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Right Turn: March 6, 2011 - March 12, 2011

Friday question

Controversy swirled this week over the Homeland Security Committee's hearing on Islamic radicalization. Critics cried, "Racism!" or "McCarthyism!" Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and his defenders argued that recruitment by jihadists is a serious problem and that the knee-jerk opposition by...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Friday question  
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Mitch Daniels doubles down on social issues 'truce'

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) was recently interviewed by the Hoover Institution's Peter Robinson. The full interview airs Monday, but the released clips are already causing a stir: Daniels's remarks are troubling for two reasons. First, he has made our...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Clapper vs. Pawlenty: An easy choice on foreign policy

Yesterday provided a clear contrast between two national figures' ability to think and communicate clearly on national security. One was a mini-disaster and one was an impressive display. On the disaster front, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is a...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  National Security  
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Arianna wins in a knockout

In the latest installment of self-obsessed journalism (in other words, journalism designed to advance the interests of the publication and/or journalist rather than to convey news or independent analysis), New York Times editor Bill Keller uses his publication to go...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 3:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Media  
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Is Romney really going to risk it all in Iowa?

A reader e-mailed me last night with two excellent questions: If neither Mike Huckabee nor Sarah Palin runs, does Mitt Romney make a real effort in Iowa? And if he does and loses, is he "toast"? For quite some time...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 12:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Interview with son of imprisoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Yesterday, Joe Biden was in Moscow, praising "reset." At Moscow University he offered only the most minimal support for reform. We are helping Russia join the World Trade Organization (another unilateral and self-defeating gesture). But Biden cautions that "investors and...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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A tale of two stings

We've recently had two episodes of entrapment journalism. I'm a bit old school, so the idea of concocting a story featuring a journalist who then reports on the self-created event seems, well, wrong. But putting that aside, the two episodes...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Culture  
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Democrats embarrass themselves at Islamic radicalization hearing

The Islamic radicalization hearings were hotly anticipated. For those expecting a "witch hunt," the House Homeland Security Committee chairman, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), was a disappointment. His opening statement was measured and included a staunch defense of the hearings: Let...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 9:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
Categories:  National Security  
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Sen. Ron Johnson denounces 'mob rule'

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a former businessman and now a freshman senator, held a conference call Thursday afternoon with a small group of bloggers. For a freshman, he's entirely fluid on the issues and easily navigates between specifics and larger...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 8:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
Categories:  Budget  
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Morning Bits

There is no fact that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can't get wrong. "Sen. Harry Reid vastly overstated annual attendance figures for the federally subsidized National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada." There is no limit to NPR's chicanery. "The...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 11, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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The shrinking superpower

The Post's Scott Wilson provides this analysis of Obama's handling -- or non-handling -- of the Libyan revolution: President Obama is content to let other nations publicly lead the search for solutions to the Libyan conflict, his advisers say, a...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Presidential candidates staffing up in Iowa

Eric Woolson, Mike Huckabee's key organizer in Iowa in 2008, has joined Tim Pawlenty's team. The Des Moines Register reports: The top Iowa adviser to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday he will support former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Democrats' rotten week

Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" mocked the left for its run of bad news, specifically the NPR debacle and the president's acknowledgement that Guantanamo won't be closed. But there was so much more (much after the program aired). Let's...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Obama White House  
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Thursday feature: A turn to lighter fare

In our Thursday feature, we ask prominent conservatives a nonpolitical question. Last week we asked about their ideal weekend. This week we ask: What is your favorite movie? Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell: "'Rudy' or 'The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.'" Rep....

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Media  
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Red flag: Biggest bond fund dumps U.S. Treasuries

Last fall Jason Thomas, writing in National Affairs, explained the danger of our increasing debt: The government borrows in a currency that it prints, and it is difficult to conceive of a situation in which it would be more advantageous...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Budget  
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Democrats bewitched, bothered and bewildered

Wednesday was not a banner day for Democrats. They were dismissed by the White House and then defeated in the Senate. At Jay Carney's press briefing, there was this exchange: Q: But yesterday several leading Senate Democrats said that these...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 9:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Budget  
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An arms embargo on what, exactly?

At Monday's State Department briefing there was this exchange on whether the U.N.-imposed arms embargo prevents us from providing military aid to the Libyan rebels: MR. CROWLEY: Yes. Well, it's very simple. In the U.N. Security Council resolution passed on...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Is it really that bleak in Afghanistan?

Yesterday, I attended a lively briefing on Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. FDD president Cliff May moderated a discussion with military blogger Bill Roggio and Gilles Dorronsoro from the Carnegie Institute. If you relied purely...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  National Security  
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Witnesses up to the task of studying jihad recruitment

The Post editorial board rejects the knee-jerk opposition to the Islamic radicalization hearings to be held today by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and vouches for "the need for a candid conversation about the real phenomenon of homegrown terrorism." But the...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  National Security  
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No retreat for Gov. Scott Walker

There was buzz Wednesday suggesting that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was caving on his stand-off with the public-employee union. Not so. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported: The Senate abruptly passed a controversial budget-repair bill Wedneday night -- without Democrats...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 8:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  Governors  
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Morning Bits

The administration changes tactics on defending ObamaCare. "Early [Tuesday] night, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a notice of appeal in Florida v. HHS, the multi-state lawsuit that has the best chance of striking down Obamacare. And this morning, DOJ...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 10, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Harry Reid blows it again

Just as we saw on the Senate votes on taxes during the lame-duck session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) led his party over the cliff on spending cuts. On the Senate Democrats' paltry package, Reid could round up only...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Budget  
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Another Schiller banished from NPR

The Post reports: "Vivian Schiller, the embattled chief executive of NPR, resigned from the organization Wednesday, one day after an embarrassing video surfaced of another NPR executive disparaging conservatives." And if that weren't enough, Ron Schiller was also captured mouthing...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Media  
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Budget shenanigans

The Associated Press reports on the Senate votes today: The Senate is expected Wednesday to defeat both a slashing Republican budget bill and a less painful Democratic plan, in a pair of politically tinged votes cast ironically with an eye...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Budget  
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Rafsanjani leaves

Reuters reported: Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani lost his position on Tuesday as head of an important state clerical body after being criticised by hardliners for being too close to the reformist opposition. I asked Michael Singh of the...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Iran  
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The Muslim community needs to end the stonewalling

As I noted Tuesday, a great many liberals have gone bonkers over the Islamic radicalization hearings that are to begin Thursday. A delightful exception is Ruth Marcus, who writes: "To ignore the religious nature of the terrorist threat is to...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 10:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (83)
Categories:  National Security  
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Bowles and Simpson vs. do-nothingism

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the debt commission, testified before the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday. Their opening remarks are noteworthy and highlight the unfortunate gap between their serious efforts to stave off a fiscal debacle and...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 9:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Budget  
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What do GOP presidential candidates need to do to win Iowa?

Steve Scheffler is a RNC committeeman from Iowa and heads Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, which hosted a forum for presidential candidates on Monday. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain and former Louisiana governor Buddy...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  2012 campaign  
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Morning Bits

He couldn't depart fast enough. "Departing NPR Exec Laments Jewish Control of Newspapers." We can't defund fast enough. "An admission by a top executive at National Public Radio that the organization would be 'better off in the long-run' without federal...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Didn't Obama pledge to complete 3 free-trade deals?

The Wall Street Journal reports: "U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk on Monday appealed to congressional leaders to begin work "without delay" toward ratifying a free-trade deal with South Korea, even as Republican leaders continued to press to link such action...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 8, 2011; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Conservatives bash Obama's do-nothingness on Libya

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, takes to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal to root for reticence in Libya: There are political reasons to question the wisdom of the U.S. becoming a protagonist in...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 8, 2011; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
 
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What about those budget talks?

Last week the White House put Joe Biden in charge of the negotiations over the 2011 budget. He promptly left for an overseas trip, and then Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) took to the airwaves on Sunday to say Democrats wouldn't...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 8, 2011; 10:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Budget  
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The alternative to ObamaCare

Ezra Klein builds a column around an entirely false premise: It's put-up-or-shut-up time for Republicans. They managed to make it through the health-care debate without offering serious solutions of their own, and - perhaps more impressive - through the election...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 8, 2011; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Obamacare  
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The left wigs out about hearings on Islamic radicalization

The left is certainly upset about the upcoming House Homeland Security Committee hearings on Islamic radicalization of Americans. Richard Cohen declares ominously, "[Rep. Peter] King is setting a dangerous precedent. The government has no business examining any peaceful religious group...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 8, 2011; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  National Security  
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Morning Bits

So much for liberals' understanding of voting laws. "The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the state's photo-ID voting requirement today in a 6-1 vote. . . . Democratic Party of Georgia v. Perdue was the last outstanding legal hurdle for the...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 8, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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EXCLUSIVE: New Chris Christie Video

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is out with a new video, obtained exclusively by Right Turn: What's this all about? Well, it is, most immediately, all about his February budget address, in which he made this offer: So today,...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Governors  
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Berwick's demise: A lesson for Obamacare opponents

On Friday, Politico reported: Senate Democrats have given up on confirming Don Berwick as CMS administrator in the wake of a letter from 42 Republican senators opposing the nomination, sources tell Politico. Citing the GOP letter, a person familiar with...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Obamacare  
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Rep. King's hearings: Already a success?

House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) will commence hearings on Islamic radicalization of Americans. The very notion that we should examine this phenomenon has created an uproar in the Islamic community. The White House -- surprise, surprise...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  National Security  
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Will Libya matter in 2012?

A reader e-mailed me over the weekend asking whether "the situation in Libya may affect the 2012 presidential campaigns." He mused: "Depending on how bad it gets in Libya, I envision a whole slew of political ads showing Obama shaking...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  foreign policy  
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Republicans vs. Democrats on discretionary spending

On "Fox News Sunday" Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was interrogated by Chris Wallace on the budget negotiations for the remainder of the 2011 budget: WALLACE: But several major news organizations say that talk about meeting the Republicans halfway is a...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Budget  | Tags:  Jennifer Rubin  
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Friday question answered

Readers respond about the administration's actions on Libya.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Friday question  | Tags:  Jennifer Rubin  
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Romney addresses his RomneyCare problem

Mitt Romney spoke on Saturday in New Hampshire about the Massachusetts health-care program.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 8:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  2012 campaign  | Tags:  Jennifer Rubin  
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Morning Bits

If we can't take out Somali pirates how are we going to meet threats from Iran, China and others? Reviewing the international "dithering," Cliff May writes, "Maj. Gen. Tom Wilkerson, USMC (ret.), is CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute. He...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 7, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Can't we do better than the Obama economy?

In January 2009 our unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, and 11.6 million Americans were unemployed. In February 2011 the rate is 8.9 percent, and 13.7 million Americans are out of work. In that same time frame African American unemployment has...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 6, 2011; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  economy  
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Q and A with Andy Ferguson about his bestseller Crazy U

Andy Ferguson of the Weekly Standard has written a whimsical and fascinating book, Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid into College. It has received superlative reviews including one from The Post. I confess my bias since...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 6, 2011; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Culture  
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Morning Bits

It took a while, but Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius admits to double counting on the ObamaCare budget. It took a while for conservatives to welcome Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates's retirement. First, with a war in...

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 6, 2011; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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