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MONDAY, JULY 5, 2010
THE DELICATE ISSUE – AT 8:26 P.M. ET: It is of course race. President Obama's support among white voters is slipping, as the Washington Post reports:
Four years after Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) lost the white vote by 17 percentage points, Obama lost it by 12, according to exit polls. While the 2008 gains were generally attributed to Obama's strength with young voters -- he won by 10 points among whites 18 to 29 years old -- he managed to improve on Kerry's showing with white voters across every age demographic.
Fast-forward to today. With the November midterm elections less than four months away, Obama's standing among white voters has sunk -- leading some party strategists to fret that the president's erosion -- and the party's -- could adversely affect Democrats' chances of holding on to their House and Senate majorities.
"Since in the past House elections white voters tended to represent the independent vote, [the midterms] will surely be devastating for Democrats running in an election that will be a referendum on the Obama agenda," predicted one senior Democratic operative who closely tracks House races.
In Washington Post-ABC polling, Obama's approval rating among white voters has dropped from better than 60 percent to just above 40 percent. In a June poll, 46 percent of white voters under age 40 approved of how Obama was doing, compared with just 39 percent of whites 65 and older.
One senior strategist, speaking candidly about his concerns on the condition of anonymity, noted that white voters made up 79 percent of the 2006 midterm electorate, while they made up 74 percent of the 2008 vote. If the white percentage returns to its 2006 level, that means there will be 3 million more white voters than if it stayed at its 2008 levels. That scenario, said the source, "would generate massive losses" for House and Senate Democrats in November because of Obama's standing with that demographic.
COMMENT: It is sad that we have to deal with ethnic divisions, but we have to...and we've always had to. Ever since I can remember, there's been talk of the white vote, the black vote, the Catholic vote, the women's vote, and so on.
With an African-American in the White House, the issue is all the more delicate.
But Democrats must be careful. Some Dem strategists want to focus on bringing out minorities, to overwhelm the GOP advantage among whites. That, however, can be a double-edged sword. David Dinkins, the first black mayor of New York, was defeated for reelection in large measure because he was seen as "the mayor of the blacks," rather than a mayor who happened to be black. Obama ran, deceptively, as a post-racial president. If he is increasingly seen as "the president of the minorities," his mandate will rapidly slip away.
July 5, 2010 Permalink
WHERE DOES THIS GUY GET OFF? – AT 7:45 P.M. ET: Well, President Obama seems to have started a trend – bashing the United States while abroad. Now, an American ambassadors shows that he can follow the leader. This is disgraceful:
U.S. Ambassador to Colombia William Brownfield spoke out against the controversial Arizona law that makes failure to carry immigration documents into a crime., El Espectador reports on Monday.
According to reports, Brownfield said that it is illogical to reject the presence of immigrants because "the United States is a country of immigrants."
Look, pal, the United States is a nation of legal immigrants. You get that?
Brownfield's comments came during an independence day celebration at his residence in Bogota on July 4. Attending the event, which was capped off with a fireworks show, were top U.S. political officials in Colombia, military officers, and other special guests, such as former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt, in addition to the three U.S. contractors who were also held in FARC captivity and rescued in the 2008 "Operation Checkmate."
Brownfield's rejection of the Arizona immigration law echoes the calls from many Colombian individuals and institutions which have spoken out against it, including the Senate, Foreign Ministry, and pop stars Juanes and Shakira.
The law, introduced in April by Arizona governor Jan Brewer, is expected to take effect in late July or early August, and is the first in the U.S. to criminalize immigrants who fail to carry documentation. Under the law, police officers will be required to question people regarding their immigration status if there is suspicion that they may be illegal.
I'm not sure that description of the law is accurate. Actually, police may question the immigration status of those stopped on suspicion of committing other offenses.
The idea of a United States ambassador criticizing the laws of an American state while abroad is repulsive. I'm reminded of an incident early in the tenure of the great George Shultz, one of our finest secretaries of state, who served under President Reagan. Shultz invited a group of new ambassadors into his office, walked them to a large world map and asked the first ambassador, "Which is your country?" The ambassador approached the map and pointed to a nation in Africa. "No," Secretary Shultz told him, pointing to the United States, "this is your country."
Secretary Shultz was teaching the ambassadors a powerful lesson. They represent the United States, not the interests of the country they're assigned to. Apparently, that lesson needs to be taught again.
July 5, 2010 Permalink
MY HEART BREAKS, GET ME MY CHECKBOOK...NO, BETTER NOT – AT 8:49 A.M. ET: I'm a little confused here. Aren't Wall Street and the Hamptons, playgrounds of the veddy rich, the places were Republicans get their money? Inform me please. From The Politico:
A perfect storm of events - the recession, Wall Street anger at Washington, donors who feel ignored by the White House and interest group dissatisfaction – have Democrats bracing for a brutal fundraising period and fearful of losing dominance in longtime donor stronghold and mega-rich New York.
Ah, New York, my home, and home of the guilty rich, who become conspicuous liberals because they want to "give back." Hah. They want to get into the right parties.
While the exact quarterly figures won’t be known until after the July 15 filing deadline, a number of Democratic campaign insiders said the past few months were a mighty struggle to raise cash for candidates.
It's a humbling moment for Democratic money-makers in the richest city in the world, an uncomfortable and unfamiliar position for New York fundraisers after a long ride on the gravy train. Beyond a free-flowing financial market that managed to rebound after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, there were 16 flush years of having a Clinton family member in a position of power and working the Big Apple donor base hard.
Things are different now. While most Democrats blame the economy and anger from Wall Street for the fundraising predicament, President Obama, whose own donor model was low-dollar contributors and internet contributors over high-dollar types, has headlined just one major New York event so far this year, for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
And several fundraisers said they knew of very few major events in the Hamptons - the summer playground for the wealthy that was long worked by the Clintons, who used it for simultaneous socializing, vacationing and rainmaking for the national party committees.
COMMENT: They were the good old days, weren't they? All those people in Armani suits who cared so much about the environment, about peace in...what's the name of that foreign place? Darlings, you just can't get good donors anymore. Why, Binky and Winky may even go GOP, especially if they get that dear man Petraeus. Oh, did we pick the wrong group? How could we?
July 5, 2010 Permalink
IN NEED OF OUTREACH – AT 8:37 A.M. ET: Reflecting on our story just below, maybe President Obama should assign NASA to reach out to this guy, who needs it. But outreach is unlikely, as it would acknowledge that this chap's philosophy actually exists, or is in any way a problem:
LEADERS of the global Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have called on Australian Muslims to spurn secular democracy and Western notions of moderate Islam and join the struggle for a transnational Islamic state.
British Hizb ut-Tahrir leader Burhan Hanif told participants at a conference in western Sydney yesterday that democracy is "haram" (forbidden) for Muslims, whose political engagement should be be based purely on Islamic law.
"We must adhere to Islam and Islam alone," Mr Hanif told about 500 participants attending the convention in Lidcombe.
"We should not be conned or succumb to the disingenuous and flawed narrative that the only way to engage politically is through the secular democratic process. It is prohibited and haram."
He said democracy was incompatible with Islam because the Koran insisted Allah was the sole lawmaker, and Muslim political involvement could not be based on "secular and erroneous concepts such as democracy and freedom".
His view was echoed by an Australian HT official, Wassim Dourehi, who told the conference Muslims should not support "any kafir (non-believer) political party", because humans have no right to make laws.
COMMENT: You read something like this, and realize it's being taught throughout the Muslim world. And yet, the current administration denies that we are fighting any kind of ideology. Why have arrived at the point where we not only aren't permitted to name our enemy, we're not even permitted, in polite company, to describe him.
And, tell me, what kind of outreach will have an impact on a man like this, or his followers?
I suspect that part of the reason for Obama's blindness is the training he had in the tents of lefists and Marxists during his upbringing. My own experience with the left has taught me that it's a segment of society where lying is a way of life, where creating illusions is considered honorable. To the true believer of the left, America doesn't fight evil ideologies; it only fights on behalf of capitalism. The ideas slide off the leftist tongue so easily.
July 5, 2010 Permalink
AS THEY SAY, YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP – AT 8:31 A.M. ET: Paul Mirengoff, at Power Line, has discovered an appalling interview given to, natch, Al Jazeera, by Obama's hand-picked head of NASA. Apparently, Houston, there's a problem, and it's the president.
Charles Bolden, head of NASA, tells Al Jazeera that the "foremost" task President Obama has given him is "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering." Thus, NASA's primary mission is no longer to enhance American science and engineering or to explore space, but to boost the self-esteem of "predominantly Muslim nations."
Exploring space didn't even make the top three things Obama wants Bolden to accomplish. The other two are "re-inspire children to want to get into science and math" and "expand our international relationships,"
This is more evidence, if any were needed, of Obama's lack of interest in American achievement or, indeed, American greatness. He seems to believe we've achieved enough (or perhaps too much) and that the trick now is to make nations that have achieved little for centuries feel like we couldn't have done it without them (in the video, Bolden goes on to talk about how much NASA owes the Russians and the Japanese).
COMMENT: Well, add to our list of negatives about this president is that he has no sense of imagination or adventure. In his leftist, quasi-intellectual world, the excitement of discovery has no place. It's so middle class, so American.
What is so disgraceful here is Obama's, and his crowd's, refusal to recognize that America is indeed a nation of many nations. And so people of a number of backgrounds have contributed to our space program. We don't have to farm out the compliments overseas.
Some have smugly, and happily, declared Obama to be the first "post-American" president. In some ways, I think they're right. And that's one of the major reasons why this man must be sent packing in 2012.
July 5, 2010 Permalink
SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2010
GORE STORY RISES – AT 6:23 P.M. ET: We take no great pleasure in stories like this, no matter who they involve. Sordid tales of personal misbehavior do nothing to advance the national dialogue.
But we are struck once again by the way in which the mainstream media carries the water for leading Democrats. Even The Politico has noticed:
The story of Al Gore’s alleged unwanted sexual advances toward a Portland, Ore., masseuse, which had been simmering since the National Enquirer first published the allegations last week, broke into the mainstream news cycle Friday after the Portland police announced they would reopen their investigation.
Anderson Cooper did a segment on the story on CNN Thursday night. By Friday, it was all over network television newscasts, while the Oregonian had a front-page mea culpa by the Portland police chief saying his department had mishandled the investigation when it first surfaced in 2006.
The story’s jump from the fringe to the mainstream compounds the problems for Gore, whose family spokesman, Kalee Kreider, has said that Gore “unequivocally and emphatically” denied making unwanted sexual advances. “Further investigation into this matter will only benefit Mr. Gore.”
The mainstream media are still smarting from the embarrassment of being scooped by the Enquirer on the story of John Edwards’s affair with Rielle Hunter, which led to much handwringing in media criticism circles — including at POLITICO — about whether the press really vets presidential candidates. Books such as John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s “Game Change” reveal that the affair was well-known to Edwards staffers, who considered leaking to the mainstream media but in the end did not.
Vetting presidential candidates? If you're a Republican, every minute of your life will be examined by news organizations that have the resources to do it. If you're Sarah Palin, reporters will go through your garbage.
But if you're Barack Obama, no serious questioners need apply. Obama was given a pass unprecedented in the modern history of reporting.
Now the networks and papers such as The Washington Post and New York Times are faced with a similar situation. Following the Enquirer’s second blockbuster scoop against a star of the Democratic Party last week, the mainstream media still treated the story as essentially a fringe narrative, with the first question coming from The Washington Post being: Did the paper pay for the story? The answer was yes, but not the $1 million that the masseuse, Molly Hagerty, asked for.
To be fair, Howard Kurtz was asking a legitimate question, since the accuser had claimed to be selling her story. But the fact that the first reported story in the Post asked this question, and not a question about the case itself, is revealing.
COMMENT: We assert, of course, that Gore is innocent until proved guilty, and we are aware that his accuser is no great angel. But the suppression of the story is inexcusable, but another sign that too many journalists see themselves primarily as advocates, rather than as reporters. That, not the internet, is the single greatest disease eating away at journalism.
July 4, 2010 Permalink
THE STEELE CASE – AT 12:29 P.M. ET: I don't recall a similar uproar over the behavior of a national party chairman. Michael Steele is in deep trouble with his own Republican Party over statements he made disparaging the Afghanistan war, and giving a distorted history of how it got started. From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham spoke from the war zone Sunday to condemn GOP chairman Michael Steele's comment that Afghanistan was a ''war of Obama's choosing.''
Neither GOP lawmaker, however, was outraged enough to demand Steele's resignation, as some other Republican have done. Both said from Kabul it was up to Steele to decide whether he could continue to lead the party.
Steele's remarks, a political gift to Democrats in a congressional election year, were captured Thursday on camera, during a Connecticut fundraiser that was closed to the news media, and posted online. The comments would make it difficult for Republican candidates to have Steele campaign for them.
''I think those statements are wildly inaccurate and there's no excuse for them,'' McCain said, adding that Steele sent the Arizona senator an e-mail saying the remarks ''were misconstrued.''
''I believe we have to win here. I believe in freedom. But the fact is that I think that Mr. Steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee and make an appropriate decision,'' McCain told ABC's ''This Week.''
Graham, R-S.C., described himself as ''dismayed, angry and upset. It was an uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment.''
He told CBS' ''Face the Nation'' that ''this is not President Obama's war. This is American's war. We need to stand behind the president.''
Asked whether Steele should quit, Graham said, ''It's up to him to see if he can lead the Republican Party. It couldn't have come at a worst time.''
COMMENT: As a practical matter, Steele should step down. However, there's a solid argument to be made for him to be dispatched after the election. If he's forced out now, he can turn against the party. As an African-American, he can provide a hefty load of embarrassment.
The idea now is for other campaign committees to do their job, and double that job if need be, marginalizing Steele whether he stays or not.
July 4, 2010 Permalink
SHOCKING AND DISGRACEFUL – AT 10:59 A.M. ET: We wouldn't expect to be reading this on Independence Day, but it's important to alert you to something that is truly outrageous. From The Washington Times:
As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars persist, some employers are becoming increasingly resistant to rehire service members who return from active duty as federal law requires, some legal analysts say.
Washington lawyer Matthew Tully, who specializes in these cases, said that, as the war on terrorism and its heavy reliance on National Guard and Reserve units stretches into its second decade, companies have become more familiar with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
But Mr. Tully, a founding partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC, said some employers have objections with the law and have been upfront with his firm about their failure to re-employ and sometimes even to hire citizen-soldiers. One prime reason is financial. He said, without specifying names, that airline companies have told the law firm that hiring military personnel has resulted in higher labor costs.
"We've seen the number of intentional violations skyrocket in the past three years," he said.
The 1994 law requires employers to rehire workers who return from active military duty and, in the hiring process, prohibits discrimination against those who might become deployed.
A 2008 Labor Department report states that the employment law is entirely "complaint driven" and the government does not bring criminal charges against companies that violate the law.
COMMENT: Well, maybe the government policy should change, and criminal charges be filed against the violators.
And...I would just love to know the CEO salaries of some of the companies who "can't afford" to hire returning vets. Would just love to know them.
Makes the blood boil.
July 4, 2010 Permalink
ANOTHER FINE LEADER – AT 10:38 A.M. ET: Petraeus takes command in Afghanistan:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gen. David Petraeus formally assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan on Sunday, declaring "we are in this to win" despite rising casualties and growing skepticism about the nearly 9-year-old war.
During a ceremony at NATO headquarters, Petraeus received two flags — one for the U.S. and the other for NATO — marking his formal assumption of command.
He said it was important to demonstrate to the Afghan people and world that al-Qaida and its extremist allies will not be allowed to again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they could launch attacks on the United States and other countries.
"We are in this to win," Petraeus told a crowd of several hundred NATO and Afghan officials at the ceremony held on a grassy area just outside coalition headquarters. "We have arrived at a critical moment."
"We must never forget that the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain," Petraeus wrote Sunday in a memo to his troops, praising their effort. "Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that."
Petraeus's mission depends on many factors, but most of all he must have the support of the president of the United States, who must be prepared to face down the leftist isolationists in his own party to see this mission through.
We cannot guarantee total success. Afghanistan will probably not emerge, as Japan did after World War II, as a modern democracy. But we can strike a severe blow against those who harbor and nurture terrorism. It is a difficult, almost unique fight. Obama has the right general for the job. The issue is whether the general has the right president.
July 4, 2010 Permalink
ON THIS JULY 4TH – AT 10:21 A.M. ET: We recall that, on July 4th, we celebrate a document, and we are reminded of the importance of words, especially the words of leaders.
On this July 4th we find ourselves poorly led, our president a minor Chicago politician with a silver voice and a cynical morality. We worry that the ideals enshrined in the great Declaration are eroding, worn away by a decadent educational establishment and its product, an equally decadent media.
On July 4, 1940, Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons. It was not for the purpose of reflecting on American independence from Britain, but to inform the Honourable House that he had ordered the destruction of the French fleet, at harbor in North Africa, because it was in danger of falling into Nazi hands. There were now major fears that Britain would soon itself be invaded. America, influenced by its disgusting ambassador to Britain, Joseph Kennedy, himself a Nazi sympathizer, was doing little to help. Churchill concluded his remarks as follows:
The Prime Minister expects all His Majesty's servants in high places to set an example of steadiness and resolution. They should check and rebuke expressions of loose and ill-digested opinion in their circles, or by their subordinates. They should not hesitate to report, or if necessary remove, any officers or officials who are found to be consciously exercising a disturbing or depressing influence, and whose talk is calculated to spread alarm and despondency. Thus alone will they be worthy of the fighting men, who, in the air, on the sea, and on land, have already met the enemy without any sense of being outmatched in martial qualities. In conclusion, I feel that we are entitled to the confidence of the House and that we shall not fail in our duty, however painful. The action we have already taken should be, in itself, sufficient to dispose once and for all of the lies and rumours which have been so industriously 1051 spread by German propaganda and Fifth Column activities that we have the slightest intention of entering into negotiations in any form and through any channel with the German and Italian Governments. We shall, on the contrary, prosecute the war with the utmost vigour by all the means that are open to us until the righteous purposes for which we entered upon it have been fulfilled.
That as a leader.
The speech made clear to the world, especially the United States, that Britain would fight, that it had no intention of surrendering.
You will note that there was no mention of multiculturalism, or of "understanding the Nazi narrative." There was a mention of a Fifth Column, something we should be mindful of today, as some "dissent" in America crosses the line.
We could use a Churchill today. What we have is an Obama.
July 4, 2010 Permalink