- The Washington Times - Friday, October 23, 2009

PALIN BACKS HOFFMAN

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, has endorsed the Conservative Party candidate in the special election for New York’s 23rd Congressional District over the Republican candidate, “increasing the race’s profile as a national test between the GOP establishment and the conservative base,” Amanda Carpenter writes in her Back Story blog on The Washington Times Web site.

Mrs. Palin announced her endorsement Thursday, the same day that former House Majority Leader Dick Armey endorsed Doug Hoffman for the seat and spent the day campaigning with him in New York.

“Meanwhile, establishment Republican groups, like the National Republican Congressional Committee, and others such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have stood by the Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, who takes liberal positions on many issues,” Ms. Carpenter writes.

“Political parties must stand for something,” Mrs. Palin’s endorsement said. “When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of ‘blurring the lines’ between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party’s ticket.”



“Republicans and conservatives around the country are sending an important message to the Republican establishment in their outstanding grassroots support for Doug Hoffman: no more politics as usual,” Mrs. Palin said.

OBAMA VS. KARZAI

“The Obama administration has made winning the war in Afghanistan harder by mismanaging the United States’ relationship with the Afghan government,” Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Mr. Obama refused to take a call from Afghan President Hamid Karzai after his recent disputed election, a confidante to Mr. Karzai told me. That same confidante also said that the Afghan president was dismayed when political strategist James Carville, who has close ties to both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and [White House Chief of Staff Rahm] Emanuel, became an adviser to Ashraf Ghani, who ran against Mr. Karzai.

“Mr. Karzai took that as a sign that Mr. Obama was encouraging opposition to him. And, finally, administration figures have raised doubts about the White House’s confidence in Afghanistan’s government. In his interview on CNN on Sunday, for example, Mr. Emanuel questioned ‘whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner.’

“Mr. Karzai has now conceded that he didn’t win his recent election and has agreed to a runoff. If Mr. Karzai does prevail, alienating him will have only complicated the task of waging a campaign against the Taliban,” said Mr. Rove, who was senior adviser to President George W. Bush.

GULLIBLE PRESS

“On October 7, the Congressional Budget Office released a preliminary analysis of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus‘ health care bill. The report said that the bill would net the government $81 billion over 10 years - on certain assumptions, which the report itself suggested were unrealistic,” Ramesh Ponnuru writes at www.nationalreview.com.

“The report, for one thing, factored in $200 billion in reduced physician payments under Medicare. Congress has habitually enacted smaller payment cuts and then balked at letting them take effect; the CBO report went out of its way to mention that habit. The CBO assumed, further, that Congress would heap new burdens on people who get their health insurance from their employers, without offering them new subsidies. If the bill passes, it will, in short, almost certainly increase the deficit,” Mr. Ponnuru said.

“Democrats, naturally, ignored the fine print in their press releases. So did most of the press.

“The morning after the CBO assessment came out, Maggie Rodriguez, a co-host of ‘The Early Show’ on CBS, said, ‘President Obama’s health care plan gets a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, as a key bill not only pays for itself, but actually saves billions.’ She threw the story to Nancy Cordes, who repeated the spin: ‘The new bill would actually reduce the federal deficit by $81 billion according to the new estimates. The price tag, $829 billion over 10 years, would be fully paid for, and then some, by an excise tax on top-dollar insurance plans, by fees on drug makers and medical-device manufacturers, and more.’

“The two were back on the evening news. This time, Rodriguez said that ‘according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the plan costs less than expected and would actually reduce the deficit. So why do Republicans still oppose it?’

“At no point in either the morning or the evening did anyone on CBS cast doubt on whether the bills would ‘actually’ save billions for the federal government, let alone for anyone else. (My thanks to the Media Research Center for transcribing the segments.)

“But that network was not alone in its credulousness. On the front page of The Washington Post, Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray reported that the CBO had said the bill would ‘keep President Obama’s pledge that [health care legislation] would not add “one dime” to federal budget deficits.’ The duo did not mention that the CBO had also questioned the realism of its own forecast.

“The story was the same at the New York Times, where another pair of reporters, also on the front page, also said that the president’s not-one-dime promise had been kept, and also said nothing about the unbelievable assumptions of the analysis.

“Gullibility regarding liberal claims about health care, combined with skepticism toward conservative ones, seems to be a chronic condition for most reporters on the health care beat.”

POST-PARTISAN?

Barack Obama is pretty interesting when he gets in front of his money-givers - his biggest fans, I guess,” Jay Nordlinger writes in a blog at www.nationalreview.com.

“In New York, he said, ‘Democrats are an opinionated bunch. You know, the other side, they just kinda sometimes do what they’re told. Democrats, y’all thinkin’ for yourselves.’ Last year, in San Francisco, he said of Middle Americans, ‘It’s not surprising … they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.’

He speaks a lot differently - a lot more respectfully - when he has one of his big national addresses: Then, we’re not red states or blue states but the United States, blah, blah, blah.”

Mr. Nordlinger added: “Do you recall President Bush insulting Democrats, as Obama has insulted us, explicitly? Sometimes our post-partisan president can be a rather nasty piece of work.”

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

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