Commentary Magazine


Posts For: July 21, 2011

The Debt Explosion and Terrible Fiscal Policy

Yuval Levin and Keith Hennessey have written noteworthy pieces.

In National Review Online, Levin writes, “That debt explosion—which will be at the heart of our politics in the coming years—is different and unprecedented, and we have seen in recent months that the Left is completely unprepared to understand it, and the Right (with much help from the indispensable Paul Ryan) is only starting to grasp it. Simply put, that debate is all about health-care  entitlements. And I mean all… Our debt explosion is a health-entitlement explosion, and to address it we have to fix the fundamental structure of our health entitlements. That means above all replacing the fee for service structure of Medicare, which is the chief driver of inefficiency across our health-care system.”

Keith Hennessey weighs in on the so-called Gang of Six plan, providing 17 – yes, 17 –reasons why it is “absolutely terrible fiscal policy.”

Both men back up their judgments with care, precision and measured arguments. But take a look for yourself.

 

Yuval Levin and Keith Hennessey have written noteworthy pieces.

In National Review Online, Levin writes, “That debt explosion—which will be at the heart of our politics in the coming years—is different and unprecedented, and we have seen in recent months that the Left is completely unprepared to understand it, and the Right (with much help from the indispensable Paul Ryan) is only starting to grasp it. Simply put, that debate is all about health-care  entitlements. And I mean all… Our debt explosion is a health-entitlement explosion, and to address it we have to fix the fundamental structure of our health entitlements. That means above all replacing the fee for service structure of Medicare, which is the chief driver of inefficiency across our health-care system.”

Keith Hennessey weighs in on the so-called Gang of Six plan, providing 17 – yes, 17 –reasons why it is “absolutely terrible fiscal policy.”

Both men back up their judgments with care, precision and measured arguments. But take a look for yourself.

 

Read Less

Obama’s Policies Help Build Support for Israel’s Anti-Boycott Law

In an apparent nod to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wishes, Israel’s Knesset voted yesterday to turn down a proposal to investigate left-wing non-governmental organizations. But this decision won’t completely defuse the controversy about a previous measure passed by the body that allowed citizens to sue individuals or groups calling for boycotts of Israel or any region of the country. Netanyahu’s decision to back off on the latest of these measures proposed by his Yisrael Beitenu coalition partners shows he is sensitive to the way the issue plays abroad.

As I wrote previously, these efforts to clamp down on foreign-funded groups seeking to undermine Israel from within are counter-productive.  These bills turn pro-boycott groups into martyrs rather than isolating them. But as Americans continue to huff and puff about what they wrongly term anti-democratic legislation, it needs to be reiterated–this issue looks a little different from an Israeli perspective. Moreover, those Americans who have heightened Israel’s feelings of isolation are in no position to complain about these measures.

Read More

In an apparent nod to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s wishes, Israel’s Knesset voted yesterday to turn down a proposal to investigate left-wing non-governmental organizations. But this decision won’t completely defuse the controversy about a previous measure passed by the body that allowed citizens to sue individuals or groups calling for boycotts of Israel or any region of the country. Netanyahu’s decision to back off on the latest of these measures proposed by his Yisrael Beitenu coalition partners shows he is sensitive to the way the issue plays abroad.

As I wrote previously, these efforts to clamp down on foreign-funded groups seeking to undermine Israel from within are counter-productive.  These bills turn pro-boycott groups into martyrs rather than isolating them. But as Americans continue to huff and puff about what they wrongly term anti-democratic legislation, it needs to be reiterated–this issue looks a little different from an Israeli perspective. Moreover, those Americans who have heightened Israel’s feelings of isolation are in no position to complain about these measures.

First, it should be stipulated those who advocate boycotts of the country are not quite the peaceful protesters many Americans believe they are. Efforts to boycott Israel are nothing less than economic warfare on the Jewish state. Those who single out democratic Israel for treatment they would not think of imposing on other countries, including those with genuinely horrible human rights records, are anti-Semites–pure and simple. Israelis are also right to resent the activities of foreign-financed NGOs that operate freely inside their country while doing everything to support Palestinian groups that seek to undermine Jewish security and Zionism.

What Americans also don’t understand is that Israelis, like the citizens of many other democratic countries around the globe, don’t have the same absolutist attitude toward free speech that we have in this country. Our First Amendment protections are the glory of American democracy, and Israelis and others who tend to support government restrictions on speech would do well to follow in our path.

There is also a long tradition in Israel of attempts to restrict or minimize dissent, but contrary to the leftist critique of the Netanyahu government alleging it wants to overturn democracy, it stems from the country’s left-wing past, not the legacy of the right. Two of Israel’s most heroic leaders, David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin, countenanced all forms of measures that hampered dissent against their governments’ policies. Part of this stemmed from the point of view of a nation at war, in which military censorship persists to this day. But it was also about intolerance for political opponents. For example, when anti-Oslo demonstrators held peaceful though disruptive sit-ins on highways, Rabin had them charged with “sedition” rather than with merely disturbing the peace, as they would have been in the United States.

To cite this example is not to defend the anti-boycott law, but it does put it in an Israeli context in which absolute freedom of speech is not something that either the left or right has ever really supported. The popularity of these measures stems not just from resentment of anti-Zionists but of a general feeling of isolation exacerbated by President Obama’s frequent sniping and picking of fights with Israel’s government.

Those who seek to heighten feelings of abandonment on the part of the vast majority of Israelis aren’t helping the country. Groups such as Americans for Peace Now who have used this issue as a pretext to renew its vicious effort to delegitimize Jews who live in the settlements are doing nothing for the cause of Israeli democracy or peace. Though these bills are mistakes, it is Israel’s existence and not its democratic culture that is currently under attack.

Read Less

Left Tries to Paint GOP’s Debt Ceiling Stance as Bad for Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warm relationship with congressional Republicans has unnerved Democrats since the Clinton administration. But perhaps this was most visible when Bibi’s trip to the U.S. in May was preceded the day before by President Obama’s controversial remarks about the 1967 lines and the peace process.

The ensuing days saw congressional leaders embrace Bibi and push back against the White House (joined by Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer). There was even the unprecedented incident in which DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz personally asked Bibi not to let Republicans criticize her party on Israel. Sensing the Democrats were in trouble with Jewish voters, Tablet Magazine’s Marc Tracy decried the “Republican political operatives who would like nothing more than to use Israel as a wedge issue to peel away Jewish voters who voted even for Barack Obama over John McCain by a more than three-to-one margin.”

Read More

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warm relationship with congressional Republicans has unnerved Democrats since the Clinton administration. But perhaps this was most visible when Bibi’s trip to the U.S. in May was preceded the day before by President Obama’s controversial remarks about the 1967 lines and the peace process.

The ensuing days saw congressional leaders embrace Bibi and push back against the White House (joined by Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Steny Hoyer). There was even the unprecedented incident in which DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz personally asked Bibi not to let Republicans criticize her party on Israel. Sensing the Democrats were in trouble with Jewish voters, Tablet Magazine’s Marc Tracy decried the “Republican political operatives who would like nothing more than to use Israel as a wedge issue to peel away Jewish voters who voted even for Barack Obama over John McCain by a more than three-to-one margin.”

But that was then. Now, apparently, with the debt ceiling debates heating up, turning Israel into a partisan issue is only appropriate. Moody’s indicated that if it downgraded the U.S. bond rating, bonds issued by other governments that are guaranteed by the U.S.–including Israel and Egypt–could also be affected. The National Jewish Democratic Council pounced, saying Republicans “are playing a dangerous game both with our economy and Israel’s” in a press release. NJDC went looking for someone in the media willing to politicize Israel bonds and found… Marc Tracy.

Tracy, headlining the post, “U.S. Debt Default Could Threaten Israel Bonds: And Rep. Cantor is a crucial player in the negotiations,” tells his readers that Eric Cantor “emerged as the voice of the House Republican rank-and-file earlier this month, refusing even the possibility of tax increases as President Obama and Speaker Boehner negotiated a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases—the latter being a combination of tax hikes and the closing of tax loopholes—in an effort to decrease the debt and avoid a possible default.” For this, Tracy helpfully adds, “some have accused Cantor of being outrageously irresponsible and nihilistic.”

I haven’t heard anyone call Cantor that, and Tracy provides no examples. But we’ll take his word for it that some call Eric Cantor such things. In any case, Tracy doesn’t provide the other side–something like, “some say Cantor understands that without serious debt alleviation and spending reductions our country’s finances will be in serious jeopardy, and Cantor is fighting for real structural reforms that have been supported by both Republicans and Democrats.” Maybe that will be provided in an update to Tracy’s post. As it stands, Tracy is clear: Israel is not a partisan issue–unless Republicans are the targets of the attacks.

Read Less

On Genghis Khan and his Historical Legacy

In his response to my earlier posting on Mongolia, Jonathan Tobin brings up the flip side to Mongolia’s historical legacy:

While we can sympathize with Mongolia’s troubles in the last century, any country that accords Genghis Khan–one of history’s great mass-murdering conquerors–the status of founding father, undermines its stance as a lonely democracy fighting for independence against authoritarian bullies.

Read More

In his response to my earlier posting on Mongolia, Jonathan Tobin brings up the flip side to Mongolia’s historical legacy:

While we can sympathize with Mongolia’s troubles in the last century, any country that accords Genghis Khan–one of history’s great mass-murdering conquerors–the status of founding father, undermines its stance as a lonely democracy fighting for independence against authoritarian bullies.

Actually, to be a bit of a history nerd, I’d argue that Genghis Khan’s legacy is far more nuanced. The Mongols’ expansion caused immense bloodshed, an occurrence not uncommon during pre-modern times. Many of the empires the Mongols conquered had similar bloody legacies. At the same time, the Mongols’ brief unification of areas from China to Eastern Europe enabled a massive transfer of knowledge and culture going both directions. During the so-called Pax Mongolica, Marco Polo made it to China largely because he was transiting a single territory, while Chinese laborers brought their knowledge westward. The famous blue tiles that adorn mosques in the Middle East and Central Asia are a direct result of this transfer of knowledge. So is paper money. While the late historian Marshall Hodgson goes into this in depth, as I also believe Bernard Lewis does in some of his works, University of Washington Professor Daniel Waugh provides a fair and short summary, here, for those who aren’t rolling their eyes at the Mongolia tangent.

To be even more of a history nerd, I always get chills down my spine when, traveling in Israel, I pass by the little-remembered site of Ayn Jalut, where the Mongol invasion was finally repulsed.

Read Less

Perry and the Social Cons

Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer proposal and well-publicized chats with God are clearly aimed at attracting social conservatives, but there’s one obstacle that could stand in his way: Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee is no fan of Perry, as he makes clear in this recent email to supporters:

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is still flirting with a run, and it’s the type of flirting even his wife approves of. The Dallas Morning News reports that a campaign button collector ordered a “Perry for Governor 2010” button from Perry’s office. What he got back was a button, all pressed and ready to go, that reads, “Perry – President – 2012.” So if Perry’s not running, then that button will be a REAL collector’s item. For all his new found commitment to hyper-conservatism, he’ll get to explain why he supported pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage Rudy Guiliani last time.

Read More

Gov. Rick Perry’s Day of Prayer proposal and well-publicized chats with God are clearly aimed at attracting social conservatives, but there’s one obstacle that could stand in his way: Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee is no fan of Perry, as he makes clear in this recent email to supporters:

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is still flirting with a run, and it’s the type of flirting even his wife approves of. The Dallas Morning News reports that a campaign button collector ordered a “Perry for Governor 2010” button from Perry’s office. What he got back was a button, all pressed and ready to go, that reads, “Perry – President – 2012.” So if Perry’s not running, then that button will be a REAL collector’s item. For all his new found commitment to hyper-conservatism, he’ll get to explain why he supported pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage Rudy Guiliani last time.

Why is Huckabee letting one endorsement overshadow Perry’s entire career? Because for him, this is a personal grudge. Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports the animosity toward Perry likely stems from the Texas governor declining to endorse Huckabee in 2008:

“I love Mike,” Perry told an Iowa crowd in 2007. “I mean, he’s like a brother. I just don’t think he can win and I shared that with him. And [Huckabee] asked me to be his national chairman about six months ago and I told him, I said, ’Man, I love you like a brother, but just let me slide here.’ It was a hard conversation to call and tell him I was for Rudy. He was disappointed and a bit frustrated. I still love him and he loves me.”

Not only did Perry turn Huckabee down, he also took some swipes at him while campaigning for Giuliani. “This isn’t the presidency of Iowa and New Hampshire we’re talking about. This is the presidency of the United States we’re talking about,” said Perry in 2007. “The idea of the hare and the tortoise comes to mind.”

If Huckabee decides to really go after Perry “phoniness” on social conservative issues from his platform at Fox News, it could influence how the Texas governor is perceived with evangelicals and in Iowa. Perry can obviously defend himself by playing up his record, but it would be a struggle for him to win over social conservatives if Huckabee also throws his weight behind someone like Michele Bachmann, who’s already incredibly popular with values voters.

And Perry may have more problems than just Huckabee. Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed, an influential evangelical leader, has also been dismissive of Perry, according to Religion Dispatches. “I don’t see him being a factor,” Reed told the Christian Post, when asked about a potential Perry presidential run. Even a good personal record on social conservative issues may not help Perry if enough evangelical leaders turn against him.

Read Less

Be Afraid–If You Care About Future of American Power

Be afraid. Be very afraid. If, like me, you care about the future of American power–if, like me, you believe the United States has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past 100 years and the U.S. armed forces have been our most effective instrument of power projection–then you should be scared about what is being cooked up among budget negotiators on Capitol Hill.

The so-called Gang of Six–Democratic Senators Kent Conrad, Dick Durbin, and Mark Warner, and Republicans Saxby Chambliss, Mike Crapo, and Tom Coburn—are cooking up what is billed as a bipartisan package that would cut nearly $900 billion from the defense budget during the next decade. That’s more than double the $400 billion in cuts that President Obama unveiled in April. Previously, Obama had said it would not be acceptable to cut $1 trillion from defense, as proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, but now he’s sounding sympathetic toward the Gang of Six proposals.

Read More

Be afraid. Be very afraid. If, like me, you care about the future of American power–if, like me, you believe the United States has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past 100 years and the U.S. armed forces have been our most effective instrument of power projection–then you should be scared about what is being cooked up among budget negotiators on Capitol Hill.

The so-called Gang of Six–Democratic Senators Kent Conrad, Dick Durbin, and Mark Warner, and Republicans Saxby Chambliss, Mike Crapo, and Tom Coburn—are cooking up what is billed as a bipartisan package that would cut nearly $900 billion from the defense budget during the next decade. That’s more than double the $400 billion in cuts that President Obama unveiled in April. Previously, Obama had said it would not be acceptable to cut $1 trillion from defense, as proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission, but now he’s sounding sympathetic toward the Gang of Six proposals.

Congressman Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee rightly warns: “It is our belief that this proposal raises serious implications for defense and would not allow us to perform our constitutional responsibility to provide for the safety and security of our country or keep faith with men and women in uniform.”

Indeed, cuts on that scale would be nothing short of a disaster, for reasons that are well spelled out in this white paper  from the Defending Defense project launched by the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Foreign Policy Initiative. This study demolishes many of the myths circulating on Capitol Hill, e.g., the notions that “proposed cuts represent a small part of future military spending,” that “Iraq and Afghanistan withdrawals will alleviate the military’s manpower problems and allow the armed forces to control personnel spending,” and that “even if the future force is smaller, it will be well prepared for future crises and contingencies.”

The entire paper should be a must-read for lawmakers who are flirting with eviscerating American combat capabilities–and with it the role of the United States in world affairs.

Read Less

Unconventional Campaign Watch: Group Releases “Best of Thaddeus McCotter” Video

For those who don’t watch Fox’s “Red Eye,” Thaddeus McCotter is a virtual unknown. The Michigan congressman is running for the Republican presidential nomination, however, and in keeping with his personal style, the McCotter campaign is a bit unorthodox.

There have been examples of this so far for those paying close attention. One subtle suggestion of the unorthodox nature of the campaign was when McCotter hired what would normally be called a state director in New Hampshire. Why do I say “would normally be called”? Because the McCotter campaign, the new hire told Politico, is “not a title-driven campaign,” so he didn’t have one.

Read More

For those who don’t watch Fox’s “Red Eye,” Thaddeus McCotter is a virtual unknown. The Michigan congressman is running for the Republican presidential nomination, however, and in keeping with his personal style, the McCotter campaign is a bit unorthodox.

There have been examples of this so far for those paying close attention. One subtle suggestion of the unorthodox nature of the campaign was when McCotter hired what would normally be called a state director in New Hampshire. Why do I say “would normally be called”? Because the McCotter campaign, the new hire told Politico, is “not a title-driven campaign,” so he didn’t have one.

McCotter, though, may be the smartest–and easily the funniest–candidate in the field. I wrote about him here in May. Concerning policy, this is the basic roundup of where he stands:

McCotter is also aching to reframe the terms of the debate. The War on Terror, to McCotter, is really the War for Freedom, to be fought against “kufar fascism” with our “arsenal of democracy.” To McCotter, the United Nations is a “global Tammany Hall.” He decries the left’s “civil religion” and the pro-China lobby’s maxim, in his words, “make loot not war.”

McCotter is pro-market–he rails against the overregulation he calls the red tape worm–but he also warns against the transfer from a nation-state to a market-state ruled by global elites, referencing Wilhelm Röpke’s “humane economy.” And while he is pro-free trade, he seeks to advance the cause of “freedom trade”–tying trade agreements to human rights and ethical trade practices (and quoting Natan Sharansky in the process).

On defense, he is a vigorous supporter of peace through strength (instead of “peace through speech”), and he is especially tough on Iran and China. He compares the Iran-Syria alliance to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and calls for a Liberty Alliance that would not include a military component.

He’s also the guitarist for a (bipartisan) congressional rock band called The Second Amendments, and is a serious student of philosophy. The Daily Caller interviewed McCotter earlier this month, where you can get a sense of how he approaches the candidacy–and you’ll be treated to answers like this: “As a Detroiter, I instinctively reject the Gucci-shoed D.C. divas’ dysfunction that deems what’s nuts is normal.”

But for the lighter side of Thaddeus McCotter, the group Students For McCotter has released a greatest hits video, and there is still his classic House floor speech entitled, “How to speak Democrat.” Both well worth your time. Though he isn’t a top-tier candidate, he’ll at least spice up the debates.

Read Less

The Most Interesting Part of the New Washington Post/ABC Poll

Byron York calls some attention to just how strong Sarah Palin looks in the newest Washington Post/ABC poll. But whether Palin chooses to run or not, the poll reveals one reason Mitt Romney is a relatively weak front-runner.

The poll asked respondents who lean Republican which of the candidates “best understands the problems of people like you.” In this, Palin leads with 23 percent. Romney follows with 18 percent, and Bachmann comes in third with 11 percent.

Read More

Byron York calls some attention to just how strong Sarah Palin looks in the newest Washington Post/ABC poll. But whether Palin chooses to run or not, the poll reveals one reason Mitt Romney is a relatively weak front-runner.

The poll asked respondents who lean Republican which of the candidates “best understands the problems of people like you.” In this, Palin leads with 23 percent. Romney follows with 18 percent, and Bachmann comes in third with 11 percent.

One of the reasons Palin has been such a force at the grassroots level is that her personal story—a mother who runs for office to replace the corrupt male leaders of her own party, wins, and then is savaged by left-wing misogynists for being a conservative woman and mother and heckled mercilessly by arrogant elites because she graduated from the University of Idaho—is appealing to “regular” people.

Voters who live between D.C. and San Francisco have a much more difficult time relating to an Ivy League faux-intellectual disdainful of workers and religious Americans (Obama) and a rich business executive who seems worlds away from their daily financial anxieties (Romney). Palin is still far from what the voters say they want when it comes to leadership and experience, but Republican candidates would be wise to keep this poll in mind. Most voters are nothing like Obama or Romney. This has its benefits and its drawbacks. But when voters believe a candidate doesn’t understand their problems, it’s a major drawback.

Read Less

RE: Why Mongolia Matters

Our colleague Michael Rubin makes a good case for why we should care about Mongolia as well as why we should reject the realpolitik that would have the United States eschew friendship with small states that border on larger, dangerous countries. The instinct to abandon such states led the first President Bush to send dangerous signals to Russia as the Soviet Union was breaking up. Fortunately, the Baltic nations that spent a generation in Communist bondage won their freedom despite the mistakes made by the leader of the free world. The same lesson could apply to our on-again, off-again friendship for the Republic of Georgia, a fledgling democracy which lives in the shadow of a resurgent and aggressive Russian empire.

But even as we embrace the freedom of small nations, we must still remember just as history didn’t end with the fall of the Berlin Wall, it didn’t begin with the Treaty of Versailles either. The worm has turned several times since today’s victims were yesterday’s bad guys, but historical memory sometimes is longer than we think.

Read More

Our colleague Michael Rubin makes a good case for why we should care about Mongolia as well as why we should reject the realpolitik that would have the United States eschew friendship with small states that border on larger, dangerous countries. The instinct to abandon such states led the first President Bush to send dangerous signals to Russia as the Soviet Union was breaking up. Fortunately, the Baltic nations that spent a generation in Communist bondage won their freedom despite the mistakes made by the leader of the free world. The same lesson could apply to our on-again, off-again friendship for the Republic of Georgia, a fledgling democracy which lives in the shadow of a resurgent and aggressive Russian empire.

But even as we embrace the freedom of small nations, we must still remember just as history didn’t end with the fall of the Berlin Wall, it didn’t begin with the Treaty of Versailles either. The worm has turned several times since today’s victims were yesterday’s bad guys, but historical memory sometimes is longer than we think.

Though we in the West find it absurd that Russia, which has spent most of the last three centuries seeking hegemony over the small nations on its borders in the Baltic, Eastern Europe as well as in Asia, might fear these countries, that sentiment is deeply embedded in their culture. Anyone who has seen the opera or read Pushkin’s classic Russian play “Boris Godunov” knows there was once a time when it was the Poles who invaded Russia, not the other way around. To note, this is not to excuse Russian paranoia and imperialism, but ignoring the roots of the problem doesn’t help us understand it.

If you look to the East, Michael rightly says that contemporary Mongolia has “lost the lottery on neighbors” as it is sandwiched between large bullies in Russia and China. Yet several centuries ago, it was the Russians and the Chinese who had good reason to lament their borders with the Mongol Empire. While we can sympathize with Mongolia’s troubles in the last century, any country that accords Genghis Khan–one of history’s great mass-murdering conquerors–the status of founding father, undermines its stance as a lonely democracy fighting for independence against authoritarian bullies.

Read Less

20 Senate Dems Support Balanced Budget Amendment?

This Club for Growth video showing old clips of 20 Senate Democrats voicing “support” for a balanced budget amendment has been making the rounds lately. (Coincidentally, Senate Republicans have estimated that they need 20 Democrats to support the BBA in order for it to pass!)

And while the video might inspire false hope that the BBA has even the slightest chance of passing, it’s completely misleading. There are all types of balanced budget amendments, and the one Republicans have proposed would basically make certain GOP-favored economic policies constitutionally binding (spending below 18 percent of GDP, two-thirds majority approval for tax hikes). Democrats may support a balanced budget amendment, but almost certainly not that one.

Read More

This Club for Growth video showing old clips of 20 Senate Democrats voicing “support” for a balanced budget amendment has been making the rounds lately. (Coincidentally, Senate Republicans have estimated that they need 20 Democrats to support the BBA in order for it to pass!)

And while the video might inspire false hope that the BBA has even the slightest chance of passing, it’s completely misleading. There are all types of balanced budget amendments, and the one Republicans have proposed would basically make certain GOP-favored economic policies constitutionally binding (spending below 18 percent of GDP, two-thirds majority approval for tax hikes). Democrats may support a balanced budget amendment, but almost certainly not that one.

As Phil Klein wrote last spring, “If you could get two-thirds support in both chambers of Congress and the support of 38 states for balancing the budget through spending cuts rather than tax increases, we wouldn’t even need to be having a debate over balancing the budget — lawmakers would just do it.”

And the BBA is more than just unnecessary, it could also complicate national security interests. Having the ability to run a deficit during wartime is critical, and the BBA would make this much more difficult. At the National Review, Rich Lowry writes:

[The BBA] allows for a waiver in fiscal years in which a declaration of war against a nation-state is in effect… We haven’t declared war on anyone since World War II. The amendment’s exception wouldn’t have accounted for the Cold War or the War on Terror, neither of which entailed declarations of war on nation-states.

Another provision allows three-fifths of Congress to waive the amendment for expenditures related to a military conflict “that causes an imminent and serious threat to national security.” If you believe the Cold War or the War on Terror qualifies, this could have led to constant exceptions from 1947 to 1991, and from 2001 to perhaps the present.

The need for constant waivers during a conflict could dangerously hinder America’s ability to respond to imminent threats. And beyond that, it’s clear these loopholes and exceptions could be manipulated in a way that could render the entire amendment meaningless. The BBA isn’t going to happen anytime soon, and that’s probably a good thing.

Read Less

Turkey is Playing with Fire

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is moving ahead with his plans for a state visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. While the United States and the European Union may consider Hamas a terrorist organization, Erdoğan instead describes Hamas as “resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land.”

Erdoğan may wish to use anti-Israel activism to propel Turkey’s leadership bid among Arab states, but he should take care with the precedent he sets. It is hard to square his demand that Israel apologize for killing nine Turks on the Mavi Marmara (one of whom held dual American citizenship) with Turkey’s refusal to apologize for the murders of hundreds of thousands, if not a million Armenians in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire; or its role in the deaths of myriad Kurdish civilians during its fight against the Kurdish insurgency of the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, the Turkish government leveled hundreds of Kurdish villages as it tried to create a cordon sanitaire along its frontiers with Iraq and Iran.

Read More

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is moving ahead with his plans for a state visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. While the United States and the European Union may consider Hamas a terrorist organization, Erdoğan instead describes Hamas as “resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land.”

Erdoğan may wish to use anti-Israel activism to propel Turkey’s leadership bid among Arab states, but he should take care with the precedent he sets. It is hard to square his demand that Israel apologize for killing nine Turks on the Mavi Marmara (one of whom held dual American citizenship) with Turkey’s refusal to apologize for the murders of hundreds of thousands, if not a million Armenians in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire; or its role in the deaths of myriad Kurdish civilians during its fight against the Kurdish insurgency of the 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, the Turkish government leveled hundreds of Kurdish villages as it tried to create a cordon sanitaire along its frontiers with Iraq and Iran.

Erdoğan’s pro-Hamas activism may ultimately endanger Turkish national security. Earlier this month, the Congress for a Democratic Society, an umbrella group of legal Kurdish organizations in Turkey, declared the autonomy of Kurds in southeastern Turkey. Certainly, this is a shot across the bow, and a most provocative step. While the declaration of autonomy is controversial even among Turkey’s Kurds, let alone Turkish citizens who are not ethnically Kurdish, it creates a situation in which any Turkish outreach to the Palestinians will reverberate through the precedent to Kurdish areas in Turkey. Erdoğan considers Hamas simply as legitimate resistance fighters struggling from liberty and to defend their land? Well, couldn’t the PKK describe themselves the same way?  And if Erdoğan feels himself able to make a state visit to Gaza, couldn’t others—perhaps not now but a decade down the road—use the precedent he sets to decide that they will make state visits to Diyarbakir to meet with Kurdish authorities, yet skip any meetings in Ankara?

Erdoğan should take care. He may revel in the adoring embrace of Hamas, but Turkey has no shortage of enemies in either the East or the West. Kurdish nationalism is not going away, and the Kurdish Diaspora is growing and becoming more influential in Europe. Erdoğan’s antipathy toward Israel today may sow the seeds of Turkey’s partition down the road.

Read Less

J Street Poll Finds J Street Has Failed

As Jake Tapper joked on twitter, “There have now been more stories written about Obama and Jewish voters than there are Jewish voters.” If you want to read another one, click here for the HuffPo’s coverage of J Street’s new poll.

What’s interesting about the poll isn’t what it finds about Jewish public opinion, because what it finds is pretty neatly in line with what most polls find about Jewish public opinion. What’s interesting is that J Street, three years after its founding, still doesn’t seem to understand something very basic about Jewish opinion. The poll found that while Obama has a 60 percent approval rating among Jews,

Some 56 percent of respondents to the J Street poll disapproved of the job he was doing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while 44 percent approved.

Read More

As Jake Tapper joked on twitter, “There have now been more stories written about Obama and Jewish voters than there are Jewish voters.” If you want to read another one, click here for the HuffPo’s coverage of J Street’s new poll.

What’s interesting about the poll isn’t what it finds about Jewish public opinion, because what it finds is pretty neatly in line with what most polls find about Jewish public opinion. What’s interesting is that J Street, three years after its founding, still doesn’t seem to understand something very basic about Jewish opinion. The poll found that while Obama has a 60 percent approval rating among Jews,

Some 56 percent of respondents to the J Street poll disapproved of the job he was doing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while 44 percent approved.

This is not surprising; as poll after poll has shown, American Jews are indeed quite liberal — but they do not share the left’s antipathy to Israel. Yet J Street was founded on a syllogism that denies this nuance: Jews are liberal; liberals want to criticize and pressure Israel; therefore, Jews will support criticizing and pressuring Israel.

Pressuring and criticizing Israel has been pretty much the sum total of Obama’s approach toward Israel, although his hostility actually hasn’t been nearly as brutal as J Street would have liked (after all, Susan Rice vetoed that UN Security Council resolution on settlements).

Yet even with Obama’s J Street-lite approach to Israel, he’s underwater among American Jews. J Street was founded to represent what it always says is the majority of Jews who share the left’s hostility to Israel, but don’t have anyone to “give voice to their values” (as J Street’s last conference was billed). Now J Street’s own poll shows American Jews don’t support President Obama’s hostility to Israel. So whose values, exactly, does J Street represent?

Read Less

Will House Republicans Be Pressured Into Surrender On Taxes?

As the maneuvering about the debt ceiling continues, the dynamic of the debate has shifted to one question: Will House Republicans be buffaloed into surrender on the question of tax increases?

Senate Republicans are starting to stray off the reservation to support compromise measures such as the Gang of Six plan that includes higher taxes and lower spending cuts than the plan the GOP had rejected in the past. That means the pressure on the House majority to let everyone in Washington off the hook for a potential default is growing every day, with many Republicans openly talking of their fear of being branded as the villains of the story in the event of a partial government shutdown.

Read More

As the maneuvering about the debt ceiling continues, the dynamic of the debate has shifted to one question: Will House Republicans be buffaloed into surrender on the question of tax increases?

Senate Republicans are starting to stray off the reservation to support compromise measures such as the Gang of Six plan that includes higher taxes and lower spending cuts than the plan the GOP had rejected in the past. That means the pressure on the House majority to let everyone in Washington off the hook for a potential default is growing every day, with many Republicans openly talking of their fear of being branded as the villains of the story in the event of a partial government shutdown.

I’ve written before that such fears are overblown, because that outcome was heavily influenced by the mismatch between President Clinton and then House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Yet even though neither Speaker John Boehner nor House Majority Leader Eric Cantor can be dismissed the way Gingrich was, the lack of resolve on the part of many in the GOP to stand their ground on an issue of principle may lead to a different calamity. If Republicans panic and adopt a debt solution that is seen by their grassroots core as a betrayal of principle, this will have a major impact on the 2012 election.

While the main story today seems to be about a revival of talk about a grand long-term solution to the debt crisis, if such a deal is put forward on the same terms as the Gang plan, then this will represent a significant retreat from Boehner’s generally sound ideas for such a scheme that were rejected by the White House two weeks ago.

It is a given Congress will have to pass a bill raising the debt ceiling but, with the clock ticking down toward the August 2 deadline, if Republicans split with most of their Senate caucus abandoning their House colleagues, the result could sink the whole party next year. Though there is more at stake here than politics, Senate Republicans who leave the House majority holding the bag on this issue will effectively be aiding Democratic attempts to brand the GOP as hopeless ideologues who deserve to be blamed for the crisis.

If Republicans stand tough, there is still plenty of time for them to wait for the Democrats to fold and to then enact a short-term solution that will not violate Republican pledges to hold the line on taxes while also raising the debt ceiling. If they don’t, the scenario that follows will be a disaster for the GOP.

Read Less

Obama All-Time Top Recipient of News Corp. Contributions

It turns out that News Corporation, the so-called “Republican Party communications arm,” donated more to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 than it has to any other politician ever, according to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation:

The biggest all-time recipient of contributions from News Corp. is President Obama. It should be noted that the totals for  News Corp.’s contributions also include money from employees of the organization and their family members. Obama being listed as the company’s top recipient might surprise some people because of its highly publicized involvement with his political rivals, like Sarah Palin who was the vice presidential candidate in 2008 and reportedly still under contract with Murdoch-owned Fox News as a paid commentator.

Read More

It turns out that News Corporation, the so-called “Republican Party communications arm,” donated more to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 than it has to any other politician ever, according to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation:

The biggest all-time recipient of contributions from News Corp. is President Obama. It should be noted that the totals for  News Corp.’s contributions also include money from employees of the organization and their family members. Obama being listed as the company’s top recipient might surprise some people because of its highly publicized involvement with his political rivals, like Sarah Palin who was the vice presidential candidate in 2008 and reportedly still under contract with Murdoch-owned Fox News as a paid commentator.

News Corp. has reportedly given Obama more than $350,000, making him the top recipient of the media company’s cash since 1989. This isn’t a major surprise, considering News Corp. has actually given more money to Democrats than Republicans over the years, as Ben Smith pointed out last week.

The issue now is whether President Obama will come clean about it. When asked about the donations, his campaign danced around the issue:

Firmly denying the foundation’s allegations, Obama for America, the president’s re-election campaign organization, pointed out it does not accept PAC donations, and a campaign spokesman was quick to dismiss the suggestion that Obama has close ties to News Corporation.

“Access to a remote control would disprove this absurd suggestion,” said spokesman Ben LaBolt. “We don’t accept money from PACs and haven’t accepted a dime from News Corp.’s PAC. We had 3.95 million donors to the campaign in 2008.”

This answer is incredibly misleading. A corporation’s donations don’t just include PAC money; the total also includes money given by individuals within the company. While it’s possible Obama didn’t accept contributions from the News Corps. PAC, it clearly accepted money from its members, as anyone can see from the Open Secrets website.

Read Less

Obama’s Summer of Discontent

The latest Fox News poll shows the president’s approval-disapproval rating underwater. Forty-five percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing while 46 percent disapprove, making this his lowest approval for the year so far.

But the really alarming news for the president is this: Voters are more than twice as likely to say the economy is getting worse than to say it is getting better. The poll found that 58 percent of voters think the economy is getting worse while only 26 percent think things are getting better economically. In addition, by a 15 percentage-point margin, more voters say the Obama administration has made the economy worse (49 percent) rather than better (34 percent).

Read More

The latest Fox News poll shows the president’s approval-disapproval rating underwater. Forty-five percent of voters approve of the job Obama is doing while 46 percent disapprove, making this his lowest approval for the year so far.

But the really alarming news for the president is this: Voters are more than twice as likely to say the economy is getting worse than to say it is getting better. The poll found that 58 percent of voters think the economy is getting worse while only 26 percent think things are getting better economically. In addition, by a 15 percentage-point margin, more voters say the Obama administration has made the economy worse (49 percent) rather than better (34 percent).

This is the economy Obama’s senior aide David Plouffe admits the president “owns” – and the economy which Obama himself says he will be judged on.

Meanwhile, 58-percent of those polled believe it’s unfair for President Obama to continue to blame former President George W. Bush for the country’s economic problems, with an even larger majority of independents (61 percent) saying the same thing. Even 28 percent of Democrats think it is unfair for Obama to keep blaming Bush.

Welcome to Barack Obama’s summer of discontent.

 

Read Less

Why Mongolia Matters

As I mentioned yesterday, my wife and I spent our summer vacation this year in Mongolia, a trip I’d recommend to anyone. The Mongols are friendly, the air is clean, and there is much to see for anyone interested in history, religion, or nature. (The only thing Mongolia lacks is a good beach.) If ever there was a country that lost the lottery on neighbors, it was Mongolia, sandwiched between a sometimes hostile, bullying Russia and an even more bullying China. I am reminded of that apt headline in The Onion in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Georgia: “U.S. Advises Allies not to Border Russia.”

Indeed, while we were there, people were complaining about Russia playing hardball with fuel sales, sending the price of gasoline skyrocketing, and the price of food and all other goods along with it. While Mongolia has some gas deposits of its own (nothing compared to its coal resources), it has trouble developing it as neither China nor Russia wish Mongolia to be energy independent.

Read More

As I mentioned yesterday, my wife and I spent our summer vacation this year in Mongolia, a trip I’d recommend to anyone. The Mongols are friendly, the air is clean, and there is much to see for anyone interested in history, religion, or nature. (The only thing Mongolia lacks is a good beach.) If ever there was a country that lost the lottery on neighbors, it was Mongolia, sandwiched between a sometimes hostile, bullying Russia and an even more bullying China. I am reminded of that apt headline in The Onion in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Georgia: “U.S. Advises Allies not to Border Russia.”

Indeed, while we were there, people were complaining about Russia playing hardball with fuel sales, sending the price of gasoline skyrocketing, and the price of food and all other goods along with it. While Mongolia has some gas deposits of its own (nothing compared to its coal resources), it has trouble developing it as neither China nor Russia wish Mongolia to be energy independent.

The Mongolian government is actively reaching out for friends who might respect its independence as both its neighbors play hardball. It has courted both Australia and South Korea. Alas, while Mongolians are friendly and pro-American, they recognize they cannot rely on the United States as a friend. President Obama does not treat allies well, and so many realists find it sophisticated to bash allies in order to cultivate enemies.

Such attitudes represent strategic blindness. In 1911, Mongolia declared itself independent from China, a move the Chinese did not recognize. Mongolia turned to the outside, including to the United States, for help. Despite all of Woodrow Wilson’s talk of self-determination, he refused to provide much in the way of even moral support for Mongolia, and so the Chinese tried to reoccupy the country in 1919. With friendship spurned with the West, the Mongols turned to the only friend who would have them: Bolshevik Russia. Mongolia hence became only the second communist republic. It was, like the others, a brutal dictatorship and provided the Soviet Union with a forward airfield abandoned only in 1992.

What realists fail to realize when they make dispassionate cost and benefit calculations, is that there is an intrinsic benefit to friendship and alliance, but that such a benefit cannot be realized if the United States fails to embrace friendship for friendship’s sake. What may appear inconvenient now may become a critical asset down the road, if only the American foreign policy elite would be farsighted.

Read Less

Growth: The Only Way Out of This Mess

The American economy is unwell. The growth of manufacturing slowed in the spring, as did job growth, which was a dismal 54,000 jobs in May. Unemployment is rising again. Gasoline is nearly $4 per gallon, reducing tourism and retail sales while increasing the cost of everything from airfares to package delivery. And the housing sector, where so much personal wealth is invested, continues to retreat, with prices now down to 2002 levels. Not since the Great Depression three generations ago has recovery come so slowly after an economic crisis. Once again, as has been the case since the crisis began in 2007, most of the discussion about this has come to center on what the federal government can and should do to create growth. The problem is that the government has spent more than two years and more than $1.5 trillion trying to fix things, with what can charitably be described as limited results.

The Federal Reserve Board has arguably been more active since 2007 than at any other time in its history, structuring bank bailouts, injecting liquidity into the system, slashing interest rates and keeping them low, and working hand in hand with both the Bush and Obama administrations. Now it has just about shot its bolt. Its $600 billion effort in 2010 to speed up the economy through a second round of “quantitative easing” has proved ineffective. And the Fed has almost no room to maneuver when it comes to interest rates; they can’t fall below zero, after all.

So much for what the unelected powers in Washington can do. The situation is even more sobering when it comes to the policy choices of elected Democrats. Economists on the left, such as Christine Romer and Paul Krugman, want Congress to enact further Keynesian fiscal stimulus. They claim that the $814 billion stimulus package of 2009 wasn’t large enough to do the job of getting the economy growing strongly. The age-old truism that one shouldn’t throw good money after bad would seem to apply here; but even if it didn’t, the notion is risible from a practical standpoint. The public appetite for further stimulus spending is nonexistent. The election of 2010 made it abundantly clear that the public wants the government to spend less, not more.

Click here to read the rest of this article from the July/August issue of COMMENTARY.

The American economy is unwell. The growth of manufacturing slowed in the spring, as did job growth, which was a dismal 54,000 jobs in May. Unemployment is rising again. Gasoline is nearly $4 per gallon, reducing tourism and retail sales while increasing the cost of everything from airfares to package delivery. And the housing sector, where so much personal wealth is invested, continues to retreat, with prices now down to 2002 levels. Not since the Great Depression three generations ago has recovery come so slowly after an economic crisis. Once again, as has been the case since the crisis began in 2007, most of the discussion about this has come to center on what the federal government can and should do to create growth. The problem is that the government has spent more than two years and more than $1.5 trillion trying to fix things, with what can charitably be described as limited results.

The Federal Reserve Board has arguably been more active since 2007 than at any other time in its history, structuring bank bailouts, injecting liquidity into the system, slashing interest rates and keeping them low, and working hand in hand with both the Bush and Obama administrations. Now it has just about shot its bolt. Its $600 billion effort in 2010 to speed up the economy through a second round of “quantitative easing” has proved ineffective. And the Fed has almost no room to maneuver when it comes to interest rates; they can’t fall below zero, after all.

So much for what the unelected powers in Washington can do. The situation is even more sobering when it comes to the policy choices of elected Democrats. Economists on the left, such as Christine Romer and Paul Krugman, want Congress to enact further Keynesian fiscal stimulus. They claim that the $814 billion stimulus package of 2009 wasn’t large enough to do the job of getting the economy growing strongly. The age-old truism that one shouldn’t throw good money after bad would seem to apply here; but even if it didn’t, the notion is risible from a practical standpoint. The public appetite for further stimulus spending is nonexistent. The election of 2010 made it abundantly clear that the public wants the government to spend less, not more.

Click here to read the rest of this article from the July/August issue of COMMENTARY.

Read Less

Why Pawlenty’s New Strategy May Hasten the End of His Campaign

Tim Pawlenty is rolling out what can be described as the Pawlenty Campaign 2.0–the scrappy underdog swimming against the tide of his rivals’ money and organization. It’s all about managing expectations and clearing low bars.

He’s even got the New York Times and Politico running stories on it, with Politico’s a mostly positive review of the strategy. The problem for Pawlenty is that this is a terrible idea, for three main reasons.

Read More

Tim Pawlenty is rolling out what can be described as the Pawlenty Campaign 2.0–the scrappy underdog swimming against the tide of his rivals’ money and organization. It’s all about managing expectations and clearing low bars.

He’s even got the New York Times and Politico running stories on it, with Politico’s a mostly positive review of the strategy. The problem for Pawlenty is that this is a terrible idea, for three main reasons.

First, as the Times story notes up front, Pawlenty began this campaign “actively positioning himself as the No. 2 heavyweight in the Republican presidential race of 2012 and the obvious alternative to the front-runner, Mitt Romney.” So what changed in that time? Technically speaking, nothing. That is, we are still half a year away from the first caucus of the primary season.

The only thing that has happened so far is primary voters have looked at the candidates and decided they don’t much care for Pawlenty. Running as the underdog in a campaign is a last resort. Billing yourself as the mainstream candidate and then switching to the underdog before the primaries have even begun is a sign of desperation. Looking desperate for six months before voters have the chance to cast a ballot will cement that image in their minds. And voters don’t ask that guy to be the leader of the free world.

Second, the underdog status only fires up a candidate’s base of support, it does not convince others to vote for him. Frankly speaking, Pawlenty has almost no base of support to fire up. By definition, the underdog has only an outside chance of winning. Admitting you’re that guy signals voters to look elsewhere.

And third, not all the candidates are even in the race yet. If Pawlenty is the underdog now, just imagine how much tougher his road becomes in Iowa if Rick Perry gets in the race, and in New Hampshire if Giuliani jumps in. Following those, his chances in Nevada are slim to none against Romney (and Huntsman), and then in South Carolina, where he would in all likelihood finish behind Bachmann, Perry, and possibly even Rick Santorum. In that scenario, he could be done by February.

Remember, the Obama campaign’s strategy against Hillary Clinton was to convince voters that she wasn’t inevitable and that perhaps this was his time, not hers. And McCain may have made a comeback, but he was the runner-up to Bush in 2000. That means he was the “next in line” for eight years. It was his nomination to lose, and he didn’t.

The only viable strategy for Pawlenty was to convince moderate Republicans he was more electable than Romney because of the health-care issue, and convince core conservatives he was more electable than the sometimes-reckless Bachmann. Abandoning that strategy means abandoning that argument and the principal rationalization of his candidacy.

Read Less

Obama Should Frame 2012 Election as a Choice, Not a Referendum

Yesterday, as Jonathan noted earlier, President Obama told KMBC television:

They do expect that their President is going to be thinking about them every single day. And is going to be focused on how we win the future. And if next November they feel like I’ve been on their side, and I’ve been working as hard as I can, and I’ve been getting some things done to move us in the right direction, I’ll win. If they don’t, then I’ll lose. And that’s not to say the other candidate is irrelevant. But it does mean I’ll probably win or lose depending on their assessment of my stewardship.

Those are words the president will come to regret.

Read More

Yesterday, as Jonathan noted earlier, President Obama told KMBC television:

They do expect that their President is going to be thinking about them every single day. And is going to be focused on how we win the future. And if next November they feel like I’ve been on their side, and I’ve been working as hard as I can, and I’ve been getting some things done to move us in the right direction, I’ll win. If they don’t, then I’ll lose. And that’s not to say the other candidate is irrelevant. But it does mean I’ll probably win or lose depending on their assessment of my stewardship.

Those are words the president will come to regret.

Framing the election in the way Obama did is exactly what Obama’s top campaign adviser David Axelrod has been arguing against, insisting the 2012 election will not be a “referendum” but rather a “choice.” Axelrod knows that if the election hinges on the public’s assessment of his stewardship, Obama’s odds on winning re-election will dramatically diminish. The only way he can win is to destroy and delegitimize his opponent. And that is what almost every dime of the hundreds of millions of dollars Obama raises between now and November 2012 will be used for.

Many people believe the election of 1800, between Jefferson and Adams, was the ugliest and most vicious presidential campaign in American history. This one
may give that one a run for its money.

Read Less

Juan Williams Too Diverse for Liberal NPR

When National Public Radio fired commentator Juan Williams last year, they may have hoped it would be a one-day story. But what followed was a major controversy that wound up costing a number of executives at the network their jobs. But the ordeal isn’t over for NPR. Williams has written a new book about his firing from the network that is coming out next week. The advance interviews that Williams and his wife are giving to the media make it clear he believes he was just too black and too independent to survive in what is a cloister for white, college-educated liberals.

In an interview with Politico, Williams details the way NPR tried to censor his comments and sought to have him disassociate himself from Fox News, where he also served as a commentator. Even worse, despite NPR’s claim of Olympian objectivity, Williams says its left-wing bias is reinforced by a desire to please large contributors such as George Soros:

Read More

When National Public Radio fired commentator Juan Williams last year, they may have hoped it would be a one-day story. But what followed was a major controversy that wound up costing a number of executives at the network their jobs. But the ordeal isn’t over for NPR. Williams has written a new book about his firing from the network that is coming out next week. The advance interviews that Williams and his wife are giving to the media make it clear he believes he was just too black and too independent to survive in what is a cloister for white, college-educated liberals.

In an interview with Politico, Williams details the way NPR tried to censor his comments and sought to have him disassociate himself from Fox News, where he also served as a commentator. Even worse, despite NPR’s claim of Olympian objectivity, Williams says its left-wing bias is reinforced by a desire to please large contributors such as George Soros:

[Williams] also believes that NPR’s coverage is skewed by its major donors — the most famous of whom, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, gave a $1.8 million donation the same week he was fired, further stoking accusations of NPR’s liberal bias.

“The idea was that we have to satisfy these deep-pocketed liberals in order to keep the money flowing, and we want that money,” he said. “And it began to influence the journalism.”

While Williams says that in contrast to the behavior of NPR executives, the people at Fox were quite happy to let him say whatever he wanted to say, he doesn’t let the network completely off the hook, stating its news operation has a conservative slant. But given the refusal of the rest of the mainstream media– and especially NPR–to admit their liberal bias, Fox needn’t apologize.

Just as damning are the comments of Williams’ wife Delise, who told Newsmax:

“So-called liberals” at NPR treated her — a light-skinned African-American — as if she didn’t exist. … Delise says that she and Juan were the only blacks at NPR parties, a point confirmed by Juan. In general, both say, African-Americans were found only in low-level jobs such as security guards.

To anyone who has listened to NPR’s news programs, reports about the arrogant and insular nature of their staff and the narrow spectrum of views that are tolerated there are hardly surprising. Williams ends his book with a call for an end to the federal subsidies for this liberal enclave. It’s only a matter of time before the government gravy train stops for NPR. When it does, perhaps we’ll look back at Juan Williams’ firing as the turning point in that debate.

Read Less




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

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

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

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

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