What did Democrats miscalculate about the world? Everything.

September 3, 2013

Jim Geraghty lets Team Smart Power have it in today’s “Morning Jolt.” An excerpt:

As we await Congress’s decision on authorizing the use of U.S. military force in Syria, Democrats are suddenly realizing that their foreign-policy brain-trust completely misjudged the world.

Being nicer to countries like Russia will not make them nicer to you. The United Nations is not an effective tool for resolving crises. Some foreign leaders are beyond persuasion and diplomacy. There is no “international community” ready to work together to solve problems, and there probably never will be.

You can pin this on Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Susan Rice, but most of all, the buck stops with the president. Those of us who scoffed a bit at a state senator ascending to the presidency within four years on a wave of media hype and adoration are not quite so shocked by this current mess. We never bought into this notion that getting greater cooperation from our allies, and less hostility from our enemies, was just a matter of giving this crew the wheel and letting them practice, as Hillary Clinton arrogantly declared it, “smart power.” (These people can’t even label a foreign-policy approach without reminding us of how highly they think of themselves.) They looked out at the world at the end of the Bush years, and didn’t see tough decisions, unsolvable problems, unstable institutions, restless populations, technology enabling the impulse to destabilize existing institutions, evil men hungry for more power, and difficult trade-offs. No, our problems and challengers were just a matter of the previous hands running U.S. foreign policy not being smart enough.

Well, here we are, five years later.

The rest gets brutal. You really should subscribe. Do it. For the children.

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Kerry on the Hill: “Assad used chemical weapons because Obama is weak.”

September 3, 2013

Wow.

Per Marc Thiessen of AEI, here’s what the Secretary of State said am few minutes ago while testifying before a Senate committee on the need to intervene in Syria:

One of the reasons Assad has been using these materials is because they have, up until now, made the calculation that the West writ large and the United States particularly are not going to do anything about it. Impunity is already working to kill a lot of people and to make things more dangerous. I guarantee you that is in their assessment.

As Thiessen points out, the leader of the West and the United States is the President of the United States. Ergo, Kerry is saying that Assad used chemical weapons because he assumed Obama can be safely ignored.

It’s the ultimate indictment of Obama’s blundering foreign policy and his incompetent Mideast grand strategy. His weakness has encouraged brutal dictators to use horrific weapons and, to stop it, we have to repair Obama’s self-image. What a great reason to start a war. At least the British had Jenkin’s ear.

Passing thought: What if this backhanded insult was Kerry’s way of getting revenge for being humiliated by Obama last week? Nah. He’s not that clever and is too anxious to be a team player.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Rubio, Jindal, and Cruz eligible to be president

September 3, 2013
Our Canadian president?

Our Canadian president?

There’s been a controversy… well, not “raging,” but always there in the background, about whether Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and Governor Bobby Jindal are eligible to serve as President of the United States based on the Constitution’s “natural born” clause. It’s the modern version of the controversies surrounding the candidacies of Barack Obama and John McCain. Heck, it’s been “in the air” since the presidency of Chet Arthur (1), who was accused of being born in Canada.

I’ve always assumed these men (and McCain and Obama) were eligible, since it seemed like the most reasonable reading of the Constitution and the Framers’ intent. But, I’ll also admit the question does not avail itself of clear, bright-line answers. Well, today at Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson takes a long look at the eligibility question and concludes that, given the preponderance of law, logic, and constitutional theory, the three men in question are, by a reasonable standard of interpretation, eligible, and that the burden of proof lies with their opponents. Here’s an excerpt from his introduction:

The arguments that the term “natural born Citizen” excludes Rubio and Jindal (because their parents were not citizens) or Cruz (because he was born abroad to a citizen mother only) at most raise doubts.  Those doubts, however, never rise anywhere near the level of making the case that Rubio, Jindal and Cruz are excluded.  Most of the counter-arguments are historical conjecture, at best, and rely on speculation not connected to the text of the Constitution or any demonstrable actual intent or understanding of the Framers.

In the circumstance of candidates who appear to qualify based on the text of the Constitution and the traditions upon which “natural born Citizen[ship]” is believed to derive, and as to whom there are at worst some doubts raised, I believe the proper constitutional outcome is to leave the issue to the political process.  To exclude apparently eligible candidates based on speculation as to what the term “natural born Citizen” might have meant is no better, and I would argue much worse.

Remember, these are merely eligibility requirements, not requirements that a person be elected.  It would be consistent with the Framers’ demonstrable concerns to consider loyalty to the United States as a political factor, even if not absolutely legally disqualifying.  If you don’t trust the loyalty of a candidate because of how he or she became a “natural born Citizen,” don’t vote for the person.

Like I said, it’s a long post, but well-worth your time if you’re interested in the topic.

Footnote:
(1) Or, as I like to refer to him, “the great Chester A. Arthur.” 🙂


The potential threat to liberty in driverless cars

September 3, 2013
And he's driving, too.

And he’s driving, too.

Yesterday, I wrote about the European Union proposal to mandate speed governors on all cars, which would be automated to force a driver to slow down, should he exceed the legal speed limit. As an aside, I mentioned the trend toward driverless cars and the potential for state control of those.  (And hacking, let’s be honest. But that’s another issue.)

Jonah Goldberg thought along the same lines this morning and imagined some of the “fun” we could have:

Let’s be fair: The experts aren’t always wrong, and even when they’re wrong, their arguments aren’t necessarily unreasonable given their assumptions. But if you follow the logic of mandatory seatbelts and motorcycle helmets, red-light cameras and anti-texting laws (1) to their natural conclusion, it’s easy to imagine that some bureaucrats will want to co-author your car’s software.

And then what? Will you ever be allowed to go over the speed limit again? Police are already drooling to see our GPS data. Will that become automatic too? Will the cops have the power to tell your car to stop whether you want it to or not? Will authorities be able to tell your car to take a detour to alleviate traffic? Make it turn around when it gets too close to certain off-limit areas?

Whoever thought that driving your own car could be the next “live free or die” moment?

Footnote:
(1) I am, however, strongly in favor of laws against cell phone use and texting while driving, having nearly been run down several times by people paying more attention to their phone than to the road. Studies show phoning while driving is as impairing as driving while drunk. And texting isn’t much better.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)