- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 13, 2009

OBAMA’S CHOICE

“American soldiers, American civilians and other innocent people are going to die because President Barack Obama wants to release photographs of prisoner abuse,” Andrew C.McCarthy writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Note: I said, ‘wants to release’ - not ‘has to release’ or ‘is being forced to release’ or ‘will comply with court orders by releasing.’ The photos, quite likely thousands of them, will be released because the president wants them released. Any other description of the situation is a dodge,” Mr. McCarthy said.

“If President Obama wanted to refrain from releasing these photos in order to protect the military forces he commands or promote the security of Americans - his two highest obligations as president - he could do so by simply issuing an executive order. The applicable statute expressly allows for it, just as it provides for Congress - now in the firm control of the president and his party - to withhold the photos from disclosure. Instead, Obama and congressional Democrats are choosing to release the photos.

“They are making that choice fully aware that it will cost lives. It is a sedulous Democrat talking-point, repeated most recently by Carl Levin, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman and a key Obama ally, that the revelations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib inspired new terrorist recruits, caused American combat casualties, and made the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attack. This has long been Obamas own position. It is a charge he made throughout the 2008 campaign, and it is one he repeated just a month ago in his Strasbourg speech: ‘When we saw what happened in Abu Ghraib, that wasn’t good for our security - that was a recruitment tool for terrorism. Humiliating people is never a good strategy to battle terrorism.’ ”



THE ANTI-CLINTON

“Inside the Fourth Estate, the received wisdom holds that the White House is now home to the anti-Bush. And on issues from taxes and stem cells to union elections and Guantanamo, Barack Obama is indeed taking America in a direction different from that of his predecessor,” Wall Street Journal columnist William McGurn writes.

“Still, there’s a persuasive case that the legacy most threatened by the Obama presidency belongs to the last Democrat who sat in the Oval Office: Bill Clinton.

“Think about it. It was Mr. Clinton who campaigned on the promise to ‘end welfare as we know it.’ It was Mr. Clinton who signed the bill removing the Glass-Steagall barriers separating commercial from investment banking. Most famously, it was Mr. Clinton who assured us that ‘the era of Big Government is over.’

“Today all the assumptions that once defined Bill Clinton’s ‘New Democrats’ are being contested by the Obama White House. And nowhere is the contrast more stark than on the defining issue of trade.

“To begin with, Mr. Obama has yet to deliver a major address on trade - especially telling, given the global economic uncertainty. In sharp contrast, barely one month into office, Mr. Clinton heralded America’s global leadership on trade as one of the most important challenges of our day. …

“Second, Mr. Obama has yet to even ask Congress for fast-track authority - legislation that gives a president greater flexibility to negotiate trade agreements. Again, in sharp contrast, at this same point in the Clinton presidency Congress was putting the final touches on fast-track legislation that Mr. Clinton would use to help complete the successful Uruguay Round of trade talks.

“Finally, though Mr. Obama’s trade representative, Ron Kirk, recently announced that the administration planned to finish up outstanding trade agreements with key U.S. allies - Colombia, South Korea and Panama - he gave little but lip service for a forward agenda. On the White House Web site, trade isn’t even listed as an issue. By contrast, not only was Bill Clinton working to conclude the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at this point in his presidency, he and his senior administration figures were already talking about expanding NAFTA to other Latin America nations.”

NOT HOPELESS

“I was a little bit surprised about two weeks ago when[political analyst] Stu Rothenberg declared that Republicans’ chances of taking back the House were not small, not tiny, but zero,” Sean Trende writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“The usually cautious Rothenberg states that the idea of a GOP takeover is ‘lunacy [that] ought to be put to rest immediately.’ Charlie Cook isn’t as categorical, but he writes that ‘the 1934 model [where the president’s party picked up nine seats] probably represents Democrats’ best-case scenario and 1982 [where the president’s party lost 26 seats] their worst-case scenario. As of now, Obama’s Democrats are heading down a track much closer to 1934’s.’

“Let me state at the outset that I think a full GOP comeback in the House is very unlikely. … The 25 percent chance that Intrade currently gives Republicans of winning in 2010 is Pollyannaish. But declaring that the Republicans’ chances of taking the House back are absolutely DOA is grossly premature.

“The claim that parties cannot bounce back from rough elections and claim the mantle of ‘change’ in the subsequent election is unsupported by history,” Mr. Trende said.

HISTORY LESSON

“While mourning a close friend, it’s interesting to hear what others have to say about him,” Edwin Feulner writes at heritage.org.

“As expected, the recent passing of Jack Kemp generated glowing tributes from commentators both right and left.

“Yet some seem set on rewriting history,” said Mr. Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation.

“Liberal Bob Herbert, for example, began his column in the New York Times by conceding that Kemp’s idea to grow the Republican Party was a good one. But, he wrote, ‘The bad idea, advanced by Kemp with fanatical energy and devotion, was supply-side economics - “voodoo economics,” as George H.W. Bush so famously and rightly derided it.’ Herbert added of those inspired by Kemp, ‘Cut taxes, they argued, and watch the economy take off like a rocket.’

“As history already shows, though, that is exactly what happened.

“The Kemp-Roth tax cuts of 1981 laid the groundwork for President Reagan’s cuts in the early 1980s. By slashing rates, these cuts triggered more than 25 years of virtually uninterrupted economic growth - just as similar supply-side cuts proposed byPresident Kennedy had worked decades earlier.”

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

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