Visual source: Newseum
According to a poll of Ohio voters sponsored by four liberal interest groups and released this week, three-fourths of respondents said they oppose efforts to cut the national debt by reducing Medicare spending. Separately, a new nationwide poll reported that most Americans think Washington can balance the budget without cutting Medicare.
Republicans say such surveys misrepresent their plan, which they claim would allow Medicare spending to continue to rise for 10 years while they convert the program to one based on helping elderly Americans buy private insurance. But if voters appreciate that distinction, they evidently aren't buying it.
Rick Perlstein didn't forget what most Americans apparently did—the 100th anniversary of Hubert H. Humphrey's birth, as well his political debut on the national stage with a game-changing speech at the 1948 Democratic National Convention favoring a fair employment commission:
“To those who say this civil rights program is an infringement on states’ rights,” he thundered from the convention podium, “I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”
The motion carried. The Southerners walked out and ran Strom Thurmond for president. When Harry S. Truman won nonetheless, Democrats were on their way to becoming the party of civil rights. Hubert Humphrey catalyzed that change.
Meghan Daum dissects Barack Obama's "intellectual stammer."
[Ratko Mladic] played his leading role in Srebrenica with relish, personally leading his men on the final assault on the town. Murderous threats to the terrified refugees alternated with deceptive words of reassurance.
Only hours before his men began rounding up the town's men and boys, he handed out sweets to Bosniak children gathered in the town square, assuring them that all would be well. That is the image of sadistic mendacity that many survivors of the massacre have of him.
Monday's [Supreme Court] ruling is as much an indictment of this state's politics as it is of our correctional system, and it ought to prod us into considering a couple of unpleasant truths: One, America generally — and California in particular — simply sends too many people to prison for too long relative to their offenses. Two, this state's prisons are perhaps the prime example of our relatively recent popular impulse to insist on having things for which we don't want to pay — in this case, mass incarceration of nonviolent offenders. The situation has been exacerbated by the intrusion of another recent trend: the infusions of single-issue politics into our criminal justice system.
Stewart J. Lawrence:
Thursday's decision by the US supreme court to uphold a 2007 Arizona state law punishing businesses that hire illegal aliens has just thrown a huge monkey wrench into the nation's immigration policy debate.
In fact, it's a landmark decision that threatens to push the boundary line between federal and state authority for immigration closer to the federalist principle that states have a right to initiate their own laws — a huge blow to traditonalists, including Obama justice department lawyers, who insist that the US constitution gives the federal government a near-monopoly on the making and enforcing of the nation's immigration laws.
Tom Plate on the next head of the International Monetary Fund:
Asia still doesn't get much respect from Washington, where the IMF has its headquarters. Driven by the resurrection of China from its near-death experience of Mao, and a rising India, Asia is now demanding to be permitted to sit at the head table, not on the IMF back porch begging for scraps from the rich white boys' club.
But here is the problem: As the IMF power elite proceeds apace to select a successor to risque-business Strauss-Kahn, who was recently accused of a sex assault on a New York hotel employee, there is almost no chance at all the job will go to an Asian. Basically the boys want to keep it within the Euro-American club. Outsiders need not apply.
Mona Charen takes a contrarian view on the meaning of NY-26:
The New York loss may yield even more dividends. It may induce a certain complacency among Democrats. …
Democrats believe that Republicans have blundered badly — changing the subject from the limping economy, the soaring debt, and the unpopular Obamacare to the Democrats' favorite campaign issue — Medicare. But that confidence is misplaced.
George Will sees an opening for the GOP:
June will be the 762nd month since January 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began calculating the unemployment rate. And June will be the 68th month since 1948 with the rate at 8 percent or higher — the 29th such month under Obama. So 43 percent of the most severe unemployment in the last 63 years has occurred in the last two and half years. No postwar president has sought re-election with 8 percent unemployment.
The recession ended in June 2009, yet a late-April Gallup poll showed 55 percent of Americans describing the economy as in a recession or depression. Hence 78 percent are dissatisfied with the country's direction.
Charles Krauthammer asks whether President Obama hates Israel or just stupid about it.
Tuches aufn tish: Buttocks on the table. That's the colorful way my Yiddish-speaking ancestors said, "Let's cut the BS and talk about honest truth." It seems like a particularly apt expression after a week watching the shadow-boxing between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that brought no tangible progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace.
The truth, like the table, is usually hard and uncomfortable. President Obama's carefully hedged public call for a two-state solution along Israel's 1967 borders may indeed represent a new step. Maybe it will even prove part of some long-range game plan that will eventually pay off. But here's the problem: as of now, Obama shows no inclination to back his words with the power the US government could wield. Until he does, those words won't provoke any change in Israel's domination of the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have read the phone book at the Congress podium and received the same standing ovation. His speech used the advice Moshe Sneh gave to himself. The late [Knesset member] wrote on the draft of one of his speeches "weak argument, raise voice."
There's no question Bibi knew exactly which points in his speech would make the Congressmen rise to their feet in tumultuous applause. After all, that was his objective in the first place: to begin his bizarre visit to America by embarrassing President Barack Obama and end it by outflanking him with Congress' applause.