Please read this paragraph:
In Manchester, England, the Greater Manchester Police rejected the application to join it offered by Craig Briggs, who had just completed four and a half years with the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. He seemingly was qualified but for one shortcoming. He has a tattoo on his lower arm that spells out the shocking name: "ENGLAND." He was formally informed that "Home Office policy precludes applications with tattoos ... which may cause offence and/or invite provocation from the public or colleagues." Informally he was told, "Unfortunately, some people feel intimidated by the word England." And I thought only Nazi swine (and in olden days, the French) were intimidated by the thought of England.
The quote is from today's piece by Tony Blankley, and I urge you to read it all. It's about pathetic attitudes that have grown in Britain. Are we witnessing the decline, or even the end, of a great civilization? Surely we hope not. But I fear that attitudes we're seeing among the British elite are drifting here, and will become more hardened if Senator Obama is elected. Blankley concludes:
England, in her tolerance, has admitted into her midst -- and given succor -- those who loathe her. But more loathsome yet are the natural born Englishmen -- most in high places -- who have forgotten the simple truth of another World War II song:
"There'll always be an England,
And England shall be free,
If England means as much to you
As England means to me."
March 26, 2008. Permalink
Have you heard that Nancy Reagan has endorsed John McCain?
Well, maybe you haven't, especially if you've looked at the online front pages of America's "leading" newspapers. New York Times? No, not there. Washington Post? Can't find it on their first page. Oh, the endorsement was made in California. What about the L.A. Times? Surely... Hmm, not there either. Maybe they forgot. Maybe some young editor doesn't know who Nancy Reagan is.
Or maybe they're making their usual political statement, on the front page.
Now, look, some of you may spot things that I miss. But I think that, when the widow of the most important Republican president since Lincoln makes an endorsement, it might receive a bit of prominence. I fear what we're seeing is an example of news coverage that will be unbelievably biased this year, especially if Obama receives the Democratic nomination.
Well, here's the story. The AP favored us with a mention:
BEL AIR, Calif. (AP) -- Former first lady Nancy Reagan endorsed John McCain for president Tuesday as the Arizona senator continued to collect backing from leading Republicans who might help him unite the party and win over critical conservative voters.
The GOP nominee-in-waiting, in the midst of a West Coast fundraising swing, stopped by the Southern California home of President Reagan's widow to accept the endorsement from the Republican matriarch he called beloved and wonderful.
''I'm very pleased and honored to have the opportunity again to be with Mrs. Reagan and to receive her endorsement for the nomination of my party and for president of the United States,'' McCain said in a five-minute appearance with the former first lady in the driveway of her gated home. ''President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan remain an inspiration to all of us, as an example of honorable and courageous service to the nation.''
In turn, she said only, ''Ronnie and I always waited until everything was decided and then we endorsed. Well, obviously, this is the nominee of the party.''
In a written statement issued earlier in the day, she called McCain a good friend for more than 30 years.
''My husband and I first came to know him as a returning Vietnam War POW, and were impressed by the courage he had shown through his terrible ordeal. I believe John's record and experience have prepared him well to be our next president,'' she said.
March 26, 2008. Permalink
OBAMA IN PENNSYLVANIA - THE GRIM NEWS
The next big test for the Democrats is Pennsylvania, on April 22nd. That's four weeks from yesterday. A careful analysis at Real Clear Politics by researchers who've actually done their homework shows that Senator Obama is in serious trouble in a state that Senator Clinton hopes will show that she, not he, has the greatest appeal in places the Dems must win:
Certainly the Obama campaign is not doing well at all in Pennsylvania.
Just how bad is documented by some key findings from a series of polls, including the Franklin and Marshal College Poll, all released recently. Almost none of the results bode well for Obama. Across the board Clinton is winning and winning big. She has decisively stopped Obama's earlier momentum in Pennsylvania--and seems set for a romp.
Statewide among Democrats, Clinton holds a lead that ranges from 16 to 26 points. The Real Clear Politics consensus estimate is roughly 16 points. She is winning every major region of the state except Philadelphia, while Obama has actually slipped slightly with blacks and more substantially with younger voters--two demographics that are critical backstops for him in the contest. He has also lost support with other key constituencies including white males and evangelicals.
Obama will soon begin a major push in Pennsylvania, so it isn't over. And Senator Clinton must maneuver carefully and speak forcefully, without making exaggerated claims about being under fire in Bosnia. But if present trends continue, Clinton can score a major victory in Pennsylvania, giving her added momentum and authority.
Further, the Clinton people must, as I've urged here before, make the exclusion of Michigan and Florida from the Democratic convention a major, wedge issue. Senator Clinton must say this: "We don't request, we demand, the inclusion of the voters of Michigan and Florida at this convention. It is ridiculous, absurd, insulting, for a party to think it can go into a general election campaign in September, having nominated a candidate at a convention with two of our largest states missing. Our nominee will have no validity. We will lose the election."
Say it. Oh, the fun.
March 26, 2008. Permalink
THE "L" WORD
I'm shocked, shocked, to find out that some people consider Barack Obama a liberal. Can't we get past these labels, these smears, these appeals to savage political divisions?
The Washington Post reports that Mr. Obama's opponents won't let him off the L-hook, seeing in him not some new visionary, but an old-style big-government L-word. You mean, someone from the Chicago political machine isn't a pristine American original? Well, at least consider the possibility:
Sen. Barack Obama offers himself as a post-partisan uniter who will solve the country's problems by reaching across the aisle and beyond the framework of liberal and conservative labels he rejects as useless and outdated.
But as Obama heads into the final presidential primaries, Sen. John McCain and other Republicans have already started to brand him a standard-order left-winger, "a down-the-line liberal," as McCain strategist Charles R. Black Jr. put it, in a long line of Democratic White House hopefuls.
"His personal countenance and the way he speaks and comes across is anti-ideological," said Peter H. Wehner, who served as Bush's deputy assistant. "He radiates a kind of reasonableness and fair-mindedness. He has the capacity to give voice to another person's argument even as he disagrees with them. All those things work in his favor and make it more difficult to pin an ideological label on him."
That said, Wehner added, Obama is vulnerable because he can point to no major area where he has broken with liberal orthodoxy, as Bill Clinton did with welfare reform in his 1992 campaign.
Obama indicated early last year that he might push merit pay for teachers, which is unpopular with teachers unions, but he makes little mention of that now. The one point in his stump speech where he presents himself as speaking hard truths is in telling automobile executives that they must improve fuel efficiency -- already a popular idea with Democrats.
The real kicker is that Hillary is hitting Barack with the L-bomb:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has also started slapping the L-word on Obama, warning that his appeal among moderate voters will diminish as they become more aware of liberal positions he took in the past, such as calling for single-payer health care and an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba. "The evidence is that the more [voters] have been learning about him, the more his coalition has been shrinking," Clinton strategist Mark Penn said.
Hillary attacking a guy for being an L? Did you expect to see this in the lifetime of a normal person? Is this not the best show on the air?
March 26, 2008. Permalink
DOLLARS AND JOURNALISTS
Finally, if you don't think the blogosphere is important, consider the fact that the money squeeze is reducing the number of reporters traveling with presidential candidates. Coverage is decreasing, not increasing. It's a pathetic spectacle, leading to the logical conclusion that the new media will become increasingly influential. That's not necessarily good. Websites vary in their level of professionalism and responsibility. But it's the reality, as The New York Times reports:
Among the newspapers that have chosen not to dispatch reporters to cover the two leading Democratic candidates on a regular basis are USA Today, the nation’s largest paper, as well as The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, The Miami Herald and The Philadelphia Inquirer (at least until the Pennsylvania primary, on April 22, began to loom large).
Traveling campaign reporters say they try to do more than just regurgitate raw information or spoon-fed news of the day, which anyone who watches speeches on YouTube can do. The best of them track the evolution and growth (or lack thereof) of candidates; spot pandering and inconsistencies or dishonesty; and get a measure of the candidate that could be useful should he or she become president.
Deep and thoughtful reporting is also being produced by journalists off the trail. And some news organizations that can afford it are doing both. But the absence of some newspapers on the trail suggests not only that readers are being exposed to fewer perspectives drawn from shoe-leather reporting, but also that fewer reporters will arrive at the White House in January with the experience that editors have typically required to cover a president on Day 1.
Well, maybe if some newspapers won back the confidence of their readers by fair, complete, and unbiased reporting, they might make more money, and devote some of it to campaign reporting. Just a thought. Don't mean to intrude.
And I'll be back tonight, or, under our new policy, even sooner.
March 26, 2008. Permalink