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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 03/ 6/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

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 Afghanistan, he told West Point cadets "In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined" and then he insisted that a no-fly zone would be an "attack on Libya." Bill Kristol concludes that "he's doing his president, and his country, no favors now. He has said for a while he wants to retire. Let him go, with all appropriate felicitations and salutations. And let someone take over as secretary of defense who believes in the missions in which American forces are now engaged, and who does not shy away from the understanding that American power is a crucial force for good in the world." Unfortunately, the commander in chief will remain.

It took a while, but the Senate Democrats finally came up with some cuts for the continuing resolution. Not a lot of cuts, however, as Americans for Tax Reform points out: "[Friday], the Senate Appropriations Committee released its Continuing Resolution that would fund government through the end of the 2011 Fiscal Year, ending September 30. While Democrats have pledged to meet House Republicans 'halfway,' their version of a seven-month funding measure comes nowhere close. The House-passed CR cuts over $60 billion in spending -- the Senate Democrat version cuts a paltry $10 billion, preserving the bloated spending status quo."

It took a while, but more people are coming to the conclusion this president is anything but post-racial. "[R]eporter Kenneth Walsh has written a new book, Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House, in which he says: 'But Obama, in his most candid moments, acknowledged that race was still a problem. In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent 'Tea Party' movement that was then surging across the country. ... A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to 'take back' their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn't dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a 'subterranean agenda' in the anti-Obama movement -- a racially biased one -- that was unfortunate.' "

It took a while for Obama to speak up about Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi. But Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) aren't satisfied. In a joint statement they make clear they "remain deeply concerned about the situation in Libya. Despite the measures adopted by the international community, the Qaddafi regime still appears to be entrenched in Tripoli, and news reports indicate that Qaddafi's forces are carrying out a campaign of terror against Libyan civilians. We are also deeply concerned that Qaddafi's forces have launched offensives, including the use of airpower, against the opposition in the liberated areas of Libya. It is stated U.S. policy that Qaddafi must go, so now it is critical for the United States, together with our friends and allies, to ensure that he does go -- as quickly as possible. A protracted and bloody stalemate in Libya would not only be an unnecessary humanitarian disaster, with the potential to destabilize a critical region. It could also create space for al-Qaeda and its extremist allies to exploit the chaos." And it would once again reveal this administration to be entirely feckless.

It took a while for a governor who "loves collective bargaining" with public-employee unions to emerge. Unfortunately, for the unions that governor is New Jersey's Chris Christie.

Lieberman and McCain are right to be worried. It took a while , I am certain, to come up with language this opaque. Josh Rogin on State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley's Friday briefing: "The Libyan opposition has been begging for assistance in the form of weapons, but Crowley said they shouldn't hold their breath. 'Right now we're focused on the humanitarian implications of what is occurring in Libya. It may well be the case there are too many weapons in Libya already. You know, we want to see this peacefully resolved. We want to see the violence and the bloodshed stop. We are evaluating a range of options as things develop, but at this point our preference would be to see a peaceful resolution of this,' he said. As for Muammar al Qaddafi? 'He is responsible for Libya still.' " Shameful.

It took a while, but no one misses Keith Olbermann any more.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 6, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Q and A with Andy Ferguson about his bestseller Crazy U


SecDef Robert Gates is the only sane adult in the entire U.S. Government who speaks the truth.

If "conservatives" really want the United States to wield "American power is a crucial force for good in the world", then stop the hypocrisy over tax cuts for anyone, and pay for "American power".

It is not 1946 anymore.

Posted by: K2K2 | March 6, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

K2K2 misses the whole point on Gates. It is demoralizing to the military when the Secretary of Defense claims we should not have soldiers on the ground in Asia, the Middle East or Africa. If K2K2 has not noticed Afghanistan and Iraq are in those areas. So are Libya and Egypt. Gates is saying there is no reason, ever, to fight on the ground in those areas. Not only is "ever" a long time, it is easy to imagine situations which would call for soldiers in the, say Egypt, to protect the canal.

Posted by: RickCaird | March 6, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"During a hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) admitted to double-counting in the Obamacare budget."

Double-think is here! 27 years after 1984, George Orwell hit the nail n the head.

Try typing "Shimkus" in to the Compost search engine and see what comes up.

Then go to and click on "Sebelius Gets Her Comeuppance As House Begins Its Obamacare Challenge".

The Compost doesn't want you to see her humiliation at the hands of Rep. John Shimkus.

You have to go to web sites that actually tell you what's going on to find it.

The Compost's day has come and gone.

They are relying on you, the reader, to continue the reading habits of the 60's and 70's.

Back then, they could pillory normal Americans without fear of discovery.

Unfortunately for them, with the Internet, we can actually find out what's going on.

We don't have to rely on the lies and distortions of the Compost and "media" of their ilk.

If Obama gets hold of the Internet, we'll be back to reading crap like this rag for our news.

The sooner this garbage pail goes out of business, the better.

Posted by: cbtole2 | March 6, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't miss Keith Olbermann because he isn't gone. He's moved on to Current TV, has a FokNews blog and is planning his next campaign.
Before long, MSNBC will probably regret some of their decisions.

Posted by: dslovejoy | March 6, 2011 11:41 PM | Report abuse

It took a while to suppress my gag reflex so I could make it through this hack piece, but now I remember why I stopped reading the Post and now I know why I've never heard of Jennifer Rubin.

Posted by: parke022 | March 6, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

WOW your puppet string are showing, how sad.

Posted by: trickydix2000 | March 7, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

"Bill Kristol concludes that "[Gates is] doing his president, and his country, no favors now."

As we see, the liberal neo/non-cons like Kristol place a high value on expert advice - until that advice goes counter to the neocon line of invading and occupying ME countries to go all "hopey-changey". Loyalty is not a neocon value. They'll throw you under the bus as soon as you question their policies of killing REAL Americans.

It's not demoralizing to the troops to have someone stand up and say that we're going to get you boys home to your families because you were sent in based on socialist poilices, not conservative policies.

It's only demoralizing to neo/non-cons like Rubin and Kristol to see their policies discredited by people who actually serve and protect REAL Americans.

Unfortunately, we have policies advocated by Northern Virginians such as Ms. Rubins, who as Nancy Pfotenhauer stated, are not "REAL Virginians". And true conservative Americans are bearing the brunt of her leftist policies.

Posted by: mfray | March 7, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

btw jennifer, ... what do you actually do for a living?

Posted by: IpiTombi | March 7, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

It didn't take a while to know that Jennifer Rubin is a Republican hack who takes the talking points she gets every morning from the RNC and changes a word here or there before she dutifully prints them.

Posted by: jillcohen | March 7, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

It didn't take a while to know that Jennifer Rubin is a Republican hack who takes the talking points she gets every morning from the RNC and changes a word here or there before she dutifully prints them.

And, it won't take a while for all of Olbermann's fans to find him on Current TV soon. Maddow's numbers are probably up b/c she is the only near equivalent to KO.

Posted by: jillcohen | March 7, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Keith Olbermann is alive, and well employed at Current TV, blogging at FOKNewsChannel.
Why are right-wingers always so poorly informed?

Posted by: jross36 | March 7, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Re Keith Olbermann - I've been hitting his web site every day, and following his twitters about the insanely fact free zone that is the far right in this country. I will be DVR'ing him on Current TV when he begins there. NOT forgotten!

Posted by: patubb | March 7, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"no one misses Keith Olbermann"

Justin Bieber = no one misses Michael Jackson.

Herp Derp

Posted by: ViperVisor | March 7, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Could we please trouble your to make valid point on a current subject in your column?

I can't believe WaPo just wants your eloquence and wit (and 799 words) used only to parrot talking points with kind of a Larry King- USA Today style sing-song column?

Please, Ms. Rubin - we want insight! What sparkling gem of knowledge will you share with us next? Jesus rode a dinosaur?

Posted by: gvanderlek | March 7, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

You may not miss Keith, but i am one of the millions that miss his comments on a daily basis. Don't know why you are so biased against him, nor do i care. You have a column in a major market , and you feel your voice is a reason too get on your soapbox and tell others your feelings. I look forward to the return of Keith and his voice of reason.

Posted by: mangofire263 | March 8, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I am one of the millions that missed and still miss Keith Olbermann.I don't care what you think,but don't think for FOK. His special comments made me think. His humor made me laugh. He will return this Spring on Current TV and I can't wait. He is the best!

Posted by: princess2 | March 8, 2011 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Jennifer, who are you? Why should anyone care for you cackling? I mean, who are you?

Posted by: mjcc1987 | March 8, 2011 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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