Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

A harrowing tale of “Abduction,” from Iran. This author is eventually released and allowed to leave. Thousands taken in the terrifying crackdown will not be so fortunate.

Meanwhile: “The government has banned foreign news media members from leaving their offices, suspended all press credentials for the foreign press, arrested a freelance writer for The Washington Times, continued to hold a reporter for Newsweek and forced other foreign journalists to leave the country. That made it difficult to ascertain exactly what happened when several hundred protesters tried to gather outside the Parliament building Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses said they were met by a huge force of riot police officers and Basij vigilantes, some on motorcycles and some in pickup trucks, armed with sticks and chains. Witnesses said people were trapped and beaten as they tried to flee down side streets. ”

Mark Sanford gets dumped as chairman of the Republican Governors Association; Haley Barbour takes his place.

Buzz is starting for Sanford to resign.

Rudy Giuliani pens a campaign-sounding column for the New York Times on cleaning up New York state government. “New York state government is not working. This has been true for some time. But the paralysis and confusion that has overtaken the capital demonstrates the need to confront this dysfunction directly and take decisive steps to solve it once and for all. That’s why I’m calling on Albany to convene a state constitutional convention. This is not a partisan criticism. There is enough blame for all to share. Recently, though, the situation in our state has gone from bad to worse.” Echoes of Mayor Dinkins in 1993?

The Washington Post hassles Virginia Governor Tim Kaine about his travels on behalf of the DNC.

ABC is getting lots of flak for its wall-to-wall ObamaCare coverage. At the very least it is hard to understand why they did not have slots with appropriate spokesman and/or Republican officials to explain their alternative plans. If memory serves me correctly, Newt Gingrich got nearly equal time when the networks covered the First Lady’s HillaryCare discussions.

Still it wasn’t completely smooth sailing: “President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face. Obama on how to drive down health care costs while providing adequate coverage. The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News’ special on health care reform. . .”

Robert Reich explains why health care is stalled: “Mainly because Congress can’t decide how to pay for it. The hardest blow came last week when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the trial-balloon bill emerging from the Senate Health Committee would cost a whopping $1 trillion over 10 years and would cover only a fraction of Americans currently without health care.”

This likely won’t help: Obama has flip-flopped on mandating insurance and taxing benefits (something he creamed John McCain for suggesting in the campaign).

Michael Rubin thinks Obama’s holding out hope for engagement with the current Iranian regime is not the “realism” it is cracked up to be: “Realism is about maximizing U.S. interests. Preserving an enemy regime is not realism. It is simply stupid. We should not be throwing a lifeline to the Islamic Republic, the fall of which would enable Iran to emerge as a force for moderation in the region, and allow the Iranian people to take their rightful place among nations.”

The Democrats have played fast and loose with the cost impact of cap-and-trade in order to jam it through. The reality, as explained in a Heritage study, is that “Waxman-Markey would cost the economy $161 billion in 2020, which is $1,870 for a family of four. As the bill’s restrictions kick in, that number rises to $6,800 for a family of four by 2035.” What does this mean for the economy as a whole? “The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result.” No wonder Warren Buffett hates the idea.

But Republicans think it’s political gold: “The climate-change bill headed for a House vote Friday is likely to be a defining issue of the 2010 midterm election. Republican leaders see the measure, one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities, as a perfect illustration of their broader case that Democrats are the party of high taxes and intrusive big government. In a memo circulated to House Republicans, Minority Leader John Boehner (R., Ohio) said the pending climate vote would have significant electoral consequences. ‘Democrats who vote for it do so at their own peril,’ Mr. Boehner wrote. ‘The American people will remember this debate and will remember who stands up for them.'”

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