- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

It is Cold War chic, a fixation on the dire days when B-52s thundered overhead, “peace through strength” proved a viable strategy and diplomacy was terse indeed. Press, pundits and politicians have bandied about Cold War talk with relish, so much so that President Obama himself came out to assure everyone that the United States was not engaged in a new Cold War with Russia. The Russians may not agree.

Obama will go down in history not as a peacemaker — everyone has forgotten about his Nobel Peace Prize already — but as an American president who launched a new cold war,” senior Russian parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov tweeted on Wednesday.

Fightin’ words via tweet? Twitter likely would have been deemed an odd and suspect curiosity back in Nikita Kruschev’s day, when a good shoe banging on a podium worked wonders. “We will bury you” — which the Soviet premier told a group of Western diplomats with ominous conviction back in 1956 — may not resonate much in 140 characters.

“They don’t make cold wars like they used to,” comments Doug Stanglin, a veteran reporter for USA Today and a former Moscow correspondent.

“What the latest diplomatic faceoff really shows is how far away we are from the duck-and-cover Cold War days. Sure, there are strains and tensions that cannot and should not be set aside easily,” Mr. Stanglin says. “But the world of cold wars is one of blockades on the high seas, airlifts into West Berlin, secret intermediaries hand-carrying letters from the White House to the Kremlin.”

And nobody can afford that at the moment.

‘43 ON ‘41

Due on book shelves on Nov. 11: George W. Bush’s yet to be titled book about his father.

George H.W. Bush is a great servant, statesman, and father. I loved writing the story of his life, and I hope others enjoy reading it,” the younger Mr. Bush says of the work in progress, this according to Crown Publishing, which published his previous book, describes this one as “heartfelt, intimate and illuminating.”

The elder Mr. Bush turned 90 in June.

Financial terms were not disclosed, and Mr. Bush has been mulling the subject over for four years, according to The Associated Press. The book is expected to be around 300 pages, with a first printing of 1 million copies. Although Mr. Bush had some assistance with research, he wrote the book himself, the news organization says.

DANCING WITH THE ‘I WORD’

“Democrats love talking about impeachment. Not just Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest, adviser Dan Pfeiffer and first lady Michelle Obama all chummed the waters with the I-word, igniting a frenzy among reporters who pretend that this is a real thing,” points out syndicated columnist Jonah Goldberg.

“Ostensibly the hook for all of this is John Boehner’s decision to sue President Obama for abusing presidential authority. Pfeiffer said Friday that the suit ‘opened the door to impeachment.’ But pretty much everyone in Washington knows that the political motivation for the lawsuit is to close, not open, those doors,” Mr. Goldberg continues.

He also wonders about Mr. Obama’s practice of “demonizing political opponents as deranged radicals who need to shut up and get in line” and his hopes to arouse the public against his political foes.”

Oh, but it’s complicated.

“Given Obama’s famously low regard for the Clinton presidency, it’s ironic that he keeps stealing from its playbook. Bill Clinton benefited from a government shutdown and impeachment and from the general perception that his enemies were worse than his sins. The difference is that while Clinton was hardly immune to the charge of cynicism, he wasn’t trying to shut down the government or get impeached for narrow political advantage,” Mr. Goldberg says.

“Now Obama is reportedly considering a unilateral amnesty of millions of immigrants here illegally, knowing full well it will spark a fierce political backlash and heighten impeachment talk. No doubt he thinks it’s the right thing to do on the merits, with his famous pen and phone. What’s less clear is if the merits are his top priority.”

AND THE ULTERIOR MOTIVE

Other than the sport of it, Democrats have a mission to accomplish when goading rival conservatives and Republicans about the prospect of impeachment. The “I word” is an efficient pointy little weapon all on its own, underscoring the idea that the Grand Old Party should act like the adults in the room.

“The White House wants the loudest, crankiest voices to become the GOP face, because that raises cash,” observes Fox News host Greg Gutfeld.

FOR THE LEXICON

“War for women” — A one-word tweak on a Democratic mantra made by House Republicans and unveiled Wednesday; the new theme heralds a spate of GOP initiatives to help women via thoughtful tax credits, job training and workplace flexibility.

“Our workforce has changed, but our laws also need to reflect what is a changing workforce. That’s where Republicans have long been advancing solutions that address this,” says Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington.

SEEKING SOME JUSTICE FOR JUSTICE

Justice minded conservatives? There are many. Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and former Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley are the newest fans of Right on Crime, a national campaign organized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the American Conservative Union Foundation and Justice Fellowship that supports “fighting crime, prioritizing victims, and protecting taxpayers.” They are, essentially, foes of underperforming and wasteful criminal justice programs.

There are 60 conservative leaders who have also endorsed the principles of such reform, including Newt Gingrich, Jeb Bush, former Reagan administration stalwart Ed Meese, Grover Norquist, Richard Viguerie, J.C. Watts, Ken Cuccinelli, Asa Hutchinson and Ralph Reed are also on board. And the leaders are pleased.

“Governors and attorneys general are on the front lines of state criminal justice policy. Their insight will contribute understanding to this critical issue,” notes Chuck DeVore, vice president of policy at the Texas-based foundation.

STILL SEEKING BIG MACS

Because the cultural rot hasn’t gotten bad enough: McDonald’s unveils Tofu McNuggets.

— “Instapundit” Glenn Reynolds of PJ Media, remarking on the fast food chain’s new menu offering that combines tofu, minced fish, onions, edamame and carrots, served with a ginger-flavored sauce.

POLL DU JOUR

89 percent of Americans say illegal immigration is a serious problem for the U.S.

85 percent say immigration as an issue is personally important to them.

68 percent disapprove of the way President Obama has dealt with immigration.

53 percent say the U.S. does not have a moral obligation to offer asylum to those fleeing violence or persecution; 44 percent say the U.S. does have an obligation.

51 percent favor a legal way for illegal immigrant already in the U.S. to become citizens; 46 percent oppose the idea.

29 percent trust the Republicans party to deal with immigration; 25 percent trust the Democratic Party; 29 percent trust neither and 16 percent trust both.

Source: An AP-GFK poll of 1,044 U.S. adults conducted July 24-28.

Hot button issues, prattle to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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