04/11/2008 - 3:56am
Let's see.

Jimmy Carter (and his entire family) are supporting Barack Obama.

And a new poll indicates that Obama has lost his ten point lead over McCain, with the two now locked in a tie.

Is there a connection between the Carter support and Barack's decline?
04/10/2008 - 4:24pm
Barack has outsmarted Hillary again. You'll remember that she called for a U.S. boycott of the Olympic opening ceremonies to help build pressure on the Chinese regarding Tibet. This was reasonable and presidential of Hillary - after all, she's not calling for a boycott of the games. Hill asked Barack and McCain to echo her sentiment.

But Barack said wait a sec lady, not so fast!

A boycott of the opening ceremonies should be "firmly on the table," Obama said, "but this decision should be made closer to the games."

How about that. He got her on nuance. Better not to play that card just yet says Barack. Better to wait. To think. To contemplate. To see how things develop. To be cautious. To move slowly. To see things in shades of gray, not black and white.

And while this may seem wise and even clever to the advisers who decided on this response - they've managed, it seems, to take the wind right out of Hillary's sails - it plays into a weakness of Barack's.

There is a lost opportunity in Barack's strategy, though. The U.S. decision to boycott the ceremonies would create a huge impetus for other, smaller players, to jump on board and create an avalanche. Protesters around the world could be emboldened. China might actually be forced to pull back on the abuse of Tibet. The U.S. could have a leadership role in affecting a longterm change in Chinese policy. But that would be an act of leadership.

This is not Barack's role, as Barack is a man who doesn't like decisions, who doesn't like action, who doesn't like leadership - its something he's entirely unfamiliar with. He didn't even decide to break with his racist spiritual adviser/political adviser until forced to do so, and even then the break was only a slight bend.

Barack is a thinker. And thinkers don't make leaders.

04/10/2008 - 2:34pm
John Cleese is offering his joke writing services to Barack.

"I'm going to offer my services to him as a speechwriter because I think he is a brilliant man," says the former Monty Python star.

I believe in England you would call Cleese a "twit" for saying such a thing.
04/09/2008 - 10:20pm
Michelle Obama speaks for Barack. This is clear, as she talks about what "we want," and what "we believe," and the campaign hasn't offered any statements to make us think that she's anything less than a full philosophical partner with Barack.

So when Michelle says "The truth is, in order to get things like universal health care and a revamped education system, then someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more," there's no reason to doubt that this is what we'll get from President Obama.

Which is something we already knew, but not something you hear the campaign talking about.

Higher taxes.

Why are higher taxes necessary to accomplish health care reform? I thought we were going to save a ton of money from the efficiencies that universal health care will create. Why, I understand that we can save 25% on day one just moving to a single payer system. They should be able to send limos to pick us up and take us to the doctor, and still have enough money leftover in healthcare savings to "fix" education, which means to give billions more to the people who've already screwed it up.

Maybe its just me.
04/09/2008 - 1:11pm
Dick Morris is a brilliant guy who isn't the most dependable of pundits due to his desire to create buzz with every observation. His predictions surprises for their creativity, but not with their accuracy.

But his new column his different - one understands why political candidates need great political calculators working with them.

Morris makes the point that Barack's weakness as a candidate is that he's as weak as John Kerry. He likes to contemplate and evaluate and focus on nuance like Kerry did, he just does it all in a much more appealing package.

The Jeremiah Wright situation highlights this quality. Barack failed to act in a way that was obvious and satisfying - to walk out of the church when disgusting stuff was going on. He was weak. He was nuanced. He was John Kerry.

Morris further observes the dangers for Barack on Iraq. What is the alternative to John McCain's position that doesn't reek of weak?

"Obama’s opposition to the war begs a host of questions: Shall we retain any presence? What about al Qaeda? What happens if the government falls? Can we let Iran take over? Obama will dither and seem far from decisive as he answers each of these questions. They will make him look terrible, just as Kerry — in opposing the war after voting for it — looked like a flip-flopper."

Okay. Pay the consultant. And read him here.
04/08/2008 - 4:26pm
Barack continues to dig the hole deeper.

Today on Today, Meredith asked him if he was now willing to admit that he was distorting McCain's statement. He said no, just look at the video on Youtube. Okay, here's another shot at Barack's lies, sandwiched around today's lie on Today.

This is the good thing about long, tedious campaigns. They give you the time to pick away at the illusions that candidates create and learn a bit about what they're made of. Barack is showing ego weakness - all he had to do was say, "Ya, I was speaking extemporaneously a couple of times and slightly mischaracterized the McCain position. I regret that, because the truth is bad enough that no exaggeration is needed."

Please see the post below about Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for insight into where these missteps can lead.
04/08/2008 - 12:42am
Barack's adviser says that Barack should leave 60 to 80,000 troops in Iraq until the end of 2010 (see the next post down). Here's what the New York Sun, the paper that broke the story, had to say about this revelation:

"WASHINGTON — A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."

But wait a minute - this is not a contradiction to Barack's statements at all! He's so shifty on Iraq, its hard to tell exactly what he'll do, so let's break it down.

From the Obama website:
"He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

What does this mean? A brigade is a vague measure that seems to represent anywhere from 2000-5000 troops. If you take one or two brigades out a month for 16 months, what do you get at the end? Could be anywhere from 32,000 to 160,000 troops!

In other words, there is no disagreement between what Barack's advisers say and what he's telling us, since he's not really telling us much of anything. Despite the general claim that he is the candidate who will end the war, Barack is not making any sort of hard commitment to do so.

This is further complicated by the fact that Barack is referring to COMBAT troops. How many of those are there in Iraq? This is hard to figure out. In a story last May in the San Franciso Chronicle, it was estimated that there were 52,000 COMBAT troops there in January 2007, which would mean a rough ratio of about 35% combat troops.

If there are 130,000 troops in Iraq come inauguration day, President Barack has committed, it seems, to removing 50,000 or so during his first 16 months in office. Pretty much on track with what Colin Kahl is recommending.
04/08/2008 - 12:18am
By the way, does anyone doubt that 2 years into the Obama administration the war in Iraq would be any closer to over than if John McCain becomes president? Even Barack's advisers don't think getting all the combat troops out in 16 months is good policy. The latest of these is Iraq adviser Colin Kahl, who recommends leaving 60-80 thousand in until the end of 2010.
04/07/2008 - 11:34pm
By now perhaps everyone has heard Barack Obama claiming that John McCain wants to keep us in Iraq for 100 years. Some have gleefully suggested that this line would become the McCain equivalent of Kerry's "I actually did vote for it before I voted against it."

There's one big difference, of course, that being that the video is there, plain as day, of Kerry making his catastrophic remark, while John McCain never said that he wants to keep the Iraq war going for 100 years. (What McCain did say was that we've had troops in Korea for 50 years, Germany for 60 years, and it could last 100 in Iraq - fine with him as long as the lives of American troops aren't being lost.) This has been a deliberate distortion perpetrated by the candidate who wants to lift us out of the politics of the past.

Instead of being a stinging reprieve of embarrassment for the McCain campaign, proof that McCain is, as Ed Schultz intones, a warmonger, Barack has turned this line into further proof that he's willing to introduce mud into the campaign when it suits his purposes.

If you're in the mood to see the Obama campaign conduct "business as usual," listen to Barack's chief strategist, David Axelrod, claim that Barack never misrepresented McCain's statement cut into Barack doing just that, courtesy of MSNBC.

And if you have another few minutes, this Fox report contains footage of Barack when he says McCain wants to keep the war going for as long as a hundred years, and his later flip-flopping.

And for those moonbats who are too head over heals in love with Barack to hear anything honest about him, consider what one of the more liberal of the New York Times' liberal op-ed columnists, Frank Rich, wrote yesterday on the topic:

"REALLY, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of themselves for libeling John McCain. As a growing chorus reiterates, their refrains that Mr. McCain is “willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq” (as Mr. Obama said) or “willing to keep this war going for 100 years” (per Mrs. Clinton) are flat-out wrong...

...The Democrats should also stop repeating their 100-years-war calumny against Mr. McCain. There’s too much at stake for America for them to add their own petty distortions to an epic tragedy that only a long-overdue national reckoning with hard truths can bring to an end."
04/06/2008 - 5:37pm
We talked a few days ago about Deval Patrick, a political novice of Obamian proportions, who played the identical themes as Barack to win the governor's seat in Massachusetts in 2006. A couple of weeks ago, Deval skipped off the New York City to sell his memoirs in the midst of a big vote on his biggest legislative effort thusfar, a casino proposal. Deval lost the vote decidedly, as he knew he would, but didn't have the class to go down with the ship, leaving that task to his loyal followers.

Deval has become a cliche - an arrogant, self-centered non-leader who uses his office to cash-in - getting himself a $1.3 million advance while saying his failures are not his failures, they're the failures instead of the corruption of the inbred political class that controls the lawmaking in Massachusetts. In his haughty superiority, he fails to see that he is just another prong of the same pitchfork that continues to stick it to voters by failing to put their needs first, second or even third. He's correct about the buddy system that controls the state, but the best and only way to fix that is to elect some republicans to the veto-proof, democratic majority, and to keep a republican in the corner office.

Ironically, part of Deval's written pitch to publishers about his potential ability to sell books was a boast about having drawn 10,000 people to Boston Common to hear him speak last fall. What Mr. Honest, Mr. Together We Can, Mr. New Kind of Politics, Mr. Man From Hope, Jr., failed to mention in his presentation to publishers was that standing next to him on that stage was a guy named Barack Obama, who was there to receive Deval's endorsement, and for whom the event was held, and for whom those 10,000 people appeared.

To be fair, Deval Patrick is so impressed with himself, he likely believes that folks were there to hear him speak, so perhaps its not fair to call him deceptive. But its important to note that an event that pulls 10,000 people to hear Barack Obama speak is not one of his better draws - it may be that Deval's involvement actually hurt turnout. As the liberal, Deval-loving Boston Globe was forced to observe, "Obama has filled sports stadiums around the country and caused onlookers to faint during his speeches, and he was almost certainly the bigger draw on the Common that day."

The point? The beautiful people can, and will, lie with the best of them. The sooner they face this reality, the sooner we can get to the politics of hope and change.
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