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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 02/14/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

On ABC's "This Week," Bob Kagan of the Brookings Institution gave smart analysis on Egypt.

Tim Pawlenty didn't talk much about Egypt at CPAC but he sounded smart on Sunday. "First of all before [Obama's] administration spoke like a tower of Babel, with multiple voices saying multiple things, they should have had one message that was clear and consistent and measured and appropriate. Instead you had the president, the vice president, the secretary of state, the national intelligence director going off in different directions, saying nearly incoherent things, at least inconsistent things. . . . Number two: we have to articulate, when we have that kind of an uncertain crisis unfolding, what our principles are: One, we don't want a radical Islamic result. Two, we favor democracy."

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) gave a smart answer when questioned by Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday about the discrepency between his initial spending cut proposal and that of the Tea Party freshment: "Look, how great is this debate we are having in Congress? A year ago Congress was debating about how much more spending to increase. Now we are debating about how much more spending to cut. When I put the number out there, that was the pledge, which said we will bring spending down to '08 levels for the rest of the fiscal year. Given that the Democrats spent half of the money already, you don't get as much savings. Our members wanted to go back and get those savings. So they wanted to get a year's worth of savings for the rest of the fiscal year. That's fantastic"

Not a very smart response from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on why he raised the cigarette tax. "When I ran for reelection, I said, look, before you vote for me, know we are going to consider raising the cigarette tax. We had the second lowest cigarette tax in the country. We didn't raise it to raise revenue because raising taxes is enemy of controlling spending. And what we've done is control spending. We raised it because our cigarette tax was too low. We were very out of line with the rest of the south. We raised it to 60 cents, which is the average of all the southern states. We did it for health reasons, not budget reasons." Huh? Is there something wrong with having the lowest tax on something in your part of the country? And it really isn't smart to brag about being a lobbyist.

i'm not sure it's so smart for the administration to start pointing figures about who was behind the curve on Egypt. "The trouble in sending a clear message was another example of how divided Mr. Obama's foreign policy team remains. A president who himself is often torn between idealism and pragmatism was navigating the counsel of a traditional foreign policy establishment led by Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Biden and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, against that of a next-generation White House staff who worried that the American preoccupation with stability could put a historic president on the wrong side of history." Doesn't make the president look very good, does it?

The new Egyptian government was smart to move swiftly in reaffirming the peace treaty with Israel: "After holding urgent discussions with his security advisers on the impact of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu late Saturday welcomed a pledge by Egypt's new military rulers to continue to honor Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. . . . The future of Israel's 1979 peace treaty with Egypt has been at the core of Israeli concerns throughout the unrest that led to Mubarak's ouster. Israeli officials have also expressed deep fears that the Muslim Brotherhood opposition group, which rejects the peace deal with Israel, could be a powerful player in any post-Mubarak government."

Obama must not think the voters are very smart. "President Obama faces two major challenges when he unveils his health budget Monday: showing that he's serious about fiscal discipline while making sure implementation of his healthcare reform law has a clear path. His health budget will receive extra scrutiny this year given that his fiscal commission called healthcare spending the nation's "single largest fiscal challenge" and Republicans are angling to defund the law."

Not so smart. "Democratic officials have spent the past month savaging freshman Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher, claiming he betrayed constituents by campaigning against the new health- care reform law, then signing up for government health insurance at taxpayer expense. State Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester called him a liar. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called him a hypocrite.
The only problem is, Fincher never signed up for government health insurance."

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 14, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A 'dodge' or a retreat?
Next: Friday question answered


I see the columnists and the CPAC members are still upset there wasn't a bloody mess in Egypt.

Posted by: newagent99 | February 14, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Newsweek cover story coming out this week by Niall Ferguson based in London which agrees with my Egypt analysis of Obama's performance in the Middle East.

Case closed.

Anyway, the Egypt comments are on the previous thread.

Niall says that Obama's foreign policy is pathetic, and amounts to "Im not George Bush, love me"

That is NOT a foreign policy for a Superpower. It is absolutely astonishing that a major party in the world's one remaining Superpower is unable and unwilling to advance a leader who is qualified and able to handle foreign policy. The liberals have failed the country and failed the world.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 14, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

One of the oddities of modern liberalism is the habit of announcing the unvoiced inner thoughts and motivations of its opponents (surprisingly enough, these are always bad and indeed shameful). "newagent99" claims to "see" what "the columnists and the CPAC members" feel, but the only evidence is his or her own conviction that this is true.

Unfortunately in the real world it is way too early to guess how the events in Egypt will play out. Mubarak fled on February 11, reportedly 32 years to the day since the fall of the last bastion of the Shah's regime. Not an encouraging resonance.

Posted by: mikem23 | February 14, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour does not have a chance for the nomination. Aside from his negatives demographically, being from the south brings nothing strategically extra to the ticket. I feel tim Pawlenty is trying hard to be a personality he is not comfortable in. He is a good man but not a natural attack dog. David Gregory on meet the so called press wasted everyones time attacking guest Speaker Boehner if he thought Obama is a Moslem and would he call anyone that says that crazy. I don't care what religion Obama is but i have 2 questions. Number 1 if a person is born to a moslem father, spends at least 2 years at a Madrasa is it crazy to think him a Moslem? Also I thought being a Moslem was a fine thing to be why does Gregory treat it as though to accuse someone of being a Moslem is tantamount to accusing him of being the devil? For the record I believe he is a Christian but would find nothing wrong if he were a Moslem.

Posted by: eddiehaskall | February 14, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

ISRAEL CAN MAKE HISTORY If wants, Israel can make history in the middle-east and Israel too by accepting Arab solution for the Palestine issue; rather than waiting for peace process and continuing the illegal occupation. Moment Israel tabled the treaty and provide road map to implement the treaty; the rage against Israel and Jews in t...hat part of the world will subside rapidly. Israel will be free from all dislike labels and anti-humanitarian conduct but will become a great neighbor who has ability and power to change the middle east in to free and genuine democracy. It will get an opportunity to provide technical, financial and political capability to change the middle-east. Along with Arabs, Israel will prospers 10 folds and soon it will be a real super power of the middle-east. But Israeli leaders have such vision and dream in their minds or may continue keeping war mentality, illegal and apartheid occupation and dependence on America for ever for survival? In long run, Israel; surely will be isolated and get crushed under her own false sense of security. Israel cannot demand secular democratic neighbors, when herself is not secular and not a free democratic nation.

Posted by: citysoilverizonnet | February 14, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

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