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THURSDAY, JUNE 3, 2010
CARLY ROMPS IN CALIFORNIA – AT 7:56 P.M. ET: There'll be a hugely important Republican primary in California on Tuesday. It looks like Carly Fiorina has the edge in the Senate contest. From Power Line:
Tom Campbell has pulled his TV ads for the U.S. Senate race in California less than a week before the Republican primary, according to this report. Campbell reportedly has only $400,000 left to spend on his campaign, which is not enough to pay for a statewide media blitz. His main opponent, Carly Fiorina, by contrast seems to have all the money she needs to complete her primary campaign in strong fashion. Much of the money apparently is her own.
Campbell is not conceding the race. However, by pulling his ads, he is seen as all but conceding to Fiorina, who now is well ahead of him in the polls. A LA Times/USC poll from late May has Fiorina ahead of Campbell by a margin of 15 points (38 percent of Fiorina, 23 percent for Campbell, 16 percent for conservative Chuck DeVore, and 20 percent undecided).
Although she lacks a record, Fiorina has made inroads with conservatives.
COMMENT: Campbell, something of a RINO, has been hurt by revelations of an embarrassing closeness to jihadists. It may be unfair, but appearances matter, and Campbell has a history of having close relationships with those from the Muslim community who have somewhat extreme views.
Still, Fiorina would have to run against Barbara Boxer. Yes, Boxer is weaker this year than in earlier races, but California is a strongly Democratic state, and Dems use the race card, the immigration card, and the bigotry card freely. This will be a tough fight.
June 3, 2010 Permalink
WE'VE JOINED THE CLUB – FEEL HONORED – AT 7:45 P.M. ET: Well, at least it isn't only Israel the UN is anguished about. We're apparently number two on the list. There are grave concerns, very grave:
(CNSNews.com) – The targeted assassination of terror suspects by remote control, a program expanded significantly under the Obama administration, comes under the spotlight Thursday, when the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council considers a report warning of the “risk of developing a ‘PlayStation’ mentality to killing.”
The report by Philip Alston, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, deals with various types of “targeted killing” carried out by states, paying considerable attention to the use by the U.S. of unmanned drones to fire missiles at terror suspects along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Earlier this week it was reported that Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, purportedly the al-Qaeda terrorist network’s No. 3 figure, had been killed in a missile strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan last month.
The U.S. is a member of the Human Rights Council, having joined last year after the Bush administration steered clear of it. Some of its members hostile to the U.S. have frequently used the forum to attack American policies, particularly those associated with what used to be called the war on terrorism.
Joining the Council was a big mistake. Bush was right in ignoring it. It is an organization run by dictators and Muslim states, a wonderful combination.
Alston raises concerns about the fact the drone program is run by the Central Intelligence Agency, suggesting that a military-run operation would be preferable because the U.S. military has a relatively public – if “by no means perfect” – accountability process.
Tut, tut, tut, America. You're getting rough again.
The sad fact here is that Barack Hussein Obama Jr. might well take the UN's "concerns" seriously, and put Americans at risk.
The UN has become worse than the old League of Nations, which failed to prevent World War II because it was indifferent to the rise of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. At least the League didn't have all these hypocritical subdivisions, panels and councils, many of them run by the kind of people the UN was originally set up to stop.
June 3, 2010 Permalink
THE REALITY OF THE OIL SPILL – AT 10:43 A.M. ET: Reader Wendell P. Menard alerts us to an excellent piece by Apollo astronaut and geologist H. Harrison Schmitt, containing much common sense about the oil spill, and our president's reaction to it:
The President, without any experience in real-world management of anything, much less a crisis, has no idea how to deal with a situation as technically complex as the Gulf oil spill.
Oh dear, the man is engaged in truth telling. Do we stop him now?
Whatever may be the culpability of British Petroleum and its federal regulators in causing and dealing with the accident, it has been left to BP engineers and managers and to Gulf State officials to respond as best they can in a regulatory environment that is politically charged, incompetent, fearful and hesitant.
Absolutely no reason exists to assume that any part of the Federal Government has engineering expertise comparable to the petroleum industry that can be applied to this or any future energy-related crisis. Certainly, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have no more experience in these matters than does the President.
Salazar’s empty threat to “push BP out of the way” has no basis as a realistic option and best illustrates the floundering of the Obama Administration. Indeed, from “day one,” the expertise of the entire U.S. and British drilling and production industry should have been mobilized to combat this spill, with a single experienced engineering manager in charge.
Not a bad idea. But the only thing the Obamans run well is a campaign, so what can we expect?
President Obama’s and his Administration’s otherwise rambling response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion has been to stop offshore oil exploration by the United States. How misguided and, indeed, how either ignorant or devious can our President be!?
Watch. The left will try to ban this former astronaut's thoughts as "hate speech."
President Obama has shown repeatedly that the best interests of the American people are a lower priority than his ideological goal of changing America from what it has been, to some mystical, socialist utopia with a renewable-energy-based standard of living equivalent to that of the late 1800s. As if the Administration could not make its ineffective, disjointed response to the Deepwater Horizon accident any worse, it did not even use previously established sea surface burn-off and dispersant procedures to minimize the effects of the spill.
As we understand it, that proven method upsets the environmentalist classes.
In addition, it has inexcusably delayed approving and assisting in Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s request to protect the state’s shores and wildlife habitats, by building offshore sand barriers – as unnecessary as having to make that request should have been. And this is the government that Congress and the President want to run healthcare, immigration, banking, carbon emissions, auto manufacturing, and everything else in American life?
Well, at least until November.
Elimination of access to most on-shore and near-shore oil production prospects has driven American exploration away from more easily discoverable and producible resources – and into the much more dangerous and technically challenging deep waters of the seas and oceans. Even then, drilling and production accidents are exceedingly rare, in spite of the geological, engineering and weather-related difficulties that explorers and producers face as a consequence of these misguided restrictions.
That, maybe, is the most important point here.
Long-term, history reminds us that naturally and accidentally released oil in the oceans disappears due to bacterial action. Remember that the fuel oil which blackened the world’s beaches as a result of World War II ship destruction disappeared after only a few years, and ocean life survived. The Gulf oil spill will not be this Nation’s most serious environmental crisis: World War II tops it by orders of magnitude in more than just this respect.
Fascinating point. How many of us knew that?
Until economically competitive alternatives become fully feasible, fossil fuels will remain the mainstay of our economy. Our dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil has become one of our greatest national security vulnerabilities, and only domestic production can solve it in the next 50 years.
COMMENT: That is common sense, reality, and truthfulness. It's what the radical left doesn't want you to hear. This is one of the best pieces I've read recently, on any subject.
June 3, 2010 Permalink
UNBELIEVABLE – AT 10:09 A.M. ET: I guess this is what happens when a "sophisticated" state makes its choices. Despite outrageous faking of his military record, Connecticut's Democratic attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, seems to have a lock on the state's Senate race. Scott Rasmussen reports:
Democrat Richard Blumenthal apparently has weathered charges that he exaggerated his military service in Vietnam for years and is running as strongly as ever against both his Republican challengers in Connecticut’s race for the U.S. Senate.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Connecticut finds Blumenthal with 56% support versus 33% for Linda McMahon, the officially endorsed GOP candidate. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. McMahon has come under criticism recently as people have focused on her role in World Wresting Entertainment, a corporation that one conservative pundit compares to the Gulf oil spill as “a relentless gusher of pollution."
So, a man who said he served in Vietnam and didn't is considered entirely acceptable by the upscale Democratic voters of Connecticut. After all, what's a little fibbing about a war we were all against, right dearies?
At the same time, we have to grit our teeth. Blumenthal only stands at 55%. He's beatable. But it's pretty clear that Linda McMahon is not the candidate to do it. That WWF background pulls her down. In a Democratic state, the GOP needed a first-class candidate with a pristine reputation, and it hasn't got that candidate. Her entire appeal to the party, apparently, is that she can finance her own campaign.
The current figures put the race back where it has been for most of the year, a likely Democratic victory in a challenging year for the Democratic Party.
COMMENT: Unless something else comes out about Blumenthal, he'll probably be elected in this very blue state. Then he'll present himself to the United States Senate as a man who faked his military record. Very impressive. There are still parts of the country where such things matter.
June 3, 2010 Permalink
NO RAVES FOR THE ECONOMY – AT 9:24 A.M. ET: While the White House tries to convince us that prosperity is right around the corner, and that there'll be tofu in every pot and two electric vehicles in every garage, consumers are voting with their wallets, and holding back the vote. From AP:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Americans, uninspired by cool weather and feeling fresh concerns about the economy, spent with caution in May after a tepid April.
Retailers' May sales reports, released Thursday, underscore how fragile the consumer spending recovery remains.
A mix of stores found business challenging during the month.
Target Corp.'s chairman, president and CEO Gregg Steinhafel, noted in a statement that its recent performance reinforces his belief that we will continue to "experience volatility in the pace of economic recovery." The chain posted a small gain that was below internal forecasts.
Department store chain J.C. Penney and many teen merchants including Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reported declines in revenue at stores open at least a year.
Costco Wholesale Corp. reported a gain slightly below Wall Street expectations. Gap Inc. reported a small gain overall, but its namesake chain in the U.S. saw revenue decline. The results are being compared with depressed spending a year ago.
COMMENT: This recovery is worse than fragile. The Gulf oil spill may well devastate the economies of Gulf states. Individual state governments around the country are running out of cash. National governments around the world, ditto. During the last major economic hit, in 2008, national governments had some cash reserves to cover downturns. Those reserves have been largely used up.
And unemployment continues to grow. Happy days aren't here again. And who's at fault? Why, it's BUSH (!!).
June 3, 2010 Permalink
DOES ANYTHING GO RIGHT WITH THESE CHAPS? – AT 8:53 A.M. ET: The Obaman White House is beginning to resemble Nixon's bunker. Now there are new questions regarding a possible bribe to get a guy out of a primary race. From Fox:
The White House faced fresh questions over back-room dealmaking after the White House acknowledged one of President Obama's top advisers had suggested to a Democratic candidate the potential for an administration job in lieu of challenging the candidate whom the president favored in the Colorado Senate race.
Former Colorado House of Representatives Speaker Andrew Romanoff on Wednesday night released a copy of an e-mail in which White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina described three federal international development jobs that might be available to him if he were not challenging Sen. Michael Bennet for the Democratic nomination.
"He added that he could not guarantee my appointment to any of these positions," Romanoff said in a statement. "At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina's assistance in obtaining one."
Oh, come on. Please. Why did Messina send that e-mail? Was he practicing his computer skills?
Earlier in the day, a White House official said no formal offer was ever made and insisted there was nothing inappropriate in the contacts -- rhetoric similar to the explanation given last week when the White House admitted it orchestrated a job offer to Senate candidate Joe Sestak in the Pennsylvania primary.
COMMENT: One case you can maybe explain away. Two cases? I don't think so. At the very least, it's sleazy. However, it's possible that no laws were broken. In that case, the press will cover for Obama and the Justice Department, under the proprietorship of one Eric Holder, will refuse to investigate.
Look, this is Chicago politics on a national level. In Chicago, everybody's doin' it, doin' it. Maybe this White House saw nothing wrong in dangling these possibilities before greedy eyes. The American people, we trust, will see things differently.
June 3, 2010 Permalink
THE MARCH OF WEAKNESS – AT 8:30 A.M. ET: Naturally, the justifiable Israeli raid on a "peace" ship near Gaza is being put to good use at the United Nations, where no dictator need fear anything. From The Politico:
A U.N. vote on Iran nuclear sanctions will likely be pushed back because of fallout from the Israeli raid on the Gaza aid flotilla, sources said Wednesday.
The Obama administration had been planning to bring a new Iran sanctions resolution to a vote at the U.N. Security Council on Thursday but diplomatic sources said the vote is not likely to take place this week.
In a breakfast meeting with journalists Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu criticized the United States for not outright condemning the Israeli actions.
He also expressed longstanding Turkish opposition to imposing economic sanctions on Iran, which Davutoglu said would severely impact the Turkish economy, just as Iraq sanctions did a decade ago.
COMMENT: Hey, what's another week or two, right? I mean, the Obama foreign policy machine has already squandered almost 17 months on the Iran nuclear issue, so let's not get picky as to timing. And, you know, we can always blame Israel and its penchant for protecting its people.
All the while, the centrifuges in Iran continue spinning. They're on their way to a nuclear weapon. We hope Obama shows some interest in that. In fact, we hope Obama shows some interest in his job.
June 3, 2010 Permalink
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2, 2010
ARE YOU BELIEVING THIS? ARE YOU REALLY BELIEVING IT? – AT 8:32 P.M.: The dense John Kerry is stirring up a storm by some comments he made in defense of...Russia. We await Kerry's comments in defense of the United States:
Foreign policy experts contacted by HUMAN EVENTS sharply criticized Sen. John Kerry’s recent assertion that the United States could trust Russia to tighten sanctions on Iran because “Russia is in a different position today than it was under Bush.”
“This is all happy talk,” said Robert Kagan, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in an interview. “We think we know what Russia needs and doesn't need, and from that we extrapolate that they must be sincerely cooperating, because we think it's in their interest. This is a solipsistic discussion we are having with ourselves.”
During a press breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor last week, I asked Sen. Kerry (D.-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, why he felt the Obama Administration should trust Russia regarding UN sanctions against Iran and its nuclear program when Moscow had not delivered on similar promises in the past.
Specifically, I cited a column in the Washington Post by Kagan which noted that “the Russians have not said or done anything in the past few months that they didn’t do or say during the Bush years.” Russia has most recently agreed “for the fourth time in five years to another vacuous UN Security Council Resolution.”...
...“I think Russia is in a very different position today from when it was during the course of the Bush years,” Kerry replied. “They were riding pretty high on their energy income and their economic resurgence. That’s turned on them to a large measure. They’ve got some serious challenges and they know it.
COMMENT: Oh please. This is such garbage. It's the old "they don't have the resources" argument that precedes every international tragedy. Look, Nazi Germany didn't have the resources. The Japanese certainly didn't have the resources. The North Koreans didn't have the resources. And the jihadist terror groups today often don't have great resources.
And talking about challenges: The Soviet Union in World War II was essentially a third-world country. It couldn't even feed its own people. Yet, it made mincemeat of the German armies.
Economic challenges are often in the eye of the beholder. If a nation is willing to allocate a good chunk of its economy to military forces, it can do terrible damage, even though the store shelves are bare.
Kerry should stick to what he knows, although I'm hard pressed to say what that is.
June 2, 2010 Permalink
SOME COMMON SENSE ON GAZA – AT 7:59 P.M. ET: We don't normally praise Vice President Biden here, but we always give credit where it's due. Interviewed by Charlie Rose, Biden made some common-sense remarks about the Israeli raid that put to shame all the international hypocrisy we're hearing.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday defended Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip and its decision to intercept the pro-Palestinian flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the coastal territory, though he did not go so far as to defend the Israel Navy raid that killed nine people two days earlier.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Biden pointed out that Israel had given pro-Palestinian activists the option of unloading their cargo at the Ashdod port, and offered to bring it to the Gaza Strip on their behalf.
"They've said, 'Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship -- if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza,'", he said. "So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys are dropping… 3,000 rockets on my people.'"
Works for me.
"As we put pressure, and the world put pressure on Israel to let material go into Gaza to help those people who are suffering, the ordinary Palestinians there, what happened? Hamas would confiscate it, put it in a warehouse [and] sell it."
Gee, I'm glad someone said it. But notice that the person who said it isn't named Obama.
June 2, 2010 Permalink
MADNESS – AT 7:43 P.M. ET: Los Angeles County goes nuts over the Arizona immigration law, but not over illegal immigrants. From the L.A. Times:
By a 3-2 vote the board moves to suspend county-funded travel to the state, possibly terminate contracts with Arizona-based companies, and divest the county pension fund of Arizona state and municipal bonds. Residents attending the meeting spoke out on both sides of the issue.
After heated debate, Los Angeles County supervisors voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to boycott Arizona in response to the passage of its controversial illegal immigration law, a decision that came the same day the Los Angeles Unified School District condemned the law.
"This law simply goes too far," said Supervisor Gloria Molina, the primary sponsor of the county boycott. "A lot of people have pointed out that I am sworn as an L.A. County supervisor to uphold the Constitution. All I can say is that I believe that Arizona's law is unconstitutional."
In fact, the Arizona law was carefully crafted to uphold Constitutional provisions.
This is pure politics. The very people behind the boycott have shown a notable lack of zeal in tackling the serious issue of illegal immigration. And I'd imagine (speculation here) that their attitude toward crime in general could use some sprucing up.
Among the speakers against the boycott were family members of Jamiel Shaw II, a 17-year-old football player who was recruited by Stanford and Rutgers before he was shot to death in 2008. Pedro Espinoza, a member of the 18th Street gang who was in the U.S. illegally, has been charged with murder in the case. He had been released from jail a day before the shooting after serving time for another offense.
"I was coming here thinking what can I say to touch their hearts? But you don't have one," Tommie Shaw, Shaw's grandmother, told the supervisors.
No, but they have little calculators to figure up the votes they might gain by supporting this absurd boycott.
Also, L.A. school officials are now being urged to teach about the Arizona law in a laughingly historical context:
The issue would, in essence, be dealt with in a manner similar to broadly accepted episodes of racial and cultural intolerance and abridgements of rights, such as the Jim Crow laws and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, said district spokesman Robert Alaniz.
Crazy. I wasn't aware that the African-Americans affected by Jim Crow or the Japanese-Americans interned during World War II had broken any laws. Illegal immigrants, are, by definition, lawbreakers. There is no question that Hispanic-Americans still suffer discrimination and ridicule, but there are intelligent and respectful ways to deal with that ugliness without dragging these citizens down to the level of lawbreakers.
By the way, check out the picture in the linked L.A. Timnes story. Isn't that woman wearing the traditional scarf associated with Arab radicalism? I get the feeling this is just one part of a larger, disturbing movement.
June 2, 2010 Permalink
BOY, IS THIS EVER CHILLING – AT 10:30 A.M. ET: Under the radar, there's an assault on free speech in America, but, as usual, it comes dressed as a noble effort. From Andrew Malcolm's great Top of the Ticket blog at the L.A. Times:
...a year ago the new Democrat administration of Barack Obama launched a major internal study intended to design a major government rescue plan for the nation's financially-troubled information media, primarily newspapers.
That strident sound you hear are the alarms going off in minds and offices across the country: Government helping the press? Which press? How help? In return for what?..
...The Federal Trade Commission has just released a major staff study of modern American media titled "Potential Policy Recommendations to Support the Reinvention of Journalism." And....
...silly you thought the private business of journalism was doing that by itself in its own stumbling ways without the help of the Washington branch of the Chicago Democratic political machine.
...this FTC study is rated R for anyone who thinks the federal government, the object of copious news coverage itself, has no business deciding which sectors of the private media business survive and thrive through its support, subsidies and encouragement with things like tax incentives.
Yet that's what this Obama administration paper is suggesting as another of the ex-community organizer's galactic reform plans.
Would you believe: major changes to the copyright law, including government licensing provisions; government pilot programs to investigate potential new media business models, antitrust changes to allow media companies to unite on imposing online pay walls, establish a journalism division of AmeriCorps with government underwriting the training of young journalists, tax incentives per news employee, increased funding of public broadcasting, a 5% tax on consumer electronics and/or assessments on users of public airwaves.
Oh dear, oh dear. You know just where this is going. Who needs a free press when government is there to shape things?
And how about this gem, from The Hill:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is being urged to monitor "hate speech" on talk radio and cable broadcast networks.
A coalition of more than 30 organizations argue in a letter to the FCC that the Internet has made it harder for the public to separate the facts from bigotry masquerading as news.
The groups also charge that syndicated radio and cable television programs "masquerading as news" use hate as a profit model.
"As traditional media have become less diverse and less competitive, they have also grown less responsible and less responsive to the communities that they are supposed to serve," the organizations wrote to the FCC. "In this same atmosphere hate speech thrives, as hate has developed as a profit-model for syndicated radio and cable television program masquerading as 'news.'"
The organizations, which include Free Press, the Center for Media Justice, the Benton Foundation and Media Alliance, also argue that the anonymity of the Web gives ammunition to those that would spread hate.
COMMENT: And you know where this is going, too. Can you guess who this is aimed at? Does the name "Fox" come to mind? Does "Limbaugh" come to mind?
How do you define "hate speech"? To the people behind this letter, hate speech is anything they don't agree with, and "bigotry" is what the other side practices.
June 2, 2010 Permalink
AND THE PHONY BEAT GOES ON – AT 9:37 A.M. ET: The hypocrisy over Israel's raid on a "relief" ship at sea continues unabated. The pain, the agony. And, of course, the usual suspects on the left, like The New York Times editorial board, is going right along with it, the better to be invited to the right parties.
But Les Gelb, former head of the Council on Foreign Relations, is joining a counter-chorus that is trying to set the record straight:
Israel had every right under international law to stop and board ships bound for the Gaza war zone late Sunday. Only knee-jerk left-wingers and the usual legion of poseurs around the world would dispute this. And it is pretty clear that this "humanitarian" flotilla headed for Gaza aimed to provoke a confrontation with Israel...
...The Israeli commandos who stormed the ship, where fighting erupted, badly mishandled the situation. But theirs was a mistake in pursuit of a legal goal, not a war crime. And as for calls for international investigations, they represent the usual hypocritical nonsense that will go nowhere. Except for those who routinely fool themselves about the judiciousness and effectiveness of action by the United Nations or the European Union, everyone understands their "investigations" will amount to nothing.
As for what the planners of this "humanitarian" flotilla had in mind, just listen to what the leaders of this enterprise have been saying. Greta Berlin, a leader of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement, told The New York Times that the Israeli claim that the people aboard the ship intended violence was preposterous. She argued that it was inconceivable that the civilian passengers on board would have been "waiting up to fire on the Israeli military, with all its might." By that keen logic, no Palestinian ever would have fired upon a militarily superior Israeli. We seem to know otherwise.
Or listen to Huwaida Arraf, one of the Free Gaza Movement leaders. She said on Sunday before the incident that the boats would steam forward to Gaza "until they either disable our boats or jump on board." How on earth did she expect that strategy would not lead to violence?
But weren't these just "peace activists"? You know, the kind of "peace activists" we had during the Vietnam War, who were for peace as long as the Communists won.
And, of course, there is the outrage.
Well, where was all that international outrage and demand for explanations and retribution when the North Koreans sunk a South Korean ship? Where was it when the Gazans attacked Israel? Where, when Afghan men flogged their women for not wearing veils? Where, when Saudi Arabia funds terrorists around the world? This international outrage is highly selective, isn't it? The one consolation is that the international community, such as it has become, doesn't get anything of value done.
And a proposal:
Which puts matters in the American lap, as usual. There is a reasonable solution to this terrible dilemma: The Gazan people are in need of food and medicine, and Israel must protect itself against Gazan terrorists. President Obama should propose this simple arrangement: First, those wishing to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza agree to land aircraft, dock ships, and use land checkpoints all reasonably designated by Israel for inspection of contents. Second, Israel agrees to inspect cargoes within two to three days, and allow all humanitarian goods to proceed to Gaza immediately.
Seems reasonable to me. The Israelis should accept this immediately. Then they put the ball in the nutbags' court.
June 2, 2010 Permalink
THE ONE GOOD THING TO COME OUT OF THE SPILL – AT 9:18 A.M. ET: One voice, above all others, has been rational and wise in handling the Gulf oil spill, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.
Written off by some after a disastrous national appearance when he responded to President Obama's State of the Union message on behalf of the Republican Party, Jindal has been trying to find a voice to equal the competence he's shown as Louisiana's governor. He's found it. From Fox:
PORT FOURCHON, La. — In the gathering frustration over failures to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has emerged as one of the staunchest critics of the response by the federal government and BP PLC.
Nearly every day, the Republican policy wonk pulls on his brown cowboy boots and traipses across a newly oiled shore, or takes a boat through fouled waters. Along the way, he often lambastes BP's and the federal government's efforts as "too little, too late" for communities scrambling to protect their fragile wetlands from encroaching crude—comments that have drawn sharp criticism from the White House and some Democratic lawmakers.
Louisiana has jurisdiction over its coastline, but none in the federal waters of the Gulf.
Mr. Jindal accuses the federal government of poorly coordinating cleanup efforts between its agencies and BP, leading to delays in cleaning oiled beaches and marshes, laying protective boom and delivering resources to critical areas.
Pledging that Louisiana will "take matters into our own hands" if the Obama administration doesn't speed up its pace, he has begun coastal patrols for oil and relays new sightings to the Coast Guard and BP. He dispatched the Louisiana National Guard and state personnel to build shore barriers, lay sandbags and monitor the shores.
COMMENT: Jindal has often been talked about as a potential national candidate, although the talk died down after his failed national speech. Now he's coming back, and could easily be a vice presidential candidate, or more. The son of Indian immigrants, he would be the first non-white on a GOP ticket, taking a bit of the racial wind out of Obama's sails.
The national press, of course, is not emphasizing Jindal's critical role, but his constant activity, and sharp attacks on the White House, are being noticed. Watch him carefully, if you can find the coverage.
June 2, 2010 Permalink
SPEAKING OF INCOMPETENCE – AT 8:21 A.M. ET: Obama's, that is. Dick Morris points out that Obama's incompetence, especially in handling the oil spill, is now laid bare before us, and is even cutting into his approval ratings among Democrats. From The Hill:
America is watching the president alternate between wringing his hands in helplessness and pointing his finger in blame when he should be solving the most pressing environmental problem America has faced in the past 50 years. We are watching generations of environmental protection swept away as marshes, fisheries, vacation spots, recreational beaches, wetlands, hatcheries and sanctuaries fall prey to the oil spill invasion. And, all the while, the president acts like a spectator, interrupting his basketball games only to excoriate BP for its failure to contain the spill.
Well said. In the minds of the Obamans, the oil spill isn't a tragedy, but an opportunity to impose their radical energy agenda.
The political fallout from the oil spill will, indeed, spill across party and ideological lines. The environmentalists of America cannot take heart from a president so obviously ignorant about how to protect our shores and so obstinately arrogant that he refuses to inform himself and take any responsibility.
All of this explains why the oil spill is seeping into his ratings among Democrats, dragging him down to levels we have not seen since Bush during the pit of the Iraq war. Conservatives may dislike Obama because he is a leftist. But liberals are coming to dislike him because he is not a competent progressive.
Meanwhile, the nation watches nervously as the same policies Obama has brought to our nation are failing badly and publicly in Europe.
And the truth begins to dawn on all of us: Obama has no more idea how to work his way out of the economic mess into which his policies have plunged us than he does about how to clean up the oil spill that is destroying our southern coastline.
Both the financial crisis and the oil come ever closer to our shores — one from the east and the other from the south — and, between them, they loom as a testament to the incompetence of our government and of its president.
This is pretty strong stuff, but I'm afraid it's true. We have elected a lemon, and we don't have a manufacturer's guarantee:
America is getting the point that its president doesn’t have a clue...
...It is Jimmy Carter all over again.
COMMENT: We must ask whether the president is resigned to being a one-term leader, and is already fading out. If he loses badly in the midterms, his legislative program will die, and he will still be a net negative in the polls.
Barack Obama is good at one thing – running for office. That may still sustain him, but the Church of the Heavenly Barack seems to be losing parishioners, and its divinity school has fewer and fewer students.
Now, what kind of a messiah is that?
June 2, 2010 Permalink
EYES ON OBAMA – AT 7:54 A.M. ET: We are supposedly entering the summer doldrums, when thoughts of politics give way to barbecues and the price of baseball players. But, alas, just when we thought it was safe to turn off the computer, reality intervenes.
In fact, I've never seen such intense political activity in a midterm year, nor as much anticipation for a midterm election. Clearly, many voters believe this will be the most important midterm election in their lifetime, and I think they are right.
At stake are not merely the temporary policies of a president, but the whole direction of the country. It's now generally accepted, by those with a dose of honesty, that Barack Obama is the most radical president we've ever had. His harsher critics, me among them, believe that he lied his way into office by posing as a moderate, but that every instinct within him tugs to the left, and beyond. He doesn't much like his country or its people, and has little use for its founding documents. He wants to change us in ways we never chose.
It's also becoming clear, to all but Obama's most fanatical defenders, that the president of the United States is monumentally incompetent. He's never run anything but a small office, he cannot seem to understand that policies must not simply be thought about, but must be executed, and that all actions have consequences. He also seems bored with the job, seemingly believing that the heavy lifting should be done by someone else. His poll numbers reflect gradual but insistent public disillusionment.
But he is not finished. An equally incompetent press, heavily staffed with Obama disciples, still protects him, and his standing within his own party is bolstered by a desperate fear of alienating the African-American vote, without which Democrats cannot win a national election. In addition, Obama is blessed with a Republican Party that historically has nominated, for the presidency, the next guy in line. Reagan was an anomaly, his nomination deeply upsetting to a large chunk of the staid party establishment.
Opinion trends are running in our favor, but trends can quickly reverse. The presidency is an office with enormous political reserve. Presidents can pull things out of hats, and can command instant media attention.
The battle is beginning, not ending. We have five months to a decisive midterm election which will be critical to determining whether Obama's vision, or ours, rules the future.
June 2, 2010 Permalink