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.
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.
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