For Obama, there is no “defining moment”

Arrogant ObamaI’ve noticed a phrase that keeps cropping up in connection with articles about Obama: “defining moment.” My most recent sighting was in a Power Line post discussing Obama’s desperate (and manifestly false) efforts to walk away from his claim that ISIS was a “JV” team. There, Scott Johnson ends optimistically:

I think that Obama’s flagrant misjudgment in this case is a defining moment. It is a misjudgment consistent with his 2012 campaign themes in which he declared victory over al Qaeda (“decimated” and “on the run”). It indelibly marks Obama himself as the JV president and he therefore flails away against it.

Scott Johnson isn’t the only one looking for something that will be an epitaph for Obama’s presidency. A couple of weeks ago, a lot of people were pretty darned surprised when Obama, who has known about ISIS for at least a year, and should have known about it for much longer, publicly admitted that he had “no strategy” for dealing with it. Thomas Lifson thought this too would end up defining the presidency:

President Obama has now placed himself in an extraordinarily vulnerable position should ISIS act against the American people with its customary savagery. His arrogant dismissal of it with a sports metaphor, his admission of no strategy, and his track record of dithering and unseriousness combine to make his gaffe into what could become his political epitaph.

Johnson and Lifson are not alone in their search for that perfect gaffe or image or policy. On both the Left and the Right, pundits keeps looking at something Obama has done and opining that, for better or worse, it’s a “defining moment.” In April, after yet another Obama blunder (this one about entrepreneurs) Pat Sajak has helpfully explained what constitutes a negative “defining moment” in a presidency:

It’s as if President Obama climbed into a tank, put on his helmet, talked about how his foray into Cambodia was seared in his memory, looked at his watch, misspelled “potato” and pardoned Richard Nixon all in the same day. It’s fun to imagine the hand-wringing that must be going on within the White House as staffers try to figure out how to undo the damage their boss has done with his anti-entrepenurial riff. Defining moments in politics are strange beasts. Sometimes they’re only recognized in hindsight, while sometimes they throw the train off the tracks before a sentence has been completed. Sometimes their effect can be contained and minimized, while sometimes their effect on the political narrative mestastasizes. This one is very bad for the White House.

These defining moments take hold most devastatingly when they confirm what a large portion of the electorate already believes. Taken alone, it seems unfair that a single moment, an unguarded remark or a slip of the tongue can carry such weight. They’re often dismissed as “gotcha” moments, but when voters are able to nod and say, “I knew it,” these moments stick and do terrible damage. We have witnessed such a moment.

Defining moments, whether positive or negative, are definitely useful depending on whether one supports or opposes the president who gets defined.  This time around, though, with this president, there will not be any defining moments.

What we forget when we think of the defining moments is the media’s essential role in promulgating them. The Jimmy Carter “killer rabbit” debacle perfectly exemplifies what I mean. Despite Carter’s Democrat creds, the media had tired of him by 1979. The economy was in the doldrums and the world seemed dangerous.  The Iranian hostage crisis hadn’t happened yet, but Carter looked weak (something that subsequent events proved).  When the “killer rabbit” story broke, the media was all too ready to humiliate him, especially because Teddy Kennedy was waiting in the wings:

carter_killer rabbit

jimmy-carter-and-the-swamp-rabbit

For a president who had already weathered lusting after the Polish people, not to mention all the lust in his heart, this was one foolish moment too many.

As you may recall, the media also savaged Presidential Gerald Ford, an exceptionally athletic man, as a clumsy yahoo. When he did what everyone occasionally does — trip — it was elevated into an intellectual and moral failing, defining his presidency in the eyes of a post-Watergate public already jaded by politicians and their foibles.

Obama is different, though.  The media absolutely refuses to follow up in any serious way when it comes to Obama’s gaffes and failures.  Sure, papers will report on them in a small paragraph in a boring article in the back of the paper and TV outlets might mention them in passing, but there is no real coverage.  Unlike the “killer rabbit” moment, which I distinctly remember showing up on the front page of the SF Chronicle, most American media consumers know nothing about ISIS = JV gaffes and lies, or “corpse-man” gaffes, or Hawaii=Asia gaffes, or “red line in Syria” gaffes, Benghazi spin, or even “If you like your insurance you can keep your insurance” lies.  These things are strictly insider politics, red meat for the fanatics who follow every little thing.  My sister, the quintessential low info consumer has never heard of any of these things unless I, a news nerd, expressly told her about them.

Conservatives can spin these moments as much as possible within the confines of the conservative blogosphere, but they’re not gaining traction and sticking in the larger public sphere.  To the extent conservatives lack the all-encompassing national reach of the mainstream media, news stories that ought to be “defining moments” remain insider laundry lists.  And no, Fox News alone is still insufficient.  While other television news outlets are failing compared to Fox, the fact that the liberals own all of the other television news outlet; HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central; the major print news outlets; all of the major magazines, from sports to fashion to gossip to household hints; our public schools; and the majority of Hollywood’s top performers means that, while news junkies get Fox, all other low-info consumers . . . don’t.

All is not perfect for the media, though.  While it’s experienced consistent success when it comes to quashing negative “defining moments” about Obama, it’s been unable to maintain any positive “defining moments.”  Thus, while most Americans haven’t been repeatedly  hit over the head with the Big Lie (“If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance”), they haven’t missed the fact that Obamacare has not performed as promised.  Likewise, while they probably missed both the “red line” and the JV statements, they’re fully aware of ISIS’s marauding, and are no doubt wondering how this can be happening under Obama’s reign of goodness and light.  Voters are getting the big picture (which is reflected in Obama’s collapsing poll numbers), but they’re missing the epitaphs.

Given voters’ increasing disenchantment with Obama, does it matter then that there is no sticky defining moment that becomes a shorthand for everything that’s wrong with the administration?  I think it does.  Without that sticky imagery, every Obama failing must be defined and disseminated from the ground up.  An analogy would be 50 First Dates, the movie in which Drew Barrymore, after a car accident, wakes up every day remembering only the events leading up to the car accident, with no memory of any subsequent events.  It’s a cute conceit for a movie, but a miserable way to run a country.

Does the apparently senile Jimmy Carter know anything about Islam?

Islam is premised upon Jihad — war.  It’s binary.  There’s either war against unbelievers or complete subordination to Allah.  What religion is Carter — an increasingly virulent anti-Semite who also seems to be declining quickly into a revolting old age — talking about?

For a more accurate view of Islam as Mohamed envisioned his faith, check out the Islamist fate dealt to Steven Sotloff, may he rest in peace:

P.S. Let me say that I know there are Muslims who do believe in peace, equality, etc., and God bless ‘em. They should be encouraged in their beliefs, and encouraged to start a reformation movement in their faith. I’m just saying that these “Enlightenment Muslims” (for want of a better term) are drawing those ideas from a source other than their religion.

The Bookworm Beat — empty house edition, Part II

Woman writingA moment of calm, so I’m resuming my round-up.

Things are not good all over

Richard Fernandez does a quick survey of the three main issues on America’s plate — Russia, Iraq, and Ebola — and is not sanguine. He’s not screaming that the end is near, but he thinks the optimistic voices (almost all from the Left, including the President’s own voice) are wrong.

I’m not the only one likening ISIS to Genghis Khan

Yesterday, I wrote that, in ISIS, we see a ferocity that has been missing (thankfully) since the time of Genghis Khan. My friend Terresa Monroe-Hamilton had the same thought: ISIS Sweeps The Middle East In A Method Reminiscent Of Genghis Khan. Unlike my mere passing commentary, Terresa details precisely why ISIS is so scary.

I only have one problem with the Genghis Khan analogy. Whenever I see that name written, all I can hear is John Kerry’s smug, vicious voice comparing American troops in Vietnam to “Jeng-jis” Khan.

When will the world realize that, to Islamists, we’re all Jews

It’s not just Israel that pays a high price when the West supports Hamas; ultimately, the whole Western world will be paying that price:

In practice denouncing the Jewish state means siding with the malevolent, murderous forces of jihadism, a stance that not only represents a complete inversion of morality but a ­suicidal disdain for the interests of western civilisation.

Read the rest here.

And remember:

They were Muslims

How to become a popular leader

In Israel, Netanyahu is wildly popular, something that dismays Obama, because that popularity means he can’t bully Bibi. My guess is that, if citizens in the West weren’t subject to a Pravda-esque media that hides Islamist depredations, those leaders who wage war against those same Islamists could also be wildly popular.

Of course, with mass protests in Western streets, you’d think people would be figuring out that the Islamists aren’t just in Iraq, but are all over. This is a scene from a pro-Hamas London protest that allegedly saw 100,000 people take to London’s streets:

Gaza supporters march on London

I’d say “I pity the poor fools who think those protests will stop with only Israel as the enemy,” but the fact is that those “poor fools” are useless idiots trying to get us all killed.

Jimmy Carter — just plain evil

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter sinks further and further into an abyss of immorality. Alan Dershowitz believes that he’s sunk so low because he’s literally sold his soul to the Saudis, a million here and a million there.

That price tag might explain Carter’s openness about his anti-Semitic, pro-Islamic totalitarian world view, but it doesn’t explain his embrace of that worldview in the first place. You have to be a pretty evil person even to think about selling your soul that way. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that America’s last two Democrat presidents have sold themselves to the Saudis? It speaks to a profound moral corruption on the Left.

I guess being steeped in hypocrisy does wipe clean the moral slate

Why does the GOP have a love affair with Cory Booker?

Eliana Johnson provides chapter and verse showing what a shady character Cory Booker is, as well as being a singularly competent politician when it comes to making good on his campaign promises. Why then, she asks, are Republicans playing nice with him and opting not to provide any meaningful support to Republican challengers? See, it’s things like this that just make conservatives hate the GOP.

News from the gay scene

In West Hollywood, the mayor thinks there should be more parks for dogs and fewer parks for children.

Meanwhile, fat gay men are struggling to fit into a gay culture that is (and always has been) obsessed with physical appearance. If you think women are catty about each other’s looks, you’ve never seen gay men opining about each other.

I did not leave my heart in San Francisco

This fairly accurate spoof is why I don’t regret having left San Francisco behind (although, having been born and raised there, I do still consider myself a San Franciscan — but a San Franciscan from the good old days):

Remember WWI

I wrote here earlier about a ceramic poppy installation at the Tower of London to commemorate the British who died in WWI. Here you can see pictures of this impressive and moving sight.

Pictures

Every time I look at this first one, I want to cry:
Matan Gotlib

Reagan on Concentrated power

David Burge on pacifists

Hamas is an innocent victim

Obama and Tahmooressi

Kurds dying

CNN airbrushes militant Islam

Difference between liberals and conservatives

Mid afternoon Friday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesThe lovely thing about summer is that I get to sleep in a little. I like that.

The less than lovely thing about summer is that I am never alone. More than that, if my family is near me, they want me. Sometimes they want me for irritating reasons, such as asking me to do things they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves (e.g., making themselves lunch); sometimes they want me for necessary things that only I can do (e.g., filling out the parent permission form for an activity or dealing with contractors); and sometimes they want me for flattering reasons (“I just want you to sit with me, Mommy.”). No matter the reason, I can’t write when they want me.

Other times, as is the case now, I have little bits and pieces of time within which to write. I’m therefore going to slam stuff out and you’ll just have to excuse the inevitable typos. If I proceed methodically here, I won’t be able to publish this until Monday.

** 1 **

Mitchell Langbert wrote an open letter to his state Senator asking that New York take away tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support the Boycott, Divest, Sanction movement:

I urge New York State to eliminate tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support involvement with the Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanctions movement. Such support is already illegal under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code, which prohibits the use of tax-exempt money for political and ideological purposes.

If Langbert is correct in the way he interprets the law, all of us should make a very big deal out of this one, not just in New York, but across America. (Hat tip: JKB.)

** 2 **

So far, Israel is doing very well. Ironically, one can say that she’s doing well because Obama hates her. With past administrations, when the president asked Israel to stop fighting Hamas, even when she was winning, Israel agreed to the request. She did so because all past administrations tacitly or explicitly promised that, if things get really bad, America will have Israel’s back.

Barack Obama, of course, doesn’t have Israel’s back. He’s mostly in Israel’s face, with a shiv aimed at her jugular. The fact that he manifestly dislikes Israel explains why Israel now refuses to listen to his pleas for her to back down. He’s got no carrot to entice her into listening to him, so Israel sneers at John Kerry when he, a Lurch without charm, insists Israel lay down her guns.

Israel is also doing well because Hamas is doing badly. The IDF put out a poster explaining just how badly Hamas is doing:

Hamas hurting

That poster doesn’t even acknowledge the 150 Hamas fighters who surrendered yesterday.

For more on just how well Israel is doing, you can read an American Thinker article that purports to report a conversation with a very highly placed Israeli specialist and Bibi advisor, or read Tom Rogan’s analysis about Israel’s success is splitting Hamas and Fatah.

** 3 **

That same Israeli specialist and advisor has no doubt about the basis for Obama’s hostility to Israel:

As for what is behind Obama’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, he attributes it to the fact that Obama is a Muslim and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Perhaps Obama also sees himself as the Caliph of any future Caliphate.

The other thing the post about the specialist mentions is Qatar’s involvement in funding radical Islam. Qatar also funds lots of soccer. My son loves soccer, and he can’t understand why I won’t let him buy gear from Qatar-funded teams.

** 4 **

Contrary to what the Left says or implies, the war between Israel and Hamas is not a case of powerful white people attacking helpless brown people. In fact, Israel is a multicultural, multiracial, multi-religious society — and all people of good will within that society, regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion, support stamping out the terrorism emanating from Gaza.

** 5 **

CNN’s Erin Burnett isn’t just another pretty face. She’s a really stupid pretty face, something that comes through loud and clear when Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador U.S., takes her to task for her inanely stupid “but what about the children” plea when it comes to the Gazan children that Hamas deliberate dots around weapons’ sites in Gaza.

Regarding Hamas’s tactics, I’m sure its supporters have made the point that the nature of Gaza (a small, urban area) means that Hamas can’t have nice military bases or remote areas where they can stockpile weapons. That’s true.

What’s also true, though, is that there are choices other than schools and hospitals for storing arms and mounting attacks. Moreover, when your enemy goes out of the way to give you advance warning that it plans to demolish the schools and hospitals in which they’ve determined you keep your weapons and fighters, there are choices other than ordering women and children and sick people to stay in those buildings.

There are always choices — and Hamas, when it chooses, always makes the least moral choice.

** 6 **

Meanwhile, as the world’s Muslims and Leftists castigate Israel for daring to defend herself in a more humane way than any other nation in history, most of the world is turning away from Muslim atrocities in Iraq and Syria. There, Muslims slaughter each other and Christians with fury and brutality, and in great numbers. Looking at this inconsistent behavior, one has to ask, If it’s not the oldest hatred that drives the obsessive focus on Israel, what is driving it?

** 7 **

Sultan Knish explains that terrorism is a tactic like any other. Traditional militaries think in terms of conquering land or towns. Terrorists think in terms of conquering minds through abject fear:

This emotional calculus is misleading because it is an immediate response to a set of deaths. However terrorists are not trading an end to violence for a village or a town. They are calculating how many deaths it will take to force Israel to abandon that village or town. And once they have it, they will use it to inflict more terror on another town or village, this time using rockets.

Israelis were convinced that a price in lives had been put on Gaza and that if they withdrew, the killing would end. But Gaza was just the beginning. Not the end. There is never an end.

The goal of a terrorist movement is to change the relative perceptions of strength and the freedom of movement of both sides. Terror tactics create the perception that the winning side is losing. This perception can be so compelling that both sides come to accept it as reality. Terrorists manufacture victories by trapping their enemies in no-win scenarios that wear down their morale.

Described that way, it’s hard to imagine how to defeat this profoundly cruel psychological warfare. Fortunately, though, Sultan Knish says it can be done but it will take political courage. Unfortunately, how often does one find courage in politics?

** 8 **

My back garden is dotted with solar lights. They’re cheap to buy and don’t require any electrical boxes, outlets, or cords in the garden. Buy enough of them, and they’ll illuminate deck stairs just enough so that no one falls or will keep people from wandering off a paved pathway into the dirt. It would take a whole let of them, though, plus a full moon, to allow you to read a book by their light. Solar energy just doesn’t deliver that much power, and that’s the problem with trying to turn it into a viable fossil fuel alternative.

** 9 **

You’ve heard it everywhere else, so you may as well hear it from me too: Jonathan Gruber, an important Obama-care architect, has castigated the Halbig decision for daring to read Obamacare’s language literally and, on that basis, deciding that subsidies only support state-run exchanges. Of course the government meant to include federal exchanges when it talked about subsidies, says Gruber.

A few years ago, though, Gruber was singing a different tune, when he gloated about tying subsidies to state exchanges. His theory then was that it would incentivize states to set up their own exchanges. In a sane world, Gruber would lay to rest the DemProg’s discontent with the Halbig decision, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

** 10 **

Kimberly Strassel says that the Halbig case proves that the IRS, which has become an arm of the Democrat party, cannot be entrusted with Obamacare. It will do anything, including disobeying the law as written, to support the Democrat agenda.  With that in mind, I wouldn’t just remove Obamacare from the IRS’s purview.  I would argue for eliminating it entirely, and starting anew.  (Like that’s going to happen.)

** 11 **

I don’t think Noemi Emery really explains the roots of Hillary’s sense of political and monetary entitlement, but in trying to explain it, she sure paints a picture of a women who believes that the White House and millions of dollars should be hers for the asking.

My take is that Hillary didn’t get to this point because of her Arkansas exile or victimized-wife roles. I believe she’s just your ordinary sociopath, who managed to lever herself into a power path, and now wants more just because she’s the sociopath she is.  In other words, her history didn’t make her a sociopath; the fact that she is a sociopath shaped her history.

** 12 **

Charles Krauthammer has offered a very interesting theory about Obama’s bizarre passivity as the world burns around him: he believes that the arc of history will go his way so that he can just sit back and watch it happen.

If that idea — that bad guys will wither away in any event — sounds familiar, it’s because you heard it from Jimmy Carter about our own American Revolution:

[I]n some ways the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. It was an unnecessary war.

Had the British Parliament been a little more sensitive to the colonial‘s really legitimate complaints and requests the war could have been avoided completely, and of course now we would have been a free country now as is Canada and India and Australia, having gotten our independence in a nonviolent way.

I think in many ways the British were very misled in going to war against America and in trying to enforce their will on people who were quite different from them at the time.

See, if you’re just a little nicer to people on the other side of a quarrel, they’ll fall in line with you. It’s that easy. So if Obama just doesn’t throw America’s weight around, everyone will make nice in the end.  Obama is helped in this theory by the fact that he seems happy to have that arc of history bend to Islam, not the western, Judeo-Christian tradition.

** 13 **

In the 1930s, many decent-ish people in Europe and England supported Hitler’s rise. That’s because initially they saw his fascism as the European antidote to Communism. It somehow never seemed to occur to Europeans, accustomed as they were to autocratic government, that the choice wasn’t binary, between a tyrannical government that destroyed the rich and a tyrannical government that co-opted them. Individual freedom never occurred to them.  That was stupidity, or at least limited thinking, on their part.

These same Europeans stopped being decent-ish but stupid, and became evil, though, when they still supported the Nazis despite the latter’s increasingly insane antisemitism.  That’s another legacy of the European past — it wasn’t just autocratic; it was also antisemitic. European’s embrace of antisemitism into addition to totalitarianism is less forgivable than accepting totalitarianism alone, while the latter is a structural ideology, the former is pure evil.

Fascism and communism may be gone from Europe, and socialism may be dying on the vine there, but the antisemitism lingers on. That oldest hatred seems to be bred into the European DNA. Nor can one just blame the huge Muslim populations in Europe for antisemitism’s resurgence. Just as the Ukrainians and Poles and French, while resenting Nazi invasions, supported Nazi ethnic cleansing, too many of today’s Europeans, while frightened of the Muslims, cheerfully (and almost reflexively) chime in when the cry to “Kill the Jews” rings out.

** 14 **

Mr. Bookworm is convinced that I abandoned him politically when I moved from Democrat to conservative. I keep explaining to him that he abandoned me too, because he’s been moving steadily to the Left. He denies that, since he still rejoices under the name “Democrat.” Hard data, though, seems to support my perception.

** 15 **

A palette-cleanser:

** 16 **

Hamas priorities

This clever twist on a London Underground map makes a powerful point about Hamas’s tunneling under Israel’s borders and into her towns. If Hamas, instead of being impatient and firing rockets, had waited quietly, it’s possible it could have carried out a terrorist attack in Israel that would easily have rivaled 9/11. Thank goodness, I guess, for impatient terrorists.

Gaza underground

Obama wasn’t mugged by reality; he wanted this reality

obama gives us the finger_thumb[41]William Kristol has a good summary about Obama’s inertia in the face of world chaos.  I disagree, however, with the language I’ve emphasized:

In late 1979, with the seizure of American hostages by Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter was mugged by reality. Carter then tried, however haplessly, to change direction. But Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter. Will Obama increase defense spending, as Carter did? Is he likely to launch a military excursion, as Carter did, over the objection—and then resignation—of his dovish secretary of state?

Carter, whatever his problems, was more hawkish than most in his party. In this he followed in the footsteps of every other Democratic president in the past century. Until Barack Obama.

It’s been a bit bewildering, even disorienting, to watch Obama get mugged by reality and refuse to press charges.

Obama hasn’t been mugged by reality.  This is what Obama wanted.  That’s why the comparisons with Carter don’t actually work — and it’s not just that Carter only had a four-year term, rather than an eight year term.

When Carter embarked upon his foreign policy, his imagined result was that America would still be a world leader, but one that would lead through Gandhi-esque peace, rather than through arms.  When peace didn’t work, Carter pivoted in an effort to return America to leadership through economic and military strength.  When he was voted out of office, Reagan did that job and did it well.  Carter was a dreadful president and I seriously dislike him for his increasingly overt antisemitism, but he was still a patriot.

Obama is not a patriot.  America’s total retreat is what he wanted.  That is, he was never seeking world domination through peaceful means.  Instead, his stated goal was to cut America down to size and make her just one nation among many.  The world cheered him in that goal.  Now the world is being reminded of the dictum to “be careful what you wish for because you might get it.”

Obama, however, is not weeping over his wishes being granted.  He got exactly what he wished for and is undoubtedly pleased with the results.  Insulated by his praetorian White House guard and sycophantic media, he doesn’t worry about the downsides of his execrable foreign policies.  All he cares about is the fact that he succeeded in weakening (perhaps permanently) a nation he’s always viewed as an overbearing, racist, capitalist bully.

No, the polls aren’t bothering me

We conservatives are very fragile.  One SEIU house polling organization (that would be PPP) and one White House press organ (that would be Politico), both of which trumpet Obama’s staggering 5 point post-convention bounce, and we’re already donning sackcloth and ashes.

Yes, it is frustrating that a president with the worst employment numbers since Jimmy Carter nevertheless still seems to be in the game.  But as Drudge and others remind us, at this time in 1980, Carter was still in the game too.  The parallels to 1980 are actually striking.

Both Carter and Obama presided over a dismal economy that utterly failed to recover on their watch.  Both of them presided over the steepest, quickest increase in oil prices in the post-war era.  Both of them made love to the Muslim world at Israel’s expense.  And both of them got a lot of media protection.

Things are a bit different nowadays.  Carter’s love for Muslims and ill-hidden disdain for Israel offended Democrats as well as Republicans, and his flailing about over the Iran Hostage Crisis didn’t help him a bit.  As the delegate floor vote at the DNC shows, Obama’s love for Muslims and ill-hidden disdain for Israel sits badly with only about half of the Democrats in this country.  Still, polls show that more than 50% of Americans believe Israel deserves American support.  What they may lack in philosemitism, they probably make-up in 2012 pragmatism — a pragmatism arising from the fact that both America and Israel have been attacked by Islamists who proudly state their desire to rid the earth of these two nations. The process is more attenuated than the Iran Hostage Crisis, but also more ugly and dangerous.

Also, in 2012, the media love is more blatant than it was in 1980.  In some way, that helps Obama more than Carter, because Obama gets such fervent support, whereas the media’s support for Carter was tempered by its old-fashioned belief that it had to appear objective.  Nowadays, the word “objective” frequently come out of media talking heads, but no one believes it.  And that means that Obama is slightly less well situated than Carter.  Nowadays, aside from the true believers, people take what the media says with a grain (or sometimes a shovel) of salt.  In addition, the internet means that anyone who is interested can investigate a subject more deeply, whether that means watching the entire speech that the media cut and spliced into scary nonsense, or reading thoughtful analyses that the media would rather die than publish.  And of course, there’s Fox (although some have noticed that Fox is embracing the antisemitic side of conservativism, which is very disturbing.  One wonders if this is an inevitable result of a major Saudi shareholder.).

Things are also the same now as they were in 1980 on the other side of the aisle:  The media loathes Romney every bit as much as they loathed Reagan.  In 1980, we were told Reagan was an idiot.  In 2012, we are told that Romney is an evil plutocrat.  In 1980, even without the internet, voters were able to cut through the noise.  In 2012, Romney is pursuing a slow but steady course aimed at cutting through the noise as well.

I think that, as happened with Reagan and Carter, the debates will be a turning point in public opinion.  Yes, the media interlocutors will throw softballs at Obama and try to tie Romney up in knots, but that will fail.  First, Americans will recognize this cheating for what it is.  It will be too blatant and they’ll resent that and root for the underdog — which, in the debate context, will be the beleaguered Romney.  Second, Obama will fumble the softballs and Romney will handle the knots.  Obama isn’t as smart as he thinks he is; Romney is indeed every bit as smart as he appears to be.  With the two men on stage all alone, even in the artificial, biased constraints of a debate, Obama will struggle.  Romney may not have Reagan’s wit and charm, but he’ll still run rings around Obama.

So, no, the polls aren’t bothering me.  A little less than two months is an eternity in politics and, as things heat up, Obama cannot run forever from his own record.

Talk about damned with faint praise — George R.R. Martin speaks about Barack Obama

I found the show “Game of Thrones” unwatchable, and the book unreadable — both were boring, ugly, and self-involved, which kind of hints at the author’s personality, right?

Anyway, George R. R. Martin has decided that it’s not enough to have his books reveal his petty little soul.  He’s now taken to expressing freely and in detail his political opinions.  Since one assumes that Martin reads only The New York Times, one can understand, although not forgive, his fact-free, invective-filled ruminations about clearing the voter rolls of illegal aliens, dead people, felons, etc.  After all, when the NYT is your information source, you’re going to be a perfect example of “garbage in, garbage out.”

The real insight into Martin’s brain comes when he talks about Barack Obama.  The following is an actual quotation, one he made some time ago when I was paying attention to this small little man’s political opinings.   Before you read the following, please be assured that I am not making it up (emphasis mine):

Martin, an avowed Democrat from Bayonne, N.J. who has described President Obama as “the most intelligent president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter”, doesn’t often write about politics on his blog, but when he does, it is usually to speak about something he feels strongly about, be it TSA screenings or the Affordable Care Act.

“The most intelligent president we’ve had since Jimmy Carter”?  In the face of that kind of intellectual and moral blindness, I’m tempted to come back with something as witty as “I know you are, but what am I,” or perhaps the always reasonable, “It takes one to know one.”

Democrats are imploding, one brain cell at a time.

Obama — even worse than Carter, and that’s saying a lot

You know I’m going to be hooked on a post if, in the second paragraph, it describes Jimmy Carter in these terms:

Jimmy Carter should not have been president. He was incompetent beyond belief; angry about America’s success in the world; wanted us to get our comeuppance; and was and is a mean, reptilian and graceless little man.  Being out of office has made him even angrier, meaner, smaller, more anti-American, and even more anti-semitic. He was and remains a repellent creature; if ever anybody could make me ashamed of my country, he could. I can’t forgive him for that.

Well, yes, that does about sum up the man.  What’s really depressing, according to the DiploMad, a career Foreign Service employee, is that Obama is even worse:

We now are saddled with another abomination as president: one worse than Carter. The damage Obama has done to our economy and global standing, while immense, can be relatively easily fixed. The real damage he has done is more pernicious and perhaps permanent. He has participated fully and deliberately in undermining the essence of what it means to be an American. Let me explain.

By all means, do let the DiploMad explain, although I guarantee you that the post will depress you — especially if you consider that both London’s bookies and Intrade have put their money on Obama.  Obama, the international man of mystery, whose past, the media harangues us, must forever be a closed book, has Leftified America, something from which it may never recover.

H/T:  JKB

 

I find myself agreeing with the slapping woman — but only up to a point

Have you already seen the video of a Barrett supporter slapping him for conceding to Walker in Wisconsin before even half the votes were counted?  No?  Here’s the video:

I don’t agree with the slap. I think that gal crossed a big line there, even though she asked permission first. Mayor Barrett though, quite reasonably, that she was joking, because nobody with any sense or maturity would slap a politician in that way, especially after he’s suffered what was a painful and, presumably, unexpected defeat.

Although I don’t agree with the slap, I do agree with the sentiment.  It drives me crazy when a politician concedes when he sees which way the wind is blowing.  We know from last night that the exit polls didn’t reflect the votes (either because people lied, or because absentee ballots skewed things, or because the pollsters erred).  This means that statistics are useful predictors, but they’re certainly not entirely accurate.  There comes a point, of course, at which it is impossible for the losing candidate to catch up, even if every single subsequent vote goes in his favor (unless the voting is in Chicago or some other county in which dead people hang onto their civil rights).  I was not under the impression, however, that Barrett had reached that point of no-return.

Don’t get me wrong here:  I’m delighted Barrett lost and Walker won.  I just hate the early concession.

This is a very visceral thing for me.  I cast my first vote back in 1980.  Because of time zone issues, by the time I cast my vote, it was symbolic:  Jimmy Carter had already conceded based upon preliminary returns from other states in different time zones.  In retrospect, I’m delighted that he lost and that he slunk away into the night (or, at least, he slunk away temporarily before emerging later, more malevolent and antisemitic than ever).  What did not delight me, though, was to have my very first presidential vote become manifestly meaningless before I’d even cast it.  Had Carter stuck it out a few hours longer, I might had least have thought that I was casting a vote that might make a difference.

In both 1980 and 2012, the correct man slunk away, and the right man won.  But I understand those supporters who feel that their chosen candidate is a weeny and a wuss for walking away before the last possible vote has been counted.

What does February mean to you? Lincoln? Washington? Generic Presidents? Black History Month?

When I was growing up, February boasted Lincoln’s birthday (February 16 12) and Washington’s birthday (February 22).  When I was no longer a child, those two distinct birthdays — one celebrating America’s first commander in chief and first president, and the other one celebrating the architect of our modern union and the leader of the war against slavery — got merged into one holiday that is celebrated on the Monday closest to Washington’s birthday, and that rejoices under the generation appellation of “President’s Day.”  Ostensibly, the day honors both Lincoln and Washington, but that amorphous title leaves one wondering whether Jimmy Carter is parading around his house declaring to Rosalynn “This is my day too.”

As the parent of two school-age children, I can tell you that President’s Day has absolutely nothing to do with any presidents, whether Washington, Lincoln or (thankfully) Carter.  Instead, to the extent there’s something out there called “President’s Day,” it’s just a hinge for a weekend’s or week’s worth of skiing.  (Or if snow isn’t your thing, Florida is nice at this time of year.)

What February is really about, at least as far as our schools are concerned, is Black History Month.  I don’t like Black History Month, but not for the reason those always hunting for racism might assume.  I don’t like it because I don’t believe in hyphenating Americans.  I don’t believe in allocating a month here or a month there to those who represent our nation’s highest aspirations or to those who demonstrate the greatness of American individualism.  I find something creepy about relegating black greatness to the shortest month of the year.  If you’re a great American, you’re a great American, irrespective of your skin color.  Every single day of the year, our children should be celebrating those Americans who contributed to our nation, contributions that ought not to be bounded by skin-color or relegated to specific months for official recognition.

Black History Month isn’t a celebration of the contributions black people have made to America.  Instead, it’s a continuation of segregation in America, only with a pretty gloss.

Although it’s a silly holiday, Black History Month pretty much defines February.  That’s why I have something peculiar to relate about a store at my local mall.  It’s a children’s clothing store called Peek.  As best as I can tell, it’s a very nice clothing store, catering to people who don’t feel the need to dress their children like hoods or rock stars.  Don Quixote and I often stroll by it when we have lunch at the mall.

The other day, the first time we passed Peek, something about the window display struck me as being  . . . not “off,” but discordant.  On our second pass by the store, I figured out what was so unusual:  the window display honored Lincoln and Washington.  Rather than pictures of the great Booker T. Washington, there were pictures of George Washington.  And in place of the ubiquitous Maya Angelou, there was a book about Abe Lincoln.  Between the age-appropriate children’s clothes, and the homage to Presidents Washington and Lincoln, the window looked as if it was a temporal escapee from 1970.

I’ll leave you with Allen West’s fascinating homage to Black History Month:

Obama presidency proves Palestinians have never wanted peace

Pro-Palestinian putzes have consistently claimed that if Israel would just bend a little more, and still a little more, then there would be peace in the Middle East.  The execrable President Carter (I always affix that adjective to this loathsome human being) now claims that he’s being forced to urge a UN vote for a Palestinian state because Obama didn’t exert enough force on the Israelis to make them really, really bend over.  Jonathan Tobin explains that Carter’s criticism of Obama, while reflecting badly on both, reveals a home truth about the Palestinians:

It is highly ironic Carter would blast Obama for being insufficiently supportive of the Palestinians, because the latter prioritized the peace process throughout his administration. Ignoring the evidence PA leader Mahmoud Abbas​ had no intention of ever signing a peace deal, Obama plunged into the negotiations picking fights with Israel and showing a clear preference for the Palestinian position. But despite Obama’s attacks on Israel’s positions on settlements and Jerusalem, Abbas refused to rejoin the negotiations. Even after the president ambushed Netanyahu in May with his proposal that the 1967 lines be the basis for talks, Abbas still wouldn’t budge.

Had Abbas been willing to make peace, he would have found Obama a useful ally who had little love for Israel. Obama did everything but present a U.S. dictat for peace in order to please the Palestinians, but Abbas never had any intention of negotiating. As the New York Times noted last weekend, the Obama-Abbas spat has been something of a lovers’ quarrel. Having been thoroughly embarrassed by the Palestinians, Obama has stayed aloof from diplomacy on the conflict in recent months.

It’s a really good article, so you may want to read the rest here.