- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009


“Distancing himself from George Bush and embracing the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt - to the point of quoting the 32nd president on the need for ‘the cooperative effort of the whole world’ to build peace and prosperity - Barack Obama addressed the United Nations Wednesday as an old-school liberal internationalist,” writes John Nichols on the Web site of a liberal magazine, the Nation.

“After reviewing the breaks he has made with the Bush administration’s unilateralist approaches - with a heavy emphasis on the determination of the United States to engage with the U.N. and international groupings that promote human rights and cooperation between nations on issues such as disability rights - the president said in his first speech to the U.N.: ‘We have reached a pivotal moment. The United States stands ready to [usher in] a new era of international cooperation …

“What was encouraging about Obama’s speech was his recognition of the need - and the value - of distancing his presidency from that of George Bush and his determination to link his mission with that of a more worthy predecessor.

“Speaking the language of Roosevelt rather than Bush, Obama promised to ‘redouble our efforts’ to strengthen the United Nations because, as this president rightly noted that: ‘Amid many crises … food, energy, recession and pandemic flu, hitting all at once … the world looks to us for answers. If ever there were a time to act in a spirit of renewed multilateralism … a moment to create a United Nations of genuine collective action … it is now.’ ”


“So I’m about 70 pages into Glenn Beck‘s newest book, ‘Arguing With Idiots,’ and I have to admit, Beck does paint a pretty convincing picture of an idiot,” writes Simon Maloy on the Web site of the liberal media-watchdog group Media Matters for America.

“The premise of the book is that Beck is engaged in an ongoing argument with ‘the idiot,’ who comes armed with some truly idiotic statements, such as, ‘They may not be perfect, but France is doing socialism right - we should be more like them,’ and, ‘Private schools aren’t beholden to unions, but they should be closed because they’re only for the rich.’

“It should be noted, however, that in these 70 pages, Beck provides just one example - just one - of a real person or group actually making the argument he attributes to ‘the idiot.’ The rest of ‘the idiot’s‘ absurdly simplified arguments add up to a crude caricature of the progressive, socialist, communist, fascist, peacenik, pot-smoking, transgender hippies that, in Beck’s mind, are destroying the country …

“To read this book is to watch Glenn Beck argue with himself, and then boast about how he’s winning the debate.”


A new poll shows that 59 percent of U.S. voters think that the current level of political anger in the country is higher than it was when George W. Bush was president.

The Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 22 percent of Americans think the level of political anger is lower now, while 16 percent rate it as about the same.

Despite frequent Republican complaints about the vitriol leveled at Mr. Bush, 69 percent of Republican voters say the level of anger is higher now - a view shared by 53 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of voters not affiliated with either party, the poll says.

But just 12 percent of voters nationwide say that the opposition to President Obama’s health care plan and other initiatives is racist, as some prominent Democrats, including former President Jimmy Carter, have charged.

The poll of 1,000 adults was taken Sept. 20-21 and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.


Stalled efforts in Congress to pass a “cap and trade” bill designed to lower greenhouse-gas emissions has many in Europe worried that President Obama won’t be able to deliver on his promise that the United States will take a greater role in curbing global climate change, according to a piece online at the Economist magazine.

“A speech by Barack Obama on Tuesday, September 22nd [at the United Nations] was eagerly awaited. He acknowledged that America - which failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, encouraging industrialized countries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases - has some catching up to do,” the Economist said.

“But he offered little that was practical or specific, beyond noting that America would start measuring its greenhouse-gas emissions more exactly, to better assess what progress is being made. He struck an urgent tone, but there was little punch to the speech … .

“The slow progress of the [cap and trade] bill through Congress has foreign partners running out of patience with the excuse that the health care bill must come first, or that Congress really is complex. America must move at the same time as other economies, rich and poor alike.”


Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden said Wednesday that she would step down from her party post to concentrate on her potential challenge to Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, in the 2010 election, writes Benjamin Spillman in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Ms. Lowden told the party’s executive committee of her plans to step down effective Sept. 30, although her interest in a possible challenge to Mr. Reid has been public for months.

But she stops short of saying she’ll challenge the Senate majority leader, who is seeking his fifth term in office, repeatedly insisting she is still testing the waters, the paper says.

Recent polls show Mr. Reid would lose to either Ms. Lowden or declared Republican challenger Danny Tarkanian.


“Meetings like the [Group of 20] summit this week in Pittsburgh aren’t famous for their accomplishments, but this one bids to be different in at least one area: Cementing the notion that banker paychecks were the financial weapons of mass destruction that blew up the markets last year,” according to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

“In most of Europe, the notion that ‘bank pay did it’ is now settled truth. [French President] Nicolas Sarkozy wants a pay czar to set compensation levels at French banks. [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel, up for re-election this weekend, is campaigning against banker bonuses. The Federal Reserve is now joining the act with a proposal to regulate pay structures as a way to police safety and soundness and contain systemic risk … .

“Governments can’t get incentives right most of the time in their own policies. So the idea that regulators can better align banker incentives than a competitive marketplace fails the laugh test. What’s more, the evidence does not show that bonus incentives caused the late, unlamented credit mania.”

Sean Lengell can be reached at slengell@washingtontimes.com.

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