- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Iran threat?

Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, attracted support during the presidential campaign from conservatives who opposed the Iraq war, but his words on the latest tensions with Iran have caused Hot Air to say: jumped the shark.

At a town hall speech in Minneapolis last week alongside Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, Mr. Paul pre-emptively blamed the U.S. for the confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program and accused President Obama of making things up in his announcement of secret Iranian nuclear facilities, saying there had been enough “fear-mongering” for the sake of the “military-industrial complex.”

“We should never go to war if theyre telling us a lie about whats happening. … What theyre getting ready to do is put very, very strong sanctions on Iran. … But sanctions, and blockades, and prevention like this is an act of war,” Mr. Paul told his audience.

“Allahpundit” at Hot Air said that “thankfully, this old cranks isolationist denialism is so fringe on the right that not even mainstreamers who are sympathetic to his broader agenda, like Glenn Beck, will go near it. … Anyway, the point to take away about his Iran shtick is that its not an argument about strategy, i.e. ‘Theyre a threat but non-intervention is the best way to stop them.’ Its an argument about facts, i.e. ‘There is no threat,’ which it has to be because once he admits that Iran is dangerous his isolationist ‘solution’ becomes impossible to sell.”

He went on to note that “conservatives complain frequently about Pauls penchant for blaming America — and here, too, in the blockquote above, hes already laying the groundwork to say ‘we started it’ if and when Iran tries something.”

Liberal blogs, meanwhile, had fun with the gap the speech showed between two strands of conservatism.

“Indeed, for Bachmann, the presence of Paul created numerous awkward moments, particularly as the Texas congressman sermonized at length about his isolationist views. … For Bachmann — a typical neoconservative on foreign policy issues — Pauls rhetoric stunned her into stone-cold silence,” wrote Faiz Shakir at Think Progress.

What ACORN scandal?

The conservative campaign against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — it’s like the Holocaust. That’s according to Peter Dreier, the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of politics at Occidental College.

In a blog at the Huffington Post, Mr. Dreier mimics the form of a famous poem about Nazi Germany, attributed to the Rev. Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran minister.

“First Big Business, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs, the Religious Right, the Wall Street Journal, Mitch McConnell, and Karl Rove came for ACORN, and the Democrats did not speak out — because they were not ACORN. Then they came for SEIU, and the Democrats did not speak out — because they were not SEIU. Then they came for the Apollo Alliance, and the Democrats did not speak out — because they were not the Apollo Alliance,” Mr. Dreier wrote, continuing in this vein for another 20 paragraphs before getting to the obvious punch line that there was nobody left to speak out for Democrats.

That was simply the most … interesting … among the numerous grounds Huffington Post columnists have given for downplaying the ACORN scandal, which centered on videotapes of ACORN workers advising conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, posing as a pimp and a prostitute, on how to get government grants for their line of work, including claiming underage foreign girls as dependents.

Robert Creamer said that “if the same standard used to prevent ACORN from receiving federal contracts were applied to many large corporations — Boeing, financial institutions like AIG and CitiCorp, not to speak of private military contractors like Blackwater — they would all have been barred as federal contractors long ago. But instead of being blacklisted, many of them actually received billions of taxpayer dollars to bail them out.”

And … several Republican lawmakers have cheated on their wives, Mr. Creamer concluded.

John Wellington Ennis, in a column titled “Entrapping ACORN” said that “what transpired on O’Keefe’s videotape were conversations about hypothetical situations — not actual prostitution, no actual crime, and not proof of an agency-wide policy or program involving prostitution or illegal immigrants. … Ironically, the only thing illegal in some of these tapes is that O’Keefe is filming illegally. States like California and Maryland have strict consent laws about surreptitious recording.”

What WW2 pension?

“Just when I thought the Obama administration has lost the ability to surprise me,” wrote “Slublog” at Ace of Spades. “Despicable” read the headline at Red State.

The reaction concerned an Anchorage Daily News report that the Obama administration sent “a strongly worded message to Congress outlining presidential priorities for a military spending bill,” and said “it disapproved of including money for pensions for 26 elderly members of the World War II-era Alaska Territorial Guard.”

The Obama administration cut the pensions off within a week of taking office. The Alaska state government is filling the gap while a provision restoring the federal pensions is being pushed by both of Alaska’s senators.

The rationale provided was that the White House didn’t think it “appropriate to establish a precedent of treating service performed by a state employee as active duty for purposes of the computation of retired pay.”

The Daily News reported that Democratic Sen. Mark Begich called the stance “puzzling” and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the decision “defies logic and history” and “minimizes the contribution of this gallant unit to America’s success in World War II by calling its service ‘state service.’”

Conservative bloggers were much tougher. “Slublog” said “there really are no words to describe how disgusting this is” and then updated his post Monday afternoon by noting the Obama administration’s “Priorities — In other news, the president plans to visit Copenhagen to lobby in support of Chicago getting the 2016 Olympics. A report from Henry Waxman from 2006 estimates the cost of flying Air Force One at $56,518 an hour.”

And at Red State, “Gary” after denouncing Mr. Obama as “not fit to serve as commander-in-chief,” detailed the threat the Japanese posed during World War II to Alaska, then a U.S. territory, and a history of the Alaska Territorial Guard, a militia body consisting mostly of native Alaskans in remote regions.

“For those that dont know, the Japanese attacked and invaded Alaskas Aleutian Islands at the same time the battle of Midway was about to take place. It was part diversion, part payback for Doolittles bombing of Tokyo,” he wrote, before going on to note that “two things stick out in my mind. One, these 6,368 Alaskan Territorial Guards, of which the 26 men being denied by Barack Obama are part of, served their nation during war time, for no pay. Second, the situation was so dire that old men and children all pitched in.”

Victor Morton may be reached at [email protected]

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