Commentary Magazine


Posts For: July 19, 2010

Bemused and Somewhat Alarmed

In the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, Walter Russell Mead reviews David Remnick’s biography of Barack Obama and notes that “students of foreign policy will be bemused and somewhat alarmed by the near-total absence of evidence in Remnick’s book that Obama ever showed any interest in foreign policy before running for president.” Mead writes that “to judge from this book, Obama spent little time dealing with foreign policy until he failed to get the Senate committee assignment he really wanted and was forced to make the best of an appointment to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.”

Obama’s speech announcing his presidential candidacy came in February 2007, two years after he was sworn in as a United States senator – not enough time to learn much about foreign policy even if he had shown any prior interest. He had held no prior elective office other than state senator, where he became famous for voting “present.” In his presidential announcement speech, foreign affairs played almost no role – other than his “plan” to bring all combat troops home from Iraq by March 2008. The address was a checklist of domestic issues and a ringing assertion of personal responsibility for solving them:

For the last six years we’ve been told that our mounting debts don’t matter, we’ve been told that the anxiety Americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion, we’ve been told that climate change is a hoax, and that tough talk and an ill-conceived war can replace diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight. And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we’ve been told that our crises are somebody else’s fault.

A year and a half into the Obama administration, it would be an achievement just to get back to the “mounting debts” of the past; one of Obama’s first acts in office was to adopt every Democratic pet project ready to be shoveled into the federal budget — and to call it “stimulus.” He pushed through ObamaCare even though the majority of the public opposed it; the negotiations were not carried on C-SPAN. Climate-change research was revealed as corrupt. The “ill-conceived war” was effectively won by virtue of the surge that Obama opposed. His “diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight” produced an outstretched hand to Iran and sanctions no one thinks will work, a “peace process” that cannot even get direct talks to start, and a Nobel Peace Prize he had insufficient modesty to reject. And it is all Bush’s fault, or the Republicans’, or the public’s expectations.

Students of foreign policy may be bemused and somewhat alarmed. But the American public, if the current polls are accurate, does not appear to be amused.

In the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs, Walter Russell Mead reviews David Remnick’s biography of Barack Obama and notes that “students of foreign policy will be bemused and somewhat alarmed by the near-total absence of evidence in Remnick’s book that Obama ever showed any interest in foreign policy before running for president.” Mead writes that “to judge from this book, Obama spent little time dealing with foreign policy until he failed to get the Senate committee assignment he really wanted and was forced to make the best of an appointment to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.”

Obama’s speech announcing his presidential candidacy came in February 2007, two years after he was sworn in as a United States senator – not enough time to learn much about foreign policy even if he had shown any prior interest. He had held no prior elective office other than state senator, where he became famous for voting “present.” In his presidential announcement speech, foreign affairs played almost no role – other than his “plan” to bring all combat troops home from Iraq by March 2008. The address was a checklist of domestic issues and a ringing assertion of personal responsibility for solving them:

For the last six years we’ve been told that our mounting debts don’t matter, we’ve been told that the anxiety Americans feel about rising health care costs and stagnant wages are an illusion, we’ve been told that climate change is a hoax, and that tough talk and an ill-conceived war can replace diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight. And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we’ve been told that our crises are somebody else’s fault.

A year and a half into the Obama administration, it would be an achievement just to get back to the “mounting debts” of the past; one of Obama’s first acts in office was to adopt every Democratic pet project ready to be shoveled into the federal budget — and to call it “stimulus.” He pushed through ObamaCare even though the majority of the public opposed it; the negotiations were not carried on C-SPAN. Climate-change research was revealed as corrupt. The “ill-conceived war” was effectively won by virtue of the surge that Obama opposed. His “diplomacy, and strategy, and foresight” produced an outstretched hand to Iran and sanctions no one thinks will work, a “peace process” that cannot even get direct talks to start, and a Nobel Peace Prize he had insufficient modesty to reject. And it is all Bush’s fault, or the Republicans’, or the public’s expectations.

Students of foreign policy may be bemused and somewhat alarmed. But the American public, if the current polls are accurate, does not appear to be amused.

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How to Assess Obama?

E.J. Dionne is drearily predictable these days. He proclaims that Obama isn’t really anti-business; he just hasn’t explained himself properly. Yawn. He tries to make the case that, on regulation, Obama just wants more. OK. Dionne doesn’t talk about taxes. Oh yes, Obama wants more there, too. What about government spending? Oh, more of that, too. It’s crazy, isn’t it, that people have the idea that the president’s anti-business.

It does remind one of the argument about whether Obama is anti-Israel. His critics look at what he’s done and said in public and conclude he’s acting in ways antithetical to Israel’s interests:  the condemnation of Jerusalem housing, the NPT declaration singling out Israel, the demand for unilateral concessions, the hob-nobbing with Israel’s enemies, and — well you know the list. His supporters and enablers look at the fence-mending theatrics and Obama’s avowals (I am too pro-Israel) and say, “See. He really is.”

In both cases, the president’s spinners disregard the objects of Obama’s supposed affection. Israelis overwhelmingly don’t think he’s in their corner. Business leaders have woken up from their slumber and are attacking the president’s agenda. Doesn’t matter, Obama’s defenders say. They don’t know what is good for them. The argument is both arrogant (Obama is the holder of all wisdom) and silly. If we aren’t going to judge Obama by the results of his policies and the reaction of the affected parties, how should we? Apparently, we’re just to take his word for it. He is doing a bang-up job. Honest.

E.J. Dionne is drearily predictable these days. He proclaims that Obama isn’t really anti-business; he just hasn’t explained himself properly. Yawn. He tries to make the case that, on regulation, Obama just wants more. OK. Dionne doesn’t talk about taxes. Oh yes, Obama wants more there, too. What about government spending? Oh, more of that, too. It’s crazy, isn’t it, that people have the idea that the president’s anti-business.

It does remind one of the argument about whether Obama is anti-Israel. His critics look at what he’s done and said in public and conclude he’s acting in ways antithetical to Israel’s interests:  the condemnation of Jerusalem housing, the NPT declaration singling out Israel, the demand for unilateral concessions, the hob-nobbing with Israel’s enemies, and — well you know the list. His supporters and enablers look at the fence-mending theatrics and Obama’s avowals (I am too pro-Israel) and say, “See. He really is.”

In both cases, the president’s spinners disregard the objects of Obama’s supposed affection. Israelis overwhelmingly don’t think he’s in their corner. Business leaders have woken up from their slumber and are attacking the president’s agenda. Doesn’t matter, Obama’s defenders say. They don’t know what is good for them. The argument is both arrogant (Obama is the holder of all wisdom) and silly. If we aren’t going to judge Obama by the results of his policies and the reaction of the affected parties, how should we? Apparently, we’re just to take his word for it. He is doing a bang-up job. Honest.

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How Could It Be?

The New York Times is giving the Onion a run for its money:

Why is unemployment so high? The whodunit has flummoxed economists in both parties for a year. In 2009, as the new Obama administration grappled with the financial crisis, joblessness rose nearly two points beyond customary recession forecasts.

Umm. I don’t think Republicans are flummoxed. They might be in “I told you so” mode, but they aren’t flummoxed. They remember the New Deal and the sky-high unemployment that persisted until the industrial pre-war build-up. They argued that massive new taxes, regulations, mandates, and anti-business vitriol would frighten employers.

But the White House is stumped. They spent all that money — well, borrowed it from China — and they didn’t spur job growth. They passed ObamaCare, which — they explained (it was convoluted, I grant you that) — was going to help business by keeping health-care costs low. And that didn’t excite employers.

It’s jaw-dropping — both that the Obama administration is so economically illiterate and that the New York Times continues to play along. Maybe that’s why neither of them is doing so well.

The New York Times is giving the Onion a run for its money:

Why is unemployment so high? The whodunit has flummoxed economists in both parties for a year. In 2009, as the new Obama administration grappled with the financial crisis, joblessness rose nearly two points beyond customary recession forecasts.

Umm. I don’t think Republicans are flummoxed. They might be in “I told you so” mode, but they aren’t flummoxed. They remember the New Deal and the sky-high unemployment that persisted until the industrial pre-war build-up. They argued that massive new taxes, regulations, mandates, and anti-business vitriol would frighten employers.

But the White House is stumped. They spent all that money — well, borrowed it from China — and they didn’t spur job growth. They passed ObamaCare, which — they explained (it was convoluted, I grant you that) — was going to help business by keeping health-care costs low. And that didn’t excite employers.

It’s jaw-dropping — both that the Obama administration is so economically illiterate and that the New York Times continues to play along. Maybe that’s why neither of them is doing so well.

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Senate Up for Grabs

The Wall Street Journal has an extremely helpful guide to the Senate races, making the point that if — a big, if — pieces fall into place, the GOP could take back the Senate:

The emergence of competitive Republican candidates in Wisconsin, Washington and California—Democratic-leaning states where polls now show tight races—bring the number of seats that Republicans could seize from the Democrats to 11. …

Republicans would have to win virtually every competitive race to retake the Senate, without losing any seats of their own—clearly an uphill climb. The trouble for Democrats is that many trends are against them. Surveys show that Republicans are more motivated than Democrats to go to the polls, and that voters are looking for new leadership in Congress.

“I think there is definitely a chance” of losing the Senate, said Democratic strategist Gary Nordlinger, a Washington-based media consultant. “I wouldn’t call it a probability, but there is certainly a chance.”

Democrats have been surprised by strong GOP candidates in California and Wisconsin. As to the latter:

In the weeks before the Republican convention in late May, Ron Johnson, who hasn’t held political office, began appearing at tea party rallies. Tall and silver-haired, he proved a commanding speaker.

Mr. Johnson provided copies of his speeches to local talk radio hosts, and conservative host Charlie Sykes read excerpts over the air. Mr. Johnson jumped into the race six days before the convention, pledging to spend millions on the campaign. “He literally came out of nowhere,” said Brian Westrate, chairman of the Eau Claire County GOP.

Mr. Johnson built his successful company, which makes a specialty plastic for packaging, from the ground up, and it exports to various countries including China. But he also has made comments Democrats have seized on, such as asking in a March speech, “How is Social Security different from a giant Ponzi scheme?” Democrats are using that quote to suggest Mr. Johnson is radically anti-government. Mr. Johnson rejects the idea. “The problem is that Social Security funds have been spent,” he said in an interview. “They’re gone. I’m just describing the problem.”

If Democrats are going to run on a “What Social Security problem?” platform at a time when voters are increasingly serious and unwilling to accept political spin, they may be in more trouble than we imagined.

But the wild card may be Republicans’ own untested candidates (Rand Paul and Sharon Angle, for example). They will have to make sure they hold their own seats (Ohio is a tough race) and hope voters are finally immune to the kinds of tricks (George Bush! Abortion will be illegal!) that have gotten rather weak Democratic candidates through past races.

This year is different. The only question is whether it’s different enough to see a 10-seat swing in the Senate. I’d have said no way before Scott Brown, Chris Christie, and Bob McDonnell all won.

The Wall Street Journal has an extremely helpful guide to the Senate races, making the point that if — a big, if — pieces fall into place, the GOP could take back the Senate:

The emergence of competitive Republican candidates in Wisconsin, Washington and California—Democratic-leaning states where polls now show tight races—bring the number of seats that Republicans could seize from the Democrats to 11. …

Republicans would have to win virtually every competitive race to retake the Senate, without losing any seats of their own—clearly an uphill climb. The trouble for Democrats is that many trends are against them. Surveys show that Republicans are more motivated than Democrats to go to the polls, and that voters are looking for new leadership in Congress.

“I think there is definitely a chance” of losing the Senate, said Democratic strategist Gary Nordlinger, a Washington-based media consultant. “I wouldn’t call it a probability, but there is certainly a chance.”

Democrats have been surprised by strong GOP candidates in California and Wisconsin. As to the latter:

In the weeks before the Republican convention in late May, Ron Johnson, who hasn’t held political office, began appearing at tea party rallies. Tall and silver-haired, he proved a commanding speaker.

Mr. Johnson provided copies of his speeches to local talk radio hosts, and conservative host Charlie Sykes read excerpts over the air. Mr. Johnson jumped into the race six days before the convention, pledging to spend millions on the campaign. “He literally came out of nowhere,” said Brian Westrate, chairman of the Eau Claire County GOP.

Mr. Johnson built his successful company, which makes a specialty plastic for packaging, from the ground up, and it exports to various countries including China. But he also has made comments Democrats have seized on, such as asking in a March speech, “How is Social Security different from a giant Ponzi scheme?” Democrats are using that quote to suggest Mr. Johnson is radically anti-government. Mr. Johnson rejects the idea. “The problem is that Social Security funds have been spent,” he said in an interview. “They’re gone. I’m just describing the problem.”

If Democrats are going to run on a “What Social Security problem?” platform at a time when voters are increasingly serious and unwilling to accept political spin, they may be in more trouble than we imagined.

But the wild card may be Republicans’ own untested candidates (Rand Paul and Sharon Angle, for example). They will have to make sure they hold their own seats (Ohio is a tough race) and hope voters are finally immune to the kinds of tricks (George Bush! Abortion will be illegal!) that have gotten rather weak Democratic candidates through past races.

This year is different. The only question is whether it’s different enough to see a 10-seat swing in the Senate. I’d have said no way before Scott Brown, Chris Christie, and Bob McDonnell all won.

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It’s the Incompetence

This report confirms what conservatives have long argued: Obama is dragging the government into sectors of the economy in which it has little competence:

A report to be released [today] by the Treasury Department’s Special Inspector General for the Toxic Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) will contend that President Obama’s push for General Motors and Chrysler to close thousands of dealerships across the country as part of their government bailouts “may have substantially contributed to the shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls, all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions’ broader economic impacts.”

The SIGTARP report will further contend, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking minority member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it is questionable whether the closings were “either necessary for the sake of the companies’ economic survival or prudent for the nation’s economic recovery.”

You are surprised? Obama’s notion that pristinely apolitical technocrats with great resumes can flip all the switches, turn the knobs, and get the economy purring is exploding before our eyes. The government doesn’t create wealth by massive spending, doesn’t do a better job than the private sector in running industries, and has an agenda based not on economics but on politics (e.g., protecting unions, sparing a vulnerable congressman).

More than the specific maladies of ObamaCare (which are many), this is the core problem with Obama’s great legislative “accomplishment”: it assumes that a centralized bureaucracy can do a better job of containing costs and maintaining quality care than the hundreds of millions of citizens making daily decisions with their doctors. With each revelation — for example, that choice in doctors will be severely restricted — the public gets an inkling that the one-size-fits-all federalized health-care system is going to be every bit as expensive and every bit as objectionable as the nationalized health-care systems that have been tried out in other Western democracies.

All of this is a fine argument for government to do less, not more. Much less.

This report confirms what conservatives have long argued: Obama is dragging the government into sectors of the economy in which it has little competence:

A report to be released [today] by the Treasury Department’s Special Inspector General for the Toxic Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) will contend that President Obama’s push for General Motors and Chrysler to close thousands of dealerships across the country as part of their government bailouts “may have substantially contributed to the shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls, all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions’ broader economic impacts.”

The SIGTARP report will further contend, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, the ranking minority member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it is questionable whether the closings were “either necessary for the sake of the companies’ economic survival or prudent for the nation’s economic recovery.”

You are surprised? Obama’s notion that pristinely apolitical technocrats with great resumes can flip all the switches, turn the knobs, and get the economy purring is exploding before our eyes. The government doesn’t create wealth by massive spending, doesn’t do a better job than the private sector in running industries, and has an agenda based not on economics but on politics (e.g., protecting unions, sparing a vulnerable congressman).

More than the specific maladies of ObamaCare (which are many), this is the core problem with Obama’s great legislative “accomplishment”: it assumes that a centralized bureaucracy can do a better job of containing costs and maintaining quality care than the hundreds of millions of citizens making daily decisions with their doctors. With each revelation — for example, that choice in doctors will be severely restricted — the public gets an inkling that the one-size-fits-all federalized health-care system is going to be every bit as expensive and every bit as objectionable as the nationalized health-care systems that have been tried out in other Western democracies.

All of this is a fine argument for government to do less, not more. Much less.

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California Dreamin’?

George Will takes a look at the Carly Fiorina/Barbara Boxer Senate race. He reminds us of Boxer’s far-left political views and of California’s miserable economic condition:

Unemployment is at least 15 percent in 21 of the state’s 58 counties. Of the 13 U.S. metropolitan areas with unemployment that high, 11 are in California, which has lost more than 400,000 jobs since passage of the $862 billion stimulus. Like Barack Obama as he campaigns in what he calls Recovery Summer for more stimulus (because the first did not ignite recovery), Boxer is vexed by the fact that California’s unemployment rate is 2.2 points higher than when stimulus was passed. When she said the stimulus was responsible for 100 jobs at a Los Angeles lithium-battery factory, the owner demurred, saying the stimulus had nothing to do with the jobs.

Republicans who have witnessed many a year when the state was declared to be in play when it really wasn’t are wary of getting their hopes up. But Fiorina has several things going for her: she is well funded, well spoken, and, well, lucky. She’s running in a year when the usual scare tactics of the Democrats seem particularly cheesy and manipulative. On the abortion issue, Will makes this observation:

It is theoretically impossible to fashion an abortion position significantly more extreme than Boxer’s, which is slightly modified infanticide. She supports “partial birth” abortion — the baby, delivered feet first, is pulled out as far as the neck, then is killed. And when asked during a Senate debate whether the baby has a right to life if it slips entirely out of the birth canal before being killed, she replied that the baby acquires that right when it leaves the hospital: “When you bring your baby home.” Fiorina believes that science — the astonishing clarity of sonograms showing the moving fingers and beating hearts of fetuses; neonatal medicine improving the viability of very premature infants; the increasing abilities of medicine to treat ailing fetuses in utero — is changing Americans’ sensibilities and enlarging the portion of the public that describes itself as pro-life.

Third-party groups and pundits can make that point, but Fiorina would do well to follow Bob McDonnell’s example from Virginia: let the Democrat obsess over hot-button social issues while keeping one’s own campaign focused on bread-and-butter issues.

California might be, as Will put it, “irredeemably blue.” But that’s what they said about New Jersey and Massachusetts.

George Will takes a look at the Carly Fiorina/Barbara Boxer Senate race. He reminds us of Boxer’s far-left political views and of California’s miserable economic condition:

Unemployment is at least 15 percent in 21 of the state’s 58 counties. Of the 13 U.S. metropolitan areas with unemployment that high, 11 are in California, which has lost more than 400,000 jobs since passage of the $862 billion stimulus. Like Barack Obama as he campaigns in what he calls Recovery Summer for more stimulus (because the first did not ignite recovery), Boxer is vexed by the fact that California’s unemployment rate is 2.2 points higher than when stimulus was passed. When she said the stimulus was responsible for 100 jobs at a Los Angeles lithium-battery factory, the owner demurred, saying the stimulus had nothing to do with the jobs.

Republicans who have witnessed many a year when the state was declared to be in play when it really wasn’t are wary of getting their hopes up. But Fiorina has several things going for her: she is well funded, well spoken, and, well, lucky. She’s running in a year when the usual scare tactics of the Democrats seem particularly cheesy and manipulative. On the abortion issue, Will makes this observation:

It is theoretically impossible to fashion an abortion position significantly more extreme than Boxer’s, which is slightly modified infanticide. She supports “partial birth” abortion — the baby, delivered feet first, is pulled out as far as the neck, then is killed. And when asked during a Senate debate whether the baby has a right to life if it slips entirely out of the birth canal before being killed, she replied that the baby acquires that right when it leaves the hospital: “When you bring your baby home.” Fiorina believes that science — the astonishing clarity of sonograms showing the moving fingers and beating hearts of fetuses; neonatal medicine improving the viability of very premature infants; the increasing abilities of medicine to treat ailing fetuses in utero — is changing Americans’ sensibilities and enlarging the portion of the public that describes itself as pro-life.

Third-party groups and pundits can make that point, but Fiorina would do well to follow Bob McDonnell’s example from Virginia: let the Democrat obsess over hot-button social issues while keeping one’s own campaign focused on bread-and-butter issues.

California might be, as Will put it, “irredeemably blue.” But that’s what they said about New Jersey and Massachusetts.

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Thumbs Down on Sestak’s “Shut Up” Strategy

Joe Sestak’s “shut up” strategy seems not to be a winner with Pennsylvania voters:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state shows Toomey with 45% support, while Sestak earns 38% of the vote. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and 12% are undecided.

Last month, Toomey held a near-identical 45% to 39% lead.

In fact, except for a brief surge after his mid-May victory over incumbent Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate Primary, support for Sestak has remained in the 36% to 40% range in matchups with Toomey back to February. In those same surveys, Toomey has received 42% to 47% of the vote.

Sestak’s  main problem is that he has been passive and virtually invisible. What voters know about him is what third-party groups and the Toomey campaign have told them: he nearly always votes in lock-step with the Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda (97.8 percent of the time, to be precise); he was tangled up in (and maybe exaggerated his involvement in) Jobsgate; he is as pro-Israel as J Street is (i.e., in name only); and he doesn’t want the voters to know about his Israel or anti-business voting record, and certainly not what is in his Navy records. He is probably fortunate to be only seven points back.

Joe Sestak’s “shut up” strategy seems not to be a winner with Pennsylvania voters:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state shows Toomey with 45% support, while Sestak earns 38% of the vote. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate in the race, and 12% are undecided.

Last month, Toomey held a near-identical 45% to 39% lead.

In fact, except for a brief surge after his mid-May victory over incumbent Arlen Specter in the state’s Democratic Senate Primary, support for Sestak has remained in the 36% to 40% range in matchups with Toomey back to February. In those same surveys, Toomey has received 42% to 47% of the vote.

Sestak’s  main problem is that he has been passive and virtually invisible. What voters know about him is what third-party groups and the Toomey campaign have told them: he nearly always votes in lock-step with the Pelosi-Reid-Obama agenda (97.8 percent of the time, to be precise); he was tangled up in (and maybe exaggerated his involvement in) Jobsgate; he is as pro-Israel as J Street is (i.e., in name only); and he doesn’t want the voters to know about his Israel or anti-business voting record, and certainly not what is in his Navy records. He is probably fortunate to be only seven points back.

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How Israel Can Win the PR War

In yesterday’s post, I focused on a disturbing incident described by PR guru Frank Luntz in a Jerusalem Post interview — an incident in which American Jewish college students proved utterly unwilling or unable to defend Israel. But Luntz also offered a constructive strategy for how to improve this situation.

Again, he used an example to illustrate his point: a meeting with a group of “high income, high education, politically connected” Brits who were “so hostile to Israel” that “I’d given up … There was no message that resonated remotely well with them. And I finally said ‘to hell with it. We’ll give them the Hamas Charter’” — or, more accurately, a “word for word” version taken from Hamas’s website and then “edited down to one page.”

The results surpassed his wildest expectations: at the end, “28 of the 30 said, ‘How dare Israel negotiate with these people?’”

Luntz’s point is simple: when people have preconceived notions about Israel, it’s very hard to dislodge those notions — to convince them, for instance, that Israel did not wantonly target civilians in last year’s war in Gaza, or has not created a humanitarian crisis there by its blockade. But it is possible to persuade them that no matter how bad Israel is, its enemies are much, much worse — and therefore even someone who dislikes Israel should nevertheless back it against those enemies.

Though Luntz did not elaborate, it’s not hard to see why this should be so. First, people generally know much less about Hamas or Hezbollah than they think they do about Israel, so there are fewer preconceived notions to try to dislodge. Second, Israel’s enemies truly are evil and make no effort to hide it, so the case is easy to prove.

The third, and perhaps most important, reason was excellently explained by another PR professional, Sarah Kass, in a Jerusalem Post article last month. The title says it all: “It’s all defense, all the time.”

Israel’s enemies, Kass explained, are conducting a classic PR offensive, designed to keep the focus relentlessly on Israel and away from themselves. Thus they never talk about themselves; they talk only about Israel.

Israel, however, does the opposite: it talks almost exclusively about itself, constantly trying to defend its own actions rather than focusing on its enemies’ actions. And to listeners, Kass noted, this just sounds like “whining.”

What Israel should be doing, she argued, is exactly what its enemies do: focusing relentlessly on the other side. For only in that context — a battle against a truly evil enemy — can Israel’s defensive measures ever be understood.

“The country has a winning story that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or the Holocaust,” Kass concluded. “It has to do with the degeneracy of globally coordinated fanatics who seek their own death and wish to take the world down with them.” Essentially, that’s the same point Luntz was making.

But this is a story the world doesn’t know — and never will unless Israel and its supporters start telling it.

In yesterday’s post, I focused on a disturbing incident described by PR guru Frank Luntz in a Jerusalem Post interview — an incident in which American Jewish college students proved utterly unwilling or unable to defend Israel. But Luntz also offered a constructive strategy for how to improve this situation.

Again, he used an example to illustrate his point: a meeting with a group of “high income, high education, politically connected” Brits who were “so hostile to Israel” that “I’d given up … There was no message that resonated remotely well with them. And I finally said ‘to hell with it. We’ll give them the Hamas Charter’” — or, more accurately, a “word for word” version taken from Hamas’s website and then “edited down to one page.”

The results surpassed his wildest expectations: at the end, “28 of the 30 said, ‘How dare Israel negotiate with these people?’”

Luntz’s point is simple: when people have preconceived notions about Israel, it’s very hard to dislodge those notions — to convince them, for instance, that Israel did not wantonly target civilians in last year’s war in Gaza, or has not created a humanitarian crisis there by its blockade. But it is possible to persuade them that no matter how bad Israel is, its enemies are much, much worse — and therefore even someone who dislikes Israel should nevertheless back it against those enemies.

Though Luntz did not elaborate, it’s not hard to see why this should be so. First, people generally know much less about Hamas or Hezbollah than they think they do about Israel, so there are fewer preconceived notions to try to dislodge. Second, Israel’s enemies truly are evil and make no effort to hide it, so the case is easy to prove.

The third, and perhaps most important, reason was excellently explained by another PR professional, Sarah Kass, in a Jerusalem Post article last month. The title says it all: “It’s all defense, all the time.”

Israel’s enemies, Kass explained, are conducting a classic PR offensive, designed to keep the focus relentlessly on Israel and away from themselves. Thus they never talk about themselves; they talk only about Israel.

Israel, however, does the opposite: it talks almost exclusively about itself, constantly trying to defend its own actions rather than focusing on its enemies’ actions. And to listeners, Kass noted, this just sounds like “whining.”

What Israel should be doing, she argued, is exactly what its enemies do: focusing relentlessly on the other side. For only in that context — a battle against a truly evil enemy — can Israel’s defensive measures ever be understood.

“The country has a winning story that has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or the Holocaust,” Kass concluded. “It has to do with the degeneracy of globally coordinated fanatics who seek their own death and wish to take the world down with them.” Essentially, that’s the same point Luntz was making.

But this is a story the world doesn’t know — and never will unless Israel and its supporters start telling it.

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Obama’s “Winning” Agenda Is a Loser

On the Fox News Sunday roundtable, the panelists observed that the financial-reform bill, indeed all the enormous pieces of legislation that Obama has gotten through Congress, aren’t helping him any:

BRIT HUME: Because his big agenda has not seemed to the public to be focused on the things the public is concerned about. The economy was job one. They did something on the economy that the public did not like and did not believe in, and does not believe in to this day, which is the stimulus program. And since then, the president has been on to other things, other things that were nowhere high on the public’s priority list. I speak, of course, of the — of the health care reform bill, financial reform.

Regulatory reform may be something the public thought ought to be done, but it doesn’t come anywhere near the priority that people have on the creation of jobs and the — and the awakening of the economy so that — so that it will boom enough to really generate some jobs. …

NINA EASTON: … it’s fascinating, because this bill, which, as you said, was going to be the cracking down on fat cats of Wall Street, has got small community banks concerned, farmers concerned who deal in derivatives for their business. It’s got — something like 533 rulemaking proceedings are going to be going in, which creates lots of uncertainty and lots of fear.

And it’s interesting that this week the president in an interview said, “Look, I’m” — when he was talking about his poll numbers, “Look, I’m facing 9.5 percent unemployment.” He’s got an unpopular economy the same way President Bush in 2006 had an unpopular war. We grant him that.

And now, fascinating to us, that you’ve got this Wall Street reform that doesn’t really — it’s really — it doesn’t look like it’s going after Wall Street. And so I’m not sure that’s going to help them in November.

Indeed, it’s not merely that the financial reform bill, the stimulus, and ObamaCare haven’t helped the president; they’ve actually hurt him, both in the short and the long term.

An array of polling evidences a revulsion against big government and the enormous debt that has accompanied Obama’s spending spree. The public thinks he and his party are too liberal, and, as Bill Kristol pointed out, Republican Party identification is consequently rising. All this suggests that what’s at work is more than simply a bad economy or misplaced priorities. Obama has managed to reinforce the Democrats’ liberal tax-and-spend identity, which Bill Clinton worked mightily to shed.

But the real problem for Obama is the long-term, or longer-term, damage he has done to the economy and in turn to his party. The massive tax hikes (with more to follow if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire), the raft of new regulations and mandates, the mound of new debt, and the anti-business rhetoric (which the Obama administration now bizarrely claims isn’t anti-business at all) have freaked investors and employers. The economy now seems headed for that feared double-dip recession, which can fairly be attributed to Obama’s insistence on putting a ball and chain around the ankles of businessmen, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

All in all, it’s been a rather amazing display of economic and political folly.

On the Fox News Sunday roundtable, the panelists observed that the financial-reform bill, indeed all the enormous pieces of legislation that Obama has gotten through Congress, aren’t helping him any:

BRIT HUME: Because his big agenda has not seemed to the public to be focused on the things the public is concerned about. The economy was job one. They did something on the economy that the public did not like and did not believe in, and does not believe in to this day, which is the stimulus program. And since then, the president has been on to other things, other things that were nowhere high on the public’s priority list. I speak, of course, of the — of the health care reform bill, financial reform.

Regulatory reform may be something the public thought ought to be done, but it doesn’t come anywhere near the priority that people have on the creation of jobs and the — and the awakening of the economy so that — so that it will boom enough to really generate some jobs. …

NINA EASTON: … it’s fascinating, because this bill, which, as you said, was going to be the cracking down on fat cats of Wall Street, has got small community banks concerned, farmers concerned who deal in derivatives for their business. It’s got — something like 533 rulemaking proceedings are going to be going in, which creates lots of uncertainty and lots of fear.

And it’s interesting that this week the president in an interview said, “Look, I’m” — when he was talking about his poll numbers, “Look, I’m facing 9.5 percent unemployment.” He’s got an unpopular economy the same way President Bush in 2006 had an unpopular war. We grant him that.

And now, fascinating to us, that you’ve got this Wall Street reform that doesn’t really — it’s really — it doesn’t look like it’s going after Wall Street. And so I’m not sure that’s going to help them in November.

Indeed, it’s not merely that the financial reform bill, the stimulus, and ObamaCare haven’t helped the president; they’ve actually hurt him, both in the short and the long term.

An array of polling evidences a revulsion against big government and the enormous debt that has accompanied Obama’s spending spree. The public thinks he and his party are too liberal, and, as Bill Kristol pointed out, Republican Party identification is consequently rising. All this suggests that what’s at work is more than simply a bad economy or misplaced priorities. Obama has managed to reinforce the Democrats’ liberal tax-and-spend identity, which Bill Clinton worked mightily to shed.

But the real problem for Obama is the long-term, or longer-term, damage he has done to the economy and in turn to his party. The massive tax hikes (with more to follow if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire), the raft of new regulations and mandates, the mound of new debt, and the anti-business rhetoric (which the Obama administration now bizarrely claims isn’t anti-business at all) have freaked investors and employers. The economy now seems headed for that feared double-dip recession, which can fairly be attributed to Obama’s insistence on putting a ball and chain around the ankles of businessmen, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

All in all, it’s been a rather amazing display of economic and political folly.

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Leading Palestinian Activist: Iran Perpetuates Palestinian Suffering

A remarkable conference took place in Jerusalem last week on “The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran; the Responsibility to Prevent.” Its purpose was to present a report of that name, signed by 100 international scholars, jurists, and government officials, whose content would presumably be familiar to anyone who has followed events in Iran over the past few years. What made it remarkable was the identity of one of the three presenters.

The other two were unsurprising: Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian justice minister who has campaigned for years to get Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicted for incitement to genocide in an international court, and Amnon Rubinstein, a former Knesset member and minister from Israel’s far-left Meretz Party who, unlike most of his colleagues, recognizes the threat posed by the current delegitimization campaign against Israel and has devoted himself since retirement to defending his country’s good name.

But the third was a shocker: Bassem Eid, a West Bank Palestinian who made his name documenting alleged Israeli abuses of Palestinians as chief researcher for B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Eid has always been an anomaly among the so-called human rights community, in that he objects to abuse regardless of who commits it. That’s what precipitated his break with B’Tselem: after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, he wanted B’Tselem to start documenting PA abuses of Palestinian rights as well as Israeli ones. When B’Tselem refused, saying it had no interest in abused Palestinians unless Israel was the alleged perpetrator, Eid left to found his own organization, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.

Still, most human rights activists focus on a particular area; it’s unusual to see a specialist in Palestinian rights throwing his weight behind a report focused on two issues seemingly unrelated to his chief concern: Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel, and its massive abuse of its own people, including “reports of torture, an assault on women’s rights, oppression of minorities such as the Baha’is and Kurds; murder of political dissidents; the denial of gay rights and what Cotler described as ‘the wanton imposition of the death penalty, including the execution of more juveniles than any other country in the world.’”

But as Eid explained, it really isn’t so far afield — because by propping up the Hamas regime in Gaza, Iran is also responsible for massive Palestinian suffering. That suffering, he noted, has been thrown into sharp relief in recent years by the contrast between Gaza’s decline and the West Bank’s impressive development.

So if the world cares about Palestinian suffering as much as it says it does, shouldn’t it also care about Iran’s perpetuation of it? Eid certainly won’t be surprised if the answer is no; after founding PHRMG in 1996, he complained bitterly that the same journalists who flocked to hear his reports on alleged Israeli abuse of Palestinians gave him the cold shoulder when he tried to tell them about PA abuse. But he keeps on trying — eternally hoping that someday, the answer will be yes.

A remarkable conference took place in Jerusalem last week on “The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran; the Responsibility to Prevent.” Its purpose was to present a report of that name, signed by 100 international scholars, jurists, and government officials, whose content would presumably be familiar to anyone who has followed events in Iran over the past few years. What made it remarkable was the identity of one of the three presenters.

The other two were unsurprising: Irwin Cotler, the former Canadian justice minister who has campaigned for years to get Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad indicted for incitement to genocide in an international court, and Amnon Rubinstein, a former Knesset member and minister from Israel’s far-left Meretz Party who, unlike most of his colleagues, recognizes the threat posed by the current delegitimization campaign against Israel and has devoted himself since retirement to defending his country’s good name.

But the third was a shocker: Bassem Eid, a West Bank Palestinian who made his name documenting alleged Israeli abuses of Palestinians as chief researcher for B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Eid has always been an anomaly among the so-called human rights community, in that he objects to abuse regardless of who commits it. That’s what precipitated his break with B’Tselem: after the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, he wanted B’Tselem to start documenting PA abuses of Palestinian rights as well as Israeli ones. When B’Tselem refused, saying it had no interest in abused Palestinians unless Israel was the alleged perpetrator, Eid left to found his own organization, the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group.

Still, most human rights activists focus on a particular area; it’s unusual to see a specialist in Palestinian rights throwing his weight behind a report focused on two issues seemingly unrelated to his chief concern: Iran’s genocidal threats against Israel, and its massive abuse of its own people, including “reports of torture, an assault on women’s rights, oppression of minorities such as the Baha’is and Kurds; murder of political dissidents; the denial of gay rights and what Cotler described as ‘the wanton imposition of the death penalty, including the execution of more juveniles than any other country in the world.’”

But as Eid explained, it really isn’t so far afield — because by propping up the Hamas regime in Gaza, Iran is also responsible for massive Palestinian suffering. That suffering, he noted, has been thrown into sharp relief in recent years by the contrast between Gaza’s decline and the West Bank’s impressive development.

So if the world cares about Palestinian suffering as much as it says it does, shouldn’t it also care about Iran’s perpetuation of it? Eid certainly won’t be surprised if the answer is no; after founding PHRMG in 1996, he complained bitterly that the same journalists who flocked to hear his reports on alleged Israeli abuse of Palestinians gave him the cold shoulder when he tried to tell them about PA abuse. But he keeps on trying — eternally hoping that someday, the answer will be yes.

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J Street Can’t Help Itself

J Street more often than not (except on college campuses) says it is pro-peace and pro-Israel. Its actions suggestion otherwise. The telltale sign: its criticism is almost exclusively reserved for Israel and for critics of Obama’s Israel policy. A case in point:

J Street called for an investigation into American charities that fund Israeli settlement activity

J Street, the self-proclaimed political home for “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” launched a campaign Monday calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to look into whether organizations named in a July 6 New York Times report have broken the law. The report identified more than 40 U.S. organizations that have collected over $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for schools, synagogues and recreation centers in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

Why is this a subject of any investigation — is there something at issue here other than a demand that the government investigate its political opponents?

But put that aside for a moment. Why doesn’t J Street call for an investigation of CAIR and of the government’s refusal to sever all contact with that group, some of whose officials have been indicted for terrorism? (It would make J Street’s endorsement of Joe Sestak, who keynoted for the group, a little sticky.) Why no call to investigate NIAC? Why aren’t the J Street “pro-peace, pro-Israel” types calling for an investigation of IHH and the Turkish government, whose support for the flotilla terrorists led to the death of nine?

Hey, if it really wanted to make sure no one is undermining the “peace process,” J Street could disclose the sources of its own funding, you know, just to make sure pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel folks aren’t using the group to push their agenda under the guise of a pro-peace, pro-Israel group.

J Street more often than not (except on college campuses) says it is pro-peace and pro-Israel. Its actions suggestion otherwise. The telltale sign: its criticism is almost exclusively reserved for Israel and for critics of Obama’s Israel policy. A case in point:

J Street called for an investigation into American charities that fund Israeli settlement activity

J Street, the self-proclaimed political home for “pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans,” launched a campaign Monday calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to look into whether organizations named in a July 6 New York Times report have broken the law. The report identified more than 40 U.S. organizations that have collected over $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for schools, synagogues and recreation centers in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.

Why is this a subject of any investigation — is there something at issue here other than a demand that the government investigate its political opponents?

But put that aside for a moment. Why doesn’t J Street call for an investigation of CAIR and of the government’s refusal to sever all contact with that group, some of whose officials have been indicted for terrorism? (It would make J Street’s endorsement of Joe Sestak, who keynoted for the group, a little sticky.) Why no call to investigate NIAC? Why aren’t the J Street “pro-peace, pro-Israel” types calling for an investigation of IHH and the Turkish government, whose support for the flotilla terrorists led to the death of nine?

Hey, if it really wanted to make sure no one is undermining the “peace process,” J Street could disclose the sources of its own funding, you know, just to make sure pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel folks aren’t using the group to push their agenda under the guise of a pro-peace, pro-Israel group.

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Nothing to Show for It

The walls are closing in on Obama’s Middle East policy. He flattered and cajoled the Palestinians while bullying the Israelis. He insisted on unilateral concessions from Bibi. He urged proximity talks to spare Fatah the trouble of getting in the room with the Israelis — and giving up both terrorism and the dream of a one-state solution (i.e., the right of Palestinians to return and demographically swamp Israel). None of it worked to move the parties closer to a peace deal.

Now signs abound that proximity talks will not lead to direct negotiations (which Obama said during Bibi’s visit were the next step in the “peace process”) but to a dead end. Since Obama’s declared preference for direct talks, Palestinian figures have thrown out a variety of new preconditions. The Egyptian foreign minister says the parties are “too far apart.” (I suppose ignoring Mubarak’s political crackdown and plying him with billions in new aid didn’t transform him into a helpful promoter of the “peace process.”)

In sum, Obama has invested enormous time and prestige and done immense damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship with nothing to show for it. There is no peace deal, and not even direct talks are on the horizon. And all this has diverted attention from (intentionally, one might conclude) his failure to derail Iran’s nuclear program. There, too, his engagement policy and pursuit of consensus (the lowest common denominator sanctions minus any gasoline sanctions) have also failed. Rather, his efforts have emboldened the mullahs and encouraged their junior partners in Damascus and Ankara to step up their anti-Israel behavior.

Along the way he’s frightened and angered American Jews, raised and then dashed Palestinians’ expectations, and undermined human rights and democracy activists in the Muslim World. It is what critics warned would happen. The Obami said they knew best. Turned out they didn’t.

The walls are closing in on Obama’s Middle East policy. He flattered and cajoled the Palestinians while bullying the Israelis. He insisted on unilateral concessions from Bibi. He urged proximity talks to spare Fatah the trouble of getting in the room with the Israelis — and giving up both terrorism and the dream of a one-state solution (i.e., the right of Palestinians to return and demographically swamp Israel). None of it worked to move the parties closer to a peace deal.

Now signs abound that proximity talks will not lead to direct negotiations (which Obama said during Bibi’s visit were the next step in the “peace process”) but to a dead end. Since Obama’s declared preference for direct talks, Palestinian figures have thrown out a variety of new preconditions. The Egyptian foreign minister says the parties are “too far apart.” (I suppose ignoring Mubarak’s political crackdown and plying him with billions in new aid didn’t transform him into a helpful promoter of the “peace process.”)

In sum, Obama has invested enormous time and prestige and done immense damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship with nothing to show for it. There is no peace deal, and not even direct talks are on the horizon. And all this has diverted attention from (intentionally, one might conclude) his failure to derail Iran’s nuclear program. There, too, his engagement policy and pursuit of consensus (the lowest common denominator sanctions minus any gasoline sanctions) have also failed. Rather, his efforts have emboldened the mullahs and encouraged their junior partners in Damascus and Ankara to step up their anti-Israel behavior.

Along the way he’s frightened and angered American Jews, raised and then dashed Palestinians’ expectations, and undermined human rights and democracy activists in the Muslim World. It is what critics warned would happen. The Obami said they knew best. Turned out they didn’t.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Obama may not be good for America, but he’s been a gold mine for conservative humor.

You will keep your insurance and your doctor! Remember that promise from Obama? Apparently, he was just kidding: “As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.” We did try this before back in the “H.M.O. days,” but “[t]he concept was largely abandoned after the consumer backlash persuaded both employers and health plans that Americans were simply not willing to sacrifice choice.” I’m sure it’ll be totally different this time.

I don’t think Dan Balz meant to be funny. But this certainly is: “White House and House officials see a path for holding the House, unless the wave of reaction against the president’s policies and unrest over the economy swamps even the smartest and best prepared of embattled incumbents — which is what happened in 1994.” Yeah, like what are the chances of that?

No joke — for a mere $30,400, you can attend a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee fundraising retreat. Do you think they throw in free breakfasts? But Obama assures us that the Republicans are the party of the rich.

Many Virginians are giddy over the prospect of privatizing state liquor stores: “For the drinking-age public, a privatized system could mean many more liquor stores, a much wider variety of libations and lower prices. Like beer and wine, liquor could be sold in grocery stores, big-box stores such as Wal-Mart or anywhere else a licensed dealer chooses to locate. … For the state’s ailing transportation network, it would mean a jolt of fresh cash that [Gov. Bob] McDonnell (R) urgently needs as part of his plan to fix roads. … And for McDonnell, who opposes government-run liquor stores on free-market principles, bringing Democrats and Republicans together on a major issue would show that he can deliver on his promises and be the kind of bipartisan leader he has pledged to be.” Naturally, many Democrats oppose the plan.

This is no laughing matter: “Canadians may have achieved what Americans still long for, a turn up in the national mood, and a job machine that hums. In fact, Canada’s job creation engine is on a tear, last month producing 10,000 more jobs than the U.S. This despite having a population and stimulus program roughly one-tenth the size of the U.S. … ‘Canada is coming back better than the U.S.,’ says labor economist Alan Blinder of Princeton University. ‘I’m losing a bit of the confidence I previously had.'” In the Obama era, it doesn’t pay to be a starry-eyed optimist.

This advice from Matthew Dowd probably sounds silly to the Obami: “[T]he administration should get off the partisan campaign trail (when your job-approval rating is in the 40s, being there isn’t helping anyone anyway), focus on what the president can do to change the tone in Washington and begin to speak to his own mistakes in adding to the political fighting.” Right advice, wrong president.

Hysterical: From one of the Beagle Blogger’s minions: “Can anyone think of other times of where one side of a debate projects their own preferences upon their opponents?” I would think reading his own blog would be part of the job.

Obama may not be good for America, but he’s been a gold mine for conservative humor.

You will keep your insurance and your doctor! Remember that promise from Obama? Apparently, he was just kidding: “As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.” We did try this before back in the “H.M.O. days,” but “[t]he concept was largely abandoned after the consumer backlash persuaded both employers and health plans that Americans were simply not willing to sacrifice choice.” I’m sure it’ll be totally different this time.

I don’t think Dan Balz meant to be funny. But this certainly is: “White House and House officials see a path for holding the House, unless the wave of reaction against the president’s policies and unrest over the economy swamps even the smartest and best prepared of embattled incumbents — which is what happened in 1994.” Yeah, like what are the chances of that?

No joke — for a mere $30,400, you can attend a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee fundraising retreat. Do you think they throw in free breakfasts? But Obama assures us that the Republicans are the party of the rich.

Many Virginians are giddy over the prospect of privatizing state liquor stores: “For the drinking-age public, a privatized system could mean many more liquor stores, a much wider variety of libations and lower prices. Like beer and wine, liquor could be sold in grocery stores, big-box stores such as Wal-Mart or anywhere else a licensed dealer chooses to locate. … For the state’s ailing transportation network, it would mean a jolt of fresh cash that [Gov. Bob] McDonnell (R) urgently needs as part of his plan to fix roads. … And for McDonnell, who opposes government-run liquor stores on free-market principles, bringing Democrats and Republicans together on a major issue would show that he can deliver on his promises and be the kind of bipartisan leader he has pledged to be.” Naturally, many Democrats oppose the plan.

This is no laughing matter: “Canadians may have achieved what Americans still long for, a turn up in the national mood, and a job machine that hums. In fact, Canada’s job creation engine is on a tear, last month producing 10,000 more jobs than the U.S. This despite having a population and stimulus program roughly one-tenth the size of the U.S. … ‘Canada is coming back better than the U.S.,’ says labor economist Alan Blinder of Princeton University. ‘I’m losing a bit of the confidence I previously had.'” In the Obama era, it doesn’t pay to be a starry-eyed optimist.

This advice from Matthew Dowd probably sounds silly to the Obami: “[T]he administration should get off the partisan campaign trail (when your job-approval rating is in the 40s, being there isn’t helping anyone anyway), focus on what the president can do to change the tone in Washington and begin to speak to his own mistakes in adding to the political fighting.” Right advice, wrong president.

Hysterical: From one of the Beagle Blogger’s minions: “Can anyone think of other times of where one side of a debate projects their own preferences upon their opponents?” I would think reading his own blog would be part of the job.

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What Mel Gibson’s Anti-Semitism Should Have Told Us

A friend writes:

In all of this Mel Gibson hoo-ha, we are reminded, yet again, that those who start with anti-Jewish slurs rarely stop there.  Anti-Semitism is a manifestation of a pathological personality or ideology.  When Gibson was making loony comments about Jews and Jewish dominance a few years ago, no one applauded him, but he was given something of a free pass. It was booze. He was misunderstood. And anyway, he had a great box office record. Now it turns out that he is misogynistic, racist, violent. Not a shocker to anyone who knows that an anti-Semitic worldview rarely ends with merely impolite comments.

A friend writes:

In all of this Mel Gibson hoo-ha, we are reminded, yet again, that those who start with anti-Jewish slurs rarely stop there.  Anti-Semitism is a manifestation of a pathological personality or ideology.  When Gibson was making loony comments about Jews and Jewish dominance a few years ago, no one applauded him, but he was given something of a free pass. It was booze. He was misunderstood. And anyway, he had a great box office record. Now it turns out that he is misogynistic, racist, violent. Not a shocker to anyone who knows that an anti-Semitic worldview rarely ends with merely impolite comments.

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