Posts Tagged ‘shrum


rise and shine

NYT: … Despite a school of thought in Washington that Mr. Obama’s support among blacks has weakened because of the poor economy and a sense of unmet expectations, interviews and public opinion surveys show that his standing remains remarkably strong among African-Americans.

….Some believe the president will be hard-pressed to reproduce those (2008) results, with a political narrative emerging in Washington that African-Americans have begun to sour on the president. Various black leaders – including Representative Maxine Waters of California, the television host Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, a prominent professor – have criticized Mr. Obama for what they see as not doing enough for black Americans…

Outside Washington, however, the story is markedly different. Mr. Obama’s support among African-Americans appears strikingly strong, even among many who are out of work, who might be expected to complain the loudest.

In a recent Pew Research Center poll, black voters preferred Mr. Obama 95 percent to 3 percent over Mitt Romney, “which is at least the margin he got in 2008,” said Michael Dimock, associate director for research at Pew. “There’s no erosion at all.”

Even more noteworthy, less than 10 percent of black voters in a New York Times/CBS News survey taken last month said that Mr. Obama had failed to meet their expectations as president, while nearly 3 in 10 said he had exceeded expectations…

…. Sitting in a chair at the Ultimate Choice Barber Shop in Charlotte, Brian Gainey, 28, a truck driver, initially hesitated when asked if he was going to vote again for Mr. Obama. “Yes,” he said finally, adding: “I’d almost like to see someone else win though. Maybe then they’ll see how much better Obama was than whoever will come after him.”

To Lemar Foster Jr., 48, a barber at Ultimate Choice, the Obama family epitomizes a bigger cultural change. …. “ … having the Obamas in the White House?” he asked. “Yeah, I’m very proud. And I’m definitely voting for him again.”

Full article here



Bloomberg: President Barack Obama’s “tsunami” of new government regulations looks more like a summer swell.

Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

…. The scope of government regulation has emerged as a major issue in the 2012 presidential race and on Capitol Hill. Republican presidential candidates have accused Obama of stifling job creation by imposing rules on businesses, and House Republicans have vowed to rein in proposed regulations on everything from the environment to health care to banking.

….. Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame….

Full article here




12:00 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee luncheon in Jacksonville, Florida

3:10 PM: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic

3:30 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Tampa, Florida

5:05 PM: The President greets city and municipal leaders from across the country

6:45 PM: The President has dinner with winners of a campaign contest

7:00 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida


Robert Shrum: Critics berate the president for taking his inspiring new progressive message to the American people. But it’s the critics who ought to be ashamed

The president must be doing something right. He’s now getting advice (from all the wrong quarters) that he ought to stop standing up for the people, not the privileged. Of course, such arguments largely rest on pre-cast assumptions and self-serving calculations.

…. New York Times columnist David Brooks, on the other hand, sounds agonized and genuinely disappointed as he mourns Obama’s passage from compromising to fighting for progressive values….. Brooks contends that instead of fighting such battles, Obama should “champion a Grand Bargain strategy.” When he did just that this summer during the debt-ceiling fight, the Republicans wouldn’t meet the president even a quarter of the way….

…. So fight on, Mr. President. You’re renewing your voice and your vision, and America is beginning to hear you again as it did in 2008….

As long as you keep fighting, the critics will keep complaining. Every time they do, think of Harry Truman in 1948, written off, facing a “do-nothing Congress,” assailed for class warfare, but clear in purpose and in principle. And think of what he promised as he came to the podium of a weary and worried Democratic convention: We “will win this election and make these Republicans like it — don’t you forget that…The reason is the Democratic Party is the people’s party, and the Republican Party is the party of special interest, and it always has been and always will be.”….

Full article here


Steve Benen: By most measures, the third quarter – July through September – wasn’t pretty. The Eurozone crisis intensified; the debt-ceiling scandal rattled investors; and Republican intransigence generated a downgrade in U.S. debt. Talk of a “double-dip” recession was ubiquitous.

But as it turns out, the U.S. economy muddled through anyway. The Commerce Department released its report this morning showing that the nation’s gross domestic product rose at 2.5% annual rate in the third quarter. It’s the strongest economic growth in a year, and a marked improvement over the anemic growth we saw in the first two quarters (January through June).

Indeed, economic growth in the third quarter was nearly double the rate seen in the previous quarter.

That said, it’s important to note that 2.5% GDP growth is hardly great news. It’s a clear improvement relative to the first half of 2011, but as Neil Irwin put it, we’re still dealing with “the diminished economic expectations of the post-crisis age.”….

I mention this in part because, while faster economic growth is encouraging, policymakers and pundits would be making a tragic mistake if they saw today’s numbers as an excuse for inaction….

Full post here



Thanks VC


morning ;-)



11:35 President Obama delivers remarks at the White House Forum on American Latino Heritage

2:40 The President meets with the National Association of Evangelicals Executive Committee


Steve Benen: There were no doubts about the eventual outcome of the Senate fight over the American Jobs Act. Democrats would have needed at least seven Republicans who were willing to let members vote on the legislation, and the actual number was zero…..

…. Yesterday, there were reports that several members of the Senate Democratic caucus – Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, Joe Lieberman, Jim Webb, Jeanne Shaheen, and Jon Tester – who would either vote with Republicans or fail to vote at all. The result would have been a political loss as well as a legislative one – Republicans would have been able to argue, accurately, that a majority of the Senate rejected the president’s jobs bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deserves a lot of credit for making sure that didn’t happen. In the end, the American Jobs Act got 51 votes, and only two Dems – Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Montana’s Jon Tester – sided with Republicans. (The official final tally was 50 to 49, but that’s only because Reid had to switch his vote for procedural reasons.)

…. What matters most is that Senate Republicans, in the midst of a jobs crisis and intense public demand for congressional action, killed a credible jobs bill for no apparent reason…..literally every Republican in the Senate – including the alleged “moderates” – not only rejected the popular jobs bill, they refused to even let the chamber vote on it at all. That should be the front-page story nationwide this morning.

Full post here




Robert Shrum: …. on the one hand, Romney charges Obama with slashing defense spending, when it has increased every year during this administration. On the other hand, he insists that he favored health-care reform only at the state level, when it’s indisputable that he offered Massachusetts as a national model both in 2008 and in the first edition of his book. It was titled No Apologies, but he’s been apologizing on health care ever since. And he never misses an opportunity for opportunism: An advocate of privatizing Social Security, he’s now attacking Perry by posing as the program’s defender.

Romney is a poser but he’s the only viable nominee the party now has …. but he will be hobbled by his own record as a take-over artist who dismembered companies and destroyed jobs – and by the positions he’s taken against tax fairness and in favor of unfettered speculation.

…. It’s clear that the president won’t let 2012 be cast as a referendum; he’s now setting out the basic choice: Who’s on your side? Romney will call this class warfare, but people are coming to understand that we’ve already had a decade of class warfare – against the middle-class….

Mitt Romney will be ill-prepared for this contest. He will enter the general election burdened by the craziness to which he’s had to kowtow. The primaries are also stripping away the strands of his already threadbare character. And they’re leaving him on the wrong side of the great dividing line of 2012 – for the privileged, not ordinary people.

Full article here



Michael Tomasky: This was supposed to be the first debate that (finally!) had real drama … Well, they were all pretty terrible. But, it must be said, by degree. Romney was unbad enough to stay ahead … He wasn’t good, but he wasn’t bad enough to lose ground.

Cain has become a better debater. He has mastered that first-level trick of sounding like he knows what he’s talking about. He hasn’t mastered the second-level art of actually knowing what he’s talking about, but, then, few of them do…

Perry? He choked badly on an early big moment when Charlie Rose asked him what his plan was. He stumbled his way into some boilerplate about energy, but he spoke unconfidently and was looking at Charlie as a child looks at his teacher while trying to remember that middle string of the alphabet….

Michele Bachmann is gone, poor gal … Ron Paul wastes everyone’s time, starting with his….

Full post here



‘the crybaby chorus’

Robert Shrum: It’s natural for the GOP to dismiss the facts in favor of misreading the entrails of a temporary congressional gain (in New York) which will be reversed in 2012. But it’s stupid, a sign of panic, and a pathetic and depressing picture to see Democrats joining in….

…. among the disaffected are elements of the labor movement …. Good luck to any union that sits out or sloughs off in 2012; if they end up with Romney or Perry, it could mark the end of organized labor in America.

…. too many members of his own party in Congress who pushed the president for a jobs bill, paid for by taxes on the wealthy, are now validating Will Rogers’s observation that they “don’t belong to any organized party. They’re Democrats”. Some of them are beginning to pick the bill apart, pursuing parochial interests …. Sen. Sherrod Brown warns that Democrats have to “compromise to get this bill up and running”; everybody can’t have all they want. He’s right, and so is Nancy Pelosi that Democrats can recapture the House – if they hold their nerve and stand with the president…..

Finally comes my friend James Carville to argue in a pyrotechnic CNN piece that yes, the White House should “panic” …. As Bill Clinton’s campaign chief in 1992, Carville didn’t panic – he certainly didn’t fire himself – in the early summer of that year, when Clinton was in last place, at 22 percent, in a three-way race with Ross Perot and the first George Bush.

…. Carville is on target about one thing: Obama has to “make a case like a Democrat”. But that’s what this president is doing now…..

…. the GOP is doing its best to block recovery as a conscious strategy to reclaim the White House: kill jobs to get the job. But there is grave risk for Republicans in this transparent cynicism; the president has the voice, and we’ve learned before that he has the strength of will to set the choice and win the big battle. Indeed, that’s what makes the comparison with Carter absurd; from health reform to financial reform to the salvation of the auto industry and the prevention of depression, Obama has a historic record of achievement.

…. Obama is a fourth quarter player. And the fourth quarter has come. It’s time for the crybaby chorus to leave the critic’s row and get in the game. The president will do his part. And then his victory in the 2012 election will be remembered long after his phony defeat in a peculiar special election fades into a footnote.

The panic isn’t justified — and Democrats can’t afford it. Grow up. As Carville might say, there’s too much at stake, stupid.

Full article here


‘a master of foreign policy must confront the march of the economic morons’

Robert Shrum: A master of foreign policy must confront the march of the economic morons to evade the 41st president’s fate

With the fall of Moammar Gadhafi’s evil kleptocracy, Barack Obama is arguably the most successful foreign policy president since George H. W. Bush. And we know what happened to him.

First, Obama’s successes: The restoration of respect for America abroad; the negotiation and ratification of the new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia; his resolve to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by a date certain … relying on special operations and drones to counter the terrorist threat that infests the Pakistan–Afghanistan border, while skillful diplomacy with India has lessened the odds of a potential nuclear conflict on the subcontinent.

The promise of special ops was stunningly proven in the boldest decision of the president who, when he made it, surely realized that he had the loneliest job in the world … With a cool hand and no drama … Obama ventured a risky mission to capture or kill the elusive mastermind of 9/11. The mission was finally accomplished, but not with the bluster of Bush 43.

The president had already orchestrated American influence with the Egyptian army to secure the uprising there …. He took a similar approach in Libya in the face of withering and often opportunistic criticism from Republicans…..Predictably, Obama’s GOP adversaries now celebrate the outcome while refusing to give the president a scintilla of credit….

… The president doesn’t have the power here he wields in foreign affairs – and the tea-drugged Republican House and the filibuster-intoxicated Republicans in the Senate are bent on blocking whatever Obama is for … he has to contend with a march of morons that stretches from Capitol Hill to the summit of international policymaking.

….in the plain sight of the American people, the president can become the fighter for jobs and growth – and the GOP, to invert Obama’s own phrase, can be blamed for putting politics ahead of country. The Republicans are so overt in their obstruction that Obama won’t even have to say this explicitly; they themselves will pin the tail on the elephant.

….It’s time for this president to move on from the art of the possible to the art of persuasion. He was superb at that in 2008, and he can be again. The leader who so notably succeeded in foreign policy – and legislatively in health and financial reform – now has to recapture the nation’s imagination….

Full article here


‘staying power in the face of adversity’

Robert Shrum: … Obama’s staying power in the face of adversity, which sustained his candidacy and then his presidency ….. But over time, the sheen of hope has been worn away. And nowhere is this more obvious than with his own base. Aggrieved by the loss of a public option in the health care bill, and the lack of a second major stimulus bill, activists were vocally disappointed when Obama agreed to a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts — no matter what the president extracted from the GOP in return. The Left’s premise is that if he had stood his ground more resolutely, or stomped his foot harder, somehow events would have moved ’round to him.

…. The progressive choir does have a point that is substantive, persuasive, economically right – and beside the point … Paul Krugman argues that what’s needed in the near-term is more spending, not more cuts, with a long-term deficit reduction plan tied to the pace of recovery. Those that press this idea – or who believe the president could have achieved a public option, an extension of tax cuts for the middle class but not the wealthy, or a debt ceiling bargain that raised taxes – have yet to describe a practical path that could have gotten him there.

…. the notion of ignoring Congress on the debt ceiling and invoking the 14th Amendment could have served as a useful pressure point or as a last resort in extremis. Actually doing it would have set off a constitutional and probably a financial crisis. It might have offered psychic satisfaction, but exactly how would it have advanced progressive purposes?

…. It is fantasy politics to assume the president could have overcome generations of fantasy economics – and it’s all but certain that no matter what he said, there never would have been enough votes for a second stimulus package in a filibustering Senate where an all-powerful Republican minority was and is dead set against any Obama plan to revive growth and jobs…

…. Democrats in general, as distinct from disappointed activists, may not know all the details, but they seem to sense this. Obama’s approval among liberals is high – and among Democrats it stands at 77 percent – even at the most fraught passage of his presidency. So much for the chimera of a primary challenge. From whom? Dennis Kucinich – who no longer has a congressional district in Ohio?

Just because the Tea Party is crazy doesn’t mean progressives should let them make us crazy …. Time and again, most recently during the manufactured debt crisis, the president has already proved that he’s the reasonable person in the room. Now he has to prove that he’s the passionate person in the room … He has to put an edge on his message, as FDR and Harry Truman did…

… The criticism of Barack Obama in the last campaign was that he was all speech and no substance. As president, he’s been mostly substance, much of it historic, and rarely the speechmaker of 2008. But in the fierce urgency of this now, it is time for speech again, for a clarion call. Let’s hope we begin to hear it in the sounds of August.

Full article here


‘downright ugly’

Robert Shrum: …. The GOP debate was not only economically vapid, but downright ugly, as the participants either trafficked in, or fellow-travelled with, appeals to fear and intolerance…..

No one on that stage rose to the defense of American Muslims or ventured to reprove Cain. But most of the candidates rushed to reassure the right wing on the question of gay rights. They were against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for a constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage…

…A former Republican officeholder, still active in the party, lamented that if you want to have a chance you have to cater to the fringe: “And it’s worse now that it’s ever been.”

….Waiting for Huntsman, yearning for Chris Christie of New Jersey, or Rick Perry of Texas: By the end of Monday’s debate, it was easier than ever to understand why. Americans seem to grasp the implausibility of the men – and the woman – who so starkly revealed themselves in New Hampshire. Even in the new economic doldrums, President Obama leads Romney by 6 points – and outside the South by far more – in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Pawlenty gets trounced – and so would Bachmann, although it’s now conceivable that a fevered GOP might just nominate her.

I know which side I’m on as 2012 approaches, but I know the country deserves a genuine debate about the future. That wasn’t what we saw and heard from New Hampshire the other night. The debate was less serious and less substantive than Saturday Night Live…..

Full article here


still on track….

Robert Shrum: Forget the noisy declarations about lousy economic news sinking Obama’s re-election. The president is still on track for a second term.

….what will endure after this remarkable week is the emergence of a consensus that Barack Obama could lose next year… First, the unemployment numbers … Second, The Times headlined an analysis, widely repeated, that no incumbent president since FDR has won a second term when unemployment was above 7.2 percent … Third, in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll … nearly 60 percent of people offer a negative verdict on Obama’s stewardship of the economy. Then the clincher: While he defeats most Republicans by a margin of 10 to 17 points, the president is now tied with Mitt Romney….

…..much of the new mood is too instant, too superficial, and too casually ahistorical… …As The Times’ Nate Silver wrote in gently questioning his own paper’s deterministic metric, there is a “maddeningly inexact relationship between unemployment and re-election.”

….the relevant signs suggest that Barack Obama is in a more advantageous position than Ronald Reagan was. In Gallup’s June 1983 numbers, Reagan’s approval was 43 percent; in late May and early June, Obama was five to eight points higher. And of the two presidents in the last four decades who had the highest approval ratings this far out from the election, the first Bush was trounced and the second Bush barely squeaked by. The presidents with middling ratings – Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton – ultimately triumphed; Dole was ahead of Clinton in June of 1995.

…flat earth economics won’t hold with the public if Republicans hold to their present resolve and convert the attractive abstraction of spending cuts into the grim reality of shredding Medicare. There’s the leverage for the president if the GOP refuses to compromise on a reasonable basis – which is probably a remote possibility at best.

…In the week Weiner was roasted, the conventional wisdom included that the 2012 election is not yet baked. But I suspect that by then the economy will finally be seen as moving in the right direction – or that sooner than that, Republican efforts to trash the recovery and repeal the New Deal will become all too transparent and repellant. Either outcome leads to Obama’s second term.

Full article here

Thank you Ladyhawke


54,000 jobs added, unemployment at 9.1%

Marketwatch: Job growth decelerated sharply in May, the Labor Department said Friday. Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 54,000, much lower than the 125,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. This is the smallest increase in nonfarm payroll since September. The unemployment rate ticked higher 9.1% in May from 9.0% in the previous month.

More here

Don’t panic – remember this from yesterday:

National Journal: …Wall Street analysts are fairly united in their view that the recovery has entered a “soft patch,” just like it did last year, and that sooner or later, growth and job-creation are on track to pick up again. Several analysts and columnists have been reminding Americans that recoveries from financial crises can often feel like stop-and-go traffic on the freeway … Gault, and several other top analysts, expect growth to accelerate in the third quarter….

Full article here


I just saw Robert Shrum’s article from yesterday – even more appropriate today:

Robert Shrum: Nationally and globally, the economy is at a tipping point. The GOP, driven by invincible ignorance or cynical design – and perhaps both – is working overtime to trash the recovery with budget cuts that would drain demand from the economy – or a debt ceiling vote that could trigger a financial collapse equal to 2008, or perhaps unpredictably graver.

For proof, all you had to do was listen to Mitt Romney’s announcement speech. In it, he made a smarmy attempt to blame Barack Obama for the economic pain actually caused by the dereliction of duty by George W. Bush & Co., pain that was then prolonged by the obstruction of congressional Republicans. Those legislators contrived successfully to limit the stimulus package, block a second one, and forthwith blame the stimulus that saved us from another Great Depression for the slow climb out of the Great Recession. Never, of course, did they mention that the America’s deep deficits were generated by the fraudulent Bush war in Iraq and the unfair Bush tax cuts, which were founded on the false premise that they would pay for themselves.

…And now the GOP that has moved decidedly to the right of Bush would compound his errors. Congressional Republicans could shatter the restored credibility of the United States by refusing to protect its full faith and credit by raising the national debt ceiling or by holding that essential measure hostage to the repeal of the New Deal – something that never even occurred to Ronald Reagan or either Bush president. In those Oval Offices, they regularly signed debt-ceiling increases….

…the Republicans’ strategy on the budget and the debt ceiling can be seen, accurately, as rolling the dice with the American economy, gambling that it will crap out to their political advantage….

Full article here


CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee: “Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 83,000 in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.

While the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months, the unemployment rate is unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn.

The initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain. We are focused on promoting exports, reducing regulatory burdens and making the investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure that will grow our economy and create jobs. We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means.

Overall payroll employment rose by 54,000 in May. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+44,000) and education and health services (+34,000). Sectors with employment declines included local government (-28,000), retail trade (-8,500), and manufacturing (-5,000). Despite the decline this month, manufacturing has added 238,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010, the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade.

The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.


‘a shallow tank’

Robert Shrum: Shortly after Donald Trump was fired as his poll numbers receded faster than his real hairline, Mitch Daniels became the latest candidate to flee the contest …. Mike Huckabee would rather be rich and on television … Haley Barbour would rather be his good ole boy self. And the third Bush (Jeb), along with John Thune, would rather be president in 2016 than a losing nominee in 2012. So would Chris Christie who’s presently pear-shaped in his home state polls and probably couldn’t carry it against Barack Obama.

…So who’s left to jump into this shallow tank… Her sell-by date may be passing, but the once and obvious entrant could be Sarah Palin. That cure would be worse than the illness. Fox’s Roger Ailes apparently, and rightly, has come to the conclusion that she’s “stupid” … It looks like she’d rather be raking in the dollar bills …. but she might suddenly tweet her way in…

Palin’s delay supposedly leaves room for Michele Bachmann, Minnesota congresswoman, Tea Party firebrand, and patriotic Mrs. Malaprop, who recently relocated the start of the American Revolution to Lexington and Concord, New Hampshire…

Then there’s Paul Ryan whose stunning proposal to dismantle Medicare has already put the House Republican majority in jeopardy … Ryan insists he won’t run; Democrats wish he would…

….the dissatisfaction represents a verdict on the inauthentic Mitt Romney, the inconceivable Newt Gingrich, and the implausible Tim Pawlenty, who just announced to the national sound of one hand clapping.

….Romney, once pro-choice, pro-stem-cell research, and pro-health reform, has decided to repudiate his past … he, as Sen. Edward Kennedy once said, isn’t “pro-choice, but multiple choice.” Meanwhile, Pawlenty grovels on stage at the first candidates’ debate as he cravenly crawls away from his record on climate change and cap and trade.

Jon Huntsman, who in a sensible party would be taken seriously, has already taken a similar road, but negotiated it with a certain degree of cleverness and credibility … (but) what will he say now about his past support – as governor of Utah, no less – for civil unions? Can the GOP abide a conservative with a tinge of moderation ….

… thoroughly beaten they will be if Republicans entirely lose their heads and settle on Rick Santorum, a defeated and far right senator from Pennsylvania – or Herman Cain, the one time CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, who now peddles hate speech instead of pepperoni…

Plainly, this is a weak and hobbled field. … from Jeb Bush to Mitch Daniels, they don’t want to do this … They anticipate that in the end, at high noon on Jan. 20, 2013, Barack Obama will raise his right arm and take the oath of office from a chief justice who will get the words right the second time around….

Full article here


‘bin laden, the fringe left, and the torturous right’

Robert Shrum: The killing of the architect of September 11 has provoked predictable remonstrance from the usual suspects. Most Americans have reacted to the brave and brilliant operation that killed Osama bin Laden with pride and satisfaction. The predominant emotion — and this was a profoundly emotional moment — was not a sense of revenge for its own sake, but of renewed confidence in America’s capacity, relief that we no longer seemed helpless or hopeless in the pursuit of the world’s greatest mass murderer, and the simple belief, as Barack Obama expressed it, that “justice was done.”

There are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than the supposed violation of bin Laden’s civil liberties — or on the far opposite side of the ideological divide, a concocted vindication of torture glibly and opportunistically credited for the American success in tracking and taking him down. But such were the nearly instant, sadly predictable responses of those on the fringe Left who see bin Laden’s manner of dying as a blatant act of injustice, and from the neocons who want to use his death to justify their systematic and futile violation of both the law and basic standards of justice…….

…..The plain truth is that Bush failed to get bin Laden and Obama did. But nothing now seems immune from a politics of the absurd that too easily casts right as wrong, inverts reality, and pulls the extreme into mainstream dialogue. After a month in which Donald Trump was taken seriously, during a week in which Newt Gingrich declared his candidacy, at a time when the 2012 Republican anthem looks as if it might be “Bring in the Clowns,” perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the killing of bin Laden has provoked remonstrance from some on the Left and self-justification from too many on the Right.

The vast majority of Americans are where they should be — with the president and the SEALs. Barack Obama showed that a progressive Commander-in-Chief can command the heights of national security as Franklin Roosevelt,  Harry Truman, and John Kennedy did. That’s not just good for the president or his party, but for the country. So instead of muddled thinking about bin Laden’s Miranda rights, or a partisan rhetoric of redemption for past failure, the reflex critics and the false credit-takers at least ought to have the decency to grant us the sounds of their silence.

Full article here







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July 2021