Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Karl Rove, on the significance of the 2009 gubernatorial races: “Democratic defeats in Virginia or New Jersey — or even narrow victories — would be discombobulating for the Obama White House and signal trouble in 2010. With unemployment likely to grow through perhaps the middle of next year and the federal government’s red ink likely to become even more visible to increasingly anxious voters well before then, Democrats would be in for a rough time in the midterms, especially in races for the House and governorships.”

Norman Ornstein, along the same lines: “Virginia has been trending blue, but the combination of an open contest for governor, a strong consensus Republican nominee and a hotly contested Democratic primary gives state Republicans real hopes of winning back a seat that has eluded them for the past two gubernatorial elections. In New Jersey, a bad economy has contributed to poor numbers for incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine, leaving the GOP well positioned.”

Obama “hardens U.S. stance on North Korean defiance“? Well now his “patience is tested.” Next up: deep disappointment.

James Carafano nails it: “Is it me or did Obama just give the same speech for a third time? In his Notre Dame address he tackled the ‘right to life,’ in the National Archives speech he confronted combating terrorism…on both occasions he tried to say something to please almost everyone on very controversial subjects. What was different about his lecture on Islam in Egypt? Not much. Each of these talks has done much to uplift the president’s popularity. The real question, however, is if this will all serve to advance and protect American interests. Much like the French Revolution-its too soon to tell….but when in the same week the President of Iran declared his country a nuclear power and ready to start helping run the world….you kinda wonder.”

From Evan Thomas of the “non partisan” new Newsweek: “Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is ‘we are above that now.’ We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial. We stand for something – I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God.” Righhht.  I wonder if Americans expect their president to be all about America.

Of all the things to say about D-Day, Obama remarks on the “sheer improbability” of victory. Did FDR and Eisenhower feel that way?

A trend or a blip from Rasmussen? “Overall, 53% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance so far. That’s his lowest level of overall approval to date. Forty-seven percent (47%) now disapprove.”

Sen. Jeff Sessions says Sotomayor’s confirmation will turn on her “impartiality.” This, he says, is “the cornerstone” of our judicial system. Promising a respectful and thorough hearing he encourages Americans to listen up: “And, at the end of the day, ask: If I must one day go to court, what kind of judge do I want to hear my case? ‘Do I want a judge that allows his or her social, political, or religious views to impact the outcome? ‘Or, do I want a judge that objectively applies the law to the facts, and fairly rules on the merits?’”

So much for the “bipartisan” spin: “Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor said in a 1998 speech that she owed her first federal judicial nomination almost entirely to New York Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, undercutting the spirit of President Obama’s claim that it was Republican President George H.W. Bush who was responsible for her first appointment to the federal bench.”

Who said Tim Pawlenty isn’t funny? “The only thing growing faster than the federal government’s deficit is Chris Matthews’ man-crush on Barack Obama.” Ouch.

It seems there was broad consensus among Justice Department lawyers, even the media darlings Jack Goldsmith and James Comey, that the enhanced interrogation techniques were not illegal. One wonders when the current Justice Department will give up the Bybee-Yoo withchunt — or is a leak of this magnitude to the New York Times the first sign of retreat? Because if Yoo and Bybee are to be punished then all of them must be, right?

Nestled in among some half-hearted praise for Obama’s ability to “shock” Israel the Washington Post editors meander around to the salient point: “The problem is that no Israeli government — not Mr. Netanyahu’s, not even one led by the current opposition — is likely to agree to a total construction ban. By insisting on one, the administration risks bogging itself down in a major dispute with its ally, while giving Arab governments and Palestinians a ready excuse not to make their own concessions. Meanwhile, the practical need for a total settlement freeze is debatable. Palestinian negotiators have already conceded that many of the towns will be annexed to Israel in any final deal; so did former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.” It’s debatable for another reason: there isn’t any remotely viable Palestinian government with which to negotiate.

Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
for full access to
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
Don't have a log in?
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.