McCain Should Run Against Congress
When House Minority Leader John Boehner is asked whether his party needs to distance itself from George W. Bush, he likes to point out the president isn't on the ticket this fall. True. Several hundred incumbent GOP members of Congress are, however, and don't think John McCain hasn't noticed.
With Congress's approval rating at record lows, the time is ripe for a slam campaign. Barack Obama won't do it, since his Democratic colleagues are running the joint. But it's a huge opportunity for Mr. McCain, who could play Congress's failings off his promises for reform. Even as Republicans sagely warn their nominee to distance himself from the president, they're beginning to see that his more productive option might just be to throw them - and Congressional Democrats - under the Straight Talk bus....
Today's Congress is ripe for a shredding. The GOP kicked off an era of public disgust with its corruption and loss of principle, a reputation it has yet to shake. Democrats have, impressively, managed to alienate voters further with inaction and broken promises. Congress has come to represent the institutional malaise that so frustrates voters. That distaste explains this year's appetite for "change."
Mr. McCain could play off that hunger, and in the process provide his campaign with the theme it still sorely needs. Mr. Obama has his "change" slogan, but as of yet no innovative policies to hang on it. Mr. McCain's problem is opposite: He's laid out smart ideas - an optional flat tax, health-care tax credits, a veto of all earmarks - but has yet to find a narrative to bring them together. One solution: Latch on to a subject that today occupies only a part of his speeches - the promise of "political reform" - and turn it into a full-fledged philosophy. Theme: "Your government has failed you, and here's how I plan to fix it."
Congress is the embodiment of that failure, and Mr. McCain could use it to draw distinctions. He could swivel the focus away from the Bush comparison, and toward Mr. Obama's kinship with today's all-talk Democratic Congress. He could tell voters that the party they feel is today failing them in the Capitol will also fail them in the White House.
As for bad-mouthing the GOP as part of this process, it isn't likely Mr. McCain would offend his conservative base. Most of it is already offended by Congress. His criticism of today's diminished GOP brand, and a promise to revive it, might even help him with the rank-and-file, and would certainly draw independents.
Mr. McCain has so far only flirted with this idea. He wrote an op-ed criticizing the farm bill, but it was largely an abstract complaint about policy. He might have instead made its focus the skewering of a Congress that relentlessly shovels subsidies to agribusiness, and then directly tied that naked vote-buying to today's high prices. A proponent of entitlement reform, he could flay Congress for its decades of inaction on Social Security. His earmark criticism might name names, including those in his party, whose pork addiction has sullied politics. If he's looking for suggestions, he could start with the Alaska delegation.
Rupert's 99-year old mother beats the tax man: "Dame Elisabeth Murdoch has been spared from paying tax on a multi-million dollar payment after a successful Federal Court appeal against the tax office. Dame Elisabeth, 99, had received the $85 million payment in 1994 after alleged breaches in relation to four of the family trusts set up by her late husband Keith Murdoch and administered by her son Rupert Murdoch. The tax office classified the payment as taxable income.... Today, Federal Court judges Kevin Lindgren, Margaret Stone and Peter Jacobson ruled that the 2007 decision of the Administrative Tribunal had incorrectly classified the lump sum payment as income instead of capital. The court ordered the Tribunal's decision be set aside and that her tax assessment for the 1995 financial year be ammended. The taxation commissioner was also ordered to pay Dame Elisabeth's court costs."
Pope cracks down on pretend-Catholics: "The Vatican has issued its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests, punishing them and the bishops who try to ordain them with automatic excommunication. The decree was written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect. A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the Church's existing ban on women priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations. Excommunication forbids those affected from receiving the sacraments or sharing in acts of public worship. Father Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Centre at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favour admitting women to the priesthood."
Bibi on Israeli socialism: "Netanyahu: "Yeah, we [Israel] have had high tech for quite some time. We produce more conceptual products per capita than any other country in the world, so we should be perhaps the richest or among the richest countries. And yet we're not. Countries that were behind us 20 years ago -- Ireland, Singapore, Spain -- they don't have nearly the capacity to produce information and conceptual products that we did. They beat us. Why? It's because they liberated their markets a lot faster. In other words, high tech without free markets doesn't go very far."
Blind boy killed by Muslim teacher: "A blind seven-year-old student at an Islamic school in eastern Pakistan has died after his teacher punished him for not learning the Koran, police said today. Muhammad Atif was hung upside down from a ceiling fan and severely beaten by his teacher, Qari Ziauddin, at the seminary or madrassa in Vihari, near Lahore on Thursday, they said. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had ordered in inquiry into the death, an official statement said. "The Prime Minister has expressed his deep sorrow and concern over the tragic death of Muhammad Atif, who reportedly died as a result of corporal punishment by his teacher,'' the statement said. Police said the teacher had been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering the boy."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)