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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 12/ 2/2010

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

When do you think George W. Bush will get his due for his AIDS initiative? "The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is a historically impressive achievement. It will rank among the handful of the most important things George W. Bush did as president. And it's an excellent example of a federal government program that works and has advanced tremendous human good -- the kind of effort conservatives, some of whom have a tendency simply to denigrate government, should proudly champion and seek to replicate." Liberals still despise Bush, and many conservatives were never comfortable with "compassionate conservatism," but maybe history will be kinder.

When do you think paleoconservatives will get a clue how horrid they sound to the average voter? "The subsidizing of expensive medications (the biggest part of our AIDS-relief effort, though not all of it) in fact has long-term consequences more likely to be negative than positive. The high incidence of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by customary practices there. What is needed is for people to change those customary practices." Oy.

When do you think the State Department will get around to a performance assessment? Elliott Abrams writes, "The WikiLeaks cables so far released also show how U.S. ambassadors vary in quality. Ambassador James Jeffrey's analysis of Turkey's new foreign policy is sharp and well written. Ambassador Hugo Llorens's message from Honduras about the June 2009 overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya reveals how the Obama administration blundered into backing an ally of Hugo Chavez against the Honduran people's unified desire to throw the bum out."

When do you think the Democrats will knock it off with the gamesmanship? "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday a House vote on extending only middle income tax cuts would not undermine bipartisan negotiations on a broader compromise for the most contentious issue of the lame-duck congressional session." January, I think.

When you do think conservatives will learn that "woe is me" anti-elitism is so 2008? Mike Huckabee whines: "This whole idea that somehow I'm not capable because I grew up duck hunting and deer hunting as opposed to maybe riding on the side of the saddle -- I'm sorry, but I feel like I represent a real part of America." I think girls ride on the side of the saddle, but, anyhooo, did someone say duck hunters couldn't be president?

When do you think silly talk about a primary challenge to Obama will die down? Ed Kilgore is right: "Sure, some progressives have been raging at Obama as of late. But anyone credibly threatening to topple Obama would have to pry away a significant chunk of Obama's support among African Americans -- and in case you haven't noticed, Obama is the first black president." Blunt, but correct.

When do you think Democrats will acknowledge they have more than a "messaging" problem? "In November, 36.0% of American Adults identified themselves as Republicans; 34.7% considered themselves Democrats, and 29.3% were not affiliated with either major party. That's the largest number of Republicans since February 2005 and the first time ever that Rasmussen Reports polling has found more people identifying as Republicans than Democrats."

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 2, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Republicans amazed by Democrats' gamesmanship


After over fifty years of trying to have a dialogue with conservatives and Republicans, I gave up about 2 years ago. I will read this column with an eye to finding a conservative position that is not self-serving, illogical, delusional, a lie, or flat-out immoral. I see items in your bio I could disagree with but I'll wait until you post them into a column. The best part? I'm a language nut so expanding my Yiddish vocabulary is it. My favorite Yiddish word? Balabusta, as in My Wife.

Posted by: pbarrett1 | December 2, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather be right than how my perspective "sounds to the average voters." In fact, the true measure of success fighting AIDS is in the reduction towards elimination the its prevalence. What does expensive drugs do in that regard? Who is more the humanitarian?

Posted by: Captain_Universe | December 2, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

The "anti-elitism" exists amongst democrats and republicans alike. But the whining about this or that has never been in vogue, not in 2008, not ever.

Posted by: Captain_Universe | December 2, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

As to an Obama primary challenge, economic woes affect voters across racial and socioeconomic divides. Obama won his 2008 election promising to be all things to all people while running against someone who wasn't even on the ballot, Bush 43. He set high expectations that he apparently can't deliver. Presuming blacks are just as underwhelmed with the results, a primary challenge while not likely is still possible.

Posted by: Captain_Universe | December 2, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse


In your 50 year quest to find a reasonable conservative position, did you ever consider welfare? Lifelong multi-generational welfare was US policy for over fifty years until conservatives prevailed upon Clinton to limit welfare to two years. Do you not agree that the current welfare policy is better than the previous policy?

Posted by: Inagua1 | December 2, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Don't Ask

The interest groups which leaked parts of the report - they mischaracterized it dramatically -

There are mulitiple polls and numbers in the report which do NOT support the repeal of Don't Ask.

Clearly, the interest groups have run wild with the media - Greg has wildly pushed this with little balance.

58% of Marines STATE CLEARLY that putting gays in the military would hurt readiness.

Again, a few polls asking 19 or 20 year olds their opinion has little relevance on major issues of force readiness and military strenth. And the costs of transition.

The report is talking about massive SENSITIVITY training -

The military is about SHOOTING PEOPLE AND FIGHTING WARS, not sensitivity.

The whole thing becomes ridiculous.


Posted by: RainForestRising | December 2, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats are royally screwed because of their need to pander to the self pitying black vote. These people base their vote almost entirely on identity politics. This inexorably will push the party further to the left. It might be incapable of winning contests except in the bluest of areas. In other words, the Democratic Party may no longer be a viable national entity.

Posted by: DavidThomson | December 2, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

36% vs 34.7%. Wow. That's...uh...well that's something I guess.

Posted by: jhnnywalkr | December 2, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Re: Expensive Drugs for AIDS

Lowering the prevalence of AIDS requires reducing the chance of transmission. Faithful monogamy and celibacy are two behaviors that are not "customary" and indeed, require cultural change to have an effect. Drugs also reduce both transmission and suffering, increase productivity and independence. The consequence of a mother dying of AIDS has a broad and devastating ripple effect on many people, especially her children, who lose economically, emotionally, and socially.

To modify behaviors across society is difficult but not impossible (Uganda is showing great success and it's transmission rate is the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa.) But maintenance of societal and familial relationships is critical even for this effort- adults dying long, lingering deaths destroys the fabric of society.

Have some compassion, guys.

Posted by: bbmoe | December 2, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"The high incidence of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by customary practices there. What is needed is for people to change those customary practices."

Do you seriously mean to take issue with that, Miss Rubin? Or with the rather well-established wisdom that you get more of what you subsidize?

Posted by: fporretto | December 2, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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