Jeopardizing peace with Iran
Sheldon Richmond in Reason : Barack Obama and John Kerry should make up their minds: Do they want war or peace with Iran? Ideally, the Obama administration would simply exit the Middle East, taking all its military and economic aid with it. The U.S. government cannot micromanage events there, especially when it is no honest, neutral broker. Shamefully, it is firmly in the Israeli camp against the Palestinians (who, let us remember, are the occupied, not the occupiers), and generally in the Sunni Muslim camp against the Shi’ites, led by Iran. (Iraq is the anomaly.)
As welcome as a U.S. exit would be, alas, it won’t happen anytime soon, so the best we can hope for is rapprochement with Iran. But U.S.-led economic sanctions impose an unconscionable hardship on Iranians — for example, depriving the elderly and children of medicines and nourishment. Clearly, a war would be catastrophic on many levels for nearly all concerned, including Americans. (I say “nearly all” because opportunistic rulers in Israel and Saudi Arabia could benefit.)
A GOP immigration compromise?
Ramesh Ponnuru in Bloomberg : House Republicans who want to advance what they call “comprehensive immigration reform” say they’ve found a workable compromise, one that allays the concerns of opponents, improves current policy and allows the party to make gains among Hispanics.
Their big idea: Illegal immigrants who meet various conditions should be allowed to work in the U.S. legally, but not to get on a fast track to citizenship.
That’s the line drawn by a new statement of principles from House Republican leaders. Putting illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, supporters say, would amount to “amnesty,” while giving many of them legal status would merely acknowledge the reality that we aren’t going to deport them all.
But this compromise won’t do what it’s supposed to do. It does nothing to address the reasonable concerns of those who opposed the immigration bill the Senate passed last June, and it does almost nothing to solve the party’s political problem with Hispanics.
Most Republicans realize that passing legislation that legalizes illegal immigrants won’t win them a lot of Hispanic votes. They do think, however, that a significant number of Hispanics would be willing to listen to them on other issues once they’re no longer seen as enthusiasts for mass deportation. Hispanics won’t blame Republicans for withholding citizenship, the argument goes, because most illegal immigrants place a higher priority on being able to work than on being able to vote.
If you oppose a path to citizenship, though, you’re not going to find much to like in a path to legalization. Some opponents say it’s wrong in principle to reward people for law-breaking by giving them the very thing they broke the law to get. And for these opponents, illegal immigrants shouldn’t get the chance to work in the U.S. legally when so many people in other countries who have applied in the proper way are still waiting.
Obama's Opportunism Society
George Neumayr in the American Spectator : Obama doesn’t believe in opportunity so much as opportunism. In Tuesday night’s State of the Union, he made slippery use of the word opportunity as a euphemism for more big government.
Other presidents would have said that a love of “freedom” united all Americans. But Obama changed freedom to “opportunity”: “what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all — the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”
As usual, he treated conservatism as dangerously ideological and liberalism as harmlessly apolitical. Obama attributed the lack of economic opportunity to a lack of government action. The hordes of Americans out of work due to his actions would beg to differ. Nothing squelches real opportunity faster than government regulations and mandates, as job losses in the wake of Obama’s health care law and environmentalist decrees indicate.
It is rich for a president who routinely blocks or stalls job-creating opportunities in the energy sector to present himself as the friend of the blue-collar worker. In the name of “climate change,” he is happy to close off opportunities for them. He even hinted at this in the speech amidst his insistence that catastrophic global warming is a “fact,” saying that the “shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.”
Obama believes in the opportunism society, where those in trendy industries like solar energy get Solyndra-style government aid and politically reviled coal workers get pink slips.