Last month, a Gallup poll indicated some trouble for Mormon presidential candidates: 22 percent of respondents said they would not vote for a Mormon. And this time, the main problem was not among conservative evangelicals–as was once thought–but among self-identified Democrats, where the anti-Mormon bigotry was most pronounced.
Today, the Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article laying out the Mormon Church’s strategy for the current campaign, in which two candidates–Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney–are members of the LDS Church:
It is chilling to read details of Bashar al-Assad regime’s assault on the city of Hama. Tanks are rolling through the streets, snipers are indiscriminately shooting civilians. At least 130 Syrians have died since Sunday’s assault began, bringing the total number of fatalities to more than 2,000 during the course of Assad’s bloody war on his own people. One somehow doubts Assad and his Alawite clique will be deterred by a toothless resolution of condemnation passed today by the UN Security Council.
There are many more steps Washington could take on its own—steps far short of using military force—that might begin to alter the political equation in Syria in ways inimical to its current rulers. My colleague Elliott Abrams offered many sensible suggestions yesterday in the Wall Street Journal. He recommends trying to peel Alawite leaders away from Assad, putting more pressure on the Syrian business community and pressing for statements from the opposition committing them to respecting the rights of all groups in a new Syria. These are all smart steps, but what we need above all is clarity from the administration.
In the last few days, it seems every third liberal columnist and commentator has taken to libeling the Tea Party Movement, referring to it as (take your pick) terrorists, suicide bombers, hostage takers, the Hezbollah faction of the GOP, traitors, nihilists, anarchists and people suffering from halitosis. (The last reference is made up; the rest of the descriptions are real.) Even a few politicians are getting into the act.
“We have negotiated with terrorists,” Representative Mike Doyle said in a recent meeting between Democrats in Congress and Vice President Biden. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” And according to several sources in the room, Biden added his two cents, saying, “They have acted like terrorists.” (Biden denied using the “terrorism word” to CBS’s Scott Pelley. His role was to act as group psychiatrist. “I just let them vent,” Biden claims.)
While liberals and conservatives have their own separate complaints about the debt ceiling deal signed into law yesterday, a Gallup poll out today shows it’s not particularly popular with the general public either. Forty-six percent of Americans disapprove of the agreement, compared to 39 percent who approve.
Democrats are the most likely to support the deal at 58 percent. But independent voters disapprove of it 50 percent to 33 percent, and Republicans disapprove of it 64 to 26 percent. Republicans and independents are also more likely to see the deal as a step backward for addressing the federal debt problem.
If you want to gauge how upset President Obama’s liberal base is with him right now, consider the words of Democratic Senator Tom Harkin, who said this as the final debt ceiling deal was coming together: “I am just sorely upset that Obama doesn’t seize the moment. That’s what great presidents do in times of crisis. They exert executive leadership. He went wobbly in the knees.”
This isn’t simply stating a policy difference with the president; it’s a barely concealed assault on his character and fortitude.
The Associated Press reports the Obama campaign is lowering fundraising expectations ahead of the late-September disclosure date, a sign that his contributions may be lagging:
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign expects to raise tens of millions of dollars less this summer than it did in the spring because negotiations over the nation’s debt limit forced Obama to cancel several fundraisers.
Obama’s campaign said Wednesday it canceled or postponed 10 fundraisers involving the president, Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley in the past month because of the debt talks, scrubbing events in California, New York and elsewhere.
Throughout the debt ceiling debates, President Obama appeared on national television numerous times attempting to shift blame for the country’s pending economic doom on Republican fat cats and corporate jet owners. As the debt crisis went on, the president’s approval numbers hit record lows, despite numerous attempts to make himself clear. The financial crisis wasn’t because the country was spending more than it was taking in, it was because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (read: it’s still Bush’s fault). Our record deficit isn’t because entitlement spending is over 10 percent of our GDP and growing rapidly; it’s because the rich aren’t paying their fair share.
In the Wall Street Journal last week, Senator Bernie Sanders started off an opinion piece by saying, “The rich are getting richer.” Despite the fact the top 25 percent of income earners pay 85 percent of the federal income bill, the president and his progressive allies wanted more.
As we await the creation and deliberation of the “super committee” to determine the future of national defense, it’s worth taking a look at how this instability impacts the economy.
The prospect of massive – and unpredictable – future defense cuts isn’t just a concern for national security officials. It’s also reportedly spooking defense contractors, who are hesitant to hire new employees in such a volatile atmosphere.
More evidence has emerged that the environmentalist movement–and not the oil industry–is the premier energy-related threat to the survival of America’s wildlife. The obsession with green energy has led to the growth of the wind power industry, which has been killing birds and bats since its inception–and usually with impunity.
But that may come to an end, according to today’s L.A. Times. The paper reports the federal government is investigating the killing of six golden eagles at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Pine Tree Wind Project:
The Conservative Political Action Conference’s decision to bar the controversial gay conservative group GoProud from participating in its event next year has received a lot of criticism from activists on the right who see this as unfair and discriminatory. But there’s also a potential long-term ramification here. If CPAC caves to outside controversy and blocks one contentious group from participating, then it sets a precedent that could lead to other organizations getting blackballed in the future.
There’s a classic episode of “South Park” in which Cartman sets out on a mission to get a “Family Guy” episode pulled, ostensibly because it’s offensive to Muslims. But Cartman has an ulterior motive: if he succeeds at censoring just one controversial “Family Guy” show, that will lead to the censorship of future episodes that might be offensive to other groups. Here’s Cartman’s explanation:
I imagine Jon Huntsman looked at today’s New York Times and said, “With friends like these….” The paper carries a story titled “Republicans Seeking Election Remain Unsure About Embracing Tea Party,” and tantalizingly promises that evidence of this “is everywhere.”
But the article so comically underdelivers on this as to have the opposite effect: it makes clear just how influential the Tea Party is. The reporter provides exactly three examples in the entire article of Republicans running for election who are wary of the conservative Tea Party voters: Huntsman and Senators Orrin Hatch and Richard Lugar. The story, meanwhile, is framed by the only source quoted in the first half of the story: Whit Ayres, who is Huntsman’s pollster but whose association with the Huntsman campaign is only disclosed much later in the article, when he refers to Huntsman as a “real leader.”
Yesterday, I was critical of those involved in the raid to kill Osama bin Laden–Operation Neptune’s Spear–for talking about operational details with Nicholas Schmidle, a freelance writer whose article on the raid appears in the current New Yorker. I noted this would make it harder to preserve secrecy on future missions.
Now it turns out the 23 SEALs on the mission didn’t actually talk to Schmidle. Or so reports the Washington Post. I am not sure if this makes the situation better or worse.