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

Morning Bits

Elliott Abrams makes the case that “we should be broadly supportive of the struggle against [Bashar al-]Assad, including the military struggle, for after all it was he not the opposition who chose to militarize the confrontation. It was he, not they, who started shooting. . . . There is certainly no moral argument against doing so, for we want this struggle over and Assad out as soon as possible, and want influence with those who will inherit power in Syria. Moreover, given the vast efforts made by the Assad regime to help jihadis kill Americans in Iraq, we should have no hesitation to help bring him down. How best to do so is, again, a prudential judgment requiring more information than I have. . . . It is useless for American officials to decry it and urge the Syrian opposition to eschew the use of force. Let’s adopt a new policy goal: winning, as fast as possible.” Unfortunately, the Obama team specializes in useless.

Paul Gigot makes the case that Newt Gingrich’s Palestinian comments were terrible. “I think Elliott Abrams wins that argument. It was a needlessly provocative way to put it, and it was one of — I think reflects one of Gingrich’s weaknesses, which is that he tends to over- intellectualize things, and he tries to put a historical gloss on everything. So he goes back to the Ottoman Empire, and he forgets that we’re in a delicate diplomacy with Israel and the Palestinians, and this is a way to provoke them and suggest that they have no right to any kind of state.”

Josh Block makes the case that progressives should hold purveyors of anti-Israel rhetoric accountable.

It’s not going to be hard for the GOP to make the case against President Obama. “Just 41 percent of Americans think Mr. Obama has performed his job well enough to be elected to a second term, whereas 54 percent don’t think so.” But they really do need to come up with a sensible, attractive alternative.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) makes the case for herself as the consistent conservative. “Michele Bachmann led the charge against the co-front-runners she termed “Newt Romney” at Saturday night’s debate, elbowing her way into the spotlight and forcing her rivals to engage with her. . . . Bachmann even succeeded in getting the moderators to turn to allow her into several discussions, unlike in several previous debates, when she’s called for attention in vain from her podium.” But CBS told us she didn’t count!

Audience members at the Des Moines GOP debate forcefully make the case that Texas Gov. Rick Perry shouldn’t demonize gays. For one thing, I think Iowans are a little sick of such clumsy pandering.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) makes the case that Gingrich’s acceptance of Freddie Mac money was immoral. “I wouldn’t have taken their money . . . just for the fact that I think it was an immoral thing to take, take money. Besides, I don’t like this idea that you’re going to influence somebody that is a pseudo-government agency. And this was my argument over the many years that because they got subsidies and they had a line of credit and they were guaranteed a bailout, it was written all over that this would come about because it was artificial, there was a line of credit and the Fed was involved. So it was, as far as I’m concerned, about as close to the government as you can get. To call that private is, is not exactly accurate.” But Gingrich specializes in not being exactly accurate.

Perry makes the case that Republican voters “are not looking for a robot that can spit out the name of every Supreme Court justice.” Good grief. Is the standard for presidential nominees so low that retaining such basic knowledge is considered to be a stunt?

Ross Douthat makes the case that a revenge fantasy is a bad rationale for choosing a presidential nominee. “Newt Gingrich might debate circles around Obama. He might implode spectacularly, making a hot mess of himself while the president keeps his famous cool. But either way, setting up a grand rhetorical showdown seems unlikely to supply a disillusioned country with what it’s looking for from Republicans in 2012. Conservatives may want catharsis, but the rest of the public seems to mainly want reassurance. They already know Barack Obama isn’t the messiah he was once cracked up to be. What they don’t know is whether they can trust anyone else to do better.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 12/12/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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