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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 05/12/2011

Morning Bits

How many witty bloggers does it take to eviscerate Tom Friedman? One.

Mitt Romney has two views on health care that don’t mesh: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney plans to give a speech tomorrow outlining his plan to ‘repeal and replace’ the national health care law as a way to grapple with the issue that’s the largest liability of his presidential campaign. Romney has previewed his speech in a USA Today op-ed. But no matter how many speeches Romney makes, it won’t change the fact that the one chance he had as an office holder, he enacted a big government health care proposal that was the forerunner to ObamaCare. And it won’t change the numerous statements he’s made over the years.”

Three points. That’s it. “Given a choice between Barack Obama and an unnamed Republican, 43% of registered voters say they are more likely to vote for Obama and 40% are more likely to vote for the Republican. This is essentially unchanged from April and February, when voters’ preferences were evenly split.” Imagine if a really exciting Republican decided to run.

Newt Gingrich is in. “In a video posted on his campaign website, Gingrich touted his record as Speaker and said he is running ‘because I believe we can return America to hope and opportunity.’ “For four years we balanced the budget and paid off $405 billion in debt,” Gingrich said in an announcement that didn’t mention President Obama by name. “We’ve done it before. We can do it again.” I might want to stay away from the record as Speaker if I were he.

Karl Rove in less than five minutes gives the rundown on the 2012 presidential field. He doesn’t have very nice things to say about Donald Trump. (“His swearing and epithet-laden speech in Las Vegas turned off a lot of voters.”) As for Ron Paul, “I don’t think at the end of the day he’s likely to be a serious contender for the presidential nomination.”

Rep. Paul Ryan goes after some myths (okay, lies) about his budget plan. He makes a key point: If we keep on the current path we can only count on six flush years of Medicare. “The Path To Prosperity makes no changes to these programs for Americans 55 and older. The government guarantee remains in place for both of these programs. It protects both of these programs for those 55 and older and saves them so they can provide benefits to future generations of Americans when they retire. This budget spends more each year on Social Security and Medicare. Additional support would be provided to those with low-incomes and poor health. Failing to act — as the President’s budget does — would mean the end of these programs as we know them. Without action, the Social Security Trustees report that beneficiaries will either see a 22 percent benefit cut or a corresponding hike in payroll taxes. Similarly, the Trustees for Medicare say that ‘Without corrective legislation, therefore, the assets of the trust fund would be exhausted within the next 7 to 19 years.’ ”

Elliott Abrams has seven theories to explain the Obama administration’s failed Syria policy. I particularly favor the first (“Sheer incompetence”) and the sixth (“The Brotherhood is Coming.” “It may be that the Administration agrees with those who say any successor regime in Damascus will be worse, as it will come under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood or some other form of extremism. No evidence is ever offered for this conclusion, though it is a mantra I have heard for years.”)

Joshua Green should go back to 2008 to see if there is any hope of this: “I’m all for honest appraisals of Palin and have delivered my own. It’s always worth reading what her smartest critics have to say. But they’d be a lot more convincing if they’d adjust their worldview to match reality, ratchet down the threat level, and accept that her status is much diminished.” And, as a first rate reporter he’s figured this one out: “Palin’s critics, Andrew [on-the-hunt-for-Trig’s-real mom Sullivan] included, either don’t understand or insist on denying — that despite her thirst for power and myriad unsavory characteristics, she put them to good use in Alaska, and the state is better off for it.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 05/12/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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