Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Finally, someone pushes back on the babbling about a nuclear-free world: “Go ahead and wish for a nuclear-free world, but pray that you don’t get what you wish for. A world without nukes would be even more dangerous than a world with them, Mr.[James] Schlesinger argues.” Read the whole thing.

Gallup reports: “U.S. President Barack Obama averaged a 58% job approval rating for the first eight days of July, down from an average of 61% for June. His approval rating is down most significantly among independents, to 53% so far in July from an average of 59% in June; it has dropped two points among Republicans (from 25% in June to 23% so far in July) and has gone up a point among Democrats, to 90%.” Don’t tell E.J. Dionne but it is the president, not his opponents, who is on the wrong track with independents.

Politico hits the nail on the head: “If Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) are moderate Democrats, what kind of Democrat does that make President Obama? You can bet that the president wouldn’t like the answer — and with good reason. The increasingly regular use of the phrase ‘moderate Democrat’ to identify the purple flank of the caucus is creating a rhetorical opening that could quickly turn into a more-than-moderate problem for the rest of the party.”

A dramatic chart from

Some cap-and-trade fallout: “Republicans are practically lining up to take on U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye in 2010. Nye, a Democrat, narrowly won Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District away from Republican Thelma Drake, largely riding a Democratic wave built by Barack Obama and Mark Warner. Republicans know that Nye won’t be able to rely on the power at the top of the ticket next fall, so they are gunning for him in Washington…. Meanwhile, Nye is feeding the GOP plenty of ammunition for the race. Nye recently voted against an environment and climate-change bill in Washington. The bill passed anyway and Nye’s office appears to be sending out dueling letters to folks on both sides of the issue. In one letter Nye touts his stand against the bill and then in the other he talks up the legislation as an important step toward saving the environment while not mentioning that he voted against it.”

Could the president’s dive in the polls be why health care is on the rocks? TNR’s Jonathan Cohn thinks so: “And now they’re getting nervous. They’re seeing the president’s popularity dipping, however incrementally. They’re watching the Senate chase its tail over the same controversies. And having just taken what were — for many of them — similarly tough votes on an energy bill, they’re not exactly thrilled about ‘walking the plank’ again.” (h/t Mickey Kaus)

Stuart Taylor explains that Sotomayor’s effort to hide her decision in Ricci in a summary order may have violated a court rule prohibitng such orders except in cases when the “decision is unanimous and each judge of the panel believes that no jurisprudential purpose would be served by an opinion (i.e., a ruling having precedential effect).”

A new low: Hillary Clinton is apologizing to North Korea for the two journalists grabbed by Pyongyang and thrown into a labor camp.

If health care is stalling, maybe Congress and the president could work on the economy instead: “U.S. consumer sentiment soured in early July, slipping to its weakest since March, when confidence in the financial sector and economy were at a low ebb, the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers showed Friday. Consumers’ escalating concerns about an extended economic downturn, job security and erosion of wealth were the main factors depressing sentiment, the survey said.”

Larry Kudlow explains “Washington’s enormous expansion of the government’s spending share of GDP to over 40 percent — including Bailout Nation, TARP, and government takeovers in numerous industries — is eerily reminiscent of Old Europe’s old policies. In a twist of irony, Europe seems to be moving toward a lower-tax/spend/regulate, Ronald-Reagan-type approach, while we in the U.S. are regressing to the failed socialist model of Old Europe. This makes no sense. Here’s the clincher: Year-to-date, Dow Jones stocks are off 7 percent, while China stocks are up 71 percent. The world index is up 4 percent. Emerging markets are up 25 percent. They’re all beating us. None of this is good. We’re going the wrong way. That’s why stock markets are not voting for the United States anymore.”  

Jim Cramer comes up with a creative way to boost the stock market: “If the news media would just blackout the Bolshevik Speaker of the, did it again. I mean, the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, it couple be worth a couple of hundred points on the Dow too. Come on Madame Speaker, do it for the good of your country! Or, at least for the good of our portfolios.”

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