Chilling. Steven Sotloff talks to the family of Iman al-Obeidi, the Libyan rape victim who burst onto camera last week.
Unsurprising. “Since Jon Huntsman, former Utah Governor and current ambassador to China, submitted his resignation to the White House on January 31, observers have speculated with curiosity about how a moderate Republican could campaign for president amidst an ever-growing field of die-hard conservatives. Now, The Daily Caller has learned that the initial strategy for Huntsman’s campaign-in-waiting at Horizon PAC is to avoid focusing resources to campaign in the nation’s first caucus and socially-conservative state of Iowa.” Mitt Romney might wish he could do the same.
Wave-making. “As the new chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, [Ileana] Ros-Lehtinen could make a significant new mark during this Congress. Her panel is scheduled to hold a hearing this week on America’s role in Libya. She and other committee Republicans are expected to criticize Obama’s handling of the issue . . . . There are many questions about our military action in Libya, including: What is the mission? Does it include the ouster of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi? How long will the no-fly zone last? Ros-Lehtinen doesn’t bite her tongue when describing dictators, evidenced by Fidel Castro dubbing her a ‘ferocious she-wolf.’ So it’s highly unlikely she’ll say anything sympathetic about Gadhafi. In a recent statement, she noted that Gadhafi’s ties to terrorism had resulted in the deaths of Americans.”
Reversing herself. “US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the Syrian government on Tuesday for the harsh way it had responded to pro-democracy protests. ‘In a series of side meetings I also had the chance to discuss a number of issues, including Syria,’ Clinton said after a London meeting of international powers on Libya. ‘I expressed our strong condemnation of the Syrian government’s brutal repression of demonstrators, in particular the violence and killing of civilians in the hands of security forces,’ she added.” Glad she no longer considers Bashar al-Assad a “reformer.”
Debunking President Obama’s claim that he “led” the effort in Libya, Jackson Diehl reminds us: “U.S. forces subsequently have played a decisive role in driving back Gaddafi’s tanks and artillery and destroying his air defenses — and Obama deserves credit for committing them to the fight. But the record of the last few weeks seems pretty clear: Obama did not lead the way into Libya. He was dragged into it through a combination of pressure from allies — beginning with France — nd concern about a looming massacre in Benghazi for which the United States would be blamed. As he said in his speech, ‘The United States has not acted alone.’ But it also has not led.”
Contradicting Obama, our allies come out for regime change. The same allies to whom Obama has handed off the Libyan military mission, he told us. “Leaders of the four dozen countries and international organizations meeting here on Tuesday made it clear that they agreed that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi would have to relinquish power, even though regime change is not the stated aim of the United Nations resolution authorizing military action against his forces.” Once again, Obama NOT leading.
Ruling out a 2012 presidential run, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) declines to say he’s “not ready” for the job. Well, a vice president has to be ready, doesn’t he?
Speaking up for growth and not simply austerity, Larry Kudlow writes, “Right now, Republican presidential candidates are beginning to prepare for the upcoming election and are formulating their respective policy agendas. The key question the GOP candidates should be asked is whether they have a real pro-growth agenda. This, along with a free-market focus and a strong dollar policy, is absolutely key.” Exactly.
Pointing out why health care is the key issue for 2012, James Capretta and Yuval Levin explain, “This is so, first of all, for political reasons. Obamacare remains very unpopular with Republican and independent voters—no less so than it was when it passed a year ago—and even Democratic voters are not very happy with it. To a degree that Democrats in Washington seem not quite to have grasped, health care was at the center of the populist uprising that produced a Republican House in last year’s elections. Other issues—the oversold “stimulus,” the bailouts, the regulatory overreach, the persistent levels of high unemployment—certainly provoked outrage. But President Obama’s health care push was the fuel that kept the populist fire going. . . . For substantive reasons, and not only political ones, it is right that health care should be so important to voters alarmed about our fiscal crisis and intent on restoring some limits to government. Even before Obama-care, health care spending was the number one reason for growth in government and the driving force behind the explosion of our debt. In 1975, spending on Medicare and Medicaid was just 1.3 percent of GDP. By 2010, it had risen to 5.5 percent, a 400 percent increase.”