Commentary Magazine


Posts For: March 16, 2012

Santorum’s Life With a Political Cannibal

Rick Santorum has enough problems these days with his gaffe insisting on English being the official language of Puerto Rico and the impact of his insistence on raising troubling social issues such as contraception and pornography even though these discussion do him no good. But the real gift that keeps on giving for Santorum is his decision in 2004 to back Arlen Specter’s bid for re-election against an impeccable conservative challenge, then Rep. Pat Toomey. The issue has caused him no end of embarrassment in subsequent years, especially after Specter backed President Obama’s stimulus boondoggle and then ObamaCare after turning his coat and switching to the Democrats in 2009.

The issue will get another hearing this month because, as Politico reports, Specter’s political memoir Life With the Cannibals will soon be released. In it, Specter details Santorum’s help in 2004 as well as his 2009 advice about how to hold onto the seat he would lose, ironically enough, to Toomey in 2010. Specter’s book won’t help Santorum among conservatives who regard the decision as one more instance of how the Pennsylvanian’s desire to be a “team player” often came into conflict with his conservative values. But as much as Santorum deserves to be criticized for his decision, a little perspective on that race is in order.

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Rick Santorum has enough problems these days with his gaffe insisting on English being the official language of Puerto Rico and the impact of his insistence on raising troubling social issues such as contraception and pornography even though these discussion do him no good. But the real gift that keeps on giving for Santorum is his decision in 2004 to back Arlen Specter’s bid for re-election against an impeccable conservative challenge, then Rep. Pat Toomey. The issue has caused him no end of embarrassment in subsequent years, especially after Specter backed President Obama’s stimulus boondoggle and then ObamaCare after turning his coat and switching to the Democrats in 2009.

The issue will get another hearing this month because, as Politico reports, Specter’s political memoir Life With the Cannibals will soon be released. In it, Specter details Santorum’s help in 2004 as well as his 2009 advice about how to hold onto the seat he would lose, ironically enough, to Toomey in 2010. Specter’s book won’t help Santorum among conservatives who regard the decision as one more instance of how the Pennsylvanian’s desire to be a “team player” often came into conflict with his conservative values. But as much as Santorum deserves to be criticized for his decision, a little perspective on that race is in order.

First of all, though Specter credits Santorum for pulling him through a difficult primary in which he wound up beating Toomey in a close race, it should also be remembered that the most important conservative backing the incumbent in Pennsylvania that year was not Santorum. It was George W. Bush, who believed keeping Specter on the ticket was vital to his chances of winning Pennsylvania in a tough battle for re-election.

Another point often obscured in discussions of that election is that the issue was not so much, as Santorum now insists, a matter of ensuring that conservative Supreme Court justices were confirmed in Bush’s second term (though even Santorum and Specter’s most virulent conservative critics can’t fault his efforts to secure the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito) as it was giving Bush a chance in Pennsylvania and holding onto a slim GOP majority in the Senate that fall. The assumption then was that Toomey simply couldn’t hold the seat. That’s why everyone in the Republican establishment including Santorum (who was then a member of the Senate leadership) moved heaven and earth in 2003 to persuade Toomey to back off.

That assumption was incorrect, as I think Toomey could have beaten then Rep. Joseph Hoeffel, the Democrat who eventually lost to Specter in November 2004. But none of the trio of Bush, Karl Rove and Santorum thought it was worth gambling a Senate majority on Toomey when they assumed Specter would have an easy time in a general election. As it turned out, Specter didn’t win by the landslide the GOP thought he would, a result that was a harbinger of future trouble for the senator.

It should also be remembered that literally hours after declaring victory in the primary, Specter held a news conference in Philadelphia in which he repaid both Bush and Santorum by giving them the back of his hand by stating he didn’t consider himself bound to support the president’s measures in the coming years. Those who believe Specter’s recent statements about private conversations he had with Santorum about court confirmations in 2004 should remember that double cross as well as the countless other betrayals that can be credited to Specter when they take his word for it when he says he made no promises to his colleague.

As for Santorum’s intervention call in 2009 seeking to “help” Specter hold onto his seat by persuading him to vote against the stimulus, that, too, deserves some perspective. Heading into 2009, the feud between Specter and Toomey had seemingly been forgotten. At that time, a tacit agreement between the two existed in which Toomey would forgo another primary challenge against Specter in exchange for the latter’s support for the conservative’s run for the post of governor of Pennsylvania. So in urging Specter to stick with his party on the stimulus, Santorum was an advocate not so much for the “team” as for peace in a still bitterly divided Pennsylvania GOP. But once Specter left the GOP reservation on the stimulus, the anger of conservatives was such that Toomey felt obliged to abandon his plans to run for governor and instead challenge Specter. Specter rightly understood that without Bush and Santorum holding his coat, he had no chance of winning a Republican primary and jumped to the Democrats. In an act of poetic justice, Specter lost the Democratic primary the next year to a more liberal candidate, Rep. Joe Sestak, who was, in turn, defeated by Toomey in November.

Santorum deserves blame, as do Bush and Rove, for enabling Specter to survive for six more years. But the moral of the story is not so much Santorum’s lack of principle (an argument that a onetime liberal GOP Senate candidate like Mitt Romney is ill-placed to make) as it is the difficulty of dealing with as slippery a character as Specter. Though Specter now presents himself as being too pure to survive any longer in the dark world of American politics, he was himself the worst example of an unprincipled politician that we have had in the last 30 years. As his 2004 opponent Hoeffel memorably said of him, “It’s hard to run against Arlen on the issues because he’s on both sides of every one.” If Santorum is to be shamed for his 2004 decision, he is as entitled as anyone to lament how hard it was serving alongside a “cannibal”-like Specter in the Senate for 12 years.

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The Problem With Obama’s Documentary

Via HotAir.com, here is President Obama’s 17-minute campaign documentary, “The Road We’ve Traveled.”

It’s slickly produced, as one might expect, but I found it to be on balance ineffective. For one thing, it’s probably worth pointing out that Obama’s predecessor had a large role in what the Obama campaign claims are its greatest successes, from TARP to the auto bailout to killing Osama bin Laden.

For another, some of the claims in the documentary are (unintentionally) amusing, including that Obama, upon taking office, “would not dwell in blame.”

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Via HotAir.com, here is President Obama’s 17-minute campaign documentary, “The Road We’ve Traveled.”

It’s slickly produced, as one might expect, but I found it to be on balance ineffective. For one thing, it’s probably worth pointing out that Obama’s predecessor had a large role in what the Obama campaign claims are its greatest successes, from TARP to the auto bailout to killing Osama bin Laden.

For another, some of the claims in the documentary are (unintentionally) amusing, including that Obama, upon taking office, “would not dwell in blame.”

If there is one consistent theme to the Obama presidency, it’s that he’s sought to blame his failures on others: George W. Bush, earthquakes, tsunamis, Europe, the Arab Spring, ATMs, Wall Street, Republicans, the Tea Party, Fox News, millioinaires, billionaires, conservative talk radio, and so forth and so on.

There are also references to Obama’s willingness to make “tough decisions” and “face crises that others would avoid” (presumably the producers have in mind Obama’s refusal to confront our entitlement crisis, which is fueling our debt crisis, and to fiercely attack those who do). The documentary claims Obama has brought the Iraq war to a “responsible end” (the American withdrawal from Iraq was mishandled and threatens to undo the progress that had been made).

Yet I came away from watching this documentary thinking if this is the best they can do, the president’s opponent in the fall should be encouraged.

The main emotion the producers of “The Road We’ve Traveled” are hoping to tap into is pity. We’re told Obama inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression (Ronald Reagan actually inherited a sicker economy than Obama did) and took steps that prevented the ship from hitting the rocks. In fact, though I realize this isn’t supposed to be said in polite company, it was George W. Bush who did the heaviest lifting when it came to taking emergency measures that kept the economy from collapsing and credit from freezing.

What’s most striking, though, is how little Obama has to show for his efforts. The documentary focuses almost exclusively on inputs, not outputs; on legislation passed, not successes attained; on narrative, not empirical progress.

In the film we don’t hear anything about the deficit or the debt, the unemployment rate, economic growth, our standard of living, the housing crisis, bending the health care cost curve down, poverty, America’s credit rating, et cetera. That is because on these crucial measures, Obama has no story to tell, no successes to cite, nothing to look back to with pride or forward to with hope.

Obama’s tenure has been, by any reasonable standard, a failure. Not even a Tom Hanks-narrated documentary can change that.

 

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Obama to Tap Strategic Oil Reserves?

Reuters reported yesterday that President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron inked a deal to tap into the strategic oil reserves, a move that would lower the price of gas in the U.S. during an election year. The White House denied the report, but it could potentially be a trial balloon for the administration. Today, liberal Democratic members of Congress started calling for President Obama to go ahead with the plan. The Hill reports:

Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), longtime proponents of releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, said Friday they are gathering support for the letter and hope to send it to Obama next week. …

“We are writing you because we believe that it is essential that the United States have an aggressive strategy for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat the speculators capitalizing on the fear in oil markets and to send a message to Iran that we are ready, willing and able to deploy our oil reserves,” the letter says.

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Reuters reported yesterday that President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron inked a deal to tap into the strategic oil reserves, a move that would lower the price of gas in the U.S. during an election year. The White House denied the report, but it could potentially be a trial balloon for the administration. Today, liberal Democratic members of Congress started calling for President Obama to go ahead with the plan. The Hill reports:

Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), longtime proponents of releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, said Friday they are gathering support for the letter and hope to send it to Obama next week. …

“We are writing you because we believe that it is essential that the United States have an aggressive strategy for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to combat the speculators capitalizing on the fear in oil markets and to send a message to Iran that we are ready, willing and able to deploy our oil reserves,” the letter says.

And, of course, the plan would banish one of the major obstacles to Obama’s reelection:

Moving to tap the four giant Gulf Coast salt caverns that hold 700 million barrels of government-owned crude would still almost certainly knock global oil futures lower, delivering some relief at the pump for motorists and helping Obama in the November election if he can prevent gasoline from rising above $4 a gallon nationwide.

It would also be an unprecedented exploitation of presidential power for election-year gain. The U.S. has tapped into strategic oil reserves in the past, but only when there have been significant disruptions to the global oil supply – for example, during Desert Storm and Hurricane Katrina. This would be the first case in which the reserves would be used to deal with a politically inconvenient spike in gas prices, CNN reports:

Each case included a major disruption in global oil supply.

The market is tight today, but there is no major supply disruption to speak of.

The real driver of rising prices is geopolitical risk associated with Iran. Concerns over the country’s nuclear program have sparked a new round of sanctions by Western countries, and Iranian retaliation could put a major kink in global crude supply.

But supply isn’t being hit now, making any preemptive release look like an effort to keep the economy on solid footing during an election year.

Not only would this set an alarming precedent, it also carries risks. Dipping into the strategic oil reserves in a non-emergency situation means  there will be less resources in the event of a real, long-term disruption in the global oil market – a possibility that’s not hard to imagine considering the situation in Iran at the moment.

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The Navy Gets Serious About Gulf Action

Looks like the U.S. Navy is getting serious about a potential war with Iran. Witness the news that four Avenger-class minesweepers are being sent to Bahrain from the U.S., doubling the number of American minesweepers in the Persian Gulf. More minesweeping MH-53E helicopters are also being sent.

This is a significant deployment given how few of each the Navy has—there are only 14 Avenger-class minesweepers in the entire fleet and only about 20 helicopters outfitted for mine sweeping. This is less dramatic than moving an aircraft carrier but potentially more effective because of Iran’s repeated threats to close the Strait of Hormuz in the event of any crisis—something the Iranians will no doubt attempt to do primarily with mines augmented by small attack boats and missiles. Enhancing our ability to respond to that threat should help deter Iran from any precipitous action.

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Looks like the U.S. Navy is getting serious about a potential war with Iran. Witness the news that four Avenger-class minesweepers are being sent to Bahrain from the U.S., doubling the number of American minesweepers in the Persian Gulf. More minesweeping MH-53E helicopters are also being sent.

This is a significant deployment given how few of each the Navy has—there are only 14 Avenger-class minesweepers in the entire fleet and only about 20 helicopters outfitted for mine sweeping. This is less dramatic than moving an aircraft carrier but potentially more effective because of Iran’s repeated threats to close the Strait of Hormuz in the event of any crisis—something the Iranians will no doubt attempt to do primarily with mines augmented by small attack boats and missiles. Enhancing our ability to respond to that threat should help deter Iran from any precipitous action.

And with time running out to stop the Iranian nuclear program, the odds of an Israeli strike are going up. From a political viewpoint Israel has an incentive to attack before the November presidential election on the assumption that President Obama will have to be more supportive of Israel before an election than after it—the Republican nominee would certainly pounce on the president were he to offer anything but unqualified backing to our closest ally in the region.

It’s a good thing the Navy is getting ready to deal with the possible consequences of an Israeli air raid, although the very fact that there are so few minesweepers available should alert us to the alarming decline in the size of the fleet and the need to build up our naval capacity—rather than continue to degrade it as we are currently going to do because of wider defense cuts.

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Will the Left Fight the Real War on Women?

There is a war on women taking place. The Democratic machine is working at high-speed disseminating the phrase, and in the meantime, distorting the truth on the real nature of the war. What the left has portrayed as a “War on Women” is viewed by many, including this blog, as a “War for Religious Freedom.” Being a free-thinking feminist myself, these are some timely battles in the “War on Women” that I’d love to see these self-proclaimed feminists on the American left express at least a modicum of concern over:

  • Widespread rapes taking place in camps occupied by women who lost their homes in the Haitian earthquake.
  • A teenage Moroccan girl was recently forced to marry her rapist by a judge, leading to the girl’s suicide.
  • Disfiguring and sometimes fatal acid attacks on women around the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Bangladesh and Cambodia
  • Sex-selective abortion (also known as gendercide) that has erased the possibility of life for over 163 million women worldwide
  • A wide gender disparity in primary and secondary education worldwide

Instead of tackling any one of these important issues that set back the clock on women’s rights centuries, the feminist left has decided that the possible denial of free contraception is what constitutes a war on the fairer sex. By focusing on this to the exclusion of all else, by being the cheering section for an administration that does nothing for human rights, these “feminists” are helping to set back women’s rights back to the Stone Age.

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There is a war on women taking place. The Democratic machine is working at high-speed disseminating the phrase, and in the meantime, distorting the truth on the real nature of the war. What the left has portrayed as a “War on Women” is viewed by many, including this blog, as a “War for Religious Freedom.” Being a free-thinking feminist myself, these are some timely battles in the “War on Women” that I’d love to see these self-proclaimed feminists on the American left express at least a modicum of concern over:

  • Widespread rapes taking place in camps occupied by women who lost their homes in the Haitian earthquake.
  • A teenage Moroccan girl was recently forced to marry her rapist by a judge, leading to the girl’s suicide.
  • Disfiguring and sometimes fatal acid attacks on women around the world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Bangladesh and Cambodia
  • Sex-selective abortion (also known as gendercide) that has erased the possibility of life for over 163 million women worldwide
  • A wide gender disparity in primary and secondary education worldwide

Instead of tackling any one of these important issues that set back the clock on women’s rights centuries, the feminist left has decided that the possible denial of free contraception is what constitutes a war on the fairer sex. By focusing on this to the exclusion of all else, by being the cheering section for an administration that does nothing for human rights, these “feminists” are helping to set back women’s rights back to the Stone Age.

The left’s hypocrisy is on full display when the media and Democratic machine’s treatment of Bill Maher versus Rush Limbaugh is contrasted. Earlier this week Alana highlighted a stinging new ad made by ShePAC that made clear while the President was paying lip service to feminism and Sandra Fluke, he was happily accepting a million dollar donation to his super PAC (which he once called a threat to democracy, but I digress) by a well-known misogynist. Obama’s senior campaign strategist David Axelrod has claimed that Limbaugh’s comments were worse than Maher’s, thus making the donation acceptable. I’ve heard other myopic liberals claim that Limbaugh is worse because he has higher listenership, because he isn’t a “comedian” (as Maher claims to be), because he is attacking women’s “rights” and because he is taking aim at a private citizen verses a public figure. Therefore, in these liberal minds, misogyny is acceptable when you are an unpopular liberal comedian, when you view rights in the correct manner (i.e. as they see them), when you critique a woman with sexually derogatory language when she is a politician, not an activist. Are you having a hard time keeping all of those conditions straight? A more simple explanation is this: You can be a misogynist and disparage women (preferably conservative), as long as you vote a straight Democratic ticket each and every election.

When the feminist lobby decides to expand their definition on the War on Women to women worldwide, when it calls out offenders of every political persuasion for violating a set standard of decency, I’ll be on board. Until then, I would like my female compatriots to stop pretending that they are fighting a battle for women’s rights instead of what they’re really doing: Playing into the hands of the Democratic party and all of its liberal arms.

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Obama’s Renewal of Egypt Aid Sends Region a Dangerous Signal

President Obama faces a difficult task in trying to influence events in post-revolutionary Egypt. With its military rulers brutally abusing the human rights of their people and a rising tide of Islamism threatening to drag the most populous Arab nation into a morass of fundamentalism and violent conflict, maintaining the U.S. relationship with Egypt is inherently problematic. But as he did during the last days of the Mubarak regime last year, the president may have just managed to make a bad situation worse.

On the heels of the Egyptians’ attempt to imprison Americans seeking to promote democracy, Obama has directed the State Department to exercise a national security waiver that will enable $1.3 billion in military assistance to once again flow to Cairo despite legislation linking the aid directly to human rights concerns. It is believed the waiver was payment to the Egyptian military for its decision to allow seven Americans to leave the country this month. The ransom might have seemed reasonable to their families (especially because the father of one of those in peril was Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood). But the move will disillusion Egyptian democrats as well as send a signal to both the military and the Islamist majority in the new parliament that not only is Obama not interested in human rights but that the U.S. is willing to bow to blackmail.

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President Obama faces a difficult task in trying to influence events in post-revolutionary Egypt. With its military rulers brutally abusing the human rights of their people and a rising tide of Islamism threatening to drag the most populous Arab nation into a morass of fundamentalism and violent conflict, maintaining the U.S. relationship with Egypt is inherently problematic. But as he did during the last days of the Mubarak regime last year, the president may have just managed to make a bad situation worse.

On the heels of the Egyptians’ attempt to imprison Americans seeking to promote democracy, Obama has directed the State Department to exercise a national security waiver that will enable $1.3 billion in military assistance to once again flow to Cairo despite legislation linking the aid directly to human rights concerns. It is believed the waiver was payment to the Egyptian military for its decision to allow seven Americans to leave the country this month. The ransom might have seemed reasonable to their families (especially because the father of one of those in peril was Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood). But the move will disillusion Egyptian democrats as well as send a signal to both the military and the Islamist majority in the new parliament that not only is Obama not interested in human rights but that the U.S. is willing to bow to blackmail.

Egypt has gotten billions in aid since the early 1980s, largely as a bribe intended to both keep the country out of the Soviet orbit and to preserve the peace treaty it signed with Israel in 1979. But with Egypt now moving away from an ice-cold peace with Israel to a situation barely distinguishable from belligerence, the same criteria no longer should apply to the annual grant of U.S. largesse. For too long, the aid was rightly seen by the Egyptian people as merely a baksheesh payment to Mubarak and his cronies that did nothing to better their lives. In continuing this practice now that a new group hostile to American interests has replaced the dictator, Obama has not only demonstrated his contempt for ordinary Egyptians but also told the Middle East it is the Brotherhood and not America that is the “strong horse” in the region.

If the United States is truly going to use its $1.3 billion present to the Egyptian military as leverage over the country, then it might have been advisable to employ it as more than a ransom payment. Egypt has opened up its border with Gaza, relieving the isolation of the Hamas government of the strip. The military has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood in an uneasy alliance rather than seeking to work with secular liberals. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to envision Egypt as either a bulwark against fundamentalism or a force for peace in the region.

By throwing away its one bargaining chip, the administration has lost its ability to have any impact on the situation. While it is reasonable to argue that a complete cutoff of aid would deprive Washington of any ability to influence Egypt’s rulers, by not even waiting until after a new presidential election is held to replace Mubarak, Obama has made it clear that both the generals and the Brotherhood will have a free hand in the coming months no matter what they do.

Given the administration’s obvious disinterest in human rights issues throughout the first three-plus years of Obama’s presidency, this decision can hardly be seen as a surprise. But by demonstrating it is willing to continue to throw good money after bad into an Egyptian cesspool, the president and Secretary Clinton will further undermine American prestige at a time when Islamists already believe they represent the future of the region.

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Obama, the Self-Proclaimed Visionary

President Obama has received some well-deserved mockery for his factually inaccurate swipes at President Rutherford B. Hayes (yes, really) and Christopher Columbus’s contemporaneous critics. But his comments, made during his campaign-rally-esque energy address yesterday, are also revealing because of what they indicate about Obama himself. From his speech:

“Of course, we’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  … There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don’t believe in the future, and don’t believe in trying to do things differently.  One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore because he’s looking backwards.  He’s not looking forwards.  He’s explaining why we can’t do something, instead of why we can do something.”

In Obama’s mind, his critics aren’t just wrong, they’re idiots. Obama, in contrast, is a grand visionary of epic capacity – the type of man who in the past would have ended up on Mt. Rushmore or captaining the voyage that led to the discovery of America.

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President Obama has received some well-deserved mockery for his factually inaccurate swipes at President Rutherford B. Hayes (yes, really) and Christopher Columbus’s contemporaneous critics. But his comments, made during his campaign-rally-esque energy address yesterday, are also revealing because of what they indicate about Obama himself. From his speech:

“Of course, we’ve heard this kind of thinking before.  If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society.  … There always have been folks who are the naysayers and don’t believe in the future, and don’t believe in trying to do things differently.  One of my predecessors, Rutherford B. Hayes, reportedly said about the telephone, ‘It’s a great invention, but who would ever want to use one?’ That’s why he’s not on Mt. Rushmore because he’s looking backwards.  He’s not looking forwards.  He’s explaining why we can’t do something, instead of why we can do something.”

In Obama’s mind, his critics aren’t just wrong, they’re idiots. Obama, in contrast, is a grand visionary of epic capacity – the type of man who in the past would have ended up on Mt. Rushmore or captaining the voyage that led to the discovery of America.

And yet, where has this amazing foresight been in the years since Obama took office? His advisors claim they underestimated the impact of the economic crisis and miscalculated federal deficit projections. Obama’s attempts to mend the Israeli-Palestinian peace process only drove the two sides further apart, and his administration was caught off guard and woefully unprepared by the Arab Spring.

Then there’s energy policy. There are plenty of blunders to criticize, but let’s focus on a major one: the collapse of Solyndra. Here’s what Obama had to say when ABC News asked whether he regretted pouring over $500 million in taxpayer funds into a now-bankrupt company that he once lauded as the model of his green-jobs program:

“Hindsight is always 20/20,” Obama told “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview broadcast online Monday. “It went through the regular review process and people felt that it was a good bet.”

Hindsight may be 20/20, but you’d have to be blind to miss all the warning signs that Solyndra was a dangerous investment.

And this is the person we’re supposed to trust as the brilliant diviner of our energy future? For someone with a track record of placing losing bets, Obama really does put a remarkable amount of stock in his own visionary prowess. Then again, it’s always easier when you’re gambling with somebody else’s money.

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Newt Gingrich, Miracle Worker

The Wall Street Journal reports on Newt Gingrich, who is in Illinois once again comparing himself favorably to Ronald Reagan. “Other than Ronald Reagan, I know of no Republican in my lifetime who’s been able to talk like this,” Gingrich told a banquet crowd in Palatine, referring to his own policy ideas on energy, brain science and other matters. “That’s why I’m still running, because the gap is so huge.”

The Journal goes on to say, “If Mr. Gingrich has failed to capture the party’s imagination in his bid for its presidential nomination, he says, it isn’t his fault. He offers big ideas, but ‘the news media can’t cover it, and my opponents can’t comprehend it,’’ he says.”

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The Wall Street Journal reports on Newt Gingrich, who is in Illinois once again comparing himself favorably to Ronald Reagan. “Other than Ronald Reagan, I know of no Republican in my lifetime who’s been able to talk like this,” Gingrich told a banquet crowd in Palatine, referring to his own policy ideas on energy, brain science and other matters. “That’s why I’m still running, because the gap is so huge.”

The Journal goes on to say, “If Mr. Gingrich has failed to capture the party’s imagination in his bid for its presidential nomination, he says, it isn’t his fault. He offers big ideas, but ‘the news media can’t cover it, and my opponents can’t comprehend it,’’ he says.”

That sounds to me to be a bit of an exaggeration. But just for fun, let’s assume Gingrich is as monumental a political figure, and as hyper-intelligent a person, as he believes. Let’s assume he is the only person in nearly 70 years who is Reagan’s equal in terms of brilliance, mastery of the issues, and in his ability to articulate a conservative vision.

If that’s the case, the obvious next question is what explains the fact that Gingrich has won just two out of 31 nominating contests so far? If he’s as good on policy and vision as he says, the only reasonable explanation is that Gingrich’s deficits must be monumental. Because how on earth could you keep Gingrich’s unparalleled gifts and talents under a bushel? It cannot be easy – but Newt Gingrich has somehow found the way to make himself unappealing to the vast majority of Republican voters.

The man must be a miracle worker.

 

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Romney’s Real Bain Problem

Today’s New York Times story on Bain Capital and China is a perfect example of how Mitt Romney’s ties to the firm will continue to be a headache for him, even when everyone agrees he has done nothing wrong and is not responsible for any questionable behavior.

That is the case with this story, in which long after Romney left Bain, a company fund purchased a Chinese company that supplies the Chinese government with cameras that are almost certainly being used, in part, to monitor and suppress dissidents. This particular story, however, is not about protecting dissidents but rather tying Romney to Bain’s activity. Romney’s family has a blind trust that has holdings in the fund that bought the Chinese company, though by definition the family had no say in the investment. Though the headline targets Romney, here are a few quotes from throughout the story that Romney’s detractors should keep in mind:

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Today’s New York Times story on Bain Capital and China is a perfect example of how Mitt Romney’s ties to the firm will continue to be a headache for him, even when everyone agrees he has done nothing wrong and is not responsible for any questionable behavior.

That is the case with this story, in which long after Romney left Bain, a company fund purchased a Chinese company that supplies the Chinese government with cameras that are almost certainly being used, in part, to monitor and suppress dissidents. This particular story, however, is not about protecting dissidents but rather tying Romney to Bain’s activity. Romney’s family has a blind trust that has holdings in the fund that bought the Chinese company, though by definition the family had no say in the investment. Though the headline targets Romney, here are a few quotes from throughout the story that Romney’s detractors should keep in mind:

  • “Mr. Romney has had no role in Bain’s operations since 1999 and had no say over the investment in China.”
  • “In a statement, R. Bradford Malt, who manages the Romneys’ trusts, noted that he had put trust assets into the fund before it bought Uniview. He said that the Romneys had no role in guiding their investments. He also said he had no control over the Asian fund’s choice of investments. ”
  • “Bain employees have also made substantial contributions to Democratic candidates, including President Obama. ”
  • “Most video surveillance equipment is not covered by the sanctions, even though a Canadian human rights group found in 2001 that Chinese security forces used Western-made video cameras to help identify and apprehend Tiananmen Square protesters. ”
  • “ ‘A lot of the stuff we’re talking about is truly dual use,’ said Mr. Reinsch, a former Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration. ‘You can sell it to a local police force that will use it to track down speeders, but you can also sell it to a ministry of state security that will use it to monitor dissidents.’ ”

“Dual use” seems to me a pretty weak defense, for the Chinese government’s brutal repression of its citizens is widely known. (No thanks to the New York Times, of course.) But if the Romneys did nothing wrong, why put his name in the headline? The reason to do so is to saddle Romney with Bain’s baggage. It may be misleading and dishonest (politics ain’t bean bag, I think Romney has himself said on separate occasions), but it does draw attention to how this has hindered Romney’s election bid.

When Newt Gingrich bought the rights to an excruciatingly silly movie about Bain, there were reasons to dismiss it. The trailer, for example, featured a woman suggesting that Romney had roving death squads to silence former employees. (The death squads thankfully never materialized.) In addition, two of the four companies featured in the film as being victims of the firm’s profit motive were not under Romney’s management at the time.

A clip in the movie was portrayed as Romney getting his shoes shined on the runway before boarding a plane, but was actually Romney getting wanded by security. In the end, the movie turned out to have portrayed its subject about as accurately as “Game Change” portrayed Sarah Palin and her handlers–that is, as a caricature based on liberal conventional wisdom.

But perception is a tricky thing, especially in politics. If the left can successfully portray Bain Capital as operating with nefarious intent and questionable practices, it won’t matter much whether Romney was involved in particular cases. People will wonder what in the world he was doing running a company like that. The Romney campaign has seemed ill-prepared throughout this campaign to deal with Bain-related roadblocks. This article is just a taste of why they don’t have that luxury.

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Santorum Is His Own Worst Enemy

Everyone gets it. Rick Santorum is a moral and upright citizen who doesn’t look kindly on gambling, non-procreative sex and birth control. But with the price of gas spiking, the violence in Syria and the chaos in Afghanistan, it’s probably not the best time for him to bring up his opinion on the national pornography “pandemic.” Santorum posted this statement on his website promising to crack down on obscenity as president, and it’s predictably drawn a wave of controversy:

“America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking. …

The Obama administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws. While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum administration.”

It’s not that Santorum’s position is out of step for a presidential candidate. Romney and Gingrich have both made similar pledges to enforce obscenity laws as president. The difference is, they haven’t turned it into a major part of their campaign platforms.

Romney and Gingrich also haven’t framed the obscenity issue as a “pandemic” and painted it in such stark moral terms. They made generic campaign promises. But for Santorum, this clearly means much more to him than just a vague vow to appease values voters. It may not hurt him in the primary race, though it could hit a nerve with libertarian-leaning Republicans who aren’t looking for morality lectures. And it’s one of his many statements that would boomerang on him in a general election.

 

Everyone gets it. Rick Santorum is a moral and upright citizen who doesn’t look kindly on gambling, non-procreative sex and birth control. But with the price of gas spiking, the violence in Syria and the chaos in Afghanistan, it’s probably not the best time for him to bring up his opinion on the national pornography “pandemic.” Santorum posted this statement on his website promising to crack down on obscenity as president, and it’s predictably drawn a wave of controversy:

“America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking. …

The Obama administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws. While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum administration.”

It’s not that Santorum’s position is out of step for a presidential candidate. Romney and Gingrich have both made similar pledges to enforce obscenity laws as president. The difference is, they haven’t turned it into a major part of their campaign platforms.

Romney and Gingrich also haven’t framed the obscenity issue as a “pandemic” and painted it in such stark moral terms. They made generic campaign promises. But for Santorum, this clearly means much more to him than just a vague vow to appease values voters. It may not hurt him in the primary race, though it could hit a nerve with libertarian-leaning Republicans who aren’t looking for morality lectures. And it’s one of his many statements that would boomerang on him in a general election.

 

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Higher Gas Prices Tripping Up Obama

One of the more amusing things in politics is how badly rising gas prices have flummoxed the president and his administration.

For example, not that long ago Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, was calling for ramping up gasoline taxes in order to encourage consumers into buying more efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work. “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said. (The prices in Europe are around $8-$10 a gallon.) But in a congressional hearing earlier this week, Chu painfully and awkwardly recanted. “I no longer share that view,” Chu declared. After his Senate hearing Chu even went on to say, “there are many, many reasons why we do not want the price of gasoline to go up.”

So the scales have fallen from the energy secretary’s eyes. But not his alone.

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One of the more amusing things in politics is how badly rising gas prices have flummoxed the president and his administration.

For example, not that long ago Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, was calling for ramping up gasoline taxes in order to encourage consumers into buying more efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work. “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said. (The prices in Europe are around $8-$10 a gallon.) But in a congressional hearing earlier this week, Chu painfully and awkwardly recanted. “I no longer share that view,” Chu declared. After his Senate hearing Chu even went on to say, “there are many, many reasons why we do not want the price of gasoline to go up.”

So the scales have fallen from the energy secretary’s eyes. But not his alone.

In 2008, Barack Obama was clearly sympathetic to higher gas prices; he simply wanted the increase to be “gradual” rather than for consumers to face a “shock.” Yet earlier this year, when Obama was asked by Fox’s Ed Henry whether he wanted higher gas prices, Obama mocked the question and insisted he wanted lower prices. (Obama often gets prickly and condescending when he’s caught directly contradicting his past statements.)

Then there’s the issue of drilling. Once upon a time, Obama was a critic of drilling and had a jolly good time ridiculing those who advocated it. Now he’s giving speeches in which he’s taking great pride in the drilling that’s occurring in America. What he won’t tell you is that the increase in drilling is happening on private, not public, lands, and that it’s happening in spite of Obama’s efforts, not because of them.

The president knows all this. He’s not a stupid man; he’s just a thoroughly cynical one. And so Obama is doing the best he can to pretend (a) he and his administration didn’t hold views they clearly did and (b) mislead people to think he’s responsible for things he has no legitimate claim to. And what makes this whole charade particularly Obamaesque is that while acting in the most cynical way imaginable, the president lectures his opponents about cynicism.

He’s quite a piece of work, this president.

 

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Gingrich Helping Romney in Illinois

The latest surveys of Illinois Republicans ought to put at least a bit of a damper on the growing speculation about a GOP stalemate leading to a brokered convention. The Fox Chicago News poll shows Mitt Romney holding onto a solid 37-31 percentage point lead over Rick Santorum in next Tuesday’s primary, with Newt Gingrich trailing badly at 14 percent. A new Rassmussen poll gives Romney an even bigger lead with a 41-32 percentage point lead with Gingrich also at 14 percent. Yet Romney, who is reportedly outspending Santorum in the state by a 5-1 margin, is taking no chances in Illinois. Nor should he. The Land of Lincoln may well be the last clear shot Santorum has to knock off the frontrunner in a major state where few thought he would have a chance to pull off an upset that could potentially alter the dynamic of the contest. Having narrowly failed to do so in Michigan and Ohio, Illinois is perhaps Santorum’s last opportunity on the primary calendar to show the party he can do more than just place a close second in a state where the GOP is not dominated by evangelicals.

Though Santorum, who has often outperformed his poll results (such as he did this past Tuesday in Mississippi and Alabama) is certainly still within striking range in Illinois, his biggest obstacle is not so much the deluge of Romney ad attacks (though that certainly doesn’t help his cause) as it is the decision of Newt Gingrich to stay in the race. Gingrich has spent the last couple of days promoting the idea that only by remaining on the ballot can Romney be denied the chance to gain a majority of the delegates before the convention. That’s a dubious notion that is being seconded by some Romney supporters seeking to stir the pot. But as in Michigan and Ohio, Gingrich’s only role is that of spoiler. Were he to get out now, it would give Santorum at the very least an extra few percentage points that may mean the difference between a stunning first place finish and another disappointing second place result that will have to be spun as a moral victory.

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The latest surveys of Illinois Republicans ought to put at least a bit of a damper on the growing speculation about a GOP stalemate leading to a brokered convention. The Fox Chicago News poll shows Mitt Romney holding onto a solid 37-31 percentage point lead over Rick Santorum in next Tuesday’s primary, with Newt Gingrich trailing badly at 14 percent. A new Rassmussen poll gives Romney an even bigger lead with a 41-32 percentage point lead with Gingrich also at 14 percent. Yet Romney, who is reportedly outspending Santorum in the state by a 5-1 margin, is taking no chances in Illinois. Nor should he. The Land of Lincoln may well be the last clear shot Santorum has to knock off the frontrunner in a major state where few thought he would have a chance to pull off an upset that could potentially alter the dynamic of the contest. Having narrowly failed to do so in Michigan and Ohio, Illinois is perhaps Santorum’s last opportunity on the primary calendar to show the party he can do more than just place a close second in a state where the GOP is not dominated by evangelicals.

Though Santorum, who has often outperformed his poll results (such as he did this past Tuesday in Mississippi and Alabama) is certainly still within striking range in Illinois, his biggest obstacle is not so much the deluge of Romney ad attacks (though that certainly doesn’t help his cause) as it is the decision of Newt Gingrich to stay in the race. Gingrich has spent the last couple of days promoting the idea that only by remaining on the ballot can Romney be denied the chance to gain a majority of the delegates before the convention. That’s a dubious notion that is being seconded by some Romney supporters seeking to stir the pot. But as in Michigan and Ohio, Gingrich’s only role is that of spoiler. Were he to get out now, it would give Santorum at the very least an extra few percentage points that may mean the difference between a stunning first place finish and another disappointing second place result that will have to be spun as a moral victory.

From the very beginning of the race, Romney has benefitted from a divided field that has enabled him to win victories he might never have achieved had he been left to face a single, credible conservative. It may be a matter of opinion whether Santorum qualifies as that person, but so long as Gingrich continues to muddy the conservative waters, it will be to Romney’s advantage.

Though observers are right to point out that Romney can ultimately win by piling up enough delegates even in states where he loses, the one real danger to his candidacy is for Santorum to rack up some upsets in states where he was thought to have no hope. Illinois is one such contest. Wisconsin, which is a winner-take-all primary in early April, is another. If Romney fails to win them, then he becomes prey to the sort of doubts that really could unravel his plans and lead to the brokered convention scenario that is a pundit’s fantasy and a GOP nightmare.

Gingrich may claim he is staying in to promote his “big ideas” agenda, but by allowing Romney to win a plurality in Illinois that he might not get without having another conservative in the race, Gingrich is sabotaging what might be Santorum’s last best chance to become the nominee. That is good news for Romney at a time when he needs to put together a winning streak that will convince his party he really is Mr. Inevitable.

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Obama and the Rise of the Ocean Tides

The New York Times published a story earlier this week with the headline, “Sea Level Rise Seen as Threat to 3.7 Million.”

According to reporter Justin Gillis, “About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research. If the pace of the rise accelerates as much as expected, researchers found, coastal flooding at levels that were once exceedingly rare could become an every-few-years occurrence by the middle of this century.”

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The New York Times published a story earlier this week with the headline, “Sea Level Rise Seen as Threat to 3.7 Million.”

According to reporter Justin Gillis, “About 3.7 million Americans live within a few feet of high tide and risk being hit by more frequent coastal flooding in coming decades because of the sea level rise caused by global warming, according to new research. If the pace of the rise accelerates as much as expected, researchers found, coastal flooding at levels that were once exceedingly rare could become an every-few-years occurrence by the middle of this century.”

The Times goes on to inform us that the ocean has been rising slowly and relentlessly since the late 19th century, but “the rise appears to have accelerated lately and many scientists expect a further acceleration … One estimate that communities are starting to use for planning purposes suggests the ocean could rise a foot over the next 40 years, though that calculation is not universally accepted among climate scientists.”

In reading this story I was reminded of one of Barack Obama’s more extravagant claims in 2008. You can watch a clip of it here – a speech in which Obama said future generations would look back to his election and declare, “This was the moment when … the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Many on the left will blame Republicans for opposing Obama’s policies to curb global warming (even though Democrats, even when they had overwhelming control of the House and Senate, failed to pass cap-and-trade legislation). Many on the right, on the other hand, argue that global warming is a hoax and even if Obama’s wish list had become law, it would have zero effect on rising sea levels. Whatever the case, Obama’s claim was made without caveats. Like King Canute, the tides will not recede at the command of the Great and Mighty Obama. Future generations will render a verdict on the Obama presidency — but one thing they will not say is this was the moment when Obama reversed the rise of the oceans and healed the planet.

Oh, and one other thing. According to legend, as the water rose around Canute’s throne, he told his flattering courtiers, “Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings. For there is none worthy of the name but God, whom heaven, earth and sea obey.” Which leads me to believe King Canute was considerably more self-aware than President Obama.

 

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Reagan and Thatcher, Cameron and Obama

Ted Bromund’s post about the cringe-producing exchange of jokes between President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron reminded me — in a contrasting way — of the exchange between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher 31 years ago, at a dinner at the British Embassy that capped Thatcher’s February 1980 Washington trip. She was the first foreign visitor during the Reagan administration; Reagan was in his first month and Thatcher in her first year.

The toasts were included in the batch of documents released last year by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, after the required 30-year delay. The exchange featured a good deal of historical humor, and a historical courage that can be more fully appreciated from our vantage point, three decades later. Here are excerpts from the toasts, followed by the concluding portion of Obama’s toast this week to Cameron:

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Ted Bromund’s post about the cringe-producing exchange of jokes between President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron reminded me — in a contrasting way — of the exchange between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher 31 years ago, at a dinner at the British Embassy that capped Thatcher’s February 1980 Washington trip. She was the first foreign visitor during the Reagan administration; Reagan was in his first month and Thatcher in her first year.

The toasts were included in the batch of documents released last year by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, after the required 30-year delay. The exchange featured a good deal of historical humor, and a historical courage that can be more fully appreciated from our vantage point, three decades later. Here are excerpts from the toasts, followed by the concluding portion of Obama’s toast this week to Cameron:

[The Prime Minister]: Mr. President, an earlier visitor to the United States, Charles Dickens, described our American friends as by nature frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and affectionate. That seems to me, Mr. President, to be a perfect description of the man who has been my host for the last 48 hours. (Applause.) …

Charles Dickens, like me, also visited Capitol Hill. He described the congressmen he met there as “striking to look at, hard to deceive, prompt to act, lions in energy, Americans in strong and general impulse.” Having been there and agreeing with Dickens as I do, I’m delighted to see so many Members of Congress here this evening. And if Dickens was right, relations between the legislative and executive branches should be smooth indeed over the next four years. After all, “prompt to act and lions in energy” should mean, Mr. President, you’ll get that expenditure cutting program through very easily indeed. (Laughter. Applause.) …

California, of course, has always meant a great deal to my countrymen from the time, almost exactly 400 years ago, when one of our greatest national heroes, Sir Francis Drake, proclaimed it New Albion in keeping with the bravado of the Elizabethan Age. This feeling of community and curiosity that we have about California exists in the present age when another of our household names made his career there, one of the greatest careers in show business. I refer to Mr. Bob Hope, who is here this evening, and whom we like to claim is partly ours because he was born in the United Kingdom, though he decided to leave when he was only four years old. (Laughter.) …

I hope you didn’t feel ill at ease as you came up the stairs and passed under the gaze of George III. (Laughter.) I can assure you that we British have long since come to see that George was wrong and that Thomas Jefferson was right when he wrote to James Madison that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” (Laughter.) …

It’s not the time, Mr. President, for me to talk at any length about the relations between our two countries except to say that they are profoundly and deeply right. And beyond that, we perhaps don’t have to define them in detail. …

There will, of course, be times, Mr. President, when yours perhaps is the loneliest job in the world, times when you need what one of my great friends in politics once called “two o’clock in the morning courage.” There will be times when you go through rough water. There will be times when the unexpected happens. There will be times when only you can make a certain decision. It is at that time when you need the two o’clock in the morning courage. … And what it requires is a knowledge on your part that whatever decision you make you have to stick with the consequences and see it through until it be well and truly finished. …

I want to say this to you, Mr. President, that when those moments come, we here in this room, on both sides of the Atlantic, have in you total faith that you will make the decision which is right for protecting the liberty of common humanity in the future. You will make that decision that we as partners in the English-speaking world know that, as Wordsworth wrote, “We must be free or die who speak the tongue that Shakespeare spake.”

[The President]: Bob Hope will know what I mean when I speak in the language of my previous occupation and say you are a hard act to follow. (Laughter. Applause.) … And may I say that I do know something about that “two o’clock courage,” but I also know that you have already shown that two o’clock courage on too many occasions to name. (Applause.) …

[Y]ou know, Prime Minister, that we have a habit of quoting Winston Churchill. Tell me, is it possible to get through a public address today in Britain without making reference to him? It is increasingly difficult to do so here, not just because we Americans share some pride in his ancestry, but because there’s so much to learn from him, his fearlessness, and I don’t just mean physical courage. I mean he was, for instance, unafraid to laugh. I can remember words attributed to Churchill about one somber, straight-laced colleague in Parliament. Churchill said, “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” (Laughter.) …

When he addressed Parliament in the darkest moments after Dunkirk, Churchill dared to promise the British their finest hour and even reminded them that they would someday enjoy, quote, “the bright, sunlit uplands,” unquote, from which the struggle against Hitler would be seen as only a bad memory. Well, Madam Prime Minister, you and I have heard our share of somber assessments and dire predictions in recent months. I do not refer here to the painful business of ending our economic difficulties. We know that with regard to the economies of both our countries we will be home safe and soon enough.

I do refer, however, to those adversaries who preach the supremacy of the state. We’ve all heard the slogans, the end of the class struggle, the vanguard of the proletariat, the wave of the future, the inevitable triumph of socialism. Indeed, if there’s anything the Marxist-Leninists might not be forgiven for it is their willingness to bog the world down in tiresome cliches, cliches that rapidly are being recognized for what they are, a gaggle of bogus prophecies and petty superstitions. … I wonder if you and I and other leaders of the West should not now be looking toward bright, sunlit uplands and begin planning for a world where our adversaries are remembered only for their role in a sad and rather bizarre chapter in human history.

The British people, who nourish the great civilized ideas, know the forces of good ultimately rally and triumph over evil. That, after all, is the legend of the Knights of the Round Table, the legend of the man who lived on Baker Street, the story of London in the Blitz, the meaning of the Union Jack snapping briskly in the wind. Madam Prime Minister, I’ll make one further prediction, that the British people are once again about to pay homage to their beloved Sir Winston by doing him the honor of proving him wrong and showing the world that their finest hour is yet to come, and how he would have loved the irony of that. How proud it would have made him.

At the beginning of his administration, Obama returned Churchill’s bust to Britain, insulted its prime minister on his trip to Washington (with no state dinner nor even a full-blown press conference), gave him a demeaning set of DVDs for a gift, and stayed silent as a State Department official explained “there’s nothing special about Britain. You’re just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn’t expect special treatment.”

This week, in his toast at the state dinner for Cameron, Obama did not mention Reagan or Thatcher, or what they achieved together. He did, however, mention Churchill:

So, in closing, let me just say that I intended to make history tonight. I thought that I could be the first American President to make it through an entire visit of our British friends without quoting Winston Churchill. (Laughter.) But then I saw this great quote and I thought, “Come on, this is Churchill!” (Laughter.) So I couldn’t resist.

It was December 1941, and the attack on Pearl Harbor had finally thrust America into war, alongside our British friends. And these were the words Sir Winston spoke to his new American partners: “I will say that he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below, of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants.”

And so I’d like to propose a toast:  To Her Majesty the Queen, on her Diamond Jubilee; to our dear friends, David and Samantha; and to the great purpose and design of our alliance. May we remain, now and always, its faithful servants. Cheers, everyone.

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