SOTU: Obama Goes Through the Motions

There was plenty of big talk in the 2014 State of the Union address. President Obama exhorted Americans to accept his baseless claim that the economy is reviving and urged them to believe his jarringly upbeat view of the nation’s future. He tried to sound assertive as he vowed to use executive orders to get his way if Congress didn’t give him what he wanted. He touted ObamaCare. And he closed with an inspiring story of a wounded Army Ranger. But there’s no mistaking that this was a speech given by a president mired in second-term doldrums. There were not only a total of zero new ideas; almost everything in it was recycled from past addresses including a grimly risible vow to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba that he has kept open throughout his presidency even though he’s been promising to close it since 2008.

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SOTU: Obama Goes Through the Motions

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Shut Down Senselessness

Podcast: Government shut down, ???, profit!

John Podhoretz is out today. In his absence, the remaining COMMENTARY Magazine hosts untangle the complicated policy and politics behind a short-lived government shutdown. Who benefits, who doesn’t, and what was at stake? Did this brief cessation of non-essential government activity change the political landscape ahead of 2018? Give a listen.

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The Democrats’ CHIP Hypocrisy

Mixed messaging.

Congressional Democrats appear to have meandered into a cul-de-sac. Ostensibly, the federal government shut down last week during an impasse over whether to make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) permanent this month or next. Democrats had threatened to shut down the government over DACA recipients before but backed off amid mounting objections from the party’s moderate governing wing. As public polling has confirmed, Americans are in favor of legal status for this deserving set of illegal immigrants who suffer that status through no fault of their own, but voters do not believe that outcome is worth a government shutdown. It’s therefore reasonable to expect that Democrats will soon shift gears, leaning into the other ostensible reason why the government shut down: lapsed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Yet here, too, the Democrats and their allies in media are playing a double game.

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Democrats Go Soft on Anti-Semitism

Shameful.

I don’t always agree with Kenneth L. Marcus, the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law. But he is without question the kind of person who might have been nominated in any Republican administration to serve as assistant secretary of education for civil rights. In fact, Marcus served in the same role in the George W. Bush administration on an interim basis. Yet Marcus received not one Democratic vote in the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which just voted 12-11, on party lines, to advance his nomination.

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Pod Shut Down America

But they fight.

On the eve of an ill-fated government shutdown in 2013, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof published a column that captured the sentiments of liberal opinion makers perfectly: This was all talk radio’s fault.

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Harvard Rewards an Iranian Hate-Monger

Another dubious honor.

What is it with the Harvard Kennedy School’s penchant for celebrating dishonorable characters? First came a speaking invitation and fellowship for the traitor formerly known as Bradley Manning. The Kennedy School disinvited Manning following a public outcry in September, but now its leadership has awarded a fellowship to an equally odious figure.

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