05/24/2008 - 6:44pm
He's black, Harvard educated, went to a wonderful prep school, is an inspiring speaker, and got elected by appealing to a sense of hope for a better political process. His campaign rallied supporters under a banner of change with slogans like Yes We Can and Together We Can!

18 months later, the people of Massachusetts are trying to figure out how they could have been so dumb to have elected a guy governor with so little political experience.

Even liberals, clinging to Hillary, point to Deval Patrick as evidence of what could go wrong with Barack. Deval's latest bad news is, surprise, a huge increase in spending - in his own office!

The state Senate is cracking down on skyrocketing office spending by Gov. Deval Patrick by demanding that he explain the purpose of cushy-sounding staff positions that have fueled charges of overspending in the Corner Office.

During budget deliberations this week, the Senate unanimously passed a GOP-backed measure that requires the governor to post an online organization chart by July 31 to explain the rationale for his hiring decisions.

What is causing the state Senate to crack down?
The governor has padded his staff with exotic new positions such as “director of grassroots governance” and “director of new media and online strategy,” part of a hiring push that raised eyebrows among senators battling with tight financial margins next year.
Even though the Governor's office says a big chunk of the 80% increase is due to Commonwealth Corps, a new volunteer effort launched by Patrick, faith in him has dropped so low that the democratic legislature doesn't want to leave this issue alone.
Patrick has increased staffing to 76 full-time positions after former Gov. Mitt Romney trimmed the number to about 65.

And the governor has also reopened an administrative office in Springfield and increased funding by at least $150,000 for a branch office in Washington, D.C.

Read this post, and this one, for background on Deval.
05/24/2008 - 3:06pm
Is California up for grabs? Only in the wildest dreams of the GOP. But that doesn't mean new numbers from an LA Times poll, showing Barack with a 7 point lead in the state, should be cause for gloating:
Less than four months after losing the California primary, Democrat Barack Obama leads Republican John McCain in projected November general election matchups, a new Los Angeles Times/KTLA Poll has found.
How good are the numbers for dems?
Obama, the Illinois senator who has inched close to his party's nomination, would defeat McCain by seven points if the election were held today. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, whose fortunes have faltered since her Feb. 5 drubbing of Obama in California, would eke out only a three-point victory, the poll found.
Considering that Gore took the state by 12% and Kerry by 9%, one could view Barack's 7 point lead as a sign of weakness. But democrats are living in fear, which this poll serves to relieve, that Hillary voters might refuse to swing over to Barack:
Signs that Democratic loyalty had survived the primary surfaced repeatedly in the survey. To take one measure, Clinton won 76% of Democrats against McCain; Obama won 75%, a statistically insignificant difference. In any case, Obama more than made up for it by winning more independents and Republicans than Clinton would.
So, instead of a headline reading, "Barack weaker than Gore or Kerry in California," it was a happy one: "Obama would take California in November."
05/24/2008 - 8:00am
Hillary took some flack Friday, and apologized, for having dared to speak of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. It doesn't matter that the reference to his killing wasn't about his killing, it's just that in the twisted psyches of 60's era liberals, Barack is Bobby all over again, so they fear for his safety. Hillary was questioning why, when nomination fights have gone on a long time in recent memory, she's been pressured so to get out of the race:
"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California," she said.
The reaction was swift:
"Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
Liberals have been waiting for forty years to feel one more time like Bobby made them feel, which explains the irrational exuberance for Barack. Mentioning the assassination in defense of her candidacy was more than they could handle from Hillary.
Clinton told reporters later, "I regret if my referencing of that moment of trauma for our entire country and particularly the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I had no intention of that whatsoever."
Feeling the love that they do for Barack brings liberals back to 1968, and they assign to him all qualities that Bobby had, including the risk of assassination.
There have been concerns about the safety of Obama, an Illinois senator who would be the first black U.S. president. He began receiving Secret Service protection 18 months before the November election -- earlier than any other candidate has received increased security.
It's unclear where he thinks the money will come from - surely Hillary isn't in any position to be shaken down - but Al Sharpton is smelling racial blood:
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has already expressed anger toward Clinton during the race, planned to spend his rally today at his Harlem-based National Action Network addressing "a sense of outrage and dismay at statements made by" the New York senator, according to his office.
05/23/2008 - 6:20pm
CNN is reporting that Campaign Clinton is talking to Campaign Hope about business as usual - making Hillary the VP nominee. Oh, how happy the women of America would be!
I've just closed my eyes again
Climbed aboard the dream weaver train
Driver take away my worries of today
And leave tomorrow behind
"The two Democratic campaigns are talking about ways for Clinton, from New York, to drop her bid for president that may include joining the Illinois senator's ticket, CNN reported."
Fly me high through the starry skies
Maybe to an astral plane
Cross the highways of fantasy
Help me to forget todays pain
"Talks are in a ``very preliminary'' stage and are described as ``difficult,'' the network said."
Though the dawn may be coming soon
There still may be some time
Fly me away to the bright side of the moon
And meet me on the other side
CNN didn't identify any sources for the story.
Ooh dream weaver
I believe you can get me through the night
Ooh dream weaver
I believe we can reach the morning light
05/23/2008 - 1:26pm
Given the level of hardball that's being played in the presidential campaign right now, I don't see the cute stuff that's worked up to this point as being productive anymore for Barack.

Senator Obama is honored to speak on behalf of United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was previously scheduled to deliver the address.

“Ted and I talked about me filling in for him at Wesleyan University earlier this week. Considering what he's done for me and for our country, there's nothing I wouldn't do for him. So I'm looking forward to standing in his place on Sunday even though I know I won't be able to fill his shoes," Senator Obama said.

Honestly, who gives a flying flip over the fact that Barack and Ted have a crush on each other and are making out in the back of the bus? If he needs this sort of legitimacy by association with the convention a couple of months away, it seems to me as a reminder of just how wet behind the ears Barack is.
On Sunday, May 25, 2008, United States Senator Barack Obama will deliver the Commencement Address at the 176th Commencement Ceremony at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.
If Barack comes away from the event speaking with a Brahman accent, then it will really be time to get nervous.
05/23/2008 - 11:00am
Barack got a little too cute for McCain's taste today in trying to make an issue over their respective positions on the new GI bill proposed by Senator Jim Webb. After making his standard "I respect his service" qualifiers, Barack said:
"But I can't understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill. I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the president more on this issue. There are many issues that lend themselves to partisan posturing, but giving our veterans the chance to go to college should not be one of them."
McCain hit Barack upside the head with a brick in response, saying he:
"...will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did. It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of," McCain said.
Clearly locked and loaded on this issue, McCain went on, hoping to put Barack in enough pain that he'll be reluctant to expose himself to a similar beating in the future:
"Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim."
The "running vs serving" theme is a nice one, a not so subtle reminder that Barack's experience holding a job of import is 3 years in the U.S. Senate, less two years taken off to run for president.
05/23/2008 - 7:01am
Are all pastor problems created equal? Methinks not.
Senator John McCain on Thursday rejected the endorsement of the Rev. John C. Hagee, a televangelist, after a watchdog group released a recording of a sermon in which Mr. Hagee said Hitler and the Holocaust had been part of God’s plan to chase the Jews from Europe and drive them to Palestine.
Barack is wagging his tail like a hound on the hunt over this, as if McCain's Pastor Problem equals Barack's Pastor Problem. McCain begs to differ:
“I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright’s extreme views,” Mr. McCain said in his statement. “But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual adviser, and I did not attend his church for 20 years.”
Big difference. Also different is McCain's ability to speak frankly about the matter and make a definitive sort of statement that folks can relate to without having to call for any national day of reflection on religion:

"Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well," he said.

Later, in Stockton, he told reporters: "I just think that the statement is crazy and unacceptable."

No great soul searching required. What a relief. So while Barack thinks McCain's Pastor provides cover for him, it just may be that McCain's minor pastor issues allow him to keep people thinking and talking about Reverend Wright.

I'm just saying...
05/23/2008 - 4:31am
Could it be that the candidacy of Barack Obama, rather than carrying us into a new, post-racial era, is instead turning the clock back, exacerbating wounds that have been festering out of sight? Perhaps unconscious fault lines are being stepped on by Barack, and a campaign marked by tension and strife is ahead:
Police are mobilizing a massive presence in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in the wake of increased tension between African American and Jewish communities.
Just because blacks and Jews are largely democrats doesn't mean the communities get along:
Since 1991, when riots broke out after a 7-year-old black boy was killed by a Hassidic driver, Crown Heights has been hurt off-and-on by periodic tension. In the past month, 20-year-old Andrew Charles, who is black, was beaten up, and the suspect is Jewish.
A reminder of tensions between the communities is not what Barack needs as he tries to convince Jewish voters that they should feel comfortable with his attitude toward Israel, or for mainstream voters starting to perceive him as a big bag of trouble coming down the road.
05/22/2008 - 3:57pm
The New York Times can't figure out which prejudice it is that will sink Obama with Florida's Jewish community. Is it that they don't trust him on Israel?

“The people here, liberal people, will not vote for Obama because of his attitude towards Israel,” Ms. Weitz, 83, said, lingering over brunch.

“They’re going to vote for McCain,” she said.

Or is it cultural disconnect cooked in a recipe made of Pastor Wright, Michelle and race?

Ms. Grossman, 80, agreed with her friend’s conclusion, but not her reasoning.

“They’ll pick on the minister thing, they’ll pick on the wife, but the major issue is color,” she said, quietly fingering a coffee cup. Ms. Grossman said she was thinking of voting for Mr. Obama, who is leading in the delegate count for the nomination, as was Ms. Weitz.

But Ms. Grossman does not tell the neighbors. “I keep my mouth shut,” she said.

As long as they can blame it on race, you've got to figure the Times is happy. At least the conversation has moved into the paper's comfort zone.
American Jews hold two competing views of Mr. Obama, said Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington. First, there is Obama the scholar, the social justice advocate, the defender of Israel with a close feel for Jewish concerns garnered through decades of intimate friendships. In this version, Mr. Obama’s race is an asset, Rabbi Saperstein said.
Then there's the other side of the story:
At brunch in Boynton Beach, Bob Welstein, who said he was in his 80s, said so bluntly. “Am I semi-racist? Yes,” he said.

Decades earlier, on the west side of Chicago, his mother was mugged and beaten by a black assailant, he said. It was “a beautiful Jewish neighborhood” — until black residents moved in, he said.

And they found another one!

Jack Stern, 85, sitting alone at an outdoor café in Aventura on Sunday, said he was no racist. When he was liberated from a concentration camp in 1945, black American soldiers were kinder than white ones, handing out food to the emaciated Jews, he said.

Years later, after he opened a bakery in Brooklyn, “I got disgusted, because they killed Jews,” he said, citing neighborhood crimes committed by African-Americans. “I shouldn’t say it, but it is what it is,” said Mr. Stern, who vowed not to vote for Mr. Obama.

The piece does give a nod to concerns over Israels future from people who've been paying attention:
Several interviewees said they had reservations about Mr. Obama’s stated willingness to negotiate with Iran — whose nuclear ambitions and Holocaust-denying president trigger even starker fears among Jews than intifada uprisings and suicide bombings.
This was the real power of what President Bush said last week in Israel - it reinforced this point for pro-Israel voters here.

American Jews are by no means uniformly opposed to negotiations with Iran, the leaders of several Jewish groups said, but there is no consensus, and everyone fears that the wrong choice could lead to calamity.

Israelis fear Iran “could be the first suicide nation, a nation that would destroy itself to destroy the Jewish nation,” Mr. Dershowitz said.

Some voters even see parallels between Mr. Obama’s foreign policy positions and his choice of pastor — in both cases, a tendency to venture too close to questionable characters.

Despite reassurances from democrats that the gulf will be closed once Barack finally has the nomination, the Times is not so optimistic, even after having been assured by Congressman Wexler:

“They are not going to vote for Senator John McCain,” he added.

Still, Mr. Wexler admits, he has not yet been able to persuade his in-laws to vote for Mr. Obama.

Race is a critical theme for democrats. The party is one that can't attract mainstream American voters - its voters come either from those who are 1) fed up with Republicans, or 2) were raised to vote for democrats and view voting for anyone other than a democrat as akin to going to a different church, and 3) from niches that the party panders to.

Their biggest niche is minority voters who actually believe the party helps them by giving them horrible public schools so they can never get ahead while offering government programs to keep their state of permanent dependency comfortable.

The Times, as a subsidiary of the democratic party (or perhaps it's the other way around?) and the leader of the liberal mainstream media, seeks to stoke the flames of racial divide at all turns. But the racism they describe in articles like this one are no different from concerns over Guiliani's Italianess or Romney's Mormonism or Hillary's womanhood or Gore's dorkiness or Kerry's brahminism.

Candidates have to play well - that's why Hillary talks like a black preacher sometimes in the south and why Barack talks like a California elitist when talking to a group of wealthy supporters in San Francisco.
I'm sick of the race card that liberals love so much.

Give poor folk a damn education instead of doing the business of the teachers unions, and we can make some progress on poverty in this country.
05/22/2008 - 7:01am
Are the Clinton's upset about the liberal media? You know the one that republicans complain about on a regular basis? The same one that democrats insist doesn't exist? Bill Clinton seems to take it pretty seriously:
"I think most of the press people are in Obama's demographic. ... There have been times when I thought I was literally lost in a fun house."

And how much of the media is biased against Hillary according to Terry McAulliffe?
"Oh, 90 percent," quoth the Macker. "I mean, from day one. It is what it is -- we're not complaining, we have to deal with the hand we're dealt with...''

Can it really be that after all these years of denying it, the dems are insisting on its existence?
"You know what - every independent study has said that this is the most biased coverage they have ever seen in a presidential campaign. Clearly it has been a biased media, no question about it. I have said this - Fox has been one of the most responsible in this presidential campaign -- I have said that all along.''
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