Friday, May 18, 2012

Top 10 Reads of the Week - May 18, 2012

His Fulltime Job - Fred Barnes [Weekly Standard]
President Obama is breaking new ground in his campaign for reelection. He is going where incumbent presidents have never gone before. He is doing things for which President George W. Bush would have been pilloried. And Obama is doing all this in plain view.
Yet the media have rarely found the new ploys and gambits of Obama’s campaign worth mentioning, much less spotlighting. For instance, in his address at the National Prayer Breakfast in February, Obama treated his agenda and Jesus Christ’s as one and the same. Since the media didn’t raise any flags, one might have concluded a comment such as Obama’s was normal for that event. It wasn’t.
Obama offered his own version of the WWJD question—what would Jesus do?—on the issue of raising taxes on the rich. Obama wants to, arguing that seniors, young people, and the middle class shouldn’t be forced to “shoulder the burden alone.”... Read the Rest

President Obama Is No Bill Clinton, But He Should Be - Bernie Marcus [Investors Business Daily]
Since the financial crisis and throughout the sluggish economic recovery, working families and small-business owners have watched as the federal government has engaged in a grand experiment in government-led economic engineering. That experiment has failed.
The latest jobs report underscores the need to change our country's direction. April's unemployment rate was 8.1%, but if you include those who are underemployed, that rate shoots to 14.5%.
The unemployment rate has now persisted at over 8% for three years, longer than any period in modern history. Not to mention that there are nearly 4 million "missing workers" who have disappeared from the work force altogether... Read the Rest
 Jerry Brown vs. Chris Christie - William McGurn [Wall Street Journal]
In his January 2011 inaugural address, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared it a "time to honestly assess our financial condition and make the tough choices." Plainly the choices weren't tough enough: Mr. Brown has just announced that he faces a state budget deficit of $16 billion—nearly twice the $9.2 billion he predicted in January. In Sacramento Monday, he coupled a new round of spending cuts with a call for some hefty new tax hikes.
In his own inaugural address back in January 2010, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also spoke of making tough choices for the people of his state. For his first full budget, Mr. Christie faced a deficit of $10.7 billion—one-third of projected revenues. Not only did Mr. Christie close that deficit without raising taxes, he is now plumping for a 10% across-the-board tax cut.
It's not just looks that make Mr. Brown Laurel to Mr. Christie's Hardy. It's also their political choices... Read the Rest
Discouraged Democrat Voters May Mean Historic Sweep for GOP - Bruce Walker [American Thinker]
Most polls, Rasmussen excepted, continue to show that neither presidential candidate is pulling away from the other and that close Senate races have shifting leads. Primary elections, however, are showing a very different situation -- and it is voters who turn out in elections, not random Americans called by pollsters, who determine the winners and losers in politics. If the latest news can be believed -- and we have every reason to believe it -- there is a conservative voting trend building, and its momentum is going to make it truly terrifying for liberals come November.
Let's start at the beginning. In the first place, Rasmussen, which polls likely voters, has shown for years now that a huge chunk of Americans "strongly disapprove" of the job Obama is doing. On May 10, for example, more than twice as many Americans strongly disapproved of Obama's job performance as "strongly approve" of the job he is doing... Read the Rest
Obama and GM Cook The Books - John Lott [National Review Online]
Would you hire President Obama as your financial adviser? Three years ago his administration invested more than $100 billion in taxpayer money to bail out General Motors. On Tuesday, the entire company, not just what the government owns, was worth less than $34 billion. By anyone’s definition, that investment is a glaring failure. Yet over the last few days the Obama campaign, in a $25 million marketing blitz, has flooded the airwaves with ads in battleground states, claiming the bailout should be counted a rousing success.
Unfortunately, assertions that “all loans have been repaid to the federal government,” that the bailout “saved more than one million American jobs,” that “U.S. automakers are hiring hundreds of thousands of new workers,” that GM is again the “number-one automaker” — all are based on creative accounting... Read the Rest

The Arab Spring and American Ideals - President George W. Bush [Wall Street Journal]
...America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on.
The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.
It takes courage to ignite a freedom revolution. But it also takes courage to secure a freedom revolution through structural reform. And both types of bravery deserve our support... Read the Rest

We Who Are About To Bug Out Salute You - Sam Schulman [Weekly Standard]
"Perhaps I’m being overly cynical,” wrote a well-known realist and conspiracy theorist on April 23, “but the new ‘strategic partnership’ agreement between the United States and Afghanistan strikes me as little more than a fig leaf designed to make a U.S. withdrawal (which I support) look like a mutually agreed-upon ‘victory.’ It is already being spun as a signal to the Taliban, Iran, and Pakistan that the United States remains committed, and the agreement will undoubtedly be used as ‘evidence’ that the 2009 surge is a success and that’s now ok for the US to bring its forces home.” But Harvard’s Stephen Walt​—​for it is he​—​avows that the agreement is just a cosmetic gesture that “facilitates doing the right thing,” which Walt, together with Vice President Joe Biden and many others, thinks is to bring the Taliban back into power in some sort of alliance with the elements of Kabul’s government most hostile to the West and least sympathetic to the idea of democracy and women’s rights.
You don’t have to be a realist to agree that Walt is right about the Obama administration’s desire to bug out of Afghanistan. But only true realists can forget that the Taliban have been beaten again and again on the battlefield by the Northern Alliance, NATO, and our own military forces, with the overwhelming approval of the Afghan people. Only card-carrying realists can explain (though they never bother to do so) how it might be in our national interest to hand over a country in the neighborhood of several troublesome and often hostile powers​—​Iran, Russia, China, Pakistan​—​to a groupuscule of racial and sectarian supremacists controlled by Pakistan, which even realists admit is our biggest problem. Or how it is realistic to threaten the security of allies like India and raise the risk of nuclear confrontation in every possible direction... Read the Rest
Too Much Agreement Means More Entitlements - George Will [Washington Post]
Bipartisanship, the supposed scarcity of which so distresses the high-minded, actually is disastrously prevalent.
Since 2001, it has produced No Child Left Behind, a counterproductive federal intrusion in primary and secondary education; the McCain-Feingold speech rationing law (theBipartisan Campaign Reform Act); an unfunded prescription drug entitlement; troublemaking by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; government-directed capitalism from theExport-Import Bank; crony capitalism from energy subsidies; unseemly agriculture and transportation bills; continuous bailouts of an unreformed Postal Service; housing subsidies; subsidies for state and local governments; and many other bipartisan deeds, including most appropriations bills... Read the Rest
Vampire Capitalism? Please - Kimberly Strassel [Wall Street Journal]
This week the Obama campaign debuted its attack on Bain Capital, the private-equity firm Mitt Romney founded. Its two-minute ad purports to tell the story of GS Technologies, a Kansas City-based Bain investment that went bankrupt in 2001.
To hear the Obama campaign, this is a tale of greed: GST was a healthy, happy, quality steelmaker until Bain plundered its worth and stripped its 750 workers of their due. "It was like a vampire," laments one former employee in the ad. "They came in and sucked the life out of us."
GST is a tragic tale, though in a different way. The real story of GST is that of a private-equity firm trying to spark some life into a uncompetitive, over-unionized industry. Bain's crime here—if that's what you call it—was giving a dying steel plant an unexpected eight-year lease on life... Read the Rest
The Woman Without a Face - Robert Tracinski [Real Clear Politics]
When President Obama's re-election campaign put up its "Life of Julia" feature, the mockery from the right came thick and fast, focusing on Julia's creepy faceless anonymity—literally, the way she is drawn, she has no face—and on the apparent absence in her life of family, friends, a mentor, a spouse, or anyone or anything to compete with the beneficence of the federal government.
Beyond the mockery, though, there is a sense that "Julia" reveals some very important things about the worldview of the left. Here's one point I haven't seen made elsewhere: the fact that Julia is apparently in the middle class. In fact, she is not-so-subtly in the upper middle class. She is college-educated, she works in what would currently be considered a fancy high-end job as a web designer, and she eventually starts her own business. But here's the dead giveaway: in her retirement, she volunteers at a "community garden," a clear cultural marker of the educated upper middle class. I'm sure she also drives her Prius to go buy arugula at Whole Foods... Read the Rest
The Funniest Thing I Saw This Week

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