Archive for July 25th, 2008

July 25, 2008

‘Le John Kennedy noir’

Oh, this is rich:

[T]he French do seem for the most part keen to welcome “le John Kennedy noir” (the black JFK) as AFP describes him. The media also is mostly welcoming. Le
Figaro
, in an article headlined “Obama discovers a Europe already conquered,” calls him the antithesis of Bush and also reports that 84% of the French have a favorable opinion of him compared with just 33% having a favorable opinion of McCain. The article also touches on the “JFK factor” and comments that even though Europe would welcome pretty much any non-Republican after Bush, Obama is even more welcome because of his opposition to the war in Iraq and his progressive ideas on social issues.

Les Amis des Noirs! And of course, any American politician beloved by the French is destined for victory, as Jean Francois Kerry could testify.
July 25, 2008

Ruh-roh: Is this a bounce?

Barack Obama moves to a 5-point lead (49%-44% including leaners) over John McCain in the latest Rasmussen daily tracking poll. Just a week ago, Rasmussen had it tied at 46%. This is the biggest lead for Obama in the Rasmussen poll since July 8.

UPDATE: Confirmed. Houston, we have a bounce! After three days in the 2%-4% range, it’s now Obama 47%, McCain 41% in the latest Gallup daily tracking poll. But a six-point lead isn’t new for Obama: He also led by six points on July 5, July 10, and July 20.

The day Obama arrived in Afghanistan, I said that we would have to wait until July 31 to know the full impact of this trip on public opinion. But if Obama’s media admirers want to go ahead and exchange high fives now, go right ahead. Nothing like counting those chickens before they’re hatched . . . or “come home to roost,” as Rev. Jeremiah Wright might say.

UPDATE II: I’m surprised at some progressive bloggers setting their readers up for potential heartbreak by reading too much into today’s polls. These tracking polls are based on three-day averages of rolling samples and — over time — give a good idea of the trend in the race. But this one-day bump to a 6-point lead in the Gallup only returns Obama to where he was on July 20. While Obama might maintain or expand that lead in the next round of daily tracking, it’s also entirely possible that he might drop back to the statistically insignificant 2%-3% range in the near future.

God help us if any national poll ever shows McCain leading — the Democrats will have to turn their vote-canvassing phone banks into suicide-prevention hotlines, and convert their meetups into depression therapy groups. Get a grip, people — it’s only July.

UPDATE III: Linked by Allahpundit, who asks:

Saturation coverage, adoring crowds, no major mistakes: If this isn’t enough to reassure voters jittery about him, what hope left does he have for a big lead?

I wouldn’t say he’s made no major mistakes. He didn’t visit Landstuhl, essentially because he was told he couldn’t turn it into a campaign photo op — a decision that reinforces the fact this entire trip was nothing but a campaign photo op. Obama’s “citizen of the world” rhetoric was also a mistake, exposing him to widespread ridicule.

It’s too early to try to assess the impact. We still have three days before Obama returns stateside — a scene that should be like JFK Airport on Feb. 7, 1964:

(You know, that music is still jammin’. More? Did I hear somebody say “more”?)

July 25, 2008

‘Had we listened to Obama …’

Jamie Kirchick in the Politico:

Had we listened to Obama back in January 2007, the effects of the surge would never have materialized, and we would not be in the place we are today, where talking about victory in Iraq no longer seems preposterous. So manifestly wrong was Obama about the surge that his spokesmen are saying he always believed it would reduce violence, and earlier this month his campaign removed negative references to it on his website.
We are incessantly told, without any real evidence other than a compromise bill here and there in the Illinois state Senate, that Obama is an incomparably thoughtful politician, the likes of which we have never seen before. . . .
To admit that his judgment was wanting on the subject of the surge would irreparably damage — if not kill — the Democratic narrative of the war.

What’s really weird about this past week is that Obama has thrust the focus onto foreign affairs at a time that (a) polls indicate voters are most concerned about domestic economic policy, and (b) the success of the surge is taking the wind out of the sails of the anti-war issue.

We’re kind of where we were in 1972 when George McGovern ran an anti-war campaign, only to discover that — once Nixon started “Vietnamization” and ended the draft — the peace movement has lost its oomph.

July 25, 2008

Berlin Backlash Builds

Barack Obama’s grandiose gesture — “a manifesto for the planet,” as Mike Allen calls it — at the Siegessaule in Berlin prompts an inevitable reaction, and it’s not good news for the apostles of Hope. As yesterday’s Quote of the Day hinted, it is a political liability to be seen as a “citizen of the world” who seems “more popular in Germany than in rural Pennsylvania.” And as Instapundit says, “This headline won’t help”:

Especially when, as Ed Morrissey points out, the visit was apparently cancelled because the military wouldn’t allow Obama to bring along his media entourage for a photo-op.

Further reaction is likely — El Rushbo is already ripping Obama over his “arrogant” speech– and I’ll try to update as the backlash builds today.

UPDATE: Susan Estrich explains why Obama could be hurt by his status as a media darling:

[B]eing the favorite of the press doesn’t necessarily win you votes. Most people don’t actually like the press. The friend of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Being liked by the boys and girls on the bus doesn’t necessarily earn you the respect of the people back home.

Ding, ding, ding! Another hubris alert from Nicole Allan at The New Republic:

During his Berlin speech today, at which he was welcomed with seeming rapture, he spoke to the “people of the world” as if he were already president of the United States of America and all she represents. The McCain camp was quick to read some irony into this.

Republicans doing irony? How dare they!

UPDATE II: Meanwhile, continuing the trend noted in my Pajamas Media article Wednesday, John McCain keeps up the attack in the “heartland”:

“My opponent, of course, is traveling in Europe, and tomorrow his tour takes him to France,” Mr. McCain said with [Tour de France champion Lance] Armstrong at the Columbus event, according to his prepared remarks. “In a scene Lance would recognize, a throng of adoring fans awaits Senator Obama in Paris — and that’s just the American press.”

Remember that the latest Rasmussen poll shows McCain 10 points ahead in Ohio.

UPDATE III: Mocked by the Times of London.

UPDATE IV: Howard Kurtz reports:

Not everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid. Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass wrote of the coverage: “McCain is now cast as the crabby uncle who visits and shrieks there’s no gin in your house,” while Obama is “busy fighting off throngs of reporters, a cast of thousands as urgent and impassioned as in those old Hollywood biblical epics.”
Ralph Begleiter, a former CNN correspondent who is now journalist in residence at the University of Delaware, says the notion that Obama was making real news — as opposed to exploiting pretty backdrops — is “a sham argument. Of course it’s a photo op. If he wanted to go to Afghanistan as a senator, he could have done it.”

There can be no doubt that, if Obama loses Nov. 4, the media will go into mourning.

UPDATE V: Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) on MSNBC:

Barack Obama has always had a great charismatic style, but the substance has never been there and his inexperience is one of the things that troubles a lot of people. . . . He went [to Europe] . . . to try to give himself some kind of kind of patina of credibility.

Watch out for the shark, Fonzie!

UPDATE VI: Congratulations to Michelle Malkin, who celebrated her 15th wedding anniversary yesterday, and returns today to observe of the media’s honeymoon with Obama: “Ever so slowly, the glow is dimming.”

July 25, 2008

None of the above

Which candidate opposes the housing bailout?
A. Republican Sen. John McCain
B. Democratic Sen. Barack Obama
C. None of the above:

“Both the House and President George W. Bush have surrendered in the battle to protect America’s taxpayers from yet another expensive and unnecessary bailout. The $300 billion measure yesterday approved by the House and endorsed by the White House won’t just pay off improvident borrowers and lenders. It will create yet another piggy-bank for activist groups at public expense. . . .
“The sub-prime lending crisis is largely a crisis of government. Congress and both Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush pressed banks to lend more money in poor neighborhoods to less credit-worthy borrowers. The Federal Reserve pushed down interest rates to encourage more lending. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidized home ownership. Now we are all paying the price for a boom gone bust.”

So says Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, who just released a video about The Time for Liberty, an idea endorsed by Ron Paul — and Ayn Rand, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan . . .

July 25, 2008

Murderers for Obama

This key constituency shrank by one:

Before he died Wednesday evening, death row inmate Dale Leo Bishop apologized to his victim’s family, thanked America and urged people to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
“For those who oppose the death penalty and want to see it end, our best bet is to vote for Barack Obama because his supporters have been working behind the scenes to end this practice,” Bishop said.
Bishop, 34, was pronounced dead by lethal injection at 6:14 p.m. . . .

Bishop was convicted for his role in the beating death of Marcus Gentry.

July 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

“It’s unquestionably true that most Americans want the rest of the world to think better of them. On the other hand, it’s also true that, if asked whether they’d vote for a man whose father was Kenyan, who lived in Indonesia as a child, and who seems more popular in Germany than in rural Pennsylvania, a majority would probably say no.”
Noam Scheiber

July 25, 2008

Obama in Berlin

As Ed Morrisey notes, this video of the speech was sent out by the Obama campaign as part of a fundraising email:

Other reaction from around the ‘Net:

  • James Poulos calls the “citizen of the world” line a mistake.
  • Daniel Larison calls the line a “blunder” and says: “Obama misjudges the public mood here in the U.S. quite badly if he thinks that ‘this is the moment’ when Americans are interested in tearing down walls and embracing globalisation.”
  • The German press is predictably enthusiastic.
  • Dean Barnett: “Perhaps Obama’s ego has grown so large that he figures one country, even the world’s lone superpower, is no longer worthy of his leadership. A quick prediction — ‘the citizen of the world’ mess-up will be one of the issues that frames the rest of the election.”
  • Kevin Holtsberry: “What it really came down to . . . was Obama the messiah giving the world a giant pep talk.”
  • Obama didn’t have time to visit U.S. troops in Germany, but Karen Tumulty of Time notes that he and his staff had time for “celebratory martinis” after the speech.

My reaction to the speech? Just click the video:

Ich bin ein “Kumbayah”!

July 25, 2008

Hype: The Obama Effect

The new Citizens United documentary about Barack Obama will debut next month in Denver on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.

Lisa De Pasquale writes that the DVD will be available Sept. 1 and a limited theatrical release is planned beginning Sept. 8.

Citizens United does excellent work with documentaries. After they premiered Hillary: The Movie in January, one woman who saw the film told me, “I can’t imagine how anyone could ever vote for her after seeing that.” That quote came from Kathleen Willey.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with a spokesman for Citizens United, who informs me that production is still underway — meaning the final product will include Obama’s European tour and the reaction to it. The spokesman also confirmed that the Obama documentary is being produced by the same team that did Hillary: The Movie, with Alan Peterson as director and Matthew Taylor as director of photography. So this should be a very powerful film.