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Tom Campbell & Libertarian Anti-Semitism

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:47 pm - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics,Random Thoughts

A reader recently e-mailed me a fact sheet about former Congressman Tom Campbell’s “Troublesome Record on Israel.”  As I review it and start confirming some of the points on the list, I can’t help thinking of the occasional anti-Semitic tracts (or tracts with thinly veiled anti-Semitism) I have come across in encountering some people in, (but mostly on the fringes of) libertarian pockets of the conservative movement.

It always seemed a bizarre thing that libertarians could harbor such conspiracy theories against followers of a certain faith, but a noticeable number do.  Indeed, most of the libertarians (and libertarian-inclined conservatives) I meet are not only the most tolerant individuals, but also the most independent-minded as well, less disposed to judging someone by his “external” characteristics (race, girth, religion, ethnicity) and more likely to judge him by his capacity for independent thought and his ability to engage in spirited discourse.

But, there are some nuts.  And Campbell, a very principled libertarian when discussing matters of domestic policy, with his record on Israel, comes to resemble many of them.  Indeed, Ron Paul, considering a folk hero, in many libertarian circles, also has a troubling past.  Studying newsletters that 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul once penned and edited, James Kirchick found:

The rhetoric when it came to Jews was little better. The newsletters display an obsession with Israel; no other country is mentioned more often in the editions I saw, or with more vitriol. A 1987 issue of Paul’s Investment Letter called Israel “an aggressive, national socialist state,” and a 1990 newsletter discussed the “tens of thousands of well-placed friends of Israel in all countries who are willing to wok [sic] for the Mossad in their area of expertise.” Of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a newsletter said, “Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly a retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists, matters little.”

While I highly doubt Campbell himself is anti-Semitic, he has a very troublesome record on Israel and associates with many Jew-hating individuals.  Campbell can show that he is not a member of this crowd by putting forward a platform on Israel more consistent with a conservative national security policy in the wake of 9/11 and popular support for the Jewish State. (more…)

Americans View GOP more favorably than Democrats*

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:40 pm - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: National Politics

Seems passage of Obamacare has worked wonders for the Democrats’ public image.  According to Gallup

Americans’ favorable rating of the Democratic Party dropped to 41% in a late MarchUSA Today/Gallup poll, the lowest point in the 18-year history of this measure. Favorable impressions of the Republican Party are now at 42%, thus closing the gap between the two parties’ images that has prevailed for the past four years.

Republican and Democratic Party Favorable Images, July 1992-March 2010 Trend

(H/t:  Jennifer Rubin.)

*but just barely.  Think how the GOP image might improve if the RNC chair were spending more time promoting the party  than engaging in damage control.

Good News for Gay America in the Offing?

Barney Frank May be Retiring.

Stevens Retirement: Short-Term Political Benefit to GOP?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:06 pm - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: 111th Congress,Legal Issues,Supreme Court

Outgoing Justice John Paul Stevens lacks the class of former Justice Byron White.  That latter jurist, appointed to the Supreme Court by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, waited until another Democrat took office to retire.  Even though he had become one of the court’s most conservative members, he thought that he owed it to his party.  Stevens, by contrast, although appointed by a Republican, is perhaps the most liberal member of the current court.

All that said, there is no requirement that a member of the U.S. Supreme Court keep the seat in his party, but that is something to keep in mind.

In the long term, his retirement helps the Democrats and their liberal ideology.  In the short term, it helps the GOP.  I say this because I’m assuming based on Obama’s record in office that he will tap a liberal justice to replace the outgoing Justice.  Perhaps, he’ll appoint someone like Pam Karlan, to the left in judicial matters, to be sure, but possessing a fine intellect.  Her presence on the bench would elevate the debates.  And her skill as a writer plus her wit would make court opinions, hers at least, well worth reading.

You see, by appointing a liberal to the bench, especially so close to the 2010 elections when so many vulnerable Democrats are up for reelection, he forces them to vote on a nominee who will likely be in step with the West Wing crowd, but out of step with the American people.

Via Glenn Reynolds, we get this “understatement” from Doug Mataconis: “Given the political climate, the fact that this is an election year, and the record we already have from the Sotomayor hearings last year, I think we can expect that this will be a very politically charged nomination process.”

Amen.

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 9:50 am - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: Dishonest Democrats

Stupak is out.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

Glenn Beck’s Ratings May Not be Meteoric, but he beats his competition . . and then some.

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 am - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Movies/Film & TV

Via the Plum Line, I caught something on the DailyKos with which, well, I pretty much agree.   About Glenn Beck’s less than stellar ratings, Jed Lewison writes:

Remember, first and foremost Glenn Beck sees himself as a showman and he’ll stop at nothing to boost ratings.

Beck is a swing-for-the-fences kind of guy, and so far he’s generally connected, delivering impressive short-term spikes in his audience. But just like a product that goes on sale too often, there’s a limit to the number of swings Beck can take before he cheapens the value of his broadcast.

Well, Rush Limbaugh is a showman too and he’s done very well, very, very well his medium over a period of twenty years.  Not considering that example, Lewison suggests that Beck’s “career will look like that of Morton Downey Jr., who exploded onto the scene in the 1980s, imploding before the decade was out.”

Maybe Beck’ll be another Limbaugh, but I doubt it.  Here’s why.  I pretty much agree with Beck and love the reverence he shows for the founders and their ideas.  So, naturally, I should love his show.  But, whenever I try to watch, I find myself, well, turned off.  He’s a little too over-the-top.  If he turns this conservative off, he’s probably going to antagonize people of a more moderate persuasion.

Limbaugh, by contrast, has a self-deprecating humor that Beck lacks.  The latter just isn’t as funny as Rush.  In fact, he seems a lot angrier.  Rush may be portrayed as angry, but whenever I’ve listened, he always seems to be having fun.  I don’t get that sense from Beck.

That said, anemic though Beck’s ratings may be (in Lewison’s book), he’s head and shoulders ahead of the competition.  In his time slot, he attracts twice the audience of his competitors on other TV news networks. . . . combined.

Obama on Israel: Out of Step with America

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:40 am - April 9, 2010.
Filed under: Obama Watch,War On Terror

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

At a time when the Jewish State is gaining favor with the American people, it is losing favor with the American president.  About six weeks ago, Gallup found, “For the first time since 1991, more than 6 in 10 Americans — 63% — say their sympathies in the Middle East situation lie more with the Israelis than with the Palestinians.
Middle East Sympathies, Full Trend, 1988-2010

But, while the American people have been focusing on the health care debate and worrying about the employment situation, the Obama Administration has been quietly pulling the rug out from under our Israeli allies, the staunchest supporter of democracy and opponent of terrorism in the Middle East.

The president delivered an ultimatum to the Israeli Prime Minister, leaving him to cool his heels while he went off to have dinner; that is, the American leader who was discourteous to the leader of a sovereign nation and an ally.  Netanyahu wouldn’t accept Obama’s demands.  Never before has a U.S. President made such demands of an ally, much less expected him to act exactly as the American leader told him.  He treated him a leader would treat an enemy defeated in a contest of arms.

And it’s been reported that, “The United States has diverted a shipment of bunker-busters designated for Israel“:

Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.

Yesterday, we learned, “The Obama administration is now denying U.S. visas to Israeli scientists who work at that nation’s Dimona nuclear reactor.”  There seems no purpose to this action, save to thumb his nose at the Jewish State.

Perhaps, we might have learned of the Democrat’s antipathy to Israel during the campaign had the LA Times released a video of a “2003 banquet during which Obama, who was then an Illinois state senator, spoke of his relationship with Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American Orientalist who is known for his frequent criticism of Israel“.

The president seems closer to the views of that radical Palestinian that to those of the people he serves. (more…)