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John Hinderaker celebrates the Romney campaign competence.
One of the most heartening aspects of the early stages of the presidential race has been the Romney campaign’s aggressiveness. Nothing discourages activists more than getting out front of a candidate who, it later turns out, isn’t willing to do what it takes to win. A number of Republicans of recent years could be said to fit that description, most recently John McCain. But not Mitt Romney.
We’ve seen it over and over: the Obama campaign will launch an attack, and in next to no time, the Romney team hits back–twice as hard, as President Obama and Glenn Reynolds both like to say. It happened with the smear of Ann Romney, it happened with the dog on the roof, it happened with the silly “war on women,” it happened with the administration’s clumsy attack on Bain Capital, and it happened again today with the Democrats’ attempt to denigrate Romney’s service as Governor of Massachusetts.
A campaign can resemble a boxing match. Obama thinks he sees an opening and takes a swing at Romney. But before he can do any damage, he realizes he has walked into a counterpunch. Bam! Romney rocks him, and Obama retreats in disarray. Romney has shown himself already to be a top-notch counterpuncher.
His campaign has shown itself to be tough in other ways, too. …
Bill Kristol has examples of how liberal Jews have turned away from the president.
There are no wounds as bad as those inflicted by one who loves you: their hurt is accurate. Their pain burns. In the midst of the election campaign in the US, a comprehensive book on the achievements and failures of the administration’?s foreign policy was published this month (Bending History: Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy). The Middle Eastern chapters were written by Martin Indyk, who served twice as US ambassador to Israel and was one of the senior members of the peace process team. Four years ago, he supported Hillary Clinton. After she lost the Democratic Party’?s primary elections, he enlisted in Obama’?s election campaign. He praised him highly before audiences of Jewish Americans and Israelis.
?Not this time. The chapter he wrote presents a long series of colossal mistakes by the US president, partly due to inexperience, mostly due to misunderstanding of the Israeli-Arab arena, unsuitable temperament and erroneous conceptions. Obama did not show any particular interest in regime change and democracy in the Arab world. Ironically, it’?s the only area which has changed during his term in office….
… ?There is no argument that regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict, Obama’?s first term of office has been a complete failure, I said. He promised to bring peace, but couldn’?t renew the negotiations that took place on a regular basis during the Bush era. The Arab world didn’?t believe him. The Israelis didn’?t trust him……
?The turning point was Obama’?s speech at Cairo University in June 2009. I was there. After the speech, I spoke to Obama’?s close advisers, Ram Emanuel and David Axelrod. I told them that the Israelis took the speech badly. The comparison between the Holocaust and Palestinian suffering infuriated them. The fact that Obama chose to speak in Cairo but not visit Jerusalem hurt their honor.
?The two looked at each other in silence, as if to say, we knew it would happen, we warned him but he refused to listen. As time passed, the fact that Obama wrote the speech himself, against the advice of all his advisers, was made public.
John Podhoretz reacts to the typically immodest Obama claim he knows more about Judiasm than any other president.
… Perhaps what the president meant is that he’s known more Jews than other presidents. This too is an absurdity, as Ronald Reagan spent 30 years in Hollywood and had Jews coming out his ears. In fact, chances are Barack Obama knows less about Judaism than most presidents, except that he knows a lot of liberal Jews.
What the president does, without question, know a great deal about is the act of preening.
Alana Goodman posts on Obama’s Jewish friends in Chicago.
John has already responded to President Obama’s absurd claim about being a Judaism genius. But that may not even be the most offensive argument Obama made at yesterday’s meeting with Conservative Jewish rabbis, according to the Haaretz report. When asked about his personal views on Israel — the kishkes question again — Obama reportedly went for the some-of-my-best-friends-are-Jews defense:
There were some questions directed at the president concerning his thoughts on the role of religious leaders in a more civil political dialogue, which then lead to the inevitable question – how does he feels about Israel? Obama joked that [Chief of Staff Jack] Lew always warns him it will get to “the kishkes question.”
“Rather than describe how deeply I care about Israel, I want to be blunt about how we got here,” Obama said, reminding his guests that he had so many Jewish friends in Chicago at the beginning of his political career that he was accused of being a puppet of the Israel lobby.
Ignore the overwhelming ignorance and offensiveness of that argument for a second. The one person I can recall who has actually accused Obama of being an AIPAC puppet is Rev. Wright — though his theory was that Obama didn’t turn into a lapdog for the Jews until he started running for president. I don’t doubt the president hung out with plenty of Jews in Chicago, but considering that some of the most vile Israel bashers out there are Jewish, that says absolutely nothing about his own views on Israel. Plus, if we’re now supposed to judge Obama’s support for Israel based on his Chicago friendships, that’s not exactly comforting. Two of his close friends in the city were an anti-Semitic pastor and a famed anti-Israel academic — oh, and there was also his domestic terrorist buddy who participates in anti-Israel activism on the side. What are we supposed to glean from that?
These friendships were one of the reasons why the pro-Israel community was initially unsure about Obama’s true personal feelings on Israel during his 2008 campaign. Since then, those early concerns have been substantiated again and again by Obama’s own public actions and statements on Israel. The American public still supports the Jewish state, which means Obama grudgingly supports it when necessary, but it’s clear his heart isn’t there. His lame response when questioned on his true feelings — citing knowledge of Judaism and friendship with Jews — is just the latest example of that disconnect.
Speaking of Chicago, John Fund says it is time to look at some of the friends from there.
… John Heilemann, co-author of a definitive work on the 29008 election called Game Change, writes in a new piece in New York magazine that for “anyone still starry-eyed about Obama” the 2012 campaign will disabuse them of that notion:
The months ahead will provide a bracing revelation about what he truly is: not a savior, not a saint, not a man above the fray, but a brass-knuckled, pipe-hitting, red-in-tooth-and-claw brawler determined to do what is necessary to stay in power — in other words, a politician.
If the mainstream-media journalists who spent so little time in 2008 looking into the Daley machine that Barack Obama sprang from want to do more due diligence this time, they could start with a closer look at Eric Whitaker and the rest of Obama’s inner circle. It’s probably a much richer mine of stories than any investigation of Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital days or Ann Romney’s obsession with expensive horses is likely to provide.
Andrew Malcolm has the story on another Dem who has bailed on Obama.
Good thing Artur Davis doesn’t live in Chicago. He’d be worse than friendless this morning.
The former member of Congress, the first from outside Illinois who endorsed then Sen. Barack Obama for the presidency so long ago, is now a former Democrat too.
Davis, who represented Alabama’s 7th congressional district for four terms until last year, says he’s left his longtime party, left Alabama for Virginia and is pondering a state or congressional race there, as a Republican.
It’s a wounding PR blow to Obama’s reelection campaign, which has had some rocky weeks recently, even with Joe Biden on vacation now. Davis’ defection is also an unexpected and rare fracture in the seemingly monolithic political support for Obama among blacks. …
Michael Barone writes on the Dem campaign managers.
“Axelrod is endeavoring not to panic.” So reads a sentence in John Heilemann‘s exhaustive article on Barack Obama’s campaign in this week’s New York magazine.
Heilemann is a fine reporter and was co-author with Time’s Mark Halperin of a best-selling book on the 2008 presidential campaign. While his sympathies are undoubtedly with Obama, he does a fine job of summarizing the arguments and tactics of both sides.
And he’s capable of directing snark at both candidates. Samples: Romney “seems to suffer a hybrid of affluenza and Tourette’s.” “A cynic might say that the liberation Obama feels is the freedom from, you know, actually governing.”
Heilemann’s article is well-sourced. It’s based on interviews with David Axelrod, the former White House aide now back in Chicago, David Plouffe, the 2008 manager now in the White House, and Jim Messina, the current campaign manager.
The picture Heilemann draws is of campaign managers whose assumptions have been proved wrong and who seem to be fooling themselves about what will work in the campaign. …
Debra Saunders has a devastating take on E. Warren.
It’s hard to figure who looks the worse in this story – Elizabeth Warren or Harvard Law School’s affirmative action policies. …
… Warren’s campaign now is working overtime to pooh-pooh any notion that she was hired for any reason other than that she was a great law professor. I believe that.
I also believe that Warren was too smart to not know that she was 31 times more white than Native American. She’s too smart to not know that the designation could help her career, while taking pressure off Harvard Law to hire a real minority. But she was not so liberal that she cared.