Friday, February 29, 2008

Just Another Hollywood Bimbo, Only Dumber

A fine article about Hayden Panettiere and the upcoming election. So glad she's now old enough to vote.

Guess what else is bad for the whales, sweetheart? Countries armed with nuclear weapons who have no qualms about using them. Not good for the whales. Not so good for the people either.

Nonetheless, I'm sure she will become another supporter of "He Who We Have Been Waiting For".

Saving the whales will probably be one of Obama's easier tasks. Worldwide hunger, disease, illiteracy, and poverty might take a few more weeks.

The troop surge in Iraq is working

It must be true, since even Angelina Jolie agrees. And, she says it is in our long-term national security interest to stay there and fix the problem. Wonder how her support of McCain's position will play out in Hollywood.

Some insightful anthropology

Relentless. Driven. Purposeful.

No, not Obama's campaign. The Best. Blog. Ever.

It's called "Stuff White People Like." And if you remember that "white people" refers not to paleo-reactionary crypto-nazis like those idolized at the Occasional Observer, but rather "Trendy's", this blog will make you nod in agreement until you look like a bobble-head.

Obama's rhetoric is a strength.

So says Michael Gerson, Bush 43 friend, administration insider and speechwriter, in an op-ed in the Washington Post. Gerson's advice: focus on the policies, not the delivery or the messenger. Sounds familiar.

...Many political advisers in both parties employ "rhetoric" as a synonym for "folderol." Winging it in speeches is generally viewed as more authentic, and authenticity plays well with dial groups -- groups that also helpfully inform us that Americans don't like downbeat words such as "war" or "sacrifice" or "poverty," preferring instead cheerful terms such as "marshmallows" and "pixie dust."

This is nonsense. From the Greek beginnings of political rhetoric, the wise have described a relationship between the discipline of writing and the discipline of thought. The construction of serious speeches forces candidates (or presidents) to grapple with their own beliefs, even when they don't write every word themselves. If those convictions cannot be marshaled in the orderly battalions of formal rhetoric, they are probably incoherent.

The triumph of shoddy, thoughtless spontaneity is the death of rhetorical ambition...

It is not a failure for Obama to understand and exercise this element of leadership, it is an advantage.

Some Obama critics go even further, accusing him of inducing a "creepy," "cultish," "euphoria." A candidate delivers a good stump speech, adds a dose of personal magnetism and suddenly, he is a sorcerer, practicing the dark arts of demagoguery.

But Obamamania is pretty mild stuff compared to our rhetorical history. When William Jennings Bryan finished his Cross of Gold speech at the 1896 Democratic convention, extending his hands outward in cruciform melodrama, witnesses described a 40-minute riot, with "hills and valleys of shrieking men and women" and old men "crying bitterly, great tears rolling from their eyes into their bearded cheeks." After Douglas MacArthur addressed a joint session of Congress in 1951, Rep. Dewey Short shouted: "We heard God speak here today, God in the flesh, the voice of God!"...

McCain can and should make an ideological case against his opponent. Why does Obama want to fight terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan but not in Iraq? How would it advance the war on terror to grant al-Qaeda's fondest wish -- an untimely American retreat from the Middle East? Would Obama really devote his first year in office to a series of surrender summits with the leaders of Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and North Korea?

These are serious criticisms; the argument against rhetoric is not. Obama's political weakness is that he is too liberal, not that he is too eloquent.
[my emphasis]

Check out the new Obama pic in the sidebar

and find out what Barack's done for you.

ht: Kavon

Gamecock stuffs his PC-police dossier ...

...with a compelling, interesting, and brave column on how the long-lived double-standard on race has now fully injected into the Presidential contest, and needs to be confronted:

On Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes just now, Michael Steele came to the defense of Black Americans who have worked with the nation’s number one racist [Farrakhan] “in the field” due to the “black” perspective as opposed to Sean Hannity’s “white” perspective...

America, especially including those that propose to unify said America, lend me your ears: There is no legitimate perspective from which one could do anything but be repulsed by Louis Farrakhan...

Apparently, given that even republican Michael Steele is willing to give Obama a pass on his Hate America Church/Black nationalist, separatist church and his stuttering 30 sentences vague half ass denunciation of something-Farrakhan, there is a cancer on Black America.

Well, we are about to cut it out.

Check out the rest of the column here to see the planned incision.
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Buckley on Iraq

Buckley's evolving opinions on the Iraq War are instructive and sensible, from my point of view. From James Antle:

William F. Buckley's publicly stated views on the Iraq war were indeed nuanced by the standards of the ongoing debate, in which the contestants seek to either defend or discredit the bulk of what President Bush has done since deciding to invade. (See this column, written after he told a newspaper he would have opposed the war if he had known there were no WMD and that Saddam Hussein was not an "extra-territorial menace," for an example of this nuance.)

Buckley placed a far higher priority on the United States achieving a workable and honorable settlement in Iraq than many on the antiwar left (and some on the antiwar right). He supported the surge. He certainly didn't shed any tears over Saddam's ouster. And he continued to support Republicans who were unabashedly pro-war. But I think it is also fair to say that he came to view that Iraq project with a great deal of skepticism, he was reading and approvingly quoting antiwar conservatives, and while unwilling to retroactively condemn the invasion he no longer viewed it as necessary given the facts as we now know them. Of more enduring significance, Buckley was not a proponent of the "rogue state rollback" idea that is a cornerstone of some conservatives' foreign policy.

This last sentence particularly, if coupled with the desire to see Iraq through to a successful conclusion, would make an effective platform for McCain. People might, with solid leadership, be willing to see Iraq through to victory. But not if they feel nation-building operations are going to become par for the course.

Not another dime to the MSM.

Kavon Nikrad with our marching orders:

The mainstream media does not deserve our respect or our patronage any longer folks, and they haven’t for quite some time. Every penny you give them enables them to work against victory in the GWOT in the form of enabling security leaks, selective reporting of events on the ground, and overzealous reporting of the anti-war movement at home which encourages out enemies to continue the fight.

Before you buy your next newspaper or magazine, or turn on CNN or MSNBC, ask yourself this: could the Allies have won WWII with today’s press?

And boo to Drudge for being in cahoots with the MSM and putting the lives of a brave royal and his fellow Englishmen in danger.

A note to contributors

I have changed permissions on this blog. From this point forward, only contributors and invited guests will be able to view this blog.

Please let me know if you know of anyone would like access to this blog.

Mason-Dixon FL poll

Well, Charlie Crist better not plan on packing his bags just yet.

This is an O!bamanation

If the facts as Santorum has presented them here are correct, I have to imagine this could be devastating to Obama in the debates, trying to defend post-birth abortion. You read correctly, that's post-birth.

...consider [Obama's] position on an issue that passed both houses of Congress unanimously in 2002.

That bill was the Born Alive Infants Protection Act. During the partial-birth abortion debate, Congress heard testimony about babies that had survived attempted late-term abortions. Nurses testified that these preterm living, breathing babies were being thrown into medical waste bins to die or being "terminated" outside the womb. With the baby now completely separated from the mother, it was impossible to argue that the health or life of the mother was in jeopardy by giving her baby appropriate medical treatment.

The act simply prohibited the killing of a baby born alive.

Who would oppose a bill that said you couldn't kill a baby who was born? Not Kennedy, Boxer or Hillary Rodham Clinton. Not even the hard-core National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Obama, however, is another story. The year after the Born Alive Infants Protection Act became federal law in 2002, identical language was considered in a committee of the Illinois Senate. It was defeated with the committee's chairman, Obama, leading the opposition.

Let's be clear about what Obama did, once in 2003 and twice before that. He effectively voted for infanticide. He voted to allow doctors to deny medically appropriate treatment or, worse yet, actively kill a completely delivered living baby. Infanticide - I wonder if he'll add this to the list of changes in his next victory speech and if the crowd will roar: "Yes, we can."


Looks like Fredo missed one from his list the other day.

Obama-McCain

Obama ('07): "Let me be clear: ... The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year – now."

Obama ('08): "I would always reserve the right to go in and strike against al Qaeda if they were in Iraq."

McCain response
: "I understand that Sen. Obama said that if al Qaeda established a base in Iraq that he would send troops back in militarily. Al Qaeda already has a base in Iraq. It's called al Qaeda in Iraq."

Game. Set. Match. McCain.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Veep Watch #7: Mark Sanford


Pros:

1. A self-described "right wing nut". Strong on 2nd amendment, immigration/border security, fiscal conservatism, life issues--pretty much down the line.

2. Has taken extreme measures to cut government spending and highlight the need for reform, an area that is also of strong interest to McCain.

3. Will unquestionably shore up support in the South and among ideological conservatives everywhere.

4. Is young (47), an up-and-comer, and a potential future Presidential nominee )for those who see the veep slot as a way to groom our bench talent).

5. Telegenic (which means nothing except for meaning a lot).

6. Has a nice family, with wife Jenny and 4 sons, etc.

7. Doesn't follow the crowd, and not afraid to stand out on a limb. Traits shared with the presumptive GOP nominee.

8. A 2nd term governor with executive experience.

Cons:

1. A self described "right-wing nut"

2. Might scare off moderates.

3. Doesn't have any blockbuster legislative successes to his record.

4. His pig theatrics play into the criticism that he's more interested in making a splash (and alientating potential supporters) than he is in building consensus.

Veep Watch #6: Charlie Crist


Whoops, wrong Charlie. Let's try this one:

That's more like it.

Pros:

1. Governor of Florida: meaning he's running a large state, creating the perception of executive competence (although his actual track record is pretty short; but his approval numbers are good).

2. Governor of Florida: meaning he's got pull in a state with a lot of EV's, and one that is a MUST win for any GOP candidate. And FL has teetered on the brink the last two elections, so shoring up support their is its own reward.

3. Governor of Florida: meaning he's got a tan. And looks a lot younger than McCain, even though they both have white hair (I think that's what got you, SHK).

4. Governor of Florida: and possibly has more to do with McCain winning the nomination than any other Republican save McCain with his 11th hour FL primary endorsement.

5. Crist won't scare away moderate voters with any of that uncouth bible-banging evangelical pro-life talk (at least not without hedging and self-contradiction).

Cons:

1. Won't inspire the the evangelical, faith-based pro-life wing of the party with some old-fashioned values talk.

2. Has an executive track record that seems a little, er, light.

3. Has an ideological track record that seems a little, er, light.

4. Has loafers that seem a little, er, light.

Veep Watch #5: Fred D. Thompson


Pros:

1. A solid national defense conservative, agrees with McCain on his primary issue.

2. A solid fiscal conservative.

3. A solid federalist.

4. A solid social conservative/judicial conservate.

5. A Southerner, should McCain feel the need to shore up his standing there.

6. Has gravitas and name recognition.

7. Has a pop culture persona, which could be sufficient for some voters in our star-struck, dumbed-down and uninformed culture. For the rest of us, it's still cool anyway.

8. Has a friendly working relationship with McCain back to his Senate days.

Cons:

1. Old.

2. Has cancer.

3. Looks like he's old and has cancer.

4. If the President dies, some people might want a V.P. who is not old and cancered.

5. Offers little in the way of outreach to the subset of idelogical moderates that are also informed.

Good news/bad news

First the good news. In both the LA Times/Bloomberg and Rasmussen polls, McCain is leading BOTH Obama and Hillary. Good agreement between the polls as well, with McCain having the highest favorability ratings of all 3, and beating Obama on GWOT, Iraq, AND the economy. If McCain can maintain the edge on both foreign and domestic policies, he's in.

Now the bad news: he still loses according to the Rasmussen electoral tracker. Could we see another situation where he wins the popular vote but loses the electoral?

Actually, what I'm having a harder time reconciling is the above polls with actual voter turnout so far. Dems have way outnumbered Repubs in primary voting, so what gives? The polls suggest a tight race with the edge to McCain, while the turnout to date suggests a Dem landslide. Are traditional polls underestimating actual turnout this year, such that when they look at likely voters they are underestimating Dem support? Or are people flocking to McCain now that he's the presumptive nominee? Keep in mind though, that with all these polls ~10% are still undecided, which is a HUGE chunk in a race this tight.

I can add little but my profound gratitude

for this man's life and his work. May he rest in peace.



UPDATE:



Here's a noted spat between Buckley and Gore Vidal. I hesitated to include it originally, because this clip in a vaccuum risks making him look like less than the gentleman that he is. But I've decided to include it because it's worth remembering that, in addition to being a gentleman, a scholar, a writer, and a great thinker, he also had courage and fight.

UPDATE #2:

Thomas Sowell has added to the chorus of praise for Mr. Buckley. Sowell sums it up nicely here:

"...there were ballplayers who hit home runs before Babe Ruth, but not nearly as many home runs. William F. Buckley revolutionized the conservative intellectual scene as much as Babe Ruth revolutionized the way baseball was played.

Today we take it for granted that there are conservative journals of opinions like The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, City Journal and of course the National Review.

We also take for granted that there are dozens of conservative talk radio programs, led by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, as well as conservative columnists like Charles Krauthammer, George Will and many others.

But these things didn't just happen. Somebody had to lead the way and that somebody was William F. Buckley."

Obama! for a strong defense

[/sarcasm]



ht: Race 4 2008/RedState

McCain VP

Fredo has done an excellent job summarizing various potential VP candidates for McCain. A difficulty in deciding who should be his VP is determining which group of voters is most critical to attract. A strength with one is often a weakness with another. The stances he has taken on issues that have most alienated conservatives are the very same reasons he is attractive to Indie and Dem voters.

So a big question is, which group is most important? Should he just take for granted that conservatives will not stay home, but in fact will turn out to vote for him, not wanting to live under four liberal years of Obama/Clinton and Dem Congress? Should he assume he will win the south, even though he has been wiped by Huckabee there? In these cases he should focus on further strengthening his appeal to moderates and Dems to steal as many votes as possible. On the other hand, if it's no slam dunk that he has conservative support, he very well may need to add a solid conservative VP.

At the end of the day, he'll have to guess which is the largest group of voters he can successfully tap into, and appeal to them.

Now, one other thought. Although it seems unbelievably slim, there is still a chance you could see a Hill/Obama ticket, especially if Hillary somehow pulls out the nomination as president. Her own finance chairman, Terry McAuliffe, just said as much. In that case, all bets above are off and I think it is simple: McCain must pick a VP with star appeal to have any shot of countering a heavyweight HillBama ticket. This means Rudy Giuliani or Colin Powell.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Veep Watch #4: Tim Pawlenty


Pros:

1. Young (born 1960), up and coming.

2. Reputation as a solid conservative.

3. Executive experience: currently a 2nd term governor.

4. An effective communicator/campaigner: Pawlenty won reelection in the difficult environment of 2006, in the midst of a national Dem sweep. In a purple and historically blue state.

5. Could help carry a swing state: MN has gone Dem during the past few close elections, but Pawlenty could help put McCain over the top. MN is not a huge state, but isn't Rhode Island either. Plus, as an amiable midwesterner, Pawlenty probably will play well in other upper midwest swing states like Iowa and Wisconsin.

6. Maintains a tone of bipartisanship, and plays well with independents.

7. Has a nice bio, coming from a large blue collar family and working his way up.

8. Not connected in any way to the Bush White House.

9. Firmly pro-life, which place most social conservatives at ease.

Cons:

1. Nice guy image might not convey the gravitas people expect from the person a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

2. Pawlenty failed to carry his homestate for McCain in the MN caucus: Mitt won in a romp. Does that impact McCain's view of T Paw's vote-getting ability?

3. T Paw's conservative credentials are questioned by some. His willingness to raise cigarette taxes, for example, was seen as a cave-in on his low tax priniples. Likewise, his recent support of the House Democrat version of the economic stimulus package.

4. Doesn't have high name recognition.

Yes He Can

My $.02 on how McCain needs to describe Barry H. Obama's agenda:

Yes He Can: Raise Your Taxes

Yes He Can: Surrender our hard fought gains against Al Qaeda

Yes He Can: Balloon the national debt with massive new spending

Yes He Can: Send businesses and their jobs overseas to other countries

Yes He Can: Create the biggest government program in 70 years, even though the last huge entitlement programs are still on track to bankrupt the nation.

Yes He Can: Fight against making infanticide illegal.

Yes He Can: Duck and weave on the definition of marriage.

Yes He Can: Fight with the ACLU against traditional morality in the public square.

Veep Watch #3: Rudy Giuliani


Pros:

1. Popular hero status speaks for itself.

2. People view him as a strong, tough leader, and he has a track record as a solid executive.

3. Consistent track record of supporting an aggressive approach to the GWOT. Should fit in well with the central message of the McCain campaign.

4. Liked by fiscal and defense conservatives, and yet, does not necessarily scare away socially moderate blue state voters.

5. Good name recognition. Unlike lesser known candidates, he would give the ticket a polling bounce when he's announced.

6. Has an optimistic, forward-looking persona that is, in some ways, a nice balance to the Mr. Hyde portion of McCain's persona.

7. Has a witty personality and is strong in debate and off-the-cuff situations. Would likely win the VP debate.

Cons:

1. Skeleton full of closets (divorces, publicly-conducted extra-marital affairs, Hampton-gate, cross-dressing photos, etc.)

2. Might have a personality that overshadows the guy at the top of the ticket.

3. Won't carry his home state.

4. Will greatly alarm the large pro-life segment of the party, which constitutes the majority of those who typically volunteer for GOTV and other active roles in a GOP campagin.

5. His policies that were deemed to be "racist" (e.g. support of NYPD's anti-crime teams, public spats with "community leaders" like Sharpton), may add to the feeling that the GOP ticket is "divisive" and the Dem ticket "uniting." Particularly with Obama at the top of the Dem ticket.

McCain v. Obama

How can McCain best run a campaign against Obama? I think the answer is a simple two-fold thrust: a major focus debunking the myth that Obama represents change, and a minor thrust highlighting his inexperience.

First, Obama has clearly linked his platform to one of "change". However, as numerous articles have pointed out over recent weeks, a close inspection of Obama's record disproves his mantra of change. He has consistently had one of the most predictable, liberal voting records in the Senate. He has also failed to be part of any of the major bipartisan bills. Obama has a record, albeit short, that he should not be able to hide from. If he wants to claim that he will bring true change to DC, make him back it up. Make him explain how more of the same liberal orthodoxy and a previous failure to join bipartisan efforts represents change.

Second, as an undertone, continue to emphasize his lack of experience. I don't think you can win on this issue alone or push it too hard, but there does seem to be concern among voters (at least in Dem primaries between Obama and Hillary) about his lack of experience. I think subtle reminders of that here and there will help keep the issue in the back of voters' minds.

But I think McCain must paint Obama as a liberal on issues, which is easily supported by his voting record. This should also help scare any conservative voters who were otherwise planning on sitting out the election into voting.

Veep Watch #2: Tom Ridge


According to the Weekly Standard, former Secretary (former Governor and former Representative) Tom Ridge is "at or near the top of the list to be V.P."

Pros:

1. Experience matches the primary role of the veep: to step into the role of POTUS and be ready to protect the nation in crisis. His years as Sec. of Homeland Security makes him more qualified than most for the Vice Presidency, and his years as Governor of a large state show him to be a competent executive.

2. Popular figure in Pennsylvania, Ridge's home state and a crucial swing state. According to recent polls, PA is in play, and carrying it would offset the loss of OH, which I consider to be very possible this fall, despite the current polling which shows it as competitive/lean GOP.

3. Strengthens the GOP's advantage on Defense/Nat'l Security

4. Ridge is a social moderate who will not turn off coastal voters, and McCain is signaling the desire to compete in states like NJ, CT, NH, ME, OR and WA.

5. Ridge looks Presidential, FWIW.

Cons:

1. Another Bush insider.

2. There will be plenty of heckling McCain-Ridge for the color-coded terror risk scale if Ridge is selected.

3. Ridge is pro-choice, and social conservatives are already distrustful of McCain on judges thanks to the Gang of 14 (not me, mind you, but some). Picking Ridge will send some SoCons over the edge: "See! I told you we couldn't trust him!" The question is, how many?

4. Ridge is about a bland as bland gets, from a rhetoric/speechification standpoint.

The Lion of Good Government

While David Brooks' name, and the strand of Republicanism he represents, may be near a curse word to Rush Limbaugh, the man is one hell of a writer. This whole article deserves to be a blockquote. Check it out, if you can.

Here's a couple of the best points pretty much the whole darn article:

Barack Obama has attacked John McCain for being too close to lobbyists. His assault is part of this week’s Democratic chorus: McCain isn’t really the anti-special interest reformer he pretends to be. He’s more tainted than his reputation suggests.

Well, anything is worth trying, I suppose, but there is the little problem of his record...

In 1996, McCain was one of five senators, and the only Republican, to vote against the Telecommunications Act. He did it because he believed the act gave away too much to the telecommunications companies, and protected them from true competition. He noted that AT&T alone gave $780,000 to Republicans and $456,000 to Democrats in the year leading up to the vote.

In 1998, McCain championed anti-smoking legislation that faced furious opposition from the tobacco lobby...

In 2000, McCain ran for president and reiterated his longstanding opposition to ethanol subsidies. Though it crippled his chances in Iowa, he argued that ethanol was a wasteful giveaway. A recent study in the journal Science has shown that when you take all impacts into consideration, ethanol consumption increases greenhouse gas emissions compared with regular gasoline. Unlike, say, Barack Obama, McCain still opposes ethanol subsidies.

In 2002, McCain capped his long push for campaign finance reform by passing the McCain-Feingold Act. People can argue about the effectiveness of the act, but one thing is beyond dispute. It was a direct assault on lobbyist power, and earned McCain undying enmity among many important parts of the Republican coalition, who felt their soft money influence was being diminished.

In 2003, the Senate nearly passed the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act. The act was opposed by the usual mix of energy, auto and mining companies. But moderate environmental groups were thrilled that McCain-Lieberman was able to attract more than 40 votes in the Senate.

In 2004, McCain launched a frontal assault on the leasing contract the Pentagon had signed with Boeing for aerial refueling tankers. McCain’s investigation exposed billions of dollars of waste and layers of contracting irregularity.

In 2005, McCain led the Congressional investigation into the behavior of the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The investigation was exceedingly unpleasant for Republicans, because it exposed shocking misbehavior by important conservative activists.

Over the past few years, McCain has stepped up his longstanding assault on earmarks. Every year, McCain goes to the Senate floor to ridicule the latest batch of earmarks, and every year his colleagues and the lobbyists fume. For years, McCain has proposed legislative remedies — greater transparency, a 60-vote supermajority requirement — that were brutally unpopular with many colleagues until, suddenly, now.

Over the course of his career, McCain has tried to do the impossible. He has challenged the winds of the money gale. He has sometimes failed and fallen short. And there have always been critics who cherry-pick his compromises, ignore his larger efforts and accuse him of being a hypocrite.

This is, of course, the gospel of the mediocre man: to ridicule somebody who tries something difficult on the grounds that the effort was not a total success. But any decent person who looks at the McCain record sees that while he has certainly faltered at times, he has also battled concentrated power more doggedly than any other legislator. If this is the record of a candidate with lobbyists on his campaign bus, then every candidate should have lobbyists on the bus.

A bit of advertising from pg 1 of today's Journal:



This type of calumny shall not stand. The nerve.

Umm...software is not always a rip off?

The Rage is Indescribable

I am fortunate that I was able to borrow money from my family for a downpayment on my house seven years ago. Since then, my wife and I have worked hard to afford to live here and put about $30,000 worth of improvements into the house.

A couple of years ago a neighbor from two houses away was evicted for failure to pay taxes. He had no mortgage on the house as he inherited it and had few living expenses. Unfortunately he has mental health issues that led to this event.

Since then, the house has sat empty and been vandalized. It's in bad need of a new roof and siding, and I can only imagine how bad the inside looks. Because it was unoccupied for so long, we made phone calls to find out what was happening with it. It turns out it was "bought" by the Long Island Housing Partnership.

I just saw them there with a bunch of contractors doing a walkthrough and spoke to the woman in charge. She informed me that my tax dollars (directly and indirectly) will pay to fix the house inside and out. Then they will sell the house for less than one third of market value to a qualified first-time home buyer. Market value for houses in my neighborhood range from about $500-650k. To qualify as an individual, you need to make less than $50k per year, $60k for a couple, $65k for a family of three and so on.

When I asked why they should sell a house to someone so far below market value, when I paid so much more and that the house should be entirely fixed ahead of time, on my dime while I should pay (and do much of the work) to fix my own house, she said they're helping people who can't afford it. She told me these people can't afford the down payment. When I replied that we only put down 5% and borrowed much of that from family, she told me I could have come to the LIHP.

I'm all for helping people who need help, but why should my tax money go to fix someone else's house in a neighbor they can't afford to live in? This woman assures my they'll pay the taxes and that she felt the same way I do before she worked at the LIHP. How? Even without my mortgage, I couldn't afford to live here on $50k. Wouldn't they be better off selling this house at market value to someone who can afford to live here, then using the proceeds to buy two houses for two families in neighboors they can afford?

This is exactly the disincentive we give for people to work hard. Don't worry, the government will sell you a totally fixed-up house for a third of what you should pay.

Ouch! I think I popped a blood vessel in my head.
Monday, February 25, 2008

Anthropogenic global warming is real.

More proof here.

Ironic

I believe the definition of ironic can be found here.

Speaking of Florida, not ironic but interesting: Charlie Crist is only 51. I never would've guessed it.

This ship is sinking fast The Ship Be Sinking

[Update: How can one ever pass up the opportunity to use the words of the great Micheal Ray Richardson?]

Wow, the SS Hillary is about to go completely under. She must be desperate if she's resorting to releasing photos of Obama in some sort of Somali garb. The reason I say desperate is because this only would have been an interesting tactic if: (1) similar photos of her and Bill did not also exist, (2) if there had been any traction from previous efforts to link Obama with radical Islamists. People have already pointed out that his middle name is Hussein; his last name rhymes with Osama; the rumors that he was schooled at a madrassa; the rumor that he was sworn in on a Koran; etc. People have also pointed out that he refuses to wear an American lapel pin; he didn't put his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance; and his wife's recent comments about never being proud of this country. None of this has made even the slightest impact in support for him, so why would they think this photo would? Hillary fundamentally does not know how to attack Obama with a consistent message; McCain better figure it out quickly.

I must say the #1 surprise to me, and it has been a HUGE shock, is how poorly the Clintons have campaigned. I would have called her my 5 star lock pick of the week to win Dem nomination. I just can't understand how they misread the situation so many times. In large part a lot of it was Bill's doing; I can't help but wonder if he intentionally tried to sink her campaign. I would imagine a part of him would not be able to tolerate his wife being president while he sat on the sidelines; however, I'd imagine a larger part would hear the cha-ching in his head of book deals and speaking tours increasing as he remained relevant.

Who knows, but what a disaster. Man, I really wish McCain was running against her.

If Ralph Nader falls in a forest, does he make a noise?

So, Nader's in. The question is, does it matter? Initially I was quite optimistic that this might be just the push necessary to derail the Dems and give McCain a better cushion for victory. This is especially so because so many people are still in the undecided category (at least 10% in almost every major poll).

However, my best guess is that it might not matter for three reasons. First, I think the Dem turnout will be at record levels this year, so as Obama said even if Nader peels off a few votes, it won't affect them. Second, the support for Obama (and Hillary to a lesser extent) are so strong that I don't see them losing many votes to Nader. Third, and perhaps most importantly, I doubt many Dems (even far lefties) are willing to blow this election by wasting a vote on Nader and handing us the victory. They saw what happened in 2000, and as a result Nader's vote total was microscopic in 2004. I think it potentially could be even lower this go around.

That said, I am still hopeful that perhaps Nader could play spoiler. One potential way is that once the Dems pick their nominee, if the other candidate's supporters are bitter perhaps they'd consider voting for Nader. For example, Hillary supporters may have such a dislike for Obama at this point that they'd consider Nader. But that seems like a slim long shot.
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Huckabee gets the final word in

Apparently Huckabee is also a close follower of OccObs, and decided to appear on SNL in response to our most recent thread. Hilarious stuff..

BTW, I was disappointed to see this comment someone posted on the youtube clip:
I voted for Huck bcause John Mccain is for everything I am against. Hes for abortion and Illegal immigrants.

What? How can you not know that McCain has been a staunch pro-life supporter his entire career? It's disappointing how uninformed people are about the most basic issues of a candidate.

Barack Obama

An article everyone here will appreciate. I think the title says it all.

Barack Obama Is A Fake
Friday, February 22, 2008

Hackabee

It's time for Huckabee to hang it up. After Mitt dropped out I figured Huck would hang around for a little longer just to demonstrate that he could be a useful addition to McCain's ticket as VP. But that time has long come and gone. Why is he still running? According to him, it's because he hopes to force a brokered convention, where by some miracle he would emerge the victor.

Let's take a hard look at some numbers. First, 11 and 8. Next, 286 and 246. Those are the number of states and delegate votes for Mitt and Huck, respectively. Mitt dropped out two weeks ago; since that date there have been EIGHT additional Repub primaries and caucuses and yet Huck still trails Romney.

Even if Huck were to force a brokered convention, he IN NO WAY DESERVES THE NOMINATION. I'm sorry, but the voters have spoken and they have put both McCain and Mitt above Huck. So for him to stay in the campaign with the goal of winning a brokered convention is either sheer arrogance, or, more likely, an attempt to drive up his speaking fees. I find his continued presence in this campaign disingenuous at best, and self-promotional at worst.

Amen, Brother

I think we can all appreciate this one:

http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20080209/ASPENWEEKLY06/198091324

Obama on Cuba

I don't know if any of you caught the sham Dem debate last night, but Obama (PBUH) was asked right in the beginning if he'd meet Cuba's new leadership face-to-face. The moderators referenced O's earlier statements that America's Cuba policy is "a failure" and that we should sit down face-to-face with our enemies "without preconditions." I don't know why it's so hard for Obama and Dems to understand that open diplomatic channels need not be the same thing as a Presidential summit, but I digress...

While O tried to have it both ways, reiterating that he'd meet Raul Castro "without preconditions" but also stating that there would have to be "preparatory work" (try figuring out the difference there), Hill basically agreed in part, dissented in part, and mostly moved on to the next question.

McCain responded effectively today:

“Not so along go Senator Obama favored complete normalization of relations with Fidel Castro’s Cuba. Last night, he said that as president he’d meet with the imprisoned island’s new leader ‘without preconditions.’ So Raul Castro gets an audience with an American president, and all the prestige such a meeting confers, without having to release political prisoners, allow free media, political parties, and labor unions, or schedule internationally monitored free elections.

“Instead, Senator Obama says he would meet Cuba’s dictator without any such steps in the hope that talk will make things better for Cuba’s oppressed people. Meet, talk, and hope may be a sound approach in a state legislature, but it is dangerously naive in international diplomacy where the oppressed look to America for hope and adversaries wish us ill.”


ht: LJ/Race 4 '08; Econ Grad Stud for PBUH
Thursday, February 21, 2008

Say Hello to...

Liquid hot MagBa!!!

Rise of the Obamatons

Clooney and Halle Berry are on-board. The other vapid Hollywood denizens can't be far behind. And then, the mindless hordes who idolize them while zoning out before their big-screen thought-control boxes.

From The Politico:

"This is not a campaign for president of the United States, this is a movement to change the world... You do not get 13,000 people in this auditorium with a campaign."

As over the top as it may have sounded, Cummings' sentiments weren't all that unusual.

Because when it comes to Obama, hyperbole seems to be the rule, not the exception.

His charms seem tough to resist, even for some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

"He walks into a room and you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere," George Clooney told talk show host Charlie Rose.

"I'll do whatever he says to do," actress Halle Berry said to the Philadelphia Daily News. "I'll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear."

Welcome to the cult of Barack Obama.

Ice, Ice, (O)Baby

A little more background on the Times flap

Don't forget, this was the story that blared beneath the Drudge siren last December.

Here's how it was reported back then.

Apparently, the reason of "why now?", a question I asked in the comments of the previous thread, is answered here.

I guess the NY Times is that beholden to the kook fringe. Else how to explain running a story that could impact who becomes President, when it knows it doesn't have the goods. Times honcho Keller knows he doesn't have the goods, or this story would have been run back in December. Yet he's running it now because he's scared that...wait for it...The New Republic might accuse him of being "soft of Republicans?"

The TNR loonies can now push around the Old Gray Lady? How the mighty have fallen.

This is, let us not forget, the same New Republic that gave us Scott Thomas Beauchamp.

UPDATE:

Is the Times backing away from supporting the story? See here.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And the beat marches on...

MSM continues to tear down the very same John McCain whose praises they were singing just weeks ago. Latest hypocrite is NYT.

If this turn of events hadn't been so blatantly obvious, I would be irate right now. Scratch that, I'm pissed anyway.

Coining a new term

Obamaganda, (noun): pseudo-informational material, distributed through a variety of media channels, that is generally devoid of content, and designed to instill a belief that Barack Obama can save America from recession, racism, war, disease, and all forms of unhappiness.

Obamaganda can be distinguished from generic propaganda through its aggrandizement of a less-than-one-term Senator, and its frequent use of the terms "change" and "hope." These terms are generally used in lieu of Obama's actual policy proposals, which include massive new government programs, tax increases on the productive class, and an increase in wealth redistribution.

Michelle Obama

I love quotes like this one from Mrs. Obama, almost makes it too easy for McCain to run:

"...for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."

Wow, she must have lived a brutal life to have held that bleak a view of our country heretofore. So, let's learn more about her difficult life in the country she was never proud of before:

At 44, Michelle Obama would seem to be the poster child for opportunity in America. A daughter of the South Side possessing immense talent and discipline, she went from Princeton to Harvard to a silk-stocking Chicago law firm to public service and on to a six-figure job at one of Chicago's premier hospitals.

Interesting. Then again, I'm sure she could have had the same or better experience in any other country around the world; no reason to be proud that America afforded her those opportunities. Her experience is pretty much par for the course for people in all other countries.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

McCain v Obama: current polls

MattC over at Race 4 '08 has plotted recent head-to-head polling, and the electoral map currently looks as follows:















This represents a 34 EV shift from the 2004 map in favor of the Democrats so far, making the presumed totals Obama-286; McCain-252.

The results against Billary are much more encouraging, but that doesn't seem very pertinent currently. MattC left a comment on his own thread to drive the point home:

...it shows 4 red states flipping blue so far and no blue states flipping red. These are just the states we have polling data for thus far. I would guess there’s a lot more blue to red with an Obama candidacy than red to blue, and further polls will bear that out — at this stage in the game.

Veep Watch: Condi?


Pros:

-International diplomacy background further highlights McCain ticket advantage in this area
-Experienced at the highest levels of Executive Branch politics
-Even temperment
-Gets credit for moving the tone of the Bush foreign policy off of unilateralism
-Powerful intellect, academic background, speaks 5 languages
-Checks off multiple diversity boxes (I hate this category, but it's real nonetheless)
-Classy and universally well regarded
-Plays piano
-Looks good on TV (another dumb but real category)
-Is the right age for Presidential politics (mid 50's)

Cons:

-Ties McCain closer to Bush Administration and his failing approval ratings
-No exerience as "the decider": is she ready to be President if something happens to McCain?
-Too liberal for many in the conservative base (has described herself as "mildy-pro choice")
-Personally tied to the decision to invade Iraq when she was NSA.

Discuss.

The coming chaos: Dem convention edition

Check this out, from the Politico, and imagine the fist fights that will be breaking out on the convention floor as pledged delgates jump sides:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign intends to go after delegates whom Barack Obama has already won in the caucuses and primaries if she needs them to win the nomination.

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.

What? Isn’t that impossible? A pledged delegate is pledged to a particular candidate and cannot switch, right?

Wrong.

Pledged delegates are not really pledged at all, not even on the first ballot. This has been an open secret in the party for years, but it has never really mattered because there has almost always been a clear victor by the time the convention convened.

But not this time. This time, one candidate may enter the convention leading by just a few pledged delegates, and those delegates may find themselves being promised the sun, moon and stars to switch sides.

“I swear it is not happening now, but as we get closer to the convention, if it is a stalemate, everybody will be going after everybody’s delegates,” a senior Clinton official told me Monday afternoon. “All the rules will be going out the window.”

Fredo's Mad Money Challenge - Final Results

I'm going to go out on a limb and call April's PA primary for McCain. That means we can move to final results.

Congrats to Beasty for some superb picks. By getting 4 of 5 chosen contracts right, he not only won the most contracts (8), but had an amazing 80% of his contracts (excluding multiples) end in the money.

As a reult, today's word of the day, as taught to us by MB's picks: "autocorrelation"

Watch the master and learn.


FINAL RESULTS:


Fredo: Contracts 4, States 4, BA .444

MI- Mitt
CA- McCain
NJ- McCain
(PA- McCain)


Starving Econ Grad: Contracts 2, States 2, BA .167

MI- Mitt
(PA- McCain)


SHK: Contracts 1, States 1, BA .143

MI- Mitt


MB: Contracts 8, States 4, BA .800

MI- Mitt
FL- McCain (x2)
CA- McCain (x4)
(PA- McCain)


DC: A very handsome man
Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, D.C.

If it's true you just got rock band, I suggest we celebrate at your place.

It's already starting

As predicted earlier (see 5th point in first comment), MSM will begin to tear down McCain now that he is the presumptive nominee, and they are starting with his well-known temper and swearing.
Friday, February 15, 2008

McCain throws down the gauntlet

I like it. McCain calls out Obama to stick to his earlier pledge to use public financing only for election. Win-win for McCain: if Obama agrees, he forgoes a huge edge in private fundraising; if Obama declines, he's a massive flip-flopper and has gone back on his word on an issue where McCain's position is a favorite among Independents.

A Churchillian Republican

We all know that Teddy Roosevelt is John McCain's favorite Republican. But in his current column in the Weekly Standard, Michael Makovsky makes the argument that McCain's true prefigurment is Winston Churchill, and not Reagan or Teddy.

Both grew up as underachievers in the shadow of prominent fathers and ancestors and then surpassed them in renown...

Neither Churchill nor McCain was ever liked much by his colleagues...

Fundamental to Churchill's worldview was the belief that priorities had to be rigidly ranked and that the supreme interests need to be vigorously and single-mindedly pursued. Chief among those interests was national security. McCain has suggested a similar approach...

It was Churchill's credibility, earned by staking out unpopular but prophetic positions, that led him to be embraced by his political nemesis Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when war broke out in 1939, and then catapulted him to replace Chamberlain over war mismanagement in 1940...

It was McCain's unique national security credibility that similarly brought him back into the good graces of his more powerful political rival, President George W. Bush, and he can legitimately offer himself as a competent and effective wartime commander in chief...

McCain certainly has not achieved Churchill's heights, but he can legitimately claim to be the most Churchillian among the Republicans of his day. That not only offers hope for a possible McCain administration, especially during this time of war, but should also be encouraging to conservatives.


Thursday, February 14, 2008

"Super" Bowl?

Let me start off by stating that I had no rooting loyalties to either teams in this year's Big Game.
In fact, I would have been hard pressed to find two teams about which I could be more apathetic. Perhaps it was this detachment that allowed me to analyze the events that led to the "inevitable" win by Big Blue--either that, or it was the mind-numbing pace of the first three quarters...
Anywho, I am convinced that Super Bowl XLII was marred by...wait for it...SHENANIGANS!!!
It all began with the Jetties. By Mangini opening the Pandora's Box that is Spygate, he set into motion a string of events.
First came the ASTERISK that everyone outside of New England wanted slapped on the Pats. This would have been a non-issue if they had dropped one game during the regular season and I believe the league figured that this was a certainty. When Bill's boys ran the table we suddenly start to hear whispers.
Although the Pats faced mild adversity during the playoffs, they pretty much walked through to the Super Bowl. Again the league's hopes for a loss were for naught. Out of nowhere (or the Blue?) come claims that the Pats used the same dastardly, underhanded tactics to upset the Rams to claim their first title in the "dynasty." Why do we hear about this now? It's all about the asterisk (explanation below). The story was buried before it could gain momentum. Next thing you know, Commish Goodell destroys all the Spygate evidence. His reason--there was nothing there that we didn't already know. Hmmm.
Those who were able to maintain consciousness through the first 45 minutes were treated to football more suited to a Ravens/Titans game. This was not the same Patriots juggernaut that rolled through 18 games. I'm not trying to take credit away from the Giants for a well-planned defensive gameplan. But let be realists here--a month earlier the Pats scorched the G-Men with a number of key personnel on the bench. And although Belicheck is a cheating bastard, I find it extraordinarily difficult to picture Tom Coughlin out-coaching him. This guy was villified in New York up until Eli knelt it down at 0:01.
The Pats O line (with 2 All-Pros) couldn't stop anyone. Samuel (another All-Pro) drops an interception that looks like Neil O'Donnell threw it. The paradigm of NFL team professionalism plays like the JV on the big stage? Suspicious stuff.
The officiating in the game was atrocious as well (for both teams). I was sorely disappointed by the crew of Professional Black Man Mike Carey. Any time I see a game where the refs are totally off the grid makes me suspicious of the game's outcome.
My conclusion: Goodell forced the Pats to throw the game. Why would he do this? 1) The Pats are guilty as hell of cheating (but realistically, who isn't), 2) the league doesn't need its sport's unique perfect season besmirched by an asterisk (see MLB), 3) any time a New York team can win a title in any sport it's great for business.
How could the commish get the Pats to roll over? Promise to destroy the Spygate evidence. Bury the Rams story to preserve the integrity of the dynasty and avoid further asterisks. Hold the threat of a one-year ban on Belicheck (which is his penalty for his next cheating transgression).
And could the players have made money on the game? The only members of the Pats that looked like they were trying were Brady and Welker. If Brady had a gun on the sideline he would have killed most of his teammates. I've never seen him that mad--getting driven into the turf repeatedly because of completely missed blocks will do that to you, I guess.
Finally, Belicheck's post-game behavior may be the most damning evidence. This guy may be the most anti-social jackass in the league but he plays nice and gives comments after his team-of-destiny pulled one of the biggest chokes ever. History shows that he has no problem taking fines and getting in trouble for slamming doors in reporters' faces. Why the change of heart?

Romney endorsement?

Mitt supposedly to endorse McCain. This is the right move, and will hopefully help solidify support for McCain.

Time of death - call it

I'm calling it for the Hillary campaign. Latest Rasmussen poll shows Obama is solid favorite over her, among almost all groups. That, plus the poll results below tell me that the superdelegates are going to support Obama.

In general election match-ups, Obama leads John McCain 46% to 42% while McCain leads Clinton 48% to 41%.

Also, Bill's first campaign manager just came out in support of Obama. "All your hopes and dreams, gone."

Just to Make Sure We're All on the Same Page

As Obama gets shredded for being soft on terrorism, let's not fall into the trap of thinking "at least if Hillary gets elected, she'll be tough on terror..."

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB120277819085260827-lMyQjAxMDI4MDEyMzcxNzM4Wj.html

"Straight Talk"?

I think this vote is going to cause problems for McCain's "Straight Talk" image. Despite the fact that he has been adamantly opposed to torture, he voted yesterday against a bill that would ban waterboarding.

His reasoning: “We always supported allowing the C.I.A. to use extra measures,” he said. At the same time, he said that he believed “waterboarding is illegal and should be banned”.

Well, which is it, and what are "extra measures"?? Isn't this just code for torture that he is supposedly against? This is confusing at best, and alienates both sides at worst. On the one hand, he has previously already lost the support of conservatives who support some form of aggressive interrogation; on the other hand, this vote will turn off Dems and Inds who are against torture and were considering voting for McCain.

I suppose at least he didn't abscond his responsibility to continue doing his present job while running for Prez, unlike HillBama who BOTH skipped the vote. I find it unacceptable that senators routinely fail to do their job and miss votes. Just because you are out of the office doesn't mean you should be given a pass on taking a position: you should be forced to send in a proxy vote.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gearing up

Assuming Obama wins the nomination, McCain is going to have his hands full taking on all the sunshine and rainbows rhetoric from Obama. The interesting question is, how will Obama attack McCain? Of course the obvious first point is that Obama represents a fresh change, a new way, while McCain represents "old washington" and failed methods. But here is some more insight from his speech:

“It’s a Washington where politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged — a war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week,” Mr. Obama said.

In his speech in Janesville, Mr. Obama proposed creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to invest $60 billion over 10 years and create nearly 2 million new jobs in the construction field. He said the program would be paid for by ending the Iraq war. He also renewed his call to create an energy plan to invest $150 billion over 10 years to establish a “green energy sector” to add up to 5 million jobs in the next two decades.

It’s time to stop spending billions of dollars a week trying to put Iraq back together and start spending the money on putting America back together instead,” Mr. Obama said. He added, “We’ll also provide funding to help manufacturers convert to green technology and help workers learn the skills they need for these jobs.”


Clearly, Obama is going to strike at McCain on the cost of the Iraq war. McCain is going to be in a difficult position: a majority of Americans are opposed to the war, and when you throw the dollar costs out there and present as an alternative that the money could be spent here in the U.S., it's tough to fight on the face of it. In contrast to Obama's easy-to-make and understand argument, McCain will have to defend a more complex (but correct) position, that to simply cut and run will cost us far more in the long run.

McCain will have to defend his position of maintaining a more costly and larger longer-term presence in Iraq than Obama proposes. From Obama's website:

He [Obama] will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

The best way to press Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future is to make it clear that we are leaving.


McCain's difficulty is that to the average voter who spends little or no time understanding these complex issues, Obama's position will not only sound correct, but look at all the money we'll save that could be spent here. I hope McCain's team is preparing some succinct talking points to make his case.

IMO McCain's best position is as follows. First, until recently the reconstruction effort was poorly handled. No consideration for political realities on the ground; insufficient or inappropriate equipment for the troops; wasted/stolen funds due to no-bid contracts for rebuilding; etc. However, all this will change under McCain: he was right on the surge, and he'll be right going forward. Second, and perhaps more importantly, he needs to get people to divorce their opinions on whether we should have ever invaded Iraq from what we do now. He needs to make the point that we are where we are; the important question is what do we do from here that is in the US' best interest, and which candidate is best equipped to execute. He needs to paint Obama as too naive to handle the situation, and play up his own strength here.

2044

My son, who is due to be born in May could be a front-runner in 2044. He'll be 36 then and eligible. --snark--

2012

Jeb Bush will be the Republican party front-runner in 2012. I think this is especially true if Obama wins this year. If Hillary wins it might be tougher to get people to swallow Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush, but four years of Hillary might make people be willing to overlook such a monarchy-like grip on the presidency.

Obama supporters: creative little buggers



Senator McCain's Post-Potomac Primary Presser

The end of the beginning and a question for our contributors...

Byron York, in an NRO column, writes the following:

Whenever he goes, Huckabee will leave with a stature far higher than when he began the race. He is now a national figure in GOP politics, widely admired as the best natural campaigner in the 2008 field. Good, and perhaps even greater, things await. And it is unlikely that Huckabee wants to do anything in the last days of his campaign to diminish all the gains he has made.

I also felt that Huck was the best campaginer of the group, and the way he was able to leverage his campaign's budget (by far the most votes/$) was part of the proof. That said, it seems a near-certainty that McCain will have 1,191 delegates before the convention, making Huck's campaign largely irrelevant at this point. If he challenges Pryor for the Senate seat in AR, I'll throw him a few bucks.

At this point, I motion for OccObs to officially endorse Senator John McCain for President, as he is the presumptive GOP nominee. He is clearly a superior option to Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton. He is a conservative with the record of a conservative, and he is an American hero.

Do I hear a second? Objections from any contributors?

The world awaits our decision...
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Antonin

Justice Scalia essentially tells Europe to man up and grow a pair. Gotta love it!

Paul "refocused" on Congressional primary, still in Presidential race

Apparently, he's spending less time running for Pres and more time trying to hold onto his House seat, but that doesn't mean he's dropped out of the Presidential race. At least that's how I understand this.

Obama time?

That HRC might actually be on the cusp of losing the nomination according to her advisers is amazing to me. I really thought the Clinton machine would guarantee her an easy path to the party's nomination. I guess either people in her own party dislike her more than I expected; or they think she can't win in the general since she's too polarizing; or they are just buying into Obama's empty rhetoric.
Monday, February 11, 2008

Delegates

As we all know, our winner-take-all delegate and electoral process can greatly skew results of the popular vote, but I found these statistics from Mitt in his CPAC concession speech interesting:

As of today, more than 4 million people have given me their vote for president, less than Senator McCain’s 4.7 million, but quite a statement nonetheless. 11 states have given me their nod, compared to his 13.

Shows you that at the popular level, the race was exceptionally tight. Importantly, it shows the dissatisfaction with McCain as a candidate, which he will have to work hard to change by November. Hopefully, suitable selection of VP candidate will be a good step in that direction.

On the other hand, it may all be a moot point as the number of Dem primary voters continues to flat out bury Repubs. We may be looking at a Dem prez + Dem congress = sky's the limit for taxes. In which case, hunker down and pray that 2012 gets here as fast as possible.
Sunday, February 10, 2008

Huck wins LA, KS. WA too close to call. Paul says he won't run 3rd party

That is all.
Friday, February 08, 2008

GOP candidates on judicial appointments

Here's what McCain and Huck had to say in letters to the Federalist Society explaining their criteria for choosing justices:

Senator John McCain:

I believe that one of the greatest threats to our liberty and the Constitutional framework that safeguards our freedoms are willful judges who usurp the role of the people and their representatives and legislate from the bench. As President, I will nominate judges who understand that their role is to faithfully apply the law as written, not impose their opinions through judicial fiat.

We are a free people. This means that the rules we have agreed to live by are those made by the people themselves, not a small elite that claims to be wiser than everybody else. Our laws are legitimate precisely because they reflect decisions solemnly made by the people – in the case of Constitutional law, through the process of ratification and periodic amendment; in the case of statutory law, through their elected representatives in the legislative process. When applying the law, the role of the judge is not to impose their own view as to the best policy choices for society but to faithfully and accurately determine the policy choices already made by the people and embodied in the law. The judicial role is necessarily limited and one that requires restraint and humility. As I said to the Society at the 2006 convention, “[Judges] should be people who are humbled by their role in our system, not emboldened by it. Our freedom is curtailed no less by an act of arbitrary judicial power as it is by an act of arbitrary executive, or legislative, or state power.”

This is not a new position. I have long held it. It is reflected in my consistent opposition to the agenda of liberal judicial activists who have usurped the role of state legislatures in such matters as dealing with abortion and the definition of marriage. It is reflected in my longstanding opposition to liberal opinions that have adopted a stance of active hostility toward religion, rather than neutrality. It is reflected in my firm support for the personal rights secured in the Second Amendment.

There are two areas of special concern that relate to the careful “balance of power” struck in our Constitutional structure – a balance essential to preserving our liberties. The first of these is the principle of Federalism. My judicial appointees will understand that the Federal government was intended to have limited scope, and that federal courts must respect the proper role of local and state governments. The second principle is Separation of Powers. My judicial appointees will understand that it is not their role to usurp the rightful functions and powers of the co-equal political branches. I will look for candidates who respect the lawmaking powers of Congress, and the powers of the President.

I believe that shaping the judiciary through the appointment power is one of the most important and solemn responsibilities a President has, and certainly one that has a profound and lasting impact. When I was running for President in 1999, I promised that, in appointing judges, I would not only insist on persons who were faithful to the Constitution, but persons who had a record that demonstrated that fidelity. A President should have confidence in the judicial philosophy of those he is appointing to the bench. That is why I strongly supported John Roberts and Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court and that is why I would seek men and women like them as my judicial appointees.

Governor Mike Huckabee:

One of the greatest ongoing threats to our constitutional republic is the ever-increasing politicization of the federal judiciary. Instead of interpreting the law according to its plain or original meaning, many judges are using the Constitution and statutes passed by Congress as a mere pretense for imposing their policy preferences on the American people. This is unacceptable. The role of a judge is to interpret the law, not to legislate from the bench; and as president, I will only appoint men and women who share this view.

I firmly believe that the Constitution must be interpreted according to its original meaning, and flatly reject the notion of a “living Constitution.” The meaning of the Constitution cannot be changed by judicial fiat. The powers delegated to the federal government by the Constitution come from “We the People,” and judges have no right to prohibit the people from passing democratically-enacted laws unless we have explicitly authorized them to do so. Nor can vaguely-worded language in the Constitution be used by judges to give them power over subjects the framers never intended our founding document to address. As such, any interpretation of the Constitution that is based on “evolving standards of decency,” penumbras, or any other judicial fiction, is antithetical to the rule of law, and must be forcefully challenged.

As president, I will appoint justices and judges who not only share my judicial philosophy ( e.g., Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito), but who also have established themselves within the conservative legal community as faithful adherents of originalism and textualism. The stakes are simply too high to do otherwise.

Finally, I wholeheartedly believe “that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be”; and I will do everything in my power as president to promote these cherished principles.

ht: Tommy Oliver

Dem plan of attack against McCain

Can be found here. Interestingly, if he has repeatedly said that economics is his weak point, and he needs an economically-strong VP, this would seem to lead directly towards Mitt. That, coupled with Mitt's good showing among the conservatives in the Republican base, could be a great ticket. Unfortunately, I think the animosity between the two, particularly from McCain towards Mitt, will prevent that. I for one would be a lot more comfortable with Mitt as VP than many of the other choices. On the other hand, given that Mitt has always been a leader in whatever he does, I'm sure he'd find it difficult to take a backseat (although it would position him nicely in 2012 if McCain loses or 2016 if he wins). As well, McCain might not want someone who's such a strongly opinionated leader as his VP, potentially butting heads with him on policy issues.
Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tampa Bay: The Midway Island of 2008

So writes S.V. Date over at TNR. According to Date, Charlie Crist's endorsement of McCain saved Johnny's bacon, and if not for Crist, Mitt would be "would be counting down the delegates to 1,191."

Here's the postscript to the article:

"S.V. Dáte has covered Florida politics for a dozen years. His most recent book is Jeb: America's Next Bush."

Interesting.

McCain at CPAC

He delivered a great speech. His authenticity and conservative principles were on display. Here's the crux of his governing philosophy:

I believe today, as I believed twenty-five years ago, in small government; fiscal discipline; low taxes; a strong defense, judges who enforce, and not make, our laws; the social values that are the true source of our strength; and, generally, the steadfast defense of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which I have defended my entire career as God-given to the born and unborn. Those are my beliefs, and you need not examine only my past votes and speeches to assure yourselves that they are my genuine convictions.


He then goes on to show that he's willing to take unpopular positions:

You can take added confidence from the positions I have defended during this campaign. I campaigned in Iowa in opposition to agriculture subsidies. I campaigned in New Hampshire against big government mandated health care and for a free market solution to the problem of unavailable and unaffordable health care. I campaigned in Michigan for the tax incentives and trade policies that will create new and better jobs in that economically troubled state. I campaigned in Florida against the national catastrophic insurance fund bill that passed the House of Representatives and defended my opposition to the prescription drug benefit bill that saddled Americans with yet another hugely expensive entitlement program.


A little straight talk:

"Surely, I have held other positions that have not met with widespread agreement from conservatives. I won't pretend otherwise nor would you permit me to forget it. "


He goes on to discuss immigration, and how he has come to understand the borders need to be sealed before any other aspect of the problem can be addressed.

The line that stood out for me was this:

All I ask of any American, conservative, moderate, independent, or enlightened Democrat, is to judge my record as a whole, and accept that I am not in the habit of making promises to my country that I do not intend to keep.


Very few politicans could make this statement and have it sound like little more than empty rhetoric or wishful thinking. For McCain, it is believable. Because it is verifiable, as the guards at the Hanoi Hilton can attest.

All in all, I think this speech should be a turning point in his relations with conservatives. After all, the crowd at CPAC (!) spontaneously burst into a chant of "John Mc-Cain, John Mc-Cain" at one point. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

Mittmentum..

..is apparently over. He might be announcing his withdrawal right now at CPAC.

There goes the best candidate this year, IMO. Looks like it's McCain's to have now, since Huck can't stop him. The question is, will he pick Huck as VP to shore up support in the south, or does he have other plans?
Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday

Well, what did we learn from last night's results:

1. Clinton machine is not an automatic thing, Obama is still well alive.
2. CW says governors usually win, not senators. Yet with very high certainty we will have a general election between two senators this year.
3. Everyone keeps talking about "change", yet the front runners are the two most establishment politicians from both parties: McCain and Hillary. As Mitt has said, you won't get change in Washington by just sending the same people back in different seats.
4. Huck did well in the south, but has no appeal elsewhere in the country. He is well behind in delegate count and I think it is probably time for him to drop out. I'm not sure about Mitt; he has broader appeal than Huck, but probably not enough support to win. I'm still glad I voted for him; I think it is important that everyone vote their first choice during primary so the party nominates the person we truly want. Unfortunately for Mitt I think being Mormon sunk any chance he had in the south, which I was concerned about from day 1.
5. Mitt got a majority in his home state (51%), while McCain did not (48%). To Fredo's point in the comments from previous thread, I'm glad b/c McCain was so arrogant about his endorsements from Boston Globe and Herald (as if being endorsed by two left-wing papers is anything to be proud of as a Republican candidate).

Now the fun begins, we'll see what Rush, Ann, Sean, Laura, et al. have to say about McCain's solid lead.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Liveblogging Tsunami Tuesday

Join me in the comments.

Watch the results roll in

HT: Matt C

Here are the poll closing times for tonight, so you know when to expect returns to come in. All times are EST, so adjust accordingly for your time zone:

7:00 — Georgia
8:00 — Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee
8:30 — Arkansas
9:00 — Arizona, New York
10:00 — Montana, Utah
11:00 — California

States holding caucuses with no specific ending time: Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, West Virginia

What does it all mean?

When you've got the largest names in conservative talk (Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, and National Review) all strongly anti-McCain, and in several cases pro-Romney, yet McCain leads the polls, what does it mean? Is it that: a) the actual number of true conservatives, aligned with these pundits, is much smaller than anticipated, or b) the raw # of conservatives is large but many are choosing to vote for McCain on the premise that he is more electable, despite the talking heads.

On another note, if you have to pick one, would you rather have Hillary or Obama as president? I have to say, I'm not sure. Both are very liberal, so you're going to get higher taxes and spending either way. I was trying to listen to Hillary last night to see if I could tolerate four years of that, and it was brutal. Her voice is just very grating. Obama is a lot easier to listen to, but I believe has an even more liberal voting record than Hillary. Also, a big negative for Obama for me is that he is clearly the more cut-and-run in Iraq of the two, which I think would leave a disastrous power vacuum for Iran to step into. So on fiscal issues it's a wash, on GWOT/Iraq I think Hillary would be better, yet I can't stomach her plus I can't stomach Bill being back in the limelight.

Tough choice indeed. Any thoughts? I might actually have to lean Hillary just for national security purposes. And you'll have to excuse me for a moment, I just threw up in my mouth.
Monday, February 04, 2008

Final thoughts on Mega-Huge-Super-Duper Tuesday

CA: Mitt and McCain. One will win by a few points. The other will lose by a few points. In terms of delegates, it doesn't matter that much, as CA isn't WTA. Mitt needs the state though for bragging rights, so that the Northeast results don't make McCain look inevitable.

NY/CT/NJ: McCain's got every single delegate (183) from all three states in his pocket, like so many nickles and dimes. And he won't even share.

MA: Mitt should win, and better win convincingly.

The South: AL/TN/GA all seem to be three-way tossups. It'll be interesting to see if Huck's support fades like it has elsewhere, as Rush beats the "a vote for Huck is a vote for McCain" drum. My guess is that Huck's support does not fade, thanks to all those Southerners still fighting the War Between the States. As a result, I'm guessing Huck comes near his polling numbers. Meaning I have know idea who wins these states because they're polling as tossups. Aren't you paying attention? I already told you that.

MO: The only WTA state that seems pretty close. Unlike in CA, a couple of points in either direction here could yield 58 delegates, and 116 delegate swing. Along w/ CA, the most watched for result of the night. And much more meaningful, in terms of delegates.

CO & UT: Mitt leads big.

AZ: Massachusetts in reverse.

AK/WV/etc.: DK/DC. Just give me the delegate count.

This made me laugh,

which is probably just a signal that I need to get out more. Anyway, a poster named Alaska Jake over at R 4 '08 had this to say about the news that Manuel Miranda and Rick Valentine had endorsed John McCain:

This isn’t directed at any one person, but doesn’t it seem like way too many people have an unusually high regard for their own opinions this year? I never saw so many endorsements from people with such little influence being thrown around by all the candidates like they are this year. Congressional legal counsels, former GOP county committeepeople, a past FCC chairman, losing campaign policy wonks, and nearly every minister south of the Mason-Dixon Line, all find their own endorsements worthy of publicizing to the entire world. I find that when any campaign releases so many endorsements from the lowest level of politics, it lessens the value of the big ones, to me anyway.

They keep lining up...

...to knock McCain down. Buchanan is the latest to pen a scathing critique of McCain. He re-hashes many of the same points raised by Rush, Coulter, etc., but also paints a bleak picture of a strong continued neo-con/nation-building presidency if McCain is elected. In his words, McCain will be "...a war president."

I go back to a point I made earlier: all these attacks on McCain--without concurrent identification of who we should support and why--are doing nothing to help the party. Railing against McCain if you disagree with him is fine, so long as you nominate a more preferable candidate and explain why. Otherwise, you are just being a liberal, complaining about a situation without offering a solution. And, more importantly, if you can't clearly identify someone who is far better than McCain on your issues of importance, then why denigrate him in the first place? I would like to see Buchanan, Rush, Coulter and others at least state who they think is a better choice (or multiple candidates if they believe any of 2 or 3 are better), even if they will not officially endorse anyone.

Thank you, Bill Kristol

I've had my differences (small "d") with the Weekly Standard crew in terms of the direction of the conservative movement. That said, Bill Kristol hits a home run with his column in today's NY Times (wow, that still sounds weird) explaining the overreaction to McCain in many conservative circles. It's a must read.

Likewise, Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the Federalist Society (the vanguard of conservative jurisprudence), wrote a similar op-ed in today's WSJ explaining how a McCain Presidency would be a win for conservatives on Supreme Court nominations as well. Another must read.

WOW

Latest RCP polls have Romney either tied with McCain in CA (Rasmussen) or +8 (Zogby). That is HUGE. Mitt also has MA and Utah locked up. Although he'll lose NY and NJ, he could make up some serious ground in proportional CA, MA and WTA Utah with big wins. Not to mention, he'll need the win in his home states (MI and MA) to give him something to point to, and say that those who know him best overwhelmingly support him.
Friday, February 01, 2008

Catholics for McCain

Check out this flyer that McCain's campaign put out. Now this is the kind of voter outreach that lets me know my issues are at least on the man's radar screen. Not that I'm expecting Antonin Scalias from him, but at least I know that he knows that I want them.

Olson, Estrada back McCain

A pretty big coup for camp McCain. By following Rudy over to the McCain camp, Ted and Miguel are calling "BS!" on the Fund/Novak story.

Estrada & Olson have devoted much of their work to conservative legal issues, and would never back a candidate who they believed would oppose S.C. nominees like Sam Alito.

Dem numbers

Several numbers look very foreboding for Republicans in the general election, regardless of our candidate. First, in all primaries and caucuses so far, the number of Dem voters has far exceed Republican. As Fredo mentioned to me the other day, in FL the numbers were equal, despite the fact that the DNC penalized FL and they get zero delegates this year. Zero. So in a meaningless election, Dems drew as many voters as Repubs in a critical race. Next, Dem TV debates are breaking all sorts of viewership records, including last night's CNN debate. This is in contrast to Repub debate on CNN two nights earlier.

Now, what I don't know is if this is no different than previous years, and if Dems historically show more interest than Repubs early on then fade. What I do know is that Republican listeners to talk radio far outweigh Dems, so I would expect they should also outnumber them for watching TV debates. That we don't this year gives me great concern.

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