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."
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