- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 7, 2009

President Obama is a cheerful traveler and apologizes for all sorts of things with great sincerity and flair. His speechifying is almost unparalleled.

But wait a minute. Gruff observers will have none of it, even as the engines of Air Force One cool down from overseas flights this week.

Mr. Obama thinks “Islam’s a religion of peace” and “America isn’t Islam’s enemy,” says Ralph Peters of the New York Post.

“But what if Islam — as enforced by the Saudis and their surrogates — isn’t a religion of peace? What if their Islam needs America as an enemy? And what if a crucial core of radicalized Muslims don’t want what we have to offer and pray for our destruction?” Mr. Peters asks. “What if the Saudi version of Islam is the problem?”

H-m-m. What if.

“For all the American left’s blather about human rights and freedom, the Obama administration has turned its back on democracy, women’s rights and the most basic social and political liberties in the Arab world,” Mr. Peters says. “But presenting a rhetorical welfare check to the collapsed civilization of the Middle East won’t advance our interests — or those of the average Arab.

“I ask our first multi-racial president to bear in mind two things. … The Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt were the earliest, greatest and most tenacious enslavers of black Africans. And the Saudis are the leading sponsors of religious hatred in the world today. Who owes whom an apology?”

Dark horizon

And now we must address North Korea, which could very well have Enola Gay II parked in some convenient hangar. The Council of Foreign Relations has been cogitating over reports that Kim Jong-il chose his third son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor. Now what? There are three scenarios, the group says.

A nice, seamless “managed succession” would perpetuate a regime that has been in place since 1948. A “contested succession” could result in a new regime and new policies. A “failed succession” would lead to the demise of the state.

“Rapid absorption by South Korea is widely viewed as the inevitable next step,” the CFR says.

“There is growing evidence that the first of these scenarios — a managed succession — is underway in Pyongyang. The succession process could still play out over many years, however, with much depending on the health of Kim Jong-il. There also is no guarantee that the chosen successor will actually become the supreme leader or last for very long,” predicts senior fellow Paul B. Stares.

Others are more dire. And direct.

“The threat that a North Korean nuke could reach us is on the horizon,” says Peter Brooks, a national security expert at the Heritage Foundation.

Quotes of note

“Obama’s ‘I’m not Bush’ Tour” — headline in The Independent.

“Ms. Reagan.” — President Obama addressing Nancy Reagan during her White House visit.

“We’re not squabbling amongst ourselves anywhere near as much as some would have other folks believe.” — Mitt Romney on Republicans, to CNN.

Days of yore

On this day in 1775, the “United Colonies” changed their name to the “United States.”

A year later, also on June 7, delegate Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed to the Continental Congress a resolution calling for a declaration of independence from Britain. Thomas Jefferson had one ready for presentation three weeks later.

Then an actor, Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California on this day in 1966; he served two terms.

Was this where all the shenanigans started? On this day in 1971, the Supreme Court protected “vulgar, profane or indecent language” by overturning the conviction of peace activist Paul Robert Cohen — for disturbing the peace. Earlier that year, he had entered a Los Angeles courtroom with a jacket reading “[Expletive] the Draft.”

Justice John Marshall Harlan II wrote “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric,” a phrase later cited by Robert Bork as “moral relativism.”

And from the dissenting side, Justice Harry Blackmun countered that wearing an X-rated jacket in the courthouse was not speech but “absurd and immature” conduct and therefore not protected by the First Amendment.

Last but not least, he most likely sang “Johnny B. Goode” but maybe not “My Ding-a-Ling.” Chuck Berry performed at the White House for President Carter 30 years ago today.

Case sensitive

Another product in a political column. Sheesh. Well, even heavy politicos sometimes need to travel light.

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For information, visit www.clubglove.com or call 800/736-4568.

By the numbers

62 percent of Americans think that the Muslim world considers itself at war with the U.S.

62 percent say the U.S. is not at war with the Muslim world.

78 percent say that Muslim countries have an unfavorable view of the U.S.

46 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Muslim countries.

53 percent say it matters to them personally what Muslim countries think of the U.S.

47 percent say it doesn’t matter to them.

Source: A CNN/Opinion Research poll of 1,010 adults conducted May 14 to 17.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.

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