04/04/2008 - 11:07pm
I can't believe that a member of the mainstream media would admit a character flaw, but Jake Tapper, on his ABC blog, tells a story about how he ran into Barack one day last August when the Senator reeked of tobacco smoke. The campaign insisted that it wasn't true, as Barack had quit smoking. This was contradicted, second hand, on Hardball this week as Barack admitted that he'd fallen off the wagon a few times.

Jake's unhappy with being deceived.

And perhaps he's found a weakness to Barack. A need to be perfect, and an inability to accept otherwise about himself. A more dramatic interpretation would be that he's a bit like Hillary - willing to lie to get ahead.

Because seriously, could liberals support him with as much zeal - could he be their angel - if he still smoked?

I don't think so.
04/04/2008 - 11:02pm
This week has been busy with grandparenting chores, as Rosalie and I have been caring for two and a half year old Ethan while his parents are in the hospital welcoming Baby Nick into the world. It was a wonderful opportunity being Ethan's primary caretakers for a few days, as we got to observe more closely just what a remarkable person he is. And Nick is beautiful, popping out at 9 pounds even, causing his mom more than a little discomfort in her first experiment with natural childbirth. Danielle's analysis having felt nothing with Ethan's birth and everything with Nick's? "I would never do it natural again, but I'm glad I had the experience."
04/02/2008 - 8:07pm
Talking about sex/abortion/contraception recently, Barack said that he wouldn't want his daughters to be punished with a baby. Some are trying to argue that he wasn't saying what it sounds like he said. Media Matters is a "watchdog" group that purportedly tries to give us some truth. Take a look and see what you think.
04/01/2008 - 8:14pm
Hillary's premise for staying in the race has been the expectation that she can continue to win enough of the big states like Pennsylvania to cast some doubt as to Barack's viability in a national campaign. There was a moment there when it seems that he was becoming a niche candidate, with wins in states with large black populations actually working against the sense of Barack as a legitimate contender. But with polls in Pennsylvania indicating that Hillary's big lead is evaporating, her hopes for her heading Barack off at the pass are disappearing as well.

All this because voters have been reminded that Hillary is, after all, a Clinton. The latest update was last week's Bosnia story, a striking blow to the heart of Hillary's credibility as a public figure. If she could so graphically misrepresent reality without offering so much as an explanation - ie, sorry, it wasn't Bosnia where I was facing sniper fire, it was Little Rock - then all of her claims regarding her 35 years of fighting for regular folk can reasonably be assumed to be a fairytale too.

The morale? Voters want a candidate they can believe in and trust. Which may spell trouble in the long term for Barack Obama. While Barack's lies feel small compared to the overall positive feeling that voters have for him (can you believe his position in national polls has suffered no longterm damage as a result of the Pastor Wright debacle?), over time we can expect the autumn fisticuffs to tarnish this shine.

But will we have to wait until the fall for Barack to face an aggressive opponent?

Hillary has not been able to risk upsetting her party by putting the Wright controversy under the sort of microscope it deserves. Not yet, anyway. But the other trend that is damaging Mrs. C is the feeling in the party that this fight is going on for too long, and that the sooner the rug can be pulled out from under Hillary the better.

This is part of Barack's pitch to the voters of Pennsylvania. Vote for me and put an end to this misery. The perception that the party is being damaged by prolonging the race is a pull on voters' sympathies, and voter patience with Hillary is being undermined by the Bosnia story.

But will Hillary go away quietly? If Pennsylvania continues to head in the other direction, Hillary will be faced with the reality that her premise for staying in the race is also dissipating. At that time, does Hillary go quietly, or does she start going after Barack's shortcomings in a manner more reminiscent of a general election?

It may just be better for Barack if she does. Once aired and re-aired, folks won't have much interest in having another whiff of Barack's dirty laundry come the fall.

The best thing for John McCain will be if Pastor Wright is forgotten about for the next 5 or 6 months, only to reappear, with new tape and renewed shock value, as voters are making their final decision on who to vote for in November.
03/31/2008 - 10:33pm
Barack says his beliefs were being misrepresented when his campaign manager filled out a position questionnaire for an activist group that provided critical support for his first run for the state senate in Illinois in 1996. On that questionnaire, Barack was a clear cut liberal. Over the years, his positions have been more difficult to discern - hidden behind a cloud of sophisticated articulation.

All Barack would have had to say to avoid being held responsible for saying what he probably in his heart believes is, "that years ago and my positions have naturally evolved." Instead, he made what could turn out to be a substantial blunder when he faces the scrutiny of a general election in the fall - he passed the buck, saying that his campaign manager had misrepresented his views. That comes across as being weak and disingenuous, and questionable considering his own handwriting appears on one of the forms. Besides, it was his campaign, and it probably had no more than a couple of staffers. If he couldn't keep them in line, what's he going to do with the free world?

Read about Barack's Questionnaires Disease in the investigation conducted by Politico.
03/31/2008 - 9:16pm
Do you remember in the fall when there was a vote in the Senate for a resolution encouraging President Bush to label the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization? Hillary took some heat for voting in favor, as there was concern at the time that the Bush administration was trying to get us into a war with Iran and that this was another example of Hillary being duped by the devious Bushies.

Anyway, Senator Joe Lieberman yesterday put the shoe on the other foot, criticizing Barack for his vote against the provision. He is right to do so.

One of the difficult things in having something on Barack is the luxury he has of having no experience. No experience sounds bad, but having no track record also means having no track record to attack. This presents some level of advantage for Obama.

But Lieberman has reminded us of another bit of evidence that there's something potentially ominous, hidden just below the surface, in the philosophy of Barack Obama. You combine the refusal to wear an American flag pin with the video of him not saluting the flag while the other dems were with Reverand Wright's "God Damn America" with Michelle Obama's never having been proud of America before, with little tidbits like refusing to call the terrorists in Iran terrorists, and I think Barack's got a problem. Its like a knife to the heart of what Barack conjures when you think, "wow. Maybe this guy is much more of a wacko then anyone understands."

This is where the big Barack fantasy could really come apart. The foundation of lusting after a perfect ten (remember the movie?) is that you're chasing an illusion based on how that illusion makes you feel. The crash is pretty hard when you realize that the beauty that swept you off your feet is only skin deep, because you feel very, very foolish.

I imagine alot of Barack's support evaporating - poof! - on the spot when that balloon gets popped.
03/30/2008 - 1:27pm
Hillary takes heat for false claims of danger on her Bosnia trip, and rightly so. Let's have similar coverage for Barack's attempt to create a false sense of destiny and linkage to the legacy of Camelot with his story about his dad being brought to the U.S. to study due to the generosity of the Kennedy's. Turns out the Kennedy Foundation's involvement in the program came after Barack Senior came to the U.S.
03/28/2008 - 8:43pm
Not many people outside of Massachusetts know the story about a relatively young Harvard educated black guy with little experience in politics but a compelling personal story who rides a theme of hope and "Together We Can" to the chief executive's seat. It is the story of Deval Patrick, elected Governor of Massachusetts last year, who has failed to live up to even the lowest of the high hopes that put him into power.

The story became better known to many yesterday, as his rocky first 14 months in office were profiled on the front page of the New York Times.

Deval has accomplished nothing thus far with regard to his legislative agenda, and that's good news for the people of Massachusetts, of course, as he's an elitist suburbanite by nature who thinks that activist, expensive government is the cure to all ills. Even in the face of a $1.3 billion deficit when he came into office, Deval went about trying to figure out ways to grow the budget, going so far as to pursue an aggressive casino gambling package for the state, not exactly a popular idea with his base, in order to help fund his legacy. How can a governor, after all, leave office a success if he has not created new programs to break the backs of taxpayers and created more state jobs? It apparently never occurred to him that in bad times some belt tightening and shrinking of expectations would be appropriate. Heavens no! Leaving office without having added new entitlements and thousands more dependent on the state would be as sad as Bill Clinton leaving the presidency without having fought a good war! No greatness without great achievements!

The Man From Hope (not Bill Clinton, not Barack Obama, but Deval Patrick) has been a failure because he doesn't know how to get along with folks - whether it be the media, the people, or with the legislature. Like the GOP governors who preceded him, Deval just can't seem to get along with the Democrats who have total control over the legislature. Unlike the GOP governors who preceded him, Deval badmouths them and expects them to do what he wants because he is Deval. That's how it worked at Justice, after all.

After the Speaker of the House blocked Deval's attempt to bring casinos to the state last week, Deval shrewdly tried to alienate Sal DiMasi further by challenging his right to interfere with the machinations of the legislative process:

“It’s part of what we ran against, and it needs to be called out,” Mr. Patrick said in an interview last week on the day before the House overwhelmingly killed the (casino gambling) bill. “We’re going to keep working on it until we get a Democratic process that’s functioning.”

A functioning democratic process apparently means one with Deval Patrick as King.

And on the day that his proposal was going down to overwhelming defeat at the hands of DiMasi, Deval had skipped out to New York City on what his staff would only describe as "personal business."

Days later the truth is revealed - Deval was in New York City visiting publishers with his agent, looking for a big payday for his memoirs. After all, if Barack can do it, why not Deval?

The lesson is obvious - judging a candidate based on his smooth speaking skills does not in any way reflect what kind of chief executive they'll be. Putting someone without appropriate experience into a job of big responsibility is a set up for disaster.

I'm not saying that Barack's poor judgement is a match for Deval's. Barack's liabilities are likely as unique as Deval's. But Presidents are best well-known to voters in advance of elections so that the liabilities can be judged along with the potential upside. And in the big decisions we've seen from Barack, he's made some bad ones; a close, longterm association with an indicted political fundraiser, a shady house purchase including shenanigans with the same alleged briber (described as a boneheaded move by the always honest Barack), a close personal and political relationship with a divisive, race baiting pastor, and a wife who, sadly, has never been impressed with America.
03/28/2008 - 2:19pm
the following blurb in a trade journal made me wonder about how long it will be before people start getting diagnosed with some sort of Obama Obsession Disorder. I think it can already be described as "a common compulsive-impulsive disorder" Do you know any sufferers?

An editorial in this month's issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry says Internet addiction, including "excessive gaming, sexual pre-occupations and e-mail/text messaging," is a common compulsive-impulsive disorder that should be added to the 2012 edition of psychiatry's official dictionary of mental illnesses.
03/27/2008 - 6:09pm
Joe Klein lays out an (unlikely) argument for how a Gore/Obama ticket might come to pass. If all other pieces fell into place, its hard to imagine Obama going along with the scenario, but it is possible to imagine democrats being utterly exhausted by the time of the convention, with a desperate need to head Hillary off at the pass.
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