Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Obama to Republicans: my offer is this, nothing

Featured image Tim Geithner presented John Boehner with the Obama plan for averting the “fiscal cliff.” According to the New York Times, Obama’s plan calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing, and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits. President Obama would also agree to a goal of finding $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other »

Susan Rice continues to “disappoint”

Featured image Susan Collins met with Susan Rice today. Rice was hoping, no doubt, to make a better impression on the Maine moderate than she did earlier this week on John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte. If Rice succeeded, she did so only marginally. Collins said afterwards that the meeting left her with a sense of disappointment with Rice. She added that she is not ready at this point to support »

Al Sharpton, deadbeat

Featured image The Washington Post reports that Al Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network, owes its landlord more than $28,000, according to the landlord. This amount includes seven months of unpaid rent. A spokesperson for Sharpton denied that his organization is in arrears. It ­e-mailed the Post a copy of a check the group has written out to the landlord for $16,950. But the landlord says it has not received the check »

Who won, Hamas or Israel?

Featured image I’m a fan of Lee Smith. However, I was not persuaded by his argument that Israel won and Hamas lost their latest confrontation. Smith acknowledges that Hamas claims victory and that many Israelis concur with Hamas on this point. In fact, initial opinion polling showed a majority of Israelis dissatisfied with the outcome of the confrontation. But Smith contends that both sides have it wrong. Hamas’ proclamation of victory should »

Sandra Fluke for person of the year

Featured image Sandra Fluke is among the 40 contenders for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. 2012 was the year in which losers, have-nots, and the immature combined to reelect an unsuccessful (by customary standards) president. Accordingly, Fluke would make an ideal Person of the Year for 2012. I also think that Time should name Lilly Ledbetter its Person of the Year for 2008 in view of her service as Barack Obama’s »

The fiscal cliff, the debt cliff, and the political cliff

Featured image We’ve written, as has virtually every other commentator, about the “fiscal cliff.” But the term is probably a misnomer. It refers to the fact that, absent a budget deficit deal, taxes will rise on everyone who pays them and federal spending will be cut. The combined effect would be a small but discernible change in fiscal policy that might well slow the economy down or, given how slow the economy »

A worthy predecessor to, and successor of, Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Featured image Mel Reynolds has announced that he will run for the congressional seat held by Jesse Jackson Jr., who has resigned. “Swell Mel” held that seat, Illinois’ Second District, before Jackson. He resigned from Congress in 1995, after a jury found him guilty of having sex with an underage campaign worker. Reynolds later was convicted of federal charges of bank and campaign fraud. He remained in jail until President Clinton commuted »

Hamas rocket attacks are “like a bee sting on the Israeli bear’s behind” — Washington Post

Featured image Responding to criticism that the Washington Post doesn’t publish pictures showing the consequences of Hamas rocket atacks on Isral, the paper’s ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, says that “the overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.” Where to begin? Let’s start at the beginning. The present controversy commenced when, as Scott discussed at the time, the Post published a large front page photo »

The horror, a white might win Jesse Jackson’s congressional seat

Featured image The scramble is on to fill the congressional seat that Jesse Jackson, Jr. had to abandon due to mental illness. And, according to Politico, the black establishment is fearful that the seat might fall into the hands — not of a Republican; there’s no way — but a white. The concern is that former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a white Democrat and veteran of suburban Chicago politics, will win the Democratic »

Egyptian protesters are on their own

Featured image Egyptians flocked to Tahrir square today in protest against the decree that grants exceptional power to President Morsi, and against the Muslim Brotherhood in general. Some protesters threw stones and the police fired tear gas. Size matters when it comes to such protests, but it also difficult reliably to measure. The Washington Post estimated the Tahrir square crowd at about 20,000. In Alexandria, an anti-Morsi protest contingent was estimated at »

Rice meets with McCain, Graham, and Ayotte; doesn’t help her cause (Updated)

Featured image Over the weekend, Susan Rice asked to meet with Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte so that she could defend, or at least explain, why she provided erroneous information about the deadly Benghazi assault. That meeting happened today. Not surprisingly, Rice failed to mollify the Senators, at least two of whom would have been hard to mollify even if Rice had a decent defense, which she doesn’t. Lindsey Graham declared, “The »

While the French government flounders, its opposition flames

Featured image Last week, I mentioned the bitter fight to determine who will succeed Nicolas Sarkozy as leader of the UMP, France’s conservative party. At the time Jean-Francois Cope, the more conservative candidate, appeared to have defeated former Prime Minister (under Sarkozy) Francois Fillon by fewer than 1,000 votes, but Fillon had not recogized the result. A week later, Cope is officially the winner, but Fillon still doesn’t accept the result. And »

How to approach the fiscal cliff

Featured image James Capretta offers four guidelines for navigating fiscal cliff negotiations. On the whole, I think they are sensible suggestions and, at a minimum, worthy of consideration. First, “acknowledge the economic and policy risks of going over the cliff.” It’s possible that the looming tax increases and spending cuts wouldn’t send the U.S. economy into a recession. It’s also possible that massive cuts to the military budget wooudn’t produce adverse consequences »

The “nuclear option,” then and now

Featured image I don’t recall any of us commenting on the plan of Senate Democrats to reform, and perhaps end, the filibuster. But Harry Reid and his crew seem prepared to push for major changes in the filibuster come January. If they do, it will trigger quite a battle and probably extinguish whatever chances exist for cooperation between congressional Democrats and Republicans. It isn’t clear just what Reid has in mind. One »

Has Morsi softened his dictatorial decree?

Featured image There are conflicting reports as to whether Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has softened the decree in which he exempted all of his decisions from judicial review. A television network allied with his party said Morsi has agreed that most of his actions will be subject to review by the courts after all. But Reuters later reported that a Morsi spokesman said the initial decree has not been amended in any »

The mainstreaming of Hamas

Featured image Yesterday, I argued that one of President Obama’s objectives in brokering a deal that enhances Hamas’ status was to enhance Hamas’ status. I noted that leftists in America and Europe have, for some time, viewed Hamas as the authentic representataive of Palestinians and, accordingly, have attempted to portray the terrorist outfit as “moderate.” Obama’s tilt towards Hamas, it seems to me, is a manifestation of this view. With that tilt, »

Republican 2014 Senate prospects get a boost

Featured image As it stands now, Republicans will have to pick up six seats in 2014 in order to take control of the Senate. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Democrats will be defending a number of vulnerable seats. One of the most vulnerable is the West Virginia seat occupied by Jay Rockefeller. Today, Republican Shelley Moore Capito is expected to announce that she will challenge the 75-year-old »