Presidential pot trajectory

1988:  A serial liar, bomber, drug dealer, and criminal claims, without any corroborating evidence, that he sold pot to Vice Presidential candidate Dan Quayle.  Despite these allegations (which were almost certainly false), the Bush-Quayle ticket wins.

1992:  Governor William Jefferson Clinton contends that, while he put a joint to his lips and allow smoke into his mouth, he didn’t inhale.  Despite this risible claim (although I do believe that he doesn’t like pot, because not everyone does), Gov. Clinton wins the presidential election.

2008:  Senator Barack Hussein Obama is presented to the American people as the second coming of Christ, only with fewer flaws than Christ himself had.  Unsurprisingly, he wins the presidential election.

2012:  President Barack Hussein Obama is revealed to have been such a serious pot smoker in his youth that, in his high school yearbook, he thanks his pot friends and his dealer:

Barry popularized the concept of “roof hits”: when they were chooming in the car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling.

[snip]

Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted “Intercepted!,” and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind.

[snip]

He was a long-haired haole hippie who worked at the Mama Mia Pizza Parlor not far from Punahou and lived in a dilapidated bus in an abandoned warehouse. … According to Topolinski, Ray the dealer was “freakin’ scary.” Many years later they learned that he had been killed with a ball-peen hammer by a scorned gay lover. But at the time he was useful because of his ability to “score quality weed.”

In another section of the [senior] yearbook, students were given a block of space to express thanks and define their high school experience. … Nestled below [Obama's] photographs was one odd line of gratitude: “Thanks Tut, Gramps, Choom Gang, and Ray for all the good times.” … A hippie drug-dealer made his acknowledgments; his own mother did not.

These well-sourced claims about Obama are more serious than unsubstantiated allegations against Quayle or risible excuses by Clinton. The question, of course, is whether they will matter as little as the other candidates’ brushes with claims about drug use mattered, or if yet another insight into Obama’s shady, thoughtless, law-breaking, shadowy past will affect how voters view our President.

American Pravda’s big and little lies about the Obama-Ayers relationship

Palin has the AP, not just running scared, but spinning lies.  I’m careful about quoting the AP, because their stuff is proprietarial, but to the extent they have the public ear, they better damn well be honest, and the following story, which I print and fisk in relevant part, is not honest:

Sarah Palin defended her claim that Barack Obama “pals around with terrorists,” saying the Democratic presidential nominee’s association with a 1960s radical is an issue that is “fair to talk about.”

[snip]

At issue is Obama’s association with Ayers. Both have served on the same Chicago charity and live near each other in Chicago. Ayers also held a meet-the-candidate event at his home for Obama when Obama first ran for office in the mid-1990s, the event cited by Palin.

But while Ayers and Obama are acquainted, the charge that they “pal around” is a stretch of any reading of the public record. [Note the careful language about "the public record" since so much of what went on between Ayers and Obama is not in the public record.  Thanks to yeoman work from Stanley Kurtz, though, we know that they had a very close relationship leading up to and including work on the Annenberg Challenge.  We therefore know that, while Obama and Ayers may not have been beer-drinking buddies, Ayers probably mentored Obama, and Obama was certainly happy to have a long professional association with a self-professed, self-confessed domestic terrorist who only regrets not doing more.  See here, here and hereJoshua Muravchick has more on that relationship, too.  It's beyond disingenous for the AP reporter to read the phrase "pal around" so literally that it would exclude any relationship other than a weekly beer-drinking fest lasting some decades.] And it’s simply wrong to suggest that they were associated while Ayers was committing terrorist acts. Obama was 8 years old at the time the Weather Underground claimed credit for numerous bombings and was blamed for a pipe bomb that killed a San Francisco policeman.  [Again, disingenous.  Yes, Obama was a small boy when Ayers was active.  However, Ayers has never apologized or repented.  He's regretted only that he didn't go far enough and would do it all again.  Ayers' bomb-making days may have stopped, but he is the same man and he is currently, and has long been, Obama's social and political mentor.]

At a rally in North Carolina, Obama countered that McCain and his campaign “are gambling that he can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance.” The Democrat described the criticism as “Swiftboat-style attacks on me,” a reference to the unsubstantiated allegations about 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry’s decorated military record in Vietnam.  [How much substantiation do you need aside from dozens of eye-witnesses, plus Kerry's own verbal slip-ups?  Swift-boating has come to mean any accusation we, the Democrats, deny, regardless of the absence of evidence on our side, and the overwhelming amount of evidence on yours.]

During her stop in California, Palin was asked about an Associated Press analysis that said her charge about Ayers was unsubstantiated, a point made by other news organizations, and the criticism carried a “racially tinged subtext that McCain may come to regret.”  [To a hammer, everything is a nail.  To an MSM reporter, every criticism of Obama is racially tinged.  I, for one, am baffled about the racial connection, considering that Ayers is white.]

“The Associated Press is wrong,” Palin said. “The comments are about an association that has been known but hasn’t been talked about, and I think it’s fair to talk about where Barack Obama kicked off his political career, in the guy’s living room.”  [You go, girl! That's precisely what needs to be said.  Sarah is calling the AP and other members of the MSM on the fact that their refusal to report a story does not constitute proof that the story does not exist.]

In fact, Obama was questioned about Ayers during a prime-time Democratic debate against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton prior to April’s Pennsylvania primary.  [He was questioned, and he lied.  AP forgets to add that he downplayed his association so much that his statements were falsehoods.  Or, as Muravchik explains in the same article I linked to, above:

The details of Obama’s association with Ayers remain somewhat shrouded because both Ayers and Dohrn have refused to discuss it, while Obama and his spokesmen have prevaricated about it. When, during one of the televised primary debates, George Stephanopoulos asked about his connection to Ayers, Obama replied:

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis. And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense.

Later, Obama’s campaign manager, David Axelrod, added: “Bill Ayers lives in his neighborhood. Their kids attend the same school.” If this is true, Ayers’s children must be slow learners, since they are thirty-one and twenty-eight while Obama’s are nine and six. But Obama’s own reply, though less bald-faced than Axelrod’s, was thoroughly disingenuous. Thanks to the meticulous investigations of the Left-leaning blogger Steven Diamond (globallabor.blogspot.com), the story of Obama and Ayers’s collaboration has been seeping into the public record despite extraordinary efforts to seal it.

You can go to Kurtz's articles, to Muravchik's article, or to Diamond's website (globallabor.blogspot.com) to see just how untruthful Obama was -- but AP readily lets it pass.]

That slimy trail

I was still an oldlib, not a neocon, when the Clintons finished their White House tenure. I was also uninterested in politics so, like the vast majority of Americans, considered myself informed because I glanced at the headlines. I therefore managed to ignore complete the details and import of Bill Clinton’s sua sponte decision to pardon 16 FALN prisoners, all of whom were serious and unrepentant Puerto Rican terrorists with much blood on their hands. Debra Burlingame, however, has not lost sight of the travesty that the Clintons made of an American President’s extraordinary clemency powers:

The perpetrators were members of Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN (the Spanish acronym), a clandestine terrorist group devoted to bringing about independence for Puerto Rico through violent means. Its members waged war on America with bombings, arson, kidnappings, prison escapes, threats and intimidation. The most gruesome attack was the 1975 Fraunces Tavern bombing in Lower Manhattan. Timed to go off during the lunch-hour rush, the explosion decapitated one of the four people killed and injured another 60.

FALN bragged about the bloodbath, calling the victims “reactionary corporate executives” and threatening: “You have unleashed a storm from which you comfortable Yankees can’t escape.” By 1996, the FBI had linked FALN to 146 bombings and a string of armed robberies — a reign of terror that resulted in nine deaths and hundreds of injured victims.

On Aug. 7, 1999, the one-year anniversary of the U.S. African embassy bombings that killed 257 people and injured 5,000, President Bill Clinton reaffirmed his commitment to the victims of terrorism, vowing that he “will not rest until justice is done.” Four days later, while Congress was on summer recess, the White House quietly issued a press release announcing that the president was granting clemency to 16 imprisoned members of FALN. What began as a simple paragraph on the AP wire exploded into a major controversy.

The controversy wasn’t just Clinton’s decision to pardon these disgusting excuses for human beings — the Left might have tolerated that. What drove people crazy was the way in which he did it — and then the way in which Bill and Hillary played ping-pong with the pardons, as he tried to deflect personal blame and she tried to keep her balance as she ran for the Senate:

Observed Judge George Layton, who sentenced four FALN defendants for their conspiracy to use military-grade explosives to break an FALN leader from Ft. Leavenworth Penitentiary and detonate bombs at other public buildings, “[T]his case . . . represents one of the finest examples of preventive law enforcement that has ever come to this court’s attention in the 20-odd years it has been a judge and in the 20 years before that as a practicing lawyer in criminal cases.”

The FBI cracked the cases with the discovery of an FALN safe house and bomb factory. Video surveillance showed two of those on the clemency list firing weapons and building bombs intended for an imminent attack at a U.S. military installation. FBI agents obtained a warrant and entered the premises, surreptitiously disarming the bombs whose components bore the unmistakable FALN signature. They found 24 pounds of dynamite, 24 blasting caps, weapons, disguises, false IDs and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

A total of six safe houses were ultimately uncovered. Seven hundred hours of surveillance video were recorded, resulting in a mountain of evidence connecting the 16 prisoners to multiple FALN operations past and present.

Federal law enforcement agencies considered these individuals so dangerous, extraordinary security precautions were taken at their numerous trials. Courthouse elevators were restricted and no one, including the court officers, was permitted to carry a firearm in the courtroom.

Given all this, why would Bill Clinton, who had ignored the 3,226 clemency petitions that had piled up on his desk over the years, suddenly reach into the stack and pluck out these 16 meritless cases? (The New York Times ran a column with the headline, “Bill’s Little Gift.”)

Hillary Rodham Clinton was in the midst of her state-wide “listening tour” in anticipation of her run for the U.S. Senate in New York, a state which included 1.3 million Hispanics. Three members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — Luis V. Gutierrez (D., Ill.), Jose E. Serrano, (D., N.Y.) and Nydia M. Velazquez, (D., N.Y.) — along with local Hispanic politicians and leftist human-rights advocates, had been agitating for years on behalf of the FALN cases directly to the White House and first lady.

Initial reports stated that Mrs. Clinton supported the clemencies, but when public reaction went negative she changed course, issuing a short statement three weeks after the clemencies were announced. The prisoners’ delay in refusing to renounce violence “speaks volumes,” she said.

The Clintons were caught in an awkward predicament of their own making. The president had ignored federal guidelines for commutation of sentences, including the most fundamental: The prisoners hadn’t actually asked for clemency.

And so on. It’s a long article, with each paragraph as fascinating as the one that came before.

For me, articles like this really put me in a bind.  I consider Obama the more dangerous Democratic candidate, both because I think he’s loopy politically and because I think he can win, but it’s awfully hard to envision the possibility of the Clinton’s coming back to the White House.  I’d like her to be presidential candidate because I think her negatives are so strong she’ll lose, but, gosh darn it!, do we really want these people using the White House as their slime pit again?

Political satire, liberal style

You remember Robert Reich, don’t you? He was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, serving during the first administration. He’s now a Berkeley prof and a blogger. Turns out he’s also a playwright, and his play “Public Exposure: An Indecent Political Farce,” is being performed in Santa Rosa, about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.

Before I describe the play, let me remind you that Reich served a liberal president who almost fell out of office because he couldn’t keep his distinguished (that is bent) organ of reproduction tightly zipped. Do you have that thought well in mind? Also, are you familiar with the psychiatric disorder called “projection”? “Projection” is defined as “A defense mechanism, operating unconsciously, in which what is emotionally unacceptable in the self is unconsciously rejected and attributed (projected) to others.” 

Okay, now that you’ve placed in the forefront of your mind both the nature of the Presidency in which Reich served and the meaning of projection, you should enjoy the plot summary our local paper gives of Reich’s play:

Dodds Delzell, an outstanding actor at the College of Marin during its Golden Era who has since performed with many Bay Area companies, is perfectly cast as Bill Humphrey, a TV talk show host whose world view is somewhere to the right of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. The opening minutes are a minor masterpiece of timing and discipline. Hands clasped on a curved desk, an expressionless Delzell sits zombielike as he waits for the cameras to roll. The only sign he is alive is a series of carefully spaced throat clearings. Then, as the on-air light flashes, he breaks into a maniacal grin and begins to skewer his guests. Each verbal homicide is accompanied by the thumbs up gesture that symbolizes the show’s slogan, “We expose, you watch.” It’s simultaneously chilling and fascinating.

Citing his enormous popularity, Humphrey’s ex-wife, producer and associate host, Irma Sunquist (energetically interpreted by Sheri Lee Miller), proposes that he make himself available as a candidate for president. If he wins, she intends to be his administration’s Karl Rove.

“You’ll have all the attention,” she tells him, “I’ll have the power.”

At first, Humphrey resists because he has a secret. For some time he has been seeing the head of the Langwell Clinic, a practice famous for its celebrity makeovers, seeking help in correcting an embarrassing physical defect. The problem is with (here’s where the need for delicacy enters) his “member.” Specifically, it’s bent. To the left. As Irma drily observes when she learns about it: “Who would have imagined? Bill Humphrey … a lefty!”

Ray Langwell, the clinic’s head (played with droll authority by Tim Kniffen), is eager to effect a cure. His dream is to straighten the millions of other bent members in the world, using the marketing slogan, “Hang well with Langwell.” Happily for both, success finally comes, which Humphrey takes as a sign that he can win the presidential race against liberal Gov. Louise Hutton (company veteran mollie boice, who likes to keep her names lower-cased) by exposing his restored symmetry as a way of demonstrating to the voters that he has nothing to hide.

You can imagine what happens next, although Reich’s plot ultimately takes a surprising and somewhat unconvincing turn. Have no fear, however, that what you see will be particularly shocking. It’s all in the spirit of good fun, neatly timed to complement the other absurdities of this election year.

So, Reich who served a liberal President with a bent penis that he figuratively flashed throughout the entire world, has written a play in which it is a conservative talk show host who has the bent penis that he flashes to the entire world.  Projection, anyone?

Another point I feel compelled to make here is the fact that Clinton’s escapades so degraded the tone of the Presidency that nobody thinks there’s anything untoward in a former Labor Secretary of the United States of America writing what amounts to a pretty tawdry political farce.  One of the things that I’ve really appreciated about the Bush White House is the complete absence of sex scandals.  I have enough problems explaining to my elementary school children why Vanessa Hudgens is naked in pictures splashed across magazines and the internet or why Jamie Lynn Spears is pregnant at 16 by a teenager to whom she’s not married.  I can’t imagine what parents of the late 1990s went through trying to explain sordid Presidential oral sex and cigars to their young ‘uns.

Who cares about the book? Read the review.

Noemie Emery has read and reviewed Bill Clinton : Mastering the Presidency, by Nigel Hamilton. Having read the review, I say, “The heck with the book.  The review is so wonderfully written, you can’t do better.”  After discussing Hamilton’s fevered Kennedy biography, one so malevolent in its approach to old Joe that the family withdrew its support for the originally planned additional volumes, Hamilton turned his emotional energies to Bill Clinton.  Here is what Noemie has to say, with my favorite part highlighted:

In the Kennedy book, Inga Arvad [Kennedy's first love] and Joe Kennedy were not central figures, and did not completely unbalance the story. In this book, one’s luck does not hold. In this one, the crush is Bill Clinton himself, and the bêtes noires are his enemies–the racists, bigots, primates, low-lives, KKK rejects, and cross and/or heretic burners–who constitute the modern conservative movement and who, largely for reasons of sexual jealousy, focused their wrath on poor Bill.

The result is neither a case nor a narrative, but rather an adjective dump, in which truckloads of words–all meaning the same thing, and sometimes the same words, used over and over–are trundled over to the appropriate objects and unloaded on them, in a torrent of excess and overkill. If your politics are of the MoveOn.org genre, and your taste in literature is an Al Gore tirade mixed with the gushings of Barbara Cartland, then this is a book you will cherish. If not, you have been warned.

Just a reminder that Rudy’s marital history probably shouldn’t matter

If I didn’t say this would happen over and over again, I certainly hinted at it or, at least, laid the groundwork for its inevitability.

I’ll just add here that it’s the height of chutzpah that Hillary (by proxy) is leading the attack against Rudy Giuliani on marital grounds.  Unlike the other Demo candidates who appear to have pretty strong and apparently normal marriages, Hillary’s marriage with Bill, while it has lasted, falls a little too neatly into the traditional paradigm of the abused, weak women clinging desperately to her abusive, womanizing husband.  (This citation will lead you to the some of the worst that has been said about the marriage.  Even if some of it is false hearsay, Bill’s repeated, public sexual transgressions lead to the inevitably conclusion that at least some of it is true.)  Is Hillary really the candidate who wants to have marriage made fair game?

(And sorry for the light blogging today, but work called and I had to answer.)