Commentary Magazine


Posts For: October 17, 2010

Dowd Unhinged — Again

This is rich: Maureen Dowd is aggrieved because Republican women are insufficiently demure. The grand dame of the Gray Lady, whose columns are distinguished not by their blindingly clever policy insights (her research is confined to taxi cabs in Manhattan) but by her own particular brand of nasty armchair psychology (not to mention plagiarism), is beside herself:

We are in the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.

These women — Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine — have co-opted and ratcheted up the disgust with the status quo that originally buoyed Barack Obama. Whether they’re mistreating the help or belittling the president’s manhood, making snide comments about a rival’s hair or ripping an opponent for spending money on a men’s fashion show, the Mean Girls have replaced Hope with Spite and Cool with Cold. They are the ideal nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate.

Beaten at her own game, is she? Why yes. (She does impart one piece of information: Sharron Angle “campaigns at times with a .44 Magnum revolver in her 1989 GMC pickup.” My word, what is not to like about her?!) The tough girls have not only given a clear alternative to the whiny victimhood of Dowd and her fellow gender-grievance-mongers; they have redefined political feminism. You can gain power, win the respect and affection of fellow citizens, and be pro-free market, pro-guns, and pro-life (the unholy trinity of the left).

No wonder Dowd has wigged out, feeling “jittery” after Angle demolished Harry Reid (whom Dowd bizarrely terms “the soft-spoken Mormon”). Dowd is aghast that Angle would point out that he has made a mint, thanks to his Senate career (“‘one of the richest men in the Senate’ after coming from Searchlight ‘with very little'”). This is going “for the jugular”? How sensitive Dowd has become.

But don’t you see? Only liberal women are permitted to spew bile at their male political adversaries. Heaven forbid telegenic, principled conservative women should upend their liberal opponents, ascend the political ladder, and grab the spotlight. Bad enough there was Sarah; now there is a whole flock of them. You can understand why Dowd is green with envy.

This is rich: Maureen Dowd is aggrieved because Republican women are insufficiently demure. The grand dame of the Gray Lady, whose columns are distinguished not by their blindingly clever policy insights (her research is confined to taxi cabs in Manhattan) but by her own particular brand of nasty armchair psychology (not to mention plagiarism), is beside herself:

We are in the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.

These women — Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine — have co-opted and ratcheted up the disgust with the status quo that originally buoyed Barack Obama. Whether they’re mistreating the help or belittling the president’s manhood, making snide comments about a rival’s hair or ripping an opponent for spending money on a men’s fashion show, the Mean Girls have replaced Hope with Spite and Cool with Cold. They are the ideal nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate.

Beaten at her own game, is she? Why yes. (She does impart one piece of information: Sharron Angle “campaigns at times with a .44 Magnum revolver in her 1989 GMC pickup.” My word, what is not to like about her?!) The tough girls have not only given a clear alternative to the whiny victimhood of Dowd and her fellow gender-grievance-mongers; they have redefined political feminism. You can gain power, win the respect and affection of fellow citizens, and be pro-free market, pro-guns, and pro-life (the unholy trinity of the left).

No wonder Dowd has wigged out, feeling “jittery” after Angle demolished Harry Reid (whom Dowd bizarrely terms “the soft-spoken Mormon”). Dowd is aghast that Angle would point out that he has made a mint, thanks to his Senate career (“‘one of the richest men in the Senate’ after coming from Searchlight ‘with very little'”). This is going “for the jugular”? How sensitive Dowd has become.

But don’t you see? Only liberal women are permitted to spew bile at their male political adversaries. Heaven forbid telegenic, principled conservative women should upend their liberal opponents, ascend the political ladder, and grab the spotlight. Bad enough there was Sarah; now there is a whole flock of them. You can understand why Dowd is green with envy.

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Not Charming, Are They?

For those who imagine that the Obama team is finally “getting it” with regard to the Middle East or that it has taken to heart the complaints of Jewish supporters, it will be a surprise when the president and his crack diplomatic crew repeat precisely the same error and employ the identical tactics that have been their modus operandi for nearly two years.

Israel resumes building in its capital, in a “Jewish neighborhood.” (The term is objectionable, of course, because it implies Jews can’t live where they please.) This is not some remote “settlement.” This is the sort of building in Jerusalem that has gone on under multiple prime ministers. But the Obami are frustrated and embarrassed, so they double down, reiterating their insistence that Israel cough up more concessions (a building freeze) while the Palestinians freely announce they won’t be recognizing a “Jewish state.” This report explains:

“We were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in east Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley to assembled reporters at a weekly briefing.

However, Israel has already announced it won’t be reimposing a settlement freeze, certainly not in Jerusalem. The Obami are mute on whether the walk-out by Abbas is “contrary to [their] efforts” as well.

Now no nation can be less peeved than the U.S., so Jordan chirps up:

Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs and Communications Ali Ayed issued a statement condemning building plans, and calling on the international community to “stop Israeli provocations” and do whatever possible to resume and see through successful negotiations.

But things have changed here in the U.S. since the Obama team “condemned” such building last March. Obama now is politically toxic, the American Jewish community has had it with the bully-boy-ism, and liberal elected officials have discovered that there really is no there there on J Street (i.e., no alternative pro-Israel faction — other than Soros and the Hong Kong mystery gal — that approves of Obama’s approach).

Don’t take my word for it. A J Street endorsee and liberal Democrat Gary Ackerman blasts away in a statement:

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement. As such, the resumption of construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit. Ramot and Pisgat Zeev are going to be part of Israel in any conceivable final status deal and to pretend otherwise is pointless.

As I have said, those who earlier complained about the inadequacy of Israel’s unilateral and uncompensated settlement freeze, who chose to waste those ten months instead of diving aggressively into direct talks on peace, cannot reasonably now turn around and complain that the end of the freeze and the resumption of Israeli construction in Jerusalem—Israel’s capital, and the singular geographic center of the hopes and aspirations of the Jewish people for three millennia—is either a shock or an insurmountable obstacle to  peace.

Israeli construction in Jerusalem, in two already well-established neighborhoods is neither a show of bad faith, nor a justification for avoiding negotiations aimed at achieving a final status agreement. The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians are not going to be achieved by violence and they’re not going to be achieved by the equivalent of holding their breath until their lips turn blue. Direct negotiations are sole pathway to their goal and the sooner they recognize this fact, the better.”

I don’t think Soros is getting his money’s worth from Ackerman. He sounds like he’s echoing the position of the Emergency Committee for Israel.

As belated as Ackerman’s outspokenness may be, it is still welcomed. And it is, I would suggest, the silver lining in the Obama era. There is now the opportunity for Democrats to correct course and demonstrate that their pro-Israel bona fides are just as sound as their Republican colleagues. In the new Congress, perhaps Ackerman and other prominent Democrats (Chuck Schumer, Howard Berman, etc.) will cease carrying water for the Obama administration’s flawed Israel policy. The Congress has the power of the purse, the duty of oversight, and the ability to use resolutions and public statements to push back on the administration. All of that is long overdue. Let’s hope Ackerman’s reaction is the beginning of a trend and not simply pre-election political expediency.

For those who imagine that the Obama team is finally “getting it” with regard to the Middle East or that it has taken to heart the complaints of Jewish supporters, it will be a surprise when the president and his crack diplomatic crew repeat precisely the same error and employ the identical tactics that have been their modus operandi for nearly two years.

Israel resumes building in its capital, in a “Jewish neighborhood.” (The term is objectionable, of course, because it implies Jews can’t live where they please.) This is not some remote “settlement.” This is the sort of building in Jerusalem that has gone on under multiple prime ministers. But the Obami are frustrated and embarrassed, so they double down, reiterating their insistence that Israel cough up more concessions (a building freeze) while the Palestinians freely announce they won’t be recognizing a “Jewish state.” This report explains:

“We were disappointed by the announcement of new tenders in east Jerusalem yesterday. It is contrary to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley to assembled reporters at a weekly briefing.

However, Israel has already announced it won’t be reimposing a settlement freeze, certainly not in Jerusalem. The Obami are mute on whether the walk-out by Abbas is “contrary to [their] efforts” as well.

Now no nation can be less peeved than the U.S., so Jordan chirps up:

Jordan’s State Minister for Media Affairs and Communications Ali Ayed issued a statement condemning building plans, and calling on the international community to “stop Israeli provocations” and do whatever possible to resume and see through successful negotiations.

But things have changed here in the U.S. since the Obama team “condemned” such building last March. Obama now is politically toxic, the American Jewish community has had it with the bully-boy-ism, and liberal elected officials have discovered that there really is no there there on J Street (i.e., no alternative pro-Israel faction — other than Soros and the Hong Kong mystery gal — that approves of Obama’s approach).

Don’t take my word for it. A J Street endorsee and liberal Democrat Gary Ackerman blasts away in a statement:

“Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It is not a settlement. As such, the resumption of construction in Jerusalem is not a justification for a crisis, a showdown, a meltdown or even a hissy fit. Ramot and Pisgat Zeev are going to be part of Israel in any conceivable final status deal and to pretend otherwise is pointless.

As I have said, those who earlier complained about the inadequacy of Israel’s unilateral and uncompensated settlement freeze, who chose to waste those ten months instead of diving aggressively into direct talks on peace, cannot reasonably now turn around and complain that the end of the freeze and the resumption of Israeli construction in Jerusalem—Israel’s capital, and the singular geographic center of the hopes and aspirations of the Jewish people for three millennia—is either a shock or an insurmountable obstacle to  peace.

Israeli construction in Jerusalem, in two already well-established neighborhoods is neither a show of bad faith, nor a justification for avoiding negotiations aimed at achieving a final status agreement. The legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians are not going to be achieved by violence and they’re not going to be achieved by the equivalent of holding their breath until their lips turn blue. Direct negotiations are sole pathway to their goal and the sooner they recognize this fact, the better.”

I don’t think Soros is getting his money’s worth from Ackerman. He sounds like he’s echoing the position of the Emergency Committee for Israel.

As belated as Ackerman’s outspokenness may be, it is still welcomed. And it is, I would suggest, the silver lining in the Obama era. There is now the opportunity for Democrats to correct course and demonstrate that their pro-Israel bona fides are just as sound as their Republican colleagues. In the new Congress, perhaps Ackerman and other prominent Democrats (Chuck Schumer, Howard Berman, etc.) will cease carrying water for the Obama administration’s flawed Israel policy. The Congress has the power of the purse, the duty of oversight, and the ability to use resolutions and public statements to push back on the administration. All of that is long overdue. Let’s hope Ackerman’s reaction is the beginning of a trend and not simply pre-election political expediency.

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We Miss Her, Too

It is not only George W. Bush who’s looking better in retrospect to many Americans. Consider this:

Former first lady Laura Bush said the U.S. must stand with Afghanistan and bear in mind its long investment in the country. In an exclusive interview with The Hill, the former first lady weighed in on the future of Afghanistan, saying Congress and the American public should continue to support the country.

“What I hope is that we will stand with the people of Afghanistan. … It is not easy … Afghanistan was destroyed,” she said. “What they need to bear in mind is our investment already. … No one wants it to go back to the way it was. … Everyone wants peace there. What it has to be is a just society and a just democracy.”

She knows of what she speaks. As the report notes:

The former first lady, who visited Afghanistan three times during her eight years in the White House, has long held an interest in the affairs of Afghanistan and the plight of women and young girls there in particular. She sits as an honorary adviser on the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and has worked with the Women’s Initiative at the Bush Institute in Dallas since leaving the White House in January 2009.

Laura Bush never suffered the drop in popularity that her husband did. She managed to be both above the political fray and to do meaningful things. Oh, that her successor could do even one of those things.

It is not only George W. Bush who’s looking better in retrospect to many Americans. Consider this:

Former first lady Laura Bush said the U.S. must stand with Afghanistan and bear in mind its long investment in the country. In an exclusive interview with The Hill, the former first lady weighed in on the future of Afghanistan, saying Congress and the American public should continue to support the country.

“What I hope is that we will stand with the people of Afghanistan. … It is not easy … Afghanistan was destroyed,” she said. “What they need to bear in mind is our investment already. … No one wants it to go back to the way it was. … Everyone wants peace there. What it has to be is a just society and a just democracy.”

She knows of what she speaks. As the report notes:

The former first lady, who visited Afghanistan three times during her eight years in the White House, has long held an interest in the affairs of Afghanistan and the plight of women and young girls there in particular. She sits as an honorary adviser on the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council and has worked with the Women’s Initiative at the Bush Institute in Dallas since leaving the White House in January 2009.

Laura Bush never suffered the drop in popularity that her husband did. She managed to be both above the political fray and to do meaningful things. Oh, that her successor could do even one of those things.

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Tea Party Rocks the Right and Left

The Tea Party movement’s impact will not end on election day. If Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Marco Rubio, and other Tea Party-backed candidates retain their leads, the new Senate will be a very different place, and the GOP will be a very different party. Charles Hurt writes:

They will become the new face of the GOP in the Senate, which is always the more moderate chamber of Congress for either party. Over in the House, you can expect Republicans to be even more stringently conservative. Senate candidates Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida and Ken Buck in Colorado are not your country-club Republicans. Their conservatism runs deep into their principles. They are strict constitutionalists.

They fervently believe in individual freedom and economic conservatism. And they believe the federal government has grown far beyond its intended boundaries.

The irony is great here. A cadre of pundits cautioned the GOP after the 2008 wipeout to move to the center, to accommodate Obama’s agenda, and to recoil from the small-government philosophy that, the self-appointed gurus told us, had no sell with voters. With a big assist from Obama, the Tea Partiers have proved themselves much savvier than the punditocracy (damning with feint praise, I know). An entire populist movement built not on specific positions (e.g., anti-war) but on philosophical principles is a remarkable phenomenon; even more remarkable is the degree to which those principles have resonated with the public at large.

A small diversion: the challenge for conservatives who believe in a robust foreign policy and the projection of American powers and values is great. Some of those entering the Senate and Congress may be indifferent or actively hostile to the war in Afghanistan, military action against Iran (when it is acknowledged sanctions have failed), and ample spending on national security. Just as Ronald Reagan made the case for free markets at home and a forward-leaning foreign policy, conservative hawks will have their work cut out for them, facing neo-isolationists on the right and the left.

But returning to the broader implications of the Tea Party, one shouldn’t underestimate the impact the movement will have on the left. After all, this was the movement that the left first ignored and then scorned. As Peter Berkowitz points out in a must-read column:

Born in response to President Obama’s self-declared desire to fundamentally change America, the tea party movement has made its central goals abundantly clear. Activists and the sizeable swath of voters who sympathize with them want to reduce the massively ballooning national debt, cut runaway federal spending, keep taxes in check, reinvigorate the economy, and block the expansion of the state into citizens’ lives. In other words, the tea party movement is inspired above all by a commitment to limited government.

Yet the liberal elites insisted, Peter reminds us, that it was an “astroturf” consisting of kooks. (If it really were an astroturf movement, you’d think they’d find less colorful actors for the media to ridicule, no?) How could the administrations and its allies in the universities and the media have missed the boat? Peter suggests:

One reason this is poorly understood among our best educated citizens is that American politics is poorly taught at the universities that credentialed them. Indeed, even as the tea party calls for the return to constitutional basics, our universities neglect The Federalist and its classic exposition of constitutional principles. …

Our universities have produced two generations of highly educated people who seem unable to recognize the spirited defense of fundamental American principles, even when it takes place for more than a year and a half right in front of their noses.

One should never underestimate the historical illiteracy of the liberal intelligentsia. And it is also the case that the left did not merely misunderstand the Tea Party movement but actively distorted and vilified it. When unsubstantiated claims of “racism” start flying, you know the left is running scared. Certainly the Tea Party was the repudiation of the notion that the recession and the election of Obama had moved the country to the left. It simply couldn’t be that there was a broad and principled objection to this hypothesis. And when the rabble — that would be fellow citizens — showed again and again that the movement was genuine, determined, and deeply principled, the left had a collective meltdown, railing at the supposedly crazy citizenry.

The left understood all too well what the Tea Party was about, tried its best to strangle it in its political crib, and now has seen its worst fears come true.

As much, then, as the Republicans, the Democrats and their ideological soul mates have been rocked by the Tea Partiers. While the Tea Partiers energized the GOP they defeated and, one would argue, demoralized the left. What is the left’s response to political and intellectual defeat? How is it to maintain that its agenda is a reflection of popular will while its opponents are the pawns of nefarious forces? The right will be forced to “man up” (for this contribution alone, Sharron Angle deserves our appreciation) to the task of re-establishing the principles of limited government. The left will be forced to pick up the pieces and figure out how its statist agenda can mesh with a country that has rediscovered the virtues of modern conservatism.

The Tea Party movement’s impact will not end on election day. If Ken Buck, Sharron Angle, Marco Rubio, and other Tea Party-backed candidates retain their leads, the new Senate will be a very different place, and the GOP will be a very different party. Charles Hurt writes:

They will become the new face of the GOP in the Senate, which is always the more moderate chamber of Congress for either party. Over in the House, you can expect Republicans to be even more stringently conservative. Senate candidates Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida and Ken Buck in Colorado are not your country-club Republicans. Their conservatism runs deep into their principles. They are strict constitutionalists.

They fervently believe in individual freedom and economic conservatism. And they believe the federal government has grown far beyond its intended boundaries.

The irony is great here. A cadre of pundits cautioned the GOP after the 2008 wipeout to move to the center, to accommodate Obama’s agenda, and to recoil from the small-government philosophy that, the self-appointed gurus told us, had no sell with voters. With a big assist from Obama, the Tea Partiers have proved themselves much savvier than the punditocracy (damning with feint praise, I know). An entire populist movement built not on specific positions (e.g., anti-war) but on philosophical principles is a remarkable phenomenon; even more remarkable is the degree to which those principles have resonated with the public at large.

A small diversion: the challenge for conservatives who believe in a robust foreign policy and the projection of American powers and values is great. Some of those entering the Senate and Congress may be indifferent or actively hostile to the war in Afghanistan, military action against Iran (when it is acknowledged sanctions have failed), and ample spending on national security. Just as Ronald Reagan made the case for free markets at home and a forward-leaning foreign policy, conservative hawks will have their work cut out for them, facing neo-isolationists on the right and the left.

But returning to the broader implications of the Tea Party, one shouldn’t underestimate the impact the movement will have on the left. After all, this was the movement that the left first ignored and then scorned. As Peter Berkowitz points out in a must-read column:

Born in response to President Obama’s self-declared desire to fundamentally change America, the tea party movement has made its central goals abundantly clear. Activists and the sizeable swath of voters who sympathize with them want to reduce the massively ballooning national debt, cut runaway federal spending, keep taxes in check, reinvigorate the economy, and block the expansion of the state into citizens’ lives. In other words, the tea party movement is inspired above all by a commitment to limited government.

Yet the liberal elites insisted, Peter reminds us, that it was an “astroturf” consisting of kooks. (If it really were an astroturf movement, you’d think they’d find less colorful actors for the media to ridicule, no?) How could the administrations and its allies in the universities and the media have missed the boat? Peter suggests:

One reason this is poorly understood among our best educated citizens is that American politics is poorly taught at the universities that credentialed them. Indeed, even as the tea party calls for the return to constitutional basics, our universities neglect The Federalist and its classic exposition of constitutional principles. …

Our universities have produced two generations of highly educated people who seem unable to recognize the spirited defense of fundamental American principles, even when it takes place for more than a year and a half right in front of their noses.

One should never underestimate the historical illiteracy of the liberal intelligentsia. And it is also the case that the left did not merely misunderstand the Tea Party movement but actively distorted and vilified it. When unsubstantiated claims of “racism” start flying, you know the left is running scared. Certainly the Tea Party was the repudiation of the notion that the recession and the election of Obama had moved the country to the left. It simply couldn’t be that there was a broad and principled objection to this hypothesis. And when the rabble — that would be fellow citizens — showed again and again that the movement was genuine, determined, and deeply principled, the left had a collective meltdown, railing at the supposedly crazy citizenry.

The left understood all too well what the Tea Party was about, tried its best to strangle it in its political crib, and now has seen its worst fears come true.

As much, then, as the Republicans, the Democrats and their ideological soul mates have been rocked by the Tea Partiers. While the Tea Partiers energized the GOP they defeated and, one would argue, demoralized the left. What is the left’s response to political and intellectual defeat? How is it to maintain that its agenda is a reflection of popular will while its opponents are the pawns of nefarious forces? The right will be forced to “man up” (for this contribution alone, Sharron Angle deserves our appreciation) to the task of re-establishing the principles of limited government. The left will be forced to pick up the pieces and figure out how its statist agenda can mesh with a country that has rediscovered the virtues of modern conservatism.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

Is Harry Reid down for the count? “Angle took full advantage of Reid’s position as a political insider, taunting him for his support of Democratic policies, from the stimulus to the health care bill. At one point, Angle told Reid to ‘man up’ – and later questioned how he became so wealthy as a public servant. By debate’s end, Reid had failed to land any significant blows on Angle. He looked unprepared for Angle’s barbs. With just one day until early voting becomes available to Nevada residents, Reid’s performance didn’t improve his precarious political standing.”

Angle also pummeled Reid in fundraising: $14.3 million vs. $2.8 million in the third quarter.

Angle wasn’t the only Republican woman who won on points in her debate. “Democrat Richard Blumenthal now leads Republican Linda McMahon by just five points in Connecticut’s race for the U.S. Senate in a survey conducted two nights after their third and final head-to-head debate.”

Nancy Pelosi is going to take the fall, bemoans Jonathan Cohn: “It’s not Pelosi’s fault Congress didn’t produce more liberal legislation. But she, not Harry Reid or Barack Obama, is the one most likely to lose her job because of that failure.” Unintentionally funny, but correct.

A low blow: “Obama in 2010 on the path of John McCain 2008?”

If you expected liberal feminists to smack down Jerry’s Brown’s camp, you aren’t cynical enough. “The president of the National Organization for Women may have said it’s wrong for anyone to call a woman a ‘whore,’ but the head of the California NOW affiliate says Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is one. California NOW President Parry Bellasalma told the TPM blog on Thursday that the description of the Republican candidate for governor of California is accurate. ‘Meg Whitman could be described as ‘a political whore.’ Yes, that’s an accurate statement,’ Bellasalma said after a TPM blogger called to ask her about a story that appeared on the Daily Caller website.”

Failing Democrats are dealt a knockout punch – by their own party. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is tasked with keeping the party in the House majority after Nov. 2, began to make those unkindest of cuts last week, walking away, financially and figuratively, from more than half a dozen Democratic candidates. Call them ‘the Expendables,’ the first but certainly not last group to receive political pink slips from their party leaders. Among their ranks: Reps. Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) and Steve Driehaus (Ohio), as well as open-seat candidates in Tennessee, Indiana and Kansas.”

The conservative base is simply not going to go to the mat for a candidate already talking about raising taxes. Sometimes, when someone says he doesn’t want to be president, it’s wise to take him at his word.

Mort Zuckerman explains why the Middle East talks and Obama’s own credibility are on the ropes. “So why should the settlements have become the one issue to kill the talks? The key reason is that from the very beginning of his presidency, Obama put the construction in the settlements at the center of his Middle East strategy. It was the original sin that has hamstrung the possibility of successful talks. Public advocacy of the freeze not only put Israel in a bind, but it also put the Palestinians in an even tighter bind, giving both little room to maneuver. When Obama spoke repeatedly for a construction freeze in the West Bank as a public condition for the renewal of talks, it turned the settlement freeze from a dignified wish into a threshold demand that needed to be met in full. It also set a bar that made it impossible for the Palestinians to compromise. Abbas cannot be less Palestinian than the U.S. president.”

Is Harry Reid down for the count? “Angle took full advantage of Reid’s position as a political insider, taunting him for his support of Democratic policies, from the stimulus to the health care bill. At one point, Angle told Reid to ‘man up’ – and later questioned how he became so wealthy as a public servant. By debate’s end, Reid had failed to land any significant blows on Angle. He looked unprepared for Angle’s barbs. With just one day until early voting becomes available to Nevada residents, Reid’s performance didn’t improve his precarious political standing.”

Angle also pummeled Reid in fundraising: $14.3 million vs. $2.8 million in the third quarter.

Angle wasn’t the only Republican woman who won on points in her debate. “Democrat Richard Blumenthal now leads Republican Linda McMahon by just five points in Connecticut’s race for the U.S. Senate in a survey conducted two nights after their third and final head-to-head debate.”

Nancy Pelosi is going to take the fall, bemoans Jonathan Cohn: “It’s not Pelosi’s fault Congress didn’t produce more liberal legislation. But she, not Harry Reid or Barack Obama, is the one most likely to lose her job because of that failure.” Unintentionally funny, but correct.

A low blow: “Obama in 2010 on the path of John McCain 2008?”

If you expected liberal feminists to smack down Jerry’s Brown’s camp, you aren’t cynical enough. “The president of the National Organization for Women may have said it’s wrong for anyone to call a woman a ‘whore,’ but the head of the California NOW affiliate says Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is one. California NOW President Parry Bellasalma told the TPM blog on Thursday that the description of the Republican candidate for governor of California is accurate. ‘Meg Whitman could be described as ‘a political whore.’ Yes, that’s an accurate statement,’ Bellasalma said after a TPM blogger called to ask her about a story that appeared on the Daily Caller website.”

Failing Democrats are dealt a knockout punch – by their own party. “The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is tasked with keeping the party in the House majority after Nov. 2, began to make those unkindest of cuts last week, walking away, financially and figuratively, from more than half a dozen Democratic candidates. Call them ‘the Expendables,’ the first but certainly not last group to receive political pink slips from their party leaders. Among their ranks: Reps. Suzanne Kosmas (Fla.), Kathy Dahlkemper (Pa.) and Steve Driehaus (Ohio), as well as open-seat candidates in Tennessee, Indiana and Kansas.”

The conservative base is simply not going to go to the mat for a candidate already talking about raising taxes. Sometimes, when someone says he doesn’t want to be president, it’s wise to take him at his word.

Mort Zuckerman explains why the Middle East talks and Obama’s own credibility are on the ropes. “So why should the settlements have become the one issue to kill the talks? The key reason is that from the very beginning of his presidency, Obama put the construction in the settlements at the center of his Middle East strategy. It was the original sin that has hamstrung the possibility of successful talks. Public advocacy of the freeze not only put Israel in a bind, but it also put the Palestinians in an even tighter bind, giving both little room to maneuver. When Obama spoke repeatedly for a construction freeze in the West Bank as a public condition for the renewal of talks, it turned the settlement freeze from a dignified wish into a threshold demand that needed to be met in full. It also set a bar that made it impossible for the Palestinians to compromise. Abbas cannot be less Palestinian than the U.S. president.”

Read Less




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