Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Here we go again. The administration is . . . c’mon, you know . . . “deeply concerned” about the death of 150 in ethnic rioting in China. They are in a perpetual state of deep concern and inaction on everything from North Korea to China to Iran.

The Washington Post editors praise Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on charter schools. His opponent Creigh Deeds “doesn’t want to deny local school boards the power to control the start-up of charters in the misguided belief that it would drain money from public education; never mind that charters are public schools.”

We have consensus on health care! On the subject of taxing health-care benefits: “In fact, both conservative and liberal advocacy groups actively opposed Senate Democrats during the Fourth of July recess.”

Cap-and-trade is supposed to be creating “green jobs.” The reality is that there will be so many jobs destroyed that the bill includes a three-year unemployment fund.

Another “Centrists Threaten Obama Agenda” story. That’s because Obama’s agenda is anything but centrist, right?

Those darn centrists: Harry Reid and Al Franken “sought to downplay the power of a filibuster-proof majority of the eve of Franken’s swearing-in.”

Gov. Jon Corzine’s woes continue: “Many voters don’t like Democratic Gov. Corzine, despite his progress on promises to cut state spending and to support tougher ethics laws, two areas where residents wanted action. Critics say he hasn’t kept his promise to fix the state’s despised property-tax system, which stands as the top issue in New Jersey. Independent polls show voters blame the governor for high taxes, whether he has a major role to play in them or not, and even for the sour economy as a whole.”

Kim Strassel thinks that is why the White House is stepping in: “Former U.S. prosecutor Chris Christie, Mr. Corzine’s Republican challenger, is showing remarkable strength in what has been a solidly blue state. Fearful that a loss would reflect badly on the Administration, Team Obama is pulling out all the stops. The president, who has been notably reluctant to risk his political capital in potentially losing causes, is scheduled to appear with Mr. Corzine during a campaign rally on July 16. Vice President Joe Biden has already made the trek to stand with the embattled Mr. Corzine when he accepted his party’s nomination last month.” Hmm, maybe they should leave Joe at home if the idea is to help Corzine.

Those enamored of “comparative effectiveness research” as part of health-care reform should read up about NICE, the Orwellian-named rationing board set up in the UK. “Mr. Obama and Democrats claim they can expand subsidies for tens of millions of Americans, while saving money and improving the quality of care. It can’t possibly be done. The inevitable result of their plan will be some version of a NICE board that will tell millions of Americans that they are too young, or too old, or too sick to be worth paying to care for.”

Good for Rep. Peter King — for slamming the “out of whack” coverage of Michael Jackson. Politicians are no better than the media. Really, did we need a moment of silence for this person in Congress?

Fred Hiatt on Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility: “Obama’s response has been to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem — and make it worse. I’m not talking about his record-breaking stimulus plan, which was essential (if not ideally shaped) given the recession he also inherited. Rather, it is Obama’s long-term budget that would more than double the projected deficit over the next 10 years, to $9 trillion, by extending most of the Bush tax cuts and limiting the alternative minimum tax while creating new programs and entitlements (to college tuition scholarships, for example) and refusing to cut back on existing ones. And that’s not to mention his top priority, universal access to health care.” Hiatt isn’t opposed to higher taxes, but the public is.

Ariel Cohen has it right on the Russian summit: “Obama did something rather meaningless (a nuclear arms reduction agreement) and ignored the meaningful things — Iran, human rights, the former Soviet Republics, etc.” Hey this diplomacy stuff is easy when you don’t address any issue on which your adversary disagrees.

But even on that “agreement” there was thin gruel. Josh Gerstein reports: “But a look at the fine print shows the deal is less than meets the eye, experts said. The two presidents punted on how to count total weapons or total warheads — a crucial detail in the mathematics of arms reductions. And they committed in writing only to finish the deal ‘at the earliest possible date,’ though Obama said it would be done by year’s end, when the current Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty expires.”

The Washington Post has launched a review of its “business processes” to make sure they aren’t running afoul of their journalism. A little late for that? Or the whitewash needed so they can have those salons after all?

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