In the Arena

Not so Nimble

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To follow up on yesterday’s post about the “greatest act of presidential weakness” in Newt Gingrich’s lifetime, my estimable friend and fellow Ashkenazi Goldblog asked┬áthe Pentagon why the joint Israeli-US missile-defense exercise was postponed. Answer:

The Israelis weren’t ready, so they wanted it postponed. Jeff is doggedly continuing to pursue this from the Israeli side. But I still wouldn’t rule out some covert diplomacy going on. The Israelis are always ready.

As for Newt: in the debate last night, he cited a column I wrote in 1991 about NYC janitors as the source for his idea that poor youngsters should be hired to clean up their schools. It’s not a bad idea–Newt has been trying to induce poor kids to become more interested in school by using market incentives of one sort or another for the past 25 years–but it’s not exactly what I was proposing 20 years ago. I will avail myself of the opportunity to respond directly to his citation in my print column this week, and also discuss the importance of reciprocal responsibility among those who receive payments from the government–and among those who merely enjoy the privilege of citizenship in this terrific country.

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