Jewish World Review March 19, 2010 / 4 Nissan, 5770
The Dems descend into the twilight zone
By Wesley Pruden
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Nancy Pelosi has scheduled a vote for Sunday, maybe to vote by not voting. The president has canceled his trip to Asia and the atmosphere in Washington grows surreal and surrealer. The speaker yearns to be a suicide bomber, blowing up her party's November prospects, or at least the leader of the Democratic squadron of kamikaze pilots.
No one can quite remember when a party in power has been so determined to self-destruct, with the speaker as provocateur, egging everyone on. Rep. Mike Honda, a Californian of Japanese descent, objects to some of the metaphors applied to Mzz Pelosi's mission of death by obsession, but to neutral observers - assuming any are left - her execution of the president's obsession looks like the Bataan death march, or at least a ride to the gallows in a Toyota.
Everything the Democrats are doing is turning to mud, or maybe even the smelly stuff wives accuse husbands of tracking into the house. Barack Obama even chose this week to pick an unnecessary fight with Israel, our only true friend in the Middle East. When Joe Biden quickly wore out his welcome in Jerusalem, he was brought back to Washington to employ his considerable Irish charm to entertain the Irish prime minister, Brian Cowen, who dropped in for a St. Patrick's Day visit to the White House. Nobody could mess up such a jovial occasion, even with beer dyed green for the occasion.
Good old Joe, ever the bumbling uncle we've come to love (so far the president hasn't consigned him to the attic where crazy aunts and uncles usually live), nevertheless pronounced obsequies on the prime minister's ailing mother: "God rest her soul." Good old Joe quickly learned that the elderly Mrs. Cowen's soul is still among us. Never mind. He rewrote his benediction to "God bless her soul," and recalled the Irish proverb that "a silent mouth is sweet to hear." To the relief of all he turned the podium over to the president's teleprompter, and no further harm was done. No need for the media's Gaffe Patrol even to fire up the engines on their ancient Jennies.
But what other explanation for Mr. Obama's damn-the-torpedoes strategy could there be other than a suicide wish? The only outcome worse for him than losing the health care vote would be winning the health care vote. The debacle in Massachusetts has taught him nothing, but it has surely taught the public a lot. Gallup now puts the president's approval rating at 46 percent, the lowest yet, and his disapproval at 47 percent. These are dreadful numbers for any president, and particularly for a messiah who arrived at the White House little more than a year ago with approval ratings in the high 70s.
The debacle in Massachusetts will be small stuff if Mzz Pelosi proceeds with the aptly named "Slaughter solution," the bright idea of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter of New York, to dispense with actually voting for the Senate bill and declaring that the House "deems" the Senate measure enacted. This would avoid a voice vote and guilty congressmen could go home to tell credulous constituents that they should deem them as having voted against the monstrosity that almost nobody wants. Such a solution is so nutty that only Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would have imagined using it. But if they succeed Congress will have opened up vast new avenues of chicanery, deceit and dishonesty. A husband caught staying out all night can tell his angry wife that she should "deem" him to have slept on the sofa discarded in the garage; a schoolboy who wouldn't dare claim the dog ate his homework can now tell a teacher that she should "deem" the homework done.
Mr. Obama, who long ago perfected the verbal sleight of hand that has served him well until now, got particularly flustered and visibly irritated when he sat down for an interview with Fox News and learned for the first time how uncomfortable a real interview can be. The more interviewer Bret Baier pressed the more the president wiggled and the more the interviewer persisted. Soon it descended into presidential argle-bargle. The president doesn't have an opinion on "deeming" because "I don't spend a lot of time worrying about what the procedural rules are." He's not concerned about "the Louisiana Purchase" or the "Cornhusker Kickback" - special deals for Louisiana and Nebraska to buy Senate votes - because special deals "also affect Hawaii, which just went through an earthquake." It did?
But maybe it was a slip of the tongue and he meant Haiti. But surely he doesn't think Haiti is one of the 57 states. We can't be sure.
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© 2007 Wesley Pruden