Friday, September 5, 2008
Palin mocks Obama in her convention speech
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed her historic spot on the Republican ticket Wednesday night, uncorking a smiling, sarcastic attack on Barack Obama and winning cheers of acceptance and approval after a tumult-filled first week on the national stage. She vowed to help presidential nominee John McCain bring real change to Washington, saying "he's a man who's there to serve his country and not just his party."
McCain joined her on stage, to even bigger cheers, and then the delegates went about the business of formally awarding the nomination he had sought for nearly a decade. At 72, the Arizona senator is the oldest first-time nominee in history.
The 44-year-old Palin, scarcely known a week ago, had top billing on the third night of the convention. The first woman vice presidential candidate in party history, she spoke to uncounted millions of viewers at home in her solo national debut after days of tabloid-like scrutiny of her and her family.
Some of the biggest roars were for her barbs aimed at Democratic presidential nominee Obama. "Victory in Iraq is finally in sight; he wants to forfeit," she said of Obama. "Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America; he's worried that someone won't read them their rights."
To the delight of the delegates, McCain strolled unexpectedly onto the convention stage after the speech and hugged his running mate. "Don't you think we made the right choice" for vice president? he said as his delegates roared their approval. It was an unspoken reference to the convention-week controversy that has greeted her, including the disclosure that her 17-year-old unmarried daughter was pregnant. The packed convention hall exploded in cheers as McCain stood with Palin and her family - including mother-to-be Bristol and the father, 18-year-old Levi Johnston.
She had top billing at the convention on a night delegates also lined up for a noisy roll call of the states to deliver their presidential nomination to McCain. Palin drew cheers from the moment she stepped onto the convention stage, hundreds of camera flashes reflecting off her glasses. If McCain and his campaign's high command had any doubt about her ability at the convention podium, they needn't have. With her youthful experience as a sportscaster and time spent in the governor's office, her timing was flawless, her appeal to the crowd obvious. "Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys," she said as the audience signaled its understanding.
In her solo debut on the national stage, she traced her career from the local PTA to the governor's office, casting herself as a maverick in the McCain mold, and seemed to delight in poking fun at her critics and her ticketmate's political rivals. Since taking office as governor, she said she had taken on the oil industry, brought the state budget into surplus and vetoed nearly one-half billion dollars in wasteful spending. "I thought we could muddle through without the governor's personal chef - although I've got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her."
Not surprisingly, her best-received lines were barbs at Obama. "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities," she said, a reference to Obama's stint as a community organizer. "I might add that in small towns we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't," she said. That was a reference to Obama's springtime observation about some frustrated working-class Americans.
By contrast, she said of McCain: "Take the maverick out of the Senate. Put him in the White House. "He's a man who's there to serve his country, and not just his party." "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers," she said in another cutting reference to Obama's campaign theme. "And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."
A parade of party luminaries preceded Palin to the convention podium, and Republicans packing the hall cheered every attack on Obama. "He's never run a city, never run a state, never run a business, never run a military unit. He's never had to lead people in crisis," said former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani of McCain's rival. "This is not a personal attack ... it's a statement of fact - Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada."
Palin also jabbed at the news media, which have raised convention week questions about her background and her family. "Here's little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."
McCain arrived in the Republican National Convention city earlier in the day to accept the prize of a political lifetime. Instantly, defended his choice of a running mate, saying she was ready to serve as commander in chief after less than two years as governor of Alaska. "Oh, absolutely," he said in an ABC interview. "Having been the governor of our largest state, the commander of their National Guard, she was once in charge of their natural resources assets actually, until she found out there was corruption and she quit. ..."
McCain's remarks dovetailed with an effort by his campaign to depict Palin's critics as out to destroy the first female running mate in party history. While she readied the speech of her career, McCain's top strategist, Steve Schmidt, complained about a "faux media scandal," generated, he said, by "the old boys' network that has come to dominate the news establishment."
Little is known nationally of her views, although a video surfaced during the day of a speech she made at her church in June in which she said U.S. troops had been sent to Iraq "on a task that is from God." .....
While McCain himself appeals to independents, strategists said they hoped Palin's presence on the ticket would gain a second look from conservative Democrats who sided with New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during her failed candidacy earlier in the year.
Juan Williams Asks the Impossible
by Steven D. Laib
As is the case with the vast majority of modern Democrats Senator Obama is counting on the vote of racial minorities to get himself elected. He does this in the tried and true manner of a telling these voters that they need him to lift them out of their underprivileged position and that he will provide them with government handouts to do so. Because of this, he cannot truly address race as a candidate of unity
The opinion page of the Wall Street Journal for August 28, 2008 headlined a piece by Juan Williams, a respected figure in the world of political reporting and analysis. The piece was entitled "Obama Needs to Take a Stand on Race and Other Issues." I agree with Mr. Williams that it would be great if Senator Obama did so, however this is asking the impossible. Senator Obama cannot do so without shattering the image he has so carefully crafted from day one of his political ambitions; an image that exists because virtually no one is willing to look behind it to see the real man; a man who is not interested in the vast majority of what he speaks about. In short a man who is seeking personal power and prestige for its own sake, and who would throw the entire nation "under the bus" to get it.
In the middle of the first column appears a squib in large type: "The senator has been too evasive for us to judge the content of his character." This is largely correct. Senator Obama does not want us to judge the content of his character because if we did so we would discern the truth; that he is just another corrupt politician from Chicago who will do anything to get what he wants; a man with excellent achievements in the college classroom, but little or nothing else. However, this has not stunted his ego. Unlike the Mayors Daley, Chicago isn't big enough for him; he needs not only the whole state of Illinois and every other state as well to satisfy his ego.
But more to the point, as is the case with the vast majority of modern Democrats he is counting on the vote of racial minorities to get himself elected. He does this in the tried and true manner of a telling these voters that they need him to lift them out of their underprivileged position and that he will provide them with government handouts to do so. All the while he knows that this will breed more dependence on handouts for the next generation of candidates; dependence they will use as bait for more votes from people who have not yet realized that they have enslaved themselves to a political party that sees them only as a tool to stay in office; a captive electorate that votes for them as if there was no choice.
Juan Williams addresses two of the issues squarely: Failing public schools and "Affirmative Action" that is irrelevant to minorities who achieve, but which has failed to eliminate the 25% poverty rate in the Black population. But if the schools weren't failing then it would eliminate the inner city islands of poverty that Senator Obama and others like him depend on for votes. Further, to do so would require taking on the teacher's unions whose management cares little for the students and more about the power their unholy alliance with a political party has created. While 90% of the teachers probably do care about their students, those teacher's sensibilities can be damned where political power is concerned.
As for the poverty level, again, the unspoken liberal viewpoint is that they need to maintain it in order to maintain their power base. Otherwise, armed with the knowledge that they can take matters into their own hands, these "urban poor" might rise up, engage in hard work, learn what it takes to be successful, and horror of horrors, discover that it isn't found in the pages of a government handout program.
Senator Obama is caught in a dilemma. He can either call out African-American and Liberal politicians for their failings to truly address issues that they should, or he can pursue his own desire for political power. If he speaks the truth he will forfeit the backing of liberal politics. He will also likely lose the backing of the African-American power structure that feeds on its own while claiming that it seeks to liberate them. He can tell the members of the inner city culture that they are their own worst enemies when they depend on government handouts instead of on their own abilities, or he can be elected to office.
For one so wedded to a desire for personal power, there is only one choice and Mr. Obama will take it. He will hide his involvement in corrupt Chicago politics as much as possible. He will pose as the candidate of racial unity, all the while knowing that in order for him to be elected he must continue the policies of disunity symbolized by Jeremiah Wright.
A related concept that Juan Williams and others have mentioned on many occasions is "racial justice;" something that is supposed to figure prominently in this election. However justice does not demand that someone be given something they have not earned. Rather, it demands that people be given their proper due. As Patrick Buchanan put it, "No candidate has ever been nominated by a major party with fewer credentials or a weaker claim to the presidency." I rarely agree with Buchanan. Here I must. Hilary Clinton was right when she said that Obama only had a speech he made in 2002. Racial justice and justice in and of itself demands that the first Black President of the United States be someone who has truly distinguished himself and has the knowledge, experience and capability to be Commander in Chief.
It is not enough to say that it would be good for our children to see an African-American in the office of president. We must show them that he has earned the job and that he is capable of doing it once he is elected. Otherwise we risk teaching them that having a particular ancestry or skin color entitles them to preferences. Finally, racial justice, or any other concept of justice will not be served by putting a man in the oval office that will fail miserably in the job and make America a laughing stock or worse.
A Tale of Two Resumes: Barack Obama versus Sarah Palin
by Dean Barnett
Having spent over a decade as a headhunter for lawyers in another life, I've seen many resumes. And every resume tells a story. The stories told by Barack Obama's and Sarah Palin's resumes could hardly be more different for two people of roughly the same age and aspirations.
WHAT STORY DOES Barack Obama's resume tell? Obama became the head of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 and graduated Harvard Law magna cum laude in 1991. These accomplishments suggest great intelligence and strong interpersonal skills. They also suggest limitless potential.
So what did Obama choose to do with his limitless potential after leaving Harvard? Not much. His first two years out of law school, he began writing a book, commenced lecturing at the University of Chicago Law School and returned to his old vocation of community organizing. Obama's resume would probably advertise the fact that he eschewed big money options to better serve humanity in these various capacities. Many members of the legal community would view these claims of selflessness with skepticism. Some cynical readers of his resume would infer that he spent the time "trying to find himself," and perhaps think of the old Bill Cosby crack that after two years of searching, he should have been able to find not just himself but a couple of other people as well.
All readers of his resume circa 1993 would ask what Obama accomplished at his serial vocations. And there the story gets grim. He didn't finish his book during the two years in
question. He didn't pursue any scholarship at the University of Chicago, so his career there stalled at lecturer and never advanced to the professor level. And as is ever the case with something as nebulous as community organizing, pointing to tangible accomplishments would be impossible.
Thus begins a pattern of under-achievement, or more specifically non-achievement, that has followed Obama since law school. In later years, Obama practiced law for a few years and then he had enough of that. His 1995 book, Dreams From My Father showed much promise, yet Obama didn't further explore his skills in this area until over a decade later with the best forgotten campaign tome, The Audacity of Hope. Similarly, Obama was a part time state legislator of minimal accomplishments. When Obama went to the United States Senate, he impressed his colleagues with his potential. But he again never attempted to tap that potential, beginning a run for president shortly after his arrival in the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.
Unlike Obama, one wouldn't look at the early years in Sarah Palin's resume and necessarily see unlimited potential. A 1987 graduate of the University of Idaho, Palin's greatest accomplishments from her youth would come in the "Miscellaneous Information" portion of the r‚sum‚. The fact that she had won a beauty contest would impress some people. Her sinking of a critical free throw on a broken ankle in her high school state championship would impress others. Still, there would be nothing in Palin's resume from her younger years that would suggest potential like Obama's.
And yet throughout her adult life Palin, again unlike Obama, overachieved. In 1992, she got elected to the Wasilla, AK city council. In 1996 she became mayor. She was by all accounts a very successful mayor. Her r‚sum‚ entry for her mayoral years would have all sorts of bullet points for tangible accomplishments like reducing city property taxes by 40 percent. Similarly, Palin's time as governor has been distinguished. Both would starkly contrast with the various stops in Obama's career where he occasionally held impressive titles but accomplished little.
Two things would leap out from Sarah Palin's resume--a pattern of overachievement and a pattern of actually getting things done. Two things would also leap out from Barack Obama's r‚sum‚--an undeniable wealth of talent and an equally undeniable dearth of accomplishments.
While it has become almost a cliche on the right to belittle Obama as a talker rather than a doer, his resume suggests just that. Obama does have the requisite brain power to be president; it's unlikely that the intellectual demands of the job would overwhelm him. But his past work experience is unnerving. Obama had ample talent to excel at all the other positions he has held, and yet he accomplished little at each. So what would he do as president? Would his efforts in the Oval Office be as indifferent and irresolute as they've been at every other stop along his professional path? Could one imagine him making the political sacrifices and showing the fondness for bold action that characterized Harry S. Truman?
As for Palin, she lacks Obama's glittering Ivy League credentials. While that fact scandalizes vast portions of the Bos-Wash corridor, the scandalized neglect the most common purpose for an education--to develop one's abilities to such a point that one can actually begin accomplishing things. And there again is where Palin shines--she has gotten a tremendous amount done everyplace she has been.
In truth, Sarah Palin is the kind of employee virtually every enterprise seeks--the kind who gets things done. And Barack Obama is the kind of employee a company hires only when it's in the mood for taking a risk and willing to wager that the candidate's past performance isn't predictive of his future efforts.
Obama Is the Anti-Thatcher
The Democratic Party Convention in Denver has been called political theater, but it was really a masquerade ball. Again and again, speakers invoked the language of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan -- stressing the value of hard work and responsibility for self and family -- while advancing a set of pro-union and collectivist economic policies. If today's Democrats had their way, they would put the United States in the same approximate position as pre-Thatcher Britain, when the streets of London were choked with garbage because of a strike by sanitation workers and Britain was known around the world as "the sick man of Europe."
The most overworked word at the Democratic Convention was "work" itself. Barack Obama used the word 35 times in his address. Joe Biden mentioned it 22 times. Both told stories of parents and grandparents who worked their fingers to the bone in realizing the American dream of building a better life. Mr. Biden's speech included a touching vignette about his father, who told him, "Champ, when you get knocked down, get up. Get up."
But the real thrust of the message that Mr. Obama and he gave to the cheering multitudes in Denver was: You are entitled to your job. If you are hit by a foreign competitor who is leaner and hungrier and less coddled than you, get down and stay down, and expect the government to put you back on your feet.
When Mrs. Thatcher became Britain's prime minister in 1979, she assumed leadership of a country that had been devastated by several decades of ruinous economic and social policies. This was due to the same aversion to competition and international trade, and the same misplaced faith in the ability of government to act as the engine of progress and the guarantor of jobs.
In her speech to the Conservative Party in 1981, Mrs. Thatcher said: "We have to earn a living in a world that can choose between the goods that we produce and those of other countries. . . . And here let me say plainly to the trade union leaders: You are often your own worst enemies. Why isn't there more? Because too often restrictive practices rob you of the one thing you have to sell -- your productivity. . . . When two men insist on doing the work of one, there is only half as much for each."
In his speech to the Democratic convention, Mr. Obama said: "I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced."
One has to wonder who Mr. Obama thinks he is to suppose he'd be able to make so many correct calls in directing investment flows in one industry after the next while sitting in the White House. But his presumptuousness is not unprecedented. The Labour Party politicians in Britain who came to power at the end of World War II shared the same enthusiasm for government direction and micromanagement of the economy.
Like the Democratic Party of today, the Labour Party of yesteryear was obsessed with the issue of job security and fearful of competition from abroad. However, by the mid 1970s, having seen the country's fortunes decline for three consecutive decades, even the Labour Party could see the futility of its centralized, interventionist approach. Labour's Jim Callaghan, the last prime minister before Mrs. Thatcher, admitted in Parliament: "Let me say that of course there has been a fall in peoples' standard of life. It has fallen this year and will fall again next year."
In revitalizing the British economy, Mrs. Thatcher lightened regulation, reduced trade barriers, privatized a raft of publicly owned companies, lowered taxes (especially for the most highly taxed, which is to say those at higher income levels), and went to battle against the powerful trade-union bosses in order to establish greater democracy within the unions. She outlawed the closed shop and required ballots before strikes and ballots in the election of trade-union leaders.
One thing she did not do was to set a goal of full employment -- insisting that "jobs (in a free society) depend not on government but upon satisfying customers." Contra Mr. Obama, she also stated: "The fact is that in a market economy government does not -- and cannot -- know where jobs will come from: If it did know, all those interventionist policies for 'picking winners' and 'backing success' would not have picked losers and compounded failure."
Due to the success of the United Auto Workers in making unreasonable demands over an extended period of time, what the Iron Lady might drily refer to as "an increase in wages and benefits out of proportion to any increase in output or productivity" has clearly crippled today's domestic U.S. auto makers. An Obama presidency would give a huge and unwarranted boost to union power and privileges.
The misnamed and undemocratic Employee Free Choice Act -- co-sponsored by Mr. Obama and almost certain to pass into law if he becomes president -- would go a long way in extending union power over a far greater number of private-sector companies by taking away the right to a secret ballot in union elections. It would give union organizers the time and opportunity to badger and intimidate workers who refused to sign union cards.
If, under an Obama presidency, the unions succeed in organizing Wal-Mart -- now the biggest target in their sights -- it will have one entirely predictable result: not the protection of jobs but the destruction of jobs by slowing or stopping Wal-Mart's growth. Nor will it help U.S. consumers if Wal-Mart is forced to hang out new signs saying "Everyday High Prices."
Obama Launches Ad Campaign Attacking McCain for Pro-Life Policy
The Obama campaign threw their vehemently pro-abortion stance into relief by investing in radio ads attacking pro-life Sen. McCain for threatening to take away women's "right to choose." The ads feature the voice of a "nurse-practitioner with Planned Parenthood" warning her listeners that McCain will seek to have Roe v. Wade overturned and ban abortion. "I know abortion is one of most difficult decisions a woman will ever make," says the woman's voice. "Let me tell you - if Roe v Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk. That's why this election is so important. John McCain's out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose."
The ad then plays a sound byte from an interview on Meet the Press with John McCain, confirming his support of a constitutional ban on abortion. "We can't let John McCain take away our right to choose," the woman concludes. "We can't let him take us back."
The ad campaign signals a shift in strategy by the Obama campaign, which until now has skirted the abortion issue in favor of other issues of interest to women, such as healthcare and workplace discrimination. According to Politico.com, the campaign decided to change its tone under pressure from women's rights groups who are demanding Obama to clearly identify himself as the pro-abortion candidate. The ads will air in at least seven swing states; readers of Politico reported hearing the ad in Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Colorado.
The McCain campaign has made no secret of the Republican presidential nominee's rejection of "abortion rights." His surprise choice of pro-life and pro-family Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate offered values voters even more reason to trust the Republican leader to champion the rights of the unborn upon election to the White House. Some have even suggested that the Obama ad will help McCain, whose unapologetic stance on the issue is considered a strength by many in the conservative camp.
Meanwhile, Sen. McCain has launched his own ad campaign arguing that Sarah Palin, whom some have deemed under qualified for the vice-presidency, is more qualified for executive office than Obama. The campaign announced: "The McCain campaign will launch a television ad directly comparing Gov. Palin's executive experience as a governor who oversees 24,000 state employees, 14 statewide cabinet agencies and a $10 billion budget to Barack Obama's experience as a one-term junior senator from Illinois."
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