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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 05/09/2011

Morning Bits

If Mitt Romney isn’t making a big effort in Iowa and now is phoning it in in South Carolina, how’s he going to win the GOP nomination?

If no other Republicans get into the race, could Jon Huntsman be a top-tier candidate? This is a good start: “Huntsman spoke about the harsh repression of dissidents in the country he just left, rather than taking note of China’s economic prowess. In fact, he dismissed the idea that China was ‘the next big thing.’ America, he said, still holds the world’s attention.” Now he just has to explain what he did about human rights when he was there.

If President Obama thinks he can maintain funding for a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, he’s badly mistaken. “29 U.S. senators have asked President Barack Obama Friday to cut off aid to the Palestinian government if it joins with Hamas. . . . [A]s the senators’ letter notes, Hamas foreign policy chief Mahmoud al-Zahar has said that ‘our plan does not involve negotiations with Israel or recognizing it.’ Hamas also publicly condemned the May 1 killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces in Pakistan. For all these reasons, the senators want Obama to make it clear that the [Palestinian Authority] will forfeit U.S. foreign assistance if it goes through with the plan to join forces with Hamas. The United States gave the PA about $550 million in aid in fiscal 2011, a mixture of project funding and direct cash to the government.”

If Obama is counting on a permanent shift in the political landscape, he’s going to be disappointed. “The bin Laden raid may have succeeded in temporarily halting a sharp fall in the president’s overall approval rating, which nose-dived in April, but it has made no difference to largely negative public perceptions of Obama’s leadership on the top voter issues facing the American people. Barack Obama still looks clueless and in denial on the huge economic problems facing the United States, including the towering debt hanging over the country. He continues to preside over a presidency in long-term decline, while advancing many policies that are making his country weaker, less prosperous and more indebted.”

If Obama wants to build on his new international mojo, he should lead from the front on Syria. It’s grim there: “Syrian security forces arrested more than 200 people early Sunday and a 12-year old boy has died, as President Bashar al-Assad expanded a campaign to crush the country’s seven-week, nationwide uprising, activists said. Rami Abdul-Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said more than 200 people were picked up overnight in Banias, a key oil-industry city on the Mediterranean coast where some of the largest protests have been held. On Saturday, troops in tanks and armored vehicles rolled in and sealed off the city.”

If big donors are still sitting on the sidelines, there is plenty of time for other candidates to get into the race: “So far, only former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts has assembled a strong bench of the top Republican financiers. Scores of other fundraisers remain unaligned, waiting with their money — and contact lists — in their pockets as prospective candidates bombard them with phone calls, e-mails and in-person visits around the nation.”

If Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is holding out hope for a peace-minded Hamas, she’s even dimmer than we thought. The New York Post editorialized, “Hamas is a client and cat’s-paw of Iran; its charter calls for the eradication of the Jewish state, which it has hungrily set at for the past two decades. So what on earth makes the White House think the organization is even remotely a partner for peace?” The most charitable explanation of the administration’s behavior is that Obama is waiting for the “the marriage of the butchers in kaffiyehs (Hamas) to the bandits in suits (Fatah)” to collapse.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 05/09/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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