William Katz:  Urgent Agenda





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MONDAY,  OCTOBER 27,  2008

NOTE AT 10:29 P.M. ET: 
From a courageous woman named Simone Dinah Hartmann, of Vienna, Austria, who's with STOP THE BOMB, a coalition opposed to an Iranian nuclear weapon.  She reports on protests against the appearance of former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami at Vienna University, and the ugly response to those protests:

Protests against Former Iranian President Khatami at Vienna University

Opposition by exiled Iranians and STOP THE BOMB met with violent response by University Board

About 60 protesters gathered in front of and inside Vienna University to oppose a speech to be held by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on 27 October 2008. The protest was staged by the coalition STOP THE BOMB, that is actively campaigning against deals with the Iranian Mullahs, the Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran, and other groups.

Even before the speech was set to begin, some seeking admission to the audience were denied entry to the lecture hall without explanation.

The protest was subsequently dealt with by an excessive use of force.
Security personnel strangled protesters, and knocked eyeglasses off faces. The security personnel insulted protesters and refused to give their names upon request. Those students, who wanted to express their opposition to Khatami inside the lecture hall were thrown out of the hall without warning and by a disproportionate use of force.

STOP THE BOMB spokeswoman Simone Dinah Hartmann is deeply shocked by the violence used to prevent the protests.

"We would never have thought that the University Board, whose members had not reacted at all to our previously published open letter to the Rectorate, was ready to meet peaceful protests with such violence," she stated.

Hiwa Bahrami of the Democratic Party of Kurdistan Iran said the incident reminded the group of the oppression in Iran during Khatami's presidency: "It was under Khatami when the students' movement was violently put down. And today at Vienna University we see Khatami's speech violently defended against the protests of those terrorised by the Islamic Republic of Iran for many decades."

The former president of one of the most detested regimes on Earth is invited, and the protesters are thrown out by force.  Hmm.  Sounds like the Austria of another time. 

And Americans are about to elect a man who just wants to have chats with the Iranian leaders.  I'm sure they'll make great progress.



Posted at 9:55 p.m. ET

One of the sadder aspects of the 1970s was the way Democrats zealously cut our national defense, wrecked our intelligence services and otherwise cleansed themselves of the sin, as defined in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, of protecting their country.

And now, direct from Democratic National headquarters, together again, Democrats and defense slashing.  The supreme guide this time is Barney Frank, that profound Massachusetts philosopher.  Investors Business Daily reports:

In a revealing meeting with the editorial board of the Southcoast (Mass.) Standard-Times last week, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., called for a 25% cut in military spending, saying: "We don't need all these fancy new weapons."

Yeah.  Real fancy stuff.  Chrome, leather seats, DVD player...

The irony here is that this call to disarm is coming from the party of Franklin Roosevelt, who called the United States the "arsenal of democracy." Obama is a far cry from Harry Truman or the Jack Kennedy who said that only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt will we be certain beyond doubt they will never be employed.

Dems haven't thought that way in 40 years.

In a video presentation to the far-left group Caucus for Priorities, Obama revealed just where Frank's 25% cut might come from. "I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems," he said. "I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure that the Quadrennial Review is not used to justify unnecessary defense spending."

So forget about national missile defense or responding to a realistic assessment of our enemies' intentions and capabilities.

The problem is, the Obama crowd thinks the enemies are at home.

John McCain said Iran's tests showed that we need effective missile defense "now and in the future," including the planned missile defense sites in the Czech Republic and Poland. Rather than unilateral disarmament, McCain has also said: "We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending ourselves and our allies."

And McCain is right.  But, like Churchill in the thirties, he's being ignored.

Frank, Obama and the Caucus for Priorities would eliminate two Air Force fighter wings. Our already depleted Navy would eliminate an aircraft carrier group as both China and Russia are building them. Gone too would be the Virginia-class attack submarine and the DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class destroyer.
Unfortunately, people in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran will be defining our needs for us. And as our enemies turn out everything from ballistic missile submarines to anti-satellite weapons, we'd do well to remember that providing for national defense is in the U.S. Constitution and that job training is not.

But we know what the far left thinks of the Constitution. 

We've been down this road before.  It always ends in disaster.  Even if we lose next Tuesday, we must continue to fight for what we believe, and prepare for the midterms, only 24 months away.

October 27, 2008.      Permalink          



Posted at 7:14 p.m. ET

No one has been smeared more in recent presidential history than Sarah Palin.  And it isn't only conservatives who are outraged by her treatment.  Elaine Lafferty is the former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine, and a Democrat.  She has the appropriate street cred, and she has a decidedly different view of Sarah Palin than some of the movement's march-in-step sisters:

Sarah Palin is very smart.

I'm a Democrat, but I've worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin's nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women's rights.

The whole turn of events is remarkable, I think.

Now by “smart,” I don't refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don't really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernible pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a “quick study”; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her “confidence” is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

Others didn't see this because they didn't want to see it.  They weren't allowed to see it.  Among the private soldiers in the journalistic establishment, only certain things apparently are permitted.

Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.

Elaine Lafferty is heroic for writing this.  I suspect some party invitations won't be in the mail.

Last month a prominent feminist blogger...declared that the media was wrongly buying into the false idea that Palin was a feminist. Why? Well, just because she said she was a feminist, because she supported women's rights and opportunities, equal pay, Title IV—that was just “empty rhetoric,” they said. At least the blogger didn't go as far as NOW's Kim Gandy and declare that Palin was not a woman. Bottom line: you are not a feminist until we say you are. And there you have the formula for diminishing what was once a great and important mass social change movement to an exclusionary club that rejects women who sincerely want to join and, God forbid, grow to lead.

Right on the button.

But there's good news as well:

But here is the good news: women, citizens of America's high and low culture, the Economist and People magazine readers, will get it. They got it with Hillary even when feminist leaders were not supporting her or doing so half-heartedly. Yes, Palin is a harder sell, she looks and sounds different, and one can rightfully oppose her based on abortion policies. If you only vote on how a person personally feels about abortion, you will never want her to darken your door. If you care about anything else, she will continue to intrigue you. As Time's Nancy Gibbs noted a few weeks ago, quoting bioethicist Tom Murray, “Sympathy and subtlety are seasonings rarely applied to political red meat.” Will Palin's time come next week? I don't know. But her time will come.

Yes!  And thank you, Elaine Lafferty.

October 27, 2008.      Permalink          


UPDATE AT 5:32 P.M. ET:  The Dow disappointed us at the end, and closed off 203.  Not good for the economy or for McCain.

Actual numbers in the IBD/TIPP poll have Obama with a lead of less than three percent:

After seesawing between 3.2 and 3.9 points over the weekend, Obama's lead slipped to 2.8 Monday. Battleground also has Obama up 3, and other polls have tightened, including Rasmussen, Zogby and Gallup to 5. Some polls show swings in independents, but IBD/TIPP has them in a stable, 5-point range.

UPDATE AT 3:27 P.M. ET:  From ABC News:   ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe Reports: Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Monday blasted an Orlando anchor for the “ugly” questions she asked him in an interview last Thursday.  “I was on a television station the other day doing a satellite feed to a major network in Florida, and the anchor quotes Karl Marx, and says in a sense, ‘Isn't Barack Obama Karl Marx?’” the Democratic vice-presidential nominee told the crowd of 1500 at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  “You know, I mean, folks, this stuff you're hearing, this stuff you're hearing in this campaign, some of it's pretty ugly,” the Delaware lawmaker continued. "And some of the innuendo is pretty ugly.”

COMMENT:  Lesson:  One must not question The One, or even The Little One, about any of this "ugly" ideological stuff.  Who really cares what The One believes?  It's none of our business anyway.

Biden's remarks are really a variation on the left's old "McCarthyism" dance.  Ask a leftist about his or her ideas and it's "McCarthyism." 

UPDATE AT 3:11 P.M. ET:  Two new trackers are out.  Hotline has Obama up eight, same as yesterday.  Gallup's "traditional" model has him up five, same as yesterday.  Gallup has him up ten in the "expanded" model, a gain of one for Obama since yesterday.

UPDATE AT 3:01 P.M. ET:  The Dow is actually up five.


Posted at 12:09 p.m. ET

This is making its way around the internet, and could be the smoking gun that "convicts" Obama in the court of public opinion...if used correctly and quickly by the McCain campaign.

And this shows why you should never give up before the votes are counted.  We can win this!

A few days after Joe Biden huffed and puffed and blew down whatever Joe's puffing can bring down - his huffiness brought on by a reporter's asking whether Obama is a socialist - a tape has surfaced showing Obama to be...a socialist.  Bill Whittle, at NRO, tears into The One, and The One deserves it:

The Drudge Report this morning led off with a link to audio of Barack Obama on WBEZ, a Chicago public radio station. And this time, Barack Obama was not eight years old when the bomb went off.

Speaking on a call-in radio show in 2001, you can hear Senator Obama say things that should profoundly shock any American — or at least those who have not taken the time to dig deeply enough into this man’s beliefs and affiliations.

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Barack Obama, in 2001:

You know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil-rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples. So that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it, I’d be okay, but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

Yup.  We're talkin' the "s" word.

There is nothing vague or ambiguous about this. Nothing.

From the top: “…The Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical."

...Now that’s just garden-variety socialism, which apparently is not a big deal to may voters. So I would appeal to any American who claims to love the Constitution and to revere the Founding Fathers… I will not only appeal to you, I will beg you, as one American citizen to another, to consider this next statement with as much care as you can possibly bring to bear: “And uh, to that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution — at least as it’s been interpreted, and [the] Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [it] says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf.

Are there any doubts remaining?  This man is so far to the left that he can't even find the center. 

The entire purpose of the Constitution was to limit government. That limitation of powers is what has unlocked in America the vast human potential available in any population...

...There is no room for wiggle or misunderstanding here. This is not edited copy. There is nothing out of context; for the entire thing is context — the context of what Barack Obama believes. You and I do not have to guess at what he believes or try to interpret what he believes. He says what he believes.

Well, occasionally he does. 

That a man so clear in his understanding of the Constitution, and so opposed to the basic tenets it provides against tyranny and the abuse of power, can run for president of the United States is shameful enough.

But there's shame aplenty.  The devastating tape was unearthed by a citizen, not a "journalist."

I do not blame Barack Obama for believing in wealth distribution. That’s his right as an American. I do blame him for lying about what he believes. But his entire life has been applying for the next job at the expense of the current one. He’s at the end of the line now.

I do, however, blame the press for allowing an individual citizen to do the work that they employ standing armies of so-called professionals for. I know they are capable of this kind of investigative journalism: It only took them a day or two to damage Sarah Palin with wild accusations about her baby’s paternity and less time than that to destroy a man who happened to be playing ball when the Messiah decided to roll up looking for a few more votes on the way to the inevitable coronation.

Maybe not so inevitable, especially if this material gets out and is used to effect.

Remember this, America: The press did not break this story. A single citizen, on the Internet did.

There is a special hell for you “journalists” out there, a hell made specifically for you narcissists and elitists who think you have the right to determine which information is passed on to the electorate and which is not.

That hell — your own personal hell — is a fiery lake of irrelevance, blinding clouds of obscurity, and burning, everlasting scorn.

You’ve earned it.

And, knowing journalists, they'll probably give each other awards for it.

This is remarkable stuff.  Let's see if the mainstream media even goes near it.  Are we taking wagers?

October 27, 2008.      Permalink          

UPDATE AT 11:14 A.M. ET:  The Dow has rebounded and is now down only nine points.

UPDATE AT 10:36 A.M. ET:  The Dow is down 338.

UPDATE AT 10:07 A.M. ET:  Battleground poll, which doesn't publish on weekends, just came out with its Monday report showing Obama up three, the same as its Friday result.

COMMENT:  We've had three polls report this morning.  Two, Zogby and Rasmussen, have Obama up five, Battleground has him up three.  There are three more trackers that will report later:  Gallup, Hotline, and IBD/TIPP.  We'll be looking to see if they show tightening.

UPDATE AT 9:51 A.M. ET:  The Dow is down 54.

BULLETIN AT 9:46 A.M. ET:  Rasmussen reports this morning that Obama is up five, down from eight yesterday. 

COMMENT:  The Rasmussen poll swings less wildly than any other, from what I've seen.  Is this three-point drop for Obama significant?  We'll see in coming days.  Much may depend, as Dick Morris points out, on whether we have a bad week in the stock market.  Bad economic news always hurts McCain. 

NOTE AT 9:01 A.M. ET:  Take a look at this, from reader Andrew Berman.  I guess this is what passes for commercial advertising in New York these days. 


Posted at 8:46 a.m. ET

Terrorism expert Con Coughlin, writing in London's Telegraph,  informs us of another exciting vote for Obama.  The man just seems to have this...this magnetism.  I don't understand it:

Where will it end, this procession of the great, the good and the not-so-good showing their support for Barack Obama's bid to become President? Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, half the Tory front bench and Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, have all declared in favour of the Democrats' nominee. But perhaps the most revealing was yesterday's confirmation that Mr Obama is the preferred candidate of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

You know, we should give them electoral votes.  For the Dems, they could replace Texas.

An insight into Tehran's thinking was provided by Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament which is dominated by conservative hardline followers of Ayatollah Khomeini. The Iranians, say Mr Larijani, favour Mr Obama because he is "more flexible and rational" than John McCain, whose attitude towards a country that still tops the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsoring regimes was given away by his "Bomb Iran" version of the Beach Boys' classic Barbara Ann.

By "more flexible and rational" Mr Larijani means, of course, that an Obama White House is less likely to bomb Iran for its failure to halt its nuclear enrichment programme.

Less likely?  Probably an understatement.

Iran has been enriching uranium at its facility at Natanz for 18 months, and even the most dovish observers concede that, at the present rate of progress, Iran should be able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear warhead by next year.

Whether Iran is still pursuing its attempts to develop nuclear weapons is hotly debated among the West's intelligence agencies, with the body of available intelligence now contradicting last year's CIA National Intelligence Estimate, suggesting Iran had halted its military programme in 2003.

Remember the rejoicing on the left when that estimate came out?  That's the attitude we'll have with Obama in office.

Mr Obama may have made some rousing comments when he addressed a pro-Israel lobby in Washington in June, telling his audience that he would do "everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon", but he has also made it clear that he wants to negotiate with the Iranians rather than confront them. Mr McCain, on the other hand, favours robust action, starting with a tough sanctions regime and, if that fails, military action.

Small wonder, then, that Iran favours Mr Obama for the White House, especially as the Democrats have a disastrous record of negotiating with Iran and getting nothing in return, dating from Jimmy Carter's ineffectual attempts to free the Americans held hostage after the storming of their embassy in Tehran in 1979.

The magic name has been invoked:  Jimmy Carter.  If that doesn't scare you, go immediately to the nearest emergency room.  Have them try to detect a pulse.

Iran now poses a far greater threat than it did in 2003, when its nuclear programme was nowhere near as advanced.

Which is why, irrespective of who wins next month's presidential contest, the Iran file will be at the top of the list of national security issues facing the new president. Mr Obama's preference might be for more talking, which is precisely why Tehran is backing his candidacy. But he will not have that luxury. So far as Iran is concerned, the time for talking has passed. It's time now for some action.

I think Coughlin, who is a fine analyst, underestimates Obama's capacity for inaction.  He may just vote "present" on Iran the way he did so many times in the Illinois legislature.  When the going gets tough, the Obamans get out.  I fear he may out-Carter Carter, and be proud of it.

Do we know what we're about to do next Tuesday?

October 27, 2008.      Permalink          


Posted at 7:34 a.m. ET

We must not engage in guilt by association.  We must not raise any question about the people with whom Senator Obama associates, has associated, or is likely to associate.  We must not ask who supports him.  So I caution you that everything said here is completely irrelevant and possibly sinful.  Ignore it.  Move on.  How can we possibly judge Mr. Obama by things like this?  I apologize for even bringing it up: 

There are no "Obama 2008" buttons, banners or T-shirts visible here at U.N. headquarters, but it might be difficult to find a sliver of territory in the United States more enthusiastic over the prospect of the Illinois senator winning the White House.

An informal survey of more than two dozen U.N. staff members and foreign delegates showed that the overwhelming majority would prefer that Sen. Barack Obama win the presidency, saying they think that the Democrat would usher in a new agenda of multilateralism after an era marked by Republican disdain for the world body.

Obama supporters hail from Russia, Canada, France, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Indonesia and elsewhere. One American employee here seemed puzzled that he was being asked whether Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was even a consideration. "Obama was and is unstoppable," the official said. "Please, God, let him win," he added.

There are two news items there:  First, please note that they support Obama not because his policies would be good for the world, but that they think they'd be good for the UN.  Second, at least one person at the UN believes in God.  The second point may create a scandal at the organization, and may lead to an internal investigation. 

Conservatives who are skeptical of the United Nations said they are not surprised by the political tilt. "The fact is that most conservatives, most Republicans don't worship at the altar in New York, and I think that aggravates them more than anything else," said John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "What they want is the bending of the knee, and they'll get it from an Obama administration."

I wish this man would stop telling the truth.  It's so out of style.

"We do not consider him an African American," said Congo's U.N. ambassador, Atoki Ileka. "We consider him an African."

There's a man with a misunderstanding of the United States.  But who will correct him?

"I have not heard a single person who will support McCain; if they do, they are in hiding," said another U.N. Obama booster from an African country. "The majority of people here believe in multilateralism," he said. "The Republicans were constantly questioning the relevance of the United Nations."

Whoops, there's that "UN forever" mantra.  Nothing like a little careerism to start the week.

For the small minority of U.N. officials who have stuck with McCain -- only two of 28 U.N. officials and diplomats questioned said they favored the Arizona senator -- life in Turtle Bay can seem lonely. "I keep my mouth shut," said one American official here who plans to vote for McCain. "Everyone is knocking on wood, counting the days to the elections. Some Americans here are planning to move to Washington," in search of jobs in an Obama administration.

"It will be devastating if Obama loses," the official said. "There has been such an amount of faith placed on the outcome."

Of course, many at the UN come from countries where the outcome of "elections" is assured in advance.  We understand how they feel.  We share their anxiety.

But remember, I caution again:  We can't blame Obama for his supporters.  But we can blame Sarah Palin for hers.

"And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what it can do for the UN bureaucracy."

Good line for Obama's inaugural address.

October 27, 2008.       Permalink          


UPDATE AT 7:01 A.M. ET:  Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks tumbled around the world and U.S. index futures declined on concern government efforts to stabilize financial markets won't avert a recession. 

COMMENT:  We await our market opening today with some concern.  If the Dow has still one more bad day, it will have not only an immediate economic impact, obviously, but will further wound the McCain campaign.

UPDATE AT 6:53 A.M. ET:  Zogby has Obama up five this morning, same as yesterday.




SUNDAY,  OCTOBER 26,  2008


Posted at 11:38 p.m. ET

Most stories with that title have, during this bizarre campaign, been about Sarah Palin.   We've been assured by certain journalists that she has no qualifications at all to serve as vice president, president, or even human being.  Why, there has never been anyone so low.

But where are the stories about Joe Biden?  Have you seen a single story question a single vote he's cast in the Senate?  Has anyone noticed, during this financial crisis, that he represents Delaware, known as the headquarters of many major financial institutions?  Any interest in his relationship with them, or how that relationship has been nurtured?

Well, finally, a real newspaper, The Washington Times, has printed an analysis of Biden's years in the Senate.  And now we can understand why the liberal media don't want to go anywhere near this?

The conduct of our foreign relations and the command of our military are among the most important functions entrusted to the president under our Constitution, and Mr. Biden's record in these areas is abysmal. From his first year in the Senate in 1973, he was a consistent foe of the American military.

Nice to know that.  Where else is it being printed?

When the Armed Services Committee recommended money for the Trident submarine, the B-1 bomber, and the MX missile (three critical upgrades to our strategic nuclear deterrent triad), Mr. Biden voted against all three - as well as against every effort by our military to protect the American people against nuclear missile attack. When the Senate voted to provide our troops with superior equipment like the M-1 Abrams tank, Joe Biden regularly voted "nay." He even voted to make all covert operations illegal (and to prohibit all intelligence collection inside foreign countries where local laws prohibited foreign espionage) and in 1986 bragged he had personally undermined Reagan administration covert operations while a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee by simply threatening to "leak" them.

Nice, huh?  This is the "qualified" candidate for vice president.

A look at his actions when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 is instructive...

...He declared the United States "must act, and we must act forcefully. ... History will not forgive us if we do not do everything in our power to stop Saddam Hussein."

Two months later, his courage had apparently waned, as Mr. Biden cautioned that the United States should not engage in a "pre-emptive strike."

And it gets worse:

As for his earlier concerns about Saddam's quest for nuclear weapons and Iraq's other weapons of mass destruction programs, Mr. Biden actually speculated to his colleagues that perhaps, if we just left him alone for five years, Saddam might be "struck by lightning," eliminating any need to deal seriously with the problem. Thus we have the "Biden Doctrine" - gut the military, appease aggressors, and then pray anxiously for lightning to preserve world peace!

It's probably the most coherent piece of thinking Joe ever came up with.

When Desert Storm began, Iraq had the third-largest army in the world (the United States was fifth). Without the critically important weapons Mr. Biden had sought to deny our troops, we might well have paid for his frugality with the lives of large numbers of brave American men and women in uniform.

He would have just blamed BUSH (!) - the first Bush.

Apparently having learned from experience, in 2002 Mr. Biden voted in favor of going to war in Iraq. (As late as April 2003, a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll reported 79 percent of Americans still thought the Iraq war was justified). But when public opinion shifted, Mr. Biden quickly reverted to form, declared his vote was a "mistake," and tried to sabotage the president's conduct of the war (and thus guarantee victory for our enemies, as he had done in Indochina in May 1973).

This admission probably endeared him to The One.

Today, few Senate Democrats can match Joe Biden's experience in the field of foreign affairs. He has a long track record dating back 35 years - a record Mr. Obama obviously admires. But it is a record of appeasement, weakness, vacillation and incredibly poor judgment. It is a record of usurping the constitutional powers of the president, undermining and trying to cripple our intelligence community, and in the process betraying the brave sacrifices of millions of our men and women in uniform. I have testified at hearings chaired by Mr. Biden time and again over many years, and I've always found him fair, gracious, and often charming and personable. But the thought that his views may soon become the foreign and defense policies of this great nation genuinely frightens me.

Should frighten all of us.

October 26, 2008.      Permalink          


UPDATE AT 3:45 P.M. ET:   The IBD/TIPP tracker has Obama up between three and four points, a slight gain for McCain since yesterday.  This poll was the most accurate in 2004, but currently shows the smallest lead for Obama among major polls.  (Battleground has Obama at three, but hasn't published since Friday.)

UPDATE AT 2:01 P.M. ET:  Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has failed to form a government in Israel, and the country will probably have to go to new elections in February.  Hardliner and former Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is the favorite.  There are leftists around Obama who would dream of using Netanyahu's views to cause a split with Israel, and Obama himself has expressed disapproval of Bibi's party.  But a Netanyahu victory could help the United States by driving home the factual realities of the Middle East, which Bibi understands and Obama does not.  Bibi is not popular along the Washington diplomatic circuit, which probably means he has common sense.

UPDATE AT 1:44 P.M. ET:  New trackers are out, but don't offer any encouragement.  As we suspected, the Zogby finding of a sudden surge for McCain is not supported by any other poll.  Hotline has Obama up eight, a gain of one.  Battleground doesn't publish on weekends.  Gallup's "traditional" methodology has Obama up five, a loss of two.  But their "expanded" model, taking into account likely new voters, has Obama up nine, a gain of one.   

UPDATE AT 9:31 A.M. ET:  Rasmussen reports Obama up eight, same as yesterday.  Clearly, he does not see the trend toward McCain that Zogby reported.  Much as I regret the numbers, I'd trust Rasmussen.



Posted at 9:27 a.m. ET

That is the question we must ask.  Is this next week and a half the end of the conservative era, or can we plant the seeds of a new beginning?  That choice is up to us.  If we see it as the end, we are unworthy, and next to useless.  But if we see this time of testing as a new beginning, we can be true to our principles and build again. 

I have no doubt that some will jump ship.  We're already seeing that.  Don't despair.  It always happens.  Harry Truman saw more ship jumpers than any president in modern history, and survived.  Now he is seen as a giant, and the ship numbers are footnotes to footnotes.

In the last week I've noticed a change in the tone of writers on our side.  They've become more grim, to be sure, but also more coherent.  They are starting to make the arguments, and ask the questions, that are necessary for our return to triumph.  Here, for example, is Mark Steyn:

I agree with Thomas Sowell that an Obama-Pelosi supermajority will mark what he calls “a point of no return”. It would not be, as some naysayers scoff, “Jimmy Carter’s second term”, but something far more transformative. The new president would front the fourth great wave of liberal annexation — the first being FDR’s New Deal, the second LBJ’s Great Society, and the third the incremental but remorseless cultural advance when Reagan conservatives began winning victories at the ballot box and liberals turned their attention to the other levers of the society, from grade school up. The terrorist educator William Ayers, Obama’s patron in Chicago, is an exemplar of the last model: forty years ago, he was in favor of blowing up public buildings; then he figured out it was easier to get inside and undermine them from within.

All three liberal waves have transformed American expectations of the state. The spirit of the age is: Ask not what your country can do for you, demand it. Why can’t the government sort out my health care? Why can’t they pick up my mortgage?

Well put.  The key point here is that we have allowed the left to infiltrate into, and to dominate, key opinion-producing sectors of society, especially the educational system.  We have to learn that what happens in "your house" is more important than what happens in the White House.

A vote for an Obama-Pelosi-Barney Frank-ACORN supermajority is a vote for a Europeanized domestic policy that is, as the eco-types like to say, “unsustainable."

Correct.  At the same time, we must not be indifferent to real outrages that occur in society.  We've just seen some in the governance of financial institutions.  Being for free enterprise doesn't mean turning a blind eye to reckless or irresponsible practices.  Even Milton Friedman insisted on the enforcement of antitrust laws. 

“People of the world,” declared Senator Obama sonorously at his self-worship service in Germany, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”

No, sorry. History proved no such thing. In the Cold War, the world did not stand as one. One half of Europe was a prison, and in the other half far too many people — the Barack Obamas of the day — were happy to go along with that division in perpetuity. And the wall came down not because “the world stood as one” but because a few courageous people stood against the conventional wisdom of the day. Had Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan been like Helmut Schmidt and Francois Mitterand and Pierre Trudeau and Jimmy Carter, the Soviet empire (notwithstanding its own incompetence) would have survived and the wall would still be standing. Senator Obama’s feeble passivity will get you a big round of applause precisely because it’s the easy option: Do nothing but hold hands and sing the easy listening anthems of one-worldism, and the planet will heal.

That is correct.  One of the great myths is that the Soviet Union would have collapsed on its own, with out the Reagan-Thatcher-John Paul II push. 

The world rarely stands as one. You can, as Reagan and Thatcher did, stand up. Or, like Obama voting “present”, you can stand down.

Nobody denies that, in promoting himself from “community organizer” to the world’s President-designate in nothing flat, he has shown an amazing and impressively ruthless single-mindedness. But the path of personal glory has been, in terms of policy and philosophy, the path of least resistance.

Also correct.  I find it remarkable that, after the longest campaign in presidential history, we still have no clear picture of what Barack Obama believes, if he believes anything.  And virtually any probing questions are ruled off limits. 

An Obama Administration will pitch America toward EU domestic policy and UN foreign policy. Thomas Sowell is right: It would be a “point of no return," the most explicit repudiation of the animating principles of America. For a vigilant republic of limited government and self-reliant citizens, it would be a Declaration of Dependence.

If a majority of Americans want that, we holdouts must respect their choice. But, if you don’t want it, vote accordingly.

That's better than the Notre Dame fight song.  Steyn is really saying what Colin Powell was saying, that Obama can be a transformational figure.  The problem is the transformation being planned for us.  Steyn is correct in saying it would be a repudiation of the great principles of America.  It would be the creation of a European-style gray society, where the whole notion of excellence, eccentricity or brilliance would be considered quaint and even dangerous. 

We fight.

October 26, 2008.       Permalink           


UPDATE AT 8:33 A.M. ET:   The Obama campaign has cut off Florida TV station WFTV from further cooperation during the campaign because one of its anchorwomen had the temerity to ask tough questions of Joe Biden.  Apparently, a reporter is not permitted to challenge The One, or now, even The Little One.  Let's see if this small station gets any support from the major media.  Don't hold your breath. 

UPDATE AT 8:24 A.M. ET:  Zogby, whose work remains problematical in my view, today has Obama up only five, down from nine yesterday.  It was 12 a bit earlier in the week.  Zogby says, "Things are trending back for McCain. His numbers are rising and Obama's are dropping on a daily basis. There seems to be a direct correlation between this and McCain talking about the economy," pollster John Zogby said.

COMMENT:  I just don't know.  These are pretty wild swings, and I haven't seen anything dramatic on the economy from McCain. Let's see if this "trending back" is reflected in other polls later today.  My guess is that it won't be, but we can hope.




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