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Charles Krauthammer comments on Obama’s trip to India, and the importance of the US relationship with India.
…The story of the next half-century will be how Asia accommodates and/or contains China’s expansion.
Nor is this some far-off concern. China’s aggressive territorial claims on resource-rich waters claimed by Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Japan are already roiling the neighborhood. Traditionally, Japan has been the major regional counterbalance. But an aging, shrinking Japan can no longer sustain that role. Symbolic of the dramatic shift in power balance between once-poor China and once-dominant Japan was the resolution of their recent maritime crisis. Japan had detained a Chinese captain in a territorial-waters dispute. China imposed a rare-earth mineral embargo. Japan capitulated.
That makes the traditional U.S. role as offshore balancer all the more important. China’s neighbors from South Korea all the way around to India are in need of U.S. support of their own efforts at resisting Chinese dominion.
And of all these countries, India, which has fought a border war with China, is the most natural anchor for such a U.S. partnership. It’s not just our inherent affinities – being democratic, English-speaking, free-market and dedicated to the rule of law. It is also the coincidence of our strategic imperatives: We both face the common threat of radical Islam and the more long-term challenge of a rising China.
…China is no enemy, but it remains troublingly adversarial. Which is why India must be the center of our Asian diplomacy. …
In the National Review, Andy McCarthy tells us how Obama continues to offend Israel, this time by criticizing Israel while in Indonesia.
…Sadly, there is nothing new in Obama’s amateurish inflation of Israeli construction from a sore point to a flash point in Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Nor is there novelty in his hectoring of Israel for insufficient indulgence of a “negotiating partner” that does not accept its right to exist. If there were nothing more, there’d be little point in recounting this story.
But there is a new wrinkle in Obama’s Israel-bashing: the setting. While the president’s post-election get-out-of-Dodge tour has included stops in New Delhi, Seoul, and Tokyo, he opted to zing the Zionist entity while touring Jakarta. This was no coincidence: By population, Indonesia is the world’s largest Islamic country, home to 200 million Muslims.
…It also turns out that this exemplary Islamic nation has about as much tolerance for Israel as the Palestinians do. Like Hamas and Fatah, Indonesia does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. To be sure, the national motto is “Unity in Diversity” — inducing Obama to compare it favorably with America’s E Pluribus Unum. But it ought to come with an asterisk: Israelis are not permitted to enter Indonesia, nor are Israeli aircraft permitted to fly in its airspace.
What better perch could an American president find from which to slam a staunch American ally? It’s nice to know “Indonesia is a part of” President Obama, but Judeo-Christian tolerance — the kind Israel lives and Jakarta shuns — is part of America.
Peter Wehner compiles some election statistics for us.
In shifting through the fine analysis that emerged in the aftermath of last week’s midterm elections, a few data points are particularly noteworthy…
Independents comprised 28 percent of the electorate and supported Republican congressional candidates by a margin of 56 to 38 percent. That represents a 36-point turnaround from the last midterm election, in 2006, when independents supported Democratic congressional candidates by 57 to 39 percent. In addition, independents trust Republicans to do a better job than Democrats by a margin of 23 points on jobs and employment, 23 points on the economy, 27 points on government spending, and 31 points on taxes.
Voters support repealing/replacing ObamaCare by 51 to 42 percent. Democrats oppose repeal by 80 to 16 percent — but both independents (by 57 to 31 percent) and Republicans (by 87 to 7 percent) want to repeal and replace it.
Sixty-five percent of voters said that the stimulus bill either hurt the economy or did no good — and those voters overwhelmingly favored the GOP. …
Daniel Henninger, in the WSJ, comments on how Dems have no understanding of business.
…The Democrats running things the past two years proved they have no clue about the business of business. In their world, the real world of the private economy is an abstraction, a political figment.
Exhibit A: Along the road to ObamaCare, the party’s planners inserted into the bill the now- famous 1099 provision, requiring businesses to do an IRS report for any transaction over $600 annually. No member of Congress, White House staffer or party flunky thought to say, “Oh, wow, this 1099 requirement will crush people running their own businesses. Are we sure we want to do this?” Yes, and that 1099 fiasco is a metaphor now for the modern Democratic Party. …
…much of what this Democratic Congress did, or tried to do, was like throwing Molotov cocktails at business. It began in early 2009 with the cap-and-trade climate bill. …
At his news conference last week, Mr. Obama still wouldn’t rule out the EPA’s impending “carbon finding” to regulate emissions, another Freddy Krueger nightmare for the average business. …
Charlie Cook reviews election surprises in the National Journal.
…Beyond the symbolism and images, big mistakes were made and Democrats seem happy to blame President Obama and the economy and not accept responsibility for pursuing an agenda that turned independent voters, who had voted by an 18-point margin in 2006 for Democrats, to vote for Republicans by an 18-point margin in 2010, according to exit polls.
This huge shift from one midterm election to the next, by a group that constitutes 26 percent of the electorate, is seismic. It is not a matter of turnout or partisan intensity; it is a clear indication that Democrats alienated voters in the middle who saw an agenda in 2009 and 2010 that was quite different and much more ideological that the one described in 2006 and 2008.
For this, the bulk of House and Senate Democrats deserve responsibility but don’t seem to be accepting it. …
Clive Crook offers Obama some tips on how to win back voters.
…I think many of the policy outcomes under Obama have been good. But instead of owning the policies from the start, he was backed into them. Not just sometimes, but every time.
To recover in 2012 Obama will need a stronger economy, which should happen. He will need the GOP to discredit itself in Congress, which seems likely. It would also help if the Tea Party learned nothing from Delaware, Nevada, and Colorado, and kept harming its own prospects, which looks plausible too. But the hardest thing is that from now on Obama must lead with more conviction, and choose to disappoint either the left or the centre, not both.
Obama’s unconstrained policy preferences (unlike mine) are evidently more progressive than centrist. For the sake of argument, suppose those preferences are correct. Suppose his uncompromised agenda would be good for the country. As a practical matter, he would still need to judge how far the country is willing to be moved. A good leader has to anticipate those limits, not blunder into them every time, as he has. From a tactical point of view, he should also bear two other things in mind. One is that the left despises compromise, making it much harder to please than the centre. The other is that the left, even if you let it down, is not going to vote Republican.
In the National Journal, Josh Kraushaar previews the election landscape of 2012.
…In the House, the Republican wave couldn’t have come at a better time for the ascendant party. The GOP now has unilateral control of redistricting in key battleground states for the upcoming election cycle. That will allow the GOP to protect many of their newfound majority-makers and redistrict other Democrats out of existence. And that’s on top of reapportionment. The states slated to gain House seats – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington — as a whole tilt in favor of Republicans. The ones projected to lose representation are predominantly Democratic: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.
Republican State Legislative Committee Executive Director Chris Jankowski estimated the GOP will gain between 25 and 30 additional House seats from the reapportionment and redistricting process alone, a number that makes it all the more difficult for Democrats to win back the seats necessary to retake the majority. Republicans already are slated to hold between 241 and 244 seats in the new Congress, their largest majority since 1946.
…Pelosi’s decision to stick around as minority leader is another factor that bodes well for House Republicans protecting their majorities in 2012. …