The gas wars in Washington will continue unabated today as Republicans push hard on President Obama following his effort in a campaign speech in Florida to put the blame on them for blocking his plan for energy independence.
Signaling concern within Mitt Romney's campaign that the attacks on his private-sector experience are beginning to take their toll, the Republican front-runner stepped up his defense Thursday of his career at a private equity firm, as prominent GOP leaders chided his rivals for ganging up on him.
Although they have become prone to apocalyptic forebodings about the fragility of the nation s institutions and traditions under the current president, conservatives should stride confidently into 2012. This is not because they are certain, or even likely, to defeat President Obama this year. Rather, it is because, if they emancipate themselves from their unconservative fixation on the presidency, they will see events unfolding in their favor. And when Congress is controlled by one party, as it might be a year from now, it can stymie an overreaching executive.
The repeal-and-replace argument has been a central line of attack in the GOP s anti-Obama assault, both on the presidential campaign trail and on Capitol Hill. In Congress, the new Republican-led House took a symbolic vote to repeal the law in January. But since then, nothing has happened. The House hasn t passed anything new to take its place.
I liked Obama s payroll tax cut ideas and urged Republicans to play along. But of course I m a sap. When the president unveiled the second half of his stimulus it became clear that this package has nothing to do with helping people right away or averting a double dip. This is a campaign marker, not a jobs bill.
Our corrupt, progressive media just loved constantly showing us clips of President Bush making verbal mistakes. Not surprisingly, they have sheltered us from the same kind of gaffes made consistently by President Obama.
The Census Bureau reported last fall that 43 million Americans, one in seven of us, were poor. But what is poverty in America? The most recent government data show more than half of the families defined as poor by the Census Bureau now have a computer in the home. More than three of every four poor families have air conditioning, almost two-thirds have cable or satellite television, and 92 percent have microwaves.
Even as Republican Congressional leaders press ahead in high-stakes budget negotiations with President Obama, the party s presidential candidates are campaigning against any outcome that smacks of compromise, underscoring divisions in the party over whether to raise the federal debt limit.
How much further can President Obama push the debt negations? With the deadline fast approaching for a deal on Obama s request for an increase in the federal government s $14.3 trillion credit limit Democrats have set July 22 as a target in order to give Congress time to digest the package and avoid any disruptions to federal cash flows - pressure is building on the president to accept the agreement already reached for approximately $1.4 trillion in new deficit spending in exchange for the same amount of cuts over the next five years.
General aviation employs 1.2 million Americans and generates $150 billion a year in revenue. President Obama praises it as one of America's industries that still maintains an advantage over other countries' manufacturers.
It is not necessary to have an opinion about where President Obama was born to know that his lack of candor has cost him public trust. Obama s approval ratings are in the mid-40s, while his disapproval ratings hover at the 50 percent mark. The president's release of his birth certificate feels forced. Obama should have released his birth certificate as a candidate.
Obama is going to go down in history as the Nero who fiddled as Rome burned. He reformed health care without changing the ruinous incentives that were bankrupting the system. He submitted budgets that hastened the national collapse. The Republicans accuse him of being a socialist, but, the fact is, he’s Mr. Status Quo.
The idea that America's problem of governance is one of inadequate resources misses this lesson of the last half-century: No amount of resources can prevent government from performing poorly when it tries to perform too many tasks, or particular tasks for which it is inherently unsuited.
Americans are in the midst of a great national debate over the power, scope and reach of the government established by that document. The debate was sparked by the current administration's bold push for government expansion - a massive fiscal stimulus, Obamacare, financial regulation and various attempts at controlling the energy economy. This engendered a popular reaction, identified with the Tea Party but in reality far more widespread, calling for a more restrictive vision of government more consistent with the Founders' intent.
By offering up their joint recommendation last week for balancing the budget, the co-chairmen of Barack Obama s fiscal commission didn t solve our deficit problem once and for all, or clear a path through the political thickets facing would-be budget cutters. But Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson performed a valuable public service nonetheless: the reaction to their proposals demonstrated that when it comes to addressing the long-term challenges facing this country, the Democrats, too, can play the Party of No.
Unwilling to delay until tomorrow mistakes that could be made immediately, Democrats used 2010 to begin losing 2012. Trying to preemptively drain the election of its dangerous (to Democrats) meaning, all autumn Democrats described the electorate as suffering a brain cramp, an apoplexy of fear, rage, paranoia, cupidity - something. Any explanation would suffice as long as it cast what voters were about to say as perhaps contemptible and certainly too trivial to be taken seriously by the serious.
Mr. Boehner, who will become second in line to the presidency in January, has responded to the contradictory forces that led to Republican victory with equally mixed messages. He has given speeches about inclusiveness, then written Twitter messages denouncing compromise. He is specific about the amount of spending cuts he seeks - $100 billion - but says little about how he will get there. In speeches during a whirlwind tour of Ohio over the weekend, he promised things would be different in Washington, but then returned to the two-year theme of denigrating President Obama.
Over all, if it is won, a Republican House majority will be like a second marriage. Less ecstasy, more realism. The party could have used a few more years to develop plans about the big things, like tax and entitlement reform. But if a party is going to do well in an election, it should at least be a party that has developed a sense of modesty.
Not only is Krugman s article one of the most ridiculous pieces of scare-mongering in the history of modern American journalism, but it is the pathetic whimper of a decaying liberal Ancien Regime that is spectacularly crumbling. It also illustrates just how out of touch liberal elites are with public opinion, as well as economic reality. The tired old blame Bush line no longer works, and as a recent poll showed, the former president s popularity is rising again.
The polls and pundits are all in alignment now. The Republican Party is headed for a victory Tuesday to rival the biggest and best of those that the party has known in the lifetime of most Americans. In all four -- 1938, 1946, 1966 and 1994 -- the GOP won not because of what the party had accomplished or the hopes it had raised, but because Republicans were the only alternative on the ballot to a Democratic Party and president voters wished to punish.
In a radio interview that aired Monday on Univision, President Obama chided Latinos who "sit out the election instead of saying, 'We're gonna punish our enemies and we're gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.' " Quite a uniter, urging Hispanics to go to the polls to exact political revenge on their enemies - presumably, for example, the near-60 percent of Americans who support the new Arizona immigration law.
The president had come, on the eve of what will almost certainly be the loss of his governing majority, to plead his case before Jon Stewart, gatekeeper of the disillusioned left. But instead of displaying the sizzle that won him an army of youthful supporters two years ago, Obama had a Brownie moment. The Daily Show host was giving Obama a tough time about hiring the conventional and Clintonian Larry Summers as his top economic advisor. "In fairness," the president replied defensively, "Larry Summers did a heckuva job." "You don't want to use that phrase, dude," Stewart recommended with a laugh.
Democrats and their enablers have paid lavish attention to the Tea Party this year. It s nice to feel more sophisticated than those hordes of Middle Americans, who say silly things like "Get government off my Medicare." On the other hand, Democrats have paid little attention to the crucial group in this election - the independent moderates who supported President Obama in 2008 but flocked away during the health care summer of 2009 and now support the GOP by landslide proportions.
In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state by seceding from some secessionists: 50 counties, with few slaves, left Virginia; almost all have seams of coal. Barack Obama has a remarkable hostility to coal. For example, in 2008 he said: "If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
Republicans are going to be embarrassed at the way they ve opposed a mosque - known as Cordoba House or Park51 - that's planned near Ground Zero, according to one conservative host. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough told Republicans Monday that they should "speak out against Newt Gingrich and the voices of hate." While he was at it, Scarborough threatened to leave the GOP for a party "that actually believes in small government."
In the intifada that began in 2000, Palestinian terrorism killed more than 1,000 Israelis. As a portion of U.S. population, that would be 42,000, approaching the toll of America's eight years in Vietnam. During the onslaught, which began 10 Septembers ago, Israeli parents sending two children to a school would put them on separate buses to decrease the chance that neither would return for dinner. Surely most Americans can imagine, even if their tone-deaf leaders cannot, how grating it is when those leaders lecture Israel on the need to take "risks for peace."
WASHINGTON- Democrats for the first time are acknowledging that Republicans could retake the Senate this November if everything falls into place for the GOP, less than two years after Democrats held a daunting 60-seat majority. Leaders of both parties have believed for months that Republicans could win the House, where every lawmaker faces re-election. But a change of party control in the Senate, where only a third of the members are running and Republicans must capture 10 seats, seemed out of the question.
The chilliness is understandable. When David Cameron, Britain's new conservative prime minister, met with Barack Obama this week, the president was also encountering his worst political nightmare. If Cameron succeeds, he will do more than save his ancient island from the economic fate of Greece -- he will provide a model for Republican victory in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
Barack Obama's considerable political capital, earned on Election Day 2008, is spent. Well spent, mind you, on the enactment of a highly ideological agenda of Obamacare, financial reform and a near-trillion-dollar stimulus that will significantly transform the country. But spent nonetheless. There's nothing left with which to complete his social-democratic ambitions. This would have to await the renewed mandate that would come with a second inaugural.
I have a warning for Republicans: Don't underestimate Barack Obama. Consider what he has already achieved. Obamacare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care and, as acknowledged by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus but few others, begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history. Second, there is major financial reform, which passed Congress on Thursday. Economists argue whether it will prevent meltdowns and bailouts as promised. But there is no argument that it will give the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace. Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks but just about everyone, including, as noted in one summary (the Wall Street Journal), "storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, home buyers and credit bureaus."
Although McChrystal is a fine soldier who rendered especially distinguished service in Iraq, there is no reason to ascribe to him either egomania or insubordination. He did, however, emphatically disqualify himself from further military service and particularly from service in Afghanistan. There the military's purely military tasks are secondary to the political and social tasks for which the military is ill-suited, and for which McChrystal is garishly so.
On the floor of the House, in campaign commercials and during interviews, Mr. Kirk has invoked his experience in the classroom. At a speech this spring to the Illinois Education Association, Mr. Kirk declared, "as a former nursery school and middle school teacher, I know some of what it takes to bring order to class." A review of public comments that Mr. Kirk has made over the last decade shows that while he may refer to himself as a former teacher, he does not talk about the brevity of his experience: a year in London at a private school and part-time in a nursery school as part of a work-study program while he was a student at Cornell University.
In his latest Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove drudges out the old 2008 campaign attack on President Obama's "present" votes as a state senator in Illinois, and wittily remarks that Obama may now be president, but at times he appears to be merely present in dealing with BP s oil spill
In announcing the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran, President Obama stressed not once but twice Iran's increasing "isolation" from the world. This claim is not surprising considering that after 16 months of an "extended hand" policy, in response to which Iran accelerated its nuclear program -- more centrifuges, more enrichment sites, higher enrichment levels -- Iranian "isolation" is about the only achievement to which the administration can even plausibly lay claim.
"We said 'no' to spending, we said 'no' to bailouts, we said 'no' to backroom deal-making," she said. "We said 'yes' to South Carolina not just being Republican, but becoming conservative. "
Everybody is comparing the oil spill to Hurricane Katrina, but the real parallel could be the Iranian hostage crisis. In the late 1970s, the hostage crisis became a symbol of America s inability to take decisive action in the face of pervasive problems. In the same way, the uncontrolled oil plume could become the objective correlative of the country s inability to govern itself.
America deserves a Congress that respects the priorities of the people. Unfortunately, Washington hasn't been listening. Let's change that. America Speaking Out is your opportunity to change the way Congress works by proposing ideas for a new policy agenda. Republicans have offered solutions, and we have our principles, but this is a new venue for us to listen to you. So Speak Out.
Rand Paul attempted Friday to clean up damage done by his wavering support for the Civil Rights Act. The Republican candidate from Kentucky told ABC s George Stephanopoulos that Democrat talking points had "trashed" him and blamed MSNBC for accusing of him of wanting to repeal the law.
Still, it s Paul s brand of populism, not his views on Jim Crow or Iran, that are most germane to the Tea Party s birth and its future both within the G.O.P. and as a force that will buffet Obama and the Democrats. Paul most abundantly embodies the movement s animus when he plays on classic American-style class resentment.
In that speech, Paul said the United States is not threatened by Iran having one nuclear weapon. Grayson has recited that line in stump speeches and used it in political ads to question Paul s qualifications on national security issues.
Republicans have no choice but to get behind Paul if he wins, and doubtless most prominent Republicans will praise him when he does. But that means they'll have to take uncomfortable questions on Paul's "unorthodox views," as Salon reports them, "including a desire to abolish both the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education."
Paul has made clear during the campaign that he would, if he could, abolish the Education Department, get rid of No Child Left Behind, eliminate all federal funding to education and encourage competition.
Tea party favorite Rand Paul has rocketed to the lead ahead of Tuesday s Republican Senate primary here on a resolute pledge to balance the federal budget and slash the size of government.
Seattle on Monday. Denver on Tuesday. Mesa AZ on Wednesday. Overland Park, Kansas today. What a week, huh? We got the anti-stimulus, anti-entitlement protest ball rolling and now the movement, spurred further by CNBC host Rick Santelli s call for a Chicago Tea Party, is really taking off.
There will be no need for the Senate to waste their time interviewing President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court if Newt Gingrich has his way. Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Gingrich Sunday what he thought of the nomination of Elena Kagan. “I think the president should withdraw it,” said Gingrich. “You don’t need a [...]
A few weeks ago, Democratic strategist Robert Creamer was repeating the widely-circulated slanders about the Tea Party: Is there any wonder that they spit at members of Congress as they went to vote, or that they hurl racial insults that are dredged up from the worst parts of America s past, he wrote in his column at the Huffington Post.
The liberal media s newest meme is to claim that the tea party movement is made up exclusively of John Birchers, militia types, racists, and birthers. Politico, for instance, had an extensive story about how legitimate conservatives are coming to realize that they ll have to conduct a Buckley-style purge of the extremists if they expect the tea party groups to be taken seriously. Of course, the left has had its extremists for decades, unlike the right has never conducted any such purges, and has also benefited from a news media that has never highlighted the left s worst nuts.
BOSTON Once and possibly future Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says in a new book that President Barack Obama's international outreach efforts during his first year in office have been "kindling" to the "anti-American fires burning all across the globe."
WASHINGTON Glenn Beck, a hero of the political right and the closing speaker at a conference of political conservatives here, offered a sweeping denunciation of progressivism on Saturday, calling it a cancer that must be cut out of the nation s political system.
It s interesting Reagan s reputation has risen with both the public and historians the further we get in memory from his actual presidency which I think is a huge tribute to both the myth-making machinery created by the likes of Grover Norquist and the mainstream media s willingness to embrace the myth. For example, in March 1990, some 13 months after Reagan left the Oval Office, Reagan s popularity (59 percent) had dipped below that of Jimmy Carter (62 percent). Two major surveys of historians in the mid-1990s rated Reagan s presidency as below average, not one of the all-time greats.
Liberals had a blast mocking Sarah Palin last weekend when she was caught addressing the Tea Party Convention with a cheat sheet scrawled on her hand. Even the president s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, couldn t resist getting into the act and treated a White House briefing to a Palin hand gag of his own.
Barack Obama's first year was a disaster for the Democrats. His approval rating has been in free-fall, declining faster, I believe, than that of any first-year President in modern history. Congress, meanwhile, is held in near-universal contempt. If this year's Congressional election were held next week, it would be a wipeout of epic proportions. Fortunately for the Democrats, they have nine months to go, and conditions will likely become more favorable for them before they have to face the voters. President Obama, of course, doesn't have to stand for re-election for nearly three years, and if he can come out of November's elections with substantial (albeit reduced) majorities in Congress, his term might yet go down as a success--a more limited one, to be sure, than what he had in mind a year ago. Let's start with Obama's approval rating. The Gallup poll has tracked his steady decline and now has him at a break-even point: On the other hand, Rasmussen, which samples likely voters and is more of a leading indicator, has Obama showing a modest bounce: he is now up to -7 in the Rasmussen approval index, a poor score, but much better than the -21 he logged not long ago. There are other reasons why President Obama and his advisers may take heart. Like George W. Bush, Obama is more popular, person
Was it Joseph Kennedy who figured out that the stock market would soon crash when he heard hotel bell-boys talking about their stock purchases? Presidential politics don't constitute a market, but I get the same kind of feeling when the likes of Eugene Robinson start bad-mouthing the Obama presidency. Perhaps it's time to buy some of those beat-up Obama shares. Obama's presidency is in trouble in this sense, at least: after the election of Scott Brown, he will probably have considerable difficulty enacting legislation he wants, and after the November elections, he will probably have much more difficulty still. But I disagree with those who suggest that Obama's presidency is cracking up. Unless the business cycle has been repealed, a president whose favorability rating is only slightly below break-even when the unemployment rate is 10 percent can reasonably look forward, other things being equal, to positive favorability ratings within a year or two. So the question becomes, are other things equal? The answer, I think, is not quite. The main reason lies in Obama's left-liberal positions on national security. As long as the administration treats terrorists as criminal defendants and otherwise fails to act in ways commensurate with the threat we face, his policies in this realm will continue to be a drag on his popularity. And a major, successful terrorist attack could be politically devastating. But when I read that Obama's presidency may be cracking up, the focus is not on his policies regarding terrorism. The focus instead is on the president's arrogance and seeming difficulty adjusting to the reality that he is now seen as a regular political player, rather than a virtual diety. To me, Obama's arrogance is undeniable. But whether it will translate into a long term inability to make good political decisions remains to be seen. First, although Obama has made his share of b
After Republicans triumphed in the 1994 congressional elections, Peter Jennings declared:: Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage [Jennings meant the rage of a two-year old]. The voters had a temper tantrum last week. This past week, things were somewhat different. The voters of Massachusetts calmly elected an attractive centrist candidate and the president of the United States had a temper tantrum. President Obama's tantrum consisted mostly of telling voters that he is angry and then directing that anger towards banks, in statements that helped deplete the stock market of about 5 percent of its value in three days. Obama wasn't solely responsible for last week's market woes, though. Various Republican and Democratic Senators contributed by saying that they would not vote in favor of Ben Bernanke's renomination to head the Fed. The sell-off in the wake of mounting opposition to Bernanke means that Wall Street wants him to remain in his job. But that doesn't mean that we should. In fact, there are substantial arguments on both sides of this question. I am persuaded by Stanford economist John Taylor and others that the meltdown of 2008 was caused in significant part by a Fed rate that, from mid-2002 until 2005, held interest rates too low. Bernanake was a policy maker at the Fed during this period, serving on the Board of Governors. By all accounts I'm aware of, he favored the low interest rates set by the Fed. After becoming head of the Fed in 2005, moreover, he did not see the impending danger until it was too late. On the other hand, even strong critics of Bernanke, such as Senator Cornyn, acknowledge that he has done a good job preventing the collapse of the financial system. Instead of the calamity that seemed so possible in late 2008, we ended up with a
What went wrong? A year ago, he was king of the world. Now President Obama's approval rating, according to CBS, has dropped to 46 percent -- and his disapproval rating is the highest ever recorded by Gallup at the beginning of an (elected) president's second year.
The Gallup Poll finds that conservatism, more than ever, is America's leading ideology. Actually, Gallup's headline--Conservatives Maintain Edge as Top Ideological Group--understates the case. Conservatives aren't "maintaining," they're surging, as this Gallup graphic reveals: Conservatives are growing at the expense of both moderates and liberals. I suppose that's why the folks at CNN have so desperately tried to denigrate the tea party movement and town hall protesters. This is, of course, the asymmetry of American politics: there are more conservatives than liberals, but more Democrats than Republicans. Hence the constant anxiety among Democrats that their party could crash and burn; hence, too, the frustration by conservatives that so many Republicans can't bring themselves to embrace conservative ideals. Battle lines are currently drawn in New York, where a three-way race for an open seat in District 23 is in progress. Local Republicans nominated a liberal, Dede Scozzafava, to run against liberal Democrat Bill Owens in this historically Republican district. On its face this makes little sense: shouldn't a Republican-leaning district have ONE conservative on the ballot? Doug Hoffman obliged. Running on the Conservative Party line with support from the Club for Growth and other conservative organizations, Hoffman has quickly gone
Can we all now agree that President Obama's declaration of war on Fox News was one the most boneheaded political moves of recent history? He set out to plumb the depths of obeisance he could command from the liberal media, and finally hit bottom. This was going a little too far even for his most loyal press sycophants: Thuggish, but incompetently so--a bad combination. The graphic comes from a Hot Air reader.
In Kabul, by anti-American, anti-NATO demonstrators: There might be some pretty good reasons for Afghans to burn Obama in effigy, but this mob was coming from quite a different direction: A considerable number of people seem to have voted for Obama on the theory that he would make us more popular. A dumb reason to vote for a President, but it probably worked to some degree with Western Europeans who like to see us brought down to their level. Democrats are perhaps realizing that popularity with our actual enemies is more elusive; maybe they're even starting to figure out that it is not a goal toward which we should strive.
There is something profoundly disgusting about President Obama's October 23 anniversary statement on the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans. Here is Obama's statement in its entirety: We remember today the 241 American Marines, soldiers, and sailors who lost their lives twenty-six years ago as the result of a horrific terrorist attack that destroyed the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The military personnel serving in Beirut were there to bring peace and stability to Lebanon after years of internal strife and conflict. The murder of our soldiers, sailors, and Marines on this day on 1983 remains a senseless tragedy. We pay tribute on this day to the courage and sacrifice of those whose lives were lost in the Beirut attack, as well as their families and loved ones. We also wish to honor the brave service of all members of the United States military who are protecting Americans and promoting freedom and security around the world, as well as those international peacekeepers who serve in harm's way. In remembering this terrible day of loss, we are at the same time hopeful that a new government in Lebanon will soon be formed. We look forward to working with a Lebanese government that works actively to promote stability in the region and prosperity for its people. What's wrong with this picture? Barry Rubin provides context and notes Obama's omissions: --That the bombing was carried out by cadre of Hizballah under the guidance of Syria and Iran. --Today, attacks are being carried out against U.S. military personnel in Iraq under the guidance of Syria and Iran, and --Iran is trying to stage such attacks in Afghanistan. --The current and previous Irani
The White House has declared war on Fox News. White House communications director Anita Dunn said that Fox is "opinion journalism masquerading as news." Patting rival networks on the head for their authenticity (read: docility), senior adviser David Axelrod declared Fox "not really a news station." And Chief of Staff Emanuel told (warned?) the other networks not to "be led [by] and following Fox."
On Tuesday, ABC News reporter Jake Tapper confronted White House press secretary Robert Gibbs over recent comments about Fox News. Tapper said, "It's escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations 'not a news organization' and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it's appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one?"
It may be random noise, but it is interesting that, as the health care debate reaches a climax in Washington, both President Obama and Congressional Democrats appear to be losing ground with voters. Today's Rasmussen survey finds that 28 percent of likely voters strongly approve of President Obama's performance, while 40 percent--a plurality--strongly disapprove. This generates an "approval index" of -12. There have been only two days since January when Obama's approval index has been lower: Often the approval index bounces up or down by a point or two without any change in Obama's broader approval rating. So it may be significant that in today's survey, likely voters disapprove of Obama's job performance by a 52-47 percent margin. That's a little worse than what we've generally seen lately. Likewise, the Republicans are pulling ahead on the generic Congressional preference survey. In today's poll, Republican lead Democrats by five points, 42-37, the widest margin since early September. All of this may be a blip on the screen, or it may be an incipient trend. One thing it can't be is good news for the Democrats.
Despite spending the last nine months battering the president's agenda, the Republican Party has neither gained any traction with voters nor has it appreciably damaged the Democratic brand, according to polls. People who call themselves Republican dropped from 27 percent in a January poll to 22.5 percent in a multi-poll average in October.
Obama administration communications director Anita Dunn commended the wisdom of mass murdering Communist Chairman Mao in her address to high school students this past June. Dunn cited Mao and Mother Teresa as her two favorite political philosophers. I wrote about Dunn's address here, John here; both posts include video of Dunn's address. Dunn said to the assembled students: A lot of you have a great deal of ability. A lot of you work hard. Put them together and that answers the "why not" question. There is usually not a good reason. And then the third lesson and tip actually comes from two of my favorite political philosophers: Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa, not often coupled together, but the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you're going to make choices. You're going to challenge. You're going to say why not. You're going to figure out how to do things that have never been done before. But here's the deal -- these are your choices. They are no one else's. In 1947, when Mao Zedong was being challenged within his own party on his plan to basically take China over, Chiang Kai Shek and the nationalist Chinese held the cities that had the army. They had the airport. They had everything on their side, and people said, "How can you win? How can you do this? How can you do this, against all the odds against you?" And Mao Zedong said, "You know, you fight your war, and I'll fight mine." And think about that for a second. You don't have to accept the definition of how to do things, and you don't have to follow other people's choices and paths, OK? It is about your choices and your path. You fight your own war. You lay out your own path. You figure out what's right for you. You don't let external definitions define how good you are internally. You fight your war. You let them fight theirs. Everybody has the
President Obama apparently will not travel to Germany to the attend the 20th-anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The German government is "going all out for the anniversary," but Obama, it seems, can't be arsed. Rick Richman offers a series of good reasons why Obama should reconsider. One of them is this: "it is an opportunity for Obama to give a speech in which he does not apologize for his country but celebrates the triumph of freedom that has been the driving force of American history from its beginning through his own election." But perhaps Obama doesn't like giving that speech. He certainly didn't do it well the last time he was in Germany when, as Richman reminds us, he credited the fall of the wall to the "world standing as one" and failed even to mention the names of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Obama will represent the U.S. as a supplicant and he will represent us as a penitent. If those roles aren't available, one suspects he would just as soon stay home. UPDATE: Don't miss Abe Greenwald's trenchant comments on Obama's decision to skip the event in Berlin.
This morning, I noted that Iran's government is telling the Iranian people that the Obama administration has consented to Iranian enrichment of uranium, thereby dismaying our European allies. I linked to, but did not discuss in detail, a Time article that appeared today. The Time article was based on interviews with Obama administration officials and was intended to put a positive spin on the administration's effort to engage with Iran. Now, news from Vienna, where representatives of Iran, the U.S. and other nations are meeting, allows us to put the whole story together. The Time article is the best place to start. It breathlessly describes President Obama's personal involvement in negotiations with Iran, and the genesis of what the administration considered to be a brilliant plan: President Barack Obama has a personal stake in the outcome of Monday's meeting in Vienna between Western and Iranian nuclear experts on the future of Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium. That's because, Administration sources tell TIME, Obama personally weighed in three times during secret, multiparty negotiations with the Iranians over the last four months.... The backroom talks began in June, when Iranian officials told the International Atomic Energy Agency their country was running out of fuel for an aging research reactor built for the Shah in 1967 by American technicians. ... "We very quickly saw an opening here," says a senior Administration official involved in the multiparty negotiations that ensued, speaking on condition of anonymity. The U.S. realized it could arrange for the manufacture of the specialized plates from an unorthodox source: the stash of low-enriched uranium Iran has produced in violation of U.N. Security Council demands at its massive Natanz uranium-enrichment plant over the past several years. The U.S., Israel
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh surprised some people when he said he agree with the Taliban Friday. LIMBAUGH: I think that everybody is laughing. Our president is a worldwide joke. Folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn’t deserve the award. [...]
Filmmaker Michael Moore told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that there should be prosecutions for perpetrators of the Iraq war. This video is from Fox News’ Hannity, broadcast Oct. 6, 2009. Download video via RawReplay.com
President Bush leaves office mostly unloved, with some poll respondents saying that they consider him one of our worst presidents ever. This in itself is odd. Generally, our worst Presidents have been one-termers, for obvious reasons: James Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, Herbert Hoover (if you buy into the myth). But George W. Bush was re-elected rather easily in 2004. Thus, if he really was one of our worst Presidents, either the electorate was subject to mass hypnosis, or something must have gone seriously wrong in his second term. If we strip away the partisan hysteria, it's pretty clear that Bush was a reasonably good President, not an epochally horrible one. Let's start with domestic policy. Bush took office just as a recession was beginning, a recession that could have been made much worse by the September 11 attacks and the subsequent stock market collapse and business contraction. Instead, Bush's tax cuts gave needed relief to taxpayers and fueled an expansion that lasted almost throughout his terms in office. This is one of several instances where Bush, despite a number of small errors, got the biggest things right. With his usual ill luck, Bush saw the Fannie/Freddy/house price bubble burst at the tail end of his administration, with the results that we have all seen over the last few months. But Bush deserves little if any blame for the collapse, just as Bill Clinton deserves little if any blame for the stock price bubble, and inevitable collapse, that scarred the last year of his administration. Bush tried to rein in Fannie and Freddy but was blocked by Congressional Democrats. One can argue that, notwithstanding those efforts, he failed to foresee the full impact of the financial tsunami that has now exploded. But so did pretty much everyone else. Except insofar as we view the President as a good luck charm, it makes no sense to blame Bush for those events. While his stewardship of the economy was good, Bush fell down in other areas of domestic policy. His sponsorship of c
In the wake of yesterday s bruising result, the Republican party faces an excruciating and divisive choice between two very different futures.The first choice is the choice on display at the excited rallies that cheered Sarah Palin all through the fall. This is a choice to fall back on the core base of the Republican party. The base is almost entirely white, almost entirely resident in the middle of the country, moderately affluent, middle-aged and older, more male than female, with some college education but not a college degree. Think of Joe the Plumber and you see the core of the Republican party.
The only news Barack Obama made in his first post-election press conference was when, in a classless moment, he falsely ridiculed Nancy Reagan for holding "seances" in the White House. He was then compelled to call her to apologize for what he termed his "careless remark." It appears that Obama may have been careless again yesterday, with international consequences. He spoke with the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, on the telephone. Afterward, Kaczynski wrote that Obama "said that the missile-defense project would continue." The Obama camp then released a statement to the effect that Obama had said no such thing: "President Kaczynski raised missile defense but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it." It's possible that President Kaczynski deliberately misquoted Obama, but that seems highly unlikely. It's much more probable that Obama indulged in his usual ambiguity, failed to choose his words carefully, and thereby conveyed a misleading impression. Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated.