Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Charles Krauthammer sums up the Bush legacy: “I think he will be remembered for three things. He disseminated Al Qaeda. He turned Iraq from an enemy to an ally. And he established the tools combating the terrorism. And the key element in that was the change of the idea about what our threat was. In the 90’s everyone looked at acts of terror as law enforcement issues, and he turned it into a matter of war.And that’s why he instituted all of these elements—wiretapping, rendition, the interrogations and the detention without trial, which you have in war, and which you don’t have in peace. And that’s why it’s now under attack. I hope Obama will continue, and understand that even though we are in a period of calm, the war remains, and he will not undo all of this infrastructure which has kept us safe for these seven years.”

And the Wall Street Journal editors on the economic record: “Mr. Bush and his team did many things right after inheriting one bubble. They were ruined by monetary excess that created a second, more dangerous credit mania. They forgot one of the main lessons of Reaganomics, which is the importance of stable money.”

And most Americans think we are winning the war on terror. Who, I wonder, could have been responsible for that?

RNC chair candidate Katon Dawson says he’ll be the new president’s “worst nightmare.” Sigh. Yes, I suppose if they were competing in a high school election or facing off in a basketball game that sort of talk might be effective. On Meet the Press? Not so much.

The IDF racks up some notable successes in Gaza including obliteration of Hamas’s “Iranian Unit.”

Will Senators get an earful about Tim Geithner’s tax problems over the weekend?

In Louisiana they aren’t buying his excuses.

Rep. John Boehner is prepared to offer a choice, not an echo he tells Larry Kudlow. And then he sends the President-elect a letter.

Republicans should take note: rubber-stamping government bailouts isn’t appealing to Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2010.

Jon Henke has a bright idea for conservatives: don’t spend time excoriating one of the more effective Republicans in Washington. As big a challenge as Barack Obama is for conservatives, he is nothing compared to their own misdirected anger.

A clear-eyed explanation (and it’s not from a Republican hollering “We were robbed!”) of how Norm Coleman could win or get a new election. That Bush v. Gore (requiring uniformity in vote counting) which was supposed to be a “one-time only” sort of exception may have a long reach.

About that New Deal model? Rich Lowry reminds us: “Most analysts agree that World War II ended the Depression. The Left tries to appropriate the war for the New Deal by characterizing it as simply a public-works program writ large—as if global cataclysm, with millions killed, countries overrun by invading armies, and major cities reduced to rubble were just the thing we needed to get an economy moving again. During World War II, 12 million men were conscripted into the military, food was rationed, and people couldn’t buy consumer goods like cars and appliances. Suffice it to say, its utility as a model for economic recovery is quite limited.”

The President-elect does his best to end Bush Hatred.

A fine way for the Bush State Department to go out — condemning Iran’s practice of stoning. Condoleezza and Co. frustrated us to no end — but it’s the little things we may miss. Let’s hope this steely-eyed determination to call it as we see it on human rights abuses in the Middle East (the ones the UN conveniently ignores) is on the “continuity” list for the Obama team.

And also on the last day, the U.S. and Israel signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel in which the U.S. reiterated its “steadfast committment” to Israel’s security, pledged to provide assistance in securing against importing weapons into Gaza and laid blame on those (i.e. Iran) responsible for “the continued supply of armaments to Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, including by some in the region, [which] is a direct cause of current hostilities.”  Hillary Clinton was reported to have “signed off” on the agreement. Another sign that “change” is really “continuity” for the new administration?

Not even the Oval Office rug is changing.

Senate Republicans contemplate a “hold” on the Labor Secretary nominee who wouldn’t answer questions. If so, why not place one on Holder until Sen. Pat Leahy agrees to those subpoenas?

Big Labor gets snippy over card check’s diminishing prospects so they run an ad in the days before the inauguration, during the height of Obamamania. Maybe they have money to burn, but this seems awfully silly. (But good news if you like secret ballots: Harry Reid won’t put the bill on the calendar unless he has the votes — so he’s not putting the bill on the calendar.)

It doesn’t surprise me that This Week beat out Meet the Press, just that it took so long. There really is no reason since Tim Russert’s passing to watch the latter. Deadly dull, unprovocative questions, and mediocre panelists. They treat MTP like it belongs in a museum — and it seems as if it does.

Of all the things to blame President Bush for, David Broder selects not raising taxes to pay for the war as the worst error. And he invokes the poor grandchildren who will be paying for it. Actually, the kids will be paying for that and the grandkids for the Obama stimulus bill.

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