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

Morning Bits

Beneath his dignity.” Well, maybe this is just par for the course.

Beyond reach. Sanctions are, no surprise, a bust: A “sobering Pentagon assessment of Iran’s military capabilities prompted the top elected Republican in Congress to criticize President Obama for not doing enough to check the threat posed by the Islamic regime. . . . An unclassified report by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, prepared in April and sent to four congressional committees on June 29, provided lawmakers with an overview of a regime making large strides in virtually all conventional, unconventional, and nuclear categories.” Is this supposed to be “unacceptable”?

Behind the times. Opposition to welfare reform is so 1980s. “Republicans came out strongly against a quiet policy change by the Obama administration that could change how states administer welfare. Under the new policy, federal waivers would allow states to test new approaches to improving employment among low-income families. In exchange, states would have to prove that their new methods are effective, or lose the waivers. Republicans blasted the change as ‘gutting’ work requirements in the landmark 1996 welfare-to-work law known as TANF.”

Before the deluge (of Bain attacks). Now they are delighted. “Conservatives Hail the New Tougher Romney.”

Head and shoulders above the current secretaries of Treasury and of State. George Shultz: “It’s startling that in the last year, three-quarters of the debt that’s been issued has been bought by the Fed and the balance has been bought by other countries, so U.S. citizens and institutions are not on net buying U.S. debt. . . . The Fed doesn’t have an unlimited capacity because when it buys the debt what it’s doing is monetizing the debt. Sooner or later that has got to get out into the economy. Can’t be held forever. And when it does in that kind of volume — as Milton Friedman taught us, inflation is a monetary phenomenon — it’s gonna be hard to control.” Read the whole thing.

Atop the voters’ concerns is still the economy. And it is not a pretty sight: “The $800 billion stimulus does not seem to have produced the sort of economic growth — less than 2% instead of over 4% — that was predicted, raising serious question about whether another round should be tried, as the White House and some left-of-center economics contend.”

Around now you’d think conservatives stubbornly hostile to Romney would give up the “he needs to be more specific” hogwash. First, specificity isn’t always critical to win. But more to the point: Romney has said “he’ll do everything he can to repeal ObamaCare, unleash domestic energy production, cut regulations and reform the tax code. If he were to do half of that, his would be a transformative presidency.” (He also put out Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security reforms, plus a raft of measures to cut the debt, reign in Big Labor, rebuild the military and address some critical immigration problems. But who cares about what Romney has actually proposed when you can grouse?)

After all the talk of “smart diplomacy,” Obama’s is rather dim. “This administration has badly underestimated the degree to which the Russians are a major threat to US interests and the free world. Concession after concession has been made to Moscow by the Obama team, from signing the New START Treaty to pulling out of Third Site missile defences in Eastern and Central Europe. The groveling, deferential approach towards Russia was perfectly encapsulated by the president’s cringe-worthy conversation with Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul in March, where, caught off guard, the U.S. leader told his then Russian counterpart that he would have ‘more flexibility’ to deliver when the presidential election was over.”

About time the media started challenging ludicrous comments like this. Obama claimed Romney’s business background “doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole, because as president, my job is to think about the workers. My job is to think about communities, where jobs have been outsourced.” I thought his job was to help create the conditions for prosperity. And he’s done one heck of a job with that, right? (Romney also was governor and ran the Olympics, which in and of themselves give him vastly more experience than Obama had in 2008.)

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 07/15/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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