ThinkFast: September 16, 2009

A new book by a former Bush speechwriter reveals that President Bush fundamentally misunderstood his own TARP bailout proposal. “We’re buying low and selling high,” Bush kept saying. But it wasn’t true. When he discovered this, Bush threw up his hands in frustration and said, “Why did I sign on to this proposal if I don’t understand what it does?

President Jimmy Carter disparaged the Afghan elections as fraudulent in a talk given to donors to his Carter Center for Human Rights Tuesday. “Hamid Karzai has stolen the election,” he told the donors. “Now the question is whether he gets away with it.”

In his address to Congress last week, President Obama created some new difficulties by failing “to come down clearly on either side of the public insurance option debate.” “Generally with regard to the public option and everything else, they haven’t provided a great deal of guidance or follow-up about what these things mean,” said a top House Democratic aide.

The Wall Street Journal reports that proposed health insurance mandates could “squeeze” the middle class. Robert Blendon, who teaches health policy and political analysis at Harvard University, told the paper, “Unless subsidies are substantial, you’re going to have middle-class resistance to this.”


Several leading doctors have declared that the world will face a “global health catastrophe” if governments fail to agree deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as part of a U.N. pact in Copenhagen in December.

Writing in Politico, Center for American Progress’ John Podesta, Bracken Hendricks, and Kate Gordon state, “Glenn Beck and leading conservatives have launched a full-court press against comprehensive climate and energy legislation using rhetoric worthy of the communist witch hunts of the 1950s.”

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) writes, “The Senate Finance Committee proposal builds on what already works and fixes what threatens to break the bank for future generations.” But Baucus’ proposal has thus far failed to receive the support of Republicans — and even some Democrats — in his committee.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a Senate hearing yesterday endorsed sending more troops to Afghanistan.” A properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces,” Mullen told senators, declining to give an exact estimate.

Yesterday, President Obama stood with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) to urge Pennsylvania voters to support his re-election. Specter is facing a primary challenge from Rep. Joe Sestak. “By attaching itself so wholeheartedly to Specter, the White House has tied its political fortunes to the former prosecutor.”


And finally: “Bush’s Brain” will appear on Fox’s “Family Guy.” Rove said that when the creators first called and asked him to do a voiceover for the animated television show, “he wasn’t sure what the show even was.” But he was put at ease after learning that Rush Limbaugh is also appearing. “I had a telephone conversation with the creator, who is a completely mindless liberal and had an incredibly tasteless joke in the script that I had to talk him out of, but it was a sign of how much he needed a conservative in order to make this program succeed,” said Rove.

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