Hillary Clinton savors her win in the Pennsylvania primary.
** PETRAEUS TO CENTCOM. MORE AFGHAN FOCUS? General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, has a new job starting this summer. He’ll replace the departed Admiral William Fallon — who left after publicly criticizing Bush Administration rhetoric on Iran — as commander-in-chief of US Central Command. The purview of which includes the difficult war in Iraq and the lagging war in Afghanistan. Instapundit, rather cryptically, describes this as probably good.
What does it mean? Not that it’s being discussed at all in the constant chatter of the presidential race.
Petraeus is one of the few flag rank US officers to emerge from Iraq with an enhanced reputation. This is because the surge strategy has been relatively successful, at least at stabilizing Iraq. Although Petraeus delivered a sobering report to Congress, describing the situation in Iraq as “fragile and reversible.” As rocket fire struck the heavily guarded Green Zone and Iran brokered an uneasy peace between battling Shiite factions in southern Iraq.
I think it means Afghanistan will no longer be the forgotten war. The Afghan War of 2001, in the wake of 9/11, was a low-cost triumph of American arms. But Osama bin Laden was allowed to escape, along with other Al Qaeda and Taliban cadre, taking up positions in remote portions of Pakistan.
Al Qaeda Prime, as distinguished from affiliates and, if you will, franchisees, are able to issue propaganda manifestos and launch strategic attacks. The Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan, where US and NATO forces are low on manpower and maneuverable firepower. The Taliban have not turned the tide, but the signs are very troubling. Petraeus gets to turn his skilled attentions to these fundamental problems. While hoping that his subordinate, Lieutenant General Ray Odierno, can keep things together in Iraq, where he will take over as US commander.
** NEVADA: JOHN MCCAIN NOW LEADS OBAMA AND CLINTON. Nevada is a key swing state in presidential politics, one of the reasons the Democrats selected it for the third contest of the primary season. Way back on January 19th. A month ago, Barack Obama led John McCain there. Now he trails McCain, in the latest Rasmussen robopoll. Though he runs significantly better against McCain than does Hillary Clinton, narrow winner of the Nevada Democratic caucuses.
It’s McCain 48%, Obama 43%. And McCain 49%, Clinton 38%.
If you’re wondering about the impact of the ongoing Democratic foodfight, here it is in this state party strategists have been plotting to pick off in the general election.
McCain is now viewed favorably by 56% of voters in the state, up from 49% a month ago. Both Democrats are viewed less favorably than they were a month ago. Obama currently gets positive reviews from 47% of the state’s voters, down from 53% in March. Clinton’s latest numbers are 42% favorable, down from 49% a month ago.
** TOM HAYDEN OUTS HILLARY CLINTON’S RADICAL BACKGROUND. Famed ’60s radical-turned-California state senator Tom Hayden — among many other things, he was president of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) before future Weather Underground wacko Bernardine Dohrn (aka Mrs. Bill Ayers) — details Hillary’s Clinton’s personal background in radical politics. The ex-Chicago Seven defendant knows his radical politics.
To take just one example, the imagined association between Barack Obama and Bill Ayers will suffice. Hillary is blind to her own roots in the Sixties. In one college speech she spoke of ecstatic transcendence; in another, she said, “our social indictment has broadened. Where once we exposed the quality of life in the world of the South and the ghettos, now we condemn the quality of work in factories and corporations. Where once we assaulted the exploitation of man, now we decry the destruction of nature as well. How much long can we let corporations run us?” She was in Chicago for three nights during the 1968 street confrontations. She chaired the 1970 Yale law school meeting where students voted to join a national student strike again an “unconscionable expansion of a war that should never have been waged.” She was involved in the New Haven defense of Bobby Seale during his murder trial in 1970, as the lead scheduler of student monitors. She surely agreed with Yale president Kingman Brewster that a black revolutionary couldn’t get a fair trial in America. She wrote that abused children were citizens with the same rights as their parents.  Most significantly in terms of her recent attacks on Barack, after Yale law school, Hillary went to work for the left-wing Bay Area law firm of Truehaft, Walker and Burnstein, which specialized in Black Panthers and West Coast labor leaders prosecuted for being communists. Two of the firm’s partners, according to Treuhaft, were communists and the two others “tolerated communists”. Then she went on to Washington to help impeach Richard Nixon, whose career was built on smearing and destroying the careers of people through vague insinuations about their backgrounds and associates. [all citations from Carl Bernstein's sympathetic biography, A Woman in Charge, 2007, pp. 67,69,70,75, 83]
All these were honorable words and associations in my mind, but doesn’t she see how the Hillary of today would accuse the Hillary of the Sixties of associating with black revolutionaries who fought gun battles with police officers, and defending pro-communist lawyers who backed communists? Doesn’t the Rev. Jeremiah Wright whom Hillary attacks today represent the very essence of the black radicals Hillary was associating with in those days? And isn’t the Hillary of today becoming the same kind of guilt-by-association insinuator as the Richard Nixon she worked to impeach?
** THE CURRENT PENNSYLVANIA MARGIN: NINE POINTS. So what was Hillary Clinton’s margin over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania?
The networks reported 10 points, then went away. I noted early this morning that the margin was down to 8 points. Now, with some votes still outstanding, according to the official state tally, it’s 9 points. Clinton 54.6% to Obama 45.4%.
The expected high single digits.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in New Albany, Indiana, Washington, DC, and Chicago.
Hillary Clinton is in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Bill Clinton is in Hillsborough, Elon, Asheboro, Thomasville, and Statesville, North Carolina.
John McCain is in Inez, Kentucky.
NBC political director Chuck Todd says it is virtually impossible
for Barack Obama to be overtaken.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE: SCHWARZENEGGER’S EARTH DAY. While we were consumed with Game Day Pennsylvania yesterday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated Earth Day.
He designated 40,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch in Orange County as California’s first “natural landmark.” Then he venteured north to the Central Valley city of Modesto, where participated in the launch of what’s slated to be the largest solar thermal system in the country, at the Frito-Lay manufacturing plant.
Schwarzenegger is off the road today, holding private meetings in and around the Capitol in advance of the annual May budget revise.
** BROWN GOES AFTER HIDDEN PROVISION IN PROPOSED U.S. FUEL ECONOMY STANDARDS. Former Governor-turned-Attorney General Jerry Brown went after part of the Bush Administration’s proposed fuel economy standards yesterday. Why?
Buried inside the 417-page proposal is a section that would prevent states, such as California, from regulating tailpipe fuel economy standards.
California Attorney General Jerry Brown said the provisions were a “covert assault” on his state’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He vowed to “fight it every step of the way and we will sue them if necessary.”
Brown said the “pre-emption” language in the plan ignored rulings by the Supreme Court and two federal district courts that said the federal gas mileage standards were separate from state greenhouse gas regulations.
** AN “AMERICAN INDEPENDENT” — SAN FRANCISCO’S FUTURE FIRST LADY. We should probably add about two percent to the numbers of independent voters in California. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s fiancee, actress Jennifer Siebel, is registered American Independent. Siebel, a former Republican, registered AI because she thought it meant, you know, independent. She didn’t know that the old right-wing party is actually one of the state’s minor parties, albeit its largest. This is probably a common mistake among the politically unwary.
Keeping this in mind, the independent share of the California electorate would move to 22%. With 43.5% Democratic and 33% Republican.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel.
You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Crude oil is trading in the $118 to $119 per barrel range.
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