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But Enough About Cairo . . .

I would suggest that in the age of Paris, Britney and Lindsay, the line between "legitimate" and -- what, illegitimate? -- outlets faded long ago.

Greatest Hits

Are hot-button social issues making a comeback? Time's Joe Klein says the answer is yes:

"The people directly affected by the so-called social issues -- abortion, gay marriage, racial preferences -- pale in comparison with the tens of millions who have lost their jobs and fortunes in the past year and with the global, life-and-death impact of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Consequently, social issues weren't decisive in the elections of 2006 and 2008, or in the early days of the Obama administration.

"At the end of May, those issues returned with a vengeance. A doctor who specialized in the most controversial sorts of abortions was murdered in Kansas. President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, which restarted a tired debate about affirmative action. And while the blowhards have taken up their battle stations -- the leadership of the Republican Party, especially, seems to have shifted from politics to infotainment -- the terrain on these issues has shifted subtly in the past few years. (Indeed, gay marriage -- once the hottest of hot buttons -- seems to be easing toward public acceptance, as state after state approves it.) . . .

"There are civilized compromises to be made -- not always, but often -- on even the toughest social issues. We are beset by wars and economic distress, and we no longer have the luxury of ceding these discussions to demagogues and fundraising interest groups. It's time to move on."

That would be a great name for an advocacy group.

Cairo Reax

You'll have to look elsewhere for a comprehensive roundup on Obama's Egypt speech, and some on the right hated it. But some conservatives did not.

Rich Lowry: "On the whole I thought it was pretty good. . . . Yes, there were many things about which to cavil, there were missed opportunities, and he betrayed the disturbing weakness of his policy in certain key areas, Iran foremost among them. But the speech was an act of diplomacy and as such, it inevitably was going to skate over some inconvenient truths and tilt its presentation in a way to try to make it more persuasive to its target audience. Fundamentally, Obama's goal was to tell the Muslim world, 'We respect and value you, your religion and your civilization, and only ask that you don't hate us and murder us in return.' Bush tried to deliver the same message over and over again. The difference with Obama is that people might actually be willing to listen."

Ed Morrissey calls it "surprisingly good": "In most ways, it wouldn't differ from a similar speech given by any recent American President. In fact, the Cairo audience may have been a little surprised about the depth of the defense of Israel's right to exist in peace, as well as the strong denunciation of 9/11 Trutherism that has been wildly popular among Arabs, even though Osama bin Laden claimed credit long ago for the attack."

On Fox, Newt said the speech was "very powerful" and "very compelling," but that other parts were "destructive" and "harmful." At least he didn't use the word racist.

One thread in mainstream accounts is that the president is said to be taking a different approach toward Israel.

Chicago Tribune: "Obama spoke, for example, of Palestinian 'resistance' -- a word that can cast Israel as an illegitimate occupier. He drew parallels between Palestinians and the struggles of black Americans in slavery and of black South Africans during apartheid. Both references made some allies of Israel uneasy."


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