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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 01/ 4/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Former president George W. Bush does more for the cause of democracy in Belarus than the current Oval Office occupant has. "Peaceful postelection protests ended in violence after Belarusian security forces cracked down on demonstrators, beating and arresting hundreds of people, including a number of [Alyaksandr] Lukashenka's presidential opponents. The 'Voices Of Solidarity' project brings together dozens of prominent international and Belarusian politicians and artists to read the names of opposition supporters detained after the vote. Former U.S. President George W. Bush reads the names of the five presidential candidates still being held in a KGB prison."

The Post editorial board observes that the administration should do more to oppose the crackdown, explaining "words have not been followed by actions that would impose a tangible cost on Mr. Lukashenko and his thuggish collaborators - though Poland has taken unilateral steps. Broader measures are readily available: To start, Western governments could reimpose visa bans and asset freezes on senior Belarusan officials that were lifted in 2008. The list could be expanded to include those officials implicated in the arrests and any future trials, and it could be applied to state-owned companies."

More good news for the Republican Governors' Association, which emerged as a powerhouse in the 2010 election cycle. "The Republican Governors Association announced Monday that Phil Cox will serve as executive director for the 2012 cycle. . . . In 2009, Cox helped McDonnell, now the RGA vice chairman, easily win the governor's race over Democrat Creigh Deeds one year after President Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry the state in 40 years."

More good reviews for the female candidates for the RNC chairmanship. Jim Geraghty (who sat next to me in the overflowing press section) writes: "I will be surprised if neither of the women running, Maria Cino and Ann Wagner, end up among the final two candidates. . . . [Ann] Wagner is arguably the most polished candidate, and her answers blended personal details -- like her laugh-inducing comment that she's been married "faithfully, and I guess, happily" -- with discussions of what the RNC must do, including a complete 50 state plan due April 1 and a new early voting strategy."

You'd be hard pressed to find a more candid statement by a pol than this: "Mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun today said she won't make her tax returns public before next month's election. 'Because I don't want to,' Braun said when asked why she wouldn't be releasing them in the time before the Feb. 22 election."

You'll see more votes on ObamaCare after this one. "House Republicans will vote next week to repeal the new health care law, making good on a top-tier GOP campaign promise and setting up a showdown with President Barack Obama over his signature domestic policy achievement.Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor announced the timeline for considering the repeal legislation Monday: the bill will post on the Rules Committee website Monday night, the Rules Committee will meet Thursday, and the rule for the debate will be considered on the House floor Friday. The repeal vote will follow on Wednesday, Jan 12."

There is more evidence that Obama's been growing the federal government while the private sector shrinks. "Even controlling for the effects of census employment, federal employment has increased constantly throughout the recession and into today. Since January 2008, net of census hiring, the federal government has grown by 3.5 percent, gaining 98,000 jobs. That means there is much more behind the growth in federal employment than census hiring. . . .And the private sector has lost 7.2 million jobs, or 6 percent of its January 2008 workforce."

More eye-rolling from conservatives on a possible Jon Huntsman presidential race. Jay Cost writes, "Are Republicans really going to nominate an Obama administration official? Of course not, which means Huntsman would get squeezed on both ends. The mainstream media would inevitably tag him as an ambitious politician who betrayed his boss, while his Republican opponents would tell GOP primary voters that he is just a tool of Obama and the Democrats - the RINO to end all RINOs! My feeling is that, when it's all said and done, Huntsman destroyed any chance of being president when he accepted this ambassadorship from Obama."

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 4, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Comments

People should stop rolling their eyes any time someone who has very successful executive experience in governing a state and in-depth foreign policy experience that includes ambassador to China during the Obama administration.

Most voters would love someone who puts country above party by agreeing to serve in China, which is probably Obama's only real foreign policy success, assuming Huntsman has been pro-active in keeping increasingly tense relations with China from exploding.

A stint as ambassador under Obama erases the past??? "...After college, Huntsman worked as a White House staff assistant in the Reagan Administration, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador to Singapore in the administration of President George H.W. Bush and a Deputy United States Trade Representative in the George W. Bush Administration."

Not to mention how handy it would be to have a President fluent in Mandarin to negotiate the sale of California to China -a great way to reduce the federal deficit!

Drop the knee-jerk RINO charge, or all the GOP will be able to offer in 2012 is Rick Santorum.

Posted by: K2K2 | January 4, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer, why is your grasp on history and geography so fragile outside of the US and the Middle East?

The reason they call it Belarus, and not Belakurd, or Belapole is obvious. Ethnically speaking they are another Russian minority group, and not really a nation at all historically or any other way.

Also your comment about former President Bush is ironic:

"Former U.S. President George W. Bush reads the names of the five presidential candidates still being held in a KGB prison."

Lukashenko has been president since 1994, and all that the Bush adminisrtation did to change that was to call him "Europe's last dictator", in the 8 years they both held office.

I find it ironic that a conservative such as yourself does not accept that democracy is a Western Civilization concept, and for the most part has been unexportable outside areas without those traditions for any length of time.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 4, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

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