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Scene above: Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
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JUNE 18, 2013
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 9:34 P.M. ET:
THE FIRST – From The Hill: "Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on Tuesday endorsed the Ready for Hillary super-PAC, becoming the first lawmaker to back an effort aimed at pushing Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016. McCaskill called the super-PAC's efforts 'critical' to electing Clinton if she decides to seek the Democratic nomination." McCaskill, you'll recall, was that easily beatible senator who won re-election last year only because the GOP, as usual, put up a world-class goofball against her. But the push for Hillary has begun. She'll be difficult to defeat, but it can be done with the right opponent. That's our job.
CHRISTIE ROMPS...WITH DEMS – From CBS: "A new poll finds that Wisconsin representative and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan is the most popular politician among Republicans. In a Gallup poll of recent GOP newsmakers being listed as 2016 presidential possibilities, Paul Ryan was given a 69 percent favorable rating among right-leaning U.S. adults. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was also rated favorably, while Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was actually given a higher net favorable rating among Democrats than among Republicans." Christie is playing a dangerous, but potentially effective game by trying to prove his electability across the political spectrum in his re-election race for governor of New Jersey this year. But he has to be careful not to push that too far.
THE CONTINUING ATTACK – The New York Police Department is the most effective large-city police force in the country. This has upset many on the left, who consider meter maids an occupying army. One lawsuit after another is being filed by the usual suspects against the department. The latest would seem a bit ill-timed, considering recent events in Boston. From Reuters: "NEW YORK - The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the New York Police Department over its surveillance of Muslim communities, accusing the police of trampling on religious freedoms and constitutional guarantees of equality. The surveillance by the NYPD's intelligence division has extended beyond New York City's five boroughs into neighboring New Jersey and other nearby states. The police department says that surveillance of Muslims is legal under an earlier federal court order." The Department is correct, but any liberal judge can cripple an effective and legendarily well-run surveillance operation. Meanwhile, Muslims in New York do not actually appear persecuted.
DECLINE OF THE HUMANITIES – The job market is having its effect. From The Wall Street Journal: "Humanities majors at Harvard fell to 20% in 2012 from 36% in 1954. And the trends are similar at colleges across the country. Meanwhile, more incoming freshman are opting out of so-called softer subjects, placing their bets on STEM (science-technology-engineering-math) majors instead. Harvard sophomore Shannon Lytle considered majoring in history but will opt for computer science instead. 'We do have to worry about living after graduation. I don’t want to be doing what I love and be homeless,' he told the Journal." Watch. The lefties will strike back with courses like "Physics for Marxists," or "Race, Gender and Ethnicity" in Electrical Engineering." They will never give up.
June 18, 2013 Permalink
THE SLOW DRIP, DRIP OF PUBLIC OPINION – AT 8:46 A.M. ET: The evidence is building that the scandals have started to hurt President Obama in the court of public opinion. Obviously, this could also have an effect on Hillary Clinton, should she run in 2016, as she is forever linked with this administration. From CNN:
COMMENT: The Republicans must be relentless on these scandals, looking for the smoking guns, if they exist. The key piece of information I've seen is that the IRS director visited the White House 157 times since Obama took office. Why would the IRS director be visiting the White House so often? His predecessors rarely did in previous administrations.
And I hope the GOP doesn't let up on Benghazi, a true scandal that clearly requires Hillary Clinton to be brought to account.
June 18, 2013 Permalink
WALKER FOR PRESIDENT? – AT 8:42 A.M. ET: I've always been surprised that Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin hasn't been mentioned more as a potential presidential candidate. Here's a guy who really did save his state from financial ruin, survived a recall effort and maintained his political strength, and is a proven vote getter.
Well, apparently, others are starting to notice as well. From National Journal:
COMMENT: Recall please the famous photo of a young Bill Clinton meeting President Kennedy.
Of course Walker has sizable liabilities. He is little known outside Wisconsin, has no foreign-policy experience, and might have trouble attracting centrist votes, critical in a presidential election. Still, Wisconsin could have easily rejected him, and didn't.
We'll watch Walker. I still think he's a long shot. He'll have to prove himself in the primaries, and show an ability to attract women to his cause. Don't rule him out.
June 18, 2013 Permalink
LITTLE SUPPORT ON SYRIA FOR OBAMA – AT 8:31 A.M. ET: There is no doubt that Obama has botched Syria. He gets no applause from anyone. I mean, maybe a distant relative.
He dawdled for a year and a half, doing little, as tens of thousands died. Then he decided last week to send some military aid to selected rebel groups. Instead of announcing the move himself, he had the announcement made by a staff member, and never brought the American people into his confidence. He is getting little encouragement in the polls.
And now the political class is warning the president about his actions and policies. From Fox:
COMMENT: The commitment is so small, and so vaguely defined, that the president risks being seen as an amateur (which he is) and unserious (which he is also). His decision not to address the American people, when we are becoming more actively involved in another war, was a major blunder, and yet is not being corrected. It's almost as if Obama is going through the motions, with no real goal and no intention of achieving one.
It hasn't been this bad in a long time.
June 18, 2013 Permalink
TURKEY STILL BOILING – AT 8:17 A.M. ET: Turkish police may have cleared one group of protesters from Istanbul, but there is enormous tension under the surface. This could explode again, much worse (or better) next time. From Reuters:
COMMENT: That is an extreme comment. Turkey's military is the most powerful element in the country, and could easily turn on the government rather than on the Turkish people.
There have been overnight reports that Turkish security forces have been conducting raids on dissidents and even newspapers. Erdogan has been weakened. No doubt about that. That in turn has weakened the American position in the Mideast even further, as Erdogan is seen as a close friend of President Obama.
This is a developing story.
June 18, 2013 Permalink
JUNE 17, 2013
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:29 P.M. ET:
EXPLANATION FLOP – A new poll shows that 80% of respondents disapprove of President Obama's decision to send aid to Syrian rebels. No wonder. He never explained it, or made the case to the American people. Instead, he sent the deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, out to announce the decision. And follow-up statements, including some made by the White House today, suggest, as Charles Krauthammer said this evening, that this isn't even a serious policy. It seems to have no clear goal. What a sad excuse for a president.
GORE PUTS IN HIS $200-MILLION – Al Gore, who has reportedly stashed $200-million in bank accounts – earned, I guess, by addressing PTA meetings – has thrown his considerable weight into the battle against the Keystone Pipeline. Obama still hasn't decided to approve the line, which will link Canadian oil deposits with our Gulf Coast refineries. Gore says it will be an abomination. But the pipeline still has majority public-opinion support, and the strong support of labor unions, whose members will benefit from the work. There is no sign when Obama will decide, but I'm betting he will figure out another way to kick the can down the road. No matter what he decides, part of the Democratic base will be offended and personally distressed. Obamacare will cover the psychiatry.
ADMISSIONS OFFICE MISTAKES – From Campus Reform: "Students at George Mason University (GMU) signed a petition early this month asking President Obama to listen in on the 'private conversations' of all Fox News employees and their families. The petition, which was circulated on GMU's flagship campus in Fairfax, Va, near Washington D.C., by Media Research Center video reporter Dan Joseph, described the right-leaning news channel as 'a threat to media integrity and an informed populace.'" Media Research Center is, of course, a conservative operation, and this was clearly a stunt designed to examine the depths to which our campuses have sunk. Pretty deep.
HMMM – Legendary Columbia University historian Henry Graff, now retired, delivered a little-reported bombshell last week when he expressed doubt that President Obama ever attended Columbia, from which he claims to have graduated in 1983. Also from Campus Reform: "'I taught every significant politician that ever studied at Columbia,' said Columbia Emeritus Professor of History Henry Graff, in an interview last week with Wayne Root, a contributor at The Blaze. 'Between American History and Diplomatic History, one way or another, they all had to come through my classes.' 'Not Obama,' he continued. 'I never had a student with that name in any of my classes. I never met him, never saw him, never heard of him.' Graff alleged that 'none of the other Columbia professors knew him either...'" I have no way of verifying the story, but it is stunning. Wayne Root, Columbia class of '83, has been working on this mystery for some time. The implications are enormous.
June 17, 2013 Permalink
SHOCKED, SHOCKED – AT 8:41 A.M. ET: Britain's decidedly left-wing newspaper, the Guardian, has made another revelation based on information from American turncoat, Edward Snowden – and turncoat is exactly the right word.
COMMENT: My question is, so what? This goes on all the time. It is part of regular intelligence gathering. I'm sure the participants in the G20 summits know they're being observed, and that every effort will be made to obtain clandestine information.
Friends spy on friends. Everyone with even a schoolchild's understanding of foreign relations knows that.
And I love the fact that the Guardian refers to South Africa and Turkey as allies. Really? With friends like those...
I think the publics in both America and Britain will be expressing their revulsion at the willingness of the journalistic left to do as much damage to their countries as possible. The fact that Edward Snowden escaped to Red China tells me everything about him that I need to know.
June 17, 2013 Permalink
NOT A SCANDAL, BUT AN EMBARRASSMENT – AT 8:28 A.M. ET: It is common for presidents to appoint major campaign contributors to ambassadorships. What is less common is to appoint them to critical posts, where real diplomatic skill, and knowledge, are required.
Some of President Obama's appointments show that you can take the guy out of Chicago, but you can't take Chicago politics out of the guy. Consider:
COMMENT: You'd think that, at a time of scandal, the president would be more careful, and show that he takes ambassadorial appointments seriously. But we've noticed that Chicago-grown politicians believe in a kind of in-your-face way of doing business. It's their way or the highway.
I recall that, in my brief stint in Chicago politics, many years ago, most of the pols never really cared about the presidency. They were more interested in who became city clerk or State's attorney, positions that affected their political fortunes more directly. It's hard to get rid of that mentality. Obama isn't even trying.
June 17, 2013 Permalink
ELECTION COMING UP – AT 8:18 A.M. ET: Massachusetts votes next week on a replacement for former Senator John Kerry, now secretary of state. Massachusetts is one of the most Democratic states in the Union, where people would pull the Democratic lever even if Dracula were the candidate.
Republicans, behind a dynamic, young candidate, are trying to make a race of it. From Fox:
COMMENT: I'd be awfully careful about this. The fact is that, with a week remaining, Markey (sadly) leads in all polls, although Gomez has closed some of the gap. Gomez, a man to be watched for the future, has run a very dynamic campaign.
Special elections are the most difficult to predict because turnout is generally low. Gomez's long-shot chances will depend almost entirely on the Republican ground game – the get-out-the-vote effort – and that game has been lacking in recent years. However, Republican Scott Brown did win a special election, to replace the late Edward Kennedy, so there is hope. Gomez will have to have a turnout effort that will overcome his remaining deficit in the polls, said to be in single digits. His task in such a red state is formidable, but achievable
June 17, 2013 Permalink.
EROSION – AT 8:09 A.M. ET: The scandals are finally starting to hurt President Obama's poll numbers bigtime. From CNN:
COMMENT: Also, please remember that the leading Democratic candidate for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton, was a key member of this administration for more than four years. She cannot escape scrutiny over her role in some of the strange goings-on. Already, Hillary's numbers have started to erode.
There is no polling data yet to indicate how all the juicy revelations are affecting 2014 Congressional races. Obviously, GOP candidates will seek to link Dems to the administration's behavior...but Republicans in Congress have their own popularity problems.
June 17, 2013 Permalink
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
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© 2013 William Katz