- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2009

OBAMA DOCTRINE

“The outlines of an Obama Doctrine are taking shape. Our president’s worldview can be summarized as ‘Everybody is a little bit guilty, especially Israel,’ ” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“His demand in Cairo that Israel make major concessions before Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist was a pander of the rankest sort. What a difference a year and the audience make,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“Exactly a year before his Cairo speech, on June 4, 2008, candidate Obama told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee he would ‘never force Israel to the negotiating table’ or to make ‘concessions.’

“He cited Iran’s vow to eliminate Israel and said, ‘I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything.’

“In Cairo, he was vague at best and inviting at worst on the nuke issue, saying, ‘I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons.’

“Feeling the mad mullah’s pain won’t mollify them. Nor was it a sign of courage to ignore Anwar Sadat, the brave Egyptian leader who made peace with Israel in 1979 and was later assassinated by Islamic extremists.

“To judge from this speech and others, the Obama Doctrine holds that all guilt is morally equal and the solution is to split the difference and call it even.”

CALLING ‘TINKERBELL’

” ‘As I’ve often said, in the short term, as we transition to renewable energy,’ President Obama stated in April, ‘we can and should increase our domestic production of oil and natural gas. We still need more oil, we still need more gas. If we’ve got some here in the United States that we can use, we should find it and do so in an environmentally sustainable way.’

“Does anyone believe Obama was serious about this?” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Given his practice of misdirection — saying one thing, doing another — no one should have. Now, nearly five months into the Obama presidency, it’s clear he didn’t mean a word of it. His administration is impeding, not promoting, increased production of oil and gas, as it is of coal and nuclear power,” Mr. Barnes said.

“This is a crazy policy. It’s likely to drive up gasoline and electricity prices while making America more dependent than ever on foreign oil — three bad trends. Energy independence becomes still another of Obama’s stated policies being championed in words but not deeds.

“Higher prices on oil and gas may make wind and solar power, the renewable sources of energy the Obama administration is promoting, more competitive, but only slightly. They would still be heavily reliant on large subsidies from the federal government, face severe technical problems, and produce energy only intermittently.

“At the moment, demand for oil and gas is down, and so is our capacity to produce them. As the economy improves, demand is bound to rise quickly. But capacity can be increased only gradually, and that’s if more production is being encouraged rather than prevented.

“To think that wind and solar or other alternative fuels can fill the energy gap requires a belief in what Adriel Bettelheim of Congressional Quarterly has called the ‘Tinkerbell effect,’ as in Peter Pan. It consists of believing something will happen just because you wish it would.”

TAX REVOLT

“Taxpayer victories are rare these days, so let’s cheer the good news in Illinois, where [last] week the state House in Springfield voted 74-42 against a plan to raise the income-tax rate on individuals and businesses by 50 percent,” the Wall Street Journal said in an editorial.

“When Gov. Pat Quinn succeeded Rod Blagojevich in January, he immediately proposed raising the personal income tax to 4.5 percent from 3 percent, the business tax rate to 7.2 percent from 4.8 percent, and expanding the sales tax to services ranging from dry cleaners to Internet hookup. The Democrat says the income-tax hike is ‘based on a principle as old as the Bible. Taxes should be based on the ability to pay.’ But voters can distinguish between rendering unto God and unto Quinn, and public dismay was so widespread that even 26 Democrats voted to kill this tax grab,” the newspaper said.

“Just as surprising, not a single Republican voted for the tax increase. In recent times the ideological distinction between the GOP and Democrats has been as murky as the Chicago River. Former Governors ‘Big Jim’ Thompson, Jim Edgar and George Ryan transformed Republicans into the tax-and-spend party.

“Solidarity has given Republicans new leverage in the budget debates because majority Democrats are terrified to pass a tax hike on their own. Mr. Quinn may call for a new tax vote, but the GOP can now instead demand spending and ethics reforms in a state where political corruption is at New Jersey proportions. One reason Mr. Quinn’s tax plan failed is because there was little effort to slow down spending that has increased 45 percent (to $4,700 from $3,250 per person after inflation) in the past decade.

“Following the defeat of California’s tax increase, the Illinois revolt is more evidence that voters are rejecting tax-and-spend politics. Beltway Democrats, take note.”

CHENEY AND HAASS

“What was it about former State Department official Richard Haass that bugged former Vice President Dick Cheney?” Andrew Burt asks in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

“Haass, out with a new book, ‘War of Necessity, War of Choice,’ says he was shocked to read in ‘Angler,’ a book about Cheney, that the former veep ordered his phone calls tapped. An aide to both former President Bushes, Haass thinks the reason might have been that he wasn’t hawkish enough while working with another moderate, former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

” ‘To me it was just indicative of how ideological the administration had become,’ Haass says. For example, he pushed for a dialogue with Iran, rejected by the Bush-Cheney team. ‘The idea that something like that would be seen as somehow beyond the pale - that in many ways encapsulated my fundamental difference with this administration.’

“When asked directly what irked Cheney enough to spy on him, he shrugs: ‘Ask the former vice president.’ ”

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

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