04/25/2008 - 12:58pm
How kind of Reverand Wright to reemerge at this critical moment in the presidential campaign season. Just as his protege is trying to rekindle the magic in his image, Wright decides to come out of hiding in a big way with an interview on PBS with Bill Moyers that will air today followed by a speech Sunday in front of an expected crowd of 10,000 for the Detroit NAACP's annual fundraiser. Then, on Monday, he'll speak at the National Press Club. How Sweet It Is!!!!!!!!!!

But the clips are looking good from today's interview with Moyers:
"He's a politician, I'm a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they're two different worlds," said Wright, who recently retired from Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, where Obama has attended services for 20 years.
What a true statement about Barack. He says what he has to say as a politician.

And the liberal media says what it has to say. This is from the Detroit Free Press today. Check out the remarkable phrase here:
Wright, a retired United Church of Christ pastor, has been under fire because sound bites of past sermons -- containing language some consider divisive and inflammatory -- have surfaced in recent months.
Some consider divisive and inflammatory? Could we have a show of hands of anyone who isn't quite sure if this is divisive and inflammatory?

Wright delivered his most notorious sermon the Sunday after Sept. 11, 2001, when he suggested that the U.S. had brought on the attacks by committing its own acts of terrorism. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," he said in the Sept. 16 service.

A 2003 sermon became another flashpoint. "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," Wright told the Trinity congregation. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

Perhaps Pastor Wright feels he's done enough for Barack and its time to start rebuilding his own reputation, but the timing couldn't be worse for the Obama campaign.

In excerpts available in pre-release, Reverend Wright blames the usuals suspect - context - for the misunderstanding.

Wright defended his sermons, telling Moyers, "the persons who have heard the entire sermon understand the communication perfectly ... those who are doing that are communicating exactly what they want to do, which is to paint me as some sort of fanatic."

He said his critics' motives are clear: to undermine Obama. "I think they wanted to communicate that I am unpatriotic, that I am un-American, that I am filled with hate speech, that I have a cult at Trinity United Church of Christ. And by the way, guess who goes to his church, hint, hint, hint?"

Its reassuring that Wright is intelligent enough to understand that our goal is to properly link Barack to the people he's chosen to partner with in his personal life and his career. But I've watched many of Wright's sermons in full, and while viewing more provides a fuller understanding of the man behind the sermons, greater context doesn't mitigate the dramatic shock that is the inevitable response to Wright's rage.

Lord knows why he's coming back now, but it is certainly a public service for a nation that thought it was love at first sight when it picked Barack up at the bar but is having a different sensation now that the sun is coming up.

Thanks to Pastor Wright for shining more light on the truth about Barack. It is a preacher's job, after all, to shed light.

04/24/2008 - 2:39pm
My new nickname for Barack is NPR.


Take a look at the results of NPR's listener survey. Who listens to National Peoples' Radio? The same folk who are driving Barack's campaign - the ones who are driving all those Volvos. Check it out:

NPR News listeners are 84% white.

They are 78% more likely to categorize themselves as "liberal" and 2.27 times more likely to categorize themselves as "very liberal."

They are 97% more likely to belong to a country club.

They are 8.86 times more likely to read The Atlantic Monthly, and 5.66 times more likely to read The New Yorker. They are 73% less likely to read The Source.

They prefer Leno to Letterman and Conan to Kilborn or Kimmel, but they do like Letterman 17% better than the rest of America.

They're about 2.5 times more likely to visit Europe.

They are 58% more likely than the average American to play Frisbee, and 3.72 times more likely to go cross-country skiing. They are 2.22 times more likely to do Yoga. They are also 30% less likely to watch Pro Wrestling on TV.

In their leisure time, they are 79% more likely to birdwatch, 67% more likely to play chess, and 42% more likely to collect electric trains.

They are 92 percent more likely to shop at Nordstrom.

They are 41% less likely to buy a rap CD, and 93% more likely to buy a New Age CD.

They are 81% more likely to own an espresso maker.

They are three times more likely to own a Volvo, three times more likely to own a Subaru, and 3.9 times more likely to own a Saab.

They are 68% more likely to buy soy milk, and 67% more likely to buy veggie burgers.

They are 56% more likely to have a housekeeper.

This is who supports Barack, which is why they didn't mind things like Pastor Wright and William Ayers and why they fell for the whole diversity story line.

This is why the better known Barack gets the tougher it is for him to win a primary.

Check out my friend Rick Moran's analysis of the Pennsylvania results at Right Wing Nuthouse:
And yes friends, it was a blow out. When you lose 62% of the white vote, that’s a blowout. When you lose 70% of the Catholic vote, that is a blowout. When you lose 57% of the Jewish vote, that’s a blowout. When you lose 58% of churchgoers, that is a blowout. When you lose 54% of workers making less than $50,000 a year (and win only those making less than $15,000 and more than $150,000), that’s a blowout. When you lose 63% of seniors, that’s a blowout. When you outspend your opponent by 3-1 and still lose by 10 points, that’s a blowout.
Notice that none of these blocks of voters are ones you'd expect to listen to NPR. That's why they won't vote for NPR.
04/24/2008 - 2:22pm
The piece of Barack Obama that America hasn't figured out yet, but surely will, is that he has a screw loose.

He thinks there's nothing wrong with hanging around with guys who haven't blown up buildings since "I was 8 years old." He thinks there's nothing wrong with a major university hiring a guy like this to teach. He thinks there's nothing wrong with accepting the support of a guy like this to launch his political career. How is this possible? He's sympathetic. He's a liberal.

Barack thinks there's nothing wrong with building a close personal and political bond with a man who is filled with contempt for America. He thinks there's nothing wrong with sitting in that man's church as he spews racially divisive venom like "Goddam the U.S.A." How is this possible? He understands. He's a liberal.

Obama wants a political career. That takes money. Does it matter if that money comes from the sleaziest of sources? Is it a problem to buy a fancy house in a cozy deal in which the wife of said sleazy source buys the adjacent land and does a land swap, using money of questionable origins. Nah. He needs his comfort. He's a liberal.

Here's the story that America doesn't know about Barack Obama. He's not black. He didn't grow up poor. He's not building any bridges between cultures. Barack grew up rich in the most important way - rich in the love and support of his white suburban family. He grew up intellectually rich, attending the finest schools in the nation. He wasn't fathered by some random hip hop street-kid, his father was so bright he was brought to this country to study.

Barack as a member of America's intellectual elite is the real story line, and its the one that Pennsylvanians started to pick up on, and the rest of the country is sure to follow. It's a slow process, but once one picks up on this reality, the illusion of Barack as the Messiah fizzles.
04/24/2008 - 5:54am
The New York Times is racing to inject race into the presidential race. Liberals just aren't happy if race isn't an issue, and if its not, they just pretend.

This is the case with Barack's loss in Pennsylvania. Since older voters support Hillary, it must because of race:
The composition of Mrs. Clinton’s support — or, looked at another way, the makeup of voters who have proved reluctant to embrace Mr. Obama — has Democrats wondering, if not worrying, about what role race may be playing.
You'll never guess which democrats the Times found who are worrying that race interfered with the good judgment of older voters!
“I’m sure there is some of that,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior political adviser, as he considered how race was playing among voters in late primary states... “Here’s a guy named Barack Obama, an African-American guy, relatively new. That’s a lot of change.”
Those poor old people. Its not that they're bigots, they just don't cope well with surprise skin color variations.

The Times struggles to pin Obama's problems on racial bias, and is frustrated that there's no evidence to support such a theory:
It is also hard to discount that Mr. Obama has arrived at this place in his candidacy after winning big victories in very white states. The crowds at his rallies are as white as any at a Clinton rally...
The story then goes on to list all the mistakes the campaign has made, from Michelle's anti-Americanism to Pastor Wright and on to Bitter-Gate. Its just too hard to separate these problems from the race card.

Ironically, the paper fails to mention that Barack wouldn't be a contender for the nomination were it not for the party's, and the country's, excitement over his race.

Last week, B.E.T. founder and Clinton supporter Bob Johnson backed up Geraldine Ferraro's feeling that Barack wouldn't be where he is were he not black:
"What I believe Geraldine Ferraro meant is that if you take a freshman senator from Illinois called `Jerry Smith' and he says I'm going to run for president, would he start off with 90 percent of the black vote?" Johnson said. "And the answer is, probably not... "
And, of course, were he not getting 90 percent of the black vote, that also would put Barack out of the race - and that's the only discernable way that race is affecting this election.

But don't try to tell that to the New York Times.
04/23/2008 - 1:27pm
Hillary has an enhanced argument for her candidacy today.

Taking Pennsylvania by 10% points means she picked up 216,000 votes more in the cumulative popular vote battle against Barack.

Throw in the currently excluded tallies from Florida and Michigan, and Hillary leads in popular vote. Now, this isn't fair, as Barack's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan, but it adds some moral weight to Clinton's argument that she should stay in the race 'til the bitter end.

As Bob Novak writes today:
A margin of 10 percentage points demonstrates that she is more than just a survivor. She is the candidate of the traditional Democratic base whose support is essential for winning the presidential election.
Considering that Hillary and Barack have nearly identical voting records in their brief legislative careers (a combined decade in the U.S. Senate), what is it about Barack that makes him less attractive to the traditional democratic base?

We've got to conclude that Barack's "bitter" controversy represents a vital turning point in his candidacy - private remarks in front of elite supporters in the nation's most wacko liberal city demonstrating a large gulf in his understanding of and connection to regular Americans.

Barack's Pennsylvania campaign, which was quickly erasing Hillary's once 20 point lead 10 days ago, was stopped dead in its tracks.

In his concession speech last night, Barack congratulated Hillary for her tide-turning victory, but attacked the nature of how she obtained it, saying its not about winning at any cost - but for democrats, it should also be about how you win:
''We can be a party that thinks the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush and John McCain. We can use fear as a tactic, and the threat of terrorism to scare up votes.

We can be a party that says and does whatever it takes to win the next election. We can calculate and poll-test our positions and tell everyone exactly what they want to hear..."
This argument, which on the one hand looks smart because it pulls voters back to the themes that made him the hot candidate in the first place - the promise of a different kind of politics - is a mistake now, in my opinion, as it serves to solidify his status as the intellectual/suburban (read liberal) candidate, not the man of the people.

Bill Clinton represented a "new" democratic approach - be liberal, but be normal and reasonable. A contradiction in terms, but one that made him electable. In the Hillary/Barack matchup, we're seeing a faceoff now between these two images - the electable candidate versus the NPR candidate.

NPR can get the nomination. He can't win the presidency. That's the lesson of Pennsylvania.

Whether Barack gets the nomination isn't the question - it will take a minor miracle for him to lose it. The question is, "how screwed are the democrats with Barack Obama as the nominee?"

The answer? Very screwed.
04/23/2008 - 4:32am
It appears that Hillary will win Pennsylvania with a 7-10 point margin (16% of the vote is tallied as I write), and the question is - does Hillary's story line start to take hold? Outspent 3-1, can her argument that Barack is a flawed candidate become an accepted fact amongst democrats?

The backbone of the party must know that they can't win with Barack as the nominee. The problem is, how do they dump him without causing disastrous pain to the party? And how badly do they want to considering their disdain for the Clintons?

While Hillary's argument is dead on, democrats can't walk away from the fact that Barack is leading in vote totals and delegates without betraying those things they pretend to believe in - democracy, minorities, liberalism and change.

They're stuck with the flawed candidate.

But the festivities continue. And Hillary continues to tear Barack up for John McCain - at least for two more weeks.

What fun!
04/22/2008 - 4:49pm
Zogby's tracking poll released today shows Hillary opening up a ten point lead going into today's voting, up from six points in the previous two day cycle. This confirms the trend indicated by the Suffolk University poll yesterday and leaks in Drudge that said Hillary's internal polling gives her an eleven point lead.
She now leads Obama, 51% to 41%, having gained three points over the past 24 hours as Obama lost one point, pushing her beyond the poll's margin of error to create a statistically significant lead for the first time in the Pennsylvania daily tracking poll.
Could this be the result of the Michael Moore endorsement?
04/22/2008 - 2:14pm
Just what Barack needs - another endorsement from the radical wing of their political hemisphere. Following up on the burden of winning the public support of Robert Reich last week, Barack is hit with another blow - the endorsement of Michael Moore. Moore's comments, written on his website and shared with the world by AP, offers some insights into the burdens democrats carry into this election year with Barack as the nominee:
Moore writes that Obama's experience and voting record aren't as important as his "basic decency" and ability to inspire. "What we are witnessing is not just a candidate but a profound, massive public movement for change," Moore writes. "My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate."
But the Movement that Moore endorses is the double edged sword of the Obama candidacy. Barack has found the trigger to release the pent-up demand for "change," making him the Magic Man of 2008. He's got the magic, but he doesn't have the goods, he doesn't have the experience to be president, as Michael Moore so aptly points out.
"I, like the majority of Americans, have been pummeled senseless for eight long years," he writes. "That's why I will join millions of citizens and stagger into the voting booth come November, like a boxer in the 12th round, all bloodied and bruised with one eye swollen shut, looking for the only thing that matters — that big 'D' on the ballot."
To switch metaphors on Moore, let's consider that the pummeling that Americans have suffered is not that of a boxer, but rather, that of a scorned lover. Choices shouldn't be made when the decision making apparatus is still under the influence of real-time hurt. The mistakes made by a lover on the rebound are the stuff of legend.

This is what democrats are doing by allowing themselves to be seduced by Barack. They are so desperate to regain their footing that they are moving forward blind to their new lover's obvious liabilities. This is the energy that drives the Obama movement. This is the danger it represents.
Moore says he is disappointed with the Democratic Party, too, for failing to end the war despite public outcry and for "do(ing) the bidding of the corporate elite in this country. Any endorsement of a Democrat must be done with this acknowledgment ..."
Let's recap Moore's endorsement then. Democrats are a failure, Barack isn't a great candidate, but since he's articulated the frustration that a big chunk of the electorate feels about the present, he's the guy to vote for.

This is the trap that democrats are in. They sense it even if they don't see it, which is why they've kept Hillary around so long. But it is the template for a losing campaign.
04/22/2008 - 1:54pm
A good title, but there's little analysis on the premise in a Chicago Tribune story today entitled, "Obama 'brand' has taken a hit."
"They made a very serious choice that will have long-standing consequences - to put their brand at stake in order to try to deliver this knockout blow, that they've been campaigning about this -- you know, with this notion of politics of hope. I don't think that that's how they've behaved," said Clinton strategist Geoff Garin.

There's no doubt that Barack is willing to cross over to the dark side when circumstances require. As he described yesterday, after you take a few elbows to the ribs, you have to respond. While this has brought him down into the ring that he sought to float above, the question is - does the brand remain strong even as he mixes it up like any old street fighter?

For the sake of primary season, I suspect that the Obama calculation is correct - his brand as the good guy will remain strong enough as Hillary solidifies her brand as the 'do anything to win' candidate - that he can afford to do the dance he's doing. Democrats know the game that the Clintons are playing, and most of them don't like it.

The damage that's done is, of course, long term. It will be harder for Barack to act like the Messiah during the general election. He and McCain will mix it up on equal terms - one party nominee against the other - and Barack will be forced to answer for his thin resume and shaky associations, as John McCain will have to answer for his long history in public life.

This is the gift that Hillary has given the nation.
04/22/2008 - 12:55am
No waffling today from Barack.

At an Obama visit to a diner in Scranton, there was some tension with the media. Asked about his inability to attract support from working class white voters, Barack put Aunt Jemima down and said, "Let them eat waffles."

Am I remembering that correctly?

Better watch the video.
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