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Quotables: On Sex, Health, Obama, Iraq, Russia, the Economy, Etc.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Comments by knowledgeable individuals on topics near and far....Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, on Democratic plans for socialized medicine: "We should start over. We're headed down the wrong path."


Author and Hoover Institution research fellow Shelby Steele: "The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit. (Here, too, is the ugly faithlessness in minority merit that always underlies such maneuverings.) (Barack) Obama is promising one thing and practicing another, using his interracial background to suggest an America delivered from racial corruption even as he practices a crude form of racial patronage. From America's first black president, and a man promising the 'new,' we get a Supreme Court nomination that is both unoriginal and hackneyed."

George Orwell, author of "1984," in his 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language": "The person who uses (words in a consciously dishonest way) has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different."

Michael Rubin, American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School: "In Cairo, Mr. Obama said the U.S. had no permanent designs on Iraq and declared, 'We will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.' Indeed. But until the Iraqi government is strong enough to monopolize independently the use of force, a vacuum will exist and the most violent factions will fill it. Power and prestige matter. Withdrawal from Iraq's cities is good politics in Washington, but when premature and done under fire, it may very well condemn Iraqis to repeat their past."


The late counterinsurgency expert Sir Robert Thompson, on the abiding lesson of Vietnam (a war managed by the recently deceased Robert McNamara): "Don't have the United States as your ally."

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's wife, Jenny, following his dalliance with an Argentine bar dancer: "Am I OK? You know what, I have great faith and I have great friends and great family. And you know, we have a good Lord in this world, and I know I'm going to be fine. Not only will I survive, I'll thrive....I don't know whether (Mark will) be with me, but I'm going to do my best to work on our marriage because I believe in marriage. I believe in raising good kids; it's the most important thing in the world."

Anthony Paletta, senior editor of the Manhattan Institute's "The recent news that Harvard was establishing a new chair in Gay Lesbian Transgendered and Queer Studies, in the wake of a 22 percent drop in the university's endowment value, suggested that nothing could curtail expenditures on the progressive agenda in the modern academy. But this (month) brought some indication that even Harvard will have to confront the recession. Not only did it lay off almost 300 employees, but it actually suspended the operations of its Office of Sexual Assault, Prevention, and Response for the month of July....(So) this summer, someone else will have to sponsor events it previously offered - like 'Hooking Up: Hot Hints for a Great Sex Life' and 'Choose Your Own Sex Adventure.'"


Republican House Whip Eric Cantor, on President Obama's economic programs: "(They) have not produced jobs, have not produced prosperity, and have not worked....Washington should stop the reckless spending, stop the careless borrowing, and stop the war on the middle class."

Economist David Malpass: "Unemployment will climb well above 10 percent, a tragedy for millions and a policy debacle for Washington's weak-dollar, high-commodity, big-government interventionism. The reigning jobs plan is for Washington to hire workers to take the Census, sign union construction contracts in compliant states, and tax the shrinking private sector to pay unemployment benefits....(Washington should) stop buying Treasurys, pumping up spending, plotting a value-added tax and an even weaker dollar, and dithering on entitlements. Expand nuclear power generation, raise the entitlement age for new workers, and tax gasoline if the price drops. Make it clear to ourselves and the world that the U.S. is a serious, growing, job-rich economy that is worthy of new investment and emulation."

Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion and leader of the pro-democracy Moscow-based Other Russia coalition: "It has become fashionable to speak of change and liberalization in Russia under President Dmitry Medvedev. May 7 marked his one-year anniversary in office....However, (his) gestures have not been matched by policy. It is more appropriate to think of Russia as living under Vladimir Putin's ninth year in power. Mr. Putin is now prime minister but still in charge. His agenda of oppression and plunder is still the course in Russia."


Actor Jon Voight ("Midnight Cowboy," "Coming Home," "Deliverance," and "Ali") - one of the few moderates or conservatives in Hollywood: "The people who voted for President Obama are just beginning to wake up to exactly what they brought in. The 'change' they envisioned is not the 'change' they have gotten....It is a very, very slick, relentless campaign to build Obama as the answer to all our needs....Obama is a very good actor. He knows how to play it. And he is very adept at creating this 'Obama' - this character who is there whenever the world needs something."

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