As Alana noted, Paul Ryan’s announcement that he will not run for president this cycle has disappointed many conservatives. But I think that disappointment is misplaced, and not just because I think Ryan made the right choice not to run.
There was a lot of excitement about the prospect of either a Ryan or Chris Christie candidacy–Christie being the stronger candidate of the two because of his executive experience, toughness, and lack of connection to Ryan’s controversial Medicare reform. And it’s possible either man would make a great president. But the clamoring for one of them to abandon his crucial post for a quixotic run at the presidency is more evidence that many conservatives have accepted what Gene Healy warned against–the cult of the presidency:
No one is an expert on Libya’s rebels, and we haven’t a clue who the next leader of the country will be or how he will be chosen. (Libya is very much a man’s world so the next leader absolutely will be a he.) Even so, small indications about what to expect from the future government do bubble up once in a while.
The Chinese are trying to ingratiate themselves with Libya’s future leaders after opposing the assistance given them by the West, and they’re meeting resistance. “We don’t have a problem with western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies,” says a rebel official in charge of the Agoco oil firm. “But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil.”
According to a new Public Policy Polling survey out today, any boost Michele Bachmann might have had in Iowa after her straw poll victory has already evaporated. And despite warnings Rick Perry would irritate Iowans by overshadowing the Ames event with his South Carolina announcement, he’s now polling first in the state:
Polled for the first time here, Perry leads with 22 percent over Romney’s 19 percent, Bachmann’s 18 percent, Paul’s 16 percent, Herman Cain’s 7 percent, Newt Gingrich’s and Rick Santorum’s 5 percent, and Jon Huntsman’s 3 percent. Santorum had not been polled here before either.
Peter quotes CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller as writing the debt increase under Obama has been “the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.”
That’s not quite correct. The debt has risen about 40 percent under Obama, in a little more than two and a half years. But it rose more than 4,000 percent in four years under Abraham Lincoln, 2,000 percent in Woodrow Wilson’s last four years, and 640 percent in FDR’s last four years. Of course, those three presidents had to fight wars of utterly unprecedented size. The debt under Obama has ballooned partly because of the recession and increased entitlement costs, but also to a major extent in pursuit of a political agenda that most of the country finds obnoxious.
In his remarks at China’s Sichuan University, Vice President Biden, in response to a question, said, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I’m not second-guessing — of one child per family. The result being that you’re in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable.”
This is a remarkably obtuse and morally disgraceful statement. The policy the vice president is so understanding of, after all, involves forced abortion, involuntary sterilization, and gendercide. As Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, put it, “China’s One Child Policy causes more violence to women and girls than any other official policy on earth. To merely mention the economic consequences is to turn a blind eye to the terrible human suffering caused by forced abortion. Chinese women are literally dragged out of their homes, strapped to tables and forced to abort.”
In addition to Rick’s post, pointing out President Obama’s rating in the Rasmussen “Presidential Index” has hit a new low, we can add this: the president’s most recent Gallup daily tracking survey shows Obama’s approval/disapproval is now 38 percent v. 54 percent–a new low.
This gap, a staggering 16 points, means we’re going to hear the Obama team make more and more references to Harry Truman and his come-from-behind victory in 1948. The fact no president has replicated the Truman feat isn’t terribly encouraging news to Obama, his aides and his allies.
CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller points out that the latest posting by the Treasury Department shows the national debt has now increased $4 trillion on President Obama’s watch. The debt was $10.626 trillion on the day Obama took office. The latest calculation from Treasury shows the debt has now hit $14.639 trillion.
According to Knoller, “It’s the most rapid increase in the debt under any U.S. president.”
Verizon’s union employees are finally ending an ugly two-week strike after strong-arming the company into conceding…well, pretty much nothing. Verizon has agreed to extend the union workers’ current contracts indefinitely while it restarts negotiations with the union. But it didn’t agree to the demands that prompted the strike, such as taking an increase in health care costs off the table.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Communications Workers of America tossed out some face-saving spin to their members:
The response to Ron Paul’s candidacy has been, once again, a combination of derision and disregard. But the latest Gallup poll should give the White House reason enough not to ignore the Texas congressman.
Gallup has Paul trailing Obama in a head-to-head matchup by two percent, 47-45. If President Obama was looking for yet another indicator the public has lost confidence in his management of the economy, this is it.
With Muammar Qaddafi’s downfall imminent, does Barack Obama stand vindicated? To a certain extent, yes. Obama showed courage in intervening to prevent Qaddafi from retaking Benghazi and slaughtering its inhabitants. If he had not acted, it is doubtful Britain and France would have done so, and Qaddafi would have been in power for years to come. Instead, he becomes the third Middle Eastern despot to fall this year, thus providing further momentum for the forces of the Arab Spring. But just because Qaddafi is out of power doesn’t mean the outcome in Libya will be a good one, or the hesitant way in which Obama waged war was the right way to go.
Ultimate success in a war effort can erase memories of many blunders along the way. Who, after all, remembers the numerous missteps made by U.S. forces in the early days of World War II? In Libya, few will remember Obama’s blunders in not asking for congressional approval of the war effort and not committing enough American air power to hasten Qaddafi’s downfall–but only if Libya emerges as a shining exemplar of the Arab Spring.
While Washington’s attention has been focused on events in Syria and Libya, once reliable Kyrgyzstan has served notice that in 2014, it will no longer allow U.S. forces to use the Manas Air Base, an important logistic hub, for our operations in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan’s about face is a triumph for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to flip Kyrgyzstan and outbid the United States, much as the Kremlin did with Uzbekistan’s Karshi-Khanabad air base, from which U.S. forces were expelled in 2005. With the Manas route about to be closed, the United States becomes more reliant–and susceptible to pressure–from Pakistan and Turkey.
The Associated Press reports the number of people who bought new homes fell for the fourth straight month in July, putting sales on track to finish this year as the worst on records dating back half a century.
According to the Commerce Department, sales of new homes fell nearly 1 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 298,000. That’s less than half the 700,000 economists say represent a healthy market.
President Obama’s rating in the Rasmussen “Presidential Index” has hit a new low. Today he is at Minus 26 – a 56-point swing from the Plus 30 he registered after his first full day in office. The total of likely voters who not only “disapprove” but “strongly disapprove” is now at 45 percent, with 56 percent disapproving overall.
To put this in perspective, George W. Bush, in his last full month in office, was at 43 percent “strongly disapprove” and Minus 30 overall – at the end of an exhausted eight-year administration pummeled throughout by the MSM. Barack Obama is at virtually that level after two-and-a-half years, having started with historic goodwill and an MSM fully invested in his success. To appreciate the magnitude of the Rasmussen results, it is useful to view them in the chart-form developed by Boker tov, Boulder! Take a look.
It’s a disappointment to many conservatives, but it never sounded like Paul Ryan’s heart was in this anyway. The Draft Ryan movement gave it an admirable try, but in the end, Ryan’s instincts were telling him no.
Here’s the congressman’s statement to the Weekly Standard:
“I sincerely appreciate the support from those eager to chart a brighter future for the next generation. While humbled by the encouragement, I have not changed my mind, and therefore I am not seeking our party’s nomination for president. I remain hopeful that our party will nominate a candidate committed to a pro-growth agenda of reform that restores the promise and prosperity of our exceptional nation. I remain grateful to those I serve in Southern Wisconsin for the unique opportunity to advance this effort in Congress.”
“Unless the economy turns around in the next 18 months, Obama is on track to have the worst jobs record of any president in the modern era. That would be an accurate statement.”
This judgment comes not from Sarah Palin but from Glenn Kessler, fact checker for the Washington Post. Which makes the judgment triply damaging to the president, since the Post is not known as an anti-Obama newspaper.
Next month’s special election to replace the disgraced Anthony Weiner in New York’s 9th congressional district is being viewed in some quarters as a referendum on President Obama’s attitude toward Israel. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch has called on the district’s voters to back Republican Robert Turner in the race so as to send a message to Obama to back off on his pressure on the Jewish state. In response, the Democratic candidate David Weprin has sought to make it clear he wants no part of Obama, even going so far as to say he hasn’t decided whether to endorse him.
It’s not clear if any of this will make enough of a difference for the 29 percent of the district’s voters who are Jewish. But it turns out Israel may not be Weprin’s biggest problem with that important slice of the electorate. Instead, it may be his vote in the New York state legislature in favor of gay marriage that could prove to be his heaviest burden.