Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cruising the Web

Kathy Shaidle finds a sentence in a NYT story that "accidentally summarizes 'progressivism' in half a sentence."

Fred Barnes argues that the Obama presidency is entering its "pathetic phase."
This occurs when a president acts in a demeaning fashion while trying to rebuild his popularity and political strength. It’s a product of desperation.

There are numerous examples from earlier presidencies. Gerald Ford had his WIN buttons (Whip Inflation Now). George H. W. Bush told New Hampshire voters, “Don’t cry for me, Argentina.” Jimmy Carter boasted endlessly he hadn’t “panicked in the crisis” and insisted he wasn’t contrasting his conduct with rival Teddy Kennedy’s at Chappaquiddick.

For Obama, the pathetic phase began over the summer when the economy weakened further and his job approval rating tanked. He recklessly called for a joint session of Congress to announce his jobs initiative. During his speech, he demanded 18 times, “Pass this bill.”

Paul Ryan demonstrates why so many wish he were running for president. In a speech in honor of Constitution Day, he weaves together conservative criticisms of the Obama administration in an underlying theme of lack of respect for the rule of law, the foundation for our republic. No one else out there seems to be able to so effortlessly clarify the reasons why conservatives object to Democratic policies and why we should support the sorts of reforms that Ryan advocates.

Mark Penn, Bill Clinton's pollster, thinks that Obama is adopting just the wrong strategy for the election by aiming for class warfare instead of trying to bridge differences and appeal to independents.
He should be working as a president, not a candidate.

He should be claiming the vital center, not abandoning it.

He should be holding down taxes rather than raising them.

He should be mastering the global economy, not running away from it.

And most of all, he should be bringing the country together rather than dividing it through class warfare.

When Al Gore faced a close presidential race in 2000, he abandoned running on peace and prosperity in favor of the people vs. the powerful, only to see his lead evaporate. When John Kerry was facing a tough race in 2004, he spent the last few months after the convention tacking to the left on the Iraq war and other issues to stimulate the base, only to fall even farther behind.

But when Bill Clinton was facing the fight of his political life in his 1996 re-election, he got rid of all the class warfare language used by traditional Democrats, got behind welfare reform and the balanced budget, and supported a strong, activist government that spent and taxed less rather than more.
Penn then analyzes exit polls from 2008 to note that Obama won the presidency by winning the wealthy in 2008. I'm not sure how many wealthy Obama voters would abandon him due to his rhetoric and proposed taxes. But if a certain percentage of those voters did drift away from Obama, he'd be in trouble.

Phil Falcone, the billionaire who backed LightSquared whose company is now facing allegations that they used their financial aid for Democrats to get the White House to pressure the Pentagon to change testimony on how LightSquared's wireless network would interfere with GPS devices, is incensed that he's being accused of wrongdoing. LightSquared employees sent emails to White House staff that both mentioned their fundraising for Democrats and tried to coordinate meetings to get the pressure that they ultimately got from the administration on the Pentagon. So subtle they are. Here is Falcone's defense:
“How LightSquared operated, and how LightSquared will continue to operate, is no different than what everybody else does,” Falcone said. “It’s completely appropriate and was within the guidelines of how business is conducted.”
Hmmm. Perhaps that is the problem. There's the definition of crony capitalism right there.

Evelyn Gordon at Commentary asks
a very good question about the Palestinians' UN bid for statehood: "if the world won't enforce previous deals, why should Israel sign another?"
A brief reminder: The UN gambit blatantly violates the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, which states that “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” Clearly, recognizing these territories as a state would change their status drastically. The U.S. and EU both signed this agreement as witnesses, as did Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway.

Now, most of these witnesses plan to vote in favor when the PA asks the UN to effectively tear up this agreement later this month, and even those who plan to
vote against are demanding the PA suffer no penalties for its bad faith. Yet if the Palestinians can tear up this agreement with impunity, why should Israel believe they won’t be allowed to tear up a final-status agreement with equal impunity? And in that case, why should it risk the drastic concessions a final-status agreement would entail?
Everyone knows that the PA will be lying if they pledge peace with Israel. Why should Israel pretend to believe them?

Peter Wehner has some thoughts on Emanuel Cleaver's thoughts on whether the Congressional Black Caucus would be as supportive of Obama if he were white. Cleaver recently told the Miami Herald, “If [former President] Bill Clinton​ had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem [unemployment among blacks], we probably would be marching on the White House.” I guess that is Cleaver's way of admitting that Obama is the affirmative action president whose actions don't get evaluated on the same scale as white politicians.
This is a fairly devastating rebuke to the president. It’s essentially saying if he were judged by the content of his programs rather than by the color of his skin, he would be facing a revolt within his ranks. And the truth is, he should. The economy, which the president has mismanaged so badly, is hurting just about everyone in America; but probably no group is being hurt as much as minorities. (The black youth unemployment rate is nearing a staggeringly high 50 percent.)
As Wehner points out, Obama's policies are hurting the black community. And Obama's class warfare talk just leads to resentment, not jobs.

Seth Mandel ponders Obama's statement that the pro-Israel community has to abandon an "unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel. Mandel points to how this reveals Obama's ignorance of the history of recent Middle history because there is nothing that Netanyahu has done that other Israeli leaders of the Labor party have not supported.

There is something sadly humorous
about Tim Geithner traveling to Europe to lecture them on how to structure their bailout to meet their fiscal crisis. Apparently, the Europeans aren't amused. Yes, Geithner knows so much about successful bailouts.

James Taranto has some fun, as he often does, ridiculing the snottiness of how the New York Times reports its poll results.
So according to the Times, if you think you disagree with the president, you're wrong and don't know better. Oh, and the Republicans think you're stupid.