Commentary Magazine


Topic: incineration

RE: RE: The UN Human Rights Circus Plays On

At this moment of high farce, let us remember the Obama administration’s rationale for joining the UN Human Rights Council after the Bush administration had thrown up its hands in frustration at the irredeemable hypocrisy of this dictators’ club. The United States would lend its moral stature to this appalling institution, the Obami reassured us, so that we could reform it from within. As the Washington Post reported at the time:

“Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. “With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system. … We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.” …

“This is a welcome step that gives the United States and other defenders of human rights a fighting chance to make the institution more effective,” said a human rights advocate familiar with the decision. “I think everybody is just desperate to have the United States and Barack Obama run for the human rights council, and countries are willing to bend over backward to make that happen.”

As Jen noted, in refusing to lift a finger in opposition to Iran’s bid to join the Commission on the Status of Women, the Obami have once again abdicated the traditional role America has played at the UN: as a moral firewall preventing the incineration of Turtle Bay in a blaze of Orwellian farce. This is not only another example of smart diplomacy in action, but of the frequently noted phenomenon that all Obama’s promises come with an expiration date. Instead of helping to reform the UN’s appalling human-rights system, the United States is now complicit in it. Maybe Obama will say that we are “bearing witness.”

At this moment of high farce, let us remember the Obama administration’s rationale for joining the UN Human Rights Council after the Bush administration had thrown up its hands in frustration at the irredeemable hypocrisy of this dictators’ club. The United States would lend its moral stature to this appalling institution, the Obami reassured us, so that we could reform it from within. As the Washington Post reported at the time:

“Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. “With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system. … We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies.” …

“This is a welcome step that gives the United States and other defenders of human rights a fighting chance to make the institution more effective,” said a human rights advocate familiar with the decision. “I think everybody is just desperate to have the United States and Barack Obama run for the human rights council, and countries are willing to bend over backward to make that happen.”

As Jen noted, in refusing to lift a finger in opposition to Iran’s bid to join the Commission on the Status of Women, the Obami have once again abdicated the traditional role America has played at the UN: as a moral firewall preventing the incineration of Turtle Bay in a blaze of Orwellian farce. This is not only another example of smart diplomacy in action, but of the frequently noted phenomenon that all Obama’s promises come with an expiration date. Instead of helping to reform the UN’s appalling human-rights system, the United States is now complicit in it. Maybe Obama will say that we are “bearing witness.”

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It’s the Contempt

Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen try to sound the warning on ObamaCare:

Their blind persistence in the face of reality threatens to turn this political march of folly into an electoral rout in November. In the wake of the stinging loss in Massachusetts, there was a moment when the president and Democratic leadership seemed to realize the reality of the health-care situation. Yet like some seductive siren of Greek mythology, the lure of health-care reform has arisen again.

Quite simply, Obama has lost, they observe, the public-opinion battle: “If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate’s reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.”

The polls are wrong or the voters are dolts or they will learn to love it. We’ve heard some variation of each of these excuses over the past year. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats are in denial. But I think it’s more properly seen as contempt. They simply don’t care what voters think, for they know best. That’s the entire premise of ObamaCare. Voters who may be young and healthy can’t be trusted to decide to self-insure or buy cheap, high-deductible plans. Employers can’t be trusted to balance health care, salary, and other employee benefits in deciding how to compensate their employees. Consumers can’t be trusted to shop around from state to state or select the exact sort of plan they need; the government will set “minimum” standards (which include every procedure politicians deem necessary).

So should we be surprised that Democratic politicians are intent on doing this, knowing full well voters don’t want them to? Voters sense when they’re being denigrated, and the results, should ObamaCare pass, will be severe. (“Voters are hardly enthralled with the GOP, but the Democrats are pursuing policies that are out of step with the way ordinary Americans think and feel about politics and government. Barring some change of approach, they will be punished severely at the polls.”) But there’s still time for individual House Democrats to prevent the incineration of their own careers and their party’s fortunes. All they need to do is go home for the recess and ask voters if this is what they want. At each and every turn — three key elections, the August recess, constant polling — the voters have given the same answer. Now the only thing that remains is to see if Nancy Pelosi’s members share her disdain for what their constituents think.

Democrats Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen try to sound the warning on ObamaCare:

Their blind persistence in the face of reality threatens to turn this political march of folly into an electoral rout in November. In the wake of the stinging loss in Massachusetts, there was a moment when the president and Democratic leadership seemed to realize the reality of the health-care situation. Yet like some seductive siren of Greek mythology, the lure of health-care reform has arisen again.

Quite simply, Obama has lost, they observe, the public-opinion battle: “If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate’s reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.”

The polls are wrong or the voters are dolts or they will learn to love it. We’ve heard some variation of each of these excuses over the past year. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats are in denial. But I think it’s more properly seen as contempt. They simply don’t care what voters think, for they know best. That’s the entire premise of ObamaCare. Voters who may be young and healthy can’t be trusted to decide to self-insure or buy cheap, high-deductible plans. Employers can’t be trusted to balance health care, salary, and other employee benefits in deciding how to compensate their employees. Consumers can’t be trusted to shop around from state to state or select the exact sort of plan they need; the government will set “minimum” standards (which include every procedure politicians deem necessary).

So should we be surprised that Democratic politicians are intent on doing this, knowing full well voters don’t want them to? Voters sense when they’re being denigrated, and the results, should ObamaCare pass, will be severe. (“Voters are hardly enthralled with the GOP, but the Democrats are pursuing policies that are out of step with the way ordinary Americans think and feel about politics and government. Barring some change of approach, they will be punished severely at the polls.”) But there’s still time for individual House Democrats to prevent the incineration of their own careers and their party’s fortunes. All they need to do is go home for the recess and ask voters if this is what they want. At each and every turn — three key elections, the August recess, constant polling — the voters have given the same answer. Now the only thing that remains is to see if Nancy Pelosi’s members share her disdain for what their constituents think.

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