Sunday, May 11, 2008

Barack Obama, Imperialist?

Obama's amazing confusion of America's states with Heinz beans ("57 varieties") can only be responded to sarcastically, which is what we read below

By now you've seen the footage of Barack Obama ruing the fact that he hasn't been able to visit all 57 states in this great union of ours. If you haven't, scroll down a bit and read Goldfarb's post on the matter. I'll wait.

This faux pas is beyond weird; I know the guy is tired, but "How many states are there in America?" is the kind of question they ask you at the hospital after you've had a seizure to see if your brain is still working. I speak from personal experience on this matter, by the way. When I had a random seizure in 1996, the guy at the emergency room asked me how many states there were and then who was president. I responded with a ten minute rant on Whitewater - he urgently ordered up more tests.

But I digress. What I'm trying to say is there is no way Obama could have been so disoriented as to have even momentarily forgotten that we have but 50 states. Besides, there was something about Obama's additions to the Union that rang a bell. Then I remembered - Grand Strategist (and likely Obama supporter) Thomas P.M. Barnett in his seminal work "The Pentagon's New Map" urged America to add several states to the nation, perhaps as many as a dozen.

Has Obama absorbed such expansionist designs to such an extent that he's already counting his proverbial new chickens before they've hatched? Is he planning on adopting Canada? Perhaps he only has his eyes on the cool parts of Canada like Montreal and Toronto, and will let the remainder of our northern neighbor peacefully tend to its hockey playing and curling. And what of our neighbors to the south? Will we find ourselves in an Obama administration forced to refer to Haiti as Really South Dakota?

Regardless, I'm shocked that Obama apparently believes in a hyper-muscular 21st century version of Manifest Destiny. Truly, I didn't see that one coming.


Black Community Is Increasingly Protective of Obama

But no-one is calling it racism!

Bill Clinton is no longer revered as the "first black president." Tavis Smiley's rapid-fire commentaries on a popular radio show have been silenced. And the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., self-described defender of the black church, has been derided by many on the Web as an old man who needs to "step off." They all landed in the black community's doghouse after being viewed as endangering Sen. Barack Obama's chances of being elected president. And the community's desire to protect the first African American ever to be in this position may only grow with his win in North Carolina and his close loss in Indiana this week.

"I have parents who are still living who are very enthusiastic about Obama," said Valerie Grim, the chair of Indiana University's Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. "They live in Mississippi. For a time, my parents couldn't vote, and when they could, their only choice was a white person. "This means more than just saying there's a black person on the ticket. It represents the things they had been denied. It's being able to see the unbelievable, that the impossible might be possible. It represents for them a new day, a new opportunity to see that black people can contribute, on the ultimate level, to the social order." Given such sentiment, it has not taken much for other public figures to move from icon to pariah.

When Bill Clinton called Obama's position on Iraq a "fairy tale" in New Hampshire, "I think black people felt betrayed," said Andrea Plaid, a blogger who writes under the pen name the Cruel Secretary. African Americans continued to regard Clinton highly even after he was impeached for lying under oath. "And you turn around and do this to us?" Plaid said.

Smiley, the renowned black author and commentator, took issue with Obama for skipping his "Covenant With Black America" event in New Orleans so he could campaign in Texas and Ohio. The resulting backlash left Smiley feeling "hammered" and "barbequed" by black Americans. "There's all this talk of 'hater,' 'sellout' and 'traitor,' " Smiley said at the time. ". . . They are harassing my mama, harassing my brother." The animus dogged him even on the radio, where his commentaries on black causes for the popular "Tom Joyner Morning Show" were renowned. In a terse statement issued last month, Smiley announced that he was leaving the show to focus on other ventures.

Smiley "did a disservice to the black community," said L.N. Rock, the blogger known as the African American Political Pundit. He noted that Smiley billed the New Orleans gathering as an event for the people. But while the people agreed with Obama's compromise of dispatching his wife, Michelle, to speak in his stead, Smiley balked. "He should have been hammered for that," Rock said.

Wright has been hailed by many in the black clergy as a brilliant liberation theologian. But after his speech and question-and-answer session at the National Press Club last month, people commented on the blog Jack and Jill Politics -- billed as a political sounding board for the "black bourgeois" -- that the minister should have known better than to pick a fight with the media at such a crucial point in the presidential campaign.


Obama: Flawed or Fantastic?

Buyer's remorse was beginning to afflict supporters of Barack Obama before Tuesday's primary election returns showed he had delivered a knockout punch against Hillary Clinton. The young orator who had seemed so fantastic beginning with his 2007 Jefferson-Jackson dinner speech in Iowa disappointed even his own advisers over the past two weeks, and old party hands mourned that they were stuck with a flawed candidate.

The whipping Obama gave Clinton in North Carolina and his near miss in Indiana transformed that impression. The candidate who delivered the victory speech in Raleigh, N.C., was the Obama of Des Moines, bearing no resemblance to the gloomy, uneasy candidate who had seemed unable to effectively deal with bumps in the campaign road. Returning to his eloquent call for unity, the victorious Obama in advance dismissed Republican criticism of his ideology or his past as the same old partisan bickering that the people hate.

John McCain as the Republican candidate does not like that kind of campaigning, either. But a gentlemanly contest between the old war hero from out of the past and the new advocate of reform from the future probably would guarantee Democratic takeover of the White House. The Republican Party, suffering from public disrepute, faces major Democratic gains in each house of Congress -- leaving the defeat of Obama as the sole GOP hope for 2008.

Republicans were cheered and Democrats distressed by an inexperienced Obama's ineptitude in handled adversity the past month. The new Republican consensus considered Obama the weaker of the two Democratic candidates. Indeed, Hillary Clinton had finally shaken off pretensions of entitlement and consigned Bill Clinton to rural America, raising speculation that she would decisively carry Indiana and threaten Obama in North Carolina.

Clinton's failure Tuesday was a product of demographics rather than Obama's campaign skill. Consistently winning over 90 percent of the African-American vote, Obama is unbeatable in a primary where the black electorate is as large as North Carolina's (half the registered Democratic vote there). Indiana differed from seemingly similar Ohio and Pennsylvania, where Clinton scored big wins, because it borders Obama's state of Illinois, with many voters in the Chicago media market.

As the clear winner and the presumptive nominee, Obama in Raleigh Tuesday unveiled his general election strategy. Dismissing McCain's "ideas" as "nothing more than the failed policies of the past," Obama denounced what he called the Republican campaign plan: "Yes, we know what's coming. ... We've already seen it, the same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn't agree with all their ideas."

Thus, Obama seems to be ruling out not only discussion of his 20-year association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright but also any identification of the Democratic presidential candidate as "liberal" or as an advocate of higher taxes, higher domestic spending, abortion rights and gun control. These issues appear to be included in what Obama at Raleigh called "attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences."

The test of Obama's strategy may be his friendship with and support from William Ayers, an unrepentant member of the Weatherman terrorist underground of the 1960s. Instead of totally disavowing Ayers as he belatedly did his former pastor Wright, Obama potentially deepened his problem by referring to Ayers as just a college professor -- "a guy who lives in my neighborhood." He then compared their relationship with his friendship with conservative Republican Sen. Tom Coburn, as he had compared Wright's racism with his white grandmother's.

Democrats abhor bringing up what Obama calls Ayers' "detestable acts 40 years ago," but it will be brought into the public arena even if it is not McCain's style of politics. A photo of Ayers stomping on the American flag in 2001 has been all over the Internet this week. That was the year Obama accepted a $200 political contribution from Ayers and the year in which the former Weatherman said: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."

While McCain will demand no response from Obama, others will. How the prospective nominee handles this in the future will help define whether he is seen as flawed or fantastic in the long campaign ahead.


The Champ Is Here: Will Barack Obama defeat Barack Obama on November 4?

It seems that John McCain's strategy for victory this fall is for Obama to self-destruct on such a grand level that voters consider McCain the only suitable choice on the ballot. McCain and the GOP are not in prime condition: the Republicans are unpopular because of the extended Iraq War and domestic economic anxieties, and McCain is still unpopular among key factions of his own party. Yet, a McCain victory is still quite possible.

An argument can be made that, over the past twenty years, GOP Presidential victories occurred not because the Republican contender was dominant, but because the Democrat contender botched things up so spectacularly that right-minded voters could not cast their lot with that candidate. Michael Dukakis blew a seventeen-point lead in 1988 with his incompetent approach to campaigning and debating. Al Gore had the benefit of perceived peace and prosperity in 2000, but he ran one of the most pathetic campaigns of all-time (remember that idiotic catchphrase of his, "The People vs. The Powerful"?), alienating enough voters to force his loss to George W. Bush. Four years later, John Kerry-who had the benefit of economic worries and the perceived embarrassment of the Bush Administration's failure to find large stockpiles of WMD in Iraq-destroyed himself with such gaffes as his "global test" remark and his decision to vote for the $87 billion before he voted against it. Even with an energized, focused, well-financed left-wing juggernaut behind him, Kerry still couldn't oust Bush from the White House.

The Democrat Party has an appetite for self-destruction-and if Obama satisfies that appetite, McCain will be our next President. For all of his political skills, Obama is still so wet behind the ears he's practically drowning. He waited too long to divorce himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright-and despite the wishful thinking of Obama's supporters, the Wright issue is not likely to fade from public view anytime soon.

Democrats have seemingly exchanged the power of positive thinking for the power of wishful thinking. They have apparently convinced themselves that the Wright issue cannot be further exploited. They also seem to think that Republicans cannot gain any further traction from such issues as Obama's friendships with Tony Rezko and William Ayers and the questionable campaign-trail rhetoric of Obama's wife Michelle.

Has it dawned upon these Democrats that perhaps the best, or worst, is yet to come? Do these guys really think that conservative-leaning third-party groups and 527s have nothing left in the anti-Obama tank? Did it not occur to these Democrats that those who have proof of Obama's political radicalism have even more "goodies" in store?

Some conservatives have given McCain grief for not being aggressive enough against Obama in his rhetoric. Perhaps McCain is using a variation of Muhammad Ali's old rope-a-dope strategy: let Obama and his third-party "progressive" cohorts land hard shots at McCain, while he covers himself up and avoids a knockout blow. Then, when Obama, like George Foreman in October 1974, has worn himself down, McCain will come firing back with the critical blows needed to put Obama down for the count.

In a strange way, both McCain and Obama bear similarities to Ali. Obama is as fiercely antiwar as Ali was in the late-1960s, and like the former Cassius Clay, he has surrounded himself with political extremists fashionable to the left-wing elite (the rhetoric coming from Ali's Nation of Islam friends in the 1960s was arguably worse than the stuff emanating from Jeremiah Wright's mouth in the 2000s). Obama is young, brash, charismatic, and has the gift of gab-much like the "Louisville Lip" himself.

Yet McCain is like the veteran Ali-an experienced fighter who knows how to defeat younger, less gifted opponents. McCain has had high-profile bouts in adverse climates: he hasn't won all of those fights, but he's learned from every battle. He knows what it's like to have hard punches thrown at him, and he knows how to throw hard punches right back. Like Ali in the "Rumble in the Jungle", he goes into this fight against Obama with all the odds stacked against him, with all the observers insisting that he has no chance. Yet he has a clear strategy to win the championship-a strategy that his younger, cockier opponent cannot possibly anticipate.

All McCain has to do is wait for the right opening-for that moment when Obama loses his cool, loses his footing, and loses his nerve. He will then pounce, hitting Obama with so many rights he'll be begging for a left. Despite his clear political talent, Obama does not have enough experience in the sweet science to send McCain to the mat. He will try his best to knock McCain down-but once McCain gets going, Obama's punches will have little force behind them.

Obama's hands can't hit what his eyes can't see-and Obama and his supporters can't see the winning combination McCain is waiting to deliver. Years from now, when we look back upon this fight, we'll say that not only did McCain knock Obama out, he picked the round.



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