November 19, 2013

He’s at his best when he says things like this. Former president George W. Bush: “If private-sector growth is the goal and Keystone pipeline creates 20,000 new private-sector jobs, build the damn thing.” Why, yes, we should.

(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

The worst part of the sequester is squeezing valuable discretionary programs while leaving bloated entitlements untouched. “Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spoke about the future of the NIH and the impact of sequestration on science research funding.” (h/t Sam Stein)

The best explanation of the difference between liberal and conservative health-care visions. “Do we empower expert knowledge at the center of the system to impose efficiency based on principles well known to the administrators or do we empower the dispersed social knowledge of market actors to try out different approaches and find what works — allowing sellers to try different forms of the insurance product, allowing consumers to choose among them, and arriving that way at something like an effective balance between quality and price on the whole?” Obamacare suggests the former (liberalism) is a bust.

The worst part of this for Democrats is that they are dismantling their own exchanges. “The Obama administration said Monday it is willing to grant a key concession on the health-care law to big insurers under which they could directly sign up for coverage millions of Americans who qualify for tax credits. The administration said it was working through technical obstacles with the insurers. If completed, the plan could help some people bypass troubled health-insurance websites including HealthCare.gov.” This sounds totally unworkable — further evidence that the fixes create new problems and further erode confidence in the system.

The best-case scenario would be a series of House-passed bills covering all the major issues. “Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the lawmaker tasked with electing Republicans to the House, said Friday his chamber will act on immigration reform before the 2014 midterm elections. Keeping in line with GOP leadership, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee said the House will pursue a piecemeal approach, but it will not go to conference on the Senate’s comprehensive bill or take up similar legislation introduced by House Democrats.” Will Democrats really balk if 80 percent of what they want is in a series of House bills?

I am not sure if the worst part is that President Obama doesn’t know there is no fatwa or that no one has the nerve to tell him. Obama keeps talking about a fatwa against nuclear weapons that doesn’t exist. “So where is the fatwa? It is more than strange that, with the negotiations under way and the entire world focused on them, Iran has failed to produce a text. It is extremely unfortunate that our highest officials appear to take the existence of this fatwa for granted though none has ever seen it, read it, or had it analyzed by competent experts. Bad staff work, for sure; wishful thinking as well, trying to convince themselves that despite the evidence perhaps Iran really does not seek nuclear weapons after all. But here as always, wishful thinking is a dangerous basis for making national security policy.”

The best arguments for containing a nuclear-armed Iran are still pathetically weak. “If a credible threat of force can change Iranian behavior, then why take that option off the table by letting Iran get what it wants, ultimately making a later threat of force far less credible and far more dangerous? If there is a compelling argument in favor of letting Iran go nuclear, its proponents have yet to advance it.” Read the whole thing.

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