Friday, August 15, 2008
Not Pictured Here
To the Left, "There is no such thing as truth", of course
An Obama ad features video of McCain walking toward the camera with a group of people in power suits, as the narrator says, "the lobbyists, running his low road campaign." None of the people pictured are lobbyists, however.
The ad also repeats a misleading claim that McCain favors "billions in tax breaks for big oil and drug companies." But McCain's tax policy doesn't target those industries. He calls for lowering the corporate tax rate for all companies.
Barack Obama's campaign has been very forthright about criticizing John McCain for having lobbyists work for his campaign. Yet a new Obama TV ad, released Aug. 11, gives a false picture - quite literally - of who exactly they are.
The ad features a shot of McCain walking with a serious-looking group of people in power suits as the narrator says, "The lobbyists" - dramatic pause - "running his low road campaign." But none of the folks pictured are actually lobbyists. Not even former lobbyists. And two of them are Secret Service guys.
The Washington Times' Christina Bellantoni noted the discrepancy in the ad Aug. 11, identifying those pictured as, from left to right, "an unidentified Secret Service agent, eBay executive Meg Whitman, McCain, another Secret Service agent, traveling press aide Brooke Buchanan and Greg Wendt, a San Francisco Democrat and volunteer adviser who travels with McCain." The McCain campaign confirms that those are the identities of the people pictured.
The Obama campaign justifies the ad's statement that "the lobbyists" are running McCain's campaign by citing various press reports about McCain campaign manager Rick Davis, who is a former telecommunications lobbyist; senior adviser Charlie Black, who was chairman of the lobbying firm BKSH & Associates and who recently stepped down to work for McCain; and several other McCain advisers that have worked as lobbyists. McCain said in February that while lobbyists serve as his advisers, "they're honorable people, and I'm proud to have them as part of my team," as reported by the Associated Press. In May, the McCain camp announced a new conflict-of-interest policy saying that no one working for the campaign could be a currently registered lobbyist. There are now former lobbyists in the campaign.
When we asked the Obama camp about its use of an image lacking any actual lobbyists, former or otherwise, spokesman Tommy Vietor told us, "I think everyone knows which lobbyists are running his campaign." If so, everyone should also know they're not pictured in this ad.
Obama camp still can't verify return of Arab cash
More questions than answers in illegal Middle East donor affair
One week after WND reported Palestinian brothers inside the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip illegally contributed to Barack Obama's campaign, the Democratic presidential candidate's team has not responded to repeated WND requests for a clarification regarding how purported refunds were returned. The brothers told WND their money was not refunded.
Last week it was exposed Palestinian Gazans Monir, Hosam and Osama Edwan made a series of donations online at Obama's official campaign website totaling more than $30,000. The donations violate election laws, including prohibitions against receiving contributions from foreigners and accepting more than $2,300 from one individual during a single election.
The Wall Street Journal reported it spoke to Obama officials who said the nearly $33,500 in donations were received between Sept. 20 and Dec. 6 of last year and that most of the money was returned by Dec. 6. The campaign claimed, however, the refunds were not reported to the Federal Election Commission due to a technical error. The Obama camp insisted the remaining $2,500 was refunded Aug. 4 and that all the refunds will be reflected soon in an amended report. The campaign said new controls are in place to prevent any similar attempts in the future.
But WND spoke to the brothers, who denied the Obama campaign refunded their money. "No, we did not receive any money back from the Obama campaign at any time," said Monir Edwan. The Edwans continue to maintain their financial transactions made on Obama's campaign website were not actual donations but purchases of "Obama for President" T-shirts. The transactions, however, were listed as donations in U.S. government election filings.
Polls show landslide scenario unlikely
From the fever swamps of the blogosphere to the halls of academia, there is a chorus of voices who have come to the same conclusion about the presidential election: Barack Obama is going to win in November, by something resembling a landslide. Yet for all the breathless analysis and number-crunching that has convinced observers Obama is en route to an epic victory, there is one key historic fact that is often overlooked - most popular vote landslides were clearly visible by the end of summer. And by that indicator, 2008 doesn't measure up.
In five of the six post-war landslides (defined as a victory of 10 percentage points or more) the eventual winner was ahead by at least 10 percentage points in the polls at the close of August, according to a Politico analysis of historical Gallup polls. Over the past week, however, Gallup's daily tracking poll pegs Obama ahead of John McCain by a margin of 2-5 percentage points. The one exception to the August rule was 1980. Ronald Reagan was trailing slightly in the August polls before surging forward to win by roughly a 10-point margin.
By comparison, the biggest post-war landslides - 1964, 1972 and 1984 - were signaled by a large, double-digit advantage held by the eventual winner at the close of August. Lyndon Johnson was trouncing Barry Goldwater in one late August 1964 Gallup poll, 67 percent to 26 percent, taken on the opening day of the Democratic convention. A July poll showed Johnson also winning by a two to one ratio. Johnson went on to win the race 61 percent to 38 percent.
While Richard Nixon in the summer of 1972 was not faring as well as Johnson in late summer 1964, it was nevertheless clear in Gallup's polling that the incumbent was on his way to a rout that would have been hardly imaginable just four years before. In mid-July, Nixon was only ahead by about 10 percentage points. But by early August, Gallup tracked that his lead had grown to twice that much. He went on to win by 23 percentage points, nearly his exact margin in August.
Reagan, in his 1984 reelection campaign, also was ahead by a modest 10 points in August. But he won in the fall by nearly twice that margin.
In the past two months, Obama's polling has held steady, remaining in a narrow single-digit band. "There certainly was a definite cockiness that Democrats felt once they regained control of Congress, and I've also felt it was a misplaced cockiness," pollster John Zogby said. Still, he acknowledged why there was such optimism. "You've got a lot of conditions that are similar to 1932 and similar to 1980, a very unpopular president and the party brand badly hurt."
Ohio allowing residents to register and vote for president on same day
To benefit Obama
Never mind the last days of the presidential campaign. The busiest days for Barack Obama's campaign in this perennial swing state are likely to be a month before Election Day. Ohio has created a window in the election calendar that would allow residents instant gratification - register one minute, vote the next. It's also given the campaigns of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain a chance to bank thousands of first-time voters during that Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 window.
The move will benefit Obama, who enjoys a 2-to-1 lead over McCain among 18- to 34-year-olds, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last month. If Obama's campaign were able to tap into college campuses with one-stop voting, it would add thousands of votes to his tally in a state where, in 2004, John Kerry lost to President Bush by only about 118,000 votes, putting Bush over the top in the electoral count.
Of the more than 470,000 students enrolled in Ohio's public colleges and universities in 2006, the most recent figures available, nine out of 10 were Ohio residents, the state Board of Regents said. To register to vote in Ohio, a person must be a resident of the state for at least 30 days immediately before an election.
Ohio elections officials say they are working out potential kinks, such as questions about whether a vote counts when it is cast or when it's counted. They also are trying to address potential fears of massive voting fraud, and what effect this influx is going to mean on vote security.
Allowing voters to cast their ballots weeks before Election Day is a growing trend. More than a dozen states permit early voting, and more than two dozen provide an absentee ballot to any registered voter for any reason. The battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico allow voters both options. In Ohio, Republicans are clearly not pleased with same-day registration and voting and have not ruled out a lawsuit against Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office. "You have to wonder, when they look at what they consider a loophole with such excitement," said Jason Mauk, the Ohio Republican Party's executive director. "That would suggest manipulating the process, and I think opens the door to suspicion."
The voting window, so far, is only being implemented in some counties - typically, urban areas or those with college campuses - leading Republicans to cry foul. "The prospect of someone coming in with no ID and registering and voting is contrary to every sort of protection that legislators and lawmakers have built into this system for decades," said Kevin DeWine, a Republican lawmaker who is poised to take over the state party after the election. "The processes and the law and the systems in our 88 counties are not equipped to handle same-day registration." People in Ohio can register without identification, but they have to show some sort of ID to vote.
State lawmakers accidentally made the window before the 2006 elections. Obama's campaign is eager to take advantage of it this year. "This is one of many ways we'll be encouraging our supporters to skip the lines on Election Day and make sure their vote is cast early," said Isaac Baker, an Obama spokesman.
The move is likely to bring Obama to Ohio for nonstop campaigning that week. Also, television ads are expected to be in heavy play as both campaigns try to take advantage of the electoral oddity. And the early push could help neutralize any last-minute attacks by one campaign on the other. Outside, independent groups also are looking at spending a lot of time on campuses that week. Organized labor and liberal activist groups see a chance to build their numbers.
Obama, 47, has been attracting a strong following on campuses, something his campaign has aggressively targeted. McCain, 71, has made attempts but has struggled.
Ohio has been a must-win state for presidential candidates during past cycles, but Obama advisers had been weighing a move to skip it. He lost 83 of 88 counties during his fierce primary campaign against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Some Democrats privately fear the map in the general election against McCain will look very similar.
Obama has trailed in support from rural voters and white, working-class voters. He hasn't campaigned in rural areas, despite advice from Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, whose aggressive rural strategy helped him win his job in 2006 and was repeated for Clinton during March's primary. But Obama advisers now look at Ohio's campuses as a possible way to offset the losses. It has Ohio Republicans frustrated. Traditionally, young people make a lot of noise about elections and then stay home. If they don't actually have to turn up at the polls on Election Day, then they might take a greater interest. Mauk said if Brunner doesn't apply the "loophole" in all counties, lawsuits are an option Republicans have to consider.
The secretary of state's spokesman acknowledged the window exists. "Instructions are being developed and being sent to boards of election across the state to make sure voting is consistent," said Jeff Ortega, Brunner's spokesman.
Its impact is going to be felt in non-presidential races as well. For instance, Ohio State University is the largest college in the country, with more than 52,000 students enrolled on its main campus in Columbus. Democrats are eyeing it as key to helping Mary Jo Kilroy win her House seat to replace Republican Deborah Pryce, who is not seeking re-election. "There is no question that the huge effort to register and turn out voters at Ohio State University is going to have a positive impact on our race," said Brad Bauman, a spokesman for Kilroy.
Ohio election law for the first time will allow voters to cast a presidential ballot by mail for any reason. In the past, there were specific provisions by which voters could cast a ballot early. But the law was changed; this is the first national general election in which it will be in play. In 2004, more young people cast ballots than any other time since 18- to 20-year-olds earned the right to vote in 1972. Turnout in 2004 was up 11 percentage points over 2000. Even so, 47 percent of eligible 18- to 24-year-old voters didn't cast a ballot that year. During 2002's midterm elections, 82 percent of that group said they did not vote.
A Catholic Case Against Barack
by Pat Buchanan
In the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama rolled up more than 90 percent of the African-American vote. Among Catholics, he lost by 40 points. The cool liberal Harvard Law grad was not a good fit for the socially conservative ethnics of Altoona, Aliquippa and Johnstown. But if Barack had a problem with Catholics then, he has a far higher hurdle to surmount in the fall, with those millions of Catholics who still take their faith and moral code seriously.
For not only is Barack the most pro-abortion member of the Senate, with his straight A+ report card from the National Abortion Rights Action League and Planned Parenthood. He supports the late-term procedure known as partial-birth abortion, where the baby's skull is stabbed with scissors in the birth canal and the brains are sucked out to end its life swiftly and ease passage of the corpse into the pan.
Partial-birth abortion, said the late Sen. Pat Moynihan, "comes as close to infanticide as anything I have seen in our judiciary." Yet, when Congress was voting to ban this terrible form of death for a mature fetus, Michelle Obama was signing fundraising letters pledging that, if elected, Barack would be "tireless" in keeping legal this "legitimate medical procedure." And Barack did not let the militants down. When the Supreme Court upheld the congressional ban on this barbaric procedure, Barack denounced the court for denying "equal rights for women."
As David Freddoso reports in his new best-seller, "The Case Against Barack Obama," the Illinois senator goes further than any U.S. senator has dared go in defending what John Paul II called the "culture of death." Thrice in the Illinois legislature, Obama helped block a bill that was designed solely to protect the life of infants already born, and outside the womb, who had miraculously survived the attempt to kill them during an abortion. Thrice, Obama voted to let doctors and nurses allow these tiny human beings die of neglect and be tossed out with the medical waste. How can a man who purports to be a Christian justify this?
If, as its advocates contend, abortion has to remain legal to protect the life and health, mental and physical, of the mother, how is a mother's life or health in the least threatened by a baby no longer inside her -- but lying on a table or in a pan fighting for life and breath? How is it essential for the life or health of a woman that her baby, who somehow survived the horrible ordeal of abortion, be left to die or put to death? Yet, that is what Obama voted for, thrice, in the Illinois Senate.
When a bill almost identical to the one Barack fought in Illinois, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, came to the floor of the U.S. Senate in 2001, the vote was 98 to 0 in favor. Barbara Boxer, the most pro-abortion member of the Senate before Barack came, spoke out on its behalf: "Of course, we believe everyone should deserve the protection of this bill. ... Who could be more vulnerable than a newborn baby? So, of course, we agree with that. ... We join with an 'aye' vote on this. I hope it will, in fact, be unanimous."
Obama says he opposed the Born Alive Infants Protection Act because he feared it might imperil Roe v. Wade. But if Roe v. Wade did allow infanticide or murder, which is what letting a tiny baby die of neglect or killing it outright amounts to, why would he not want that court decision reviewed and amended to outlaw infanticide?
Is the right to an abortion so sacrosanct to Obama that killing by neglect or snuffing out of the life of tiny babies outside the womb must be protected if necessary to preserve that right? Obama is an abortion absolutist. "I could find no instance in his entire career," writes Freddoso, "in which he voted for any regulation or restriction on the practice of abortion."
In 2007, Barack pledged that, in his first act as president, he will sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which would cancel every federal, state or local regulation or restriction on abortion. The National Organization for Women says it would abolish all restrictions on government funding of abortion. What we once called God's Country would become the nation on earth most zealously committed to an unrestricted right of abortion from conception to birth.
Before any devout Catholic, Evangelical Christian or Orthodox Jew votes for Obama, he or she might spend 15 minutes in Chapter 10 of Freddoso's "Case Against Barack." For if, as Catholics believe, abortion is the killing of an unborn child, and participation in an abortion entails automatic excommunication, how can a good Catholic support a candidate who will appoint justices to make Roe v. Wade eternal and eliminate all restrictions on a practice Catholics legislators have fought for three decades to curtail?
And which Catholic priests and prelates will it be who give invocations at Obama rallies, even as Mother Church fights to save the lives of unborn children whom Obama believes have no right to life and no rights at all?
The Galbraith Effect?
by Thomas Sowell
Many years ago, when I was a college student, I took a course from John Kenneth Galbraith. On the first day of class, Professor Galbraith gave a brilliant opening lecture, after which the students gave him a standing ovation. Galbraith kept on giving brilliant opening lectures the whole semester. But, instead of standing ovations, there were now dwindling numbers of students and some of them got up and walked out in the middle of his lectures. Galbraith never got beyond the glittering generalities that marked his first lecture. After a while, the students got tired of not getting any real substance.
Senator Barack Obama's campaign this year reminds me very much of that course from Professor Galbraith. Many people were ecstatic during the early primaries, as each state's voters heard his glittering generalities for the first time. The media loved the novelty of a black candidate with a real chance to become president, and his left-wing vision of the world was largely their vision as well. There was a veritable media honeymoon for Obama.
There was outrage in the mainstream media when ABC anchor man Charles Gibson asked Obama a serious question about the economic effects of a capital gains tax. Who interrupts honeymooners to talk economics? The fact that Senator Obama did not have a very coherent answer made things worse-- for Charles Gibson. Since Obama can do no wrong in the eyes of many of his supporters, they resented Gibson's having asked him such a question.
The question, incidentally was why Senator Obama was advocating a higher capital gains tax rate, when experience had shown that the government typically collected more revenue from a lower capital gains tax rate than from a higher rate. Senator Obama acted as if he had never thought about it that way. He probably hadn't. He is a politician, not an economist.
Politically, what matters to the left-wing base that Obama has been playing to for decades is sticking it to "the rich." What effect that has on the tax revenues received by the government is secondary, at best. What effect a higher capital gains tax rate will have on the economy today and on people's pensions in later years is a question that is not even on Senator Obama's radar screen.
Economists may say that higher capital gains tax rates can translate into lower levels of economic activity and fewer jobs, but Obama will leave that kind of analysis to the economists. He is in politics, and what matters politically is what wins votes right here and right now.
The kind of talk that won the votes-- and the hearts-- of the left-wing base of the Democratic Party during the primaries may not be enough to carry the day with voters in the general election. So Senator Obama has been changing his tune or, as he puts it, "refining" his message. This was not the kind of "change" that the true believers among Obama's supporters were expecting. So there has been some wavering among the faithful and some ups and downs in the polls.
Despite an impressive political machine and a huge image makeover this year to turn a decades-long, divisive grievance-promoting activist into someone who is supposed to unite us all and lead us into the promised land of "change," little glimpses of the truth keep coming out.
The elitist sneers at people who believe in religion and who own guns, the Americans who don't speak foreign languages and the views of the "typical white person," are all like rays of light that show through the cracks in Obama's carefully crafted image.
The overwhelming votes for Obama in some virtually all-white states show that many Americans are ready to move beyond race. But Obama himself wants to have it both ways, by attributing racist notions to the McCain camp that has never made race an issue.
The problem with clever people is that they don't know when to stop being clever-- and Senator Obama is a very clever man, perhaps "too clever by half" as the British say. But maybe he can't keep getting by with glittering generalities, any more than Galbraith could.
(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)