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.
Worth noting: Democrats had good reason to be nervous going into the Denver convention – and the problem looked to be bigger than just the bruised feelings between the Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton camps.
Recent polls of California voters show that going into Denver, Obama’s support among key independent voters had dropped nine points in a month – cutting his lead over John McCain to less than 10 points in this bluest of blue states.
A poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California showed Obama’s lead over McCain dropping to 48 percent to 39 percent among all likely voters – down six points from July.
Obama is still comfortably ahead of McCain statewide, and institute pollster Mark Baldassare noted that a Republican hasn’t carried California since the first George Bush in 1988- so odds are Obama will still take the state.
Nonetheless, the Democrats might well heed that the race has narrowed to single digits.
Four years ago, before the Democrats held their convention, John Kerry had an 11-point advantage over George W. Bush here in California, according to Baldassare’s polling – about where Obama’s lead was before his convention last week.
And while Kerry eventually won California, we all know who took the big prize.
Unlike Hillary’s speech, Bill’s attempts to focus on Obama, rather than on generic Democratic goals. Bill has a problem, though — the object of his praise has no record on which to run. The best that Bill can do is create what amounts to a report card for a good student: he’s a nice guy with a firm grasp of his subject at a purely academic level:
He [Obama] has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President needs. His policies on the economy, taxes, health care and energy are far superior to the Republican alternatives. He has shown a clear grasp of our foreign policy and national security challenges, and a firm commitment to repair our badly strained military. His family heritage and life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation and to restore our leadership in an ever more interdependent world. The long, hard primary tested and strengthened him. And in his first presidential decision, the selection of a running mate, he hit it out of the park.
We’ve all attended school with kids who were academically bright, but who just never quite grasped the functional realities of the world outside of school. To date, Obama’s greatest skill has been advancing himself. Other than that, he’s
- written two self-congratulatory books;
- done a stint on a law review without any writing of his own (and you don’t know how bizarre that is);
- done a stint as a law professor without leaving any written record or clear ideas;
- done a stint as a community organizer and local politician that saw him (a) funnel money to his friends; (b) bollux up a major grant program; and (c) do nothing; and
- spent three years in the US Senate, most of them campaigning for the job of President.
Obama’s Ivy League degrees notwithstanding, that’s a mighty thin resume for a night watchman, let alone the President of the most powerful nation in the world. Shouldn’t he be tested in the real world a bit more before he uses the US Presidency as his first job experience?
And it’s not just me being snarky. Go back and read Bill’s words. He couldn’t find a single substantive point to make about the guy — and he still went one better than his wife, who didn’t even try.
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.
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.
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
*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
Remember a year and a half ago when the MSM, directly and indirectly, assured us that Hillary’s candidacy was inevitable?
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.
Clinton set to concede delegate race to Obama AP – 4 minutes ago WASHINGTON – Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president.
Clinton campaign says she’s not conceding Reuters – 1 hour, 32 minutes ago WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is “absolutely not” planning to concede the campaign to Barack Obama on Tuesday night, Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe told CNN on Tuesday.
Obama creeps past McCain in opinion poll AFP – 1 hour, 44 minutes ago WASHINGTON (AFP) – Democratic White House candidate Barack Obama has pulled ahead of Republican John McCain in the latest Gallup voter opinion survey, published Tuesday in USA Today.
The first two items show how quickly the situation can change in today’s political world, with news that’s an hour and a half old already being stale and useless. The third item is just scary.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Decide on your price and look only at wines in that price range.
- Decide on your color, red, white or rose.
- Pick a pretty label.
- 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.
My father was a very angry man. At whichever job he had, he was pretty darn certain that management was out to get him. At stores, he knew he was being cheated. My mother always attributed this anger, not to the poverty and dislocation of his youth (placed in an orphanage at 5, refugee from the Nazis at 15, fighter in the RAF at 19), but to the Communism of his youth.
You see, my father grew up in the Dickensian Jewish slums of Berlin in the 1920s. Unsurprisingly, these slums were hotbeds of Communism and, while his mother was apolitical, his brother and sister were fervent Communists. Although they were much older than he was, they nevertheless managed to infect him with their political ideology, so much so that, while he eventually was a rock solid Democrat (until 1980) his world view was colored by the concept of class warfare — in his mind, anyone who was better situated than he was, was by definition out to get him.
My Dad and his siblings, therefore, were Communists in the perfect Marxist sense. They emerged from the underclass. They were genuinely downtrodden. The cards were completely stacked against them. Their class animus was understandable. It also made them very, very angry, and fairly dysfunctional in ordinary capitalist circumstances. His sister, indeed, was so hostile to Israel for adopting a mild form of socialism that she returned to East Germany to live in the Communist paradise. His brother was incapable of working in a capitalist system, or even a semi-socialist system, and ended his life in squalor, a low-level civil servant in Copenhagen, living in a one room apartment with his wife and child.
As for my Dad, he married my mom. My mom, too, had a life time of poverty and dislocation, but was never tainted by Communism. She is, indeed, to this day, perfectly happy with Capitalism in theory, although the fact that she was married to my father meant she never got to realize any real economic benefits from the system. Because of my Mom, my Dad completed his education, had children, and held down a job. He bought a home, and he became friends with rich people because, while we had no money, my Mom has class. He discovered that rich people, at least in America, weren’t evil parasites but were, in fact, very nice — and very hard-working. He moved right, so far, in fact, that he was one of the Reagan Democrats. I’m certain that he would be a McCain Demcrat too, were he still living. But he still would have been paranoid, convinced that the world was out to get him.
Believe it or not, there is a point to all of this biographical rumination and it’s anger. One could accuse my Mom of being guilty of amateur armchair psychology, with her certainty that it was Communism, not poverty, that fed my Dad’s anger. I think she’s right, though. We see even today that the Left is very, very angry. Despite the fact that life in America is, for most people, very good and certainly is, again for most people, better than it’s ever been at any other time or place in history, the Left sees America in only the grimmest terms. America is an evil oppressor. America intentionally hurts people. America lives to abuse people for racist reasons. You’ve seen DailyKos and the Democratic Underground and the HuffPo and the New York Times and the WaPo, and you know these feelings are out there.
What’s peculiar about this evil capitalist mantra is that it no longer emanates from the underclass. Think about the proponents of these theories: John Kerry, billionaire; Al Gore, multi-millionaire; John Edwards, multi-millionaire; Hillary Clinton, multi-millionaire; Nancy Pelosi, multi-millionaire; Jeremiah Wright, rich pastor moving into exclusive white enclave; the Obamas, products of America’s top education systems and, within the past few years, millionaires; Harry Reid, multi-millionaire; Barbara Boxer, millionaire. I’m stopping here, but you can add your own names to the list.
These people I’ve named are not, as my father was, social rejects who live in (or came from) squalor that is almost impossible to imagine now. They haven’t been kicked from pillar to post by the upper classes, nor have they been refugees, nor have they been denied opportunities. These people are the cream of the crop, the ones who have benefited most from America’s economic and educational opportunities. For those of us working gazillions of hours a week, holding two jobs, watching fuel prices tick up, wondering how we’ll pay for our children’s educations, and hoping no one gets seriously sick, they are the ones to be envied. They are the ruling class.
And yet every single one of the people I’ve named, and all of the similarly situated people I didn’t think of but that you did, share something in common with my down-trodden, refugee father — they’re really, really angry. So I have to think that this overarching, paranoid anger does not arise because of someone’s economic situation or their vertical position in the social hierarchy. Instead, my Mom was right all along: Communism, or whatever form of Leftism is currently in vogue, is attractive to those who are angry, and it breeds anger in those who otherwise might avoid that emotion.
And while anger is a universal trait, and clearly operates to help us survive in dangerous situations, those of us who have lived with chronic anger know that its long-term effects can only be harmful. For the angry individual, the results are ill-health, as the heart and guts rebel against the streams of bile flowing through the system. For the person living with someone angry, the downsides run the gamut from stress, anxiety and depression, to actual physical danger (a situation that my father, bless him, never created). And for those who live in a country powered by the angry, one sees political self-loathing, which leads suicidal behavior when it comes to both the economy and national security.
One of the things I’ve come to like about John McCain is that, while he definitely has a temper, that seems to be a generic trait. That is, he suffers from situational anger. He has what, in the old days, used to be called a quick temper. He is, in other respects, a sunny optimistic soul, and that despite his years as a POW. What McCain clearly lacks is the brooding, paranoid anger that characterizes the Left, and for that reason I believe that, his temper notwithstanding, he’d definitely be a sunnier presence in the White House than his embittered opponents.
I also think that Americans share McCain’s more sunny optimism. I can’t imagine that, over the long run, they’re going to be attracted to professional paranoids who live in the mansions on the hill, sucking every bit of wealth they can from the system, all the while castigating ordinary Americans for being greedy, embittered fools.
UPDATE: Here’s something to chew on regarding the basic decency and optimism that characterizes John McCain.
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.
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.
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.
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. [Update: Here'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.
Our local public radio station was replaying the most recent Hillbama debate, and so I listened to a piece of it that had slipped under my radar the first time. It’s actually quite funny, despite the scary implications of what Hillary is saying she’ll do regarding Iraq if she’s elected President. Here’s what she said, with my little interlineations:
MR. GIBSON: Let me just add a little bit to that question, because your communications director in your campaign, Howard Wolfson on a conference call recently was asked, “Is Senator Clinton going to stick to her announced plan of bringing one or two brigades out of Iraq every month whatever the realities on the ground?” And Wolfson said, “I’m giving you a one-word answer so we can be clear about it, the answer is yes.”
So if the military commanders in Iraq came to you on day one and said this kind of withdrawal would destabilize Iraq, it would set back all of the gains that we have made, no matter what, you’re going to order those troops to come home?
SENATOR CLINTON: Yes, I am, Charlie. And here’s why: You know, thankfully we have a system in our country of civilian control of the military. And our professional military are the best in the world. They give their best advice and then they execute the policies of the president. I have watched this president as he has continued to change the rationale and move the goalposts when it comes to Iraq. [Garbled, but she seems to be saying that Bush has been receiving the best military advice available, and he's been ignoring it so that he can continue to stay in Iraq.]
And I am convinced that it is in America’s best interest, it is in the best interest of our military, and I even believe it is in the best interest of Iraq, that upon taking office, I will ask the secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff and my security advisers to immediately put together for me a plan so that I can begin to withdraw within 60 days. I will make it very clear that we will do so in a responsible and careful manner, because obviously, withdrawing troops and equipment is dangerous. [However, when I, Hillary, am President, I won't bother to listen to any advice at all, and then ignore it. Instead, without going through boring channels, based upon my civilian understanding of events in iraq, I'll simply demand that we start withdrawing troops. Hah!]
I will also make it clear to the Iraqis that they no longer have a blank check from the president of the United States, because I believe that it will be only through our commitment to withdraw that the Iraqis will begin to do what they have failed to do for all of these years.
I will also begin an intensive diplomatic effort, both within the region and internationally, to begin to try to get other countries to understand the stakes that we all face when it comes to the future of Iraq. [Because really, those idiot leaders currently have no idea how dangerous it is to have Iran building itself up.]
But I have been convinced and very clear that I will begin to withdraw troops within 60 days. And we’ve had other instances in our history where some military commanders have been very publicly opposed to what a president was proposing to do. [Note how she doesn't say the numbers she'll withdraw. If she removes 10 people, she's kept her promise.]
But I think it’s important that this decision be made, and I intend to make it.
MR. GIBSON: But Senator Clinton, aren’t you saying — I mean, General Petraeus was in Washington. You both were there when he testified, saying that the gains in Iraq are fragile and are reversible. Are you essentially saying, “I know better than the military commanders here”? [He's absolutely right. That is what she said in the first paragraph above.]
SENATOR CLINTON: No, what I’m saying, Charlie, is that no one can predict what will happen. [True, but our military commanders, armed with massive amounts of facts and experience, are presumably in the best position to make some predictions.] There are many different scenarios. But one thing I am sure of is that our staying in Iraq, our continuing to lose our men and women in uniform, having many injured, the Iraqi casualties that we are seeing as well, is — is no way for us to maintain a strong position in the world. [So, again, she's saying precisely what she said before: I'm not only going to ignore the military commanders, I'm not even going to bother asking for their advice because, in an unpredictable situation, I clearly know better than anyone else what's going on and what to do.]
It’s not only about Iraq. It is about ending the war in Iraq, so that we can begin paying attention to all of the other problems we have. There isn’t any doubt that Afghanistan has been neglected. It has not gotten the resources that it needs. We hear that from our military commanders responsible for that region of the world. And there are other problems that we have failed to address.
So the bottom line for me is, we don’t know what will happen as we withdraw. We do know what will happen if we stay mired in Iraq. The Iraqi government will not accept responsibility for its own future. [Bottom line: I have no idea what's going to happen; I'm going to ignore the commanders who warn of a blood bath, and I'm going to withdraw. So there!]
Our military will continue to be stretched thin, and our soldiers will be on their second, third, even their fourth deployment. And we will not be able to reassert our leadership and our moral authority in the world.
And I think those are the kind of broad issues that a president has to take into account.
What’s really scary is that Hillary is less wacko on this subject than Obama.
Oops! Looked at the clock. Gotta run.
In the old days — pre-internet — politicians were able to get away with a lot of lies. This wasn’t because they lied better than they do now. It was because it was more difficult to suss out the truth and, even if one was successful in doing so, it was very challenging, if the liar was a media favorite, to get the media to report on the story. That has changed, of course. The internet means that, sometimes within hours of a public figure’s lie, the truth comes streaming down the pipeline. Even if the old media doesn’t want to report it, it nevertheless becomes public knowledge.
That being the case, one has to wonder why Obama and Hillary lie and lie and lie and lie. Hillary, perhaps, can be forgiven because she came of age politically before the new media took over, by which time bad, dishonest habits had set in. But Obama doesn’t have that excuse, because his political rise came after the new media was already in place. Since these are both intelligent, goal-oriented people, one would think that they would have a little auto-edit in their brain that reminds them not to talk about sniper fire, not to deny contacts with Tony Rezko, not to pretend that they spent 20 years resolutely ignoring their minister’s sermons, and really, really not to pretend to have gun experience. As it is, one can easily assume that they are either pathological liars, who are therefore incapable of stopping themselves, or that they are so arrogant about their virtues, and so dismissive of the intelligence of ordinary Americans, that they truly think all those lies won’t have any effect on their images.
At this point, I can see that you’re all asking yourselves, what does this post have to do with the post-title, “The MSM — mis-educating the masses?” Well, the post title goes to the third possible theory about the chronic lying coming from Hillary and Obama — which is that they’re still counting on the media to run interference for them. To those of us who live their intellectual lives in the internet, it’s inconceivable that people might still rely solely on the old media for their news, but it is true. And as Ed Morrissey has pointed out in a post about McCain’s response to Obama’s “bitter” speech, “I think it wouldn’t hurt to point out that most of the press have focused on the only portion of the statement that wasn’t terribly objectionable, and that neither they nor Obama have spoken about casting Midwestern voters as bible-thumping, gun-hugging bigots.”
As it happens, I got direct evidence yesterday that, at least as to some voters, the MSM approach is working. I was speaking with a liberal friend who feels very informed, because she reads the local paper and watches the news on TV. She could not understand why I was put off by Obama’s speech. When I explained that I, along with many others, found it offensive that he contended that economic hardship turned people into “bible-thumbing, gun-hugging,” xenophobic idiots, she categorically denied that he had said any such thing: “I heard him on the news. All he said was that places like Pennsylvania have suffered under George Bush’s terrible policies.” When I assured her that he had said much more than that, she continued in her denial — and refused to look up the full quotation. In other words, as to that one liberal, the old media had very effectively run interference, leaving her believing that Obama had done no more than point out an economic reality that the “worst President ever” caused, only to be lambasted by radical conservatives.
This absolute refusal to acknowledge facts or to contemplate their import seems to be endemic to liberals. I got a lovely example in my own home the other day. Mr. Bookworm and I were sitting on the couch. He got up to brush his teeth, and then returned to the couch. Realizing he’d left the light on, he stood up again, which is when I discovered on the couch, directly under the spot on which his right arm had rested, a long smear of toothpaste that hadn’t been there before. Investigation revealed that he also had toothpaste on his right arm. Toothpaste is very hard to get off of couches, so I said to him, “Hey, you got toothpaste on the couch!”
What was so fascinating was that Mr. Bookworm resolutely denied that he had anything to do with the toothpaste. He didn’t deny that he had just brushed his teeth. Nor did he deny that the toothpaste first made its appearance on the couch after he returned from brushing his teeth. Instead, he kept saying, over and over again, “That can’t have happened. I rinsed all of the toothpaste off of me.”
Right now, all evidence to the contrary, the Democratic candidates and their MSM enablers are resolutely denying that there is any toothpaste on the couch. Before the internet revolution, this approach would have worked as to all voters. Now, as we move deeper and deeper into the internet revolution, it is still working with some voters, although I suspect their numbers will continue to decline.
The MSM is going after McCain, but the fact is that, the more they dribble out details about the man, the more I admire what I learn. Regardless of his sometimes flawed political instincts (that campaign financing thing, again), he is a very good human being, and an honorable one too. We know the same can’t be said about Hillary (although I’ll always credit her for being a very good mother to Chelsea), and we’re learning that the same can’t be said about Obama (something Ann Coulter exploits to devastating effect).
At American Thinker, James Edmund Pennington definitively explodes the myth that Obama is a “post-racial” candidate. In other words, Geraldine Ferraro had it absolutely right when she said, without any of Pennington’s careful analysis, that Obama ascended as quickly as he did solely because of his race. And as Pennington points out, that ascension must now be enshrined, solely because of his race:
The current agony of the Democratic Party, which grows more acute every day, is laden with an unspoken truth. As the unending Clinton-Obama struggle drags on, the core unutterable reality for Democrats is simply this: because of the composition of the Party’s domestic coalition, its continued electoral viability makes absolutely necessary perpetual capture of 90+% of the black vote.
Because of this grim fact — of the Party’s own making — the Clinton/Obama fight is over. Obama has won, and every leading Democrat knows it. In short, because of his race, Obama must be awarded the Democratic nomination. So much for the myth of America’s first major post-racial candidate.
Under no reasonably foreseeable set of future developments, including the possibility Obama’s exposure as a fatally compromised candidate, can Obama be denied the nomination. Doing so would subject the Democratic Party to the unacceptable risk that it would alienate its most dependably monolithic voter bloc. Hence, the daily gnashing of teeth by Party elders and the demand, which grows more hysterical each day, that Clinton concede a contest that at present is nothing more than a hard fought stalemate.
Without keeping focused on the Democrats’ self-chosen demographic cul-de-sac, the growing demands for Clinton’s withdrawal would be inexplicable, indeed, outrageous.
You can read the rest — and you’ll be happy you did — here.
Here’s one of John McCain’s most recent ads, one that claims its sole purpose is to honor his old high school teacher.
Over at Hot Air, they damn it with very faint praise indeed:
Not a terrible ad but also not the best use of money by a guy who’s staring down the barrel of a huge fundraising disadvantage. It’s part of McCain’s “biography tour,” aimed at burnishing the Straight Talk brand and neutralizing Obama’s Messiah narrative with frequent reminders that Maverick is, after all, a bona fide American hero. Jesus vs. George Washington, in other words, which makes this the equivalent of the cherry-tree story. Is this really something that’s going to earn him votes, that he once had a teacher who told him it’s not okay to lie? It works as background, but it’s so schmaltzy and generic — even Obama could get away with an ad like this, notwithstanding his feigned ignorance about Wright and that questionnaire, although Hillary surely couldn’t — that it’s bound to be fade into noise, unless the left digs up a particularly egregious lie in his record and brings this back to make him choke on it.
Everything said above is correct. For once, though, I think the guys at Hot Air completely miss the point. This ad is very important, in that it’s the first step in (a) attacking Obama’s/Clinton’s character and (b) giving McCain a basis for launching subsequent, more substantive attacks. You see, when you watch it, the ad actually says almost nothing about the sainted Mr. Ravenal. Instead it makes much of — and then repeats — the school’s honor code:
I will not lie
I will not cheat
I will not steal
I will report the student who does
We’re all familiar with Hillary’s political history, which is replete with examples of lying (snipers, anyone?), cheating (the list is too long), and stealing (and just how did those files end up in your office, Mrs. Clinton?). Obama’s history, to the extent he’s left one, is appearing just as murky. His prevarications about Wright are becoming the stuff of legend. He’s lied and been caught with regard to a survey he filled out. He cheated and stole the Rezko way. And so on and so forth.
McCain has made some dumb decisions (with campaign finance reform topping the list), and the Keating Scandal will haunt him, but I’m unaware of any stories of lying, cheating or stealing associated with him. Indeed, the last attempt to tar him with that brush backfired mightily, when it turned out that someone else “stole” from him. So, McCain has presented to the American people a mantra — I will not lie, I will not cheat, I will not steal — that defines him and that highlights his opponents’ myriad ethical failings.
More importantly, McCain has just explained to the American people why, during the upcoming head to head clash once the Dems have a candidate, he will have no compunction about pointing out the opposing candidate’s ethical failings. McCain won’t be making those attacks because he’s picking on a girl or an African-American; instead, he’ll be making those attacks because, for his whole life, going back to high school in the late 1950s, McCain has lived by a code that says that the honorable person not only does not engage in unethical behavior, but that he has an obligation to the community to report those who do.
Hillary Clinton’s boasts that she gained major foreign policy experience as First Lady have been undermined after 11,046 pages of her White House schedules provided scant evidence to back up her claims.
The documents were made public by the US national archives after pressure from her rival Barack Obama and freedom-of-information groups.
Many details were redacted at the request of lawyers acting for former president Bill Clinton, citing privacy and national security concerns.
Mrs Clinton’s staff insisted that the schedules illustrated her “extensive and exhaustive work” while arguing that they “of course cannot reflect all of Senator Clinton’s activities as First Lady”.
But her visits to Northern Ireland indicate that she went little beyond the traditional role of a president’s wife attending social events, meeting women’s groups and greeting children.
Despite Mrs Clinton’s claim last week that she was “instrumental” in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, the schedules do not record her attending a single policy meeting in the province.
While her husband was in the White House, she accompanied him to the province three times and made two visits on her own.
During the first trip in November 1995 the only separate items on her schedule were a visit to a women’s drop-in centre and two business parks.
Read more about Hillary’s sweetly womanly duties here.