SECOND EVENING UPDATE: JUNE 11, 2008
Posted at 8:36 p.m. ET
If you want to know what left-wing "reporting" really is, just read this piece on Michelle Obama in Britain's Independent, a reliably leftist, America-loathing London paper. Notice the choice of adjectives, and the way conservatives are portrayed:
Now that Hillary Clinton, the chief hate figure for conservatives, is out of the picture, right-wing commentators are turning their guns on Michelle Obama just as they attacked John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, four years ago.
Millions of people saw Mrs Obama daintily bump fists with her husband last week just before he claimed the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination at a rally in St Paul, Minnesota. More common on the sports field, the gesture was decried as " hand jabbing" on the Human Events blog. On Fox News, the host asked, in all seriousness, if it was, "a terrorist fist jab."
Oh my, oh my...
Mrs Obama's earthy sense of humour and a determination to keep her husband grounded as his celebrity status grows has made her a target for the conservative media.
Really? That's what's made her a target?
The internet, already awash with misogynistic attacks on Mrs Clinton, has several websites devoted to attacking Mrs Obama, prompted by her unvarnished views on America.
Oh wait. Maybe that's what's made her a target.
In unscripted remarks in February she enthused about the response to her husband's message of hope. She said: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."
For that she earned a swipe from the billionaire wife of the Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Cindy McCain said: "I'm proud of my country, I don't know about you if you heard those words earlier, I'm very proud of my country."
The billionaire wife, no less. If she didn't have the money, this reporter would have gone crazy.
"These folks should lay off my wife," said Mr Obama, on ABC's Good Morning America as she sat beside him. "She loves this country, and for them to try to distort or play snippets of her remarks in ways unflattering to her I think is just low-class."
The new world order.
June 11, 2008. Permalink
FIRST EVENING UPDATE: JUNE 11, 2008
Posted at 7:56 p.m. ET
WHO IS HE?
Ed Lasky of American Thinker refers us to a fine piece by Tony Blankley in today's Washington Times, "Who is Barack Obama?" I'd like to know. Apparently many journalists don't.
Find a candidate without a paper trail on the most controversial issues. For those of us who suspect, but cannot yet prove, that Barack Obama is a genuine radical leftist, his lack of much of a voting record is going to make it difficult to prove what his real values, policies and motives are to be president.
This is particularly the case because the media is so obviously going to give Mr. Obama cover not only for his current revelatory gaffes, but also for embarrassing bits from Mr. Obama's past.
For example, on June 2, National Review Online ran an extraordinary article by Stanley Kurtz. He closely assessed a 1995 article about Mr. Obama by Hank De Zutter titled "What Makes Obama Run?" The essence of his thesis is the following:
"De Zutter's article shows us that the full story of Obama's ties to [Rev. Michael] Pfleger and [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright is more disturbing and more politically relevant than we've realized up to now.."
Now, given how much the media has covered both issues pertaining to Father Pfleger and Mr. Wright, when a respectable journal such as National Review runs an article by a journalist of established credibility such as Stanley Kurtz that suggests a different and far more disturbing interpretation of Mr. Obama's relationship to Mr. Wright and Father Pfleger, a responsible mainstream media needs to act.
A much more recent example of the media not even going through the motions of being responsible is their almost complete avoidance of his recent statement that:
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."
Is there absolutely no curiosity at The Washington Post, the Associated Press or even the New York Times about the assertion by the man who is considered likely to become president of the United States at noon on Jan. 20, 2009, that letting Americans eat as much as they want is "not going to happen?" Doesn't that shockingly dictatorial assertion deserve comment and inquiry?
Not if you're a journalist educated in an Ivy League university during the last 20 years.
Dictator or democrat? Radical or liberal? Who in the world is this man? Where in the world is the responsible media? What's going on?
What's going on is the playing out of the sixties dream. In Obama the sixties crowd and their disciples - and they are legion in journalism - see the possibility of a "better" society. But they fear that "the people" won't understand what they, our betters, understand. So they guide the people rather than inform them. That's what good journalists do, don't they?
No. That's not what good journalists do. But try saying that in the face of the modern, scribbling pack.
June 11, 2008. Permalink
AFTERNOON POST: JUNE 11, 2008
Posted at 3:21 p.m. ET
ANOTHER ONE DEPARTS
Say this about Barack Obama: He has a full-employment policy. By the time this campaign is over, every potential Democratic operative will have worked for Obama and departed under pressure.
Let's see. There was Samantha Power, Robert Malley. Rev. Wright, who served on some Obama committee, was thrown off the bus. So was Rev. Pfleger. Sad, but unemployment insurance probably doesn't cover any of them.
Now the latest:
James A. Johnson, a leading member of the vice-presidential search team for Senator Barack Obama, quit his post with the campaign today after he and the campaign came under sustained Republican fire in the last several days for several favorable loans he had received.
“Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept,” Mr. Obama said in a statement released by his campaign. “We have a very good selection process underway, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process.”
Wow. Change we can believe in.
Problem is, why should we have any confidence in Obama's ability to choose a vice president, or anyone else, when his staff selections have been so defective? (At this point in the script, Obama's in-the-tank press corps will comment that "the candidate is growing each day.")
Eric Holder, another of the Obama v.p. vetters, also has some problems. He approved Clinton's pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. But I guess he stays on. Why antagonize Hillary any further?
They're watching this in Teheran and in the mountains of Pakistan. You can be sure it's change they can believe in.
June 11, 2008. Permalink
EARLY AFTERNOON POST: JUNE 11, 2008
Posted at 1:43 p.m. ET
Two new tracking polls show slight slippage for Obama. But remember, these polls are useful only for indicating trends over time. Changes of a few points a day, in either direction, are not necessarily indicative of anything because there's a margin of error.
Rasmussen has Obama up five over McCain. Gallup has him up six. Both polls had him up seven yesterday.
At this point the polls are mostly entertainment. They become more serious in September.
I found it interesting last night, monitoring some of the political discussions, that so much attention was given to the announcement by Democratic Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio that he would not accept the nomination for vice president. It simply underscores the importance of Ohio.
June 11, 2008. Permalink
WEDNESDAY: JUNE 11, 2008
Posted at 6:58 a.m. ET
Despite the sometimes fantasy-laden coverage of the Obama presidential campaign, there actually is a real world out there, where real problems exist and have to be solved. Yes we can!
The president is in Europe whipping up support for new diplomatic and economic action against Iran, whose nuclear program continues toward its logical end - a nuclear weapon. At home, a new form of pressure is emerging from Congress:
WASHINGTON — With President Bush securing a new round of European sanctions on Iran's banks, he and Congress are looking to additional measures to squeeze the mullahs at the gasoline pump.
Legislation is circulating in Congress, backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that would punish oil traders and transporters that sell refined gasoline to Iran. While the Islamic Republic is one of the world's leading exporters of crude petroleum, the country lacks the refining capacity to turn an estimated 40% of its crude oil into gasoline. Earlier this year, the country saw gas riots after President Ahmadinejad tried to impose gasoline rationing.
American policy will likely hinge on the results of a Department of Energy study examining the effect of such a sanctions regime on the Iranians and world oil markets. It is a softer policy version of a plan to embargo the Iranian import of refined gasoline. An embargo, however would likely push the price of gasoline in America even higher and would plunge America into an open war with Iran.
Senator McCain has also said he endorses a policy to target Iran's import of gasoline. "Over a year ago I proposed applying sanctions to restrict Iran's ability to import refined petroleum products, on which it is highly dependent, and the time has come for an international campaign to do just that. A severe limit on Iranian imports of gasoline would create immediate pressure on Khamenei and Ahmadinejad to change course, and to cease in the pursuit of nuclear weapons," he told the annual Aipac policy conference last week.
The picture that emerges is a growing confrontation with Iran that will affect the new president almost immediately. And the key question is whether Obama, if elected, will maintain the pressure on the Iranian regime, or become Carterized from day one and pursue fantasies that might result in a Nobel Peace Prize and ultimate tragedy.
June 11, 2008. Permalink
Obama accuses McCain of running for a Bush third term. But would a President Obama also pursue a Bush third term, intended or not? Two writers, in an article in The Guardian, of all places, argue that in some ways he should. This is a unique take, but solidly argued:
...while no candidate ever ran on a platform of "elect me and nothing will change", the 2008 contest may be historic in an unanticipated way. Rather than ending the Bush era, it could represent the end of the beginning of what historian Philip Bobbitt recently dubbed the "wars on terror". In short, 2008 may more resemble 1952 - an election that consolidated the cold war era - than 1992, the first post-cold war election; 2008 will consolidate, not repudiate, the war on terror.
Hmm. You mean, no we can't? There are reasons why there should be continuity from the Bush policies:
The most pressing is the continuity in the structure of the international system and the severity of the threats therein. China, India and others may be "rising" but the US remains the primary global actor. Moreover, precisely because of their extended presence, the US and the UK are the most high value and still vulnerable targets in terms of al-Qaida and its Islamist allies. No amount of soaring rhetoric will alter this brute reality. In turn, then, the menu of available instruments to deal with this threat will be the same as under Bush. While the more effective diplomacy that both Obama and McCain promise may be welcome, even if it is feasible, it remains the case that diplomacy is an instrument, not a policy.
Whether it goes unmentioned or re-branded, the war on terror will not end. The substantive differences between McCain and Obama, thus far, are not about whether to continue the war, but how to prosecute it better.
Most obviously, for all his apparent sincerity in speaking face to face with the likes of Bashar Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it is not yet apparent what more he believes the US can offer them. Obama seems to imagine that these regional arsonists can be talked into becoming firefighters. But the regimes in Damascus and Tehran keep power by fomenting instability and violence. Before sitting down to tea in Tehran, at least one precondition Obama might consider is establishing whether the mullahs believe that apostate Muslims, such as himself, along with the rest of us infidels, should be killed.
Yeah, I'd be curious about that. Michelle might be as well. Finally...
In sum, the theme of this election will continue to be change; the theme of the next administration, however, is likely to be continuity.
Provocative, as pundits like to say. This piece is well worth reading.
June 11, 2008. Permalink
AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE?
No one ever accused New York's Mayor Mike Bloomberg of being an exciting speaker, so there may be a touch of envy in something he's said. On the other hand, there may be political calculation from a man whose financial presence can enhance any presidential ticket's effectiveness:
Mayor Bloomberg yesterday warned voters against confusing "charisma and presentation with substance" in choosing their leaders — a remark that could be seen as a jab at Senator Obama, whose soaring oratory and packed rallies have fueled his success in the presidential campaign.
Of course, his office denied all. But there are realities:
A City Hall spokesman said the mayor was not referring to Mr. Obama, although it was unclear what other candidates he could have had in mind.
Yeah, somehow I don't think he was referring to the teleprompter-challenged John McCain. Could Bloomberg have a personal motive here? This is what Bloomberg said:
When we are electing our leaders I think we have to apply a different standard," he said. "And sadly we sometimes confuse charisma and presentation with substance, and that's difficult for the voters to separate out but that is the great challenge in democracies every place in the world."
Yeah, yeah, he's talking Obama. And could Bloomberg be vying for a place on McCain's ticket? There's been chatter that he might be picked by either candidate. But Obama doesn't really need him or his cash. McCain might.
All predictions of a possible Bloomberg bid for national office have proved wrong in the past. Maybe the odds have just changed. I'd at least watch this one.
June 11, 2008. Permalink