- The Washington Times - Monday, October 5, 2009

BLAME BUSH

Some Chicago politicians think they know whom to blame for the city’s failure to win in its bid to host the 2016 Olympics - former President George W. Bush.

President Obama could not undo in one year the resentment against America that President Bush and others built up for years, the officials told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“There must be” resentment against America,the Rev. Jesse Jackson said near the stage where he had hoped to give a victory speech in Daley Center Plaza. “The way we [refused to sign] the Kyoto Treaty, we misled the world into Iraq. The world had a very bad taste in its mouth about us. But there was such a turnaround after last November. The world now feels better about America and about Americans. That’s why I thought the president’s going [to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal] was the deal-maker.”

State Rep. Susana Mendoza of Chicago said she saw firsthand the resentment against America five years ago when she was in Rio de Janeiro. “I feel in my gut that this vote today was political and mean-spirited,” she said.

“I travel a lot. … I thought we had really turned a corner with the election ofPresident Obama. People are so much more welcoming of Americans now. But this isn’t the people of those countries. This is the leaders still living with outdated impressions of Americans.”

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat, said she was approached by a consul generalat the plaza as they waited for the word Friday. “He said … he was hearing that there wasn’t enough time for Barack Obama to dispel the old image. … But I don’t know if that’s it.”

SEE NO EVIL

“Americans expect to show a photo ID when they board a plane, enter many office buildings, cash a check or even rent a video - but rarely in voting or applying for government benefits such as Medicaid,” John Fund writes at www.opinionjournal .com.

“Many Democrats seem to view asking citizens for proof of identity as an invasion of privacy - though what’s really being protected is the right to commit identity fraud,” Mr. Fund said.

“Exhibit A is Tuesday’s 13-to-10 party-line vote in the Senate Finance Committee rejecting a proposal to require that immigrants prove their identity when signing up for federal health care programs. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the committee, said current procedures make it easy for illegal immigrants to use false or stolen identities to get benefits. But he ran into a buzz saw of opposition. Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico insisted such fraud was too rare to be worth worrying about: ‘The way I see the amendment, it’s a solution without a problem.’

“Mr. Grassley admits to being ‘very perplexed as to why anyone would oppose this amendment.’ So does Sen. Tom Coburn, one of the only two physicians in the Senate. He cites studies suggesting that fraud will cost Medicare and Medicaid about $100 billion this year. Harvard’s Dr. Malcolm Sparrow, author of the book ‘License to Steal,’ estimates that the losses could easily be higher - as much 20 percent or 30 percent of the trillion-plus dollars of spending represented by Medicaid and Medicare.

“You’d think Senate Democrats would be interested in finding out just who is committing that fraud. But Tuesday’s vote puts them firmly in the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ camp when it comes to the misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

MARX LOSES

“A funny thing happened on the way to the collapse of market capitalism in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It didn’t,” Irwin Stelzer writes in the London Sunday Times.

“Indeed, in Germany voters relieved Chancellor Angela Merkel of the necessity of cohabiting with a left-wing party, allowing her to form a coalition with a party favoring lower taxes and free markets. And in Pittsburgh, leaders representing more than 90 percent of the world’s [gross domestic product] convened to figure out how to make markets work better, rather than to hoist the red flag. The workers are to be relieved, not of their chains, but of credit-card terms that are excessively onerous, and helped to retain their private property - their homes,” Mr. Stelzer said.

“All of this is contrary to expectations. The communist specter that Karl Marx confidently predicted would be haunting Europe is instead haunting Europe’s left-wing parties, with even Vladimir Putin seeking to attract investment by re-privatizing the firms he snatched. Which raises an interesting question: Why haven’t the economic turmoil and rising unemployment led workers to the barricades, instead of to their bankers to renegotiate their mortgages?

“It might be because Spain’s leftish government has proved less able to cope with economic collapse than countries with more centrist governments. Or because Britain, with a leftish government, is now the sick man of Europe, its financial sector in intensive care, its recovery likely to be the slowest in Europe, its prime credit rating threatened. Or it might be because left-wing trade unions, greedily demanding their public-sector members be exempted from the pain they want others to share, have lost their credibility and ability to lead a leftward lurch.”

MISSED CHANCE

“Chicago politicians, politically connected contractors, trucking bosses, Mayor Richard Daley’s nephews and other wide-eyed idealists need somebody to blame for their humiliating loss of the 2016 Olympics,” Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass writes.

“So blame me. I’ll wear the jacket and make my friend the mayor happy. Why?

“I’ve been a supreme idiot for opposing the mayor’s Olympics and all that noncynical fun,” Mr. Kass said.

“Sure, the taxpayers were worried about digging into their pockets for Olympian cost overruns, just so the politicians could hand out Olympic gold to their friends. But upon reflection, I fear that I’ve stupidly cost myself oodles of cash.

“My God, what have I done?

“Just before Chicago’s embarrassing fourth-place finish in the Olympics sweepstakes in Copenhagen on Friday, my young friend Wings and I were about to make a killing in the T-shirt business. We were set to order hundreds of thousands, and sell them at a ridiculously high markup, The Chicago Way.

“On the front, the shirt would have said, in the official Olympics script, ‘Chicago 2016.’

“And on the back?

” ‘Terre Haute 2020.’

“Why?

“As every Chicago politician knows, Terre Haute, Ind., is home to a federal prison. That’s where a few would be tossed after boodling their way to Olympic fortunes. And why 2020? That’s how long it would take for grand juries to do their work.”

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


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