Commentary Magazine


Topic: media enablers

Running Against Obama

The Wall Street Journal‘s editors see a lesson in the contrasting approaches of two governors — Charlie Crist and Rick Perry:

The different political fortunes have a lot to do with their relative distance from Washington policies. While Mr. Perry has loudly condemned ObamaCare, Mr. Crist has waffled. Mr. Crist embraced not only the President’s “stimulus” bill but the President himself during a now-infamous moment. Mr. Perry refused stimulus dollars for unemployment insurance and education because the funds would simply have increased the demand for state money once the federal aid runs out.

Mr. Crist approved a $2.2 billion tax increase for the fiscal 2010 budget, even though he had promised that “stimulus” money would obviate the need for tax increases. Regardless of Washington’s plans to distribute taxpayer money, Mr. Perry has shown a willingness to cut spending, and during his tenure enacted tax relief for businesses and property owners.

The key in all this, as the editors implicitly acknowledge, is the out-of-step policies of the Obami and the Congress. If not for the spending binge, the fixation on job-killing, and hugely unpopular measures like ObamaCare, Perry would not have a target and Crist would not have been ensnared. The Democrats and their media enablers have obsessively railed at the “party of no.” Putting aside the fact that the allegation is false (Obama’s health-care summit proved this), it ignores the obvious: voters want their representatives to say no. Perry was rewarded for being a stalwart opponent of Obamaism — as were Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, and Scott Brown. There isn’t a winning coalition out there for “More ObamaCare!” or “Give Obama all the help he needs!”

And that is a problem for congressional Democrats, who will face a nationalized election, the sole issue being — stop Obama or more of the same. Right now, that’s an untenable position for Democrats, nearly all of whom have assisted in passing one or more parts of the agenda that has riled up the electorate. They can try to put some distance between themselves and the Obama agenda, but it’s getting late in the game, and the voters are awfully mad. If you doubt it, take a look at Charlie Crist’s poll numbers.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editors see a lesson in the contrasting approaches of two governors — Charlie Crist and Rick Perry:

The different political fortunes have a lot to do with their relative distance from Washington policies. While Mr. Perry has loudly condemned ObamaCare, Mr. Crist has waffled. Mr. Crist embraced not only the President’s “stimulus” bill but the President himself during a now-infamous moment. Mr. Perry refused stimulus dollars for unemployment insurance and education because the funds would simply have increased the demand for state money once the federal aid runs out.

Mr. Crist approved a $2.2 billion tax increase for the fiscal 2010 budget, even though he had promised that “stimulus” money would obviate the need for tax increases. Regardless of Washington’s plans to distribute taxpayer money, Mr. Perry has shown a willingness to cut spending, and during his tenure enacted tax relief for businesses and property owners.

The key in all this, as the editors implicitly acknowledge, is the out-of-step policies of the Obami and the Congress. If not for the spending binge, the fixation on job-killing, and hugely unpopular measures like ObamaCare, Perry would not have a target and Crist would not have been ensnared. The Democrats and their media enablers have obsessively railed at the “party of no.” Putting aside the fact that the allegation is false (Obama’s health-care summit proved this), it ignores the obvious: voters want their representatives to say no. Perry was rewarded for being a stalwart opponent of Obamaism — as were Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, and Scott Brown. There isn’t a winning coalition out there for “More ObamaCare!” or “Give Obama all the help he needs!”

And that is a problem for congressional Democrats, who will face a nationalized election, the sole issue being — stop Obama or more of the same. Right now, that’s an untenable position for Democrats, nearly all of whom have assisted in passing one or more parts of the agenda that has riled up the electorate. They can try to put some distance between themselves and the Obama agenda, but it’s getting late in the game, and the voters are awfully mad. If you doubt it, take a look at Charlie Crist’s poll numbers.

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The Best We Are Going to Do?

Diane Ravitch observes:

Our president must somehow wake up to the idea that he can’t “engage” people who strap suicide belts to their bodies or who drive cars loaded with explosives into crowded areas. No amount of outreach, no concessions, no sweet talk will persuade them to abandon their jihadist ideals. They are not persuadable. They are fanatics. They don’t care if we close Gitmo or give their brethren Miranda rights. They live to die, preferably by causing the deaths of many others, be they Christians, Muslims, Jews, Americans, or Europeans. They kill indiscriminately. That’s the nature of terrorism. Panetta knows this. When will Obama figure it out?

Obama’s spinners and wishful observers contend that Obama has figured this out. Or he will. Or there are hopeful signs that he will. And yet, if the light had dawned, one would expect some telling sign of a revelation — a shift in policy on Guantanamo or a short-circuiting to the KSM trial, for example — that Obama is convinced that our enemies must be defeated with every tool at our disposal, not talked out of their grievances. We have seen no such sign. Likewise on Iran, after many got their hopes up, we aren’t yet hearing about the prospect of those crippling sanctions. If anything, Obama has been consistent — some would say bull-headed — in his refusal to adjust his policies despite a plethora of evidence that engagement only works with those who wish to be engaged.

Among Obama’s advisers (including his chief of staff and secretary of state) as well as his most dutiful pundit cheerleaders, the talk is still engagement-happy. Clinton says we are leaving the door open for the mullahs — just in case they want to give up their nukes and stop murdering their citizens. Rahm Emanuel speaks fondly of the Cairo speech as a great achievement,  as if we are expected to avert our eyes from the results of their shockingly counterproductive Middle East policy. You would think those working for Obama would be brandishing new talking points if in fact we were in for a course correction.

Some of Obama’s media enablers swear that Obama turned a corner. Eleanor Clift reports that she spotted the president’s “inner outrage” over the Christmas Day attack. Really? Hard to spot it amid all that deadening bureaucratic talk. And hard to believe it, given that no one is to be fired and no fundamental policy assumptions are to be re-examined. It would be nice to think that Obama will “grow in office” — what conservatives are always urged to do (otherwise known as accommodating liberals). Unfortunately, he appears rather stuck in his ways. Unless Congress seizes the reins on some of these issues or the voters deliver a blow that cannot be ignored in the 2010 elections, I suspect we’re going to see more of the same. So, to answer Ravitch’s question, I don’t think Obama will figure it out any time soon, perhaps ever.

Diane Ravitch observes:

Our president must somehow wake up to the idea that he can’t “engage” people who strap suicide belts to their bodies or who drive cars loaded with explosives into crowded areas. No amount of outreach, no concessions, no sweet talk will persuade them to abandon their jihadist ideals. They are not persuadable. They are fanatics. They don’t care if we close Gitmo or give their brethren Miranda rights. They live to die, preferably by causing the deaths of many others, be they Christians, Muslims, Jews, Americans, or Europeans. They kill indiscriminately. That’s the nature of terrorism. Panetta knows this. When will Obama figure it out?

Obama’s spinners and wishful observers contend that Obama has figured this out. Or he will. Or there are hopeful signs that he will. And yet, if the light had dawned, one would expect some telling sign of a revelation — a shift in policy on Guantanamo or a short-circuiting to the KSM trial, for example — that Obama is convinced that our enemies must be defeated with every tool at our disposal, not talked out of their grievances. We have seen no such sign. Likewise on Iran, after many got their hopes up, we aren’t yet hearing about the prospect of those crippling sanctions. If anything, Obama has been consistent — some would say bull-headed — in his refusal to adjust his policies despite a plethora of evidence that engagement only works with those who wish to be engaged.

Among Obama’s advisers (including his chief of staff and secretary of state) as well as his most dutiful pundit cheerleaders, the talk is still engagement-happy. Clinton says we are leaving the door open for the mullahs — just in case they want to give up their nukes and stop murdering their citizens. Rahm Emanuel speaks fondly of the Cairo speech as a great achievement,  as if we are expected to avert our eyes from the results of their shockingly counterproductive Middle East policy. You would think those working for Obama would be brandishing new talking points if in fact we were in for a course correction.

Some of Obama’s media enablers swear that Obama turned a corner. Eleanor Clift reports that she spotted the president’s “inner outrage” over the Christmas Day attack. Really? Hard to spot it amid all that deadening bureaucratic talk. And hard to believe it, given that no one is to be fired and no fundamental policy assumptions are to be re-examined. It would be nice to think that Obama will “grow in office” — what conservatives are always urged to do (otherwise known as accommodating liberals). Unfortunately, he appears rather stuck in his ways. Unless Congress seizes the reins on some of these issues or the voters deliver a blow that cannot be ignored in the 2010 elections, I suspect we’re going to see more of the same. So, to answer Ravitch’s question, I don’t think Obama will figure it out any time soon, perhaps ever.

Read Less




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