The Obama Gaffe Machine Tally Sheet
By Dan | June 3, 2008 - 9:43 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Op Ed, Best Of, Edukashun

I have decided to keep track of the Obama Gaffe Machine in its ever-expanding work to test the mainstream media’s limits of denial. It has turned out to be a bit more ambitious than I first thought, so it is not yet done. Given the frenzy today, I thought it appropriate to launch a bit early.

Please feel free to comment or suggest new gaffes on the permanent Obama Gaffe page.

Hillary Won’t Quit
By Dan | May 30, 2008 - 11:40 am - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Clinton, Edukashun

I find it mildly amusing that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean have all come out in the past two days promising to bring an end to the Democratic presidential campaign next week. While it is true that the party “leaders” can apply pressure to the unaligned super delegates, they cannot apply pressure to Hillary herself. What is needed to end this race is a concession speech from the runner-up. Does anyone really think that is forthcoming?

Let’s look at the carrots and sticks that the Democrats have over Hillary Clinton. First, the sticks:

  • Campaign Debt. Hillary has amassed about $11 million dollars worth of campaign debt that, under McCain-Feingold, she must repay before the nominee is selected at the convention. $11 million is a lot of money, even to the Clintons, but most of it is owed to small suppliers. Has anyone ever accused the Clintons of looking out for the little guy?
  • Obama’s Inevitability. The argument goes: once enough super delegates come to Obama, Hillary will have no choice but to concede to Obama. This argument is so utterly unhinged from the past 4 months, it borders on parody. Hillary Clinton has been mathematically eliminated since just after Super Tuesday. No one reasonably expected Hillary to be able to pull this out without a tremendous Yankees-lose-four-straight-to Boston style collapse by Obama. Once she lost those 10 straight primaries, the end was inevitable. Nothing has changed, and it won’t.
  • Hillary’s Future In the Party. To think that Reid, Pelosi or Dean could threaten the Clintons with any plausible political damage is laughable. Half the time, Reid and Pelosi can’t even get their own colleagues to get behind legislation they themselves are backing. And trust me, Hillary Clinton covets this nomination far more than some farm subsidy.

And now the carrots. Ask yourself, what is it that Hillary Clinton is asking for:

  • Florida and Michigan. If you think this is anything but a cynical ploy, you’re doing it wrong. Hillary does not care one iota about the voters or delegates of Florida and Michigan. How do I know? Before it mattered, her delegates to the DNC voted unanimously to strip both states of their delegates. The only reason Hillary cares about these delegates is that it gives her a reason to take the fight to the convention.
  • The Vice Presidency. As I have mentioned before, Hillary does not want Obama to win. She wants him to fail miserably so that she and Bill can say “We told you so,” in 2012. If that is her strategy, she wants to stay off the ticket to avoid blame, while paying lip service to a united party. She will campaign for Obama, she may even hedge her bets by requesting a Supreme Court spot, a cabinet role or a choice ambassadorship, but she will not join the ticket.
  • A speaking role at the convention. Try and deny her this. This is not even negotiable for Hillary. She will speak at the convention, whether Pelosi, Reid and Dean like it or not. With almost exactly half of the delegates on the floor being Hillary supporters, can you imagine the pandemonium if she is denied a prominent role? Moreover, the media, even with it’s pro-Obama drunken stupor, would have to cover Hillary’s competing press conference(s) and other distractions.

In my opinion, there is just no leverage to force Hillary out of the race. Hillary truly believes that Obama will be exposed before November as the Chicago political operative he is (she would know), and she has faith that McCain will not run for two terms. No matter the numbers, no matter the odds, Hillary will drag this out to the convention. She will make a big speech, a thinly veiled warning to those who vote for Obama. She will force a vote (maybe even several platform votes to embarrass Obama). She will set the stage for four years hence, when her new campaign theme will be “I told you so.”

By Dan | May 27, 2008 - 3:56 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Stars & Stripes, Edukashun

I had a uncle who was one of the, um, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz, and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family was, is that, when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months. Now, obviously, something had really affected him deeply. But at that time, there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain.

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, Las Cruces, New Mexico, May 26, 2008 (Memorial Day).

For those without access to the “right” wing of the internet, I will let you in on an open secret, U.S. troops never entered Auschwitz. The concentration camp at Auschwitz (Poland) was the largest in the German-controlled territories. Being east of Berlin (the furthest advance of U.S. and allied troops), it was liberated by the Soviet Union’s Red Army. Of course, Obama’s recent gaffes on geography may be signs he has “lost his bearings” completely, and he may have forgotten that Poland is east of Germany, just as he forgot that Kentucky borders Illinois. (Obama is apparently channeling Haley Joel Osmet in seeing dead people, so perhaps he’s not fit for the rigors of such a long campaign.)

It is true that the United States Army did, however, liberate several Nazi concentration camps, and I am sure that the horror of uncovering these camps in April of 1945 was overwhelming and lasting. It’s still early days in the latest Obama gaffe/whopper, but time will (hopefully) tell as to whether Obama was (a) merely misstating a (presumably true) family legend (certainly a mere gaffe, confusing Auschwitz with Dachau or another camp); (b) unknowingly repeating a false family legend or (c) making this up out of whole cloth (as he did his “claim on Selma“).

The first two are not so troublesome, as many of us take as gospel that which our grandparents told us (even if they are typical, white racists). For example, my grandmother (not a racist) told me that my late grandfather liberated the town in Italy where she was born. It’s a heart warming story, and I may repeat it in public one day. There’s no reason to issue a FOIA request for Grandpa Al’s records, but then again, I’m not claiming he liberated Auschwitz.

There are some troubling side stories here. There are questions as to whether Obama even has an uncle on that side. In addition, the fact that he would mention his grandfather’s tenuous connection (again to the wrong Nazi camps) in a 2002 speech and this (apparently long lost) uncle’s direct connection in 2008 also undermines the credibility of the uncle’s story. And finally, much like outing grandma as a racist, where is the compassion for this uncle’s suffering? If you had lived through the Great Depression, seen your country attacked by Japan, marched across Europe and Africa, watching your best friends die in combat, only to discover the truly disgusting depths of the human capacity for evil, would you want your slick nephew airing your dirty laundry, bragging about the most trying times of your long life to score political points?

In any case, I am sure that, if and when the media picks up on this gaffe/lie, we will be told that this is a “distraction” meant to keep us from “focusing on the real issues.”

On a less personal scale, of all things not to be taken lightly, the Holocaust should be at the top of anyone’s list. Auschwitz is a name that will live in the annals of evil for as long as humans walk the planet. If you’re going to raise the issue, if you’re going to connect yourself with those who, when earth’s foundation fled, took up arms against evil on Earth, you really need to get your story straight. Those who fought Germany and Japan, those who endured the Bataan Death March, the landings at Normandy, the shivering cold of Bastogne, they all deserve our loyalty and respect. To offhandedly make a claim on their legacy to make political hay is despicable. To fabricate such a claim is neigh treason to their memory.

Iran: WWRD?
By Dan | May 21, 2008 - 8:54 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes, Reagan

Obama supporters continue to cling (perhaps out of bitterness) to the notion of direct diplomacy with Iran. Their retort to the tidal wave of criticism is, “well, what would you do? Invade Iran.” This is part of the Democratic strategy of criticizing U.S. foreign policy. It takes an incredibly narrow view of the history of Iraq. Perhaps many Obama supporters cannot remember that far back, but the United States imposed sanctions on Iraq for 12 years. For many Obama supporters, this dates back to their kindergarten days. The notion that the United States reflexively invaded Iraq after 9/11 is as absurd as the most deranged Obama fantasy.

Iraq is a separate animal from Iran. Iraq was a brutal, but secular, dictatorship run by an aging psychopath. Iran, though run by equally brutal psychopaths, has a growing populist democracy movement. There are reformers, in some cases openly calling for democratic reforms in Iran, such a pro-American base did not exist in Iraq, certainly not with nearly the same strength.

Invading Iran is not a plausible scenario for many reasons. So what would I do about Iran? More importantly, what would Ronald Reagan do? Toppling an evil empire, as the old Cowboy from Tampico showed us, requires determination, restrained aggression, compassion and cooperation (and a little bit of luck).

Reagan showed us that determination (some would say “Cowboy diplomacy” or “stubborn refusal to be reasonable”) is not a weakness in the face of evil. A president needs to convince the enemy, the people under its oppression, U.S. allies and the global spectators (the United Nations, for example), that the full power of the United States will be brought to bear so that freedom, not tyranny, will win the day. Certainly, a president must be willing (and plausibly so) to commit the full might of the U.S. military to destroying Iran. This commitment must be broader than that. It must include economic policies and diplomatic efforts with other countries. Most importantly, this determination cannot waiver, it cannot be subject to the whims of pollsters or pundits. In 1987, after six years of “preparations”, Ronald Reagan demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall. His speech writers objected. His Secretary of State objected. The media mocked him as a dottering old fool. Two years later, the wall came down.

Reagan knew that naked determination, however, was not enough. Just as in high-stakes poker, restrained aggression is key to brinkmanship. Reagan knew that placing Pershing II missiles in Europe would provoke the Soviets. He also knew they deserved it and would see it as a sign of strength. Reagan was roundly mocked for the Strategic Defense Initiative, a futuristic system that now protects the United States and its allies. But the old man knew that the floundering Soviet economy and years of brain drain meant the Soviets could not possibly keep up.

Reagan also knew that there was a fundamental difference between a Soviet and a Russian. He often spoke warmly of the Russian people, with compassion and empathy for their plight. He knew, and he was able to convey, that every man and woman were born with the same rights and that communism is an affront to basic human dignity. He said so, sincerely, publicly and often.

Finally, Reagan was a great communicator. He knew that, as powerful as the United States is, it cannot take on the entire world. Nor can the United States prosper in a world where our allies become embittered or isolated by our unilateral foreign policy. He knew that, even though the United States would bear most of the burden of promoting freedom, our allies and those who remained neutral should always feel welcome in the fight.

So, what would Reagan have us do?

  • He would never, ever, meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As former Reagan adviser K.T. McFarland points out, “negotiating without leverage is not negotiating, it’s begging.” You will know it’s time to meet with the Iranian leader when the Iranian leader is a moderate, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Patience is a passive form of determination. Reagan would spend his first term in office publicly criticizing and ostracizing Iran until regime change became its only hope for survival. He would promote an aggressive domestic policy for energy independence and a strong U.S. dollar, along with sanctions crippling the Iranian economy (just as cheap oil crippled the Soviet economy).
  • Reagan would use our military gains in Iraq to occupy and frustrate Iran along its common border with Iraq. No Iranian would be able to cross the border without seeing an impressive display of American hardware and clear-eyed GI’s just waiting for Mahmoud to try something stupid. Just as the Soviet Union was unsettled by the Pershing II Missiles in West German, so Iran will be unsettled by 10 battalions of the U.S. Army amassed on its border and two carrier groups loitering off shore. Moreover, any Iranian agent found in Iraq will be treated as an invading force. Overly aggressive Iranian speedboats will experience the devastating accuracy of the American Navy, just as Gaddafi’s air force learned in the 1980s.
  • Reagan would also find compassion for those suffering in Iran. Radio Free Iran (and Video Free Iran) would give Iranians hope, and kind words appealing to the Iranian people’s basic humanity would embolden reformers and give the Iranian Lech Wałęsa the courage to challenge the mullahs. Americans would open their doors to Iranian families and word of American compassion and the benefits of freedom would be trumpeted throughout the broader Middle East.
  • Finally, direct diplomacy would be used, but not with Iran. Reagan would meet with our allies and those who trade with Iran. We would apply pressure against those who would deal with Iran and reward those who turn away.
Stop and smell the Roses
By Dan | May 5, 2008 - 12:26 pm - Posted in Op Ed, Best Of, Personals

Spring is a beautiful time of year. The birds return, the trees bloom and you remember why it is you kept going through the depressing winter months. You suddenly remember the smell of fresh cut grass and the wonderful magic that takes you back to the first time you played baseball or rode a bike. The ice cream truck’s melody draws you back to summers spent with friends, trying to cobble together enough quarters for a chocolate with sprinkles. You remember when family barbecues were about swimming and playing baseball, not politics, or work.

I have to confess, I never used to notice spring. I missed–ignored, really–the cherry blossoms and the magnolia trees. I was always so busy. In high school it was football, or chess club or mathletes (don’t laugh, I have the medals to prove it). In college, well, you never notice anything in college, I’ve come to understand that to be the point. Graduate school and law school held their own distractions. When I finally joined the working world, 80 hour work weeks at a law firm and constant pressure to bill my time blended days, weeks, months and seasons into a continual blur of mahogany and beige.

Last year, though, I noticed. This year I realized how ridiculous it was that I hadn’t before. A year ago Friday, in the midst of my personal and professional distractions: searching for a new job, reviewing proxy statements, layering more gold on more golden parachutes; my father taught me his last lesson. His sudden death came as a stark and painful reminder of how fleeting life is. In death, he made clear the point he had tried to make with me for half of his life: our time here is short, make the most out of it.

I had called the night before, accidentally interrupting dinner. The quick call, with my brother, reminded me that Dad was driving him to the airport in the morning. I could hear my father joking in the background, as he always did. The next morning, my father, my best man, was gone. It was a random Wednesday in May. There was no warning, there was no time to say goodbye. His heart, the greatest and most admired part of him, had given out.

In the weeks and months since, I have tried to make sense of the senseless. Is there a plan for each of us laid out by a higher power? Are we wandering aimlessly, the victims and benefactors of cosmic chance? Or are we all just meat-powered machines that come and go like insects? I cannot pretend to answer any of these questions, but my father’s passing has reminded me that ancient wisdom is wisdom for a reason. There is a simple elegance in why tradition and values maintain, when fads come and go. We may not always understand it, and as thinking people, we are bound to question it. Although it may be a platitude or cliché, there is a reason that people still remind those they love to stop and smell the roses. Even if it’s on a random Wednesday in May.

The Wright Frame of Mind
By Dan | April 28, 2008 - 11:25 am - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Op Ed, Foreign Affairs, 9/11

Answering questions today at a press club breakfast, Jeremiah Wright was asked about his “chicken’s coming home to roost” comment. The fact that his response was not met with derisive laughter is telling of the media’s abdication of its charge: “Have you heard the whole sermon? No? The whole sermon?” he responded. When the reporter shook her head, he said, “That nullifies that question.”

I beg your pardon? No, it’s still a valid question. You don’t need to read Origin of Species to have questions on evolution. (Or, to reinforce Goodwin’s law, you don’t need to read Mein Kampf to raise an objection to the Final Solution.) Reverend Wright made a comment (he claims he got the idea from former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck) that some find objectionable. The fact that they have not taken the time to listen to all thirty-five minutes of the sermon does not mean we cannot ask questions.

The argument goes that we haven’t heard the whole sermon, only the 2 minute sound bite, therefore, we should not judge Reverend Wright based on that alone. Fair enough, so I have heard the entire “chickens coming home to roost” sermon. I have to tell you, that didn’t change my view of how offensive it was. The fact that Reverend Wright spoke at length about how America brought 9/11 on itself does not excuse the more provocative sound bite. It is that idea that is offensive. Is Bill Moyers and the rest of the media that blind? Can they not see that the idea that America deserved to be attacked is, in itself offensive? Do they think we are offended on behalf of poultry farmers?

Of course, Reverend Wright has grown accustomed to not having to answer difficult questions. I spent an hour this weekend watching Bill Moyer’s perform a nasal colonoscopy on Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I don’t watch Bill Moyers regularly, but I find it hard to imagine how someone can call themselves a journalist without ever asking a serious question. You have one of the most controversial people in America on your program and you don’t ask a single question clarifying his viewpoint?

For those unwilling to stomach the entire sermon, Reverend Wright equates the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Edomites to the fall of the Twin Towers and the pentagon (money and military). The sermon revolves around Psalm 137 and how the first 6 verses show reverence for Jerusalem, but then the Psalm goes on to ask revenge on the Edomites. Reverend Wright is arguing against American retribution for the attacks of 9/11. He clearly feels that America will go too far in seeking revenge against those who perpetrated the attacks. Violence begets violence.

Midway through the sermon, Reverend Wright switches tracks and calls out a “faith footnote.” It is in this footnote that Wright draws the moral equivalence between America’s past transgressions and 9/11. (He later goes on, at the 30:00 mark, to argue that money appropriated for rebuilding New York should be used for free healthcare, education, the poor and AIDS research.) This is exactly what we thought you said. This is not different and no less despicable than Jerry Falwell’s comments that 9/11 was brought on by moral decay. In the minds of many Americans, this is what is controversial. It is not that we assume you are unAmerican, it is that we know, from your words, that you blame America for 9/11. That, alone, is enough.

Democrats Claim a River in Egypt
By Dan | April 18, 2008 - 1:31 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Op Ed, Edukashun

I have to confess, I have been enjoying, with guiltless pleasure, the debacle Wednesday’s debate was, and the accompanying fracas it has created on the internet and in the media.

On Obama’s performance, two things lept out at me, first how he turns into a whining little mess when the media shows the slightest bit of skepticism towards him and second his ridiculous response to the Ayers question.

The first issue, which really speaks to the broader problem of denial for the Democrats, was evident in Obama’s responses and his demeanor. He was asked about the lapel pin, Reverend Wright, terrorist cum professor William Ayers and his demeaning and elitist comments in San Francisco. Each time, he deflected these questions as either unfair or “distractions.” This is the corollary to his San Francisco comments: “You people aren’t smart enough to focus on the real issues!” It would seem that anything on which Obama and the vast majority of Americans disagree are irrelevant distractions, security blankets, or unfair partisan attacks.

For example, most Americans (like it or not, Mr. Obama) believe in their religion. I assert that a majority of Americans believe that abortion is abhorrent and should be made illegal in most cases. (Polls on this point are debateable, but if Democrats believe that I am wrong, stop hiding in court, and let’s decide the issue by majority vote in Congress). Many Americans believe the Second Amendment protects their right to keep and bear arms and are actually afraid of what America will become if we, like the UK and France, lose that right.

Simply because your ivory encrusted sheepskins from Columbia and Harvard tell you such claims are unfounded does not make these issues irrelevant. We live under a system of laws, not one ordered by fiat from know it alls who don’t want to talk about religion, abortion, marriage, gun ownership or other topics on which they hold an unpopular stance.

Put another way, your “irrelevant distraction” is my “core value.” Your “core values” (which, though it’s hard to tell, seem to be government run health care, withdrawal from Iraq, and government bailout of people who made a bad decision on real estate) are my “irrelevant distractions.” I don’t want to live with government health care any more than I want live in government housing. If we wanted out of Iraq, we would have elected the Junior Snob from Massachusetts in 2004. If I wanted to pay for someone else’s mistakes, I would be a Democrat. People vote on what matters to them. Saying Republicans “scared voters” into voting against their interest is not an argument, it’s denial.

On William “I wish I had done more to kill innocent civilians” Ayers, Obama’s response would be funny if he wasn’t running for president. Ayers was part of the Weather Underground and, not only has he never renounced violence against the government (and innocent people), he is proud of his “work” and, on 9/11/2001 of all days, the New York Times ran a puff piece pitching his memoirs. He is scum and in a just world, someone would visit the violence and terror on him that he visited on others. He is, however, a force in Chicago politics and helped launch Obama’s political career in 1995. He and Obama have served on boards together, their relationship is far more substantial than Obama indicated.

Here is George Stephanopoulos’s question and Obama’s response:

MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, if you get the nomination, you’ll have to — (applause) — (inaudible).

I want to give Senator Clinton a chance to respond, but first a follow-up on this issue, the general theme of patriotism in your relationships. A gentleman named William Ayers, he was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that. And in fact, on 9/11 he was quoted in The New York Times saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs; I feel we didn’t do enough.”

An early organizing meeting for your state senate campaign was held at his house, and your campaign has said you are friendly. Can you explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won’t be a problem?

SEN. OBAMA: George, but this is an example of what I’m talking about.

This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from on a regular basis.

And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.

The fact is, is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who during his campaign once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.

Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those either.

So this kind of game, in which anybody who I know, regardless of how flimsy the relationship is, is somehow — somehow their ideas could be attributed to me — I think the American people are smarter than that. They’re not going to suggest somehow that that is reflective of my views, because it obviously isn’t.

First, the fact that Ayers’s conduct occurred when Obama was 8 is irrelevant. The Unibomber was killing people when I was 8, does that mean it’s okay for me to have him launch my political career? Can I serve on a board with him? Ayers is only a professor because he’s a left-wing nutjob who tried to kill innocent people in the 70’s. Is this another pathetic version of the “I wasn’t in church that day” defense?

Second, Tom Coburn is an elected official who has, to my knowledge, never broken the law, nor advocated the overthrough of the government of the United States by force and violence. He advocated a change in the law that would allow the death penalty for people who violate that law, as changed. Comparing the two is absurd.

Third, he hasn’t given Obama his “official endorsement”? Talk about irrelevant. Louis Farrakhan gave Obama his official endorsement, should we interpret that to mean Obama exchanges ideas with him on a regular basis? (Speaking of which, you need not exchange ideas with someone if you know you share the same anti-American perspective). And what are we to make of the lack of an endorsement? Certainly Ayers, a Chicago political operative who launch Obama’s career, is in fact in favor of Obama’s candidacy. So why hasn’t Ayers “officially” endorsed Obama? The only reasonable explanation is that Obama has asked him not to. In other words, the two are close enough that Obama can ask him for such a favor.

Fourth, again with the “this is irrelevant because it makes me look bad.” This is not irrelevant. You have chosen to associate yourself with someone who tried to kill people. This is a statement of your character, your judgment and possibly your ideology. Either Obama agrees with Ayers on some level or Obama compromised his principles to cozy up to a terrorist for the sake of his political career. Which is it? Personally, I could not be in the same room with William Ayers for 5 minutes before security would be called. Obama gave a speech at Ayers’s home, with his terrorist wife and their friends. Obama moved into his neighborhood, knowing he lived there. Obama agreed to serve on a board of directors with this defective human.

By Dan | April 15, 2008 - 1:15 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Liberals, Op Ed, Edukashun

Unless you have been hiding in a cave in Pakistan over the last four days, you have heard the remarks Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said in a “closed” or “private” meeting with billionaires in San Francisco. An attendee who planned to visit Pennsylvania and volunteer for the Obama campaign asked Obama what to expect and how to convince people there to vote for hope and change.

Obama referred the person to his advisors who would provide him with talking points, and then the candidate engaged in a little bit too much of pop psychology. Explaining why voters in Pennsylvania were not joining in lock-step march with team Obama, Obama said:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

There are several problems with this analysis:

  1. Legally: Obama needs to obtain a licenses from the estates of Karl Marx and Joseph Lenin. Calling working people ignorant for having religion is nothing new. The Soviet Union was founded on that principle. Guess where Obama wants to take us.
  2. Logically: It assumes that people who do not vote for Obama are irrational. Of course people can be bitter about their condition (economic, political, environmental), but not voting for someone who claims to represent hope doesn’t mean you’re hopeless. It could, and in my case certainly does, mean that you think he’s full of crap and his plan for America will bankrupt America. This is a fundamental problem with Democrats that goes back to Adelaide Stevenson, who, when told he had convinced all thinking people to vote for him, he quipped, “That’s not good enough, I need a majority.” Funny line, but not exactly a pro-American stance. This is no different than the constant argument by Democrats that Republicans use scare tactics (i.e. remind voters that there are, in fact, people trying to kill us and leadership matters) or play to ignorant social conservatives (i.e. remind voters that abortion and gay marriage are differences between the parties) to win votes. This, of course, discounts the possibility that voters, in full control of their senses, vote Republican because they believe in the principles that the party represents, chiefly, limited government and lower taxes. This, in all honesty, is beyond the scope of the Democratic imagination. We’re all just bitter, delusional, bible thumping, gun totting, racist, anti-immigration boobs.
  3. Honestly: Because these statements were made in a “closed, private” meeting (campaign speak for “You weren’t supposed to hear that”), and Obama was responding to a question (these were not prepared remarks vetted for political message) we can reasonably assume Obama was being honest and unguarded. In other words, whatever he says from here on out to clarify or rephrase, this is the closest to what he truly believes.
  4. Politically: Tuzla hurt Hillary Clinton because it was a microcosm of what people despise about Hillary Clinton. She flat out lied about sniper fire. Sniper fire is not something you forget, but with no shame or remorse (except at being caught), she told a patently false, easily disprovable lie. What’s worse, she did so for no real gain. Does anyone think that landing in a war zone makes you Commander-in-Chief material? Maybe Sinbad should run for president. The point is, this was a crystallizing event for Democrats. It reminded them, without bringing up partisan scars, of the stained blue dress, Whitewater, travelgate, troopergate, and the hundreds of scandals and bullship the Clintons created in eight years in Washington. It was Hillary in a nutshell. Obama’s comments, similarly, crystallized the hidden fears nonbelievers have about Obama: he’s a dyed in the wool liberal. It removed his mask of “post-partisanship” and revealed (or, in deference to those not there yet, appeared to reveal) what he truly is: a Marxist, anti-American charlatan who thinks working men and women are suckers who are good for nothing if they don’t support the revolution.
  5. Finally: As Rich Lowry points out, it finally resolved the paradox of the “uniter” who has never reached across the aisle for anything. It is clear that Obama intends to bring the mountain to the ignorant masses. Meaning, his idea of uniting us, is to pry our bibles, guns and racist sentiments from our mystified little paws and show us the true path to enlightenment: an ever expanding socialist government for all.
What America Means
By Dan | April 2, 2008 - 2:06 pm - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed, Best Of, Reagan

For over 200 years, America has been a shining city on a hill. A place where people from all cultures, races and creeds have come to find their own way, free from the political or economic tyranny of their homeland. Some have come involuntarily, forced into labor by an abhorrent practice that ended 140 years ago. Today, for the moment at least, we all live free.

We are descendants of free men and slaves. We are the heirs of peasants and kings; royalty and commoner. Our families have, long ago, suffered potato famine and rice famine; holocaust and ethnic cleansing; prejudice and persecution. We are bound though, not by our disparate suffering, but by our ability to overcome the misfortunes of our individual histories. The best part of each of us relies on our combined history as a tutorial, not a prelude.

We are not a nation that is divided by race, we are a nation defined by our ideas. We can now travel the world on the wings of an idea conceived in South Carolina by two brothers from Ohio. We share information in the blink of an eye on devices evolved over decades from one built in a garage in California. For many of us, our retirement money is connected to the collective rise and fall of the stocks and mutual funds we choose. Individual responsibility for your own future is a hallmark of the American Dream.

Ideas empower us. They put food on the table. Ideas connect us with distant relatives and build better mouse traps. Ideas give us hope, and they set us free. But not all ideas are created equal.

Hatred is an idea, and its preachers and followers inevitably find their home in the ash heap of history. Socialism and communism are ideas, and their practitioners bear scars and empty stomachs as proof that government does not know best. Universal health care is a well-intentioned idea, but its victims the world over bear those same scars, as lines get longer, paperwork becomes insurmountable and medical innovation ceases.

Converting legitimate questions about anti-American rhetoric into a reflexive argument about racism is an idea, but it is as abhorrent as the comments it defends. Blaming an unpopular president for an ailing economy that is still the envy of the world is an idea, but it’s not original. It comes out every four years. Calling profits illegal while pocketing those profits through campaign contributions is an idea. But it too, is not new, nor is it confined by party lines.

Ideas are powerful. The right ideas can lead a nation from the brink of economic disaster into the longest period of American prosperity ever seen. The wrong ideas can lead to gas lines, record unemployment and food shortages in a country with surplus. The right ideas can tear down walls and collapse an evil empire without firing a single shot. The wrong ideas can legitimize dictators and embolden our enemies.

In a few short months, we will head to our local schools and churches to decide whose ideas will take us where we want to go. There will be slanders and libels. There will be mischaracterizations and lies. There will be promises and denials, spin and straight talk. In the end, we will either have a president that will lead us into four years of financial and bodily insecurity, or one who will lead us back to the greatness that lives in all of us. Wouldn’t that be a nice idea?

Obama: We are the opportunists we have been waiting for
By Dan | March 20, 2008 - 11:15 am - Posted in Politics & Policy, Op Ed

Much has been said about Obama’s supposedly historic speech, which, in my mind, converted a non-racial, “I hate America” issue into a racial one. He played the race card eloquently, but it’s still the race card. It’s called that, by the way, because there is no appropriate response from the other side. What can we say? “No, blacks don’t really hate us that much”?

One thing that was telling about the speech, however, was how opportunistic Obama has suddenly become. Back in October, the media half-heartedly reported Obama’s refusal to wear a U.S. flag lapel pin. Of course, most of the media saw this as “heroic,” though I obviously disagree. Obama’s response was to say that the flag should not be a substitute for patriotism. Okay, but is it mutually exclusive with patriotism? If you’re running for office as leader of a country, shouldn’t you show some visible signs that you support it, lest you be confused with someone running for President of France?

In any event, the flag’s symbolism has apparently had something of a revival for the Obama campaign. After the two closest human beings to Obama, his wife and his pastor, have been caught making anti-American comments, Obama gave his “historic” speech beset by Old Glory:

It reminds me of the 2000 election dispute over Florida. Each time Gore or Bush came out, the podium would be flanked by increasing numbers of American flags. With Obama, if you browse the recent news photos (at Yahoo news, linked to the photo), you’ll notice he seems to have wrapped himself in the flag lately. Methinks thou doth protest too much.

Even more telling is Obama’s willingness to throw his poor, old grandmother under the bus for a little moral equivalence. This is a woman, still living, who raised him. To equate one private comment (which she may not have even made) with a lifetime of publicly fostering bigotry, hatred and racial animus from a church pulpit is neither eloquent, accurate nor honorable. It’s despicable. And the fact he used his grandmother makes it all the worse. Mr. Obama is going to great lengths to assure the nation that, when it comes to race baiting and the anti-American agenda of the left, he’s more status quo than change we can believe in.