- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 30, 2009


“Months ago, when Democrats were riding high from their second consecutive wave election and an unusually large number of Republican senators were deciding to retire, it looked plausible that Democrats would hold the line in 2010 and possibly even add a seat or two. With the political climate and the circumstances in key states now very different, those odds have changed,” Charlie Cook writes at www.nationaljournal.com.

“Next year there are seven Republican retirements compared to only three for Democrats, but none of the open GOP seats are in Democrat-friendly states. The only ones in states Obama carried - Florida, New Hampshire and Ohio - are fickle and more purple than blue. Additionally, the likelihood of young and minority voters turning out in large numbers for Democrats like they did last year is low. This makes Democratic hopes in each of these states problematic at best,” Mr. Cook said.

“And Democratic attempts to knock off the two GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable - Sens. David Vitter in Louisiana and Richard Burr in North Carolina - appear to be slim and diminishing. It’s not very likely that many Republican incumbents will lose re-election in the South these days. If Vitter behaves himself and Burr very visibly hits every county a couple times in the next year, Democrats have virtually no chance in either state.

“Basically, there is a real chance that Democrats won’t flip any GOP Senate seats. This is not - repeat, not - to say that Democrats can’t pick up any Republican seats, but their chances certainly aren’t what they used to be.

“At the same time, things look very tough for Democrats in three toss-up races: Neither Sen. Christopher Dodd in Connecticut nor Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada is polling well, and the GOP has a chance in the Illinois open seat contest. Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and party-switcher Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania have to deal with formidable primary challenges before they can even get to what are likely to be tough general election campaigns.

“In California, it’s unclear how tough the re-election challenge will be for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. The biggest question there is whether Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is ready for prime-time politics.

“Finally, add to that list Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, who is looking more and more vulnerable, despite a lack of name-brand competition.

“That’s seven Democratic Senate seats in real danger, and that doesn’t include the Delaware open seat if GOP Rep. Michael Castle runs, or if Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York faces a top-drawer challenger.”


“Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s appearance in Congress last week to explain how President Barack Obama would overhaul financial regulation elicited the most striking sign yet that the wheels have come off the administration’s economic-policy team.” Kevin A. Hassett writes at www.bloomberg.com.

“The White House had proposed, and Geithner was ready to defend, such a radical expansion of government power that even Barney Frank, the ultra-liberal congressman from Massachusetts, felt compelled to object that it went too far.

“When Barney Frank thinks that you are too liberal, you better check your medications,” said Mr. Hassett, a senior fellow and director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Obama plan “would create a new government body, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), which would ‘write rules, oversee compliance and address violations by non-bank providers, as well as banking institutions.’ This agency would have to enforce its rules and would, according to the Obama design, be able to go after any firm that offers credit to consumers.”

“So if Sam Malone at the ‘Cheers’ bar offers to run a tab for you, Geithner is on the case. Or if the furniture store on Main Street offers to let you have a couch without making a payment for a few months, Geithner is on the case. If a National Football League team lets customers pay for their season tickets on an installment plan, well, you get the picture.”


President Obama wants a unified front against Iran, and to that end he stood together with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh on Friday morning to reveal the news about Tehran’s secret facility to build bomb-grade fuel. But now we hear that the French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America’s handling of the announcement,” the Wall Street Journal said Tuesday in an editorial.

“Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran’s illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world’s leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion,” the newspaper said.

“President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been ‘frustrated’ for months about Mr. Obama’s reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the administration told the French that it didn’t want to ‘spoil the image of success’ for Mr. Obama’s debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.”


Abraham Lincoln wasn’t just honest. He was The Man! long before Shaq and others who claim that title,” Nikki Schwab writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

“The recently reopened Ford’s Theatre Museum reveals that among the artifacts it may display is a Lincoln inaugural medallion etched with these words: ‘Thou Art The Man.’ Gloria Swift, museum curator, says, ‘Every time I hear the current phraseology of that, I’m always thinking of that coin, and I’m like, oh, yeah, let me tell you, it goes way back.’ ”

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

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