Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Bret Stephens observes: “President Obama’s Iran policy is incoherent and obsolete. . . Bottom line from Mr. [David]Axelrod, and presumably Mr. Obama, too: ‘We are going to continue to work through . . . the multilateral group of nations that are engaging Iran, and they have to make a decision, George [Stephanopoulos], whether they want to further isolate themselves in every way from the community of nations, or whether they are going to embrace that.’  Translation: People of Iran — best of luck!”

The Romney buzz continues. Some deft moves since the 2008 election (e.g., talking like a grown-up, making impressive TV outings) and the Wylie Coyote-like ability of potential rivals to blow themselves up have worked to his benefit. But it is of course only 2009.

Another example of the perils of early polling: In the Florida GOP primary race Charlie Crist leads Marco Rubio 51-23% but only 52% have heard of Rubio — and among those, it is a dead heat.

The punditocracy has just discovered Lindsay Graham is effective on TV. In fact, he was one of the best advocates for the surge and one of John McCain’s strongest surrogates during the campaign. It remains a mystery how the conventional wisdom suddenly “discovers” these things.

Claire McCaskill is not thrilled by cap-and-trade: “I hope we can fix cap and trade so it doesn’t unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependent states like Missouri.” Is she one of those fear-mongers the president is picking on? Oh — no, she’s Democrat.

Sen. Sherrod Brown doesn’t like it either. “They don’t have my vote yet . . In the Senate this bill will not pass unless Midwestern Democratic senators support it in large numbers.” Wonder how Ohio Democratic Reps. John Boccierri and Mary Jo Kilroy (who got roped into voting for it) feel about that.

The three New Jersey Republicans who voted for cap-and-trade face a backlash.

Here is a head-scratcher: “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% of U.S. voters at least somewhat favor the Democrats’ health care reform plan, while 45% are at least somewhat opposed.” What healthcare plan? The public option one, which moderate and conservative Democrats oppose and the president now says is not a dealbreaker? If asked to tell us what the Democrats are actually proposing — or any of the variations on what they were proposing — I doubt 5% would come close.

The pledge about not raising taxes on people earning less than $250,000 appears to have gone the way of “read my lips…”

John McCain is still providing straight talk: “Organized labor is dictating a large portion of the Obama administration’s work, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) alleged Monday.’The unions are running a lot of this administration,’ McCain said during an appearance on the Mike Broomhead show on local radio station KFYI. ‘Look what just happened with Chrysler and General Motors,’ McCain added.”

So will the Democrats go up against Big Labor on healthcare reform — or just carve out specail tax treatment for union negotiated health benefits? “The Laborers’ International Union of North America is targeting Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) with a television ad urging the two Senators to resist taxing health insurance benefits as a means to pay for health care reform. ”

Ilya Shapiro is on the money: “Ricci is a victory for merit over racial politics—which is appropriate given that the ruling overturns a lower court panel that included Sonia Sotomayor.  .  .This ruling is the latest in a series of steps the Court has taken to strike down race-conscious actions that violate individual rights—and thus is a blow both to the Obama administration (which sided with the city in Ricci) and to the nomination of Judge Sotomayor.” Ouch.

The Ninth Circuit is reversed 94% of the time by the Supreme Court. Could they get it wrong more often if they tried?

The Senate has 45 “yes” votes for cap-and-trade. They need to get to 60. The “no” camp has 32 solid votes. Looks like the “fear mongering” crowd may carry the day.

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