Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Cruising the Web

David Freddoso argues that Obama's decision to put action on Syria before Congress that he's weakened the presidency. I disagree. I don't think that this precedent will necessarily have any more precedential power than the precedents of other presidents to take military action without consulting Congress. Apparently, the Justice Department found 125 such precedents in a memo after 9/11. And Obama's administration has implied that they would go through with attacking Syria even if Congress votes no. I don't know that Obama's choice on Syria outweighs his choices on Libya. And, in the domestic sphere, Obama has stretched presidential power way beyond what any other president has done since Nixon. And those precedents will be waiting there for future presidents in a way that truly unbalances our system of checks and balances.

George Will writes that Obama is seeking an accomplice for his actions in Syria.
Obama’s sanctimony about his moral superiority to a Congress he considers insignificant has matched his hypocrisy regarding his diametrically opposed senatorial and presidential understandings of the proper modalities regarding uses of military force. Now he asks from the Congress he disdains an authorization he considers superfluous. By asking, however reluctantly, he begins the urgent task of lancing the boil of executive presumption. Surely he understands the perils of being denied an authorization he has sought, and then treating the denial as irrelevant.
John Kerry was for boots on the ground before he was against it. And Cory Booker was against missiles in Syria before he was against it. But then there is quite a gap between what John Kerry is saying and what Obama is proposing.
If American credibility is on the line in Syria now that Assad has used chemical weapons, as Kerry rightly noted, what the administration is failing to adequately explain is how a military plan that would leave the dictator in place and with his armed forces largely intact is commensurate with the secretary’s ringing neoconservative rhetoric about the need for action. The problem is that having established a rationale for action about chemical weapons and repeating that President Obama’s policy was that “Assad must go,” how can the administration pretend that a shower of missiles will be enough to match Kerry’s “never again means never” stance. Any military response—even a purely symbolic one—would deny Assad the “impunity” that Kerry correctly fears would be the result of American inaction. But the administration’s attempt to justify a course of action that would avoid any American casualties and could not be interpreted as a full-fledged intervention and would not do much to destroy Assad’s main forces seems to be disconnected from the principles the secretary articulated.
If the administration is discounting what John Kerry says, why have him do the "full Ginsburg" on Sunday talk shows?

The whip count of House Republicans oppose what is deliciously termed "Operation Peace Prize" contains a mix of Republicans from a range of ideologies.

Those who were most likely to vote for Obama are those who are most likely to have been hit hardest by the economy under Obama.
Mr. Obama was re-elected with 51% of the vote. Five demographic groups were crucial to his victory: young voters, single women, those with only a high-school diploma or less, blacks and Hispanics. He cleaned up with 60% of the youth vote, 67% of single women, 93% of blacks, 71% of Hispanics, and 64% of those without a high-school diploma, according to exit polls.

According to the Sentier research, households headed by single women, with and without children present, saw their incomes fall by roughly 7%. Those under age 25 experienced an income decline of 9.6%. Black heads of households saw their income tumble by 10.9%, while Hispanic heads-of-households' income fell 4.5%, slightly more than the national average. The incomes of workers with a high-school diploma or less fell by about 8% (-6.9% for those with less than a high-school diploma and -9.3% for those with only a high-school diploma).

To put that into dollar terms, in the four years between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and June of this year, median black household income fell by just over $4,000, Hispanic households lost $2,000 and female-headed households lost $2,300.
Ah, a triumph of hope over experience.

Jim Geraghty notes that Democrats are being faced with the reality that everything they've ever believed about foreign policy is wrong.
Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no “international community” ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be.

You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess. We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, “smart power.” (These people can’t even label a foreign-policy approach without reminding us of how highly they think of themselves.) They looked out at the world at the end of the Bush years, and didn’t see tough decisions, unsolvable problems, unstable institutions, restless populations, technology enabling the impulse to destabilize existing institutions, evil men hungry for more power, and difficult trade-offs. No, our problems and challengers were just a matter of the previous hands running U.S. foreign policy not being smart enough.

Get to know nine women who are "remaking the Republican right."

Relax. There is no bee crisis.

Ariel Castro, the man who held women in Ohio captive for since 2002, has hanged himself in prison. Too bad he didn't do that about 12 years ago.

Bobby Jindal and Eric Holder are set to face off in federal court. This will give a boost to any run that Jindal might make for the presidential nomination. And due to Holder's efforts to help the teachers' unions, Jindal will get this spotlight on an issue where he'll be defending the rights of poor, minority children to a better education.