Reading Jeffrey Goldberg’s long Atlantic Monthly article about prospects for an Israeli air strike against Iran’s nuclear program, the strongest arguments against such an attack come from military sources:
Israel would get only one try. Israeli planes would fly low over Saudi Arabia, bomb their targets in Iran, and return to Israel by flying again over Saudi territory, possibly even landing in the Saudi desert for refueling-perhaps, if speculation rife in intelligence circles is to be believed, with secret Saudi cooperation… .
[P]olitical limitations would not allow Israel to make repeated sorties over Iran. “The Saudis can let us go once,” one general told me. “They’ll turn their radar off when we’re on our way to Iran, and we’ll come back fast. Our problem is not Iranian air defenses, because we have ways of neutralizing that. Our problem is that the Saudis will look very guilty in the eyes of the world if we keep flying over their territory.” …
This doesn’t mean such an attack couldn’t take place, of course. But the fact that IDF generals clearly see the difficulties — including the diplomatic difficulties — of such an attack tends to suggest that it would be a last-resort measure. It isn’t very likely, and it isn’t likely to happen soon.
A correspondent asked me yesterday what I thought of this mosque controversy. Upon reflection, here is what I said (although I have changed a few words since my first response to her, just for clarity):
I think the Cordoba House is obnoxious (because it seems to be a deliberate attempt to provoke reaction, not because an Islamic Center in general is somehow inherently suspect). I think the sources of its funding should be made clear. And I don’t understand how that property could be adjudged to not be a landmark when, as I understand it, EVERY other building surrounding it has been so designated. (IF I am wrong on this claim, please correct me, civilly.)
But I think it’s also being overplayed as an issue. We are Americans. Lesser countries have conniption fits over things like this, because their very identities are wrapped around their grievances. But we’re bigger and better than that. We should make it clear that we consider this an affront, ask them to move it…. and then, regardless of whether they do so or not, we ourselves should move on. We shouldn’t let them so easily goad us. It makes us look weak.
….. That said, I DO think the place, if actually built as planned, should be under serious legal forms of surveillance by our appropriate intelligence agencies, and it should be regularly visited by undercover law enforcement personnel, to make sure it isn’t being used as a base for nefarious activity….. Again, this is not just a mosque but a 13-story coomplex with uncertain, probably foreign funding, and it is located right at a major terrorism site. There should be no civil-liberties concerns about keeping a close watch on the situation.
There are plenty of moderate Muslims out there. Many of them are patriotic Americans. But it also is a fact that there is more than the usual percentage of Muslim centers within the United States that are hotbeds of radicalism. There does seem to be something at least a mite suspicious about this particular project. We can keep an eye on it without using rhetoric insulting to all Muslims. And that’s what we should do.
Paul Davis defends James Bond against a “neo-fascist gangster” leveled by a “78 year-old bitter leftist spy novelist.”
My Commonwealth Foundation colleague Nathan Benefield calls attention to what was a potential showdown over hotel rooms between those frackin’ Marcellus Shale natural gas explorers from outside of Pennsylvania, and the tourists who will soon be heading to Williamsport for the Little League World Series. A taxpayer-funded anti-gas industry newsletter published by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection whined that the frackers were hogging all the rooms, but it turns out — as reported by the slightly more reputable Philadelphia Inquirer — that the gas men (one room for you, nineteen for me?) are willingly making way for the LLWS visitors:
The hotels’ management made arrangements for about 100 gas workers to stay at its Wilkes-Barre site about 80 miles away. Others took vacation, she said.
“Almost everybody’s been really supportive,” [said Jennifer Locey, vice president of operations for the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Williamsport].
Kristi Gittins, a spokeswoman for Chief Oil & Gas, a Texas company that has been housing many of its employees in the Holiday Inn and the Hampton Inn, said many workers had already set up permanent residence in the area but that it still has workers “coming in and out” who had to find different lodging out of town.
“Little League is such a wonderful event for the entire area,” said Gittins. “It’s a temporary inconvenience for workers. We didn’t give moving a second thought.”
Leave it to government propagandists to not let the facts get in the way of effective demonization.
Kevin Drum’s defense of Social Security from the Deficit Commission is making the rounds. His argument, intended to be as simple as possible, goes like this:
In 1983, when we last reformed Social Security, we made an implicit deal between two groups of American taxpayers. Call them Groups A and B. For about 30 years, Group A would pay higher taxes than necessary, thus allowing Group B to reduce their tax rates. Then, for about 30 years after that, Group A would pay lower taxes than necessary and Group B would make up for this with higher tax rates.
This might have been a squirrelly deal to make. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the deal we made. And it’s obviously unfair to change it halfway through.
So who is Group A? It’s people who pay Social Security payroll taxes, which mostly means working and middle class taxpayers. And who is Group B? It’s people who pay federal income taxes, which mostly means the well-off and the rich. For nearly 30 years, Group A has been overpaying payroll taxes, and that’s allowed the government to lower income tax rates. The implicit promise of the 1983 deal is that sometime in the next few years, this is going to flip. Group A will begin underpaying payroll taxes, and the rich, who have reaped the benefits of their overpayment for 30 years, will make good on their half of the deal by paying higher income tax rates to make up the difference.
The physical embodiment of this deal is the Social Security trust fund. Group A overpaid and built up a pile of bonds in the trust fund. Those bonds are a promise by Group B to repay the money. That promise is going to start coming due in a few years, and it’s hardly surprising that Group B isn’t as excited about the deal now as it was in 1983. It’s never as much fun paying off a loan as it is to spend the money in the first place.
But pay it off they must.
I can’t speak to the accuracy of Drum’s history of the Greenspan Commission. But overall, it seems as though Drum’s argument reduces to the claim that Social Security is part of the federal budget and federal tax policy has not been progressive enough over the past 30 years.
Maybe so, but the problem I see here is that the federal budget is in trouble, deal or no deal. Even making tax policy more progressive from here on out won’t solve the looming problem.
After the Massey Energy coal accident and the BP mile-deep oil gusher, a Marketwatch report says ‘green’-minded investors plan to increase the number of resolutions to address global warming and other environmental issues next year at corporate annual meetings. But as I explain for the National Legal and Policy Center, these cowards bail out on companies like BP when trouble hits and stock prices tumble, despite their claims that they’re in it for social responsibility.
Paul Chesser helpfully blogged earlier today about the news that Sarah Palin endorsed another candidate today, Renee Ellmers, who is running for Congress against North Carolina’s Bob Etheridge, he of the serious anger management issues and the very low regard for young interviewers. His post reminds me that I have been remiss in doing a mini-feature on Ms. Ellmers, who sounded absolutely delightful in an interview I conducted with her back on Aug. 6. Excuse, then, the length of this report, but I think it’s safe to say I was definitely impressed.
Ms. Ellmers is a registered nurse who has done most of her work in surgical intensive care; she now works with her husband, who is a general surgeon. She was supposed to be the president this year of the local Chamber of Commerce in Dunn, NC, population about 10,000, but put that off when she decided to run for Congress. And she has sat on the town’s planning board (zoning, basically) for four years, three of them as chair. But other than those non-elective means of public service, she told me that she had previously “not even been interested in any part of being involved in politics.” She long has been conservative, and a registered Republican for more than 20 years, she said, but never in any way active in elections. Then Obamacare came along.
Here, in quotes spliced together to avoid my interposing questions and some asides, but entirely in context, is what she told me:
“Well, basically, a year ago when the health care debate was so hot, my husband and I decided we were going to get involved with speaking out at different events that were being held, health-care rallies, on behalf of doctors and nurses, to let people know that doctors and nurses are not on board with regard to health care reform. I also became inolved with the Harnett County Republican Party for the first time.
“We have a 15 year old son. I am very worried about his future and that of all our children with all the debt we are leaving to them. It’s a very conservative district. The people here are good, conservative, God-fearing, hard-working people and Congressman Etheridge is not represenative of them. He basically votes with President Obama 97% of the time. There was a large outcry for him to vote no on the health-care bill, but he voted yes and that has hurt him badly in this district.
“I just believe we have to get back to the basics, to common sense. I feel Washington is completely out of control. We cannot continue the borrowing and the the spending that is going on. President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress, their objective to pass smore stimulus spending — but that’s just not the way we’re going to get the conomy stimulated.
“We [she and her husband] are small business owners; we own the practice. I’m for some serious tax cuts and cutting the size of government and cutting the spending out and getting the private sector stimulated that way, which is the real way we’re going to stimulate the economy.
“I am pretty much conservative across the board. I know a lot of people who are not happy with what is happening, including in the Republican Party at times. I am not a politician: I am a conservative first… but what I will say is because I’m conservative first, if it means I need to vote against my own party on some things, I have no problem with that. For instance, I know a lot of people were not happy with the end of the Bush administration because there was too much spending, and because of TARP. I personally did not feel we should have bailed out Wall Street with TARP and I was against the stimulus too.
“I disagreed with McCain in that I am very much against amnesty. First and foremost secure the borders. To me it’s a national security issue more than anythng. We should adhere to the laws and regulations we already have that are being disregarded. We should set a date for [illegals] to go back, and then if they want to come back through the legal system, well, then let them do it — but only legally.”
Ms. Ellmers is not a North Carolina native, but she speaks of it with the love that often characterizes those who move to a new place by choice. She’s from Michigan, but she and her husband visited family who had moved there and they just liked it so much they decided to move there themselves. This was 12 years ago, she said. The district is in the “Triangle” area of North Carolina, near Raleigh. Clearly, judging from her Chamber involvement and her planning board duties, she is a well-established, civicly active North Carolinian.
The district has a “partisan voter index” of Republican-plus-two, according to famed political analyst Charlie Cook, which means it is a fairly evenly balanced district politically but one which votes about two percentage points higher for Republicans than the national average. Common sense says that with that sort of district, and with the video of a crazy-angry Etheridge making the rounds, Ms. Ellmers has at least a reasonable chance if her fundraising improves.
There — that’s all just neutral reporting (other than saying Ellmers sounded “delightful” over the phone), allowing Ellmers to speak n her own words. It’s a race worth watching.
Going into this weekend’s California GOP convention in San Diego, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that conservative Republicans are at odds with gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s moderate stances on illegal immigration and environmental regulation. The article also notes that Whitman is doing nothing to change the widespread perception of her as regally aloof:
Whitman plans a public event Friday outside the convention, but after an address to delegates that evening she has no plans to stay through the weekend to schmooze with ardent party supporters at hospitality suites, caucuses, seminars and meet-and-greet sessions.
In a report Monday, I noted that some California Republicans “harbor deep doubts” about Whitman. One activist told me that Whitman’s arms-length relationship with the GOP grassroots is “a repeat of Schwarzenegger all over again,” referring to the current Republican governor’s disinterest in party-building activities.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will skip the state convention, and has only attended one of the past four semiannual Republican gatherings. Schwarzenegger “doesn’t give a damn about the local parties” and “doesn’t show up” for GOP fund-raisers or campaign events, the activist said — at least not since the state party helped Schwarzenegger pay off more than $2 million in debts for his 2006 re-election campaign.
A Los Angeles-area Republican said local party officials were promised that Whitman (who has spent upwards of $100 million of her own money on her gubernatorial campaign against Jerry Brown) would pay to set up GOP offices in each assembly district by July. “Now it’s mid-August, and no checks,” the Republican said. “Instead, Whitman has opened offices for her own campaign, and expects local activists to provide quid pro quo support for her campaign.”
While trying to take “total control of the state party,” the Republican said, “Whitman is looking out for herself and herself only.”
Several Republicans I spoke to in California are worried that friction — or, more accurately, a disconnect — between the Whitman campaign and local party activists could undermine prospects for GOP candidates in several potentially competive congressional races in the state.
The advice from Democratic consultants and strategists is almost unanimous: Run away from the president, and fast. A prominent Democratic pollster is circulating a survey that shows George W. Bush is 6 points more popular than President Obama in “Frontline” districts — seats held by Democrats that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees as most vulnerable to Republican takeover. That Bush is more popular than Obama in Democratic-held seats is cause for outright fear.
“He is a walking radioactive disaster,” one senior Democratic operative said of the president.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, found that Barack Obama’s endorsement hurt Democratic candidates in Illinois, the state Obama represented in the U.S. Senate and which launched his political career.
40% of voters in the state say they’d be less likely to support an Obama endorsed candidate to only 26% who say it would be an asset. The reality at this point is that Obama turns Republican voters off to a much greater extent than he excites Democrats. That’s reflected in the fact that 83% of Republicans say an Obama endorsement would be a negative with them while only 49% of Democrats say it would be a positive. Independents also respond negatively by a 38/19 margin.
The numbers on an Obama endorsement are perhaps more relevant with undecided voters. Among those who have not yet made up their minds in the Senate race 21% say an Obama endorsement would resonate positively with them while 33% say it would be a turnoff.
The only thing Obama has going for him is that his endorsement is less damaging among Illinois voters than Sarah Palin’s, at least according to this poll.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sneers and laughs at Republican candidates who doubt the “scientific consensus” on global warming:
Hat tip: Tom Nelson.
If nothing else, Barack Obama’s presidency has done one thing: expose so-called centrist Democrats for the ideological hacks they are. It happened most notably in March, when Michigan U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak and his allies laid aside their pro-life convictions and voted for Obama’s health-care overhaul, with nothing but a flimsy executive order as justification.
But health-care reform isn’t the only arena where supposedly moderate Democrats have demonstrated their true colors, as shown by new rankings for 2009 from the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
The group tracked 120 votes in the House ranging from stimulus funds to bailouts to environmental projects. The scorecard ranks Democrats in the Blue Dog Coalition — who claim to be “independent voices for fiscal responsibility and accountability” — as just a smudge better than liberal members of Congress. Almost half of House Democrats — 105 out of 253 total — scored zero percent.
Blue Dog Democrats, meanwhile, averaged just 11 percent. The coalition’s leadership came in well below that: Reps. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (6 percent), Baron Hill (3 percent), Jim Matheson (11 percent), and Heath Shuler (8 percent).
To his credit, Rep. Walt Minnick of Idaho scored the highest of any Blue Dog at 83 percent. He fared better than many Republicans. And that shows why some Blue Dogs deserve the moniker. They’re willing to stand up to party leaders on both big and small votes.
But in the Democratic Party, their examples are the exception rather than the rule. Blue Dogs might part company with leaders on a few major votes (but only, notice, when the legislation is guaranteed to pass without their support), but the vast majority of the time they line up nicely with Pelosi’s wishes.
There will be consequences this November. Thirteen Blue Dogs are in the “toss up” or “likely/leans GOP” category, according to the count on RealClearPolitics.com. That includes leaders Sandlin and Hill.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe lay out a “Tea Party manifesto” in the Wall Street Journal. Here are their thoughts on the Tea Party’s relationship with the GOP:While the tea party is not a formal political party, local networks across the nation have moved beyond protests and turned to more practical matters of political accountability.
Already, particularly in Republican primaries, fed-up Americans are turning out at the polls to vote out the big spenders. They are supporting candidates who have signed the Contract From America, a statement of policy principles generated online by hundreds of thousands of grass-roots activists.
Published in April, the Contract amounts to a tea party “seal of approval.” It demands fiscal policies that limit government, restrain spending, promote market reforms in health care-and oppose ObamaCare, tax hikes and cap-and-trade restrictions that will kill job creation and stunt economic growth. Candidates who have signed the Contract-including Marco Rubio in Florida, Mike Lee in Utah and Tim Scott in South Carolina-have defeated Republican big spenders in primary elections all across the nation.
These young legislative entrepreneurs will shift the balance in the next Congress, bringing with them a more serious, adult commitment to responsible, restrained government.
But let us be clear about one thing: The tea party movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party, but a hostile takeover of it.
Making the Republican Party serious about limited government demands a hostile takeover.
Certainly you remember Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge of North Carolina, who a couple of months ago showed his passion for reportorial transparency:
Well unsurprisingly, yesterday former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed his Republican opponent, Renee Ellmers. The best the Etheridge campaign could come up with in response is (scroll to second item), “It is scary to think that Ellmers is going to take her marching orders about job creation from a person who abandoned the job she was elected to do for the people of Alaska.” Etheridge is sleepwalking through his campaign, but Ellmers is having trouble doing much with only $41,000 in the bank.
The Pew poll on Pres. Obama’s religious beliefs released today is creating a stir, because it reports that nearly one in five think that he is a Muslim:
How to interpret this development? I think it’s that some Americans are lunatics and almost 18 percent of them are troublemakers.
Brett Favre is going to play football this year after all.
If I can find embeddable video later I will post it, but don’t miss this confrontation in Winston-Salem with the North Carolina Democrat by a mother who “lives in the hospital” with her two children. She knows way more about Obamacare than Hagan, who just comes off as ignorant. Kudos to the NBC affiliate WXII for capturing and posting the story. A taste:
“I don’t want free health care. Because I will sell everything I own to pay for my children because this is America,” the concerned parent said.
Bonus, 7:30 a.m. 8/19/10: In this April radio interview, Hagan refuses to answer a question about whether the health care mandate is constitutional.
In his blog entry below on Joseph Farah. Ann Coulter, libertarianism, and homosexual issues, my friend Stacy goes too far when he writes that Crunchy Con advocate Rod Dreher is “an idiot.” I certainly don’t agree with a lot of Dreher’s writings. But the man is clearly a smart guy, a sincere guy, and a very nice guy. Unlike other prominent would-be conservatives such as Michael Gerson and David Brooks, Dreher doesn’t stoop to personal insults or to invective against those more conservative than he. Unless I have missed something, he is unfailingly polite, and always thoughtful. I therefore heartily object to Stacy calling him an “idiot.” Stacy’s point can be made, and should be made, without insulting Dreher. Moreover, the shot at Dreher was utterly gratuitous, as Dreher has nothing to do with the new dispute about which Stacy writes. Conservatives are better than that. Conservatives should not stoop to gratuitous insults. Stacy is better than that. I wish Stacy would return and edit out that remark — and then edit out this comment of mine as well, since it will no longer be needed.
The University of Mobile, a growing and impressive private institution in southern Alabama, has launched an ambitious project called the twelve23 Prayer Movement for America. The idea is deceptively simple: Every day from October 1 through election day, at either 12:23 a.m. or 12:23 p.m., say a quick but heartfelt prayer for this nation. Sign the contract pledging to do so, here. It sure can’t hurt, and it just might help. Take a look.
Let me add this: I spent eight years as an editorial writer in Mobile. When I got there, I didn’t even know this college existed. By the time I left, I had identified the University of Mobile as a linchpin an revitalizing the city of Prichard, a bankrupt city in Mobile County, bordering the city of Mobile. The university sits at the north end of Prichard, on beautiful land, and its strong leadership and good (conservative) values make it not just a good place for learning but also an engine of growth. That said, this prayer movement is meant not to be local, but national. It’s meant not to bolster the university, but instead to bolster this country. And while the university is Baptist, this project is decidedly ecumenical. Again, it’s well worth a look.
“The drift of the conservative movement to a brand of materialistic libertarianism is one of the main reasons we planned this conference from the beginning.”
“This conference” is WorldNetDaily’s Take Back America conference, from which Farah has disinvited Coulter. Use of “libertarian” as an epithet, and accusations that advocates of a free society are “materialistic,” have long troubled me. A few years ago, I picked a fight with Rod Dreher over his idiotic statement:”The tragic flaw of Western economics is that it is based on exploiting and encouraging greed and envy.”
Dreher is an idiot — and not a particularly useful idiot, at that — whereas I believe Farah is merely mistaken. Let it be noted that I have strongly criticized the gay rights movement, going so far as to cite Judge Roy Moore’s decision in Ex Parte H.H as demonstrating that the concept of gay rights is “utterly alien to our nation’s legal tradition.”
On this issue, as on many others, you simply can’t get more conservative than Roy Moore (who has been a columnist for WorldNetDaily), and to cite him favorably is to automatically incur the accusation of homophobic theocratic extremism. This is a risk I gladly incur, however, just as I have incurred the risks of defending Ann Coulter, and for basically the same reason: As Lincoln said when critics demanded he relieve Grant from command, “I can’t spare this man — he fights.”
Joseph Farah is also a fighter, and I regret that his disagreement with Ann Coulter over the so-called “Homocon” conference has led to this apparent falling out between them. What Farah describes as a “drift” by conservatives toward “materialistic libertarianism” is, I believe, a misperception, yet another consequence of Republican “brand damage” in the post-Bush era.
As usual when Republicans lose an election, the media cites GOP moderates (“The Republicans Who Really Matter”) scapegoating conservatives, which causes the more spineless Republicans to try to distance themselves from the allegedly tainted right-wing elements of their constituency. Factional infighting ensues, and the conservative intellectual elite then offers some “solution” that, more often than not, leads to even worse problems. This was exemplified in the wake of the Dole ‘96 debacle, when David Brooks promoted “National Greatness” as the panacea for whatever ailed the GOP.
Strangely enough, Brooks’ 1997 prescription for “Big Government conservatism” (an oxymoron) is echoed in Farah’s criticism of “marterialistic libertarianism.” Like Farah, Brooks laid the blame for GOP failure squarely at the feet of free marketeers and advocates of limited government. While I am far more sympathetic to Farah’s Christian conservatism than to the effete centrism of Brooks — or Dreher’s gormless pseudo-spiritual “crunchiness” — I believe that Farah is equally wrong to condemn libertarians. Opposition to big government is a profoundly Christian value, as I argued in condemning the Bush bailout in October 2008:
[B]y displaying the spectacle of government engaging daily in legalized theft, the welfare state tends to corrupt the morals of its citizens.
The gay-rights movement is not libertarian, it is egalitarian, and thus constitutes an expression of the welfare-state mentality. Insofar as the “Homocon” conference supports gays who do not endorse the welfare state, it leads them away from darkness and into light, out of error and into truth.
Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn reports that many Republican candidates this year boldly proclaim their skepticism about the dangers of global warming:
Fueled by anti-Obama rhetoric and news articles purportedly showing scientists manipulating their own data, Republicans running for the House, Senate and governor’s mansions have gotten bolder in stating their doubts over the well-established link between man-made greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Ron Johnson, running against Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, is the latest in a line of Republicans to take a shot at the validity of global warming.
“I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,” Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday. “It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination.”
Johnson told the newspaper that the climate change theory was “lunacy” and blamed changes in the Earth’s temperature to “sunspot activity or just something in the geologic eons of time.”
Similar remarks have been heard from GOP candidates in all parts of the country even as mainstream climate scientists defend their work from a steady line of attack.
How refreshing. It was less than a year ago that even one of conservatives’ favorite governors (to be), New Jersey’s Chris Christie, ran a campaign committed to principles such as “global warming justice,” “saying no to coal,” and even more subsidizing of inefficient renewable energy projects, especially solar. That used to be the norm for all candidates; no more.
Democrats win votes running against unpopular wars, but their opposition to those wars dies down once there is a Democratic commander-in-chief. Case in point is Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Asked about a fixed date for withdrawal from Afghanistan, which she has previously supported, Boxer said, “Well the president has laid out in his plan, the president is the commander in chief. And of course I would decide when the president suggests what our future should be.”
Boxer did not show that kind of deference when George W. Bush was commander-in-chief. Boxer voted three times to impose a timetable for withdrawal in Iraq that was opposed by the Bush administration. Boxer was even slow to be deferential to Obama, opposing his Afghanistan troops surge. Maybe Democrats won’t be antiwar this election year.
With polls showing him trailing in New York’s Republican primary race for U.S. Senate, candidate David Malpass told reporters Friday he planned to accuse his opponent Bruce Blakeman of racism just to see if it caught on with anybody. “It couldn’t hurt, so I might as well give it a shot,” said Malpass…
AmSpec alum Jeremy Lott conducts a hostile self-interview about his new book on the faith of William F. Buckley, Jr. Lott wishes that Buckley’s notorious exchange with Gore Vidal had ended differently.
And while I’m being outrageous, he should have punched Gore Vidal while the cameras were rolling. You shouldn’t get away with calling somebody a Nazi to his face on national television without at least a love tap.
If we can have national greatness conservatism, progressive conservatism, crunchy conservatism, and South Park conservatism, why not face-punching conservatism?
It is my hope we see activism like this here in the United States. A special thanks goes out to those I trained in Australia to give my slide show. They played a major role in the events:
“In Sydney, Al Gore’s Climate Project presenter, Nell Schofield, attracted huge cheers when she said Australia’s lack of political action on climate change was ‘not only embarrassing, it is morally reprehensible.’”
Schofield cited Gore at one of the rallies:
“As Al Gore says, politicians are also a renewable resource,” she said.
First Things’ Wesley J. Smith calls the Gore appeal “pretty pathetic”:
One reason former Australian PM Kevin Rudd lost his job and popularity was his attempt to impose a carbon tax. Indeed, when I was Down Under recently, his successor, Julia Gillard, explicitly calibrated her election campaign to not seem radical about climate change….So these protests Gore is excited about mean next to nothing.
Back here in the USA, I don’t doubt that lefties could put together a protest–with drummers and big puppets too! That’s what they do, after all. But a sustained mass movement of the kind likely to move policy, as during Vietnam, predicated upon imposing a carbon tax and other economy-killing measures? In a bad recession? Not. A. Chance.
So effective that the Copenhagen conference attendees launched into immediate inaction.
It’s not just Rasmussen. It’s Gallup too. The Republicans are WAY ahead in the generic congressional poll.
Fifty percent of the public says they’re going to vote for Republicans in November, a seven point lead over Democrats. That’s the biggest lead for Republicans ever measured in the 60 years Gallup has been taking this poll. Further, this poll question has a history of understating Republican support in the past. In August of 1994, a year when Republicans made historic electoral gains, Democrats were actually ahead in Gallup’s generic poll.
Of course, things could change before November. But it’s hard to imagine a dramatic Democratic revival.
November 2 could be a long night for President Barack Obama & Co.
Who knew the acquisition of Newsweek could spark such debate? Talk about the clashing of Internet claws.
I’m no business mogul or media innovator, but I’m apt to agree with Whitehead. He’s pretty persuasive and deliciously sardonic to boot.
John Bolton says that Israel has only a few days to bomb the reactor near Bushehr, Iran, because the fuel rods are scheduled to be inserted soon, and once they are the reactor cannot be bombed without irradiating civilians. This is true. But a glance around the web suggests that his remarks are being widely misread.
Bolton is explicitly not saying that Israel is likely to bomb Bushehr this week — “I’m afraid that they’ve lost this opportunity,” he says when asked. And while he does seem to take a bomb-yesterday view, he is not saying (because, as he surely understands, it is not true) that the Iranian nuclear program becomes unstoppable when the Bushehr reactor comes online.
The Bushehr reactor is a light-water reactor, which makes it a less urgent threat than other pieces of Iran’s nuclear program. Arms control negotiators love light-water reactors, because extracting weapons-grade material from a light-water reactor is difficult, expensive, and impossible to do in secret. (By contrast, once the heavy-water reactor in Arak goes online, the Iranians will be able to pull plutonium out of it fairly easily, as the North Koreans have done at Yongbyon.)
In Jeffrey Goldberg’s cover story in the current Atlantic, where he concludes that there’s a better-than-even chance that Israel will bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities in the near future, he includes “possibly even the Bushehr reactor” among the targets — “possibly even” as in “not necessarily.” The Bushehr reactor isn’t necessarily a primary target because it is not a primary threat. So while it’s true that the Israelis have lost the opportunity to bomb Bushehr without spreading radiation, it was never a very important opportunity.
The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin recently got a phone call from Rep. Barney Frank after he, Sorkin, suggested that the government was doing nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“I take offense at the idea that we’ve done nothing,” [Frank] told me. Far from dragging its feet, he insisted, the government took the bold step of putting Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship in 2008. “There was no political fear to not do it.”
Frank also argued that it would be economically destructive to wind down the two mortgage GSEs:
More important, shutting down Fannie and Freddie and having the private market step in, as politically popular a sound-bite as that may be, is economically unfeasible….
“Nobody in the private market thinks we’re ready,” he said, adding that whatever legislation is developed, it will be “for a postrecession world.”
If Frank’s idea of GSE reform is…to nationalize them in 2008, and if he thinks that they should wait until no more private actors have mortgages on their books, he should probably talk to Tim Geithner.
It’s safe to say there’s no clear consensus yet on how best to design a new system.
But this Administration will side with those who want fundamental change.
It is not tenable to leave in place the system we have today….
But Geithner stopped short of saying that Fannie and Freddie have to be fully privatized or otherwise separated from the government, and claimed that the government needed to keep mortgage rates low. CNBC’s John Carney throws cold water on that possibility, and makes the case for getting rid of the two altogether:
Now-after the bailout-the government lacks all credibility on Fannie and Freddie. As long as they exist, Fannie and Freddie will enjoy a competition killing advantage that will undermine any attempt to create a healthy mortgage market not dependent on government subsidies. They cannot be privatized-they need to be killed.
Defenders of Fannie and Freddie insist that their role in making mortgages cheaper is vital to the market and expanding home-ownership.
But this is nonsense. Fannie and Freddie never made mortgages cheaper-they merely hid the costs. The subsidy was illusory.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Richard Bernstein began to seriously rethink his views on both foreign and domestic policy. The former lifelong Democrat now believes radical elements have taken over his party and remain in position to threaten America’s long-term safety, security and economic health. His new book: “Duped America: How Democrats and the Mainstream Media Have Duped the American People and Are Harming Our Country” covers a compedium of issues in cogent, compelling manner that is likely to persuade any wavering Democrat.
“Unlike members of Congress who vote on huge stimulus bills without reading them, the American public ought to know all the facts before casting any votes,” he has observed. “Politicians are counting on us to stay uninformed. We can no longer listen to deceitful `sound bites” and accept them as truth.”
Despite the success U.S. counter-terrorism officials have had in blocking terror strikes aimed at American since 9/11, Bernstein is concerned that the current administration is unraveling policies that helped safeguard the public.
“Bush changed the way we treated Islamic terrorism,” he said. “Clinton treated as a law enforcement matter but Bush treated it as a war. Unfortunately I think we are going back to the pre 9/11 model where we read terrorists their Miranda rights and basically talk them out of telling us anything. But the way to defeat terrorism is through good intelligence.”
Although the book places a strong emphasis on national security concerns, Bernstein also probes into what he views as very wrongheaded economic policies. Democrats who are determined to impose a green agenda on the American people will ulimately sabotague the economy, he argues.
“Most of the green jobs that are created are just temporary jobs,” he said. “Take a look at Spain where this experiment has been tried. The experience over there should caution against the environmental agenda here in the U.S.”
Gabriel Calzada Alvarez, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain found that the U.S. should anticipate losing at least 2.2 jobs on average for every one green job created, Bernstein explains in the book.
“Duped” is strong antidote against political correctness and progressive talking points. It covers complex policy questions in a widely readable and absorbable manner that is sure to influence the thinking of undecided voters in the right way.
Minneapolis Fed president Narayana Kocherlakota addressed structural unemployment and its resistance to monetary policy in a speech today. Noting that unemployment increased at the same time that the job openings rate rose, Kocherlakota concluded,
What does this change in the relationship between job openings and unemployment connote? In a word, mismatch. Firms have jobs, but can’t find appropriate workers. The workers want to work, but can’t find appropriate jobs. There are many possible sources of mismatch-geography, skills, demography-and they are probably all at work. Whatever the source, though, it is hard to see how the Fed can do much to cure this problem. Monetary stimulus has provided conditions so that manufacturing plants want to hire new workers. But the Fed does not have a means to transform construction workers into manufacturing workers…. Most of the existing unemployment represents mismatch that is not readily amenable to monetary policy.
The bottom line? Kocherlakota expects unemployment to hover above 8 percent into 2012.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put Judge Vaughn Walker’s same-sex marriage on hold pending appeal. The court will likely hear the case in December.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer “Stay the Course” Granholm recently said comments by Rush Limbaugh were un-American because of things he said about the $41,000 “green” jobbin’ Chevy Volt. It’s a short video so you don’t have to watch very long before she lies about how Government Motors has repaid its loan:
I erred yesterday, I said federal workers don’t make anything, they do, they manufacture the Volt. If the Chevrolet Volt does not sell, nobody will lose their job because of it. Instead the rest of us will be taxed to pour even more money into it because Obama will not be allowed to fail. The Volt is Obama. I mean, he didn’t originate the thing, it predates Obama’s arrival, but he has put his stamp on it. The Volt is the sign of Obama’s future, the future Obama wants. If it doesn’t sell we’re going to be taxed to spend even more money on this thing to make it look like it has succeeded. The reason that it’s not market oriented, it’s directed by political forces who embrace a failed economic plan.
In the private sector, if you come up with a multibillion-dollar lemon, you suffer the consequences, you go out of business. You lose your job, you declare bankruptcy and, blah, blah, blah, blah, and the government keeps some of that money. They keep trying to force their way. The private sector recoups, rearranges, changes course, and responds to the market.
Hat tip: Planet Gore’s Greg Pollowitz.
Update 12:05 p.m.: My Mackinac Center friend Michael LaFaive called my attention to Granholm’s accusation of “treason” five years ago against a state representative and a Hillsdale college professor for co-writing a Wall Street Journal op-ed that criticized her tax-raising policies.
While I was in Los Angeles yesterday, I got a call from my friend Joe Fein, who told me he wouldn’t be able to make it to an event featuring Pamela Geller, author of The Post-American Presidency, that he had hoped to attend.
“They’ve shut down Olympic Boulevard!” Joe said in outraged tones, explaining that the major east-west thoroughfare had been closed to allow President Obama’s motorcade to proceed from Los Angeles International Airport to a fundraising dinner with Nancy Pelosi at the home of one of the president’s liberal Hollywood friends.
I am coming to you live from the center of the worst traffic jam I have ever seen in my life. I’ve been trapped here for over three hours because President Obama and a group of Hollywood insiders are having a fancy fundraiser.
Someone apparently decided that Obama’s $30,000-a-plate dinner at the house of “West Wing” producer John Wells necessitated shutting down most of the major east-west through streets in Los Angeles… .
If the President was unable to get to John Wells’ house without causing this level of disruption, then perhaps he should have done his fundraising somewhere else …
Fortunately, my own route to LAX (where I caught the red-eye back to D.C.) was a north-south trip, not east-west, so I avoided the mess. Will irritated Los Angeles commuters remember this Obama-induced traffic nightmare for 11 weeks and hold Democrats accountable in November?
I just spent the last half of last week in Memphis where my wife and I spotted 68 ETAs (Elvis Tribute Artists) and/or lookalikes, and we experienced temperatures over 100 degrees almost daily. I don’t attribute the heat to excessive carbon dioxide, and neither does British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn, who explained why last week on Russian television.
The veteran conservative commentator died yesterday. There was a time when he and William F. Buckley Jr. were practically the only conservative voices heard in the mainstream debate, subsequently joined by Robert Novak, George Will, and Pat Buchanan.
UPDATE: Richard Brookhiser has a nice little tribute to Kilpatrick’s skill as a wordsmith and political reporter.
UPDATE II: More from Jim Bovard.
Charlie Baker, the Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts, gets some free advice.
Uh oh. I thought Democratic spin doctors Pelosi and Reid said that the health care bill would grow ever more popular as people learned of all the wonderful provisions. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. Oops! Sounds like an example of political malpractice.
Support for repeal of the health care reform bill is at its highest level in over a month, while the number of voters who believe repeal will be good for the economy has reached a new high.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that 60% at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care reform law, while 36% oppose repeal.
The number that favors repeal is up five points from last week and is the highest level measured since July 1. The number that Strongly Favors repeal also ties the highest level ever - first measured in mid-April.
Overall support for repeal has ranged from 52% to 63% since the law was passed by Congress in March.
What’s a poor Democrat to do, with an election approaching and the public still opposed to his or her biggest vote of the session? I guess we will soon find out.
A video posted at Jim Hoft’s Gateway Pundit blog shows Illinois Rep. Melissa Bean using a muscular security guard to squelch unwelcome questions at a town hall meeting.
The meeting was held Thursday at the public library in Round Lake, Illl. While captions in the video label the security guard “Bean’s thug,” one Illinois source said Monday that the man is actually employed by the library. The video also shows an aide to the Democrat congresswoman asking a constituent at the meeting to stop recording.
Illinois’ 8th District, running from the northern suburbs of Chicago up to the Wisconsin border, was held by Republican Phil Crane until 2004, and Bush carried the district with 55% of the vote in 2004. Like many other vulnerable Democrats in this mid-term campaign, Bean has refused to debate her Republican challenger, Joe Walsh.
I wanted to blog this last night, but thought better of it then because I did not want to sound like I was casting aspersions on the character of golfers Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson. I solved it (I’ll say what “it” is in a moment) be saying here, up front: I am not suggesting their character is lacking. In all the confusion, it would have taken extraordinary presence of mind to even THINK about what I am about to suggest. Most people in that situation would not think about it; it wouldn’t even come close to occurring to them while they are in the process of trying to get their minds right and their bodies loose for a three-hole playoff for a major championship in golf. In short, this is an acknolwedgement that it is far far easier to think about it when you are merely a TV spectator than when it is your own participation on the line. Okay, disclaimer over.
Here’s what I thought in the very moment when Kaymer and Watson were informed that Dustin Johnson would be penalized and kept out of the playoff for the title because he grounded his club in what was supposedly sand bunker: If I were they, I would have turned to the official and said: “I will not take a shot in this playoff unless Dustin Johnson is allowed to join us.” I would have reached my hand out to the other and said “Congratulations, winner.” The other would have felt obliged to say the same. If both players refused to participate in the playoff without Johnson, what would the PGA have done: handed the title to the next two players? Of course not. The PGA officials would have been forced to fold.
I would not want to wina championship decided not just by a technicality, but by a technicality combined with a large amount of confusion. If it were clear that Johnson were in a bunker and he grounded his club even without improving his lie, that’s still a rules violation that must be penalized. That may be a “technicality,” but it is unambiguous. But what happened to Johnson was an ambiguo-technicality. It STILL isn’t clear that that area was DESIGNED as a bunker. I would not have wanted to take a tite that way without giving Johnson a chance to beat me.
I have a column coming up on the PGA Championship and the two-stroke penalty on young star Dustin Johnson. But this I can ask now: Did Pete Dye, the course architect, actually intend to create a bunker in the spot from where Johnson hit his now-controversial shot? The rule in play (an inordinately stupid rule on a stupid, goofy-golf course) says that “All areas of the course that were designed and built as sand bunkers will be played as bunkers (hazards)….” All other commenters are saying that the rule is clear. But the question is not whether a bunker is to be played as a bunker; the question is whether that patch of ground is a bunker to begin with. Was it DESIGNED and BUILT as a bunker? It was anything but obvious from where announcer David Feherty stood, right at the spot. So somebody should ask the architect. Mr. Dye, was that indeed a bunker that you built there?
I’ll bet even he can’t say for sure. And if he can’t, that would make the PGA look stupid indeed.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online