- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 3, 2009

OBAMA’S FOES

President Obama will finally have a bipartisan piece of legislation passed through Congress because opposition to the troop surge he proposes in Afghanistan is so strong within his own party,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

” ‘The president is going to have to count on getting almost all Republicans to support this funding, because he’s unlikely to get more than half the Democrats, especially in the House,’ notes George Stephanopoulos of ABC News.

“Make no mistake about how badly the Afghan decision is playing among media allies and grass-roots supporters of the president. Several highlighted the contradiction between Mr. Obama announcing the sending of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan and also insisting he will begin to pull them out in 2011.

” ‘Where’s the hope? … It sounds more Rube Goldberg than “Remember the Alamo,” ‘ was the reaction of MSNBC host Chris Matthews [Tuesday] night. ‘If I were with the Taliban right now, I’d put a little Post-it up on that month in 2011, and say: “This is when we do OUR surge.” ‘

Pat Caddell, a Democratic pollster who worked for both George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, says liberals in the party will consider the president’s decision ‘a betrayal.’ He notes that Mr. Obama won the Democratic nomination in 2008 in large part because he opposed intervention in Iraq while downplaying the support he’d given to the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan. Liberals were not prepared to have Mr. Obama become a war president in his own right, which is what last night’s speech has made him.

” ‘There was something strange in last night’s speech to liberal ears,’ says Mr. Caddell. ‘I thought it was the best delivered George W. Bush speech he’s ever given.’ Mr. Caddell doesn’t believe liberals will abandon Mr. Obama, but says the White House should be worried about the ‘enthusiasm level’ of its base. ‘It will show up in fundraising, candidate recruitment and turnout in the mid-term elections,’ he says.”

DISAPPOINTING

President Obamas speech on Afghanistan was disappointing,” Fred Barnes writes in a blog at www.weeklystandard.com.

“Yes, the policy is right: more troops, a counterinsurgency strategy, a stronger alliance with Pakistan. But the personal commitment of the president to pursue the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda until they are defeated was not there. Obama did not take ownership of the war. Its still the war in Afghanistan, not Obamas War,” Mr. Barnes said.

“Maybe the president wants it that way. It may keep him from experiencing the fate of Lyndon Johnson, whose presidency suffered - indeed was all but destroyed - by his failure in Vietnam. But it will also keep him from gaining the vindication that George Bush has earned for his decision to order a ‘surge’ that allowed America to prevail in Iraq.

“I had hoped Obama would declare that nothing will deter him, as commander-in-chief, from prevailing in Afghanistan. But it turns out a lot of things might deter him. He listed a few of them: the cost of the war, its length (if more than 18 months from January 2010), the failure of Afghans to step up to the task sufficiently. He hedged. …

“Despite the shortcomings of the speech, Obama made the right policy decision. He deserves credit for that. It wont go down well with the antiwar, pacifist left wing of his party. Thats not only his base. Its his political home. Up to now, the president hadnt done anything to upset any of the constituency groups of the Democratic party. Now he has. Thank heavens for that.”

BY A THREAD

“The Obama administration and the congressional Democrat leadership are desperately trying to create the false impression that the government takeover of health care now pending in Congress is rolling towards inevitable victory,” Peter Ferrara writes at www.spectator.org.

“But the truth is that the legislation is now hanging by a thread, and can be routed by the growing tide of public opposition. The recent Senate vote on the bill was just to proceed to debate on the measure. No Democrat was going to vote against merely debating the bill,” Mr. Ferrara said.

“But even among the 58 Democrats and 2 independents, there are deep divisions over the legislation. Some have openly stated that they will not vote for a bill that includes a government-operated, ‘public option,’ health insurance plan. Others have said they will not vote for a bill that does not include that ‘public option.’ We have the same division on the abortion question.

“Meanwhile, public opposition grows the more voters hear about the bill. Besides the Rasmussen poll, which shows the public opposing the legislation 56 percent to 38 percent, every other poll now shows the public swinging to opposition as well. Both the Fox News poll and the Quinnipiac poll show the public opposing it 51 percent to 35 percent. Even CBS News, now openly an arm of the Democrat Party, shows the public in opposition 45 percent to 40 percent.

“Seniors whose health care is looted under the legislation to finance an even greater Welfare State turned against Obamacare 2 to 1 months ago. Now young voters under 30 are turning against it as well, when they find out … that their insurance premiums in most of the country will double and triple under the legislation, and that they must pay for such insurance or pay arbitrary income tax penalties. After Dick Morris ran ads explaining this in three key states, Arkansas, North Dakota and Maine, top pollster John Zogby found that voters under 30 turned from 58 percent to 30 percent in favor to 65 percent to 25 percent against.”

EYES WIDE SHUT

“Who knows? In the long run, global warming skeptics may be wrong, but the importance of healthy skepticism in the face of conventional thinking is, once again, validated,” Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi writes.

“What we know now is that someone hacked into the e-mails of leading climate researchers at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and others, including noted alarmists Michael Mann at Pennsylvania State University and Kevin Trenberth of the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.,” Mr. Harsanyi said.

“We found out that respected men discussed the manipulation of science, the blocking of Freedom of Information requests, the exclusion of dissenting scientists from debate, the removal of dissent from the peer-reviewed publications, and the discarding of historical temperature data and e-mail evidence.

“You may suppose that those with resilient faith in end-of-days global warming would be more distraught than anyone over these actions. You’d be wrong. In the wake of the scandal, we are told there is nothing to see. The administration, the United Nations and most of the left-wing punditry and political establishment have shrugged it off.”

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

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