Entries Tagged as 'Wall Street Journal'

How Dare The WSJ Blame The House GOP?

David Frum December 21st, 2011 at 10:18 am Updated122 Comments

The Wall Street Journal this morning excoriates House Republicans for mishandling the payroll tax holiday:

The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play

True that. But if anyone is to scold on this score, it should not be the Journal – which is as responsible as any of the House members for the GOP’s payroll-tax predicament.

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Poland to Germany: We Need You to Act!

David Frum November 28th, 2011 at 7:50 pm 39 Comments

In an important speech in Berlin, Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski expressed a thought maybe has never been heard before on German soil from a Polish leader:

What, as Poland’s foreign minister, do I regard as the biggest threat to the security and prosperity of Poland today, on 28th November 2011? It’s not terrorism, it’s not the Taliban, it’s certainly not German tanks. It’s not even Russian missiles which President Medvedev has just threatened to deploy on our border. The biggest threat to the security of Poland would be the collapse of the Eurozone.

And I demand of Germany that, for your own sake and for ours, you help it survive and prosper. You know full well that nobody else can do it. I will probably be first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity.

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Why We Should Still be Sweating Global Warming

October 6th, 2011 at 12:30 pm 136 Comments

Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and writer about energy, has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal stating “Five Truths About Climate Change.” Some of his assertions are to the effect that there’s not that much that can be done to restrain carbon emissions. That’s a debatable stance, and I will address it. Then I will go on to his fifth “truth,” which has to do with the science of climate change.

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Nice Central Bank You Have Here

David Frum August 22nd, 2011 at 1:15 am 31 Comments

One of the highest forms of political jiu-jitsu is to accuse your opponents of exactly the same offense that you yourself then proceed to commit.

If executed properly, the audacious maneuver will stun critics into silence – and overwhelm spectators so impressed by the Parson’s sermon against Sabbath-breaking that they won’t believe their own eyes if they should glimpse him later in the day knocking back a Sunday afternoon bottle of whisky in the next town’s saloon.

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Newt Gets It: Ryan Plan is Toxic to Voters

David Frum May 17th, 2011 at 12:19 pm 41 Comments

So now we know how to prod the Wall Street Journal into protesting Obama-Hitler comparisons: join those comparisons to a word of criticism of the Paul Ryan budget.

The Journal dumped today on Newt Gingrich’s long history of wild overstatement:

the Georgian’s weakness as a candidate, and especially as a potential President—to wit, his odd combination of partisan, divisive rhetoric and poll-driven policy timidity.

In his recent campaign book, “To Save America,” he describes Mr. Obama as bent on leading a “secular–socialist machine” that “represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did.” … Mr. Gingrich speaks loudly but shrinks from hard choices.

Good points, and they could be extended at some length to include e.g. Gingrich’s endorsement of Dinesh D’Souza’s description of Obama as motivated by Kenyan anti-colonial ideology, Gingrich’s role in the lower Manhattan mosque debacle, etc. etc. etc.

But unfortunately, the trigger for today’s Journal attack was not Gingrich’s divisive or racially provocative statements. The trigger was actually a wise statement: a caution against committing the GOP to a huge rework of Medicare into a means-tested program that left more and more American seniors to pay more and more of their health insurance costs out of their own pockets.

The Ryan plan has become party orthodoxy, true. On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer proclaimed it a political capital offense to express public doubts about the plan.

But as Gingrich learned the hard way: the American public will not accept this kind of reform and will smash any politician who tries to force it upon them. There are ways to reduce the fiscal burden of Medicare, but telling seniors to buy their own damn healthcare is not going to be one of them. I wish it were somebody other than the Kenyan-anticolonialism-sharia law candidate making that argument, but it’s an important argument from any source.

The Journal argues that Gingrich’s own past failure trying to implement such a plan is reason not to listen to him now:

The irony is that Mr. Gingrich’s own history of political failure on health care has made Mr. Ryan’s proposals all the more necessary. In 1995, Mr. Gingrich pushed a “Medicare Plus” reform through Congress that shared many of the same features as Mr. Ryan’s. It would have cut $270 billion from Medicare over seven years, while giving seniors a premium-support choice to join HMOs. President Clinton vetoed it, which along with Mr. Gingrich’s refusal to compromise helped precipitate the government shutdown.

I guess the argument is: who are you going to listen to on the whole “sitting on hot stove” question. The cat who tried it once already? Or the cat who sees the red glowing countertop as a beguiling invitation?

Why Did Think Tank Kill Journal Critique?

May 17th, 2011 at 8:09 am 7 Comments

A very large hat-tip goes out to blogger Brendan Nyhan who has noticed that the Tax Foundation has deleted a blog post on their site which was very critical of an editorial graphic published in the Wall Street Journal.

This though is not the only blog post that appears to have been deleted by the Tax Foundation. A follow-up blog post from Friday entitled “Where the Taxable Income Is, Continued” also seems to have disappeared. The follow up blog post still exists online thanks to a tax law aggregator site which copied it and the text of the original blog post can still be read on Nyhan’s site.

Scott Hodge, President of the Tax Foundation, responded to FrumForum’s requests for comment and stated that the original blog post had side-stepped the editorial process:

Like all organizations we have an editorial process. The piece was posted before I could edit it. I thought it needed revision and editing. We never got a satisfactory revision. It’s a moot point now.

The post argued that a chart used in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on how much taxable income existed in different income groups was “a textbook example of how to lie with statistics”. The blog post agreed with the spirit of the op-ed, but argued that it was not necessary to make the argument in a misleading way:

My point here is not to criticize the editorial itself, because it’s true that taxing only the rich isn’t a viable path towards deficit reduction. At the same time, we shouldn’t resort to misleading charts that pretend to show that those with high incomes don’t make the majority of the money in this country— they do.

The follow-up blog post proposed better ways to present the data, but it also referred to the original post as “nonsense for a variety of reasons” and being guilty of “distortion”.

The Tax Foundation’s actions raises questions because to some outside observers, it would appear that the post was deleted not because of the merits of the post, but because it accused the Wall Street Journal of dishonesty. Without further clarification from the Tax Foundation, it is likely that this incident will become another datapoint of a conservative think tank taking questionable action with its data and materials, such as when the Heritage Foundation removed part of its GOP budget analysis from their website after receiving significant criticism for their unemployment projections.

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The Headlines Review

August 30th, 2009 at 8:10 pm Comments Off

Napoleon Linardatos presents a humorous take on today’s headlines.

“As Internet Booms, the Postal Service Fights Back”

-New York Times, 08.28.09

The U.S. Postal Service plans to start its own email service. The users of the service will be able to send and receive emails every day except Sunday.

* * *

“Bernanke Victimized by Identity Fraud Ring”

-Newsweek, 08.25.09

The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, became suspicious when his attempted online purchase of Suze Orman’s The Laws of Money was declined.

* * *

“Colorado wildlife experts get aggressive going after smart bears”

-Denver Post, 8.24.09

Bears found in Mensa meetings will be shot at once.

* * *

“GOP Offers Seniors Health Bill of Rights”

-Associated Press, 8.24.09

Article I. Congress shall make no law reducing the massive intergenerational wealth transfers instituted by our political opponents in the years past.

* * *

“Yahoo renews vow to fight Microsoft”

-Financial Times, 8.25.09

Yahoo’s CEO said “We shall fight them on the closed circuits, we shall fight them on the e-commerce platforms, we shall fight them on the copper and fiber lines, we shall never merge.”

* * *

“Anne Fine deplores ‘gritty realism’ of modern children’s books”

-The Times, 8.24.09

J. K. Rowling’s newest book Notes from the Hogwarts Underground will be out this fall.

* * *

“Iran puts leading reformers on trial over unrest”

-Reuters, 8.25.09

The dissidents are charged with disorderly contact and astroturfing.

* * *

“U.S. limits visas in Honduras, stepping up pressure”

-Reuters, 8.25.09

In an effort to improve its relationship with the Obama administration, Honduras plans to turn decidedly anti-American.

* * *

“Italy to Ask Libya for Help in Controlling Migration”

-Wall Street Journal, 8.28.09

If Libya refuses the offer, Italy plans to cut off the head of Gaddafi’s favorite camel and place it in the dictator’s bed.

* * *

“Robbers pretended to sell President Obama health insurance policies to invade Long Island home”

-New York Daily News, 8.29.09

The victims got wary when they were told that the first insurance premium payment would consist of the plasma TV, the kid’s iPod and the “really cute shepherdess lamp.”

A Kennedy Lesson for Obama Critics

David Frum August 28th, 2009 at 10:21 am 17 Comments

Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal column today reminds readers of a graceful tribute to John F. Kennedy delivered by President Reagan in 1985.

Here’s an extract:

And when he died, when that comet disappeared over the continent, a whole nation grieved and would not forget. A tailor in New York put a sign on the door: ‘Closed due to a death in the family.’ The sadness was not confined to us. ‘They cried the rain down that night,’ said a journalist in Europe. They put his picture up in huts in Brazil and tents in the Congo, in offices in Dublin and Danzig. That was one of the things he did for his country, for when they honored him they were honoring someone essentially, quintessentially, completely American.

Many men are great, but few capture the imagination and the spirit of the times. The ones who do are unforgettable. Four administrations have passed since John Kennedy’s death, five presidents have occupied the Oval Office, and I feel sure that each of them thought of John Kennedy now and then, and his thousand days in the White House.

And sometimes I want to say to those who are still in school, and who sometimes think that history is a dry thing that lives in a book, that nothing is ever lost in that house. Some music plays on. I have been told that late at night when the clouds are still and the moon is high, you can just about hear the sound of certain memories brushing by. You can almost hear, if you listen close, the whir of a wheelchair rolling by and the sound of a voice calling out, ‘And another thing, Eleanor.’ Turn down a hall and you hear the brisk strut of a fellow saying, ‘Bully! Absolutely ripping!’ Walk softly now and you’re drawn to the soft notes of a piano and a brilliant gathering in the East Room, where a crowd surrounds a bright young president who is full of hope and laughter.

Lovely, right? And lovely in part because one of the hands that worked on that speech was Peggy’s – and Peggy, though of course a conservative Republican, is a proud Irish Catholic who witnessed and remembered the election of an Irish Catholic to the White House. She may have agreed with President Kennedy on very little, but a quarter century after his election, he still claimed some portion of her heart.

Now here’s the thing to remember, as the nation pays tribute to Jack Kennedy’s last brother: There are boys and girls who will feel into the 2080s about President Obama the same way that Peggy Noonan still feels about President Kennedy. Some of those boys and girls – I trust many – will develop the wisdom to grow into Republicans and conservatives, as so many Irish Democrats did after 1960. Maybe someday one of those boys or girls will write the speech that a future Republican president will deliver in memory of former President Obama. Maybe they will come to see all that is wrong with the Obama agenda and worldview. But they will never forget how they felt in November 2008.  As we struggle to defeat that Obama agenda, let’s never forget that we are also playing to capture his supporters – and let’s try to refrain from doing things for short-term gain that will impede that larger long-term project.