- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

‘WHINER IN CHIEF’

“The Obama administration really needs to get over itself,” the liberal Nation magazine’s John Nichols writes at www.thenation.com.

“First, the president and his aides go to war with Fox News because the network maintains a generally anti-Obama slant.

“Then, an anonymous administration aide attacks bloggers for failing to maintain a sufficiently pro-Obama slant.

“These are not disconnected developments,” Mr. Nichols said.

“An administration that won the White House with an almost always on-message campaign and generally friendly coverage from old and new media is now frustrated by its inability to control the debate and get the coverage it wants.”

Mr. Nichols noted that NBC White House correspondent John Harwood reported that an anonymous White House “adviser” told him that liberal bloggers who have been criticizing the Obama administration need to take off their pajamas, get dressed and realize that governing a closely divided country is complicated and difficult.

Mr. Nichols added: “As for the Obama administration, whether the grumbling is about Republicans on Fox or bloggers in pajamas, there’s a word for what the president and his aides are doing. That word is ‘whining.’ And nothing - no attack by Glenn Beck, no blogger busting about Guantanamo - does more damage to Obama’s credibility or authority than the sense that a popular president is becoming the whiner in chief.”

OBAMA VS. FOX

“White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has decided to effectively declare war on Fox News,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal.com.

“She told CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ on Sunday that the White House views the cable network as ‘a wing of the Republican Party.’ … [When President Obama] goes on Fox, he understands that he is not going on — it really is not a news network at this point. He’s going to debate the opposition.’

“But the White House’s stepped-up rhetorical attacks — its Web site rails against ‘the lies of Fox News’ — carry a potential downside. ‘It can look a little petty and a little small as it sort of … punches down at a cable network,’ says John Dickerson of Slate.com. ‘And so they have to make sure that if they’re going to take on Fox News, that they don’t seem overly obsessed by it.’

“That no longer seems possible,” Mr. Fund said. “Brit Hume, the former White House correspondent for ABC News who has been a mainstay on Fox for the last decade, used his commentary time on Monday to address the White House attack. ‘Every president ends up disgusted with the news media in general and with certain individuals or outlets in particular,’ he pointed out, ‘but there is an old adage often attributed to Mark Twain that advises against picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel. He was speaking of the big media of his day, which were newspapers. Most presidents, though, refrain from directly attacking media outlets, perhaps with that adage in mind.’

“We’ll soon see if the Obama White House’s decision to treat Fox News as a direct adversary works out for it or just makes the White House seem like another antic performer in Washington’s political mud-wrestling contests.”

WRONG WAY

“If you’re going the wrong way down a road, the answer isn’t to step on the gas, but to turn around,” Michael D. Tanner writes in a blog at usatoday.com.

“It is not that the U.S. doesn’t need health care reform, but it needs the right type of reform. Problematic as our system often is, it is possible to make things worse,” said Mr. Tanner, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute and co-author of “Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.”

“All the bills making their way through Congress start from the same failed premise: They would put the government in charge of one-sixth of our economy and some of the important personal and private decisions in our lives.

“They would force people to buy a government-designed insurance package or face a penalty. They would establish incentives and structures that could eventually lead to the rationing of care. Some versions would force millions of workers into a government-run plan.

“And they would do so at enormous cost to the American people in terms of higher taxes, greater debt and increased insurance premiums. Even the cheapest bill costs more than $800 billion ($2 trillion if off-budget costs are included) over the next decade. Americans would end up paying more, but getting less.”

Mr. Tanner added: “It’s time for Congress to scrap its current flawed government-centered approach and start over with a focus on creating a consumer-oriented free market in health care.

“After all, isn’t it better to get it done right than to just get it done?”

DON’T LOOK NOW

” ‘What happened to global warming?’ read the headline - on BBC News on Oct. 9, no less,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes.

“Consider it a cataclysmic event: Mainstream news organizations have begun reporting on scientific research that suggests that global warming may not be caused by man and may not be as dire and eminent as alarmists suggest,” the columnist said.

“Indeed, as the BBC’s climate correspondent Paul Hudson reported, the warmest year recorded globally ‘was not in 2008 or 2007, but 1998.’ It’s true, he continued, ‘For the last 11 years, we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.’

“At a London conference later this month, Hudson reported, solar scientist Piers Corbyn will present evidence that solar-charged particles have a big impact on global temperatures.

“Western Washington University geologist Don J. Easterbrook presented research last year that suggests that the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) caused warmer temperatures in the 1980s and 1990s. With Pacific sea surface temperatures cooling, Easterbrook expects 30 years of global cooling.

“EPA analyst Alan Carlin - an MIT-trained economist with a degree in physics - referred to ‘solar variability’ and Easterbrook’s work in a document that warned that politics had prompted the EPA and other countries to pay ‘too little attention to the science of global warming’ as partisans ignored the lack of global warming over the last 10 years. At first, the EPA buried the paper, then it permitted Carlin to post it on his personal Web site.”

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

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