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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 12/21/2011

Morning Bits

Ben Smith nails it: “Only Lanny Davis knows what Lanny Davis is saying.” But the bottom line is Davis’s advice to the left-wing think tank: “I respectfully suggest to my Democratic friends at CAP that it is time that the ‘children’ who write for CAP blogs, who prefer name-calling and extreme personal characterizations to checking their facts and basing their opinions on confirmed facts, need more ‘adult supervision.’”

Natan Sharansky absolutely nails it: “‘Vaclav Havel was one of the few islands of intellectual freedom in the sea of totalitarian rule,’ Natan Sharansky told JTA, speaking of the late 1960s and the 1970s, when both he and Havel were struggling against communist rule — Havel in the former Czechoslovakia and Sharansky in the former Soviet Union.

If the Guardian was trying to imitate Soviet-era Pravda it nailed it. “Havel’s anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgment of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women’s rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first.” (h/t Jim Pethokoukis)

Former congressman Mickey Edwards, who has known Newt Gingrich for more than 30 years, nails it: “To describe Gingrich as ‘volatile’ is like describing Picasso as somebody who liked to draw. . . . Even before his election as Republican Whip in 1989, Gingrich had begun to demand a no-compromise war for political power; it is his sole belief system. It is distinctly at odds with the Founders’ conception of peoples’ representatives gathering in a Congress to reason together to shape the nation’s laws. It is why they argued against creating strong political parties like the ones they had left behind in Europe. But to Gingrich, parties — confrontational parties — are essential tools to be used to gain, and hold, power. It is power, not wise governance, that exerts the magnetic pull.” Worth reading in full, especially the analysis of Gingrich’s phony intellectualism.

A better interviewer would have nailed Tom Friedman on his non-apology. Friedman would have used “engineered” instead of “bought and paid for,” he now says, about the impact of the “Israel lobby”on Congress’ reception for the Israeli prime minister. And why not explain himself on the pages of the New York Times, where his noxious accusation about the entire Congress was made?

Elliott Abrams nails what is going on here in taking on both Friedman and Joe Klein (“Iowa Republicans are not neoconservatives. Ron Paul has gained ground after a debate in which his refusal to join the Iran warhawks was front and center. Indeed, in my travels around the country, I don’t meet many neoconservatives outside of Washington and New York. It’s one thing to just adore Israel, as the evangelical Christians do; it’s another thing entirely to send American kids off to war, yet again, to fight for Israel’s national security.”) Abrams writes: “What begins as a ‘controversial statement’ ends up on every reading list. Klein and Friedman, whatever their personal motivations for these statements, are helping popularize and make acceptable anti-Semitism in America. Their own publications will no doubt reward them for their advanced thinking. Will the rest of our society?” Well, it does bring back memories of 2008.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, after an awful speech talking down the viability of a military option, finally nails it in a CBS interview. “The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us and that’s a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it. . . . If they proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it.” Let’s hope his boss agrees.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) nails it. He tells Morning Joe that if Gingrich is nominated “the election is going to be about Newt Gingrich and I don’t think that’s good for our party. . . . People saw him as uncompromising and incendiary when he was speaker.” Watch the video in full.

Quin Hillyer nails it on Gingrich’s ideas about the courts: “Gingrich’s suggestions would completely upend the spirit of the Constitution and its balance of powers — not just recalibrate that balance, to bring judges back into line, but instead actually scramble everything in a way that would promote anarchy. If it were a serious proposal, it wouldn’t be conservative, but outrageously and dangerously radical. I don’t think it’s a serious proposal, though. I just think it’s Gingrich pandering and demagoguing, trying to stop his slide in the polls.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 12/21/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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