- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2008

Almost over

“Our latest national nightmare is almost over,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“The 2008 presidential race that started early in 2007 is the longest in modern history. It has been conducted while American troops are fighting two wars and while the home front is under threat of attack. The October surprise was a meltdown of the stock market and the start of a recession,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“Was it worth it? Other than a new name in the White House and proving we can have a national election without a Bush or a Clinton on a ticket - a first since 1976 - what did America gain from this hyper-partisan, ridiculously expensive, often irrelevant bash fest?

“Nothing, not yet, anyway. As Mario Cuomo famously said, you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Wednesday starts the prose. What kind of government emerges, and how much government, will largely be determined by whether we have one-party rule. My strong preference for a check and balance on the accumulation of power leads me to hope Republicans salvage a sliver of power from this Democratic tide.”

Just like Clinton

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton still have deep differences, but they managed to make nice while campaigning together this [past] week in Florida,” John Fund writes at Opinion Journal.

“Mr. Obama may pay Mr. Clinton the ultimate compliment if elected. He’s likely to appoint Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel as his new White House chief of staff and John Podesta of the Center for American Progress as his transition chief. Mr. Emanuel served in the Clinton White House as a top aide, and Mr. Podesta is a former chief of staff for President Clinton,” Mr. Fund noted.

“Mr. Emanuel was the architect of the successful Democratic takeover of the House in 2006, and is well known for tough talk and hyper-aggressive tactics. Should he get the job, the Obama White House might well take on the look and feel of the Clinton political ‘war room’ that Dick Morris ran in the mid-1990s.

“The longer Mr. Obama is a candidate, the more he has seemed to appreciate the Clinton approach. If this is the ‘change’ Mr. Obama has in mind, voters may be surprised how much it turns out to be an updated edition of the last Democratic White House.”


“Ever since the economy emerged as the top campaign issue, Barack Obama has developed two basic messages. One is that the deregulation John McCain voted for is to blame. The second is that former rivals Bill and Hillary Clinton deserve credit for the prosperity and economic growth in the 1990s,” John Berlau writes at National Review Online.

“In the presidential debates, Obama charged that McCain ‘believes in deregulation in every circumstance,’ and claimed ‘that´s what we´ve been going through for the last eight years.’ As a contrast to the Bush II years, Obama said in a speech, his administration would go back to the ‘shared prosperity … when Bill Clinton was president.’

“But these two messages are inherently contradictory: Bill Clinton signed nearly all the deregulatory measures John McCain backed. Clinton administration officials have even credited these policies for contributing to the ´90s economic boom - the very ‘shared prosperity’ to which Obama says he wants to return.

“Late in Clinton´s tenure, the Clinton White House put forth a document celebrating ‘Historic Economic Growth’ during the administration and pointing to the policy accomplishments it deemed responsible for this growth. Among the achievements on Clinton´s list was none other than ‘Modernizing for the New Economy through Technology and Consensus Deregulation.’

“‘In 1993,’ the document explained, ‘the laws that governed America´s financial service sector were antiquated and anti-competitive. The Clinton-Gore Administration fought to modernize those laws to increase competition in traditional banking, insurance, and securities industries to give consumers and small businesses more choices and lower costs.’

“The document neglected to credit the GOP-controlled Congress for passing these policies, but the Clinton administration indeed deserves praise for signing and advocating this deregulation. These bipartisan financial policies are the very ones Obama, Joe Biden, and other Democrats attack. ‘Let´s, first of all, understand that the biggest problem in this whole process was the deregulation of the financial system,’ Obama proclaimed in the second presidential debate.”

Dissent in ranks

“Sen. Barack Obama and the most senior military officer to endorse him do not agree on an important Pentagon issue - gays in the military,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers columns at US News & World Report.

“Obama says that, if elected president, he will work for a consensus on repealing the law that bans open homosexuals in the ranks. He will likely have a Democratic Congress to do just that. But retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, who backed Obama early in the primaries and lent him credibility on national security, tells Whispers the ban should stay.

“McPeak says he wants Obama to stick with ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ a compromise the general helped hammer out with the newly elected President Clinton when McPeak sat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993. The policy lets gays serve as long as they keep their sexuality private.

“McPeak answered with an abrupt ‘no’ when asked if he supports Obama’s plan. ‘The issue is unit cohesion in combat units,’ says McPeak, a former fighter pilot. ‘I think with combat units the question of cohesion is crucial. It is a war-winner. … My judgment is declared homosexuality in combat units will not contribute to unit cohesion. In fact, as near as I can tell, it would be inimical to it.’ ”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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