Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, campaigning recently on Meet the Press for immediate “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program, is apt to provide a fiery rebuttal tomorrow at the UN to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address today on Yom Kippur and anti-Israeli sniping of the week.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA’S POLICY GETS RETOOLED FOR U.N. WEEK.
** QUICK HITS. With swing state polls looking strong and good reactions from crowds, President Barack Obama today hit conservative Republican challenger as a johnny come lately in his concern with China trade practices, characterizing Romney has having “newfound outrage” and noting his role in outsourcing jobs to the PRC. … Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today became the highest ranking administration official to talk about an Al Qaeda tie in the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the killing of three other Americans in Benghazi. … On the anniversary of 9/11? Who could have guessed? … Governor Jerry Brown signed a lot of bills today, some of them having to do with animals and schools. He did veto a bill which, for some odd reason, would have prohibited homeowners from trapping bats in their homes. … Perhaps it was the product of an author with bats in his belfry, as it were. …
** IS POST-PARTISANSHIP PASSE? SCHWARZENEGGER AND COMPANY (AND BILL CLINTON) SAY NO. Is post-partisanship passe? It’s certainly been shredded in the last few years.
The idea that the way to move forward is to move beyond reflexive partisanship, roundly denounced in a media culture which increasingly rewards hard-edged partisanship, has been stomped all over throughout most of Barack Obama’s first term as president.
Obama himself was trashed, practically from the beginning, for trying to work with congressional Republicans, who were themselves quite intractable to begin with before becoming essentially impossible for him to deal with after the Tea Party-inflected takeover of the House in November 2010.
And just look at all that’s been accomplished since. (That’s a little joke.) Then he was trashed for failing to change the culture of Washington.
So who would want to raise the banner of post-partisanship now?
Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger for one. The former two-term governor of California told me over the summer that he still believes that most things get done through “action in the center” away from the extremes.
I quipped that he might want to re-brand post-partisanship as, say, “post post-partisanship.” He did not.
Schwarzenegger raised the banner he had hoisted through much of his governorship, following a very partisan detour, albeit on matters of legitimate concern, in 2005, when he hosted a one-day introductory symposium for his new USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy on Monday at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The institute was announced last month and the event featured Schwarzenegger in familiar thematic territory.
He led a morning discussion on post-partisanship with U.S. Senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, former New Mexico Governor and U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge.
Later, there was a luncheon program on climate change with Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Dr. Ravendra Pachauri, followed by an afternoon discussion on media innovation featuring Schwarzenegger and top Hollywood execs.
Ironically, most of the post-partisan panel participants have been decidedly singed, if not torched, by their moves away from partisan orthodoxy. More about that in a moment. But they weren’t backing away on Monday at least.
“It’s much easier to be an ideologue than it is to be someone who drives compromise,” said Ridge, a finalist to be McCain’s running mate in 2008 only to lose out to Sarah Palin, whose selection ironically elevated her to be one of the biggest drivers of the hyper-partisan wave in American politics. “The easiest vote in Washington is ‘no.’”
McCain himself shifted focus a bit to the massive unrestricted spending we’re seeing as a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. “The history of this country has been corruption, reform, corruption, reform,” he noted. “There are going to be major scandals because too many millions of dollars are washing around in political campaigns.”
Daschle agreed, adding that the astonishing sums make it easier for ideologues to drive divisive agendas.
McCain was a great advocate of campaign finance reform, one of the reasons we featured him at the Shadow Conventions in 2000 which I helped Arianna Huffington to stage. Political history has moved in a very different direction since the passage of the McCain-Feingold bill which many thought would clean up political finance.
Schwarzenegger, who had some very notable post-partisan successes as California’s governor — albeit not infrequently involving him as the Republican working on and working with Democrats — noted that there was significant partisan blowback for those who reached across the aisle.
“Whenever you worked with Democrats, the Republicans hated you, and whenever you worked with the Republicans, the Democrats hated you,” Schwarzenegger said.
But Richardson observed that state governments often do better than the federal government these days.
Crist said he was hammered by fellow Republicans after he hugged Obama on the president’s first visit to the Sunshine State after he was elected. But he didn’t regret it.
In 2008, McCain, running as a moderate conservative who was able to work with Democrats won the Republican presidential nomination, defeating Mitt Romney, the former moderate Massachusetts governor who was running as the hard right candidate, and Mike Huckabee, the evangelical candidate. McCain clinched the nomination with victories in the California and Florida primaries, benefiting from the backing of Schwarzenegger and Crist.
I revealed, on my New West Notes blog, that Schwarzenegger would endorse McCain, which he did in an event focused on climate change and renewable energy, an event that would have been unthinkable in the Republican primaries this year.
McCain staggered Romney with a win in Florida with help from Crist, then knocked him out the following week on Super Tuesday with wins in California and elsewhere.
Of course, moderate Republican Crist went through some big changes after that. Starting out as a big favorite to take a U.S. Senate seat in Florida, Crist was savaged by the hard right and found himself losing the Republican primary to Marco Rubio. He then became an independent, but still lost the election.
Earlier this month, he endorsed Obama for president and spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
Schwarzenegger also had big problems with hyper-partisans of both parties, but especially in the Republican Party, which became ever more conservative as his governorship went on, despite his success in appealing to the electoral center in his two landslide victories.
As I recounted here in March, the ever rightward skid of California Republicans — which presaged the same development at the national level — was a well-established arc years ago. Schwarzenegger himself was so alarmed that he delivered an address five years ago to the state Republican convention outside Palm Springs — which I previewed beforehand on New West Notes — specifically urging his party’s delegates and activists to move back toward the center. Here’s the complete text of his speech.
Since then, California Republicans have only moved farther to the right, which was obvious to me when I stayed to watch Texas Governor Rick Perry, who followed Schwarzenegger on the convention program, refute pretty much everything that Schwarzenegger had just said seeing. Republican registration and electoral clout continued their decline. Three years later, Governor Jerry Brown swept to a landslide win over Romney protege Meg Whitman, despite her biggest-spending non-presidential campaign in American history, leading a Democratic sweep of all statewide offices two months before Schwarzenegger’s term ended.
Which is not to say that Democrats weren’t a problem, too. Increasingly influenced by and dependent upon public employee unions, too often transfixed by statist ideology, the Democrats were more rational as a matter of degree.
So post-partisanship is a dead letter, right?
Well, no. Post-partisanship is not about a state of kumbaya. It is about being intelligent and imaginative enough to push your values and to know when to seek common ground.
Brown, for example, never a fan of orthodox thinking, has sought to work with Republicans. He’s told me repeatedly that he intends to keep on trying. Sometimes he even finds a few who want to cooperate. Of course, when there is no cooperation, he’s not averse to knocking some heads.
There simply has to be a place for post-partisanship, for creative centrism, based on the Enlightenment values at the core of the Republic, in American political life if the country is to move forward. Otherwise American politics will be like the Middle East peace process. …
** NEW SURVEYS: TRUST IN GOVERNMENT ON THE RISE AT FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LEVELS. Two new Gallup Poll surveys indicate that the the waves of anti-government rhetoric of recent years may have had their day.
One survey shows that trust in the ability of the federal government to handle problems at both the international level and the domestic level is up substantially.
Americans’ trust in Washington, D.C., to handle international problems is up sharply compared with this time last year, and is now the highest in Gallup trends since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. Two-thirds of Americans say they have a “great deal” (18%) or “fair amount” (48%) of trust in the federal government when it comes to handling international problems, vs. 57% last September, whereas a third have “not very much” trust or “none at all.” …
Americans are feeling more confident about the federal government’s ability to handle both international and domestic problems than they have in several years.
Trust in government on international problems is particularly high, resulting from increased confidence among Democrats and Republicans alike over the past year. This may reflect the compound effect of the United States’ operation against Osama bin Laden in May 2011 and aid to anti-Gadhafi forces in Libya in the fall of 2011, as well as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq at the end of 2011. Whether Americans’ trust will continue at this level amid recent anti-American uprisings in the Mideast remains to be seen, but if it does, it suggests President Barack Obama may benefit from his “commander in chief” role as he asks Americans to give him a second term.
Another survey shows that trust in state and local government is at or near high-water marks for the past decade.
But the West lags the rest of the country in this regard, though numbers are up here, too.
Americans’ trust in their state and local governments has increased this year, with 74% expressing a great deal or fair amount of trust in local government and 65% in state government. Trust in state government has now essentially returned to levels seen before the financial crisis, after falling to as low as 51% in 2009.
What does it mean?
Well, it’s probably good news for Democrats.
It’s definitely bad news for the anti-government lobby that has held such sway in Republican ranks in recent years.
There is one caveat, however.
The polls were taken before the wave of unrest in the Islamic world following the hate-Islam video Innocence of Muslims, before the attacks on American missions, the burnings of American flags, the murders of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The jury is still not in on how that all plays out.
Speaking this morning in swing state Ohio, where he has a big lead over conservative Republican Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama said that the “top-down economics” of the rich getting richer doesn’t equate to widespread prosperity.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … IS POST-PARTISANSHIP PASSE? SCHWARZENEGGER AND COMPANY (AND BILL CLINTON) SAY NO and OBAMA’S POLICY RETOOLED FOR U.N. WEEK.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and Ohio.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
Obama then flew on Air Force One to Bowling Green, Ohio.
There he addressed a rally at Bowling Green State University.
Following that, he flew on Air Force One to Kent, Ohio.
At 12:15 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Kent, Ohio.
At 2:40 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a rally at Kent State University.
At 4 PM Pacific, Obama departs Kent, Ohio on Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews.
At 5:10 PM Pacific, Obama arrives Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Marine One.
At 5:25 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
Conservative Republican challenger Mitt Romney is also campaigning in Ohio today, accompanied at some stops by retired golfer Jack Nicklaus.
At a forum early this morning in Westerville, Ohio, Romney called Nicklaus “the greatest athlete of the 20th century.”
Well, folks, as someone who took part in a half-dozen sports in high school and college, it would never occur to me to say something like that.
As I’ve mentioned, Obama has a big lead in swing state Ohio.
No Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.
Back at the big United Nations week in New York — where Obama scored with a well-received address yesterday while dodging Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who persists in trying to rope the US into his very aggressive agenda against Iran even as much of the Israeli security establishment turns away — the bete noire of the blue-and-white, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, delivered his last address to the UN General Assembly.
The former mayor of Tehran, who has previously denied the Holocaust and postured as a 9/11 Truther, is term limited from office last June.
But that didn’t stop him from delivering another of his trademark semi-deranged addresses, though this one was rather more restrained than in the past.
Though not all that restrained.
He denounced the UN Security Council and called for “a new world order” free from “the hegemony of arrogance.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the United Nations today in New York that he has a vision of a new world order that would be absent of the “hegemony of arrogance.”
Speaking on Yom Kippur, Israel’s Day of Atonement and the highest holy day in the Jewish faith, Ahmadinejad, who on Monday called Israel “a fake regime” with no history in the region, today referred to Israel as a collection of “uncivilized Zionists.”
I suspect that Netanyahu will fire back in kind when he addresses the UN.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown was at Google yesterday in Silicon Valley, where he signed legislation authorizing road testing of self-driving cars, with the motor vehicles dept. to adopt regulations by the beginning of 2015.
Brown, who took a ride for the cameras in a robot-controlled Prius, called it “science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality.”
Brown also signed legislation granting a two-year reprieve on the closing of 70 state parks, now unnecessary, at least for now, after the discovery that the state parks department had been sitting for many years on tens of millions in unspent funds generated by user fees.
A Field Poll shows a California death penalty repeal initiative trailing, 42-45.
Brown is continuing to go through bills from the recently concluded legislative session.
And he is working on his Prop 30 revenue initiative.
** DETHRONED: MAD MEN‘S DOWN SEASON OPENED THE DOOR FOR A SUPERLATIVE HOMELAND. … From my September 24th column.
** JERRY BROWN: GEARING UP A CAMPAIGN AT LAST? … From my September 22nd feature.
** HOW ROMNEY SHOULD HAVE ATTACKED OBAMA: ANATOMY OF A GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS. … From my September 19th essay.
** CONSIDERING THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. … From my September 15th essay.
** WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SINCE 9/11? … From my September 11th essay.
** PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE ELEPHANT: THE CONVENTIONS AND THE CLIMATE. … From my September 8th essay.
** WHILE ONE CLINTON WOWS AT THE OBAMARAMA, ANOTHER PIVOTS TO THE LONG GAME. … From my September 6th essay.
** SO WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED WITH CLINT EASTWOOD? (AND THE PERILS OF ARGUING WITH IMAGINARY OBAMAS). … From my September 4th essay.
** AFTER THE ROMNEYRAMA, AND MORE SERIOUS MATTERS. … From my August 30th essay.
** SPACE, JERRY BROWN’S PLACE, AND A RACE. … From my August 27th essay.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in major military operations in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 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 from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $90 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $56 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $24 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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