Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Casts Doubt on Direct Diplomacy with Iran

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 8:15 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP reports Barack Obama “scoffed” at Ahmadinejad’s demand today that the U.S. apologize for meddling in Iran and characterized Obama’s response as an “unusually personal war of words.” Not only did Obama criticize Ahmadinejad for his government’s violence against protesters, he also backed away from his prior willingness to meet with leaders of the Iranian regime:

“Obama also said for the first time that his offer to loosen the decades-old U.S. diplomatic freeze with Iran through direct talks is now in question.

“There is no doubt that any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran is going to be affected by the events of the last several weeks,” Obama said, without elaborating.”

This is not the Iran Obama thought he knew.


Obama Administration Reportedly Drafting Order on Indefinite Detention

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 7:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It’s late Friday afternoon and the media is dominated by the news of Michael Jackson’s death, which makes it a good time for the Obama Administration to release some inconvenient news. And, in fact, the Washington Post reports the Obama Administration is drafting an executive order that will allow dangerous detainees to be held indefinitely:

“The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.”

If true, Obama will be taking the same position on this issue as the Bush Administration.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has urged the Obama Administration to establish a National Security Court to supervise dangerous detainees, but the same three senior officials discounted that option because it “would be difficult to pass and likely to fracture Obama’s party.”

This is not like Bush, who IMO always put his Country before his Party on national security issues.

UPDATE 6/27/2009: Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times’ Top of the Ticket has turned up his sarcasm dial and is not impressed with Obama’s “refreshing” new leadership:

“This is an obviously inspiring sign of the new style of leadership the Democrat promised and is finally bringing to the White House. As one blogger put it, George W. Obama. And it shows the kind of powerful political pragmatism with which the ex-senator from Illinois approaches this job at such a crucial and globally turbulent time. Strangely, it was leaked to the Post on a slow summer Friday afternoon when it wouldn’t gain much attention.”


Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade Bill Vote

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 6:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As Karl notes below, Waxman-Markey passed the House this evening. The vote was 219-212.

There were 168 Republicans and 44 Democrats who voted No, and 8 Republicans who voted Yes: Reps. Mary Bono Mack (CA), Mike Castle (DE), Steven Kirk (IL), John McHugh (NY), Leonard Lance (NJ), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Dave Reichert (WA), and Chris Smith (NJ).

Oklahoma Senator Inhofe claims the Senate will kill the bill.


The more things Hopeandchange…

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:24 am

[Posted by Karl]

As Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her minions work on buying enough votes from farm state Democtrats to squeak an unread version of the cap-and-trade boondoggle through the House, it might be easy to feel discouraged about the state of American politics. However, the most significant part of the story is the degree to which the Democratic leadership is having to buy votes to get their 1,300 page surprise package through the House, where their party not only holds a comfortable majority, but also controls the terms of debate. It will almost certainly be a different story in the Senate, where cap-and-trade is unlikely to surface until September at the earliest.

Moreover, there is the bigger picture:

There is a growing sense among Democrats that they will not be able to accomplish the entire agenda leaders set for 2009, pushing major policy debates into the midterm election year.

Concerns over the cost of overhauling the nation’s healthcare system have served as a wake-up call to lawmakers.

They had planned for a busy summer of healthcare and climate change debate, a dozen spending bills, a defense authorization and hearings on President Obama’s first Supreme Court nominee.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) even promised to add a sweeping overhaul of immigration to that list.

But the revelation that revamping the nation’s healthcare model could greatly exceed $1 trillion over the next 10 years, along with an intra-party debate in the House on climate change legislation, has lawmakers feeling the weight of the packed agenda and sensing the need to narrow the list.

None of this should be surprising. History tells us that gridlock is the norm, and that significant legislation is approved with the same frequency, regardless of whether government is divided or united. Inexperienced Democratic presidents elected every 16 years or so since WWII promise Hopeandchange, and always run smack into the reality of our messy little Constitutional republic.

Barack Obama (and TIME magazine) may have thought the last election opened the door to the New New Deal, but history would again suggest the opposite. Democrats picked up 97 House seats in 1932; it was the only House between 1899 and the present day in which a majority of members were freshmen. The GOP House win in 1994 seems puny by comparison.

Moreover, we may well be looking at the Democrats’ high-water mark for the near term. Polls consistently find that Pres. Obama is more popular than his policies, and Obama’s personal popularity will likely decline as unemployment continues to rise through 2010.

None of which means the Right should not get upset over the prospects for cap-and-trade, or any of the other items on Obama’s “too much, too soon” agenda. To the contrary, vigorous opposition is a necessary part of the natural order of things. It does mean that if cap-and-trade passes in the House today, the Right can continue the fight tomorrow with a fair amount of confidence that the Left will find every next step at least as difficult as the ones they are taking today to squeak through the House they supposedly dominate.


Update: As of noon EDT, the Democrats still did not have the votes, and are threatening to keep Congress open through the weekend until they have the votes.

Update x2: Waxman-Markey passes, 219-212 — a margin that sends cap-and-trade to the Senate with zero momentum.  Indeed, one wonders if the last few Reps were reminded of how unlikely this bill was to return for final passage in a form resembling the bill that passed today.


Friday Music

Filed under: General,Music — Patterico @ 12:06 am

I couldn’t choose just one. So I chose five. Enjoy them all.

First up is “Spotlights,” a wonderfully upbeat song by Let Go, a great band from Tempe, Arizona that I touted in this 2006 post. If this one doesn’t get you up and dancing then it’s off to the old folks’ home with you.

Next up is “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” by Jay Semko, front man of Canada’s Northern Pikes. Little known fact: I got to have dinner with the Northern Pikes once. Like an idiot, I didn’t get a picture.

I just picked up several solo albums by Semko. I recommend them highly.

“Sick of Myself”: mindless, fun, upbeat power pop from Matthew Sweet:

“Imagemaker” by Kevin Gilbert, the man who got screwed by Sheryl Crow — first literally, then figuratively. Literally is always better. Stick with it until 1:05 and you’ll hear a voice so much like Genesis-era Peter Gabriel that it will send a shiver down your spine.

No embed on this one, but it’s worth the clickthrough for some good ol’ Texas rock and roll, courtesy of Cross Canadian Ragweed. The song: Fightin’ For.

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