- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 15, 2014

Wait, President Obama is off to attend two Democratic National Committee fundraisers on Tuesday, even as the Iraq situation intensifies? Why, yes, he is. Both galas are in New York, and they follow Mr. Obama’s previous weekend fundraiser near Los Angeles. It seems like just business as usual at the White House, which some observers would deem a viable, even canny, strategy given the situation. Some, of course, would not.

Elsewhere, it is not business as usual. International news organizations have already gone into old-school, high-drama mode, and it appears they’ve declared that a major military engagement is on already. The starkest example of all is a headline that has been present in coverage since Friday: “The Battle of Baghdad.”


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Among those who used it: The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, the BBC and the International Business Times. But, of course, we’ve heard this phrase before. Archives and historical accounts already recognize the “Battle of Baghdad,” the 2003 version, which eventually became known as “The Fall of Baghdad.”

AUDACITY NEEDS SOME AUDACITY


“Sen. Barack Obama was first elected to the presidency to extricate the U.S. from foreign wars, to address the health care crisis, to turn the nation around from its worst economic crisis in 80 years, to lead by consensus not by partisanship and to provide the audacity of hope,” points out John Zogby in his often grim weekly analysis of White House doings.

Michael Steele, chairman of GOPAC and former lieutenant governor of Maryland, says that the recently defeated Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia would make a fine chairman of the Republican National Convention, a position Mr. Steele himself once occupied. (associated press)
Michael Steele, chairman of GOPAC and former lieutenant governor of Maryland, says ... more >

“This week he looks at an Iraq that is engaged in a bloody civil war and about to be partitioned; a firestorm over his negotiating with the Taliban to release a POW in exchange for five of their leaders; and Russia and China in a closer relationship than ever. President Obama is powerless to engage Americans in Syria, in South Sudan, in Ukraine, in Nigeria or anywhere innocents are suffering. There is little the U.S. can do to make things better in these hot spots or to build consensus at home,” Mr. Zogby continues.

Mr. Obama’s poll numbers are down a tick, yet the GOP just ensured this week that its ideological schism continues. With the GOP primary defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the president’s hopes for immigration reform are as good as dead. In all, this was a week in which both audacity and hope took a beating,” the pollster concludes, offering Mr. Obama a “D-minus” for the week.

A TALE OF TWO CHAIRMEN

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus simply will not accept the narrative that the Grand Old Party is divided between its establishment and grass-roots factions, an idea that has gotten particularly robust following Rep. Eric Cantor’s recent political upheaval.

“I don’t think it’s divided at all,” Mr. Priebus declared Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” later pointing out, “The Democrats don’t agree on everything either.”

A former committee chairman also cited Mr. Cantor, but for different reasons, however. That would be Michael Steele, who appears to know something Mr. Priebus does not.

With the upcoming presidential election, there’s a lot of interest in Eric Cantor serving as national chairman of the RNC,” Mr. Steele said in an MSNBC appearance on Saturday. “He could bring a very interesting voice into that space.”

THE NEW EQUATION: GOP = TEA PARTY

Democratic operatives would do well to soft-pedal the “tea party is dead” narrative for now, despite the implications of Mr. Cantor’s aforementioned turmoil. There are some new numbers indicating that the tea party mantra of fiscal sanity, less government and lower taxes could be the very backbone of the Republican Party itself.

Support for the grass-roots movement is now the “norm for Republicans,” says Kathy Frankovic, an analyst for the YouGov, which recently gauged public opinion on the trend.

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