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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 01/30/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

J Street goes around the bend and attacks liberal friend of Israel Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.). Perhaps this is some new strategy -- vilify someone from the only group (left-leaning Democrats) who might buy their message.

Fareed Zakaria goes neo-con. Now, after vilifying George W. Bush and advocates of the freedom agenda Obama should have championed, Zakaria concedes: "This sort of striving for democracy is what Arab intellectuals have yearned for, speaking of the freedom deficit in their lands, which is quite true. And, of course, George W. Bush set forth to fix the problem with what he called a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East. . . . But give President George W. Bush his due. He saw the problem and he believed that Arabs were not genetically incapable of democracy, and he put America's moral might behind the great cause of Arab reform."

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) goes for the Bush freedom agenda, calling for a "free and open democratic process" in Egypt.

What goes up, often must come down in politics. As the public realizes Obama isn't showing any leadership on our fiscal mess, his poll numbers slide back below 50 percent.

The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee goes where Obama won't: "The U.S. and other responsible nations must work together to support the pursuit of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Egypt and throughout the world."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner goes to Davos to tell the world, "I know there are people who would like to make very deep cuts that would undermine the recovery." And they know a president who is unwilling to stop spending money.

If a Mitt Romney 2008 supporter goes looking elsewhere, will he find a more desirable candidate? "An array of Republican heavyweights who backed Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential bid are not yet committed to - and in some cases, downright skeptical of - the former Massachusetts governor's all-but-certain 2012 campaign. . . . Romney's loss of support may be most significant in South Carolina, which every Republican nominee has won since 1980. The most glaring absence, so far, is [Sen. Jim] DeMint, who hasn't committed to Romney. . . .DeMint told POLITICO last month that while Romney was near the top of his list he had 'an open mind' and noted that there are 'others who are looking at it.'" How in the world willl the super hawk on spending endorse the author of ObamaCare "lite"?

Elliott Abrams goes back to the question George W. Bush asked in 2003: "Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?" Abrams answers that "the revolt in Tunisia, the gigantic wave of demonstrations in Egypt and the more recent marches in Yemen all make clear that Bush had it right - and that the Obama administration's abandonment of this mind-set is nothing short of a tragedy."

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 30, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Comments

Actually the Bush "freedom" decision tree started with the question "Does the dictator help the U.S. maintain a secure supply of oil?". If the answer was no, then the people deserved freedom. If the answer was yes, we would send the dictatorial regime over $1 billion dollars of aid each year. You will notice most Bush allies are more concerned with whether Islamists will take over and if we will still be able to use the Suez Canal than they are with what the Egyptian people actually want.

Posted by: billyvw | January 30, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

The Bush Freedom Agenda for the Arab Muslim world endorsed the Cedar Revolution that resulted in Hezbollah gaining control of Lebanon; the Gaza election that was won by Hamas; the Algerian election which resulted in a military coup; and the mess in Iraq.

How Jennifer, Eliot Abrams, and the other neocons can persist in the delusion that Arab Muslims are capable of effective self-government is staggering. These people suffer from religiously induced backwardness that cannot be overcome without a total reformation or renunciation of Islam.

Posted by: Inagua1 | January 30, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

If the US were willing to develop its multiple and plentiful energy sources, we would not need to cater to Middle East dictators.

Posted by: OldeDog | January 30, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

The main cause of the riots in Tunisia and Egypt has been the sharp and unexpected rise in the price of food, particularly in the price of the staple bread. This sharp rise is due primarily to the diversion of grains from the food supply to the energy supply that is the lynchpin of President Obama's "green revolution" and his government's subsidization of grain for use as fuel and not grain for use as food.
Would it be too much to ask the American President to put his fanatical biofuel plans on hold for a couple of years in order to insure an adequate food supply for the world's poor and disadvantaged until the grain supply can be expanded enought to provide for both?

Posted by: Beniyyar | January 30, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

O-dog and Beniy have identified the consequences of the radical enviro agenda: the"butterfly effect" of diverting corn in Kansas and riots in Egypt. (This reminds one of the abolition of DDT and the consequence of 50,000,000 plus deaths in Africa.) It is a frightening and dangerous time and we absolutely have the wrong person in the White House to deal with this crisis.

We will soon see gas prices through the roof. Obama's stated desire to see us paying $4.00s a gallon will seem reasonable compared to what we are going to experience and the predictable economic consequences.

Perhaps we Americans will be in the streets, too. Obama has obviously chosen to ignore the will of the people as expressed in the Nov. elections. What alternative do we have? Can we afford to wait for 2012?

Posted by: DocC1 | January 30, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

"But give President George W. Bush his due. He saw the problem and he believed that Arabs were not genetically incapable of democracy, and he put America's moral might behind the great cause of Arab reform."

Except when he sent dozens, prehaps hundreds to Egypt to be tortured under rendition specifically to take advantage of the fact that it WAS a police state.

That also makes it difficult to explain why he invalidated the free election of Hamas in Gaza, after trumpeting a free agenda.

Finally the Iranian double agent he inserted in Iraq, Ahmed Chalabi, turned up as election commissioner, where he disqualified hundreds of Sunni candidates, before the election leading to a stalemate in forming a government that lasted almost a year.

Other than that, he was very big on freedom!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"The U.S. and other responsible nations must work together to support the pursuit of freedom, democracy, and human rights in Egypt and throughout the world."


Except in Cuba where doing so would interfere with the plans of the Cuban emigre junta to takeover the island economically after Castro's death.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"Abrams answers that "the revolt in Tunisia, the gigantic wave of demonstrations in Egypt and the more recent marches in Yemen all make clear that Bush had it right - and that the Obama administration's abandonment of this mind-set is nothing short of a tragedy."

Looks a a brouhaha among former Bush staffers, because the Cowardly Lion John Bolton is saying the exact opposite.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

beniyyar wrote:

"Would it be too much to ask the American President to put his fanatical biofuel plans on hold for a couple of years in order to insure an adequate food supply for the world's poor and disadvantaged until the grain supply can be expanded enought to provide for both?"

Well ok, but the Republican Senators from the state of Ethanol, Grassley and Lugar, are going to have little problem with it! LOL

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

DocC:

You better talk with Jennifer and get your act straight. She says they're demonstrating about freedom and democracy.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

thanks johnmarshall5446 on all points except I thought Lugar wants to remove the ethanol subsidies. and I still maintain weather has had more influence on current food inflation in many places.

I think the U.S. might want to re-think labelling canisters of export tear gas "Made in the USA".

Posted by: K2K2 | January 30, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

K2K2:

Fron the world-famous Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, this August:

"The campaign to delay or even derail a proposed increase in the amount of ethanol in gasoline sold at U.S. pumps is misguided, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said Wednesday."

There's much more, but I have to go out and buy a car, that doesn't use ethanol today!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Physiognomically if not politically, 'Cowardly Lion' is right on the money honey for Amb. Bolton, ha ha.
But if access to oil is not a vital national interest for the country, what is?

Posted by: aardunza | January 30, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

aardunza:

Excellent point but apparently the Bush team chose to obfuscate the matter when invading Iraq. apparnetly it was very clear to them at the time, as Alan Greenspan pointed out in his book.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | January 30, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Whether or not Arabs are genetically incapable of democracy - and was Fareed Zakaria just quoting former President Bush or agreeing with him? - it is obvious that the sole politcal force in Egypt to produce "reform", as it were, is the Islamic fundamentalist forces, prominently the Moslem Brotherhood. So, will we Western observers, and those of us in Israel, be seeing an exchange of regime but for the worse? Worse for democracy, worse for reform and worse for peace and regional stability? Who will be applauding then?

Posted by: yisraelmedad | January 31, 2011 5:09 AM | Report abuse

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