrow control — Obama’s salad days are over for this term.”

Greg Sargent of the Plum Line (yeah, plum is a color) argues that the Tea Party movement is “being widely doted upon as a genuine political movement even though it’s built largely on pure fantasy.” Well, this is a dreamy year for conservatives.

Indiana tilts Red: “Indiana still has the look of a likely Republican Senate pickup, with former Senator Dan Coats remaining comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponent Brad Ellsworth. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds Coats with 51% support, while Ellsworth earns 30% of the vote, his poorest showing to date.”

Media moguls are blue about the economy: “Lingering anxiety over the state of the economy colored the proceedings at the annual Sun Valley media and tech mogul gathering, which wrapped during the weekend. On the sidelines of the Allen & Co. camp, execs predicted a long and slow U.S. recovery, which could also affect the advertising market. A few expressed fears of a double-dip recession.” All that money donated to the Obama campaign was the worst investment they ever made.

Orin Hatch explains why Elena Kagan shouldn’t don the black robes: “Over the Supreme Court’s long history, justices who were nominated without past judicial experience have had an average of 21 years of legal practice. Ms. Kagan has two. Her experience is instead academic and political. … I asked for her own views, but she instead told me what Congress said, what she argued before the Court, and what the Court held. … She would not even admit that she had in fact written the 1996 memo about partial-birth abortion that not only bore her name but included her handwritten notes. After three attempts, all she would say is that it was in her handwriting; I suppose that left open the possibility that it had been forged.” And then there’s her judicial philosophy, such as it is.

Sen. Brown caves: “U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R., Mass.) said in a written statement Monday he plans to support the financial-overhaul bill, taking the White House and Democrats to the verge of the support needed to pass the bill.”

Marco Rubio hauls in the greenbacks: “Marco Rubio raised more than $4.5 million in the second quarter, his campaign said, beating rival Charlie Crist’s previous record. Crist raised $4.3 million in his first fundraising quarter of the race, back when he was a Republican, a national record for the cycle.”

A golden opportunity for the GOP: “Republicans are set up to gain a large number of governorships nationwide. At a minimum, the GOP could gain eight, giving the party 32, but larger gains are very possible.”

A silver lining for Obama, says Larry Sabato: “A GOP House would be a godsend in one way: it would give Obama someone to blame for everything, and presidents almost always look better by comparison to Congress. In that sense, it would help his reelection bid.” And a bonanza for the American people: “[I]t would also signal the end of an ambitious Obama legislative program. With Democrats now guaranteed to lose lots of Senate and House seats — even if they maintain narrow control — Obama’s salad days are over for this term.”

Greg Sargent of the Plum Line (yeah, plum is a color) argues that the Tea Party movement is “being widely doted upon as a genuine political movement even though it’s built largely on pure fantasy.” Well, this is a dreamy year for conservatives.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.