Trumpism triumphant? 2

Has the Kavanaugh affair united the Republican Party behind President Trump?

And if so, will it now defeat the ever more berserk Left?

Of the Republican reaction to the tactics of the Democrats opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, Gavin Wax writes at Western Journal:

The silver lining in this disgusting spectacle is a unified GOP moving forward with the singular goal of crushing the left. The line in the sand has been drawn, and there is no turning back. Even the most stubborn Trump haters of the right see that now. The Kavanaugh hearing will be a seminal movement in this fractured era of politics, and if the GOP can muster the courage to get ferocious with their contemptible enemies, it can be the turning point toward Making America Great Again.

He sees the affair as a vindication of President Trump’s leadership. It’s not only the Kavanaugh victory that proves the Trumpian way is the right way, but it provides the moment for full realization:

Anyone watching intently during the Obama years could see what was forming on the left, but it has reached critical mass due to Trump’s meteoric success. People who do not closely follow politics are seeing what the left is really all about aside from that flowery veneer of tolerance and diversity. The average blue-collar supporter of Trump has their eyes wide open, never to be closed again. This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that we have to capitalize upon while there is still time.

No turning back” for the GOP?  Never again will the average blue-collar worker believe the Democratic Party serves his interests?  Never again will the Republicans allow the Left an inch if by any means they can be stopped?

Well, it still depends on whether Republicans can “muster the courage to get ferocious”.

The writer hopes that “the most stubborn Trump haters of the right” see now how good is President Trump’s leadership is.

He hopes that certain Republican commentators who were against Donald Trump’s presidency have been brought by the Kavanaugh affair to see the light. They ought to have been, but he is not certain that they were:

Commentators like Erick Erickson, David French and John Podhoretz have to be realizing that Trump’s approach is vindicated. They can bemoan Trump for swatting the hornet’s nest and stirring up the left, but the communist threat is coming to destroy the lives of anyone who is to the right of Karl Marx. If you are white, Christian, conservative or a male (just one of these attributes is enough), they will target you and your family with a heinous smear campaign, and that will just be the beginning. Trumpism is currently the only viable alternative to the Orwellian machinations of the left.

How many  Congressional Republicans formerly antagonistic to, or unenthusiastic about, Donald Trump have come round to his side because of the Kavanaugh affair?

A new eclectic coalition of surprising allies has coalesced around the president.

The most vociferous defender of Kavanaugh during Thursday’s hearings was arguably South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Graham ran for president in 2016 largely as a wet blanket attempting to cool the Trump revolution but has come around in years since. Trump has also been able to hatch out solid working relationships with Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, Rand Paul, Tom Cotton, and Mark Meadows — an interesting cross-section of political leaders. …. A coalition that seemed inconceivable just last year.

Some have been left behind — like now deceased former Sen. John McCain whose vendetta with Trump became personal, soon-to-be-gone Sens. Bob Corker and Jeff Flake who staked their careers on opposing Trump’s rise in the GOP, and Reps. Justin Amash and Walter Jones who went from constitutional heroes to pariahs over their stubborn opposition to the president — but the overwhelming consensus of the Republican Party is firmly behind Trump. Kavanaugh’s railroading has only strengthened Trump’s power over his constituency, and this party unity will be needed for what is to come.

If Kavanaugh’s confirmation was the convincing achievement, still it must be noted that Kavanaugh was not himself unwanted by Never Trumpers. The victory was not exactly a victory for Trumpism as such. Kavanaugh was “an establishment supported candidate”. 

In what may have been a fortuitous coincidence or was perhaps another example of 4-D chess, Trump picked an establishment supported candidate in Brett Kavanaugh as his second proposed Supreme Court nominee.

In fact, some Trump supporters did not consider Kavanaugh conservative enough:

Although some of Trump’s die-hard supporters were tepid on the pick at first, the attacks from the left quickly solidified him into a hero.

But –

He had the full-fledged support of the NeverTrump right from the outset because of his closeness to President George W. Bush …

So let’s enquire: what do Never Trumpers on the Right themselves have to say about warming to the president’s leadership?

What is the National Review saying?

The editor-in-chief of National Review, Rich Lowry, does not count himself a Never Trumper; but his colleagues, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol and Stephen Hayes, firmly and sternly do.

Or have done.

Until now? Until the victory of President Trump, the Senate Republicans, and the new Supreme Court Justice himself, won the fierce and prolonged battle to get Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment confirmed?

It seems there has been a change of mind.

Significantly, the authorship of this National Review article is attributed to “The Editors”:

After one of the most intense political fights of the last two decades, Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has become Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the United States Supreme Court. This is a good thing for the integrity of our Constitution, for elementary American norms, and for the long-term health of our political institutions.

Justice Kavanaugh has demonstrated throughout his career a firm adherence to a constitutionalist jurisprudence; indeed, that was the root of the opposition to him. He will undoubtedly stay true to this approach, which has guided him during his years on the D.C. Circuit and is evident in black-and-white in his hundreds of opinions. All of this was pushed to the side, though, in the final frenzy to destroy and defeat him. …

Judge Kavanaugh was not “on trial” in a formal sense. But that fact in no way undermines the practices and norms that mark formal trials. Presumption of innocence and an insistence on corroborating evidence are integral parts of our system because they work. Had the Democratic party prevailed in its attempt to set them aside, the precedent would have been disastrous.

Throughout this saga, the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee maintained that their job was to investigate credible charges of wrongdoing and to determine whether they could be verified. Shamefully, their counterparts exhibited no such interest. It was unclear whether Judge Kavanaugh’s record was being examined for rape or for rudeness, for drinking or for defensiveness, for temperament or for truth. At times the lack of focus took on a Stalinist quality: “He did it,” Kavanaugh’s accusers insisted day in, day out, “but even if he didn’t, the vehemence with which he denied it is itself disqualifying.”

It is a testament to the fortitude of the Republican party that these conceits were rejected in the end. Donald Trump had the good sense to pick Kavanaugh, and then the determination to stick by him. …

In America we do not sacrifice individuals on the altar of collective guilt, and we do not entertain that illiberal alchemy by which “nobody can corroborate this” becomes “he did it and must pay”. When the Senate met yesterday to put a bow on this squalid affair, there remained as much evidence for Judge Kavanaugh’s unfitness as there had been on the day was nominated: none. To have rejected him despite this, [Senator Susan] Collins observed, would be to have abandoned “fundamental legal principles”.

The Senate refused to do so. The Justice prevailed, and so did justice.

The praise of Donald Trump for his “good sense” in picking Brett Kavanaugh, and his “determination” in sticking to his choice, does imply that “The Editors” of National Review, as a body, now approve of the president.

What then lies ahead?

Back to Gavin Wax who writes that “Trumpism is the only way forward”:

What is left of the Buckleyites thought that they and the “sane voices in the room” on the left could sweep this Trump embarrassment under the rug and head back to the politics of the past. That delusion is no longer tenable. The inmates run the asylum on the left, and every denizen must submit to every ridiculous trope regarding gender, sex, race, etc. or face the social consequences. Because groupthink is their default preset, nobody can speak up against this institutional insanity without getting cannibalized by the jackals. …

But –

The left is never going to capitulate. They have gone too far to stop now. They will only escalate things drastically from this point forward. They will repeat any lie — no matter how absurd, cruel or disgusting it may be — to stop Trump and his supporters. Anyone who believes in the Constitution, the rule of law, due process, and the presumption of innocence is a racist Nazi guilty of sexual assault. This is the future that we will live in if the left is successful, and it is probably worse than what Orwell envisioned in “1984″.

Remember, the left has many institutional advantages that are difficult to overcome. The demographic realities are on their side. The cultural downslide has already reached epidemic proportions. We cannot expect another Trump to come along and move things forward if he is ultimately stopped. This may be our final stand, and we have to move ever more boldly as a result. Trump has taught us that we have to be willing to fight as ruthlessly as the left in order to win.

If the Republican Party now fully accepts President Trump’s leadership; if Republicans at last have the stomach for a fight, or better still an appetite for it; if they engage the fight and if they win it, then the Kavanaugh hearing will have been “a seminal movement in this fractured era of politics” and a turning-point.

Now for the ferocious battle.

Winning 17

We had a commenter recently on our Facebook page who said that President Trump should “get off his ass” and do something. When we replied that he had achieved more in his first year than any other president in living memory, and against more deliberate hampering, blocking and resistance than any other president – and that he, the commenter,  only did not know this because he read the mainstream media which refused to report President Trump’s accomplishments – his further comment was a long string of hahahas.

As there must be millions who would also laugh at our assertion, it is time to list those accomplishments. And it is also time to name the conservatives who joined the hamperers, blockers and resisters in making it as hard for the president to achieve anything as they possibly could – out of sheer prejudice.

John Nolte has made such a list and named some of the most prominent guilty conservatives.

He writes at Breitbart:

Remember these names: Jonah Goldberg, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Rich Lowry, Max Boot, Mitt Romney, John Kasich, Joe Scarborough, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Jennifer Rubin, George Will, Josh Jordan, Tom Nichols, Charles Cooke, Stephen Hayes, Tim Miller, John Podhoretz, Nicole Wallace, Steven Schmidt, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Leon Wolf, David Brooks, Rick Wilson, Evan McMullin, Stuart Stevens, Red State, National Review, the Weekly Standard 

These are the so-called conservative men, women, and institutions who (among others) fought the hardest to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, all in the unforgivable hope that Hillary Clinton would become president.

These are so-called conservatives who have, for nearly two years now, been promoting themselves and fundraising by smearing Trump as incompetent and “not a real conservative,” as a “Democrat in sheep’s clothing” — when, in fact, all of that best describes #NeverTrump.

These are the so-called conservatives who — after Trump’s first year in office — have now been proven as wrong as wrong can be. If their conservative credentials lost all credibility during a 2016 campaign during which they used whatever residual influence they had to hand the Oval Office to Clinton, the proven results of the past year should mean that they are written off forever as idiots, quacks, mercenaries, and con men.

Trump has had, in my opinion, the most successful first year of any president since Ronald Reagan. And not just a consequential first year that has already built a legacy, but conservative first year. Below, I do my best to list these accomplishments, but there are so many, forgive me if a few are missed:

  • Real, honest-to-goodness tax reform and cuts — the most consequential in 30 years.
  • Opening ANWR for oil exploration, an accomplishment few can appreciate who do not remember the 90s and what a sacred cow this is for the left.
  • Killing the Obamacare mandate that brutalized those making less than $50,000 a year.
  • The Islamic State (ISIS) has been decimated. [We would say obliterated– ed]
  • After a 2016 of just 1.9 percent GDP growth, we have now had two quarters in a row of growth over three percent; predictions for the final quarter of 2017 are as high as four percent.
  • [The appointment of] Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who has already proven himself the perfect replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia.
  • The Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are a go — which means tens of thousands of jobs.
  • A record number of judicial appointments on the appeals courts.
  • The end of the War on Coal.
  • A surge in coal mining after 2016’s decline.
  • The end of the federal government’s violating the religious conscience through indefensible Obamacare mandates involving birth control and abortion pills.
  • The civil rights movement for school choice is getting the green light throughout the country.
  • Illegal immigration is way down.
  • The stock market hit record highs 70 times in 2017, rising 5,000 points for the first time ever.
  • The long-overdue recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • We are free of the awful Paris climate treaty.
  • Regulatory reform that is just getting started, but it has already had a hugely positive effect on our economy.
  • Withdrawal from the Global Compact on Migration, which undercut American sovereignty.
  • Return of nearly two million acres to the state Utah that the federal government had stolen.
  • A $250 billion trade deal with China.
  • Many of our NATO allies are finally paying their dues.
  • Consumer confidence is the best we have seen in more than a decade.
  • Pulled us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in favor of the American worker and sovereignty.
  • Trump has managed to get China to help rein in North Korea. [To some extent – ed]
  • Black unemployment is at a 17-year low.
  • Hispanic unemployment is at an all-time low.
  • Overall unemployment is at [four point] one percent.
  • Manufacturing jobs boom.
  • Standing up for persecuted Christian minorities in the Middle East. [More needs to be done, but it’s a start – ed]
  • Promoting Christmas.
  • Banning [immigration] or demanding stronger vetting [of immigrants] from [predominantly Muslim] countries most likely to [export] terrorists.
  • Housing sales are at an 11-year high.
  • Ban on transgender military recruits.

Now, you need to close your eyes and imagine what the list above would look like had #NeverTrump won the day and made Hillary Clinton president.

Now, try to imagine any one of the 16 Republicans who competed [with Trump] for the 2016 nomination accomplishing all of this, or even having the courage to stand up to a media onslaught to accomplish all of this, or even being, yes, conservative enough to do things like pull us out of the Paris climate agreement (something the Republican establishment’s failed 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, opposes).

Trump’s conservatism, his competence, his willingness to stand up to gale force media hate to keep his promises, is unlike anything we have seen since 1981.

In the pursuit of only their own grift, personal fame, the gratification of bottomless egos, and a soft place to land among the Beautiful People, #NeverTrump lied to us, took our money, and fought tooth and nail to extend the disastrous Obama presidency into a third term.

And now, just one year into Trump’s presidency, #NeverTrump has once again been exposed for who they truly are — bitter, dishonest saboteurs more interested in their lofty place at the trough than the future of their own country.

All these bitter clingers have left now is to further degrade outlets such as the once-necessary National Review, a once-cherished laboratory of vibrant conservative ideas and thought, which is now a hangout for sore losers to keep rewriting the same column over and over and over again about how pure and virtuous they are, as they scold the rest of us for fighting for and sticking with a president who has delivered in ways they told us was not even within the realm of possibility.

So now the real conservatives can laugh – the longest string of triumphant hahahas they can manage while their breath lasts.

*

Later: WND provides an even longer list: 168 accomplishments.

Step-by-step the US retreats and Iran advances 2

Yet another “deadline” for the concluding of a deal with Iran passes today, so a new “deadline” will be set, and that one too will pass, and so another …

Or if a deal is made –

The impending deal is an embarrassment: the world’s greatest power prostrate before the world’s most patently expansionist, terror-sponsoring, anti-American theocracy.

So Stephen Hayes writes at the Weekly Standard.

He’s right, of course. It is an embarrassment. But what matters a lot more is that it will be a catastrophe. A huge unprecedented historic catastrophe.

It will ensure that Iran has nuclear weapons and that none of the major powers will do a thing about it.

The article goes on:

One week before the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a series of demands about the final terms. Among them: He called for an immediate end to all United Nations Security Council and U.S. economic sanctions on Iran; he said Iranian military sites would not be subject to international inspections; he declared that Iran would not abide a long-term freeze on nuclear research; and he ruled out interviews with individuals associated with Iran’s nuclear program as part of any enforcement plan.

The New York Times headline read “Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, Seems to Pull Back on Nuclear Talks.” That’s one explanation. The more likely one: Khamenei understands that Barack Obama is desperate for this deal and will agree to just about anything to make it a reality. In private remarks caught on tape, top White House foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes likened the Iran deal to Obamacare in its importance to the administration. And on April 2, the president held a press conference to celebrate the preliminary “historic understanding with Iran” that, he said, was “a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.”

But the impending deal is not a good one. It legitimizes a rogue state, shifts regional power to the world’s most aggressive state sponsor of terror, strengthens the mullahs’ hold on power, and guides Iran to nuclear threshold status. Those are not our “core objectives.” They are Iran’s.

A steady stream of news reports in the weeks before the deadline has brought into sharp focus the extent of the administration’s capitulation. Among the most disturbing new developments: the administration’s decision to offer relief on sanctions not directly related to Iran’s nuclear program and its abandonment of hard requirements that Iran disclose previous nuclear activity, without which the international community cannot establish a baseline for future inspections.

From the beginning of the talks, the Obama administration has chosen to “decouple” negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program from the many other troubling aspects of Tehran’s behavior. It was a bit of self-deception that allowed the United States and its negotiating partners to pretend that concerns about the Iranian regime’s possessing nuclear weapons had everything to do with nuclear weapons and nothing at all to do with the nature of the Iranian regime; it was an approach that treated Iran as if it were, say, Luxembourg. The Obama administration simply set aside Iran’s targeting of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, its brutal repression of internal dissent, its provision of safe haven and operational freedom for al Qaeda leadership, and its support for terrorists sowing discord throughout the region and beyond.

Now we learn that the administration is effectively ending this decision to “decouple” nuclear talks from broader regime behavior, not in order to hold Iran to account for its many offenses but as something of a reward for its supporting a nuclear deal. It is a swift and stunning reversal. …

Likewise, the U.S. capitulation on Iranian disclosure of previous nuclear activity is both hasty and alarming. As recently as April, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested that Iranian disclosure of past activity was a red line for U.S. negotiators. “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.” But on June 16, Kerry cast aside those demands. “We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

We can’t yet know all the concessions the United States has made in order to secure a deal, but the list of those that are known is long and embarrassing.

Iran has conceded and will concede nothing. The US administration concedes everything. 

On decoupling nuclear negotiations and sanctions relief on nonnuclear items

Then: “We have made very clear that the nuclear negotiations are focused exclusively on the nuclear issue and do not include discussions of regional issues.”

March 10, 2015, Bernadette Meehan, National Security Council spokesman,
email to
 The Weekly Standard

“Other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.”

April 2, 2015, Barack Obama, statement in the Rose Garden

“Iran knows that our array of sanctions focused on its efforts to support terrorism and destabilize the region will continue after any nuclear agreement.”

June 7, 2015, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, remarks to Jerusalem Post conference, New York City

Now: “Administration officials say they’re examining a range of options that include suspending both nuclear and some non-nuclear sanctions.”

June 9, 2015, Associated Press

On the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program and disclosure of past activities

Then: “They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal, it will be done. .  .  . It will be part of a final agreement. It has to be.”

April 8, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry interview with The NewsHour

“The set of understandings also includes an acknowledgment by Iran that it must address all United Nations Security Council resolutions—which Iran has long claimed are illegal—as well as past and present issues with Iran’s nuclear program that have been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This would include resolution of questions concerning the possible military dimension of Iran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s activities at Parchin.”

November 23, 2013, White House fact sheet, First Step: Understandings Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program

Now: “World powers are prepared to accept a nuclear agreement with Iran that doesn’t immediately answer questions about past atomic weapons work. .  .  . Instead of resolving such questions this month, officials said the U.S. and its negotiating partners are working on a list of future commitments Iran must fulfill.”

June 11, 2015, Associated Press

“We’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we’re concerned about is going forward.”

June 24, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry, remarks at a press availability

On shuttering the secret nuclear facility at Fordo

Then: The Obama administration and its partners are “demanding the immediate closing and ultimate dismantling” of the nuclear facilities at Fordo.

April 7, 2012, New York Times

“We know they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo in order to have a peaceful program.”

December 6, 2013, Barack Obama, remarks at the Saban Forum

Now: “Under the preliminary accord, Fordo would become a research center, but not for any element that could potentially be used in nuclear weapons.”

April 22, 2015, New York Times

“The 1044 centrifuges [at Fordo] designated only for non-nuclear enrichment will remain installed, so they could potentially be reconverted to enriching uranium in a short time regardless of technical or monitoring arrangements.”

June 17, 2015, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Olli Heinonen, former IAEA deputy director-general for safeguards, and Simon Henderson, director
of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at WINEP 

A draft copy of the final agreement allows Fordo to remain open, “saying it will be used for isotope production instead of uranium enrichment.”

June 24, 2015, Associated Press

On suspension of enrichment

Then: “Our position is clear: Iran must live up to its international obligations, including full suspension of uranium enrichment as required by multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

April 7, 2012, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, New York Times

Now: “Agreement on Iran’s uranium enrichment program could signal a breakthrough for a larger deal aimed at containing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities.” The tentative deal imposes “limits on the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to enrich uranium” but allows Iran to continue enrichment.

March 19, 2015, Associated Press

On ballistic missile development

Then: Iran’s ballistic missile program “is indeed-something that has to be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement.”

February 4, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

“They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program that are included in the United Nations Security Council resolution that is part of, explicitly, according to the Joint Plan of Action, the comprehensive resolution negotiation.”

February 18, 2014, White House spokesman Jay Carney, White House press briefing

Now: “We must address long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. So, it’s not about ballistic missiles per se. It’s about when a missile is combined with a nuclear warhead.”

July 29, 2014, Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman,  testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

These specific concessions matter. So do the ones we’ll learn about in coming days. Together they make the path to an Iranian nuclear weapon easier and the prospect of preventing one ever more remote.

But we don’t have to wait until Iran’s first nuclear test to see the damage done by the negotiations. Last week, the New York Times reported that the administration resisted confronting China on its authorship of the hacking of sensitive U.S. personnel information partly out of concern about China’s role as a negotiating partner on the Iran deal.

No doubt the Iran negotiations contributed to Obama’s reluctance to confront Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. And to Obama’s tacit acceptance of continued Iranian support for the Taliban and al Qaeda; his passivity as he watched the unfolding slaughter in Syria; his acquiescence in [Iran’s] expansive role in Syria, Iraq, and beyond; and his refusal to provide arms directly to the Kurds and to the Sunnis. 

Obama is begging Iran to sign a deal. He is paying Iran to sign a deal. He is holding Secretary of State John Kerry’s nose to the conference table until Iran signs a deal. Any deal. At any cost.

What will the representatives of the American people in Congress do about it?

Politicizing politics 1

Stephen Hayes writes that the murder of US Ambassador Stevens and three of his staff in Benghazi, Libya, on the anniversary of 9/11 is a “scandal of the first order”:

Either the intelligence community had a detailed picture of what happened in Benghazi that night and failed to share it with other administration officials and the White House. Or the intelligence community provided that detailed intelligence picture to others in the administration, and Obama, Biden, Clinton, Susan Rice, and others ignored and manipulated the intelligence to tell a politically convenient — but highly inaccurate — story.

If it’s the former, DNI [Director of National Intelligence] James Clapper should be fired. If it’s the latter, what happened in Benghazi — and what happened afterwards — will go down as one of the worst scandals in recent memory.

It seems far more likely that it’s the latter. After all, is it conceivable that White House officials at the highest levels were not actively engaged in interagency meetings to determine what happened in Benghazi? Is it conceivable that intelligence officials, knowing there was no evidence at all of a link between the film and Benghazi, would fail to tell the president and his colleagues that their claims were unfounded? Is it conceivable that somehow the latest intelligence on the 9/11 attacks was left out of Obama’s intelligence briefings in the days after 9/11? It would have been a priority for every professional at the CIA, the State Department, and the National Security Council to discover exactly what happened in Benghazi as soon as possible. Is it conceivable that the information wasn’t passed to the most senior figures in the administration?

No, it’s really not. And therefore, the fact that these senior figures misled us — and still mislead us — is a scandal of the first order.

We agree. We think it is more shameful than Watergate, or the disgracing of the office of president by Bill Clinton.

Mark Steyn writes with his usual wit and acerbity that the events in Libya annoyingly distract the Obama administration from its self-assigned most vital duty of keeping some TV puppets in existence at public expense.

“The entire reason that this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.” Thus, Stephanie Cutter, President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, speaking on CNN about an armed attack on the 9/11 anniversary that left a U.S. consulate a smoking ruin and killed four diplomatic staff, including the first American ambassador to be murdered in a third of a century. To discuss this event is apparently to “politicize” it and to distract from the real issues the American people are concerned about. For example, Obama spokesperson Jen Psaki, speaking on board Air Force One on Thursday: “There’s only one candidate in this race who is going to continue to fight for Big Bird and Elmo, and he is riding on this plane.” She’s right! The United States is the first nation in history whose democracy has evolved to the point where its leader is provided with a wide-body transatlantic jet in order to campaign on the vital issue of public funding for sock puppets. Sure, Caligula put his horse in the Senate, but it was a real horse. At Ohio State University, the rapper will.i.am introduced the President by playing the Sesame Street theme tune, which, oddly enough, seems more apt presidential walk-on music for the Obama era than “Hail To The Chief.”

Obviously, Miss Cutter is right: A healthy mature democracy should spend its quadrennial election on critical issues like the Republican Party’s war on puppets rather than attempting to “politicize” the debate by dragging in stuff like foreign policy, national security, the economy and other obscure peripheral subjects. But, alas, it was her boss who chose to “politicize” a security fiasco and national humiliation in Benghazi. At 8.30 p.m., when Ambassador Stevens strolled outside the gate and bid his Turkish guest good night, the streets were calm and quiet. At 9.40 p.m., an armed assault on the compound began, well-planned and executed by men not only armed with mortars but capable of firing them to lethal purpose – a rare combination among the excitable mobs of the Middle East. There was no demonstration against an Islamophobic movie that just got a little out of hand. Indeed, there was no movie protest at all. Instead, a U.S. consulate was destroyed and four of its personnel were murdered in one of the most sophisticated military attacks ever launched at a diplomatic facility.

This was confirmed by testimony to Congress a few days ago … [Yet] for four weeks, the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and others have persistently attributed the Benghazi debacle to an obscure YouTube video – even though they knew that the two events had nothing to do with each other by no later than the crack of dawn Eastern time on Sept. 12 …

Given that Obama and Secretary Clinton refer to Stevens pneumatically as “Chris,” as if they’ve known him since third grade, why would they dishonor the sacrifice of their close personal friend by peddling an utterly false narrative as to why he died? You want “politicization”? Secretary Clinton linked the YouTube video to the murder of her colleagues even as the four caskets lay alongside her at Andrews Air Force Base – even though she had known for days that it had nothing to do with it. It’s weird enough that politicians now give campaign speeches to returning coffins. But to conscript your “friend’s” corpse as a straight man for some third-rate electoral opportunism is surely as shriveled and worthless as “politicization” gets. …

“Greater love hath no man than this,” quoth the President at Chris Stevens’ coffin, “that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Smaller love hath no man than Obama’s, than to lay down his “friend” for a couple of points in Ohio.

The Democrats have lost the plot. Even their own plot. They desperately want to stay in power in order to … stay in power. Give them the bird.

Oh, please no! 0

Diana West raises a troubling question:

Should Fox News register with the State Department as a foreign agent — an agent of Saudi Arabia?

First off, is that a farfetched question? Not when a leading member of the ruling family of the Sharia-totalitarian “kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has made himself the second-largest shareholder of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Fox News’ parent company.

Just as Steven Emerson believes that American universities using Saudi mega-millions (many from Alwaleed) to set up Islamic studies departments should register as Saudi agents, I believe an American news channel part-owned and part-influenced by the Saudi prince should, too.

Alwaleed’s long march through U.S. institutions is a mainly post-9/11 progression greased by his purchase of about a 5.5 percent stake in News Corp. in 2005, and his purchases, I mean, gifts, of $20 million apiece to Georgetown and Harvard Universities, also in 2005.

There have been other eye-catching displays of Alwaleed’s largesse — $500,000 in 2002 to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Hamas- and Muslim-Brotherhood-linked entity, and a whopping $27 million, also in 2002, to the families of Palestinian “martyrs,” aka suicide bombers. These, along with Alwaleed’s self-described “very close relationship” with Murdoch son and apparent heir-apparent James, a left-wing global-warmist with virulently anti-Israel views, should only deepen Americans’ concerns about Fox’s ties to “the prince.” Recently, Murdoch and Alwaleed have discussed expanding their business relationship through the Murdoch purchase of a substantial stake in Rotana, Alwaleed’s huge Arab media company.

Before entering his Murdoch association, Alwaleed gave a remarkably candid interview in 2002 about what Arab News described as his belief that “Arabs should focus more on penetrating U.S. public opinion as a means to influencing decision-making” rather than boycotting U.S. products, an idea of the moment.

The Arab News reported: “Arab countries can influence U.S. decision-making ‘if they unite through economic interests, not political,’ (Alwaleed) stressed. ‘We have to be logical and understand that the U.S. administration is subject to U.S. public opinion. We (Arabs) are not so active in this sphere (public opinion). And to bring the decision-maker on your side, you not only have to be active inside the U.S. Congress or the administration but also inside U.S. society.'”

And active inside U.S. society living rooms — even better. Alwaleed would seem to have hit on a Fox strategy some time after Rudy Giuliani refused to accept, on behalf of a 9/11-shattered New York City, his $10 million check-cum-lecture that essentially justified the al-Qaida attacks as having been a response to U.S. foreign policy. This was “such an egregious, outrageous, unfair offense that I would have nothing to do with his money either,” Sean Hannity said at the time on Fox News‘ “Hannity & Colmes,” his remarks (and those of other Fox personalities) recently re-examined by the left-wing group Media Matters. “This is a bad guy,” Hannity said. “Rudy was right to decline the money.” Bill Sammon called Alwaleed’s check “blood money,” adding, “we’re better off without it.”

How terribly ironic that this same “bad guy” is now a News Corp. blood-money bags, a boss who must be handled with care as, for example, Fox host Neil Cavuto did in a deferential interview with Alwaleed last month.

How does this influence Fox News coverage? It’s impossible to say. Alwaleed has bragged that it only took a phone call to ensure that Fox coverage of Muslim rioting in France not be described as “Muslim” rioting in France, a boast News Corp. has never denied….

Meanwhile, spokesmen for terrorism-linked and Alwaleed-endowed CAIR still appear on Fox shows, for example, while Dave Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, likely Fox guests as conservative authors of the sleeper-hit book “Muslim Mafia” (an expose of CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood), get zero airtime. The more important question becomes: How does Alwaleed’s stake in News Corp. affect what Fox News doesn’t cover?

If they don’t report, we can’t decide. This, for a Sharia prince, could be worth millions.

This is very disturbing.

For TV news we watch Fox almost exclusively. We are hugely entertained by Glenn Beck who’s doing a great job exposing the bad policies and bad policy-makers in the Obama administration. We regularly watch Bret Baier’s ‘Special Report’, eager to hear the opinions of Charles Krauthammer, Brit Hume, and Stephen Hayes. We quite often watch Sean Hannity. We bear with Bill O’Reilly because he brings us conservatives like Michelle Malkin who inform and interest us. We need Fox News.  If it is to become a propaganda instrument of the soft jihad we will be losing a highly valuable resource, irreplaceable as far as we can see.

Rupert Murdoch, what are you doing to us?