- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 11, 2009

SCANDALOUS

“There was a time when we would have called it a scandal,” Newt Gingrich writes at www.humanevents.com.

“In 1921, oil tycoon Harry Sinclair gave several prize head of cattle and around $269,000 to President Harding’s secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall.

“In return, Sinclair got the exclusive rights to drill in an oil field in Wyoming. Sinclair’s no-bid contract became the Teapot Dome scandal, the most notorious example of political corruption in America prior to Watergate,” Mr. Gingrich said.

“Between 2000 and 2008, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union gave $23,675,562 to the Democratic Party and its candidates.

In 2008 alone, the UAW gave $4,161,567 to the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama.

“In return, the UAW received 55 percent of Chrysler and 17.5 percent of GM, plus billions of dollars.

“But nobody’s calling this a scandal. It’s time we start.”

DISASTER AHEAD

Rahm Emanuel was only giving voice to widespread political wisdom when he said that a crisis should never be ‘wasted.’ Crises enable vastly accelerated political agendas and initiatives scarcely conceivable under calmer circumstances. So it goes now,” economist Arthur B. Laffer writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Here we stand more than a year into a grave economic crisis with a projected budget deficit of 13 percent of GDP. That’s more than twice the size of the next largest deficit since World War II. And this projected deficit is the culmination of a year when the federal government, at taxpayers’ expense, acquired enormous stakes in the banking, auto, mortgage, health care and insurance industries,” Mr. Laffer said.

“With the crisis, the ill-conceived government reactions, and the ensuing economic downturn, the unfunded liabilities of federal programs - such as Social Security, civil-service and military pensions, the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, Medicare and Medicaid - are over the $100 trillion mark. With U.S. GDP and federal tax receipts at about $14 trillion and $2.4 trillion, respectively, such a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases and partial default on government promises.

“But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s.”

‘THEM JEWS’

President Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., blames “them Jews” for preventing any contact between the two men.

Mr. Wright, who is in Hampton, Va., this week for a ministers conference, told reporter David Squires of the Newport News Daily Press that he holds no grudge against Mr. Obama for cutting ties with him.

“Of course I voted for him; he’s my son. I’m proud of him,” Mr. Wright said. “I’ve got five biological kids. They all make mistakes and bad choices. I haven’t stopped loving any of them.

“He made mistakes. He made bad choices. I’ve got kids who listen to their friends. He listened to those around him. I did not disown him.”

Asked if he had spoken to the president, Mr. Wright said: “Them Jews aren’t going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he’ll talk to me in five years when he’s a lame duck, or in eight years when he’s out of office. …

“They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. … I said from the beginning: He’s a politician; I’m a pastor. He’s got to do what politicians do.”

Mr. Wright also said Mr. Obama should have sent a U.S. delegation to the World Conference on Racism held recently in Geneva, but that the president did not do so for fear of offending Jews and Israel.

“Ethic cleansing is going on in Gaza. Ethnic cleansing of the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity, and they don’t want Barack talking like that because that’s anti-Israel,” Mr. Wright said.

END OF CLINTONISM?

Terry McAuliffe’s crushing defeat in [Tuesday’s] Virginia Democratic primary for governor is being hailed as a loss for Bill Clinton, the end of Clintonism and the Clinton era, and a triumph for Barack Obama and his politics,” the New Republic’s John B. Judis writes in a blog at tnr.com.

” ‘The McAuliffe loss will be seen (rightly, mostly) as an echo of the Clinton loss and another blow to the Clinton brand,’ declared Politico’s Ben Smith, while Hotline trumpeted, ‘McAuliffe Loss Wraps Clinton Era.’ That may be true in a very, very narrow sense - but it is for the most part false and misleading,” Mr. Judis said.

“Most presidents assemble political machines of fundraisers, consultants and advisers. Clinton’s political retinue included McAuliffe, Mark Penn, Dick Morris, Harold Ickes, Ron Brown and Mickey Kantor. These minions are usually not politicians, and if they eventually gain public office, it is usually in appointed positions like postmaster general or, more recently, secretary of commerce (which both Brown and Kantor held). But civil service reform and the two-term limit has prevented the creation of presidential machine politics on a par with local machine politics. Presidential machines don’t usually survive a presidency.

“The only reason Bill Clinton’s political machine endured at all was because of Hillary Clinton, who relied on some of the same people. But it collapsed when she was defeated in the Democratic presidential primary last year. Obama co-opted much of what remained (including Clinton herself), and those he didn’t co-opt went back to their own businesses or tried to establish their own political careers - like McAuliffe did.

“McAuliffe’s defeat in Virginia was personal. Sure, Bill Clinton campaigned for him. But Virginia was never a strong state for Clinton, and it’s not surprising that McAuliffe, who never held public office, was defeated by an experienced state legislator.”

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

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