Saturday, August 30, 2008

MoveOn Vs. the Hockey Mom

It's been a little over 24 hours since Sarah Palin was named to be John McCain's running mate against Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and operatives on the Left have been busy trying to dig up dirt on Palin or demeaning her in any way they can. Take this offering from MoveOn's opposition research division:

Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:

She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK

She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK

As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK

Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK

She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK

I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team


1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008

PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Yeah, and I'm donating heavily to Ron Paul.

Now, if you look at MoveOn's "research" a couple of things pop out. First, essentially most of their sources are "internal," meaning they're all from sources either connected to MoveOn in some way (HuffPo) or with like-minded idealogues (MSNBC). That's like writing a piece about how George W. Bush eats baby seals for breakfast and using nothing but citations from Then again, this is MoveOn we're talking about here. Their idea of intellectual honesty is saying they hate Bush and all Republicans in the first line of their emails.

The other thing that popped out to me is more of a perception than a hard fact. It seems to me MoveOn, and other Leftists for that matter, are trying to use fear-based tactics. Palin is "anti-choice" (i.e. she thinks a fetus is a baby, not a glob of issue like the pro-kill baby side). Big deal. She's going to be Vice President, so she's not going to have a lot of say on the abortion subject. Even if she ascends to the Presidency, she'll have precious little power to stop abortions. Palin supports offshore drilling? Given how gas prices are still well above $3 a gallon and families would like to be able to afford food and gas, that's a net plus for her.

And so on down the line. Every reason MoveOn gives is to be expected, but really doesn't hold that much relevance to someone looking for real information on where Palin stands on the issues. MoveOn has more axes to grind than a lumberjack camp, as any objective reader can see. But what is more interesting is how quickly the Left has gone negative and fear-based on Palin. If she's as unpopular as MoveOn wants to make her seem, why would they bother to "expose" Palin to people who probably wouldn't vote for McCain/Palin in the first place? Simple. It's so they can spread the misinformation to others like them to invent a groundswell against her.

But here's the thing the MoveOn folks aren't counting on. We got to see and hear Palin on Friday, well before MoveOn could mobilize, and she carried herself well by most accounts. That's going to blunt a lot of MoveOn's attacks against her, and as time goes on, we'll see opportunities for Palin to try to withstand other, more substantive attacks. From what I've heard, she's more than capable of handling the tough questions, which means she'll be able to sleepwalk through the MoveOn talking points.

And it leaves MoveOn looking like bitter partisan tools.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Democrats, Be Afraid. Be Very, Very Afraid.

Remember how the Democrats had a big unity-palooza event over the past two nights? With one decision, John McCain just called the cops and broke up the party.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin adds quite a few new wrinkles in the Presidential race, mainly with the voting blocs she can bring to the GOP. Here are a few I see.

Soccer moms: Palin is a self-described "hockey mom" not unlike the women who voted for Bill Clinton twice. By being one of them, Palin can attract soccer moms to vote Republican. And from what I've seen of her so far, she has the personality to make the sale.

Michigan voters: Thanks to the inept Democrat leadership in Michigan right now, I think Michigan is in play or will be as the election gets closer. And remember the previous point where I said Palin is a "hockey mom." Guess what sport is huge in Michigan. That's right: hockey. The first time she gets into a hockey conversation in, say, Detroit, McCain can count on the votes rolling in.

Mainstream feminists: This is not to be confused with what I call "movement feminists" who are more about abortion than actual women's rights. Mainstream feminists are the real feminists who look for opportunities to showcase their skills to their superiors in the business world. Palin is a success story to mainstream feminists and should be able to relate that success to others like her. That will make them feel their voices will be heard, and if Palin has anything to say about it, they will.

Conservative Republicans: One of the biggest knocks against McCain has been that he's not friendly with conservative Republicans, especially religious Republicans. Palin wipes out most, if not all, of those concerns. She's pro life, pro drilling, pro business...all the things the conservative Republicans love.

Men: This is a completely sexist point, but it's a plus for Palin. She's smokin' hot. Any straight man with his head screwed on straight can't ignore that.

Hillary voters: No, this isn't a misprint. One of the things that the Obama campaign needs to be aware of is the fact that he's not bringing in the Hillary Clinton voters. A good 30% or more have already said they won't vote for Obama and will vote for McCain. Even though there was a day or two of catharsis, with Palin in the race, they now have a reason to vote for McCain other than to deny Obama.

There may be others that come into the McCain/Palin fold or are already there, but the ones I've mentioned shouldn't be discounted or overlooked. At the end of the election season, we'll see just how great a decision it was to put Palin on the ticket, but from where I sit right now, it was the perfect counter to undercut Obama/Biden on a day they should have been riding high.

Last Impressions of the Last Night of the DNC

Okay, I've had a night to sleep on it, so here's my take on the Obama speech.

1) For someone known to be an inspirational speaker, Obama's speech was mostly flat. Not much soaring rhetoric until near the end, not much energy until near the end, and it was mostly recycled ideas designed to fire up the base. He really didn't bring his A-game and the speech itself didn't lend itself to Obama's strengths.

2) I'm sure Invesco Field seemed like a good idea on paper, but after the rousing applause Bill Clinton got Wednesday night, the applause Obama got seemed muted by being outdoors. Not exactly the best image for a "rock star" like Obama.

3) There were more than a few attacks on John McCain, George W. Bush, and Republicans in general in Obama's speech. Isn't this the same guy who said he was tired of the way campaigns were being run?

4) Could the fireworks and confetti displays after Obama's speech be any more lame? All of the build-up to the speech from the Democrats and the media (who are pretty much the same thing)...and it was a bigger anti-climax than a guy with ED and performance anxiety.

7) The stage set-up was interesting. After viewing it a few times in long shots, it looked remarkably like...the Oval Office. This may be the only thing they got right all convention. As a speaker, I know the importance of setting and atmosphere can make or break a speech. But it shouldn't be the only thing you're bringing to the table. You have to have something to say.

8) John McCain showed unbelievable class yesterday when his campaign released an ad congratulating Obama for winning the Democratic nomination. Now, compare that to the number of cheap shots Obama and Democrats took on McCain over the past 4 days. If there was anything McCain could have done to stop the momentum Obama had coming out of the DNC, it was putting out the ad he did yesterday.

9) One more thing about McCain. This week his campaign showed that they can take on Obama-Biden on their turf and stay one step ahead of them. The very fact McCain kept coming up in conversation during the DNC, other than in negative terms, is a bad sign for Obama/Biden. If McCain keeps this up, the RNC may produce a bigger bounce than Obama got from the DNC.

10) Did you notice there were no balloons at Obama's speech last night? Jim Leher said that there wasn't a way to do it, but I think there was another reason. Remember the 2004 DNC when the balloons didn't fall when scheduled? That has more to do with the lack of balloons in my opinion than the venue.

11) I haven't mentioned the media much in these posts because there wasn't much to talk about. They're in the tank for Obama. With only a few exceptions, the coverage was pretty much positive. Heck, MSNBC might as well change its name to Moron Sycophantic Numbnuts for Barack's Campaign the way Keith Olbermann was slobbering.

Since the Olympics just ended earlier this week, I'm going to judge the DNC using a standard similar to that used in figure skating. The standards I'll be using are the compulsary (doing the minimum of what they were trying to do at the DNC) and artistic (how artfully they did it).

Compulsary: They got Barack Obama and Joe Biden nominated with a relative minimum of fuss. That gets them on the board. However, I am going to take off points for making a big production number out of a point of parliamentary procedure and how badly it was handled by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Hillary being the one to wrap up the roll call vote in Obama's favor and watching Pelosi really jump the gun with letting it happen without waiting for those opposed to the motion. Badly done on both sides. Out of a possible 5 points, I give the DNC 3.75 points.

Artistic: There's one word that describes my feelings on the DNC in the artistic category: ouch. Too many speakers saying the same things. Speakers yelling when they should have let their words be the powerful moments they wanted. Speakers who weren't used to using a teleprompter getting prime time speaking slots. Digging at the bottom of the political barrel and finding complete unknowns to give speeches. And with the "big ticket" speeches...most fell flat. Only the speeches by Bill and Hillary Clinton saved the DNC from getting a zero here. Out of a possible 5 points, I give the DNC 1 point.

Total score for the DNC: 4.75.

Next, the RNC. Keep your eyes peeled for the same kind of analysis and fun as you saw with these posts about the DNC. And, yes, I promise to try to do better. :-)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Impressions on the Last Night of the DNC

The last night of the DNC...

1) I've said it before and I'll say it again. Bill Richardson with a Van Dyke reminds me of the Mirror Universe episode of "Star Trek." Until I see proof to the contrary, I'm saying he's the Mirror Universe Bill Richardson.

2) Richardson mentioned the "McCain voted with Bush 95% of the time" and then asked the audience if this is an indication of being his own man. With not even an iota of irony in the crowd, the crowd all chanted in unison, "No."

3) Last night at the convention, we saw whites and blacks coming together. Tonight, we're seeing more Hispanics. I guess the Democrats' new slogan is "Vote for Us: We're Ethnic!"

4) Something you might not have noticed is that the estimates for the people attending Obama's speech tonight. The initial estimates were at over 80,000, but as the week has gone on, that number has shrunk to 60,000. Could the Obamessiah be losing his touch?

5) The Gallup daily tracking polls shows Obama back up by 6% after three days of the DNC. Before then, John McCain was up by 1. Just on three nights of the DNC, Obama has made up 7 points. Watch for his speech tonight to catapult him into double digits, possible into a double digit lead over McCain. And then watch it tumble back to a tighter race within a week or two.

6) Speaking of McCain, I have to hand it to his campaign. They've managed to hit at Obama where it hurts with funny and informative ads. Even the ads not connected to the McCain campaign have been very well done. And the fact that the Obama folks haven't been able to counter them effectively or at all speaks volumes.

7) Joe Biden's acceptance speech last night was...interesting in that it followed the same pattern as the multitude of speakers before him. But the thing is he really didn't get the applause until he was done. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, had to try to keep down the applause. The only thing that might have saved Biden is the fact that Obama came out as a "surprise guest" at the end of Biden's speech. Obama/Biden is turning into the political equivalent of The Odd Couple.

8) While we're on the subject, who in their right minds thinks Joe Biden or Barack Obama knows anything about blue collar workers? Didn't think so. Moving on...

9) One song that I'm sure didn't make Stevie Wonder's song list for the Obama rally: "Superstitious."

10) Al Gore coming out to "Let the Sunshine In"? Not only is it a bad hippie song (which coincides with Gore being a bad hippie), but doesn't the sun make a planet, say...the Earth, warmer? I'm thinking there's an RNC mole in the DNC doing the song lists.

11) Even though it's been a number of years since he's been in the spotlight, you can still count on Al Gore to give a damn boring speech.

And lastly before the Obamessiah's speech...

12) Have you noticed the Obama/Biden signs? Obama's name is in bold as bright as anything, and Biden's name? Not so much. It's almost like they're trying to hide him on the ticket or something.

A wrap-up post tomorrow...or at least until the Obama folks try to shut me down for posting non-glowing commentary about the Obamessiah!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Impressions of the Third Night of the DNC

There seems to be a pattern forming here...

1) Kicking off the day's festivities was a respectful flag presentation and a very good rendition of the National Anthem. The only thing I found funny? The guy singing the National Anthem looked like a Native American version of Elvis. Having said that, Chief Hunka-Hunka-Burnin'-Love is a heck of a singer...

2) Harry Reid is talking about how George W. Bush failed to deal with the oil shortages and is going with much of the same crap we've heard from the Left for years. But I'm not sure he realizes that his counterpart in the House, Nancy Pelosi, shut down debate on lifting the Congressional ban on offshore drilling a few weeks ago, which actually is hurting the American people more than he says George W. Bush is. Does he? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah...


4) Back to Reid for a moment. He's giving his speech...and it sounds like nobody's listening. And his attempt to paint McCain's energy plan as a snake oil salesman is falling on deaf ears, and rightfully so. I'm pretty sure Reid has a lot of experience with such people, considering he's parroting Al Gore's lies...

5) Remember the old TV show "B. J. and the Bear" with Greg Evigan and a chimp? I was reminded of that when I heard tonight's two big speakers were Bill Clinton and Joe Biden. If the two of them were to do a TV show, the title should be "B. J. and the Bore."

6) More yelling instead of speaking. Folks, let me tell you a secret of public speaking. If you have to shout, it's usually to hide a weak message behind an illusion of strength. With the yelling I've heard so far at the DNC, it doesn't bode well for Obama.

7) The quote of the night so far came from a retired former Command Sgt. Major of the U. S. Army Reserve as it pertains to Obama's leadership with the military. "Senator Barack Obama's record speaks for itself." My response: "Yes, but not in the way you think."

8) Is it just me, or has the DNC done a little as possible to talk about Obama? This has to be troubling to the Obama campaign because this is supposed to be his coronation. Instead, it's turning into one big me-fest. Funny how it was exactly like this in 2004. And we all know that one turned out...

9) Speaking of Obama, I saw pictures of the stage he'll be using tomorrow night and it looks like a cross between the pillars you see in a Hercules movie and the White House. In either case, it could be a major debacle for someone who has been accused of being elitist.

10) Madeline Albright lecturing us about bad foreign policy is like having Bill Clinton lecture John Edwards about marital fidelity.

11) Evan Bayh went from moderate Democrat to DailyKosmonaut in 2 minutes. I know he's at the DNC, but could he at least speak without George Soros's hand up his ass?

And just so we have an even dozen...

12) Have you noticed all the chanting going on at the DNC? It's almost like the Democrats are holding a religious service for their leader, the great and powerful Barack. Next time a Democrat tells you that you're a "mind-numbed Bushbot" tell them to review the tape of the DNC and count the number of times the "free thinking" and "intelligent" Democrats act like Pavlov's dogs in an alarm clock factory.

That's all for now. Maybe more later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Impressions on the Second Night of the DNC

I figured I'd repeat the kind of thing I did last night. Enjoy.

1) I've been watching PBS's coverage (in case you were wondering), and what I'm watching right now is a 20 year old woman telling two older women (three if you count the moderator) telling them to "get in line" behind Obama. And one of the older women who switched her allegiance from Clinton to Obama is agreeing with her. Gee, nothing like forced unity among sisters, huh?

2) Steny Hoyer has the same problem Jesse Jackson Jr. had last night: he's yelling at us when he should be talking to us. And when he talks about a "failure of leadership," one has to wonder if George W. Bush is laughing his butt off that he's getting criticized on his leadership skills from one of the people responsible for Congress's approval ratings hitting single digits.

3) Gallup shows something interesting. After Obama picked Joe Biden to be his running mate, it seems John McCain got a bounce. That has to be a kick in the shins for Obama/Biden.

4) Speaking of McCain, he appeared last night on "The Tonight Show" to an audience I'll bet was bigger than those watching the DNC. As much as I dislike Leno, McCain made the right move by appealing to a larger, more diverse, and more importantly "hipper" audience. That's going to go a long way to disrupting the image that McCain is a "wrinkly old dude."

5) Hmmm...Hoyer quoted McCain directly in his yelling...I mean speech. Might that have something to do with the McCain ad quoting Hillary Clinton about Obama's lack of leadership? Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

6) Another blunder for the DNC at the DNC. A union worker, Pauline Beck, is doing a bad job of reading a speech about Obama spending a day with her on the job as a home care worker. No passion, no real rhythm, and no real substance.

7) Another union blunder. Somewhere between Beck and Hoyer is Anna Berger, the secretary of the same union Beck belongs to. At this point, I feel I need to do a public service announcement: Friends don't let friends scream and read a speech badly at the same time.

8) Tonight and tomorrow night, we get to see Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton on stage at the DNC...where Obama is supposed to get the nomination. How in the heck did they swing that?

9) I have just one thing about Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano: IT'S A MAN, BABY!

10) I'm finding it easier to handle the DNC by putting my TV on mute whenever there's a speaker. Coincience? I think not.

Sorry I can't devote a full hour, but I have stuff to watch reruns of "House." Dang, I love that show!

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Impressions from the First Night of the DNC

We're an hour into the Democratic National Convention, and I have some thoughts from watching it.

1) If the Democrats wanted to kick off their convention with a bang, they failed. Miserably. From Nancy Pelosi's rambling speech to Jesse Jackson Jr. screaming at the audience, the first hour was not the Democrats' finest hour. It's still early, but it's not looking good.

2) Is it just me, or are the Democrats trying a little too hard to portray themselves as patriotic, Christian, and working class folks? The first hour of the convention, I saw Pelosi harping on how Obama is a patriot, Jimmy Carter proclaiming that Obama is a Christian, and Jesse Jackson Jr. screaming that Democrats are for the working man. The problem is that if you have to keep telling people what you are, most likely you're not what you say you are. Add this to the number of American flags being waved by convention goers, and it just looks and smells like the Dems are trying to convince people (and themselves) that they're just as patriotic as the GOP.

3) Whomever set the date for the DNC this year should be fired. This is a horrible time for the Democrats to showcase their party, mainly because of the Olympics. Americans have already invested quite a bit of time watching TV over the past couple of weeks, and the convention is a big time for interested parties to get a chance to see one of the major political parties in action. Do you honestly think people are going to invest in four more nights of TV watching when there are no sports involved? I don't. Furthermore, people traditionally don't pay attention to a Presidential election until after Labor Day, and the DNC is...before Labor Day. Oops.

4) Seriously, can we do something about Jimmy Carter being on air? The only thing that would have made his interview with Jim Leher on PBS any more unbearable would be if Carter were doing a sit-down interview with Larry King. Carter has not aged well and looked positively feeble-minded when Leher asked him about a negative statement Carter made in 2006 about Obama's lack of experience. Carter's response was pathetic: "Well, that was two years ago."

5) Nancy Pelosi's speech tonight was punctuated with several opportunities to say, "And John McCain is wrong." But Pelosi made more than a few errors in her speech, not the least of which being a statement about "our democracy." Sorry, Madame Speaker, but we aren't a democracy. We are a constitutional republic. In other words, I was right...AND NANCY PELOSI WAS WRONG!

6) I don't know what it is, but seeing Keith Olbermann trying to look and sound like a legitimate journalist makes me giggle.

7) Obama's half sister gave a speech within the first hour of the convention. How could I tell? She was having a hard time reading the teleprompter, too.

Well, that's all I could stomach for one night. Tune in tomorrow to see if I can make it through another hour of the DNC.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

VP or Plan B?

It's taken me this long to get past the disbelief that Barack Obama has chosen Joe Biden to be his running mate, pending the results of the convention. Depending on who you ask, this is either a brilliant choice or a horrible choice. Biden is seen as a foreign policy expert, having served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for a number of years, and has been known to hit back against Republicans who criticize him or the Democratic Party. Critics say Biden is egotistical and out of touch.

From a stratgetic standpoint, the Biden pick had me puzzled for a while. Delaware, Biden's home state, isn't going to go Republican anytime soon. Biden's been in the Senate for a long time, which contradicts on some level Obama's message of "doing things differently." Even if he's one of Obama's greatest defenders on the campaign trail, he's made more than a few statements that could come back to haunt him and the ticket. So, why would Obama elevate Biden when there aren't that many upsides to him?

Biden was Obama's "Plan B."

In the 2004 election, Howard Dean was the Barack Obama of the 2008 election until the Iowa Caucuses. After a few miscalcuations and some media manipulation, Dean looked weak and the party felt they needed a new candidate. Enter John Kerry, a fundamentally flawed candidate, but one that could serve as a viable, and more importantly politically "safe", alternative to Dean. And we all know how that turned out.

Personally, I think John Edwards was Obama's first pick. Edwards is young, handsome, and really would have been able to beat the drums for change. Plus, prior to the whole affair with another woman scandal, he was relatively scandal-free, and he would have been able to draw a number of voters who were supporting Hillary Clinton. After the story about his affair and alleged love child came to surface, though, Obama needed to find an alternative. Enter Joe Biden, who is a politically safe choice.

But there is always a drawback to a "safe" choice: it can turn into a boring choice. Obama's candidacy has been built on youthful energy and a desire for change. Having someone who at least on the surface looks like the opposite of what got Obama this far undercuts the seriousness of the message somewhat. With the majority of Obama supporters, it's not going to matter, but I'll bet there are more than a few supporters who are questioning the pick, if not their entire support for Obama.

And with a few days before the Democratic National Convention in Denver, that could spell the difference between an Obama victory and an Obama defeat.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Trap Of Their Own Making

Remember Rube Goldberg? If you don't, he's the guy who drew outlandishly complicated pictures with the purpose of doing something very simple, like cracking an egg or lighting a candle. Thanks to the Democrats, Barack Obama will be facing a similar situation picking a running mate. With their actions (or inactions, as the case may be), they've put a number of hurdles before the man they supported to be their nominee.

Here are just some of the obstacles in Obama's way:

- The Hillary Trap In a normal campaign year, the person who comes in second in the primaries or who appears to be second in the primaries is at the top of the list for running mates. With the Democrats this year...not so much. The campaign between Obama and Clinton was very ugly, to the point that an Obama/Clinton ticket would not even be feasible. Yet, people think it's the most logical pairing because both have so many supporters and because they think it would unite the party. Think again. It would rip apart the party, as there are still many supporters of the two candidates who do not like the other one and would not do anything to help the party as a result. And considering Hillary's worked her way onto the ballot...

- The DNC Trap Among the other contenders for the VP slot are names like Joe Biden, Jim Webb, Evan Bayh, John Kerry, and Wesley Clark. What do each of these men have in common? They're all rich white Leftist males. Contrary to what Howard Dean says, rich white Leftist males are the heart and soul of the modern Democratic Party. What kind of message do you think would be sent if the man who has been preaching change on the campaign trail picked a member of the DNC establishment to be his running mate? To some, it would mean Obama isn't sure enough of his own abilities to be his own man, so he "needs" a white man to make the case for him. That won't sit well with minorities, particularly members of the African-American community. To others, it would mean Obama is making a white man subservient to him. That won't be a winner with Northeastern Leftists, who tend to be...well, rich white Leftists. To appease the money folks in the DNC, Obama may be forced to pick a "DNC-approved" running mate.

- The Minority Trap Another name brought up as a possible running mate for Obama is Bill Richardson. Although he looks like a white guy, he's actually Hispanic. Considering much has been made of Obama's ethnicity (and to a lesser extent, Richardson's), this can be problematic. Obama has not made as much of an outreach to the Hispanic community as Clinton has, but they are a legitimate voting bloc for Democrats. Picking Richardson would appear to be a step towards getting Hispanics on Obama's side, but it has the potential to backfire on him. For one, it would look like a purely political move, which would turn off at least some blacks and Hispanics. Plus, having an all-ethnic ticket would certainly turn off the aforementioned Northeastern white Leftists. On the other hand, not picking another minority would tick off some minorities. In other words, he's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.

- The Fringe Left Trap Yes, dear friends, the MoveOn/DailyKos/DemocraticUnderground/Huffington Post/Keith Olbermann crowd might also take their ball and go home. Let's not forget these are the same bozos who said Joe Lieberman wasn't Democrat enough (and gave me plenty of "Where's Senator Ned Lamont?" jokes to last me a lifetime), and they hold quite a bit of power and money within Democratic ranks. This puts Obama in a difficult position if he wants to retain their support: kowtow to them, or risk their wrath. If he chooses the former, he'll hurt his chances with conservative Democrats and independents. If he chooses the latter, say bye-bye to donations from George Soros's network of Leftist organizations.

- The McCain Trap No, I'm not kidding or high. John McCain has the ability to impact Obama's decision on more than a couple of levels. If Obama feels he can't stand toe-to-toe with McCain's military record, he might choose someone like General Wesley Clark or John Kerry. If Obama feels he's not seen as reform-minded, a dark horse like Russ Feingold could come into the picture. If he wants to take on McCain economically, he might pick someone more fiscally conservative. In each case, Obama would be letting McCain impact his decision on some level. When you let your opponent guide your strategy, you stand a good chance of losing.

- The RNC Trap While McCain may not be the type to slap down Obama for various reasons, the RNC aren't as reticent. State Republican Party folks are even getting into the act, as Jackson Browne can attest, and they are putting together some pretty impressive ads. Whether it's nailing him on questionable statements he's made or raising inquiries into more personal elements, they are starting to hurt Obama's campaign, which can have an impact on his choice in VP. In that case, Obama might choose someone to run intereference for him, but if the VP choice has a spotty past, then there will be twice the headaches for the campaign. And all because they weren't prepared for what the GOP would throw at him.

Who would have thought picking a running mate would be so difficult?

Monday, August 18, 2008


Since Saturday's discussion lead by Rick Warren, one of the big stories among Leftists has been that John McCain cheated. Their evidence when taken together certainly leads one to that conclusion on the surface, but to a more thoughtful person, there are some unanswered questions that the "McCain cheated" crowd haven't figured out yet.

1) Is there proof? The speculation is that McCain could have listened to a radio broadcast or had his advisors get the questions using their Blackberries. Then, there's the whole "cone of silence" comment Warren made and the report that McCain wasn't in it, whatever it was. On top of it, there were accusations that McCain knew the questions before they were asked, which lead to a curious moment during his conversation with Warren where he seemed to ask to go back to a question that hadn't been asked. However, these are points of speculation, not proof. Until there's proof, one cannot definitively say McCain cheated, or at least not as definitively as some would have us believe.

2) Why would he do it? This is what is known in police circles as the motive. If McCain did cheat, what motivated him to do it? The Leftists are very quick to jump on McCain's performance in the polls as a motivating factor, but that's not nearly as convincing as one might think. In some polls, McCain is ahead, in others, he is behind by low single digits. If McCain wanted to cheat, he would have risked his standing in the polls right before the Republican National Convention. Plus, it would take away one of his great strengths over Obama: he appears to be a straight shooter. In terms of risk-reward, McCain would not have a reason to cheat as far as I can tell.

3) When did the allegations of cheating surface? This is essential to the allegations because it opens up other possibilities that would exonerate McCain. If the cheating allegations came out shortly after Obama left the building and heard McCain's answers, there might be something to them. If it came out the next day after, say, a briefing with campaign advisors, it undercuts the legitimacy of the allegations at least somewhat because there was time to determine how to react to Obama's performance and spin it to the media. If there's a delay, there's a possibility that Obama was trying to save face after an event where he wasn't on his game.

4) Are there other possible explanations? This is the Waterloo of the "McCain cheated" crowd. What is black and white to the Obama a bit more gray when you consider other possibilities. McCain could have easily taken the Warren event more seriously than Obama. Since they may have both had access to some or all of the questions, perhaps the McCain camp prepared McCain better than the Obama camp prepared Obama. Perhaps Obama didn't believe the Warren discussion would be as big of a news story as it was or have the impact on the poll numbers as it may yet have. Maybe Obama just had an off night. All of these are viable possible explanations, and all of them undermine the notion that McCain cheated.

Granted, I could be wrong about all of this, and I'm perfectly willing to entertain any facts showing that McCain cheated, but until such facts are brought forth, I think it's more sour grapes and red faces than a "wrinkly white haired dude" trying to pull a fast one.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cheaters Never Win...Except in China

If you're like me, you're torn about whether to watch or even follow the Olympics. (And if you really are like me, I'm sorry.) But one storyline that keeps coming up in many of the events already in progress or completed is allegations of cheating by China. We're not talking about taking steroids or performance-enhancing drugs. Out and out cheating at the Olympics.

This isn't anything new, as there are allegations of cheating at every Olympics, and even some times actual cheating. I'm not saying China is definitely cheating yet, but I'm not not saying it either. Judging from the photos of some of the Chinese women's gymnastic team, I'd say they're definitely guilty of putting in underage girls in the competition, or they go through a lot of Oil of Olay.

The big question is why. China isn't exactly known for being a bastion of freedom and fun. The Beijing Olympics was a major coup for the country, so they wanted to put their best foot forward. That can create incredible pressure, even for known for being stoic and disciplined.

With a nation's pride on the line, other corners had to be cut beyond merely a lip-synching girl or animation at the opening ceremony. The Chinese Olympic team not only had to be able to perform, they had to perform better than everyone else whenever they could. When that couldn't happen, it would be not out of the realm of possibility to have judges influenced by one method or another. And given the authoritarian/totalitarian government style China has with the kind of nationalism that only an Olympic host country could generate, I wouldn't rule it out under any circumstances.

There is another element to consider as far as why China may be cheating, and it has to do with us. America has traditionally done very well at the Summer Olympics, so knocking down America on the world athletic stage would be a way for China to tweak us. Make no mistake. China hates us, and is willing to do anything to see us fail.

And we fail to see it, by and large.

Whether we find out China cheated at the Olympics this year is immaterial in the big picture. What's more important is that we hear what they're trying to say by doing it. China's letting us know they're still out there and they must be dealt with as a world power.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Some Quick Thoughts

Life caught up with me again, so now that I've broken away for a bit, I thought I'd share a few quick thoughts.

- China hosting the Olympics. The world may be thrilled watching our athletes compete, but I'm not. Ever since Tiananmen Square, I've had a healthy distrust of China, and with good reason. Judging from how they were acting before the Olympics (banning athletes from carrying Bibles) and the crap they've pulled or are alleged to have pulled during the events (having female gymnasts who are rumored to be too young under the new Olympic rules), no amount of feel-good stories will scrub away the tarnish. And let's not forget China has become notorious in recent years for murdering Christians. The tepid responses from President Bush and other politicians don't help matters any. Looks like they betrayed freedom for 30 silver medals.

- War and rumors of war. The situations between Israel and Iran and now between Russia and Georgia are troubling to say the least. In both cases, contrary to what some will say, we have a vested interest in both. Iran is easy because we understand Imadinnerjacket is nuts. With Russia, though, our vested interest is tougher to see because we don't understand the situation that well. But let me put it this way. Russia is starting to flex its muscles in a way we haven't seen since the 70s, and we need to pay close attention to Putin, a former bigwig at the KGB. Don't let his new position fool you. He's in control of Russia, and he will be a force to reckon with if we take our eyes off him.

- The Bear awakens? And since Putin has taken up the mantle of being America's leading foe, this may have an impact on the war on terrorism. The thing about Middle Eastern terrorism is that the groups are interconnected out of necessity. The groups can't fund themselves, so they rely on the benevolence of sympathetic neighbors, including the late Saddam Hussein, for weapons and financial support. Now, imagine the havoc these groups could raise with the backing of Putin's Russia. If there's one area where we've dropped the foreign policy ball under President Bush, it's Russia, and we're no closer to getting our heads around the implications of a revitalized anti-American Russia.

- The last word on the John Edwards scandal. Dude, you're the baby daddy. Admit it and get on with your double life.

- Pelosi's flip flop on oil. If you missed Monday night's "Larry King Live" you missed Nancy Pelosi saying she would be happy to open up a vote to end the Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling. Yeah, and after only a couple of weeks of saying there would be no vote on it. But the big question is why Pelosi isn't acting on her statement and calling a special session of the House. Actually, I know the answer: because she knows she'll lose the vote, which won't help her in her race to be reelected to her House seat. And who's competing against her? Cindy Sheehan.

- A call for honesty. Listening to the radio this evening, I heard a portion of an interview with Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson. Let me say that it was painfully milquetoast. Tillerson had an unenviable job, that being defending Exxon's profits against the assaults of the Leftists and an uninformed general public. Just once, I'd like to see an oil company executive tell the interviewer, "Listen. It's my job to run a profit. If I don't, the company goes under, which makes things a heck of a lot worse. So, keep jumping on our backs for doing what we're supposed to do. Just try to act surprised when we get crushed by your stupidity."

- PETA on illegal immigration. PETA is asking the government to rent out space for advertising on the wall being built across parts of the US-Mexico border. Their ad? Trying to get illegal immigrants to go vegan. Let me get this straight. The only thing that bothers PETA about illegal immigration is whether the people coming into our country illegally eat beef and pork? Talk about missing the point!

And finally...

- The reason Barack Obama will lose in November. For a long time, Republicans have been seen as dull and strict, while Democrats have been seen as fun-loving and free. Lately, though, it seems the "wrinkly old dude" John McCain is having more fun on the campaign trail at Barack Obama's expense than Obama has been. McCain's recent ads comparing Obama to celebrities have been funny and intelligent. Obama's responses, though, have been bitter and angry. In other words, McCain's acting like the cool uncle who bought you comic books and let you have your first beer when your mom wasn't looking, and Obama's acting like the cranky old man who always told you to stay off his lawn. Not a good way to win converts, Barack.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Real Story Behind John Edwards's Affair

The John Edwards affair story is starting to heat up and the former Senator and Democratic Presidential nominee is facing some uncomfortable questions. Republicans and conservatives are enjoying this Schadenfreude-palooza for various reasons, but I think I've hit on a legitimate reason why this story should not go the way of Nancy Pelosi's book.

When Edwards was running for President in 2004 and 2008, he had a standard line about there being two Americas. I can't speak for those of you reading this (mainly because I don't know what you sound like), but he came off to me as a sanctimonious preacher. He told us about the poor and middle class in this country that were being ignored while the rich fat cats got richer. (On a side note, isn't it funny he never included himself as one of these rich fat cats?) And, more importantly, he was talking about how immoral it was that the rich would get rich by making money off the efforts of the lower and middle classes. You know, that stuff that's been going on for centuries?

Now that the moral man Edwards is caught in a web of his own creation, we have to ask ourselves whether this failing negates his previous seemingly pious message. On the surface, it doesn't because we're dealing with two different situations: Edwards's concern about the lower and middle classes, and his affair. When you have that kind of separation, it's easy to discourage any further speculation.

A deeper analysis reveals a deeper meaning. The two events are connected because they reveal a duel approach to life by Edwards. In Edwards's mind, he can be a moralizing champion of the poor and middle class while still being a wealthy man for whom the rules don't apply. Even the rules of intellectual consistency.

Edwards isn't the only one who does this. The Democratic Party is full of people who live in two or three worlds. And these are the people who want to take over the Presidency and both houses of Congress. Edwards may never sit in the Oval Office, but he doesn't need to for someone like him to be the Commander In Chief. And this person will be responsible for setting economic, military, and judicial policies that will impact this country for years to come. A person with this type of duplicity and the kind of power the Presidency would provide can pose a serious danger to this country if we allow it to happen.

Still think the Edwards situation doesn't matter?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Beyond the Pale

As some of you know, I wanted to be a journalist when I was in college. I studied hard, learned to write concise, yet gripping accounts of events and people. Thanks to my instructors and mentors, I earned a healthy respect for solid reporting done as objectively as possible, a respect I still hold.

Unfortunately, today's poor excuse for journalism doesn't have the same respect I do. Most of it blurs the lines between news and opinion, and most people either don't notice or don't care. This election season has been the worst I've ever seen, journalistically speaking. Most of them are so far in Barack Obama's back pocket, they have stitch marks.

But the way to counter absurdly pro-Obama reporting isn't absurdly anti-Obama reporting. A news story, if you could even call it that, appeared on World Net Daily proclaiming that Obama was linked to anti-Christian violence. After reading the story, it turns out Obama was linked to this "anti-Christian violence" by supporting Raila Odinga of Kenya. Odinga is accused of fanning the flames of tribal violence sparked after he lost a 2007 election for President of Kenya.

Can you say "John McCain and John Hagee" boys and girls?

If that wasn't bad enough, World Net Daily's "news" story featured information from an upcoming book a World Net Daily staffer. This is a clear conflict of interest, one that I cannot overlook or condone. Imagine if the New York Times ran a front page story about John McCain clubbing baby seals as a means to fight cancer, and that frong page story was written by Maureen Dowd or Frank Rich. How loud would the conservative outrage be? How many Republicans would denounce the story as pure propaganda?

I don't like Obama at all, but this isn't the way to beat him.

Also, let's not forget that Obama said last week that Republicans and conservatives would try to malign him for being different instead of for coming up with different ideas. I mentioned in a previous blog post that Obama preemptively played the race card so he can set up any criticism of him and his policies in racial terms.

Thanks to World Net Daily, Obama has an opening to say, "See? I told you so!"

With friends like these, McCain doesn't need enemies.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Think John McCain Is Too Old to Be President?

It's a common refrain from the left: "John McCain is too old to be President." Until recently, McCain supporters didn't have a way to refute it except to knock Barack Obama's youth and inexperience. That is, until now.

Anybody who stayed awake during civics class knows the Speaker of the House assumes the Presidency should the President and Vice President be incapable of performing the duties of their offices. But who takes over after that? The Senate Pro Tempore.

The man currently holding that position is West Virginia Senator Robert C. Byrd. As of this writing, Byrd is 90. Granted, the chances of him becoming President are slim, but he may still be in the mix should the Democrats retain control of the Senate after November's elections.
If John McCain wins the Presidency, he will be 72 when he takes the Oath of Office, and Byrd will be 91, barring retirement of one form or another.

If Democrats are so concerned about McCain's age and whether it will negatively impact his ability to be President, why haven't they forced Byrd, a man 19 years older than the "too old" McCain, to give up the Senate Pro Tempore position?

The next time a Democrat brings up McCain's age, bring up this little factoid and ask them to explain why McCain is too old to be President, but Byrd isn't too old to be in succession for the Presidency. You probably won't get an answer, but it'll be fun to ask nonetheless.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A House Divided

For once, I have to express my pride in Congressional Republicans for their actions today in holding Nancy Pelosi and her minions accountable for blocking a vote on lifting the Congressional ban on offshore drilling. For those of you who haven't heard, Pelosi tried to cut off debate on the measure so the House could go on a five week vacation by adjourning the House, but House Republicans kept talking. And talking. And talking.

And that left House Democrats fuming. Once again, Nancy Pelosi saw her majority crumble when some within her ranks started siding with the Republicans and supporting drilling. But anybody who followed the 2006 midterm elections should have seen this inevitability coming.

I've long said that Democrats seriously misread the midterm election results, focusing solely on the numbers they needed to get the majority in both houses of Congress. With the House, they got the numbers, but what they failed to see was who was winning the elections. It wasn't Democrats like Pelosi; it was conservative Democrats who won by listening to the people more than the Republicans were. Sure, they voted with Pelosi on some issues, but as time has gone on, they've started to break away from her more and more as they gained confidence.

That's the funny thing about freshmen Congresscritters. They haven't gotten too entrenched in insider politics, so they're actually listening to the people they represent. And right now, the people are asking for oil prices to come down and for oil companies to start drilling for and refining oil. Republicans got the message, and conservative Democrats got the message, but Pelosi and company didn't. And it didn't matter that they rushed C-Span out of the House when they saw the Republicans weren't going to let it go. The message was heard loud and clear, and Democrats' hopes of retaining the House took a sharp turn south.

There may have been some eerie symbolism today in the House when Democrats ordered the lights be turned out in the House while the Republicans were still talking. They might have been turning out the lights on the Pelosi era.