Morning Bits

December 18, 2012

The president is usually vague on major issues, preferring to leave the heavy lifting to others. “W.H. stays vague on Obama’s follow-up to Newtown shooting.”


President Barack Obama speaks at an interfaith vigil for the families from Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg)

A lot of unrelated spending is only concealed in the Hurricane Sandy relief bill. “The Senate has quietly tucked hundreds of millions of dollars to fund parochial needs into a $60 billion supplemental spending measure ostensibly aimed at aiding victims of Hurricane Sandy, with new items ranging from aid for fisheries in Alaska to new cars for the FBI. Although much of the spending — like $2 million for the Smithsonian to repair roofs and other buildings damaged during the storm — is directly linked to Sandy, huge parts of the bill would spend money on previous natural disasters and projects that at best have anything to do with emergency needs at all, critics say.”

It is unclear whether this will be considered the worst debacle of the Obama presidency, but it will be right up there. “Watching the nightmare in Syria unfold, you have to ask yourself: Could the Obama administration have made a worse hash out of the situation if it had tried? Short of an outright Iranian victory that saw the Assad regime’s power fully restored, it’s hard to imagine a more dire set of circumstances for U.S. interests. The Syrian state is well on its way to imploding. A multiplicity of increasingly well-armed militias are rushing to fill the vacuum. At the forefront of the fight are a growing number of radical Islamist groups, including some affiliated with al Qaeda. The prospect that Assad’ s demise will be accompanied by the use (and/or proliferation) of chemical weapons and massive communal bloodletting gets higher by the day. Libya on steroids is what we’re looking at, only this time not on the distant periphery of the Middle East but in its heartland, a gaping strategic wound that is likely to threaten the stability and wellbeing of Syria’s five neighbors — critical American partners all — for years to come.”

Could be an indirect impact on the “fiscal cliff” dealing? I’m skeptical. “While seemingly unrelated — the emotionally wrenching holiday-season massacre of 20 first graders and six of their guardians, and Washington’s mind-numbing fiscal fight to reduce deficits — the first cannot fail to have a salutary effect on the latter, say veterans of Washington’s partisan wars from both parties.” To be blunt, I think that’s nonsense.

I don’t see how Obama would disguise his record. “The ardently pro-Israel former mayor of New York City and the Iranian regime have found something to agree on: that Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s likely nominee for secretary of defense, is anti-Israel.”

It’s not like the connection is fuzzy. “The reason that more mental-health services and more relaxed involuntary-commitment standards make such a difference in murder rates is very simple: Mentally ill persons are disproportionately involved in violent crimes, including murder. As of 2002, about 26,000 inmates in state prisons across the United States who were convicted of murder were also mentally ill.” Read the whole thing.

It’s a bit murky what he’d do but this seems, well, pathetic. “Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, may be headed back to the political spotlight as he’s considered a likely interim replacement for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)” Well, as nondescript placeholders with no independent base of support go, I guess he’s the man.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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Jennifer Rubin | December 17, 2012