EVENING UPDATE, MARCH 25, 2008
Senator Obama is on vacation in the Caribbean.
Question, from a political friend of mine: Since he apparently wanted a warm climate, why didn't he head for Hawaii, where his grandmother lives? You know his grandmother, don't you? She's the old, ailing woman who brought him up, and whom he accused in his speech last week of having racist feelings.
He could have visited grandma, and maybe explained things to her. But he went south instead.
By the way, when did Senator Obama last visit the ailing woman who brought him up? Oh, but wait, says the MSM, what does that have to do with his "public responsibilities"? It has to do with his character, which is very much in question. That's important enough.
March 25, 2008. Permalink
THE OBAMA WATCH
What is it with Barack Obama? Every time you boot your computer you learn of another nut case he's got on his payroll, in church, or somewhere else.
The latest is some nut case. He was the chief of staff of the Air Force.
Merrill "Tony" McPeak is Obama's chief defense adviser. He was a four-star Air Force general who reached the top. He did not, from what sources tell me, leave a very good reputation. But, from what we've seen, Obama is fairly casual about whom he chooses as advisers and mentors. Think Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. Think Samantha Power. Think Zbig Brzezinski. Right there you've got enough for a horror film, with all-star casting.
In the last week Tony McPeak accused former President Bill Clinton of "McCarthyism." The charge was ridiculous, and McPeak didn't come out with a halo.
Now McPeak himself faces a more serious charge. Both Paul Mirengoff at Power Line, and Ed Lasky at American Thinker, refer us to a breaking story in American Spectator revealing McPeak's attitudes toward Israel, attitudes that seem to have a very dark side:
In recent years McPeak has echoed the Mearsheimer-Walt view that American Middle East policy is being controlled by Jews at the expense of America's interests in the region. In a 2003 interview with the Oregonian, McPeak complained of that the "lack of playbook for getting Israelis and Palestinians together at...something other than a peace process....We need to get it fixed and only we have the authority with both sides to move them towards that. Everybody knows that."
The interviewer asked McPeak: "So where's the problem? State? White House?"
McPeak replied: "New York City. Miami. We have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it."
Translation (as if it's needed): Jews -- who put Israel over every American interest -- control America's policy on the Middle East. And McPeak has the audacity to accuse Bill Clinton of McCarthyism.
It went on like that:
McPeak also claims that a combination of Jews and Christian Zionists are manipulating U.S. policy in Iraq in dangerous and radical ways: "Let's say that one of your abiding concerns is the security of Israel as opposed to a purely American self-interest, then it would make sense to build a dozen or so bases in Iraq. Let's say you are a born-again Christian and you think that Armageddon and the rapture are about to happen any minute and what you want to do is retrace steps you think are laid out in Revelations, then it makes sense. So there are a number of scenarios here that could lead you in this direction. This is radical...."
McPeak also noted: "The secret of the neoconservative movement is that it's not conservative, it's radical. Guys like me, who are conservatives, are upset about these neocons calling themselves conservative when they're so radical."
Guys like McPeak are upset because they think Jews have too much influence.
American Spectator asks:
It will be interesting to see how the Obama campaign formulates what should be its latest disavowal and dismissal of yet another anti-Israel and anti-Jewish "adviser."
McPeak's comments are worse than McCarthyism. They reflect the views of Reverend Wright and other Obama advisers who believe that Israel is just a problem to be solved, not an ally to support.
Obama has a Jewish problem and McPeak's bigoted views are emblematic of what they are. Obama can issue all the boilerplate statements supporting Israel's right to defend itself he wants. But until he accepts responsibility for allowing people like McPeak so close to his quest for the presidency, Obama's sincerity and judgment will remain open questions.
He has a Jewish problem, he has a Christian evangelical problem, and, above all, he has an American problem.
How will the McPeak issue play? It depends on the press. Much of the media will bury this the way it tried, without success, to bury the Rev. Wright story. It will be up to a few fearless reporters to pursue it, to wonder out loud why McPeak is still part of the campaign. It will be up to bloggers to keep this very legitimate story alive.
If Hillary Clinton's people are as sharp as they're reputed to be, they'd be on their phones tonight, talking to reporters. I've said in this space that one more dubious association can destroy Obama.
McCain can wait until fall to bring up Obama's odd associates. Now it's up to Hillary to do her Clintonian stuff, which she does very well.
Will she do it, or will this fade away? We'll follow events.
March 25, 2008. Permalink
HILLARY ON WRIGHT
Senator Clinton does seem to be zeroing in on the Obama "association" problem. She was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, it being a month before the Pennsylvania primary, and made things clear:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor made.
"He would not have been my pastor," Clinton said. "You don't choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend."
Obama's lead in national polls had slipped since clips of the retired Rev. Jeremiah Wright began being played on national news programs, but he has since rebounded, according to a Gallup poll. The uproar prompted Obama to give a major speech on race in America last week.
His campaign accused Clinton of exploiting the controversy.
Clinton was hurt in recent days by revelations that she embellished the story of her wartime trip to Bosnia. But that story clearly does not have the emotional impact of the Rev. Wright revelations, which come complete with DVDs of the reverend losing it in public.
The story goes on:
The Clinton campaign had refrained from getting involved in the Wright controversy, but Clinton herself, responding to a question this morning, denounced what she said was "hate speech."
"You know, I spoke out against Don Imus (who was fired from his radio and television shows after making racially insensitive remarks), saying that hate speech was unacceptable in any setting, and I believe that," Clinton said. "I just think you have to speak out against that. You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly by getting up and moving."
This is getting very juicy. If Clinton adds the McPeak story, we could have a delightful fight, and Obama might have to rush home from his Caribbean vacation.
March 25, 2008. Permalink
HOW FAR WILL HILLARY GO?
That's the question on everyone's mind, of course. How far will Hillary go to bring down Obama and win the Democratic nomination? Some people, including political people, have a fairly stark view of what's ahead. This is delicious:
I just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.
The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.
The question is -- what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?
What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?
She will have to "break his back," the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.
"Her securing the nomination is certainly possible - but it will require exercising the 'Tonya Harding option.'" the official said. "Is that really what we Democrats want?"
The Tonya Harding Option -- the first time I've heard it put that way.
It implies that Clinton is so set on ensuring that Obama doesn't get the nomination, not only is she willing to take extra-ruthless steps, but in the end neither she nor Obama win the gold.
I can't deny a certain amusement. This was a Democratic Party official doing the talking? Weren't these the same warm-hearted folks who were defending the Clintons not long ago? Weren't these the same charmers who salivated over helping Hillary become the first woman president?
Well, as I've written here, on the political left race always trumps gender. Whomever the anonymous official was, he or she was just following the required pecking order. What's a bureaucrat to do?
It's getting tough out there.
And, helmet on, I'll be back tomorrow.
March 25, 2008. Permalink