Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Gloria Steinem comes up with a good idea (yes, she’s long overdue) on how to solve the Princess Caroline problem. But the kicker: it involves the Kennedy actually running for office. Might be a deal-breaker for the Princess who’s only interested in public life if it doesn’t entail winning the public’s approval.

There is a reason why Caroline thinks the rules don’t apply to her: the rules have never applied to her. Even in her one semi-real job for New York City’s Department of Education she was exempt from financial disclosure rules.

Wow, ya think all that debt might be a problem for the U.S. government? Some others are worried about a “time bomb” given that “about 40 percent of the debt held by private investors will mature in a year or less, according to Treasury officials. When those loans come due, the Treasury will have to borrow more money to repay them, even as it launches perhaps the most aggressive expansion of U.S. debt in modern history. With the government planning to roll over its short-term loans into more stable, long-term securities, experts say investors are likely to demand a greater return on their money, saddling taxpayers with huge new interest payments for years to come. Some analysts also worry that foreign investors, the largest U.S. creditors, may prove unable to absorb the skyrocketing debt, undermining confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global financial system.”

The Gray Lady pleads with the President-elect not to forget the tax increases. After all, why not tax investors and wealth-creators in a recession? (So far President-elect Obama’s advisors seem smarter than this, but time will tell whether the Obama team has more collective economic and political sense than the New York Times editorial page.  Yes, a low bar to clear, indeed.)

Victor Davis Hanson points out the edifying effect of the Gaza operation: “It is now clear that the so-called and much praised ‘international community,’ the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy.” But how many times do we need to re-learn that lesson?

David Ignatius is caught in his own web of contradictions: “Obama can’t wipe this slate clean. He inherits the legacy of hatred and suspicion. But that doesn’t change the essence of the challenge before him — to help the parties in the region turn a page and get on to a new one.” Actually, there is no helping people who don’t want help. And there is no wiping the slate clean when Hamas wants to destroy Israel. But it all sounds so nice.

He might not know how to balance a budget, but California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger gets the basics right on Gaza: “This past year, we have seen far too much violence throughout the world, from the continued genocide of the people in southern Sudan to the horrible bombings in the city of Mumbai, to this week’s violence between Hamas and Israel. Every nation has the right to defend itself against terrorism and cold-blooded attacks on its people. Israel is no different and is right to defend itself against the unceasing violence of rocket attacks launched by Hamas.”

In a nutshell why President-elect Obama will bring more continuity than change on Middle East policy and why his Lefty fan club won’t like it: “[T]the new President will recognize that the line about ‘where you stand depends on where you sit’ matters most when you sit in the Oval Office. Regardless of what he said as a candidate, perhaps no issue defies easy change more than American policy toward Israel. There’s a reason for that: fundamentally, that policy is both right and the best available. Just because it hasn’t succeeded entirely doesn’t mean it’s wrong, unless one assumes every problem in the world is America’s fault and can be fixed unilaterally.”

Cliff May explains why there is no “peace process” with Hamas: “Hamas was created to fight and win holy wars – not to seek peace and sing ‘Kumbaya’ with infidels. Hamas wants a Palestinian state in place of Israel – not next door to Israel. And for Hamas, preventing Palestinian carnage is not a priority. That’s not a slander; it’s a fact. As Hamas parliamentarian Fathi Hamad eloquently phrased it: ‘We desire death as you desire life.'”

Some big name conservatives back Ken Blackwell for RNC Chairman.

You can’t quibble with this headline: “G.M.’s Secret Success.” Top secret, I’d say.

Germany’s Angela Merkel has also (at least before the ground invasion) been unusually forthright in condemning Hamas.

Claudia Rosett if Ban Ki-Moon is out to destroy Israel: “Or is he simply a fool, dutifully reciting excerpts from the UN’s Moral Equivalency Manual and Guide to Validating Tyrants and Terrorists of the Middle East. (Seems like they must have one … Maybe Kofi Annan left his dog-eared copy to Ban?) Or maybe it all amounts to the same thing. Whatever might be going through the Secretary-General’s head as he pops up to opine about Israel and Gaza, he sounds like he’s either pro-Hamas (which, with Iranian backing, is dedicated to destroying Israel) or living on Pluto.”

The final margin for Al Franken after the recount is now more than the number of allegedly double-counted ballots. We are getting to the point where Norm Coleman needs to consider his options — and conservatives need to consider by what standard they villify Al Gore for pursuing questionable post-election legal challenges yet support Coleman doing the same. Sometimes voters deserve the people they elect — and should remember fondly the alternative they rejected, however narrowly.

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