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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 02/10/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) calls a halt -- by e-mail -- to a very odd Senate career. "The announcement leaves Democrats scrambling to field a strong candidate who can keep the GOP from regaining the seat lost by Republican Sen. George Allen, who was ousted by Webb by about 9,000 votes in the 2006 election. Allen, a former governor and congressman, is running for his old seat but faces primary opposition. Webb's exit poses potential problems for Democrats, who are clinging to a narrow majority in the Senate and have struggled in state elections since President Barack Obama's 2008 win."

Peter Wehner calls for an end to the Iraq revisionism: "Donald Rumsfeld certainly doesn't deserve the entire blame for what went wrong in Iraq. But as defense secretary, he deserves a good deal of it. The Pentagon's Phase IV (occupation and transition) planning was badly mismanaged. There was a huge gap between ends (a secure, stable Iraq) and means (the number of troops and their counterinsurgency mission). The early signs of the insurgency were misread. And Rumsfeld himself never accepted that a massive nation-building effort in Iraq was required. I can understand Secretary Rumsfeld's desire to shape the historical record in a way that is most flattering to him. But it is what it is. Iraq was on edge, not on the mend, when he resigned. For almost his entire tenure, Rumsfeld was indifferent or hostile to the strategy that turned a losing war into a winning one."

Elliott Abrams calls foul on the spin that Hosni Hubarak is in "transition": "The conduct of the Egyptian government suggests a different goal: Mubarakism without Mubarak. The police continue to abuse peaceful demonstrators, and would not do so without orders. Those who have been jailed tell chilling stories about their detention and the beatings they and other prisoners received. The 30-year-old Emergency Law has not even been lifted, something that could be done quite literally with the stroke of a pen. . . . In fact, the best explanation for the regime's reactions since demonstrations broke out is that the 'deep state'--the combination of police, military, corporate, and ruling party interests that have run things in Egypt for four decades--is hanging on and intends no real changes."

A New York Republican congressman calls it quits after internet photos surface.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) gets Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to call the whistle on the spend-a-thon.

The electorate calls out Obama for his performance on the deficit. "President Barack Obama's approval rating for handling the federal budget deficit has gone from bad to worse in recent months, even as his ratings on all other major national issues have generally held steady. Currently, 27% of Americans approve of Obama on the deficit, down from 32% in November, while 68% disapprove." Who are those 27 percent?

Hard as it is to imagine the negotiators call it a day: "Military talks between the rival Koreas have collapsed, a unification ministry official in Seoul said on Wednesday, dealing a setback to efforts to restart international aid-for-disarmament talks." How can talks that have never gone anywhere "collapse"?

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 10, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obamacare support melting away
Next: Haley Barbour in Israel


Times of London:

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up President Mubarak if the White House tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt. In a testy personal telephone call on January 29, King Abdullah told President Obama not to humiliate Mr Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the US withdrew its aid programme, worth $1.5 billion annually. America’s closest ally in the Gulf made clear that the Egyptian President must be allowed to stay on to oversee the transition towards peaceful democracy and then leave with dignity. “Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated,” a senior source in the Saudi capital told The Times. Two sources confirmed details of the King’s call


Yikes Really going some when the Saudis have to step in and protect American Interests in the Middle East.

The Saudis basicly told Obama, if you don't do it, we will.

The Saudis are going to be around after Obama's term (singular) and they understand what they are doing.


Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 8:06 AM | Report abuse

If we are going to have a health care bill, the Republicans should come up with their alternative - and Obama should just take that bill.

This idea that Obama is going to write a 2,000 page bill which no one knows what is in it - and somehow Obama thinks that will stands - well that is the stuff of what gets people locked up in mental hospitals.

The funding of Obama's bill - STILL NOT DONE. This bill is STILL a deficit-bomb. It is a ticking time deficit-bomb. So, that part of it is STILL not resolved.

And that is BEFORE the revenue from the individual mandate gets taken out of the equation.

The Federal government should strictly regulate the insurance companies - the ABUSES OF THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES - and the States should take the rest of the health care powers.


Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Obama's health bill has CAUSED the GREAT OBAMA STAGNATION - an Economic time when business uncertainly is so great that not only is investment halted, but hiring is down.

Obviously, this will go down in history as one of the dumbest economic policies in the history of the nation - in the category of Hoovervilles and the Smoot-Harley Tariff.

Obama has been complete ineffective - and COUNTERPRODUCTIVE is probably much more accurate.


Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Jobs are the most important issue

Obama is a complete failure.

There is no other way to see it.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Politico writes today:

The White House is moving to stamp out reports that top officials — including Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — are sending conflicting signals about how best to resolve the crisis in Egypt.


Conflicting signals? It's called OBAMA IS CLUELESS.


Obama's problem in Egypt is policy, not "conflicting signals"

Obama simply does not know what he is doing.

Obama started last week with one policy - BEFORE he listened to the experts. Then the experts started sinking through his THICK EGO, and other considerations began to finally cause Obama to think about the actual CONSEQUENCES.

So, now the policy is in limbo.

Clearly, Obama simply did not understand American National Security INTERESTS in the MIDDLE EAST until this week. The statements coming from the Obama people even up to mid-last week reflected a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of the region.

It was ONLY when Obama realized that if he messed up there would be domestic political implications did he change his tune.

The liberals have imposed on this nation an UNQUALIFIED AND INEXPERIENCED THICK-EGO of a person who is a DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN.

Obama may have averted a major disaster this time. However, the country keeps getting closer and closer to Obama making a major mistake.

This time, by encouraging the protestors who were aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama almost caused ANOTHER WAR in the Middle East.

If Obama continued down that road, the Muslim Brotherhood would have taken over the Egyptian goverenment, and who knows how many other countries in the Middle East. This surely would have caused another war - either during Obama's term or soon after.

Obama should resign immediately. If this nation had a Board of Directors, Obama would have been FIRED last year.


Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul Is Right About Aid to Israel
By Benjamin Friedman

It's about time that a U.S. senator had the chutzpah to say what freshmen Rand Paul did recently on CNN: the United States should stop giving foreign aid to everyone, including Egypt and Israel. Paul may go too far in opposing all aid, but he is right that the case for subsidizing the Israeli military collapsed long ago. (He's right about Egypt too, but I'm focusing here on aid to Israel since that claim generated more controversy and needs more defending). Being pro-Israel does not require arming it with our tax dollars forever. Israel can now defend itself and then some.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 10, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Stuff Rubin refuses to discuss/Part 2

End the Fed? Actually, Maybe Not.
Now that Ron Paul actually has some power over the Fed, what is he going to do with it?
By Annie Lowrey
That first sentence is a neat encapsulation of his economic worldview. And the second could well apply to Paul himself. His career in and out of public office has been devoted to two propositions: 1) The Fed is bad. 2) The gold standard is good. His consistency has been impressive—which is not to say he has been influential. He rarely gets satisfactory answers in hearings, and he'll probably never get satisfaction in his long, lonely crusade to radically alter America's monetary policy.
But if you tilt at windmills long enough, sometimes you hit. And on Wednesday, Paul did: He held his first-ever hearing as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's subcommittee on monetary policy, inviting two Austrian-school economists and one lonely representative from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute to debate how Fed policy affects the unemployment rate.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 10, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Why is it when a democrat gets himself in trouble, the media hardly ever says which party is he from ?????

When a Republican gets in trouble, every story says the word "Republican" at least 10 times, closely followed variations of the word "hypocrisy" at 5 times.

Any democrat who holds himself out for public office and then gets in trouble, is also a hypocrite, obviously a small point to the media. However, at the same time, the slant and tone of the media is nothing less than hypocritical.

Case closed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | February 10, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

From the various accounts of imprisoned journalists and activists the Egyptian military has been taking an active role in violently repressing the ongoing anti Mubarak demonstrations and protests.
For all the Egyptian military tried to appear as if it was the "people's" army sympathetic to the demonstrators, we now know that they were fully supporting the Mubarak regime behind the scenes.
This is a good sign that the stability and leadership that Egypt has provided for the Arab world will remain intact. It is also a positive sign that Egypt will remain a loyal American ally, that Egypt will continue to honor the Egyptian peace accord with Israel, and that Egypt will remain a bulwark against radical Iranian Islamic terrorism.
Thus whether Mubarak stays or leaves, his regime remains.
And Obama ends up, again, with egg on his face.

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 10, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Beniyyar, maybe Pete Wehner of Commentary/Contentions fame isn't pro-Israel enough to suit your taste,but he highly recommended this article:
Realism and the ‘Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations’
Peter Wehner - 02.10.2011 - 10:00 AM
The distinguished Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami, writing in Newsweek, says this:
"So three despots have fallen: Saddam Hussein in 2003, Ben Ali, and, to all intents, Hosni Mubarak. Saddam’s regime had of course been decapitated by American arms. Ben Ali and Mubarak have been brought to account by their own populations. This revolt is an Arab affair through and through. It caught the Pax Americana by surprise; no one in Tunis and Cairo and beyond was waiting on a green light from Washington. The Arab liberals were quick to read Barack Obama, and they gave up on him. They saw his comfort with the autocracies, his eagerness to “engage” and conciliate the dictators.
From afar, the “realists” tell the Arabs that they are playing with fire, that beyond the prison walls there is danger and chaos. Luckily for them, the Arabs pay no heed to these realists, and can recognize the “soft bigotry of low expectations” that animates them. Arabs have quit railing against powers beyond and infidels and foreign conspiracies. For now they are out making and claiming their own history."
Ajami, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of, among other books, The Dream Palace of the Arabs

Posted by: rcaruth | February 10, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

If and when James Webb writes a novel about his Senate experiences, here's a possible title: Fields of Misfire

Posted by: aardunza | February 10, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Well, he wasn't caught with his pants down, but he certainly was caught with his shirt off.

Posted by: aardunza | February 10, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Who are those 27 per cent approving Obama's handling of the deficit??

Uh...his base plus the recently elected Republicans and lackeys (er, support structure) thereof?

Posted by: aardunza | February 10, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

My dear rcaruth, I prefer to take my cues from people who know what they are talking about, like the experts at MEMRI who say,
" All these changes notwithstanding, one constant will remain: the hegemony of the military elite. Those who might be called the true sons of Mubarak – Omar Suleiman, Ahmad Shafiq, Sami Anan, Hussein Tantawi, and many other generals representing the military establishment – will remain in power and will retain their grip over Egypt and its resources"
This at least makes Middle East sense, however disconcerting it may be to those who live in the West and would like it otherwise.
I would also point out that in my humble opinion anyone who writes for Newsweek Magazine cannot be taken seriously, either as a scholar or in their analysis.

Posted by: Beniyyar | February 10, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Clapper off!

Posted by: aardunza | February 10, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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