Saturday, August 9, 2008

Obama looking more vulnerable

You're in a plane and you're flying over the campaign at a level of about 10,000 feet, and you look down and see: Not much has changed. Battle lines fixed, topography the same, troops pretty much where they were. But land the plane, walk around and talk to people, and you realize: This thing is moving. Things are shifting around a bit. That's what I see looking back at the past four weeks.

For the first time the idea began to take hold that John McCain can win this thing. You saw the USA Today-Gallup poll this week, with Mr. McCain gaining six points since late June among those Gallup dubbed likely voters. Mr. McCain took the lead, 49% to 45%. Among registered voters, it's still Barack Obama, 47% to 44%. A poll came out saying people are tired of hearing about Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain took the lead in YouTube hits. Small stuff, and there will be a lot of twists and turns before this is over, but there's movement down there beneath the crust of the Earth.

Mr. Obama got tagged the past month as something new, not the candidate from Men's Vogue but arrogant, aloof and somehow ethereal. There is no there there. Everyone I know plays the game of "This election is just like 1932," or '52, or whatever. "It's 1960-the youthful charismatic JFK versus the boring and so Republican Nixon." "No, it's '92 and the youthful charismatic Clinton versus the tired old Bush." This election is, in fact, exactly like the 2008 election. But the other day a friend said something I hadn't heard before: "This is 1948, and Obama is Tom Dewey"-the sleek, well-groomed, inevitable one who lost. I pondered this and said maybe he's Dewey, but Mr. McCain's not Truman, not so far. He is still, on the trail, his scattered self, not "Give 'Em Hell Harry." But the point is, even the clich‚s have begun to shift.

The daring and exciting European trip was probably a wash, and possibly a mistake in the bridge-too-far sense. During the coverage, pundits were always saying the trip leveled the playing field on foreign affairs between Sens. Obama and McCain. But Mr. McCain isn't Mr. Obama's problem in foreign affairs. Mr. McCain early on positioned himself, reasonably or unreasonably, depending on your view, as the candidate of possible new wars. I don't think people want new wars. Mr. Obama's problem on foreign affairs is his own youth and inexperience. In a time of high stakes, do we want Mr. Untried and Untested?

What Mr. Obama has been doing, and this started before the European trip and continued throughout, is making people see him as president. He's doing this when he ambles back to the back of the plane and leans over the reporters, in his shirtsleeves, speaking affably into their held-up mics and recorders, at the end of the victorious tour. That's what presidents do. He speaks to rapturous crowds in foreign capitals. That's what presidents do.

He isn't doing this to show he's inevitable and invincible. He's doing it to give voters the impression that they've already seen President Obama. That he's kind of already been president, he's done and can do all the things presidents do, to the point that by the middle of October a certain portion of the country is going to think he already is president.

And he needs to give them this impression because he's a young black man from nowhere who's been well-known for less than a year. And he knows one of his biggest problems with older white voters is they just can't imagine a young black man from nowhere as president. He's helping them imagine. It's not vanity, it's strategy.

However. Mr. Obama consistently shows that he doesn't know what he doesn't know. It's a theme with his talented, confident staff. They don't know what they don't know either. Because they're young and they've never been in power and it takes time to know what you don't know. The presidential-type seal with OBAMA on it, the sometimes over-the-top rhetoric about healing the earth and parting the seas. They pick the biggest, showiest venue for the Berlin speech, the Brandenburg Gate, just like a president, not realizing people would think: Ya gotta earn that one, kid. Going to Europe was fine, but they should have gone in modestly, with a modest venue, quietly spread word that his speech was open to the public, and then left the watching world awed by the hordes that showed up. For they would have. "We couldn't help it, they love him!" It would have looked as if Europe was coming to him, and let that sink in back home.

Anyone can carp like this in retrospect, but when you know what you don't know, you can plan like this in advance.

Two weeks ago a journalist, a moderate liberal, spoke to me of what he called Mr. Obama's arrogance. I said I didn't think it was arrogance but high self-regard. He said there's no difference. I said no, arrogance has an air about it of pushing people around, insisting on your way. Mr. Obama doesn't seem like that. He took down a machine without raising his voice. Extremely high self-regard, though, can itself be a problem. "What's wrong with that?" my friend said. "You want a self-confident president."

I said yes, but it brings up the Churchill question. Churchill had been scored by an acquaintance for his own very high self-regard, and responded with what was for him a certain sheepishness. "We're all worms," he said, "but I do believe I am a glowworm." He believed he was great, and he was. Is Mr. Obama a glowworm? Does he have real greatness in him? Or is he, say, a product of the self-esteem campaign, that movement within the schools and homes of our country the past 25 years that says the way to get a winner is to tell the kid he's a winner every day? You can get some true people of achievement that way, because some people need a lot of reinforcement to rise. But you can also get, not to put too fine a point of it, empty suits that take on a normal shape only because they're so puffed up with ego.

Is Mr. Obama's self-conception in line with his gifts, depth, wisdom and character? That's the big question, I suspect, on a number of minds.

As for Mr. McCain, I think he had the best moment of the month this week at the big motorcycle convention in Sturgis, S.D., when he was greeted with that mighty roar. And his great line: "As you may know, not long ago a couple hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I'll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day." Oh, that was good.

There's a thing that's out there and it's big, and latent, and somehow always taken into account and always ignored, and political professionals always assume they understand it. It has been called many things the past 50 years, "the silent center," "the silent majority," "the coalition," "the base." The idea of it has evolved as its composition has evolved, but the fact that it's big, and relatively silent, and somehow always latent, maintains. And watching that McCain event-vroom vroom-one got the sense it is perhaps beginning to pay attention to the campaign. I see it as the old America, and if and when it reasserts itself, the campaign will shift indeed, and in ways you can even see from 10,000 feet.


Is Obama's Slump From McCain's Ads? Or From Overall Barack Fatigue?

Tom Daschle - who hopefully is feeling some sense of relief or justice at the developments in the anthrax case - says McCain's ads mocking Obama are having an effect. I find myself less certain...

I do wonder, however, if we're seeing something Walter Shapiro discusses in Salon today - a sense of Obama fatigue. Obama's speech at the 2004 convention? The best debut of a politician in a generation, we were told (and it probably was). He won his Senate seat, and Newsweek put him on the cover of their 2004 year-end issue as the man of Purple America (for beating Alan Keyes). By 2006 Time was putting him on the cover and explaining "Why Barack Obama Might Be Our Next President." Then he won Iowa, and it was a major breakthrough in American political history. Then he gave his speech on race after the Jeremiah Wright sermons surfaced, and we were told it was the greatest speech on race since Abraham Lincoln. Then he gave his speech in Berlin, and we were told it was the greatest speech by an American overseas in anyone's memory. There's been a lot more advertising in my media market (Washington, D.C.) presumably because of the expectation that Virginia is winnable. Now we're told he's going to give the most amazing convention speech the world has ever seen, a speech so big it needs to be in a football stadium...

It's easy to imagine 51 percent of voters, as the Pew Research Center found, saying, "enough already." We get it. He's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Every speech is the greatest address he's ever given... since the last one.

Sports fans got sick of hearing about What Will Brett Favre Do for a solid month. We're now on several years, with particular intensity in the past few months, about how swell Obama is. In light of that, one wonders if the $6 million in McCain advertising and $5 million in Obama advertising during the Olympics is such a great idea...


Obama Attack on Congressional Term Limits "Utter Nonsense"

U.S. Term Limits president Philip Blumel today called Barack Obama's recent attack on term limits "utter nonsense," adding that the putative Democrat presidential nominee "needs to stick to topics on which he has shown real expertise, like rent collecting and designing logos." Blumel's statement came in response to Obama's recent reply to a question about the need for term limits on members of Congress. Obama, labeling the question "kind of tricky" said, "I'm generally not in favor of term limits. Nobody is term-limiting the lobbyists or the slick operators walking around the halls of Congress. I believe in one form of term limits. They're called elections."

Taking strong issue both with Obama's analysis and with his understanding of the issue, USTL's Blumel said, "As is the case on so many issues about which he has made similar ill-informed pronouncements, Mr. Obama needs to do his homework before he portrays himself as an authority. " Explained Blumel, "In the first place, to compare lobbyists with politicians is utter nonsense. Lobbyists are nothing more than supplicants. That's why they're stuck in the lobby, while Mr. Obama and his cronies own the building. For him to make believe that he doesn't know the difference between favor seekers and power brokers is insincere -- and insulting. As to `slick operators walking around the halls of Congress,' Mr. Obama needs to look in the dictionary under `career politicians.' Or in the mirror.

"As to elections being the only form of term limits in which he believes," Blumel continued, "that's pithy, glib -- and thoroughly duplicitous. As an incumbent, Mr. Obama knows full well that members of Congress have now skewed the laws to give themselves a virtual guarantee of a lifetime job. And as the self-appointed apostle of change, he ought to be taking the lead to change all that inequity."

Blumel pointed to figures showing that in November of 2006, of the 407 members of the U.S. House of Representatives seeking reelection, 383 were returned to office. That translates into better than a 94% success rate. In the U.S. Senate, 23 of 29 (79%) incumbents running for office were reelected. "Mr. Obama is undoubtedly well aware of these figures," Blumel said, "just as he is well aware of the advantages incumbents have given themselves to render it all but impossible for sitting members to lose elections. That's why he wants to make sure the pernicious system as it now exists remains sacrosanct."

Blumel said that since the 1960s, when members of Congress voted to substantially enlarge their personal staffs, such staffs - both in Washington and in the states and districts - have largely become campaign organizations. According to the Legislative Studies Quarterly, since that time, the advantage of incumbency has increased to roughly 7 to 10 percentage points of the vote. "Mr. Obama also knows that incumbency inordinately provides sitting members with a vast - virtually insurmountable -- monetary advantage over challengers," Blumel said. "And he should stop trying to fool people into thinking it doesn't."

In 2006, on average, a candidate challenging an incumbent House member in 2006 was outspent by more than $600,000. The average Senate challenger was outspent by more than $2 million. "Will Rodgers once observed that `Everybody is ignorant, only about different things,'" Blumel concluded. "Mr. Obama would do well to refrain from pontificating on those things about which his ignorance is overwhelmingly obvious. He needs to stick to topics on which he has shown real expertise, like rent collecting and designing logos."

In response to Senator Obama's statements, U.S. Term Limits has launched a citizens petition to place term limits on the US Congress. To view and sign the peition, visit

The above is a press release from US Term Limits, of 9900 Main Street Suite 303, Fairfax, VA 22031 -- which describes itself as "a non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization that works to promote term limits at all levels of government". Email:

More anti-Americanism from Obama

That missing lapel pin said it all -- depite the subsequent attempts at spin

When presidential candidates answer questions from children about why they want the job, most will give an answer that uplifts the child and the candidate. Not Barack Obama. At a campaign stop in Elkhart, Indiana, a seven-year-old girl asked the Democrat why he wants to be President - and he told her that America has gone downhill:
"America is ., uh, is no longer, uh . what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, I don't want that future for my children."

Sound familiar? Michelle Obama sounded similar themes earlier in the campaign:
"Sometimes it's easier to hold onto your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your ignorance. That's America."

"Let me tell you something. For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback."

Everyone feels that we can improve ourselves, but we don't usually cast it in terms of the country no longer being what it once was. Coming from the Obamas, that doesn't even make sense. They have talked about how difficult it was to break through barriers, not without some justification, to reach this point in their lives and American history.

Doesn't that speak to the point that we continue to grow and to learn? And if not, which "good old days" did Obama mean? The 1980s? I doubt it, and if he means the Clinton era, then why did he run against Hillary in the first place?

Once again, Obama got off the teleprompter and put his foot directly in his mouth. He's not selling Hope, he's selling Despair, and himself as the snake oil that will cure us of all our ills. Rush says it all in this:
LIMBAUGH: Alright, now here's he's brought it home. He had trashed his country in Germany, he has seen the result of that in his plummeting poll numbers. And now he does it again in Elkhart, IN. A 7 year old little girl. You're running for President Sen. Obama, a little girl asks you a question, "Why did you start running for President?"

It's a 7 year old Senator. Ya tell her because you love the country. You tell her because this is the greatest place on Earth. That we've got challenges, but you want to help the country through it. You don't tell a 7 year old that her country isn't what it once was. You do not lie to 7 year olds and tell them that your country sucks. You just don't do it Senator.

America's no longer what it could be? What it once was? How the Hell would you know Sir? Your experience has only been in one part of America. Elite, leftist academia.

Source (With video)

So You Think Barack Can "Dance"

Today Thursday, August 7, 2008 Barack Obama told a 7 year old in a classroom that America is not doing well - that it is NOT an exceptional country - letting his enormous black racist resentment bubble to the surface on national television. Tonight two Hip Hop street dancers, who happen to be black were the finalists on "So You Think You Can Dance". They beat out over 100,000 dancers who tried out for the show in that America Barack so despises. They garnered over 60 million votes for the finale. Hey Barack - some racist unexceptional country - right?

Barack is racially disconnected from both dancers who were from welfare families who never had the money to pay for dance lessons much less be go to college and become a stuck up better-than-everyone elite snob lawyer. On top of that Barack doesn't even wear the meanest racist pants in the family - that is reserved for Michelle who has never been proud of "mean" America.

Somewhere there is a message for this pretender who preaches hope for an America gone wrong - who arrogantly thinks he and he alone can solve its problems. Obama is a charlatan who stumps for reparations - then claims he is not talking about cash reparations. The "change" he preaches is only the change you'll have in your pocket after he imposes his new punishing street organizer's tax regime on America.

Delightfully "Joshua" and "Twitch" are men - strong men with an abiding faith in God. Joshua upon winning praised God above all others. Apparently they did not go to Trinity United and whine like a bunch of babies. They got to work with what they had and performed ballet, contemporary, jazz, ballroom, Latin better than and with more heart than all those with years of training and experience.

It is the strength of Twitch and Joshua that makes America great. Joshua's final thought was "Don't let anybody say you can't do it." Now that is an American. Obama on the other hand tells grammar school kids their country is crap. What a loser the Democrats have nominated as their candidate for President.

Too bad Barack Obama is not from the America we love and cherish and truly believe to be an exceptional country and society. He is from a distant place not worthy of recognition or comment.


Federal Officers to Obama: We're No Terrorists

The president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association has sent a blistering letter to Barack Obama castigating him for a remark he made that the organization says equates its members with "terrorists."

Speaking at the National Council of La Raza convention in San Diego on July 13, Obama told the largely Hispanic audience that the nation's immigration system "isn't working." According to Obama, the problem with the system is that "communities are terrorized by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] immigration raids" and "nursing mothers are torn from their babies."

The letter from the Association's National President Art Gordon states: "On behalf of the 26,000 members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), I take great exception to your disparaging remark, `.communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids.'

"While the dedicated men and women of ICE endeavor to carry out their dangerous and noble missions, you somehow felt compelled to characterize their efforts as something akin to terrorizing.

"It's one thing to remark intelligently on the need for immigration reform, but it's quite another to berate ICE law enforcement officers who are risking their lives to enforce the laws passed by Congress."

Charging that Obama and his fellow members of Congress have not passed any "meaningful legislations" on immigration reform, Gordon goes on to say: "Your bi-partisan fumble should not translate into labeling our members as terrorists by implication.

"ICE employs patriotic men and women who are outstanding law enforcement officers, not rampaging home-wreckers." Gordon concludes by inviting Obama to meet with FLEOA officers, saying he would come away with an understanding "that those carrying the ICE shield are heroes, and not terrorists."



For years, hyperactive environmentalists have burned votive candles to the spirit in the sky, hoping she'd levitate energy prices high enough to make alternatives to oil economically feasible. That day has come. Result: The oil has hit the fan. With gasoline over $4 and with life as they love it in the suburbs being shut down, did people call for the windmills? Nope. A heavy majority want to drill the bejeezus out of anywhere in America we can find familiar black slop.

No one has been hit harder by this unexpected truth than Nancy Pelosi and her green brigades. Fearful of an up-or-down vote on drilling for oil in, of all places, our own country, the Pelosi House and Harry Reid's Senate shut down Congress. House Minority Leader John Boehner calls drilling the greatest issue Republicans have had in his political lifetime. A party flat on its back is ready to run on oil pumps. Why stop there?

Republicans shouldn't settle for making the world safe for SUVs. What's going on here is about more than $4 gasoline. When Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats spent a week holding the people's chamber under house arrest, they made plain a political vulnerability beyond drilling. To achieve greenhouse gas goals in the out-years, they are willing to risk a slowdown now in the American economy. How else can you interpret what happened this week? These Democrats aren't environmentalists. They're enviromaniacs.

An environmentalist with two feet on the planet is someone who admits that fixing what economists call "externalities," such as air pollution or climate effects, requires a balance between those goals and protecting the productive economy. An enviromaniac is the sort of person who would say: "Breaking our oil addiction . . . will take nothing less than a complete transformation of our economy."

The complete transformation of our economy? So said Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in his major energy statement this Monday. Though the speech had hedged bows to oil, coal and nuclear, it was overwhelmingly a Goreian jeremiad about "building" a new economy on a promise called renewables.

"We can see shuttered factories open their doors to manufacturers that sell wind turbines and solar panels that will power our homes and our businesses," he said. "We can watch as millions of new jobs with good pay and good benefits are created." This will "meet our moral obligations to future generations."

Whoa. "Millions" of new jobs building solar panels and wind turbines, and this is to "meet our moral obligations?" Virtue aside, here's the biggest problem with Sen. Obama and Democratic enviromania: It's a risky roll of the dice with the U.S. economy. The economy we've got works. We know that carbon makes the U.S. economy run like a Swiss watch (transportation, distribution, production, commuting). The bet between carbon inputs and growing American outputs is virtually 1:1.

Mr. Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress want a "complete transformation" of an already successful economy. Not partial. complete. Can any of them say what the odds are that all this economic activity, including the nation's electrical grid, will work as well with their new fuels? Assuredly, growth's odds aren't as good as the ones we have now. Sen. Obama: "I will not pretend we can achieve [my goals] without cost or without sacrifice." Might this mean foregoing some GDP for five to 10 years? "Growth" appears in Mr. Obama's speech only to describe the "clean energy sector."

The problem with Democratic enviromania is that it's uncoupled from the realities of a nation whose economy has to compete now with the Chinas and Indias of the world, whose high growth rates use proven energy sources.

Republicans this fall should push their argument beyond drilling. Drilling is mainly a proxy for one's understanding of the U.S. economy. The Democrats and Mr. Obama showed this week they are so in thrall to Al Gore's big climate bet that they'd risk having a slow-growth economy. The GOP should run on High Growth America as a better bet than Democratic Slow Growth. Instead of enviro-messianism, they should propose a drill-to-transition for whatever energy source can prove it works at a nonsacrificial price -- shale, coal gasification, nuclear, solar or some combination. (Windmill farms are a pox on the land.)

Don't be oil-industry deniers. Mr. Obama and Rep. Pelosi want to hammer and punish the only players on the field who actually know how to put massive amounts of energy on the grid. Don't we want them using their resources to drill here, rather than off in some godforsaken place producing gushers of cash for people who want to pound us into a hole? We need Smart Oil on our side for at least 10 years. Democrats this week chose the prayer of alternative energy over proven prosperity. They've handed prosperity in the here-and-now to the Republicans. Run with it.



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