Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011.


Health Care Repeal Fails in Senate

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Health Care

Kabuki Theater. Not close. No Dem voted to repeal.

Florida to Floridians: Drop dead.

Update: House Republicans repeal job-killing Obamastroid Act.

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Egypt Meltdown

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Middle East

Matters in Egypt seem to be coming to a head. My impression is that within the next few hours Mubarak will either have to crack down hard with martial law or leave the country. According to Salon, the White House has signaled it would prefer the latter. But there are new reports that the army is siding with Mubarak. At the moment, it doesn’t seem that Mubarak is leaving.

A writer for Forbes says that what a majority of Egyptians want is not a western-style democracy, the tender hopes of the NRO staff notwithstanding, but some form of Islamic theocracy.

Egyptian values, in other words, are far from liberal—even if some of the protesters currently out in the streets might be. This, of course, runs counter to the idea that has taken hold in many quarters: that the end of the Mubarak era will inexorably lead to democracy in the heart of the Arab world. But numbers don’t lie; Egyptian society as a whole is both religious and deeply conservative.

Israel probably has good reason to be worried. And there’s no question that if Mubarak goes, the extremist teabagger Right in the U.S. will howl that Obama “lost Egypt.” But if there’s one thing I wish people would learn, it is that the U.S. can’t control what goes on in another country. And propping up pro-western dictators because the alternative seems worse always seems to backfire in the long run.

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Boehner, Um, Scandal?

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Congress

It took a lot of will power to not make a pun out of this.

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Foreign Policy Is Hard

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Obama Administration

The majority of potential 2012 presidential GOP candidates continue to avoid making statements on the uprising in Egypt.

When surveyed by POLITICO Tuesday to ask how each would handle the situation, whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should step down now and if the U.S. should cut off foreign aid to his government, representatives of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal did not respond to requests for comment.

Of course, as I wrote a couple of days ago, Palin did comment that she hoped the news media wouldn’t blame her for whatever is going on in Egypt, and Mitch Daniels told Laura Ingraham that he was just a li’l ol’ country guvner and couldn’t be expected to know nothin’ ’bout no Egypt.

Politico also tells us that Newt Gingrich continues to speak out against whatever Barack Obama is doing, although it’s still not clear to me what Newt would do if he were president (shudder). Gingrich does say that he would study what Ronald Reagan did, because Reagan was right and Jimmy Carter was wrong.

I wish someone would tie Newt down and say, pretend YOU were elected in 2010. Barack Obama is in the Senate. There is no one else to blame. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Hosni Mubarak is on the phone. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HIM? I would bet money that Newt couldn’t give a straight answer and would just fall back on bashing President Obama.

Ron Paul wants to cut off foreign aid to Egypt. Paul wants to cut off foreign aid to the whole Middle East, in fact. And yeah, that’s Ron, not Rand.

Rick Santorum complained that the Obama Administration is “not up to speed” on Egypt, but that he has superior military and national security experience (yeah, I hear you giggling out there) and would handle it better, because he “knows the players.” But nothing else he said indicates that he would do anything radically different from what the Obama Administration is doing.

As already reported here, Tim Pawlenty thinks Mubarak should go, and Mike Huckabee thinks Mubarak should stay. Haley Barbour will be traveling to Israel soon, but still hasn’t made a statement on Egypt that I can find.

Elsewhere — Jeffrey Goldberg notes what I’ve been saying for a couple of days — the neocons and Israel are on opposite sides of the Egyptian situation. Heh.

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