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Tuesday, June 23, 2009
What I Read over Lunch

Insightful readings on Obamacare, the revolt in Iran, the illegal firing of an inspector general, and the Republican Party's identity crisis.

Here are four excellent, brief pieces of commentary, which I read over lunch and recommend for your thoughtful attention. All four items here are linked at JewishWorldReview.com, but most or all are also syndicated and available elsewhere.

Jack Kelly summarizes Obamacare, explains the price tags, and tells us why the administration feels that its passage is so urgent. Along the way, he not only explains how the uninsured raise premiums for the insured; he also explains that Medicare's pricing practices also shift some of the cost of treating its patients to those of us with private insurance. His final point:

Americans who have private health insurance want to keep it, and they don't want to be taxed more to provide health insurance to the uninsured, especially if they are illegal aliens. That's why Mr. Obama wants to rush a health care "reform" bill through Congress before people are aware of what's in it.

Paul Greenberg suggests that events in Iran in 2009 are a lot like those in Hungary in 1956.

Now the world watches and waits for another revolution to be crushed. The president of the United States offers little but lip service to freedom's cause, and even that is tardy, hesitant, fearful, as if another people's thirst for liberty were some sort of embarrassment, an obstacle to his plans for a Grand Bargain with a dictatorial regime. A threat to, yes, peaceful coexistence, that old simulacrum for real peace.

Debra Saunders writes of the Obama administration's probably-illegal firing of an inspector general who caught some Obama partisans misusing government funds. She begins:

As recent AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin tells the story, when a White House aide called him on June 10, Walpin thought the administration was calling him to enlist his support -- as a prominent Republican member of the New York bar -- for the confirmation of Sonya Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Instead, Special Counsel to the President Norm Eisen informed Walpin that President Obama wanted Walpin out of his job. . . .

Walpin's defenders believe Obama fired him because Walpin was a successful whistle-blower, who blew the whistle on the president's friends and pet causes.

Mona Charen evaluates possible answers to the question, did an American president motivate the current revolt in Iran?

There is no more evidence that the revolt under way in Iran (if it succeeds, it will be called a revolution) is attributable to the "Obama effect" than there is that it is the result of a George W. Bush effect. How could Bush be involved? Well, you could make an argument that all of those purple fingers in neighboring Iraq aroused a certain longing for democracy among Iranians.

But it is far more likely that purely internal factors are at work

Finally, Thomas Sowell ponders the current state of the Republican Party and its implications:

In a country with more conservatives than liberals, it is puzzling -- in fact, amazing -- that we have the furthest left President of the United States in history, as well as the furthest left Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Republicans, especially, need to think about what this means. If you lose when the other guy has all the high cards, there is not much you can do about it. But, when you have the high cards and still keep taking a beating, then you need to re-think how you are playing the game. . . .

 Unfortunately, the only political party with any chance of displacing the current leadership in Washington is the Republican Party. That is why their internal squabbles are important for the rest of us who are not Republicans.

(Along the way, he mentions the quadrupling of the national debt in a single year. Unless the second half of this year gets a lot worse than the first half, he probably means the quadrupling of the annual budget deficit, which is plenty bad enough.)

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