ARIZONA’S BREWER FIRES BACK AT UN: “Downright offensive” is how Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer described the recent report by the U.S. State Department to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights listing her state’s law on illegal immigration as one of the “areas where problems persist in our society.” In a sharply worded letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brewer denounced mention of her state and its law as “problems” in a report “to the United Nations Council on Human Rights, whose members include such renowned ‘champions’ as Cuba and Libya.” Brewer maintained that human rights “as guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions are expressly protected in S.B. 1070 and defended vigorously by my administration.” Noting that the Justice Department has not included “these so-called ‘human rights’ in the current litigation against the State of Arizona,” the governor demanded that Clinton amend the report to the UN to remove mention of the Arizona law. “The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a state of the United States to ‘review’ by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional,” wrote Brewer.
VOTERS’ RAGE: With three senators already beaten for renomination this year, a just-completed analysis by The Hill shows stormy waters ahead for more senators. In ten states in which incumbent senators are running, The Hill reported, recent polling showed that only three—Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Ron Wyden(Ore.) and Republican Charles Grassley (Iowa)—safely above the 50% support mark. Senators David Vitter(R.-La.) and Patty Murray (D.-Wash.) are either at or right below 50%, Democrats Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.) are at 49% and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) has been at 48% for the past two months. Democrat Russ Feingold (Wis.) has not gone above 46% and Democrat Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) is apparently the weakest senator of all, with her highest number being 35% in a Reuters/Ipsos Poll.
OBAMA LOSES LORDS OF FINANCE: While more than 70% of donations from Wall Street financiers went to Democratic candidates in ’08 and Barack Obama depended heavily on support from the financial community, a number of them appear to be having second thoughts. Writing in Dealbook last week, Andrew Ross Sorkin pointed out that hedge fund manager and Obama backer Daniel S. Loeb has sent a letter to his investors in which he was highly critical of the administration’s economic policy and voiced concern about an “increasingly worrisome landscape of new laws and proposed regulation that are perceived … to promote ‘redistribution’ rather than growth, and are contrary to free-market ideals.” Other converts, reports Sorkin, include Jamie Dimon of J.P. Morgan and Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors. Since June, when the financial regulation bill was headed for passage, Republicans have been receiving 68% of donations from Wall Street.”
RAUF A SLUMLORD? The Muslim in the news of late for his leadership of the movement to build a mosque at Ground Zero last week came under fire for an unexpected reason. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf was charged by numerous tenants at buildings he owns in Palisades Park and Union City, N.J., with being an absentee slumlord. According to the New York Post, tenants complained that Rauf’s buildings are infested with bedbugs and, as tenant Vilma Then told reporters, “nothing ever gets fixed.… All [Rauf] ever likes is money.” The Hackensack (N.J.) Record reported that Rauf won tax-payer-funded support for his New Jersey buildings through help from Sen. Robert Menendez (D.-N.J.) when he was mayor of Union City and that the housing projects were plagued by financial problems and tenant complaints. A spokesman for Menendez said that he did not have a close relationship with Rauf and that “a lot of communications go through the mayor’s office.”
SUPPORT FOR OBAMACARE HEADS SOUTH: Republican promises to defund and/or repeal the healthcare reform legislation enacted by Congress this year are apparently resonating. The latest health tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed support for Obamacare dropping from 50% to 43% in the last month. The same poll showed that 45% of voters nationwide hold unfavorable views of the healthcare package that the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress used so much political capital to pass. Kaiser also found that only 29% believe their families will be better off after the bill takes effect, 30% feel they will be worse off, and 36% say it won’t make any significant difference. “Polls from Pew, Rasmussen, CNN and others in recent months largely come to similar conclusions as Kaiser’s,” reported the PBS “News Hour.” Some have found that nearly a majority approve of health reform, some find substantially less. But almost none show heavy enthusiasm for the law—or a major political bounce for the Democrats—thus far.”