A Predictable Decline in Hillary Clinton's Popularity
by Nate Silver
The controversies surrounding the I.R.S.'s targeting of conservative groups and the executive branch's handling of last year's attacks in Benghazi, Libya, have yet to have much impact on President Obama's approval ratings (although some slight decline may be hidden by an improved economic mood). But Mr. Obama's former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, appears to be have been more affected.
A Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday found Mrs. Clinton's favorability rating declining to 52 percent, from 61 percent in February. The decrease was considerably more modest in a CNN poll released earlier this month, with Mrs. Clinton's favorability rating decreasing to 61 percent from 63 percent in March. Nevertheless, Mrs. Clinton's favorability scores had hovered in the mid-60s for much of the past two years — and those lofty ratings appear to be a thing of the past.
So, are Americans carefully parsing through the details of the Benghazi attack — and finding Mrs. Clinton more culpable than Mr. Obama?
Probably not. Instead, the decline in her ratings was likely just a matter of time — and if the Benghazi hearings had not triggered it, something else would have.
Here's what I said about Mrs. Clinton's popularity in an article in December — in which I noted that her favorability scores have waxed and waned considerably over the years:
[If] Mrs. Clinton runs for president in 2016, one thing is almost certain: she won't be as popular as she is right now. Recent polls show that about 65 percent of Americans take a favorable view of Mrs. Clinton, while only about 30 percent have a negative one. Those are remarkably high numbers for a politician in an era when many public officials are distrusted or disliked.
But part of the reason for Mrs. Clinton's high numbers is that, as secretary of state, she has remained largely above the partisan fray that characterizes elections and fights over domestic policy.
Over the course of her long career, the public's views of Mrs. Clinton have shifted along with her public role. When she has been actively engaged in the hand-to-hand combat that characterizes election campaigns and battles in Congress, her favorability ratings have taken a hit, only to recover later. …
The theme is that a politician's favorability ratings are a function, to a large degree, of the extent to which the other political party, and perhaps also the news media, feels as though they have license to criticize her.
It's easy to be popular when nobody is criticizing you — and there was a long period, from the closing stages of the 2008 campaign through most of her tenure as secretary of state, when Republicans had little interest in attacking Mrs. Clinton directly. Now that Republicans have chosen to engage her again, her numbers are coming down. The largest decline in her ratings, as Ed Kilgore noted, has come from Republican voters, with a more modest decline among independents and almost none at all among Democrats. This is what happens when a politician returns to being in the partisan fray after having drifted above it for some time.
But if Mrs. Clinton were to run for president in 2016, Republicans would undoubtedly have found any number of other ways to criticize her — from her policy proposals, to concerns about her age or health, to gaffes that she might make on the campaign trail, to controversies recycled from her tenure as secretary of state.
Mrs. Clinton, if she runs in 2016, is highly unlikely to win by the double-digit margins that some polls have given her over prospective Republican opponents. But the same would have been true regardless of Benghazi. The main circumstances in which a presidential candidate wins by double digits are when that candidate is an incumbent running in a time of exceptional economic growth, or when the other party's incumbent is viewed as having performed terribly. Or, every now and then, the opposing candidate might be viewed as extreme or incompetent, and swing voters will feel as though they have no real choice.
But the opposition generally nominates reasonably good candidates when there is no incumbent running. Much of the incumbent advantage in American politics comes because of the deterrent factor — the opposition party figures that an incumbent will be difficult to beat, and so their stronger candidates wait for a better opportunity. This, however, can be a self-fulfilling prophecy: one of the reasons that incumbents win so often is because they don't often draw strong challengers. When parties nominate candidates against incumbents who have held their seats for many years — as Democrats did in 2006 with their "50-state strategy," or Republicans did in races for the Congress in 2010 — they are rewarded reasonably often.
Mrs. Clinton, to be clear, would not have been an incumbent – but it's possible that Republicans would have erred by giving her the same type of deference that is normally afforded to one. (Republicans like Newt Gingrich had talked about how difficult it might be to beat Mrs. Clinton.) So while the reality is that this decline in her ratings was predictable, Mrs. Clinton could be harmed by losing her perceived "inevitability."
That's also not to say that Mrs. Clinton would be merely an average candidate. Her resume, her experience, her fund-raising abilities and her status as the first prospective female president could all be advantages. But they might amount to her running a couple of points better than a "generic" Democrat and probably not much more than that – rather than her defying the laws of partisan gravity in a deeply divided country.
Ted Cruz: Obama Administration Does Not Respect Bill Of Rights
by Tim Brown
Senator Ted Cruz was a guest on Fox News' America Live with Megyn Kelly and told Kelly that the Obama administration does not respect the First, Second, Fourth or Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights found in the U.S. Constitution that he swore an oath to "preserve, protect and defend."
Kelly asked him about the scandal involving the Department of Justice (DOJ) going after reporters' records and wondered if Cruz thought such things should stand out in Attorney General Eric Holder's mind, seeing that he signed off on it.
"It's unprecedented," Cruz declared. "The degree of willingness of this administration to target a reporter for this network (Fox News) as an unindicted co-conspirator… I mean that is without precedent."
Cruz went on to say, "Unfortunately, I think it's part and parcel of a pattern from this administration of not respecting the Bill of Rights; not respecting the First Amendment, not respecting the Second Amendment, not respecting our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights regarding drone strikes or regarding the IRS."
"Over and over again," Cruz continued, "the pattern we've seen is an unfortunate unwillingness to use the machinery of the Federal government as a partisan tool to punish those perceived as your political enemies. I think that's particularly troubling, particularly when combined with a willingness to dissemble and mislead the American people."
When asked if he thought the word came from the top, meaning Eric Holder, Cruz said, "We've certainly seen a lack of candor from the Attorney General and there's been a pattern at the Department of Justice of disregarding the law."
Cruz, who served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, also pointed out that the DOJ is under the obligation to follow the law and yet, we have seen them disregarding the law multiple times.
"That raises serious concerns," Cruz said.
Cruz said that Barack Obama should "absolutely" ask for Eric Holder's resignation. I agree, but the question should go deeper and ask whether or not Eric Holder was working on his own initiative or Barack Obama's.
The Texas senator pointed out the blatant disregard for Holder's DOJ in the Fast and Furious scandal. "The U.S. Department of Justice was responsible for selling guns to Mexican drug cartels. Those guns were used to murder hundreds of innocent civilians and at least two federal law enforcement officers."
He then went on to make the point that both he and Kelly practiced law and if they sold guns to drug cartels they would be thrown in jail.
Kelly was quick to point out that basically no one was fired in the Fast and Furious scandal. There were some resignations, but basically "desk chairs were shuffled" she said.
She also pointed out that the same thing happened with Benghazi. We've seen four people on paid leave, but no one actually fired.
With the IRS, one man, who was going to leave anyway, was asked to resign and Lois Lerner is on paid leave, but those actually involved in the scandal are still in place.
ruz also pointed to at least two senior officials of the administration telling "flat-out falsehoods." Where I come from we just say they "lied." The specific instances he was talking about were Jay Carney saying that neither the White House nor the State Department had changed the talking points on Benghazi, other than changing the word "consulate." That was reported to be false, because there were at least a dozen changes. They had clearly removed any reference to Al-Qaeda and terrorism.
The second incident was the IRS going before Congress and saying they were not targeting groups based on political affiliation and yet, at the time senior officials in the IRS knew that was not true. The Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department was told that wasn't true.
"There has to be accountability," he said. "President Obama needs to take responsibility and tell the truth." We'll have a hard time getting that from Obama. I don't know if "truth" is a part of his vocabulary.
Well, we are all waiting for someone to make people accountable rather than just hearing about how bad they are. Perhaps the Cruz "missile" is ready to launch and help make this administration accountable.
Louisiana Democrat after calling Obamacare opponents racist: "I didn't call anyone racist"
by Erika Johnsen
posted at 12:41 pm on May 31, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
The obligatory followup to Allahpundit's post yesterday chronicling the the rhetorical misadventure of the Democratic state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who during a session informed her fellow legislators that — and I quote — criticisms of ObamaCare come down to "the race of this African American president." When she was later asked to apologize for and/or defend her comments, she effectively did neither (h/t theWeekly Standard):
I'm not stepping away from anything that I said on the floor. I didn't call anyone a racist. I referenced some of the conversations that I'd had with colleagues that, you know, shared with me that one of the factors, it's not always the factor. I didn't say that everybody's decision was based on that. But certainly one of the factors was politics around it and race, the issue of race. So, that has kind of stirred up some folks that are not, I guess, accustomed to having that conversation openly but I think that it's time that we not ignore the issue.
Er… how is it that you can at once insist that much of the opposition to ObamaCare is based on race, but that you are not not calling anybody a racist? Pretty sure that comes down to just about the same thing, whether or not she was calling anybody out specifically. And no, by the way, she did not say that racism was "one of the factors" for opposition; she actually said that race is "what it comes down to," as if Republicans would be all too happy to blithely accept universal health care if only it were somebody else that had offered it and their objections are not in fact mainly due to the concern that a bureaucratic takeover of a gigantic sector of the economy will in the long run result in much more harm than good, o ye of little faith. (Say, where else have we heard this type of argument recently?)
Going one step further in her sorry-I'm-not-sorry, the state senator called for an apology from Governor Bobby Jindal on behalf of the people of Louisiana.
Megyn Kelly Destroys Erickson And Dobbs: 'Who Died And Made You Scientist-In-Chief?!'
by Andrew Kirell
Megyn Kelly took two of her Fox colleagues to the woodshed this afternoon.
In response to Erick Erickson and Lou Dobbs making controversial comments this week about a Pew study finding that 40% of American households have a mother as breadwinner, Kelly brought the two of them onto her show and proceeded to tear into them.
To recap: during a Wednesday evening segment of FBN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Erickson, Dobbs, and other Fox male contributors lamented the Pew study's "troubling" findings, claiming it signaled a disintegration of the American family. Erickson went the farthest with his analysis, claiming it is "anti-science" to not believe that men are supposed to play the dominant role in the household. The group collectively bemoaned the increase of female breadwinners.
In response, this afternoon, Kelly asked: "What makes you dominant and me submissive and who died and made you scientist-in-chief?"
"It doesn't have anything to do with submissive, per se, and it was poorly constructed how I said it," Erickson responded before reiterating his point that, in nature, male animals "tend" to be the "dominant one" and that "feminists" have taken society to the point where "male and female roles are completely interchangeable." He then claimed: "No one is saying women can't be a breadwinner or even the primary breadwinner."
Kelly was not convinced, calling Erickson out for his backpedaling: "That is not what you you have been saying for the last couple of days." After reading aloud from Erickson's blog post responding to the controversy, in which he railed against homosexual parents and mothers in a dominant breadwinner position, Kelly presented him with the counterfactual:
"There is data in the scientific community to suggest that children of homosexual couples, who are happily married and are good parents, they are no worse than children of heterosexual couples. And there is plenty of data to suggest that children of working moms, as opposed to stay-at-home moms, wind up just as healthy and able to thrive in society than the children of stay-at-home mothers."
Erickson waved away those findings as "self-selective" and then hedged his comments as simply suggesting women cannot "have it all" and are "making compromises" by trying to be a mother working 12 hours per day and attempting to balance that with being a good parent. "I'm not judging them; and no one should. It is just the reality," he said.
"You are judging them," Kelly shot back. "You come out clearly and say women who choose to work instead of staying at home to nurture the children, they are making a worse choice."
"I view it as a statement of fact when you have a mom working full-time and coming home to be a full-time mom as well, it is very difficult and three quarters of the public agree," Erickson responded.
"Just because you have people that agree with you doesn't mean that it is not offensive," Kelly replied. She then pointed again to Erickson's blog, calling him out for laughing off his critics — including herself — by labeling them "feminists" and "emo liberals."
She then tore into him once more:
"I was offended by the piece nonetheless. I think you are judging people. could meow sound like somebody who is judging but wants to come out and said 'I'm not, I'm not, I'm not and let me judge, judge, judge. Science and facts, facts, facts.' This is a list of studies saying your science is wrong and your facts are wrong."
She later pointed to "69 studies over 59 years of research" to dispel Erickson's "science," asking him: "Why are we supposed to take your word for it, Eric Erickson's science instead of all of the experts?"
His dismissive response: "I think the experts can be as politically motivated as any one else."
The rest of the conversation was equally tense, with lots of dismissive chuckling coming from Erickson's corner and, at one point, Dobbs calling Kelly "Oh Dominant One" in a jokey manner. Watch the full segment below, via Fox:
The media had their big off-the-record meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff on Thursday, and immediately turned around and talked about what was discussed at the meeting. In effect, Holder threw sand in the eyes of the journalists who attended, and put himself in charge of fixing whatever they think needs fixing. He's even supporting a federal media shield law to protect them from his own overreach in the future. And they seem to have believed him. "Attorney General Eric Holder expressed concern on Thursday about how the Department of Justice has handled recent media investigations at an off-the-record meeting with leading representatives of the press, according to those who were present,"wrote Dylan Byersof Politico. He added that Holder "expressed a willingness to revise the guidelines for such investigations," though he "stopped short of offering any concrete changes to the guidelines." Byers said the meeting lasted "one-hour." Politico's editor-in-chief John Harris attended the meeting on behalf of Politico.
According to The Washington Post article, by Sari Horwitz, the meeting lasted "90 minutes" and Holder "pledged" to "take concrete steps to address concerns that the Justice Department has overreached in its leak investigations and said officials would seek procedural and possibly legislative changes to protect journalists' First Amendment rights." Maybe that pledge came in the extra half-hour that the Post got with Holder. Horwitz didn't attend the meeting, but her boss, Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post did. He was quoted as saying, "We expressed our concerns that reporters felt some fear for doing their jobs—that they were concerned about using their email and concerned about using their office telephones, and that we need to have the freedom to do our jobs."
James Warren, Washington bureau chief of The New York Daily News also called it a 90-minute meeting. Warren wrotethat Holder "pledged reassessment of relevant guidelines in an effort to respect the role of reporters." He said that the meeting "concluded with an informal discussion and agreement about what generally could be reported publicly" from the meeting, meaning that what couldn't be reported publicly was also agreed upon.
Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal who also attended the meeting, said, "There was a commitment to change the department's guidelines for handling cases such as these and a renewed commitment to support a federal shield law for journalists."
The other journalist who was there was Jane Mayer of The New Yorker magazine.
This looks like clever PR by the Obama administration to take the heat off of a situation in which enough facts are already known and agreed upon to make this undeniably a serious scandal. With the IRS and Benghazi scandals, the Administration still claims that mismanagement and incompetence of mid-level civil servants are to blame, and that the people at the top—Obama, Holder, and Hillary Clinton—knew nothing.
In this case, however, it is already established that Holder signed off on the affidavit for a search warrant on James Rosen of Fox News, calling him a possible co-conspirator and a flight risk, something for which Holder now claims to feel remorseful. Regarding the seizure of the Associated Press's phone records without advance notice, Holder claims to have recused himself, although he is unable to document it. And perhaps most importantly, he lied to either Congress or to federal judges.
Holder was accompanied at the meeting by seven staff members and Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who they claim was the person who actually authorized the seizure of the Associated Press phone records since Holder had recused himself.
As Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine pointed out, "Though Holder appears to have either perjured himself when he appeared before a House committee on May 15 when testifying about prosecutions of journalists or else lied on the documents he sent to federal judges to get them to authorize the snooping on James Rosen, many in the press have reverted to form and are giving him a pass."
He is referring to Holder's statement on May 15 "when specifically questioned by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) about the possibility of journalists being prosecuted under the Espionage Act for reporting information that the government labeled as classified:
'With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I've ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy. In fact, my view is quite the opposite.'" (emphasis added)
"Yet we know," wrote Tobin, "that early in Obama's first term, Holder had personally signed off on requests for judicial permission to read James Rosen's emails and seize his phone records by labeling him as a 'co-conspirator' and someone who 'aided and abetted' a crime by seeking to get a source to give him information."
We also know that the Justice Department ignored its own guidelines in dealing with these news organizations, and that back in 2010, Holder went shopping for a judgewho would sign off on the warrant without requiring that Rosen be notified. He was turned down twice before finding a judge who would agree to go along with it.
Before the meeting on Thursday took place, and the rules changed from off-the-record to mostly on-the-record, there was a vigorous debate over whether or not media organizations should attend. After all, they go for off-the-record meetings all the time, just not usually under the glare of a spotlight.
"I'm generally open to off the record conversations with officials that are editorial in nature, but this meeting is about whether what the press does is criminal activity or not," said The Huffington Post's Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim, according toPolitico. "A conversation specifically about the freedom of the press should be an open one. We have a responsibility not to betray that."
"Meeting secretly with Holder borders on hypocrisy," writes Ron Fournier for the National Journal in a piece titled "7 Reasons Why the Media Shouldn't Keep Eric Holder's Secrets." "There is an uncomfortable irony in the fact that an attorney general investigating his policy for spying on the media is asking the media to keep his words secret."
"One wonders why the media would trust Holder's motive," added Fournier, " given how the administration has conducted itself so far."
This is not the first off-the-record meeting that has been held by the Administration in recent weeks. On May 10, White House spokesman Jay Carney canceled the on-the-record press corps briefing for an off-the-record discussion about Benghazi. Then, last week, the President met twice with groups of reporters. And The Washington Post'sPaul Farhi, in his May 14 article about tensions between Obama and the press corps, discussed an off-the-record meeting about the IRS scandal. "Clearly on the defensive—as much because of questions about its handling of the September attack in Benghazi and a budding IRS scandal—the White House's press operation cranked up the charm and access," Farhi wrote.
"It invited a select group of reporters from leading news outlets to off-the-record briefings about the Benghazi, IRS and Justice Department stories with a senior communications official…'All of a sudden, they need us,' said one reporter who attended the briefing but asked not to be identified to preserve his working relationships," reported Farhi.
There's a pattern here, and it isn't a good one. The President and his subordinates would rather meet with reporters to solidify their good relations with the press than address the issues at hand: Benghazi, the IRS, and targeting the press. In other words, the President doesn't want his words to actually reach the American people or, at least, to be acknowledged as coming from the White House. That's because Holder's and President Obama's credibility are severely damaged.
The President would prefer that the media blindly parrot the Administration's narratives as their own reporting, creating a manufactured echo chamber in which the Administration's line becomes the accepted meme—but anonymously.
The Administration is going into damage control mode. The media are determined to show that this time they refuse to be used by the Obama administration, in light of the Fox News and AP snooping scandals. While Eric Holder is trying to dig himself out of this hole, the Administration is simply trying to figure out how to weather the storm.
At this point, Obama and Holder need each other. They each hold the other's future in their hands. Neither could stand a truly independent examination of their recent actions and claims.
Marco Rubio To Address House Conservatives on Immigration Reform
by Tim Alberta
House conservatives will host several influential Republican senators on Wednesday for a closed-door policy summit that will feature voices on both sides of the immigration debate, National Journal has learned.
As House negotiators work to finalize an agreement on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the Republican Study Committee has invited a handful of Republican senators, representing a range of views on the immigration debate, to Wednesday's meeting in the Capitol. As of Friday, three had confirmed their attendance: Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah.
Wednesday's forum represents the first significant bicameral discussion on the divisive subject of immigration reform. The event, which will be moderated by RSC Chairman Steve Scalise, will include commentary from three RSC members playing pivotal roles in the policy process: Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs the House Immigration Subcommittee; and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, viewed as the leading voice on immigration matters among House conservatives.
The fact that Scalise invited both advocates and opponents of comprehensive immigration reform to Wednesday's forum speaks to his strategy of eliciting member input and getting out in front of divisive policy fights before they spring up unexpectedly. It also reflects the lack of cohesion on the issue among House Republicans. Unlike the fights over gun control and the budget that have united the caucus in the 113th Congress, there is no conservative consensus on how to approach immigration reform. For months, RSC members have refused to stake out a position, insisting that they would wait to see legislative text and hear arguments from all sides before making up their minds.
The three confirmed Senate attendees, all of whom rode tea party support to 2010 victories, represent diverse viewpoints on the issue of immigration reform. Rubio, the most high-profile member of the Senate "Gang of Eight," has been attempting to assuage conservative fears about providing citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants without first installing border security triggers. Paul is seen as a critical swing vote on the Gang of Eight bill, having spoken favorably about the idea of eventually legalizing those who are living in the U.S. illegally -- as long as they aren't given preferential status over those who have been waiting in line. Lee, who was once involved in the Gang of Eight talks, eventually defected and later voted against the group's proposal, citing his opposition to a pathway to citizenship and special treatment for agricultural workers.
Several other GOP senators were invited to Wednesday's session, but have not confirmed their attendance.
While House conservatives have yet to see any legislative language from their chamber, Wednesday's forum will expose them to an intensive lobbying effort from like-minded conservatives who will come to argue different sides of the same case. In that sense, Wednesday's event is shaping up like a court proceeding, with Rubio defending the Gang of Eight proposal, Lee prosecuting it, and Paul serving as the star witness.
The meeting comes as members of a House group -- including Labrador -- attempt to hammer out the final details of an immigration package that is several years in the making. The House group, like its Senate counterpart, consists of four Democrats and four Republicans. It has been working to craft a comprehensive immigration proposal that is independent of the Senate version, which was introduced in mid-April and recently passed through the Judiciary Committee.
Rubio and his fellow Republicans in the Gang of Eight have worked to lobby skeptical members of their party to support their proposal, which includes an eventual path to citizenship for undocumented residents. Thanks to their efforts, the immigration reform bill is likely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The prospects are far less certain in the House, where Republicans hold the majority, and conservatives comprise most of the caucus. Goodlatte, who has already held hearings on certain sections of the Gang of Eight proposal, has said repeatedly that he prefers a piecemeal legislative approach rather than considering a comprehensive bill. That sentiment is shared by many House conservatives who are wary of aspects of the Senate measure, particularly the path to citizenship. At the same time, Labrador, who commands the respect of conservatives and has become the de facto House GOP leader on immigration reform, is working to craft a comprehensive measure that tackles the thorny issues of border security, documentation, and legalization in one package.
Labrador has laughed off comparisons to Rubio, but there is widespread acknowledgment on Capitol Hill that their missions -- not to mention their pedigrees -- are similar. Both are young, media-savvy Latino members with established conservative credentials. Indeed, Rubio and Labrador have long been viewed as essential to getting conservatives in their respective chambers on board with comprehensive immigration reform -- either by convincing them of the merits, or providing cover with their own support.
Still, House aides acknowledge, any comprehensive measure agreed to in the House will be substantially to the right of the Senate bill. This would reflect the conservative membership of the House majority, they argue. But if such a bill passed the lower chamber, it could threaten to shatter the delicate coalition assembled by Senate negotiators, who won the support of both labor and business groups with an emphasis on compromise and middle ground. The differences between the bills would ultimately be debated in a conference committee.
The RSC has, in the past, invited senators to attend meetings and update House members on the happenings in the upper chamber. But Wednesday's forum is the first time in recent memory that multiple senators will attend an RSC meeting to discuss -- and, in all likelihood, debate -- the merits of a major legislative push.
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Napoleon famously and correctly said "An army marches on its stomach." An army that is not fed cannot fight. With this in mind, what is one to make of the fact that the Obama administration has cut a significant meal service to Marines serving in Afghanistan? The Obama administration is cutting food supplies as part of the troop draw-down in Afghanistan.
The Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan are losing their "midnight ration" (or "midrats") meal, a solid hot meal that feeds those who have just ended their noon-to-midnight shift and those who are beginning their midnight-to-noon shift. Not only does this meal fuel men who are burning up enormous amounts of energy conducting business in a combat zone that's either too hot or too cold, and that's always too dangerous, it's an opportunity for Marines to get together once a day in a relaxed setting. The Pentagon has also ordered that the 24-hour sandwich service at Camp Leatherneck must also get cut. Marines will have to make do with MREs ("Meals Ready to Eat").
The Pentagon justifies its decision by pointing to the massive draw down of troops, which will see all American forces out by 2014. No one can explain why withdrawing troops, which automatically decreases costs, requires the Pentagon to put remaining troops on short rations.
The Marines are keeping to discipline and have refused to speak on record about the change, which goes into effect on June 1. One Marine, however, wrote to his wife about the decision, and allowed her to share his email, anonymously, with NBC News:
This boils my skin. One of my entire shifts will go 6.5 hours without a meal. If we need to cut back on money I could come up with 100 other places. Instead, we will target the biggest contributor to morale. I must be losing my mind. What is our senior leadership thinking? I just got back from flying my ass off and in a few days, I will not have a meal to replenish me after being away for over 9 hours.
Nor is the vanishing midrat the only Obama administration casualty. The ultimate plan is to give those Marines still remaining at Camp Leatherneck only two decent hot meals a day, with the rest of their calories coming from the ubiquitous and distasteful MREs.
One can't help but get the feeling that the Obama administration, which has always found distasteful the notion of an American military victory anywhere in the world, is doing its part to ensure that the Marines aren't sufficiently fueled to risk America's current non-victory status in Afghanistan before the pullout is completed.