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G M
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« Reply #450 on: April 17, 2008, 03:04:31 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/04/16/dem-debate-obamas-waterloo/

Dem Debate: Obama’s Waterloo
POSTED AT 10:30 PM ON APRIL 16, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   

The last Democratic debate has finally concluded, and perhaps the last chances of ending the primaries early. Thanks to a surprisingly tenacious set of questions for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from ABC moderaters Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous, Barack Obama got exposed over and over again as an empty suit, while Hillary cleaned his clock. However, the big winner didn’t even take the stage tonight.

The first 45 minutes of the scheduled 90-minute debate (which went 15 minutes over) wound up focusing on the series of gaffes and stumbles from both candidates. Hillary more or less defused the Tuzla Dash by admitting she essentially lied about it, trying at one point to use the “sleep deprivation” defense. Obama, however, never did figure out the First Rule of Holes. Once again, he described religion as a refuge people use when government doesn’t work — a fatal misreading of religious faith in America. He not only came up with bad answers, he looked lost and tentative throughout the entire period.

Hillary didn’t let him off the hook, either, not when it came to Crackerquiddick or on the Wright Stuff. Noting that “you choose your pastor, not your family,” Hillary once again pounded Obama for not doing anything about Wright when he had the chance. She also jumped at the chance to note that former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers was more than just a “neighbor”, as Obama described him. Hillary pointed out that Obama and Ayers worked on a foundation together for years, even after 9/11, even after Ayers said publicly that he didn’t regret his terrorism.

And what was Obama’s response? He compared Ayers to Senator Tom Coburn, who opposes abortion. Of course, Coburn hasn’t bombed abortion clinics, but Obama can’t tell the difference between a Senator and a terrorist. That won’t help him in Middle America either, and Coburn may have a few words for Obama after this night.

By the time Gibson got around to the issues, Obama looked lost and upset. It got worse when Gibson asked about capital-gains tax rates, which Obama has pledged to raise. When Gibson repeatedly pointed out that decreasing the rates actually increased the revenues, Obama simply couldn’t come up with an answer, stammering while trying to change the subject. On guns, both Hillary and Obama stumbled through tortured explanations of how they support a Constitutional right for individuals to own guns while backing gun bans like the one in DC.

The winner of this debate? John McCain. Both Democrats came out of this diminished, but Obama got destroyed in this exchange. If superdelegates had begun to reconsider their support of Obama after Crackerquiddick, they’re speed-dialing Hillary after watching Gibson dismember Obama on national TV tonight.

And kudos to ABC News for taking on both candidates fearlessly. John McCain has to feel grateful not to be included. Don’t forget that you can read through our live blog at any time.
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Juan
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« Reply #451 on: April 17, 2008, 05:32:37 PM »

And here's another point of view... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/17/AR2008041700013.html?nav=hcmodule

In Pa. Debate, The Clear Loser Is ABC

By Tom Shales
Thursday, April 17, 2008; Page C01

When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates' debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

For the first 52 minutes of the two-hour, commercial-crammed show, Gibson and Stephanopoulos dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely news to begin with.

The fact is, cable networks CNN and MSNBC both did better jobs with earlier candidate debates. Also, neither of those cable networks, if memory serves, rushed to a commercial break just five minutes into the proceedings, after giving each candidate a tiny, token moment to make an opening statement. Cable news is indeed taking over from network news, and merely by being competent.

Gibson sat there peering down at the candidates over glasses perched on the end of his nose, looking prosecutorial and at times portraying himself as a spokesman for the working class. Blunderingly he addressed an early question, about whether each would be willing to serve as the other's running mate, "to both of you," which is simple ineptitude or bad manners. It was his job to indicate which candidate should answer first. When, understandably, both waited politely for the other to talk, Gibson said snidely, "Don't all speak at once."

For that matter, the running-mate question that Gibson made such a big deal over was decidedly not a big deal -- especially since Wolf Blitzer asked it during a previous debate televised and produced by CNN.

The boyish Stephanopoulos, who has done wonders with the network's Sunday morning hour, "This Week" (as, indeed, has Gibson with the nightly "World News"), looked like an overly ambitious intern helping out at a subcommittee hearing, digging through notes for something smart-alecky and slimy. He came up with such tired tripe as a charge that Obama once associated with a nutty bomb-throwing anarchist. That was "40 years ago, when I was 8 years old," Obama said with exasperation.

Obama was right on the money when he complained about the campaign being bogged down in media-driven inanities and obsessiveness over any misstatement a candidate might make along the way, whether in a speech or while being eavesdropped upon by the opposition. The tactic has been to "take one statement and beat it to death," he said.

No sooner was that said than Gibson brought up, yet again, the controversial ravings of the pastor at a church attended by Obama. "Charlie, I've discussed this," he said, and indeed he has, ad infinitum. If he tried to avoid repeating himself when clarifying his position, the networks would accuse him of changing his story, or changing his tune, or some other baloney.

This is precisely what has happened with widely reported comments that Obama made about working-class people "clinging" to religion and guns during these times of cynicism about their federal government.

"It's not the first time I made a misstatement that was mangled up, and it won't be the last," said Obama, with refreshing candor. But candor is dangerous in a national campaign, what with network newsniks waiting for mistakes or foul-ups like dogs panting for treats after performing a trick. The networks' trick is covering an election with as little emphasis on issues as possible, then blaming everyone else for failing to focus on "the issues."

Some news may have come out of the debate (ABC News will pretend it did a great job on today's edition of its soppy, soap-operatic "Good Morning America"). Asked point-blank if she thought Obama could defeat presumptive Republican contender John McCain in the general election, Clinton said, "Yes, yes, yes," in apparent contrast to previous remarks in which she reportedly told other Democrats that Obama could never win. And in turn, Obama said that Clinton could "absolutely" win against McCain.

To this observer, ABC's coverage seemed slanted against Obama. The director cut several times to reaction shots of such Clinton supporters as her daughter, Chelsea, who sat in the audience at the Kimmel Theater in Philly's National Constitution Center. Obama supporters did not get equal screen time, giving the impression that there weren't any in the hall. The director also clumsily chose to pan the audience at the very start of the debate, when the candidates made their opening statements, so Obama and Clinton were barely seen before the first commercial break.

At the end, Gibson pompously thanked the candidates -- or was he really patting himself on the back? -- for "what I think has been a fascinating debate." He's entitled to his opinion, but the most fascinating aspect was waiting to see how low he and Stephanopoulos would go, and then being appalled at the answer.

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G M
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Posts: 11997


« Reply #452 on: April 18, 2008, 08:28:56 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/04/18/obamas-strange-defense-of-william-ayers/

Obama’s strange defense of William Ayers
POSTED AT 8:34 AM ON APRIL 18, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Barack Obama has decided to push back against criticisms of his association with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, but the arguments he offers sound less than convincing. Rather than chalk it up to political naivete and issue a non-apology apology, Obama has decided to argue that he can’t be expected to consider the actions of people that took place in his childhood, and that Ayers only was bad for a few days. No, really, this is his entire opening argument:

REALITY: OBAMA WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD WHEN THE WEATHERMEN WERE ACTIVE

Obama Turned Eight In September 1969, The Days Of Rage Occurred In October 1969. Barack Obama was born on September 4, 1961. He turned eight on September 4, 1969. The Days of Rage, in which William Ayers participated, occurred in October 1969. [Obama Birth Certificate, UPI, 10/21/81]

William Ayers Participated In The “Days Of Rage” In 1969. The AP reported, “In the autumn of 1969, the Weatherman, led by Bernardine Dohrn and Mark Rudd, converged on Chicago and planned a series of demonstrations to dramatize their beliefs. The riots, which came to be known as the “Days of Rage,” caused thousands of dollars in damage in the downtown and Near North Side areas and resulted in injuries to several policemen. Rudd and Ms. Dohrn were named in federal riot indictments with ten others — William Ayers, Kathy Boudin, John Jacobs, Jeff Jones, Michael Spiegel, Howard Machtinger, Terry Robins, Lawrence Weiss, Linda Sue Evans and Judy Clark. Another prominent activist, Cathy Wilkerson, was arrested on state charges of mob action and resisting a police officer. Some surrendered years ago. Two — Ms. Dohrn and Ayers, son of the former chairman of Commonweath Edison Co. — surfaced Wednesday. Charges against Ayers had been dropped in 1978 but Ms. Dohrn still faces charges of aggravated battery and jumping bail.” [AP, 12/3/80]

Well, at least he got his age right, unlike his association with events in Selma in his speech from March 2007. In that speech, Obama didn’t mind deriving authenticity with a march that occurred when he was less than four years old and with people he had never met, let alone with whom he partnered on foundation boards.

The age issue is a transparent dodge. When terrorists killed Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, I was nine years old. Would that give me a pass if I chose to associate myself on a board with Mahmoud Abbas, the reported mastermind of the Black September operation? Of course not. Obama wasn’t eight years old when he sought Ayers out for his support and later worked with him at the Woods foundation.

Ayers doesn’t help matters with his own dodge, claiming he wasn’t a terrorist at all. Ben Smith explains:

He contests the notion — central to the objection to him, as opposed to other people who were bad actors 35 years ago — that he he has “no regrets” about bombings– but he doesn’t exactly contradict his 2001 line that “I don’t regret setting bombs.”

I’m sometimes asked if I regret anything I did to oppose the war in Viet Nam, and I say “no, I don’t regret anything I did to try to stop the slaughter of millions of human beings by my own government.” Sometimes I add, “I don’t think I did enough.” This is then elided: he has no regrets for setting bombs and thinks there should be more bombings …

Terrorism—according to both official U.S. policy and the U.N.—is the use or threat of random violence to intimidate, frighten, or coerce a population toward some political end…. I’ve never advocated terrorism, never participated in it, never defended it.

Ayers tries to argue that terrorism is defined by its randomness, but that’s absurd. Ayers committed acts of violence intending on forcing the kind of political change he couldn’t get through the democratic process. That’s not only terrorism but an assault on self-government. The fact that he still can’t acknowledge that shows the unrepentant nature of William Ayers very clearly.

Obama’s inability to grasp this has him grasping at straws instead. He winds up being an apologist for Ayers, most laughably in this passage:

REALITY: AYERS COMMENTS WERE PUBLISHED ON SEPTEMBER 11; THE INTERVIEW OCCURRED PRIOR TO PUBLICATION

On September 11, 2001, A Story About William Ayers’ Memoir Was Published In The New York Times; The Interview Occurred Prior To Publication. “‘I don’t regret setting bombs,’ Bill Ayers said. ‘I feel we didn’t do enough.’ Mr. Ayers, who spent the 1970’s as a fugitive in the Weather Underground, was sitting in the kitchen of his big turn-of-the-19th-century stone house in the Hyde Park district of Chicago.” [New York Times, 9/11/01]

I think almost everyone sophisticated enough to hold a newspaper right-side-up understands that an interview gets conducted before publication. No one claims that Ayers said this at the moment the towers fell. The point is that after a decade of terrorist attacks against American interests, Ayers still hadn’t reconsidered his own terrorism after 30 years, and the publication of that fact on 9/11 had its own twisted sense of irony.

The bigger question is why Obama spends so much energy defending Ayers. If he wasn’t that important to Obama, why offer this page on the campaign website to rehabilitate Ayers?
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G M
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« Reply #453 on: April 18, 2008, 09:12:54 AM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/04/18/moveons-definition-of-hurting-the-country/

MoveOn’s definition of “hurting the country”
By Michelle Malkin  •  April 18, 2008 08:02 AM

Yes, it’s true. The left-wing anti-patriots at MoveOn.org, who didn’t think twice about handing jihadists potent ammunition the day before the sixth anniversary of 9/11 with their despicable attack on Gen. Petraeus, are now worried about actions that “hurt the country.”
Dangerous, perilous, damaging, harmful actions…like having a Democrat debate moderated by journalists who aren’t complete and total sycophants.
Heaven forfend!
Sound the alarm!
Issue the Important Action Alerts ASAP!

The Soros water-carriers say they will run an ad against ABC–Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulous photoshopped as Hitler and Eva Braun? Nah, too subtle–if they gather 100,000 signatures.
And, of course, MoveOn blames Karl Rove:
Moderators George Stephanopolous and Charlie Gibson spent the first 50 minutes obsessed with distractions that only political insiders care about–gaffes, polling numbers, the stale Rev. Wright story, and the old-news Bosnia story. And, channelling Karl Rove, they directed a video question to Barack Obama asking if he loves the American flag or not. Seriously.
Enough is enough. The public needs the media to stop hurting the national dialogue in this important election year. Can you sign the petition to ABC and other media outlets and pass it on to friends who are also fed up?
A compiled petition with your individual comment will be presented to ABC and other media.
What’s your over/under on ABC and other media caving in to the MoveOn/nutroots ultimatum?
***
On an even more hysterical side note, one nutroots blogger has now dubbed the ABC News debate the “‘Michelle Malkin/Steve Doocy’ driven non-policy based debate.”
The country will not be safe until the Schoolmarm/Snoozefest regime of Democrat debates is restored.
MoveOn to the rescue!
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G M
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« Reply #454 on: April 20, 2008, 12:32:20 PM »

**Best argument for McCain yet**

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/006dgrlw.asp

24 Hours on the 'Big Stick'
What you can learn about America on the deck of the USS 'Theodore Roosevelt.'
by P.J. O'Rourke
04/28/2008, Volume 013, Issue 31

Landing on an aircraft carrier is...To begin with, you travel out to the carrier on a powerful, compact, and chunky aircraft--a weight-lifter version of a regional airline turboprop. This is a C-2 Greyhound, named after the wrong dog. C-2 Flying Pit Bull is more like it. In fact what everyone calls the C-2 is the "COD." This is an acronym for "Curling the hair Of Dumb reporters," although they tell you it stands for "Carrier Onboard Delivery."

There is only one window in the freight/passenger compartment, and you're nowhere near it. Your seat faces aft. Cabin lighting and noise insulation are absent. The heater is from the parts bin at the Plymouth factory in 1950. You sit reversed in cold, dark cacophony while the airplane maneuvers for what euphemistically is called a "landing." The nearest land is 150 miles away. And the plane doesn't land; its tailhook snags a cable on the carrier deck. The effect is of being strapped to an armchair and dropped backwards off a balcony onto a patio. There is a fleeting moment of unconsciousness. This is a good thing, as is being far from the window, because what happens next is that the COD reels the hooked cable out the entire length of the carrier deck until a big, fat nothing is between you and a plunge in the ocean, should the hook, cable, or pilot's judgment snap. Then, miraculously, you're still alive.

Landing on an aircraft carrier was the most fun I'd ever had with my trousers on. And the 24 hours that I spent aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt--the "Big Stick"--were an equally unalloyed pleasure. I love big, moving machinery. And machinery doesn't get any bigger, or more moving, than a U.S.-flagged nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that's longer than the Empire State Building is tall and possesses four acres of flight deck. This four acres, if it were a nation, would have the fifth or sixth largest airforce in the world--86 fixed wing aircraft plus helicopters.

The Theodore Roosevelt and its accompanying cruisers, destroyers, and submarines can blow up most of the military of most of the countries on earth. God has given America a special mission. Russia can barely blow up Chechnya. China can blow up Tibet, maybe, and possibly Taiwan. And the EU can't blow up Liechtenstein. But the USA can blow up .??.??. gosh, where to start?

But I didn't visit the Theodore Roosevelt just to gush patriotically--although some patriotic gushing is called for in America at the moment. And while I'm at it let me heap praise upon the people who arranged and guided my Big Stick tour. I was invited on the "embark" thanks to the kindness of the Honorable William J. (Jim) Haynes II, former Department of Defense general counsel. The trip was arranged by Colonel Kelly Wheaton, senior military assistant to acting Department of Defense general counsel Daniel Dell'Orto, and by Lt. Commander Philip Rosi, public affairs officer of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group.

I traveled with the Honorable Mr. Dell'Orto and a group of ten Distinguished Visitors (minus me). Onboard we met people more distinguished yet, including Captain C.L. Wheeler, commanding officer of the Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Frank C. Pandolfe, commander of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, and Command Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Engles, who--as anyone with experience in or of the Navy knows (my dad was a chief petty officer)--actually runs everything.

I could go on about the TR and its crew at epic length. And one day, if they'll invite me back, I'll do so. But, being a reporter, I wasn't there to report on things. I was there to get a journalistic hook--a tailhook, as it were--for a preconceived idea. I wanted to say something about Senator John McCain. And as soon as our distinguished visitor group donned "float coats" and ear protection and went to the flight deck and saw F-18s take off and land, I had something to say.

Carrier launches are astonishing events. The plane is moved to within what seems like a bowling alley's length of the bow. A blast shield larger than any government building driveway Khomeini-flipper rises behind the fighter jet, and the jet's twin engines are cranked to maximum thrust. A slot-car slot runs down the middle of the bowling alley. The powered-up jet is held at the end of its slot by a steel shear pin smaller than a V-8 can. When the shear pin shears the jet is unleashed and so is a steam catapult that hurls the plane down the slot, from 0 to 130 miles per hour in two seconds. And--if all goes well--the airplane is airborne. This is not a pilot taking off. This is a pilot as cat's eye marble pinched between boundless thumb and infinite forefinger of Heaven's own Wham-O slingshot.

Carrier landings are more astonishing. We were in heavy seas. Spray was coming over the bow onto the flight deck, 60 feet above the waterline. As the ship was pitching, 18 tons of F-18 with a wingspan of 40-odd feet approached at the speed of celebrity sex rumor. Four acres of flight deck has never looked so small. Had it been lawn you'd swear you could do it in 15 minutes with a push mower.

Four arresting cables are stretched across the stern, each thick as a pepperoni. The cables are held slightly above the runway by metal hoops. The pilot can't really see these cables and isn't really looking at that runway, which is rising at him like a slap in the face or falling away like the slope of a playground slide when you're four. The pilot has his eye on the "meatball," a device, portside midship, with a glowing dot that does--or doesn't--line up between two lighted dashes. This indicates that the pilot is . . . no, isn't . . . yes, is . . . isn't . . . is . . . on course to land. Meanwhile there are sailors in charge of the landing hunched at a control panel portside aft. They are on the radio telling the pilot what he's doing or better had do or hadn't better. They are also waving colored paddles at him meaning this or that. (I don't pretend to know what I'm talking about here.) Plus there are other pilots on the radio along with an officer in the control tower. The pilot is very well trained because at this point his head doesn't explode.

The pilot drops his tailhook. This is not an impressive-looking piece of equipment--no smirks about the 1991 Tailhook Association brouhaha, please. The hook doesn't appear sturdy enough to yank Al Franken offstage when Al is smirking about the presidential candidate who belonged to the Tailhook Association. The hook is supposed to--and somehow usually does--strike the deck between the second and third arresting cables. The cable then does not jerk the F-18 back to the stern the way it would in a cartoon. Although watching these events is so unreal that you expect cartoon logic to apply.

Now imagine all concerned doing all of the above with their eyes closed. That is a night operation. We went back on deck to see--wrong verb--to feel and hear the night flights. The only things we could see were the flaming twin suns of the F-18 afterburners at the end of the catapult slot.

Some say John McCain's character was formed in a North Vietnamese prison. I say those people should take a gander at what John chose to do--voluntarily. Being a carrier pilot requires aptitude, intelligence, skill, knowledge, discernment, and courage of a kind rarely found anywhere but in a poem of Homer's or a half gallon of Dewar's. I look from John McCain to what the opposition has to offer. There's Ms. Smarty-Pantsuit, the Bosnia-Under-Sniper-Fire poster gal, former prominent Washington hostess, and now the JV senator from the state that brought you Eliot Spitzer and Bear Stearns. And there's the happy-talk boy wonder, the plaster Balthazar in the Cook County political crèche, whose policy pronouncements sound like a walk through Greenwich Village in 1968: "Change, man? Got any spare change? Change?"

Some people say John McCain isn't conservative enough. But there's more to conservatism than low taxes, Jesus, and waterboarding at Gitmo. Conservatism is also a matter of honor, duty, valor, patriotism, self-discipline, responsibility, good order, respect for our national institutions, reverence for the traditions of civilization, and adherence to the political honesty upon which all principles of democracy are based. Given what screw-ups we humans are in these respects, conservatism is also a matter of sense of humor. Heard any good quips lately from Hillary or Barack?

A one-day visit to an aircraft carrier is a lifelong lesson in conservatism. The ship is immense, going seven decks down from the flight deck and ten levels up in the tower. But it's full, with some 5,500 people aboard. Living space is as cramped as steerage on the way to Ellis Island. Even the pilots live in three-bunk cabins as small and windowless as hall closets. A warship is a sort of giant Sherman tank upon the water. Once below deck you're sealed inside. There are no cheery portholes to wave from.

McCain could hardly escape understanding the limits of something huge but hermetic, like a government is, and packed with a madding crowd. It requires organization, needs hierarchies, demands meritocracy, insists upon delegation of authority. An intricate, time-tested system replete with checks and balances is not a plaything to be moved around in a doll house of ideology. It is not a toy bunny serving imaginary sweets at a make-believe political tea party. The captain commands, but his whims do not. He answers to the nation.

And yet an aircraft carrier is more an example of what people can do than what government can't. Scores of people are all over the flight deck during takeoffs and landings. They wear color-coded T-shirts--yellow for flight-directing, purple for fueling, blue for chocking and tying-down, red for weapon-loading, brown for I-know-not-what, and so on. These people can't hear each other. They use hand signals. And, come night ops, they can't do that. Really, they communicate by "training telepathy." They have absorbed their responsibilities to the point that each knows exactly where to be and when and doing what.

These are supremely dangerous jobs. And most of the flight deck crew members are only 19 or 20. Indeed the whole ship is run by youngsters. The average age, officers and all, is about 24. "These are the same kids," a chief petty officer said, "who, back on land, have their hats bumped to one side and their pants around their knees, hanging out on corners. And here they're in charge of $35 million airplanes."

The crew is in more danger than the pilots. If an arresting cable breaks--and they do--half a dozen young men and women could be sliced in half. When a plane crashes, a weapon malfunctions, or a fire breaks out, there's no ejection seat for the flight deck crew. While we were on the Theodore Roosevelt a memorial service was held for a crew member who had been swept overboard. Would there have been an admiral and a captain of an aircraft carrier and hundreds of the bravest Americans at a memorial service for you when you were 20?

Supposedly the "youth vote" is all for Obama. But it's John McCain who actually has put his life in the hands of adolescents on a carrier deck. Supposedly the "women's vote" is . . . well, let's not go too far with this. I can speak to John's honor, duty, valor, patriotism, etc., but I'm not sure how well his self-discipline would have fared if he'd been on an aircraft carrier with more than 500 beautiful women sailors the way I was. At least John likes women, which is more than we can say about Hillary's attitude toward, for instance, the women in Bill's life, who at this point may constitute nearly the majority of the "women's vote."

These would have been interesting subjects to discuss with the Theodore Roosevelt shipmates, but time was up.

Back on the COD you're buckled in and told to brace as if for a crash. Whereupon there is a crash. The catapult sends you squashed against your flight harness. And just when you think that everything inside your body is going to blow out your nose and navel, it's over. You're in steady, level flight.

A strange flight it is--from the hard and fast reality of a floating island to the fantasy world of American solid ground. In this never-never land a couple of tinhorn Second City shysters--who, put together, don't have the life experience of the lowest ranking gob-with-a-swab cleaning a head on the Big Stick--presume to run for president of the United States. They're not just running against the hero John McCain, they're running against heroism itself and against almost everything about America that ought to be conserved.

P.J. O'Rourke is a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #455 on: April 23, 2008, 09:04:45 AM »

Arch liberal cheesy Maureen Dowd fusses and fulminates cheesy

Wilting Over Waffles
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By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: April 23, 2008
He’s never going to shake her off.

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Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Maureen Dowd

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Go to Columnist Page »Not all by himself.

The very fact that he can’t shake her off has become her best argument against him. “Why can’t he close the deal?” Hillary taunted at a polling place on Tuesday.

She’s been running ads about it, suggesting he doesn’t have “what it takes” to run the country. Her message is unapologetically emasculating: If he does not have the gumption to put me in my place, when superdelegates are deserting me, money is drying up, he’s outspending me 2-to-1 on TV ads, my husband’s going crackers and party leaders are sick of me, how can he be trusted to totally obliterate Iran and stop Osama?

Now that Hillary has won Pennsylvania, it will take a village to help Obama escape from the suffocating embrace of his rival. Certainly Howard Dean will be of no use steering her to the exit. It’s like Micronesia telling Russia to denuke.

“You know, some people counted me out and said to drop out,” said a glowing Hillary at her Philadelphia victory party, with Bill and Chelsea by her side. “Well, the American people don’t quit. And they deserve a president who doesn’t quit, either.”

The Democrats are growing ever more desperate about the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. With gas prices out of control, with the comically oblivious President Bush shimmying around New Orleans — the city he let drown — and Condi sneaking into Baghdad as rockets and mortars hail down on the Green Zone, beating the Republicans should be a cinch.

But the Democrats watch in horror as Hillary continues to scratch up the once silvery sheen on Obama, and as John McCain not only consolidates his own party but encroaches on theirs by boldly venturing into Selma, Ala., on Monday to woo black voters.

They also cringe as Bill continues his honey-crusted-nut-bar meltdown. With his usual exquisite timing, just as Pennsylvanians were about to vote, Hillary’s husband became the first person ever to play the Caucasian Card. First, he blurted out to a radio interviewer that the Obama camp had played the race card against him after he compared Obama’s strength in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson’s. And then, with a Brobdingnagian finger-wagging on the screen, he denied it to an NBC News reporter.

“You always follow me around and play these little games, and I’m not going to play your games today,” he said, accusing the reporter of looking for “another cheap story to divert the American people from the real urgent issues before us.”

If there’s one person who knows about crass diversions, it’s Bill. But even for him, it was an embarrassing explosion, capped with some blue language to an aide that was caught on air.

The Democrats are eager to move on to an Obama-McCain race. But they can’t because no one seems to be able to show Hillary the door. Despite all his incandescent gifts, Obama has missed several opportunities to smash the ball over the net and end the game. Again and again, he has seemed stuck at deuce. He complains about the politics of scoring points, but to win, you’ve got to score points.

He knew he tanked in the Philadelphia debate, but he was so irritated by the moderators — and by having to stand next to Hillary again — that he couldn’t summon a single merry dart.

Is he skittish around her because he knows that she detests him and he’s used to charming everyone? Or does he feel guilty that he cut in line ahead of her? As the husband of Michelle, does he know better than to defy the will of a strong woman? Or is he simply scared of Hillary because she’s scary?

He is frantic to get away from her because he can’t keep carbo-loading to relate to the common people.

In the final days in Pennsylvania, he dutifully logged time at diners and force-fed himself waffles, pancakes, sausage and a Philly cheese steak. He split the pancakes with Michelle, left some of the waffle and sausage behind, and gave away the French fries that came with the cheese steak.

But this is clearly a man who can’t wait to get back to his organic scrambled egg whites. That was made plain with his cri de coeur at the Glider Diner in Scranton when a reporter asked him about Jimmy Carter and Hamas.

“Why” he pleaded, sounding a bit, dare we say, bitter, “can’t I just eat my waffle?”

His subtext was obvious: Why can’t I just be president? Why do I have to keep eating these gooey waffles and answering these gotcha questions and debating this gonzo woman?

Before they devour themselves once more, perhaps the Democrats will take a cue from Dr. Seuss’s “Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!” (The writer once mischievously redid it for his friend Art Buchwald as “Richard M. Nixon Will You Please Go Now!”) They could sing:

“The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just go. ... I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Hillary R. Clinton, will you please go now! You can go on skates. You can go on skis. ... You can go in an old blue shoe.

Just go, go, GO!”
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« Reply #456 on: April 23, 2008, 02:26:13 PM »

I was for the first time in a long time listening to Rush Limbaugh today and he is hystericaly lughingl at the likes of Dowd who are running around asking "why can't *he* put *her* away?"

This when he was asking why can't Hillary put BO away.  Why she *was* the front runner who could put him away till recently.

He believes her campaign (which of course listens to his program) simply had her get up after the Pa. election and ask the question turning it around on BO.  And thus, planted it into the minds of the press who of course picked it up hook line and sinker and are all running around like chickens asking the same question.

And of course Dowd, the feminazi she is, has to make this into some sort of castration issue, and he is not masculine enough to fight back, and billary is a much better fighter able to lead this nation and on and on and on.  What psycho babble!

Feminazi = penis envy angry broad.



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #457 on: April 24, 2008, 07:51:48 AM »

Like Karl Rove below, I'm not sure I agree that it is a lock, but the point about the implications of Nunn and Boren is worth noting.
==========

The Democrats Have a Nominee
April 24, 2008; Page A11
So what?

Other than ensuring the Greatest Show on Earth will continue, does it matter that Hillary Clinton defeated Barack Obama Tuesday in Pennsylvania by nine-plus points? Barack Obama is the nominee.

No matter how many kicks the rest of us find in such famously fun primary states as Indiana and South Dakota, it's going to be McCain versus Obama in 2008.

I believe the cement set around the Clinton coffin last Friday. The Obama campaign announced it had received the support of former Sens. Sam Nunn of North Carolina and David Boren of Oklahoma.

 
Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger says despite her primary win in Pennsylvania, it's over for Hillary. (April 23)
Both are what some of us nostalgically call Serious Democrats. They represent what the party was, but is no more: sensible on national security, spending and middle-class values. Obama receiving their imprimatur is like hands reaching out from the graves of FDR, JFK and LBJ to announce: "Enough is enough. This man is your nominee. Go forth and fight with the Republicans." Make no mistake: Superdelegates with sway took notice.

Former Sen. Nunn is sometimes mentioned as a possible running mate for Sen. Obama. In a better world, Sam Nunn (or a David Boren) would have been the party's candidate for president. Such candidacies remain impossible under the iron law of Democratic primary politics: No centrist can secure the party's nomination in a primary system dominated by left-liberal activists. The iron law produces candidacies such as McGovern (1972), Mondale ('84), Dukakis ('88), Gore ('00) or Kerry ('04), who pay so many left-liberal obeisances to win in the primaries that they cannot attract sufficient moderates at the margins to win the general election.

Bill Clinton, who broke that law twice, knows all this. His 1996 triangulation campaign dangled welfare reform and spending restraint. It worked.

Hillary Clinton knows all this. In 2005, just after George W. Bush won re-election buoyed by "moral values" voters, Sen. Clinton reached out to them in a January speech: "the primary reason that teenage girls abstain [from sex] is because of their religious and moral values. We should embrace this." By "we" she meant that voters still wedded to middle-class respectability, say in Ohio, should embrace her.

 
AP 
Thanks for the memories. Democrats will opt for a new magician.
She has worked hard as a member of the Armed Services Committee to establish her bona fides with general officers, and some have endorsed her. As well, her hedged, equivocal vote "for" the Iraq War was mainly a centrist investment to cash in fall 2008. (The left won't allow it; see iron law above.)

The 2008 nomination was hers. There was no competition. She was a lock to run for the roses against the Republican nominee. Republicans must have had this conversation a hundred times back then: "It's Hillary. She's got it. Get over it."

Sam Nunn and David Boren by political temperament should be in her camp. Instead, they threw in with Obama, who calls his campaign "post-partisan," a ludicrous phrase. The blowback at ABC's debate makes clear that Obama is the left's man. So what did Messrs. Nunn and Boren see?

The biggest event was the Clinton Abandonment. In a campaign of surprises, none has been more breathtaking than the falling away of Clinton supporters, loyalists . . . and friends. Why?

Money. Barack Obama's mystical pull on people is nice, but nice in modern politics comes after money. Once Barack proved conclusively that he could raise big-time cash, the Clintons' strongest tie to their machine began to unravel. Today he's got $42 million banked. She's got a few million north of nothing.

But it's more than that. Barack Obama's Web-based fund-raising apparatus is, if one may say so, respectable. The Clintons' "donor base" has been something else.

It is hard to overstate how fatigued Democratic donors in Manhattan and L.A. got during the Clinton presidency to have Bill and Hillary fly in, repeatedly, to sweep checking accounts. The Lincoln Bedroom rental was cheesy. Bill's 60th birthday gala (tickets $60,000 to 500K) was a Clinton fund-raiser. The 1996 John Huang-Lippo-China fund-raising scandal pushed Clinton contributors toward a milieu most didn't need in their lives. Hillary's 2007 Norman Hsu fund-raising scandal was an unsettling rerun of what the donor base could expect from another Clinton presidency.

It was all kind of gross, but the Clintons never seemed to see that. When Obama proved he could perform this most basic function in politics, it was a get-out-of-jail-free card for many Democrats. For some, this may be personal. For others, it is likely a belief that the party's interests lie with finding an alternative to the Clinton saga. One guesses this is what Sam Nunn and David Boren concluded.

Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania prove it won't be easy. Barack Obama himself said Tuesday night, "I'm not perfect." He heads to the nomination freighted with all the familiar Democratic tensions that keep a Sam Nunn off the ballot: race and gender obsessions, semipacifism and you bet, bitter white voters. So be it. For modern Democrats, winning the White House always requires some sort of magic to get near 50%. For the Clintons, that bag is empty. The Democrats have a new magician. It's Obama.
=========
Is Obama Ready for Prime Time?
By KARL ROVE
April 24, 2008; Page A13

After being pummeled 55% to 45% in the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama was at a loss for explanations. The best he could do was to compliment his supporters in an email saying, "you helped close the gap to a slimmer margin than most thought possible." Then he asked for money.

With $42 million in the bank, money is the least of Sen. Obama's problems. He needs a credible message that convinces Democrats he should be president. In recent days, he's spent too much time proclaiming his inevitable nomination. But they already know he's won more states, votes and delegates.

 
Chad Crowe 
His words wear especially thin when he was dealt a defeat like Tuesday's. Mr. Obama was routed despite outspending Hillary Clinton on television by almost 3-1. While polls in the final days showed a possible 4% or 5% Clinton win, she apparently took late-deciders by a big margin to clinch the landslide.

Where she cobbled together her victory should cause concern in the Obama HQ. She did better – and he worse – than expected in Philadelphia's suburbs. Mrs. Clinton won two of these four affluent suburban counties, home of the white-wine crowd Mr. Obama has depended on for victories before.

In the small town and rural "bitter" precincts, she clobbered him. Mr. Obama's state chair was Sen. Bob Casey, who hails from Lackawanna County in northeast Pennsylvania. She carried that county 74%-25%. In the state's 61 less-populous counties, she won 63% – and by 278,266 votes. Her margin of victory statewide was 208,024 votes.

Mrs. Clinton's problem remains that she's behind in the delegate count, with 1,589 to Mr. Obama's 1,714. Neither candidate will get to the 2,025 needed for nomination with elected delegates. But the Democratic Party's rules of proportionality mean it will be hard to close that margin among the 733 delegates yet to be elected or declared. Mrs. Clinton will need to take 58% of the remaining delegates. Thus far, she's been able to get that or better in just four of the 46 contests.

Her path gets rougher. While Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Puerto Rico are good territory for her, Oregon and Montana may not be. And Mrs. Clinton will be outspent badly. She entered April with $9.3 million in cash, but debts of $10.3 million. Mr. Obama had $42.5 million but only $663,000 in unpaid bills.

In Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama's money could only wipe out half a purported 20% deficit, but the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Mr. Obama behind by 2% in Indiana and ahead in North Carolina by 16%. Those states will vote in two weeks. The financial throw weight he will have in the Hoosier State could more than erase Mrs. Clinton's lead there, while keeping North Carolina solidly in his column. His money could give him a double knockout on May 6, which would effectively end her bid for the presidency.

If she wins Indiana, however, she will surely go forward – and Democrats run the risk of a split decision in June. Mr. Obama could have more delegates, but she could have more popular votes. In fact, on Tuesday night she actually grabbed the popular vote lead: If you include the Michigan and Florida primary results, Mrs. Clinton now leads the popular vote by a slim 113,000 votes out of 29,914,356 cast.

Mr. Obama will argue he wasn't on the ballot in Michigan and didn't campaign in Florida. But don't Democrats want to count all the votes in all the contests? After all, Mr. Obama took his name off the Michigan ballot; it isn't something he was forced to do. And while he didn't campaign in Florida, neither did she.

And what about the Michigan and Florida delegates? By my calculations, she should pick up about 54 delegates on Mr. Obama if they are seated (this assumes the Michigan "uncommitted" delegates go for Mr. Obama). If he is ahead in June by a number similar to his lead today of 125, does he let the two delegations in and make the convention vote even closer? Or does he continue to act as if two states with 41 of the 270 electoral votes needed for the White House don't exist?

The Democratic Party has two weakened candidates. Mrs. Clinton started as a deeply flawed candidate: the palpable and unpleasant sense of entitlement, the absence of a clear and optimistic message, the grating personality impatient to be done with the little people and overly eager for a return to power, real power, the phoniness and the exaggerations. These problems have not diminished over the long months of the contest. They have grown. She started out with the highest negatives of any major candidate in an open race for the presidency and things have only gotten worse.

And what of the reborn Adlai Stevenson? Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are "bitter" and therefore "cling" to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America's chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason.

His inspiring rhetoric is a potent tool for energizing college students and previously uninvolved African-American voters. But his appeals are based on two aspirational pledges he is increasingly less credible in making.

Mr. Obama's call for postpartisanship looks unconvincing, when he is unable to point to a single important instance in his Senate career when he demonstrated bipartisanship. And his repeated calls to remember Dr. Martin Luther King's "fierce urgency of now" in tackling big issues falls flat as voters discover that he has not provided leadership on any major legislative battle.

Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their too-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president.

But something happened along the way. Voters saw in the Philadelphia debate the responses of a vitamin-deficient Stevenson act-a-like. And in the closing days of the Pennsylvania primary, they saw him alternate between whining about his treatment by Mrs. Clinton and the press, and attacking Sen. John McCain by exaggerating and twisting his words. No one likes a whiner, and his old-style attacks undermine his appeals for postpartisanship.

Mr. Obama is near victory in the Democratic contest, but it is time for him to reset, freshen his message and say something new. His conduct in the last several weeks raises questions about whether, for all his talents, he is ready to be president.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2008, 07:56:45 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #458 on: April 24, 2008, 10:56:23 AM »


I would agree that Nunn probably feels like other Democrats.

There are probably many democrats who would like to rid the world of the Clintons and until now there was no alternative.
I would also agree more with Rove than Dick Morris in that this "race" is not over.   One just never knows.
The character issue keeps coming up for BO.

To me it is now clear.  BO is a liberal way left of Dukakis wearing "post partisan" clothes.

Naive young voters 18 to 24 will fall for this.  Older voters will not.  Listening to talk radio for the first time in a long time yesterday while driving around to hospitals gave me a glimpse into the rights present strategy to handle BO.  The are biggining a nuclear war with this while TV and cable news is still using sticks and stones.
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« Reply #459 on: April 25, 2008, 12:20:10 PM »

McCain and Taxes
April 25, 2008
John McCain, the Republican nominee for President, has proposed extending the Bush tax cuts. So as morning follows night this week, Democratic news analysis has been pouring forth to proclaim that his tax ideas are a threat to the republic because they'll explode the budget deficit. The Senator needs to understand that he can't win this election by playing on this economic turf.

The subtext of the criticism of the McCain tax plan is that it would somehow "starve" the government of revenue. The figures being tossed around for the "cost" of the McCain tax plan have been estimated at $2 trillion by the liberal Center for American Progress, while the Brookings Institution estimates $5.7 trillion.

 
If this were really true, the lower Bush rates of 2003 already would be draining money away from Uncle Sam. Instead, even amid an economic slowdown, tax revenue stands at nearly 19% of GDP. That's above the modern historical average, and there is no precedent in recent history for raising and maintaining the tax take significantly higher than that.

If all the tax cuts expire, however, we would see the largest tax increase in U.S. history and that percentage of national income going to the Treasury would climb steeply higher. In which economics text is it written that the cure for a slowing economy is an unprecedented tax increase?

Senator McCain has also proposed moving the U.S. corporate tax rate, currently the second highest in the world after Japan, to a rate closer to the international norm. The point here is to stop driving investment and jobs overseas. Even House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel has recognized this. Once-sleepy Ireland cut its corporate tax rate to 12.5% from 48%, and tax receipts have soared because of its revived economy. Incentives work.

We've made no secret of our disagreement with the Bush Administration's willingness to accept a weak dollar. Yet that's what we've got. As such, a low tax rate on capital-gains and dividends is even more crucial if we are to attract capital into the U.S. economy.

The criticism of the McCain plan by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, echoed in the media analysis, is that his reductions merely direct benefits to "the wealthiest." But these people already pay nearly all the income tax burden. Meanwhile, the politicians make sure the middle class gets socked by payroll and state taxes.

 
This said, it isn't going to be sufficient for Senator McCain to simply tout these tax cuts without offering a strong rationale. The standard trap the left sets whenever tax cuts are mooted is to wave the "deficit" that will result. Absent a counterargument, Mr. McCain will spend the campaign playing on this liberal ground. In particular, he has to make the case that tax cuts do not lose as much revenue as the static, dollar-for-dollar revenuers claim. He has tax-cut history on his side. The threats of revenue catastrophe did not happen in the 1960s (the Kennedy tax cuts), the 1980s (Reagan) or after 2003 (Bush). See the nearby table.

Senator McCain has to find a way to make the case that his economic plan and its attendant tax cuts are intended to spur economic growth. So much the better if he doesn't feel personally comfortable making that argument in the sort of dry terms his economic advisers might favor.

Growth is the product of work performed by a huge nation of individuals seeking to support families, small businesses and communities. Virtually everyone understands that the nation only thrives if people are able to invest their money and labor and then reinvest it in more of the same. They will only do that, at every income level, if the government consents to allowing most of the fruits of this effort to remain with individuals in the private economy.

Senator McCain doesn't need a doctorate in economics to understand this debate. As a Member of Congress and Presidential candidate, he has listened endlessly to Democrats mau-mau their opponents with rhetoric about "fairness" and the "deficit" and, best of all, the "investment needs" of the government, aka, spending.

The past week's criticisms are intended to bait Mr. McCain into debating his tax cuts on these liberal terms. He can only win this debate, and the election, by breaking free of that mindset and making his own personal case for lower taxes and the prosperity they help to create.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary,
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #460 on: April 25, 2008, 04:41:26 PM »

Danish citizen evaluates our candidates.....
From an observer in Denmark.........


"We in Denmark cannot figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election.

On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer.
And a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.

On the other side, you have a true war hero, married to a woman with a huge chest, who owns a beer distributorship.

Is there a contest here?"

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« Reply #461 on: April 26, 2008, 03:43:22 PM »

Slow to post, but thanks CCP for kind words asking my opinion on John McCain's tax plan.  McCain presented it on April 15 when I was up to my neck in guess what - tax compliance tasks. There are both tax system and political considerations to take into account when viewing the campaign proposals. The plan is far better than I expected from McCain.  Here are my random thoughts, mostly positive, followed by negative coverage from the MSM.

1. Not raise taxes like his opponents both want to do plus a proposal to require 3/5 majorities to raise taxes.  I don't see that one explained but sounds to me like a constitutional amendment which is always unlikely.

2. Get our Corporate Tax in line with other countries, Cut from 35 down to 25%.  This needs to be explained and sold or it certainly will be demogogued to sound like tax cuts for the wealthy - people living paycheck to paycheck don't own profitable corporations.  The federal corporate tax is double taxation (at least, and really triple and quadruple taxation when all things are considered).  You can't just take your money after the corporate tax, federal and state, is paid. You must declare the personal income and be taxed again at the federal and state levels.  The rate correction will bring in more money to the treasury.  Having a rate higher than our economic competitors pulls companies, jobs and profits away.  Excessive rates keep money diverted away from profits and taxes.

3. Introduce an alternative tax system. I thought this was the big one but I don't see it on his site as I look now.  Near as I can tell this was the Fred Thompson plan that received the highest marks from conservative pundits such as the WSJ editorial page.  Not a true flat tax which would never be implemented in this liberal dominated political time we are in, but a 2-step 'flat tax' of 10 and 25% combined with a generous standard deduction.  Making this plan optional is clever.  It eliminates the gripe of those who lose deductions and fare worse under the new, simpler system.

4. Estate tax: Exempt the first $10 million and reduce the rate to 15%. - That is FAR better than the current schedule to go to zero in 2010 and then back to 55% in 2011 which is completely nuts!  15% is probably a reasonable rate that people would pay without turning their lives upside down to avoid.  Estate is generally after-tax money but I don't think this electorate is going to repeal the tax entirely.  Also, the argument that we collect more money at lower rates doesn't work at zero.

5. Gas Tax Holiday.  No federal gas taxes for this summer.  To me, that falls in a gimicky category with the rebates.  We don't need up and down tax rates.  We need a tax system that pays our bills without stomping down productive activities.  One piece of logic supporting a summer holiday is that gas prices go up partly because of summer formulation rules.  One might say this break would offset that.

6. Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.  This is BIG, affects more and more taxpayers every year.

7. Other: allowing businesses to write off the cost of new equipment and technology, banning Internet and new cellphone taxes, and permanently extending the business tax credit for research and development.

8. Hard line on spending.  McCain originally opposed the Bush cuts based on budget balance concerns.  In fact, revenues SURGED under the rate cuts and the economy only started to stall as impending tax rate hikes looked likely.  We know the deficits came from excessive spending because the revenue increase were far above expectations.  McCain will be attacked (and already has been) for fiscal irresponsibility for cutting any tax rate or even for any instance of not  raising taxes.  McCain has to make the case that tax rates that are "low, simple and fair" are good the economy and good for revenues to the treasury and that fiscal responsibility must come from entitlement reform and spending disciplline. Good luck with that.

Other than perhaps the final point about spending discipline, I would find his tax proposal to be the right plan, wrong messenger.  Bush passed some impressive cuts of the best kind -  to marginal tax rates, but he failed to articulate how they worked, why they worked or even that they did work. Most people are far more aware of the past couple of months of slow growth than they are about 51 months of robust growth.  McCain has a history of being a tax cut skeptic and that will make selling his program difficult.

In 1996, Bob Dole's lackluster campaign picked Jack Kemp to be his running mate and Dole adopted a serious tax cut proposal from Kemp.  On the stump and in press questioning Dole couldn't explain his own support for this new, bold proposal and Kemp couldn't explain Dole's past positions opposing these types of rate cuts.
----

Here is a negative story on the McCain tax plan from CBS / Washington Post just yesterday:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/25/politics/washingtonpost/main4044195.shtml

McCain Changes Tune On Tax Cuts
Washington Post: GOP Candidates Offers Tax Policies He Once Opposed

April 25, 2008

On May 26, 2001, after then-Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.) cast his vote against President Bush's $1.35 trillion tax cut, he trudged back to his office, convinced, he recalled, that he had been the lone Republican to oppose the largest tax cut in two decades.

But Chafee's staff told him that one other Republican, who had largely avoided the grueling efforts at compromise, had joined him in dissent. That senator, John McCain, was marching to his own beat, Chafee said, impervious to pressure from either side.

Now that he is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, however, McCain is marching straight down the party line. The economic package he has laid out embraces many of the tax policies he once decried: extending Bush's tax cuts he voted against, offering investment tax breaks he once believed would have little economic benefit and granting the long-held wishes of tax lobbyists he has often mocked.

McCain's concerns -- about budget deficits, unanticipated defense costs, an Iraq war that would be longer and more costly than advertised -- have proved eerily prescient, usually a plus for politicians who are quick to say they were right when others were wrong. Yet McCain appears determined to leave such predictions behind.

"He's looking forward, not back," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior policy adviser.

To supporters, McCain has simply seen the light and now understands the power that business tax relief has to spur economic growth and innovation. Said J.D. Foster, a former Bush White House and Treasury tax policy expert, now at the Heritage Foundation: "It's logical that he wouldn't be repeating the arguments he made then. We all learn from experience."

To critics, it is political pandering. "It's just part of the new John McCain that's taking on the conventional wisdom that in tight races, you have to energize the base and win by 50.000001 percent," Chafee said. "I was frankly surprised that he's kept it up after securing the nomination. I thought he'd move to the center, and I haven't seen it."

Holtz-Eakin urged skeptics to "wind the clock way back," saying McCain has supported lower taxes and a smaller federal government throughout his political career.

But McCain's conflicts with fellow Republicans over taxes date back well before his differences with Bush. In December 1994, after his party swept to control of Congress on tax-cut promises, he challenged Ronald Reagan's legacy when he warned, "I think we would be making a terrible mistake to go back to the '80s, where we cut all of those taxes and all of a sudden now we've got a debt that we've got to pay on an annual basis that is bigger than the amount that we spend on defense."

In 1998, Republican leaders and their tobacco industry allies lambasted McCain's $516 billion tobacco regulation bill as the "McCain tax," painting it as big-government overreach and a $1.10 tax increase on every pack of cigarettes.

"This bill is not about taxes," he pleaded, just before the measure fell to a Republican filibuster. "It's about whether we're going to allow the death march of 418,000 Americans a year who die early from tobacco-related disease and do nothing."

In 2001, just days before Bush's first tax cut passed, McCain lamented on ABC's "This Week" that, "I'd like to see much more of this tax cut shared by working Americans. . . . I think it still devotes too much of it to the wealthiest Americans."

Almost exactly two years later, Bush was back for more: $350 billion in tax cuts, which accelerated the first round and added deep cuts to the tax rates on dividends and capital gains.

"Most of the economists view this as primarily benefiting wealthier Americans," McCain said on CNBC at the time. "There's a theory, I think, that's prevalent -- it was true in the 2001 tax cuts -- that if you give it to the wealthy people, then they will then, you know, create jobs, et cetera. The interesting thing to me is that most economists will tell you that it's the middle-income Americans that have been keeping the economy afloat."

Indeed, many of his warnings from those years have come to pass. Numerous expiration dates on those tax cuts, designed to hold down the cost to the Treasury, proved to be just the "gimmicks" he said they were, as Congress extended them repeatedly. The budget deficits he warned about in 2001 reemerged in dramatic fashion, as did defense spending increases not accounted for when Bush said the tax cuts were affordable. And the war in Iraq proved to be far longer and more expensive than lawmakers had expected when they approved the 2003 cuts.

"We have enormous defense expenditures. We don't know the cost of the war. We don't know the cost of reconstruction. We know it's in the tens of billions, at least, if not more," McCain said before the 2003 cuts were approved. "Obviously, we're going to be in Iraq a lot longer than many had anticipated."

Yet in Pittsburgh last week, in the face of a projected budget deficit of $400 billion and a sixth year of war, McCain proposed extending Bush's tax cuts, including the dividends and capital gains tax cuts, lowering the corporate income tax, allowing businesses to write off the cost of new equipment and technology, banning Internet and new cellphone taxes, and permanently extending the business tax credit for research and development.

By McCain's accounting, his tax proposals would cost the Treasury $200 billion a year.

"Philosophically, John McCain believes Americans pay too much in taxes, not too little," said Steve Schmidt, one of McCain's senior strategists. "The economy is in distress. Senator McCain wants to grow the economy."

Conservative tax policy analysts noted that some things McCain predicted in his earlier days did not happen. In 2003, he doubted that a capital gains and dividends tax cut would have any economic effect, and said that whatever gains were to be had would be swamped by rising deficits and interest rates. Foster said, however, that the economy took off with the passage of the 2003 tax cut, and although budget deficits have remained, interest rates have stayed low.

Holtz-Eakin said McCain did campaign for president in 2000 on a tax cut plan, albeit one significantly smaller than Bush's. But it was always meant as a first step toward a simple flat-tax system, Holtz-Eakin said. His latest tax proposal is merely the next step in that process, building on the past eight years of tax changes.

No doubt, conservatives say, McCain is now on the right political side of the tax issue.

"He's put himself in a position where a conversation about the economy is a conversation about Democratic tax increases and Republican lower taxes, and that's where any Republican wants to be," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, who has clashed fiercely with McCain in the past.

But a change of position can always be used by the opposition, and Democrats have already begun.

"He's promising . . . tax cuts that he once voted against because he said they offended his conscience," Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) said Tuesday night. "Well, they may have stopped offending John McCain's conscience somewhere along the road to the White House, but George Bush's economic policies still offend ours."
« Last Edit: April 26, 2008, 03:54:31 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #462 on: April 26, 2008, 06:16:14 PM »

"McCain has a history of being a tax cut skeptic and that will make selling his program difficult.  In 1996, Bob Dole's lackluster campaign picked Jack Kemp to be his running mate and Dole adopted a serious tax cut proposal from Kemp.  On the stump and in press questioning Dole couldn't explain his own support for this new, bold proposal and Kemp couldn't explain Dole's past positions opposing these types of rate cuts."

Pithy and its truth here is quite the pity.
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« Reply #463 on: April 30, 2008, 10:12:11 PM »

WSJ

Where Were Obama's Friends?
May 1, 2008
It's tough being Everyman.

Way back when, before the angry and antic prophet Jeremiah rose to smite him, Barack Obama appeared before us as an open presidential vessel, into which many poured their political dreams.

Foremost were black Americans. Bill Clinton famously diminished the Obama candidacy during the South Carolina primary as just one more Jesse Jackson fling. But across the black community, support for this candidate clearly had deeper roots. Head to head against Hillary, he has been getting huge majorities of the black vote. This was their moment.

 
Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger notes that no prominent Democrats stood with Barack Obama during the candidate's recent dark hour. (May 1)
Upscale white voters signed on and were belittled as liberals exorcising white guilt. Maybe, but for many Obama was also the un-Bush and un-Hillary.

Independents worn down by 16 years of Red-Blue trench warfare bought the "change" promise. Obama sounded like he could pull it off. Indies like to dream.

Brand-name Democrats, such as various members of the Kennedy aristocracy, went over, calculating it might be easier to push the party forward with Obama's lightness of being than the Clintons' boxcars of baggage.

The periodic ideals of young America we know about.

Even as they watched Barack win, pundits and reporters were agog that a one-term, black-American senator from Illinois could have such an effect. This pickup-team coalition of idealists and pols, led by a virtual Luke Skywalker, was on the brink of pushing the Clinton empire over the cliff. It made the Clintons crazy.

This week we learned the limit of a dream in American politics. At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman.

No prominent black clergyman came forth to make even the simple point that Jeremiah Wright's notion of the "black church" is but one point on a spectrum of faith. Rev. Wright, now written off as a virtual nut case, got more support from black clergymen than did Obama.

Barack Obama was bleeding by Monday and needed cover. Where, when he could have used them, were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers: Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Oprah, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Jay Rockefeller, John Lewis, Toni Morrison, Roger Wilkins, Eric Holder, Robert Reich, Ted Sorenson, Alice Walker, David Wilhelm, Cornel West, Clifford Alexander, Donald McHenry, Patricia Wald, Newton Minow?

Where were all the big-city mayors who went over to the Obama camp: Chicago's Richard Daley, Cleveland's Frank Reynolds, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin, Washington's Adrian Fenty, Newark's Cory Booker, Baltimore's Sheila Dixon?

It isn't hard for big names to get on talk TV to make a point. Any major op-ed page would have stopped the presses to print a statement of support from Ted Kennedy or such for the senator. None appeared. Call it profiles in gopher-holing.

Blogs and Web sites are overflowing with how this meltdown is largely of Barack Obama's own making. What difference does that make? He is not running for class president; he's running for the presidency of the United States. Even at the crudest level of political calculation and cowardice, there's a point in a presidential race when a candidate's supporters are all in. We passed that point weeks ago. It's him or her.

Analysts and historians will spend years sorting through the lessons of this most bizarre of all presidential campaigns. The Obama desertion points in a few directions.

The nature of modern media coverage and the length of the campaign (two years!) has made these presidential candidates truly larger than life; indeed, they've become almost cartoon-like. Their personas dwarf and overwhelm the parties to which they nominally belong.

As entities, the parties continue to recede. The Democratic superdelegates, created to represent the party's interests, look like deer frozen in the headlights of the two candidates' roaring tractor trailers.

As for the supersized candidates, what strikes one most about them is their "aloneness." They look so solitary. Indeed, it is possible that the old and honorable notion of "standing with" a candidate like Obama simply didn't occur to his famous supporters this week. Everyone has become used to watching celebrity stars and athletes take it in the neck on their own. Even someone running for the nation's presidency looks like just another personal crack-up.

What about the voters – the average Joes and Janes showing up in record numbers in formerly obscure primary states? It's wonderful to learn so much about the politics of Rhode Island, eastern Indiana or swaths of central Pennsylvania, and the candidates themselves are pressing more retail political flesh than ever. The result, though, is pretty clinical – data flowing into exit-poll categories whose fluctuating post-primary percentages are somehow more exciting than, well, real people.

The list is long this week of supporters who let Barack Obama hang out to dry. More than a few were last seen running out on Hillary Clinton. Perhaps the solution here is for the two soloists to meet, flip a coin, and spend the next six months as a pair running against John McCain. It looks like they're the only friends they've got.
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« Reply #464 on: May 03, 2008, 06:36:51 AM »

Windfall Profits for Dummies
May 3, 2008; Page A10
This is one strange debate the candidates are having on energy policy. With gas prices close to $4 a gallon, Hillary Clinton and John McCain say they'll bring relief with a moratorium on the 18.4-cent federal gas tax. Barack Obama opposes that but prefers a 1970s-style windfall profits tax (as does Mrs. Clinton).

Mr. Obama is right to oppose the gas-tax gimmick, but his idea is even worse. Neither proposal addresses the problem of energy supply, especially the lack of domestic oil and gas thanks to decades of Congressional restrictions on U.S. production. Mr. Obama supports most of those "no drilling" rules, but that hasn't stopped him from denouncing high gas prices on the campaign trail. He is running TV ads in North Carolina that show him walking through a gas station and declaring that he'll slap a tax on the $40 billion in "excess profits" of Exxon Mobil.

 
The idea is catching on. Last week Pennsylvania Congressman Paul Kanjorski introduced a windfall profits tax as part of what he called the "Consumer Reasonable Energy Price Protection Act of 2008." So now we have Congress threatening to help itself to business profits even though Washington already takes 35% right off the top with the corporate income tax.

You may also be wondering how a higher tax on energy will lower gas prices. Normally, when you tax something, you get less of it, but Mr. Obama seems to think he can repeal the laws of economics. We tried this windfall profits scheme in 1980. It backfired. The Congressional Research Service found in a 1990 analysis that the tax reduced domestic oil production by 3% to 6% and increased oil imports from OPEC by 8% to 16%. Mr. Obama nonetheless pledges to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, which he says "costs America $800 million a day." Someone should tell him that oil imports would soar if his tax plan becomes law. The biggest beneficiaries would be OPEC oil ministers.

There's another policy contradiction here. Exxon is now under attack for buying back $2 billion of its own stock rather than adding to the more than $21 billion it is likely to invest in energy research and exploration this year. But hold on. If oil companies believe their earnings from exploring for new oil will be expropriated by government – and an excise tax on profits is pure expropriation – they will surely invest less, not more. A profits tax is a sure formula to keep the future price of gas higher.

Exxon's profits are soaring with the recent oil price spike, but the energy industry's earnings aren't as outsized as the politicians seem to think. Thomson Financial calculates that profits from the oil and natural gas industry over the past year were 8.3% of investment, while the all-industry average is 7.8%. And this was a boom year for oil. An analysis by the Cato Institute's Jerry Taylor finds that between 1970 and 2003 (which includes peak and valley years for earnings) the oil and gas business was "less profitable than the rest of the U.S. economy." These are hardly robber barons.

This tiff over gas and oil taxes only highlights the intellectual policy confusion – or perhaps we should say cynicism – of our politicians. They want lower prices but don't want more production to increase supply. They want oil "independence" but they've declared off limits most of the big sources of domestic oil that could replace foreign imports. They want Americans to use less oil to reduce greenhouse gases but they protest higher oil prices that reduce demand. They want more oil company investment but they want to confiscate the profits from that investment. And these folks want to be President?

Late this week, a group of Senate Republicans led by Pete Domenici of New Mexico introduced the "American Energy Production Act of 2008" to expand oil production off the U.S. coasts and in Alaska. It has the potential to increase domestic production enough to keep America running for five years with no foreign imports. With the world price of oil at $116 a barrel, if not now, when? No word yet if Senators Clinton and Obama will take time off from denouncing oil profits to vote for that.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal.
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« Reply #465 on: May 07, 2008, 11:10:26 AM »

Divided for Obama
May 7, 2008; Page A18
With his victory in North Carolina on Tuesday, Barack Obama took a giant step toward the Democratic presidential nomination. The irony is that he is doing this just when Hillary Clinton has finally exposed his potential weaknesses as a general election candidate.

The Illinois Senator can certainly breathe easier having dodged a loss in North Carolina, where he once held a big lead. As usual, he swept the under-30 crowd as well as the educated, upscale liberals in the central part of the Tar Heel State. He also seems to have fought the economic issue to a draw, suggesting that his opposition to Mrs. Clinton's proposal for a moratorium on the 18.4 cent federal gas tax didn't hurt.

 
But his victory in North Carolina depended heavily on his overwhelming (91%) share of the black vote, which made up about a third of the primary electorate. Mrs. Clinton won 61% of white Democrats in North Carolina, according to the exit polls, and 65% of white Democrats in Indiana. Mrs. Clinton also broke even among independents. Clearly Mr. Obama's early promise of a transracial, postpartisan coalition has dimmed as the campaign has progressed and voters have learned more about him.

The controversy over his 20-year association with his pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, seems to have hurt in particular. About half of North Carolina Democrats said the Wright issue mattered to them, and they voted decisively for Senator Clinton. The former First Lady won easily among late deciders, which also suggests that Mr. Obama's rocky recent performance has cost him. And the Chicagoan continued his poor showing with rural voters, especially in white Democratic counties in Indiana. These are the voters John McCain will have a chance to get in November.

These are also the data points the Clinton campaign will now press with the superdelegates who will ultimately decide this contest. But the bitter political fact for the New York Senator is that her late-game rally may not matter. To nominate Mrs. Clinton now, party insiders would have to deny the nomination to the first African-American with a serious chance to be President, risking a revolt among their most loyal voting bloc.

The truth is that most Democratic pros are so confident of their November prospects that they believe either Senator will defeat John McCain. Mrs. Clinton also showed her own screaming liability yesterday, with nearly half of all Democrats saying she isn't "honest or trustworthy." This is the residue of the Clinton scandals, and it is one reason so many superdelegates have already begun to break their long co-dependence with Bill and Hillary by declaring for Mr. Obama.

Judging by his victory speech last night, the Illinois rookie has already begun to pivot to a general election strategy. He tried to address his vulnerabilities on national security and cultural values. And he began to recast his personal story as an affirmation of the American dream – in contrast to the image presented by his much-delayed condemnation of Rev. Wright's anti-American conspiracy theories.

One habit of modern Democrats is that they tend to fall in love with candidates who are both unknown and untested. The superdelegates will now have to decide if Mr. Obama is more like the Jimmy Carter of 1976 – or Michael Dukakis.
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« Reply #466 on: May 08, 2008, 07:47:58 AM »

It's Obama, Warts and All
By KARL ROVE
May 8, 2008; Page A15

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each took a state Tuesday. But the result was a damaging loss for the woman who was once the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination. Here are some observations on the race:

- Mr. Obama is now the prohibitive favorite. Tuesday night, he took at least 94 delegates to Mrs. Clinton's 75 and leads the former First Lady by 176 delegates in the AP tabulation. He has 1,840 of the 2,025 delegates needed to win. Mr. Obama needs only 185 – or 38% – of the 486 outstanding delegates (217 to be elected in the six remaining contests, and 269 superdelegates yet to endorse a candidate). Mrs. Clinton needs 341, or 70% of those left to be awarded.

 
AP 
Barack Obama arrives at a primary election night rally in North Carolina, May 6, 2008.
Mr. Obama understands this. On Tuesday night, he added a big dollop of general election themes and pre-emptive defenses against coming attacks to his stump speech.

- Mrs. Clinton may battle until June and possibly until the convention in August. There's nothing Mr. Obama can or should do about it. After a long, bitter struggle, losing candidates often look for reasons to feel aggrieved. There is no reason to give her one. No pressure from Mr. Obama or party Chairman Howard Dean is better than pushing her out of the race.

- The Democrats' refusal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations at their convention is an unresolved problem. If they insist on not seating these delegations, Democrats risk alienating voters in states with 44 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. And here Mr. Obama is at greater risk than Mrs. Clinton, especially in Florida. He trails John McCain badly in Sunshine State polls today, while Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. McCain there.

- The length of the Democratic contest has been – in some ways – a plus for the party. The AP estimates that more than 3.5 million new voters registered during the competitive primary season. And the hundreds of millions of dollars spent energizing Democratic turnout will leave organization and energy in place for November. Mr. Obama is a better candidate for having been battle tested. And Mr. McCain has to fight hard for attention. He's mentioned in less than 20% of the coverage in recent months, while Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton are talked about in 60% to 70% of the coverage.

- The length of the Democratic contest has been – in some ways – a minus. It has revealed weaknesses in Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton came across as calculating, contrived, stiff and self-concerned. Mr. Obama is increasingly seen not as the Second Coming, but as a typical liberal Chicago pol with a thin record, little experience, an array of troubling relationships and, to top it off, elitist sensibilities. Nominating him will now test the thesis that only a Democrat running as a moderate can win the White House.

The primary has created a deep fissure in Democratic ranks: blue collar, less affluent, less educated voters versus the white wine crowd of academics and upscale professionals (along with blacks and young people). Mr. Obama runs behind Mrs. Clinton's numbers when matched against Mr. McCain in key industrial battleground states. Less than half of Mrs. Clinton's backers in Indiana and North Carolina say they would support Mr. Obama if he were the nominee. In the most recent Fox News poll, two-and-a-half times as many Democrats break for Mr. McCain (15%) as Republicans defect to Mrs. Clinton (6%) and nearly twice as many Democrats support Mr. McCain (22%) as Republicans back Mr. Obama (13%). These "McCainocrat" defections could hurt badly.

State and local Democrats are realizing the toxicity of their probable national ticket. Democrats running in special congressional races recently in Louisiana and Mississippi positioned themselves as pro-life, pro-gun social conservatives and disavowed Mr. Obama. The Louisiana Democrat won his race on Saturday and said he "has not endorsed any national politician." The Mississippi Democrat is facing a runoff on May 13 and specifically denied that Mr. Obama had endorsed his campaign. Not exactly profiles in unity.

- As much as Mr. Obama's cheerleaders in the media hate it, Rev. Jeremiah Wright remains a large general-election challenge for Mr. Obama. Not only did Mr. Obama admit on "Fox News Sunday" that Mr. Wright was a legitimate issue, voters agree. Mr. Obama's favorable ratings have dropped since Mr. Wright emerged as an issue. More than half of Mrs. Clinton's supporters say it is a meaningful reflection on Mr. Obama's character and judgment.

- This will be a very difficult year for Republicans. The economy's shaky state, an unpopular war, and the natural desire for partisan change after eight years of one party in the White House have helped tilt the balance to the Democrats.

Mr. Obama is significantly weaker today than he was three months ago, but Democrats have the upper hand in November. They're beatable. But it's nonsense to think this year is going to be a replay of George H.W. Bush versus Michael Dukakis or Richard Nixon versus George McGovern.

- Mr. McCain is very competitive. He is the best candidate Republicans could have picked in this environment. With the GOP brand low, his appeal to moderates and independents becomes even more crucial.

My analysis of individual state polls shows that today Mr. McCain would win 241 Electoral College votes to Mr. Obama's 217, with 80 votes in toss-up states where neither candidate has more than a 3% lead. Ironically, Mrs. Clinton now leads Mr. McCain with 251 electoral votes to his 203 with 84 in toss-up states. This is the first time she's led Mr. McCain since I began tracking state-by-state results in early March.

Mr. McCain is realistic enough to know he will fall behind Mr. Obama once the Democratic nomination is settled. He's steeled himself and his team for that moment. And he's comforted by a belief that there will be plenty of time to recapture the lead. Mr. McCain saw Gerald Ford come from 30 points down to lose narrowly to Jimmy Carter in 1976, and watched George H.W. Bush overcome a 17-point deficit in the summer to hammer Michael Dukakis in the fall of 1988.

- The battlegrounds will look familiar. It will be the industrial heartland from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, minus Indiana (Republican) and Illinois (Democrat); the western edge of the Midwest from Minnesota south to Missouri; Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada in the Rocky Mountains; Florida; and New Hampshire.

Mr. Obama will argue he puts Virginia and North Carolina into play (doubtful), and may make an attempt at winning one or two of Nebraska's electoral votes (it awards its electoral votes by congressional district). Mr. McCain will say he can put New Jersey and Delaware and part of Maine (it splits its vote like Nebraska) in play. But it's doubtful he'll win in Oregon or Washington State, although he believes he can.

- Almost everything we think we know right now will be revised and even overturned during the next six months. This has been a race in which conventional wisdom has often been proven wrong. The improbable or thought-to-be impossible has happened with regularity. It has created a boom market for punditry and opinion offering, and one of the grandest possible spectacles for political junkies in decades. Hold on to your hat. It's going to be one heck of a ride through Nov. 4.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

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« Reply #467 on: May 08, 2008, 10:25:13 AM »

***The Democrats' refusal to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations at their convention is an unresolved problem. If they insist on not seating these delegations, Democrats risk alienating voters in states with 44 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. And here Mr. Obama is at greater risk than Mrs. Clinton, especially in Florida. He trails John McCain badly in Sunshine State polls today, while Mrs. Clinton leads Mr. McCain there***

Obviously Rove is a master at political tactics but I still find statements like this hard to believe.  I agree more with John Fund that in the end most Dems will vote and will vote the party line and will not be alienated enough to not vote or switch.

IMO forget about "alienating".  It ain't gonna happen in the end.

***Mr. McCain is very competitive. He is the best candidate Republicans could have picked in this environment. With the GOP brand low, his appeal to moderates and independents becomes even more crucial.

My analysis of individual state polls shows that today Mr. McCain would win 241 Electoral College votes to Mr. Obama's 217, with 80 votes in toss-up states where neither candidate has more than a 3% lead. Ironically, Mrs. Clinton now leads Mr. McCain with 251 electoral votes to his 203 with 84 in toss-up states. This is the first time she's led Mr. McCain since I began tracking state-by-state results in early March***

Wow. This is ironic.  But that is why I didn't like Rush & Hannity & et al supporting Clinton in all this.  I guess they figured she couldn't really win anyway and strategy would fuel the Democrat party turmoil but I still have concluded that whenever you can knock Clinton out you should.  Never underestimate their ability to keep caying whatever it takes to win over some votes and change the political picture.  Always beat them  every chance you get.

I think she is still the much stornger candidate against McCain than BO.  Why do you think Billary came out and tried to promote a McCain Hillary match up? 
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« Reply #468 on: May 09, 2008, 11:58:29 AM »

Damsel of Distress
May 9, 2008
This is an amazing story. The Democratic Party has a winner. It has a nominee. You know this because he has the most votes and the most elected delegates, and there's no way, mathematically, his opponent can get past him. Even after the worst two weeks of his campaign, he blew past her by 14 in North Carolina and came within two in Indiana.

 
Martin Kozlowski 
He's got this thing. And the Democratic Party, after this long and brutal slog, should be dancing in the streets. Party elders should be coming out on the balcony in full array, in full regalia, and telling the crowd, "Habemus nominatum": "We have a nominee." And the crowd below should be cheering, "Viva Obamus! Viva nominatum!"

Instead, you know where they are, the party elders. They are in a Democratic club on Capitol Hill, slump-shouldered at the bar, having a drink and then two, in a state of what might be called depressed horror. "What are they doing to the party?" they wail. "Why are they doing this?"

You know who they are talking about.

The Democratic Party can't celebrate the triumph of Barack Obama because the Democratic Party is busy having a breakdown. You could call it a breakdown over the issues of race and gender, but its real source is simply Hillary Clinton. Whose entire campaign at this point is about exploiting race and gender.

Here's the first place an outsider could see the tensions that have taken hold: on CNN Tuesday night, in the famous Brazile-Begala smackdown. Paul Begala wore the smile of the 1990s, the one in which there is no connection between the shape of the mouth and what the mouth says. All is mask. Donna Brazile was having none of it.

Mr. Begala more or less accused the Obama people of not caring about white voters: "[If] there's a new Democratic Party that somehow doesn't need or want white working-class people and Latinos, well, count me out." And: "We cannot win with eggheads and African Americans." That, he said, was the old, losing, Dukakis coalition.

"Paul, baby," Ms. Brazile, who is undeclared, began her response, "we need to not divide and polarize the Democratic Party. . . . So stop the divisions. Stop trying to split us into these groups, Paul, because you and I know . . . how Democrats win, and to simply suggest that Hillary's coalition is better than Obama's, Obama's is better than Hillary's -- no. We have a big party, Paul." And: "Just don't divide me and tell me I cannot stand in Hillary's camp because I'm black, and I can't stand in Obama's camp because I'm female. Because I'm both. . . . Don't start with me, baby." Finally: "It's our party, Paul. Don't say my party. It's our party. Because it's time that we bring the party back together, Paul."

In case you didn't get what was behind that exchange, Mrs. Clinton spent this week making it clear. In a jaw-dropping interview in USA Today on Thursday, she said, "I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on." As evidence she cited an Associated Press report that, she said, "found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

White Americans? Hard-working white Americans? "Even Richard Nixon didn't say white," an Obama supporter said, "even with the Southern strategy."

If John McCain said, "I got the white vote, baby!" his candidacy would be over. And rising in highest indignation against him would be the old Democratic Party.

To play the race card as Mrs. Clinton has, to highlight and encourage a sense that we are crudely divided as a nation, to make your argument a brute and cynical "the black guy can't win but the white girl can" is -- well, so vulgar, so cynical, so cold, that once again a Clinton is making us turn off the television in case the children walk by.
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« Reply #469 on: May 11, 2008, 08:45:28 AM »

A bit of deranged levity:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Lstkiexhc
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« Reply #470 on: May 16, 2008, 07:43:40 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/16/video-new-rnc-ad-hammers-obama-on-second-amendment/

Bittergate!
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« Reply #471 on: May 17, 2008, 12:09:11 PM »

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/president-obama-words-2044703-bush-talking#

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Mark Steyn: Obama an appeaser? How dare you
By MARK STEYN
Syndicated columnist

"That's enough. That – that's a show of disrespect to me."
That was Barack Obama, a couple of weeks back, explaining why he was casting the Rev. Jeremiah Wright into outer darkness. It's one thing to wallow in "adolescent grandiosity" (as Scott Johnson of the Powerline Web site called it) when it's a family dispute between you and your pastor of 20 years. It's quite another to do so when it's the 60th anniversary celebrations of one of America's closest allies.
President Bush was in Israel the other day and gave a speech to the Knesset. Its perspective was summed up by his closing anecdote – a departing British officer in May 1948 handing the iron bar to the Zion Gate to a trembling rabbi and telling him it was the first time in 18 centuries that a key to the gates of the Jerusalem was in the hands of a Jew. In other words, it was a big-picture speech, referencing the Holocaust, the pogroms, Masada – and the challenges that lie ahead. Sen. Obama was not mentioned in the text. No Democrat was mentioned, save for President Truman, in the context of his recognition of the new state of Israel when it was a mere 11 minutes old.
Nonetheless, Barack Obama decided that the president's speech was really about him, and he didn't care for it. He didn't put it quite as bluntly as he did with the Rev. Wright, but the message was the same: "That's enough. That's a show of disrespect to me." And, taking their cue from the soon-to-be nominee's weirdly petty narcissism, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Joe Biden and Co. piled on to deplore Bush's outrageous, unacceptable, unpresidential, outrageously unacceptable and unacceptably unpresidential behavior.
Honestly. What a bunch of self-absorbed ninnies. Here's what the president said:
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is – the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."
It says something for Democrat touchiness that the minute a guy makes a generalized observation about folks who appease terrorists and dictators the Dems assume: Hey, they're talking about me. Actually, he wasn't – or, to be more precise, he wasn't talking onlyabout you.
Yes, there are plenty of Democrats who are in favor of negotiating with our enemies, and a few Republicans, too – President Bush's pal James Baker, whose Iraq Study Group was full of proposals to barter with Iran and Syria and everybody else. But that general line is also taken by at least three of Tony Blair's former Cabinet ministers and his senior policy adviser, and by the leader of Canada's New Democratic Party and by a whole bunch of bigshot Europeans. It's not a Democrat election policy, it's an entire worldview. Even Barack Obama can't be so vain as to think his fly-me-to-[insert name of enemy here]concept is an original idea.
Increasingly, the Western world has attitudes rather than policies. It's one thing to talk as a means to an end. But these days, for most midlevel powers, talks arethe end, talks without end. Because that's what civilized nations like doing – chit-chatting, shooting the breeze, having tea and crumpets, talking talking talking. Uncivilized nations like torturing dissidents, killing civilians, bombing villages, doing doing doing. It's easier to get the doers to pass themselves off as talkers then to get the talkers to rouse themselves to do anything.
And, as the Iranians understand, talks provide a splendid cover for getting on with anything you want to do. If, say, you want to get on with your nuclear program relatively undisturbed, the easiest way to do it is to enter years of endless talks with the Europeans over said nuclear program. That's why that Hamas honcho endorsed Obama: They know he's their best shot at getting a European foreign minister installed as president of the United States.
Mo Mowlam was Britain's Northern Ireland secretary and oversaw the process by which the IRA's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness became ministers of a Crown they decline to recognize. By 2004, she was calling for Osama bin Laden to be invited to "the negotiating table," having concluded he was no different from Adams: Stern fellow, lots of blood on his hands, but no sense getting on your high horse about all that; let's find out what he wants and give him part of it.
In his 2002 letter to the United States, bin Laden has a lot of grievances, from America's refusal to implement Sharia law to Jew-controlled usury to the lack of punishment for "President Clinton's immoral acts." Like Barack Obama's pastor, bin Laden shares the view that AIDS is a "Satanic American invention." Obviously, there are items on the agenda that the free world can never concede on – "President Clinton's immoral acts" – but who's to say most of the rest isn't worth chewing over?
This will be the fault line in the post-Bush war debate over the next few years. Are the political ambitions of the broader jihad totalitarian, genocidal, millenarian – in a word, nuts? Or are they negotiable? President Bush knows where he stands. Just before the words that Barack Obama took umbrage at, he said:
"There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously."
Here are some words of Hussein Massawi, the former leader of Hezbollah:
"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."
Are his actions consistent with those words? Amazingly so. So, too, are those of Hezbollah's patrons in Tehran.
President Reagan talked with the Soviets while pushing ahead with the deployment of Cruise and Pershing missiles in Europe. He spoke softly – after getting himself a bigger stick. Sen. Obama is proposing to reward a man who pledges to wipe Israel off the map with a presidential photo-op to which he will bring not even a twig. No wonder he's so twitchy about it.

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« Reply #472 on: May 17, 2008, 02:34:49 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/17/barack-obama-neocon/

Barack "Neocon" Obama
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« Reply #473 on: May 17, 2008, 07:00:12 PM »

http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/003764print.html

Debbie Schlussel: The Company He Keeps: Obama Hangs With Hezbollah's Iranian Agent Imam

By Debbie Schlussel

Barack Obama claims he's against HAMAS and Hezbollah and is offended by President Bush's speech in Israel about Obama's ethos of "appeasement." So why is he meeting with one of Hezbollah's most important imams and agents in America, Imam Hassan Qazwini? And why is this open anti-Semite and supporter of Israel's annihilation getting to discuss "the Arab-Israeli conflict" in a private one-on-one meeting with Obama? What was said? I think we can do the math.

I've written about Qazwini and his mosque for almost a decade. He is tight with the Government of Iran, and he is an agent of the Iranian government, spreading its propaganda. He was sent to the U.S. by Iran to help radicalize his mosque, the Islamic Center of America, which--at the time--was becoming moderate with women not covering their hair and mixing with men. All that has changed, under Qazwini.


Extremist Imam Hassan Qazwini w/ Obama
AND w/ Hezbollah Spiritual Leader Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
Qazwini is very open about his support for Palestinian homicide bombings, HAMAS, and Hezbollah. And he's a good friend of Hezbollah spiritual leader, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah--the man who issued the fatwa to Hezbollah terrorists to murder over 300 U.S. Marines and U.S. Embassy civilians in cold blood. Qazwini's mosque has held rallies and celebrations in support of Hezbollah, and many of Hezbollah's biggest money-launderers and agents in America are his congregants.

When I went undercover to his mosque in 1998, he and others welcomed Nation of Islam chief racist Louis Farrakhan as "our dear brother" and "a freedom fighter." Qazwini applauded Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements saying that Jews were the "forces of Satan" and that there needed to be a "jihad" on the American people.

Above is a photo of Qazwini hanging out with Hezbollah's Fadlallah--who is on the State Department Terrorist List--in South Lebanon, where he went to visit him and pay tribute. Juxtapose that with the photo of Qazwini and Barack Obama. It says a lot about the company Obama keeps . . . and why he shouldn't be President:

A Muslim leader from Dearborn met privately with Sen. Barack Obama during his Wednesday visit to Michigan.
Imam Hassan Qazwini, head of the Islamic Center of America, said in an email that he met with Obama at Macomb Community College. A mosque spokesman, Eide Alawan, confirmed that the meeting took place. During the meeting, the two discussed the Presidential election, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the Iraq war, according to Qazwini.

At the end of the meeting, Qazwini said he gave Obama a copy of new book, "American Crescent," and invited Obama to visit his center.

The meeting with Obama came about after Qazwini had asked David Bonior, the former U.S. Rep. from Michigan, if he could meet with Obama during his visit. Qazwini was not selected to be part of a group of 20 people who met with Obama, but Qazwini later got a private meeting with Obama, Alawan said.

"They gave him an opportunity for a one-on-one," Alawan said. . . .

Born in Iraq into a long line of Shi'ite clerics, Qazwini and his family left for Iran to escape persecution under the regime of Saddam Hussein. He later moved to the U.S. and become head of the Dearborn mosque, one of the largest Shi'ite Muslim centers in the U.S.

Um, Saddam wasn't off the mark regarding Qazwini and his family. They were agents of Iran who were trying to overthrow him on behalf of the Khomeini'ists. And the fundamentalist Islamic form of government Qazwini espouses is far worse Saddam Hussein's killing fields (though it's far less secular than Saddam was). The only other difference is that in his view those bloody fields should be dominated by victorious Shi'ites, not Saddam's Sunnis.

Well, Obama has the support of HAMAS . . . and now, Hezbollah. And we should send him to the White House because . . .?


Posted by Debbie on May 16, 2008 12:18 PM to Debbie Schlussel
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« Reply #474 on: May 18, 2008, 08:59:17 AM »

****So why is he meeting with one of Hezbollah's most important imams and agents in America, Imam Hassan Qazwini?****

At *best* its because he thinks some "genius argument" is going to convince our enemies they have been wrong all along.
At *worst* it is because he agrees with the Farrakan/Hymietown anti-Jewish wing of the Black "community" who he obviously adores, and that he also hates Jews.

At this point I am leaning closer to the *worst* hypothesis than I am the *best* hypothesis.  He is just not that dumb.  And he is a superior manipulator.
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« Reply #475 on: May 24, 2008, 09:25:36 AM »

'Nothing but Misogynists'
By DONALD J. BOUDREAUX
May 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton is now complaining that her candidacy has been harmed by sexism. Interviewed earlier this week by the Washington Post, Sen. Clinton said the polls show that "more people would be reluctant to vote for a woman [than] to vote for an African American." This gender bias, she grumbled, "rarely gets reported on."

So a woman who holds degrees from Wellesley and Yale – who has earned millions in the private sector, won two terms in the U.S. Senate, and gathered many more votes than John Edwards, Bill Richardson and several other middle-aged white guys in their respective bids for the 2008 Democratic nomination – feels cheated because she's a woman.

Seems doubtful. But hey, I'm a guy and perhaps hopelessly insensitive. So let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that her campaign has indeed suffered because of sexism.

This fact (if it be a fact) reveals a hitherto unknown, ugly truth about the Democratic Party. The alleged bastion of modern liberalism, toleration and diversity is full of (to use Mrs. Clinton's own phrase) "people who are nothing but misogynists." Large numbers of Democratic voters are sexists. Who knew?

But here's another revelation. If Mrs. Clinton is correct that she is more likely than Barack Obama to defeat John McCain in November, that implies Republicans and independents are less sexist than Democrats.

It must be so. If American voters of all parties are as sexist as the Democrats, Mr. Obama would have a better chance than Mrs. Clinton of defeating Mr. McCain. The same misogyny that thwarted her in the Democratic primaries would thwart her in the general election. Only if registered Republicans and independents are more open-minded than registered Democrats – only if people who lean GOP or who have no party affiliation are more willing than Democrats to overlook a candidate's sex and vote on the issues – could Mrs. Clinton be a stronger candidate.

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. But if I ever become convinced that Mrs. Clinton is correct that sexism played a role in her disappointing showing in the Democratic primaries – and that she truly is her party's strongest candidate to take on John McCain – I might finally join a party: the GOP. At least it's not infested with sexists.

Mr. Boudreaux is chairman of the economics department at George Mason University.
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« Reply #476 on: May 29, 2008, 12:28:37 AM »

Obama's Revisionist History
By KARL ROVE
May 29, 2008; Page A15

This week's minor controversy about Barack Obama's claim that an uncle liberated Auschwitz was quickly put to rest by his campaign. They conceded that it was a great uncle whose unit liberated Buchenwald, 500 miles away.

But other, much more troubling, episodes have provided a revealing glimpse into a candidate who instinctively resorts to parsing, evasions and misdirection. The saga over Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Exhibit A. In just 62 days, Americans were treated to eight different explanations.

First, on Feb. 25, Mr. Obama downplayed Rev. Wright's divisiveness, saying he was "like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don't agree with." A week later, Mr. Obama insisted, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial," suggesting that Rev. Wright was criticized because "he was one of the leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other issues like that."

The issue exploded on March 13, when ABC showed excerpts from Rev. Wright's sermons. Mr. Obama's spokesman said the senator "deeply disagrees" with Rev. Wright's statements, but "now that he is retired, that doesn't detract from Sen. Obama's affection for Rev. Wright or his appreciation for the good works he has done."

The next day, Mr. Obama offered a fourth defense: "The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation." Mr. Obama also told the Chicago Tribune, "In fairness to him, this was sort of a greatest hits. They basically culled five or six sermons out of 30 years of preaching."

Then, four days later, in Philadelphia, Mr. Obama finally repudiated Rev. Wright's comments, saying they "denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation." But Mr. Obama went on to say, "I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother. . . ."

Ten days later, Mr. Obama said if Rev. Wright had not retired as Trinity's pastor, and "had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended . . . then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church." (Never mind that Rev. Wright had made no such acknowledgment.)

On April 28, at the National Press Club, Rev. Wright re-emerged – not to apologize but to repeat some of his most offensive lines. This provoked an eighth defense: "[W]hatever relationship I had with Rev. Wright has changed, as a consequence of this. I don't think that he showed much concern for me. More importantly, I don't think he showed much concern for what we are trying to do in this campaign . . . ." Self-interest is a powerful, but not noble, sentiment in politics.

The Rev. Wright affair is just one instance where the Illinois senator has said something wrong or offensive, and then offered shifting explanations for his views. Consider flag pins.

Mr. Obama told an Iowa radio station last October he didn't wear an American flag lapel pin because, after 9/11, it had "became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues . . . ." His campaign issued a statement that "Senator Obama believes that being a patriot is about more than a symbol." To highlight his own moral superiority, he denigrated the patriotism of those who wore a flag.

Yet by April, campaigning in culturally conservative Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama was blaming others for the controversy he'd created, claiming, "I have never said that I don't wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins. This is the kind of manufactured issue that our politics has become obsessed with and, once again, distracts us . . . ." A month later Mr. Obama was once again wearing a pin, saying "Sometimes I wear it, sometimes I don't."

The Obama revision tour has been seen elsewhere. Last July, Mr. Obama pledged to meet personally and without precondition, during his first year, the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea. Criticized afterwards, he made his pledge more explicitly, naming Iranian President Ahmadinejad and Venezuela strongman Hugo Chávez as leaders he would grace with first-year visits.

By October, Mr. Obama was backpedaling, talking about needing "some progress or some indication of good faith," and by April, "sufficient preparation." It got so bad his foreign policy advisers were (falsely) denying he'd ever said he'd meet with Mr. Ahmadinejad – even as he still defended his original pledge to have meetings without precondition.

The list goes on. Mr. Obama's problem is a campaign that's personality-driven rather than idea-driven. Thus incidents calling into question his persona and character can have especially devastating consequences.

Stripped of his mystique as a different kind of office seeker, he could become just another liberal politician – only one who parses, evades, dissembles and condescends. That narrative is beginning to take hold. If those impressions harden into firm judgments, Mr. Obama will have a very difficult time in November.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
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« Reply #477 on: May 30, 2008, 01:44:53 PM »

McCain Should Run Against Congress
May 30, 2008
WSJ

When House Minority Leader John Boehner is asked whether his party needs to distance itself from George W. Bush, he likes to point out the president isn't on the ticket this fall. True. Several hundred incumbent GOP members of Congress are, however, and don't think John McCain hasn't noticed.

With Congress's approval rating at record lows, the time is ripe for a slam campaign. Barack Obama won't do it, since his Democratic colleagues are running the joint. But it's a huge opportunity for Mr. McCain, who could play Congress's failings off his promises for reform. Even as Republicans sagely warn their nominee to distance himself from the president, they're beginning to see that his more productive option might just be to throw them – and Congressional Democrats – under the Straight Talk bus.

 
AP 
Mr. McCain could take encouragement from history. Harry Truman managed a 1948 victory by trashing the "Do Nothing Congress." Upstart Barry Goldwater in 1952 told Arizonans that Majority Leader Ernest McFarland represented the mess in Washington, and snatched the Democrat's seat. Tom Daschle followed McFarland, after being pilloried for turning the Senate into a dead zone.

Today's Congress is ripe for a shredding. The GOP kicked off an era of public disgust with its corruption and loss of principle, a reputation it has yet to shake. Democrats have, impressively, managed to alienate voters further with inaction and broken promises. Congress has come to represent the institutional malaise that so frustrates voters. That distaste explains this year's appetite for "change."

Mr. McCain could play off that hunger, and in the process provide his campaign with the theme it still sorely needs. Mr. Obama has his "change" slogan, but as of yet no innovative policies to hang on it. Mr. McCain's problem is opposite: He's laid out smart ideas – an optional flat tax, health-care tax credits, a veto of all earmarks – but has yet to find a narrative to bring them together. One solution: Latch on to a subject that today occupies only a part of his speeches – the promise of "political reform" – and turn it into a full-fledged philosophy. Theme: "Your government has failed you, and here's how I plan to fix it."

Congress is the embodiment of that failure, and Mr. McCain could use it to draw distinctions. He could swivel the focus away from the Bush comparison, and toward Mr. Obama's kinship with today's all-talk Democratic Congress. He could tell voters that the party they feel is today failing them in the Capitol will also fail them in the White House.

As for bad-mouthing the GOP as part of this process, it isn't likely Mr. McCain would offend his conservative base. Most of it is already offended by Congress. His criticism of today's diminished GOP brand, and a promise to revive it, might even help him with the rank-and-file, and would certainly draw independents.

Mr. McCain has so far only flirted with this idea. He wrote an op-ed criticizing the farm bill, but it was largely an abstract complaint about policy. He might have instead made its focus the skewering of a Congress that relentlessly shovels subsidies to agribusiness, and then directly tied that naked vote-buying to today's high prices. A proponent of entitlement reform, he could flay Congress for its decades of inaction on Social Security. His earmark criticism might name names, including those in his party, whose pork addiction has sullied politics. If he's looking for suggestions, he could start with the Alaska delegation.

Mild as Mr. McCain's criticism has been, it's already got Republicans spooked. Many in the party resisted falling in behind his reform message, and some worry that's already taking a toll – creating difficulties even in races that should have been easy.

Consider: As part of his condemnation of the farm bill, Mr. McCain singled out a $93 million earmark for racehorses. While Mr. McCain avoided naming the author, it happened to be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Mr. McConnell has bragged in ads about the pork he brings home to Kentucky, even as his election opponents (taking their cue from Mr. McCain) use those earmarks to paint him as part of a Washington crony culture.

Republicans haven't been worried about Mr. McConnell's seat, and a recent Rasmussen poll has Mr. McCain with a whopping 25 percentage-point lead over Mr. Obama in the state. Yet that same poll had Mr. McConnell's opponent with a five percentage-point lead. And only 67% of declared McCain voters said they'd vote for their four-term Republican senator.

If Congressional Republicans were smart, they'd be figuring out now how to get some protection from a potential McCain onslaught. A unilateral earmark ban? A new resolve against the farm bill? They'd better think of something. If Mr. McCain does take aim at the big, fat Congressional target in front of him, right now it's the GOP, as much as Democrats, that he'll hit.

Write to kim@wsj.com
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« Reply #478 on: May 31, 2008, 02:05:37 AM »



WSJ

The Argument for Nominating Hillary
By LANNY J. DAVIS
May 31, 2008

After the votes are in from Puerto Rico tomorrow and South Dakota and Montana on Tuesday, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will be able to make a facts-based case that they represent a significant majority of grass-roots Democrats.

Chances are Sens. Obama and Clinton will virtually split the more than 4,400 delegates – including Florida and Michigan – elected by more than 34 million people over the past five months.

Sen. Clinton has already won the most votes, but there is controversy over including the over 300,000 votes from Michigan, since Sen. Obama was not on the ballot (by his own choice). But if Sen. Clinton wins a substantial victory in Puerto Rico tomorrow – with an expected record turnout exceeding two million voters – she could well end up with more popular votes than Sen. Obama, even if Michigan's primary votes are excluded.

Worst case, she could come out with a 2% deficit in elected pledged delegates. But that gap can be made up, if most of the remaining 200 or so unpledged superdelegates decide to support Sen. Clinton as the strongest candidate against John McCain – or if others committed to Sen. Obama decide to change their minds for the same reason. A number of superdelegates previously committed to Sen. Clinton later announced support for Sen. Obama, so it's certainly possible that, when confronted with growing evidence that Sen. Clinton is stronger than Sen. McCain, they might switch back.

The final argument for Hillary comes down to three points – with points one and two leading to the third.

First, Sen. Clinton is more experienced and qualified to be president than is Sen. Obama. This is not to say Sen. Obama cannot be a good, even great, president. I believe he can. But Sen. Clinton spent eight years in the White House. She was not a traditional first lady. She was involved in policy and debate on virtually every major domestic and foreign policy decision of the Clinton presidency, both "in" and "outside" the room with her husband. She has been a U.S. senator for eight years and has a record of legislative accomplishments, including as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

With no disrespect or criticism intended, Sen. Obama has been an Illinois state senator for eight years and a U.S. senator for just four years. He has, understandably, fewer legislative accomplishments than Sen. Clinton. That's just a fact. Therefore, it is reasonable to argue that Sen. Clinton would be less vulnerable to criticism from Sen. McCain on the "experience" issue.

Second, Sen. Clinton's position on health care gives her an advantage over Sen. McCain. Her proposal for universally mandated health care based primarily on private insurance and individual choices is a stark contrast to Sen. McCain's total reliance on private market insurance, HMOs or emergency rooms for the 45 million or more uninsured. Sen. Obama's position, while laudable in its objective, does not mandate universal care and, arguably, won't challenge Sen. McCain as effectively as will Sen. Clinton's plan.

Despite the fact that Sen. Obama's campaign made the Iraq war a crucial issue in the Iowa caucuses and early primaries, there has never been a significant difference between his position and Sen. Clinton's. Sen. Obama deserves credit for opposing military intervention in Iraq while he was running for the state senate in early 2002.

But in 2004, Sen. Obama said he "did not know" how he would have voted on the war resolution had he been a senator at the time. That summer he told the Chicago Tribune: "There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage" of the Iraq War. (This is a statement that Sen. Clinton would not have made.) While he served in the Senate, he voted 84 out of 85 times the same as Sen. Clinton on Iraq-war related votes. The only exception is when he supported President Bush's position on the promotion of a general that Sen. Clinton opposed.

Third and finally, there is recent hard data showing that, at least at the present time, Sen. Clinton is a significantly stronger candidate against Sen. McCain among the general electorate (as distinguished from the more liberal Democratic primary and caucus electorate).

According to Gallup's May 12-25 tracking polling of 11,000 registered voters in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Sen. Clinton is running stronger against Sen. McCain in the 20 states where she can claim popular-vote victory in the primaries and caucuses. In contrast, Sen. Obama runs no better against Sen. McCain than does Sen. Clinton in the 28 states plus D.C. where he has prevailed. "On this basis," Gallup concludes: "Clinton appears to have the stronger chance of capitalizing on her primary strengths in the general election."

The 20 states, Gallup points out, not only encompass more than 60% of the nation's voters, but "represent more than 300 Electoral College votes while Obama's 28 states and the District of Columbia represent only 224 Electoral College votes." Sen. Clinton leads Sen. McCain in these 20 states by seven points (50%-43%), while Sens. Obama and McCain are pretty much tied. But in the 26 states plus D.C. that Sen. Obama carried in the primaries/caucuses, he and Sen. Clinton are both statistically tied with Sen. McCain (Clinton 45%-McCain 47%; Obama 45%-McCain 46%).

Gallup's state-by-state polling in seven key battleground "purple" states also shows Sen. Clinton winning cumulatively in these states by a six-point margin (49%-43%) over Sen. McCain, while Sen. Obama loses to Sen. McCain by three points – a net advantage of 9% for Sen. Clinton. These key seven states – constituting 105 electoral votes – are Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Arkansas, Florida and Michigan.

Meanwhile, Sen. Obama holds about an equal advantage over Sen. McCain in six important swing states that he carried in the primaries and caucuses – Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri. But these constitute less than half – 54 – of the electoral votes of the larger states in which Sen. Clinton is leading.

The latest state-by-state battleground polls (published May 21-23) by other respected polling organizations verify Gallup's findings that Sen. Clinton is significantly stronger against Sen. McCain in the key states that a Democrat must win to gain the presidency. According to various poll data within the last 10 days:

- Pennsylvania: Sen. Clinton leads McCain 50%-39%; Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are effectively tied.

- Ohio: Sen. Clinton leads Sen. McCain 48%-41%, Sen. Obama is down 44%-40%.

- Florida: Sen. Clinton leads Sen. McCain 47%-41%; Sen. McCain leads Sen. Obama 50%-40%. (Sen. Clinton has a net advantage of 16 points!)

- North Carolina: Despite a substantial primary victory, Sen. Obama is down 8% vs. Sen. McCain, (51%-43%), while Sen. Clinton leads by 6% (49%-43%).

- Nevada: Sen. Clinton up 5%, Sen. Obama down 6%.

Even the theory that Sen. Obama can open up significant numbers of "red" states has not been borne out by recent polling. For example: in Virginia, which Sen. Obama won substantially in the Feb. 12 Democratic primary, he is currently down in at least one recent, respected poll by a significant 9% margin – one point greater than the 8% margin Sen. Clinton is behind Sen. McCain.

Finally, one unfortunate argument is making the rounds lately to convince superdelegates to go for Sen. Obama. That is the prediction that if Sen. Obama is not the nominee, African-American and other passionate Obama supporters will conclude that the nomination had been "stolen" and will walk out of the convention or stay at home. On the other side are the many women and others strongly committed to Sen. Clinton promising that if she is denied the nomination, they will refuse to vote for Sen. Obama.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are progressive, pro-civil rights, pro-affirmative action, pro-choice Democrats. Neither Obama supporters nor Clinton supporters who care about the issues, the Supreme Court, and the need to begin withdrawing from Iraq can truly mean they will actively or passively help Sen. McCain get elected. Threats of walkouts or stay-at-homes by good Democrats are not the answer, nor should they be a factor in superdelegate decisions.

But there is one possible scenario that avoids disappointment and frustration by passionate supporters of both candidates, that combines the strengths of one with the strengths of the other, and that virtually guarantees the election of a Democratic president in 2008:

A Clinton-Obama or an Obama-Clinton ticket.

Stay tuned.

Mr. Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton in 1996-98, is a longtime friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
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« Reply #479 on: May 31, 2008, 09:12:29 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/05/31/one-potatoe-two-potatoe-three-potatoe-four/

One potatoe, two potatoe, three potatoe, four
POSTED AT 11:45 AM ON MAY 31, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


How many “potatoe” moments does it take for the media to start a doofus narrative on a candidate? Barack Obama provided yet another during his visit to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota yesterday:

Democrat Barack Obama paid an unscheduled late-night visit to Mount Rushmore Friday, visiting the national memorial at closing time and joking that his ears were too big to ever be included in such a display. …

He did express curiosity about the filming of a chase scene in “North by Northwest,” Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint that included a death-defying scramble over Rushmore’s presidential faces.

“How did they get up there in the first place?” he asked ranger Wesley Jensen.

“They didn’t. It was a movie set,” Jensen told him.

“Pretty spiffy, isn’t it,” said the Illinois senator, summing up his overall impressions.

Well, maybe the Young Gaffer’s friends in Hollywood can explain how movies get made, at least before they actually keep their promises and bug out for Italy.

How many times did Quayle misspell potato before the American media and popular culture proclaimed him an idiot? We can add this to Obama’s existing list of gaffes and blunders:

The Selma March in 1965 did not contribute to his birth in 1961.
Kansas tornadoes in May 2007 killed 12 people, not “ten thousand”.
Afghans do not speak Arabic.
Misunderstanding Memorial Day, and then claiming to see “fallen heroes” in the Memorial Day audience.
Same day: putting Auschwitz in western Germany, not Poland.
“57 states”.
Again … how many times did Quayle misspell potato? (via The Corner)

Update: I wonder if he asked to see the Team America headquarters, too ….
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« Reply #480 on: June 05, 2008, 09:30:47 PM »

 

Lincoln's Rule: Organization Matters
By KARL ROVE
June 5, 2008

Politics has become hi-tech with sophisticated databases, the Internet, TV ads, focus groups and polls.

But a lanky Sangamon County, Ill., lawyer described the essential task of politics in 1840 in a letter to his Whig campaign committee. Make a list of the voters, he wrote, ascertain for whom they will vote, have undecided voters talked to by someone they hold in confidence, and, on Election Day, get all Whig voters to the polls.

 
AP 
Barack Obama feeds his volunteers.
Abraham Lincoln was a great president, but he was also a very practical politician. And Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama would be wise to take his advice. In a close election, organization matters a lot.

Mr. Obama's background as a community organizer makes him comfortable with organizing. His supporters are demonstrating great energy and enthusiasm. Many are Internet savvy, making communicating with them inexpensive and fast. The long primary season has given Mr. Obama's team time to grow, test and learn. Left-wing groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn) and unions are already actively registering new Democrats in battleground states. And Democrats now have a single national voter database, albeit more than a decade after the GOP built its own database.

However, Mr. Obama could repeat a big mistake Howard Dean made in 2004 when he had college students call on voters with whom they shared little. This violated Lincoln's rule.

Mr. Obama has a serious problem with some traditional Democratic voters. He consistently lost blue-collar households in the primaries. A recent Pew poll shows him slipping among white women (down eight points over the past month) and voters without a college degree (down seven points). Mr. Obama's support among Latino voters was a tepid 34% in the 13 primary contests with an appreciable number of Hispanics. He carried a majority of the Hispanic vote in only one state – his home state of Illinois, which he won by the slim margin of 50%-49%.

Mr. Obama also can't count on his voter-registration strength. His allies Acorn and the NAACP pay a bounty for each new voter registered, so their workers often register people who don't exist or who are already registered.

Mr. McCain's strengths start with him doing better among Independents and Democrats than any other Republican. Three times as many Democrats say they will cross party lines to vote for him than Republicans who say they will support Mr. Obama, a recent Newsweek poll found. Mr. McCain is also winning 41% of Hispanic voters, according to a recent Gallup poll. And while he still needs to win over working class voters (especially Catholics) and older white women, the openings are there.

Mr. McCain has a superior tool available to him – the GOP's Victory Committee, with its 72-Hour program that uses sophisticated targeting and vast numbers of volunteers to focus on Lincoln's four tasks.

In 2004, the Victory Committee proved its value when the Democrats far outspent the GOP, but still failed to beat Republican turnout. Fueled by George Soros's money, Democratic 527s (independent political groups) along with the Democratic National Committee and John Kerry's campaign spent a combined $121 million more than Republicans. Yet the GOP registered more voters and identified persuadable households better than Democrats, and got 12 million more Bush voters to the polls than in 2000. Democratic dollars were no match for the Victory Program's "microtargeted" database and detailed planning.

On the debit side, Mr. McCain hasn't historically valued organization, dismissing its tedious requirements as unnecessary. Mr. McCain also has an "enthusiasm deficit" with grassroots GOP activists who work the phones, walk the neighborhoods and register the voters. And he has no grassroots groups to match the Democrats, outside of the National Rifle Association and Right to Life. Mr. McCain will have to build coalitions of veterans, Catholics, Latinos, small business people, evangelicals and women in key states to close the enthusiasm gap.

There's time, but not much time, for both candidates to build effective organizations. Public interest is likely to wane in the coming months and then pick up with a bang at the end of August. The candidates will need to have their structures in place before then.

So how are the candidates doing in building their organizations? I had a colleague call the parties' headquarters in 12 battleground states to ask who the Obama and McCain state chairmen were. Mr. Obama has four states with a chairman and eight without. Mr. McCain has nine states with chairmen and three without. Having a state chairman doesn't automatically translate into an effective organization, but having one is an essential early step.

Mr. McCain has many obstacles to overcome this year, including a political environment that favors Democrats. Mr. Obama is stumbling across the primary finish line barely ahead of Hillary Clinton, and faces big problems in uniting his party. Organization could provide the winning margin in the fall.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus
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« Reply #481 on: June 06, 2008, 08:16:13 PM »

Obama and McCain
Thomas Sowell
Thursday, June 05, 2008

Now that the two parties have finally selected their presidential candidates, it is time for a sober-- if not grim-- assessment of where we are.

Not since 1972 have we been presented with two such painfully inadequate candidates. When election day came that year, I could not bring myself to vote for either George McGovern or Richard Nixon. I stayed home.

This year, none of us has that luxury. While all sorts of gushing is going on in the media, and posturing is going on in politics, the biggest national sponsor of terrorism in the world-- Iran-- is moving step by step toward building a nuclear bomb.

The point when they get that bomb will be the point of no return. Iran's nuclear bomb will be the terrorists' nuclear bomb-- and they can make 9/11 look like child's play.

All the options that are on the table right now will be swept off the table forever. Our choices will be to give in to whatever the terrorists demand-- however outrageous those demands might be-- or to risk seeing American cities start disappearing in radioactive mushroom clouds.

All the things we are preoccupied with today, from the price of gasoline to health care to global warming, will suddenly no longer matter.

Just as the Nazis did not find it enough to simply kill people in their concentration camps, but had to humiliate and dehumanize them first, so we can expect terrorists with nuclear weapons to both humiliate us and force us to humiliate ourselves, before they finally start killing us.

They have already telegraphed their punches with their sadistic beheadings of innocent civilians, and with the popularity of videotapes of those beheadings in the Middle East.

They have already telegraphed their intention to dictate to us with such things as Osama bin Laden's threats to target those places in America that did not vote the way he prescribed in the 2004 elections. He could not back up those threats then but he may be able to in a very few years.

The terrorists have given us as clear a picture of what they are all about as Adolf Hitler and the Nazis did during the 1930s-- and our "leaders" and intelligentsia have ignored the warning signs as resolutely as the "leaders" and intelligentsia of the 1930s downplayed the dangers of Hitler.

We are much like people drifting down the Niagara River, oblivious to the waterfalls up ahead. Once we go over those falls, we cannot come back up again.

What does this have to do with today's presidential candidates? It has everything to do with them.

One of these candidates will determine what we are going to do to stop Iran from going nuclear-- or whether we are going to do anything other than talk, as Western leaders talked in the 1930s.

There is one big difference between now and the 1930s. Although the West's lack of military preparedness and its political irresolution led to three solid years of devastating losses to Nazi Germany and imperial Japan, nevertheless when all the West's industrial and military forces were finally mobilized, the democracies were able to turn the tide and win decisively.

But you cannot lose a nuclear war for three years and then come back. You cannot even sustain the will to resist for three years when you are first broken down morally by threats and then devastated by nuclear bombs.

Our one window of opportunity to prevent this will occur within the term of whoever becomes President of the United States next January.

At a time like this, we do not have the luxury of waiting for our ideal candidate or of indulging our emotions by voting for some third party candidate to show our displeasure-- at the cost of putting someone in the White House who is not up to the job.

Senator John McCain has been criticized in this column many times. But, when all is said and done, Senator McCain has not spent decades aiding and abetting people who hate America.

On the contrary, he has paid a huge price for resisting our enemies, even when they held him prisoner and tortured him. The choice between him and Barack Obama should be a no-brainer.
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« Reply #482 on: June 19, 2008, 02:06:03 PM »

Pivoting to Victory
By JAMES TARANTO
June 18, 2008

A Washington Post editorial reports on a meeting between the Post's editors and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, in which Zebari describes a conversation he had with Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee:

The foreign minister said "my message" to Mr. Obama "was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress." He said he was reassured by the candidate's response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain. Mr. Zebari said that in addition to promising a visit, Mr. Obama said that "if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field."
This confirms the reporting of Al-Hayat, a London-based Arabic-language newspaper, which we noted Friday. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reports that Obama, who last set foot in Iraq in 2006, before the surge, "is considering going to Iraq soon to visit with troops and commanders," even though snarly Susan Rice, a top Obama foreign-policy adviser, says that the GOP argument that he should do so is "complete garbage."

Could it be that Obama is planning to pivot? That is, what if he goes to Iraq and declares upon his return that he has been persuaded that the surge has made a difference, that things are going much better, and that he is now convinced victory is both possible and crucial?

On the downside, he would risk alienating those among his supporters who crave defeat in Iraq, either for ideological reasons or out of sheer hatred for George W. Bush.

But on the upside, it would show political courage and open-mindedness, two qualities his supporters are eager to ascribe to him but so far on the basis of evidence that is somewhere between scant and nonexistent. Those who do want America to win in Iraq would no longer have to vote against Obama for that reason. As for those who want defeat, where would they go? By their lights, John McCain is even worse; he voted for the war to begin with. So, oddly enough, did the Libertarian nominee. Unless you count Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader, Obama would still be the best "antiwar" candidate on the ballot.

We've long been skeptical of the Obama hype, but if he is smart and bold enough to adopt a sensible position on Iraq, we will have to admit there is more to him that we've given him credit for.

Back to the Future
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #483 on: June 21, 2008, 09:42:59 AM »

Woof All:

I'm following with interest this business about allowing the States to permit offshore drilling.  It may be that BO has made a major political blunder with this one and JM may finally have an opportunity which he is willing to take to go for blood.

Also, the good news out of Iraq continues-- see the Iraq thread today wherein even the NYTimes has to admit how well things are going.  Without missing a beat BO has tried using this to say "See, we can leave now"   rolleyes rolleyes rolleyes  There are heavy political points to be scored by JM here.

TAC,
Marc
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« Reply #484 on: June 21, 2008, 05:08:41 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/21/another-one-hits-the-bus-obama-reverses-on-fisa/

Another one hits the bus: Obama reverses on FISA
POSTED AT 9:11 AM ON JUNE 21, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Barack Obama reversed his position on FISA reform yesterday, giving the Left a taste of the real Obama for the second time this week.  After Obama abandoned public financing, most of his supporters in the hard-Left base seemed willing to write that off as good politics.  This latest reversal has received a different reaction, as Paul Kane at the Washington Post notes:

In his most substantive break with the Democratic Party’s base since becoming the presumptive nominee, Obama declared he will support the bill when it comes to a Senate vote, likely next week, despite misgivings about legal provisions for telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program of suspected terrorists. ….

This marks something of a reversal of Obama’s position from an earlier version of the bill, which was approved by the Senate Feb. 12, when Obama was locked in a fight for the Democratic nomination with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Obama missed the February vote on that FISA bill as he campaigned in the “Potomac Primaries,” but issued a statement that day declaring “I am proud to stand with Senator Dodd, Senator Feingold and a grassroots movement of Americans who are refusing to let President Bush put protections for special interests ahead of our security and our liberty.”

The wheels of the bus went round and round over Senators Dodd, Feingold, and that same grassroots movement of Americans.  Why?  John McCain has spent the last few weeks hammering Obama on his national-security weaknesses, and Obama’s repeated clinging to the Nuremberg military tribunals as an example of why he opposes military tribunals didn’t help. He needed to show that he can take a nuanced approach to the effort on the war, and he apparently chose FISA as the moment.  It’s sheer political calculus, much the same as Obama’s position on public financing, the death penalty, the Iraq war, and just about every position Obama has taken in this campaign.

It’s becoming clear even  to the Left that Obama has no real firm principles, only ambition.  This FISA package doesn’t differ much from the compromise Senate bill in February — one supported by a significant number of Democrats then — except that it requires a court to certify that telecoms meet the prerequisites for immunity that the first bill granted outright.  As Feingold notes, the bill drafts those requirements to ensure that the applications will be approved, as they should be, since the government assured the telecoms that the activities were legal.   Obama’s stated reason for switching — that it restores FISA and wiretap statutes — was true of the previous version as well.

What changed?  Obama doesn’t need the hard Left to get past Hillary Clinton.  In fact, Code Pink, International ANSWER, and that “grassroots movement”  will become liabilities in a general-election campaign against a nationally-known war hero.   He tossed them under the bus with as much consideration as he did Jeremiah Wright and Jim Johnson.
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« Reply #485 on: June 21, 2008, 08:44:07 PM »

The Daily Mail

The wife US Republican John McCain callously left behind

By Sharon Churcher

Last updated at 1:45 AM on 08th June 2008

Now that Hillary Clinton has at last formally withdrawn from the race for the White House, the eyes of America and the world will focus on Barack Obama and his Republican rival Senator John McCain.

While Obama will surely press his credentials as the embodiment of the American dream: a handsome, charismatic young black man who was raised on food stamps by a single mother and who represents his country’s future, McCain will present himself as a selfless, principled war hero whose campaign represents not so much a battle for the presidency of the United States, but a crusade to rescue the nation's tarnished reputation.

Forgotten woman: But despite all her problems Carol McCain says she still adores he ex-husband

McCain likes to illustrate his moral fiber by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam.  And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

But there is another Mrs. McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator's presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest children.

And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather than Cindy, who would be vying to be First Lady. She is McCain’s first wife, Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear model when they married in 1965.

She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration and torture in Vietnams infamous “Hanoi Hilton” prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.

When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of lifesaving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons
had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam , she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self.

Today, she stands at just 5ft 4in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering.

For nearly 30 years, Carol has maintained a dignified silence about the accident, McCain and their divorce. But last week at the bungalow where she now lives at Virginia Beach, a faded seaside resort 200 miles south of Washington, she told The Mail on Sunday how McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month later.

Carol insists she remains on good terms with her ex-husband, who agreed as part of their divorce settlement to pay her medical costs for life. “I have no bitterness.”

She says. “My accident is well recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but it wasn't the reason for my divorce.

“My marriage ended because John McCain didn't want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens...it just does.”

Some of McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centered womanizer who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to “play the field”.  They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons.

McCain was then earning little more than £25,000 a year as a naval officer, while his new father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was a multimillionaire who had impeccable political connections.

He first met Carol in the Fifties while he was at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. He was a privileged, but rebellious scion of one of Americas most distinguished military dynasties ? his father and grandfather were both admirals.

But setting out to have a good time, the young McCain hung out with a group of young officers who called themselves the “Bad Bunch”.

His primary interest was women and his conquests ranged from a knife-wielding floozy nicknamed “Marie, the Flame of Florida“ to a tobacco heiress.

Carol fell into his fast-living world by accident. She escaped a poor upbringing in Philadelphia to become a successful model, married an Annapolis classmate of McCain’s and had two children -- Douglas and Andrew -- before renewing what one acquaintance calls “an old flirtation” with McCain.

It seems clear she was bowled over by McCain’s attention at a time when he was becoming bored with his playboy lifestyle.

“He was 28 and ready to settle down and he loved Carol's children”, recalled another Annapolis graduate, Robert Timberg, who wrote The Nightingale's Song, a best-selling biography of McCain and four other graduates of the academy.

The couple married and McCain adopted Carol's sons. Their daughter, Sidney, was born a year later, but domesticity was clearly beginning
to bore McCain. The couple were regarded as “fixtures on the party circuit” before McCain requested combat duty in Vietnam at the end of 1966.

He was assigned as a bomber pilot on an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin .

What follows is the stuff of the McCain legend. He was shot down over Hanoi in October 1967 on his 23rd mission over North Vietnam and was badly beaten by an angry mob when he was pulled, half-drowned from a lake.

War hero: McCain with Carol as he arrives back in the US in 1973 after his five years as a POW in North Vietnam

Over the next five-and-a-half years in the notorious Hoa Loa Prison he was regularly tortured and mistreated.

It was in 1969 that Carol went to spend the Christmas holiday -- her third without McCain -- at her parents home. After dinner, she left to drop off some presents at a friend's house.

It wasn't until some hours later that she was discovered, alone and in terrible pain, next to the wreckage of her car. She had been hurled through the windscreen.

After her first series of lifesaving operations, Carol was told she may never walk again, but when doctors said they would try to get word to McCain about her injuries, she refused, insisting: “He's got enough problems, I don't want to tell him”.

H. Ross Perot, a billionaire Texas businessman, future presidential candidate and advocate of prisoners of war, paid for her medical care.

When McCain -- his hair turned prematurely white and his body reduced to little more than a skeleton -- was released in March 1973, he told reporters he was overjoyed to see Carol again.

But friends say privately he was “appalled” by the change in her appearance. At first, though, he was kind, assuring her: “I don't look so good myself. It's fine.”

He bought her a bungalow near the sea in Florida and another former POW helped him to build a railing so she could pull herself over the dunes to the water.

“I thought, of course, we would live happily ever after” says Carol. But as a war hero, McCain was moving in ever-more elevated circles.

Through Ross Perot, he met Ronald Reagan, then Governor of California. A sympathetic Nancy Reagan took Carol under her wing.

But already the McCains’ marriage had begun to fray. “John started carousing and running around with women”, said Robert Timberg.

McCain has acknowledged that he had girlfriends during this time, without going into details. Some friends blame his dissatisfaction with Carol, but others give some credence to her theory of a mid-life crisis.

He was also fiercely ambitious, but it was clear he would never become an admiral like his illustrious father and grandfather and his thoughts were turning to politics.

In 1979 -- while still married to Carol -- he met Cindy at a cocktail party in Hawaii . Over the next six months he pursued her, flying around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his marriage.

Carol and her children were devastated. “It was a complete surprise”, says Nancy Reynolds, a former Reagan aide.

“They never displayed any difficulties between themselves. I know the Reagans were quite shocked because they loved and respected both Carol and John.”

Another friend added: “Carol didn't fight him. She felt her infirmity made her an impediment to him. She justified his actions because of all he had gone through. She used to say,'He just wants to make up for lost time’”

Indeed, to many in their circle the saddest part of the breakup was Carol's decision to resign herself to losing a man she says she still adores.

Friends confirm she has remained friends with McCain and backed him in all his campaigns. “He was very generous to her in the divorce but of course he could afford to be, since he was marrying Cindy”, one observed.

McCain transferred the Florida beach house to Carol and gave her the right to live in their jointly-owned townhouse in the Washington suburb of Alexandria. He also agreed to pay her alimony and child support.

A former neighbor says she subsequently sold up in Florida and Washington and moved in 2003 to Virginia Beach . He said: “My impression was that she found the new place easier to manage as she still has some difficulties walking”.

Meanwhile McCain moved to Arizona with his new bride immediately after their 1980 marriage. There, his new father-in-law gave him a job and introduced him to local businessmen and political powerbrokers who would smooth his passage to Washington via the House of Representatives and Senate.

And yet despite his popularity as a politician, there are those who won't forget his treatment of his first wife.

Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: “I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is: deceit.

“When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody around him knew it.

“Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better.

“This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. He has no character. He is a fake. If there was any character in that first marriage, it all belonged to Carol.”

One old friend of the McCains said: “Carol always insists she is not bitter, but I think that's a defense mechanism. She also feels deeply in his debt because in return for her agreement to a divorce, he promised to pay for her medical care for the rest of her life”.

Carol remained resolutely loyal as McCain’s political star rose. She says she agreed to talk to The Mail on Sunday only because she wanted to publicize her support for the man who abandoned her.

Indeed, the old Mercedes that she uses to run errands displays both a disabled badge and a sticker encouraging people to vote for her ex-husband. “He's a good guy”, she assured us. “We are still good friends. He is the best man for president”.

But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel -- even by the standards of modern politics.

“McCain is the classic opportunist. He's always reaching for attention and glory”, he said.

“After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona . And the rest is history.”

Additional reporting by Paul Henderson in Virginia Beach and William Lowther in Washington
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« Reply #486 on: June 21, 2008, 08:58:06 PM »

SB,

You'll note I posted a piece criticizing McCain on this topic a while ago. Having said that, I doubt "Barry-O" wins in comparing character flaws to McCain.
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« Reply #487 on: June 22, 2008, 10:23:27 AM »

I agree.
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« Reply #488 on: June 22, 2008, 05:11:19 PM »

I didn't know this story.  Kind of reminds me of Gingrich abandoning his wife with cancer.

***McCain’s acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centered womanizer who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to “play the field”.***

Ironically the Right can go after him on this if they choose. Then again there are all those Republicans with the same baggage -Livingstone, Craig, Foley, and several others.
The left cannot go after him with all they did to defend their guy Clinton for years.  In fact they consider all this kind of stuff a badge of honor.  Lanni Davis, Carville, Begala should be screeching to can this story - "its just about sex - so what".

Maybe McCain can get a few Dem votes out of this.

At least there are no accusations McCain raped anyone.
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« Reply #489 on: June 22, 2008, 07:16:59 PM »

In the mix of all this is this:

"She escaped a poor upbringing in Philadelphia to become a successful model, married an Annapolis classmate of McCain’s and had two children -- Douglas and Andrew -- before renewing what one acquaintance calls “an old flirtation” with McCain."

If I read this correctly, she (and McC) cheated on her husband and broke up a family with two sons to get started with McC.
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« Reply #490 on: June 23, 2008, 11:57:03 AM »

The Flip-Flop Brothers
Both McCain and Obama wobbled. Who will pay the price?
By John Dickerson


This was the week for public backtracking. John McCain announced his support for offshore drilling, which he opposed as recently as January. Barack Obama reversed his pledge to accept federal financing for his presidential campaign by rejecting public funds. My first inclination was that both men wouldn't suffer much from their reversals. With gas moving toward $5 at the pump, voters seeking relief aren't likely to penalize McCain for his flip-flop. (True, drilling may offer too little help too long from now, but never mind, at least he's trying.) Obama's flop, at first blush, would appear to matter to only the handful of voters who care enough about public financing to get exercised about Obama's decision to forgo the system. After all, his campaign is fueled by hundreds of thousands of regular people giving small donations. That's a good thing and doesn't seem like a threat to Democracy.

But the two changes of heart this week illustrate that there's a difference between changing your policy position and breaking a promise. McCain's altered stance on drilling (and the windfall profits tax) opens him up to charges that he's pandering and has no core principles. The damage his drilling plan might do to the environment recedes as a secondary critique. When Obama first reacted to McCain's proposal, he never mentioned the environment, but framed it as a weakness of leadership: "It's another example of short-term political posturing from Washington, not the long-term leadership we need to solve our dependence on oil."

But if these flip-flops reflect character attributes, then it's Obama who emerges more vulnerable. Breaking a promise is a problem of a higher order than changing a policy position. Our mothers told us not to break promises; they were silent on the question of drilling.

Obama's change of heart was more closely tied to his self-interest than McCain's. If he entered the public financing system, he would have denied himself hundreds of millions of dollars. Money is the mother's milk of politics. More of it allows Obama to better get out his message, organize, and send himself across the country. (He can even cook up a jazzy presidential seal for himself. Next: cuff links.) The self-interest that may motivate McCain's drilling proposal, by contrast, is more indirect. For McCain to benefit from his flop, voters have to believe in his drilling idea and then vote for him at least partly because of it.

Obama's is also exposed because he initially pledged to work against his self-interest on this very point. His promise to take taxpayer funds was always conditional—he'd do it if McCain did, too—but he and his aides said he would "aggressively pursue" negotiations with McCain to work something out. He even said he'd sit down with McCain to find a way. When it came down to it, though, the negotiations that took place don't qualify as aggressive. Obama's lawyer met with McCain's lawyer for a single 40-minute session. That was it. The Obama camp says they quit because it was clear McCain wasn't interested in a deal. But the evidence for this seems to rely in large part on interpreting McCain's position rather than probing and testing it through serious negotiations. Giving up after one meeting seems a little weak, particularly for a candidate who, in the foreign-policy context, says that he will never fear to negotiate.

The final problem for Obama is that he didn't spin his decision very well. He claimed that he had to refuse public funding because McCain was being supported by unregulated 527 groups while his campaign wasn't. That's not so. Right now, Democratic-leaning groups funded by unregulated donations are helping Obama more than Republican groups are helping McCain. Obama also claimed that McCain and the Republican National Committee were fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs. Factcheck.org labeled his claim a "large exaggeration and a lame excuse" for opting out of public funding.

If Barack Obama outdid McCain on this week's flip-flop competition, in another time, McCain has matched him. In 2000, during the South Carolina primary, McCain supported flying the Confederate flag over the state capitol because he though it would help him win. He offered implausible spin to defend himself instead of the "straight talk" he'd promised. After he lost, he returned to South Carolina to admit he'd compromised his principles and broken his promise to tell voters the truth. If McCain weren't Barack Obama's opponent, he might be the perfect one to counsel the Democratic nominee on how to deal with his current dilemma.
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« Reply #491 on: June 30, 2008, 07:20:50 AM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/29/ftn/printable4217516.shtml


Lieberman: U.S. May Be Attacked In 2009
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2008

(CBS) In describing the reasons he believes the Republicans' presumptive nominee for president would be better prepared than the Democrats' to lead the nation next January, Sen. Joe Lieberman said that history shows the United States would likely face a terrorist attack in 2009.

"Our enemies will test the new president early," Lieberman, I-Conn., told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer. "Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration."

Lieberman nonetheless distanced himself from remarks by McCain chief strategist Charlie Black, who came under criticism for suggesting in an interview that McCain's election chances would be improved if a terrorist attack occurred before November.

"Sometimes even the best of them say things that are not what they intended to say," Lieberman said. "Certainly the implications there I know were not what Charlie intended. And he apologized for it. Senator McCain said he didn't agree. And, of course, I feel the same way.

"But here's the point. We're in a war against Islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11. They've been trying to attack us in many, many ways since then."

A former Democratic nominee for vice president, Lieberman endorsed McCain for president because, he says, the Democratic Party he joined in the early 1960s is not reflected by the party's current leadership.

He also said that he feels McCain is better prepared to be commander in chief than Barack Obama. "[McCain] knows the world," Lieberman said. "He's been tested. He's ready to protect the security of the American people."

Lieberman also assailed Obama and fellow Senators who called for a timetable of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and opposed the "surge" of additional U.S. forces pushed forth by President Bush.

"It's now working," Lieberman told Schieffer. "If we had done what Senator Obama asked us to do for the last couple of years, today Iran and al Qaeda would be in control of Iraq. It would be a terrible defeat for us and our allies in the Middle East and throughout the world. Instead, we've got a country that's defending itself, that's growing economically, where there's been genuine political reconciliation, and where Iran and al Qaeda are on the run. And that's the way it ought to be."

However, McCain's readiness was disputed by retired General Wesley Clark, who is backing Obama for president, despite McCain's storied military experience in Vietnam. "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," he said.


(CBS)
"I think Joe has it exactly backwards here," Clark told Schieffer. "I think being president is about having good judgment. It's about the ability to communicate. And what Barack Obama brings is incredible communication skills, proven judgment. You look at his meteoric rise in politics and you see a guy who deals with people well, who understands issues, who brings people together, and who has good judgment in moving forward.

"And I think what we need to do, Bob, is we need to stop talking about the old politics of left and right, and we need to pull together and move the country forward. And I think that's what Barack Obama will do.

“Because in the matters of national security policymaking, it's a matter of understanding risk. It's a matter of gauging your opponents and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service … But he hasn't held executive responsibility."
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« Reply #492 on: June 30, 2008, 09:28:11 AM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/30/how-stupid-is-wesley-clark/

How stupid is Wesley Clark?
POSTED AT 8:31 AM ON JUNE 30, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


After decades in the news business, Bob Schieffer may have thought he’d heard it all — until yesterday on Face the Nation, when he interviewed Wesley Clark. Clark came as a surrogate for the Barack Obama campaign and attacked John McCain’s military service, saying that he was “untested and untried”. After Schieffer pointed out that McCain commanded the largest naval air squadron, had honorably endured over five years of torture as a POW in Vietnam, and had been on the Senate Armed Services committee since Obama was in college, Schieffer asked how Clark could claim that McCain was “untested and untried”. Clark stunned him with this answer:


Because in the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk, it’s a matter of gauging your opponents and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the armed forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, `I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it publicly?

At which point, Schieffer — after a stunned moment — pointed this out to Clark:

SCHIEFFER: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean…

Let’s point out a few things about Barack Obama:

 In “the matter of national security policy making.” Barack Obama hasn’t ever done anything.
In the matter of gauging your “opponents”, Obama wants to meet with them without preconditions despite having no national-security, military, or diplomatic experience.
Barack Obama hasn’t been on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Barack Obama hasn’t had any executive experience.
Barack Obama hasn’t commanded anything, in wartime or not.
Barack Obama hasn’t dealt with diplomats in any capacity at all.
Barack Obama hasn’t ordered the bombs to fall, although to be fair, he has associated himself with someone who has — William Ayers.
Not only can every argument Clark made get applied more to Obama than to McCain, he has now made it clear that the Obama strategy is to demean and belittle McCain’s military service — and by extension, military service in general.  This will undoubtedly play very well among Obama’s nutcase fringe supporters as well as idiotic fired commanders of NATO, but that’s a mighty thin list of voters.  The rest of the nation will hear these attacks and stand aghast at the dishonorable and outrageously stupid disparagement of a lifetime of service to this nation and understand with crystal clarity the radical nature of Barack Obama and his team.

Nor is this the first such attack on McCain’s service.  Democrats have belittled it on several occasions now.  In May, it was Bill Gillespie, another Obama backer in Georgia and a candidate for the House.  In the same month, Senator Tom Harkin questioned McCain’s mental state for having willingly served in the military.  In April, Jay Rockefeller accused McCain of being more or less a coward for being a military pilot, and again in May the New York Times quoted unnamed Senate colleagues of McCain suggesting that he didn’t understand the Vietnam War because he didn’t fight on the ground and spent most of it lounging around Hanoi in a POW camp.

John McCain put his life on the line for his country.  Barack Obama has not.  While I have never thought that military service was a prerequisite to public office, it certainly gives one a lot more experience and is an asset for the presidency.  And as a bottom line, a candidate whose campaign denigrates military service shows himself as unfit for the role of Commander in Chief.

Wes Clark has done Barack Obama no favors, and as the record shows, it’s not just Wes Clark.  The Democrats plan on attacking the military throughout this campaign.  Obama cannot expect anyone to buy his claims of “a new kind of politics”, unless Obama means that he plans to plumb new lows in class and intelligence in 2008.
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G M
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« Reply #493 on: June 30, 2008, 09:35:45 AM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/29/AR2008062901478_pf.html

Obama's Dodge on Handguns
By Robert D. Novak
Monday, June 30, 2008; A11

After months of claiming he had insufficient information to express an opinion on the District of Columbia's gun law, Barack Obama noted with apparent approval Thursday that the Supreme Court ruled that the 32-year ban on handguns "went too far." But what would he have said had the high court's 5 to 4 majority gone the other way and affirmed the law? Obama's strategists can only thank swing Justice Anthony Kennedy for enabling Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion to take the Democratic presidential candidate off the hook.

Such relief is typified by a vigorous supporter of Obama who advised Al Gore in his 2000 presidential campaign. Believing that Gore's gun control advocacy lost him West Virginia and the presidency, this prominent Democrat told me: "I don't want that to happen with Obama -- to be defeated on an issue that is not important to us and is not a political winner for us." He would not be quoted by name because he did not want abuse heaped on him by gun control activists.

This political reality explains the minuet on the D.C. gun issue that Obama has danced all year. Liberal Democrats who publicly deride the National Rifle Association privately fear the NRA as the most potent conservative interest group. Many white men with NRA decals on their vehicles are labor union members whose votes Obama needs in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. That is why Obama did not share the outrage of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, an Obama supporter, over the Supreme Court's decision.

What may be Obama's authentic position on gun rights was revealed in early April when he said at a closed-door Silicon Valley fundraiser that "bitter" small-town residents "cling" to the Bible and the Second Amendment. That ran against his public assertion, as a former professor of constitutional law, that the Constitution guarantees rights for individual gun owners, not just collective rights for state militias. But his legal opinion forced Obama into a political corner.

Arguments before the Supreme Court defending the D.C. handgun ban were based entirely on the view that the Constitution's rights applied only to state militias. During oral argument March 18, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked whether the Second Amendment has "any effect today as a restraint on legislation," since such militias no longer exist. Walter Dellinger, a former solicitor general representing the District of Columbia, replied that "it doesn't," and added, "You don't make up a new use for an amendment whose prohibitions aren't being violated."

Obama's dilemma was that his reading of a Second Amendment that "means something" made it difficult for him to say the D.C. law was constitutional. His public pronouncements were so imprecise that the Associated Press mistakenly reported that he "voiced support" for the handgun ban at a February news conference in Milwaukee.

In March and April, I tried for weeks to get a simple yes or no from Obama on the D.C. law's constitutionality. When the question was put to him directly for the first time at ABC's presidential debate in Philadelphia on April 16, he answered, "I confess I obviously haven't listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence." On National Public Radio on April 21, the day before the Pennsylvania primary, Obama said, "I don't know all the details and specifics of the D.C. gun law." He had not been asked and had not volunteered his opinion before Thursday's decision.

The issue will return when Chicago's handgun ban, modeled after the Washington law, is challenged in the courts. As a Chicago lawyer, Obama can hardly plead ignorance as he did concerning the D.C. ban. But with the case wending its way back to the Supreme Court for the next year, Obama will not have to answer the question before November.

While Scalia's opinion for now saves Obama from defending a court that had emasculated gun rights, one inconvenient truth confronts the candidate. He has made clear that as president he would nominate Supreme Court justices who agree with the minority of four that the Second Amendment is meaningless. Would he want a reconstituted court to roll back the D.C. decision when the Chicago case gets there?
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ccp
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« Reply #494 on: July 02, 2008, 06:29:58 PM »

Any thoughts on Bob Barr?

He could only hurt McCain.

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G M
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« Reply #495 on: July 02, 2008, 06:54:11 PM »

At least he isn't a nazi-hugger like Ron Paul.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #496 on: July 03, 2008, 06:33:13 AM »

Can Barack Buy the Presidency?
By KARL ROVE
July 3, 2008

On the money front, how do Sens. Obama and McCain stack up? No contest, it seems. Since the campaign began, Mr. Obama has raised a staggering $295-plus million, versus Mr. McCain's almost $122 million. But that's misleading.

Mr. Obama spent a lot to win the nomination. So how much cash did he and his rival have when the general election effectively began in June? As of May 31, Mr. Obama had $43.1 million on hand while Mr. McCain had $31.6 million – a significant but not overwhelming advantage.

 
AP 
Barack Obama
There is also the cash raised by the Republican and Democratic National Committees. Each candidate depends on the party committees for certain expenditures – registration, voter identification and get-out-the-vote drives, materials distributed by volunteers, even some advertising. Here, the Republicans had $53.5 million in hand on May 31, versus the Democrats' paltry $4 million. Thus Mr. McCain and the RNC have $38 million more than Mr. Obama and the DNC.

If Mr. Obama maintains his prodigious fund-raising pace, he could overtake Mr. McCain and the RNC. But that's not guaranteed. In May, Mr. Obama raised $23.3 million and the DNC $4.8 million; but Mr. McCain raised $21.5 million and the RNC $24.4 million. Mr. Obama's Internet-driven fund raising may require a renewed sense of urgency, crisis and energy that may be hard to gin up until the race heats up with the conventions in late August.

The savvy Obama team believes they can raise considerably more than the $84 million Mr. McCain will receive by taking public financing in September for the general election. They realize this is likely to be a close, hard-fought contest and they want every advantage – their candidate's previous pledges to take public funds and criticism of money in politics notwithstanding.

Then, too, unions will give Mr. Obama an edge. The AFL-CIO has committed $53.4 million for the Democratic nominee, up $6 million from 2004. Other unions will chip in. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee has pledged $50 million.

There are other third-party groups. While the GOP may be seen as the party of Big Money, recent presidential contests have shown that – taking unions, George Soros's wealth, and organizations like MoveOn.Org into consideration – Democrats have a large financial advantage. In 2004, when each side's spending by candidates, national committees and third-party groups was totaled up, Democrats outspent Republicans in the presidential race by $119.4 million.

Mr. Obama has used his money advantage to launch the air war. Starting June 20, Mr. Obama spent $4.3 million for 10 days of a televised, biographical ad covering 18 states. Mr. McCain countered on Monday with roughly $2.1 million for a week of ads in 11 states. Mr. Obama has now volleyed back, expanding his buy to 21 states for two additional weeks at a cost of $15 million – half for his original bio ad and half for a new ad on welfare reform.

But early television may not be as smart as it appears. Is it wise for Mr. Obama to spend almost as much on ads in three weeks in July as he raised in May? His fund raising peaked in February. June's fund-raising numbers, due in mid-July, will show whether his current pace of spending can be sustained. And TV becomes less effective in a general election, since so much free media attention is focused on the presidential candidates, whose actions have a larger impact than ads.

Mr. Obama's ads show he's aware of his vulnerability on two fronts: his liberal values and his meager achievements. Yet he should be more cautious with these weaknesses. His bio ad says he was raised with "values straight from the Kansas heartland," though he grew up in Hawaii. He claims to have passed three bills, but fails to mention that two were in the Illinois state Senate and that he didn't vote on the third in the U.S. Senate. His new ad praises welfare reform, yet he opposed the legislation when a Republican Congress passed and President Clinton signed it.

Mr. Obama may be overreaching by running ads in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Nebraska, Montana, Alaska and North Dakota – states Republicans won by comfortable margins in recent years. It would require a shift of between one-sixth and over one-quarter of the vote to win any of them. Shifts that large rarely happen.

Big shifts do occur – witness West Virginia in 2000, which swung more than 20 points between 1996 (when Bill Clinton carried the state) and 2000 (when George W. Bush did) – but these require sharp contrasts on big issues, not just money. Money may be the mother's milk of politics, in Jesse Unruh's famous phrase, but when running for president, money alone can't buy a candidate love. Cash matters, but being a good candidate and right on the issues matters even more.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion
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ccp
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« Reply #497 on: July 07, 2008, 08:33:44 PM »

It's Bob Dole all over again.  If McCain can't mount a rapid fire response by now he won't.  He obviously does not have world class campaign managers working for him.

He should hire Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich.  His campaign is already obviously inadequate.  He is already behind the curve and in  trouble.  Obama is kicking his ass all over the media mat.

http://www.dickmorris.com/blog/2008/07/07/obama-strikes-first/#more-374
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #498 on: July 07, 2008, 10:14:27 PM »

Sadly, I agree. cry
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #499 on: July 14, 2008, 07:03:26 AM »

I find myself noticing a tremendous disparity in media attention given to BO and McC., even on FOX.   Even Sean Hannity, whose show I only watch when Newt Gingrich is on, can only talk about BO and how he's shifting positions. 

WHERE THE FCUK IS McCAIN? 
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