- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2008

‘About-face’

“Over the past weeks much has been made of Barack Obama’s hard right turn toward the center of the political spectrum. There’s been no greater about-face than his embrace of the Bush Doctrine on the next likely foreign policy crisis — Iran,” former Sen. Rick Santorum writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The Bush Doctrine refers to the strategy of preemptive warfare that President Bush set forth in 2002. It’s the idea that the United States will not wait for menacing enemies to attack us; we will attack preemptively in certain cases,” said Mr. Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican.

“But how, you might ask, can the candidate of MoveOn.org and the antiwar-forever crowd be aligned with Bush on preemptive strikes against Iran? Here’s how: Last month, Obama declared, ‘I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — everything.’

“When a would-be commander in chief says ‘everything’ three times in one sentence — and says so publicly — he is not just talking about continued diplomacy and sanctions. He’s saying that he has not taken the military option off the table.

“With that statement, Obama, the definitive antiwar candidate, ended any serious debate over preemption in the post-9/11 world.

“And none too soon.”

Big spender

The $52 million that Sen. Barack Obama raised in June “may not be a disaster for the Obama campaign, but it is hardly a success. Not just because it’s far below what the Obama campaign projected in June. It’s a disappointment because it includes general election contributions from those who had previously maxed out,” Jaime Sneider writes in a blog at www.weeklystandard.com.

“Remember also that unlike the money McCain is raising, which has to be spent by the time he receives $84 million in public financing, Obama’s money needs to last all the way through the election,” the writer said.

“With a burn rate of $42 million a month, Obama’s campaign can just barely sustain its current levels of spending. And what’s left over may not be adequate to run the kind of campaign he needs to win. Just consider despite all the money he’s raised, Obama has been outspent on television by 3 to 1 in the last two months. All the stagecraft and theatrics has come with a hefty cost.

“Compared to the McCain campaign, Obama has spent three-and-a-half times as much on payroll and benefits, ten times on event staging, two-and-a-half times as much on travel and lodging, and three times as much on food and meetings.”

Obama’s task

“When Barack Obama sewed up the Democratic nomination, I wrote that he needed to do five things: redefine himself, redefine John McCain, make nice with the Clintons, unify the party and brace himself for some serious hardball,” Michael Tomasky writes in the London Guardian.

“He’s taken steps to address four of those points. There’s lots of complaining about how he’s handled the ‘redefine himself’ part. Some of it is legitimate, but much of it is infantile yelping by two types of people. First, those whose idea of politics consists chiefly of waiting until the inevitable moment that a politician ‘sells them out’ so they can wag their fingers and say I told you so. Second, those who live in liberal cocoons and want to think that the United States of America consists of about 11 blue states,” Mr. Tomasky said.

“But let’s put that one aside for now, because the topic today is that on one of my five points, Obama has done very little and has let some silver-platter opportunities pass him by. He is not redefining McCain. …

“One of the Obama team’s biggest jobs in this campaign is to change the way Americans view McCain. Most people don’t know he’s flip-flopped on fundamental issues like tax cuts. Even fewer know that he has little mastery of the details of policy in all but a few areas he’s decided to be interested in over the years. And precisely because the press has worshipped McCain, this will be a tough slog and will take a long time.”

Cover condemned

New York Gov. David A. Paterson and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Thursday condemned the New Yorker magazine’s satirical cover depicting Democrat Barack Obama and his wife as flag-burning radicals.

Mr. Paterson, a Democrat who is New York’s first black governor, told delegates at the civil rights organization’s national convention that the cover that hit newsstands Monday is “one of the most malignant, vicious covers of a magazine I have ever seen,” drawing loud applause.

“It depicted them as angry, hateful, violent and unpatriotic,” Mr. Paterson added.

The NAACP released a resolution that calls the cover “tasteless, Islam-a-phobic, mean spirited and racially offensive.” It calls on other Americans who are offended by the cover to contact the magazine about their concerns.

A message seeking comment from the New Yorker was left at the magazine’s offices Thursday.

New Yorker editor David Remnick told the Huffington Post Web site that the cover was chosen because it had something to say.

An opportunity

“Elections are often reshaped by unexpected and fast-moving events, and when this happens a candidate who quickly takes the lead on the new issue can bolster his chances to win. There is such an opportunity now for Barack Obama and John McCain with the crisis facing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“The mortgage giants touch tens of millions of people because their core business is to buy, insure and securitize home loans. But they act like huge hedge funds with their portfolios worth hundreds of billions. As government sponsored enterprises (GSEs), they have an implicit federal guarantee that allows them to borrow money more cheaply than competitors. They have used that advantage to make ever-larger bets in their portfolios, generating big profits when home prices were rising, but big losses when housing weakened,” Mr. Rove said.

“Congress ignored an early warning sign when Fannie and Freddie failed to produce accurate accounting statements in 2002. That should have spurred Congress to pass reforms proposed by the administration the next year to clean up the GSEs. It didn’t.

“Now with Fannie and Freddie at greater risk, Messrs. McCain and Obama need to think like would-be presidents instead of senators. That starts with ignoring former Fannie CEO Franklin Raines, who says reform isn’t needed — this from a CEO who couldn’t produce accurate accounting statements. The goal has to be to force the GSEs into a position where they can no longer put taxpayer dollars at risk.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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