Preston Smith: A refreshing voice

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

● On marriage: After seven marriages, a pending or possible divorce is not news anymore. And, two, what happens in Massachusetts stays in Massachusetts. Texas and Georgia, states that don’t recognize a “marriage” there, can’t grant a divorce, an issue Texas is litigating.

● Yes, lobbyists shouldn’t serve on state boards and commissions affecting a client’s interests. But the ban should extend to individuals representing groups or organizations with a financial or regulatory interest in board decisions. No advocate for growing government, for using its regulatory powers to stifle competition, or for affecting any group’s agenda, should be on any oversight board. State boards are filled with such people.

● Atlantans — in fact, all Georgians — should be chilled by the specter of Atlanta firefighters’ union picketing the Fulton County Taxpayer Association because of its court challenge to a pension fund change that allows them to retire with as much as 80 percent of salary after as little as 27 years. The mayor says that pension change threatens to bankrupt the city; its unfunded liability is $1.5 billion. If you’re dozing, oblivious to the future of public sector unions and their threat to taxpayers, look to California. Hidden financial obligations will drive businesses and property owners out of Atlanta.

● You’ve got to read “The Beholden State — How public-sector unions broke California” by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Steven Malanga. Sample: “The story starts half a century ago, when California public workers won bargaining rights and quickly learned how to elect their own bosses — that is, sympathetic politicians who would grant them outsize pay and benefits in exchange for their support.”

● Reformers have quit preaching and gone to meddlin’ and I’m agin’ em. “In time of cuts, state still pays for roadside beauty,” tsk-tsks the headline. Somebody’s stressed out that the Georgia Department of Transportation spends $3 million per year on roadside flowers and landscaping and, furthermore, “has $1.3 million in wildflower-planting reserves that it won’t spend on anything else.” Highway advertising and $45 specialty license plates and some federal money fund the plantings. Memo to Republicans who run Georgia: Cut a coneflower and I’m grabbing a microphone and pitching tent with Vincent Fort and all the microphone-grabbing Gimmee Democrats.

● Only 78 percent of Americans in Pew Research polling say Washington can’t be trusted. Wonder why it’s not more.

● Think government can’t be more deserving of distrust? Wait until Congress imposes a value-added tax. Thursday’s AJC headline, “Obama appears open to value-added tax option” could just as easily have said “Panhandlers appear to be open to folding money.” A national sales tax, in lieu of the income tax, has merit. A hidden value-added tax as an add-on to the existing tax system is a politician’s dream.

● I haven’t seen the definitive article anywhere, but I’m dying to read the explanation of why 78 percent of Jewish voters supported Barack Obama. Israel this week celebrated its 62nd birthday with the near certainty that Iran will get nuclear weapons and a dear nation-friend has a president in the White House who can’t be trusted to defend Israel’s vital security interests.

● Republicans under the Gold Dome may be mad at state Sen. Preston Smith (R-Rome) for very vocally and publicly standing by his pledge not to raise taxes, in violation of the Senate Republican caucus position, but out here in the sticks he’s one of the refreshing voices to come out of this session. He’s the kind of conservative who should be in one of the key statewide positions running Georgia. His refusal to go along cost him the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

79 comments Add your comment

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 22nd, 2010
8:05 pm

Good evening all. It is a shame that states such as Massachusetts and Vermont do not give full faith and credit to the laws of Georgia before enacting cultural preferences into their laws.

“But the ban should extend to individuals representing groups or organizations with a financial or regulatory interest in board decisions. ” I think I respectfully disagree. The evil is not the fact that the victims of government regulation desire to have their voices heard; the evil is that government attempts to subvert markets.

I favor privatizing and Balkanizing all public sector services. At the most local level possible, to be controlled by those most affected.

“California public workers won bargaining rights and quickly learned how to elect their own bosses..”
Maybe a strained observation on my part, but Dr. Walter E Williams this week again floated his “grant votes according to the level of taxes paid” idea. Brilliant. Keeps the thieves from spending other people’s money.

I have to admit that I have never noticed any flowers on Georgia interstates. That’s what happens when government takes over a job that should be left with nature.

“Only 78 percent of Americans in Pew Research polling say Washington can’t be trusted. Wonder why it’s not more.” Dennis Miller had a funny line last night, “I want to see the 22% who say they believe whatever Washington says, got a bridge to sell them.”

Cannot improve on our host’s pithy truths on VAT and similar consumption taxes, which I strongly favor but only under the right circumstances..

Earlier this year Norman Podhoretz wrote a great argument/book about the long association between our Jewish brothers and leftism. Michael Medved had a pointed and brilliantly shorter explanation. Bing will tell you.

I would vote for Preston Smith, given the opportunity; I cannot say the same about many others in the republican leadership. As is the normal case, I merely vote against their worse opponents.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 22nd, 2010
8:09 pm

Ok, ok, teasing is wrong.

* Medved: For most American Jews, the core of their Jewish identity isn’t solidarity with Israel; it’s rejection of Christianity. This observation may help to explain the otherwise puzzling political preferences of the Jewish community explored in Norman Podhoretz’s book. Jewish voters don’t embrace candidates based on their support for the state of Israel as much as they passionately oppose candidates based on their identification with Christianity — especially the fervent evangelicalism of the dreaded “Christian Right.”

Mid-South Philosopher

April 22nd, 2010
8:55 pm

Good evening, Jim,

Sometime in the not too distant future, the “Big Nine” are going to have to deal with Article 4, Section 1 of the United States Constitution…you know that is the one that keeps my wife and I from having to get “married” in every state we visit without otherwise be “living in sin!”

I don’t like it one dang bit and the founders of this nation didn’t mean it to be that way, but a same sex couple married in Massachusetts is just as married in Georgia as the good Missus and I are! I read the document. Wonder how many Georgians have ever read the U.S. Constitution?!?

The solution…a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriage…otherwise…get use to it!

The Preston Smith story just goes to prove that the radical Republicans are just as bad as the social Democrats. The only GOOD politician is a FORMER politician.

See you at the polls.

Bill

April 22nd, 2010
9:38 pm

Jim, good to see your usual hate-filled tripe early this evening. It should not be surprising to any of us that some things never change. Hope that your ratings are still holding up – hate and name-calling are certainly one way to make that happen!!

Regards,

Joe

April 22nd, 2010
9:44 pm

I’m convinced that the right is bigger fans of Israel than American Jews.

romeknowspreston

April 22nd, 2010
10:07 pm

The following is all stated at pure OPINION and NOT AS FACT, lest young smith decide he needs to play lawyer again…that said:….TAKE HEED Georgians….those that know mr. smith from his days in Rome cast a learned and skeptical eye on the “moral high ground” which he now conveniently seeks to seize…mr. “smith” is, not in Washington, nor is he in a black and white movie (he is no Jimmy Stewart)… Nay, he is in Atlanta….. Now then…Pray tell…why is he there….Well… is he there to vote his conviction on behalf of his constituents as he stridently claims he has been denied the opportunity to do…? (which, by the way, he can do without taking the well of the Senate for 36 minutes of self-absorbstion), or, is he there to take advantage of a political slight for his on gain… such that he can enjoy a platform from which to run for State wide office….? Hum…. Hey preston, vote your damn convictions on behalf of your constiutents, and then keep your damn mouth shut….isn’t the real issue here…. that the vote of your “conscience” on behalf of your constituents… cost YOU YOUR CHAIRMAINSHIPS….is that too high a price to pay?….preston, ole boy, doesn’t your complaint make all this about YOU, if so, not much has changed since you were a Roman….. enough, legislator of the year, youngest whatever…..our concern is for the wife and four small children abandoned as a result of a narcissism fueled by political ambition…chow.

Tiger Woods + Jesse James = SuperBAD Meets SuperEVIL (SuperUGLY!)

April 22nd, 2010
10:40 pm

● “On marriage: After seven marriages, a pending or possible divorce is not news anymore. And, two, what happens in Massachusetts stays in Massachusetts. Texas and Georgia, states that don’t recognize a “marriage” there, can’t grant a divorce, an issue Texas is litigating.”

I agree with you Jim that God-fearing states like Texas and Georgia shouldn’t be forced to participate even more than we half in an act that should be an exclusive province of heterosexuality. Divorce is the bedrock of our society and civilization and conservatives and traditionalists in such places as Texas and Georgia where the “real America” resides must band together and do all that we can do preserve divorce for future generations of God-fearing Americans. It is absolutely imperative that we as Conservatives protect an institution that is as beneficial to American Society as is divorce. We must protect Divorce before it is too late!

Tiger Woods + Jesse James = SuperBAD Meets SuperEVIL (SuperUGLY!)

April 22nd, 2010
10:51 pm

I’m just so glad that states like Georgia and Texas are home to the “real America”. I’m really glad that our good God-fearing Christian home, the great state of Georgia doesn’t touch the ocean like those heathenous East Coast states like Massachusetts (the satanic coastal state that got all of this gay divorce thing started), New York (more New Yuck!) and especially Florida (it seems like there are sexual perverts and deviants on every block “down there”, if you know what I mean). Why if good-ole landlocked Georgia touched the same ocean as those water-corrupted coastal MA, NY and FL perverts I don’t know what I would do!

Peter

April 23rd, 2010
12:02 am

Gimme Democrats Jim ? …….how does one explain building a fish farm for 20 plus million, while education, and services are cut in our state ?

I guess that is Republican Economics !

BitterEXdemocrackkk

April 23rd, 2010
6:29 am

Jews supporting Obama is like blacks still beholdin to the Original Party of SLAVERY, the democrackkk ‘party’ , the slave masters. WHY do blacks still support the people who keep us all oppressed?

The Ghost of John Q. Public

April 23rd, 2010
8:13 am

I used to tell the panhandlers who regularly acost me on the streets of Atlanta: “My ex-wife took all my money”.

Now, I tell them: “Obama took all my money”.

About the only time the panhandlers disappear is when the Apparel Mart crowd hits town. “Those women be mean” one panhandler told me.

Will

April 23rd, 2010
8:32 am

The Obama administration has indicated it will appeal a recent court decision that has negatively affected the National Day of Prayer.

Gee, how can this be? According to most republican newspaper writers and republican radio entertainers, this administration is lead by a racist, godless, foreign born socialist.

Do you think these newspaper writers and radio entertainers will thank him for doing this?

Me neither.

Gator Joe

April 23rd, 2010
8:45 am

Jim:
It is apparent you are ignorant about what firefighters do and the risk to life and limb they experience.
After 27 years of service, most firefighters will carry the deliterious effects of this career with them into retirement, with some having their lifespans shortened. Why not suit up and ride with an engine or ladder company for a week, and see if you still have the same opinion then.
You are entitled to continually criticize programs which fortunately, you will never have to receive benefits from. Benifits from programs to combat hunger and poverty, or pensions for firefighters and police officers.

Chris Broe

April 23rd, 2010
8:49 am

Coneflower’s unkindest cut (The party of hoe).

Conservatism is dead. Fitting how the Right’s cause is now pushing up daisies. Oh, they’ve missed their calling. They’re good at it, kids, they’re real good. And the flowers never had it so good! Just the simple act of a Republican-sellout speaking results in fertilizing flowers, (somebody get a hose).

Not to cloud the issue, but coneflowers gots to be fertilized same as mushroom(clouds). (Sploowitzz!!)

Wooten isn’t interested in the Right any more. He’s interested in the Right Now.

It’s a good bet that the flowers wish Wooten would stop being so good to them.

Morrus

April 23rd, 2010
9:04 am

Vote out the incumbents and start over

Chris

April 23rd, 2010
9:07 am

Well said, Gator Joe. A firefighter that has survived 27 years in the service has absolutely paid his dues, and earned every benefit that his pension allows.

HDB

April 23rd, 2010
9:09 am

● “On marriage: After seven marriages, a pending or possible divorce is not news anymore. And, two, what happens in Massachusetts stays in Massachusetts. Texas and Georgia, states that don’t recognize a “marriage” there, can’t grant a divorce, an issue Texas is litigating.”

So…people here are advocating violating the US Constitution, huh??
Article 4, Section 1: Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Any contract entered into in ONE state MUST be recognized by ALL states!! That also INCLUDES marriage; therefore….quit complaining about marriage! Does it matter whom someone decided to marry??

WHY do blacks still support the people who keep us all oppressed?
Excuse me….but the GOP doesn’t even RECOGNIZE black people as constituents….note what Michael Steele has admitted:

“We have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans,” Steele said. “This party was co-founded by blacks, among them Frederick Douglass. The Republican Party had a hand in forming the NAACP, and yet we have mistreated that relationship. People don’t walk away from parties, Their parties walk away from them.”

In a recent Washington Post poll, 23 percent of non-white registered voters said they had favorable views of the Republican Party, compared with 72 percent who viewed the GOP unfavorably.

Ken Mehlman, in 2005, admitted that the GOP amplified racial animus to get the white vote.

That paradigm must change!!

Cutty

April 23rd, 2010
9:28 am

Wooten is a one trick pony.

StJ

April 23rd, 2010
9:35 am

“Dennis Miller had a funny line last night, ‘I want to see the 22% who say they believe whatever Washington says, got a bridge to sell them.’”

They’re easy to find…for example, in Atlanta, look in the 4th District…the same people who elected Hank “The Island Might Tip Over” Johnson.

Dr. Stan-(the black one)

April 23rd, 2010
9:42 am

We must consider “The Beholden Ministry–How Satan’s State silenced God’s Church,” by Dr. Stan-(the black one). “The story starts over four decades ago when a politically active southern preacher, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, shot dead, in Memphis Tennessee. Thereafter in the interest of non-violence, representatives of God preached no absolutes- two sides to every story-no rights and wrongs-everything is relative’.

Therefore, if a thousand white people witness a murder and reports the truth to the nation, the report is considered wrong, unacceptable because the report is not of a diverse group.

If a diverse group of people witness the identical murder and reports a lie to the nation, the testimony is considered right, acceptable because the report is of a diverse group.

There are no rights and wrongs. Everything is relative.

Only the Tea Party has the vision to save us now.

Haywood Jablome

April 23rd, 2010
9:49 am

Assuming that American Jews tacitly support Israel’s policies because its Israel is stupid. I expect nothing less from Wooten.

Haile Selassie I

April 23rd, 2010
9:54 am

Jim,

Israel has received $106 billion in aid from the US since 1949. I think its time for Israel to stand on their own.

you have no idea

April 23rd, 2010
10:14 am

To: RomeknowsPreston…
Check your facts BUDDY…things aren’t always as they seem. Preston is a dedicated father! He has done nothing by try to protect his family. If he went public it would only hurt his children…so he takes abuse like yours and the truth about “said innocent wife” remains behind closed doors. just know, things aren’t always as they seem and she is certainly not so innocent. He is a real man and cares more about his family than ignorant assuming people like you who don’t take the time to learn the TRUTH. Nice try at discrediting him with your cheap unfounded opinions though!!!
Chow back at ya.
-Someone that knows him far better than you

AmVet

April 23rd, 2010
10:57 am

“Dennis Miller had a funny line last night…”

WOW! That is news!

Right wingers trying to do comedy – now that’s funny.

(I bet you faithful miss his rip-roaring debacle – The Half Hour News Hour.)

HDB

April 23rd, 2010
11:21 am

Dr. Stan-(the black one) April 23rd, 2010
9:42 am

Only the Tea Party has the vision to save us now.

If they have the vision….they are BLINDED by the LIGHT!! To create a corollary:

If a diverse group of people witness an assault on a Congressman and reports the truth to the nation, the report is considered wrong, unacceptable because the report is not from the Tea Party

If the Tea Party witnesses the identical assault and reports a lie to the nation, the testimony is considered right, acceptable because the report is from the Tea Party

Thank God I don’t wear blinders….but bifocals!!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 23rd, 2010
11:43 am

Dear HDB @ 9:09, I respectfully suggest that you have misinterpreted Article 4, Section 1: Full Faith and Credit: “Any contract entered into in ONE state MUST be recognized by ALL states!! That also INCLUDES marriage; therefore….quit complaining about marriage! Does it matter whom someone decided to marry??” The error is that Massachusetts (or Massachusettes for leftists) has failed to honor the long-standing laws of Georgia in making its recent changes to law; it is Massachusetts that violates the Full Faith and Credit stricture by attempting to invalidate Georgia law.

Dr. Stan-(the black one)

April 23rd, 2010
11:58 am

HDB,

I bet you’ve been listening to the civil rights workers and their mumbo-jumbo. Don’t get me wrong, they were worth listening to prior to 1968, precisely April 4, 1968. But after the voice of King Jr. was silenced, everything emanating from that cesspool has been State or Satan sponsored.

They’ve even convinced many Americans to destroy their own nation for personal gain- money, status, and influence. That’s what’s happening in California. And that’s what happening in Georgia too. I had the opportunity to join the brotherhood of robbers, deceivers, and haters of God and man but I declined.

Maybe Pastor Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church are coming to town on May 5-6 in an effort to convince Atlanta that the civil rights workers have us traveling on a dark road that leads to nowhere-Hell.

There are rights and wrongs. Usually there is a right side and wrong side. There are absolutes.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 23rd, 2010
12:03 pm

Dear HDB @ 9:09, I would respectfully expand my argument. Nevada law makes gambling debts collectible. Tennessee law does not. A Tennesseean who goes to Nevada and runs up a gambling tab (and thereafter refuses to pay) may be sued in Nevada for breach of contract, but Tennessee courts will not domesticate the judgment.

Dr. Stan-(the black one)

April 23rd, 2010
12:04 pm

I just fired my proofreaded.

RJ

April 23rd, 2010
12:07 pm

You want to know why Jewish voters supported Obama? The simple answer is that they didn’t. They simply voted against a party that is controlled and financed by a religious segment.

I’m willing to bet if Republicans stuck to being conservative and got out of religion, you’d see that nubmer change very quickly. If you want to force people to go along with policies based on Christianity, don’t be shocked when non-Christians don’t vote for you.

HDB

April 23rd, 2010
12:12 pm

Ragnar Danneskjöld April 23rd, 2010
11:43 am

Question: Is it not true that contracts can have alterations? If so, aren’t those alterations also covered by contract law? If that’s the case, Massachussetts altered their provisions of the marriage contract…but those alterations are PART of that contract, thereby covered by law!! Massachussetts does NOT have to consider Georgia law in their consideration or alternation of contract law….but the contract must be honored throughout the United States…..

Also…this is ALSO covered by treaty…for if such a marriage/contract is legal in a nation which we have treaties recognizing such…those marriages/contracts MUST be recognized by US law……

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 23rd, 2010
12:18 pm

Dear HDB @ 12:12, a long-standing construct of law is that any illegal contract is void ab initio. Georgia regards “nontraditional” marriage contracts as illegal, and can rightly decline to enforce. Just like the gambling debt. Allows each state to do its own thing.

I respectfully suggest you will have a hard time finding a Treaty that magnifies homosexual marriage contracts. The Muslims would not like that, and surely the US will not take an action, such as ratifying a Treaty, that would offend a Muslim.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 23rd, 2010
12:21 pm

But, dear HDB, I think you may be on to a right construction – the “domestic partnership contract.” Georgia law allows anyone to contract, and absent evidence of undue influence or similar “fraud” concerns, I think Georgia courts would interpret and enforce specific provisions of a written contract. Specificity is the key.

HDB

April 23rd, 2010
12:24 pm

Dr. Stan-(the black one)

April 23rd, 2010
11:58 am
There are rights and wrongs. Usually there is a right side and wrong side. There are absolutes.

I don’t disagree with that statement….but the problem is that one person’s solution to an absolute will be different from another’s because the viewpoint is different! Is either solution wrong?

HDB

April 23rd, 2010
12:30 pm

Ragnar: Check the treaties that the US has between itself and the Netherlands or Canada…..the Dutch and Canadians recognize gay marriage; by treaty, any comparable contract — including marriage — is also to be recognized. If it were not so, every marriage would have to be enacted in EVERY state and/or nation to avoid conflict!

Marriage IS a specific contract…is it not??

Tiger Woods + Jesse James = SuperBAD Meets SuperEVIL (SuperUGLY!)

April 23rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Will

April 23rd, 2010
8:32 am
“The Obama administration has indicated it will appeal a recent court decision that has negatively affected the National Day of Prayer.”

“Gee, how can this be? According to most republican newspaper writers and republican radio entertainers, this administration is lead by a racist, godless, foreign born socialist.”

“Do you think these newspaper writers and radio entertainers will thank him for doing this?”

“Me neither.”

Everybody knows that Obama is anything but godless. Why, he even turns East towards Mecca and fervently worships Allah five times a day!

Mid-South Philosopher

April 23rd, 2010
12:41 pm

@HDB and Ragnar Danneskjöld,

Relative to “same sex marriage”, your interactions reinforce what I stated earlier…”the ‘Big Nine’ (aka: the United States Supreme Court) will ultimately have to determine how Article 4, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution applies and, ironically, it may be the “same sex divorce” issue that brings it (pardon the pun) to a “head!”

As I said earlier, I don’t like it…I am “agin” it, but I suspect it is constitutional!

Dr. Stan-(the black one)

April 23rd, 2010
12:44 pm

HDB,

I would need to know your solution to an absolute to determine whether it is right or wrong. Then I can show you how viewpoints lead to the wrong or right solution or whether a person is just plain crazy.

Tiger Woods + Jesse James = SuperBAD meets SuperEVIL in "SuperUGLY!"

April 23rd, 2010
12:51 pm

HDB

April 23rd, 2010
12:30 pm
“Ragnar: Check the treaties that the US has between itself and the Netherlands or Canada…..the Dutch and Canadians recognize gay marriage; by treaty, any comparable contract — including marriage — is also to be recognized. If it were not so, every marriage would have to be enacted in EVERY state and/or nation to avoid conflict!”

“Marriage IS a specific contract…is it not??”

HDB: Doggone it! Were not talking about marriage, were talking about DIVORCE! Georgia courts will NEVER recognize a contract of “that type” between “those people” (who are by no means TO NEVER to be confused with “Those OTHER People”!) because all of the OTHER god-fearing people would never allow it because for a judge to do such a thing would be JUDICIAL ACTIVISM! As we all know, DIVORCE is the bedrock foundation of American society and Western Civilization. That’s why hard-line, red-rock, red-blooded Conservatives like myself, Jim Wooten, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Rudy Guliani, David Vitter and Larry Craig, amongst others, are banding together to start both the American Society to Save Divorce or A.S.S.-D. for short, as well as the Coalition to Encourage Divorce or COED for short. Together these two All-American institutions will work tirelessly to preserve the hallowed and sacred institution of divorce for generations of Americans to come.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 23rd, 2010
1:01 pm

Dear Mid-South @ 12:41, you are undoubtedly right. While the prior constructions of “Full Faith and Credit” permit states to ignore a contract that is illegal under their laws, precedent has little meaning with the Constitution is a living breathing document, one that builds a society on a bed of shifting sand.

Justin

April 23rd, 2010
1:45 pm

Georgia should pass the same legislation as Arizona.

jconservative

April 23rd, 2010
2:05 pm

Re US Constitution

“Article 4, Section 2
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

14th Amendment
“…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge
the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Mid-South Philosopher is correct. The US Supreme Court will decide. Remember the Constitution says what the Court says it says. Always has and always will.

But you who are really uncomfortable with same sex marriage, as I am, need to do some deep thinking. Do you want a government of laws or a government of men.

I am still thinking.

Churchill's MOM

April 23rd, 2010
2:05 pm

I did not vote for our current President but I am happy that he is An America First President.just like the senior Bush.

Who Dat?

April 23rd, 2010
2:08 pm

“Only 78 percent of Americans in Pew Research polling say Washington can’t be trusted. Wonder why it’s not more.”

It is more.

Churchill's MOM

April 23rd, 2010
2:10 pm

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 13, 2010
I am a big Joe Biden fan. The vice president is an indefatigable defender of U.S. interests abroad. So it pains me to say that on his recent trip to Israel, when Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s government rubbed his nose in some new housing plans for contested East Jerusalem, the vice president missed a chance to send a powerful public signal: He should have snapped his notebook shut, gotten right back on Air Force Two, flown home and left the following scribbled note behind: “Message from America to the Israeli government: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And right now, you’re driving drunk. You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences? You have lost total contact with reality. Call us when you’re serious. We need to focus on building our country.”

: Benjamin NetanyahuI think that — rather than fuming and making up — would have sent a very useful message for two reasons. First, what the Israelis did played right into a question a lot of people are asking about the Obama team: how tough are these guys? The last thing the president needs, at a time when he is facing down Iran and China — not to mention Congress — is to look like America’s most dependent ally can push him around.

And second, Israel needs a wake-up call. Continuing to build settlements in the West Bank, and even housing in disputed East Jerusalem, is sheer madness. Yasir Arafat accepted that Jewish suburbs there would be under Israeli sovereignty in any peace deal that would also make Arab parts of East Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. Israel’s planned housing expansion now raises questions about whether Israel will ever be willing to concede a Palestinian capital in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem — a big problem.

Israel has already bitten off plenty of the West Bank. If it wants to remain a Jewish democracy, its only priority now should be striking a deal with the Palestinians that would allow it to swap those settlement blocs in the West Bank occupied by Jews for an equal amount of land from Israel for the Palestinians and then reap the benefits — economic and security — of ending the conflict.

Unfortunately, that is not what happened last week. For nine months now, America’s Middle East special envoy, George Mitchell, has been trying to find a way to get any kind of peace talks going between Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians don’t trust Netanyahu, and Netanyahu has serious doubts as to whether the divided Palestinian leadership can deliver.

Nevertheless, Mitchell was eventually able to persuade the two sides to agree on “proximity talks” — the Palestinians would sit in Ramallah and the Israelis in Jerusalem and Mitchell would shuttle 30 minutes between them. After a decade of direct talks, this is how far things have fallen.

Mitchell’s and Netanyahu’s aides struck an informal deal: If America got talks going, there would be no announcements of buildings in East Jerusalem, nothing to embarrass the Palestinians and force them to walk. Netanyahu agreed, U.S. officials say, but made clear he couldn’t commit to anything publicly.

So what happened? Biden arrived the day after the proximity talks started and out came an announcement from Israel’s Interior Ministry that Israel had just approved plans for 1,600 new housing units in Arab East Jerusalem.

Netanyahu said he was blindsided. It’s probably true in the narrow sense. The move seems to have been part of a competition between two of Netanyahu’s right-wing Sephardi ministers from the religious Shas Party over who can be the greater champion of building homes for Sephardi orthodox Jews in East Jerusalem. It is a measure of how much Israel takes our support for granted and how out of touch the Israeli religious right is with America’s strategic needs.

Biden — a real friend of Israel’s — was quoted as telling his Israeli interlocutors: “What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and endangers regional peace.”

This whole fracas also distracts us from the potential of this moment: Only a right-wing prime minister, like Netanyahu, can make a deal over the West Bank; Netanyahu’s actual policies on the ground there have helped Palestinians grow their economy and put in place their own rebuilt security force, which is working with the Israeli Army to prevent terrorism; Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad are as genuine and serious about working toward a solution as any Israel can hope to find; Hamas has halted its attacks on Israel from Gaza; with the Sunni Arabs obsessed over the Iran threat, their willingness to work with Israel has never been higher, and the best way to isolate Iran is to take the Palestinian conflict card out of Tehran’s hand.

In sum, there may be a real opportunity here — if Netanyahu chooses to seize it. The Israeli leader needs to make up his mind whether he wants to make history or once again be a footnote to it.

Who Dat?

April 23rd, 2010
2:12 pm

HDB is a racist.

Churchill's MOM

April 23rd, 2010
2:12 pm

Raghead, if you are surprised at 22%, remember that you voted for the crook Saxby What’s in It For Me Chambliss. You are part of the problem not part of the solution.

AmVet

April 23rd, 2010
2:14 pm

Churchill’s MOM’s douche, are you really that clueless?

AmVet

April 23rd, 2010
2:16 pm

Liberals and the Violence Card

Conservative protest is motivated by a love of what America stands for.

By RUSH LIMBAUGH

The latest liberal meme is to equate skepticism of the Obama administration with a tendency toward violence. That takes me back 15 years ago to the time President Bill Clinton accused “loud and angry voices” on the airwaves (i.e., radio talk-show hosts like me) of having incited Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. What self-serving nonsense. Liberals are perfectly comfortable with antigovernment protest when they’re not in power.

From the halls of the Ivy League to the halls of Congress, from the antiwar protests during the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq to the anticapitalist protests during International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings, we’re used to seeing leftist malcontents take to the streets. Sometimes they’re violent, breaking shop windows with bricks and throwing rocks at police. Sometimes there are arrests. Not all leftists are violent, of course. But most are angry. It’s in their DNA. They view the culture as corrupt and capitalism as unjust.

Now the liberals run the government and they’re using their power to implement their radical agenda. Mr. Obama and his party believe that the election of November 2008 entitled them to make permanent, “transformational” changes to our society. In just 16 months they’ve added more than $2 trillion to the national debt, essentially nationalized the health-care system, the student-loan industry, and have their sights set on draconian cap-and-trade regulations on carbon emissions and amnesty for illegal aliens.

Had President Obama campaigned on this agenda, he wouldn’t have garnered 30% of the popular vote.

Like the millions of citizens who’ve peacefully risen up and attended thousands of rallies in protest, I seek nothing more than the preservation of the social contract that undergirds our society. I do not hate the government, as the left does when it is not running it. I love this country. And because I do, I insist that the temporary inhabitants of high political office comply with the Constitution, honor our God-given unalienable rights, and respect our hard-earned private property. For this I am called seditious, among other things, by some of the very people who’ve condemned this society?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703876404575199743566950622.html

scrappy

April 23rd, 2010
2:16 pm

SuperUgly @12:51 – Very nice. I can’t wait for the A.S.S.-D bumper stickers!