Commentary Magazine


Posts For: August 26, 2010

A GOP Clean Sweep on the Issues

According to the Rasmussen Reports:

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 of the important issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

The GOP has consistently been trusted on most issues for months now, but in July they held the lead on only nine of the key issues.

Republicans lead Democrats 47% to 39% on the economy, which remains the most important issue to voters . Those numbers are nearly identical to those found in June . Republicans have held the advantage on the economy since May of last year.

But for the first time in months, Republicans now hold a slight edge on the issues of government ethics and corruption, 40% to 38%. Voters have been mostly undecided for the past several months on which party to trust more on this issue, but Democrats have held small leads since February. Still, more than one-in-five voters (22%) are still not sure which party to trust more on ethics issues.

Government ethics and corruption have been second only to the economy in terms of importance to voters over the past year.

In addition, Republicans hold a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Democrats on the issue of taxes; a 49 percent to 37 percent margin on national security and the War on Terror; a 43 percent to 40 percent edge on the war in Iraq; and a 43 percent to 36 percent lead on how to handle the war in Afghanistan,

On the issue of immigration, Republicans are trusted more by a 44 percent to 35 percent margin. On health care, voters now trust Republicans by a 48 percent to 40 percent margin. The GOP holds a statistically insignificant 41 percent to 40 percent edge on education. And when it comes to Social Security, voters again give the Republicans the edge, this time by a 44 percent to 38 percent margin.

There is not a single bit of good news for Democrats to be found in this poll — or, in fact, in any poll on any subject these days.

We’re seeing a political implosion perhaps unmatched by anything we’ve witnessed.

According to the Rasmussen Reports:

Voters now trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 of the important issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports.

The GOP has consistently been trusted on most issues for months now, but in July they held the lead on only nine of the key issues.

Republicans lead Democrats 47% to 39% on the economy, which remains the most important issue to voters . Those numbers are nearly identical to those found in June . Republicans have held the advantage on the economy since May of last year.

But for the first time in months, Republicans now hold a slight edge on the issues of government ethics and corruption, 40% to 38%. Voters have been mostly undecided for the past several months on which party to trust more on this issue, but Democrats have held small leads since February. Still, more than one-in-five voters (22%) are still not sure which party to trust more on ethics issues.

Government ethics and corruption have been second only to the economy in terms of importance to voters over the past year.

In addition, Republicans hold a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Democrats on the issue of taxes; a 49 percent to 37 percent margin on national security and the War on Terror; a 43 percent to 40 percent edge on the war in Iraq; and a 43 percent to 36 percent lead on how to handle the war in Afghanistan,

On the issue of immigration, Republicans are trusted more by a 44 percent to 35 percent margin. On health care, voters now trust Republicans by a 48 percent to 40 percent margin. The GOP holds a statistically insignificant 41 percent to 40 percent edge on education. And when it comes to Social Security, voters again give the Republicans the edge, this time by a 44 percent to 38 percent margin.

There is not a single bit of good news for Democrats to be found in this poll — or, in fact, in any poll on any subject these days.

We’re seeing a political implosion perhaps unmatched by anything we’ve witnessed.

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Doug Schoen Predicts

Here‘s Democratic strategist Doug Schoen:

Not only has President Obama systematically put forward unpopular policies and programs that are not producing real, long-lasting results that reflect the wishes of the American people, he has not generated a sense of competence in the electorate.

Indeed, Obama’s judgment and instincts have been called into question by a series of bad decisions since he has become president. Put simply, rather than emphasizing results and outcomes, he has opted for rhetorical parsing and political gamesmanship every time. Voters have grown disillusioned with the administration’s reactive and seemingly hypocritical governing style, in which the notion of unity of command and a cohesive strategy have proved alien.

Schoen concludes this way:

Obama needs to persuade voters that he did stabilize the economy, the banks, the financial system, and the auto industry-and that he has turned around month after month of massive job losses. Moreover, he must compellingly make the case that there has been a consistent strategy, plan, and consistent policy.

Also he must emphasize that he has clear policy prescriptions going forward to balance the budget, reduce spending, and reduce the national debt, while protecting key social programs, as President Clinton was able to do in the mid-to-late ’90s.

Absent that, the Democrats are facing an electoral defeat of potentially unprecedented magnitude.

Obama won’t be able to do what Schoen recommends; we are well past that point. So the fate Schoen fears will likely be visited upon the Democrats in less than 70 days.

Here‘s Democratic strategist Doug Schoen:

Not only has President Obama systematically put forward unpopular policies and programs that are not producing real, long-lasting results that reflect the wishes of the American people, he has not generated a sense of competence in the electorate.

Indeed, Obama’s judgment and instincts have been called into question by a series of bad decisions since he has become president. Put simply, rather than emphasizing results and outcomes, he has opted for rhetorical parsing and political gamesmanship every time. Voters have grown disillusioned with the administration’s reactive and seemingly hypocritical governing style, in which the notion of unity of command and a cohesive strategy have proved alien.

Schoen concludes this way:

Obama needs to persuade voters that he did stabilize the economy, the banks, the financial system, and the auto industry-and that he has turned around month after month of massive job losses. Moreover, he must compellingly make the case that there has been a consistent strategy, plan, and consistent policy.

Also he must emphasize that he has clear policy prescriptions going forward to balance the budget, reduce spending, and reduce the national debt, while protecting key social programs, as President Clinton was able to do in the mid-to-late ’90s.

Absent that, the Democrats are facing an electoral defeat of potentially unprecedented magnitude.

Obama won’t be able to do what Schoen recommends; we are well past that point. So the fate Schoen fears will likely be visited upon the Democrats in less than 70 days.

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Freaking Out the Left

Cliff May’s must-read column documents the mainstream media’s abysmal failure (even hostility) to explore the views and plans of the Ground Zero mosque builders. Instead of sharp questioning about their funding and justification for their provocative act, they have been granted platforms to impugn America and to claim they are the victims of smears. May responds:

Let’s say it one more time loudly for the media moguls in the cheap seats: Most Muslims are not terrorists. But in the 21st century, most of those slaughtering women and children in the name of religion are Muslims. This is a movement. This is a reality. And it is a problem. It ought to be seen by Muslims as very much their problem — a pathology within their community, within the “Muslim world,” within the ummah.

Instead, the richest and most powerful Islamic organizations — often financed by oil money from the Middle East — incessantly play the victim card. Daisy Khan tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that in America, it’s “beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.” …

Many of the country’s religious and political leaders would like to hear more of their Muslim neighbors say plainly: “Not in my name! Not in the name of my religion!” They are distressed when they learn — not through the mainstream media — that Imam Rauf has said instead: “The United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda.”

May wonders what explains the media’s duplicity in the gussying up of the mosque builders’ moderate bona fides: “Is this moral posturing or cowardice or self-delusion or the byproduct of the multicultural ideological mush that so much of the media has been both eating and dishing out?” These are not mutually exclusive explanations, of course.

Near hysteria on the left has greeted the suggestion that, in this case, a mosque raises unique concerns and valid objections precisely because it is a mosque and precisely because the location is the worst slaughter in our history after Antietam. This is indicative, one suspects, of something more than the usual liberal moral preening.

What the Ground Zero mosque controversy demands is that we choose, we distinguish, we make value judgments,  and we deploy moral reasoning. What if legalities are not the end-all and be-all? What happens when a claim of victimhood cannot shut down questioning of the ethical conduct of the supposed victims? Nothing could be more horrifying to the left. By goodness, if we go down that road, where will the inquiries lead?

Much of the left’s template — from hostility toward Israel to support for racial quotas and statist health care — is built on the premise that the have-nots own a trump card. They have claims on money, land, college slots, or health-care because they have inherited grievances that absolve them of the normal scrutiny that others must endure. (What are your grades? What violence have you engaged in?) If we begin to operate in a rule of personal responsibility (Forget what race you are, have you studied?) and moral accountability (Forget what hovel your grandfather left 60 years ago, will you stop maiming children?), then the equation for many issues changes in ways the left certainly doesn’t welcome.

The reason the left likes to talk of “rights” — the right to health care, the right to housing — is that it bars discussion of the equities, which entails a different sort  of “right.” (Is it right to take money from the middle class to subsidize others’ mortgage payments?) In the case of the mosque, the left wants the discussion to end at: do they have a right to build there? That the rest of us refuse to take that as the final word and want to engage the builders in terms of what is decent, what is respectful, and what really is the basis for tolerance and reconciliation horrifies the left. And well it should.

Cliff May’s must-read column documents the mainstream media’s abysmal failure (even hostility) to explore the views and plans of the Ground Zero mosque builders. Instead of sharp questioning about their funding and justification for their provocative act, they have been granted platforms to impugn America and to claim they are the victims of smears. May responds:

Let’s say it one more time loudly for the media moguls in the cheap seats: Most Muslims are not terrorists. But in the 21st century, most of those slaughtering women and children in the name of religion are Muslims. This is a movement. This is a reality. And it is a problem. It ought to be seen by Muslims as very much their problem — a pathology within their community, within the “Muslim world,” within the ummah.

Instead, the richest and most powerful Islamic organizations — often financed by oil money from the Middle East — incessantly play the victim card. Daisy Khan tells ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that in America, it’s “beyond Islamophobia. It’s hate of Muslims.” …

Many of the country’s religious and political leaders would like to hear more of their Muslim neighbors say plainly: “Not in my name! Not in the name of my religion!” They are distressed when they learn — not through the mainstream media — that Imam Rauf has said instead: “The United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda.”

May wonders what explains the media’s duplicity in the gussying up of the mosque builders’ moderate bona fides: “Is this moral posturing or cowardice or self-delusion or the byproduct of the multicultural ideological mush that so much of the media has been both eating and dishing out?” These are not mutually exclusive explanations, of course.

Near hysteria on the left has greeted the suggestion that, in this case, a mosque raises unique concerns and valid objections precisely because it is a mosque and precisely because the location is the worst slaughter in our history after Antietam. This is indicative, one suspects, of something more than the usual liberal moral preening.

What the Ground Zero mosque controversy demands is that we choose, we distinguish, we make value judgments,  and we deploy moral reasoning. What if legalities are not the end-all and be-all? What happens when a claim of victimhood cannot shut down questioning of the ethical conduct of the supposed victims? Nothing could be more horrifying to the left. By goodness, if we go down that road, where will the inquiries lead?

Much of the left’s template — from hostility toward Israel to support for racial quotas and statist health care — is built on the premise that the have-nots own a trump card. They have claims on money, land, college slots, or health-care because they have inherited grievances that absolve them of the normal scrutiny that others must endure. (What are your grades? What violence have you engaged in?) If we begin to operate in a rule of personal responsibility (Forget what race you are, have you studied?) and moral accountability (Forget what hovel your grandfather left 60 years ago, will you stop maiming children?), then the equation for many issues changes in ways the left certainly doesn’t welcome.

The reason the left likes to talk of “rights” — the right to health care, the right to housing — is that it bars discussion of the equities, which entails a different sort  of “right.” (Is it right to take money from the middle class to subsidize others’ mortgage payments?) In the case of the mosque, the left wants the discussion to end at: do they have a right to build there? That the rest of us refuse to take that as the final word and want to engage the builders in terms of what is decent, what is respectful, and what really is the basis for tolerance and reconciliation horrifies the left. And well it should.

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Hezbollah’s “Soviet” Southern Lebanon

Michael J. Totten hits one out of the park today with his account of an interview with Jonathan Spyer, a journalist and research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya. Spyer, who fought with the IDF in Lebanon in 2006, is publishing a book on his recent visits to southern Lebanon, the Hezbollah enclave he describes to Totten as “a fanatical Iranian province.”

It’s a wide-ranging interview, but its core theme is the palpable totalitarianism of the civic atmosphere in southern Lebanon. The links to Iran are visible everywhere. Says Spyer:

You have to experience it to understand just how strange and extreme the situation actually is. Between Beirut and Tel Aviv there is this enclave of Iran, this strange dark kingdom. And I found it fascinating.

At the entrance to one of these towns, there’s an old piece of the South Lebanon Army’s armor, a T-55 tank I think. And Hezbollah put up this huge cardboard statue of Ayatollah Khomeini…

I also saw Iranian flags down there. That’s how blatant and obvious it all is.

Totten: You don’t see the Lebanese flag in the south.

Spyer: Right. Only the Hezbollah flag, the Amal flag, and the Iranian flag. It was a real eye-opener. I knew this already, but it’s something else to see it in person.

Spyer analogizes the feel of civil life across Lebanon’s political divide – the divide between the official government in Beirut and the Hezbollah enclave in the south – to the conditions in the former Soviet Union and the communist regimes of Eastern Europe. He captures vividly and convincingly how the people look over their shoulders and fear the unseen hand in their daily lives. And he acknowledges that Hezbollah in southern Lebanon is more effectively totalitarian than the Iranian regime itself is today. (It’s worth noting, as an aside, that Hezbollah has achieved this while operating cheek-by-jowl with UNIFIL.)

The interview is an excellent read, and not just because I agree with Spyer’s assessments of Iranian intentions, the ethnic tensions of the Middle East, and the Oslo process. Totten, for his part, has done a superb job of juxtaposing illustrative photos with the text. As Spyer suggests, we may know many of these things already, but it’s something else to “see” them in person, through the eyes of a first-hand witness. Spyer is one I want to hear more from.

Michael J. Totten hits one out of the park today with his account of an interview with Jonathan Spyer, a journalist and research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya. Spyer, who fought with the IDF in Lebanon in 2006, is publishing a book on his recent visits to southern Lebanon, the Hezbollah enclave he describes to Totten as “a fanatical Iranian province.”

It’s a wide-ranging interview, but its core theme is the palpable totalitarianism of the civic atmosphere in southern Lebanon. The links to Iran are visible everywhere. Says Spyer:

You have to experience it to understand just how strange and extreme the situation actually is. Between Beirut and Tel Aviv there is this enclave of Iran, this strange dark kingdom. And I found it fascinating.

At the entrance to one of these towns, there’s an old piece of the South Lebanon Army’s armor, a T-55 tank I think. And Hezbollah put up this huge cardboard statue of Ayatollah Khomeini…

I also saw Iranian flags down there. That’s how blatant and obvious it all is.

Totten: You don’t see the Lebanese flag in the south.

Spyer: Right. Only the Hezbollah flag, the Amal flag, and the Iranian flag. It was a real eye-opener. I knew this already, but it’s something else to see it in person.

Spyer analogizes the feel of civil life across Lebanon’s political divide – the divide between the official government in Beirut and the Hezbollah enclave in the south – to the conditions in the former Soviet Union and the communist regimes of Eastern Europe. He captures vividly and convincingly how the people look over their shoulders and fear the unseen hand in their daily lives. And he acknowledges that Hezbollah in southern Lebanon is more effectively totalitarian than the Iranian regime itself is today. (It’s worth noting, as an aside, that Hezbollah has achieved this while operating cheek-by-jowl with UNIFIL.)

The interview is an excellent read, and not just because I agree with Spyer’s assessments of Iranian intentions, the ethnic tensions of the Middle East, and the Oslo process. Totten, for his part, has done a superb job of juxtaposing illustrative photos with the text. As Spyer suggests, we may know many of these things already, but it’s something else to “see” them in person, through the eyes of a first-hand witness. Spyer is one I want to hear more from.

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The F-35 and the Israel-Obama Relationship

Commenting on Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s decision last week to buy 20 American-made F-35 fighter jets, Elliot Jager of Jewish Ideas Daily said it “illuminates Israel’s continuing, vital, and enduring — albeit dependent — relationship with the United States.” That is undoubtedly true: Washington has been Israel’s principal arms supplier for over four decades, and those arms are crucial for the country’s defense.

Ironically, however, the purchase also illuminates the nadir to which the relationship has fallen under the current administration. Barack Obama’s aides have tried to divert attention from their boss’s efforts to put “daylight” between America and Israel by insisting that on the all-important issue of security, “President Obama has taken what was already a strong U.S.-Israel defense relationship, and broadened and deepened it across the board,” as Dan Shapiro of the National Security Council told the Anti-Defamation League in May.

But in reality, Washington has attached unprecedented restrictions to the F-35 sale — restrictions so severe that Israel’s defense establishment agonized for months over whether to sign the deal, and ultimately opted to buy only 20 planes instead of the 75 the Israel Air Force originally sought.

First, as Haaretz reported last month, the U.S. refused to supply a test aircraft as part of the deal for the first time in 40 years. From the Phantom in 1969 through the F-16I six years ago, every previous American sale of fighters to Israel has included an experimental aircraft that Israel can use to test new systems or weapons it is considering installing in order to upgrade the planes or adapt them to particular missions. Effectively, the paper said, this refusal means “upgrades will not be implemented during the plane’s service in the IAF.”

Second, Washington initially refused to let any Israeli systems be installed in the plane, and finally reluctantly agreed to what various Israeli reports described as “minor changes” or “a few” systems (though holding out the carrot that more might be allowed if Israel ultimately commissions more planes). This, too, is unprecedented. Previous deals have given Israel great latitude to have its own systems installed on American-made aircraft, and have also allowed other countries to install Israeli systems — with the result that “between 10 percent and 15 percent of every new F-16 made in America, for instance, consists of Israeli systems.”

The restrictions so incensed Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz that he has appealed the purchase to the cabinet. His ministry says they would deal “a major blow to Israel’s defense industry” and particularly “hurt development of new Israeli missile systems.” On an issue as militarily important as purchasing new fighters, Steinitz has no chance of prevailing against Barak. But for a senior minister to publicly challenge such a deal is itself unusual.

It’s a testament to the depth of Israel’s support both in Congress and among the American people that even a hostile president only dares impair the security relationship at the margins, where he can hope it won’t be noticed. But precisely because the F-35 restrictions will fly below most Americans’ radars, they’re a telling indication of where Obama’s heart really lies.

Commenting on Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s decision last week to buy 20 American-made F-35 fighter jets, Elliot Jager of Jewish Ideas Daily said it “illuminates Israel’s continuing, vital, and enduring — albeit dependent — relationship with the United States.” That is undoubtedly true: Washington has been Israel’s principal arms supplier for over four decades, and those arms are crucial for the country’s defense.

Ironically, however, the purchase also illuminates the nadir to which the relationship has fallen under the current administration. Barack Obama’s aides have tried to divert attention from their boss’s efforts to put “daylight” between America and Israel by insisting that on the all-important issue of security, “President Obama has taken what was already a strong U.S.-Israel defense relationship, and broadened and deepened it across the board,” as Dan Shapiro of the National Security Council told the Anti-Defamation League in May.

But in reality, Washington has attached unprecedented restrictions to the F-35 sale — restrictions so severe that Israel’s defense establishment agonized for months over whether to sign the deal, and ultimately opted to buy only 20 planes instead of the 75 the Israel Air Force originally sought.

First, as Haaretz reported last month, the U.S. refused to supply a test aircraft as part of the deal for the first time in 40 years. From the Phantom in 1969 through the F-16I six years ago, every previous American sale of fighters to Israel has included an experimental aircraft that Israel can use to test new systems or weapons it is considering installing in order to upgrade the planes or adapt them to particular missions. Effectively, the paper said, this refusal means “upgrades will not be implemented during the plane’s service in the IAF.”

Second, Washington initially refused to let any Israeli systems be installed in the plane, and finally reluctantly agreed to what various Israeli reports described as “minor changes” or “a few” systems (though holding out the carrot that more might be allowed if Israel ultimately commissions more planes). This, too, is unprecedented. Previous deals have given Israel great latitude to have its own systems installed on American-made aircraft, and have also allowed other countries to install Israeli systems — with the result that “between 10 percent and 15 percent of every new F-16 made in America, for instance, consists of Israeli systems.”

The restrictions so incensed Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz that he has appealed the purchase to the cabinet. His ministry says they would deal “a major blow to Israel’s defense industry” and particularly “hurt development of new Israeli missile systems.” On an issue as militarily important as purchasing new fighters, Steinitz has no chance of prevailing against Barak. But for a senior minister to publicly challenge such a deal is itself unusual.

It’s a testament to the depth of Israel’s support both in Congress and among the American people that even a hostile president only dares impair the security relationship at the margins, where he can hope it won’t be noticed. But precisely because the F-35 restrictions will fly below most Americans’ radars, they’re a telling indication of where Obama’s heart really lies.

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What Obama’s Iran Policy Has Wrought

Obama’s gross miscalculation on Iran — that the mullahs could be cajoled out of their nuclear ambitions — and his failure to come up with a timely, viable plan for depriving the regime of nukes have had two tragic consequences. First, we are either on the brink of a nuclear-armed Revolutionary Islamic state or of war, carried out, most likely, by a tiny country (while the U.S. frets about “destabilizing” the region) to prevent the unimaginable from occurring. And second, we have, in a futile effort to ingratiate ourselves with a despotic reign of terror — as brutal as any on the planet — abandoned the people of Iran.

A heart-wrenching example of the latter is spelled out by Michael Weiss. He explains the fate of Shiva Nazar Ahari, an activist for democracy and human rights, who has been in and out of (mostly in) the Iranian hell-hole, Evin prison, since June of 2009. Looking at her lovely picture, one can’t help wondering what her present health and appearance must be. She has, as Weiss describes, endured the wrath of her jailers:

In 2006, after she became the spokeswoman for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), Ahari was kicked out of university, whereupon her troubles really began.

She was re-arrested in June 2009 and sent to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where she spent 33 days in solitary confinement. The cells are so small that a short person can’t even stretch her arms or legs. One informed observer has described them to me as “human coffins.” Despite being verbally threatened by Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s prosecutor general, who told her she’d be murdered if she didn’t stop working on human rights campaigns in Iran, Ahari persevered. She was released in September 2009 on $200,000 bail and promptly resumed her defense of political prisoners. …

In December of last year, Ahari was arrested yet again, along with two other activists, while en route to the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a man considered to be the clerical inspiration behind much of the Green Revolution. Ahari went on hunger strike for two days, then fell ill and was taken to Evin’s prison hospital.

And so it is for her and many other Iranians. She now stands accused of “anti-regime propaganda” and “acts against the state.” But that is not the worst of it: “the most serious charge against Ahari is ‘mohareb’ (rebellion against God), which carries with it the death penalty.”

Where is the Obama administration, for God’s sake? They have been mute. Averting their eyes. They long ago gave up on the Green Revolution and cast their lot with Ahari’s inquisitors, banking on our ability to do business with them. To make an issue out of Ahari, to label and ostracize the Iranian dictatorship in the international community as a genocidal regime and human-rights abuser, to be a clarion voice for freedom — these are not only beyond the ability of this president, but beyond his imagination.

Obama missed the window of time to both forestall a nuclear-armed, jihadist state and to help uproot an evil regime. The world and the Iranian people will pay a heavy price for it.

Obama’s gross miscalculation on Iran — that the mullahs could be cajoled out of their nuclear ambitions — and his failure to come up with a timely, viable plan for depriving the regime of nukes have had two tragic consequences. First, we are either on the brink of a nuclear-armed Revolutionary Islamic state or of war, carried out, most likely, by a tiny country (while the U.S. frets about “destabilizing” the region) to prevent the unimaginable from occurring. And second, we have, in a futile effort to ingratiate ourselves with a despotic reign of terror — as brutal as any on the planet — abandoned the people of Iran.

A heart-wrenching example of the latter is spelled out by Michael Weiss. He explains the fate of Shiva Nazar Ahari, an activist for democracy and human rights, who has been in and out of (mostly in) the Iranian hell-hole, Evin prison, since June of 2009. Looking at her lovely picture, one can’t help wondering what her present health and appearance must be. She has, as Weiss describes, endured the wrath of her jailers:

In 2006, after she became the spokeswoman for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), Ahari was kicked out of university, whereupon her troubles really began.

She was re-arrested in June 2009 and sent to Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, where she spent 33 days in solitary confinement. The cells are so small that a short person can’t even stretch her arms or legs. One informed observer has described them to me as “human coffins.” Despite being verbally threatened by Saeed Mortazavi, Tehran’s prosecutor general, who told her she’d be murdered if she didn’t stop working on human rights campaigns in Iran, Ahari persevered. She was released in September 2009 on $200,000 bail and promptly resumed her defense of political prisoners. …

In December of last year, Ahari was arrested yet again, along with two other activists, while en route to the funeral of Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a man considered to be the clerical inspiration behind much of the Green Revolution. Ahari went on hunger strike for two days, then fell ill and was taken to Evin’s prison hospital.

And so it is for her and many other Iranians. She now stands accused of “anti-regime propaganda” and “acts against the state.” But that is not the worst of it: “the most serious charge against Ahari is ‘mohareb’ (rebellion against God), which carries with it the death penalty.”

Where is the Obama administration, for God’s sake? They have been mute. Averting their eyes. They long ago gave up on the Green Revolution and cast their lot with Ahari’s inquisitors, banking on our ability to do business with them. To make an issue out of Ahari, to label and ostracize the Iranian dictatorship in the international community as a genocidal regime and human-rights abuser, to be a clarion voice for freedom — these are not only beyond the ability of this president, but beyond his imagination.

Obama missed the window of time to both forestall a nuclear-armed, jihadist state and to help uproot an evil regime. The world and the Iranian people will pay a heavy price for it.

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Why We Will Have to Watch This Movie Again

As still another Israeli-Palestinian final-status negotiation approaches next week, one is struck by the similarities to the last one. It is Groundhog Day again.

Three years ago, President Bush convened a conference to initiate a one-year final-status negotiation. More than 40 countries attended to hear the president’s opening address. The Palestinian negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas, was the elected president of the Palestinian Authority (even though he ran essentially unopposed, as Hamas boycotted the election). The process was quarterbacked by the secretary of state, with monthly trips to the region. At the end of the year, there was still another offer of a Palestinian state, which the secretary of state personally urged Abbas to accept, and still another Palestinian rejection.

Next week, President Obama will convene a conference to initiate a one-year final-status negotiation, although only Egypt and Jordan will attend to hear the presidential dinner speech. Abbas will be back in the role of “president,” although his term expired 20 months ago. The parties will meet and hopefully agree on when and where to meet again. The process will be quarterbacked by the secretary of state’s representative, with monthly trips to the region. After a year, if the process lasts that long, there will be still another offer of a Palestinian state — as long as it is willing to recognize a Jewish one within defensible borders and end all claims — and still another Palestinian rejection.

Why are we doing this all over again? In a perceptive analysis entitled “Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, Again,” Stratfor’s George Friedman notes that enthusiasm among Arab allies for a Palestinian state is nil, although publicly they have to support it:

If the United States were actually to do what these countries publicly demand, the private response would be deep concern both about the reliability of the United States and about the consequences of a Palestinian state. A wave of euphoric radicalism could threaten all of these regimes. They quite like the status quo, including the part where they get to condemn the United States for maintaining it.

The U.S. solution is always another “peace process,” since it is always a public-relations opportunity, even if the underlying reality is different from the show:

The comings and goings of American diplomats, treating Palestinians as equals in negotiations and as being equally important to the United States, and the occasional photo op if some agreement is actually reached, all give the United States and pro-American Muslim governments a tool … for managing Muslim public opinion. Peace talks also give the United States the ability, on occasion, to criticize Israel publicly …. Most important, they cost the United States nothing. The United States has many diplomats available for multiple-track discussions and working groups for drawing up position papers.

There will thus be a new peace process, because the U.S. wants one — “preferably a long one designed to put off the day when it fails.” Abbas will function like Bernie in Weekend at Bernie’sdragged in with arms draped around the shoulders of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to play the part of the Palestinian “peace partner,” as if this were a live process and not a movie we have now seen many, many times before.

As still another Israeli-Palestinian final-status negotiation approaches next week, one is struck by the similarities to the last one. It is Groundhog Day again.

Three years ago, President Bush convened a conference to initiate a one-year final-status negotiation. More than 40 countries attended to hear the president’s opening address. The Palestinian negotiator, Mahmoud Abbas, was the elected president of the Palestinian Authority (even though he ran essentially unopposed, as Hamas boycotted the election). The process was quarterbacked by the secretary of state, with monthly trips to the region. At the end of the year, there was still another offer of a Palestinian state, which the secretary of state personally urged Abbas to accept, and still another Palestinian rejection.

Next week, President Obama will convene a conference to initiate a one-year final-status negotiation, although only Egypt and Jordan will attend to hear the presidential dinner speech. Abbas will be back in the role of “president,” although his term expired 20 months ago. The parties will meet and hopefully agree on when and where to meet again. The process will be quarterbacked by the secretary of state’s representative, with monthly trips to the region. After a year, if the process lasts that long, there will be still another offer of a Palestinian state — as long as it is willing to recognize a Jewish one within defensible borders and end all claims — and still another Palestinian rejection.

Why are we doing this all over again? In a perceptive analysis entitled “Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks, Again,” Stratfor’s George Friedman notes that enthusiasm among Arab allies for a Palestinian state is nil, although publicly they have to support it:

If the United States were actually to do what these countries publicly demand, the private response would be deep concern both about the reliability of the United States and about the consequences of a Palestinian state. A wave of euphoric radicalism could threaten all of these regimes. They quite like the status quo, including the part where they get to condemn the United States for maintaining it.

The U.S. solution is always another “peace process,” since it is always a public-relations opportunity, even if the underlying reality is different from the show:

The comings and goings of American diplomats, treating Palestinians as equals in negotiations and as being equally important to the United States, and the occasional photo op if some agreement is actually reached, all give the United States and pro-American Muslim governments a tool … for managing Muslim public opinion. Peace talks also give the United States the ability, on occasion, to criticize Israel publicly …. Most important, they cost the United States nothing. The United States has many diplomats available for multiple-track discussions and working groups for drawing up position papers.

There will thus be a new peace process, because the U.S. wants one — “preferably a long one designed to put off the day when it fails.” Abbas will function like Bernie in Weekend at Bernie’sdragged in with arms draped around the shoulders of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to play the part of the Palestinian “peace partner,” as if this were a live process and not a movie we have now seen many, many times before.

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Crist Collapses

That was quick. The day after the Florida primaries:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida shows Marco Rubio attracting 40% of the vote, while Charlie Crist picks up 30% in the race to become the state’s next U.S. senator. The new Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek earns 21% support. … With the results of this new survey, Florida’s Senate race moves from Toss-Up to Leans Republican.

How long before Democrats start pressuring Crist to get out? Well, I think it’s too late for all that. It turns out — wow, just like conservatives predicted — there’s not much demand for a political opportunist whose sole belief is that there is public demand for his political opportunism.

That was quick. The day after the Florida primaries:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida shows Marco Rubio attracting 40% of the vote, while Charlie Crist picks up 30% in the race to become the state’s next U.S. senator. The new Democratic nominee Kendrick Meek earns 21% support. … With the results of this new survey, Florida’s Senate race moves from Toss-Up to Leans Republican.

How long before Democrats start pressuring Crist to get out? Well, I think it’s too late for all that. It turns out — wow, just like conservatives predicted — there’s not much demand for a political opportunist whose sole belief is that there is public demand for his political opportunism.

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Dionneland

Dionneland is a special place — liberals are always in the ascendancy, conservatives are always in disarray, and the voters are brilliant, as long as they don’t follow those wily conservatives (who, despite their disarray, are a menace to all that is good and decent). You think I exaggerate? Read E.J. Dionne’s latest offering, which must have been written in a windowless room with no connectivity to the outside world. Because as Democratic pollsters and analysts come to terms with the deluge, Dionne chirps:

Already, Republicans who won primaries with Tea Party backing — notably Senate candidates Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky — are facing withering Democratic attacks. The question is whether such critiques work only against marquee right-wing candidates or whether the entire Republican Party comes to be seen as moving too far away from the views of what is still a moderate country.

The paradox is that a Republican Party in the grips of ideology needs to shift the campaign in a less ideological direction, hoping that voters simply cast protest ballots against hard economic times.

Needs to shift? But they are winning — by a lot. No, never mind that. Dionne continues:

Democrats, who are more doctrinally diverse, have every interest in turning the election into a philosophical contest, arguing that even unhappy voters cannot trust their fate to a party in the grips of a right-wing revolt. Once again on Tuesday, Republican primary participants seemed determined to give Democrats that opportunity.

This is simply unintelligible. If the Democrats are so doctrinally diverse: (1) why are they in trouble for voting lockstep with the ultra-liberal Obama agenda, and (2) why would such a heterogeneous gang want to make it a philosophical contest? (What — conservative Republicans vs. “all over the map” Democrats?) But never fear, Republicans are determined to give Democrats the opportunity to … er … do what? Ah, test whether a right-wing revolt (which includes a large segment of disaffected independents) can stymie the Obama administration? Oh, well, game on!

Dionneland is a special place — liberals are always in the ascendancy, conservatives are always in disarray, and the voters are brilliant, as long as they don’t follow those wily conservatives (who, despite their disarray, are a menace to all that is good and decent). You think I exaggerate? Read E.J. Dionne’s latest offering, which must have been written in a windowless room with no connectivity to the outside world. Because as Democratic pollsters and analysts come to terms with the deluge, Dionne chirps:

Already, Republicans who won primaries with Tea Party backing — notably Senate candidates Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky — are facing withering Democratic attacks. The question is whether such critiques work only against marquee right-wing candidates or whether the entire Republican Party comes to be seen as moving too far away from the views of what is still a moderate country.

The paradox is that a Republican Party in the grips of ideology needs to shift the campaign in a less ideological direction, hoping that voters simply cast protest ballots against hard economic times.

Needs to shift? But they are winning — by a lot. No, never mind that. Dionne continues:

Democrats, who are more doctrinally diverse, have every interest in turning the election into a philosophical contest, arguing that even unhappy voters cannot trust their fate to a party in the grips of a right-wing revolt. Once again on Tuesday, Republican primary participants seemed determined to give Democrats that opportunity.

This is simply unintelligible. If the Democrats are so doctrinally diverse: (1) why are they in trouble for voting lockstep with the ultra-liberal Obama agenda, and (2) why would such a heterogeneous gang want to make it a philosophical contest? (What — conservative Republicans vs. “all over the map” Democrats?) But never fear, Republicans are determined to give Democrats the opportunity to … er … do what? Ah, test whether a right-wing revolt (which includes a large segment of disaffected independents) can stymie the Obama administration? Oh, well, game on!

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Taking a Beating

Less than 70 days before the election, Pennsylvania voters are not impressed with a candidate who rubber-stamped 97.8 percent of the Obama-Pelosi agenda.(I guess the president and speaker were insufficiently radical 2.2 percent of the time). They have not warmed to a pol who promised on his website that he wouldn’t take money from earmark recipients but who discounts such pledges as “personal.” That might be true of his affirmations of affection for Israel — a matter of convenience, non-binding and inconsistent with his actions. And there too, Pennsylvania voters lack a soft spot for CAIR’s keynoter, a Gaza-54-letter signatory, defender of the Ground Zero mosque, and fan of the UN and the UN Human Rights Council. So, Rep. Joe Sestak is in deep trouble.

In fact, Pennsylvania’s voters are running from him in droves; in the latest poll, he trails Pat Toomey by 9 points. His support is down to a meager 31 percent.  Not all of this is Sestak’s doing; Obama is a millstone around Sestak’s neck. But it’s hard to imagine how Sestak could have run a worse race — or how, in its highest-profile endorsement, J street could have picked a worse surrogate for its Israel-bashing platform. Unless something radically shakes up the race, both Sestak and his J Street patrons are likely to be not only beaten but also embarrassed on election day.

Less than 70 days before the election, Pennsylvania voters are not impressed with a candidate who rubber-stamped 97.8 percent of the Obama-Pelosi agenda.(I guess the president and speaker were insufficiently radical 2.2 percent of the time). They have not warmed to a pol who promised on his website that he wouldn’t take money from earmark recipients but who discounts such pledges as “personal.” That might be true of his affirmations of affection for Israel — a matter of convenience, non-binding and inconsistent with his actions. And there too, Pennsylvania voters lack a soft spot for CAIR’s keynoter, a Gaza-54-letter signatory, defender of the Ground Zero mosque, and fan of the UN and the UN Human Rights Council. So, Rep. Joe Sestak is in deep trouble.

In fact, Pennsylvania’s voters are running from him in droves; in the latest poll, he trails Pat Toomey by 9 points. His support is down to a meager 31 percent.  Not all of this is Sestak’s doing; Obama is a millstone around Sestak’s neck. But it’s hard to imagine how Sestak could have run a worse race — or how, in its highest-profile endorsement, J street could have picked a worse surrogate for its Israel-bashing platform. Unless something radically shakes up the race, both Sestak and his J Street patrons are likely to be not only beaten but also embarrassed on election day.

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On Ken Mehlman

The announcement that former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman is gay is garnering a fair amount of attention in the political world.

I suppose that’s predictable. He is, after all, the most powerful Republican ever to identify himself as gay. But my sense is that it’ll be a lot less of a big deal to conservatives than it might be to liberals like (just to choose one name at random) Frank Rich, for whom the political is also the personal. While it’s something that runs counter to the stereotype, most of the conservatives I know are largely to completely indifferent to a person’s sexual orientation. They are the kind of people who might even invite Elton John to perform at their weddings and not give a second thought to the fact that John is gay.

For my part, I knew Ken in the Bush White House and after that, when he was the campaign manager of the re-election campaign and RNC chairman. I’ve always liked him and found his counsel to be wise. He’s a person with very impressive political gifts and talents. Yet by his own account, the personal road he’s traveled has not been an easy one; rather than activists and commentators directing wrath and ridicule at him, I hope some measure of grace and understanding are accorded to him. I realize these qualities aren’t in oversupply in politics, but they should be more common than they are.

It’s fair to say, I think, that all sides in the same-sex marriage debate need to strive for greater respect and civility, for grounding this discussion in reason and empirical facts, in what advances self-government and the common good. And regardless of whether or not one agrees with Ken’s position, he will add to, rather than subtract from, the substance of the discussion. That is more than can be said for the haters.

The announcement that former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman is gay is garnering a fair amount of attention in the political world.

I suppose that’s predictable. He is, after all, the most powerful Republican ever to identify himself as gay. But my sense is that it’ll be a lot less of a big deal to conservatives than it might be to liberals like (just to choose one name at random) Frank Rich, for whom the political is also the personal. While it’s something that runs counter to the stereotype, most of the conservatives I know are largely to completely indifferent to a person’s sexual orientation. They are the kind of people who might even invite Elton John to perform at their weddings and not give a second thought to the fact that John is gay.

For my part, I knew Ken in the Bush White House and after that, when he was the campaign manager of the re-election campaign and RNC chairman. I’ve always liked him and found his counsel to be wise. He’s a person with very impressive political gifts and talents. Yet by his own account, the personal road he’s traveled has not been an easy one; rather than activists and commentators directing wrath and ridicule at him, I hope some measure of grace and understanding are accorded to him. I realize these qualities aren’t in oversupply in politics, but they should be more common than they are.

It’s fair to say, I think, that all sides in the same-sex marriage debate need to strive for greater respect and civility, for grounding this discussion in reason and empirical facts, in what advances self-government and the common good. And regardless of whether or not one agrees with Ken’s position, he will add to, rather than subtract from, the substance of the discussion. That is more than can be said for the haters.

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Funding Corruption in Afghanistan

Everyone knows that corruption is a huge, crippling, corrosive problem in Afghanistan and that reducing it won’t be easy. But aside from the obvious obstacles we face — namely an entrenched political class in Afghanistan that has gotten rich from foreign lucre — there is a not-so-obvious obstacle as well: the interest that many in the U.S. government have in lubricating relationships with lots of greenbacks. In this connection the New York Times‘s Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti have a great scoop today about how the CIA has been paying off Mohammed Zia Salehi, the aide to President Karzai who has been charged with corruption. As the Times account notes, “Other prominent Afghans who American officials have said were on the C.I.A.’s payroll include the president’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, suspected by investigators of playing a role in Afghanistan’s booming opium trade.”

The list is actually considerably longer, and from the CIA’s narrow standpoint, the investments are well justified. The Times quotes an anonymous “American official” as follows: “If we decide as a country that we’ll never deal with anyone in Afghanistan who might down the road — and certainly not at our behest — put his hand in the till, we can all come home right now. If you want intelligence in a war zone, you’re not going to get it from Mother Teresa or Mary Poppins.” True, and the CIA has been paying off rogues for information ever since its inception. Such activity is to be expected from any competent intelligence service, but in Afghanistan, this has had parlous consequences.

The funding that the CIA has provided — along with largesse from the U.S. military, USAID, the State Department, and other agencies — has turbo-charged the problem of corruption. It has led to the emergence of a class of malign actors, fabulously wealthy Afghans who have connections not only to the U.S. government but also to the Taliban and the drug cartels. They are widely seen as the real center of power in Afghanistan, and it is this perception, more than anything else, that fuels support for the insurgency. The problem begins at the top with Hamid Karzai who, shamefully, intervened to get Salehi sprung from jail shortly after his arrest.

Some in the U.S. government believe that there is nothing to be done about such corruption and that fighting it is counterproductive because it will damage our “relationships” with key Afghans. As one “Obama administration official” tells Filkins and Mazzetti:  “Fighting corruption is the very definition of mission creep.” Wrong. Fighting corruption is the only way to achieve our mission. That won’t require eliminating corruption — truly a mission impossible. But it should be possible to reduce corruption from the current, off-the-charts levels to more socially acceptable norms. In fact, this is the most urgent priority for NATO forces. To achieve that objective, President Obama will have to make sure that all U.S. government agencies and officials are on board. So far, as the Salehi scandal shows, that hasn’t been the case.

Everyone knows that corruption is a huge, crippling, corrosive problem in Afghanistan and that reducing it won’t be easy. But aside from the obvious obstacles we face — namely an entrenched political class in Afghanistan that has gotten rich from foreign lucre — there is a not-so-obvious obstacle as well: the interest that many in the U.S. government have in lubricating relationships with lots of greenbacks. In this connection the New York Times‘s Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti have a great scoop today about how the CIA has been paying off Mohammed Zia Salehi, the aide to President Karzai who has been charged with corruption. As the Times account notes, “Other prominent Afghans who American officials have said were on the C.I.A.’s payroll include the president’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, suspected by investigators of playing a role in Afghanistan’s booming opium trade.”

The list is actually considerably longer, and from the CIA’s narrow standpoint, the investments are well justified. The Times quotes an anonymous “American official” as follows: “If we decide as a country that we’ll never deal with anyone in Afghanistan who might down the road — and certainly not at our behest — put his hand in the till, we can all come home right now. If you want intelligence in a war zone, you’re not going to get it from Mother Teresa or Mary Poppins.” True, and the CIA has been paying off rogues for information ever since its inception. Such activity is to be expected from any competent intelligence service, but in Afghanistan, this has had parlous consequences.

The funding that the CIA has provided — along with largesse from the U.S. military, USAID, the State Department, and other agencies — has turbo-charged the problem of corruption. It has led to the emergence of a class of malign actors, fabulously wealthy Afghans who have connections not only to the U.S. government but also to the Taliban and the drug cartels. They are widely seen as the real center of power in Afghanistan, and it is this perception, more than anything else, that fuels support for the insurgency. The problem begins at the top with Hamid Karzai who, shamefully, intervened to get Salehi sprung from jail shortly after his arrest.

Some in the U.S. government believe that there is nothing to be done about such corruption and that fighting it is counterproductive because it will damage our “relationships” with key Afghans. As one “Obama administration official” tells Filkins and Mazzetti:  “Fighting corruption is the very definition of mission creep.” Wrong. Fighting corruption is the only way to achieve our mission. That won’t require eliminating corruption — truly a mission impossible. But it should be possible to reduce corruption from the current, off-the-charts levels to more socially acceptable norms. In fact, this is the most urgent priority for NATO forces. To achieve that objective, President Obama will have to make sure that all U.S. government agencies and officials are on board. So far, as the Salehi scandal shows, that hasn’t been the case.

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RE: Bad News Gets Worse for Dems

As I said, things may be even worse than Nate Silver has disclosed to the glum readers of the New York Times. Politico reports:

In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks.

They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover – or that anything resembling the White House’s promise of a “recovery summer” is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe – such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 – are in real trouble.

It turns out that Robert Gibbs’s sin was not of excessive pessimism but of excessive candor. (“A Democratic pollster working on several key races said, ‘The reality is that [the House majority] is probably gone.’ His data shows the Democrats’ problems are only getting worse. ‘It’s spreading,’ the pollster said.”)

When things go south, the finger-pointing begins. Not without good reason, Democrats are “furious with the White House for keeping the debate over a New York mosque in play for two weeks — and then announcing that Obama will use a prime-time address next week to discuss Iraq, not the economy. By the calculations of House Democrats, this means that by Labor Day they will have spent nearly nine weeks this summer beating back negative or unhelpful story lines instigated, in part or in total, by the White House.” Good point on the mosque, fellas, but in Obama’s defense, what good would it do to talk about the economy? It’s sinking, and the “recovery summer” spiel is now an embarrassing reminder of the White House’s cluelessness. Things are so bad, they can’t even blame George W. Bush. (From a former state Democratic Party chairman: “You can only blame Bush for so long.”)

The extent of the unraveling and the ferocity of the infighting before the election are remarkable. Just imagine the food fight after the results are in.

As I said, things may be even worse than Nate Silver has disclosed to the glum readers of the New York Times. Politico reports:

In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks.

They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover – or that anything resembling the White House’s promise of a “recovery summer” is under way. They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe – such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 – are in real trouble.

It turns out that Robert Gibbs’s sin was not of excessive pessimism but of excessive candor. (“A Democratic pollster working on several key races said, ‘The reality is that [the House majority] is probably gone.’ His data shows the Democrats’ problems are only getting worse. ‘It’s spreading,’ the pollster said.”)

When things go south, the finger-pointing begins. Not without good reason, Democrats are “furious with the White House for keeping the debate over a New York mosque in play for two weeks — and then announcing that Obama will use a prime-time address next week to discuss Iraq, not the economy. By the calculations of House Democrats, this means that by Labor Day they will have spent nearly nine weeks this summer beating back negative or unhelpful story lines instigated, in part or in total, by the White House.” Good point on the mosque, fellas, but in Obama’s defense, what good would it do to talk about the economy? It’s sinking, and the “recovery summer” spiel is now an embarrassing reminder of the White House’s cluelessness. Things are so bad, they can’t even blame George W. Bush. (From a former state Democratic Party chairman: “You can only blame Bush for so long.”)

The extent of the unraveling and the ferocity of the infighting before the election are remarkable. Just imagine the food fight after the results are in.

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Will’s Formula for Peace: Stop the Process

George Will has been on a roll, writing one blockbuster column after another on Israel and what he correctly dubs the “mirage” that passes for a “peace process.” He gives some context:

Since 1967, faced with unrelenting Palestinian irredentism, Israel has been weaving the West Bank into a common fabric with the coastal plain, the nation’s economic and population center of gravity. Withdrawal from the West Bank would bring Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport within range of short-range rockets fired by persons overlooking the runways. So, the feasibility of such a withdrawal depends on how much has changed since 1974, when Yasser Arafat received a standing ovation at the United Nations when he said Israel had no right to exist.

Thirty-six years later, Israelis can watch West Bank Palestinian television incessantly inculcating anti-Semitism and denial of Israel’s right to exist. Across the fence that has substantially reduced terrorism from the West Bank, Israelis see Ramallah, where Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, lives and where a square was recently named in honor of Dalal Mughrabi. In 1978, she, together with 11 other terrorists, hijacked an Israeli bus and massacred 37 Israelis and one American. Cigarette lighters sold on the West Bank show, when lit, the World Trade Center burning.

But undaunted by reality, Obama’s self-grandiosity — and frenzy to deflect attention from his failure to devise an effective Iran policy — once again comes to the fore. Substituting bumper-sticker sloganeering for careful analysis, the president demands not just talks “but ‘comprehensive’ solutions to problems, [which] may yet make matters worse by presenting its own plan for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Barack Obama insists that it is ‘costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure,’ although he does not say how.”

The left (the rest of the left, for Obama is very much their man in this regard) is infatuated with negotiations because the hope springs eternal that Israel can be bludgeoned into submission or ostracized if it resists. That also explains why Gen. David Petraeus’s ill-chosen words, which Will recites — “Israeli-Palestinian tensions ‘have an enormous effect on the strategic context'” — have been adopted as watchwords on the left. You see, if Israel is a national security liability, rather than an asset, the pummeling is not only justified but essential. (It is also nonsensical, as Will points out: “As though, were the tensions to subside, the hard men managing Iran’s decades-long drive for nuclear weapons would then say, ‘Oh, well, in that case, let’s call the whole thing off.'”)

Will gets to the nub of the matter: “The biggest threat to peace might be the peace process — or, more precisely, the illusion that there is one. The mirage becomes the reason for maintaining its imaginary ‘momentum’ by extorting concessions from Israel, the only party susceptible to U.S. pressure.”

In this regard, the Israeli government, by mouthing the same platitudinous phrases and offering a moratorium before partaking in another peace-process charade, has done itself no favors. The calculation, no doubt, is born out of necessity: the desire to avoid irreparable injury to the already bruised relationship with the U.S. requires complicity in the peace-process scam.

OK, so the Israeli government believes there is no alternative, but what has been the excuse for pro-Israel (the real pro-Israel ones, I mean) American Jewish groups? Why are they fixated, obsessed, and distracted by the non-peace process while the Iran nuclear program marches apace? Force of habit, perhaps. It is what they have been doing since Oslo (and before that); they have no other script. They also are, as we’ve much discussed, in the business of trying to get along as best they can with those in power. If those in power are determined to process the peace, then, by gosh, they are too. But even their ardor has cooled, and the lowering of expectations has become obvious. Sometimes one simply can’t keep up the pretense.

It would be a refreshing and important development if American Jewish leaders adopted Will’s approach: utter candor. The peace process is destructive, masks continued bad behavior by the Palestinians, and promotes animosity between the U.S. and Israel. Let’s get on with what matters: Iran. It would be bracing, brave, and clarifying. That it is also inconceivable tells you much about the state of mainstream American Jewish organizations and why so many of them teeter on the verge of irrelevance.

George Will has been on a roll, writing one blockbuster column after another on Israel and what he correctly dubs the “mirage” that passes for a “peace process.” He gives some context:

Since 1967, faced with unrelenting Palestinian irredentism, Israel has been weaving the West Bank into a common fabric with the coastal plain, the nation’s economic and population center of gravity. Withdrawal from the West Bank would bring Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport within range of short-range rockets fired by persons overlooking the runways. So, the feasibility of such a withdrawal depends on how much has changed since 1974, when Yasser Arafat received a standing ovation at the United Nations when he said Israel had no right to exist.

Thirty-six years later, Israelis can watch West Bank Palestinian television incessantly inculcating anti-Semitism and denial of Israel’s right to exist. Across the fence that has substantially reduced terrorism from the West Bank, Israelis see Ramallah, where Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, lives and where a square was recently named in honor of Dalal Mughrabi. In 1978, she, together with 11 other terrorists, hijacked an Israeli bus and massacred 37 Israelis and one American. Cigarette lighters sold on the West Bank show, when lit, the World Trade Center burning.

But undaunted by reality, Obama’s self-grandiosity — and frenzy to deflect attention from his failure to devise an effective Iran policy — once again comes to the fore. Substituting bumper-sticker sloganeering for careful analysis, the president demands not just talks “but ‘comprehensive’ solutions to problems, [which] may yet make matters worse by presenting its own plan for a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Barack Obama insists that it is ‘costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure,’ although he does not say how.”

The left (the rest of the left, for Obama is very much their man in this regard) is infatuated with negotiations because the hope springs eternal that Israel can be bludgeoned into submission or ostracized if it resists. That also explains why Gen. David Petraeus’s ill-chosen words, which Will recites — “Israeli-Palestinian tensions ‘have an enormous effect on the strategic context'” — have been adopted as watchwords on the left. You see, if Israel is a national security liability, rather than an asset, the pummeling is not only justified but essential. (It is also nonsensical, as Will points out: “As though, were the tensions to subside, the hard men managing Iran’s decades-long drive for nuclear weapons would then say, ‘Oh, well, in that case, let’s call the whole thing off.'”)

Will gets to the nub of the matter: “The biggest threat to peace might be the peace process — or, more precisely, the illusion that there is one. The mirage becomes the reason for maintaining its imaginary ‘momentum’ by extorting concessions from Israel, the only party susceptible to U.S. pressure.”

In this regard, the Israeli government, by mouthing the same platitudinous phrases and offering a moratorium before partaking in another peace-process charade, has done itself no favors. The calculation, no doubt, is born out of necessity: the desire to avoid irreparable injury to the already bruised relationship with the U.S. requires complicity in the peace-process scam.

OK, so the Israeli government believes there is no alternative, but what has been the excuse for pro-Israel (the real pro-Israel ones, I mean) American Jewish groups? Why are they fixated, obsessed, and distracted by the non-peace process while the Iran nuclear program marches apace? Force of habit, perhaps. It is what they have been doing since Oslo (and before that); they have no other script. They also are, as we’ve much discussed, in the business of trying to get along as best they can with those in power. If those in power are determined to process the peace, then, by gosh, they are too. But even their ardor has cooled, and the lowering of expectations has become obvious. Sometimes one simply can’t keep up the pretense.

It would be a refreshing and important development if American Jewish leaders adopted Will’s approach: utter candor. The peace process is destructive, masks continued bad behavior by the Palestinians, and promotes animosity between the U.S. and Israel. Let’s get on with what matters: Iran. It would be bracing, brave, and clarifying. That it is also inconceivable tells you much about the state of mainstream American Jewish organizations and why so many of them teeter on the verge of irrelevance.

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Sarah Palin’s Certain Type of Genius

Over at Slate, no fan club of Sarah Palin’s, John Dickerson concedes:

Sarah Palin has special medicine. That’s about the only clear conclusion to be drawn from Tuesday’s primary results. She backed five candidates in Arizona, Florida, and Alaska—and they all won. The rest of the results from the evening defied easy matching. The themes of anti-incumbency and voter anger are still out there, but the candidates who mastered those forces (or avoided them) did so in different ways.

The aspect of Palin that elicits admiration and respect even from liberal critics is her unerring eye for political talent and her certain genius for understanding where the public is going, usually before it does. It is what makes record producers and TV execs famous and rich: a feel for the public’s taste that defies conventional wisdom and relies not so much on careful analysis (who’d have imagined a slick series about ad execs in the 1960s would prove so addictive for so many viewers?) but on gut instinct.

As Dickerson notes:

Twenty of the candidates she’s endorsed have won. Ten have lost. That’s a pretty good record. Her biggest victory looks like it might come in the Republican Senate primary in her home state. … She didn’t go all out for [likely upset winner Joe] Miller but she worked for him more than a lot of her other endorsed candidates, promoting his candidacy but also tearing down his opponent. Palin can take some credit for a portion of his good showing. … Palin now has more support for a favorite story line of hers: The pundits and so-called experts said things were going to go one way but she had faith; she knew the real deal. This is part of her larger pitch: that she understands something fundamental about conservative voters.

And it’s not simply candidates that she gets right. Her death-panel zinger not only revealed an underlying truth about ObamaCare’s plans to ration care; she also managed, with a hot button phrase, to electrify critics and infuriate defenders of the bill. Her populist appeal, and sometimes overdone criticism of elite media, was in 2008 a precursor of the Tea Party movement — conservatism that is anti-establishment, small-government-minded, and celebrates individual responsibility.

Now, being a political soothsayer and a superb judge of talent (she plucked Nikki Haley out of obscurity by watching a single video) doesn’t ensure a successful candidacy or an effective presidency. But it’s not nothing. And having experienced an over-credentialed pseudo-intellectual president who lacks a basic understanding of the American people, the public may find something refreshing about someone who “gets” what the country is about. Palin knows what to look for in candidates because she is in sync with the center-right zeitgeist. If she knows what the country is about and what makes it successful, the argument would go, she might possess, as Dickerson explains, “a special light to guide the country out of the muck.” (This was the secret to Ronald Reagan, by the way. It didn’t matter what the issue was — he would get it “right” because he instinctively understood the superiority of free markets, the destiny of America, and the character of his fellow citizens. Yes, all caveats apply, and Palin is not Reagan.)

It’s not clear whether Palin will run in 2012 or could even win the nomination, but her potential opponents and the media underestimate her at their peril. And if she doesn’t win, whichever Republican does would be crazy not to take her counsel and guidance. The lady knows a thing or two about how to win races.

Over at Slate, no fan club of Sarah Palin’s, John Dickerson concedes:

Sarah Palin has special medicine. That’s about the only clear conclusion to be drawn from Tuesday’s primary results. She backed five candidates in Arizona, Florida, and Alaska—and they all won. The rest of the results from the evening defied easy matching. The themes of anti-incumbency and voter anger are still out there, but the candidates who mastered those forces (or avoided them) did so in different ways.

The aspect of Palin that elicits admiration and respect even from liberal critics is her unerring eye for political talent and her certain genius for understanding where the public is going, usually before it does. It is what makes record producers and TV execs famous and rich: a feel for the public’s taste that defies conventional wisdom and relies not so much on careful analysis (who’d have imagined a slick series about ad execs in the 1960s would prove so addictive for so many viewers?) but on gut instinct.

As Dickerson notes:

Twenty of the candidates she’s endorsed have won. Ten have lost. That’s a pretty good record. Her biggest victory looks like it might come in the Republican Senate primary in her home state. … She didn’t go all out for [likely upset winner Joe] Miller but she worked for him more than a lot of her other endorsed candidates, promoting his candidacy but also tearing down his opponent. Palin can take some credit for a portion of his good showing. … Palin now has more support for a favorite story line of hers: The pundits and so-called experts said things were going to go one way but she had faith; she knew the real deal. This is part of her larger pitch: that she understands something fundamental about conservative voters.

And it’s not simply candidates that she gets right. Her death-panel zinger not only revealed an underlying truth about ObamaCare’s plans to ration care; she also managed, with a hot button phrase, to electrify critics and infuriate defenders of the bill. Her populist appeal, and sometimes overdone criticism of elite media, was in 2008 a precursor of the Tea Party movement — conservatism that is anti-establishment, small-government-minded, and celebrates individual responsibility.

Now, being a political soothsayer and a superb judge of talent (she plucked Nikki Haley out of obscurity by watching a single video) doesn’t ensure a successful candidacy or an effective presidency. But it’s not nothing. And having experienced an over-credentialed pseudo-intellectual president who lacks a basic understanding of the American people, the public may find something refreshing about someone who “gets” what the country is about. Palin knows what to look for in candidates because she is in sync with the center-right zeitgeist. If she knows what the country is about and what makes it successful, the argument would go, she might possess, as Dickerson explains, “a special light to guide the country out of the muck.” (This was the secret to Ronald Reagan, by the way. It didn’t matter what the issue was — he would get it “right” because he instinctively understood the superiority of free markets, the destiny of America, and the character of his fellow citizens. Yes, all caveats apply, and Palin is not Reagan.)

It’s not clear whether Palin will run in 2012 or could even win the nomination, but her potential opponents and the media underestimate her at their peril. And if she doesn’t win, whichever Republican does would be crazy not to take her counsel and guidance. The lady knows a thing or two about how to win races.

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Talking Peace, Injuring Infants

Mahmoud Abbas wants to talk about a settlement freeze at the peace talks. But the settlement freeze isn’t happening. And there can’t be peace, no matter how many times George Mitchell shuffles between the parties and no matter what ludicrous deadline he sets so long as this goes on:

An Israeli infant was injured when Palestinians hurled rocks at a car traveling in the West Bank. The baby was treated at the scene of Tuesday afternoon’s attack near Karne Zur, south of Hebron, and then taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. Later Tuesday another car was damaged in the same area by rocks thrown by Palestinians, according to the IDF. Also Tuesday afternoon, Palestinians threw a firebomb at an Israeli car traveling near Maale Shomron in the northern West Bank.

Obama keeps saying he’s very concerned about Palestinian incitement, very much determined to have Abbas prove his mettle. So how about it — why doesn’t Abbas get on Arab media and condemn these acts? Instead of a settlement freeze, how about a rock-throwing freeze? A maiming-children freeze? (Hey, if this goes well, we could work up to an honor-killing freeze.) Oh, you say, Abbas couldn’t ensure that even if he wanted to. I see. Then can we stop talking about peace?

Change minds and change behavior. Then and only then is there something to discuss.

Mahmoud Abbas wants to talk about a settlement freeze at the peace talks. But the settlement freeze isn’t happening. And there can’t be peace, no matter how many times George Mitchell shuffles between the parties and no matter what ludicrous deadline he sets so long as this goes on:

An Israeli infant was injured when Palestinians hurled rocks at a car traveling in the West Bank. The baby was treated at the scene of Tuesday afternoon’s attack near Karne Zur, south of Hebron, and then taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. Later Tuesday another car was damaged in the same area by rocks thrown by Palestinians, according to the IDF. Also Tuesday afternoon, Palestinians threw a firebomb at an Israeli car traveling near Maale Shomron in the northern West Bank.

Obama keeps saying he’s very concerned about Palestinian incitement, very much determined to have Abbas prove his mettle. So how about it — why doesn’t Abbas get on Arab media and condemn these acts? Instead of a settlement freeze, how about a rock-throwing freeze? A maiming-children freeze? (Hey, if this goes well, we could work up to an honor-killing freeze.) Oh, you say, Abbas couldn’t ensure that even if he wanted to. I see. Then can we stop talking about peace?

Change minds and change behavior. Then and only then is there something to discuss.

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Obama’s Credibility Has Run Out

Karl Rove’s got this one right:

Mr. Obama’s credibility is crumbling, and for good reason: He and his people are saying things people don’t believe. At the start of his summer of recovery road show, the president flatly asserted that last year’s massive stimulus package had “worked.” Vice President Joe Biden, not to be outdone, promised monthly job gains of up to 500,000 and insisted that the recovery’s pace “continues to increase, not decrease” as stimulus spending was “moving into its highest gear.” …

By overselling the stimulus before its passage in 2009 and exaggerating its benefits with layer upon layer of slippery half-truths in 2010, Mr. Obama has made voters angrier. This is not America’s summer of recovery; it is a summer of economic discontent that will ensure that Democrats take a pounding in the midterm elections.

At some point it had to happen: the collision of reality with Obamian rhetoric — that special brew of buck-passing, economic illiteracy (no, profit isn’t overhead), ad hominem attack, and out and out misrepresentation. As Rove reminds us: “On health care, for example, Mr. Obama continues saying that (a) health-care reform will reduce costs and the deficit, (b) no one who wants to keep existing coverage will lose it, and (c) the law’s cuts in Medicare won’t threaten any senior’s health care. These assertions are laughable.”

Making a clear distinction between campaigning and governing has absolutely baffled and eluded Obama. In a campaign, exaggeration and bumper sticker phrases are often sufficient. A snappy dig at an opponent’s wealth or allies in a debate is regarded as quick-wittedness, rather than as intellectual sloth and a poor substitute for substance. Blather (the oceans haven’t receded in 18 months, I think) is rewarded rather than derided. But as president, what you say actually matters — in wars (the enemy listens to deadlines) and in domestic matters (the markets listen to business-bashing). And what results you obtain in the real world (not the number of enormous bills you jam through on party-line votes) really matter.

You can see why Obama and his party are in a heap of trouble. The question remains whether they will be able after the election to pick themselves up and rescue what remains of his term.

Karl Rove’s got this one right:

Mr. Obama’s credibility is crumbling, and for good reason: He and his people are saying things people don’t believe. At the start of his summer of recovery road show, the president flatly asserted that last year’s massive stimulus package had “worked.” Vice President Joe Biden, not to be outdone, promised monthly job gains of up to 500,000 and insisted that the recovery’s pace “continues to increase, not decrease” as stimulus spending was “moving into its highest gear.” …

By overselling the stimulus before its passage in 2009 and exaggerating its benefits with layer upon layer of slippery half-truths in 2010, Mr. Obama has made voters angrier. This is not America’s summer of recovery; it is a summer of economic discontent that will ensure that Democrats take a pounding in the midterm elections.

At some point it had to happen: the collision of reality with Obamian rhetoric — that special brew of buck-passing, economic illiteracy (no, profit isn’t overhead), ad hominem attack, and out and out misrepresentation. As Rove reminds us: “On health care, for example, Mr. Obama continues saying that (a) health-care reform will reduce costs and the deficit, (b) no one who wants to keep existing coverage will lose it, and (c) the law’s cuts in Medicare won’t threaten any senior’s health care. These assertions are laughable.”

Making a clear distinction between campaigning and governing has absolutely baffled and eluded Obama. In a campaign, exaggeration and bumper sticker phrases are often sufficient. A snappy dig at an opponent’s wealth or allies in a debate is regarded as quick-wittedness, rather than as intellectual sloth and a poor substitute for substance. Blather (the oceans haven’t receded in 18 months, I think) is rewarded rather than derided. But as president, what you say actually matters — in wars (the enemy listens to deadlines) and in domestic matters (the markets listen to business-bashing). And what results you obtain in the real world (not the number of enormous bills you jam through on party-line votes) really matter.

You can see why Obama and his party are in a heap of trouble. The question remains whether they will be able after the election to pick themselves up and rescue what remains of his term.

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Better Than Nothing

Nicolas Sarkozy made some widely reported, albeit cryptic, comments on Iran to an audience of foreign ambassadors:

“If a credible agreement cannot be reached, Iran’s isolation would only worsen,” Sarkozy said. “And in the face of worsening threat, we would have to organize ourselves to protect and defend states that feel threatened. … Everybody knows that there are serious consequences to a policy that would allow Iran to follow its nuclear path,” Sarkozy said. “It would see a general proliferation in the region or even military conflict.”

Does “organize” mean take military action? Well, he seems to hint at that, by warning of “military conflict,” though it is far from certain he’s talking about initiating military action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

But ambiguity is not necessarily ill-advised in this circumstance — given that no one knows where Obama is on any of this — but it is something, and a vast improvement over the Obami, who dare never answer the “What if?” question. (That would be, “What if, as everyone expects, the flimsy sanctions don’t induce the mullahs to give up their nuclear ambitions?”) Recently, we’ve seen some half-hearted attempts to put the use of force back on the table, but the equivocation and hesitancy convey that the Obami don’t have their hearts in it.

It’s certainly sobering that even a lukewarm suggestion that such a threat may be in the offing should come from the French president. It made headlines precisely because such comments have been rare from Western officials, and entirely absent from Obama’s public remarks. Now he’s set for a foreign policy address, supposedly to focus on Iraq, when he returns from vacation. It’s not inconceivable he would use the opportunity to talk about another regime, which, like Saddam’s, also oppresses its people, violates human rights and nuclear-nonproliferation accords, funds terrorism, and threatens its neighbors. But what are the chances of that?

Nicolas Sarkozy made some widely reported, albeit cryptic, comments on Iran to an audience of foreign ambassadors:

“If a credible agreement cannot be reached, Iran’s isolation would only worsen,” Sarkozy said. “And in the face of worsening threat, we would have to organize ourselves to protect and defend states that feel threatened. … Everybody knows that there are serious consequences to a policy that would allow Iran to follow its nuclear path,” Sarkozy said. “It would see a general proliferation in the region or even military conflict.”

Does “organize” mean take military action? Well, he seems to hint at that, by warning of “military conflict,” though it is far from certain he’s talking about initiating military action to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

But ambiguity is not necessarily ill-advised in this circumstance — given that no one knows where Obama is on any of this — but it is something, and a vast improvement over the Obami, who dare never answer the “What if?” question. (That would be, “What if, as everyone expects, the flimsy sanctions don’t induce the mullahs to give up their nuclear ambitions?”) Recently, we’ve seen some half-hearted attempts to put the use of force back on the table, but the equivocation and hesitancy convey that the Obami don’t have their hearts in it.

It’s certainly sobering that even a lukewarm suggestion that such a threat may be in the offing should come from the French president. It made headlines precisely because such comments have been rare from Western officials, and entirely absent from Obama’s public remarks. Now he’s set for a foreign policy address, supposedly to focus on Iraq, when he returns from vacation. It’s not inconceivable he would use the opportunity to talk about another regime, which, like Saddam’s, also oppresses its people, violates human rights and nuclear-nonproliferation accords, funds terrorism, and threatens its neighbors. But what are the chances of that?

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Bad News Gets Worse for Dems

Nate Silver breaks the bad news to the Gray Lady’s readers:

The Democratic majority is in increasing jeopardy in the Senate, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight forecasting model. … Of late, the source of the Democrats’ problems has not necessarily been in high-profile Senate races where the Republicans have nominated inexperienced but headline-grabbing candidates, like  Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky (although the model regards both Ms. Angle and Mr. Paul as slight favorites). Instead, it has been in traditional swing states like  Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

So in other words, Kentucky and Nevada aren’t problems at all, notwithstanding the “headling-grabbing nominees.” And it gets worse. Those sneaky Republicans have also nominated “members of the G.O.P.’s establishment. … Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the former Republican Minority Whip, and in Ohio, Rob Portman, the former congressman who served as trade representative and budget director in the Bush administration. And so far, the Democrats’ strategy of Bush-bashing does not seem to be resonating in these states.”

To sum up, GOP establishment candidates are doing well. GOP insurgent candidates are doing well. The favorite Democratic strategy is a bust. One can imagine that this is the most optimistic version of events Silver can credibly present. (And he throws in a security blanket for panicky readers: “It could also be that the polling somewhat overstates the degree of danger that Democrats face.”) In fact, it is entirely possible that Silver’s outlook is unduly optimistic. After all, he doesn’t think much of Republican chances in Wisconsin and California, but both of those races are dead heats. And besides, many more of these kinds of columns and the Democrats will become more morose than they already are, further depressing turnout and tipping the playing field in the GOP’s favor.

All in all, the Obama era is proving to be quite a downer for liberals.

Nate Silver breaks the bad news to the Gray Lady’s readers:

The Democratic majority is in increasing jeopardy in the Senate, according to the latest FiveThirtyEight forecasting model. … Of late, the source of the Democrats’ problems has not necessarily been in high-profile Senate races where the Republicans have nominated inexperienced but headline-grabbing candidates, like  Sharron Angle in Nevada and Rand Paul in Kentucky (although the model regards both Ms. Angle and Mr. Paul as slight favorites). Instead, it has been in traditional swing states like  Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

So in other words, Kentucky and Nevada aren’t problems at all, notwithstanding the “headling-grabbing nominees.” And it gets worse. Those sneaky Republicans have also nominated “members of the G.O.P.’s establishment. … Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, the former Republican Minority Whip, and in Ohio, Rob Portman, the former congressman who served as trade representative and budget director in the Bush administration. And so far, the Democrats’ strategy of Bush-bashing does not seem to be resonating in these states.”

To sum up, GOP establishment candidates are doing well. GOP insurgent candidates are doing well. The favorite Democratic strategy is a bust. One can imagine that this is the most optimistic version of events Silver can credibly present. (And he throws in a security blanket for panicky readers: “It could also be that the polling somewhat overstates the degree of danger that Democrats face.”) In fact, it is entirely possible that Silver’s outlook is unduly optimistic. After all, he doesn’t think much of Republican chances in Wisconsin and California, but both of those races are dead heats. And besides, many more of these kinds of columns and the Democrats will become more morose than they already are, further depressing turnout and tipping the playing field in the GOP’s favor.

All in all, the Obama era is proving to be quite a downer for liberals.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Everything the Obami have said about an economic recovery has fallen on deaf ears. “Faith in President Barack Obama’s prescriptions to drag the economy out of recession appears to be falling as the Republican message hits home among voters, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday. Voters are concerned about high levels of government spending and the deficit, but are not keen on administration plans to let tax cuts for the rich expire this year to help close the fiscal gap. The implication seems to be that Americans want the deficit tackled through lower spending rather than through higher taxes.”

Everything you’ve read about “a big bad lobby that distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East way out of proportion to its actual support by the American public,” is true, says Alan Dershowitz. “But the offending lobby is not AIPAC, which supports Israel, but rather the Arab lobby, which opposes the Jewish state.” Read the whole book review of Mitchell Bard’s, The Arab Lobby.

Everything that’s wrong with phony education reformers can be found here.

Everything is off-kilter at the White House. “Boehner’s speech at the Cleveland Economic Club Tuesday was so effective that it forced the White House to deploy the vice president to respond. By pushing back so hard, the counterattack backfired, creating a ‘Boehner vs. Biden’ debate. It also occurs while President Obama is vacationing out of sight in Martha’s Vineyard. Democrats had wanted to create the narrative that the election is a choice between Democrats and Republicans, not a referendum on Obama and his party’s leadership. However, the White House pushed the panic button and overreacted to Boehner. It would have been a wiser course not to feed more oxygen to the story.”

Everything the Republicans have been saying, but from a Democrat’s lips: “Michael Bennet, D-Colo, at a town hall meeting in Greeley last Saturday, Aug 21 said we had nothing to show for the debt incurred by the stimulus package and other expenditures calling the recession  the worst since the Great Depression.” That’s a campaign ad for certain.

Everything may be coming home to roost: Bennet trails Ken Buck by nine in the latest poll.

Everything is up for grabs this year. Barbara Boxer is in a dead heat with Carly Fiorina.

Everything is so darn hard for senators. Max Baucus whines: “I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the healthcare bill. … You know why? It’s statutory language. … We hire experts.” Or the voters could hire people who read what they are voting on.

Everything the Obami have said about an economic recovery has fallen on deaf ears. “Faith in President Barack Obama’s prescriptions to drag the economy out of recession appears to be falling as the Republican message hits home among voters, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday. Voters are concerned about high levels of government spending and the deficit, but are not keen on administration plans to let tax cuts for the rich expire this year to help close the fiscal gap. The implication seems to be that Americans want the deficit tackled through lower spending rather than through higher taxes.”

Everything you’ve read about “a big bad lobby that distorts U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East way out of proportion to its actual support by the American public,” is true, says Alan Dershowitz. “But the offending lobby is not AIPAC, which supports Israel, but rather the Arab lobby, which opposes the Jewish state.” Read the whole book review of Mitchell Bard’s, The Arab Lobby.

Everything that’s wrong with phony education reformers can be found here.

Everything is off-kilter at the White House. “Boehner’s speech at the Cleveland Economic Club Tuesday was so effective that it forced the White House to deploy the vice president to respond. By pushing back so hard, the counterattack backfired, creating a ‘Boehner vs. Biden’ debate. It also occurs while President Obama is vacationing out of sight in Martha’s Vineyard. Democrats had wanted to create the narrative that the election is a choice between Democrats and Republicans, not a referendum on Obama and his party’s leadership. However, the White House pushed the panic button and overreacted to Boehner. It would have been a wiser course not to feed more oxygen to the story.”

Everything the Republicans have been saying, but from a Democrat’s lips: “Michael Bennet, D-Colo, at a town hall meeting in Greeley last Saturday, Aug 21 said we had nothing to show for the debt incurred by the stimulus package and other expenditures calling the recession  the worst since the Great Depression.” That’s a campaign ad for certain.

Everything may be coming home to roost: Bennet trails Ken Buck by nine in the latest poll.

Everything is up for grabs this year. Barbara Boxer is in a dead heat with Carly Fiorina.

Everything is so darn hard for senators. Max Baucus whines: “I don’t think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the healthcare bill. … You know why? It’s statutory language. … We hire experts.” Or the voters could hire people who read what they are voting on.

Read Less




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