Europeans look at Hillary and Obama through the Benghazi lens

The American media won’t touch Benghazi with a ten foot pole, since there is no way that either Hillary or Obama come out of it looking good.  The Europeans, however, are not so squeamish.  (Hat tip:  Snoopy the Goon, a fellow Watcher’s Council member who blogs out of Israel at Simply Jews.)

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The Hillary factor

Bill-Clinton-and-Hillary--001Roger Simon has warned conservatives that they’re taking their eye off the ball — and the ball is Hillary Clinton.  While we conservatives are fighting our internecine Rove versus Cruz arguments, Hillary is continuing to amass power.  It’s not just that the New York Times is whitewashing Benghazi on her behalf, says Simon.  Instead, it’s that she, unlike Obama, actually has the political chops (including the political husband) to consolidate socialist gains in American government:

The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats. (We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.)

With that in mind, how does one explain the fact that Richard Cohen, an ardent Progressive, has penned a column telling everyone that Hillary may have been harmed by Obamacare?  He argues that, if people don’t like Obamacare, they won’t like her.  That argument is a red herring.  The facts on the ground are that Hillary kept away from Obamacare.  Her own dreams of socialized medicine notwithstanding, she had the smarts and political savvy to recognize early on that Obamacare, an unholy marriage of government and insurance companies, would be DOA and start to smell very quickly.  My take on Cohen’s overacted hand wringing it is that he thinks the best thing to happen now is for conservatives to leave Hillary alone, so that she can continue to aggregate political power.  “Move along!  Nothing to see here.  Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.”

So yeah, I think that Cohen’s article, to the extent it tries to distract attention from Hillary, proves that Simon is correct.  The Left wants Hillary to be left alone so that she can get ready for her spectacular, pre-paved emergence on the political scene.

I think, though, that Simon errs in one thing, which is his belief that the internecine war in the Republican party doesn’t matter.  Instead, it matters a great deal.  Conservatives aren’t stupid.  They know that, if another Democrat — any Democrat — gets the White House, we’ll be irrevocably on the pathway to becoming Greece.  There will be no turning back.  Knowing that, conservatives are taking a stand as to how to block that possibility:  with Tea Party, constitutional firebrands or with establishment, appeasing RINOs.  That the latter might do nothing at all to block the possibility is not something their supporters are considering.  Instead, their analysis is that the MSM has so terribly damaged the Tea Party brand that it cannot possibly win, so it’s better to back RINOs who are imperfect but might win.

Some articles about Ted Cruz that speak to what I like about him and what I worry about him

Rich Lowry wrote a great article today about the Democrats’ enormous frustration with Ted Cruz:  Cruz ought to be one of them, since he’s manifestly brilliant and hyper-educated . . . except that he refuses to be one of them.  I especially liked this bit:

Democrats and liberal pundits would surely dislike Cruz no matter where he went to school, but his pedigree adds an extra element of shocked disbelief to the disdain. “Princeton and Harvard should be disgraced,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell exclaimed on MSNBC, as if graduating a constitutionalist conservative who rises to national prominence is a violation of the schools’ mission statements.

It almost is. Princeton and Harvard aren’t quite the École Nationale d’Administration, the French school that trains that country’s political class, but they are close.

Andrew Stiles assembled a list of quotations from Democrats anxious to destroy Cruz before he gets a solid footing as a national candidate.  They realize that he’s Obama’s mirror image — Ivy League-educated, intelligent, a minority, and appealing to the masses — except that in Cruz’s case, he actually is intelligent and has the Ivy League grades and the work resume to prove it.  More than that, Cruz has a great deal of experience with the federal government, something Obama lacked.

Cruz is, in other words, the un-Sarah Palin.  He cannot be demeaned in order to be destroyed.  Because Cruz’s credentials hold up to scrutiny, and because he’s been very careful about making his life an open book, unlike the secretive Obama, Democrats are left with two lines of attack:  Cruz isn’t really a minority (because he doesn’t support Democrat policies, which is the litmus test for all minorities) and he must be insane or evil:

The liberal media are obsessed with Texas’s freshman senator Ted Cruz. The most recent outbreak includes a Daily Beast hit piece about his “creepy” college years at Princeton, as well as a flurry of articles about whether his Canadian-American dual citizenship could complicate a potential run for the White House in 2016.

[snip]

“I don’t think he should be defined as a Hispanic,” former governor Bill Richardson (D., N.M.) said in response to a question about Cruz’s view on immigration. Richardson later said his remarks were “misinterpreted.”

I’m not just relying on pundits, of course.  From everything I’ve seen of Cruz, he is admirable:  He’s personable; able to articulate conservative principles in clear, accessible language; consistent; funny; and just all around an appealing candidate, at least for true-believers.

Having said all that, here’s the one thing that worries me about Cruz — he seems to be a bit of a hot-head, who likes to make waves but doesn’t always think through those wave’s consequences.  Here’s Lowry again:

None of this is to endorse all of Cruz’s tactical judgments or to deny he can irk his own side of the aisle at times.

His push to defund Obamacare this fall is a grass roots-pleasing slogan in search of a realistic path to legislative fruition. Cruz never explains how a government shutdown fight would bring about the desired end. The strategy seems tantamount to believing that if Republican politicians clicked their wing tips together and wished it so, President Barack Obama would collapse in a heap and surrender on his party’s most cherished accomplishment.

In a field dominated with exciting, fairly young conservatives — Cruz, Mike Lee, Allen West (and even Rand Paul) — I think Cruz is someone to watch, admire, and appreciate.  Can’t you just imagine heads exploding all over if there were a Cruz/West ticket?  Having said that, though, I’m not inclined to manufacture a ticket this early in the game, nor do I like the idea of putting a ticket together just to watch Progressive heads explode.  I want to wait a year or two, and then hope (devoutly) that the media hasn’t destroyed every viable conservative candidate by nitpicking over bullying incidents in pre-school or silly spoonerisms on the campaign trail.  And then, since I’m assuming a Biden versus Hillary fight on the Left, I want to throw my wholehearted support behind any candidate who can defeat either of those two.

Barack Obama and the new world of the permanent campaign

I wasn’t paying attention, but it seems that the New York Times now has a dedicated Hillary reporter, even though the elections is more than three years away.  Does this mean that we can finally abandon the pretense of media impartiality?  This far in advance, having that kind of round-the-clock, individualized coverage from what many still consider (Gawd knows why) the premier paper in America, amounts to three years worth of non-cash campaign contributions.

Here’s one question for you, though:  Do you think that a dedicated reporter will be able, not just to cover, but to cover for Hillary for an entire three years?  It’s almost impossible to believe that, considering their own actions, their cronies’ actions, and their Foundation’s financial shenanigans, Hillary will be able to keep her nose clean.

And I haven’t forgotten that the National Enquirer, which doesn’t lie anymore about famous figures since the Carol Burnett lawsuit, claims that she’s working on a tell-all biography in which she finally admits that she’s been lying to Americans for decades by pretending she’s not a lesbian.  In that regard, it’s not the lesbianism that I mind, it’s the lying.  More than that, having her hold such a potentially embarrassing secret while she was First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, raises the distinct possibility that unfriendly world players, such as Russia, have been able to blackmail her, her husband, and her political allies, over the years.

By the way, Seth Mandel has a much deeper, and more thoughtful, post about the ramifications of the Times’ decision.

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people has perished in America

Sometimes distance provides perspective.  My travels meant that, rather than being enveloped by news as I usually am, I read it only intermittently, and often through the New York Times’ filter, since that was the only news to which I had access for many days at a time.  The few stories I was able to follow put me strongly in mind of the Gettysburg Address, and how far away from those principles our current government has come.  Some of this is directly attributable to the current Democrat presidency, and some is an unpleasant by-product of a bureaucracy that has taken on a life of its own, independent of its creators’ ideas and energies.

Lincoln’s genius was that he was able to reduce to the smallest number of words the revolutionary principles that drove the Founding Fathers, as expressed in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution:  “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Do we still have a government “of the people, by the people [and] for the people?”  No.  Our political and bureaucratic classes no longer believe that the people have anything to do with their continued existence (that is, they do not view themselves as parts of a government “by the people”); they do not believe that they have anything in common with the people whose lives they dictate (in other words, they are not part of a government “of the people”); and nothing they do benefits the people who are trapped in their web of laws and regulations (so that they are not part of a government “for the people”).

America has ceased to be a representative democracy and has, instead, become an oligarchy:  We, the People, are controlled by a proportionately small number of people who claim all entitlement to themselves and who, through laws, lawlessness, and unbridled bureaucracy (with a bureaucracy made up of people entirely beholden to the oligarchy for their continued well-being), control every aspect of our lives.  This oligarchy is separate from and unrelated to the constitutional, representative democracy Lincoln believed was the necessary underpinning for a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

A handful of stories upon my return forcefully brought home the vast chasm that has formed between “we, the People” and those who no longer represent us but who, instead, simply govern us.

1.  The people have long loathed ObamaCare, and by a significant and unchanging percentage too.  Even the President’s water carriers are getting nervous.  Those charged with enforcing it against us will not use it for themselves, nor will those who imposed it upon us.  It is a product of the oligarchy, with the benefits, but not the burdens, flowing solely to the oligarchy.  It was imposed upon the People, not through a true democratic process, but through dirty political dealing.  This is neither government by the people nor for the people.

2.  Despite the stagnant economy, the high unemployment, the rise of part-time jobs (i.e., no living wage), the number of young people stuck at home, and the continuing bankruptcy of our country’s business and economy, our President and his family continue to live like Nero or Marie Antoinette.  The Nero analogy was most recently demonstrated with the story that Obama is golfing while the world burns down around us.  The Marie Antoinette analogy can be seen in the endless round of A-list partying and multi-millionaire style vacations the Obamas enjoy, using our money (White House facilities for parties, taxpayer-funded air transport and security for offsite pleasures), even as ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet.  Obama, however, is worse than either Nero or Marie Antoinette, or any other analogous political figures (both historic and present day) who rob from the people to fund their lavish personal lifestyles.  This is because Obama is the only one of these figures who is — in theory, at least, an elected representative who is supposed to be only first among equals.  Obama’s grandiosity, however, shows that he no longer considers himself one of the people.  Worse, he is abetted in this historic break from a constitutional presidency by a ruling political and media class that has a vested economic and social interest in breaking with a constitutional republican democracy.

3.  The current government has abandoned the notion that government belongs to the people (“of, by, and for”) and holds, instead, the belief that the people and everything that they possess belong to the government.  Rep. Keith Ellison, a black, Muslim convert who is a darling of the Left, articulated this sentiment with startling clarity:  “The bottom line is we’re not broke, there’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it. . . . The government has a right, the government and the people of the United States have a right to run the programs of the United States. Health, welfare, housing – all these things.”  Government unions are a subset of this mindset.  In private industries, both management and the unions are negotiating with real money, real products, and real labor.  In the government sector, they negotiate with other people’s money regarding intangible products and services that are of dubious value.  (Think about the fact that California alone has more than 500 different agencies, a spectacular percentage of which are duplicative, and an even larger number of which do not serve the California taxpayers, but instead are directed at steering special interest groups into the government fold.)

4.  The bureaucracy has become an entity of itself.  It is no longer a subset of American government.  It is its own special interest group, and it advances its own agenda.  This fact can be attributed in significant part to government unions which, as noted above, sever government employees from the Peoples’ economic and practical needs.  Moreover, as the IRS scandal shows, the government bureaucracies no longer need political guidance to go after citizens who have the potential to disrupt their bureaucratic livelihood.  With little or no prompting from the political class, the bureaucracies abandoned their obligation to impose the law impartially and, instead, attacked what they perceived as threats.  If this seems familiar to you, you have only to think of innumerable science fiction books or movies (e.g., Terminator III), in which robots become sentient and turn on their human creators.

5.  Our next election is already predetermined.  Sadly, Myrna Adams makes the best argument for why Hillary Clinton will win in 2016 — and you’ll notice that none of her points have anything whatsoever to do with the will of the people or the state of America and the world, either now or in 2016.  Instead, Adams points to the political machinery which has broken down, with the dial perpetually set to “Democrat.”  Neither Hillary’s and her teams’ lack of any accomplishments to speak of nor the fact that Hillary herself is an undistinguished and inspiring human being will matter.  The oligarchy, made up of politicians, monied interests, government bureaucracies, media players, and academics, has spoken.  It’s Hillary’s turn now. After all, in 2008 and again in 2012, Obama was a candidate without accomplishments or, when off the teleprompter, charisma.  The robots — er, oligarchs . . . er, political class . . . er, media — anointed him and he won.  “We, the People” — our needs, desires, and existence — have become entirely expendable.

In the next election, democracy will be just as meaningful as it was in the old Soviet Union when 100% of the voters “freely” cast their votes for the Communist party candidate.  The Soviet Union was a nominal democracy in that the people “voted,” but it totally by-passed Lincoln’s requirement that a government worth saving must be “of the people, by the people, [and] for the people” in order to ensure that a nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” shall not “perish from the earth.”

 

Because this seems like a good day for another scandal: Is Hillary planning to admit to some of her lies?

Hillary gets an eyeful of Christina Aguilera's breasts'

The National Enquirer led off this story with the news that Hillary will finally admit she’s lesbian.  I found more interesting the fact that she might be exposing the Obama White House’s secrets, everything from alcoholism and martial woes, to Valerie Jarrett’s tight control.  Here’s the post I did at Mr. Conservative about the National Enquirer’s scoop:

**********

For those of you who always thought that Hillary was lying about everything, you’re about to be proven right. Moreover, the news is going to come from a very unexpected source: Hillary herself.

The National Enquirer, which has stuck very close to honest reporting since getting burned in a long-ago libel suit, reports that Hillary has decided to stop the lies and tell the truth in an upcoming memoir. Simon & Schuster will pay her $25 million for writing the book, which she hopes will inoculate her 2016 presidential run against any future ugly revelations.

According to the National Enquirer’s source, a person who is allegedly one of Hillary’s close friends, “By writing this tell-all, Hillary will settle old scores and get revenge on her enemies.” Those enemies apparently include Barack and Michelle Obama, since pre-publication rumors have it that Hillary will report about Barack’s drinking problem and the Obamas’ serious marital problems. Hillary also plans to attack Valeria Jarrett, who is Obama’s right-hand woman and the person many believe is the real power in the White House.

Hillary also intends to admit what many have known for years, but which her friends and ex-lovers have never confirmed: she’s bisexual and has had lesbian affairs. The National Enquirier smugly notes that the memoir will confirm one of its past reports that a veterinarian who came to the White House to treat Socks, the White House cat, caught Hillary in a steamy (and adulterous) embrace with another woman.

It will be interesting to see whether Hillary addresses the rumors that one of her lovers is Huma Abedin. Abedin is an interesting character, since she is Hillary’s closest confidant and aid; is married to Anthony Weiner, the Democrat politician who sent naked pictures of himself to women; and comes from a family tied closely to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton

According to a source the National Enquirier identifies as a “family insider,” Hillary’s admission that she is a lesbian isn’t a sign that she repents her life of lies. Instead, it’s part of her cold-blooded political calculation:

“Bill and Hillary are the consummate politi­cians, and they realize the LGBT community is a huge voting bloc,” said a family insider.

“They want lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people behind Hillary in the 2016 campaign. So Hillary’s going to come clean for the votes. She’ll admit that she’s bisexual and has had lesbian relationships.”

Hillary will also admit that, when she suddenly vanished from the scene last December amidst State Department assurances that nothing bad was the matter, these assurances were yet another Clinton lie. In fact, after a fall, she was discovered to have a blood clot between her brain and her right ear, which was putting pressure on her brain. In the lead-up to the diagnosis, Hillary thought she had brain cancer, just as Teddy Kennedy did, and began saying good-bye to friends and families.

Hillary lying to a House investigative committee:

For those who still care about Monica Lewinsky, whose sexual shenanigans with Bill almost lost Bill and Hillary the White House, Hillary will finally talk about her version of those events. According to Hillary’s view of things, Monica got word to Hillary that Bill was in love with Monica and wanted to start a family with him (and that she was even planning on getting pregnant without Bill’s consent). Hillary’s response to this news was to throw up in a White House bathroom.

The book isn’t just about the personal. As part of her attack on the Obamas, Hillary will detail her battles with Valerie Jarrett, “Obama’s brain,” to get a green light on attacking Osama bin Laden. Hillary also plans to detail the fight she had with the White House over Osama’s bloodied, bullet-ridden corpse. Hillary claims that she wanted it returned to the U.S. as proof that he was dead. Obama instead opted for a secret burial at sea (and Hillary promises to reveal the real location) so as not to inflame Muslim sensibilities.

Hillary’s plan is that this book, by telling all her dirty little secrets in advance, will clear the way for a 2016 presidential run since none of her opponents will have any dirt to spill on her. The mere fact that she feels compelled to write this book indicates that the Obamas have already gathered this information and, moreover, that they would have used it if Hillary had looked set to sweep the Democrat primaries in 2008. Releasing dirt on his Democrat opponents as a way to clear the field is, after all, vintage Obama.

Party partisans will no doubt applaud Hillary for her bravery in “coming out” (not that it’s very brave if everyone you care about thinks it’s a wonderful thing to do). It will be more interesting to see how ordinary Americans feel when they discover that the woman seeking the White House has lied to them every step of the way for decades.

Proportional response in the Obama era — “Let’s pretend it never happened”

Congressional Republicans have been working hard lately at something we all should care about — talking to the Benghazi survivors.  Sen. Lindsay Graham has been making it something of a personal crusade.  As far as he’s concerned, there’s a cover-up going on:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, in an extensive interview with Fox News, alleged that the injured survivors of the Benghazi terror attack have been “told to be quiet” and feel they can’t come forward to tell their stories — as he urged the House to subpoena the administration for details if necessary.

The South Carolina senator said he’s “had contact” with some of the survivors, calling their story “chilling.” He told Fox News that “the bottom line is they feel that they can’t come forth, they’ve been told to be quiet.”

I have no doubt but that this is true.  I mean, this is the same administration that lied for weeks about what happened in Benghazi.  If they’d lied a a ruse to lure the attackers out from cover to kill them, that would be one thing.  But the administration, from Obama on down, seems to have lied solely to hide two facts:  (a) contrary to Obama boasts, al Qaeda is not dead, and (b) Hillary is incompetent.

Hillary is also hiding what went on.  When she appeared before the Senate to testify about Benghazi, and was asked about the fact that four men died on her watch, her response was the equivalent of “Come on!  Stop crying over spilled milk.”

The fact is we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

To answer Hillary’s question (not that she wanted an answer), it makes a big difference.  It makes a difference because we should weed out incompetents before it happens again; it makes a difference because the dead deserve justice; and it makes a difference because the living deserve justice.

If this seems like I’m rehashing an old issue . . . well, maybe I am.  But it’s back in the news because of Sen. Graham’s push for info.  It’s also back in my mind for a funny reason.

My kids love the TV show Psych, which they watch on Netflix. Every kid in the neighborhood loves Psych.  It’s a cute show about a flaky, extremely observant young man (James Roday) who pretends to be psychic to help solve crimes, and his knowledgeable eccentric sidekick (Dulé Hill). The kids especially love Hill’s character, and it’s no wonder that they do. He’s a charming comedic presence, and he and Roday work well together.

If Dulé Hill’s name seems familiar to you, you might remember him as the president’s personal assistant in the Aaron Sorkin TV Show The West Wing.  That show, of course, was about the perfect Democrat president.  As far as Sorkin was concerned, President Bartlet was Bill Clinton without the character flaws and with all of his past mistakes corrected.

My kids wanted to see a young Hill, so we managed to find (again on Netflix) the episode in which Hill first appeared.  He did a nice job, but what really captured my attention was a bit of dialogue that Sorkin put in the mouth of the “perfect Democrat president.”  The episode is entitled “A proportional response” and one of its plot points revolves around the fact that Bartlett is figuring out how to respond to a terrorist attack in the Middle East that brought down a plane on which his personal physician was flying:

President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) is furious about a plane carrying his personal physician being downed in the Middle East. After initially requesting a retaliatory attack that would kill a great many people, Bartlet’s military advisors try to convince him to take a more cautionary maneuver.

So, keep that in mind — one American dead in an attack against an American plane.  Here is what Sorkin would have the perfect Democrat president do under those circumstances (emphasis mine):

Bartlet: What’s the virtue of the proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: I’m sorry?
Bartlet: What is the virtue of a proportional response? Why’s it good? They hit an airplane, so we hit a transmitter, right? That’s a proportional response.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Sir, in the case of Pericles 1 –
Bartlet: [talking over him] They hit a barracks, so we hit two transmitters.
Admiral Fitzwallace: That’s roughly it, yes, sir.
Bartlet: This is what we do. I mean, this is what we do.
Leo: Yes, sir, it’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.
Bartlet: Well, if it’s what we do, if it’s what we’ve always done, don’t they know we’re going to do it?
Leo: Sir, if you’d turn your attention to Pericles 1 –
Bartlet: I have turned my attention to Pericles 1. It’s two ammo dumps, an abandoned railroad bridge and a Syrian intelligence agency.
Admiral Fitzwallace: Those are four highly-rated targets, sir.
Bartlet: But they know we’re gonna do that. They know we’re gonna do that! Those areas have been abandoned for three days now. We know that from the satellite, right? We have the intelligence. [over Leo's attempt to speak up] They did that, so we did this. It’s the cost of doing business. It’s been factored in, right?
Leo: Mr. President –
Bartlet: Am I right, or am I missing something here?
Admiral Fitzwallace: No, sir. You’re right, sir.
Bartlet: Then I ask again, what is the virtue of a proportional response?
Admiral Fitzwallace: It isn’t virtuous, Mr. President. It’s all there is, sir.
Bartlet: It is not all there is.
Leo: Sir, Admiral Fitzwallace –
Admiral Fitzwallace: Excuse me, Leo…pardon me, Mr. President, just what else is there?
Bartlet: The disproportional response. Let the word ring forth, from this time and this place, gentlemen, you kill an American, any American, we don’t come back with a proportional response. We come back with total disaster! [He bangs the table]
General: Are you suggesting that we carpet-bomb Damascus?
Bartlet: I am suggesting, General, that you, and Admiral Fitzwallace, and Secretary Hutchinson, and the rest of the National Security Team take the next sixty minutes and put together an American response scenario that doesn’t make me think we’re just docking somebody’s damn allowance!

President Obama might want to start studying a few old episodes of The West Wing. Maybe if he familiarizes himself with it, he’ll figure out that it’s no response at all, let alone a “proportional one” to let the deaths of four Americans, including an Ambassador, get buried in order to hide the President’s (and his team’s) lies and mistakes.

By the way, if you have followed Sorkin’s career, you’ll know that he’s a drug-fueled genius with a true gift for words and a passion for using TV and movies to convince people of the Democrat Party’s virtues.  He also runs to the well a few too many times:

What difference does it make? As Bill Whittle explains, it makes a big difference

Every time I watch a Bill Whittle video, I think to myself “This is incredibly good.  It can’t get better than this.”  And every time I’m wrong, because Bill Whittle’s astounding gift for powerful, honest insight and analysis keeps growing.

Whittle reaches the top of his game — again! — in this video “What difference does it make?” in which he rips apart Hillary’s loathsome statement dismissing the deaths of four men who died, not just on her watch, but because of her watch.

Hillary’s in — probably

For reasons best known to herself, Hillary will probably say yes to State, even thought she’ll be the third, not the first, woman to fill that position, and even though no Secretary of State has ever used that post as a springboard to the White House.  Nutroots will be furious because of her support for the Iraq War.  Conservatives have already indicated a feeling that she’s the best of a the lot:  pragmatic and tough.  It will also be fun to watch those two prima donnas duke it out for control.

Hillary’s speech

We weren’t looking for it, but Mr. Bookworm accidentally stumbled across Hillary’s speech on TV.  I listened to a little and then, put off by her frenetic delivery, read the rest.  I have just a few of comments, since I don’t think it merits more than a few.

Hillary is not an inspired speaker, although she is a competent one.  My sense was that, in lieu of exciting ideas and genuine leadership, she substituted speed and volume.  I found it exhausting to listen to that hectoring list of all the miracles that will come unto earth if the Democrats can just retake the White House.  There was no passion there, just a laundry-listed frenzy.

On the subject of “inspiration,” this speech was anything but.  Instead, it was a generic political speech.  The references to Obama seemed to have been slotted in at strategic points, without actual regard for Obama.  Hillary could just as easily have said “Candidate X” without changing the content one iota.  There was a robotic quality to the fact that, each time Hillary had made a few points on the Democratic want list (universal healthcare, equal rights for everyone, an activist Supreme Court), she’d then throw in “and Obama can do this.”

The problem is that I never got from Hillary a sense of why Obama can do this (whatever “this” happens to be) — and given Obama’s record of failed initiatives, maybe silence was golden.  After all, Obama gets a quick start on everything but, once he’s achieved his goal (law review editor, law professor, State senator, United States senator) he does almost nothing or he fails in his initiatives.  His whole goal is getting there, not being there.  If he followed the first part of that pattern and did nothing in the White House, his tenure might be harmless.  On the other hand, if he followed the second part of that pattern and embarked on failed government handouts and boondoggles for his political friends, I can envision a very painful four years and a long national recovery.

Also, as is always the case with Democratic speeches, the maudlin hard luck tales creep me out.  I feel as if I’m listening to some presentation from a charity that is demanding my emotions and, most importantly, my money.  I don’t view government as a giant charity.  I view it as a infrastructure support service that should be minimally intrusive and minimally expensive.  I don’t need saccharine human interest stories — most of which I suspect are suspect — to define my government.  That’s the liberal fascism Jonah Goldberg wrote about, which envisions a smiley faced government that will take care of all human needs.  It’s not comforting, it’s frightening.

And that’s what I thought of Hillary’s speech.

Bumper sticker news

In Marin,  9 out of 10 bumperstickers one sees are liberal in context.  Make that 9.9 out of 10.

There’s the “Endless This War” sticker; and the still popular “Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot” sticker; and the saccharine, unrealistic and facile “Coexist,” with the symbols of various religions used in lieu of letters.  More concretely, there are uncountable Gore and Kerry bumper stickers on older model cars.  And with increasing frequency, there are the “Barack ’08″ and “Change ’08″ bumper stickers.  Those last are popping out like fungus after a rainfall.

But today I saw a lovely first.  It was a “Hillary” sticker, partially overlaid by a “McCain” sticker.  I gather that someone is deeply offended that a woman who has paid her dues (and this is true whether or not one likes her), has been cast aside for a man who has paid nothing.

The problem with the -isms in this race

Christopher Hitchens has written a post-mortem on the alleged sexism characterizing Hillary Clinton’s abortive race to the top. Aside from scathingly examining both Hillary’s and the media’s myriad failings, he has this wonderful point to make about the double-edged sword her gender became in the race:

Going as far as it dared on the point, the same sternly disapproving New York Times report found the courage to say that the Washington Post, in mentioning Sen. Clinton, had also alluded to “her cleavage.” Living as we do in an age of the easily offended and the aggressively innocent, we were not regarded as sufficiently adult to be informed whether this cleavage was in the front or the back. (Something in me makes me hope very devoutly that it was not the latter.) But I think I see the emerging pattern. People who favor Sen. Clinton are allowed to stress her gender and sex at all times and to make a gigantic point of it for its own sake. They are even allowed to proclaim that she should be the president of the United States in time of war only because she would be the first vagina-possessing person to hold the job. But—and here’s the catch—people who do not favor her are not even allowed to allude to the fact that she is female and has feminine characteristics. In this way, we prepare our brave daughters and granddaughters and even disenfranchised grandmothers for a future that is sex-free and gender-neutral or, at any rate, something like that. How pathetic can you get? When will we learn that there is more to political and social emancipation than the simple addition of the “ism” suffix to any commonplace word?

Of course, as you, my discerning readers have already realized, the exact same paradigm applies to Obama’s race — his supporters are allowed to trumpet it as a (if not the) reason why he should become leader of the free world; his opponents are not allowed to mention it at all.

As you all know, I’m a loud, proud racist when it comes to Obama’s race.* Hitchens provides another reason why we should not allow ourselves to be muzzled. At the very least, we should be allowed to point out that, if they say race is reason to elect Obama, we are allowed to say that race is not.

Hat tip: Danny Lemieux

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*There’s a pun in there somewhere since, in Obama’s case, “race” applies both his genetic make-up and his race for the White House

Trophy wives

I’ve been hearing a lot about trophy wives lately, since I recently learned that, in one of the very affluent communities near me, the nouveau riche, desperate as always to assert their status on the social hierarchy, have begun wife swapping.  Apparently it just wasn’t good enough any more to boast about your car and pass the keys over to your neighbor to prove the point.  Now you have to boast about your wife and pass her over to your neighbor, so he can see just how right you are.  How very 70s.

Now Elizabeth Scalia (aka the Anchoress), has come up with a wonderful theory about the reason the Democratic party jettisoned that old workhorse, Hillary, in favor of the new pretty face, Obama:  Obama is the political equivalent of the trophy wife:

Upon taking control of Congress in 2007, the Democrats found themselves running simpatico with those terminally elite nations who sniffed with disdain at American individualism while being strangled by the tentacles of their own statism. Emboldened by these openly chummy alliances, and sensing a GOP in the mood to slit its own wrists and die, the Democrats looked across the breakfast table at Hillary Clinton in her sensible clothes and felt a little disappointed. There she sat — a hard worker, smart, always willing to do what it took to win. By and large, she’d been a good helper, delivering the pretty little votes, raising the pretty big dollars, entertaining, organizing, laughing, gazing, and lying when she had to, for the good of the family.

But in the dazzling company of the left-elites, she looked … old, and worn. She could be a little shrill, and a terror with a lamp or an ashtray. She was shrewish and nagging — forever reminding everyone that she had sacrificed. If some smiled to see her arrive at a party, the smile was perfunctory; they only listened to her tiresome policy talk until they could murmur an excuse and find a prettier, livelier corner with prettier, livelier companions.

Then they spotted — Obama! He was young, pretty, and had a pleasing voice. He looked good in jeans and had just a touch of edginess about him when he smoked. He seemed born to be looked at. Not much real experience in the hard political world — a few turns around the dance floor with glamorous-seeming men — but he appeared eager to learn, eager to get ahead, and because he stood for almost nothing, he would be easy to lead. He hadn’t accomplished much of note, but trophy wives don’t need thick resumes.

You should read the whole thing here.  It’s very funny and makes a good point about the insanity of this election year.

Throw Michelle from the train? *UPDATED*

Obama has a pattern when a person or institution proves problematic: First, loyally, he tries to defend the troublemaker. Second, when his poll numbers show that the defense is futile, he ruthlessly jettisons the troublemaker, whether it’s Samantha Power, Jeremiah Wright or Trinity Church. But what about this troublemaker (assuming, for the moment, that the story is true)?

An untold story lies behind Hillary Clinton’s determination to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination — the possible revelation of a shocking recording of rival Barack Obama’s wife Michelle.

That’s the word from longtime political analyst Roger J. Stone Jr., who writes on his The StoneZONE Web site that the recording purportedly documents Michelle Obama making racist comments in a speech.

According to Stone, Hillary aides are in a race with Republicans to get their hands on the offensive recording.

“On the heels of Michelle Obama’s quote that she ‘has never been proud of her country’ until now, the new controversy could turn the contest upside down, but it more likely” to benefit “John McCain than to boost Hillary Clinton to the nomination — if the alleged recording exists,” Stone writes.

He also asserts that Mark Penn, Clinton’s former chief campaign strategist, has told sources that the bombshell “could come this week.”

In the old days (the really old days), Obama could have packed her off to a convent or an insane asylum, winning sympathy from all. Now, he doesn’t even have time for a quickie divorce.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin explains why my instinct — which was merely to assume the story’s truth to make a humorous point — was right on the money. In any event, given that Hillary is slinking away into the sunset, the time is long past for this video to emerge (unless, of course, it was in McCain’s, not Hillary’s, vault all along).

UPDATE II:  And more evidence that it’s a fake.  Frankly given Michelle Obama’s manifest disdain for America, even if it had been real, nothing in it would have been that exciting.  What would have been interesting, as I indicated at the top of this post, is Obama’s reaction:  “This is not the Michelle I thought I knew.”

A cautionary tale if Hillary becomes health tzar

There’s talk of Obama giving Hillary the green light to socialize American medicine if she’ll walk away from the primaries.  Melanie Phillips gives us a good example of why the renewed specter of socialized medicine should worry us:

To the Labour Party, the National Health Service is the talismanic proof of its own moral superiority.

Time and again, Labour brandishes its undying commitment to the NHS as the embodiment of its social conscience, and vilifies anyone who suggests that a different system of health care might be better as a heartless brute who would force the sick to choose between death and bankruptcy.

Well, now we can see quite what odious hypocrisy that is. For in the cause of supporting the NHS principle of equal treatment for all, the Government is actually ordering the withdrawal of treatment from desperately sick and dying people as an act of ideological spite.

A woman dying of cancer was denied NHS treatment in her final months  -  because she had paid privately for a drug which offered her the chance of living longer, but which the NHS had refused to provide.

When she decided to use her savings to pay for this drug, the NHS withdrew her treatment, including her chemotherapy.

This is by no means a one-off case. Six other cancer patients are taking legal action against the NHS after their own treatment was cut off or a threat was made to do so because they too paid for lifeprolonging drugs.

This is simply obscene. It is hard to imagine anything more vicious than stopping, or threatening to stop, the treatment of seriously ill people simply because they have the audacity to want to improve their chances of staying alive.

Read the rest here.

I know that our medical system isn’t perfect, and that it’s expensive.  However, medical care at some level or another is available to all — and it’s good care when you get it.  There are human errors, but the system tends to strive for the greatest good.  What’s fascinating about reading about England’s health care service (and Canada’s, for that matter), is the number of times the health care is bad, not because a person screwed up, but because of ideological choices driving the provision of health care in those countries.  Because the government is rationing care, it decides who is unworthy of receiving that care:  the old, the very sick, and the mavericks who dare to buck the system.

At my martial arts studio, there is a British woman whose mother is mired in and dying from the NHS.  She won’t give details.  She just gives the bottom line:  America should never, never, never go over to socialized medicine, a system that will willingly, and without debate, abandon those in greatest need of its services.

What Myanmar says about Iran *UPDATED*

There is a belief that the “mutually assured destruction” deterrence that worked during the Cold War will work in Iran. Hillary certainly believes it, which is why she promised that, if Iran hits Israel with a nuclear bomb during her presidency, she will hit Iran with a nuclear bomb. She believes that threat is sufficient to hold Iran back from acting. She thinks this because, if she were in Iran’s shoes, it would hold her back. The satisfaction of having destroyed Israel (if she were Iran), would be overwhelmingly offset by the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of her citizens, and the complete destruction of large swaths of her country.

In making this analysis, Hillary shows herself to be a rational actor under Western values. What she hasn’t figured out, though, is that Iran’s leaders don’t show those Western values. There are two reasons why the thought of having nuclear weapons rain down on the Iranian citizenry doesn’t phase faze these leaders. Indeed, the second reason for their insouciance actually has them wanting that nuclear rain.

Reason number one for the fact that Iranians are less impressed than we would be by the threat of a nuclear Holocaust is that they really don’t care about the well-being of their people. And this is where the example of Myanmar becomes interesting. In the aftermath of a devastating cyclone that may have caused the instant deaths of as many as 100,000 people, the military junta is resolute in rejecting aid. This is not because of some misguided sense of (metaphorically) standing on its own two feet. This is because it would rather see up to 500,000 of its citizens dead than risk any weakening of its power. Once you start letting aid workers in, exposing your beleaguered citizens to other ideas and free market products, you’re looking at the beginning of the end of your tyranny.

The bottom line, then, is that tyrants are completely comfortable with mass deaths within their own borders, provided that their political goals are untouched. Indeed, they’ll encourage those deaths if doing otherwise would affect the power structure.

There is no reason to think that the Iranian regime, which is an incredibly oppressive one, and one that managed to engage in a 9 year war with Iraq that saw almost a million die, will weep any tears if its citizens die in the hundreds of thousands or even the millions. In Iran, as in other dictatorships (Mao’s China, Myanmar, North Korea, etc.) the average “citizens” is not a human with rights as we understand it. Instead, he is an object the value of which is measured by whether his existence augments or damages the leadership’s power. If his non-existence does not affect that power or if his non-existence actually increases that power, his life isn’t worth a grain of sand on a big beach.

That is the first reason Iran doesn’t really care about Hillary’s threat to bomb it if it first bombs Israel. The benefits of bombing Israel (fulfilling Koranic requirements, gaining respect in the Muslim world, finding out of your bomb really works, showing the world that nothing will stop you) far outweigh the deaths of a few million of the pawns trapped within your own borders.

If that isn’t bad enough, we get to the second reason why Hillary’s threats are pointless and why (as Israel knows) only preemptive measures will stop Iran from dropping the bomb: The Shia version of Islam that Iran practices is an apocalyptic religion. Iran’s leaders believe that the End of Days will be triggered by the return of the 12 Imam, which will introduce an era of endless peace and harmony.

This apocalyptic vision isn’t actually such an unusual doctrine, and it appears in both Christianity and Judaism. What differs about the Iranian version is that Iran believes that its role is not simply to be a passive, albeit faithful, observer of the End of Days, which is how Christians and Jews approach the subject. Rather, as Ahmadinejad’s speeches and acts demonstrate, Iran believes it is its responsibility to bring about Armageddon — and what could be more Armageddon-like than the fact that Iran bravely destroys the Little Satan (that would be Israel), only to be destroyed in turn by the Great Satan (America). If that doesn’t bring about the return of the 12th Imam, nothing will.

In other words, the threat Hillary now makes as she works the campaign trail, a threat she believes is the type that will paralyze Iran and prevent action is, in fact, precisely the end Iran’s leaders are seeking. It’s not a threat at all. Instead, it’s the desired culmination of Allah’s plans.

Given the very un-Western thought process Iranian leaders go through when they contemplate the nuclear destruction of their country, McCain would definitely be the best candidate to deal with a pre-nuclear Iran. Regardless of his doctrinal strength regarding the finder points of Shia ideology, he understands the nature of dictators, having survived them for so many years in the Hanoi Hilton.

McCain (like Israel, which is staring down that nuclear muzzle) is not going to wait around until Iran has the upper hand and then try sweet words (Obama) or threats and even action (Hillary). I think that McCain would understand, as Israel does, that one needs to act before the crazy nation gets the power, not after.

And if you think I’m exaggerating about Iran’s response to a nuclear Holocaust simply so score points for McCain, just read today’s paper about Myanmar and think about a dictatorship that is not hampered by religious crazies will do to maintain power. You can extrapolate from there by imagining those same dictators working hard to pave the way for the coming Apocalypse.

UPDATE:  Speaking of Iran, this analysis about the situation Lebanon is very, very depressing.

All lies are not created equal *UPDATED* & *UPDATED AGAIN*

In response to an earlier post I did about Obama’s habit of lying about easily verifiable events, beliefs and associations in his past, echeccone made the statement, one we’ve often heard, that “every politician lies.” There’s a kind of sweeping truth to that statement, but its very broadness hides the fact that not all lies are created equal. I was just going to leave a responsive comment to echeccone, but it got so long that I decided to use my blogger privilege of elevating my response to its own post. So here is my little riff on why all lies are not created equal, and why Hillary’s and Obama’s lies fall into the worst category.

As any of us who have children or who remember our own childhoods know, lying is an integral part of the human condition. There is no toddler who hasn’t stood before Mom and Dad, staring at the paint on the living room wall, and then glancing down at the paint all over his hands, only to announce without shame, “I didn’t do it.” Said child is always punished, and the punishment comes along with a lengthy explanation about the value of truth and the danger of lies. As a society, we don’t tolerate it well when people deny wrongdoing.

However, at the same time we teach children not to tell these baldfaced, punishment-avoiding lies, we also encourage them to be nice — and to do so even when that involves a lie. “If Tommy asks why you won’t play with him, don’t say it’s because he smells bad. You can say it’s because Mommy wants you home Wednesday afternoons.” These social lies easily continue into adulthood. To the question “Does this dress make me look fat,” the answer is always “No,” regardless of truth.

We also learn as we get older to use lies to protect someone else’s secrets or security. Imagine, if you will, that you’re 10 and your best friend has just confided that she loves Billy. If another classmate asks, “Does your best friend love Billy,” the answer is an emphatic “No.” We don’t betray our friends’ secrets unless someone’s safety is at stake.

Many of these things hold true in political life as well. Of course politicians are going to say they love babies and are for truth justice and the American way (or, if they’re Lefties, for the un-American way). We don’t question them too hard on these things, since we understand that the answers will be generic, just as they are with the “fat dress” question. Likewise, we expect politicians to lie if they’re being pressed about matters that are state secrets. “Hey, Pres. Truman! Are you planning on dropping the Bomb on Japan tomorrow?” That’s another “No” answer.

We also are willing to give favored politician some latitude on broken promises. Thus, the question in the voters’ collective mind when a politician breaks an promise is, “Did s/he, at the time s/he made that promise, have any intention of keeping it?” If people believe the answer is “yes,” they’ll listen with some respect to the politician’s excuses for failing to keep that promise. If the answer is “no,” or if it is apparent that no person of reasonable intelligence should have made such a promise in the first place, then voters will be much less forgiving.

And then there are the lies that Hillary and Obama tell, likes that hark back to the toddler years: They get caught doing something bad, and they simply lie about. Hillary confines herself to denials and accusations. In the face of her intransigent denials, when the truth finally emerges, she tends to look awful. Obama is more clever. His first instinct is to deny, and then he starts leaking out the ugly truth. And by leaking it out slowly, he defuses the impact of the fact that, yes, he did engage in wrongdoing or, yes, he did associate (fairly closely) with terrorists or, yes, he did know all along that his preacher is an anti-American racist kind of guy.

The thing is that, no matter how Hillary and Obama spin it, whether through denial and accusation, or a slow, deflecting acknowledgment, they’ve engaged in the types of lies that most people find unforgivable — the kind of lies that have no social utility but that are just used by the liar in a craven attempt to deflect punishment or humiliation. That is, these aren’t lies to be kind, or lies to protect someone or something (other than the liar), or statements that time proved to be untrue. These are out and out squirrely lies aimed at deceiving people about negative aspects of the politician’s conduct, personality or associations.

And that’s why it’s simply not enough to excuse Hillary and Obama by saying that all politicians lie. All lies are not equal and some are definitely worse than others.

UPDATE: Wolf Howling has an excellent analysis of Obama’s little (and big) Wright lies.

UPDATE II: And here’s another example of Obama’s ever spiraling lies, this one about ex-adviser (or not?) Robert Malley. I mean, he’s definitely an ex something, but Obama has been spinning like crazy about whether he is now or ever was an adviser.

They see guns the way I see wine

I don’t drink.  I don’t like the stuff, and have never forced myself to learn to enjoy it.  However, I often find myself in a situation that requires me to buy wine, whether for a potluck or because it’s the perfect hostess gift.  Over the years, I’ve developed a surprisingly effective technique, since I’m often told after the fact, with real sincerity, that the wines I pick are quite nice.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Decide on your price and look only at wines in that price range.
  2. Decide on your color, red, white or rose.
  3. Pick a pretty label.
  4. When you find a label you think is attractive on a bottle in your price and color, you’re done.  You’ve found your wine and you can buy it with a clear conscience.

As you can see, I’ve removed wine buying entirely from the realm of actual wine quality, and placed it into the world of visual aesthetics.

I thought of that when I heard from the Confederate Yankee that the Hillary Clinton campaign, in attacking Obama on gun control issues, sent out a mailer with a very artistic photograph of a very bizarre gun:

Over the weekend, The Clinton campaign came under fire for a mailing that attacked Barack Obama’s horrific record on guns. The ad was inaccurate—it didn’t go nearly far enough in describing the number and kind of firearms Obama would like to see banned—but as Hillary’s record is every bit as suspect regarding the ubiquitous and yet poorly misunderstood semi-automatic action, I can understand why should wouldn’t want to undercut her own less-than-credible position.

Almost immediately after that story aired, however, Clinton came under fire for the choice of gun used in the add, a rare Mauser 66 with double-set triggers. Rifles with double-set triggers are rare in the United States, but are a feature more common in Europe. The problem was further compounded by the fact that the image was flipped to show the gun as a left-handed model, and the Mauser 66 was never released as a left-handed gun. The picture therefore portrays a gun that has never been made.

This being a political season, many are looking for the real meaning behind that peculiar image choice.  CY wonders, obliquely, whether there wasn’t some sabotage involved by someone inside the campaign.  You can see him thinking, “They can’t really be that stupid about guns, can they?”

Au contraire, my friend.  I’m here to tell you that, on the Leftie side of politics, they know about guns the way I know about wine:  They chose an image that looked good — and, since the campaign is having problems raising money, they also probably chose a free image.  In other words, they relied on price and aesthetics in choosing a gun photo, using an approach that exactly parallels the way in which I choose wine.  Sometimes, a cigar is just a smoke, and a badly chosen photo is just pig-ignorance.

Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club

The most un-rev Jeremiah Wright elaborated today on his various statements during an appearance at the National Press Club. What he had to say was most enlightening since, when he wasn’t prevaricating or deflecting a point with self-deprecating humor, he sounded pretty ugly. Here are a few things that caught my attention:

MODERATOR: What is your relationship with Louis Farrakhan? Do you agree with and respect his views, including his most racially divisive views?

WRIGHT: As I said on the Bill Moyers’ show, one of our news channels keeps playing a news clip from 20 years ago when Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. [I don't really know if the Right Rev. is capable of understanding this, but Zionism is not a religion, it's a political movement. If Farrakhan referred to something as a "gutter religion" he was making an antisemitic statement about Jews. And since I doubt that Wright is enough of a fool to be this confused, Wright is too, and he's hoping that in this bizarre cascade of words, no one will notice.]

And he was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter is being vilified for, and Bishop Tutu is being vilified for. [Poor Wright. He just doesn't understand why people should be vilified if they keep standing up and saying that Persians, Arabs and Muslims (separate but overlapping groups) are within their rights to (a) state their intention to destroy Israel entirely and (b) take whatever steps they can, from killing one child at a time to building nuclear weapons, to bring that goal to fruition. Whether those sentiments come from Carter, the rabidly anti-Israeli UN, Farrakhan or Wright, they're utterly reprehensible and completely antisemitic.] And everybody wants to paint me as if I’m anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago.

I believe that people of all faiths have to work together in this country if we’re going to build a future for our children, whether those people are — just as Michelle and Barack don’t agree on everything, Raymond (ph) and I don’t agree on everything, Louis and I don’t agree on everything, most of you all don’t agree — you get two people in the same room, you’ve got three opinions.

So what I think about him, as I’ve said on Bill Moyers and it got edited out, how many other African-Americans or European-Americans do you know that can get one million people together on the mall? [So could Hitler, Mao, and Stalin. It doesn't make them admirable. I'm not actually saying Farrakhan is as bad as those guys, although he definitely espouses their beliefs. I'm just saying that the mere fact that someone can be a demagogue doesn't make him virtuous.] He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st century. That’s what I think about him.

I’ve said, as I said on Bill Moyers, when Louis Farrakhan speaks, it’s like E.F. Hutton speaks, all black America listens. Whether they agree with him or not, they listen. [Same demagoguery point I made above.]

Now, I am not going to put down Louis Farrakhan anymore than Mandela would put down Fidel Castro. Do you remember that Ted Koppel show, where Ted wanted Mandela to put down Castro because Castro was our enemy? And he said, “You don’t tell me who my enemies are. You don’t tell me who my friends are.” [In other words, Castro is another one whom Wright admires. He has no moral center. Whoops. Strike that. He does have a moral center: The enemy of my enemy is my friend seems to be his view. Since he hates America, despite his six years of military service, anyone who hates America too is a good guy.]

Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn’t make me this color. [This whole string is peculiar. Last I looked, since the Civil War, no one in America, regardless of color, has been putting blacks in the chains of slavery. Even more interestingly, is Wright actually saying here that being black is a bad thing, akin with slavery? Certainly the parallel structure he employs indicates that he believes being black is bad, and that ones enemies visit that curse upon one.]

Also fascinating was Wright’s explanation of what he meant about the difference between him — as Pastor — and Obama — a politician. Considering how well Obama professes to know Wright, given their 20 year long pastoral association, Wright’s allusions to Obama’s honest (or lack thereof) are worth noting:

MODERATOR: What is your motivation for characterizing Senator Obama’s response to you as, quote, “what a politician had to say”? What do you mean by that?

WRIGHT: What I mean is what several of my white friends and several of my white, Jewish friends have written me and said to me. They’ve said, “You’re a Christian. You understand forgiveness. We both know that, if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would never get elected.” [In other words, says Wright, on the Left we all understand that you have to lie to the American people and hide your real viewpoints in other to get elected.]

Politicians say what they say and do what they do based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington, whoever’s doing the polls. [Again, he's saying that Obama is lying because that's the only way he'll get elected.] Preachers say what they say because they’re pastors. They have a different person to whom they’re accountable.

As I said, whether he gets elected or not, I’m still going to have to be answerable to God November 5th and January 21st. That’s what I mean. I do what pastors do. He does what politicians do. [Obama lies.]

I am not running for office. I am hoping to be vice president. [If you listen to the live broadcast, the very receptive audience screams with laughter at this point.]

I’m not going to dissect any more. It was rather sickening to listen to him. The bile, illogic and dishonesty that flows from him made me feel really bad.

Apropos the fact that Wright’s mental perambulations are really horrible for Obama, some are wondering whether Wright, either out of spite because Obama shunned him or out of avarice because there’s money somewhere, is trying to line himself up with the Clinton faction. If that’s the case, Shakespeare couldn’t have done any better with a plot of ego, avarice, and treachery.

The wildly funny thing about all this is that, because the “non-racial” Obama has managed to back himself into a corner where he is clearly the black candidate, the Democratic party pooh-bahs are supporting him in trickles and floods, despite his falling numbers, because they can’t afford to alienate their single most reliable voting block: African-Americans.

A depressed Democrat

Marin is about as liberal a community as one can possibly find.  That means that the analyst for the local political newspaper is a liberal too.  Right now, he’s a very depressed liberal, since he’s absolutely certain that the Democrats are imploding, leading to the inevitability of a McCain victory:

Arizona Sen. McCain will be victorious on Nov. 4. The heroic McCain is the only Republican with any hope of attracting independents and moderate Democrats. That’s something that Republicans, facing annihilation after the unpopular Bush-Cheney era, desperately need. While I acknowledge questioning my sagacity in late 2007 during McCain’s dark days, he ultimately vindicated my hunch.

McCain now faces a Democratic Party tearing itself apart. If the 1980 Jimmy Carter-Ted Kennedy primary contest taught us anything, it’s that a party divided upon entering a national convention will lose. I acknowledge the economy has tanked, there’s no way out of the Iraq fiasco and that public confidence is as low as the price of gas is high. Yet when it comes to losing presidential elections, the Democratic mantra is “Yes, I can.”

In fighting for the top spot, Clinton not only has taken the luster out of the once-sparkling Obama, she has managed to amplify her already negative image. That will be fatal in the fall election.

McCain will win IF he gets back on his Straight Talk Express and distances himself from the befuddled Bush. While this will displease the political right, hatred of all things Clinton will keep them in the Arizonan’s camp. McCain’s problem is that he’s off to a slow start by pandering to the shrinking GOP base. Perhaps wiser hands will steer him back to the middle after the Minneapolis convention.

As for me, I hope he’s right.  McCain, despite his myriad flaws, is infinitely preferable to either Hillary or Obama.

By the way, I can think of one other reason Hillary might not win, although it’s a silly one.  I just realized as I wrote this post that I always refer to McCain and Obama by their last names, because those names are unique in the political race.  I refer to Hillary, however, by her first name, not as a sign of disrespect, but to distinguish her from her husband.  The fact that a woman ends up with this casual appellation does not bode well for subliminal signals about her stature.  Others are probably going to pick up on this same subliminal “girl” quality, and are not going to give her quite the deference given the “men.”  She’ll lose for that reason too, I think.

The tortoise and the hare

You all know Aesop’s class tale of the race between the tortoise and the hare: At the starting gate, the hare picks up so much speed that it soon vanishes completely, while the tortoise plods on behind. Within sight of the finish line, however, when the hare looks backwards and realizes that the tortoise isn’t even in the same time zone, he decides to refresh himself with a little nap. As he sleeps, the tortoise, who has never slowed his steady pace, comes abreast of him, passes him and, before the hare has a chance to regroup, crosses the finish line, winning the race. Aesop’s moral: The race is not always to the swift.

Now tell me if that story doesn’t remind you of the current state of the Presidential race. Hillary and Obama, bickering all the way, were put on the fast track by the MSM. One after the other, each was anointed as the obvious successor to the disastrous George Bush. Neither could fail. Hillary had the unbeatable, overwhelming Clinton machine behind her; Obama had that indefinable charisma liberals lust after. McCain was shunted aside as an irrelevant old man.

Something interesting is happening, though. The bloom quickly faded from Hillary’s rose when the MSM fell in love with Obama. And while the MSM is still in love with Obama, Obama is struggling to deal with his own past. Absent any substantive political record, his associates and acolytes are coming under scrutiny, and it’s not a pretty picture. Whether he courted them or they courted him, they’re locked in an embrace on a pretty unappealing dance floor, and ordinary Americans are looking on Obama as an increasingly less attractive partner for a political romance.

Meanwhile, John McCain plods steadily on. He appears here, he appears there. He makes nice, quiet little speeches. He does what he has to do distance himself from George Bush, because he knows that, if he comes too close, he gets tarred with the BDS brush (or just with the “we’re sick of Bush in the White House after 8 painful years” brush.) As to this distancing, I’m betting that George Bush, being a gentleman, a pragmatist, and a politician, if he spoke with McCain, would say something along the lines of “Do what you have to do to win, Buddy-Boy. It won’t hurt my feelings.”

So, despite the fact that Hillary and Obama hurtled out of the starting gate, and have been helped with big, big pushes from their sycophants in the media, I’m wondering if they’re not going to be forced into something analogous to nap mode as they near the finish line. They’re being shackled by the garbage that’s being dug up about them, as well as by the fact that, under stress, his charm fails and her scolding increases. Meanwhile, McCain just keeps moving forward, slowly, steadily and, perhaps, inexorably.

Guilt by association *UPDATED*

On the liberal side of the American political world, one of the lingering horrors of the McCarthy era is “guilt by association.” Certainly that was the lesson I, a young liberal, took away from teachings about that era. As I learned it, it wasn’t that the HUAC hearings were aimed at discovering genuine Communist infiltration into the military, weapons development and politics. Instead, in the intense (and irrational) anti-Communist hysteria of the period, the hearings were aimed at discovering who talked to whom.

For that reason, as I was taught, if you were a victim of this witch hunt, your actual political beliefs didn’t matter. Instead, it was who you knew that was the determining factor in whether you would be destroyed. That is, even if you weren’t a Communist, if your best friend was, you were guilty by association.

This phrase, “guilt by association,” has been running through my head a lot lately in this latest election. The MSM tried tarring John McCain very hard because Pastor John Hagee, who is a friend of Israel (good), but not a friend of Catholics (bad), is a supporter and because McCain has not repudiated that support. In MSM land, this was obviously a sign that McCain is anti-Catholic, although he’s never given any indication by word or deed that this is so.

This “guilt by association” tendency isn’t limited to the MSM, of course. When Ron Paul’s candidacy looked as if it had legs, a lot of people in the blogosphere were very upset by the fact that White Supremacists were latching on to him. They found even more upsetting the fact that he didn’t disavow these people. The nail in the coffin, though — and something that distinguishes Paul from McCain — is the fact that the White Supremacists weren’t just picking up on subliminal Paulian code that appealed to them, they were recognizing one of their own.

All of which gets me to the increasing number of stories about Barack Obama’s connection to a lot of unsavory (from my point of view) people: Jeremiah Wright, anti-Semite and anti-American; Tony Rezko, probable criminal; and William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, unrepentant, homegrown Leftist terrorists.

With each new revelation, the defense that both Obama and his followers offer is that Obama can associate with these people without either agreeing with or trying to advance their politics. In other words, Obama shouldn’t be brought down by that old McCarthyite bugaboo of “guilt by association.”

Obama made this point explicitly when he likened his friendship with Ayers to his friendly relationship with Tom Coburn. Since we know that Obama, despite his friendly relationship with Coburn, does not share Coburn’s extreme pro-Life stance (abortion should be illegal and abortionists should then be tried as murderers), why in the world should we assume that Obama, despite his friendly relationship with Ayers, Dohrn, Reszko and Wright shares their terrorist, anti-Semitic, anti-American, criminal viewpoints? Obama’s problem, he and his supports argue, if there is in fact a problem, is that he’s just too nice a guy.  [UpdateHere's a nice Dean Barnett piece on Obama's indiscriminate friendliness.]

I think Obama’s problem is bigger than just being indiscriminately friendly. Unlike McCain, who had not courted either Hagee specifically or anti-Catholics generally, Obama has actively courted people with noxious attitudes, and he’s courted a lot of them. In other words, Jeremiah Wright isn’t just a powerful pastor for whose political support Obama is grateful, since it will throw a lot of votes his way. Instead, Obama has had a close affiliation with him for more than twenty years — Obama has sought him out and explicitly identified him as a mentor. This is not a casual acquaintance with someone who has some interesting and, perhaps, distasteful eccentricities; this is someone whose intellectual influence Obama actively sought.

The same holds true for Obama’s association with the Ayers/Dohrns. A rising politician can’t always choose his fans, but Obama has had a much closer relationship than that and, on Obama’s side, it’s been one in which he or his wife has sought them out. After all, it was in their home that he launched his political career, and it was his wife who intentionally put them together on panels that would advance that career. Obama wasn’t just be a nice guy, friendly to random supporters; he was courting them. In the political world, one doesn’t go the extra mile to court someone unless one feels that there is a common cause.

Obama himself might challenge my argument by saying “But I didn’t know that Wright was anti-Semitic and anti-American [presumably having slept through all of Wright's sermons and tossed his newsletters]; and I didn’t know that Ayers and Dohrn were domestic terrorists [since I am ignorant of recent history and never bothered to listen to anything the two of them are still boasting about now]; and I had no idea Rezko was a crook [because I think it's normal to get sweetheart deals on valuable property when I'm a politician who can be of use to the person throwing the deal my way]. I’m innocent. I knew nothing. [A wonderful new use of the Sargent Schultz defense.]”

Even if Obama’s “I know nothing” defense is true (and it’s a very worrisome defense from someone who claims the intelligence and acumen to be leader of the free world), I still don’t think it changes the fact that we have to view him with suspicion because of those who are drawn to him. Even if he doesn’t embrace them, why do they embrace him?

It’s apparent that Obama’s political message — the real message, not just the vapid “change” stuff — is appealing to people who hate America, who hate Israel, who hate Jews, who hate capitalism and who hate to abide by pesky little things like laws. No matter what he says about them, or how he tries to disassociate himself from them, they continue to view him as a kindred spirit. And as a handy dandy chart on both Obama and Hillary demonstrates, quite a few of them see Hillary as a fellow-traveler too. (I know of no such chart that can be made for McCain, but please correct me if I’m wrong.)

No matter what Hillary’s and Obama’s best intentions are regarding terrorists and America haters, they’re sending a message that’s resonating with that crowd. And if it’s resonating with the hate America crowd, no matter how Hillary or Obama try to disavow seeking that crowd out, their message must be analyzed, in part, by considering their most defended fans.

UPDATE: Here’s another example of an unsavory character who feels that an Obama presidency will best serve his political ends. Whether or not Obama sought him out his irrelevant. This person’s desire to associate with Obama is significant in itself, and Obama’s passivity here doesn’t lessen what is, in my eyes, ideological guilt by association.

Oh, and another example just crossed my radar here.