Morning Bits

Why invite Republicans out for dinner? “Republicans have decided to stop focusing on [President Obama] and start using the leverage they have as the party in charge of one house of Congress — working with Senate Democrats to seek common ground where they can and forcing them to take uncomfortable votes where they can, while taking it for granted that the president will sign anything Congress sends him. That’s the promise of ‘regular order’ for them, and it has some appeal for Senate Democrats too, since the president has offered no agenda for them to rally around and seems to have very little interest in their reelection prospects. All this seems like a recipe for presidential irrelevance, and Obama seems to be responding to that danger by putting himself back in the middle of the story.”

If he’d invited the president to name another nominee for secretary of defense, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) would be retiring with a bang, not a whimper. “In a statement, Levin explains that he and his wife ‘decided that I can best serve my state and nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us that I am in a position to help address; in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.’”


Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) announced he’ll retire next year. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Egypt’s conduct invites this sort of response from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “We have significant interests in ensuring that Egypt remains at peace with Israel, and that the Morsi government does not undermine the democratic process and the human and political rights of all Egyptians, including religious minorities and women. That does not mean, however, that we should just continue to dole out aid to Egypt, whether it be economic or security assistance.”

Obama’s backpedaling on Iran invites scorn. “Now Western negotiators reportedly have softened their demands in an attempt to reach a deal. The West would settle for a suspension of uranium enrichment at Fordo, instead of the demand that the facility be closed. Iran would be allowed to keep some of its higher-enriched fuel. Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk summarized this backpedaling by the West as ‘appeasement.’ ‘No sanctions relief should be provided to Iran until the regime complies with its international obligations,’ Kirk said in a statement. He’s right. The U.S. and its allies should be dialing up pressure on Tehran, not easing off.”

Obama invited this scrutiny with his ending-the-White-House-tours stunt. “So the president’s White House advisers are going to have to confront the question of how, or whether, to adjust his family’s activities. Should they go to Martha’s Vineyard? Will Michelle Obama and the couple’s daughters avoid trips like the ski vacation they took to Aspen last month? And what about the golf that Mr. Obama frequently plays at the nearby Joint Base Andrews?”

No dinner invitation for them! “Pelosi: Obama Doesn’t Need to Build Relationships with House GOP.”

Our presence on the United Nations Human Rights Commission just invites this grotesque behavior. “During the years when the late Hugo Chavez ruled Venezuela and attacked human rights there, the UN Human Rights Council was unable to adopt one single resolution about Venezuela. To this sad record, a final note was added this week: a moment of silence in his honor. . . .The United States — which stayed out of the Council under President Bush but joined it under President Obama — should investigate how this incident happened and take steps now to prevent a re-occurrence.”

The general will get plenty of invites to speak his mind. “The Obama administration may regret pushing General James Mattis, the brilliant and blunt-talking Marine who is head of Central Command, into retirement for a variety of reasons — not the least of them being that, with his impending retirement looming, he has felt free to voice undiplomatic truths.”

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.
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Jennifer Rubin | March 7, 2013