- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2009

HEARTBURN

Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley A. Strassel remarks on how President Obama’s promise to close the detention center for terrorism suspects at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is causing heartburn in his own party.

” ‘We’re not going to bring al Qaeda to Big Sky Country. No way, not on my watch,’ declared Montana Sen. Max Baucus. ‘I wouldn’t want them, and I wouldn’t take them,’ insisted Nebraska’s Ben Nelson. Not Quantico, piped up Virginia’s Mark Warner. After all, it ‘is in a very populated area in the greater capital region.’ Look, ‘Alcatraz is a national park and a tourist attraction, not a functioning prison’ for terrorists, said the office of California’s Dianne Feinstein.

“All Democrats in favor of standing with your president to shout out the evils of Guantanamo, shout aye. ‘Aye!’ All Democrats in favor of doing what would be necessary to close Guantanamo, shout aye. … What, nobody?

“On day two of his presidency, Barack Obama issued an executive order to shut down, within one year, the Gitmo prison that still houses 241 detainees. Four months later, he may be about to be handed his first defeat of a major campaign promise, and by his own party. Faced with the actual politics of bringing terrorists to U.S. soil, congressional Democrats are running for the exits.”



FEELING BETRAYED

“By reversing himself and refusing to release graphic photos of abused prisoners of war, Barack Obama has stunned liberals,” Patrick Buchanan writes in his syndicated column.

“They feel betrayed and abandoned by a president they put into office. On war and torture, at least, they thought Barack was one of them. He is not. Barack is not into ideology. He is into Barack,” Mr. Buchanan said.

“As he showed in 2008, when he threw his white grandmother under the bus and spared his beloved black pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, then threw Wright under the bus when his toxicity level rose too high, Barack has all the sentimentality of Michael Corleone when it comes to the family business.

“And what Obama is saying with his refusal to release the photos is what he has been signaling for weeks now: I am not going to fight the liberals’ war - on Dick Cheney’s turf. The rewards are nonexistent, and the risks too great.

“Thus, when Gens. Petraeus, Odierno and McKiernan grumbled, Obama tossed a blanket over the photos. Barack Obama is not taking on CENTCOM or West Point for a bunch of congressional progressives.

“Thus, after he had opened the door to prosecution of the Bush lawyers who wrote the ‘torture memos,’ and resistance formed up, Obama backed down.

“He said he did not want a special prosecutor. He did not want a 9/11 commission to delve into the criminality of what was done. He wants to put all that behind us and move forward.

“Liberal moral outrage notwithstanding, Barack Obama is not going to fight the liberals’ war on the liberals’ turf. And history confirms the wisdom of his instincts. For it was by pursuing liberal theology that Democrats lost the nation they once owned.”

JUST SAY NO

“When President Obama welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House [Monday], the contest begins over their competing visions of change. Eager to flex his muscles on his turf, Obama is likely to make a straightforward demand,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“In baseball terms, the demand is that Israel take one for the team. In more accurate terms, the demand is that Israel be the guinea pig to test Iran’s willingness to make peace.

“Neither Obama nor his minions will put it so harshly, of course. They will talk in diplospeak about ‘linkage’ and the world’s urgent need for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and other Arabs. They will claim a Netanyahu embrace of a Palestinian state will make it likely the mad mullahs of Iran will give up their quest for nuclear weapons.

“Depending on how well everyone is getting along, or not, the U.S. may even threaten to withhold some goodies unless Netanyahu says yes to the idea.

“There’s no chance he will. It’s a fool’s errand, trying to sell this idea of linkage, and Netanyahu is not a fool. Washington’s ‘offer’ is one he can refuse.”

TO THE RESCUE

“Although CNN’s Sanjay Gupta rejected his offer of the surgeon general’s job, President Obama shouldn’t give up looking at TV news personalities for inspiration,” Nikki Schwab writes in the Washington Whispers column of usnews.com.

“May we suggest Fox’s Greta Van Susteren? She doesn’t play a doctor on TV, but she recently did in real life, potentially saving the life of Washington blogger and Air America Radio host Ana Marie Cox.

“Cox, sitting alone, and Van Susteren, with her hubby, John Coale, were aboard a New York-to-Washington Amtrak train last month when Cox suddenly fell ill, her throat tightening from an allergic reaction. ‘They have this lentil salad on the train, and it happened almost immediately after that,’ recalled Cox, who is not sure what caused the ‘indescribably terrifying’ attack.

“Alarmed, Van Susteren’s husband nudged Greta, who moved in on Cox. ‘She was like, “I think I know what is happening to you. Don’t worry about it. We’re going to get you a Benadryl,” ‘ Cox remembered a calming Van Susteren saying. A food-allergy sufferer herself, Greta was ready with a backup plan: She carries an EpiPen epinephrine shot for her own emergencies. ‘If she hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened. It would have been a thousand times worse,’ says Cox.”

SAY WHAT?

“When the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the White House [this] week, they’ll do it without one of the men primarily responsible for their sixth Super Bowl title: Linebacker James Harrison,” Mike Florio writes in a blog at www.profootballtalk .com.

” ‘This is how I feel - if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl,’ Harrison said. ‘As far as I’m concerned, President Obama would’ve invited Arizona if they had won.’

“Um.

“Um.

“Um.

“James, are you OK? Have you suffered any recent blunt trauma to the brain box?” Mr. Florio asked.

“It’s a ritual in this country that the major-league teams winning championships are invited to the White House for a visit.

“So, yeah, the invitation applies only to the Super Bowl champs. It’s one of the things that make the accomplishment special.

“And, no, the president doesn’t have the time or the desire to invite the 31 teams that didn’t win the Super Bowl to conduct seven-on-sevens in the Rose Garden.”

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

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