Monday, April 28, 2008

Obama having trouble keeping up the pace

Comment by the NYT's Dowdy one

Maybe I've been reading too many stories about the fad of teenage vampire chick lit, worlds filled with parasitic aliens and demi-human creatures, but there's something eerie going on in this race. Hillary grows more and more glowy as Obama grows more and more wan. Is she draining him of his precious bodily fluids? Leeching his magic? Siphoning off his aura?

It used to be that he was incandescent and she was merely inveterate. Now she's bristling with life force, and he looks like he wants to run away somewhere for three months by himself and smoke. Hillary is not getting much sleep or exercise, and doesn't, like the ascetic Obama, abstain from junk food and coffee and get up at dawn to work out on the road. She's still a long shot and she's 14 years older than her rival.

Yet she's the one who is more energetic and focused and beaming, and he's the one who seems uneven and gauzy, often fatigued and unable to disguise being fed up with the slog. Even his speeches don't have the same pizazz. A man at a sports bar in Latrobe, Pa., advised Obama, "Get some sleep, Barack, you look like you're tired, man." When the candidate noted he's been running for president for 15 months, the guy offered another tip: "You need a drink."

Obama disdains convention and touts his new politics, but on Friday, he had a news conference in an uninspired setting - a gas station emptied out by his Secret Service detail. He doesn't emulate Bobby Kennedy, who defied political tropes and underscored his concern about the poor by taking reporters on treks to rural Appalachia or odysseys to roiling inner cities for speeches on street corners.

With Indiana polls showing the Democratic combatants in a dead heat, and 21 percent of Democrats undecided, this is a perilous time for Obama to lose his fizz. He tried to recapture the magic - and erase the bowling debacle - by shooting hoops with kids in Kokomo on Friday night. As a basketball player, he should know he's in overtime in his race with Hillary - and overtime is not the period to indulge in whining. Instead of jokingly complaining that babies have learned to walk and talk since he first got in the race, he should remind voters that, if Hillary prevails, some people will slouch toward middle age having never known a White House without a Bush or a Clinton.

Even some Obama fans find Hillary's toughness and shameless shape-shifting compelling. Having lost the White House twice to brass-knuckled pols, the Dems may be drawn to a woman who thinks like Karl Rove.

James Clyburn, the influential black congressman from South Carolina, says that some blacks are buying into the 2012 Tonya Harding conspiracy theory: that the Clintons know they can't beat Obama this time, so they are "hell-bound," as Clyburn put it, to shred him so he'll lose to McCain and Hillary will be able to try again in 2012 - when McCain is 76. In interviews, Clyburn called the tactics of the Clintons and their henchmen "bizarre," "disingenuous" and "scurrilous."

Obama is burdened by Jeremiah Wright's inflammatory remarks on race and his comment to Bill Moyers that Obama "does what politicians do." And Hillary is burdened by her husband's inflammatory remarks on race and her own willingness to burn the party to save the party. The Nixonian Hillary has a ravenous hunger that Obama lacks. Literally - at a birthday party in Philly for her photographer, she was devouring the chips and dip with two hands - and viscerally.

At Joe's Junction gas station in Indianapolis, Obama did his best to shoo away the pesky elitist label. Accused by an Indianapolis reporter of looking like a GQ cover, he said he has only four pairs of shoes and buys "five of the same suit and then I patch them up and wear them repeatedly." But his campaign refused to reveal the brand, presumably because it's not J. C. Penney.

He dutifully enthused about carbs, assuring reporters that when he had dinner as a child with his Kansas grandparents, the food "would have been very familiar to anybody here in Indiana. A lot of pot roast, potatoes and Jell-O molds." But then he resumed wry whingeing about his 37 bowling score, explaining that he finished only seven frames, including two that "were bowled by a 10-year-old" and another by a 3-year-old. "I don't want to go out of my way to sort of prove my street cred as a down-to-earth guy," he said, after going out of his way. "People know me." Not yet, but we will, one of these years.


A strange media defence of Obama

Joe Klein of Time Magazine, who was not a Weatherman but is a weathervane of liberal Democratic opinion, blasts the irresponsibility of the mainstream media! Discussing what the Pennsylvania primary did to Obama, "who entered the primary as a fresh breeze and left it stale, battered and embittered," Klein writes:
In the course of six weeks, the American people learned that he was a member of a church whose pastor gave angry, anti-American sermons, that he was "friendly" with an American terrorist who had bombed buildings during the Vietnam era, and that he seemed to look on the ceremonies of working-class life - bowling, hunting, churchgoing and the fervent consumption of greasy food - as his anthropologist mother might have, with a mixture of cool detachment and utter bemusement. All of which deepened the skepticism that Caucasians, especially those without a college degree, had about a young, inexperienced African-American guy with an Islamic-sounding name and a highfalutin fluency with language. And worse, it raised questions among the elders of the party about Obama's ability to hold on to crucial Rust Belt bastions like Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey in the general election - and to add long-suffering Ohio to the Democratic column.

Since all of that "new" information was old, had long been available to anyone who would look at it, the fact that it lay in plain sight but unseen by our guardian watchdogs in the mainstream media is a clear and telling indictment of the press's irresponsibility.

Now, it's true that Klein himself doesn't see that he's indicting himself and his colleagues, but that's nothing new. He doesn't see many things, such as the relevance of "so-called character issues" in a presidential campaign. No matter that Klein would no doubt say (actually, he did say) that none of this "new" information speaks to character and judgment, that it is merely "sludge," "caricature," "scurrilous trash." He either doesn't see or doesn't attach any significance to Obama's elitist attribution of xenophobia, racism, etc., to the bitter clinging of the angry rubes, at least in part because he shares it. Re-read the following:
[All the sludgy trash slung by ABC] deepened the skepticism that Caucasians, especially those without a college degree, had about a young, inexperienced African-American guy with an Islamic-sounding name and a highfalutin fluency with language.

Well, sure. Only poor, dumb whites would entertain any reservations about Obama.


'Revenge is a dish best served cold'

When Barack Obama first decided to run for state senator in Illinois, the long serving incumbent in his district graciously supported his early efforts - even going so far as to introduce him to liberals in his Hyde Park district (including a former terrorist named William Ayers). Alice Palmer was a legend in the community - a civil rights organizer and a power in Springfield. She was retiring to run for Congress.

But a few months after giving Obama a nice head start, Palmer changed her mind. She then asked Obama to withdraw so she could have her old seat back.

How did Obama repay this gracious political gesture? He sicced his lawyer on every other candidate in the primary - including Palmer - by challenging signatures on the nominating petitions. In the end, he successfully got Palmer and everyone else thrown off the ballot so that Obama was running all by himself. I guess this was before he became the messiah of the "new politics."

And Alice Palmer? Obama's former friend is campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Indiana:
One bonus for Barack Obama (D-IL) as he campaigns in Indiana is that so many friends from his home state can just drive across the state line to help him out. Then again, it's also a short trip for the occasional hometown pol who has been crossed by Obama, such as one featured guest doing the Hoosier tour today.

Joining Chelsea Clinton and other women leaders to campaign for Hillary Clinton today is Alice Palmer, the former state senator who picked Obama to be her successor back in the mid-90s. When she tried to reclaim her spot, though, Obama got her booted from the ballot.

The day of campaigning culminates tonight with a "Women for Hillary" rally in New Albany. The women plan to talk about Clinton's plans for the economy, job creation and the middle class. Palmer's story is more familiar in our town it is in Indiana, even in the northwest section of Hoosierland that consumes so much of the Chicago news media. Still, the national press has shown an interest in the early account of Obama playing hardball, and Palmer's presence may remind some of them of the story.

Payback's a bitch, eh Obama?


A Republican attack ad?

A hardened conservative political operative has launched the first no-holds-barred Republican "attack ad" against Barack Obama, painting him as soft on crime and terror. Floyd Brown, a veteran of America's often brutal presidential battles, told The Telegraph that the "Victims" advertisement marked the start of an all-out campaign to portray the expected Democratic nominee as a dangerous liberal.

"Our polling shows that Obama's positives with many Republican voters are much higher than we think they should be," he said. "He is the overwhelming favourite for the Democratic nomination and our intention is to give Republicans a true picture of him."

The 60-second slot relates the fate of three Chicago residents murdered by gangs in 2001. The female narrator then records the opposition of Mr Obama, an Illinois state senator at the time, to expanding the death penalty to cover gang-related murders. "So the question is: can a man so weak in the war on gangs be trusted in the war on terror?" she asks ominously.

The advertisement was posted online on YouTube and emailed to 7 million conservative supporters last week accompanied by a fundraising appeal for Mr Brown's National Campaign Fund and its website. The on-screen message accompanying the appeal illustrated the strength of the onslaught that awaits Mr Obama if he secures his party's nomination.

Deploying his politically-detrimental middle name and a barrage of capital letters, it declared: "What really makes 'President Barack Hussein Obama' the scariest four words in the English language is the fact that HE CAN BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!"

Mr Obama will be dogged by adverts highlighting his long-standing ties to Rev Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and spiritual mentor. Rev Wright put those links back in the headlines last week when he emerged from his temporary silence to defend his outspoken sermons and tell interviewers that Mr Obama was acting like "a politician" when he distanced himself from the pastor's comments. The "Victims" spot is apparently the start of an attempt to "swift boat" Mr Obama.

I guess I was not among the "7 million conservatives" who got the message. Thanks to the Telegraph, though it will have wider distribution as they cluck about "swift boat" attacks. I am not sure how effective this ad will be about an obscure vote in the Illinois senate. It does seem to play into the liberal stereo type of conservative politics. I am sure there will be other ads unfavorable to Obama by independent groups. I am sure that Brown does not represent the RNC or the McCain campaign. Brown's claim to fame is the Willie Horton ad, also done by an independent group. I am not sure this will be as effective.


Another Obama Marxist

Barack Obama has a thing for Marxists. He befriends them, listens to their counsel, and he even hires them to work in his campaign. And they seem to feel the warmth. President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, who led a revolution there in 1979, says Barack Obama's presidential bid is a "revolutionary" phenomenon, and Americans are "laying the foundations for a revolutionary change." A captured computer revealed that an unknown person chatted with Marxist FARC guerillas on Obama's behalf (they believed), stating he would be the next President and US policy towards Columbia would change. Frank Marshall Davis, a dear Obama friend and mentor was as a member of the Communist Party USA. Barack Obama just seems to attract Marxists.

If the people he surrounds himself with are any indication of his core beliefs, a higher capital gains tax to punish the rich, even if it diminishes actual tax revenue, may be only the beginning. Obama's Official campaign blogger, Sam Graham-Felsen, a former writer for the leftist Nation magazine and a contributor to the Socialist Viewpoint, is certainly a believer in class warfare.
The capitalist ruling class of the United States exercises a virtual dictatorship not only over American society, but also over the entire world. This capitalist class rule is the basic cause of the poverty, wars and the degradation of the natural environment.
After being expelled from Socialist Action in 1999, we formed Socialist Workers Organization in an attempt to carry on the project of building a nucleus of a revolutionary party true to the historic teachings and program of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.
Socialist Viewpoint

The product of a Harvard education, Sam is an admirer of anti-American academic Noam Chomsky, a hypocrite and fraud masquerading as a political philosopher. Mr. Chomsky, perhaps admired by Obama as by his official blogger, is fond of visiting dictators and terrorists and giving speeches blaming all the worlds' ills on America. All while accepting defense department contract dollars as a linguist. Chomsky was an ardent supporter of Pol Pot, and to this day denies a holocaust occurred in Cambodia (1.67 million died). He is unrepentant about the horrors his vile ideology encouraged and supports Hamas and Hezbollah with the same willful blindness today.

In an article in the Harvard Crimson, Sam writes of his hero:
For me, hearing Chomsky speak for the first time was a life-changing experience. His ability to take preconceptions and destroy them-to completely remodel one's understanding of reality with cold, hard facts-blew me away. When I left what was then the ARCO Forum last fall, I felt as though I had been through the Matrix and back. Chomsky really has this effect because he bombards you with evidence and logic, not empty rhetoric. It is nearly impossible to hear him or read him-once you've actually checked his facts yourself (he even cites page numbers in public addresses)-and deny what he's saying.

For anyone who has actually endured one of Chomsky's muddled rants or tried to verify the claims in his books, young Sam's praise is comical; and a clear indication he has never actually read one. You find very quickly Chomsky is not overly concerned with "facts," as he fabricates them with abandon. He cites page numbers, to his own books, which recycle themselves with astonishing success. Hardly an example of a towering intellect, his tired canards are sufficient to impress the worshipful Sam Graham-Felsen, and endear himself to the same leftist academics that so easily embraced dictators such Ho Chi Min and Pol Pot, idolize Chavez and Castro and legitimized terrorists like Yasser Arafat. Chomsky is the master of post-modern moral relativism, quick to excuse atrocity with obfuscation.
On the day after 9-11, Chomsky wrote:
"The terrorist attacks were major atrocities. In scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and killing unknown numbers of people."

It may be simple self-aggrandizing hypocrisy that inspires Mr. Chomsky's comments, though I suspect, more likely he mistakes the accolades of twenty year old activists as confirmation of his own genius. He plays what works with the crowd. Here are some other nihilistic gems gleaned from his pedantic and incomprehensible writing:
"If the Nuremberg laws were applied today, then every Post-War American president would have to be hanged."

"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state."

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."

"The United States is unusual among the industrial democracies in the rigidity of the system of ideological control - "indoctrination," we might say - exercised through the mass media. "

"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."

"I have often thought that if a rational Fascist dictatorship were to exist, then it would choose the American system."

Sam Graham-Felsen, hired to run Obama's blog, writes about Noam Chomsky in a Marxist publications that openly calls for revolution against the American government. This is a Presidential candidate's choice to run the on-line portion of his campaign. That speaks volumes of his character and worldview. Contradicting what he says in public, Obama is surrounding himself with poeple who never seem to learn that their absurd ideologies end in misery and ruin.

Sam is young and has much to learn, so we can forgive his silly hagiographies, the ones about Chomsky and the ones about Obama. His hero worship is eager and emotional and completely without substance, much as Obama's campaign promises are without substance. Obama is a community organizer in the Saul Alinsky mold, and knows where to get people like Sam who have energy and drive. His staff is nothing if not energetic. He even cut his activist teeth in Chicago, the stomping grounds of Alinsky and so many others in the "progressive" community. One wonders why the windy city still has a murder rate higher than Baghdad, after so many years of enlightened activism.

The adults in the Obama campaign expect us to believe that a campaign staff filled with Marxists and radicals does not reflect the candidate. We are supposed to believe that ideologues who distain America and Americans can improve the system that has brought humanity more prosperity and well-being than any nation before it. Speaking out of both sides of their mouths, they tell us we are great, and then insist we must change because we are responsible for all the bad things that happen in the world. That alone should anger the electorate enough to defeat them. The change Obama will bring will not be the change America needs or expects. It will be the change of naive adolescents, who think Noam Chomsky wise.



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