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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 05/15/2012

Morning Bits

Sanctions actually worked here. “Senators from both parties are now urging the Obama administration to drastically scale back U.S. sanctions on Burma in light of that country’s moves toward reform and democratization. Senate Armed Services Committee ranking Republican John McCain (R-AZ), who has traveled to Burma twice in the past year, announced Monday morning that he now supports the ‘suspension’ of a host of sanctions against Burma and the ruling regime.”

Mitt Romney may be wise to work in a summer trip. “Mitt Romney should visit Israel soon, Republican lawmakers say, claiming that such a trip would highlight the fact that President Obama has not been there during his first term. Congressional Republicans told The Hill that there would be many benefits for Romney should he go to Israel, explaining that it would both advance U.S.-Israeli relations and help him politically.

The Bain attack isn’t working out as well as Obama might have liked. “Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in 1999 to manage the Winter Olympics, two years before GST Steel declared bankruptcy. But that hasn’t stopped President Obama from blaming him for the company’s 2001 collapse. In a new Obama campaign video, ex-steel workers criticize Romney for being ‘out of touch’ with the ‘average working person.’ Left unmentioned (and blameless) is Jonathan Lavine. Lavine, according to the Los Angeles Times, is a top Obama bundler and a managing director at Bain Capital. Lavine, who has raised over $100,000 for the president, was at the firm when GST Steel declared bankruptcy. So according to the Obama team’s logic, Romney, who had left Bain, is responsible for GST Steel’s demise, but Lavine, who was there, is not?” Oops.

Well, it’s not like he was working that hard at it. “In an e-mail to supporters, Mr. Paul said he would no longer actively campaign in states that have not yet held Republican presidential primaries. To do so, he said, ‘would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.’ ”

The U.N. negotiations and peace plan for Syria do work — for Bashar al-Assad. “Firing assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, Lebanese gunmen clashed in street battles Monday as sectarian tensions linked to the 14-month-old uprising in Syria bled across the border for a third day. . . . World powers have backed a peace plan for Syria that was put forward by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, but the bloodshed has not stopped. More than 100 U.N. observers have been deployed in Syria to oversee a truce between the government and armed rebels. The U.N. estimates the conflict has killed more than 9,000 people. On Monday, Syrian troops shelled the rebel-held town of Rastan, sparking intense clashes that sent bloodied victims flooding into hospitals and clinics, activists said.”

Even The New Republic recognizes this tactic’s not working. “Amid all the hoopla over President Obama’s gay marriage announcement last week, there were a few cautionary head shakes from the wise old men (and wise young old men) of the punditocracy: Obama may be basking in the glow of history now, they said, but his strategy of trying to elevate social issues to the Democrats’ benefit, and thus distract voters from economic issues, was a dubious one.” Read the whole thing.

Things have worked out awfully well for him, huh? “Benjamin Netanyahu continues to confound opponents, surprise experts, and consolidate political power. Through a series of unconventional moves since 2009, Bibi has gone from struggling to form a supposedly weak coalition to heading one of the largest parliamentary majorities in Israel’s history. His bold move this week, cancelling early elections in favor of a unity deal with opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, is only the latest in a series of maneuvers that attest to his political acumen.”

Peter Wehner counsels Franklin Graham that what he’s doing isn’t going to work, politically or spiritually. “It appears that Graham is a fiercely conservative person whose politics is to some degree sculpturing his religious/political priorities. And Graham’s words and statements, at least in the political arena, are often censorious and lack a spirit of grace and reconciliation. It is one thing to state, in an intelligent and measured way, one’s objection to same-sex marriage. It is quite another for the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to say the president, in expressing his personal support for same-sex marriage, is ‘shaking his fist at God.’ I say that as someone who shares Graham’s religious faith and probably agrees with him on most political issues. Yet his public pronouncements are at times cringe-inducing, his explanations shallow, his tone belligerent.”

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 05/15/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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