Archive for August 5th, 2008

August 5, 2008

Live at YAF!

Greetings from the Marvin Center at George Washington University, where I’m covering the 30th National Conservative Student Conference, sponsored by Young America’s Foundation. Will be updating regularly . . .

9:20 p.m. — Rich Lowry was funny. And depressing. The steak was delicious and the carrot cake was good.

8 p.m. — My tablemates at dinner include Kirby Wilbur, talk radio star of Seattle’s KVI, and one of Doug Giles‘s daughters. Also, two students from Patrick Henry College, and Allison Aldrich of CNS News.

7 p.m. — Just got back from a brief pre-dinner at TGI Friday’s, where I interviewed Dan Flynn, who got his start with YAF as an undergraduate at U-Mass./Amherst back in the 1990s. Among other things, he protested the university’s plans to rename the library after W.E.B. DuBois (who joined the Communist Party, praised Stalin and renounced his American citizenship). Flynn had the Flat Iron Steak.

4:50 p.m. — Brooks just finished. He was introduced by YAF intern Alisa Kassil, Kings College in New York, who said of his speech: “I thought it was a refreshing look at the current state of affairs.”

Next up, National Review editor Rich Lowry speaks at tonight’s banquet.

4:15 p.m. — Just met Sgt. Frank Anello, USMC, who is a student at Norwich University in Vermont. Anello, a married father of two, participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and describes the opening day of the war as “the greatest day in my life,” and says he “can’t wait to get back” to Iraq. With more than 8 years in the service, Sgt. Anello is working toward a commission as a platoon leader. Semper fi!

3:45 p.m. — David Brooks is speaking now. I’ve left my recorder in the auditorium for future reference, while I blog some shoutouts for a few of my peeps. Having seen them at previous YAF events and at CPAC, some of these future leaders of conservatism are becoming familiar faces: Sara Mikolajczak, Andrew McIndoe, Ruth Malhotra (who just won her lawsuit against Georgia Tech), Benny Johnson, Dan Lipian, Rachel Coolidge, Tom Qualtere and Gabby Shuster are here, to name just a few.

At any rate, I need to get myself chilled before going back in the room with the originator of “National Greatness” conservatism.

3:10 p.m. — “You can’t trust the Left to write their own history,” Dan Flynn, author of A Conservative History of the American Left, told the hundreds of students gathered here. “They don’t want to be reminded.”

Flynn recounted the history of 19th-century socialist Robert Owen and his “New Harmony” commune, “a complete disaster.” Flynn noted that Owen wished to abolish three great evils: private property, religion and marriage. “It is as it was — not a lot has changed in 180 years,” Flynn said.

The notion of “heaven on earth,” of men running a godless temporal paradise is “the most harmful delusion in history,” Flynn said.

New York Times columnist David Brooks speaks next. Mere coincidence …

2:25 p.m. — Just finished a panel on “Status of the Young Conservative Movement in 2008,” featuring Charlie Smith, chairmon of the College Republican National Committee; Ron Robinson, president of YAF; Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute; and Douglas Minson, executive director of academic affairs at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

During the Q&A session, Crystal Boyd of UNLV asked a question about “brand damage,” students who reject the “conservative” label. She spoke of talking to a fellow student who said, “I’m a libertarian — I’m voting for Obama” — rather a non-sequitur. Ron Robinson answered that this is “often more a question of self-identification,” with students agreeing more with the conservative position on issues. “You have to engage them,” Robinson said. “Do not abandon the conservative label,” he advised, citing the fact that “conservative” is far more popular than “liberal” as a political identifier.

Blackwell pointed out that “the vast majority of college students are apathetic” and said conservative students have an “opening to get these people . . . get a good book or magazine in their hands . . . get them involved.”

August 5, 2008

New ad: ‘The original Maverick’

The brand independent voters love:

Obviously, this is to make sure Maverick’s non-partisan brand ID is not lost due to his sharp attacks on Obama.

August 5, 2008

Obama NOT a flip-flopper

McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker:

“Senator Obama’s stance on offshore oil drilling has been mischaracterized. He has not changed his position. He has continually campaigned against additional drilling, calling the policy a ‘gimmick’ saying it was a ‘scheme’ and ridiculing those who support it. With his steadfast opposition to John McCain’s ‘all of the above’ approach to our energy crisis, Americans should know that Barack Obama remains opposed to additional domestic oil drilling. Speaker Pelosi, and the Sierra Club can take comfort from the fact that Barack Obama still opposes additional domestic oil drilling. Meanwhile, the American people can be sure that John McCain will do what is necessary to reduce this country’s dependence on Middle East oil and bring down prices at the pump.”

That’s going to leave a mark.

August 5, 2008

Obama the rootless

David Brooks puts his finger on something about the disconnect between The One and the many:

His childhood was a peripatetic journey through Kansas, Indonesia, Hawaii and beyond. . . .
His college years were spent on both coasts. He was a community organizer for three years but left before he could be truly effective. He became a state legislator, but he was in the Legislature, not of it. . . .
If Obama is fully a member of any club — and perhaps he isn’t — it is the club of smart post-boomer meritocrats. We now have a cohort of rising leaders, Obama’s age and younger, who climbed quickly through elite schools and now ascend from job to job. They are conscientious and idealistic while also being coldly clever and self-aware. It’s not clear what the rest of America makes of them.

Maybe this is why Obama used the word “planet” eight times in Monday’s speech — his identity is global in scope and, like many of his peers in the cosmopolitan elite, he views national and local attachments as inherently backward and reactionary.

UPDATE: John Zogby:

“The survey results come as Obama, fresh off what had been characterized as a triumphant tour of the Middle East and Europe, including a speech to 200,000 Germans in Berlin. That trip quickly became fodder for an aggressive response ad by the McCain campaign that questioned whether Obama’s popularity around the world meant he was ready to lead the U.S.”

(Via Instapundit.) Rasmussen shows McCain maintaining a 47%-46% lead for the second day in a row. Since July 21, Obama’s lead in the RCP average has shrunk from 4.7 points to 2.3 points.

August 5, 2008

Headlines from Drudge

Totally random, OK?

Am I the only one thinking that maybe being a “tool of Big Oil” isn’t so bad when being a “tool” puts you on the side of increased production that would drive down the price?

But this is just random coincidence … and now Obama changes his mind about tapping the strategic oil reserve. How long before he endorses a gas-tax holiday?

Yeah, remember, when Team Obama said they were planning to send St. Hopey to Alaska? McCain +6 in Alaska. And remember when Team Obama insisted on disenfranchising Democrats in Florida? McCain +6 in Florida. North Carolina? McCain +4. Missouri? McCain +5.

These are all just isolated items, exhibiting no discernible pattern. It would be wrong to try to see them as remotely related in any way.

UPDATE: Now a “fact check” on Obama’s accusation that Maverick’s funded by those eeeevil guys at Big Oil. And Ed Morrissey points out, guess who has Big Oil guys as campaign-cash “bundlers”?

August 5, 2008

‘It’s not a cure for cancer, it’s a blog.’

Rachel Lucas doesn’t want you to misunderstand.

August 5, 2008

Josh Marshall loses it

The TPM pundit accuses Team Maverick of a “headlong dive into sleaze, xenophobia and gonzo bamboozlement.” Because of a couple of ads. Andrea Mitchell shares this folie a deux:

August 5, 2008

Mattera vs. ‘Cold Cash’ Jefferson

‘Most ethical Congress ever’!

(H/T: Michelle at Hot Air.)

Jason Mattera is at this week’s Young America’s Foundation conference in D.C. — and in a few hours, I will be there, too. I’m spending three days covering the event down at George Washington University.

August 5, 2008

Obama whines about ‘issues’

“Just another liberal Democrat” — if Team Maverick were smart, that’s how they’d tag Obama. For all his talk of Change, and all the talk that he’s being hit with racist “code,” The One We’ve Been Waiting For seems to be reading from the standard playbook.

Now, he’s recycling the old complaint that Republicans won’t talk about “the real issues”:

“If you think about this week, what they’ve been good at is distraction,” he said during an expansive and quite humid early morning press conference [in
Florida]. “You’ve got statistics saying we lost another 50,000 jobs. That Florida is in recession for the first time in a decade and a half. And what was being talked about was Paris and Britney.”

Who’s been talking about Paris and Britney, Senator? The “Celeb” ad was about your opposition to new oil drilling, and high fuel costs are a major factor in the recession — Florida’s a tourism-dependent state and, at $4 a gallon, folks can’t afford to drive to Disney World. So instead of whining about “distraction,” why not just tell us again about your plan to fix the energy problem with tire gauges?

Better yet, Captain Planet, how about pandering to the locals by promising more tax money for the space program?

August 5, 2008

Why Obama’s losing

Ed Morrissey makes it explicit, for the benefit of lefty bloggers who pretend they don’t get what’s so stupid about this Obama quote:

We could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling, if everybody was just inflating their tires and getting regular tune-ups. You’d actually save just as much.

As Morrissey demonstrates from multiple sources, this is simply untrue, the silliness of the argument goes beyond its falsehood:

  • The additional production from drilling ANWR and offshore would be many times greater than the amount from such improvements in efficiency.
  • Even if conservation — tire inflation, tuneups, etc. — could reduce consumption, this doesn’t mean that the additional production would be useless. If conservation reduces demand by factor X and additional production could expand supply by the same factor, why would we not choose a potential price savings of 2x from doing both?
  • Checking your tire pressure is a hassle, and tuneups cost money, and thus Obama is demanding we spend our money and time doing these things, rather than simply lift government prohibitions against drilling that would give us cheaper gas without any extra money or effort on our part.
  • There’s a class issue and a hypocrisy issue involved. You can best believe that Obama’s not checking his tire pressure, and his transportation is provided either by your taxes or by campaign contributors, so the cost of a tune-up doesn’t come out of his pocket.

The rich, powerful, successful Harvard Law graduate is telling ordinary Americans how to live their lives, by engaging in expenditures of time and effort that he never has to make himself. Do you lefties think people in Ohio and Pennsylvania are too stupid to understand this?