05/28/2008 - 1:09pm
Under Barack's new politics, McCain gets attacked for holding a fundraiser that is closed to the press:
On Tuesday, likely Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama slammed GOP rival Sen. John McCain for holding a fund-raiser with President Bush with "no reporters'' around.
It's true, John McCain wants the money the President can help raise, but doesn't want to pay the political price of being seen with him. It's outrageous, this lack of transparency, and would never happen under the rules of the "new politics" that Barack represents.
Today, Michelle Obama is headlining a fund-raiser in California for Hollywood elites that the campaign did not announce.
Wait. California? Wasn't it in California where Barack was secretly recorded by a supporter, with no media around, telling a group of elite donors about how the little people cling to their gun and religion?

The comments came to light as a result of the Huffington Post's groundbreaking experiment in citizen journalism, Off The Bus. The website runs a network of about 1,800 unpaid researchers, interviewers and writers.

One of those writers, Mayhill Fowler, broke the story, despite being a paid-up supporter of Obama. She attended a fundraising event in San Francisco on April 6 and recorded Obama's speech.

Fowler sat on the material for days, conflicted about what to do with it. She only published the comments last Friday.

"She had some real reservations about the story as an Obama supporter," Amanda Michel, the director of Off The Bus, told the Guardian. "But she thought as a citizen journalist she had a duty to report the event, despite her support for Barack Obama."

Sure is funny how sometimes the new politics looks so much like the old, isn't it?
05/28/2008 - 10:47am
It looks like a small blunder:
WASHINGTON - Sen. Barack Obama misspoke when he told a group of veterans that his uncle was among the troops who liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp, aides to the Democratic presidential candidate said Tuesday.

In fact, Obama's great-uncle took part in the liberation of one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald, spokesman Bill Burton said.

Obama "mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically," Burton said.
So what's the big deal? He misspoke. But with Barack struggling to make Jewish voters comfortable with him, it can't help.
Critics were quick to seize on the mistake.

"It was Soviet troops that liberated Auschwitz, so unless his uncle was serving in the Red Army, there's no way Obama's statement yesterday can be true," said Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant.
05/27/2008 - 6:38pm
Obama continues to amaze with the folks he can convince to jump on his bandwagon. What a great TV commercial for McCain this will make - the list of thinkers, and organizations, who are on Barack's side is absolutely mind numbing:

Consider Robert Reich, Ted Kennedy, Tom Hanks, NARAL, John Edwards, Jane Fonda, The Teamsters and Steel Workers unions, Moveon.org, John Kerry, Michael Moore, Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, Reggae Singer Cocoa Tea, and Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef, just to name a few of the most prominent of Barack's base.

But now, Barack's philosophical bona fides have been confirmed beyond reproach. Some have been so bold as to doubt Barack's commitment to the radicalism of Reverend Wright, and others have dared to question his commitment to the radicalism of Bill Ayers. But who can deny Barack his true stature now that he's received the quiet support of none other than Communist Leader Emeritus Fidel Castro? How Sweet it Is!!!!!!!!!!!! In response to Barack's Communist Cuba Manifesto, delivered last week, Castro wrote:
I am not questioning Obama’s great intelligence, his debating skills or his work ethic. He is a talented orator and is ahead of his rivals in the electoral race. I feel sympathy for his wife and little girls, who accompany him and give him encouragement every Tuesday. It is indeed a touching human spectacle. Nevertheless, I am obliged to raise a number of delicate questions. I do not expect answers; I wish only to raise them for the record.
Castro even went so far as to hint that he was only offering some negative feedback on Barack in order to protect him:
I listened to his speech, as I did McCain’s and Bush’s. I feel no resentment towards him, for he is not responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Cuba and humanity. Were I to defend him, I would do his adversaries an enormous favor. I have therefore no reservations about criticizing him and about expressing my points of view on his words frankly.
Once again, Barack shows his ability to win the support of those who hate American power at a rate that folks like John Kerry and Al Gore could only dream of.
05/27/2008 - 5:50pm
I thought I'd share with you an email exchange I've just had with my mother having to do with my political philosophy. So that you're fully informed, I should tell you that I was born and raised and have lived virtually all of my adult life in the Boston area. I grew up in a neighborhood, town and state disproportionately filled with liberal intellectuals, in a state that has more than its share of universities and the doctrinaire liberalism that resides there.

My mother is a retired college professor who, while on the liberal side of things, has also been somewhat surprised, and perhaps bothered, by how far some have taken ideas which seemed like a good idea at the start but which have now spun out of control. I respect her balanced view, but she struggles nevertheless with my conservative views, and words that I speak with great meaning and subtlety intended often hit her brain as two dimensional and trite because she lives on the other side of the perspective fence.

Anyway, she had dinner with friends last night and sent this note:
I had dinner with Carol and John last night and they besseiged me about you and your political views. I said to them, "why don't you discuss it all with Todd? He's good about sharing. I can't represent his views accurately." You should think about it; you might enjoy it and they think so very diffferently from you that it might be fun for you both.
I wrote back asking why they were so concerned about my views and got this response:
I think because your views are so different from those of the people whom they associate you with and because John has listenied to you on the radio and is intrigued by your point of view and it confuses him. I think it is born of genuine fascination.....and the minute John sees me it awakens hiis thnking about the situation. But they are not the only ones who respond thaat way......he is just very up front about it........
This aggravated me, as it gets tiring living in a world in which it is so hard to find someone who isn't shocked by intellectual diversity - It feels like I'm a gun control advocate in hunting country sometimes. So here's what I wrote back:
The subtext of the question is that there's something odd about my views that compels investigation. But my views are, in fact, mainstream ones, found as most people's are - they are derived from a mix or personal psychology, environment and critical thinking. While it may seem odd that I am able to think things thru enough to draw my own conclusions, I find it odd that those who hold a political perspective that has never been accepted by the country think that theirs is the only viable one because they happen to live in a geographical pocket that holds that perspective.

So, let's check off the categories for them. First - Osmosis. My views are based less on osmosis than are most people's, as mine go counter to my environment. That's a point in my favor, I'd say. Second - Psychology. My personal psychology is one of independence and self-suffiency, so I'm inclined toward governmental models that allow and encourage those attributes (which are, by the way, at the heart of the premise of the American experiment). But I would argue that mine are less influenced by personal psychology than are most people's because critical thinking plays a larger role in my analysis - I read, debate and think about these things all the time, and actually know a little about the issues that I have opinions about rather than just being a political mirror, so I do my best to mitigate personal inclinations. Even more important, I discuss and debate the issues with those who are highly educated and hold differing views, so I have a full pallet of ideas to sort through. There is no template one can point to and say - "ah ha, that's where Todd came up with it!" I have drawn my own conclusions.

More in need of investigation, I think, are people whose strongly held views reflect verbatim the perspectives spoon fed them by the media, their community and their peers, an indication that they are little more than "well educated," intelligent people who live a life of cocooned privelege which they don't venture beyond intellectually. Carefully couched in an environment where they never hear differing views, they are shocked and dismissive when they confront someone who shares the political perspective of the majority of Americans, not to mention those of the country's founding fathers.

Rather than inquire about where I got such views, they'd be better served, I think, by questioning why they are so content to be part of a closed feeding loop - parrots who read it in the Times, hear it on NPR, repeat it at cocktail parties with friends of identical cultural and educational identities, and are absolutely baffled by anyone who doesn't share their smug point of view. While they may celebrate diversity with their donations, they are utterly confounded when they confront it in their environment.

Now, aren't you glad you asked?
I thought you'd enjoy the exchange. The names were changed to protect privacy.
05/27/2008 - 2:03pm
It's hard for regular folk to understand, all this talk of assassination. Normal people just expect Barack to lose, that's all. No one wants a return to the 1960's, and given that those horrible events were forty years ago, few people are thinking that way.

Except for those who long for the sixties - people who came of age and were politically awakened by the anti-war movement, whose identities were formed around it. Barack Obama excites passions in them that they haven't felt since the assassination decade, so they project all their Kennedy feelings onto Barack.

So when Hillary Clinton made some innocent remarks about Bobby Kennedy's assassination last week, it touched a nerve. For the irrational exuberance crowd, Barack and Bobby are merged into a single, archetypal symbol - you attack one, you attack them both. And the symbol is so highly idealized that by using Bobby's slaying as an historical reference point Hillary was soiling sacred turf.

Thus, the atmosphere is charged, and it probably wasn't such a good idea when Fox News Pundit Liz Trotta stepped into the Huckabee zone on Sunday:

Fox contributor Liz Trotta, a former Washington Times editor, was being interviewed by host Eric Shawn for Fox News on Sunday when she said: " And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that somebody knock off Osama, uh Obama. Well, both, if we could."
Trotta's apology might have made things worse when she used carefully coded language (isn't that what the wackos will think?) to bring race into the conversation:
"It is a very colorful political season, and many of us are making mistakes and saying things we wish we had not said," added Trotta.
Be gentle with liberals you encounter today - even though this isn't happening in the real world, in their worlds this is as real as the mud at Woodstock. Bobby is back, and they're sure they're going to have to live through his assassination again.
05/27/2008 - 6:07am
One of the thing that Barack does very well is sticking with a position even when it looks like he's losing the argument. It makes him look strong, very much the unKerry, and sometimes he's able to ride his position into the winner's circle as circumstances shift.

McCain is following a similar strategy on Iraq, which Barack hasn't visited since 2006 - taking a perceived weakness and trying to turn it to Barack's disadvantage. On Monday, he used Iraq to emphasize his argument that Barack is inexperienced and naive as he offered to accompany the democrat on a field trip into the war zone.

"Look at what happened in the last two years since Senator Obama visited and declared the war lost," Senator McCain has told the Associated Press. "He really has no experience or knowledge or judgment about the issue of Iraq and he has wanted to surrender for a long time."

"If there was any other issue before the American people, and you hadn't had anything to do with it in a couple of years, I think the American people would judge that very harshly."

This is a very strong tactic. Despite his early opposition to the war, before he held a position that was relevant to war policy, Barack has shown no leadership on ending the war since arriving in the senate. When people start to look closely at what McCain is saying, there's something for everyone to get mad at Barack about - why hasn't he taken any political risk to oppose the war since coming to Washington, why hasn't he kept himself informed with a return visit to the region, who is he to put down the effort when he hasn't made his own effort to keep up to speed on progress? What if things are going well and he doesn't even know it?

Senator McCain has said Senator Obama has not been to Iraq in more than two years, since before the so-called troops surge announced by President George W. Bush at the start of 2007.

He has said the country has been transformed since then and Senator Obama cannot have a credible policy on Iraq unless he returns there to see the improvements in security.

Age is always portrayed as a problem for McCain in this race, but it too can easily be turned around. Barack's youth should be more of an issue than McCain's senior status, and McCain is working to move the conversation to where he wants it:

A supporter of Senator McCain floated the idea of a joint visit over the weekend. On cue, Senator McCain said he was supportive of the idea.

"I would also seize that opportunity to educate Senator Obama along the way," he said.

05/27/2008 - 3:43am
Barack continues to move his promise to meet with leaders of countries like Iran and Cuba during his first year in office into more responsible territory.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama underscored his willingness to talk to leaders of countries like Iran that are considered U.S. adversaries but said that does not necessarily mean an audience with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
While he sounds lame in his word parsing, and he proves Hillary and McCain right in going after him for the foolhardy commitment, Barack can start to present a more credible, pro-dialogue, position.

Obama, an Illinois senator, said Iranian presidential elections in 2009 would be a factor in considering the timing of any meetings, as would considerations of who wields the power.

"There's no reason why we would necessarily meet with Ahmadinejad before we know that he was actually in power. He's not the most powerful person in Iran," Obama told reporters while campaigning in New Mexico.

Sure. That was all true, of course, before you said you'd meet with Ahmadinejad in your first year in office. As McCain has said,

....sitting down with someone like Ahmadinejad would give the Iranian president a spotlight and send the wrong signal to U.S. allies such as Israel.

Iran does not recognize Israel's existence and Ahmadinejad has called the country a "stinking corpse."

Which is why Obama spent a chunk of last week trying to convince Jewish voters in Florida that he wouldn't abandon Israel and could be trusted on Iran.
05/26/2008 - 9:10pm
Over the past couple months, when everyone in the democratic party had decided that Barack Obama had to be the nominee - Hillary Clinton has been dug in, telling anyone who would listen that Barack is a mistake, that he will have a tough time winning a general election.
A growing concern for Democrats is the fact that, during her primary defeats as well as victories, Hillary Clinton has soundly defeated Obama among working-class whites, rural voters, and older women.
And she was right. Barack is a damaged candidate who will have to convince the country that he isn't Muslim (which 11% believe), that he doesn't share the views of Reverend Wright, Black Liberation Theology and Louis Farrakhan, while also making a compelling argument that it's not a problem electing someone with virtually no experience to the toughest job in the world. It is only because this is such a bad year to be a republican that Barack is even viable, especially since he draws poorly from mainstream working class white voters.
And, since presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has also polled well with these groups, Obama will have to figure out a way to connect with them if he hopes to become America's first black president in November.
Now, Hillary's argument shifts to the VP position. With her on the ticket, the fear of McCain's ability to attract the center leading to the GOP holding onto the presidency goes out the window. How does Barack say no?
"He needs to worry about those voting areas," said (former Connecticut Congressman Bruce) Morrison, who's now a Capital Hill lobbyist."He certainly needs to worry about Irish-America, Italian-America, and Polish-America, and other communities like that. And they're very concentrated in particularly important states, like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan."

"He can win them. But he'll win them easier if they put Hillary on the ticket."

While the Washington punditry sees Hillary as having killed off her chances at the VP spot with last week's innocent comments about Bobby Kennedy, it's hard to imagine that Barack doesn't take very seriously the opportunity that Clinton presents.

05/25/2008 - 1:07pm
Barack is complaining about Hillary trying to drive a wedge between his candidacy and the voters of Michigan and Florida:
"Let's not sort of pretend that we don't know what's going on. This is, from their perspective, their last slender hope to make arguments about how they can win."
On the other hand, he's being very generous over Hillary's Bobby Kennedy remark, using the opportunity to buy himself some insurance for his own future blunders:
"I have learned that when you are campaigning for as many months as Senator Clinton and I have been campaigning, sometimes you get careless in terms of the statements that you make, and I think that is what happened here," he said in an interview with Radio ISLA. "Senator Clinton says that she did not intend any offense by it, and I will take her at her word on that."
Also unshaken by Hillary's rather innocent use of Bobby's memory is his son, Robert Jr.
“I’ve heard her make that argument before,” Mr. Kennedy said, speaking on his cell phone as he drove to the family compound in Hyannis for the holiday weekend. “It sounds like she was invoking a familiar historical circumstance in support of her argument for continuing her campaign.”

Mr. Kennedy said he has been traveling and had not seen the video or read Mrs. Clinton’s comments, but said his support of Mrs. Clinton has not wavered.

05/25/2008 - 12:24pm
A nice piece from the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby, the paper's token conservative, on why despite protests from Barack, Michelle Obama is fair game for attack in this campaign. You'll recall that early last week, on Good Morning America, Barack played the tough guy and told folks to leave Michelle alone.


Jacoby takes the opportunity to reiterate just how down on America Michelle is:

Here she is, for instance, in Wisconsin:

"Life for regular folks has gotten worse over the course of my lifetime, through Republican and Democratic administrations. It hasn't gotten much better."

And in South Carolina:

America is "just downright mean" and "guided by fear . . . We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day."

Michelle has made herself a sharp-spoken part of the campaign, and Jacoby is right to defend the rights of others to object to her characterizations:

There is also her creepily authoritarian vision of life under an Obama administration. From a speech in California:

"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual - uninvolved, uninformed."

Here are two clips of Michelle and her original "For the first time in my adult life," comments. In case you haven't seen them yet.

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