These are the times when I really like John McCain

Al Franken, the rude buffoon from Minnesota deserved to be taken to task, and John McCain did it.

The set-up:  Joe Lieberman ran out of time to finish his talk; he asked, as Senators do, for a couple of extra minutes; and Al Franken, who was chairing, refused, something Senators have never done:

November 4

I’m going to be working, not blogging, tomorrow morning, November 4, 2008, so feel free to consider this an open thread.  I can’t let this occasion go by without a few words, though.

On the candidates:

If you believe government can solve most of our problems; if you believe Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are better at spending your money than you are; if you believe that the government exists to redistribute wealth from those it defines as rich to those victim groups it classes as deserving; if you believe that we ought to continue to be dependent on energy sources in the hands of our enemies; if you believe that the best defense is to disarm yourself; if you believe that the government should control the press to ensure “freedom”; if you believe that there should be no limits on immigrants coming into the country or on the benefits extended to those immigrants; and if you believe that judges shouldn’t just decide law, but should make it, according to their personal preferences, then you should definitely vote for Obama.

However, if you believe that you, not Barack/Pelosi/Reid, are the master of your own destiny; if you believe that a country must have secure borders and controlled immigration to remain strong; if you believe that government doesn’t make money, people make money; if you believe that the best defense is to appear ready, willing and able to fight to defend yourself; if you believe that your country should be energy independent for both security and economic purposes; if you believe in a free press unhindered by government mandated “fairness”; and if you believe that judges’ job is to apply the law and the legislature’s job is to make it (although make as little of it as possible), then you should definitely vote for McCain.

On the election tomorrow:

The most important thing you should do is ignore the media entirely and VOTE.  The media will err about reporting closing times for voting.  The media will enthusiastically report that Obama is winning in a landslide according to exit polls, but its talking heads will neglect to explain that, traditionally, conservatives don’t respond to exit polls, making the results completely one-sided and meaningless.  The media will declare certain Eastern states for Obama long before actual results are in — with the result that people west of the Mississippi might think it’s pointless to vote.

It’s never pointless to vote.  If you think you might be too late to vote, don’t rely on the media to check poll closing times.  Go check the polling place out yourself.  Take the time to drive up to your polling place and see if you can get in.

Every vote, from every person, in every state counts.  If you are the last person voting on the furthest island of Hawaii tomorrow, YOUR VOTE COUNTS.  Please remember the infinitesimally small margin by which Bush won Florida in 2000.  EVERY VOTE COUNTS.  I cannot guarantee that we will win if all of us vote tomorrow, but I can guarantee that we will lose if we allow the media to bamboozle us into walking away from the polls before the last polling place is locked and the lights turned out.

And one more thing:  if Obama wins tomorrow — and it’s entirely possible that he will — do not throw temper tantrums and announce that you’re moving someplace where conservatives are respected (and good luck finding that place, anyway).  Instead, immediately begin to work, not for 2012, but for 2010.  Because I can almost promise you that, after a mere two years of non-stop, all encompassing Democratic rule, voters will be desperate to throw the Democrats out of the House and Senate.  Then, having accomplished that goal, start working for 2012, when Palin and Cantor and Jindal and Steele, and a whole host of other exciting young conservatives will be chomping at the bit to take over the reins of government.

It’s true that an all-Democratic government led by Obama can do a lot of damage in a short time, but it will do even more damage if we turn away in disgust and cede government entirely to the Democratic agenda.  We still have a voice in this country and we will continue to have a voice even if the first thing the Democrats do is pass a new Fairness Doctrine.  When the old Fairness Doctrine was wiped out, everyone was surprised by the pent-up hunger for conservative thought.  This time, though, we know that hunger exists, and we will find an outlet by which to feed it.

But let’s not worry about that future.  Instead….

VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE

A few more McCain endorsements

There’s one word that inevitably comes to mind when I think of the Paragraph Farmer:  thoughtful.  Patrick looks deeply into issues, rather than just skating over the surface.  If you scootch yourself over to this link, you will see a very thoughtful post explaining why Patrick is voting for McCain — and, if you’re a little shy of McCain, it might just convince.

And for a series of McCain endorsements, Soccer Dad has assembled a whole bunch of ‘em, including one from yours truly.  Some of your favorite conservative bloggers are represented there, and you may find interesting their three sentence encomiums for the McCain/Palin ticket.

Jonah Goldberg also keys in on the issues

My big push in the next two weeks is to keep the focus on the two parties’ differing visions of America.  It’s much easier to get a handle on the big picture, and avoids the mud-slinging associated with the personalities lined up behind these ideological views.  I’ve pointed out that, if you like big government, whether it’s supposedly benefitting you or actually burdening you, pick Obama/Biden, no matter the problems with those candidates.  Likewise, if you like smaller government (because, sadly, there is no small government), even though it means you get fewer benefits, go for McCain/Palin.

Jonah Goldberg (unsurprisingly) is also writing about these huge ideological divides — statism versus individualism, small government versus big government — divides that transcend personality.  His starting point is by-now-very-symbolic Joe the Plumber:

Wurzelbacher symbolizes an optimistic, individualistic vision of America sorely lacking — until recently — in McCain’s rhetoric.

Barack Obama, in contrast, has offered the most rhetorically eloquent defense of collectivism since Franklin D. Roosevelt. In his biographical video at the Democratic convention, he proclaimed that in America, “one person’s struggle is all of our struggles.” In his acceptance speech, he artfully replaced the idea of the American dream with the century-old progressive nostrum of “America’s promise.”

But the two visions are in opposition: the former individualistic, the latter collectivist. We each have our own idea of the American dream. Joe the Plumber’s is to own a small plumbing company; yours might be something else entirely. In America, that’s fine, because the pursuit of happiness is an individual, not a collective, right.

Obama’s “America’s promise,” meanwhile, harkens back a century to the writings of such progressives as Herbert Croly (author of The Promise of American Life), who demonized individualism while sanctifying collective action overseen by the state. Obama often articulates a vision of government inspired by the biblical injunction to be our brother’s keeper. Few would dispute the moral message, but many disagree that such religious imperatives are best translated into tax or economic policy. (Where are the separation-of-church-and-state fetishists when you need them?) But individualists haven’t had much of a voice in McCain, at least not until last week.

I’m sure you’ll want to read the rest, which you’ll find here.

Obama’s positions — some of which you might not like

At HotAir, you can read this long, detailed and thoughtful post examining Obama’s positions on myriad issues.  As you read the post, think about what I was trying to say yesterday:  figure out what beliefs you hold, and then match them to the candidate.  We’ve been so personality driven this election, that it’s been all too easy to say Obama = smart, dumb, honest, crooked, inspired, drab, inexperienced, etc., or Palin = savvy, idiotic, conservative, wacky, intelligent, inexperienced, experienced, etc.  All these adjectives are easy to throw around, but neither adjective in this war of words (or invective) presents an honest assessment of the beliefs these two lightening rods hold.

As I said before, if your fundamental belief is that government is the answer, Obama, whether he’s smart, dumb, honest, dishonest, or whatever, is your candidate.  (Although you might want to heed Biden’s warning that America will be attacked by a foreign entity and Obama’s response will challenge even the faithful.)

On the other hand, if you think government’s role is to protect Americans’ freedom as much as possible, and to step in only to police deviations from honesty, than the McCain-Palin ticket is your answer, and that’s true regardless of whether you think McCain is old, experienced, too aggressive, not aggressive enough, or whatever.  Incidentally, I’d add to this that you’re a McCain-Palin kind of voter if you don’t like OPEC manipulating world oil prices to our detriment and pouring the profits into funding radical Islam around the world.

Anyway, ignore the personalities and the invective.  Look at your beliefs, align them with the candidates’ records (not their rhetoric), and vote accordingly.

One other reminder:  For those who are pro-Choice, but are in all other respects aligned with the McCain-Palin ticket, please don’t let that stop you from voting for them.  The worst that will happen is what should have happened all along, before the dishonest Roe v. Wade opinion (and even abortion proponents concede its dishonesty):  The issue will be recognized as one that is not a proper matter for federal involvement and will be returned to the States.

In blue states, it will remain entirely legal.  In purple states, it will remain entirely or mostly legal.  In the handful of true, blue red states, it might, might be narrowed, although it will always be available in cases of rape, incest or risk to the mother.

I know this is an important issue for conservative pro-Choicers, but don’t let it narrow your frame of reference so much that it blinds you to all the other important issues, many of which will have more and greater impact on the greatest number of Americans than abortion ever will.

A heartening rumor

I have no idea if this email, which I got from the local Republican grapevine, is true, so I offer it for whatever you think it’s worth:

Good morning,

I wanted to pass along something heard Saturday at a community event. As most of you may know, Zogby International is headquartered in our neck of the woods in Utica. I happened to chat with a couple of people who work for Zogby and were quite emphatic about the recent 2-3 point Obama edge. They said, did not imply, that it’s even closer. The reason? Zobgy contractually is required to poll more Democrats than Republicans. The folks who passed along this intel are strong supporters of McCain-Palin working for the very big Democrat John Zogby. They stressed that the Zogby lunch table buzz is that this is a dead heat and right now is the time that McCain can win the election.

It could just be our version of psy-ops, but who knows?

Tonight’s debate

I’m not sure I need to watch tonight’s debate, because I already know how it’s going to play out:

SCHIEFFER:  Good evening, gentlemen.  You already know the rules, so let’s start with the questions.  Sen. Obama, the first question is for you:  Please describe for the American voters the way in which your economic plan is going to ensure that everyone will end up wealthy.

OBAMA:  Thank you, Bob.  Briefly:  wealth, blah, blah, blah, pie, blah, blah, blah, wealth, blah, blah, blah, pie, blah, blah, blah, fair, blah, blah, blah, hope, blah, change.

SCHIEFFER:  Sen. McCain, could you please discuss the details of your plan to cut taxes on oil companies?

McCAIN:  Thank you, Bob.  Before I get to my own plan, I’d like to discuss a point Sen. Obama made.  You see, he errs, when he….

SCHIEFFER:  Did you say “Ayers” Sen. McCain?  I’m sorry, but we’re out of time for your answer.  My next question is for you Sen. Obama.  Jesse Jackson recently said that “zionists” will lose their “clout” under an Obama administration.  Can you please comment on that statement.

OBAMA:  First, let me say that that is not the Jesse Jackson I knew.  Second, let me assure the American people that each of my advisors, past or present, whether Samantha Power, Robert Malley, Jeremiah Wright, George Soros, Zbigniew Bzrezinski, etc., are all (cough, cough), uh, stdfjd suerrureuf of Israel.

SCHIEFFER:  Excuse me, Sen. Obama.  Did you say that they are “staunch supporters of Israel?”

OBAMA:  Cough, cough.  Ahem.  Uh, uh, uh, why yes, Bob, I believe I did.  Yeah.  That’s the ticket.  Yeah, they’re all staunch supporters of Israel.

SCHIEFFER:  Sen. McCain, do you have a response?

McCAIN:  Bob, I don’t believe Sen. Obama is right about….

SCHIEFFER:  Uh, Sen. McCain, did you say “Wright?”  I’m sorry, but we’re out of time for your response.  Next question is for you Sen. McCain.  The Bush administration recently announced that it is removing North Korea from its list of “state sponsors of terrorism.” Can you please comment on that point, and be sure to describe all treaties with North Korea, and their outcome, since the end of active hostilities in the 1950s.

McCAIN:  I’m glad you asked that question, Bob.  As I often like to say, great oaks from little acorns grow….

SCHIEFFER:  Did you say “ACORN,” Sen. McCain?  I’m sorry, but we’re out of time for your response.

OBAMA:  Can I interrupt here for a minute, Bob?

SCHIEFFER:  Of course you can, Senator.

OBAMA:  I’d just like to say, with regard to North Korea, that blah, blah, small country, blah, blah, talk, blah, blah, no cowboy diplomacy, blah, blah, hope, blah, change, blah, blah pie, pie, pie.

SCHIEFFER:  Thank you, Senator.  That’s very insightful.  Sen. McCain, do you have anything to add to what Sen. Obama said?

McCAIN:  I simply can’t agree with Sen. Obama’s optimism regarding North Korea.  It’s one of the most brutal socialist regimes in the world, and unless that government opens itself up to a new party….

SCHIEFFER:  Sen. McCain, did you say “New Party?”  I’m sorry, sir, but we’re out of time for your response.  Next question for you, Sen. Obama:  Describe the way in which your health care plan will ensure that every person now living in America will have full, top flight health care.

OBAMA:  I’m glad you asked that, Bob.  Under my plan, every American will have full, top flight health care — for free, all of it paid for by the oil companies and other corporate parasites preying on the brave American taxpayer.  Indeed, within a few years, under my plan, our health care will improve so much that we’ll be the envy of other nations, and we’ll be able to hold our heads up with pride when comparing ourselves to such stellar universal health care systems as those found in Cuba, England, Germany, and the rest of the socialized, um, I mean civilized, world.

SCHIEFFER:  We’ve run out of time for a rebuttal there, Sen. McCain, but I’ll direct my next question to you.  You’ve said that you believe that the American economy, which has been in free-fall for the past two weeks, and which seems to be entering the next Great Depression, is fundamentally strong.  Please explain, with statistics, where you come by this notion.

McCAIN:  It’s true that right now we’re seeing a serious market downturn, and I have to say that I did predict this a few years ago, when I actively sought oversight of the way in which banks were being forced to hand out loans to unqualified lenders, all with the assurance that Fannie and Freddie would buy them, insure them (knowing that the taxpayers would bear any losses), and resell them.  But in answer to your question, I believe in the American economy, because I believe in Americans.  Just the other day, in Wichita, I got to speak to Maurice Seger and Linda Mezzo about….

SCHIEFFER:  I’m sorry, Sen. McCain.  Did you say Pfleger and Rezko?  I see from our clock that we have run out of time for this debate.  Thank you, gentlemen, for you participation.  It is always a privilege to be part of an effort that allows the American people to see their presidential candidates and hear what they have to say on the issues.

To a hammer, everything is a nail (or, let’s talk racism)

Our world view determines how we process new data.  If your world view is bounded by race, every new bit of information is going to be run through that racial filter, and divided into “racist” or “non-racist” categories.  If you only have two intake bins, the information has to go into one of them.  For Obama and his supporters, with their two bins, the logical approach after new data is run through their narrow filter is to dump anything negative into the “racist” bin.

We’ve seen this happening for a while, and the S.F. Chron (which is one of those binary “everything is racist (or not)” hammers) has a very good article on the subject.  Not “good” because it’s objective and intelligent, but “good” because it is the perfect paradigm of the identity politics paranoia that permeates this campaign. I’ll just quote and fisk a few paragraphs to give you an idea of what I mean:

While Obama’s campaign has fended off racially rooted attacks since its inception [Absolutely no racist attacks have come from the Republican party or from McCain.  Instead, Obama has been fending off potential racist attacks that live only in his imagination.], analysts say the ones surfacing in the past few days have been more overt, arriving as many undecided voters are making their final decision. They are part of a recent stream of attacks on his background, including his religion and his connections to a former ’60s radical.  [I lived through the 60s.  Radicals came in all colors.  The only black ones were the Panthers.  The vast majority were, like Ayers and Dohrn, white.]

[snip]

Instead of using a grainy photo of a grizzled convict as Atwater did, the current attacks, analysts say, are embedded in “coded” language. They cite as examples Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin portraying Obama as a cultural outsider and friend to terrorists [Two factual words:  Arugula and Ayers.]  and the dismissive way his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, referred to Obama at their Tuesday night debate as “that one.”  [That wasn't about race, that Freudian slip was about Obama's delusions of Messiah-like grandeur, and a journalist who was not blinkered by the binary racism filter would have realized that.]

[snip]

Then there have been the speakers at McCain-Palin rallies who continue, unchecked by the candidates, to refer to “Barack Hussein Obama” – the emphasis on his middle name is an implication that Obama, who is a Christian, is Muslim. [I hate to say it, but Hussein is, in fact, his middle name.  Nobody got upset when we referred to William Jefferson Clinton.  When I'm mad at my children, I emphasize that fact by calling them by all three names.  It is a way of calling them out and making yourself heard.]  The latest occurred Wednesday in Pennsylvania, when Bill Platt, the Lehigh County Republican chairman, mentioned Obama’s former reluctance to wear an American flag lapel pin and said: “Think about how you’ll feel on Nov. 5 if you see the news that Barack Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, is president of the United States.”  [Yeah, let's call Obama out for being un-American.  Call him out, by all three names, to make sure he listens.]

‘Nuff said.  You get the point.

As for how we should respond, I think we should ignore them and do what we need.  A little anecdote might be useful here.

About thirty years ago, I got my hands on the autobiography of Maria von Trapp, she of Sound of Music fame.  While most of what I read in that book instantly went down my own personal memory hole, one anecdote stuck with me forever.  von Trapp described herself as something of a deliquent growing up.  Whether she was in a home or a school or an orphanage, I don’t recall, but it was a place that assumed that all children were doing bad things.  The policy therefore, was to beat the child daily on the assumption that, even if the caregiver hadn’t seen the naughty acts, the child had certainly engaged in such acts, making punishment appropriate.  Maria von Trapp drew the logical conclusion:  if she was going to be beaten regardless of whether she was good or bad, she might as well have the fun of being bad.

In this case, since the McCain campaign is damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t — no matter what it says, it’s racist — it should stop trying to edit itself, and just say what needs to be said.  The one thing I’m absolutely certain of is that the McCain campaign does not now and never has had any intention of being racist in the traditional mode of saying that Obama is defective because of his race.  So, free yourself little McCain birdies and fly.  Whether you’re in the nest or in the sky, the media vultures will be watching.

(Oh, and if you really want classic racism, in the form of a statement that assumes that most blacks are inferior, with a few significant exceptions, check this one out.)

And I’ll remind you once more that I’m a racist and proud of it — so long as I, like the Democrats, get to define the term to suit my own purposes.

Laer also has thoughts about this “code” we’ve all suddenly learned how to speak and interpret.

Debating whether to watch the debate *UPDATE*

While hustling the kids through homework, dinner and bed time, I’ve still read tons of debate live blogs — American Thinker, Contentions, Michelle Malkin, the Corner, Power Line — and the verdict from each of them is the same:  the debate was b-o-r-i-n-g, all three (Brokaw, McCain and Obama) performed badly, and nothing happened to change the status quo that sees Obama slightly ahead.  Indeed the one verdict I read (and I can no longer remember where) that best summed up what everyone was saying was that Obama succeeded in looking like central casting’s version of the generic black president on a TV show, which may be good enough for most Americans.

Tell me now:  is there any reason I should watch the debate, or should I just delete it from TiVo and have done with it?  If Michael Graham, at the Corner, is right, I’d be a lot happier watching one of the lovely old movies I’ve saved on TiVo:

It wasn’t a debate — there was no “debating.” It wasn’t a town hall — the people didn’t speak. It wasn’t an interview — there were virtually no follow-ups. It wasn’t a contest of ideas. The two “contestants” shared most of the same ideas.

This was a lost 90 minutes out of my life, and a huge, irreplaceable, lost opportunity for the McCain campaign. Why is it that a maverick like McCain allowed himself to be led by the nose like this?

Fred Barnes on FOX is making the point right now that Rick Warren did a better job than this.

UPDATE: The Anchoress has a wonderful collection of reactions. The most interesting, to me, is the fact that Intrade dropped Obama drastically — by 24 points.  Apparently Obama was so lugubrious that he lost points to the vital, happy warrior, Sarah Palin.