Inside Politics

MOVING RIGHT

“As with most presidents at the end of their first year in office, BarackObama’s approval ratings have slipped in 2009, though not as much as the clamor of his critics would suggest,” Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, writes at PewResearch.org.

“He is almost exactly where Ronald Reagan was at the end of 1981, when he too was struggling with the bad economy he had inherited,” Mr. Kohut said.

“What’s really exceptional at this stage of Obama’s presidency is the extent to which the public has moved in a conservative direction on a range of issues. These trends have emanated as much from the middle of the electorate as from the highly energized conservative right. Even more notable, however, is the extent to which liberals appear to be dozing as the country has shifted on both economic and social issues.

“Pew Research surveys throughout the year have found a downward slope in support both for an activist government generally and for a strong safety net for the needy, in particular. Chalk up these trends to a backlash against Obama policies that have expanded the role of government.

“More surprising is declining support for gun control, a fall in support for abortion rights, and a rise in public doubts about global warming. Much of the change on these issues has come from independents, a category now populated by many former self-identified Republicans. But a lack of passion among Democrats - and liberals in particular - is also a part of the story of this conservative trend among the public at large.

“For example, over the course of the year, strong opposition to health care reform has topped strong support in every survey Pew Research has conducted.”

NEW SCANDAL

“First it was the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia playing fast and loose with scientific data, manipulating it to produce desired results while discarding much of the raw data. Now, according to a report in Britains Telegraph newspaper, the Hadley Center for Climate Change, part of the governments British Meteorological Office, did some data-cooking as well, leaving out temperature records for about 40 percent of the Russian landmass in calculating recent temperature trends,” John Steele Gordon writes at CommentaryMagazine.com.

“Since Russia constitutes 12.5 percent of the worlds landmass, much of that a byword for brutal winters, that is no small omission. And the data from weather stations that were omitted do not show substantial global warming in recent decades,” Mr. Gordon said.

“Climategate is beginning to seem more and more like its namesake, Watergate. Those around in those days remember how, day after day after day, new revelations came out and ever more desperate attempts to minimize their significance or to explain them away were made. …

“The constant water drip of revelations and Nixons attempts to explain them and prevent further ones from leaking slowly but surely destroyed the Nixon presidency. The chronology of Watergate as it evolved over a year and a half is a fascinating window into the greatest scandal in American history as it slowly reached critical mass.

“Climategate bids fair to be equally interesting, and it seems that we are getting nearer and nearer to that critical mass. I suspect that Al Gore, flying around in his private jet telling everyone else to walk, is not too happy right now.”

CYNICAL STRATEGY

“Typically, when a law is passed or a regulation proposed, its champions believe that the action will be beneficial to society. But thats not the case when it comes to steps that the Obama administration took last week, when Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson issued an ‘endangerment’ finding that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are harmful pollutants and therefore subject to EPA regulation under the Clean Air Act,” Max Schulz writes at city-journal.com.

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About the Author
Greg Pierce

Greg Pierce

Greg Pierce grew up in Indiana and Illinois, and graduated from Illinois State University, where he was editor of the student newspaper. He worked at newspapers in Indiana, Florida and Connecticut before coming to The Washington Times in 1984. Before compiling “Inside Politics,” he covered federal agencies for the newspaper. Mr. Pierce also compiles “Washington in Five Minutes” and edits ...

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