Republicans demand broader powers for Obama justice department

Omar Sharif- A close up shot from his movie &q...
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You know the Republicans have lost their way when they vigorously argue in favor of something they warned against just two years ago.

Remember hearing conservatives insist that Obama was going to revive the Fairness Doctrine as part of his Marxist plot to give Omar Sharif his own show on government-run radio? I understand if you’ve forgotten, seeing as how the president hasn’t even raised the issue.

Now those same voices want Obama to order his justice department to prosecute any media outlet that facilitated the publication of leaked government secrets obtained by Bond villain Julian “you can’t spell ass without” Assange. They’re pissed that Obama hasn’t ignored all First Amendment precedents and prosecuted everyone from Amazon to the New York Times.

In order words, fear imaginary government overreach but cheer real threats to free speech, as long as the organizations targeted veer left. Hell, they must hate the Times more than Obama.

If there’s anything you don’t compromise on, it’s the First Amendment.

BP’s mess, Obama’s country

This is a BP mess,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at a news conference with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal and several U.S. senators. “It is a horrible mess. It is a massive and environmental mess.”

Yes, and you’ve let it linger. As this disaster unfolds it’s becoming evident that the Obama administration has been a bystander. Once again Washington has failed the Gulf.

pegging obama

NYT columnist Ross Douthat understands what most of Obama’s critics, left and right, fail to grasp.

Both right and left have had trouble processing Obama’s institutionalism. Conservatives have exaggerated his liberal instincts into radicalism, ignoring the fact that a president who takes advice from Lawrence Summers and Robert Gates probably isn’t a closet Marxist-Leninist. The left has been frustrated, again and again, by the gulf between Obama’s professed principles and the compromises that he’s willing to accept, and some liberals have become convinced that he isn’t one of them at all.

an opportunity for conservatives to say something positive about obama

They should be encouraged by the words of Barack Obama’s education secretary. Not bloody likely.

In deciding how to spend Race to the Top dollars, Duncan wants to reward programs that don’t see a child’s poverty as insurmountable, and that focus on raising academic standards, improving teacher quality and inspiring innovation.

“It is not enough to make the same investment in the same programs,” he said, stressing the need for innovation, quality and results. “We are not going to reward the status quo.”

He also intends to overhaul the landmark No Child Left Behind Act. The current system, which allows states to set their own standards, has led to a dumbing down of standards in many states.

the left vs. obama

With the ship of state headed for one mother of an iceberg, is now the time to be worrying about the race, gender and sexual identity of those steering the barge?

I’d be troubled if the president-elect overlooked obviously qualified candidates just because they’re gay. There’s no evidence of that, but the professionally aggrieved tend not to wait on facts:

It’s the same with Salazar – with Solis’ nomination, especially, there was no compelling need for another Latino appointment, but I acknowledge the political benefit. But that’s not true with SBA, and what happened there makes me question the Interior appointment, too. I can’t think of any common reasoning on these appointments except “anybody but the gay guy.”

Translation: He’s selected a token Hispanic, now what about our token gay?

Seeing none, they assume homophobia.

Or sexism, a charge being leveled by some women’s groups peeved that men make up a majority of Obama’s 20 Cabinet-level appointments.

(emphasis added) Amy Siskind, co-founder of the nonpartisan group New Agenda, accuses Obama of taking “shocking steps backward” and said “this constituency does not matter to the president-elect.”

I’d label that a hysterical overreaction, which it is, but will resist for fear of being called a sexist, which I’m not.

That Obama is already drawing heat from the indignation councils gives me hope.

the cabinet pick that will say the most about obama

A: Education secretary.

Will the next president opt for a reformer or stick with the failed establishment? David Brooks analyzes the field.

(Where America ranks)

UPDATE: Heard former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes mentioned as a possible education secretary. He’d be a strong pick.

hillary for state

I’m trying to find reasons to oppose Hillary’s new assignment, but it’s no use.

She’s tough and she’s smart. The world’s a dirty place, and Hillary’s willing to get in the mud. She’s one-half of the most narcissistic couple since Antony and Cleopatra but, in this case, what’s good for the Clintons is good for the country.

Most importantly, Obama’s thinking practically, and I’m impressed. This Cabinet won’t require coddling.

why can’t we get a decent attorney general?

Of late, nothing but fuck-ups, suck-ups, prudes and enablers:

Avert your eyes!
Avert your eyes!

*Janet Reno. One word: Waco
*John Ashcroft. Embarrassed by nude statues
*Alberto Gonzalez. Lied before Congress; made Ashcroft look good in comparison

And now, Eric Holder, who looked the other way as Bill Clinton made a mockery of the president’s pardon powers.

In the Clinton pardon scandal, Holder was deputy attorney general when his duties intersected with the efforts of Rich’s lawyer, Jack Quinn, who had been White House counsel earlier in the Clinton administration.

The entire matter was handled in an unorthodox manner — on a straight line from Rich’s lawyer to the White House, with a consulting role for Holder.

Later, Holder said he told White House counsel Beth Nolan the day before the pardon was issued that he was “neutral, leaning toward favorable” in regard to the pardon. He said he and Nolan “never had a prolonged conversation about the matter.”

To make matters worse, Holder had asked Quinn for his help in becoming attorney general in the event then-Vice President Al Gore won the 2000 election.

His colleagues say he has a “stellar reputation,” but why appoint someone who auditioned so poorly?

the pundit class

They really do think alike. Two examples:

Issue: Hillary for Secretary of State
The consensus: It’s reminiscent of Lincoln, who appointed a “team of rivals” to his Cabinet. (Pundits like to appear well-read and well-versed in history.)
What was overlooked: William Seward’s spouse never raisied money from Confederate generals.
The exception: Fox’s Juan Williams asked, “How do you fire Hillary?” Good point.

Issue Two: Obama’s First 100 Days
The consensus: Obama needs to “hit the ground running.”
What was overlooked: The economy is in crisis. Prudence is called for, not bold new initiatives. We can’t afford big mistakes.

Worst pundits (tie): Fred Barnes (Fox), Hillary Rosen (CNN), otherwise known as GOP strategist Fred Barnes and Democratic Party strategist Hillary Rosen. (Added disdain for Rosen, formerly chairwoman of the soulless Recording Industry Association of America.)