Democrats have made it very clear that they will get their revenge on anyone who dares to attack President Obama, but it turns out the main victims of their payback may be Chicago’s lovable Cubbies. Since TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts has been labeled as the man who commissioned a proposal for an ad campaign that sought to publicize the link between President Obama and his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the baseball team purchased by his children in 2009 may be the object of a vendetta on the part of the president’s loyalists in Chicagoland.
According to theWashington Post, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, is “livid” about Joe Ricketts having the chutzpah to attack his old boss. The Post reports that an Emanuel aide repeated the liberal talking point about the mention of Wright being a sign of implicit racism and said the mayor was indefinitely cutting off communications with the owners of the Cubs, including Laura Ricketts, who happens to be a bundler for the president. This is not a minor issue for the family as they are trying to get the city to help them fund a renovation of the nearly century-old Wrigley Field–the hallowed home of the north side’s favorite baseball team. This may mean the effort to get Emanuel to throw in $100 million in tax incentives in the deal to spruce up Wrigley may be on hold. So while the notion that a notorious political gutter fighter like Emanuel was offended by the Ricketts is a joke, he is right about one thing: the Ricketts are “hypocrites.”
Last month CBS’s “60 Minutes” show earned itself some justified criticism for a biased report about the treatment of Palestinian Christians by Israel. As Alana noted then, the premise of the piece — that routine security precautions on the part of Israeli forces has led to a decline in the Christian population in the West Bank — was preposterous. Why would Israeli measures cause Christian numbers to diminish but not affect the rapidly growing Muslim population? Only a determination to blame Israel for everything could have led the “60 Minutes” team to avoid the obvious explanation: the rise of militant Islam in traditional Christian strongholds that has gradually forced many Christians to flee the country. Israel remains the only country in the Middle East where the rights of the Christian minority — which is growing — are respected.
But the pushback against this calumny requires more background than just a fact check about the West Bank. The Gatestone Institute has published an important online monthly report about Muslim persecution of Christians throughout Asia and Africa and it makes for frightening reading. Even a brief summary of the litany of horrors being visited upon Christians by Muslims puts the ridiculous accusations against Israel in perspective.
Reporters from the national press covering the Mitt Romney campaign kicked up a ruckus on Wednesday when the Republican’s staff attempted to keep them away from a rope line where they might have heard or seen the candidate say or do something dumb. The incident inspired a feature in the New York Times in which the GOP standard-bearer came off looking like a fragile hothouse flower desperately in need of protection from a press corps that could unveil his inadequacies. This might not be worth much of the public’s time, but criticism on this score shouldn’t be put down as unfair. If Romney can’t be relied upon not to commit a gaffe when interacting with the public at unscripted appearances — something that justified his staff’s worries — then he deserves to be called to account for it. However, if this is worth carrying on about when it concerns Romney then we are entitled to ask why isn’t it newsworthy when his opponents play the same game?
That’s the question some political observers are asking today after members of the Obama campaign made sure to keep reporters away from Vice President Biden when he was working a rope line, an incident that failed to get a mention in the Times. But as much as the lack of interest in the Democrats’ desire to protect the even more gaffe-prone Biden is the fact that no one seems to recall that when Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, his control freak staff rarely allowed reporters anywhere near him when he was on the hustings.
What would Day One of a Romney presidency look like? In his first general election ad, Romney outlines the three main priorities he would address as soon as he took office: approving the Keystone XL pipeline, instituting tax cuts and reforms and replacing Obamacare:
In September 1993, Yasir Arafat told one of recent history’s most significant lies. At the time, Arafat still resided where he certainly belonged: on the State Department’s terrorism list. But the date of the White House ceremony announcing the signing of the declaration of principles was nearing, and the Clinton administration had given up its earlier resistance to asking Yitzhak Rabin to shake the bloodstained hand of the committed murderer on the White House lawn so everyone could have their “historic” moment in the sun.
So Arafat wrote a letter. He would–scout’s honor–end his campaign to annihilate the Jewish people. “Our lawyers judged this written renunciation as sufficient grounds for the president to take Arafat and the PLO off the State Department’s terrorism list,” wrote Martin Indyk in his memoir of the Clinton administration’s Middle East diplomacy. The rest, as they say, is history.
The almost hysterical reaction in the mainstream press to the revelation that one super PAC was planning to run ads about President Obama’s former pastor, the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was highly instructive. For two days, liberal newspapers like the New York Times and much of the rest of the chattering classes have been hyperventilating about something that not only had no connection to the campaign of Mitt Romney but which was specifically condemned by the candidate. And yet somehow we are told that this non-event changed the political narrative of the week and distracted Americans from thinking about the failing economy that is causing the president’s poll numbers to head south.
The alacrity with which the Obama campaign and their liberal cheerleaders seized on the Wright issue spoke volumes about the Democrats’ current weakness. The president’s chief problems revolve around the fact that the economy is so poor and his signature legislative accomplishment — ObamaCare — is deeply unpopular. Because he cannot run on his record, his path to victory in November must therefore involve a careful combination of calumnies against his opponent and attempts to change the subject from the nation’s fiscal health to the one that helped elect him in 2008: race. That is the only way to explain his campaign’s desperate attempt to leverage a marginal story into a major campaign issue.
President Bush returned to Washington earlier this week to mark the opening of the “Freedom Collection” at the Bush Institute in Dallas. At the event, President Bush gave a speech that was turned into an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that’s worth reading.
President Bush offered a sophisticated critique of (among other things) the so-called Arab Spring. “The collapse of an old order can unleash resentments and power struggles that a new order is not yet prepared to handle,” the former president said. Years of transition can be difficult. He acknowledged that there is nothing easy about the achievement of freedom. But Bush pointed out that there is an inbuilt crisis in tyrannies, which is that they are illegitimate and, eventually, citizens rise up against them. Regardless of their culture, people don’t want to be subject to repression, violence, and the lash of the whip.
Egypt is a good example. Whatever one thinks about the short, medium, and long-term prospects there – and there are certainly reasons for concern — the revolution itself was organic. America didn’t provoke the uprising and, until the 11th hour, we stood with Hosni Mubarak. We were essentially bystanders to events there. Mubarak did not take the necessary steps for reform and liberation when he could – and in the end, he was consumed by the resentments and hatreds he helped to create.
Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, then, tectonic plates are shifting, whether we like it or not. What does that mean for American policy? Read More
In the history of the modern Olympic Games there have been many scandals but only one terrorist massacre. The 1972 Games in Munich will forever be remembered because Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes there in cold blood. But this summer when the Games reconvene in London there will be neither an official remembrance nor even a moment of silence in honor of the fallen Israelis. Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, flatly denied requests from the State of Israel and members of the United States Congress for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies in London. The reason for this refusal is clear. Any reminder of that historic crime would offend the vast majority of member nations that participate in the Games who don’t want any mention of an event that puts the Palestinians in a bad light.
This is an outrage that should not pass unnoticed by those who promote and profit from the two-week-long television program that mostly features competitions in sports few will care about during the rest of this or any other year. Rogge and his predecessors have always condemned the politicization of sports–the reason many in the Olympic movement give for choosing to forget about Munich. But the toxic mix of nationalism and athletics has always been at the heart of the Games. While the athletes who participate deserve both respect and admiration, the decision to ignore Munich is just the latest illustration of the moral bankruptcy of the Games. Though we will hear much about the “Olympic Spirit” during the endless promotion of this event, it is and always has been a gigantic fraud that has always preferred to appease tyrants and ignore crimes in the pursuit of building a global business brand.
I agree with both Jonathan and Alana that an ad campaign this year based on Rev. Jeremiah Wright would be a tactical error for the Romney forces and that the outrage on the left is totally synthetic. President Obama was a member of that church for purely local political reasons. As we have seen since he’s been president, he rarely attends church and, anyway, he needs a mirror to see what he truly worships.
But I can’t help but take note of one of the great for-want-of-a-nail moments in American political history. What would have happened had Hillary Clinton’s opposition research team in the 2008 primary campaign found those tapes of Jeremiah Wright before the Iowa caucuses? Had the Clinton campaign simply handed them off to a friendly TV journalist, I’m confident they would have sowed enough doubt about Obama that he would not have finished first in the Iowa caucuses. (The results were Obama 38 percent, John Edwards—whatever happened to him?—30 percent, Clinton 29 percent, Bill Richardson 2 percent, Joe Biden 1 percent.) Without the wind in his sails from his Iowa victory, Obama wouldn’t have fared so well in subsequent primaries, and the Romney campaign today would be trying to figure out how to defeat President Hillary Clinton’s re-election bid.