Author Archives: Paul Mirengoff

Killing of high-ranking al Qaeda leader said to be a big deal

Featured image The U.S. has confirmed that it killed Abu Yahya al-Libi who, according to various accounts, was effectively al Qaeda’s duputy leader. Al-Libi was taken out by a drone strike. With the exception of bin Laden, I tend to view al Qaeda leaders as fairly easy to replace, but there is evidence that this is not the case here. According to this report from CNN’s Security Clearance, al-Libi “is universally admired »

Bryce Harper — The boy’s a bit special

Featured image To the extent that I’m still a serious baseball fan, I am of the tiresome “seen it all before” variety. The fact is that I have seen about half of “it” – i.e., the history of baseball in the modern era. And I have read extensively about the other half. Thus, when the Washington Nationals called up teen-age phenom Bryce Harper I was prepared to be a skeptic and a »

Gutless in Tucson

Featured image For some time now, Democrats have been talking up their chances of carrying Arizona this Fall in the presidential election. Republicans are at risk, supposedly, because Hispanics dislike their “extreme” position on illegal immigration. It’s not clear whether the Democrats ever really believed that President Obama has a decent shot at carrying Arizona, and it’s unlikely that they believe it now. For one thing, last month a PPP poll had »

A speech I’d like to hear Obama deliver

Featured image Later this month, the Supreme Court will deliver its ruling in the Obamacare case. Suppose the government loses. What will Obama say? Perhaps his speech will go something like this: “My fellow citizens. I’m not going to mince words. The decision rendered by the narrowest majority of the Supreme Court is unacceptable. And let me be clear about why. The decision is not unacceptable because millions of our fellow Americans »

Portrait of the Emancipator as a young attack dog

Featured image President Obama’s hasn’t had much luck with his surrogate candidates so far. Deval Patrick, in particular, was a flop. I expect to Obama to find better surrogates. But neither he nor Mitt Romney will find one to rival Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln served that role in the election of 1848 on behalf of Gen. Zachary Taylor, the Whig candidate. Lincoln’s job was to attack the Democratic nominee, Lewis Cass. Taylor was »

Israelis evenly divided on whether to attack Iran

Featured image The Jerusalem Post reports on a poll showing that Israelis are divided almost evenly on the issue of whether to launch a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. According to the poll, by the Netanya Academic College, 52 percent of Israelis oppose such a strike, while 48 percent support it (presumably the “undecideds” were factored out of the poll in some way — even in Israel and even on this issue, »

Where have all the Obama donors gone?

Featured image BuzzFeed reports that 88% of the people who contributed $200 or more to the Obama campaign in 2008 — 537,806 people — have not yet given that sum this year. Of course, there is still time for them to give (or give more). However, BuzzFeed also found that 87% of the people who gave $200 — the sum that triggers an itemized report to the Federal Elections Commission — through »

Does soccer explain the world?

Featured image Euro 2012 begins this Friday. It is a 16-team tournament, held every four years, to crown a national soccer team as the champion of Europe. I will be reporting on the tournament from time to time. It happens that Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain — the so-called PIGS nations whose sovereign debt crises are said to be the most acute in Europe — are all competing at Euro 2012. Ireland »

Dakota Wood — A Patriot runs for Congress

Featured image Dakota Wood is a retired Marine Corps Lt. Col. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1985, he served in the Marines for 20 years. Following his retirement from the Marines, Wood provided support to the Department of Homeland Security, serving as Operations Officer for the National Biosurveillance Integration System, an initiative intended to provide warning of a potential biological threat to the country. He then served as a Senior »

The problem of Islamic culture

Featured image Harold Rhode, a Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, has written a provocative article about the cultural shortcomings of the Muslim World. Rhode knows whereof he speaks. He is an expert on Islam and the Middle East, and has a PhD from Columbia in Islamic studies and Middle Eastern history. Rhode is fluent in Farsi, Hebrew, Arabic, and Turkish. He formerly worked for the Pentagon in the Office of Net »

Elizabeth Warren and the wages of race-based preferences

Featured image The Elizabeth Warren affair made the front page of today’s Washington Post. The story, by Chris Cillizza and David Fahrenthold, is cast in familiar Washington terms: What should have been a nothing story (a “bump”) has become a big deal (a “hurdle”) because Warren failed to deal competently with the matter when it arose. It’s “an iron law of politics,” the Post-men intone, “Bad denials make little things big.” But »

For Obama, what goes around comes around

Featured image Today’s poor jobs report, and President Obama’s ungracious reference yesterday to the parlous state of the economy at the end of the Bush administration, will renew the debate about how much responsibility Obama bears for the current weak economy and how much of it is Bush’s fault. Personally, I’ve never believed that a president’s policies have much impact on the economy, in the short term. And I doubt that the »

Bush portraits unveiled at White House; Obama is “congenial”

Featured image Former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura returned to the White House today for the unveiling of their portraits. The former President’s parents – themselves a former President and a former First Lady – were also in attendance. They received the longest ovation of the day. President and Ms. Obama both spoke. Peter Wehner, who was present as a former member of the Bush staff, got it exactly »

With an enemy like this, who needs friends?

Featured image It’s clear that President Obama’s re-election strategy begins and ends with attacking Mitt Romney. How could it be otherwise? Obama cannot run on his record. Bare-knuckle attacks on one’s opponent are unpresidential, though. Thus, they are best left to surrogates. But as I’ve written, Obama has proclaimed himself a better speechwriter than his speechwriters and a better political director than his political director. Presumably, he also considers himself a better »

Nevada Senate race seems to tighten; Obama and Romney neck-and-neck

Featured image A new poll of the Nevada Senate race by NBC News/Marist has Republican Sen. Dean Heller leading Democratic challenger Rep. Shelley Berkley by a slender margin of 46-44. Heller’s lead is less than the margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. Less than a month ago, a Rasmussen poll had Heller leading by 11 points. It should be noted, however, that Rasmussen polled likely voters, while NBC News/Marist »

Public sector compensation in Wisconsin remains excessive

Featured image As the recall election in Wisconsin approaches, this paper on public employee compensation in Wisconsin is worth a look. Andrew Biggs of AEI and Jason Richwine of Heritage find that even with the passage of Act 10, the Budget Repair Act that led to battle being waged by the public sector unions and their leftist comrades, the average Wisconsin state worker receives total compensation including benefits of $81,637, compared to »

Leon Panetta attempts to clean up after his President

Featured image Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has embarked on a nine-day trip to Asia, during which he will brief our allies on America’s new Pacific-oriented defense strategy. In its briefings on the trip, Defense Department officials have stressed the importance of India to U.S. strategy, noting that it is the only country specifically mentioned in the strategic guidance document. Along the same lines, Deputy Secretary Ashton Carter said yesterday in a »