06/11/2008 - 12:58pm
Why should anyone go easy on Michelle Obama when she sticks herself in the center of so many controversial debates?
John Kerry, who has campaigned with Michelle Obama, said the attacks could backfire. "She's a mother of two young daughters, and her self-made story is America's story," the Massachusetts senator said. "I think a lot of people will be repelled by the attacks on her, because it'll feel like an attack on their own family. Republicans smear her at their peril."
Attempts at understanding how Barack managed to surround himself through such a short career with so many hateful and bizarre characters require sifting through whatever evidence exists, and Michelle is Exhibit A.

Other women, much more in the background, have suffered aggressive inquiries.

In this campaign, Judith Giuliani, the third wife of former Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani, was the subject of merciless profiles that depicted her as a husband-stealing social climber.

Hillary Clinton was derided in 1992 after saying, "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life."

In 2004, Heinz Kerry was a target. Sometimes, the outspoken heiress brought it on herself, as when she told a reporter to "shove it" and said -- incorrectly -- that Laura Bush had never held a "real job."
So Michelle Obama, sticking herself with zeal into commentary on what's wrong with the country that is so reluctantly hers, has made herself a part of the conversation, and that conversation, by definition, will go in two directions.
In the current climate -- where sound bites are recycled endlessly and context is ignored in favor of impact -- her more dour pronouncements have paved the way for brutal critiques.

"This is a huge debate among Republicans," said Michele Malkin, who noted that until Obama's "proud" remark, "she was the new, glamorous Jackie O, and most stories focused on her pearls and wardrobe." But, Malkin added, "from what I've seen, despite her husband's admonition to lay off of her, she's not stopping what she's doing, and I don't think the rest of us should ignore her and treat her with kid gloves."
06/11/2008 - 10:42am
"I want to campaign the same way I govern, which is to respond directly and forcefully with the truth." ~ Barack Obama, 11/08/07
So why is he refusing to release his birth certificate in response to months of media requests?
06/11/2008 - 6:14am
Dick Morris says that Barack can win this election. It's going to take some work to escape from the burden of his radical past, but Morris says it can be done. First, Morris reiterates the obvious problems:
Hard racial divisions have softened in America but fear of the “other” persists. Their possible next president has a strange name. He grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He had a Muslim Kenyan father who left when he was a baby. He made his political career in the cesspool of American politics -- the traditionally corrupt Chicago Democratic machine. His pastor of twenty years after whose sermons he entitled his book seems to hate white people in general and America in particular (despite getting $15 million in federal funding for his church).
This is an important point about the oft-discussed effects of racism on this election. Race is not the issue, but race can come to symbolize difference with someone as politically odd as Barack.
If he were white, with similar associations, he would be suspect. But he comes from a world few white voters know or understand and the fear lingers that he is some kind of latter-day Manchurian candidate, a sleeper agent, poised to take control of the United States government.
So how does Barack escape responsibility for teaming with the terrorists, the racist preachers and his convicted fundraiser?
To win, Obama must reach down deep and dispel the doubts people hold about him. So far, he has avoided inflaming them and taken great care not to lend them any credibility from his own statements or positions. Now, he must go further and reassure voters who want to believe him, but are afraid.
That's it? He just has to go on Oprah?
To blow away this miasma of doubt will not be easy. Obama, a private person who dislikes emotional displays in public, will have to speak from the heart about what America means to him. He will have to embrace our national sense of uniqueness...
It will take quite a performance. But Morris' description of the problem Barack faces is unique and compelling, and lends some insight into what he's talking about.
American exceptionalism is deeply rooted in our national consciousness and it has been so offended by Rev. Wright’s characterization of the United States as a terrorist nation, a force of evil in the world, that Obama must assuage that hurt if he wishes to appease our fears.

While the United States has always worked to keep church separate from our government, there has always been a kind of civil religion in America which speaks to our values and mission in the world. The president of the United States is the high priest of that religion and it is up to him to give it voice and apply it to the challenges that pop up in our path. Obama must make it clear to his countrymen that he subscribes to that faith and can pick up his duties as high priest. He needs to articulate the national narrative.

Good stuff from the often over-the-top toe man.
06/11/2008 - 3:10am
The search for smoking guns in the background of Barack continues to excite the nation. Is Barack's refusal to release his birth certificate, for several months now, such a smoking gun? If not, why the reluctance to bring it forward.

Possibilities abound on the blogosphere:
  • he wasn't actually born in the U.S.
  • he was legally named Barry and Barack is a self-adopted change
  • the marriage status of his parents is revealed (his father was not divorced from his wife in Kenya)
  • perhaps there was a line for religion and it says Muslim. Not a big deal on the surface, but given all the questions about Barack's past, not the sort of thing the campaign would like to focus on, certainly not before securing the nomination.
06/11/2008 - 12:35am
I have to confess to a newfound envy of the Democratic nominee for President.
Sen. Barack Obama’s go-to Hollywood hottie is Scarlett Johansson, a starlet who trades frequent e-mails with the presumptive Democratic nominee, campaigns tirelessly on his behalf, hosts lucrative fundraisers and even appeared in that “Yes We Can” viral video that got 10 million views in its first week online.
How can she do this to me - after so many years of hopeless devotion! She's been my number one ever since Lost in Translation! Can you believe that she
has been an Obama supporter for years, even before the first Democratic caucus in Iowa, and she’s made no secret of her deep devotion to the candidate. “I am engaged to Barack Obama,” she said back in January, joking with reporters after returning from a USO tour to the Persian Gulf. “My heart belongs to Barack.”
I wish she would reconsider. Scarlett apparently didn't see the recent study comparing who is better to marry - Democrats or Republicans. While it is true that the study indicates "Democrats are two-thirds likelier than Republicans to have had two or more sex partners in the past year," something we know is important to folks in Hollywood, Scarlett should consider more important factors. Consider values, young lady, like attitudes toward extra-marital sex!
93 percent of conservatives say it is always wrong, versus only 65 percent of liberals. In other words, for a third of liberals, the whole monogamous marriage thing does not always seem the best option. Very modern, perhaps — but not an attitude many shop for in an ideal mate.
Marrying a Republican is, in a sense, jumping into bed with a good, old fashioned, leading man.
Sixty-eight percent of Republicans of all marital statuses in 2004 strongly agreed that they would prefer to suffer rather than let the one they loved suffer — versus 56 percent of Democrats. And 48 percent of Republicans strongly agreed when presented with the statement, “I would endure all things for the one I love.” In comparison, 38 percent of Democrats gave this response.
At the end of the day, Republicans are happier in their marriages than are folks of differing registrations. Again, happy marriages aren't the priority in Hollywood, but I suspect that when the 23 year old Johansson marries, she'll be wanting it to last at least for 3 or 4 years.
...Republicans have somewhat happier marriages than Democrats, on average. According to the 2006 General Social Survey, 67 percent of Republicans say their marriages are very happy, versus 61 percent of Democrats. (Disconcertingly for independents like my wife and me, only 55 percent say they have very happy marriages.)
A great deal for young Scarlet to consider. But hope and inspiration lead many young women astray, and is there any reason to think a girl who's been a star since her teens is going to make good decisions? I'm not optimistic.
06/10/2008 - 11:28pm
Some members of Congress aren't happy that their party's choice as nominee.

Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., told the Associated Press today that he has no intention of endorsing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

And Democratic officials do not expect Boren to be the last to refrain from making a show of not backing his party's presumptive presidential nominee -- though Boren says he will vote for Obama for president in November.

These rebel Democrats don't even want to be seen at the convention!
Other House Democrats from swing districts -- Democrats who eked out victories in traditionally GOP districts, whom House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calls her "majority makers" -- may refrain from even attending their party's convention in Denver in August.
Boren hits Barack's credibility at its most foundational level.
Boren noted that Obama had earned the National Journal's controversial rating as "Most Liberal" U.S. Senator in 2007, and saying though he talks a good game on working with Republicans, "unfortunately, his record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion."
Now won't that make for a nice TV commercial!
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-Illinois, won Boren's congressional district with 66% of the vote during the Oklahoma primary in February. "Our nominee is not my first choice," Boren says.
06/10/2008 - 5:18pm
The media, like their political partners the Democrats, is in love with Racism. It's their favorite topic, their favorite trick to make a routine story exciting. To throw around a cliche accusation, they politicize race in order to sell papers. I, for one, am bored with their lack of imagination and angered by the double standard.

In yesterday's Financial Times, for example, there was a poorly conceived op-ed piece by Clive Crook called Now It Is Time to be More Ordinary.

Leading by example in the quest for ordinariness, Crook's column lacked understanding of the dynamics that threaten Barack's candidacy.
His greatest electoral weakness will probably not be inexperience, nor the fact that he is black. Washington's most experienced politicians have little to boast about and voters know it. Racism exists, but he came through the Wright storm stronger. The charge that sticks is vagueness. Appealing as the message of change and hope may be to a country with a low opinion of its politicians, it will not be enough. He will be challenged to make his policies - on Iraq, on Iran, on the economy and healthcare - more detailed and specific.
While he's correct that racism isn't going to cost Barack the election (of course it isn't - he presents no evidence that it will, so why is he even talking about it?), Crook doesn't get what will. And the suggestion that Reverend Wright has in any way improved Barack's chances is a complete misrepresentation. Wright, and Barack's links to a slew of questionable radicals, is the campaign's Achilles heel.

But back to the racism. This column touches on race, a bit, but isn't about race. Yet, on the front page at the very top, where there are a series of boxes teasing stories within the day's Financial Times, was one teasing this column. And it said something like (I don't have it in front of me), "Barack is black, and he can still beat John McCain." This stoking of race as the theme for the campaign misrepresents the election and race in America for the amusement, and the sales goals, of the Financial Times. Isn't that racist?

Why does racism play center stage for liberals and their subsidiary, the media? Tricking blacks and other minorities into thinking that Democrats are good for them is based on minorities perceiving themselves in danger in a racist world and in need of the band-aids offered by liberalism. The dependency is so strong that minorities don't notice the damage done by the so-called assistance offered by the Democrats.

While liberals argued that the cold war was a set-up pushed by conservatives because having an enemy served their needs, liberals run a cold war against racism without regard for the magnitude of the threat.

But race in this country registers about as strong as many bigotries - sexism, religious bigotry and ageism come to mind.
Ageism is defined as prejudice against the elderly, based on the idea that they're slower, less competent--or perhaps just closer to death. Indeed, according to a survey done by the Pew Research Center, Americans are a lot less comfortable voting a man in his 70s into the Oval Office than they are voting for a woman or an African-American for president.
Barack Obama thinks nothing of using language designed to remind listeners that John McCain is old. Why is this trick greeted by admiring chuckles when similar inferences about Barack's race or Mitt Romney's religion, to a lesser extent, would be met with appropriate outrage?
John McCain has a demonstrated record of vigor--one might say even youthful vigor -- in tackling tough issues on Capitol Hill. Always well briefed, the Arizona senator puts in long days and reads the legislative fine print in a way one wouldn't necessarily expect from a senior citizen.
06/10/2008 - 12:21pm
I was thinking a couple of weeks ago that McCain should throw some liberal around the neck of Barack the way Obama is trying to weigh him down with running for a Bush third term.

What I came up with was that he should say that Barack is running to complete George McGovern's first term. It's a nasty tag - big loser, big liberal, bad memory for Dems. Very margnializing of Barack as the Magic Man.

But McCain has come up with one of his own.
In an interview to air later tonight on Nightly News, McCain tells NBC's Brian Williams that while Obama might criticize him for representing a third Bush term, Obama seems to be running for a second Carter term.
Carter is pretty good, because he's widely viewed as a failed president, and he's still out there embarrassing the nation on a real time basis. And for Dems who like to label Bush a failed president, Carter provides a little cover - see, any party can provide a bad leader - life goes on.
Sen. Obama says that I'm running for a Bush's third terms. It seems to me he's running for Jimmy Carter's second. (LAUGHTER)
06/10/2008 - 6:13am
Forget about how would he vote if he happened to drop by the Senate for a roll call. The real question is, has he ever been there for lunch?

Democrats are squabbling over whether the Senate food service operations, currently running a big deficit each year, should be privatized. This may appear like a simple decision - this year's loses are at $2 million already - but Democrats don't believe much in capitalism and free markets.

Except for Dianne Feinstein who pushed through a privatization measure.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Rules and Administrations Committee, which oversees the operation of the Senate, said she had no choice.

"It's cratering," she said of the restaurant system. "Candidly, I don't think the taxpayers should be subsidizing something that doesn't need to be. There are parts of government that can be run like a business and should be run like businesses."

Feinstein seems to have recognized that when people are on the dole, they start to expect the handouts to last forever.
In a letter to colleagues, Feinstein said that the Government Accountability Office found that "financially breaking even has not been the objective of the current management due to an expectation that the restaurants will operate at a deficit annually."
And, of course, what's the motivation to offer good food and service if you're living on subsidies?

In a masterful bit of understatement, Feinstein blamed "noticeably subpar" food and service. Foot traffic bears that out. Come lunchtime, many Senate staffers trudge across the Capitol and down into the basement cafeteria on the House side. On Wednesdays, the lines can be 30 or 40 people long.

House staffers almost never cross the Capitol to eat in the Senate cafeterias.

Why would they? You see the House food service operation was privatized back in the 1980's!
Not all Senate Moonbats are happy with the Feinstein decision. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), speaking for the group of senators who opposed privatizing the restaurants, said that "you cannot stand on the Senate floor and condemn the privatization of workers, and then turn around and privatize the workers here in the Senate and leave them out on their own."
Menendez seems to have recognized what we've known for a long time. Senate Democrats just have no compassion.
06/10/2008 - 2:38am
Barack tries to make John McCain look like his politics is from the dinosaur era because of the lobbyists in his midst. But Obama is no different. Consider the man chosen to oversee his VP search committee, James A. Johnson, former Fannie Mae CEO and consummate Washington insider.
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday that Johnson had received mortgages worth more than $7 million from beleaguered lender Countrywide Financial, including at least two loans below market average. The article noted that the transactions may have been perfectly aboveboard -- but several could prove too cozy, depending on how much they overlapped with Johnson's Fannie Mae tenure.
What's that old expression about glass houses?
The Republican National Committee responded as if it had won the lottery. "Barack Obama routinely rails against lobbyists and corporate insiders, yet his campaign is stocked with both. Now it turns out that the man leading his vice presidential selection team is receiving highly questionable loans," spokesman Alex Conant declared in a statement. "With millions of Americans struggling to pay their mortgages, it raises serious questions about Obama's judgment when we learn members of his campaign leadership are receiving favors that the average American would never get."
Is this silly politics? No sillier than Barack pretending to be Mr. Clean!
Sen. John McCain piled on during an interview this afternoon with Carl Cameron of Fox News. "I think it suggests a bit of a contradiction, talking about how his campaign is gonna be not associated with people like that. Clearly he is very much associated with that," McCain said, according to statement circulated by his campaign.

And if Barack's campaign has to point back at John McCain's behavior to prove that Barack isn't any worse than McCain, well then, the point goes to McCain, doesn't it.
Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor shot back, "It's the height of hypocrisy for the McCain campaign to try and make this an issue when John Green, one of John McCain's top advisors, lobbied for Ameriquest, which was one of the nation's largest subprime lenders and a key player in the mortgage crisis.
Did he say Ameriquest? The slimy company that Barack's buddy, fellow Chicago Harvard alum, new kinda politics partner, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick used to be on the board of? Better leave that one alone, wouldn't you say?
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