Commentary Magazine


Topic: Kim Strassel

Democrats Raise White Flag in Class Warfare Gambit?

The Democrats have bollixed up what was supposed to be a “populist” (i.e., class warfare) midterm-election ploy –the extension of the Bush tax cuts for all but the “rich” (small businesses, investors, etc.). It turns out that the recession made Americans neither more envious of the rich nor more enamored of liberal statism but instead more sensitive to the need to bolster employers, foster growth, and abstain from doing things that make the economy even weaker (like  passing a mammoth tax and regulatory bill improperly labeled “health-care reform”).

As Kim Strassel explains:

The political problem Democrats have is self-created. Rather than embrace the winner of full tax relief, President Obama has chosen to draw an ideological line and to motivate his liberal base with his position against tax cuts “for the rich.” Democrats are now fearful that if they cave it will demoralize that base, and further handicap them in midterm races.

But if Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi don’t thrown in the towel on the Obama gambit, they may not be able to muster a majority for the president anyway, thereby embarrassing themselves (and him) and ensuring the defeat of any members silly enough to stick with the sinking U.S.S. Pelosi.

They might, as Strassel suggests, punt — do nothing before fleeing town. But that would look rather lame:

This option is, however, not so popular among many rank-and-file Democrats. Perhaps the only thing worse than being accused of voting for $700 billion in tax increases is being accused of doing nothing and allowing $4 trillion in tax increases, most of them on average Americans. Democrats will blame Republicans, but that will be hard to do if Democrats don’t even go through the vote motions.

The Republicans are exceptionally fortunate to have such inept opponents. If they can avoid the impulse to give away something for nothing (and in fairness to John Boehner, he’s pretty much abandoned his Sunday talk show mondo gaffe), they might not only win some political points but also drive a stake through the left, which for decades has inveighed against tax breaks for the “rich.” Finally, it seems we may all be Reagan supply siders. Conservative have every right to gloat.

The Democrats have bollixed up what was supposed to be a “populist” (i.e., class warfare) midterm-election ploy –the extension of the Bush tax cuts for all but the “rich” (small businesses, investors, etc.). It turns out that the recession made Americans neither more envious of the rich nor more enamored of liberal statism but instead more sensitive to the need to bolster employers, foster growth, and abstain from doing things that make the economy even weaker (like  passing a mammoth tax and regulatory bill improperly labeled “health-care reform”).

As Kim Strassel explains:

The political problem Democrats have is self-created. Rather than embrace the winner of full tax relief, President Obama has chosen to draw an ideological line and to motivate his liberal base with his position against tax cuts “for the rich.” Democrats are now fearful that if they cave it will demoralize that base, and further handicap them in midterm races.

But if Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi don’t thrown in the towel on the Obama gambit, they may not be able to muster a majority for the president anyway, thereby embarrassing themselves (and him) and ensuring the defeat of any members silly enough to stick with the sinking U.S.S. Pelosi.

They might, as Strassel suggests, punt — do nothing before fleeing town. But that would look rather lame:

This option is, however, not so popular among many rank-and-file Democrats. Perhaps the only thing worse than being accused of voting for $700 billion in tax increases is being accused of doing nothing and allowing $4 trillion in tax increases, most of them on average Americans. Democrats will blame Republicans, but that will be hard to do if Democrats don’t even go through the vote motions.

The Republicans are exceptionally fortunate to have such inept opponents. If they can avoid the impulse to give away something for nothing (and in fairness to John Boehner, he’s pretty much abandoned his Sunday talk show mondo gaffe), they might not only win some political points but also drive a stake through the left, which for decades has inveighed against tax breaks for the “rich.” Finally, it seems we may all be Reagan supply siders. Conservative have every right to gloat.

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Which Is the Party of Ideas?

Kim Strassel writes:

Marco Rubio appeared on a Sunday talk show this month to say something remarkable. The Republican running for Florida’s Senate seat suggested we reform Social Security by raising the retirement age for younger workers. Florida is home to 2.4 million senior citizens who like to vote. The blogs declared Mr. Rubio politically suicidal.

The response from Mr. Rubio’s primary competitor, Gov. Charlie Crist, was not remarkable. His campaign slammed Mr. Rubio’s idea as “cruel, unusual and unfair to seniors living on a fixed income.” Mr. Crist’s plan for $17.5 trillion in unfunded Social Security liabilities? Easy! He’ll root out “fraud” and “waste.”

Strassel says this is the real GOP “civil war”  — “the real divide is between reformers like Mr. Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who are running on principles and tough issues, and a GOP old guard that still finds it politically expedient to duck or demagogue issues.”

This also confirms that the mainstream media spin that Tea Party protesters are dolts, fools, and rubes is, well, media spin. The darling of the Tea Partiers is the smart-guy reformer, not the party hack. And the Democrats — including the allegedly “intellectual” president — are the ones playing games with the budget scoring on ObamaCare and shoving off on a commission the hard work of entitlement and budget reform.

Before the economy melted down and John McCain’s campaign ground to a halt (and then began to eat its own), McCain was running as a reformer, someone not beholden to the party insiders. He came up with a credible health-care plan that was not too different from many circulating among Republicans in Congress now. McCain was a flawed candidate, running in an impossible election year for a Republican, but the message of reform along with a healthy dose of impatience with White House insiderism is a solid message for conservatives. In fact, it’s more compelling after Obama (who has vividly demonstrated what needs to be reformed) than it was in 2008.

In 2010 and 2012, Republicans will need more competent proponents of that message. They have them in Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and others. Suddenly the party of ideas is once again the GOP, while the Democrats — and their infatuation for statism — suddenly seem rather stale.

Kim Strassel writes:

Marco Rubio appeared on a Sunday talk show this month to say something remarkable. The Republican running for Florida’s Senate seat suggested we reform Social Security by raising the retirement age for younger workers. Florida is home to 2.4 million senior citizens who like to vote. The blogs declared Mr. Rubio politically suicidal.

The response from Mr. Rubio’s primary competitor, Gov. Charlie Crist, was not remarkable. His campaign slammed Mr. Rubio’s idea as “cruel, unusual and unfair to seniors living on a fixed income.” Mr. Crist’s plan for $17.5 trillion in unfunded Social Security liabilities? Easy! He’ll root out “fraud” and “waste.”

Strassel says this is the real GOP “civil war”  — “the real divide is between reformers like Mr. Rubio and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who are running on principles and tough issues, and a GOP old guard that still finds it politically expedient to duck or demagogue issues.”

This also confirms that the mainstream media spin that Tea Party protesters are dolts, fools, and rubes is, well, media spin. The darling of the Tea Partiers is the smart-guy reformer, not the party hack. And the Democrats — including the allegedly “intellectual” president — are the ones playing games with the budget scoring on ObamaCare and shoving off on a commission the hard work of entitlement and budget reform.

Before the economy melted down and John McCain’s campaign ground to a halt (and then began to eat its own), McCain was running as a reformer, someone not beholden to the party insiders. He came up with a credible health-care plan that was not too different from many circulating among Republicans in Congress now. McCain was a flawed candidate, running in an impossible election year for a Republican, but the message of reform along with a healthy dose of impatience with White House insiderism is a solid message for conservatives. In fact, it’s more compelling after Obama (who has vividly demonstrated what needs to be reformed) than it was in 2008.

In 2010 and 2012, Republicans will need more competent proponents of that message. They have them in Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and others. Suddenly the party of ideas is once again the GOP, while the Democrats — and their infatuation for statism — suddenly seem rather stale.

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What’s in It?

Kim Strassel explains that the horde of amendments that Republicans offered during the reconciliation process helped smoke out exactly what Democrats were for and against:

Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) offered language to bar the government from subsidizing erectile dysfunction drugs for convicted pedophiles and rapists. Democrats voted. … No! Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) proposed exempting wounded soldiers from the new tax on medical devices. Democrats: No way! Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) wanted to exempt critical access rural hospitals from funding cuts. Senate Democrats: Forget it! This was Republicans’ opportunity to lay out every ugly provision and consequence of ObamaCare, and Democrats — because of the process they’d chosen — had to defend it all.

And so it went, into the wee Thursday hours. All Democrats in favor of taxing pacemakers? Aye! All Democrats in favor of keeping those seedy vote buyoffs? Aye! All Democrats in favor of raising taxes on middle-income families? Aye! All Democrats in favor of exempting themselves from elements of ObamaCare? Aye! All Democrats in favor of roasting small children in Aga ovens? (Okay, I made that one up, but you get the point.) Aye!

Democrats were miffed, and none more so than the Democrats on the ballot who can see the campaign ads that are sure to follow:

The record now shows that Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln is on board with higher premiums, that Colorado’s Michael Bennet is good to go with gutting Medicare Advantage, that Nevada’s Harry Reid is just fine with rationing, that New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand is cool with taxes on investment income, that California’s Barbara Boxer is right-o with employer mandates, and that Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter is willing to strip his home state of the right to opt out of the health law.

Democrats insist that the public will be enamored of the bill once they learn what is in it. But the reaction to the amendment flurry suggests otherwise. Democratic leaders were none too pleased to see the component parts of the bill laid bare. Indeed, Democrats seem delighted by the idea of ObamaCare but a lot less thrilled with defending each of its elements. In that regard, the debate – which will now absorb the country and explore the contents of the mammoth deal — may prove distasteful to those who must face their constituents and explain the consequences to employers and ordinary voters. Those leading the “repeal and replace!” charge would do well to highlight the gap between the “historic” happy talk and the grubby details.

Kim Strassel explains that the horde of amendments that Republicans offered during the reconciliation process helped smoke out exactly what Democrats were for and against:

Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) offered language to bar the government from subsidizing erectile dysfunction drugs for convicted pedophiles and rapists. Democrats voted. … No! Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) proposed exempting wounded soldiers from the new tax on medical devices. Democrats: No way! Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) wanted to exempt critical access rural hospitals from funding cuts. Senate Democrats: Forget it! This was Republicans’ opportunity to lay out every ugly provision and consequence of ObamaCare, and Democrats — because of the process they’d chosen — had to defend it all.

And so it went, into the wee Thursday hours. All Democrats in favor of taxing pacemakers? Aye! All Democrats in favor of keeping those seedy vote buyoffs? Aye! All Democrats in favor of raising taxes on middle-income families? Aye! All Democrats in favor of exempting themselves from elements of ObamaCare? Aye! All Democrats in favor of roasting small children in Aga ovens? (Okay, I made that one up, but you get the point.) Aye!

Democrats were miffed, and none more so than the Democrats on the ballot who can see the campaign ads that are sure to follow:

The record now shows that Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln is on board with higher premiums, that Colorado’s Michael Bennet is good to go with gutting Medicare Advantage, that Nevada’s Harry Reid is just fine with rationing, that New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand is cool with taxes on investment income, that California’s Barbara Boxer is right-o with employer mandates, and that Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter is willing to strip his home state of the right to opt out of the health law.

Democrats insist that the public will be enamored of the bill once they learn what is in it. But the reaction to the amendment flurry suggests otherwise. Democratic leaders were none too pleased to see the component parts of the bill laid bare. Indeed, Democrats seem delighted by the idea of ObamaCare but a lot less thrilled with defending each of its elements. In that regard, the debate – which will now absorb the country and explore the contents of the mammoth deal — may prove distasteful to those who must face their constituents and explain the consequences to employers and ordinary voters. Those leading the “repeal and replace!” charge would do well to highlight the gap between the “historic” happy talk and the grubby details.

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How Low?

Observing that Obama has hit a new low (45 percent) in Gallup, Ben Smith comments that “it sure is hard to make the case that all this health care talk is, at this point, anything but a political liability.” For Obama and the Democrats in Congress, it seems. As for the latter, the RealClearPolitics poll average has lawmakers at 19.3 percent approval and 75.7 percent disapproval. The spread has never been wider since the start of Obama’s presidency.

Democrats tell us — or tell themselves as panic grips them in the middle of the night — that this will improve once they pass an overwhelmingly unpopular bill through a series of parliamentary tricks. Yes, it sounds loony, and it is. But the hope — some would say the magical thinking that has gripped them — is that the base will recover its enthusiasm and stem the tide of rising anger. But the base isn’t that thrilled with ObamaCare. So “the Left will like us more” strikes one as the sort of desperate justification a San Francisco speaker of the House in an utterly safe seat would say. As Kim Strassel writes:

To believe this is to believe that a liberal base that remains furious with the White House on Guantanamo, on Afghanistan, on cap and trade, will turn out in enthusiastic droves because the White House passed a health bill that the same base views as a cop out. That base doesn’t want a health-care victory; it wants a public option. Unless the president is prepared to give it to them, Democrats might not want to bet November on base support.

There really is no telling how low the numbers can go for Obama and Congress. As George W. Bush’s numbers in his second term drifted lower and lower, Republicans kept waiting for the moment when they’d would recover. The Iraq war was going better, the economy hadn’t yet cratered, and Katrina was off the headlines — yet the numbers didn’t recover. Fairly or not (and deprived of the example of Obama, which has proved a boon to Bush nostalgia even among his grumpiest conservative detractors), the voters had tuned out and given up. That’s what can happen to a president.

In this case, Obama has more than two and a half years to recover. But overexposed and devoid of credibility, having frittered away precious capital on a hugely unpopular agenda item and created havoc in his own party, he cannot count on those numbers improving. Indeed, if he passes this over the protestations of the public — or if he doesn’t, and is reviled by his side as inept — he may look back fondly on the days when his approval rested in the mid 40s.

Observing that Obama has hit a new low (45 percent) in Gallup, Ben Smith comments that “it sure is hard to make the case that all this health care talk is, at this point, anything but a political liability.” For Obama and the Democrats in Congress, it seems. As for the latter, the RealClearPolitics poll average has lawmakers at 19.3 percent approval and 75.7 percent disapproval. The spread has never been wider since the start of Obama’s presidency.

Democrats tell us — or tell themselves as panic grips them in the middle of the night — that this will improve once they pass an overwhelmingly unpopular bill through a series of parliamentary tricks. Yes, it sounds loony, and it is. But the hope — some would say the magical thinking that has gripped them — is that the base will recover its enthusiasm and stem the tide of rising anger. But the base isn’t that thrilled with ObamaCare. So “the Left will like us more” strikes one as the sort of desperate justification a San Francisco speaker of the House in an utterly safe seat would say. As Kim Strassel writes:

To believe this is to believe that a liberal base that remains furious with the White House on Guantanamo, on Afghanistan, on cap and trade, will turn out in enthusiastic droves because the White House passed a health bill that the same base views as a cop out. That base doesn’t want a health-care victory; it wants a public option. Unless the president is prepared to give it to them, Democrats might not want to bet November on base support.

There really is no telling how low the numbers can go for Obama and Congress. As George W. Bush’s numbers in his second term drifted lower and lower, Republicans kept waiting for the moment when they’d would recover. The Iraq war was going better, the economy hadn’t yet cratered, and Katrina was off the headlines — yet the numbers didn’t recover. Fairly or not (and deprived of the example of Obama, which has proved a boon to Bush nostalgia even among his grumpiest conservative detractors), the voters had tuned out and given up. That’s what can happen to a president.

In this case, Obama has more than two and a half years to recover. But overexposed and devoid of credibility, having frittered away precious capital on a hugely unpopular agenda item and created havoc in his own party, he cannot count on those numbers improving. Indeed, if he passes this over the protestations of the public — or if he doesn’t, and is reviled by his side as inept — he may look back fondly on the days when his approval rested in the mid 40s.

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It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

Kim Strassel thinks ObamaCare isn’t a done deal. Not by a long shot. She writes: “Republican Scott Brown is running strong in Massachusetts on a promise to be the 41st vote against health care in the Senate. Democrats’ bigger worry right now is whether Mr. Brown might prove the 218th vote against health care in the House.” In other words, Nancy Pelosi may have a heck of a time rounding up the votes in January, especially if Massachusetts delivers a body blow to the Democrats. As Strassel notes, since the last time House members were forced to walk the plank, the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial results have had time to sink in, ObamaCare and the president himself have continued to sink in the polls, and now Massachusetts is proving more than the Democrats can handle.

Strassel explains:

Of her three-yes-vote margin, Democrat Robert Wexler has resigned; his seat remains unfilled until April. Republican Joseph Cao won’t be the final vote for a Democratic bill. As for the 39 Dems who initially voted against the legislation, a vote flip now would be an invitation to be singled out—a la Blanche Lincoln—as the individual who brought the nation ObamaCare.

We shouldn’t underestimate the ability of the White House to strong-arm Democrats, but neither should we underestimate the fear factor that must be gripping the Democratic caucus. If Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, and maybe even Harry Reid are goners, could they be next?

In some sense, the Republicans are in the catbird’s seat. If ObamaCare fails, they can claim a measure of credit for having advertised its weaknesses and persuaded their colleagues of its toxicity. And if it passes, that’s the top issue for the 2010 campaign. As for Obama, what was to be his signature piece of legislation has now become a political trap. The solution, of course, is to scuttle the current bill and come up with a remodeled, truly bipartisan approach that eschews the most noxious parts of ObamaCare (e.g., forcing Americans into the arms of Big Insurance, taxing rich and not-rich voters). But for now, that seems not to be on the radar, so the House Democrats’ dilemma remains: a leadership that insists its members pass a bill that may well spell the end of Democratic majority status.

Kim Strassel thinks ObamaCare isn’t a done deal. Not by a long shot. She writes: “Republican Scott Brown is running strong in Massachusetts on a promise to be the 41st vote against health care in the Senate. Democrats’ bigger worry right now is whether Mr. Brown might prove the 218th vote against health care in the House.” In other words, Nancy Pelosi may have a heck of a time rounding up the votes in January, especially if Massachusetts delivers a body blow to the Democrats. As Strassel notes, since the last time House members were forced to walk the plank, the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial results have had time to sink in, ObamaCare and the president himself have continued to sink in the polls, and now Massachusetts is proving more than the Democrats can handle.

Strassel explains:

Of her three-yes-vote margin, Democrat Robert Wexler has resigned; his seat remains unfilled until April. Republican Joseph Cao won’t be the final vote for a Democratic bill. As for the 39 Dems who initially voted against the legislation, a vote flip now would be an invitation to be singled out—a la Blanche Lincoln—as the individual who brought the nation ObamaCare.

We shouldn’t underestimate the ability of the White House to strong-arm Democrats, but neither should we underestimate the fear factor that must be gripping the Democratic caucus. If Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, and maybe even Harry Reid are goners, could they be next?

In some sense, the Republicans are in the catbird’s seat. If ObamaCare fails, they can claim a measure of credit for having advertised its weaknesses and persuaded their colleagues of its toxicity. And if it passes, that’s the top issue for the 2010 campaign. As for Obama, what was to be his signature piece of legislation has now become a political trap. The solution, of course, is to scuttle the current bill and come up with a remodeled, truly bipartisan approach that eschews the most noxious parts of ObamaCare (e.g., forcing Americans into the arms of Big Insurance, taxing rich and not-rich voters). But for now, that seems not to be on the radar, so the House Democrats’ dilemma remains: a leadership that insists its members pass a bill that may well spell the end of Democratic majority status.

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Suspending Reason

Kim Strassel notes that support for ObamaCare seems to be, well, slight. The polling is atrocious. The Left has gone bonkers over the loss of the public option. The bill’s particulars are essentially unknown. So why the furor to get it passed? Strassel suggests:

The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.

So why haven’t the vulnerable Democrats caught on, and why are they still supporting this? Well, the Red State Democrats may feel queasy, but they’re being cajoled and strong-armed on a daily basis. These are creatures of the party, and the party, with all its leaders, is pressing ahead, urging them to stick with their colleagues. And when the president calls you to the White House, it’s awfully hard to say no.

And then there’s the interpretation — or misinterpretation — of 1994. The White House has held up the collapse of HillaryCare and the Democratic wipeout in 1994 as evidence of what happens to an incumbent party that doesn’t do something, no matter how half-baked. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, as Jeffrey Anderson and Andy Wickersham point out. They note that those Democrats who suffered most at the polls in 1994 were not conservative Democrats but instead those typical mainstream Democrats who supported HillaryCare.

So Red State Democrats are caught in a bind. Their president and leaders are pushing hard for them to support ObamaCare. The voters are telling them that if they vote for this monstrosity, they will suffer at the polls. If they can withstand the pressure tactics and if they think hard about 1994 and 2010, they might reconsider being sent off to political slaughter. But Harry Reid promises to keep them there 24 hours a day, just the environment that makes rational decision-making nearly impossible.

Kim Strassel notes that support for ObamaCare seems to be, well, slight. The polling is atrocious. The Left has gone bonkers over the loss of the public option. The bill’s particulars are essentially unknown. So why the furor to get it passed? Strassel suggests:

The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

The entitlement crazes of the 1930s and 1960s also caused a backlash, but liberal Democrats know the programs of those periods survived. They are more than happy to sacrifice a few Blue Dogs, a Blanche Lincoln, a Michael Bennet, if they can expand government so that in the long run it benefits the party of government.

So why haven’t the vulnerable Democrats caught on, and why are they still supporting this? Well, the Red State Democrats may feel queasy, but they’re being cajoled and strong-armed on a daily basis. These are creatures of the party, and the party, with all its leaders, is pressing ahead, urging them to stick with their colleagues. And when the president calls you to the White House, it’s awfully hard to say no.

And then there’s the interpretation — or misinterpretation — of 1994. The White House has held up the collapse of HillaryCare and the Democratic wipeout in 1994 as evidence of what happens to an incumbent party that doesn’t do something, no matter how half-baked. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary, as Jeffrey Anderson and Andy Wickersham point out. They note that those Democrats who suffered most at the polls in 1994 were not conservative Democrats but instead those typical mainstream Democrats who supported HillaryCare.

So Red State Democrats are caught in a bind. Their president and leaders are pushing hard for them to support ObamaCare. The voters are telling them that if they vote for this monstrosity, they will suffer at the polls. If they can withstand the pressure tactics and if they think hard about 1994 and 2010, they might reconsider being sent off to political slaughter. But Harry Reid promises to keep them there 24 hours a day, just the environment that makes rational decision-making nearly impossible.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

COMMENTARY contributor Abe Greenwald catches Obama going neocon and observes: “As evil is now part of Barack Obama’s war lexicon, he must make this point, and he must speak of victory. For once evil is invoked, compromise is off the table. Evil demands defeat.”

Harry Reid’s Medicare “deal” may be falling apart: “Senate moderates who are the linchpin to passing a health care reform bill raised fresh worries Thursday about a proposed Medicare expansion, complicating Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hopes of putting together a filibuster-proof majority for the legislation in the coming days.”

There is “quite a bit of data confirming that Republicans, after hitting bottom, are on the rebound, while Democrats are feeling the heat as the party in power.” It seems that saying no to bad policies is a good strategy after all.

The assistant attorney general for civil rights smears the Justice Department attorneys who were on the trial team in the New Black Panther Party voter case. This is not a smart thing to do while subpoenas seek these same attorneys’ testimony about political interference by Obama appointees.

Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren slams J Street: “This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion. … But when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion. You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke. … I think it’s very important that you be up-front with them and say why these policies are outside the mainstream and why they are inimical to Israel’s fundamental interests.”

Kentucky Democrats blame a loss in a state-legislature race on the national political environment: “Notably, the GOP focused the race on the Democrats’ healthcare proposal and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).”

Charles Krauthammer explains the “shakedown” in Copenhagen: “Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.”

Kim Strassel thinks the EPA’s threat to regulate carbon emissions by bureaucratic fiat blew up in the Obami’s faces: “At least some congressional Democrats view this as breathing room, a further reason to not tackle a killer issue in the run-up to next year’s election. Mr. Obama may emerge from Copenhagen with some sort of ‘deal.’ But his real problem is getting Congress to act, and his EPA move may have just made that job harder.”

COMMENTARY contributor Abe Greenwald catches Obama going neocon and observes: “As evil is now part of Barack Obama’s war lexicon, he must make this point, and he must speak of victory. For once evil is invoked, compromise is off the table. Evil demands defeat.”

Harry Reid’s Medicare “deal” may be falling apart: “Senate moderates who are the linchpin to passing a health care reform bill raised fresh worries Thursday about a proposed Medicare expansion, complicating Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hopes of putting together a filibuster-proof majority for the legislation in the coming days.”

There is “quite a bit of data confirming that Republicans, after hitting bottom, are on the rebound, while Democrats are feeling the heat as the party in power.” It seems that saying no to bad policies is a good strategy after all.

The assistant attorney general for civil rights smears the Justice Department attorneys who were on the trial team in the New Black Panther Party voter case. This is not a smart thing to do while subpoenas seek these same attorneys’ testimony about political interference by Obama appointees.

Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren slams J Street: “This is not a matter of settlements here [or] there. We understand there are differences of opinion. … But when it comes to the survival of the Jewish state, there should be no differences of opinion. You are fooling around with the lives of 7 million people. This is no joke. … I think it’s very important that you be up-front with them and say why these policies are outside the mainstream and why they are inimical to Israel’s fundamental interests.”

Kentucky Democrats blame a loss in a state-legislature race on the national political environment: “Notably, the GOP focused the race on the Democrats’ healthcare proposal and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).”

Charles Krauthammer explains the “shakedown” in Copenhagen: “Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment. The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats. This time, however, the alleged justification is not abolishing oppression and inequality but saving the planet.”

Kim Strassel thinks the EPA’s threat to regulate carbon emissions by bureaucratic fiat blew up in the Obami’s faces: “At least some congressional Democrats view this as breathing room, a further reason to not tackle a killer issue in the run-up to next year’s election. Mr. Obama may emerge from Copenhagen with some sort of ‘deal.’ But his real problem is getting Congress to act, and his EPA move may have just made that job harder.”

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Well, after having a “total freeze” dangled before their eyes, of course the PA is not satisfied, hollering about Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s “political maneuvering” and “deception” is announcing a halt to new West Bank settlements for 10 months (but no restrictions on ongoing projects or housing within Jerusalem). “The PA is also furious with the US administration for hailing the decision as a step forward toward resuming the peace process in the Middle East.” Well, that’s what comes from the Obami’s incompetent gambit. How is it that George Mitchell still has a job?

Copenhagen round two: “Obama has come home from Copenhagen empty-handed once before — when he flew in to lobby for Chicago’s pitch for the 2016 Olympics, only to watch the International Olympic Committee reject his hometown’s bid in the first round of its voting.”

A very unpopular decision: “By 59% to 36%, more Americans believe accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried in a military court, rather than in a civilian criminal court.” Among independents, 63 percent favor a military tribunal.

Karl Rove reminds us that “since taking office Mr. Obama pushed through a $787 billion stimulus, a $33 billion expansion of the child health program known as S-chip, a $410 billion omnibus appropriations spending bill, and an $80 billion car company bailout. He also pushed a $821 billion cap-and-trade bill through the House and is now urging Congress to pass a nearly $1 trillion health-care bill.” But no worries — Obama would like a commission to address our fiscal mess.

Charles Krauthammer writes on ObamaCare: “The bill is irredeemable. It should not only be defeated. It should be immolated, its ashes scattered over the Senate swimming pool. … The better choice is targeted measures that attack the inefficiencies of the current system one by one — tort reform, interstate purchasing and taxing employee benefits. It would take 20 pages to write such a bill, not 2,000 — and provide the funds to cover the uninsured without wrecking both U.S. health care and the U.S. Treasury.” And it might even be politically popular.

Iran has managed to do the impossible: draw the ire of the IAEA and make Mohamed ElBaradei sound realistically pessimistic: “We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us.” The White House pipes up with a perfectly meaningless comment: “If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences.” Which are what exactly?

Marc Ambinder spins it as “circumspect”: “The upshot from the administration: now is the time to get serious. The world is united in favor of tougher, non-diplomatic means to pressure Iran. But no word on when or how — just yet.” But let’s get real — it’s more of the same irresoluteness and stalling we’ve heard all year from the Obami.

If you might lose something, you begin to appreciate what you have: “Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. That marks a steady increase from 44% at the beginning of October, 35% in May and 29% a year-and-a-half ago. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% now say the U.S. health care system is poor. It is interesting to note that confidence in the system has improved as the debate over health care reform has moved to center stage.”

Kim Strassel thinks the Copenhagen confab will be a bust in the wake of the scandal about the Climate Research Unit’s e-mails: “Instead of producing legally binding agreements, it will be dogged by queries about the legitimacy of the scientists who wrote the reports that form its basis.” And meanwhile “Republicans are launching investigations, and the pressure is building on Democrats to hold hearings, since climate scientists were funded with U.S. taxpayer dollars.”

Well, after having a “total freeze” dangled before their eyes, of course the PA is not satisfied, hollering about Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s “political maneuvering” and “deception” is announcing a halt to new West Bank settlements for 10 months (but no restrictions on ongoing projects or housing within Jerusalem). “The PA is also furious with the US administration for hailing the decision as a step forward toward resuming the peace process in the Middle East.” Well, that’s what comes from the Obami’s incompetent gambit. How is it that George Mitchell still has a job?

Copenhagen round two: “Obama has come home from Copenhagen empty-handed once before — when he flew in to lobby for Chicago’s pitch for the 2016 Olympics, only to watch the International Olympic Committee reject his hometown’s bid in the first round of its voting.”

A very unpopular decision: “By 59% to 36%, more Americans believe accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should be tried in a military court, rather than in a civilian criminal court.” Among independents, 63 percent favor a military tribunal.

Karl Rove reminds us that “since taking office Mr. Obama pushed through a $787 billion stimulus, a $33 billion expansion of the child health program known as S-chip, a $410 billion omnibus appropriations spending bill, and an $80 billion car company bailout. He also pushed a $821 billion cap-and-trade bill through the House and is now urging Congress to pass a nearly $1 trillion health-care bill.” But no worries — Obama would like a commission to address our fiscal mess.

Charles Krauthammer writes on ObamaCare: “The bill is irredeemable. It should not only be defeated. It should be immolated, its ashes scattered over the Senate swimming pool. … The better choice is targeted measures that attack the inefficiencies of the current system one by one — tort reform, interstate purchasing and taxing employee benefits. It would take 20 pages to write such a bill, not 2,000 — and provide the funds to cover the uninsured without wrecking both U.S. health care and the U.S. Treasury.” And it might even be politically popular.

Iran has managed to do the impossible: draw the ire of the IAEA and make Mohamed ElBaradei sound realistically pessimistic: “We have effectively reached a dead end, unless Iran engages fully with us.” The White House pipes up with a perfectly meaningless comment: “If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences.” Which are what exactly?

Marc Ambinder spins it as “circumspect”: “The upshot from the administration: now is the time to get serious. The world is united in favor of tougher, non-diplomatic means to pressure Iran. But no word on when or how — just yet.” But let’s get real — it’s more of the same irresoluteness and stalling we’ve heard all year from the Obami.

If you might lose something, you begin to appreciate what you have: “Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now rate the U.S. health care system as good or excellent. That marks a steady increase from 44% at the beginning of October, 35% in May and 29% a year-and-a-half ago. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% now say the U.S. health care system is poor. It is interesting to note that confidence in the system has improved as the debate over health care reform has moved to center stage.”

Kim Strassel thinks the Copenhagen confab will be a bust in the wake of the scandal about the Climate Research Unit’s e-mails: “Instead of producing legally binding agreements, it will be dogged by queries about the legitimacy of the scientists who wrote the reports that form its basis.” And meanwhile “Republicans are launching investigations, and the pressure is building on Democrats to hold hearings, since climate scientists were funded with U.S. taxpayer dollars.”

Read Less




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