A perspective on experience
You couldn't get a job at McDonalds and become district manager after 143 days of experience.
You couldn't become chief of surgery after 143 days of experience of being a surgeon.
You couldn't get a job as a teacher and be the superintendent after 143 days of experience.
You couldn't join the military and become a colonel after a 143 days of experience.
You couldn't get a job as a reporter and become the nightly news anchor after 143 days of experience.
'From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate.
That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.
After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln,FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan. 143 days?
We all have to start somewhere. The senate is a good start, but after 143 days, that's all it is - a start. We wouldn't accept this in our own line of work, yet some are OK with this for the President of the United States of America? Come on folks, we are not voting for the next American Idol.
The above has been going the rounds on the message boards but I have not checked its origins or anything else about it. There is however no doubt that it is broadly true
How Obama lost the election
Senator Barack Obama's acceptance speech last week seemed vastly different from the stands of this city's Invesco Stadium than it did to the 40 million who saw it on television. Melancholy hung like thick smog over the reserved seats where I sat with Democratic Party staffers. The crowd, of course, cheered mechanically at the tag lines, flourished placards, and even rose for the obligatory wave around the stadium. But its mood was sour. The air carried the acrid smell of defeat, and the crowd took shallow breaths. Even the appearance of R&B great Stevie Wonder failed to get the blood pumping.
The speech itself dragged on for three-quarters of an hour. As David S Broder wrote in the Washington Post: "[Obama's] recital of a long list of domestic promises could have been delivered by any Democratic nominee from Walter Mondale to John Kerry. There was no theme music to the speech and really no phrase or sentence that is likely to linger in the memory of any listener. The thing I never expected did in fact occur: Al Gore, the famously wooden former vice president, gave a more lively and convincing speech than Obama did."
On television, Obama's spectacle might have looked like The Ten Commandments, but inside the stadium it felt like Night of the Living Dead. The longer the candidate spoke, and the more money he promised to spend on alternative energy, preschool education, universal health care, and other components of the Democratic pinata, the lower the party professionals slouched into their seats. The professionals I sat with were Hillary Clinton people, to be sure, and had reason to sulk, for an Obama victory might do them little good in any event.
The Democrats were watching the brightest and most articulate presidential candidate they have fielded since John F Kennedy snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And this was before John McCain, in a maneuver worthy of Admiral Chester Nimitz at the Battle of Midway, turned tables on the Democrats' strategy with the choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Speaking to Obama supporters on the periphery of the big event, I was startled by the rapturous devotion elicited by the junior senator from Illinois. He is no symbol for identity politics, no sacrifice on the altar of white guilt, but the most gifted persuader of individuals that I have encountered in any country's politics, as well as a powerful orator on the grand stage. This is not a crowd phenomenon nor a fad, but the response of hundreds of people to an individual.
I sat in on a session with three leaders of Veterans for Obama, a group of retired young officers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, courtesy of the New Republic's writer on the scene, David Samuels. With passion and enthusiasm, these young people spoke of their hopes for nation-building in Iraq. The George W Bush administration should have put twice the resources into the beleaguered country, they harangued me - not just soldiers, but agronomists, traffic cops, lawyers, judges, and physicians. The Department of Agriculture should have mobilized, along with the Department of Justice.
Nation-building? Doubling down on the US commitment to Iraq? Isn't that trying to out-Bush the Bush administration, while Obama campaigned on getting out of Iraq and spending the money on programs at home? Unblinking, one of the soldiers said, "That's what we think Barack will do." They believed in a more expensive version of the administration's program, and faulted Bush for half measures - and somehow they believed that Obama really agreed with them, all the public evidence to the contrary. And they believed in Barack with perfect faith.
Gandalf's warnings about the irresistible voice of the wizard Saruman in J R R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings come to mind. If these battle-hardened veterans of America's wars fell so easily under the spell of Obama's voice, who can withstand it? Obama's persuasive powers, though, are strongest when channeled through the empathy of his interlocutor. Everyone believes that Obama feels his pain, shares his dream, and will fight his fight and heal his ills. But that is everyone as an individual. Add all the individuals up into a campaign platform, and it turns into three-quarters of an hour worth of promises that echo all the ghosts of conventions past.
Obama will spend the rest of his life wondering why he rejected the obvious road to victory, that is, choosing Hillary Clinton as his vice presidential nominee. However reluctantly, Clinton would have had to accept. McCain's choice of vice presidential candidate made obvious after the fact what the party professionals felt in their fingertips at the stadium extravaganza yesterday: rejecting Clinton in favor of the colorless, unpopular, tangle-tongued Washington perennial Joe Biden was a statement of weakness. McCain's selection was a statement of strength. America's voters will forgive many things in a politician, including sexual misconduct, but they will not forgive weakness.
That is why McCain will win in November, and by a landslide, barring some unforeseen event. Obama is the most talented and persuasive politician of his generation, the intellectual superior of all his competitors, but a fatally insecure personality. American voters are not intellectual, but they are shrewd, like animals. They can smell insecurity, and the convention stank of it. Obama's prospective defeat is entirely of its own making. No one is more surprised than Republican strategists, who were convinced just weeks ago that a weakening economy ensured a Democratic victory.
Biden, who won 3% of the popular vote in the Democratic presidential primary in his home state of Delaware, and 1% or less in every other contest he entered, is ballot-box poison. Obama evidently chose him to assuage critics who point to his lack of foreign policy credentials. That was a deadly error, for by appearing to concede the critics' claim that he knows little about foreign policy, Obama raised questions about whether he is qualified to be president in the first place. He had a winning alternative, which was to pick Clinton. That would have sent a double message: first, that Obama is tough enough to make the slippery Clintons into his subordinates, and second, that he is generous enough to extend a hand to his toughest adversary in the cause of unity.
Why didn't Obama choose Hillary? The most credible explanation came from veteran columnist Robert Novak May 10, who reports that Michelle Obama vetoed Hillary's candidacy. "The Democratic front-runner's wife did not comment on other rival candidates for the party's nomination, but she has been sniping at Clinton since last summer. According to Obama sources, those public utterances do not reveal the extent of her hostility," Novak wrote. If that is true, then Obama succumbed to the character weakness I described in a February 26 profile of (Obama's women reveal his secret). His peculiar dependency on an assertive and often rancorous spouse, I argued, made him vulnerable, and predicted that Obama "will destroy himself before he destroys the country".
Alternately, Obama might have chosen a rising Democratic star like Virginia's 50-year-old governor Tim Kaine. A weaker choice than Hillary, Kaine (or someone like him) would have made a bold statement of self-confidence. Obama could have said with credibility that he would bring to Washington a new generation of outsiders who would change the old system. Instead, Obama saddled an old and unpopular Washington warhorse.
Curiously, Obama ignored the rising stars of his own party, offering the prime time speaking slots to familiar faces, including Senator Edward Kennedy and Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as his own wife, the first prospective First Lady to take the keynote spot in the history of American party conventions.
McCain doesn't have a tenth of Obama's synaptic fire-power, but he is a nasty old sailor who knows when to come about for a broadside. Given Obama's defensive, even wimpy selection of a running-mate, McCain's choice was obvious. He picked the available candidate most like himself: a maverick with impeccable reform credentials, a risk-seeking commercial fisherwoman and huntress married to a marathon snowmobile racer who carries a steelworkers union card. The Democratic order of battle was to tie McCain to the Bush administration and attack McCain by attacking Bush. With Palin on the ticket, McCain has re-emerged as the maverick he really is.
The young Alaskan governor, to be sure, hasn't any business running for vice president of the United States with her thin resume. McCain and his people know this perfectly well, and that is precisely why they put her on the ticket. If Palin is unqualified to be vice president, all the less so is Obama qualified to be president.
McCain has certified his authenticity for the voters. He's now the outsider, the reformer, the maverick, the war hero running next to the Alaskan amazon with a union steelworker spouse. Obama, who styled himself an agent of change, took his image for granted, and attempted to ensure himself victory by doing the cautious thing. He is trapped in a losing position, and there is nothing he can do to get out of it.
Obama, in short, is long on brains and short on guts. A Shibboleth of American politics holds that different tactics are required to win the party primaries as opposed to the general election, that is, by pandering to fringe groups with disproportionate influence in the primaries. But Obama did not compromise himself with extreme positions. He did not have to, for younger voters who greeted him with near-religious fervor did not require that he take any position other than his promise to change everything. Obama could have allied with the old guard, through an Obama-Clinton ticket, or he could have rejected the old guard by choosing the closest thing the Democrats had to a Sarah Palin. But fear paralyzed him, and he did neither.
In my February 26 profile, I called Obama "the political equivalent of a sociopath", without any derogatory intent. A sociopath seeks the empathy of all around him while empathizing with no one. Obama has an almost magical ability to gain the confidence of those around him. Perhaps it was the adaptation of a bright and sensitive young boy who was abandoned by three parents - his Kenyan father Barack Obama Sr, who left his pregnant young bride; his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetero; and by his mother, Ann Dunham, who sent 10-year-old Obama to live with her parents while she pursued her career as an anthropologist.
Combine a child's response to serial abandonment with the perspective of an outsider, and Obama became an alien species against which American politics had no natural defenses. He is a Third World anthropologist profiling Americans, in but not of the American system. No country's politics depends more openly on friendships than America's, yet Obama has not a single real friend, for he rose so fast that all his acquaintances become rungs on the ladder of his ascent. One human relationship crowds the others out of his life, his marriage to Michelle, a strong, assertive and very angry woman.
If Novak's report is accurate, then Michelle's anger will have lost the election for Obama, as Achilles' anger nearly killed the Greek cause in the Trojan War. But the responsibility rests not with Michelle, but with Obama. Obama's failure of nerve at the cusp of his success is consistent with my profile of the candidate, in which I predicted that he would self-destruct. It's happening faster than I expected. As I wrote last February:
It is conceivable that Barack Obama, if elected, will destroy himself before he destroys the country. Hatred is a toxic diet even for someone with as strong a stomach as Obama ... Both Obama and the American public should be very careful of what they wish for. As the horrible example of Obama's father shows, there is nothing worse for an embittered outsider manipulating the system from within than to achieve his goals.
By all rights, the Democrats should win this election. They will lose, I predict, because of the flawed character of their candidate
The Regressive Left
Did anyone notice it took liberals (barely a day) to stoop so low as to question a woman's ability to have a high profile career and still be a good mother?
DO LIBERALS DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MEN IN THE SAME WAY THAT THEY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST WOMEN WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL, because the Republican party and John McCain doesn't! We hope that women who choose to have a career and a family come over to the Rep. party - we respect you and your ability to do both, if you choose to!
We also know Gov. Palin is capable of having a family life and a successful career as the V.P. of the U.S. She's an entirely capable woman - or perhaps that's EXACTLY what Dems. and liberals are afraid of! Obama certainly didn't want Hillary as a running mate!
Did they ever ask how Obama is going to raise his two little girls if anyone voted him into office? Doesn't the Mrs. work? Leave it to the liberals to take it upon themselves to determine how everyone else should live, and if their child care is adequate, and if the person doing the care should or should not be doing it, and if they're doing enough of it or not, and if they are doing it properly or improperly. Of course, they can't "gage" this based on one another and their own "families", because being pro-choice often means they have no children to care for, but regardless, they're more than willing to tell Republicans and conservatives how to parent!
The moment a woman finally, after decades of "woman's suffrage" "breaks the glass ceiling" it's the liberals who are complaining she's not a stay at home mom! They wasted no time in issuing this decree!
Apparently, liberals and the Dem. party's version of "hope and change" is as follows:
Let's get out our washboard ladies, and start scrubbin' because we ain't gunna be able to get outa this place to work where we can get paid somethin' to be somethin more than a mammy to them there little ones! Don't you leave this house now, ya' hear, ta go anywhere where ya' all think ya gunna make somethin' out o youself, now, ya hear! Now come on, ya' all, let's get them there youngins dressed and fed!
How pathetic is the Dem. party when they show their true colors! Beyond words! Who in their right mind would want to be a part of such a regressive group of individuals?
They absolutely can't stand the thought of a successful working woman who is capable in taking the office of the V.P. of the U.S.A.... because she's a CONSERVATIVE woman!!
The irony is beyond believable, considering that if it was a liberal who was faced with a pregnancy, particularly knowing it was a child with a disability, they would likely, with Obama's support, either have rid themselves of that child via abortion or have the baby left him for dead in the hospital utility room if for some reason (God's grace) that child was born-alive, because no one else's rights matter to a liberal as much as their own, not even their own child's right to life!
I guess since Obama supports INFANTICIDE, then his sheepish followers do to.
How completely self-centered are liberals and the Dem. Party and how absolutely WITHOUT hope they are, but yet they have the AUDACITY to feign interest in the well being of Gov. Palin's son, who is named Trig Paxson Van Palin. This is despicable and deplorable, but typical behavior on their part, as usual.
How much do they care about the well being of Gov. Palin's child, and any they might ever almost have had! Well, Gov. Palin's is useful to them if they can use that child to ridicule Gov. Paulin's position as the first woman V.P. of the U.S.A. What absolute LOSERS the LEFT are! And day by day, as they continue their support for abortion, they kill their own, so their party will die, right along with them! They are Godless, hopeless and helpless, and their leader is Obama!
The Failures of Government-Run Healthcare
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, in a rare moment of honesty on what he'd really like to do about health care reform, recently asserted that if we were starting from scratch he would probably choose a single-payer health care system. That's a system in which people pay higher taxes and the government pays most medical bills. Obama's not alone in that opinion. Filmmaker Michael Moore took his "Sicko" audience to England, among other places, where we learned that doctors in that single-payer system made good salaries, had nice homes and cars, and patients were very satisfied.
But anyone who reads the English press will find a different message, including waiting lines, angry patients, rationed and often subquality care. Consider these recent news stories about England's National Health Service (NHS) quoted directly from the British press.
Twice Katie asked for a [Pap] smear test, but was told she was "too young" to need one. Now 24, she is dying from cervical cancer, one of many young women who have fallen victim to a scandalous change in health policy. (London's Daily Mail, June)
A man with terminal cancer has been refused a drug by the NHS that could extend his life - despite offering to pay part of the cost himself. . . . David Swain's offer to meet the monthly $4,000 cost of Erbitux was refused, he said, because the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence [a government body] ruled it was too expensive. (Yorkshire Post, March, emphasis added)
Health service dentists have been forced to go on holiday or spend time on the golf course this month despite millions of patients being denied dental care. . . . Many [dentists] have fulfilled their annual work quotas allotted by the National Health Service and have been turning patients away because they are not paid to do extra work. This is despite the fact that more than 7m[illion] people in Britain are unable to find an NHS dentist. (The Times of London, March)
Does that sound like your idea of a great health care system? The British press - as well as the Canadian press and other countries - regularly runs stories like these about patients who are denied treatment because they are too old, too young, too sick or too costly. Indeed, The Times of London ran a story in 2006 asserting: "Patients are being denied appointments with consultants in a systematic attempt to ration care and save the NHS money, The Times has learnt. . . . Leaked documents passed to The Times show that while ministers promise patients choice, a series of barriers are being erected limiting GPs' [general practitioners] rights to refer people to consultants."
If you want to read these stories and others like them for yourself, just go to the "Health Care Horror Stories" at BigGovhealth.org, which regularly posts the negative press coming from those government-run health care countries (which has to be a full-time job!).
The fact is that every government-run health care system struggles to make ends meet. Money for health care in those systems has to compete with money for other government programs like education, defense and pension programs. That's why other countries spend less on health care. It's not that their systems are better or more efficient; it's because politicians control the funds and have to make trade-offs. That often means the more expensive treatments, the marginal members of society, and even preventive care and screening can get axed.
Yes, many people in those countries are satisfied with their care. And yes, everyone in those countries is "insured" - the apparent goal in the current health care reform debate. But having coverage doesn't count for much if patients can't get quality care in timely manner.
Health care reformers often claim or imply that the U.S. health care system is terrible, while countries like England provide quality care for everyone, and for less money. That's simply not a balanced assessment. U.S. health care is excellent, but it can be very expensive and, a not unrelated fact, too many people are uninsured. But copying other government-controlled systems isn't the solution. They have their problems; we have ours. Let's fix ours problems without importing theirs.
Obama's slippery stand on guns
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign just won't let the gun issue rest. Mr. Obama and his campaign surrogates continue to assure gun owners that he is on their side, and it appears to be paying off. John McCain only leads Mr. Obama among hunters by 14 percentage points, just about half the 27-point lead that President Bush held over John Kerry in 2004. If Mr. McCain had a similar lead, he would be ahead in most polls, particularly in many battle ground states. Yet, despite all the Democratic claims to the contrary, Mr. Obama is undoubtedly the most anti-gun candidate ever nominated by a major party for president.
A couple of weeks ago, Brian Schweitzer, Montana Democratic governor, told national reporters that Mr. Obama "Ain't ever going to take your gun away." An Obama adviser, Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig, said recently on Hugh Hewitt's national radio show that "I think that he has always been an individual rights person on the Second Amendment." Another advisor, Professor Cass Sunstein at Harvard, told Time Magazine in June: "Obama has always expressed a belief that the Second Amendment guarantees a private right to bear arms." The list goes on.
The day the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.'s gun ban, Mr. Obama claimed the court's decision merely ratified his own position. He told Fox News he had "said consistently that I believe that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and that was the essential decision that the Supreme Court came down on." So, has Mr. Obama consistently supported individuals' rights to own guns and opposed the D.C. handgun ban? Last November, Mr. Obama's campaign told the Chicago Tribune that "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional." After the Illinois senator's statement supporting the Supreme Court striking down the ban, the campaign quickly disowned the Chicago Tribune quote as a staffer's "inartful attempt" to characterize his position.
Yet, Mr. Obama personally voiced support for the D.C. ban at other times. In February, he did this himself, not something that he could blame on a staffer. ABC New's local Washington, D.C. anchor, Leon Harris, asked Mr. Obama: "One other issue that's of great importance here in the district as well is gun control ... but you support the D.C. handgun ban." Mr. Obama's simple response: "Right." When Mr. Harris said "And you've said that it's constitutional," Mr. Obama again says "right" and is clearly seen on tape nodding his head "yes."
But this is not new. Mr. Obama has a long history of supporting city gun bans. The Associated Press described his 2004 vote on a gun control bill: "He also opposed letting people use a self-defense argument if charged with violating local handgun bans by using weapons in their homes. The bill was a reaction to a Chicago-area man who, after shooting an intruder, was charged with a handgun violation."
A candidate questionnaire shows that Mr. Obama supported a ban on handguns in 1996. In 1998, he backed a ban on the sale of all semiautomatic guns (a ban that would encompass the vast majority of guns sold in the U.S.) In 2004, he advocated banning gun sales within five miles of a school or park (essentially a ban on all guns sold in almost all the states). Possibly, even more importantly, he served on the board of the Joyce Foundation, probably the largest private funder of anti-gun and pro-ban groups and research in the country.
The Obama campaign "flatly denied" the 1996 statement supporting a ban on handguns, blaming it instead on a staffer from his state senate race who they said had incorrectly filled out the candidate questionnaire. But the Politico obtained a copy of the statement and found Mr. Obama's own handwritten notes on it indicating that he had personally checked and corrected answers.
His newfound support for gun ownership raises serious questions; not only where he stands on the gun issue, but also how trustworthy he is. With new legal cases being filed against Chicago's gun ban over the last couple of weeks, will some reporter finally ask Mr. Obama why he has not only never spoken out against Chicago's ban, he actively supported it? The release of the new Democratic National Platform's discussion of "what [gun control] works in Chicago" implies Mr. Obama still supports Chicago's gun ban. The platform also wants to take away so-called "assault weapons." Also unclear is what his position means for who he would nominate to the Supreme Court. Mr. Obama's recent comments to Rick Warren, pastor of the evangelical Saddleback Church, showed he opposed nominating those members of the Supreme Court who voted that the Second Amendment is an individual right.
Mr. Obama doesn't even admit that he has changed his position on guns. In a July interview on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the senator admitted that there has been a "shift in emphasis" on various issues, but on guns he held firm: "There wasn't a shift there." Mr. Obama's campaign can ill afford the opposition that gun owners showed toward John Kerry. Yet, when did Mr. Kerry ever support a ban on handguns or all semi-automatic guns?
(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.)