Quick Takes II

Lost in the contraception debate as the sides have framed the issue as “women’s rights and health” v. “religious freedom” is the simple question: why can’t people buy their own birth control? We are talking about health insurance. My car insurance doesn’t cover fuel refills and tune-ups, although I would love if it did and love it even more if someone else picked up the tab for it.    And I think it was George Will who noted that if this new mandate forcing religious institutions to forfeit their beliefs is reversed, it will return America to the dark days when women’s health concerns were trivialized – the dark days of….about a month ago.

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Apropos of the above, and inscribed on a monument in front of the office of the US Agency for International Development (three blocks from the White House): “Our liberty of worship is not a concession or a privilege but an inherent right.” Perhaps the President should take a stroll up Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Obama’s latest talking points require him to recite again and again that he wants “an economy in which everyone plays by the same rules,” in which there is “an even playing field.” I suppose then that he is now a staunch opponent of affirmative action – in which the rules are markedly different because of diverse but unessential characteristics among the players and in which the playing field is clearly tilted to one side. Perhaps he will soon elaborate on this discrepancy.

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President Obama has claimed credit for the increased oil production in the US under his watch, even though the fracking process that has unleashed America’s vast shale oil and natural gas potential was done by private enterprise (this, even as he postponed the Keystone pipeline, and has banned much oil production off both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico); he claims credit for the new pipeline to be constructed between Oklahoma and Texas, even though that required no federal approval; he claims credit for the military assistance to Israel, even though he has just continued President Bush’s policy; he claims credit for increasing appropriations to Israel for missile research and development, even though every year his proposed budget reduces the amount (and Congress increases it over Obama’s objections); and he claims credit for the harsh, punitive sanctions against Iran – even though he opposed them and was forced to acquiesce by Congressional action. Obama is like the rooster that claims credit for the sunrise. (And like the arsonist that denies responsibility for the fire, which was obviously set by Bush.)

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If the wealthy and powerful conspire to keep everyone else down – especially the middle class – how was Obama ever elected president?

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Heard at the AIPAC Policy Conference: the median age of Jews in America is 48, while the median age of Hispanics, by contrast, is 24. I hope I heard it wrong, but if not, American Jews are rapidly aging, and the failure to procreate Jewish children – outside the Orthodox world – is having a devastating demographic impact that does not bode well for the future.

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Also heard:  President Obama told the AIPAC audience to judge him “not by his words but by his deeds.” Clever line, but totally inappropriate. Such an assertion is made by every husband who verbally abuses his wife, and then buys her flowers and candy. “Judge me not by my words but by my deeds.” In the real world, words and deeds go hand-in-hand. A president who humiliates Israel’s prime minister by literally walking out on him in the White House, who dispatches his minions to lambaste Israel for the absence of peace, and who misses no opportunity to castigate Israel (except when speaking to Jews in an election year) must be judged on his words as well – not that his deeds have been so remarkable. In fact, his deeds have been fairly lukewarm, and certainly in comparison to those of his predecessors.

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The mainstream media is always insisting that the “Conservative” Republican cannot win but that the Republican nominee should always be a “moderate” who can appeal to independents. That presupposes that independents will not vote for a conservative, but that is demonstrably false. Since Nixon, the “conservative Republican” – Reagan, Bush I, Bush II – has always won, and the more “moderate Republican” – Ford, Bush I (in 1992 after he broke his promise not to raise taxes), Dole and McCain has always lost. Hmm… is the mainstream media setting a stumbling block before the blind? Perhaps they just want the Republicans to nominate a good loser.

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From the Campaign ’12 Democratic playbook: “The Old Way and the New.” The old way was where “fat cats keep down the little guy, and protect their power through political contributions.” The new way, presumably, empowers the little man to take his rightful place in society and the workforce. Will this ploy work? It did – it was the 1912 campaign of Woodrow Wilson, word for word. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – the more things change, the more they stay the same. Actually, what this shows is that nothing changes at all – the playbook, the slogans, the accusations, the rhetoric, and the fear-mongering are identical from election to election. One over-the-top Wilson supporter in an advertisement accused both of Wilson’s opponents – President Taft and former President Teddy Roosevelt – of being supported by “food poisoners,” harbingers of today’s shrieks that Republicans want to pollute the environment and destroy the planet.

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And from the wisdom of Wyatt Earp: “Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.” He meant firing a gun but I think it applies perfectly to those who read the Torah in public.

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4 responses to “Quick Takes II

  1. You misquoted President Obama to make your point. What he actually said was “you don’t just have to count on my words, you can look at my deeds.”

  2. Actually, that is not what he said. But neither version is very comforting.
    -RSP

  3. Actually, yes, it is exactly what he said: “But as you examine my commitment, you don’t just have to count on my words. You can look at my deeds.” I copied and pasted that from the transcript, which can be found here: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/73588.html

  4. But his words are as troublesome as his deeds. That is the point. No, not what he tells what he thinks is a gullible Jewish audience, or the Jewish liberals who choose not to see what is in front of their eyes because of the cognitive dissonance they are then forced to live with. So, we can’t count on his words, and even less so on his deeds. (And the audience he spoke to didn’t buy his rhetoric, nor should any believe for a moment the (mild) platitudes that Israel’s leaders extend to Obama, which are nothing more than a diplomatic nicety.
    Which words reflect Obama’s commitment to Israel? His agreement with Sarkozy that Netanyahu is a liar that he is forced to deal with every day? His blaming Israel for the failure of “peace” talks? His narrative of Israel’s founding that is based on Israel occupying “Palestinian” land because of the Holocaust? His demand that Israel agree to return to the 1967 borders even before negotiations begin? His demand that Israel stop building apartment buildings in its own capital? His cozying up to many of Israel’s enemies?
    Obama’s words on Israel (and deeds) have drawn rebukes from Chuck Schumer, Joe Lieberman, Steve Rothman, Harry Reid, John McCain, Steny Hoyer, Bob Menendez and many others. His words have often reflected a “blame Israel first” mentality, and he has the deeds to match his rhetoric.
    Left to his own devices – i.e., free of Congressional oversight and the requirements of electoral politics – Obama would be disastrous for Israel’s future. In word, and in deed.
    The Kool Aid drinkers will never cease from the earth.
    For shame.
    -RSP