Archive for October 19th, 2008

October 19, 2008

Biden: Losing the bigot vote?

Democrats say the darnedest things at San Francisco fundraisers:

As Election Day looms just over two weeks away, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., said Saturday that with Republicans firing “vicious” and “dangerous” attacks at Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., voters are “having a difficult time” opting for the man who would become the nation’s first African American
“Undecided people are having a difficult time just culturally making the change, making the move for the first African American president in the history of the United States of America,” the Democratic vice-presidential nominee said at a San Francisco fundraiser Saturday evening. “So we need to respond. We need to respond at the moment, immediately, not wait, not hang around, not assume any of this won’t stick.”

(Via Jack M. at AOSHQ.) The Obama campaign hoovered up $150 million last month, they’re outspending McCain as much as 4-to-1 in TV advertising, and Biden goes to San Francisco to whine, “Give us more money, because undecided voters are a bunch of racist crackers.”
October 19, 2008

Obama: $150 million in September


The Obama campaign announced this morning that it had raised a record $150 million last month, and had added 632,000 new donors to its total.
The amount shattered the campaign’s previous record from August. The McCain campaign also had a record-breaking month in August, but is now operating with the $84 million provided by public financing for the general cycle and assistance from the Republican National Committee under certain limits.

In a single month, then, Obama collects nearly twice what the McCain campaign collected in matching funds.

According to the New York Times, the Obama campaign has spent $145 million on TV advertising to McCain’s $90 million — a $55 million advantage for the Democrat.

October 19, 2008

Getting ugly

Nothing like the whiff of defeat to make people get angry and start hunting around for scapegoats, and the sense of an impending Maverick meltdown has led to lots of recriminations among people who, truth be told, had nothing to do with this mess.

That’s a big part of why so many conservatives are angry to begin with — we had nothing to do with it. John McCain was never our candidate, and when he locked up the GOP nomination back in February, a lot of conservatives declared that they would never, under any circumstances, vote for McCain. Most have since walked back from that stance, and the Greater Evil of Obama caused a rally-’round effect among Republicans who just months earlier had been vehemently denouncing John McCain.

Now, as hope of a miracle comeback fades among Republicans, the long knives are coming out. Allow me to suggest that the real problem to be confronted goes back to how John McCain got the nomination to begin with. Once Romney dropped out, the remaining alternatives were Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. On economic issues, Huckabee was actually worse than McCain, and he wasn’t really any better on immigration.

Why wasn’t there a candidate in the field with a credible record, the right stance on the major domestic issues, and strong enough financial backing to act as the vehicle for the ABM (Anybody But McCain) Republicans? In spring/summer 2007, a lot of people thought it was going to be Fred Thompson, but after a promising start, Fred just couldn’t seem to make it happen.

Allow me to suggest this explanation: After a party gains and holds the White House for two terms, the mechanism by which the party chooses its presidential nominees becomes rusty from disuse. Remember that LBJ cruised to re-election in 1964, only to be blindsided by Eugene McCarthy in the ’68 New Hampshire primary. LBJ’s vice president, Hubert Humphrey, picked up the mantle of incumbency and went down to defeat. The next time out, the Democrats nominated George McGovern — the mechanism was rusty.

A very similar thing happened after Reagan’s two-term presidency. Reagna succeeded in handing off the incumbency to Bush in 1988, but Bush got blindsided by Buchanan in the New Hampshire primary, then undermined by Ross Perot in the general election. And then in ’96, Bob Dole (who was never a conservative favorite) got the nomination and lost in the general election.

If past is prologue, then, and McCain loses Nov. 4, it’s unlikely that the GOP’s primary system will produce a winning candidate in 2012. To overcome that historic pattern, conservatives will need to begin in 2009 trying to identify and promote several potential 2012 hopefuls who are generally acceptable to a broad coalition of Republican constituencies. Obviously, Sarah Palin’s on that list, but there need to be a number of alternative names, since it’s difficult to know what the situation is going to be like 4 years hence. And there needs to be a plan to ensure that the party coalesces around a consensus conservative candidate by fall of 2011, to prevent any future “Maverick” scenarios.

October 19, 2008

The epigrammatic Tyler Cowen

Nice that the New York Times would actually publish somebody from George Mason:

You’ll note that greed doesn’t play an independent role in this explanation because greed, like gravity, is pretty much always there.

I’ve always hated the idiotic suggestion that “greed” exists only among wealthy business executives. Are rock stars, movie producers and pro athletes not also greedy?

The assertion that rich people are rich because they are more greedy than other people is a claim that can’t withstand the slightest examination in terms of actual facts. Are physicians and engineers more greedy than janitors and retail clerks?

The vilification of the rich as greedy is either (a) ignorance, (b) political demagoguery, or (c) a “sour grapes” rationalization, an attempt to make a virtue of poverty.

October 19, 2008

I was right about Palin

Fred Barnes confirms what I said from the start:

The campaign advisers assigned to prepare Palin for media interviews and the veep debate . . . simply didn’t trust her to perform adequately in those settings. She would need weeks of intense training and study. They were wrong, and at Palin’s expense. . . .
It should have been obvious she could handle the media.

Keeping Palin away from the media — except for high-stakes network interviews — was 180 degrees the opposite from what the McCain campaign should have done, as I said at the time.

If, on the day her selection was announced in Ohio, they would have put her into an impromptu half-hour press conference, then the “beat” reporters covering the campaign wouldn’t have had time to prepare “gotcha” questions, and the pundits wouldn’t have been able to claim the campaign was “hiding” Palin.

A press conference is actually easier to handle than a one-on-one interview (the kind Palin did with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric) because if you get a question you don’t like, you just make a wisecrack and then, “Next question.” Palin could have handled that without any problem.

But there is a mindset among today’s GOP operatives that the successful media strategy is to limit reporters to covering staged and scripted events, and at all costs to kept the press away from the candidate. This defensive, controlled-access policy has the inevitable effect of empowering the campaign operatives and disempowering the candidate. It is the campaign manager (or press spokesman) who is making the decisions of which reporters to talk to and what to say.

This defensive/controlled strategy allows a worthless hack like Tucker Bounds to get himself booked on CNN and become the face and voice of the campaign, rather than letting the candidate speak for himself.

This strategy — which has been the standard playbook with GOP operatives for years — creates a radical disconnect between Republican politicians and the media. You can’t develop relationships with people you never talk to. Reporters need access to do their jobs, and they naturally tend to become hostile toward any source who is perpetually unavailable to them.

George Allen is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, but during his 2006 Senate campaign, his staff wouldn’t let reporters anywhere near Allen. So when “macaca” hit, Allen had no friends in the press who could help him.

None of the bigtime Republican “media strategists” has ever worked a day as a reporter, and it shows.

October 19, 2008

‘Just a guy in my neighborhood’

Bill Ayers? Oh, you must mean the guy whose book Barack Obama favorably reviewed in 1997. The guy whom he joined in a University of Chicago panel discussion organized by Michelle Obama. The guy with whom he shared an office for three years.

Don’t you dare imply that they actually knew each other, you racist.

UPDATE: See-Dubya actually shows us pages from Ayers’ book, which is ostensibly about the juvenile justice system, but seems to contain a lot of self-absorbed writerly crap about Ayers’ neighborhood:

Once a summer colony, Hyde Park today is dominated by the University of Chicago. . . .
To my right the lake, a shimmering sea of blues and greens . . . .

WTF? Is this a policy book about juvenile justice or a travel magazine feature? How do liberal writers get away with this kind of bait-and-switch? Do the publishers simply not care that the manuscript is padded out with personal stuff that has nothing to do with the subject of the book?

Stepping outside into the cool October night, I pondered these questions. There aren’t any streetlights near my home on the heavily wooded western slope of South Mountain, so the stars stand out brightly in the midnight sky. The silver orb of a full moon hung low near the eastern horizon, half visible through the remaining leaves on the towering hickory and oak trees. Brilliant orange and yellow in the daylight, the leaves are just shadows in the moonlight now. I stepped up from the basement door into the backyard and lit a Marlboro — and just then heard the crashing sound of a startled deer scampering into the surrounding woods.

See? Writing that kind of fancy descriptive stuff is the easiest thing in the world. Writing about one’s own personal life requires no research, no footnotes, and it has no business in a book that’s supposed to be about public policy. Ayers was defrauding his readers, and his publisher let him get away with it, just like Barack Obama’s publisher, who paid him to write a policy-oriented book about race relations and instead got a memoir — a freaking memoir!

UPDATE II: The Bill Ayers Method of padding out a public policy book with what amounts to personal journal entries is something I might have to adapt for my book on the 2008 election:

When I got up from the computer and went to the kitchen to refill my glass of iced tea, one of our cats was next to the door, waiting for me to let him out. I opened the door and the gray shadow slipped quickly out into the night. As I walked back toward my office, I passed the den where my sons Jefferson and Emerson were sleeping on the sofa, bathed in the blue glow of the TV. They’d fallen asleep watching a movie, and now were dozing together under the blanket, with our mutt Samson asleep on the floor close by.

Alas, I’m not a famous terrorist-turned-professor or a half-Kenyan Harvard Law student, so no one will pay me to write banal crap like that.

October 19, 2008

Jonathan Cohn, snob

In the fantasy world where I’m the generalissimo whose junta has seized totalitarian power in a coup d’etat, Cohn would die a painfully violent death for writing parenthetically, “A guy named John Rawls once wrote a thing or two about this.”

If you wish to make a reference to Rawls, go ahead and make the reference. Don’t be such a freaking snob as to offer a Cliff Notes thumbnail of A Theory of Justice and then give the reader that condescending fake jocularity, implying that anyone who disagrees is so ignorant as not even to know who Rawls is or else unable to recognize his theory without your sneering aside.

Hello? They’re reading The New Republic! Isn’t it best to assume that readers of a high-brow journal are sufficiently intelligent and erudite that the writers might address them as equals?

Most annoying is how Cohn offers Rawls’ views as if they were self-evident. Why is random chance “unjust”? Whence the “moral” obligation to equalize outcomes? This idiotic liberal tendency to equate inequality with injustice is indefensible as logic. “We have so many people who can’t see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one.” (A famous guy said that. Maybe you should look him up, Jonathan Cohn.)

The purpose of taxation is to collect revenue for the government, not to reward or punish various classes of citizens. The fiscal action of government is never equal, and inevitably divides the population into taxpayers and tax consumers (as another famous guy said), and tax consumers will always argue for the expansion of revenue. If left unchecked, government become nothing more than organized theft, plundering one part of the population in order to enrich another part. “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” (Another famous guy to look up, Mr. Cohn.)

Cohn goes on to say “median wages have been stagnant for a while; inequality is on the rise.” These are separate phenomena — the stagnation and the inequality are not necessarily caused by the same factors — and there is zero evidence for Cohn’s flat assertion that “Obama’s policies would help stop and perhaps even reverse these trends,” especially since we don’t know what those policies would be. We know what Obama has said he will do; what he will actually do is entirely unknown. I certainly have my doubts that he’ll put a dent in the pocketbooks of his wealthy supporters, and even greater doubts that his administration will be marked by an end to the “stagnation” of which Cohn complains.

When the junta seizes power, however, do not doubt what the generalissimo will do to any writer who insults the readership of political journals the way Cohn has done.

Prick him down, Antony.” As a guy once said.

October 19, 2008

Oscar buzz for Anne Hathaway

So says Christopher Orr in the New Republic, who writes of “Rachel Getting Married”:

“. . . perhaps the most elaborately multi-culti Bobo wedding ever committed to celluloid. . . . Depending on your own politico-cultural inclinations, you may wish to respond to this extravaganza by imitating it or by voting a straight Republican ticket.”

Heh. I’ll resist the temptation to discuss my “politico-cultural inclinations” and instead just accept the opportunity to blog about one of my favorite Hollywood hotties, who (a) loves the bad boys, and (b) has had some excellent “wardrobe malfunctions.”

UPDATE: Just called a film-buff friend to try to figure out the “family tragedy” that the critics keep hinting at without ever expressing specifically. It’s this: Hathaway’s character Kym was in a DUI accident that killed her and Rachel’s younger brother.

So this is what explains all of the angst that looms through the film. Nothing like unloading a spoiler on a highbrow Oscar-buzz movie.

October 19, 2008

Urban legend?

(BUMPED — UPDATED BELOW.) This is likely to be one of the most famous quotes of the 2008 campaign, and is told by liberal pro-Obama blogger Sean Quinn, so don’t blame me:

So a canvasser goes to a woman’s door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she’s planning to vote for. She isn’t sure, has to ask her husband who she’s voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, “We’re votin’ for the n***er!”Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: “We’re voting for the n***er.”

The mere fact that this story is being told by a liberal leads me to believe it’s bogus. If a liberal tells me it’s warm and sunny outside, I put on a coat and pick up my umbrella before going out.

UPDATE: The Politico’s Ben Smith finds evidence that Bush fatigue and GOP “brand damage” may be so severe as to negate the so-called Bradley Effect:

Anecdotes from across the battlegrounds suggest that there’s a significant minority of prejudiced white voters who will swallow hard and vote for the black man. “I wouldn’t want a mixed marriage for my daughter, but I’m voting for Obama,” the wife of a retired Virginia coal miner, Sharon Fleming, told the Los Angeles Times recently. One Obama volunteer told Politico after canvassing the working-class white Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown recently, “I was blown away by the outright racism, but these folks are … undecided. They would call him a [racial epithet] and mention how they don’t know what to do because of the economy.”

Meanwhile, despite the evidence that racism won’t prevent Obama’s election, a liberal blogger is still doing the Captain Ahab trip:

The raw racism on display this election season is probably more educational for whites than for blacks, who have had a more accurate picture of reality all along. But, either way, it’s deeply painful to see these suspicions confirmed in such a brazen way. It’s not so much that racist attitudes are being confirmed. It’s that so many people live in microcultures where racism is so accepted that they openly profess their racism to Obama canvassers, reporters, and other perfect strangers. It’s the lack of shame that I find most disturbing.
And it hurts me to know that black people all over the country are being traumatized by these hate-filled expressions of intolerance. It doesn’t help a bit that a racist is going to vote for Obama. That can’t take the sting out of their statements.

Thar she blows! The Evil White Racist!

Jammie Wearing Fool is not intimidated:

Naturally, it’s fine if 105% of blacks (with ACORN’s help, naturally) vote for Obama. We can’t call that racist, because we’d be racist for pointing that out.

It’s also racist to notice that liberals aren’t worried about “hate-filled expressions of intolerance” against Allen West. Or against Michelle Malkin. According to liberals, all racists are not created equal.

October 19, 2008

John McCain still pushing amnesty

Interviewed by John Gizzi for Human Events:

Q: You were in the forefront of the comprehensive immigration package that died in the Senate in ’06. Now you are saying ‘border security’ first…
That’s the reality. The reason it was rejected by the Senate was we didn’t give the American people the confidence that the borders would be secure. But, in all candor, you need to have a path to citizenship [for those] who come here illegally. And you need a temporary worker program.
Q: So will you send the Senate a “border security only” package?
I’m still open to a comprehensive package. But I understand we have to sit down on this. We must secure the borders, we have to have a temporary worker program, we must round up and deport 2 million people who are here illegally and have committed crimes. But people who have gotten here illegally, obeyed the laws, learned English, lived here all their lives and have lived decent lives — they have to go through the naturalization process. They are God’s children.

He lives in an alternative universe, where one can (a) enter the country illegally yet (b) still be said to have “obeyed the laws.” Our immigration laws are laws, and violating the law is a crime, Senator. As they say on talk radio, “What part of ‘illegal’ don’t you understand?”

We had an amnesty in 1986, so who are these illegals who have “lived here all their lives”? Are we talking about 22-year-olds who crawled across the border in 1987? And people only “go through the naturalization process” when they desire to become citizens. So now he’s saying that not only are we going to stop deporting illegals, but they’re going to become citizens, too. If they weren’t willing to “go through the process” to get here legally, what makes him think they’re going to bother with the naturalization process?

If his pigheaded refusal to think clearly about this issue — must all “God’s children” live inside our borders, Senator? — ends up costing him the election, he will have no one but himself to blame.