In opposition to those who say the White House staff changes are merely cosmetic, I have good reason to believe the shake-up there will turn out to be quite significant. New Chief of Staff Josh Bolten really does seem to "get it" when it comes to understanding that this White House needs a more creative, more energetic, more politically astute (less politically tone-deaf) attitude and atmosphere. I really do sense a political comeback in the making, based both on better style AND better substance.
The Spectacle Blog
Some Muslim women have signed a petition asking the Fitness USA chain to provide separate exercise days for men and women, or put up a divider so they cannot see one another. "In Islam, there are codes of modesty for both genders," one of them says, in a small but illustrative example of the Islamist effort to conform public spaces to their standards. The women claim that they were promised separate exercise days, which the gym chain denies. Anyone want to take bets that Fitness USA will cave, or at least meet them halfway?
I'll be on with Larry Kudlow today talking about Iran and the need for a military draft in order to invade Iran. That's not my idea, mind you. My opponent in the debate thinks it's a fine and dandy idea. Hope you can catch it.
Spoke with Falun Dafa sources this evening re Hu protest at White House.
Dr. Wang Wanyi, a medical physician, a graduate of American University, an accredited journalist with Epoch Times, a New York area resident, an American citizen, is charged by the Federals with disorderly conduct and with intimidating and disturbing a foreign official, for her bold, accurate Mandarin statement during the joint press conference at the White House by Bush and Hu, that Hu is a criminal and an evil person.
Dr. Wang is speaking to the facts of the abuse and murder of Falun Dafa (Falun Gong) prectitioners in the PRC , and to the fact of the organ harvesting by Chinese authorities. A fresh human heart cost $170,000. A fresh human eye cost $30,000.
Larry: Truth be told, it's more than just not spreading the message well. That's the libDem excuse. You gotta walk the walk as well as talk the talk. We can forgive his malapropisms, his unease with the press and his lack of imagination in speeches. I could forgive all that and leap to help fix the broken wheels on the bandwagon if only he'd do some of the stuff we need that should be terribly easy, especially for a second-termer.
Maybe that's the problem: Bush does reasonably well on the hard stuff and completely blows it on the easy ones. It's like he doesn't want to be bothered. Josh Bolton should talk him into picking some of the low-hanging fruit on the political tree. We'd all be better off.
And then he can get on to the tougher ones. I'm paying well over $3 a gallon for super premium to feed the Mustang. How long can the economy keep heading up while we're sending the Saudis, et al., every dollar we can stuff into a gas pump? And just how many nukes will ol' Mahmoud have in a year or less?
In my column of January 11, I quoted David Gregory of NBC asking President Bush why he thought his poll numbers were so low. And then wrote:
Let's imagine that President Bush could have answered that question the way it deserved.
"Oh, I don't know, Stretch. I suppose when the greatest image- and opinion-making machine the world has ever seen devotes five years to making me look bad, it might have some effect."
Contrast that treatment to the ongoing media love affair with Bill Clinton, and you have a 30 point difference.
Back in the Clinton wars, I used to think regularly, "Any time now, the whole American people will know that the media just lies." Well, more of them know that than used to. But a lot of them still don't.
And Jed, as you've said so well, Bush makes his case very badly -- and very seldom.
Quin: I'm with you, almost. The president does, on the facts, deserve much more support than he receives from conservatives as well as others. But he has to do more. There are so many things he could do easily - veto a horrendous spending bill, do something (anything) serious about closing the borders to illegal immigrants, start bringing possible 2008 presidential candidates in for consultations, I could (and will) go on and on. If he meets us less than halfway, his polls will skyrocket. Next move has to be from La Casa Blanca.
Jed, this is all getting bizarre. I have been a frequent critic of this president, but for the general public to give him such low ratings is absurd. By all normal indicia, this nation is in terrific shape. Unemployment, interest rates, inflation: All at levels that by historical standards are incredibly low. Crime down. Home ownership up. Stock market back up, while stock ownership is, too. Taxes low. No domestic terrorism since 9/11. Success in Afghanistan. The end of Ghadafi's nuke program. Solid relations with both India AND Pakistan at the same time. Very solid relations with Japan and Great Britain and Australia and with much of Eastern Europe. More countries rated "free" (and more "somewhat free" as opposed to "not free") by Freedom House that at any time in recorded history. But Americans are spoiled. We don't realize just how good our lives are today. I may have to write a column on this.
What personage, what veilwork of reasons, could lurk behind Jaafari's decision to make himself removable as Prime Minister of Iraq? AP reports:
Key to al-Jaafari's change of heart was pressure from U.N. envoy Ashraf Qazi and his meetings Wednesday with the most powerful Shiite cleric in the country, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical cleric who has backed al-Jaafari, said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman.
"There was a signal from Najaf," Othman said, referring to al-Sistani's office in the Shiite holy city. "Qazi's meetings with (al-Sistani) and al-Sadr were the chief reason that untied the knot."