Bloggers ponder the withdrawal from the midterm elections of scandal-tainted Ohio Rep. Bob Ney. They also weigh Bernard Lewis' apocalyptic predictions and the disappearance of 11 Egyptian students in New York.
Ney Ney Ney, goodbye: Turns out Ohio Republican Bob Ney, whose connections to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff earned him the moniker "Representative #1," won't be seeking re-election. Bloggers are surprised Ney didn't drop out earlier.
Ellen Miller at Sunspots, the blog of the Sunlight Foundation, a group devoted to greater government accountability and reduced corruption, credits a local grass-roots campaign for Ney's downfall: "I just can't help but feel a little bit gleeful to see another member of Congress (think former Rep. Tom DeLay) finally see the handwriting on the wall." Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters thinks that even though Ney might have retained his seat, he made the right choice: "Regardless of whether the Justice Department can make the charges stick, Ney's withdrawal—and the GOP push for it—takes another piece of the Abramoff scandal out of the national midterm effort."
Steven Benen at the American Prospect's Midterm Madness sees good times for the Democratic opposition: "No matter who gets the GOP nod, attorney Zack Space (D) is in a relatively strong position as the Democratic nominee in the district. … The Republican candidate will have the benefit of running in a conservative district, but will immediately start off with less money and less time in front of voters than Space." More good news for the Dems: Ney's handpicked successor, Joy Padgett, may be ineligible to run because of a quirk in Ohio election laws. "Meanwhile, Democrat Zach Space, who never should have been competitive in this district in the first place, gets to sit back and laugh," writes Andrew Daniller at the liberal Blog DC. "How many races can one party blow in a single election cycle?"
Federal investigators haven't charged Ney with any crime yet. No matter, quips Detroit-based blogger HockeyTown4Ever: "There is so much corruption evidence on this guy that his next campaign will be for a top bunk in a prison cell."
Ney said in a statement that "this decision came down to my family. I must think of them first, and I can no longer put them through this ordeal." James at Aces Full of Links is ready with the riposte: "It's heartwarming to hear him refer to the Republicans as 'his family.' " West Virginia blogger Jacque! hosts a caption contest for a sulky Ney photo.
Apocalypse soon: Princeton professor and Middle East scholar Bernard Lewis argues in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that mutual assured destruction will not work with Iran, given the "apocalyptic worldview" of its leaders. Lewis suggests that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be planning a cataclysmic attack on Israel for Aug. 22, the day traditionally associated with Mohammed's "night flight" to heaven and back.
Former NSA electronics specialist Dan Sherman argues that Iran wouldn't have ordered Hezbollah to attack Israel without an "Ace up their sleeve": "Iran has nuclear capability NOW. Not later, but NOW. And they fully intend to use it, to usher in the 11th Iman."
Cairo-based journalist Issandr El Amrani at The Arabist upbraids Lewis for putting faith in failed models: "It really seems that while dealing with a complex and multi-dimensioned foreign policy issues, all the neo-cons want to do is what they did with Iraq: clutch at straws, invent bogeymen and fabricate lies. That Bernard Lewis, a man still appreciated even by his political enemies as a scholar of some note, has sunk to scare-mongering in lieu of policy advocacy is sad and scary." ChicagoRay thinks pre-emption deserves another chance: "[I]f you think a snake is about to bite you and you are afforded the opportunity to shovel slam its ass, you don't ignorantly wait for the local swami snake charmer to show up by accident and hope he has his magic flute with him to subdue the creature peacefully."
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