Thursday, August 14, 2014

Cruising the Web

John Podhoretz advises President Obama to prepare himself for many more occasions when Hillary hammers him in a desperate attempt to distance herself from his increasing unpopularity.
Last year, when it looked like Obama might maintain his popularity, Hillary was ready to run as his confidant, adviser and friend.

Now, as the world comes crashing down upon him, along with his poll numbers and the increasingly disastrous prospects for his party in the November midterms, Mrs. Clinton has laid a bet.

She is betting she has two years to set herself up not as Obama’s natural successor but as his sadder-but-wiser replacement — the one who saw it go wrong, the one who watched as the mistakes were being made, the one who sought to mitigate or reverse those blunders to no effect, the one best able to take inspiration from a more successful, more centrist Democratic presidency.

Mrs. Clinton’s political judgment is not to be trusted. She allowed Obama to eat her lunch in 2008 in part because she was overconfident and tacked too far to the center too early. She may well be doing it again.

But she has made her choice. If Obama stumbles, she’ll be there — with her ankle turned out, to trip him up still further and then, with a sad smile, claim credit for having known that the obstacle had been there in his path all along.

Hillary called Obama yesterday to assure him nothing in the interview was meant to be critical of him. Well said, Iago.
Chris Cillizza also shakes his head at Hillary's ineptness in trying to triangulate a position in foreign policy.
But, the sturm und drang of the past 72 hours proves two things: 1) The kumbaya story that the Obama and Clinton teams tell about their relationship isn't the whole story and 2) Clinton's attempts to distance herself from some of the less-popular policies of the Obama Administration will be more difficult than her team may have realized.
If anyone had truly believed that Hillary and Obama had become good friends, they were being truly naive. I believe more in a friendship between Bill Clinton and both Bush presidents than I do between Obama and Clinton. I'm sure she never forgave him for taking away her annointment as the Democratic nominee in 2008. And he never liked her even if he did term her "likable enough."

Ed Driscoll has an interesting interview with Daniel Halper, author of Clinton, Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine. Find out, for example, how Hillary is actively undermining Bill's legacy.

And, as Philip Klein writes, she is going to have trouble to distance herself from his policies taken while she was serving in his administration while still running on the basis of her supposed foreign policy experience.
But the more she tries to argue that she recommended a different policy approach than the one that was actually pursued, the more she comes across looking like a figurehead who had no real influence within the administration — thus undermining her "experience" argument.

As Timothy Carney reports, his administration is chock full of the lobbyists he once vowed would have no place in his administration.
McGrath finds 119 former lobbyists in the Obama administration. The administration employs former in-house lobbyists from Microsoft, Fannie Mae, insurance giant Wellpoint, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Monsanto, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Raytheon, and Goldman Sachs. Obama has hired from the ranks of K Street firms Cassidy & Associates, Covington & Burling, Heather Podesta & Partners, Akin Gump, Arnold & Porter, Winston & Strawn, Timmons & Co., and others.

How did so many lobbyists get in under Obama's supposed "lobbyist ban"? McGrath walks through the exceptions, technicalities, waivers, and apparent disregard for the rules.

But then hypocrisy is never a surprise from this White House as Bloomberg reports on how Obama accepts campaign donations from the very firms that he's bashing.
President Barack Obama won’t return campaign donations to executives, advisers and directors who have profited from offshore mergers that reduce corporate taxes using a technique he has called “unpatriotic.”

Responding to a Bloomberg News report that described connections between more than 20 Obama donors and the tax-cutting transactions, White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said the president will keep the cash.
Why not have it both ways? It's just politics.

It's quite a list of media groups and free-apeech advocates supporting the National Review in their fight against climate advocate Michael Mann.
In an amicus brief filed Monday, the ACLU and news organizations urged the court to reverse a lower court ruling that the statute didn't apply in this case. They argued that it would be a blow to freedom of the press should Mann prevail:
While Mann essentially claims that he can silence critics because he is "right," the judicial system should not be the arbiter of either scientific truth or correct public policy. While amici may not necessarily agree with the content of defendants’ speech, they believe that, if left to stand, the decision below will chill the expression of opinion on a wide range of important scientific and public policy issues, and therefore urge that it be reversed.
The ACLU was joined in the brief by the Washington Post, Fox News, NBC Universal, USA Today publisher Gannett Co., Bloomberg, Time, the Tribune Publishing Co., the Seattle Times and various professional organizations including the American Society of News Editors, the National Press Club, and the Society of Professional Journalists, among others.

Is Obama still interested in "engagement" with Iran even after they executed two gay men? Shouldn't that be the last straw?
Despite Iran’s state anti-Semitism, the recent arrest of U.S. journalists, and the continued oppression of women, the Obama administration has been attempting a rapprochement with the Iranian regime. Fending off Iran hawks in Congress and the D.C. punditocracy, the administration has argued for a policy of constructive engagement, pursuing diplomacy over military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program. The execution of two gay men, while it may not be surprising, certainly doesn’t make that “engagement” any easier.
Their brutality should be a hinge that could serve to unite conservatives and liberals in a refusal to "engage" with Iran.

So is the French foreign minister knocking Obama?
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has a message about Iraq for Barack Obama: Get back to the White House and do something.
'I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,' Fabius told a radio interviewer Tuesday in France,' but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.'

Full-time workers in France are guaranteed a whopping five weeks of paid vacation every year, making his plea all the more urgent.
Obama is on a family and golfing holiday in a ritzy neighborhood of Martha's Vineyard but says he will come back to Washington briefly on Tuesday before returning to fun, sun, and more golf.
I'm sure that he was just criticizing other European leaders, but it still applies to Obama.

What happens when one environmentalist ideal meets another environmentalist ideal? Hypocrisy.
The state [California] would exempt Tesla Motors Inc. from some of its toughest environmental regulations as part of an incentive package being discussed with the automaker to build a massive battery factory in California, a key state senator said.

As Mark Leibovich writes, every bad thing you've ever thought about what is involved in running for public office is true. It's even worse than you thought as he looks at the leaked memo by campaign strategists for Michelle Nunn running for the Senate from Georgia.
Suspicion: Campaigns believe that large portions of their electorates are simple-minded idiots.

Confirmation: The memo includes a handy calendar of dates that Team Nunn might consider planning excellent activities around. For instance, May would have been a good time for a fun Michelle event around “Jewish-American Heritage Month, National Stroke Awareness Month and National Bike Month.” The campaign was also prepared to reach potential supporters who celebrate Flannery O’Connor’s birthday (March 25), Flag Day (June 14) or the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (began sundown June 3).

Josh Kraushaar explains how Harry Reid's behind-the-scenes maneuvering has done more to endanger the Democratic majority. Reid was behind Montana's newest senator, John Walsh's position as Max Baucus's replacement for Baucus to become ambassador to China. And now John Walsh has had to step back from running for election this year when Walsh's plagiarism of a paper leading to his Master's Degree came to light. The Democrats have to scrape around to find a replacement candidate. Meanwhile, Reid's PAC was involved in trying to interfere in Republican primaries this year to stave off stronger GOP candidates. And on top of all his failed meddling, Reid has become the posterboy for Republicans seeking a way to rally Republican voters who might have been less enthusiastic about their own candidates except for their deep desire to make Harry Reid into the Senate Minority Leader.