Archive for October, 2009

In Berlin, Obama misses a chance to celebrate America

Twenty years ago this month, we were on the verge of one of America’s great victories: the fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately the collapse of communism in Europe, our third liberation of the Continent in the 20th century. By the end of 1989 there was freedom once more in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania. Within a year, there was once more a united Germany. Within two years, the Soviet Union was no more.

If Nov. 9, 1989, was the D-Day of the Cold War, it’s true that Americans weren’t the ones breaching East Germany’s defenses. The heroes of that night were the Berliners who finally knocked down the wall after an East German Politburo member mistakenly gave them the green light, as well as the scores of their desperate countrymen who died or were killed while fleeing westward over 28 years.

Yet our country was critical to the survival of liberty in the divided city — from the Berlin Airlift to our soldiers’ fortification of its western precincts, from …

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In close call, Norwood gets my vote

I was taught to give thanks before all else. So as Atlantans elect a new mayor, let’s begin with gratitude that three solid, capable candidates lead the field.

One must look only to last year’s presidential race — or perhaps to next year’s gubernatorial campaign — to see that this isn’t always the case. Lisa Borders, Mary Norwood, Kasim Reed: Put their names in a hat, draw any of them as the winner, and we should be in good hands.

But “all of the above” isn’t an option on the ballot. My colleague Jay Bookman came to one conclusion based on the AJC’s meetings with these three candidates. Here’s how I chose the one who will get my vote.

First I needed to eliminate one of the three, and Reed made the job easy. Not because I don’t like him or find him a good candidate. On the contrary, I think his experience at the Legislature could greatly benefit Atlanta if he were mayor. Despite his line about not being “cuddly,” he is a genuinely likable guy.

And I …

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One of Reagan’s finest speeches

Forty-five years ago yesterday, Ronald Reagan gave a televised speech that laid out much of what today’s conservatives believe, and not a few things we have forgotten and need to remember. Watch or read the whole speech here.

A couple of things in it particularly caught my eye:

1. Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, “We don’t know how lucky we are.” And the Cuban stopped and said, “How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.” And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.

In four and a half years in Europe, I realized that there were plenty of places there for liberals to flee and find the kind of government they want, if they were ever to make good on threats to “leave the U.S. if _______ is elected.” But there …

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Night of the living public option

At Reason, Peter Suderman asks a good question: Why won’t the public option die?

And don’t start by telling me that it’s oh-so-popular and yet somehow Republicans have just scared too many people –including a number of Senate Democrats — about it. If the public option is so darn popular, why is Nancy Pelosi trying to rebrand it so that people think they’re getting something other than what we’ve been discussing for months?

If it’s so popular, why has President Obama remained non-committal about it all this time? The fact is that the hypothetical public option in which millions of Americans magically receive new health coverage from the insurance fairy is popular, but a public option in which people are specifically asked to help pay for other people’s new coverage is not. Thus Speaker Pelosi’s attempt at trickeration.

The new “opt-out” idea from Harry Reid, in which states could decide not to participate in the new federal government insurance plan, is cut from the same cloth …

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On the road today

I’m out of the office today visiting some candidates and (I believe) future candidates for office. Regular blogging will resume Tuesday.

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Power needs to have limits

The main front for Americans trying to keep our government bound by some reasonable limits has been health care. And with good reason: The Democrats’ health plan would reorganize a giant swath of the economy and could be a tipping point for the size, scope and power of the federal bureaucracy.

But there are other examples of “feds know best” — and not only Democrats are guilty. Here are three from this week’s headlines.

First were the White House’s continuing attacks on Fox News. “Not really a news station” is how it was put by White House adviser David Axelrod, who is fast becoming exactly the kind of figure the left hated in Karl Rove.

It’s telling that the Obama administration hasn’t marshaled any evidence for its claim beyond pointing to the shows of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, which are expressly opinion content. This is just as absurd as saying the Washington Post isn’t a news organization because it publishes opinion columns by Eugene Robinson and …

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Obama and ‘the Chicago way’

My former colleague Kim Strassel provides an excellent summary of the Obama administration’s hope and change bare-knuckle politics, complete with quotes from “The Untouchables.”

What makes these efforts notable is that they are not the lashing out of a frustrated political operation. They are calculated campaigns, designed to create bogeymen, to divide the opposition, to frighten players into compliance. The White House sees a once-in-a-generation opportunity on health care and climate. It is obsessed with winning these near-term battles, and will take no prisoners. It knows that CEOs are easily intimidated and (Fox News ratings aside) it is getting some of its way. Besides, roughing up conservatives gives the liberal blogosphere something to write about besides Guantanamo.

Victory on these issues, if it comes, will exact a heavy price over the next three years. And if it doesn’t come? The list of those injured along the way — Republicans but also moderate Democrats, …

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Who will have it ruff with global warming?

Global warming goes to after the dogs:

Victoria University professors Brenda and Robert Vale, architects who specialise in sustainable living, say pet owners should swap cats and dogs for creatures they can eat, such as chickens or rabbits, in their provocative new book Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living.

Time to short Pets.com stock again.

(Hat tip: InstaPundit)

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Help Atlanta by looking beyond I-285

I’m one of us, but today I’m writing as one of them. I’m not talking about the conservative/liberal split. I mean the two Georgias split: metro Atlanta, and the rest of the state.

Having grown up in Dalton and now making my home in Atlanta, I’ve lived this divide. It isn’t unique to our state, or even our country. But it dearly costs both Atlanta and the state as a whole. And the power to change this dynamic lies with Atlanta.

Do some Georgians hate their capital city? Perhaps. But it’s safe to say that far more are grateful to live near a world-class city and its amenities — the international airport, the hospitals, the universities, the shopping, the professional sports teams, the museums and cultural events.

What they don’t appreciate is being treated as some kind of little brother whom Atlantans tolerate or just ignore. Or as the state’s version of flyover country. They don’t appreciate hearing Atlantans complain that the state wastes money on four-lane …

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Troubling sign for 2010? GOP whiffs on NY candidate

Much of the attention for the off-year election next month is being paid to gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, where Republicans stand a chance of winning offices that have been held by Democrats lately. But a special race in New York’s 23rd congressional district may tell us more about how the GOP will — or should — approach next year’s mid-term contests.

The seat, vacated by Republican John McHugh when he was named secretary of the Army, is in a solidly conservative district in far northern New York state. But the GOP’s candidate is a state legislator named Dede Scozzafava with a distinctly liberal voting record. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out in an editorial today:

[Scozzafava] has voted for so many tax increases that the Democrat [in the race] is attacking her as a tax raiser. She supported the Obama stimulus, and she favors “card check” to make union organizing easier, or at least she did until a recent flip-flop. She has run more than once on the …

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