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Right Turn: January 23, 2011 - January 29, 2011

Friday question

The president delivered his State of the Union Address, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) gave the Republicans' response. Which do you think was most effective, and why? I will select one pro-Obama comment and one pro-Ryan comment to discuss on...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Friday question  
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Bipartisan support for veto of anti-Israel UN resolution

House Foreign Committee chairwoman U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen yesterday released a letter in support of a veto of a U.N. resolution condemning Israel. The letter was also signed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virg.); House Democratic Whip Steny H....

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 12:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Israel  
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Battery-powered cars and other projects government should avoid

Charles Lane's column on battery-powered cars (they don't work so well in the cold) is a timely reminder, not only for Beltway drivers who suffered through a hellish commute Wednesday night, but for the entire country. The government is not...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
 
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Obama blowing it again in the Middle East

Jackson Diehl traces the serial missteps of the Obama administration in wrapping its arms around Hosni Mubarak. Diehl urges Obama to correct course: "In fact, U.S. support for a peaceful transition from Mubarak's government to a new democracy could be...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Mike Pence passes on a presidential run

As Chris Cilliza reported last night, Rep. Mike Pence (R- Ind.) opted out of a presidential run in 2012. He seems keen to run for governor instead. Pence had garnered praise from an array of conservatives, especially among religious conservatives....

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Rand Paul neo-isolationism widely condemned

During the 2010 campaign I repeatedly raised concerns that Rand Paul, now the Republican senator from Kentucky, was a proponent of a neo-isolationist foreign policy. That concern has now been borne out. In an interview on CNN he proposed cutting...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 9:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  Senate GOP  
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Morning Bits

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) explains how to cut the budget. Sen. Harry Reid, who has proclaimed Social Security to be on sound footing and has defended earmarks and every domestic spending boondoggle, says Ryan doesn't know what he is talking...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 28, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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New Black Panther Party case: The facts are in

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights came out in December with a draft of its interim report on the New Black Panthers Party scandal. Earlier today a final report was posted on the commission's website, and with it, a flurry...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 7:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  law  
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Republican 2012 contenders line up

Today or tomorrow, we hear, Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) will announce what he is running for, governor or president. Sen. John Thune is edging closer to running for president. And Mitt Romney is keeping his powder dry, content to stay...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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And what about Steve Cohen?

A large group of rabbis have drafted a letter and placed an ad in the Wall Street Journal asking Fox News to muzzle Glenn Beck. They specifically object to his comments dismissing the concerns of "leftwing rabbis" whom Beck claims...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 1:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Media  
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Change comes in the form of congressional oversight

For two years, the substance and the ramifications of Obama's legislative agenda went unchallenged by the House and Senate committees responsible for oversight. That is the reality of partisan politics, no matter how we may rail at the abdication of...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  House GOP  
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Tunisia's revolution and Egypt's protests should give Obama pause

As I wrote yesterday, Tunisia has lit a fire in Egypt. Secular protesters mounted an impressive showing of strength. Stephen McInerney of the Project on Middle East Democracy told me yesterday that the government used hoses and rubber bullets because...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Virginia's Rep. Jim Moran -- beyond uncivil

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has been roundly criticized in the past for his noxious comments about Jews and Israel. On an al-Hurra broadcast last night, he surpassed himself in calling much of the country a bunch of racists. The Republican...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 8:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  House Democrats  
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Morning Bits

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), aside from being a GOP rock star, is a very decent guy, according to a Marine mom. Aside from that, do you think it is a good idea, Sen. McConnell? "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 27, 2011; 7:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Rep. Paul Ryan 1, ObamaCare 0

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) held an important hearing on ObamaCare, showing just how important is the process for educating the public, and thereby setting defenders of ObamaCare back on their heels. As he did last night, Ryan...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Obamacare  
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Tunisia isn't only about Tunisia

Jeffrey Feltman, the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, traveled to Tunisia and then made this pronouncement to Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy: What happened in Tunisia strikes me as uniquely Tunisian. That the events that took place...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Interview with Sen. Jon Kyl

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is among the Republicans' most vociferous advocates of fiscal sobriety and a strong national defense. He presumably is not on the list of 2012 contenders, but perhaps he should be on the 2012 ticket, or at...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Senate GOP  
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Final thoughts on SOTU and Rep. Paul Ryan

The consensus across the political spectrum (allowing for various degrees of partisanship) was that the president's speech was too long and boring, and that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) helped his career and his party. Less discussed, I think, are several...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  President Obama  
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Think other nations will notice Obama isn't into foreign policy?

Granted, we have big domestic problems. But the president has sole responsibility as commander in chief and tremendous authority in foreign affairs. His audience last night was not only in the United States, but in Moscow, Tehran, Damascus, Bogotá, Ramallah...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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A defense of capitalism

Peter Wehner of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (and a former advisor to President George W. Bush) and Arthur C. Brooks, who heads AEI, are out with a concise defense of capitalism. In a mere 100 pages (including an...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Conservative movement  
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Morning Bits

Change: The new chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wants to evaluate our involvement in the U.N.: "U.S. policy on the United Nations should be based on three fundamental questions: Are we advancing American interests? Are we upholding American...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 26, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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A State of the Union response or a 2012 match-up?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) had the unenviable task of responding to the State of the Union. You can't compete with the president in pomp and setting, and it is absurd to try to match him line by line and program...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 10:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  House GOP  
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Where was Obama the centrist in his State of the Union?

If you were expecting a moderate Obama or a bold Obama, you were disappointed, most likely, by Tuesday's State of the Union Address. In a nutshell: Obama proposed a ton of new domestic spending, promised to freeze discretionary spending (attained...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 10:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  President Obama  
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Should he have brought flowers? Nancy says, 'No thanks, Eric.'

I asked the spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about reports that Cantor would be sitting with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). To my surprise, he replied, "Minority Leader Pelosi declined Eric's offer, which would have resulted in...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  House GOP  
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Stuart Levey departs

Stuart Levey, who headed the Treasury Department's sanctions programs aimed at Iran and other rogue regimes and reconceived how economic sanctions could be applied, is retiring. Former staff and those who know him well tell me the stated reason is...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Iran  
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Rep. Gary Ackerman blasts J Street

Liberal Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman of New York sent the following press release: "After learning of J Street's current public call for the Obama Administration to not veto a prospective UN Security Council resolution that, under the rubric of concern...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Israel  
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Irving Kristol still persuades

The Neoconservative Persuasion, a collection of essays by Irving Kristol, the man dubbed the father of neo-conservatism, could not have come out at a better time. It is peculiar to say that of a volume of writings that all appeared...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Conservative movement  
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Another Middle East debacle: Lebanon on the brink

News reports describe the current situation in Lebanon: Iranian ally Hezbollah moved to the brink of controlling Lebanon's next government on Monday, setting off angry protests and drawing warnings from the U.S. that its support could be in jeopardy. Nearly...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Iran  
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So much for fiscal leadership from Obama

The Post reports: President Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission's recommendation to raise the retirement age, and otherwise reduce Social Security benefits, in Tuesday's State of the Union address, cheering liberals and drawing a stark line between...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Budget  
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Republican freshman: Rep. Kristi Noem

When I spoke to her by phone yesterday afternoon, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) was still confirming her Democratic "date" for the State of the Union address. However, the new at-large congresswoman from South Dakota is not one to confuse symbolism...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  House GOP  
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Aren't we supposed to cover what is going on?

I concur entirely with Jonathan Capehart on his polite refusal to take the "no Palin" pledge. He writes: I have never thought of Palin as the most important conservative politician in America. I would probably give that honor to Rep....

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 8:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Sarah Palin  
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Morning Bits

Not all are believers in the new-and-improved Obama when it comes to foreign policy. "Decades of U.S. policy are nibbled away or jettisoned altogether to reestablish relations with the penal colony that goes by the name of the Republic of...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 25, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Interview: Gov. Susana Martinez

While the national media has largely focused on the new House and Senate Republicans, Republicans were elected to governorships in Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kansas, Oklahoma, Maine and Tennessee. Some familiar faces (e.g. John Kasich in...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 3:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Governors  
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Israel bashers, indeed

Last week I reported on the letter sent to the president, urging him to embrace the Palestinian-drafted U.N. resolution condemning the building of settlements by Israel. I wrote: "The usual crowd of Israel bashers has sent the president a letter...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  Israel  
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Return to realism: There won't be a Middle East breakthrough

When we last read a piece by former Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller, he had zigzagged from chiding the believers in the "religion" of the peace process to sunny optimism that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could get...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Israel  
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A Republican intervention

President Obama has spent the last month or so navigating his way back to the center of the political spectrum. He agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts, hired some business-friendly advisors, and globbed on to Jeffrey Immelt. But he...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Budget  
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Obama's State of the Union address -- what about foreign policy?

Much of the talk in the run-up to the State of the Union address has focused on domestic policy. But we are a country at war, facing major challenges from diverse sources. What should the president say on foreign policy...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Obama's State of the Union address -- and crony capitalism

President Obama is warming up for his State of the Union address, sounding the theme of "competitiveness." It sounds positive -- don't we all want to be competitive? But upon closer analysis, this is the worst of crony capitalism. Take,...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  economy  
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Friday question answered

In response to my question as to how much of the Republican Study Group's spending cut proposal will get passed, readers' responses ranged from deep skepticism to cautious enthusiasm. The most comprehensive answer came from the StatistQuo (who gets bonus...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Friday question  
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Morning Bits

It just might be they don't believe in color-blind civil rights enforcement. In a New York firefighter case: "Judge Garaufis is trying to impose quotas, and the Justice Department backs him. This push disregards a high-profile 2009 Supreme Court decision...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 24, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Keith Olbermann's departure

As Howard Kurtz and others have reported, Keith Olbermann's departure was in the works for some time. Last fall I learned from some of those involved in the dispute that MSNBC didn't quite have the grounds to fire him when...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 23, 2011; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Media  
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New Hampshire's Tea Party and tea leaves

About 400 New Hampshire Republicans got together yesterday to elect a new chairman and to register their early presidential preferences. It is, as I have emphasized before, silly to translate straw poll results (or any poll results) into a prediction...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 23, 2011; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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So why keep talking to Iran?

It's no surprise that the latest round of nuclear talks with Iran have collapsed. There was zero progress toward halting Iran's march toward nuclear capability, an outcome that could have been predicted by anyone seriously assessing the regime's behavior. European...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 23, 2011; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Iran  
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Let 1,000 flowers bloom -- and a dozen presidental contenders

Bill Kristol writes in opposition to the herd mentality that demands that the 2012 presidential favorite be determined now: What we need in 2011 is what Lincoln called, in a different context, "an open field and a fair chance" for...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 23, 2011; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Morning Bits

Common Cause gets nearly all the facts wrong in its complaint about Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Embarrassing for lawyers claiming judges haven't followed ethical rules. There is an ethical rule, after all, about filing frivolous suits. House Foreign...

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 23, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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