Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Proposal: New Clinton campaign slogan

"Obama definitely has the judgement to lead. He can lead this country right back into 1964!"

when the word "courage" has lost all meaning

I was briefly watching the Today show on NBC, as Meredith Viera was interviewing some pastor regarding the Obama "denouncement" of Wright on Tuesday. The Pastor went out of his way to say that what Obama did was "courageous", and that he "should be commended".


Was it really courageous for Obama to separate himself from a man who is spewing some of the most hate-filled racist baloney that has found it's way into mainstream reporting in the last decade? Is this what passes for courage today?

Should he really be commended for taking exception to Wright's claims that the Senator was just playing politics with his distancing from the reverend's "greatest hits" that had come to light? Is that a truly commendable act, to respond to someone who's essentially saying "you didn't mean that" by saying "oh yes, I really meant that"? That's worthy of praise?

Please, people. . .this isn't "courage". It's many things, and I'll even allow that it may have been "difficult" for Obama to do (which says more about Obama than it does about the situation itself)--but it wasn't courageous.

No, the courageous thing to have done would have been to realize that the inroads Obama had to make in the Chicago political community years and years ago would have to be done WITHOUT legitimizing the gospel of the wrong reverend Wright.

Or even to fully and completly disassociate himself from Wright in Philadelphia, with his "landmark" speech on race. What kind of a landmark does that speech look like now?

Again, I come back to one point: If Obama had ANY KIND of worthwhile judgement, he would have ended his associations with Wright a long time before this weekend.

Instead, we got Wright on a stage far grander than any that he could have ever hoped for in his retirement. And he definitely took advantage of his forum.

All brought to you by Sen. Obama's judgement.

I can only hope that Obama/the Obama camp tries to make an issue of his "courage" regarding the Rev. Wright. That will really play well against McCain's story, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Team Hillary will owe me money for this one

MEMO to Team Clinton: if you haven't already figured this out, this is what you say tomorrow on the stump. . .and every stump thereafter:

"You know, this isn't about Sen. Obama BELIEVING any of the things that have been in the news lately as "distractions". I don't believe he does, and he has in fact tried very hard to get away from some of these sentiments lately--and that's the right thing to do. But this IS, however, about Ayers, Dohrn, and especially Jeremiah Wright, and what they believe. And it's not just that these people held some detestable views several decades ago. And it's not just that they hold detestable views today, which they do. It's that all of them would be relative nobody's, relegated to a quiet life--perhaps even in retirement--were it not for Sen. Obama's JUDGEMENT that he needed to associate with these folks in his professional and spiritual life. And that makes me wonder if his judgement is all he thinks it's cracked up to be."

"Further, Obama had a great chance in Philadelphia to put all this behind him. He had a chance to forever disassociate himself from Wright, publicly and historically. And he chose not to--in fact, not only did he choose not to do so, but he instead threw his grandmother under the proverbial bus. Now I may not be a chicken farmer or anything, but I gotta believe that the loyalties that Obama showed that day have come home to roost."

If she can throw in a few snarky rhetorical questions ("And I ask you this: at the start of this campaign, did you think it was possible for this country to get any more divided? Well, Sen Obama's preacher, the man who married the Senator and who baptized his children, had one answer for that question: Yes, we can!"), well that would be perfect!

Let's see: hit on judgement, question placement of his loyalty, and turn his own catchphrase against him. That wouldn't be a bad day of work.

And by the way, I only accept cash payments from politicians.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I can make up my own mind, thank you

Today, Sen. Obama said to a crowd in North Carolina:

"Last night I think we set a new record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people," Obama told the North Carolina crowd. "Forty-five minutes before we heard about health care, 45 minutes before we heard about Iraq, 45 minutes before we heard about jobs, 45 minutes before we heard about gas prices."

Apparently Obama doesn't think that his character, his judgement in public affairs, or his associations with influence peddlers is an "issue" for the American people. There he is again, substituting the judgement of millions of Americans for his own, telling us what should "matter" to us. Condescension oozes from every pore in this guy's body.

Sen. Obama, I will decide what "issues" matter to me. And given your razor-thin record of accomplishment, I think that knowing about the people you choose to hang out with is pretty important. I am especially interested in people who helped you along your ambitious road, such as the Rev. Wright and Ayers. And when your rhetoric starts resembling something that we would expect to see from a Wright sermon, then I am DEFINITELY interested in clarification of the comments you made in the comfort of a San Francisco crowd.

But mostly, I want you to give a straight answer about yourself. And I want you to admit that people can have different beliefs than you and that difference does not mean that the other people have shortcomings in their judgement.

Why? Because it's about character, Sen. Obama, and you don't seem to get that.

You know what? I'll do you a favor, Sen. Obama, and put this in terms that you can understand. I quote my favorite fictional politician, from a movie given to us by the fairly liberal team of Aaron Sorkin and Rob Reiner, in The American President:

Says President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglass, in his best role IMHO):

"For the last couple of months, Senator Rumson has suggested that being President of this country was, to a certain extent, about character. And although I've not been willing to engage in his attacks on me, I have been here three years and three days, and I can tell you without hesitation: Being President of this country is entirely about character."

I'm still trying to figure out if Obama HAS character, or if he's just playing one on TV.

Only he can help us answer that question. . .but unfortunately for all of us, he thinks those types of questions aren't things that should matter to voters.

Becuase I'm a giver, I will try once again to help Obama as I quote from The American President yet another time, this instance a line delivered by Martin Sheen's character, Chief of Staff A. J. Macinerney:

"With all due respect, the American people have a habit of deciding for themselves what is and is not their business."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

quick thoughts about tonight's debate

When I say quick, I mean quick!

Okay, biggest winner from tonight's debate: ABC news. Gibson and Stephanopoulos actually asked real questions! They may have established their network as the MSM channel of choice for centrist voters in the upcoming elections. That's a good night of work for anybody!

Now, for the candidates. Obama won.

And if that seems counter-logical to what other conservative bloggers (Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, Jim Geraghty and just about all the team at the Corner from National Review), my observation has almost nothing to do with the overall performance of either candidate.

No, my observation has EVERYTHING to do with one specific aspect of the debate, captured beautifully by this headline on AOL:

Clinton says Obama can beat McCain

The assertion came early in the debate, probably before the 15-minute mark. True to form, Hillary tried as much as possible to avoid answering the direct question asked by Stephanopoulos.

But he didn't let her defer. See above about how well the ABC team performed in tonight's debate.

And when pressed, she finally conceded: yes, he can beat McCain.

In that one fell swoop, Clinton's strategy changed from getting the superdelegates on her side via any means available to. . .umm. . .well, I don't know what her new strategy is.

And I'm betting neither does she.

Because she lost her argument to the super-d's that Obama can't win in November. I don't know how successful that argument was anyhow, but it would have looked a whole lot better following a win in PA, don't you think?

But now she can't argue that anymore--that would even be too two-faced for her to try. And the super-d's have the cover they've been looking for.

Now maybe they'll change their minds on their own. They certainly have reason to, based on Obama's performance tonight. He really was bad. And maybe Clinton will get lucky and change a lot of minds in North Carolina and Indiana. Hey, stranger things have happened.

But Clinton likely isn't going to go to the convention with the lead in delegates. And she has no choice but to fight tooth and nail to get Florida seated according to the vote from the primary. . .but her likelihood of success is small. And she will, through that "divisive" action, provide more cover for the super-d's to stay with Obama.

So as poorly as tonight went tactically for Obama, he has to consider it a strategic success.

Let's hope that ABC keeps the gloves off for Obama when the Presidential debates roll around this fall.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

a little exercise for those who find no offense--UPDATED

I'll warn you upfront: I'm off the deep end on something.

It started like this: I woke up this morning, clicked on my internet icon, and the home page for my local paper came up, with the following easily-seen headline: Obama's Truth Apparently Too Painful For Americans

The title was in reference to an video editorial posted by Bob Ray Sanders of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Here is the link to the editorial.

I couldn't take it. I sent the following e-mail to Mr Sanders:

"Let's put the proverbial shoe on the other foot. . .

Let's say there was a national political figure who you didn't support entirely. There were parts of his/her policies that you agreed with, but on the whole this person didn't expect you to support their candidacy. And this politician, on a visit to Ft Worth, got verbally wandering during a campaign stop and started talking about you and your perceived non-support, and said the following:

"Well, that Bob Ray, like a lot of journalists, he has been let down by the last 25 years of government. Both Republican and Democratic administrations haven't realized his hopes, and so it's not surprising then that he's become bitter, the he clings to liberal bias or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like him, or anti-secrecy sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain his frustration."

How do you like that "truth"?

Now ask yourself: how are the words above different from what Obama said the other day?

Wouldn't you be up in arms the next day, using all the might of your pen to flush this politician's career down the toilet bowl?

And for all I know, you don't agree with a single issue that was sited above. The point is: you don't have to. This politician took your perceived lack of support, lumped you in with a whole bunch of people whom you may OR MAY NOT share ideology with, and then said some remarkably unflattering things about those people with whom you were lumped in with.

How do you like being someone who clings to "antipathy to people who aren't like you" all because you're a journalist? How do you think people from "small towns in Pennsyvania and the midwest" like being told they "cling to" antipathy to people who aren't like them simply because they're from a small town?

Now I'm curious: you undoubtedly would bring all of your considerable skills to bear on this politician. I just wonder if you'd ever use the word "elitism" in your charges?

At least can you understand why someone else might use that word?

It isn't about the bitterness--although don't you like how you're painted as bitter despite the fact you, individually, may not be such.

It's about the generalizations of a broad swath of people in as "robots", all easily described in 32 words that apply equally to them all.

This, from a candidate who purports to be about giving voice to all people?

Sincerely, John"

I know, I know, clumsy analogy as a means for comparison, poor climax at the end, etc. So it's imperfect to say the least--and I don't even need my wife to arrive at that conclusion. But at least it's a start, right?

Mr Sanders responded--and I never doubted he would. That's one thing I love about Texas. But that's an article for another day.

To say the least, he was underwhelmed. I can't blame him--again, the analogy I drew was almost as clumsy as his paraphrasing of Obama's words in the video. In summary, he basically said that he doesn't see anything in my above postulations that would get him too bent out of shape.

Fair enough. I guess people can disagree, right?

Did I mention I'm off the deep end on this?

I'm seriously debating sending him the following response:

"Mr Sanders:

I don't know what I was thinking, assuming that you could look at anything through unbiased eyes. First of all, as a resident of a big city, you have no idea what kinds of values are actually held by people of a small town, so you probably have no clue how accurate or inaccurate Obama's words were since they played to your own bigoted stereotypes of those folks. And as a member of the media, you're already so in the tank for Obama that the man can do no wrong. Lastly, I should have known that you'd never find a reason to question the words from the mouth of a successful black man. I mean, Obama didn't do it to Wright, so why should you do it to him, right?

Thanks for letting me see your true colors. I'll know not to take you or your opinions seriously in the future.

HOPING you get all that you deserve for your FAITH in Obama -- John"

I'm willing to bet I'd get some misshaping there, don't you think?

So tell me, would that be too far?


Was it because I accused him of racism? Well, here's the thing: I didn't. I accused him of sympathy to those that are like him. . .which is exactly what Obama accused the midwesterners of. (Either that, or those folks have no sympathy for anybody. I guess we could explore that if option you want to, but I don't think that's any more flattering of a proposition for Obama.) So that can't be offensive to those who saw no offense in Obama's remarks, right?

Was it because I IMPLIED that he, as a member of various "groups" that he is a part of--perhaps even not by choice--has no ability to make his own valid judgements? Well, that's exactly what Obama implied about all those people in the midwest the other day. Really, it is--read the whole quote. Don't take somebody else's lame summary of the quote, read the thing yourself. Heck, just scroll down a couple inches and you'll have "the original" right there for comparison.

I even threw in a little bit of religion, although what I said CERTAINLY won't be as offensive to Mr Sanders personally as what Obama said towards the religious-leaning people of the midwest.

Yes, I called out his ignorance. Actually, I called him ignorant--he may not be, mind you, but I called him ignorant. That's how generalizations work, right? And I called him bigoted. Again, nothing that Obama didn't do--although mine is admittedly more obvious. Isn't "bigotry" acceptably definable as "antipathy to people who aren't like them"? I think so. . .I'm just trying to make it easier for Sanders to connect the dots. I'm a giver, after all.

The final line is nothing that Obama didn't imply, either. By accusing small-towners of being part of all those groups--the religious, the gun-toters, the anti-traders, the anti-immigrationists, and the xenophobes--he took all the opinions of the subscribers of those positions and discounted their validity.

So where am I off-base?

For the record, I meant to be offensive to Mr. Sanders. I just wanted to see if : a) he could actually feel offended; and b) where that line was.

I hope to enjoy part c) of my plan, which is to make him talk about my offending comments and how much of a relation they bear to Obama's words.

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson takes my crude "exercise" above and does it one better--as I would expect from somebody of his immense skill. And he's absolutely right: if these comments were made about black inner-city America, where the statements themselves would have at least as much truth on the surface as Obama's statements about small midwestern towns, there would be no more primary on the Democratic side, and Hillary would be looking into retirement rather than potentially occupying the White House or, as a parting gift, the Governor's mansion in New York.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Politics by another name?

Sen. Obama today at a campaign event in Steelton, PA, as reported by Fox News:

Now I am the first to admit that some of the words I chose I chose badly, because as my wife reminds me, I’m not perfect. She reminds me of this frequently, and events often remind me as well,” Obama said, reiterating his regret for his choice of words.

“So I’m not a perfect man and the words I chose, I chose badly. They were subject to misinterpretation, they were subject to be twisted, and I regret that. I regret that deeply. But. But. But. When people suggest that somehow I was demeaning religion. When I know that I’m a man of deep faith, somebody who in my own life has held on to faith, held onto my confidence in God during times of trial and tribulation, then it sounds like there’s some politics being played.

“When people suggest I was somehow being elitist and demeaning hunters when I have repeatedly talked about the tradition that people pass on from generation to generation, hunters and sportsmen, and how I have consistently spoken about my respect for the Second Amendment. When people try to suggest that I was demeaning those traditions, then it sounds like there’s some politics being played. And what really burns me up is when people suggest that me saying that folks are mad, they are angry, they are bitter after 25, 30 years of seeing jobs shipped out, pensions not fulfilled, health care lost. The notion that people are surprised, and are suggesting that I’m out of touch because I spoke honestly about people’s frustrations, that tells me there’s some politics going on,” he said.

Get that? First of all, the words he chose "badly" weren't so because of their content. Oh no, they were only regretful because they were "subject to misinterpretation" and being "twisted". You see, he didn't actually say anything offensive. . .but "some of us" have gone an extra step and found meaning in the words that he plainly didn't intend. How dare we analyze his words! Remind me to get back into "receive-only" mode when dealing with him, He Who Shall Not Be Examined.

And if you took offense to his explanation that midwesterners only value religion as a fallback because of all the disappointment that, in his mind, you rightfully should have had with government for the last 25 (now 30) years. . .well, you're playing politics. Because he CAN'T have been saying something bad about religion. He is, after all, a man of religion, too.

Do you want to know more about his religion or his church? Well, just ask him, right? WRIGHT???

And if you took offense to his statements about guns--that people are "clinging to guns" only because their government has let them down--then you haven't REALLY been paying attention to him--and yes, you too have been playing politics. Or played for a political fool--whichever explanation makes you feel better. That Obama--he's a big supporter of traditions, hunting and sportsman stuff, didn't you know? And just FORGET about the Second Amendment nonsense--he has a lot of respect for that. Haven't you heard him say that?

Oh, and in case you're missing the cue cards, there are some things he says that you're SUPPOSED to listen to as if it were gospel. Other things he says. . .well, don't go playing politics with him!

And about the "honesty" of the "frustrations" that people feel. . .um, that's not it. I'll allow that people are frustrated--heck, that isn't even worth the energy it takes to say. It's when Obama lumped a belief in religion, a love for guns, anti-immigration and anti-free trade sentiments, and antipathy to "different" people all together as manifestations of that frustration that he lost me. But if you, too, look at that laundry list of "manifestations" and think that there's actually a reason why some people might take offense to having all those beliefs grouped into a 10-second soundbite that makes small-town America look like it can't have reasonable reasons for those beliefs (to whatever extent they're actually held). . .well, you're playing politics.

You see, you can't criticize Obama. Either you're a political hack, a political tool, or you're too dumb to know that what you heard isn't what he said.

And somehow, all that isn't supposed to be elitist?

Oh, but at least he admits he isn't perfect.

I'm glad he told me, 'cuz I certainly would have never figured it out!

Or maybe. . .just maybe. . .he's just playing politics.
In the quote now heard around the blogosphere, Sen. Obama used the following words to describe the people who live in economically depressed small towns in Pennsylvania and the Midwest:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

There is so much intelligent analysis of these words in other places that I'm surprised you would look to this site for my take--but you have, so I will reward you.

Summary: This is an amazingly disgusting observation to be made by anybody. This guy is a "serious" Presidential contender???

This was a statement made to explain why Obama may have difficulty connecting with small-town America. . .made in front of a roomful of wealthy big-city liberals. (As has been reported in several places)

His answer: it's about jobs. Please keep that in mind as you read the above statement--his starting point is with JOBS, and all the other thoughts extend from "there ain't no jobs"!

So, for more details:

If you are from a small town and believe in religion, it's not because you were taught to believe in it by loving parents and attentive Sunday-school teachers. You don't believe in your chosen religion because of the feeling of community it gives you with the larger world or because of the guidance it provides you to live your life in a quality manner. No, if you are from a small town and believe in religion. . .it's because it's the only thing you have left to "cling to. . .to explain your frustrations" since the government has failed to provide JOBS for the last 25 years. So in Barack's world, belief in religion is a FALL-BACK position that is being forced unto the small-town because of the government's inability to provide JOBS. In his world, we're all born to be economically-based thinkers. . .but when there's a bad local economy, only THEN do we turn to our values and look to our communities for strength.

To me, that's a little backwards.

About the guns. . .small-town folk "cling to guns. . .as a way to explain their frustrations" over a lack of jobs. You know, here I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say there's no way he meant to conjure up an image of a bitter lunatic in small-town USA that puts his rifle in bed beside him at night, lovingly patting the stock while whispering "maybe tomorrow is the day I'll use you as a way to explain my frustrations." So it's inappropriate word choice, right? TELL ME HOW THAT CAN BE ALLOWED AS PRESIDENT??? The media loves Bush and his stutters and his literogenesis and his numerous other verbal fumbles. . .but at least he's never said something this remarkably out of line! It's about seasoning, my friends--and Obama doesn't have it yet.

"Antipathy to people who aren't like them". . .hello kettle, it's pot. Have you seen Minister Wright?

But I digress. . .small-town people concern themselves far more with the "value" of a person than with their looks. Yes, there may be an initial "getting to know" period where caution is the exercise of the day in relations between small-towners and a newcomer. But I guarantee you that a predominately white small town would be as suspicious as me, a caucasian big-city type who has moved all over the place in pursuit of my job, as they would a black person, a hispanic person, or an asian person newly residing in the area. That suspicion would only subside when they got to know me and my family, and took stock of our value TO THE COMMUNITY. The problem that visitors or big-city types face when dealing with a small town is that the town doesn't get to know you, so they never get past suspicious. That's not antipathy, by the way. . .in fact it's far from it. I don't know that small-towners actually harbor ANY antipathy towards anything, with the possible exceptions of those who attack this country and talking heads who look down on the value of a small-town community.

Hmmm. . .maybe Obama does sense "anitpathy" when he visits a midwestern town. . .

Again, I digress. Regardless of what the sense of greeting is between small-towners and those who aren't "like them" in some capacity, I assure you that same greeting existed more than 25 years ago, before the JOBS supposedly ran away.

Anti-immigrant sentiment as a way to explain frustrations over a lack of jobs (I'm assuming he's talking about illegal immigration here)? Of course, small-towners could never think of a thing like NATIONAL SECURITY as a reason to hold anti-immigrant sentiment. That would be far too nuanced of a position for a small-town person to have. . .if you're an aloof liberal that has never taken the time to get to know the people in a particular small town. This was the generalization that REALLY got my blood boiling. Why can't small-town America hold anti-immigrant sentiment for the same reasons that several non-small-town Americans do? Why does it have to be about explaining bitterness generated from a lack of jobs?

One answer: Obama doesn't think that small-town people can look at problems in the same manner that city folks do.

Call that elitism if you want. There is most definitely a degree of "down his nose" in these comments and what they mean. To try to boil down the psychosis of small-town America into "well, it's about jobs" is just demeaning to an unbelievable level!

It could NEVER be about the candidate himself, right? I mean, Obama certainly couldn't stand in front of a room of wealthy liberal supporters and tell them that "small town America" won't support him because they look for substance in their leaders. . .and he's got none.

Or that "they" believe in God regardless of the economic climate, which make them unlikely converts to "the movement"?

And certainly, Obama could never say that because small-town midwesterners understand the issues that affect their lives, like the second amendment, illegal immigration, and free-trade agreements, they know that Obama is at odds with them politically.

No, he couldn't say those things. So instead, he explains that "they", these victims of deception by the government for the last 25 years. . .well, they have their beliefs--for all the wrong reasons, mind you, but they have their beliefs. And they don't believe that the government can fix anything. So they'll stick with what they know. And that leaves Obama on the outside, not because of anything he's said or done, but because of how closed-minded "they" are.

Poor Obama. He's really the victim here, of course. He's trying to lead a country full of people who have been duped into false beliefs by the last 25 years of government.

Has the American electorate ever put a victim in the White House?

Does Obama think we want to now?