June 02, 2009
An Inconvenient Truth
What dismays me most about Barack Obama's Middle East initiative is that the only country in the area he seems to be pressing is Israel. He is not pressing Egypt and perhaps that's because there is nothing that Cairo can give. Maybe I'll be surprised by the presidential visit to Riyadh, but he is, thus far, also not pressing Saudi Arabia and its king to whom he offered at the G-20 meeting rather curious and extravagant homage. If you read A Safe Haven by Allis and Ronald Radosh (reviewed by me in the Wall Street Journal) you'll see how King Ibn Saud was flattered by F.D.R.
Responding to Jack Welch's complaint that the country can't afford Obama's budget ("Austan’s budget is from the moon"), the Obama economic adviser had this to say at a panel discussion last week: The budget is from the moon, Jack [Welch] is from Mars and Joe [Stiglitz, whose critique comes from the other direction] is from Venus. Look, we enter the government essentially in a hotel that is on fire.
Obama Puts Down A Marker On Costs
At the White House on Tuesday afternoon, President Obama met with Senate Democrats working on health care legislation.
Rumor Of The Day: Mubarak's Health
CAIRO-- It's a taboo subject in Egypt, one that can get you arrested simply for mentioning. But speculation over the health of the country's 81-year-old president, Hosni Mubarak, is a popular Cairo parlor game. And on the eve of Barack Obama's visit here, it again hangs in the air like smoke in a shisha cafe. In a prelude to his Cairo visit, Barack Obama had planned to host Hosni Mubarak at the White House late last month.
Judge Sotomayor And Abortion
Tom Goldstein is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, and lecturer at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools.
It's a little strange to see folk on the other side of the Senate aisle who were prepared to go down the line for Harriet Miers nitpicking about and against Sonia Sotomayor. Measured across the sweep of Supreme Court justices over the course of American history, she is not at all an embarrassment. More than that, Sotomayor has shown an intellectual flexibility that has scared many true-believers in the liberal catechism. But this flexibility shows more thoughtfulness about legal issues than the predictability of some of her colleagues on the appellate bench.
Muslim Brothers Make The Obama Cut
CAIRO--Good news for political reformers and Islamists: In an unexpected bit of diplomatic choreography, several members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been invited to attend Barack Obama's speech in Cairo tomorrow.
President Obama is on his way to Saudi Arabia, and Secretary Geithner is done with his major initiative in China. In part, this is just the U.S. normalizing its relations with the rest of the world and rebuilding some basic diplomatic niceness.
The Men With Two Brains, Ctd.
A couple of weeks ago, Conor Friedersdorf wondered how it could be that a fairly wide array of conservatives could simultaneously believe that Barack Obama "is a dangerous radical with ties to terrorists, or that he is plotting to transform the United States into a Communist dictatorship, or that he is going to seize the guns of law abiding Americans, or that he is an extreme leftist who cannot be trusted" and that he "should continue the Bush era practice of invoking the War on Terrorism to wield unprecedented executive power." The assassination of George Tiller has tragically enabled Friede
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal featured a fascinating op-ed from a former Romanian "car czar" (that is, the Ceausescu lieutenant charged with creating and running a domestic auto industry), including highly entertaining riffs like this: When the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided in the mid-1960s that he wanted to have a car industry, he chose me to start the project rolling. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. I knew nothing about manufacturing cars, but neither did anyone else among Ceausescu's top men.