A few worthy thoughts gathered from the internets:
- Dan Gerstein of Forbes Magazine explores the makeup of the White House staff and the impact it may be having on the President’s performance. Comprised primarily of what Gerstein quotes an insider to be “political hacks,” the staff’s tendency to fight, win, and be snarky when compromise, concession, or moderation might be the smarter play might explain a lot about Obama’s tin ear for the public mood. Of course, it does beg the question – if your whole staff is made up of political consultants, shouldn’t they be able to win you either New Jersey or Virginia?
- In the “truly creepy” department, I bring you the expanded list of honorific Obama song and dance routines from our nation’s schoolchildren, courtesy of Big Hollywood. Easily the oddest lyric, although probably also the silliest and least-disturbing:
You don’t believe me, I hear you say
But Barack’s as Irish, as was JFK
His granddaddy’s daddy came from Moneygall
A small Irish village, well known to you all
- In case this doesn’t give you enough night terrors about what your kids are larning in dem skools, the U.S. military would like to have a word with you. They tell us that fully 75% of all Americans aged 17-24 are ineligible to join the Armed Forces. Why? They’re too fat, stupid, or corrupt. Since a good proportion of those who are eligible will choose other career paths, this is an incredibly difficult challenge for military recruitment — either lower the standards for the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen, or spend more and more on recruitment to chase fewer and fewer worthy candidates. And of course, the rest of us get to deal with the rejects. Oh, goody.
- Rich Lowry explains why Obama will ignore my recommendation to go to Berlin, calling it the “most telling nonevent of his presidency.” I agree. During her White House visit yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel went out of her way to thank the American people for their support in the years leading up to German unification. Our President responded by closing the press briefing.
- Speaking of travel, Jay Nordlinger highlighted a comment by David Pryce-Jones regarding the emerging lefty tourist habit of the grand tour of Iran. It’s so good, I hope Mr. Pryce-Jones will forgive my copying it wholesale here:
This anthology passage has come to mind several times recently in connection with present-day fellow-travellers visiting Iran in just that same spirit of willing self-deception. Here are advocates of human rights enthusing over the general happiness of Iranians even while disgusting crimes of murder and rape are routine in the prisons. Here are ecologists promoting windmills everywhere at home, obsessed with their carbon footprint while oblivious to the Iranian nuclear program. Socialists and Leftists in a permanent fury about American foreign policy have nothing to say about Iranian sponsorship of terror far and wide. Pacifists and aesthetes are so eager to see the splendours of Qom and Mashhad that they are oblivious to the Islamist Republic’s testing of long-range missiles and repeated threats to exterminate its enemies. Feminists eager to uncover gender discrimination in their own sphere respond to the plight of Iranian women by praising the attractive colours of their clothing. Tourism to Iran is apparently the latest fashion among rich Westerners, and they come back saying that the country is peaceful, prosperous, no danger to anyone but altogether a brilliant success. My dear, let’s meet up at Isfahan, you have to see those mosques.
History is riddled with examples of liberals exhibiting their moral superiority through brave acts of monied extravagance. But it’s hard for me to understand why these politically-motivated tourist escapades would deliberately ignore severe human suffering and obvious government oppression. Maybe sleeping mere minutes away from tortured political prisoners has a certain sort of thrill, but it must be reserved for those who feel thrills going up their legs when they hear President Obama speak.