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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 03/02/2012

Morning Bits

Old news in Pennsylvania, but new to most voters. “In the fall of 2004, Santorum’s use of tax dollars to pay for his kids’ home schooling became controversial because his family was primarily living in Leesburg, Va., an outer suburb of Washington. Following a local newspaper report, the Penn Hills School District near Pittsburgh tried to recover about $73,000 that it contended the state wrongly sent to an Internet-based charter school because although the Santorum’s owned a house in the school district, they were living out of state. The Pennsylvania Education Department in 2006 agreed to pay the district $55,000 to settle the dispute.”

Same old story on Syria: the inertia coalition wants to do nothing about the slaughter. “Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Wednesday that the United States must ‘proceed with extreme caution’ in Syria, where violence continues to rise as the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continues an assault on opposition forces. The committee’s ranking member, Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), echoed Kerry, saying that ‘attempts by the United States or the West to closely manage the opposition could backfire in an environment where the government blames outside influences for Syria’s troubles.’”

“Leading from behind” is getting old and dangerous. “Saying that Assad has lost legitimacy and ultimately will fall is cold comfort. The longer this struggle goes on, the more militarized it will become. The more militarized it becomes, the more Syria’s future will be dictated by who has the most guns, not who gets the most votes. Look at the Libyan Transitional National Council’s struggle to control that country’s various militias, and contrast that with the more democratic evolution in Tunisia. And the more militarized the Syrian struggle becomes, the greater the opportunity for al-Qaeda. Events in Somalia and Yemen show how al-Qaeda thrives on chaos and violence. For the sake of preserving human life and a democratic future for Syria, the Assad regime needs to go now.”

The same old NATO: Do nothing. “Not only will NATO not participate in any military intervention in Syria, NATO assets won’t be used to deliver any military, humanitarian, or medical assistance there, according to NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, because any type of Western intervention is not likely to help solve the crisis.”

The old Egypt policy of aiding a thugocracy has to end. American NGO employees will be allowed to leave Egypt, but Elliott Abrams argues: “There is every reason to think that the kind of activity NGOs like the National Democratic Institute, International Republican Institute, and Freedom House do all over the world will still be prevented in Egypt. In fact, the situation of NGO staff may still be worse in Egypt 2012, ‘after the revolution,’ than it was under the Mubarak dictatorship. If that turns out to be true, the Egyptian government should not be rewarded by a full renewal of our aid program. For the United States to say in effect ‘never mind’ would be to declare open season on NGO activities and staff around the world. Before aid is given, we should wait to see what laws and practices Egypt will adopt. Why subsidize a system that criminalizes help for democracy?”

Old meme: Romney won “ugly.” New meme: Santorum is on the ropes. “For one man in this race his entire campaign will come down to one state next week: Ohio. In order for Rick Santorum to keep a path open to the Republican nomination he must win most of Ohio’s 66 delegates.”

It’s the same old crony capitalism. “It’s noteworthy that on the Obamacare case before the Supreme Court, the top health insurance lobby is not arguing to overturn the law, but is simply arguing that if the court kills the individual mandate, it must also kill the must-issue and ‘community rating’ regulations. And just as a reminder, the biggest single-industry lobby in the country, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, supported the bill and dedicated millions of dollars to supporting Democratic incumbents who might face electoral trouble for their ‘Aye’ votes.”

The same old song and dance: Pols love to pick winners and losers. Santorum insists manufacturing is “unique.” No economist on the right or left has defended him. It’s politics pure and simple.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 03/02/2012

 
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