Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Shh! Shhh! Keep Eric Holder Right Where He Is!

Around the blogosphere and web, I see considerable effort to argue that Eric Holder should depart Obama's vice-presidential selection team. I must heartily disagree. In fact, I think those on the right should be doing everything possible to make sure that Eric Holder has as large a role in the selection process as possible. Why? I refer you to that first sentence of that 2001 Washington Post profile: "Eric Holder wishes he had focused for three minutes when he heard the name Marc Rich connected with the word pardon."

A guy who couldn't see political fallout from pardoning Marc Rich probably couldn't find beer in Ireland. If you're hoping for some sort of stumble when Obama selects his running mate... some sort of horrific scandal to surface that blindsides the Obama campaign... then Eric Holder is exactly the guy you want heading up the search. I want Eric Holder vetting the background of my running mate the way I want Larry Johnson assessing the likelihood of terrorists targeting Americans.

Having Holder in charge of weeding out potential scandals is like having the fact-checking done by Dan Rather and Mary Mapes. They might as well make Scott McClellan the spokesman for the search committee, and let Scott Beauchamp, Jayson Blair, and Stephen Glass write up his biographical materials. As long as Eliot Spitzer vouches for the guy's character, Rep. William Jefferson says his finances include plenty of cold hard cash, Sandy Berger says he passed the security background check, Mark Penn says he has no conflicts of interest, and Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger say he's got the spiritual fortitude to handle being a heartbeat away from the presidency, then full speed ahead, I say.


Shocker! Obama's Years As A Community Organizer Produced More Talk Than Action

When pressed on his lack of experience, Obama often cites his years as a 'community organizer' as part of his resume (such as it is). Like most other things about Obama the press has taken that at face value. No one seems to have bothered to follow up and see what it actually means and what, if anything, he accomplished in that oddly titled job. Well, Byron York at National Review took a look and believe it or not, it doesn't seem Obama accomplished much at all.
His greatest hits seem to have been a successful effort to convince the city of Chicago to locate a jobs placement office on the far South Side and his part in a drive to push the city to clean asbestos out of a housing project in the same area. ... Obama, not long out of college, didn't have much experience to qualify him to be an organizer. But he was black - a threshold qualification for this particular job - and he seemed able almost to work magic on those he encountered. "He didn't have experience," Augustine-Herron told me, "but he had a sensitivity that allowed us to believe that he could do that job."

Gee, this all sounds vaguely familiar. It's one thing to take a chance on a smooth talking but inexperienced young guy to be a community organizer, it's quite another to elect someone President with a resume as thin as Obama's.


The Surge worked

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's forced to admit that he was wrong about Iraq - and Republican Sen. John McCain was right. Obama told reporters that he spoke on the phone with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar zebari. "I emphasized to him how encouraged I was by the reductions in violence in Iraq but also insisted that it is important for us to begin the process of withdrawing U.S. troops, making it clear that we have no interest in permanent bases in Iraq," Obama said.

In other words the Surge worked. Had we listened to Obama, the troops would have been home 3 months ago and there would have been a bloodbath that would make the fall of Saigon look like kindergarten. There's your change. Your chump change.


Innoculating Michelle Obama from Criticism

This piece by John Hendren at ABC News is something we should probably have to get used to. Apparently, we are to be prevented from being beastly to Michelle Obama because, after all, she's only the candidate's wife. And when she is out stumping for her husband and criticizes McCain or Republicans, we're supposed to hold our fire because it would be unfair to respond to that criticism. This is the meme gaining steam in recent weeks and will soon make the jump and include Obama himself as off limits as far as criticism is concerned:
The conservative National Review recently showed a stern-faced Michelle Obama on its cover, under the headline, "Mrs. Grievance." The Tennessee Republican Party questioned her patriotism.

Michelle Obama has become a favorite target for critics, drawing many to compare her arrival on the national stage to Hillary Clinton's after she infuriated conservatives when she said, "I could have stayed home and baked cookies."

It's likely to get worse. "It's going to be very ugly stuff," Democratic strategist Tad Devine said. "They're going to try to depict her as someone who is angry, outside the mainstream and not proud to be an American."

I realize it's not polite to laugh at fools but for crying out loud, just about every word uttered by the woman proves that she is "angry," that her politics are "outside the mainstream," and, according to Michelle Obama herself, she is "not proud to be an American." But we can't criticize her for it because that would be "unfair."

Hendren calls her "not proud" statement "artless." I have seen it described elsewhere in the media as "unfortunate" (how true), a "misstatement" (stretching it), a "gaffe" (a doosy), and even that it was "taken out of context" (putting it in context would have made it sound worse.). The point being, it is ridiculous to describe the statement as "artless." How about "heartfelt." How about "relfecting her true feelings." How about "in a moment of candor." But that doesn't follow the narrative so instead, Michelle Obama's clear statement of out of the mainstream political thought is described as "artless."

This stricture against criticizing Michelle Obama will soon make the jump to the candidate himself. This will occur when the race card is employed to maximum effect - that any criticism of an Obama gaffe or policy position will be portrayed as racist. And why wouldn't they use the race card? It is the most effective weapon in the history of presidential politics. They will shame people into voting for them and the press will love them for it.


Obama's "Mideast advisers" set the stage for another bloodbath

Post below recycled from Doug Ross. More pics at the source

Doesn't anyone read history books anymore?

Barack Obama's crack staff of Middle East advisers consist of Dennis Ross and James Steinberg. You may remember the pair: Ross served as President Clinton's lead Mideast negotiator and Steinberg was a deputy national security adviser in the Clinton administration.

In January 2004, Jonathan S. Tobin described Ross' stellar track record.

..don't blame Dennis Ross personally for the thousands of lives sacrificed in the name of the peace process that he championed. He didn't plant any of the bombs, and his good intentions are not really in question... [but did] Ross learn anything from these failures? And what, if anything, would he do differently if he got another chance to play the game?

...Ross, the supposed arbiter of peace, sanctioned official whitewashes of the P.A. as it built a corrupt dictatorship intent on fomenting hatred of Israel and carrying on a terror war against its existence, rather than fostering peace... ...everything that Ross and his masters did during their years in power had convinced Arafat that they would never turn their backs on him, no matter what outrages the Palestinians committed.

No amount of violence or bad will exhibited by the Arabs would deter either Bush I or Clinton via their envoy Ross from pressuring Israel to give more and more. Sold a program of "land for peace," the Israelis got "land for terror" instead... was Ross who convinced the killers that they would face no penalties for their crimes...

I'm physically disgusted to share a surname with this chump. Let's not forget the Clinton administration's other accomplishments.

... the Clinton administration's effort in 1998 to open a dialogue with Tehran's former reformist leader, President Mohammad Khatami, was rebuffed and did nothing to retard Iran's pursuit of nuclear technologies.

Sen. McCain believes any attempt to reach out to Iran's current hard-line government, particularly President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, could result in a worse outcome... "Such a spectacle would harm Iranian moderates and dissidents as the radicals and hard-liners strengthen their position and suddenly acquire the appearance of respectability," Sen. McCain said.

Members of Sen. Obama's brain trust, however, draw a different lesson from the Clinton overture. Mr. Ross thinks it illustrates the need to reach out to the right leaders in Tehran, rather then the most public ones. Mr. Ross says Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the only official inside Iran's theocracy with the power to authorize and execute the suspension of Iran's nuclear program and its support for militant groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah ...

Well, that's using the phrase "brain trust" loosely.

As for Steinberg, let's not forget the Clinton administration's sparkling record in dealing with terrorism. A brief history of terror attacks prior to 9/11 should be enough to convince an unbiased observer of that administration's repeated failures. And, if not, Sandy Berger's cover-up of Clinton-era activities should sound the alarm klaxons.

Put simply, we tried the Ross/Steinberg approach to dealing with Middle East negotiations and terrorist nutjobs. It yielded thousands of dead Americans and the Intifida as an added bonus. Next time, with these same advisers in an Obama administration, we might not get away that clean. Prepare for the bloodbath

Obama's Inflated Health "Savings"

Press release from

He claims that a shift to electronic medical records will help save families up to $2,500 a year in his first term. Independent experts say that's wishful thinking.


Obama says his health care plan will garner large savings - $120 billion a year, or $2,500 per family - with more than half coming from the use of electronic health records. And he says he'll make that happen in his first term. We find his statements to be overly optimistic, misleading and, to some extent, contradicted by one of his own advisers. And it masks the true cost of his plan to cover millions of Americans who now have no health insurance.

* Obama cites a RAND study that found widespread use of electronic health records could save up to $77 billion a year in overall health care spending. But the study says that level of savings won't be reached until 2019, when it projects 90 percent of hospitals and doctors would be using electronic records systems.

* Much could be done to speed up the adoption of electronic record-keeping. But experts, including the lead researcher on the RAND study, are extremely doubtful the U.S. could see widespread adoption in the first term of an Obama presidency, or even a second term. Even a campaign adviser acknowledges Obama's plan likely won't reach the full savings potential until five years into implementation, by which time Obama could be out of office.

* Obama says he'll "lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year" by investing in electronic health records as well as other efforts. But his adviser tells us that $2,500 figure includes savings to government and employers that could, theoretically, lead to lower taxes or higher wages for families - so we shouldn't necessarily expect insurance premiums that are "lower" by that amount.

* The RAND study on which the campaign partly bases its estimates is one of the only reports available on possible cost savings. It may well be correct - no one knows for sure. But it looks at potential savings in an ideal situation and recently has faced criticism.

Many, if not most, health care experts and professionals agree that the use of electronic health records or health IT would have various benefits, in terms of quality of care as well as spending. But doctors and hospitals in the U.S. have been slow to adopt it for several reasons. Whether Obama can effectively bring about widespread adoption and large savings is an open question and not as concrete as his pronouncements imply.

Full article here

China doubts Obama

China's state-run People's Daily Monday cast doubt on Barack Obama's ability to bring change if elected US president, in a commentary that gave a rare insight into the Chinese government's thinking.

The report in the overseas edition of the newspaper -- the mouthpiece of the Communist Party -- also said Obama's emergence as Democratic Party candidate for the US presidential elections did not challenge racial divisions. "Obama has not broken through white America's feeling of superiority, on the contrary, his emergence has reinforced that feeling," said the comment, which was written by the paper's senior editor.

China has so far been publicly mute about the US presidential elections -- due in November -- in an effort to remain neutral. But the comment piece in Monday's People's Daily gave a small glimpse into the Communist Party's thoughts on the US elections after Obama clinched the Democratic Party nomination from rival Hillary Clinton.

Obama has campaigned on a platform for radical change in the US, but the newspaper downplayed his ability to bring about transformation if he was elected. It took Obama's staunch anti-Iraq war stance as an example, saying questions remained over how to pull troops out of the war-torn country. "No one believes that on such a complicated issue, only relying on a firm stance can resolve things," the comment piece said. "The same problem exists for changes in the economy, social security and education."

The paper also pointed to Obama's inexperience compared to rival Republican Party candidate John McCain. "To borrow a phrase used in Clinton and Obama's campaigns, maybe one can describe the feelings that voters might encounter: Everyone imagine for a moment the person who picks up the red phone at 3am in the morning in the White House -- if it's McCain, they will be at ease."

Experts say China's leaders have traditionally preferred Republican presidents over Democratic ones, partly because they tend to focus less on rights issues.



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