- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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May 20

Marietta Daily Journal on Obama getting do-over on Savannah:

The U.S. Senate has a great chance this week to right a wrong, not just against the port of Savannah but against the entire state of Georgia.

This state’s highest economic priority has been the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, a measure that would allow the port to remain competitive just a couple of years from now after the widening of the Panama Canal is completed and super-sized cargo ships become the norm. It’s a project that has bipartisan support - a rarity these days - from Republican Gov. Nathan Deal to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and virtually every other elected official in the state.

It’s not hard to see why. The deepening would impact 352,146 full and part-time jobs (8.3 percent of the state’s employment), $66.9 billion in sales (9.5 percent of our total sales), $18.5 billion in income (5.2 percent of the state’s total personal income), $1.4 billion in state taxes and $1.1 billion in local taxes. It also would mean $4.5 billion in additional federal taxes.

The Obama administration had seemed to be on board with the $706 million deepening project, with VP Joe Biden famously proclaiming that “We are going to get this done, as my grandfather would say, come hell or high water!”

But Team Obama didn’t need hell or high water in order to pull the plug. The Obama budget proposal for fiscal 2015 did not include any money at all for the port, leaving Georgia leaders stunned.

And there things likely would have stayed were it not for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) of east Cobb. Isakson, in a masterful bit of political leverage, used a nomination hearing for a presidential appointee to focus not on her but instead on the port and Obama’s failure to fund it.

The president has nominated current director of the Office of Management and Budget Sylvia Burwell to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services. Isakson bored in on Burwell during the hearing, not about Obamacare but rather on her failure to fund the port project, saying he had “no more important responsibility as a member of the United States Senate” than to see the project funded.

Isakson also consulted privately with Burwell, her staff and top leaders at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to chart a path to assure the funding, a path that began with the passage Tuesday of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, also known as “WRRDA,” by a lopsided 412-4 vote.

Next will be a vote later this week on WRRDA by the Senate, which should also pass it.

At that point, it will be up to the president to sign - or veto - the bill. We hope it’s the former.

Online:

http://www.mdjonline.com

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May 24

The Augusta Chronicle, Georgia, on Hillary Clinton:

Conventional wisdom suggests women voters overwhelmingly will support Hillary Clinton in her presumptive presidential bid in 2016.

But should they?

That’s a question all voters need to ask themselves before marching in lockstep to a Clinton candidacy. More to the point: What, exactly, has she done during her many years as a national figure to demonstrate strong and capable leadership?

Start with her role as first lady, where she failed early on to sell the far left’s dream of universal health care and spent the rest of her husband’s presidency on the arm of history.

Yes, her tenure as secretary of state made her America’s top diplomat and gave her a taste of foreign policy experience. The four-year assignment no doubt will feature prominently in her upcoming memoirs and presidential campaign.

But what did she do?

The “accomplishments” Clinton is most remembered for actually are horrible failures of policy: her negligence in the deadly Benghazi attacks, and her refusal to place the African Islamist group Boko Haram on the terrorist group watch list.

Based on what is known about the Benghazi scandal and cover-up, Clinton’s leadership was abysmal - an assessment unlikely to be improved by revelations from the latest congressional inquiry.

Then there’s Boko Haram, the radical Islamist group currently receiving international attention for its heinous abduction and threatened sale of several hundred Nigerian schoolgirls. Clinton could have dealt the organization a major blow by placing it on the terrorist watch list.

Instead of displaying fortitude and esprit de corps for abused women and girls, Clinton chose to emulate the administration’s dodgy, lead-from-behind strategy that has weakened America’s relations with allies and emboldened its enemies on the world stage.

Finally, women should question the legitimacy of Clinton’s feminist street cred.

This is the woman who, after all, not only protected her husband’s philandering for decades, but lashed out at his most high-profile victim, a then-22-year-old Monica Lewinsky, as “a narcissistic loony toon.”

In 2016, America will need a chief executive to pull it from the morass wrought by eight years of muddled Obama policies.

That’s a tall order. And Hillary Clinton falls woefully short.

Online:

http://chronicle.augusta.com

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May 23

Albany (Georgia) Herald on veterans’ welfare:

The talk is ratcheting up on issues with the delivery of medical services to U.S. military veterans, but what is needed is swift corrective action. Lives are at stake.

While the VA budget has seen increases in its budget even in lean times, whether those have been enough to cover the costs of serving Americans who have served in war, including more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, is debatable. There has been grumbling over the years, but the revelation that a Phoenix, Ariz., VA office was cooking its books like a numbers man hiding from the IRS - records for public consumption that blatantly lied about how quickly veterans were being cared for - has finally brought the issue to a head, particularly the assertion that dozens of veterans died while waiting long months to receive medical care.

What we’re hearing now is a lot of pledges to investigate and an increasing chorus for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down or be fired.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday had promised to do just that.

“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” Obama said after meeting at the White House with Shinseki and Rob Nabors, Obama’s aide who is reviewing the allegations about the Phoenix VA office. “. “When I hear allegations of misconduct, any misconduct, whether it’s allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, I will not stand for it, not as commander in chief, but also not as an America.”

He also indicated that if the allegations are substantiated, Shinseki will voluntarily leave his post.

While that resignation might be deserved and may satisfy some critics, the issue goes deeper than who is sitting atop the VA food chain. The issue that must be explored both thoroughly and quickly is whether America’s veterans are getting quality care with the shortest waiting times possible.

Online:

http://www.albanyherald.com

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