Cutting Edge: New ideas / Sharp opinions
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A Facebook post from David Hausner, a friend and AIDs expert working in India: "$2 billion! What would you do with that much money? Is there any chance you would blow it on presidential campaigning? I'm thinking about the social programs I could fund with that money, to fight HIV, reduce child mortality, reduce maternal mortality, increase literacy, etc. What a terrible waste of time and money this presidential campaign has been. It is actually sickening."
Jeffrey Rosen in The New Republic: "At the Supreme Court on Monday, as Hurricane Sandy approached, Chief Justice John Roberts kept the court open to hear Clapper v. Amnesty International, the most important wiretapping case of the term. Judging from his reception during the oral arguments, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli may have wished that the storm had closed the court a day early.
"As part of its concerted campaign to prosecute whistleblowers and to classify state secrets, the Obama administration has taken a position in Clapper that makes the Bush administration pro-secrecy campaign seem pale in comparison: Namely, that no one can challenge warrantless surveillance unless the government tells you in advance that you're being surveilled -- which national security interests prevent it from doing. When the Bush administration offered milder versions of the same arguments, the civil liberties community rose up in protest. Verrilli, for his part, was met by vigorous skepticism from the Supreme Court's liberal justices."
President Barack Obama, in an interview with Philadelphia radio host/columnist Michael Smerconish: "Well, I think the most important thing is, after the election ... [is] to once again bring the Republicans together with my administration and Democrats and say to them, the election is over; we still have some big problems to solve and the goal of making me a one-term president is behind us. ... Probably the first piece of business is going to be to ... fix our deficit and debt issues and make a decision about how big our government is and how we're going to pay for it. And I put forward a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan ...
Mr. Smerconish: "Will you make the first move? Will you go to Capitol Hill?"
Mr. Obama: "I've said to folks, I'll go to Capitol Hill, I'll wash [House Speaker] John Boehner's car, I'll walk [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell's dog -- I'll do whatever is required to get this done."
Andy Borowitz at The Borowitz Report: "Hitting the campaign trail one day after the arrival of Superstorm Sandy, Republican nominee Mitt Romney tweaked his position on abortion ... saying he now supports it in cases where it makes people vote for him. 'I would make an exception for abortion in cases where the life of my campaign is at stake,' he told a crowd in Kettering, Ohio.
"Sandy ... was such a powerful weather system that it prevented Mr. Romney from changing his position on abortion for 24 hours. 'It was important for Mitt to come up with a new position on abortion today,' said his campaign manager, Matt Rhoades. 'It sends a message to the American people that in the aftermath of Sandy, things are getting back to normal.' "
Richard Cohen in The Washington Post on President Obama: "I see a failure to embrace all sorts of people, even members of Congress and the business community. I see diffidence, a reluctance to close. I see a president for whom Afghanistan is not just a war but a metaphor for his approach to politics: He approved a surge but also an exit date. Heads I win, tails you lose.
"I once wondered if Obama could be another RFK. The president has great political skills and a dazzling smile. ... He remains a startling figure for a nation that was still segregating its schools when I was growing up ... History was draped over Obama like a cape. ...
"Kennedy had huge causes. End poverty. End the war. He challenged a sitting president over Vietnam. It could have cost him his career. It did cost him his life. ... But somewhere between the campaign and the White House itself, Obama got lost. It turned out he had no cause at all.... I will vote for Obama with regret. I wish he was the man I once mistook him for."
First Published November 4, 2012 12:00 am