Senate Democrats are doing all they can to keep oxygen in this “war on women” narrative, and the next big agenda item is the vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. It’s an uncontroversial law, one that would have passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support. But that was before Democrats added a host of vaguely-related controversial new measures to it, including provisions on immigration and tribal laws.
Republicans have speculated that this was a tactic to provoke a fight over an otherwise uncontroversial piece of legislation. But it doesn’t sound like they’re going to take the bait, at least not in the Senate:
The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) released a statement this afternoon commending House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for “admit[ting] to anti-Semitism within the House Republican caucus” during an interview with Mike Allen today. The problem? Cantor never did that. In fact, when Allen asked him whether he’s detected anti-Semitism from members of Congress, Cantor replied with an unequivocal “no.”
Either the NJDC didn’t actually listen to Cantor’s comments (which you can find here), or just thought the political attack was too good to pass up. The group issued the following:
It’s good to hear the Obama administration may be searching for a Plan B on Syria. One is certainly needed—and urgently. Plan A was the UN-brokered cease fire which, as no less an authority than UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon notes, is not being implemented by the Assad regime. Indeed, there are numerous reports of regime assaults continuing on opposition bastions while the rebels have little equipment with which to defend themselves.
Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman just got back from Turkey where they meet with Syrian rebel leaders. “The most stunning, unsettling conclusion I drew from the leaders of the Free Syrian Army was that they have essentially got no help from anyone. They are literally running out of ammunition while Assad’s forces are being resupplied by Iran and Russia,” Lieberman told a reporter afterwards.
Now that the Republican presidential nomination is no longer in doubt, attention is starting to focus on the next big question to be answered in 2012: who will be Mitt Romney’s running mate? The main candidates for the job are well known: Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Rob Portman, Mitch Daniels and Bob McDonnell. But the only thing we know for sure is that unlike in 2000 when George W. Bush ultimately tapped the person running the job search —Dick Cheney — for the position himself, Romney won’t be asking his longtime advisor Beth Myers to put her own name at the top of the list she will be vetting.
With months to go before we find out the answer, anybody’s guess is good as any other as to the identity of the GOP veep. But Michael Barone points out that those expecting any great contrast between Romney and his choice or an attempt at balance are probably barking up the wrong tree. Romney would probably be best off picking someone like himself: a competent moderate conservative who would give the Republicans a “double vanilla” ticket. He’s probably right about that, but the only argument I have with this view is that one of the quintet of most likely candidates is anything but vanilla. If Romney were to choose Paul Ryan, he would be adding one of the most dynamic and ideas-oriented politicians in the country.
At the National Review, Heather Mac Donald calls on the Republican Party to cease and desist with the gender-discrimination claims, because they’re starting to sound like liberals:
The chance that the Obama White House, staffed by eager products of the feminist university, is a hostile workplace for women is exactly zero — as low as the chance that the Bush I, II, or Reagan White Houses were hostile to women. Any Republican who actually believes [former White House aide Anita] Dunn’s charge has merely allowed his partisan desire for political victory to silence what should be his core knowledge about the contemporary world. …
Equally dismaying is the RNC’s embrace of the charge that the Obama White House pays female aides less than male ones. Such disparate pay claims are of course bread and butter to the discrimination bar and are virtually always based on junk social science. But the likelihood that this particular employer — the immaculately “progressive” Obama White House — is discriminating against female employees of equal merit as males is just as crazy as the charge that Walmart, say, discriminates against qualified female employees in its own pay scale. Conservative critics of extortionist feminist legal claims cannot have it both ways — rightly decrying them when directed at free-market employers but embracing them when they are directed against political opponents.
Critics of Israel’s policies toward Hamas-run Gaza center their complaints on two premises: that Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is responsible for Palestinians’ lack of goods and services, and that the Palestinians in Gaza cannot be held responsible for the actions of their terrorist government.
Both premises are wrong, but usually it is left to Israel’s defenders to point this out. Today, the Washington Post carries a story that adds a new wrinkle: the paper’s reporter went to Gaza, and the Palestinians there clearly and unambiguously disputed both premises as well. The Post writes:
The militant Islamist movement surged to a surprise victory in Palestinian elections in 2006 with promises of clean governance and a reputation for terrorist tactics against Israel, which had withdrawn from Gaza the year before. But after five years of Hamas administration, many in this besieged strip say it has lived up to neither. Hamas is fast losing popularity, and recent surveys indicate that it would not win if elections were held in Gaza today.
The fact that Iran’s leaders continue to threaten Israel with destruction and perhaps set in motion a second Holocaust while all the while denying the reality of the first one is a conundrum that observers of Tehran have never quite figured out. But even while their negotiators have been successfully stalling Western diplomatic efforts to force them to drop their nuclear ambitions, the Islamist state is still promoting Holocaust denial. Israel’s Channel 2 News reports (via the Times of Israel) that Iran’s state run television is honoring Yom HaShoah by broadcasting cartoons that depict the Holocaust as a fraud. The cartoons (which are available for viewing on memri.org) shows figures dressed as ultra-Orthodox Jews fabricating stories about the Holocaust in order to make money and to dispossess the Palestinians.
The cartoons are important not just because they are offensive, but because they reflect the mindset of the Iranian government. Anyone who thinks the ayatollahs can be trusted with a nuclear weapon or with even a peaceful nuclear energy program — which may be the “compromise” that Tehran will agree to in order to allow the West to back away from a confrontation over the issue — needs to understand that the hatred for Jews and Israel is integral to the ideology of the regime and its ultimate goals.
Today’s Quinnipiac poll finds President Obama leading Mitt Romney, 46 to 42. But it also highlights the very different strengths that each candidate has to offer. While registered voters give Obama higher ratings in more subjective areas – likeability and caring – Romney gets higher points on the economy, job creation and gas prices, three of the top policy concerns for voters:
Looking at personal characteristics, 81 percent of American voters think the president is likable, compared to 63 percent for Romney. Obama cares about their needs and problems, 57 percent say, compared to 44 percent for Romney. The Republican has strong leadership qualities, 61 percent say, compared to 60 percent for the president, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll of 2,577 American voters finds.
Romney is seen as better on the economy 47 – 43 percent, better on creating jobs 45 – 42 percent, better on gas prices 44 – 31 percent and better on immigration 43 – 39 percent. The president is viewed 52 – 32 percent as better on women’s issues and 46 – 40 percent on foreign policy. The two men are seen equally on taxes and health care.
One of the most distressing trends of Holocaust commemoration is the way the destruction of European Jewry has become a metaphor for anything anyone doesn’t like. Many in our governing class may be aware of the history but fail to understand that using it as a talking point in denouncing their opponents is not merely in bad taste but actually contributes to the trivialization of the topic. In recent years, a number of politicians from both major parties have made the same mistake. But, just in time for today’s Yom HaShoah commemorations, Politico reports that a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia has chimed in by comparing regulations in the state’s Monongalia County requiring buildings to state they are smoke-free to the Nazi policies of forcing Jews to wear Stars of David.
John Raese’s criticisms of the nanny state at work may be on target, but like other recent offenders (a list that includes Democrats like California Governor Jerry Brown, Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen and Florida Republican Rep. Allen West who all compared political opponents to Joseph Goebbels), he needs to understand that comparing such things to the Nazis is both inappropriate and ill-informed.
Mitt Romney’s middling likeability ratings have provoked a deluge of analysis about whether this weakness is fatal and advice on how he can overcome the likeability gap between him and President Obama. But there’s no reason to think Romney’s likeability ratings at this point in the election are any predictor of his success next November, or even a sure sign of what his likeability ratings will be later in the election season.
As Nate Silver finds, low initial personal favorables haven’t doomed past presidents, and Romney’s numbers are on par with Bill Clinton’s at the same point of the race in 1992:
1) Mr. Romney’s mediocre favorability ratings at this early stage of the race are no death sentence. There have been clear reversals in favorability ratings in the recent past once the general election campaign got under way, such as in 1988 and 1992. At least one recent candidate (Mr. Clinton in 1992) won his election with similarly mediocre early favorability ratings. …
2) The favorability deficit between Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama is more likely to be meaningful the longer it persists. If, for instance, we still see this favorability deficit in July — and certainly if we see it in September or October — the odds are fairly good that Mr. Obama will perform more strongly than the economic fundamentals alone would dictate and could win an election that he is otherwise “supposed” to lose.
In explaining their decision to publish photos of American troops posing with the bodies of alleged Taliban terrorists, despite the fact that the photos are two years old and guaranteed to inflame violence, the editors of the Los Angeles Times explained, “At the end of the day, our job is to publish information that our readers need to make informed decisions.”
Perhaps the editors would then like to explain why they continue to sit on a videotape of Barack Obama reportedly toasting former PLO Beirut spokesman and University of Chicago buddy Rashid Khalidi? Isn’t that necessary for readers to make informed decisions? I’m not sure whether the editors could provide a more glaring example of their own hypocrisy.