Monthly Archives: July 2009


In today’s Rasmussen survey, President Obama’s overall approval rating has fallen below 50% for the first time in his administration. Rasmussen finds 49% of likely voters approving of the President’s performance, while 51% disapprove. Obama’s “approval index,” the difference between those who “strongly approve” and “strongly disapprove,” has been negative for some time and now stands at -8. These numbers are based on a three-day rolling average, and most of »

The Mayo Clinic weighs in

On the day of President Obama’s health care press conference this week, prominent health care providers released an open letter to members of Congress supporting a Medicare reform bill that has been introduced in Congress. The letter opened with a general statement of support for health care reform and applauded congressional efforts to provide universal coverage, but tactfully opposed current proposals. Among the letter’s signatories was the Mayo Clinic, an »

The Arlen Specter of the South rides again

Lindsey Graham has announced, as expected, that he will vote to confirm Sonia Sotomayor. When he defends terrorists’ rights, Graham is fond of saying that “it’s not about them, it’s about us.” Similarly, as I argued here and here, Graham’s decision in this instance isn’t about Sotomayor; it’s about Graham. At Bench Memos, Wendy Long and Matthew Franck are not amused by Graham’s preening and posturing throughout this process. Long »

I Told You So

President Obama is widely regarded as a gifted orator. Actually being President, however, is a very different task from running for President–something that the inexperienced Obama seemingly hasn’t figured out. As a small-time local politician, as a Senator and even as a Presidential candidate, it is possible to speak carelessly and get away with it. Glibness is rewarded; not much else matters. A President, however, must choose his words carefully, »

Bunkering Down

Remember candidate Barack Obama’s pledge to run a “transparent” administration? Already, that seems like a relic of another era. Apart from Obama’s violation of specific campaign promises, e.g. that all legislation would be posted online for a certain number of days before he signed it so it could be read by the public, the administration is increasingly determined to keep the American people in the dark and out of the »

Obama’s Waterloo?

That’s a metaphor many are using to describe President Obama’s increasingly desperate effort to cram socialized medicine down Americans’ throats–surreptitiously, of course. The reference is apt in that the health care debate is likely to be a turning point, but there are obvious differences: Waterloo brought Napoleon’s long and brilliant (if fundamentally insane) career to a close. Obama, in contrast, has been President for only six months and has accomplished »

The Gates Contretemps: A Personal Note

Paul has written all that needs to be said about the Henry Gates affair, here and elsewhere. This is merely a personal observation: coincidentally, I, like Mr. Gates, once had the experience of having to prove to a police officer that I was the owner of my own home and not an intruder. One morning quite a few years ago, I was the only person at home on a weekday. »

A good word for Dr. Benjamin

In the course of his terrific Impromptus column today, Jay Nordlinger offers some striking personal testimony in favor of President Obama’s Surgeon General appointee: I find the controversy surrounding Dr. Regina Benjamin one of the most depressing in memory. She is the southern doctor chosen by President Obama to be the surgeon general. She sets up medical clinics for the poor, etc. She is an example of the humanitarian in »

The president as hack ideologue

President Obama said last night that “the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting [Henry Louis Gates] when there was already proof that [he was] in [his] own home.” But the president himself is acting stupidity by weighing in ignorantly on the matter. As I explained here, according to Gates’ own account, the police officer was satisfied once Gates proved he was merely trying to break into his own home. The »

Up from liberalism

In some ways William Buckley’s Up From Liberalism (1959) is a dated book, but Richard Brookhiser quotes the book’s timely penultimate paragraph: I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. »

Obama’s Ethics

There was an overwhelmingly fictional quality to President Obama’s press conference last night from his opening remarks on. Promoting his notional health care reform plan, whatever it is, he endlessly asserts a set of talking points that would be demonstrably false if we had the text of a plan to check it against, such as the House’s thousand-page monstrosity. When he is about to unleash a whopper of special magnitude, »

Getting Cronkite wrong

Kathleen Parker pays tribute to Walter Cronkite, claiming that he represented a time when substance was more important than style: During a bumpy time in our nation’s history, he filled a psychic need for order amid chaos. By showing up every night at the same time, same place — speaking simply and without drama — he conveyed a sense that someone was in charge. . . . He had the »

From yo-yoing to mau-mauing

Many of you have probably heard that Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who studies issues pertaining to race, was arrested earlier this week following a dispute with a police officer. Charges against Gates have been dropped, but according to the Washington Post, Gates views the matter as a modern lesson in racism. As a result, he says he will turn his attention as an academic to racial profiling and »

The wrong approach

At the risk of repeating a point made by others, I think it’s worth noting that President Obama is going about overhauling our health care system in a strange manner. One would expect a leader, particularly one who is considered highly cerebral by many, to carefully craft a health care reform plan after a period of intense study. One would expect further that the leader would fight for his plan, »

Hugo don’t lose that number, part 2

Without mentioning the Investor’s Business Daily editorial reporting Hugo Chavez’s late night phone call to Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, Mary Anastasia O’Grady advances the story a bit by placing her own call to Shannon. O’Grady comments that Chavez’s phone call “showed that his campaign [to reinsate deposed Honduran president Manuel Zelaya] was not going well and that he thought he could get U.S. help.” She adds: Mr. Shannon »

The Ellison connection

We’ve written several times about Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison’s hajj to Mecca, most recently here. A spokesman for Ellison, the first Muslim congressman, first told the Star Tribune that Ellison paid for the pilgrimage himself. The Star Tribune subsequently reported that the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society paid for Ellison’s hajj. MAS spokesman Mahdi Bray heatedly denied the report, describing it as a “myth” and “urban legend” that »

Judge Frank denies TIZA’s dismissal motion

We wrote most recently about the ACLU Minnesota (MCLU) lawsuit pending in Minnesota federal district court against the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy here this past Sunday. TiZA is a K-9 charter school operating on public funds. The MCLU alleges that the TiZA infringes the First Amendment prohibition against the establshment of religion. One might say that it is an Islamic school in all but name, except that the name is »