Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Hmm, does the ACLU suit against Chris Christie help or hurt him in the GOP New Jersey gubernatorial primary? I’m thinking that “tracking cell phone calls with a warrant and getting 66 convictions out of it” is probably a good fact — indeed ad material — for him.

I think Cesar Conda is right on both counts: “Far and away, the high point of President Obama’s first one hundred days has been his muscular policy to win the war in Afghanistan. Obama’s low point: His flip-flop on criminally prosecuting former Bush Administration officials involved in crafting enhanced interrogation policies. Prosecuting these public servants is backward-looking, hyper-partisan and vengeful, all negative characteristics of Washington that Obama campaigned against.” In my book, runners up for high point — a responsible policy on Iraq and reneging on protectionist campaign rhetoric; for low point — a budget which takes generational theft to a whole new level and killing the DC school voucher program.

Taxing plastic bags? Sounds like a joke. No, it’s the legislative genius of Jim Moran(D-VA) at work. I wonder what the Virginia gubernatorial candidates think of that one.

David Broder gets one thing right : Obama shouldn’t “pass the buck” to Eric Holder on whether to prosecute Bush officials. (Wouldn’t that make Holder more important than the president on perhaps the most controversial issue of his presidency?) Unlike stem cell research, Obama shouldn’t get away with ducking the responsibility to make the hard call. Besides, we were told all the decisions that come to him are the hard ones. So time for him to make this one himself.

Bill Kristol observes that “it is a dark and painful chapter in our history to have as our leaders men who, however inadvertently, make mock of the efforts of the tough and brave Americans who guard us while we sleep.”

A priceless story about Iran from Michael Ledeen.

Jim Tedisco concedes in NY-20. How refreshing when someone does that in a close race! GOP spin: the Dems won this seat with 68% in November and now it’s a 50-50 race. Democratic spin: A win is a win. Reminder for both sides: if swing districts are all 400-vote margin affairs they better hire lots and lots of lawyers for 2010.

The teachers union (UTLA) is at is again in Los Angeles. Mickey Kaus notes: “At least with General Motors–which arguably makes much better cars than the L.A. Unified School District makes schools–there is the possibility of bankruptcy to force changes in excessively protective union rules. In public education, there’s only the hope that charter schools will eventually expand so rapidly that they displace conventional schools governed by the UTLA.”

Larry Kudlow explains why we should be concerned after the First 100 Days.

Dana Perino: “The Obama administration is completely wrapped around the axle.” She reiterates that “members of Congress were briefed about the program. . .  It will be very curious to me if they decide to go forward with the commission if they call themselves to the witness stand.” After a few months of Robert Gibbs you forget what a competent spokesperson sounds and looks like.

It’s clear why it never would have worked. Sen Judd Gregg on the Obama budget: “”We’re headed on an unsustainable path. The simple fact is these [budget] numbers don’t work and the practical implications of them are staggering for the nation and the next generation.”

And on healthcare, he explains that the “public option” is a stalking horse for a single-payer system. And that’s not a good result: “All your single-payer systems are rationing systems. It’s also a debate about technology and innovation. Because you will not have capital pursuing technology, innovation and science if it’s health-care related, because the return on capital won’t be there. And these things are so expensive, especially on the pharmaceutical side and the biologic side, that you’ll dramatically slow improvements in the quality of health care through science with a single-payer plan.”

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano sincerely tells veterans she is “sorry” for the “rightwing extremism” report. Say what you will about the Obama team, but these people know how to apologize.

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