September 21, 2015

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We suffered long years with a foolish president and now have to endure a similar pope. George Will writes; 

Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert’s indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.

Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: “People occasionally forgive, but nature never does.” The Vatican’s majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this. Is Francis intimating that environmental damage is irreversible? He neglects what technology has accomplished regarding London’s air (see Page 1 of Dickens’s “Bleak House”) and other matters. …

… Francis’s fact-free flamboyance reduces him to a shepherd whose selectively reverent flock, genuflecting only at green altars, is tiny relative to the publicity it receives from media otherwise disdainful of his church. Secular people with anti-Catholic agendas drain his prestige, a dwindling asset, into promotion of policies inimical to the most vulnerable people and unrelated to what once was the papacy’s very different salvific mission.

He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises.




Noah Rothman sees the president’s minions throwing Hillary under the bus.

The central mission of Barack Obama’s White House in the waning days of his administration is to communicate to the public that none of this is his fault. Their search for figures toward which this administration can shift blame for the suboptimal state of affairs is growing increasingly frantic, self-sabotaging, and reflective of an undisciplined political operation in the midst of a spiraling crisis.

Given the increasingly dire state of geopolitical affairs, securing exonerations for Obama’s conduct is a particularly urgent imperative on the foreign policy front. The resurrection of the Islamist militant threat in the Middle East is perhaps the most glaring failure of this administration. The largely pacified Iraq that Barack Obama inherited is a boiling cauldron of bloody sectarian warfare. Even the most stalwart member of the president’s thinning clique of apologists would today concede that the withdrawal of every last American soldier from Iraq in 2011 was shortsighted. They contend, however, that the president had no choice. Proud Iraqi negotiators prevented this White House from securing a mutually satisfactory agreement that secured legal immunity for American soldiers tied his hands. Nonsense. This excuse has been thoroughly dispelled in reports that clearly indicate the administration was only prepared to accept full and total withdrawal in order to fulfill a political objective Obama set for himself in 2008. …

… As is the wont of this pathologically defensive administration, they have gone about looking for blame-worthy figures outside the ever-shrinking circle of Obama loyalists. “The finger, it says, should be pointed not at Mr. Obama but at those who pressed him to attempt training Syrian rebels in the first place,” New York Times reporter Peter Baker revealed, “a group that, in addition to congressional Republicans, happened to include former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.” …

… As the primary executor of Barack Obama’s hideously failed approach to preserving U.S. interests abroad and executing American grand strategy in his first term, Hillary Clinton’s record as secretary of state is a liability. She has chosen the Syrian crisis as the way in which she can create distance between herself and this president in order to inoculate herself against attacks on his foreign policy record. It is testament to the shortsighted and thin-skinned nature of this administration that even this mild criticism cannot be tolerated. They would handicap their party’s successor before they would suffer even a modest critique.

The campaign is only just beginning. There is a reason why a political party has secured three consecutive terms in the White House only once in the post-War era. The voters are hungry for a change, and, presuming she is the nominee, Clinton will have to distance herself from the president if she is to win a general election next November. It’s not clear that Barack Obama’s capacious ego can take it.



Our favorite, Scott Walker, has gone down in flames. David Harsanyi suggests a cabinet job for him – Secretary of Labor.

As he’s still a relatively young man, I imagine there are a multitude of things Scott Walker can still achieve in his life. But being president is not going to be one them. And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all endowed with certain gifts and hindered by certain realities. I will never be George Will. Scott Walker will never be Ronald Reagan. Or even James Polk. … 

… Walker could put to use his formidable experience fighting off union bosses. Having already dealt with the pressure of facing a well-funded special interest, and winning (on numerous times), Walker is more qualified on this front than anyone else running. If he wants to make a difference, it might be his best chance. …




And Matthew Continetti posts on Carly. 

There’s one story out of the CNN Republican debate, and that’s Carly Fiorina. The cable network expanded the ranks of GOP candidates to include her in the primetime debate, and she made the most of the opportunity. She did what no one thought was possible: She beat Donald Trump in the television game with her retort to his comments about her physical appearance. And she did more than that: She gave crisp, strong, visceral answers on questions regarding national security, abortion, and the economy. Conservative audiences have been thrilled at Fiorina’s appearances for months. Tonight she showed the nation that she is articulate, capable, passionate, and fearless. She displayed more thumos than many of the men on stage.

Fiorina has a fascinating speaking style. She’s clipped, emphatic, almost rote in her delivery. But it comes across as though she’s entirely committed to telling you what she’s thinking at any given moment. I can’t think of a more affecting statement from a politician I’ve heard than the one she gave on the Planned Parenthood scandal. When you combine that with how she destroyed Donald Trump when she was asked to comment on his remarks about her appearance, I expect the Republican audience of this debate to move to her in swarms. …




Jonathan Tobin says Trump can blame himself for his current problem.

This isn’t something that will hurt Donald Trump much among his populist base. But the kerfuffle over Trump’s failure to correct a questioner that claimed President Obama was a Muslim and not even an American is a club that the mainstream media will beat him with for the rest of the presidential campaign. Blaming a candidate for the prejudicial or even crazy comments made by their supporters is unfair. Less unfair but part of the political game is the way candidates are judged by their responses to outrageous questions that don’t put sufficient daylight between their positions and those of the persons expressing a controversial opinion. But in this case, the candidate can only blame one person for the fact that a prejudiced nativist birther would steel his thunder: Donald J. Trump. The criticisms for his failure to correct or rebuke the questioner have some traction because only a couple of years ago, no one was doing more to promote wacky theories about the president’s birth or his faith than Trump. …



Roger Simon knows what Trump should have said.

That familiar question “Is Obama a Muslim?” came up once again at a New Hampshire Trump rally Thursday night when a man (supporter? plant? who knows?)  shouted out to the candidate, looking for approbation, that Barack Obama is a Muslim and “not even an American.”  The man added, ”We have a problem in this country — it’s called Muslims.”

Trump did nothing at the time to disabuse the man of this notion and the candidate has since taken considerable heat for his nonresponse from just about every quarter, including that paragon of justice and honesty Hillary Clinton. The Donald, as is his wont, has declined to apologize for what Mrs. Clinton called his “hateful rhetoric.”  He has gone so far as to tweet that he had no responsibility to respond. “If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue.  No chance!”

Good point, but it raises the question: Is Obama a Muslim?  The answer is no.  But what is he then?  Is Obama a Christian, as Jeb Bush asserted in an attempt to make Trump look bad after Thursday’s dustup? Not a chance.  Obama is about as pure a post-modern agnostic as you can find.  He’s about as Christian as your average gender studies professor at Swarthmore.

Religion is for the president a convenience, an instrument of power.  As evidence of his Christianity he presents twenty-year attendance at Jeremiah Wright’s church, which was and is no more than a front for extreme, self-destructive black nationalism amplified by screechy anti-American propaganda, about as Christian an institution as the White Citizens’ Councils.  (Oprah Winfrey didn’t quit by accident).  After acceding to the presidency, Obama has hardly ever gone to church.  It interferes with his golf game or just about anything else.  The family didn’t even make it on Easter. …

… Although it’s perhaps a bit too complicated, or even apocalyptic, for the campaign hustings, here’s how Trump should have answered the man’s question.  Is Obama a Muslim?  No, but he’s something even worse — a transnational progressive.

On second thought, such complex ideological talk is obviously not Trump’s style.  But there is someone running for the presidency with the intellectual chops, guts and speaking clarity to explain something like this to the public — Carly.