Commentary Magazine


Topic: Jon Stewart

Flotsam and Jetsam

Stu Rothenberg doesn’t think much of the Dems’ Chamber of Commerce gambit: “This is what we call the political version of ‘jumping the shark’ — a desperate-looking charge that a campaign or a party hopes could be a game-changer. It’s pretty early for Democrats to jump the shark, and you have to wonder whether this is really the best shot they have in their arsenal. Yes, it might get some folks agitated, but not many. And it reeks of desperation.”

Voters don’t think much of it either: “Election Day is just two weeks away, and Republican candidates hold a nine-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, October 17, 2010. … Even more worrisome for Democrats, however, is the finding that among the voters who are most closely following the midterm elections Republicans hold a 55% to 36% lead.”

CNN voters don’t think much of the Parker-Spitzer show, and Vic Matus thinks even less of Spitzer’s likening himself to Icarus: “Putz. He doesn’t even know the quotation. …It ends, ‘… they first make mad.’ As in insane. Which is precisely the case with Spitzer. … Sorry. I knew Icarus—Icarus was a friend of mine. Eliot Spitzer is no Icarus.”

Charles Lane doesn’t think much of Democrats’ excessive dependence on public-employee unions. “But in an era of increasing discontent over taxes, government spending and the perks of government employees, these are not necessarily the allies you want to have. A party that depends on the public employees to get elected will have trouble reaching out to the wider electorate — i.e., the people who pay the taxes that support public employee salaries and pensions. In politics, you never want to find yourself beholden to a minority whose core interests often clash with the interests of voters.”

Josh Rogin doesn’t think much of Jon Stewart’s claim that Sen. Tom Coburn is holding up aid to Haiti. “The problem is that Coburn’s hold is not responsible for delaying the $1.15 billion Congress already appropriated in late July to help Haiti. … Even the State Department acknowledges that Coburn is not responsible for the delay in this tranche of funds for Haiti.”

ABC doesn’t think much of Dems’ chances of holding the House majority: “In the House, many key House races have seen some tightening, but it’s not enough to make Democrats feel all that much better. Democrats have 63 seats in serious danger compared to just four for Republicans.”

Anyone who lives in the VA-11 (like me!) doesn’t think much of Marc Ambinder’s spin that Rep. Gerry Connolly “knows this district inside and out.” If he did, he would have maintained a moderate voting record like his predecessor Tom Davis, instead of rubber-stamping the Obama agenda and putting his seat at risk.

The liberal JTA doesn’t think much of Howard Berman’s claim that Mark Kirk didn’t have anything to do with the Iran-sanctions bill: “Kirk gets this one, I think, on points — as the Sun Times notes, Berman thanked [co-sponsor Rep. Rob] Andrews for his work, a hint that the bill he and Kirk shaped played a role in the final bill. So did AIPAC when the bill passed. And, the sanctions are pretty much identical.”

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee doesn’t think much of its party’s chances in at least five races. A fundraising appeal, Ben Smith explains, “seems to concede what many on both sides now see as nearly done: Five open GOP-held seats, in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, and Kansas, have slipped pretty near out of reach.”

Stu Rothenberg doesn’t think much of the Dems’ Chamber of Commerce gambit: “This is what we call the political version of ‘jumping the shark’ — a desperate-looking charge that a campaign or a party hopes could be a game-changer. It’s pretty early for Democrats to jump the shark, and you have to wonder whether this is really the best shot they have in their arsenal. Yes, it might get some folks agitated, but not many. And it reeks of desperation.”

Voters don’t think much of it either: “Election Day is just two weeks away, and Republican candidates hold a nine-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending Sunday, October 17, 2010. … Even more worrisome for Democrats, however, is the finding that among the voters who are most closely following the midterm elections Republicans hold a 55% to 36% lead.”

CNN voters don’t think much of the Parker-Spitzer show, and Vic Matus thinks even less of Spitzer’s likening himself to Icarus: “Putz. He doesn’t even know the quotation. …It ends, ‘… they first make mad.’ As in insane. Which is precisely the case with Spitzer. … Sorry. I knew Icarus—Icarus was a friend of mine. Eliot Spitzer is no Icarus.”

Charles Lane doesn’t think much of Democrats’ excessive dependence on public-employee unions. “But in an era of increasing discontent over taxes, government spending and the perks of government employees, these are not necessarily the allies you want to have. A party that depends on the public employees to get elected will have trouble reaching out to the wider electorate — i.e., the people who pay the taxes that support public employee salaries and pensions. In politics, you never want to find yourself beholden to a minority whose core interests often clash with the interests of voters.”

Josh Rogin doesn’t think much of Jon Stewart’s claim that Sen. Tom Coburn is holding up aid to Haiti. “The problem is that Coburn’s hold is not responsible for delaying the $1.15 billion Congress already appropriated in late July to help Haiti. … Even the State Department acknowledges that Coburn is not responsible for the delay in this tranche of funds for Haiti.”

ABC doesn’t think much of Dems’ chances of holding the House majority: “In the House, many key House races have seen some tightening, but it’s not enough to make Democrats feel all that much better. Democrats have 63 seats in serious danger compared to just four for Republicans.”

Anyone who lives in the VA-11 (like me!) doesn’t think much of Marc Ambinder’s spin that Rep. Gerry Connolly “knows this district inside and out.” If he did, he would have maintained a moderate voting record like his predecessor Tom Davis, instead of rubber-stamping the Obama agenda and putting his seat at risk.

The liberal JTA doesn’t think much of Howard Berman’s claim that Mark Kirk didn’t have anything to do with the Iran-sanctions bill: “Kirk gets this one, I think, on points — as the Sun Times notes, Berman thanked [co-sponsor Rep. Rob] Andrews for his work, a hint that the bill he and Kirk shaped played a role in the final bill. So did AIPAC when the bill passed. And, the sanctions are pretty much identical.”

The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee doesn’t think much of its party’s chances in at least five races. A fundraising appeal, Ben Smith explains, “seems to concede what many on both sides now see as nearly done: Five open GOP-held seats, in Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida, and Kansas, have slipped pretty near out of reach.”

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You Know You’re in Trouble When…

Jon Stewart tears you to shreds, and the audience eats it up big-time (h/t Instapundit). For someone like President Obama, with an ego the size of a Midwestern state, this must be very, very painful to watch. For the rest of us, it’s a lot more hilarious than Steven Colbert’s recent Congressional testimony.

But because all great humor, political or otherwise, must be grounded in truth and the realities of human nature, it must also be very frightening to Obama, in particular, and Democrats, in general. When the people in a mainstream audience fall out of their chairs when Jon Stewart suggests that the slogan for the Democratic campaign this fall should be “We came, we saw, we sucked,” that’s a pretty good indication that the Democrats have lost the country and no longer control the political narrative.

I don’t think the Democrats will be laughing on Nov. 2.

Jon Stewart tears you to shreds, and the audience eats it up big-time (h/t Instapundit). For someone like President Obama, with an ego the size of a Midwestern state, this must be very, very painful to watch. For the rest of us, it’s a lot more hilarious than Steven Colbert’s recent Congressional testimony.

But because all great humor, political or otherwise, must be grounded in truth and the realities of human nature, it must also be very frightening to Obama, in particular, and Democrats, in general. When the people in a mainstream audience fall out of their chairs when Jon Stewart suggests that the slogan for the Democratic campaign this fall should be “We came, we saw, we sucked,” that’s a pretty good indication that the Democrats have lost the country and no longer control the political narrative.

I don’t think the Democrats will be laughing on Nov. 2.

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Joe Klein Joins the Chorus

You can add Joe Klein to those who, like Roger Simon, seem to have airbrushed President Obama’s comments on Saturday out of existence. Klein writes [read more], “I’m proud the President said what he did [his speech at the iftar dinner on Friday],” Klein wrote on Monday, “but he couldn’t legally do otherwise: if he hadn’t supported the mosque, he would not have been upholding the Constitution of the United States.”

Yet on Saturday, Obama said, “I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there.”

What part of this sentence can’t Klein and Simon understand?

By Klein’s own logic — I use the word loosely — the president is not now upholding the Constitution. He is, in fact, breaking the law. But like Simon, Klein does not seem able to process Obama’s act of cowardice. It simply does not play into his perception of Obama’s greatness.

Fortunately, there are a few liberal voices who see things for what they were, from the Washington Post, which writes that Obama “muddled his stance and appeared to backtrack in the face of criticism,” to Jon Stewart, who mocks Obama’s campaign slogan (“Yes We Can” is now “Yes We Can. But Should We?”).

You can add Joe Klein to those who, like Roger Simon, seem to have airbrushed President Obama’s comments on Saturday out of existence. Klein writes [read more], “I’m proud the President said what he did [his speech at the iftar dinner on Friday],” Klein wrote on Monday, “but he couldn’t legally do otherwise: if he hadn’t supported the mosque, he would not have been upholding the Constitution of the United States.”

Yet on Saturday, Obama said, “I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there.”

What part of this sentence can’t Klein and Simon understand?

By Klein’s own logic — I use the word loosely — the president is not now upholding the Constitution. He is, in fact, breaking the law. But like Simon, Klein does not seem able to process Obama’s act of cowardice. It simply does not play into his perception of Obama’s greatness.

Fortunately, there are a few liberal voices who see things for what they were, from the Washington Post, which writes that Obama “muddled his stance and appeared to backtrack in the face of criticism,” to Jon Stewart, who mocks Obama’s campaign slogan (“Yes We Can” is now “Yes We Can. But Should We?”).

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Jon Stewart on Charles Rangel

Jon Stewart has some fun at the expense of Rep. Charles Rangel. You can watch it via Mediaite.com.

Jon Stewart has some fun at the expense of Rep. Charles Rangel. You can watch it via Mediaite.com.

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Christopher Hitchens, Jon Stewart, and More

In his moving article in Vanity Fair about his cancer, Christopher Hitchens disclosed that just before he went on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he violently threw up — the result of the illness he had learned about that morning, when he woke unable to breathe, was barely able to cross his hotel room to call for help, and was saved by emergency treatment by doctors who did “quite a lot” of work on his heart and lungs and told him he needed to consult an oncologist immediately.

That evening he nevertheless appeared as scheduled on Stewart’s show (and then at the 92nd Street Y, where he threw up again), unwilling to disappoint his friends or miss the chance to sell his memoir. In the article, he did not describe what he said on The Daily Show, but his appearance there is worth remembering for reasons going beyond his extraordinary fortitude in proceeding with it.

The video is here. At the end, after discussing his work in a camp for revolutionaries in Cuba in the 60s, there was this colloquy:

Stewart: If you had been young today, going through this same sort of [unintelligible], where do you think your alliances would be, where do you think you would have—

Hitchens: Well, I teach at the New School, and I teach English and a lot of journalists and would-be journalists come, and I often hang out with young people who are journalists, and I’m sorry for them, in a way. Because what are they gonna do – I mean, are they going to say ‘I’m a global warming activist’? It’s not quite the same, is it?

Stewart: Isn’t it all the same once you realize that your idealism — you can use it to further your aims, [if] you realize that nothing is nirvana, nothing is perfect?

Hitchens: Oscar Wilde used to say that a map of the world that doesn’t include Utopia isn’t worth looking at. I used to think that was a beautiful statement. I don’t think that at all anymore. I tell you, to be honest, the most idealistic and brave and committed and intelligent young people that I know have joined the armed forces. And they are now guarding us while we sleep in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. … I never would have expected that would be what I would say about the students I have to teach.

Stewart’s audience, which is often raucous, listened to this in silence.

Hitchens writes in Hitch-22 that these days he thinks about “the shipwrecks and prison islands to which the quest [for Utopia] has led” and that he came to realize that “the only historical revolution with any verve left in it, or any example to offer others, was the American one.” His appearance on the Daily Show was an example not only of his physical courage but also of the intellectual audacity that pervades his book.

In his moving article in Vanity Fair about his cancer, Christopher Hitchens disclosed that just before he went on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he violently threw up — the result of the illness he had learned about that morning, when he woke unable to breathe, was barely able to cross his hotel room to call for help, and was saved by emergency treatment by doctors who did “quite a lot” of work on his heart and lungs and told him he needed to consult an oncologist immediately.

That evening he nevertheless appeared as scheduled on Stewart’s show (and then at the 92nd Street Y, where he threw up again), unwilling to disappoint his friends or miss the chance to sell his memoir. In the article, he did not describe what he said on The Daily Show, but his appearance there is worth remembering for reasons going beyond his extraordinary fortitude in proceeding with it.

The video is here. At the end, after discussing his work in a camp for revolutionaries in Cuba in the 60s, there was this colloquy:

Stewart: If you had been young today, going through this same sort of [unintelligible], where do you think your alliances would be, where do you think you would have—

Hitchens: Well, I teach at the New School, and I teach English and a lot of journalists and would-be journalists come, and I often hang out with young people who are journalists, and I’m sorry for them, in a way. Because what are they gonna do – I mean, are they going to say ‘I’m a global warming activist’? It’s not quite the same, is it?

Stewart: Isn’t it all the same once you realize that your idealism — you can use it to further your aims, [if] you realize that nothing is nirvana, nothing is perfect?

Hitchens: Oscar Wilde used to say that a map of the world that doesn’t include Utopia isn’t worth looking at. I used to think that was a beautiful statement. I don’t think that at all anymore. I tell you, to be honest, the most idealistic and brave and committed and intelligent young people that I know have joined the armed forces. And they are now guarding us while we sleep in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. … I never would have expected that would be what I would say about the students I have to teach.

Stewart’s audience, which is often raucous, listened to this in silence.

Hitchens writes in Hitch-22 that these days he thinks about “the shipwrecks and prison islands to which the quest [for Utopia] has led” and that he came to realize that “the only historical revolution with any verve left in it, or any example to offer others, was the American one.” His appearance on the Daily Show was an example not only of his physical courage but also of the intellectual audacity that pervades his book.

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The Left Disillusioned by Obama

MSNBC commentators are turning against Barack Obama. So are clever and intelligent liberals. Here’s Jon Stewart from last night, on what he considers to be Obama’s hypocrisy. From the left, the air seems to be leaking out of the Obama balloon.

MSNBC commentators are turning against Barack Obama. So are clever and intelligent liberals. Here’s Jon Stewart from last night, on what he considers to be Obama’s hypocrisy. From the left, the air seems to be leaking out of the Obama balloon.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Thanks to the NAACP, Hallmark was forced to remove from the shelves space-themed cards that used the phrase “black hole.” The group’s professional grievants apparently misheard the second word. No kidding.

Thanks to Barack Obama, the Middle East is more dangerous than ever: “The Gaza flotilla incident might have been a great setback to the radical camp had the United States reacted sharply, defending Israel, condemning the jihadists on board and their sponsors in Turkey, blocking UN Security Council action, and refusing to sponsor another international inquiry that will condemn Israel. And Israel’s interests were not the only ones at stake: The blockade of Gaza is a joint Israeli-Egyptian action to weaken Hamas. But the American position reflects the Obama line: carefully balancing the interests of friend and foe, seeking to avoid offense to our enemies, or, as Churchill famously described British policy in the 1930s, ‘resolved to be irresolute.’ Middle Eastern states, including Arab regimes traditionally allied with the United States, view this pose as likely to get them all killed when enemies come knocking at the door.”

Thanks to Obama, Bobby Jindal has regained a lot of stature. He appears to be what Obama is not — competent, engaged, and proactive.

Thanks to Jon Stewart, Tim Pawlenty gets to show that he has a sense of humor.

Thanks to Leslie Gelb, we are reminded that things can always be worse: Robert Gates departs, Hillary Clinton goes to the Defense Department, and Chuck Hagel goes to the State Department. Oy.

Thanks to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, “a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% of voters think it would be better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were reelected this November. Sixty-five percent (65%) disagree and say it would be better if most were defeated. Sixteen percent (16%) aren’t sure.”

Thanks to Obama, “people close to the president [Harmid Karzai] say he began to lose confidence in the Americans last summer, after national elections in which independent monitors determined that nearly one million ballots had been stolen on Mr. Karzai’s behalf. The rift worsened in December, when President Obama announced that he intended to begin reducing the number of American troops by the summer of 2011.” It’s no surprise, then, that “Mr. Karzai has been pressing to strike his own deal with the Taliban and the country’s archrival Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime supporter. According to a former senior Afghan official, Mr. Karzai’s maneuverings involve secret negotiations with the Taliban outside the purview of American and NATO officials.”

Thanks to Ben Bernanke, Rep. Gerry Connolly makes a fool of himself and his Republican challenger has a boffo campaign ad.

Thanks to Obama and the Democratic Congress, you’re probably not going to get to keep your health-care plan: “Over and over in the health care debate, President Barack Obama said people who like their current coverage would be able to keep it. But an early draft of an administration regulation estimates that many employers will be forced to make changes to their health plans under the new law. In just three years, a majority of workers—51 percent—will be in plans subject to new federal requirements, according to the draft.”

Thanks to Israel, there is a place in the Middle East where gays are not persecuted: “Tel Aviv embraced Israel’s GLBT community Friday as it hosted the 13th annual gay parade.Dozens of policemen and civilian police watched on as thousands marched, dancing and waving rainbow flags.”

Thanks to the economic-policy wizardry of the Obama administration: “U.S. consumers unexpectedly ratcheted back spending on everything from cars to clothing in May, adding to concerns that a volatile stock market and high unemployment are increasingly weighing down the economic recovery. The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales at retail establishments — including department stores, gas stations and restaurants — fell 1.2% in May from the previous month. The decline, driven by sharp drops in autos and building materials, was the first and largest since September 2009, when sales fell 2.2%.”

Thanks to the NAACP, Hallmark was forced to remove from the shelves space-themed cards that used the phrase “black hole.” The group’s professional grievants apparently misheard the second word. No kidding.

Thanks to Barack Obama, the Middle East is more dangerous than ever: “The Gaza flotilla incident might have been a great setback to the radical camp had the United States reacted sharply, defending Israel, condemning the jihadists on board and their sponsors in Turkey, blocking UN Security Council action, and refusing to sponsor another international inquiry that will condemn Israel. And Israel’s interests were not the only ones at stake: The blockade of Gaza is a joint Israeli-Egyptian action to weaken Hamas. But the American position reflects the Obama line: carefully balancing the interests of friend and foe, seeking to avoid offense to our enemies, or, as Churchill famously described British policy in the 1930s, ‘resolved to be irresolute.’ Middle Eastern states, including Arab regimes traditionally allied with the United States, view this pose as likely to get them all killed when enemies come knocking at the door.”

Thanks to Obama, Bobby Jindal has regained a lot of stature. He appears to be what Obama is not — competent, engaged, and proactive.

Thanks to Jon Stewart, Tim Pawlenty gets to show that he has a sense of humor.

Thanks to Leslie Gelb, we are reminded that things can always be worse: Robert Gates departs, Hillary Clinton goes to the Defense Department, and Chuck Hagel goes to the State Department. Oy.

Thanks to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, “a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% of voters think it would be better for the country if most incumbents in Congress were reelected this November. Sixty-five percent (65%) disagree and say it would be better if most were defeated. Sixteen percent (16%) aren’t sure.”

Thanks to Obama, “people close to the president [Harmid Karzai] say he began to lose confidence in the Americans last summer, after national elections in which independent monitors determined that nearly one million ballots had been stolen on Mr. Karzai’s behalf. The rift worsened in December, when President Obama announced that he intended to begin reducing the number of American troops by the summer of 2011.” It’s no surprise, then, that “Mr. Karzai has been pressing to strike his own deal with the Taliban and the country’s archrival Pakistan, the Taliban’s longtime supporter. According to a former senior Afghan official, Mr. Karzai’s maneuverings involve secret negotiations with the Taliban outside the purview of American and NATO officials.”

Thanks to Ben Bernanke, Rep. Gerry Connolly makes a fool of himself and his Republican challenger has a boffo campaign ad.

Thanks to Obama and the Democratic Congress, you’re probably not going to get to keep your health-care plan: “Over and over in the health care debate, President Barack Obama said people who like their current coverage would be able to keep it. But an early draft of an administration regulation estimates that many employers will be forced to make changes to their health plans under the new law. In just three years, a majority of workers—51 percent—will be in plans subject to new federal requirements, according to the draft.”

Thanks to Israel, there is a place in the Middle East where gays are not persecuted: “Tel Aviv embraced Israel’s GLBT community Friday as it hosted the 13th annual gay parade.Dozens of policemen and civilian police watched on as thousands marched, dancing and waving rainbow flags.”

Thanks to the economic-policy wizardry of the Obama administration: “U.S. consumers unexpectedly ratcheted back spending on everything from cars to clothing in May, adding to concerns that a volatile stock market and high unemployment are increasingly weighing down the economic recovery. The Commerce Department reported Friday that sales at retail establishments — including department stores, gas stations and restaurants — fell 1.2% in May from the previous month. The decline, driven by sharp drops in autos and building materials, was the first and largest since September 2009, when sales fell 2.2%.”

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Obama: Beyond Mocking No More

On yesterday’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has some fun at the expense of Barack Obama, announcing A** Quest 2010. Go to the three-minute mark to see Stewart aim his wit and humor at Obama (though the entire bit is worth watching).

Stewart, who is liberal, is one of the great satirists and comedians in the world today. (He is also more intellectually honest than many of the liberal commentators who continue to make comically stupid excuses on behalf of their “sort of God.”) When Stewart goes after President Obama in the manner he does, it tells you how much things are changing. Once upon a time, Barack Obama was thought to be beyond mocking. No more. (h/t: Ed Morrissey/HotAir)

On yesterday’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has some fun at the expense of Barack Obama, announcing A** Quest 2010. Go to the three-minute mark to see Stewart aim his wit and humor at Obama (though the entire bit is worth watching).

Stewart, who is liberal, is one of the great satirists and comedians in the world today. (He is also more intellectually honest than many of the liberal commentators who continue to make comically stupid excuses on behalf of their “sort of God.”) When Stewart goes after President Obama in the manner he does, it tells you how much things are changing. Once upon a time, Barack Obama was thought to be beyond mocking. No more. (h/t: Ed Morrissey/HotAir)

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RE: Newsweek Squeak

John, I wanted to follow up on your post on Newsweek by linking to this interview between Jon Meacham and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show [it can be found here and here]. During it, Meacham says this:

I do not believe that Newsweek is the only catcher in the rye between democracy and ignorance, but I think we’re one of them. And I don’t think there are that many on the edge of that cliff.

Ah, no.

For years I had subscribed to Newsweek, though I dropped the subscription last year, when I thought the magazine took a dive for the worst. I found the “new” Newsweek to be horrible in layout and in many (though certainly not all) of the writers it regularly featured. Jacob Weisberg and Jonathan Alter are not vital to the success of the American Republic. Trust me.

Regardless of your views about the quality of Newsweek, though, the notion that it is one of the “few catchers in the rye between democracy and ignorance” is risible. It was a liberal-leaning newsmagazine that mirrored almost perfectly the conventional wisdom of the political class. It was not, and never has been, indispensible, close to indispensible, or marginally indispensible. In fact, American democracy and American public discourse will not be one bit worse off when it disappears from the scene.

My three children will do fine growing up in a world without Newsweek.

Meacham also insisted that Newsweek has been “one of the very few common denominators in a fragmented world.” It actually has not been that.

Newsweek represented a point of view that was philosophically liberal. In some years it did that better than in other years. But it was not a “common denominator” for us, as much as Meacham wishes it were. And I, for one, believe the “fragmented” media world we live in is far superior to the one that came before it. The consensus that existed among journalists when their profession was dominated by Time and Newsweek, by ABC, NBC, and CBS, by the New York Times and the Washington Post, was stupefying. The narratives were virtually all the same because the worldviews of reporters were almost all the same. What we had were a “herd of independent minds” trying to tell us how to think, which stories were worthy of our attention, and how to process those stories.

Today we live in a far more interesting, variegated, and informed world. There are now genuine clashes of ideas — and facts can now be checked in a way they never were in the past. (See Dan Rather’s and CBS’s reliance on bogus documents for a “60 Minutes” report charging that President Bush received favorable treatment in the National Guard, something that two decades ago could have cost Bush the presidency instead of Rather his job.)

It isn’t a perfect world by any means. And I’m not in favor of a world in which there are only commentators, only bloggers, only opinion-makers. We still need newspapers and news organizations that report and break news. For example, the New York Times, whatever its drawbacks, still provides excellent coverage of international affairs. During the Iraq war reporters like John Burns, Dexter Filkins, and Michael Gordon provided outstanding coverage.

We still need journalists reporting on oil wells that explode and leak, British elections being held, wars being fought, genocide unfolding, riots occurring in Greece, and all the rest. The good news is that we live in a world that features both “hard news” and informed commentary, to a degree we have never had before.

In that respect, what we have today is a vast improvement over the past. It also means that the truth and reality of the world in which we live has a better chance of being apprehended by the American citizenry.

I can understand on a personal and a professional level why Jon Meacham is shattered by what has happened to his magazine. But it is a tragedy for Newsweek, not for America — and not for American journalism.

John, I wanted to follow up on your post on Newsweek by linking to this interview between Jon Meacham and Jon Stewart on The Daily Show [it can be found here and here]. During it, Meacham says this:

I do not believe that Newsweek is the only catcher in the rye between democracy and ignorance, but I think we’re one of them. And I don’t think there are that many on the edge of that cliff.

Ah, no.

For years I had subscribed to Newsweek, though I dropped the subscription last year, when I thought the magazine took a dive for the worst. I found the “new” Newsweek to be horrible in layout and in many (though certainly not all) of the writers it regularly featured. Jacob Weisberg and Jonathan Alter are not vital to the success of the American Republic. Trust me.

Regardless of your views about the quality of Newsweek, though, the notion that it is one of the “few catchers in the rye between democracy and ignorance” is risible. It was a liberal-leaning newsmagazine that mirrored almost perfectly the conventional wisdom of the political class. It was not, and never has been, indispensible, close to indispensible, or marginally indispensible. In fact, American democracy and American public discourse will not be one bit worse off when it disappears from the scene.

My three children will do fine growing up in a world without Newsweek.

Meacham also insisted that Newsweek has been “one of the very few common denominators in a fragmented world.” It actually has not been that.

Newsweek represented a point of view that was philosophically liberal. In some years it did that better than in other years. But it was not a “common denominator” for us, as much as Meacham wishes it were. And I, for one, believe the “fragmented” media world we live in is far superior to the one that came before it. The consensus that existed among journalists when their profession was dominated by Time and Newsweek, by ABC, NBC, and CBS, by the New York Times and the Washington Post, was stupefying. The narratives were virtually all the same because the worldviews of reporters were almost all the same. What we had were a “herd of independent minds” trying to tell us how to think, which stories were worthy of our attention, and how to process those stories.

Today we live in a far more interesting, variegated, and informed world. There are now genuine clashes of ideas — and facts can now be checked in a way they never were in the past. (See Dan Rather’s and CBS’s reliance on bogus documents for a “60 Minutes” report charging that President Bush received favorable treatment in the National Guard, something that two decades ago could have cost Bush the presidency instead of Rather his job.)

It isn’t a perfect world by any means. And I’m not in favor of a world in which there are only commentators, only bloggers, only opinion-makers. We still need newspapers and news organizations that report and break news. For example, the New York Times, whatever its drawbacks, still provides excellent coverage of international affairs. During the Iraq war reporters like John Burns, Dexter Filkins, and Michael Gordon provided outstanding coverage.

We still need journalists reporting on oil wells that explode and leak, British elections being held, wars being fought, genocide unfolding, riots occurring in Greece, and all the rest. The good news is that we live in a world that features both “hard news” and informed commentary, to a degree we have never had before.

In that respect, what we have today is a vast improvement over the past. It also means that the truth and reality of the world in which we live has a better chance of being apprehended by the American citizenry.

I can understand on a personal and a professional level why Jon Meacham is shattered by what has happened to his magazine. But it is a tragedy for Newsweek, not for America — and not for American journalism.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Lynn Sweet on Obama’s home state: “Never ending ethics scandals and the near insolvency of the state government burst the bubble of any post Obama euphoria months ago. On Saturday, Chicagoans awoke to these stories: a suburban mayor sentenced for bribery; a Chicago alderman taking a bribery plea deal, and a former alderman learning he may face prison time for a real estate kickback scheme. Illinois Democrats are splintered and frazzled in the wake of the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who will be tried this summer on federal public corruption charges for, among other items, trying to auction off Obama’s seat.” Probably doesn’t help that the likely Democratic Senate nominee for state treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias, is Tony Rezko’s banker.

Another precarious Blue State Senate seat: “Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) isn’t yet considered highly vulnerable in 2010. But a new poll, coupled with Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts, has Republicans rethinking their chances against the three-term senator. A poll released Thursday from Moore Insight, an Oregon-based GOP polling firm, showed Dino Rossi, a two-time Republican candidate for governor, leading Murray 45 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided.”

Not even Chuck Schumer is holding up under the torrent of anti-incumbent anger: “Senator Chuck Schumer’s once rock solid approval rating has taken a slide. For the first time in nearly nine years, Schumer’s approval rating has fallen below 50%. According to the latest Marist Poll in New York, 47% of registered voters statewide report Schumer is doing either an excellent or good job in office. 31% rate the job he is doing as fair, and 17% view him as performing poorly. This is Schumer’s lowest job approval rating since April 2001 when 49% of voters approved of the job he was doing.”

The moment of reckoning: “President Barack Obama’s new $3.83 trillion budget is a chickens-come-home-to-roost moment for Democrats who skipped past the deficit to tackle health care last year and now risk paying a heavy price in November. The great White House political gamble was to act quickly — before the deficits hit home — and institute major changes which proponents say will serve the long-term fiscal health of the country. Instead, a year of wrangling and refusal to consider more incremental steps have brought Obama and Congress to this juncture, where waves of red ink threaten to swamp their boat and drown reform altogether.”

How vulnerable is Obama on the mega-deficit he is proposing? Glenn Reynolds: “One telling indicator is a growing effort by the remaining Obama partisans to paint Bush as an equivalent big spender, even though the Bush deficits were much smaller than Obama’s, and declining throughout most of his second term. Not that Bush was any prize, but Obama’s deficits are of an entirely different magnitude.” This raises another issue — who exactly is still an Obama partisan? Not even Chris Matthews and Jon Stewart are on board.

Shocking as it may be, the Obami are making stuff up. On the number of terrorists they claim to have convicted in the criminal justice system, Andy McCarthy explains: “The DOJ ‘fact sheet’ goes on to tell us there are 300 ‘terrorists’ in custody. But look at what they have to do to get there: (a) gone is the ‘since 9/11′ limitation — the 300 figure represents all terrorists ever convicted who are still in jail; and (b) they have to add in domestic terrorists to goose up the numbers — even though no one is contending that domestic terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants. We are at war with al-Qaeda, not PETA.” Even the lesser figure of 195 is highly suspect. McCarthy has a good idea: have the Justice Department release all the backup data. It would be the transparent thing to do.

Even those who like the idea of civilian trials for terrorists are furious with the Obami. Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations: “There is no question that the Obama administration blundered by failing to ensure that New York’s leaders were fully committed to a civilian trial for KSM in New York City. The result has been a dismal outcome — an embarrassing climb down that leaves the United States looking too scared to mete out justice to the architect of the worst mass murder in U.S. history.”

Unlike Bob McDonnell in Virginia, Rep. Joe Sestak says he’d be “open to the idea” of hosting the KSM trial in his state.

Lynn Sweet on Obama’s home state: “Never ending ethics scandals and the near insolvency of the state government burst the bubble of any post Obama euphoria months ago. On Saturday, Chicagoans awoke to these stories: a suburban mayor sentenced for bribery; a Chicago alderman taking a bribery plea deal, and a former alderman learning he may face prison time for a real estate kickback scheme. Illinois Democrats are splintered and frazzled in the wake of the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who will be tried this summer on federal public corruption charges for, among other items, trying to auction off Obama’s seat.” Probably doesn’t help that the likely Democratic Senate nominee for state treasurer, Alexi Giannoulias, is Tony Rezko’s banker.

Another precarious Blue State Senate seat: “Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) isn’t yet considered highly vulnerable in 2010. But a new poll, coupled with Scott Brown’s upset win in Massachusetts, has Republicans rethinking their chances against the three-term senator. A poll released Thursday from Moore Insight, an Oregon-based GOP polling firm, showed Dino Rossi, a two-time Republican candidate for governor, leading Murray 45 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided.”

Not even Chuck Schumer is holding up under the torrent of anti-incumbent anger: “Senator Chuck Schumer’s once rock solid approval rating has taken a slide. For the first time in nearly nine years, Schumer’s approval rating has fallen below 50%. According to the latest Marist Poll in New York, 47% of registered voters statewide report Schumer is doing either an excellent or good job in office. 31% rate the job he is doing as fair, and 17% view him as performing poorly. This is Schumer’s lowest job approval rating since April 2001 when 49% of voters approved of the job he was doing.”

The moment of reckoning: “President Barack Obama’s new $3.83 trillion budget is a chickens-come-home-to-roost moment for Democrats who skipped past the deficit to tackle health care last year and now risk paying a heavy price in November. The great White House political gamble was to act quickly — before the deficits hit home — and institute major changes which proponents say will serve the long-term fiscal health of the country. Instead, a year of wrangling and refusal to consider more incremental steps have brought Obama and Congress to this juncture, where waves of red ink threaten to swamp their boat and drown reform altogether.”

How vulnerable is Obama on the mega-deficit he is proposing? Glenn Reynolds: “One telling indicator is a growing effort by the remaining Obama partisans to paint Bush as an equivalent big spender, even though the Bush deficits were much smaller than Obama’s, and declining throughout most of his second term. Not that Bush was any prize, but Obama’s deficits are of an entirely different magnitude.” This raises another issue — who exactly is still an Obama partisan? Not even Chris Matthews and Jon Stewart are on board.

Shocking as it may be, the Obami are making stuff up. On the number of terrorists they claim to have convicted in the criminal justice system, Andy McCarthy explains: “The DOJ ‘fact sheet’ goes on to tell us there are 300 ‘terrorists’ in custody. But look at what they have to do to get there: (a) gone is the ‘since 9/11′ limitation — the 300 figure represents all terrorists ever convicted who are still in jail; and (b) they have to add in domestic terrorists to goose up the numbers — even though no one is contending that domestic terrorists should be treated as enemy combatants. We are at war with al-Qaeda, not PETA.” Even the lesser figure of 195 is highly suspect. McCarthy has a good idea: have the Justice Department release all the backup data. It would be the transparent thing to do.

Even those who like the idea of civilian trials for terrorists are furious with the Obami. Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations: “There is no question that the Obama administration blundered by failing to ensure that New York’s leaders were fully committed to a civilian trial for KSM in New York City. The result has been a dismal outcome — an embarrassing climb down that leaves the United States looking too scared to mete out justice to the architect of the worst mass murder in U.S. history.”

Unlike Bob McDonnell in Virginia, Rep. Joe Sestak says he’d be “open to the idea” of hosting the KSM trial in his state.

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Like LBJ Losing Cronkite?

It wasn’t too long ago that Obama wasn’t funny. That is, none of the late-night comics thought he was funny. The New Yorker couldn’t run a funny cartoon on its cover. Obama was above jokes. You don’t laugh at “sort of God,” you see. But as the mask of competence slips and the blunders mount, he becomes once again a comic target. Howard Kurtz tells us Obama is now really in trouble because he’s lost Jon Stewart:

It was inevitable that Obama would become a late-night target, at least when Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Dave Letterman have taken time out from sliming each other. But Stewart, who makes no secret of leaning left, is a pop-culture bellwether. And while the White House notes that Obama used the prompter to address journalists, not the students, the details matter little in comedy.

Stewart’s barbs are generating partisan buzz. …

“He’s clearly become an important cultural arbiter,” says Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs. “He’s pulled off the trick of being taken seriously when he wants to be and taken frivolously when he wants to be.”

What is even more remarkable is that “real” news people seem to take their cues from a comic. He’s an “icon” to real journalists, Kurtz tells us. He quotes Brian Williams: “A lot of the work that Jon and his staff do is serious. They hold people to account, for errors and sloppiness.” Well, everything is relative, I suppose. The “real” media’s disinclination to treat Obama as roughly as they have treated previous presidents has left the field wide open for a cable network comic to play the role that independent journalists used to — holding the White House accountable, skewering the president for errors, and refusing to take seriously the spin coming from administration flacks.

It may be that Stewart’s newfound boldness in ribbing Obama is indicative of a change in Obama’s fortunes. But it also speaks volumes about the reluctance of the entire media — serious and otherwise — for the better part of a year to critically assess Obama’s policies and political instincts.

Now that the spell is broken and Obama is “funny,” maybe the media will discover he is also fodder for serious reporting. Perhaps they will ask some serious questions — when and if he ever gives another press conference. How was it that he claimed that the Christmas Day bomber was an isolated extremist? Did he really let Eric Holder come up with the idea all on his own for a New York trial for KSM? Did Obama not know that his own health-care plan would chase Americans out of their own health-care plans? Why did he sign an omnibus spending bill with 9,000 earmarks if earmarks are nothing more than petty corruption? How can he say the stimulus is a success if he promised it would keep unemployment at 8 percent?  There is nothing funny about any of those issues, but the media might want to press the president for answers to these and other queries. At least if they want to stay ahead of Jon Stewart.

It wasn’t too long ago that Obama wasn’t funny. That is, none of the late-night comics thought he was funny. The New Yorker couldn’t run a funny cartoon on its cover. Obama was above jokes. You don’t laugh at “sort of God,” you see. But as the mask of competence slips and the blunders mount, he becomes once again a comic target. Howard Kurtz tells us Obama is now really in trouble because he’s lost Jon Stewart:

It was inevitable that Obama would become a late-night target, at least when Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Dave Letterman have taken time out from sliming each other. But Stewart, who makes no secret of leaning left, is a pop-culture bellwether. And while the White House notes that Obama used the prompter to address journalists, not the students, the details matter little in comedy.

Stewart’s barbs are generating partisan buzz. …

“He’s clearly become an important cultural arbiter,” says Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs. “He’s pulled off the trick of being taken seriously when he wants to be and taken frivolously when he wants to be.”

What is even more remarkable is that “real” news people seem to take their cues from a comic. He’s an “icon” to real journalists, Kurtz tells us. He quotes Brian Williams: “A lot of the work that Jon and his staff do is serious. They hold people to account, for errors and sloppiness.” Well, everything is relative, I suppose. The “real” media’s disinclination to treat Obama as roughly as they have treated previous presidents has left the field wide open for a cable network comic to play the role that independent journalists used to — holding the White House accountable, skewering the president for errors, and refusing to take seriously the spin coming from administration flacks.

It may be that Stewart’s newfound boldness in ribbing Obama is indicative of a change in Obama’s fortunes. But it also speaks volumes about the reluctance of the entire media — serious and otherwise — for the better part of a year to critically assess Obama’s policies and political instincts.

Now that the spell is broken and Obama is “funny,” maybe the media will discover he is also fodder for serious reporting. Perhaps they will ask some serious questions — when and if he ever gives another press conference. How was it that he claimed that the Christmas Day bomber was an isolated extremist? Did he really let Eric Holder come up with the idea all on his own for a New York trial for KSM? Did Obama not know that his own health-care plan would chase Americans out of their own health-care plans? Why did he sign an omnibus spending bill with 9,000 earmarks if earmarks are nothing more than petty corruption? How can he say the stimulus is a success if he promised it would keep unemployment at 8 percent?  There is nothing funny about any of those issues, but the media might want to press the president for answers to these and other queries. At least if they want to stay ahead of Jon Stewart.

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Forgetting that Chris Matthews Is the Serious One …

Jon Stewart and the team at Comedy Central had some fun at the expense of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who, in the aftermath of President Obama’s State of the Union address, helpfully informed us that, for an hour, he forgot Obama was black. Take a look.

And remember: Matthews is the serious voice on MSNBC’s prime-time lineup.

Jon Stewart and the team at Comedy Central had some fun at the expense of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who, in the aftermath of President Obama’s State of the Union address, helpfully informed us that, for an hour, he forgot Obama was black. Take a look.

And remember: Matthews is the serious voice on MSNBC’s prime-time lineup.

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Keith Olbermann: Beyond Satire

Here’s Jon Stewart mocking MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann over the latter’s comments on Scott Brown. Stewart is clever and funny, as he usually is; but what is most revealing is that Stewart, in attempting to lampoon Olbermann, comes across as far more sane and balanced than Olbermann does in real life. It’s official, then: Keith Olbermann is now beyond satirizing. He has entered territory where almost no man has gone before. And he’s all yours, MSNBC.

Here’s Jon Stewart mocking MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann over the latter’s comments on Scott Brown. Stewart is clever and funny, as he usually is; but what is most revealing is that Stewart, in attempting to lampoon Olbermann, comes across as far more sane and balanced than Olbermann does in real life. It’s official, then: Keith Olbermann is now beyond satirizing. He has entered territory where almost no man has gone before. And he’s all yours, MSNBC.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

It seems that some human rights organization (or perhaps our secretary of state of 19-million-glass-ceiling-cracks fame) should care about all this: “Who, exactly, is it the misogyny-frenzied brutes in charge of administering ‘justice’ to the Saudi distaff side are protecting — and from what? When they condemn a woman who’s been gang-raped to 200 lashes for ‘having sex outside marriage,’ or give a destitute 75-year-old widow 40 lashes for engaging in ‘prohibited mingling’ by receiving charity from two young male relatives, or, in the most recent (known) instance, sentence a 13-year-old girl to 90 lashes — to be delivered in front of her classmates — for bringing a cell phone to school — what do they believe they are doing?”

Meanwhile, Cliff May reminds us that “in a growing number of Muslim-majority countries, a war is being waged against non-Muslim minorities. Where non-Muslim minorities already have been ‘cleansed’ — as in Afghanistan and Iraq — the attacks are against their memory. Ethnic minorities also are being targeted: The genocidal conflict against the black Muslims of Darfur is only the most infamous example. … In response to all this, Western journalists, academics, diplomats, and politicians mainly avert their eyes and hold their tongues. They pretend there are no stories to be written, no social pathologies to be documented, no actions to be taken. They focus instead on Switzerland’s vote against minarets and anything Israel might be doing to prevent terrorists from claiming additional victims.”

Marc Thiessen dismantles Christiane Amanpour and her misrepresentations of waterboarding. Notice that when an informed conservative goes up against a liberal on terrorism issues (e.g., Cliff May vs. Jon Stewart, John Yoo vs. Jon Stewart), the liberal is never quite prepared. Almost like they all live in an echo chamber, with no one to challenge their firmly held and factually unsupported views.

Stuart Rothenberg moves the Arkansas Senate seat to “leans takeover”: “Multiple independent polls now show Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) losing or running even in ballot tests against any number of lower-tier GOP challengers.”

As if Arlen Specter didn’t have enough problems (including picking the exact wrong year to switch parties): “The deeply odd couple of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) appeared together on a Philly radio station yesterday — and things got ugly in short order.” Specter, it seems, told Bachmann to “act like a lady.”

And Specter certainly does have problems: “Republican Pat Toomey now leads incumbent Senator Arlen Specter 49% to 40% in Pennsylvania’s race for the U.S. Senate. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Pennsylvania voters also finds Toomey with a 43% to 35% lead over Democratic challenger Joe Sestak.” As goes Massachusetts, so goes Pennsylvania?

Quin Hillyer writes a smart column: you don’t win upset political races unless you compete. “Too many professional pols and pollsters, consultants and consiglieres, allow their assessment of political potential to be hamstrung by conventional wisdom and by past results. Especially on the right of center, the political class in Washington consistently underestimates what can be achieved by solid principles well communicated. Washington Republicans especially act too often as if they expect to lose and are resigned to losing, just a little more slowly.”

It seems that some human rights organization (or perhaps our secretary of state of 19-million-glass-ceiling-cracks fame) should care about all this: “Who, exactly, is it the misogyny-frenzied brutes in charge of administering ‘justice’ to the Saudi distaff side are protecting — and from what? When they condemn a woman who’s been gang-raped to 200 lashes for ‘having sex outside marriage,’ or give a destitute 75-year-old widow 40 lashes for engaging in ‘prohibited mingling’ by receiving charity from two young male relatives, or, in the most recent (known) instance, sentence a 13-year-old girl to 90 lashes — to be delivered in front of her classmates — for bringing a cell phone to school — what do they believe they are doing?”

Meanwhile, Cliff May reminds us that “in a growing number of Muslim-majority countries, a war is being waged against non-Muslim minorities. Where non-Muslim minorities already have been ‘cleansed’ — as in Afghanistan and Iraq — the attacks are against their memory. Ethnic minorities also are being targeted: The genocidal conflict against the black Muslims of Darfur is only the most infamous example. … In response to all this, Western journalists, academics, diplomats, and politicians mainly avert their eyes and hold their tongues. They pretend there are no stories to be written, no social pathologies to be documented, no actions to be taken. They focus instead on Switzerland’s vote against minarets and anything Israel might be doing to prevent terrorists from claiming additional victims.”

Marc Thiessen dismantles Christiane Amanpour and her misrepresentations of waterboarding. Notice that when an informed conservative goes up against a liberal on terrorism issues (e.g., Cliff May vs. Jon Stewart, John Yoo vs. Jon Stewart), the liberal is never quite prepared. Almost like they all live in an echo chamber, with no one to challenge their firmly held and factually unsupported views.

Stuart Rothenberg moves the Arkansas Senate seat to “leans takeover”: “Multiple independent polls now show Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) losing or running even in ballot tests against any number of lower-tier GOP challengers.”

As if Arlen Specter didn’t have enough problems (including picking the exact wrong year to switch parties): “The deeply odd couple of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) appeared together on a Philly radio station yesterday — and things got ugly in short order.” Specter, it seems, told Bachmann to “act like a lady.”

And Specter certainly does have problems: “Republican Pat Toomey now leads incumbent Senator Arlen Specter 49% to 40% in Pennsylvania’s race for the U.S. Senate. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Pennsylvania voters also finds Toomey with a 43% to 35% lead over Democratic challenger Joe Sestak.” As goes Massachusetts, so goes Pennsylvania?

Quin Hillyer writes a smart column: you don’t win upset political races unless you compete. “Too many professional pols and pollsters, consultants and consiglieres, allow their assessment of political potential to be hamstrung by conventional wisdom and by past results. Especially on the right of center, the political class in Washington consistently underestimates what can be achieved by solid principles well communicated. Washington Republicans especially act too often as if they expect to lose and are resigned to losing, just a little more slowly.”

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Isn’t there some way to stop the kidnapping of Isralis like Gilad Shalit and end Hamas’s reign of terror? Well, when the people of Gaza have had enough: “Surely there have to be some who have begun to notice the flourishing of their brethren in Judea and Samaria and to ask themselves why they’ve been sentenced by Khaled Meshaal and his masters in Damascus and Syria to live lives as less than humans, as pawns in Hamas’s own very nerve-racking game; and, feeling all the horror of what they’ve become, begin to contemplate taking a stand against it. The moment they do will be the moment Hamas’s power over them—and the Israelis—ends.”

Hotline gets it right: “A poll of GOP insiders suggests that ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has little support among the party’s professional class — and maybe that’s just how she wants it.”

One of nine reasons why the unemployment figures are bad news for Democrats: “Remember this simple formula: Unemployment drives presidential approval numbers and presidential approval numbers drive midterm election results.” And this seems especially toxic for Democrats facing an election later this year: “Also, there is every indication that as the slowly growing economy eventually draws workers back in the labor force, the jobless rate will creep up to new highs. (Big companies remain cautious about hiring, and small biz remains under pressure due to tight capital markets.) The validity of the Obama recovery plan will seriously be cast in doubt.”

Sometimes you just can’t spin the news: “Unemployment has not gotten better; it has gotten worse, and the statistics have hidden the real decline in 2009.  Until now, only a few media outlets bothered to highlight the problem.  The AP has finally made it clear — and that will mean a lot more attention in 2010 to the failed Porkulus legislation and the fumbled economic strategies of the Obama administration.”

The Democratic Public Policy Polling finds that the Massachusetts senate race is “losable” for the Democrats: “At this point a plurality of those planning to turn out oppose the health care bill. The massive enthusiasm gap we saw in Virginia is playing itself out in Massachusetts as well. Republican voters are fired up and they’re going to turn out. Martha Coakley needs to have a coherent message up on the air over the last ten days that her election is critical to health care passing and Ted Kennedy’s legacy- right now Democrats in the state are not feeling a sense of urgency.” And Scott Brown’s favorable odds are actually higher than Bob McDonnell’s were in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Yes, this is Massachusetts.

Keep America Safe puts out a devastating video on Obama’s reaction to the Christmas Day bombing. Watch it here.

And maybe the Democrats in Congress will finally wake up: “The Obama administration’s plans to transfer two more Guantanamo Bay detainees overseas in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt is causing consternation on Capitol Hill. . .Recent reports about increasing rates of recidivism for transferred Guantanamo Bay terrorists is further complicating Obama’s goal of shuttering Guantanamo. In recent days, several media outlets have reported on an updated report by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency saying one in five former detainees have returned to militant activity.”

Jon Stewart rags on stealth health care, the broken C-SPAN promise, and all the other Obama campaign pledges that have gone by the wayside. He makes a good point: Fox is no longer the only news organization being tough on Obama.

Sen. Paul Kirk threatens to vote for ObamaCare even if Scott Brown wins. Just in case there was any doubt as to just how much contempt the majority party has for voters. Might this backfire on Coakley?

The Washington Post editors chide Obama for hiding from the press. For a guy who says the buck stops with him is not willing to be grilled, we see, on his own misstatements and performance.

Isn’t there some way to stop the kidnapping of Isralis like Gilad Shalit and end Hamas’s reign of terror? Well, when the people of Gaza have had enough: “Surely there have to be some who have begun to notice the flourishing of their brethren in Judea and Samaria and to ask themselves why they’ve been sentenced by Khaled Meshaal and his masters in Damascus and Syria to live lives as less than humans, as pawns in Hamas’s own very nerve-racking game; and, feeling all the horror of what they’ve become, begin to contemplate taking a stand against it. The moment they do will be the moment Hamas’s power over them—and the Israelis—ends.”

Hotline gets it right: “A poll of GOP insiders suggests that ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has little support among the party’s professional class — and maybe that’s just how she wants it.”

One of nine reasons why the unemployment figures are bad news for Democrats: “Remember this simple formula: Unemployment drives presidential approval numbers and presidential approval numbers drive midterm election results.” And this seems especially toxic for Democrats facing an election later this year: “Also, there is every indication that as the slowly growing economy eventually draws workers back in the labor force, the jobless rate will creep up to new highs. (Big companies remain cautious about hiring, and small biz remains under pressure due to tight capital markets.) The validity of the Obama recovery plan will seriously be cast in doubt.”

Sometimes you just can’t spin the news: “Unemployment has not gotten better; it has gotten worse, and the statistics have hidden the real decline in 2009.  Until now, only a few media outlets bothered to highlight the problem.  The AP has finally made it clear — and that will mean a lot more attention in 2010 to the failed Porkulus legislation and the fumbled economic strategies of the Obama administration.”

The Democratic Public Policy Polling finds that the Massachusetts senate race is “losable” for the Democrats: “At this point a plurality of those planning to turn out oppose the health care bill. The massive enthusiasm gap we saw in Virginia is playing itself out in Massachusetts as well. Republican voters are fired up and they’re going to turn out. Martha Coakley needs to have a coherent message up on the air over the last ten days that her election is critical to health care passing and Ted Kennedy’s legacy- right now Democrats in the state are not feeling a sense of urgency.” And Scott Brown’s favorable odds are actually higher than Bob McDonnell’s were in the Virginia gubernatorial race. Yes, this is Massachusetts.

Keep America Safe puts out a devastating video on Obama’s reaction to the Christmas Day bombing. Watch it here.

And maybe the Democrats in Congress will finally wake up: “The Obama administration’s plans to transfer two more Guantanamo Bay detainees overseas in the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt is causing consternation on Capitol Hill. . .Recent reports about increasing rates of recidivism for transferred Guantanamo Bay terrorists is further complicating Obama’s goal of shuttering Guantanamo. In recent days, several media outlets have reported on an updated report by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency saying one in five former detainees have returned to militant activity.”

Jon Stewart rags on stealth health care, the broken C-SPAN promise, and all the other Obama campaign pledges that have gone by the wayside. He makes a good point: Fox is no longer the only news organization being tough on Obama.

Sen. Paul Kirk threatens to vote for ObamaCare even if Scott Brown wins. Just in case there was any doubt as to just how much contempt the majority party has for voters. Might this backfire on Coakley?

The Washington Post editors chide Obama for hiding from the press. For a guy who says the buck stops with him is not willing to be grilled, we see, on his own misstatements and performance.

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Obama Becoming More ‘Transparent’ Every Day

Sometimes in the life of a politician, a particular moment, word, or act defines them — and badly damages them. This much-viewed montage of comments by Barack Obama, repeatedly promising that he would allow C-SPAN to broadcast health-care negotiations, may well qualify. The reason is that it requires no commentary or interpretation by others; it is Barack Obama in his own words — words we now know to be false, cynical, and (quite literally) unbelievable. My hunch is that this episode will do considerable harm to Obama’s standing with the public, in part because it annihilates what had been at the core of the Obama campaign and the Obama appeal: the belief that he embodied a new, uplifting kind of politics; that transparency would be a watchword of his presidency; that he would “turn the page” on the practice of cynical politics. It is not simply that the negotiations will not appear on C-SPAN; it is that the process itself has been a model of payoffs and backroom deals, of dishonest arguments and false claims, of secrecy and cynicism.

It’s important to recall that Obama was not elected because of his record or personal achievements or the power of his ideas; by those standards, Obama offered very little. His appeal was to the aesthetic side of politics; his supporters spoke of him, and at times Obama spoke of himself, in almost mythical terms. He would not only govern well, they believed; he would transform the way politics was practiced. Mr. Obama was so good, so pure, so very nearly perfect that, as one liberal person I correspond with wrote me, our country did not deserve him. (I responded that I agreed our country did not deserve Obama as president — but for the opposite reasons.)

It turns out it was all an elaborate, beautifully packaged, wonderfully choreographed, and deeply dishonest game. Before this concern was inchoate; now, thanks to the “these negotiations will be on C-SPAN” video, it is metastasizing. (It cannot be reassuring to the White House that Jon Stewart ridiculed Obama last night on his program; see the link to “Stealth Care Reform” here.)

One of the most precious qualities a president is granted by citizenry is trust, the belief that even if one disagrees with the president, his word is good, his integrity intact. When that is squandered — whether in drips and drabs or because of a single incident — there is often no way to get it back. And then, almost in the blink of an eye, things change. Without him realizing it, Mr. Obama may be reaching that point with the American public. They don’t like to be played for fools.

The health-care debate has involved pushing through massive, extremely unpopular, and incoherent legislation. In the process Mr. Obama has shattered the most appealing aspects of his image. The direct and collateral political damage of this entire enterprise on Mr. Obama and his party will be almost incalculable.

Sometimes in the life of a politician, a particular moment, word, or act defines them — and badly damages them. This much-viewed montage of comments by Barack Obama, repeatedly promising that he would allow C-SPAN to broadcast health-care negotiations, may well qualify. The reason is that it requires no commentary or interpretation by others; it is Barack Obama in his own words — words we now know to be false, cynical, and (quite literally) unbelievable. My hunch is that this episode will do considerable harm to Obama’s standing with the public, in part because it annihilates what had been at the core of the Obama campaign and the Obama appeal: the belief that he embodied a new, uplifting kind of politics; that transparency would be a watchword of his presidency; that he would “turn the page” on the practice of cynical politics. It is not simply that the negotiations will not appear on C-SPAN; it is that the process itself has been a model of payoffs and backroom deals, of dishonest arguments and false claims, of secrecy and cynicism.

It’s important to recall that Obama was not elected because of his record or personal achievements or the power of his ideas; by those standards, Obama offered very little. His appeal was to the aesthetic side of politics; his supporters spoke of him, and at times Obama spoke of himself, in almost mythical terms. He would not only govern well, they believed; he would transform the way politics was practiced. Mr. Obama was so good, so pure, so very nearly perfect that, as one liberal person I correspond with wrote me, our country did not deserve him. (I responded that I agreed our country did not deserve Obama as president — but for the opposite reasons.)

It turns out it was all an elaborate, beautifully packaged, wonderfully choreographed, and deeply dishonest game. Before this concern was inchoate; now, thanks to the “these negotiations will be on C-SPAN” video, it is metastasizing. (It cannot be reassuring to the White House that Jon Stewart ridiculed Obama last night on his program; see the link to “Stealth Care Reform” here.)

One of the most precious qualities a president is granted by citizenry is trust, the belief that even if one disagrees with the president, his word is good, his integrity intact. When that is squandered — whether in drips and drabs or because of a single incident — there is often no way to get it back. And then, almost in the blink of an eye, things change. Without him realizing it, Mr. Obama may be reaching that point with the American public. They don’t like to be played for fools.

The health-care debate has involved pushing through massive, extremely unpopular, and incoherent legislation. In the process Mr. Obama has shattered the most appealing aspects of his image. The direct and collateral political damage of this entire enterprise on Mr. Obama and his party will be almost incalculable.

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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

It sounds like a joke, but it’s all too real. John McCormack reports: “Senator Roland Burris is claiming credit for a provision in Harry Reid’s ‘manager’s amendment,’ unveiled Saturday morning, that could funnel money to ACORN through the health care bill.” And your problem is? Really, this is a graft-athon, so it’s only fitting that the senator selected by the most notoriously corrupt governor in America (a senator, by the way, who also lied about his connection to that same governor, only to be given a stern look and a slap on the wrist by his colleagues) would insert into the bill an earmark for “the Office of Minority Health” to be voted on in the middle of night so as to deliver a goodie bag for the most notoriously corrupt organization in America. It’s as if there were a conspiracy to see if Jon Stewart can be left speechless.

McCormack explains:

Earlier this year, Congress passed and the president signed into law a ban on federal funding for ACORN, but a judge ruled that that law was unconstitutional. If a higher court reverses that ruling, ACORN may be prohibited from receiving funds through the Office of Minority Health earmark. But according to the Senate legislative aide, ACORN would still “absolutely” qualify for federal funding through the provision in the underlying Reid bill because the anti-ACORN appropriations amendment would not apply to funds provided through the health care exchanges.

A spokesman for Sen. Harkin, chairman of the HELP committee, wrote in an email that he “will look into” which organizations qualify for funding under these provisions. Spokesmen for Senators Reid and Dodd did not immediately reply to emails.

This is what comes from a legislative process as noxious as this. (It almost obscures another issue: why do we fund health care by race?) Dana Milbank dubs it the “cash for cloture” bill. Indeed, it may replace the infamous transportation bill that gave us the “Bridge to Nowhere” as the symbol par excellence of congressional graft. He explains:

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) even disavowed Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback. “Nebraskans are frustrated and angry that our beloved state has been thrust into the same pot with all of the other special deals that get cut here,” he reported.

The accusations must worry Democrats, for Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), facing a difficult 2010 reelection contest, went to the Senate floor to declare: “I’m not happy about the backroom deals.”

I think Burris isn’t likely to be worried or embarrassed. But perhaps it’s just a bit too ludicrous to defend, so the conference committee might see fit to lose the ACORN handout. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can come up with an appropriate substitute to satisfy the junior senator from Illinois. Maybe a public-works project to improve and expand this structure.

It sounds like a joke, but it’s all too real. John McCormack reports: “Senator Roland Burris is claiming credit for a provision in Harry Reid’s ‘manager’s amendment,’ unveiled Saturday morning, that could funnel money to ACORN through the health care bill.” And your problem is? Really, this is a graft-athon, so it’s only fitting that the senator selected by the most notoriously corrupt governor in America (a senator, by the way, who also lied about his connection to that same governor, only to be given a stern look and a slap on the wrist by his colleagues) would insert into the bill an earmark for “the Office of Minority Health” to be voted on in the middle of night so as to deliver a goodie bag for the most notoriously corrupt organization in America. It’s as if there were a conspiracy to see if Jon Stewart can be left speechless.

McCormack explains:

Earlier this year, Congress passed and the president signed into law a ban on federal funding for ACORN, but a judge ruled that that law was unconstitutional. If a higher court reverses that ruling, ACORN may be prohibited from receiving funds through the Office of Minority Health earmark. But according to the Senate legislative aide, ACORN would still “absolutely” qualify for federal funding through the provision in the underlying Reid bill because the anti-ACORN appropriations amendment would not apply to funds provided through the health care exchanges.

A spokesman for Sen. Harkin, chairman of the HELP committee, wrote in an email that he “will look into” which organizations qualify for funding under these provisions. Spokesmen for Senators Reid and Dodd did not immediately reply to emails.

This is what comes from a legislative process as noxious as this. (It almost obscures another issue: why do we fund health care by race?) Dana Milbank dubs it the “cash for cloture” bill. Indeed, it may replace the infamous transportation bill that gave us the “Bridge to Nowhere” as the symbol par excellence of congressional graft. He explains:

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) even disavowed Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback. “Nebraskans are frustrated and angry that our beloved state has been thrust into the same pot with all of the other special deals that get cut here,” he reported.

The accusations must worry Democrats, for Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), facing a difficult 2010 reelection contest, went to the Senate floor to declare: “I’m not happy about the backroom deals.”

I think Burris isn’t likely to be worried or embarrassed. But perhaps it’s just a bit too ludicrous to defend, so the conference committee might see fit to lose the ACORN handout. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can come up with an appropriate substitute to satisfy the junior senator from Illinois. Maybe a public-works project to improve and expand this structure.

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Expectations

For some time, the Wayne and Garth school of Obama punditry (“We’re not worthy!”) was in fashion to explain why Obama was apparently not living up to expectations. He was too intellectual for us and wouldn’t play the usual partisan games. He was beyond our base nationalistic allegiances. “A sort of a god” was, like the real one, shrouded in mystery and beyond the ability of mere mortals to fully appreciate.

Now along comes a Politico column by Lisa Lerer explaining that the real issue is that we expect too much from the One. At Copenhagen:

But it will be almost impossible for Obama not to disappoint the world when he arrives here next week — in large part because the world keeps ratcheting up the expectations on him. When Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it was declaring global warming a danger to human health, the administration might have hoped it was merely providing a catalyst — a sense of U.S. commitment — on the first day of two weeks of talks here. But leaders from the United Nations and the European Union insist that the EPA endangerment finding is something bigger — proof positive that Obama must have another rabbit to pull from his hat.

“Another rabbit”? I must have missed the Middle East peace accord, the agreement by Iran to give up its nukes, or some other small-mammal miracle. For Obama, of course, has yet to accomplish much of anything, either internationally or domestically (which is why, regarding the latter, we see Son of Stimulus in the works, which now brings guffaws from Jon Stewart).

But the American media and international elites are, if nothing else, dogged in their desire to help Obama succeed — both have invested so much in raising expectations to the dizzying heights they now decry. So now those expectations must be lowered:

Of course, no one expects this round of talks to lead directly to an actual treaty — a more realistic goal is a political agreement that might lead to a treaty down the road. But even that goal seems elusive, with a draft text from Danish negotiators sparking a minirevolt Tuesday from developing nations who say it would give too much power to rich countries. Some experts attributed the draft to a desire to accommodate the United States in the talks. “My sense is that the Danish text is an expression of a tactical mistake; they tried to make an agreement or a proposal that fit with what they believed was the American position,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of World Wildlife Fund’s global climate initiative.

The American people are slowly figuring out that there is no there there. He is, as Lisa Schiffren aptly describes, an “inexperienced, excessively ideological, and weak man who is naïve about the world and uncomfortable exercising American power during a time of war.” And while it is becoming increasingly obvious that he is “not an exceptional, or even particularly competent, leader … because so many politicians, interest groups and factions have an interest in his continued presence, no one is ready to reveal the man behind the curtain just yet.”

Far better, then, to decry the “expectations” of mere mortals than to hold Obama to account for his own actions and failures. Instead, he seems to be making the expectations game worse (“instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante”) and has done nothing to “restore science to its rightful place.” Well, that would entail restoring him to his rightful place within the cosmic order. And there’s no sign that he or his followers are ready for that.

For some time, the Wayne and Garth school of Obama punditry (“We’re not worthy!”) was in fashion to explain why Obama was apparently not living up to expectations. He was too intellectual for us and wouldn’t play the usual partisan games. He was beyond our base nationalistic allegiances. “A sort of a god” was, like the real one, shrouded in mystery and beyond the ability of mere mortals to fully appreciate.

Now along comes a Politico column by Lisa Lerer explaining that the real issue is that we expect too much from the One. At Copenhagen:

But it will be almost impossible for Obama not to disappoint the world when he arrives here next week — in large part because the world keeps ratcheting up the expectations on him. When Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it was declaring global warming a danger to human health, the administration might have hoped it was merely providing a catalyst — a sense of U.S. commitment — on the first day of two weeks of talks here. But leaders from the United Nations and the European Union insist that the EPA endangerment finding is something bigger — proof positive that Obama must have another rabbit to pull from his hat.

“Another rabbit”? I must have missed the Middle East peace accord, the agreement by Iran to give up its nukes, or some other small-mammal miracle. For Obama, of course, has yet to accomplish much of anything, either internationally or domestically (which is why, regarding the latter, we see Son of Stimulus in the works, which now brings guffaws from Jon Stewart).

But the American media and international elites are, if nothing else, dogged in their desire to help Obama succeed — both have invested so much in raising expectations to the dizzying heights they now decry. So now those expectations must be lowered:

Of course, no one expects this round of talks to lead directly to an actual treaty — a more realistic goal is a political agreement that might lead to a treaty down the road. But even that goal seems elusive, with a draft text from Danish negotiators sparking a minirevolt Tuesday from developing nations who say it would give too much power to rich countries. Some experts attributed the draft to a desire to accommodate the United States in the talks. “My sense is that the Danish text is an expression of a tactical mistake; they tried to make an agreement or a proposal that fit with what they believed was the American position,” said Kim Carstensen, leader of World Wildlife Fund’s global climate initiative.

The American people are slowly figuring out that there is no there there. He is, as Lisa Schiffren aptly describes, an “inexperienced, excessively ideological, and weak man who is naïve about the world and uncomfortable exercising American power during a time of war.” And while it is becoming increasingly obvious that he is “not an exceptional, or even particularly competent, leader … because so many politicians, interest groups and factions have an interest in his continued presence, no one is ready to reveal the man behind the curtain just yet.”

Far better, then, to decry the “expectations” of mere mortals than to hold Obama to account for his own actions and failures. Instead, he seems to be making the expectations game worse (“instead of staying home from Copenhagen and sending a message that the United States will not be a party to fraudulent scientific practices, the president has upped the ante”) and has done nothing to “restore science to its rightful place.” Well, that would entail restoring him to his rightful place within the cosmic order. And there’s no sign that he or his followers are ready for that.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Michael Gerson on the West Point speech: “After a sober, coherent beginning, the speech became defensive and overly self-referential. Large portions of his remarks concerned his own personal views and struggles, designed to prove he did not take the decision ‘lightly.’ … Great war speeches involve policy, words and tone. On Tuesday night, the president’s policy was strong. His words sent conflicting messages of resolve and reluctance. His tone was uninspired and uninspiring. But we can hope that good policy is good enough.”

Jon Stewart goes to town on Climategate: “Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions: “The attorney general himself admitted during his testimony that military commissions — part of settled law for hundreds of years — are a perfectly proper way to try war criminals. In fact, as KSM and his cohorts are sent to New York, the administration is sending five other terrorists before military tribunals. So let’s be clear: The KSM decision was not compelled by our Constitution. Nor was it a strategic decision designed to increase the government’s chances of success at trial.”

Once again, “No!”: “Iran said Wednesday it will enrich uranium to a higher level on its own, the latest indication the country was rejecting a U.N.-backed proposal aimed at thwarting any effort by Tehran to make material for a nuclear weapon. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted Iran will not negotiate with the West over its nuclear program.”

Some doctors’ groups are catching on: “The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients. The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas. … They join a handful of other state medical associations that have opposed the bill in recent weeks, including Florida, Georgia and Texas.”

Not even Democratic governors will back this monstrosity: “Republican governors are not alone in being concerned about what the proposed health care legislation might mean for their already overstrained budgets: Democrats share the same worries. ‘We’ve got concerns,’ Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware said in an interview Wednesday, hours before getting elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. ‘And we’re doing our best to communicate them. We understand the need to get something done, and we’re supportive of getting something done. But we want to make sure it’s done in a way that state budgets are not negatively impacted.’”

But they’ve worked so hard this year: “The House will work a total of 17 days during January and February of next year, according to the 2010 legislative calendar released Wednesday by the Majority Leader’s office. Finishing what many veteran Capitol Hill aides described as the busiest legislative year they can remember, the House now appears to be setting itself up for a significant downshift in 2010.”

New math: “We’re spending $450 billion on subsidies to drive up insurance premiums in the individual insurance market by 10–13% (according to the CBO), and this is defined as ‘success.’ Remember when health-care reform was about lowering costs?”

Michael Gerson on the West Point speech: “After a sober, coherent beginning, the speech became defensive and overly self-referential. Large portions of his remarks concerned his own personal views and struggles, designed to prove he did not take the decision ‘lightly.’ … Great war speeches involve policy, words and tone. On Tuesday night, the president’s policy was strong. His words sent conflicting messages of resolve and reluctance. His tone was uninspired and uninspiring. But we can hope that good policy is good enough.”

Jon Stewart goes to town on Climategate: “Poor Al Gore. Global warming completely debunked via the very Internet you invented.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions: “The attorney general himself admitted during his testimony that military commissions — part of settled law for hundreds of years — are a perfectly proper way to try war criminals. In fact, as KSM and his cohorts are sent to New York, the administration is sending five other terrorists before military tribunals. So let’s be clear: The KSM decision was not compelled by our Constitution. Nor was it a strategic decision designed to increase the government’s chances of success at trial.”

Once again, “No!”: “Iran said Wednesday it will enrich uranium to a higher level on its own, the latest indication the country was rejecting a U.N.-backed proposal aimed at thwarting any effort by Tehran to make material for a nuclear weapon. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted Iran will not negotiate with the West over its nuclear program.”

Some doctors’ groups are catching on: “The state’s largest doctors group is opposing healthcare legislation being debated in the Senate this week, saying it would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients. The California Medical Assn. represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, making it the second-largest state medical association in the country after Texas. … They join a handful of other state medical associations that have opposed the bill in recent weeks, including Florida, Georgia and Texas.”

Not even Democratic governors will back this monstrosity: “Republican governors are not alone in being concerned about what the proposed health care legislation might mean for their already overstrained budgets: Democrats share the same worries. ‘We’ve got concerns,’ Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware said in an interview Wednesday, hours before getting elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. ‘And we’re doing our best to communicate them. We understand the need to get something done, and we’re supportive of getting something done. But we want to make sure it’s done in a way that state budgets are not negatively impacted.’”

But they’ve worked so hard this year: “The House will work a total of 17 days during January and February of next year, according to the 2010 legislative calendar released Wednesday by the Majority Leader’s office. Finishing what many veteran Capitol Hill aides described as the busiest legislative year they can remember, the House now appears to be setting itself up for a significant downshift in 2010.”

New math: “We’re spending $450 billion on subsidies to drive up insurance premiums in the individual insurance market by 10–13% (according to the CBO), and this is defined as ‘success.’ Remember when health-care reform was about lowering costs?”

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Hillary with Jon Stewart

Hillary Clinton took time out last night to appear on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Neither she or he was all that funny, but–perhaps because her voice was raspy and she looked utterly exhausted–she came across quite sympathetically. She is obviously fighting for her political life. Stewart gave her a small hand in the “hope is overrated” department by joking that he’s been “clicking his ruby slippers together” without result. In the second part of the interview, she made her case for staying in the race, arguing that “big states” like Pennsylvania are important to the Democrats and deserve a say in who the nominee will be. She also claimed that her husband did not wrap up the race until June during his 1992 campaign. Unless she loses both big states today, I think it highly unlikely she will be leaving the race anytime soon.

Hillary Clinton took time out last night to appear on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Neither she or he was all that funny, but–perhaps because her voice was raspy and she looked utterly exhausted–she came across quite sympathetically. She is obviously fighting for her political life. Stewart gave her a small hand in the “hope is overrated” department by joking that he’s been “clicking his ruby slippers together” without result. In the second part of the interview, she made her case for staying in the race, arguing that “big states” like Pennsylvania are important to the Democrats and deserve a say in who the nominee will be. She also claimed that her husband did not wrap up the race until June during his 1992 campaign. Unless she loses both big states today, I think it highly unlikely she will be leaving the race anytime soon.

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