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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2009
OUR UPCOMING TRIAL FARCE - A BRITISH VIEW - AT 7:02 P.M. ET: We've written here before, many times, that British reporters are doing some of the best work in covering the American political scene. They were the first foreign reporters to understand the shallowness and incompetence of the Obama administration.
Now, Time Reid of The Times of London, examines our latest delight - the decision to try the mastermind of 9-11 in an ordinary federal courtroom in New York:
Mr Holder said that he would not be bringing the prosecutions unless he thought the outcome would be successful. He added that he had seen evidence not in the public domain that bolstered such confidence. He said that the men would be charged with masterminding and carrying out the September 11 attacks and “I fully expect to direct prosecutors to seek the death penalty”.
Yet trials are unpredictable, and Mr Holder did not address what would happen to Mohammed if he was acquitted and presumably allowed, under US law, to walk free.
Mohammed has also claimed to have beheaded the Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl and to have been responsible for many other terror attacks.
Some families of the September 11 victims called the decision to try the plotters in a civilian US court a terrible mistake. Other victims’ relatives said that the trial would give the men a platform to “spew” their antiAmerican hatred and invective.
Ed Kowalski, of the 9/11 Families for a Secure America Foundation, said: “To allow a terrorist and a war criminal the opportunity of having US constitutional protections is a wrong thing to do and it’s never been done before. President Obama is wrong to do this.”
The President’s political opponents, who are opposed vehemently to moving any Guantánamo detainees on to US soil, let alone the mastermind of the worst crime in US history, decried the move.
John Cornyn, a Republican Texas senator, said that treating the alleged plotters like ordinary criminals was unconscionable.
John Kyl, a Senate colleague, said that the Obama Administration was “more concerned about extending legal protection to terrorists than security protection to Americans”. Peter King, a New York congressman, said the trial would make the city more of a terrorist target.
COMMENT: Even if the trials result in convictions, it's a terrible precedent. These are enemy combatants, not common criminals. John Kyl is right: This is an administration obsessed with extending "rights" to people who are not American citizens, and do not deserve the protection given to American citizens.
But I guess all men are brothers, as long as they're out to kill us.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
PROPER TRIBUTES - AT 6:25 P.M. ET: Funerals are being held throughout America for the victims of the Fort Hood gunman. Ordinary Americans know how to do this far better than the commander-in-chief who presumes to lead them:
KIEL, Wis. (AP) -- The hundreds of people who lined the main street of a small Indiana city Saturday fell solemnly silent as a white hearse passed by on its way to the church. Mourners streamed into a Wisconsin gymnasium to remember a soldier who once promised to take down Osama bin Laden.
Instead, he was taken down by one of bin Laden's disciples because political correctness allowed a fanatic to serve as an Army doctor.
Across the country, many stood before several flag-draped coffins during funeral services for several of the 13 victims of the Nov. 5 shootings in Fort Hood, Texas.
In Plymouth, Ind. Sheila Ellabarger had placed two foot-high American flags in the grass where she watched the procession for Army Staff Sgt. Justin DeCrow. She said her children went to school with DeCrow and his wife -- his high school sweetheart -- and she knew other members of his family.
''He was killed by a terrorist in my mind but he was still killed in the line of duty. We owe him a debt of gratitude, him and his family and the other soldiers. We owe them our lives, our freedom,'' Ellabarger said.
COMMENT: And the president of the United States - see story just below - ridicules the idea of a Congressional probe into the worst terror attack on American soil since 9-11.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
DISGRACEFUL - WHAT ELSE CAN ONE SAY? - AT 6:01 P.M. ET: The ability of the Obama administration to embarrass itself seems endless. If only this creativity were applied to governing, we'd be in much better shape.
The president has responded to plans for Congressional probes into the Fort Hood shootings in a manner that is entirely tasteless and inappropriate. From AP, via the Washington Times:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to hold off on any investigation of the Fort Hood rampage until federal law enforcement and military authorities have completed their probes into the shootings at the Texas Army post, which left 13 people dead.
On an eight-day Asia trip, Obama turned his attention home and pleaded for lawmakers to "resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater." He said those who died on the nation's largest Army post deserve justice, not political stagecraft.
"The stakes are far too high," Obama said in a video and Internet address released by the White House while the president he was flying from Tokyo to Singapore, where Pacific Rim countries were meeting.
COMMENT: Utterly patronizing and outrageous. Can you imagine the reaction if George W. Bush had made such a statement? The people calling for a Congressional probe are serious men and women with fine national-security credentials. They know that a probe by the executive branch means that the government will be investigating itself. They want their own investigation, and that's entirely appropriate and necessary. To charge them with "political theater" is outrageous.
Even more outrageous is to suggest that those who died on 9-11 will get only "political stagecraft" in a Congressional probe. They'll probably get a much more thorough investigation than Mr. Obama's Justice Department will award them.
Wasn't it the Democrats who were always demanding Congressional investigations during the Bush years? Now, with the shoe on the other foot, they resist.
Yes, Mr. President, "the stakes are far too high." They're far too high to trust the truth to an investigation by your leftist appointees. Bring on Congress.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
THE WAY THE MUSLIMS HANDLE IT - AT 12:17 P.M. ET: Melik Kaylan is originally from Britain, and writes for The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. It was my pleasure to chat with him recently.
Here, reflecting on Fort Hood in his Forbes column, he gives us a sharp insight on the way the armies of Muslim nations handle religious extremism in their own ranks. This is original reporting at its best:
Some commentators place Major Nidal Hassan's outrage at Fort Hood in the continuum of nonreligious psychotic mass killings like those at Columbine and Virginia Tech. Others liken it to Islamist terror outrages such as suicide and car bombings. Those on the left seem to favor the former view, while those on the right prefer the latter.
Debate like that is not a favored form in the Muslim nations:
In most Muslim countries, the military would not dither over the issue. In Turkey, for example, the armed forces impose a strictly secular ethos on their personnel. Over the years, scores of stealthy Islamists have been identified and unceremoniously booted out for trying to proselytize fellow soldiers and generally undermine the army's values.
In places like Algeria, Egypt and Libya, Muslim officers watch over their Muslim conscripts with relentless scrutiny lest any unscripted forms of freelance worship sneak into the picture. Their prisons are full of Muslim Brotherhood conspirators undergoing torture--if they haven't already disappeared into secret graves.
What's a Muslim extremist in these countries to do?
Many Muslims desperately flee these countries for the West in order to pursue their more extreme brand of Islam. We give them the freedom to do so--in effect the freedom to hate us.
And in the precincts of our universities, such hatred is tolerated, even respected, under the rubric of "multiculturalism." The role of our universities in undermining this society is a volume in itself.
Kaylan asks a provocative question that I've not seen asked anywhere else:
Does the Army have any propaganda courses at officer level? Was anyone tasked with the job of telling Major Hasan what life might be like for him in a Muslim military? He would not have stayed around, or alive, long enough to explore his hurt feelings as a Muslim.
This is the first time I've ever felt that we could learn something from the Muslim armies.
In the Army, as in civilian life, we take infinite care to be inclusive, to allay the disaffections of minorities. We do not ask them why their families are here of all places.This is especially true of the U.S. military, an institution as color-blind, meritocratic and humane as no other genuinely fighting force in the world.
The U.S. as a whole and the West in general do not ask Muslims or any other minorities to cast doubt on the virtues of their own culture. For many that would be tantamount to "hate speech." But as the conflicts of the world have migrated into the U.S. and its armed forces, the conflicts of ideas have become a part of our daily lives. Our strength--our appeal for the disaffected--lies in our tradition of open debate. For those minorities less accustomed to such openness, criticism can seem like a species of bigotry or a kind of culture war. To them we must say, repeatedly, that they are lucky to hear the sounds of such debate. Where they come from, too often, it would be settled in exactly the manner in which Major Hasan chose, only he would not have lived long enough to carry it out.
COMMENT: That is fine writing. We will be looking to Mr. Kaylan for more. Please read the entire column, and others by the author.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
DIDN'T HE LEARN THE FIRST TIME? - AT 10:53 A.M. ET: Early in his administration, President Obama was lambasted for giving a deep bow to the king of Saudi Arabia. He apparently had never heard of the tradition that Americans do not bow to foreign leaders.
It's clear that Mr. Obama didn't learn the lesson. He's visiting Japan, and dropped in to see the emperor. As Ronald Reagan liked to say, there he goes again:
Reader Errol Phillips writes:
After living in Japan for 8 years .... I can assure everyone this is an incorrect bow. A slight 2-inch downward nod of the head is the appropriate bow among equals.
What Obama shows is complete subservience ... the kind of bow a typical salaryman might make when meeting a superior.
COMMENT: Or, the kind of bow a president who doesn't like his own country might make when meeting a foreign leader.
This is embarrassing. Will someone who knows about these things please speak to the man.
And Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket, supplies us with the earlier photo of Obama bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia:
Choose your bow. Looks like the president was wearing the same suit.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
OBAMA LOSING INDIES - AT 10:30 A.M. ET: Scott Rasmussen, whose polls we often cite here, and Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster and strategist, agree in a Wall Street Journal column, that the president faces a political crisis among independents:
Mr. Obama's approval among likely voters has dropped to the low-50s in most polls, and the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters shows him slightly below the 50% mark. This is a relatively low rating for new presidents. Mr. Obama's approval rating began to slide in a serious way in early July, triggered by a bad unemployment report.
A look at more detailed data shows why Mr. Obama's ratings are likely to drop even further.
A CNN poll released Nov. 6 found that 47% of Americans believe the top issue facing the country is the economy, while only 17% say its health care. However, the bulk of the president's efforts over the past six months have been not on the economy but on health care, an issue in which he continues to draw negative ratings.
Even more fundamentally, a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted from Oct. 15-18 shows that the president has now reached a point where less than a majority of Americans believe he will make the right decisions for the country.
And the strategy?
What then, is Mr. Obama to do?
He has found himself in a false and arguably artificial conundrum on health care, with the two alternatives being his bill with a public option and a trillion-dollar price tag, or no bill at all. While the failure to pass a health-care bill could be devastating for his administration, polling suggests that ramming through an expensive bill with a public option (potentially using procedural techniques in the Senate) could divide America and not improve his standing with the public.
What is remarkable is the administration's indifference to public opinion.
The off-year elections in New Jersey and Virginia were indeed a warning sign to Mr. Obama. While the presidents ratings aren't likely to dip much further by year's end—given the size and support of his base—by focusing exclusively on his base he could create lasting political problems that plague the remainder of his term.
Unless Mr. Obama changes his approach and starts governing in a more fiscally conservative, bipartisan manner, the independents that provided his margin of victory in 2008 and gave the Democrats control of Congress will likely swing back to the Republicans, putting Democratic control of Congress in real jeopardy.
COMMENT: Part of the problem seems to be the insistence of liberals that they know what is best for us, and that we'll eventually understand once they work their intellectual magic.
Another problem is the Democratic belief that, the more they give away to constituent groups, the stronger is their political machine. Some truth there, but it doesn't get you past 50%, which, the last time I looked, is what is needed to win an election. The president got 53% in 2008, not exactly a guarantee of the future.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
THE BLOOM IS OFF THE ROSE - AT 10:15 A.M. ET: David Broder, never one to be associated with conservatism, and one of the most respected columnists in Washington, strongly blasts President Obama over Afghanistan:
The more President Obama examines our options in Afghanistan, the less he likes the choices he sees. But, as the old saying goes, to govern is to choose -- and he has stretched the internal debate to the breaking point.
It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right.
The cost of indecision is growing every day. Americans, our allies who have contributed their own troops to the struggle against al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and the Afghans and their government are waiting impatiently, while the challenge is getting worse.
Broder notes that there is a split between General Stanley McChrystal, in charge of our operations in Afghanistan, and our ambassador to the country, and former General Karl Eikenberry.
The president, notwithstanding his earlier rhetoric and actions, has hesitated to resolve the issue. Obama needs to remember what Clark Clifford, one of Harry Truman's closest advisers, said: that the president "believed that even a wrong decision was better than no decision at all."
There's a certain wisdom in that, up to a point: No decision flashes weakness and confusion, which can easily result in a situation that is worse than a wrong decision.
Meantime, events in Afghanistan support McChrystal's prediction that delay in expanding the U.S. troop commitment will almost certainly lead to gains for the Taliban and greater risk for U.S. and allied troops.
In all this dithering, it's easy to forget a few fundamentals. Why are we in Afghanistan? Not because of its own claim on us but because the Taliban rulers welcomed the al-Qaeda plotters who hatched the destruction of Sept. 11, 2001. The Taliban also oppressed its own people, especially women, but we sent troops because Afghanistan was the hide-out for the terrorists who attacked our country.
The chickens are roosting. The Obama administration, by deciding to try the mastermind of 9-11 in an ordinary federal courtroom, have reduced the attacks to street crimes.
George W. Bush said -- and Obama seemed to agree -- that withdrawal was not an option.
That imperative is reinforced by the presence of Pakistan, a shaky nuclear-armed power across a porous mountain border. If the Taliban comes back in Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda cells already in Pakistan will operate even more freely -- and nuclear weapons could fall into the most dangerous hands.
Given all of this, I don't see how Obama can refuse to back up the commander he picked and the strategy he is recommending. It may not work if the country truly is ungovernable. But I think we have to gamble that security will bring political progress -- as it has done in Iraq.
Obama did not believe that could happen there. But given what he inherited, and given what he has done so far, I think he has no choice but to play out that hand. If we can't afford to lose, then play to win.
COMMENT: That is the best argument I've read, made by a journalist, on what our course should be. I hope Broder's column is examined at the White House, for it brings with it the voice of experience, a quality dramatically lacking in this administration.
November 14, 2009 Permalink
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2009
MORE ON THE UPCOMING TERROR TRIAL IN NEW YORK - AT 9:54 P.M. ET: John Hinderaker at Power Line says this about the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial that Eric Holder announced today:
Ask yourself this question: suppose that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial results in an acquittal or a hung jury. Would the Obama administration really let him go? If so, they are crazy. If not, why are they holding the trial?
Of course, of course. If the trial goes rogue - and in a city like New York it's possible have O.J. Simpson II, what will the Obama White House do? Will they "follow our justice system"? Or will they find a way to hold this monster.
Hinderaker also points out that The New York Times is already falling in line, referring to Mohammed as a "suspect." He is not a suspect in any real-world analysis. He brags about his role in 9-11. In the real world he's an enemy combatant, and this is war.
A Fox News report notes that there is substantial worry that we will lose a great deal of intelligence information:
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, who led the prosecution in the case against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, said public trials will provide a "banquet of intelligence information" for the vast Al Qaeda network, especially operatives in Afghanistan.
"It's a massively stupid decision when we're actually at war with them," McCarthy said in an interview with FoxNews.com. "We have to give them all kinds of information about our methods of intelligence that can only make them more efficient at killing us."
...Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, said bringing Mohammed to New York was "an unnecessary risk" that would result in the disclosure of confidential information on U.S. intelligence tactics. Kyl maintained the trial of Rahman, the so-called "blind sheik," caused "valuable information about U.S. intelligence sources and methods" to be revealed to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
Michael Mukasey, Holder's predecessor under the Bush administration, said the decision was not only unwise but based on what he called a refusal to acknowledge that the U.S. it at war -- and that the crimes perpetrated on Sept. 11 constitute war crimes.
Fox points out that some are actually in favor of Obama/Holder's decision on grounds that the attacks of 9-11 were not "military infractions."
November 13, 2009 Permalink
OH DEAR, HE'S AT IT AGAIN - AT 9:37 P.M. ET: The president simply can't keep himself out of any speech. He must have a good Hollywood agent, or something. Consider:
TOKYO -- President Obama said Saturday that he welcomes a robust China on the world scene, but he cautioned that all nations must respect human rights, including religious freedoms.
In a speech to prominent Japanese, Obama called himself "America's first Pacific president" and urged greater cooperation between the United States and Japan and other Asian countries.
"We seek this deeper and broader engagement because we know our collective future depends on it," Obama said.
COMMENT: Our first Pacific president? What does that mean? He lived for a while in Indonesia and Hawaii?
Hey fella, there are millions of Americans who know the Pacific. Bush 41 fought there. Kennedy fought there. John McCain was imprisoned there. And Sarah Palin, dammit, was governor of a state that's right out there on the Pacific rim.
So now we've got the first Pacific president, the first African-American president, and, according to some, the first post-American president. We also may have the first president who has no great feeling for his own country, but let's not talk about that.
November 13, 2009 Permalink
THE OUTRAGE IS BUILDING - AT 7:02 P.M. ET: In our first item today we reported that the reputed mastermind behind the 9-11 attack, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, will be tried in New York City, in an ordinary civilian federal court. He will be tried as a common criminal, not as a man who made war on the United States, resulting in an onslaught that killed more Americans than did the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Through the day, the sense of outrage over this decision started to build, as the realization sank in that the Obama administration, speaking through Attorney General Eric Holder, seems determined to walk us back to the days before 9-11, when terrorism was seen as just a criminal act, another entry on the police blotter. Don't send the Army. Send Joe Friday.
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, showing the clarity of thought that made him a great mayor, pointed out what a farce this trial could become. It could become a show trial, in which the United States could be put on trial by a defense team that, you may be sure, will be heavily influenced by the legal tactics of the hard left. There could be a hung jury. There could even be an acquittal. The very presence of the trial in New York City will make the city, once more, a prime terrorist target. There could be attempts to call former President Bush as a witness, to humiliate him. There will be attempts to change the venue, questioning whether a terrorist could get a "fair" trial in New York. The issue of torture will be brought up, and a judge might throw out all charges on grounds of coercion.
And there are these things, that we add: Who will the judge be? Will he (or she) be an experienced federal judge, or someone with "empathy" for the defendants? Will some groups - like Jews, relatives of policemen, firefighters or military personnel - be excluded from the jury? Will the defense insist that Muslims be on the jury? How will classified information be handled? What kind of intimidation is possible, especially if names of the jurors are made public?
The idea of giving an ordinary civilian trial to a man who's made war on America flies in the face of our history, as readers Rob and Sandy Paton point out in an excellent message to Urgent Agenda:
During his press conference this morning, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “for over 200 years our nation has relied upon a faithful adherence to the rule of law” in seeking justice. This may be true. However, in the face of historical precedents the Attorney General’s decision to try these terrorists in a civilian court is questionable...
...In 1942, eight German saboteurs were put ashore by submarine on Long Island and in Florida. All eight agents were captured and tried by a military court. Six were hanged, and the other two, who were imprisoned, had their sentences commuted and were deported to Germany in 1948.
In November 1944, two more agents, one of them a disaffected American named William Colepaugh, were put ashore by a German submarine. Even though Colepaugh was an American citizen, the Attorney General referred his case to a military tribunal. President Truman later commuted Colepaugh’s sentence.
It seems to us that Holder’s knowledge of American history is as sketchy as that of his boss, the president.
COMMENT: A great deal of material is pouring in on this issue, and the criticisms of Holder's decision (Or Obama's) are sharp, clear and convincing. More about this later tonight.
November 13, 2009 Permalink
DISCOVERY - AT 6:15 P.M. ET: There is water on the moon. Now we know:
There is water on the Moon, scientists stated unequivocally on Friday, and considerable amounts of it.
“Indeed yes, we found water,” Anthony Colaprete, the principal investigator for NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, said in a news conference.
The confirmation of scientists’ suspicions is welcome news both to future explorers who might set up home on the lunar surface and to scientists who hope that the water, in the form of ice accumulated over billions of years, could hold a record of the solar system’s history.
The satellite, known as Lcross (pronounced L-cross), slammed into a crater near the Moon’s south pole a month ago. The impact carved out a hole 60 to 100 feet wide and kicked up at least 24 gallons of water.
COMMENT: Now, watch: Nancy Pelosi will tax the water. Al Gore will claim that if we don't stop global warming, the water will dry up. Barack Obama will announce an outreach program to convince the water that we are friendly.
And the mainstream media will say that we've done far more to hurt the water than the water has to hurt us.
November 13, 2009 Permalink
GOING THROUGH THE RITUAL AGAIN - AT 10:21 A.M. ET: In situations like this, you have to feel for the law-abiding Muslims, who are not inolved in terror, but who get sucked into some institution. We're now going through another one of these rituals, where someone on the inside knows something, but pretends to be a sweet innocent. From the Houston Chronicle:
The U.S. government on Thursday moved to seize more than $500 million in assets from a New York-based foundation accused of being a front for the Iranian government, including a building that houses the Islamic Education Center of Houston.
The news provoked confusion and anger among Houston's Shia Muslims, many of whom worship at the center's mosque or send their children to an Islamic school that occupies the same large white building at 2313 S. Voss.
Faheem Kazimi, chairman of the board of directors, said IEC leases its building from the Alavi Foundation but no other connection exists.
“The Islamic Education Center is a nonprofit, independent organization, not affiliated with any other organization,” Kazimi said.
He refused to answer any other questions Thursday evening.
The 97-page civil forfeiture lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan alleges that the Alavi Foundation, which files federal taxes as a charitable foundation, is illegally funneling money to the government of Iran.
The U.S. government has accused Iran of financing terrorist organizations and trying to build nuclear weapons.
The foundation released a written statement through an attorney, saying the group was disappointed with the government's legal move.
“The Foundation has been cooperating fully with the Government since the investigation began,” the statement read. “The Foundation intends to litigate the Government's claims and expects to prevail when the litigation is over.”
Citing U.S. policy under several presidents and the International Emergency Economic Power Act, the civil suit alleges that the foundation's property, which includes the Islamic Education Center, is forfeitable as proceeds of violations of laws including money laundering.
COMMENT: We proceed carefully here because there may well be innocent people involved. But, after Fort Hood, Americans will demand an end to political correctness and a mature look into the workings of some Islamic organizations.
No decent person wants stereotyping of all Muslims. But there have been too many incidents recently, and too many arrests, for us to become lax or overly tolerant. Let's get to the facts, stop much of the trendy "sensitivity" that has blinded us, and find the guilty while protecting the innocent.
November 13, 2009 Permalink
AND MORE AGONY FOR THE DEMS - ARE YOU BELIEVING THIS? - AT 9:01 A.M. ET: Remember that now legendary race in New York's 23rd Congressional District? You know, it was the race in which the so-called Republican candidate, Dede Scozzafava, pulled out when it was discovered that she was really a liberal, and she then endorsed the Dem candidate, Bill Owens, over the Conservative Party entry, Doug Hoffman. Owens won.
Or did he?
Reader Joseph J. Gallick reports on the latest twist in this political soap opera:
Washington -- Conservative Doug Hoffman conceded the race in the 23rd Congressional District last week after receiving two pieces of grim news for his campaign: He was down 5,335 votes with 93 percent of the vote counted on election night, and he had barely won his stronghold in Oswego County.
As it turns out, neither was true.
But Hoffman’s concession -- based on snafus in Oswego County and elsewhere that left his vote undercounted -- set off a chain of events that echoed all the way to Washington, D.C., and helped secure passage of a historic health care reform bill.
Democratic Rep. Bill Owens was quickly sworn into office on Friday, a day before the rare weekend vote in the House of Representatives. His support sealed his party’s narrow victory on the health care legislation.
Now a recanvassing in the 11-county district shows that Owens’ lead has narrowed to 3,026 votes over Hoffman, 66,698 to 63,672, according to the latest unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.
The new vote totals mean the race will be decided by absentee ballots, of which about 10,200 were distributed, said John Conklin, communications director for the state Board of Elections.
What is shocking here is that Owens was sworn in, and helped pass the health "reform" bill, without being officially certified as the winner. Hey, what's a little totalitarianism, right?
However, Hoffman conceded too early, and did not contest the original result, giving Nancy Pelosi the legal right to swear in Owens. Big mistake by Hoffman, who's new to electoral politics.
It would still be difficult for Hoffman to overcome the Owens lead with absentee ballots, but it could get razor close, in which case the Hoffman people might challenge the election result on grounds of irregularities. Stay tuned.
November 13, 2009 Permalink
AND NOW - DEM TROUBLE IN CONNECTICUT - AT 8:47 A.M. ET: Yesterday, we reported on polls showing Democrats in trouble in the key state of Ohio, a swing state.
But Connecticut isn't a swing state. It's blue, bright blue, the state where the libs tried to politically execute Joe Lieberman for caring about national defense. And, as Michael Barone reports, the Dems are in trouble in Connecticut as well:
In Connecticut Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd remains in political trouble. After representing the state for 29 years in the Senate, and having represented the eastern Connecticut 2nd congressional district for six years before that, only 40% of his state’s voters approve of his performance and 54% disapprove. That’s in a state which Barack Obama carried 61%-38%. Dodd’s approval numbers look a lot like those of defeated New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine.
There’s lots of bad news here for Dodd. In a Democratic primary pairing against an utterly unknown opponent he gets only 55% of the vote—a stunningly low number for a longtime incumbent. In general election pairings he loses 49%-38% to former Congressman Rob Simmons and by a 58%-38% margin in the three eastern counties which he has represented in the Senate or House for 35 years. Obama carried those counties by a 59%-39% margin. Interestingly, Dodd is weaker in this downscale, usually Democratic-leaning area than in higher-income Fairfield County, where he runs even against Simmons. Against four other, lesser-known Republican candidates, Dodd does not top 42% of the vote.
Is the health care issue hurting Democrats in key Senate races? Sure looks like it.
COMMENT: We stress that it's early in the game. Our next target is the 2010 midterms, and they're a year away. That's 20 lifetimes in politics. So nothing is in the bag. Even where Dems are weakening, they are still very competitive.
I get the feeling that Obama's White House political strategy will have a larger-than-normal impact on how people vote next November. So far, that strategy, based on results last week, isn't getting any gold medals, or even Nobel Peace Prizes.
Well look, what do you need to get a Nobel Peace Prize?
November 13, 2009 Permalink
WE'RE HAVING COMPANY - AT 8:23 A.M. ET: Let's do a little special cleaning. Company is coming, as The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and four other men accused in the plot will be prosecuted in federal court in New York City, a federal law enforcement official said early on Friday.
But the administration will prosecute Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — the detainee accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen — and several other detainees before a military commission, the official said.
The decisions to give civilian prosecutors detainees accused of the 2001 terrorist attacks and keep the case of the Cole attack within the military system are expected to be announced at the Department of Justice later on Friday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that news conference has not yet taken place.
COMMENTS: That means the United States Courthouse in Foley Square, site of many famous trials. For those of you unfamiliar with Manhattan, that's only blocks from Ground Zero, so a fitting place for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to be tried.
But watch - the ultralibs in Manhattan will try to bring coffee to the defendant every day, or whatever they drink in the caves over there, just to show their multicultural spirit.
November 13, 2009 Permalink