- The Washington Times - Friday, September 4, 2009

OBAMA’S ‘TRUTHER’

President Obama’s ‘green jobs czar’ Van Jones has been targeted again and again by conservatives for his controversial views and now they’ll have another item to use as fodder,” Amanda Carpenter writes in “The Back Story” blog at www.washington times.com.

“Mr. Jones signed a statement for 911Truth.org in 2004 demanding an investigation into what the Bush administration may have done that ‘deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.’

“His name is listed with 99 other prominent signatories supporting such an investigation on the 911Truth.org Web site, including Code Pink co-founders Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, comedienne Janeane Garofalo, Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and others. He’s identified as the executive director for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights on the statement, which he founded before going to the White House. …

“9/11Truth.org spokesman Mike Berger told The Washington Times over the phone that all of the signers had been verified by their group. He said 9/11Truth.org board members ‘spoke with each person on the list by phone or through e-mail, or individually to confirm they had added their name to that list.’ …

“Fox News personality Glenn Beck has described Mr. Jones as a ‘radical’ on his program and many conservative blogs have questioned his political tactics and strategies. Mr. Jones recently landed in hot water when a video surfaced of him calling Republicans a disparaging name at an energy lecture in Berkeley, Calif., last February. He apologized for those remarks in an e-mail to Politico this week.”

BAD MONTH

“August was the worst month of Barack Obama’s presidency. And he seems to know it — he is now planning to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress 232 days into his administration in a desperate attempt to save his biggest domestic priority, overhauling health care,” Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“He has already had the budget-busting $787 billion stimulus package, a budget that doubles the national debt in five years, an earmark-laden appropriations bill that boosted domestic spending nearly 8 percent, and a cap-and-trade energy tax that limped through the House with dozens of Democratic defections (and which has stalled in the Senate). These achievements are unpopular, so they are boomeranging on him,” said Mr. Rove, who served as senior adviser to former President George W. Bush.

“Mr. Obama’s problems are legion. To start with, the president is focusing on health care when the economy and jobs are nearly everyone’s top issue. Voters increasingly believe Mr. Obama took his eye off the ball.

“In addition, Mr. Obama is trying to overhaul health care without being able to tap into widespread public unhappiness. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they have coverage — and large majorities of them are happy with it. Of the 46 million uninsured, 9.7 million are not U.S. citizens; 17.6 million have annual incomes of more than $50,000; and 14 million already qualify for Medicaid or other programs. That leaves less than five million people truly uncovered out of a population of 307 million. Americans don’t believe this problem — serious but correctable — justifies the radical shift Mr. Obama offers.

“Moreover, he’s tried to sell it with promises Americans aren’t buying. He says ObamaCare will save money, but Americans believe it comes with a huge price tag because the Congressional Budget Office has said it will.

“Workers are also rightly concerned they won’t be able to keep their current coverage. Many businesses will drop their health plans and instead pay a fine equal to 8 percent of their payroll costs, which is less than what they pay for employee coverage.

“Families believe they will be pushed into a government plan as the ‘public option’ drives private insurers out of the market.

“Health care providers fear they’ll be forced to follow one-size-fits-all guidelines drafted by bureaucrats, instead of making judgments for specific patients.

“And seniors are afraid of Mr. Obama’s plan to cut $500 billion from Medicare over the next decade, including $177 billion for Medicare Advantage. It’s simply not possible to cut that much from Medicare without also cutting services seniors need.”

DOUBLE STANDARD?

“Do House Democrats have a double standard when it comes to ethics?” Newsweek’s Holly Bailey asks in a blog at newsweek .com.

“Word broke earlier this week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to allow Rep. Chuck Rangel to keep his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee despite continuing ethics problems. The latest revelation: he failed to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets on his financial-disclosure forms over the past several years,” the writer said.

“According to amended forms recently filed with the House, Rangel failed to disclose at least $800,000 in assets and income since 2002. The latest dust-up comes amid an ongoing House ethics investigation into other questionable acts by the New York congressman, including his failure to report income from and pay taxes on a villa in the Dominican Republic and his ties to a real estate developer who leased him four rent-stabilized apartments in New York. The panel is also looking into Rangel’s fundraising and whether he improperly used his office to raise money for a public policy center in his name at the City University of New York. …

“But does this meet the standard Pelosi talked about when Democrats took control of the House and she bragged about ending a ‘culture of corruption’ in Washington? In eyeing the Rangel situation, it’s hard not to remember the repeated calls by Pelosi and other Democratic leaders for [former Republican House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay to be ousted when he was under an ethics cloud for his ties to corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff and questionable fundraising tactics.”

BOXER COUNTERPUNCHES

Sen. Barbara Boxer, in a fundraising letter, warns that in 2010 she may face her most difficult re-election fight yet.

“This year, as in all of my past campaigns, right-wing leaders are putting everything they have into defeating me - because they know that I won’t be intimidated into silence and inaction. So they’ve recruited ex-Hewlett Packard CEO and McCain-Palin spokesperson Carly Fiorina and ultra-conservative Assembly member Chuck DeVore to challenge me in 2010,” Mrs. Boxer said.

She added: “I’ve been in some tough races before, but this may be one of the toughest because Fiorina has the personal wealth to fund her own campaign. In fact, the San Jose Mercury News says I could be facing the ‘re-election fight of [my] career.’ ”

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

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