Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Morning Must Reads from DCExaminer

Washington Post -- 34,000 troops will be sent to Afghanistan

President Obama figures he will be in the middle on Afghanistan if both sides of the debate are angry at him. Liberals hate the incremental, continuing escalation of the conflict and conservatives detest the squishy goals and conditional commitment.
Working sources within U.S.-allied governments already briefed on the plan, writers Karen DeYoung and Scott Wilson lay out the scope of Obama’s second Afghan surge in advance of his speech tonight.

It looks to be 34,000 troops, as expected, but the troops will be added in stages and only as rewards to the Afghan government and its neighbors meeting benchmarks. Apply anti-corruption measures, get a brigade. Fail to engage in cooperative relations with Pakistan, no brigade for you. Right here is where my BS Meter pegged. You don't achieve victory by using Warriors as rewards for co-operating. Kill the enemy, then come home. Its so simple.

A big component of Obama’s restricted surge is added help from our European allies – already struggling to meet their existing commitments, they are to provide the last oomph to get Obama in the ballpark of his commanders’ request.
“Equally uncertain is the likelihood that NATO and other allies will contribute additional troops to a war that is deeply unpopular in Europe. Britain has authorized 9,500 troops; France has 3,750 on the ground. Among other NATO allies with forces in Afghanistan, Canada and the Netherlands have set withdrawal dates. [Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton will leave Thursday for Brussels to brief NATO allies, and the alliance will hold a ‘force generation conference’ next week.”

Wall Street Journal -- Fight Looms on How to Pay for New War Plan

Remember “Draft the Bush twins” and calls for shared national sacrifice to pay for President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq?
As writers Yochi J. Dreazen and August Cole explain, the challenges facing President Obama on executing his Afghan strategy have more to do with cold cash than strong symbolism.
Coming up with another $30 billion a year to execute the president’s strategy at a time when the deficit is still swelling from the binge spending that followed the Panic of 2008 would be tough enough. But with the president seeking simultaneous spending on health care and more jobs programs, he may make regular hawks into budget hawks.
And liberals are getting back into their Iraq talking points.

“Some Democrats are coalescing around a new proposal to levy a war tax to help fund the conflict. The proposal by Wisconsin Democratic Rep. David Obey, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, would impose a 1% tax on most Americans that rises to 5% for wealthier citizens. The administration has yet to weigh in on Mr. Obey's proposal, which would likely have a difficult time getting passed.”Dana Milbank -- The perils of being commander in chiefAs President Obama prepares to use perhaps the most respected national institution – West Point – as the backdrop for his prime time pitch for his second Afghan surge, Milbank looks at Obama’s increasing reliance on military symbolism, echoing the optics favored by his flight-suited predecessor.

The vibe is creeping out Obama’s supporters who backed Obama because of his 2002 speech opposing the Iraq war:“But we ought not — we will not — travel down that hellish path blindly.”
Obama has since discovered that the title of commander in chief is the one that gets the greatest respect from the American people. Forget whether or not Congress passes a dodgy health bill, it’s Obama’s surprising militarism that is dispiriting the president’s base.

“In an open letter to Obama on his Web site Monday, liberal activist Michael Moore wrote that by increasing troops in Afghanistan, ‘you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you.’

‘With just one speech tomorrow night,’ Moore continued, ‘you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike.’
The bomber jacket is definitely out for Tuesday night's speech. But with this kind of hostility from Obama's own supporters, maybe the White House should consider dressing him in camouflage?”

Wall Street Journal -- Some Health Premiums to Rise
To get a sense of how far the bar has fallen on health care, consider that the finding by the Congressional Budget Office that the Senate version of the president’s plan would only drive up insurance costs for a fifth of Americans.
Writers Janet Adamy and Greg Hitt explain that the Obama-Reid plan leaves premiums mostly unchanged for four-fifths of Americans partly through subsidies, which means higher taxes.
The biggest losers under the plan would be entrepreneurs, small business owners and others who buy their own insurance, as their premiums and taxes would rise simultaneously.
But workers with nice benefit packages get zapped too.
“The report found that more insurance plans would be subject to a new 40% excise tax -- meant to help pay for the bill -- on high-value insurance plans than Democrats have previously projected. According to the analysis, 19% of workers with employment-based coverage would be affected by the tax by 2016. Employers would likely scale back the plans to shield workers from the penalty.”

The Hill -- Threat of reconciliation hovers over centrist Dems in healthcare vote
Pork may the preferred tool for getting moderate Senate Democrats to take a big risk on the president’s health plan. But you can’t pay off every lawmaker – not all are as frankly mercantile as Sen. Mary Landrieu and who could afford to give every moderate $300 million anyway?
Writer Alexander Bolton explains that in order to pass the bill Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is relying on a strong arm tactic – if a 60 vote compromise is out of reach, Reid will use a procedural trick to pass a liberal bill with 51 votes.
The threat lacks credibility because Reid knows going nuclear might mean assured destruction for his reelection bid in 2010 and for Senate decorum.
The parliamentary trick of reconciliation would also mean a bare bones bill. But it might allow for the creation of a new government health insurance entitlement.
“Talk about using budget reconciliation to pass healthcare reform in the Senate has faded from public view, but Democratic leaders continue to hang the threat over centrists in private.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) discussed reconciliation with wavering centrists before an important procedural vote to begin debate on healthcare reform.”

Labels: , , ,



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home