links for 2009-07-12

  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defended his former running mate Sarah Palin on Sunday, saying she wasn’t a quitter and that her decision to resign as governor was consistent with his own leadership qualities.
    “I understand that Sarah made the decision where she can be most effective for Alaska and for the country,” McCain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    “Obviously I was a bit surprised, but I wasn’t shocked,” he said. “I love and respect her and her family, I’m grateful that she agreed to run with me,” McCain continued.

    “I’m confident that she will be a major factor in the national scene and in Alaska as well.”

    McCain said Palin did not tell him she was resigning as Alaska’s governor before her July 3 decision. He said the move left him “surprised” but not “shocked.”

  • James Risen and Eric Lichtblau are the New York Times reporters who disclosed the highly classified NSA eavesdropping program in December 2005. In my view their behavior was blatantly illegal. In all likelikhood it did great damage to the national security of the United States. I wrote about their story and provided relevant links in the Weekly Standard column "Exposure."

    In any event, Risen and Lichtblau are principals in the story. In today's New York Times, Risen and Lichtblau nevertheless cover the release of the unclassified version of the report of five Inspectors General on the NSA program (referred to in the report as the President's surveillance program or PSP). The five IGs signing on to the report are attached to the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, the CIA, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

  • Brushing aside the criticisms of pundits and politicos, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she plans to jump immediately back into the national political fray — stumping for conservative issues and even Democrats — after she prematurely vacates her elected post at month's end.

    The former Republican vice-presidential nominee and heroine to much of the GOP's base said in an interview she views the electorate as embattled and fatigued by nonstop partisanship, and she is eager to campaign for Republicans, independents and even Democrats who share her values on limited government, strong defense and "energy independence."

    "I will go around the country on behalf of candidates who believe in the right things, regardless of their party label or affiliation," she said over lunch in her downtown office, 40 miles from her now-famous hometown of Wasilla — population 7,000 — where she began her political career.

    (tags: sarah_palin)
  • When a candidate offers platitudes on the stump and avoids specifics, most people consider it smart politics — keeping options open and offending few. When a President continues to offer the same platitudes after more than five months in office and in the middle of a deepening economic crisis, it becomes clear that the Oval Office has nothing but platitudes to offer. In practically a rerun of yesterday’s weekly radio address, Barack Obama wastes space in the Washington Post by offering a campaign speech and a cheerleader rally for a failed stimulus bill:
  • The President’s new message is: No second stimulus. This one will work. Ride it out and be patient.

    He’s right that it will help, eventually. If the July employment report due on August 7th returns us to the prior slow but steady recovery path, the President might only have to worry about 6-9 months of economic and political pain. But if the July report shows that the June report is a new downward trend, then policymakers will have a more serious problem to address.

    The President’s op-ed is titled “Rebuilding Something Better.” Unfortunately I think there is a roadside construction sign reading “Expect lengthy delays.” Let us hope it doesn’t take too long for the rebuilding to work.

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was not expected to restore the economy to full health on its own but to provide the boost necessary to stop the free fall. So far, it has done that. It was, from the start, a two-year program, and it will steadily save and create jobs as it ramps up over this summer and fall. We must let it work the way it's supposed to, with the understanding that in any recession, unemployment tends to recover more slowly than other measures of economic activity.