Friday, October 31, 2008

Euphoric Supporters Harbouring Unrealistic Hopes of What President Obama Might Achieve?!!

Photo credits:

The name of the game is lowering expectations, and who would have thought it would come from the most impressive motivational speaker of our time? Barack Obama, the man who has demonstrated repeatedly that he’s got a talent for turning a political rally into a foot-stomping, chanting revival meeting, has suddenly realized that if he’s elected president on Nov. 4th , his followers might expect him to fulfill all of those big campaign promises he’s made. Wowser!

Let’s see - within the next four years, Obama is obligated to end the war in Iraq; cut taxes for everyone whose income is under $250,000; create millions of green jobs; provide universal health care; stop global warming; beef up our educational system; solve the financial crisis; unite Democrats and Republicans; and bring peace to all the nations.

Is it any wonder that the haloed one is getting a little nervous? Here’s the word from the Times Online:

“Barack Obama’s senior advisers have drawn up plans to lower expectations for his presidency if he wins next week’s election, amid concerns that many of his euphoric supporters are harbouring unrealistic hopes of what he can achieve.

“The sudden financial crisis and the prospect of a deep and painful recession have increased the urgency inside the Obama team to bring people down to earth, after a campaign in which his soaring rhetoric and promises of “hope” and “change” are now confronted with the reality of a stricken economy.”

No kidding.

Is this the same candidate who during a recent presidential debate moderated by Jim Lehrer couldn’t think of even one campaign promise that he’d have to forego due to the financial crisis? Guess he had to wait until he felt he had the election wrapped up.

To read more of the Times article, go here.

Happy Halloween: Fear-Mongering from the Left and the Right and a Liberal’s Broomstick for Sarah Palin

Photo by V. Bergman

Ellen Goodman takes note in her column today that we’re celebrating Halloween this Friday, just five days before the 2008 presidential election. She writes:

“HAVE YOU NOTICED that the spookiest colors of the season are not orange and black but red and blue? As Halloween slips into Election Day, the race for the White House has scared more grown-ups than any trip to the haunted house.”

Goodman continues:

“With all the infighting in the coven around the maverick and the fair maiden, it's tempting to call the McCain campaign the Gang That Couldn't Fly a Broomstick Straight.

“But the striking thing is not how the Republicans are trying to scare undecided voters. It's how spooked the most committed Democrats are.”

I’ve been a fan of Goodman for years, frequently welcoming her usually wise and supportive words to women fighting the never-ending battle against sexism and misogyny in our culture. But her comparison of the McCain camp to a witch’s coven unforgivably names Sarah Palin a witch. Thus Goodman has allied herself with the media en masse that launched its misogynist witch hunt the day the Alaska governor first set foot on the national stage.

And speaking of fear-mongering, I’ll mention here the continuous liberal rant against the McCain-Palin ticket that a GOP victory in 2008 guarantees the immediate overthrow of Rove v. Wade. The illogic of this charge is well articulated in a recent post by Marc Rubin along with a list of other fears the Obama camp has been using in its campaign to spook the electorate.

Some of us don’t spook that easily, whether the fear-mongering is coming from the Left or the Right. But for those Democrats quaking in their boots at the prospect of yet another defeat - despite the party’s obvious advantages this time around – my experience last night indicates some of their nervousness is warranted.

When the phone rang, I turned the volume down on the news program I was watching to hear the caller identify herself as a McCain supporter. A recent defector from the Democratic Party, I was momentarily caught off guard by this unexpected call from the GOP. Recovering myself, I explained that due to Obama’s and the DNC’s passive response to the sexist trashing of Hillary Clinton in the primary and the subsequent sexist assault on Sarah Palin in the general election campaign, I had decided to vote “present” in November.

Turns out my caller was also a disaffected Hillary Clinton supporter with whom I commiserated for a few minutes; it’s no wonder the Democrats are running scared.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When Will McCain and Obama Confront the Evils of Racism and Misogyny?

Georgetown University law professor Heidi Li Feldman isn’t letting John McCain and Barack Obama dodge their responsibility as leaders of their respective parties to confront the bigotry that continues to plague the 2008 presidential campaign.

Feldman begins her post by citing this quote from

"Effigies of Barack Obama were hung on the University of Kentucky campus and outside a home in Indiana after authorities said an effigy of Sarah Palin in California was offensive, but not a hate crime."

Feldman writes:

John McCain and Barack Obama have a once in a lifetime opportunity

“I do not believe that the best way for political leaders to deal with unacceptable hate speech is to call for it to be legally defined as such or demand that it be prosecuted. By the time the legal issues in this contentious area are decided in any particular case the moment for political leadership is past.

“I do believe that that those who claim to be political leaders,especially in times of turmoil, must prove their mettle. The rash of so-called Halloween displays depicting lynchings of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin is symptomatic of one part of the turmoil our country is currently undergoing. It is no less grave than the economic turmoil, nor any of the other ills we will expect a new administration and Congress to to take on (the spread of terrorism and overall rise in political violence abroad, the underprotection of civil liberties in the U.S., global warming, universal health care, to name just a few.)

“The social ill that these effigies represent is bigotry. As the Presidential campaign comes down to the wire, both candidates are busy attacking and questioning one another as much as, if not more than, specifically detailing what they plan to do about anything if and when inaugurated. And thus, both candidates are not only failing to address the social ill of bigotry, they are contributing to an atmosphere in which public displays of bigotry are acceptable.

“If John McCain and Barack Obama each cared about the country as much as each man claims to, they would announce a joint press conference, surround themselves and issue a joint statement objecting to racism and misogyny, both in general and as these forms of bigotry have manifested themselves this election cycle. For the issue of bigotry in political discourse transcends policy differences. In a country riven by racism and misogyny, too many politicians play to those factors rather than pay attention to the policy matters. By doing so they contribute to a sick political environment, one that cannot foster good programs related to economic welfare, world peace, civil liberties, or environmental preservation.”

Read more.

Sometimes Decent People Win: Palin Effigy Comes Down

The LA Times reports:

“After days of nationwide controversy, a West Hollywood homeowner has removed an effigy of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin that was hanging from a noose off the side of his house.

“ChadMichael Morrisette, a professional window display designer who set up the life-size mannequin of Palin, said Wednesday evening that he had met with West Hollywood Mayor Jeffrey Prang and decided it was best to remove the decoration.

‘“There was a huge mob scene,’ Morrisette said of the onlookers -- and protesters -- the display attracted. ‘The whole thing became a life of its own.”’

‘“Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, said that Morrisette and his partner invited Prang into their home for a ‘heart-to-heart’ about the display after a man parked in front of their home, his black truck bearing a male dummy wearing a noose and T-shirt that read, ‘Chad, how does it feel?”’

Read more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Feminist Leaders Assail Obama’s Sexist Ad Targeting Gov. Palin

Political Intelligence (Boston Globe) reports on late developments regarding the recent Obama ad that takes a sexist shot at Gov. Sarah Palin (See my previous post):

“UPDATE: The McCain campaign rounded up supporters, including former backers of Hillary Clinton, to assail the reference to Palin in the ad.

‘“I am outraged by the new ad put out by Barack Obama. It is sexist and demeaning to women,’ said a statement from Shelly Mandell, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women. ‘These tactics started with Hillary Clinton and continue, growing even more disgusting with Gov. Palin. I was a Hillstar for Hillary and an avid supporter. Trashing two women clearly in a sexist manner in one election is an outrage and must be identified and stopped. There must be consequences. Let female Obama supporters take a good look at this and still believe their candidate supports women's rights and women's dignity.”’

Running Scared (!) the Obama Team Targets Sarah Palin in Latest Ad

You have to give the Christian Science Monitor credit. They’ve noticed over there that Obama’s latest ad that attacks Sarah Palin is “harsh” and “questionable.”

Posting at the Vote Blog, Jimmy Orr calls the Obama camp to account, and Orr notes that others finally seem to be coming to Palin’s defense against what I’ve referred to at Katalusis as that steady stream of misogynist sewage shot her way by the media.

Orr writes:

‘“The director of Women’s Watch Inc., a nonprofit women’s advocacy group in New Jersey, wrote an op-ed two days ago in the Philadelphia Inquirer entitled, ‘Palin deserves our respect.’

“It’s a difficult column to read. What she discusses is ugly. Really ugly.

‘“I cannot predict who will win the presidential campaign, but I already know who will lose big: all women,’ she writes.

“After describing a disgusting encounter with a Palin hater, she writes:

‘“All this is at a time when women are regularly being raped as they try to cross the border into the United States; bloody, broken women haunt the emergency rooms of hospitals; and abuse and disrespect for women and girls is rising faster than bank bailouts. That is the atmosphere in which people, including women, choose to attempt to destroy a woman who is a legitimate political leader.

““Agreement on issues is not required, but Palin merits respect.

‘“Mockery and vilification of women such as Palin should become just as taboo as race-based slams. Until then, women are the real losers.’

Orr notes:

“Even some Democrats in Hollywood say enough is enough.

“At a political forum sponsored by the Caucus for Producers, Writers and Directors, Variety reports that television producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason spoke up for Palin.

‘“Bloodworth-Thomason said that even though she disagrees with Palin politically, she is dismayed by personal attacks. ‘It’s made me angry, and it’s made me angry on behalf of women,’ she said.”’

Read Orr’s post in its entirety and watch Obama’s questionable ad here.

Biden Muzzled While Palin Speaks Out

Both the old and the new media prefer attacking women candidates and following Hillary Clinton’s prolonged battering, Gov. Sarah Palin has become the target of the unceasing stream of sewage – more formally known as misogyny - spewed out by the press.

In comparison to its treatment of Palin, the media has given Sen. Joe Biden, her Democratic counterpart, a free pass. So it’s kind of surprising to read Dana Millbank’s post today in the Washington Sketch (Washington Post) about the recent “muzzling” of the garrulous, gaffe-prone Biden by the Obama camp.

Millbank reports:

“The muzzling of Biden seems unnatural and inhumane, like taking a proud lion into captivity. Biden, who once scolded Sarah Palin for ducking reporters, hasn't given a news conference since Sept. 7. The king of the rhetorical jungle hasn't taken questions from voters in a town hall forum since Sept. 10, when he famously said that Hillary Clinton is "more qualified than I am to be vice president" and "might have been a better pick than me." He doesn't even do much chitchat with supporters at events since he was caught on tape on one such occasion contradicting Obama's energy policy.

“Now even Palin takes questions from reporters on her campaign plane. But the wordiest man in Washington has to make his remarks short, sweet and canned.”

Read more.

From Huffington Post’s OfftheBus: “Witches, Werewolves, and Sarah Palin”

The misogynist assault on Sarah Palin continues. In an earlier post I linked to an LA Times article reporting the lynching of Palin in effigy, supposedly as a Halloween prank. Today, the Huffington Post is soliciting photos of Halloween pranksters dressed as political figures for its OfftheBus feature. The subject line of the email I received from HuffPo reads: 'Witches, Werewolves, and Sarah Palin."

Evidently, this “fun” OfftheBus feature was inspired by a Caucus (NY Times) post reporting that Palin is turning out to be one of the most popular costume figures of the Halloween season. Here’s the first comment to the Caucus post - obviously from an Obama supporter:

“A pig mask, or a pit bull mask, and a cheap tube of lipstick, are the low budget way to do the low budget Palin.

“Your choice whether to go the porcine or canine route.

“It likely depends on your preferred animal noises.”

In the ever-swirling cesspool of vulgar attacks on women throughout the 2008 campaign, there has been no limit to the depravity. Check out this article in the Guardian titled Fair game? "She's the subject of a porn film and a sex doll has been made in her image. So why hasn't there been a bigger backlash against the misogyny aimed at Sarah Palin," asks Kira Cochrane.

Cochrane writes:

“Over the past few days, a music video entitled Red, White and Milf (short for "Mom I'd like to fuck") has appeared all over the internet. It features a cowboy singing a novelty song about Sarah Palin ("she came to us from the hills of Wasilla / the babes are hot, but the winters are a killer"), while three women resembling the Republican vice-presidential candidate dance in skimpy outfits in the background. Actually, dancing is the least of it. One runs her tongue along the barrel of a rifle, one whips another with a US flag, one dips her finger into a pie and feeds it to another, before smearing it over the woman's face and licking it off. It's a lot of suggestion, basically, leading to the moment when the cowboy opens a beer, holds it to his crotch and sprays it over the three women. They respond - how else? - by smearing it ecstatically across their chests.

“For better or worse (I would say the latter), Palin is the highest-profile female politician in the world now, which makes the constant objectification of her particularly galling. This began within days of her nomination, of course, when doctored pictures of her showed up on the internet, head superimposed on to a rifle-toting model in a stars-and-stripes bikini. At the same time, a company started manufacturing a "naughty schoolgirl" Palin doll.”

Read more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sarah Palin Hung in Effigy as a Halloween Prank

It’s hard sometimes to continue reading the sexist, misogynist drivel on the Web and hearing it unceasingly from TV pundits as this election year winds down. And I admit it’s getting harder to find the energy to protest. I already felt down this evening after watching smirking talking heads go on about the latest shredding of Sarah Palin.

Later on I came across an item circulating on the Internet showing Gov. Palin hung in effigy. In response to the report in the LA Times, Heidi Li Feldman writes:

“Sarah Palin has been hung in effigy by an alleged adult who thinks that showing the lynching of a woman is excused or warranted by it being Halloween time. Please go here to not only read but watch the coverage of this latest in the barrage of misogyny that continues to go unaddressed by Senator Obama or his surrogates.

“Senator Obama, your silence is dangerous and unforgivable.

“You should be convening a press conference with your top advisers, supporters and surrogates, including John Podesta, Senator Clinton, President Clinton, Senator Biden, Senator Kerry, Governor Rendell, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Colin Powell, William Weld, Susie Buell and anybody else you can get to stand with you, and at this press conference you should not only condemn this depiction of a lynching, you should apologize for your complicity thus far in creating an environment where anybody in his right mind could think that a children's holiday - Halloween - is a good time for depicting the lynching of any woman, let alone a woman running for vice-president of the United States of America. You owe it to every woman in America and to every man who cares about any woman to make it clear that you realize that this display is horrific but, tragically, not atypical for this election year.

“And if you fail to speak to this event, as you have failed each and every day for months to acknowledge that you have been the beneficiary of misogyny and sexism and as you have failed each and every day to even acknowledge the rampancy of these ills in our body politic, the advisers, supporters and surrogates I have named - and those who I have not - should rescind their support of your candidacy and refuse to continue to aid your election and announce that they will not accept a position in the administration of a President who does not speak out against the virulent and pervasive hatred of women that has arisen anew in a year when two women have stood a serious chance of serving as President or Vice-President of our country.”

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Media Coverage of the Presidential Race: Veteran Journalist Ashamed of his Profession

Michael S. Malone’s column at ABC News on the “Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline” in which he details the media’s irresponsible, if not unethical, coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign comes as no surprise to those who supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary. Some of us continue to feel so stunned by the blatant sexist abuse the media heaped on our candidate, including its demand for her to drop out while the race was still tight, that we probably won’t bother to vote on Nov. 4.

Malone, updates us on media bias increasingly evident in the general election, especially its pathological assault on Sarah Palin, surpassing even what Clinton and her supporters underwent, and he asks why there has been no equivalent hardball coverage of the Obama camp.

Malone writes:

“The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

“The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

“But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.

“You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I'm cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).

“My hard-living -- and when I knew her, scary -- grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I've spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

“So, when I say I'm deeply ashamed right now to be called a "journalist," you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.”

Read more.

Comparing Sarah Palin to the Democrats' Previous Vice-Presidential Pick John Edwards and Today’s Joe Biden

Conservatives in the media continue to put liberal pundits to shame by pointing out the sexist assault on Sarah Palin, which has reached a point beyond what even Hillary Clinton underwent during the corrupt Democratic primary and its rigged convention.

In the National Review Online, Victor David Hanson reports on “what Sarah Palin has taught us about ourselves,” and it’s not flattering.

Hanson writes:

“Clearly, it is more than we would have ever wished to know about ourselves.

“First, there turns out to be no standard of objectivity in contemporary journalism. Palin’s career as a city councilwoman, mayor, and governor of Alaska was never seen as comparable to, or — indeed, in terms of executive experience — more extensive than, Barack Obama’s own legislative background in Illinois and Washington. Somehow we forgot that a mother of five taking on the Alaskan oil industry and the entrenched male hierarchy was somewhat more challenging than Barack Obama navigating the sympathetic left-wing identity politics of Chicago.

“So we seem to have forgotten that the standards of censure of her vice-presidential candidacy were not applied equally to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. The media at times seems unaware of this embarrassment, namely that their condemnation of Sarah Palin as inexperienced equally might apply to Barack Obama — and to such a degree that by default we were offered the lame apology (reiterated by Colin Powell himself) that Obama’s current impressive campaigning, not his meager political accomplishments, was already an indication of a successful tenure as president. The result is that we now know more about the Palin pregnancies — both of mother and daughter — that we do the relationships of Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright, and Father Pfleger with our possible next president.”

Read more.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Obama’s Failure to Confront Misogyny

Posting at her blog, Heidi Li Feldman had a simple request for Barack Obama: “Speak out publicly against misogyny, the hatred and fear of women.”

Feldman later learned that Jay-Z and NBA star LeBron James will hold a concert for the Obama campaign next Wednesday, and she points out the sexism in the song Jay-Z recently dedicated to the McCain-Palin ticket.

Feldman sends this message to Obama:

“Next Wednesday visit the concert with Jay Z, and please, exercise your right to free speech - and even if it gets you trouble with some folks. Use your famed powers of oratory to explain misogyny, why the lyrics to "99 cents" smack of it, why JayZ's comments smack of it, and why you as somebody who claims to be a progressive who wants to lead a majority-female country will not tolerate it. Then, take a bow and leave.”

In a note to her readers, Feldman advises:

“I am serious. Tell Senator Obama that you expect him to take this opportunity to show us that he realizes what misogyny is or is trying to learn to, and that he will dedicate himself to fighting it in all its forms.”

You can contact the Obama campaign online or at (866) 675-2008 or by mail:

Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680

Obama for America will only accept #10 envelopes. All other mail will be returned to sender.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton Refuses to Bash Sarah Palin on Nightline

Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden’s recent failed attempts to get Hillary Clinton to bash Sarah Palin reminded me of Steve Croft’s interview with Clinton on Sixty Minutes during the primary. Croft kept badgering Clinton in his blatant efforts to trip her up. Later on, the media was only too happy to aid and abet the Obama camp’s efforts to smear Clinton with a malicious distortion of a truncated clip of one of her comments from that interview. Note: MediaMatters.Org later thoroughly debunked the Obama camp’s smear attempt.

McFadden was even more zealous than Croft, but again Clinton refused to take the bait; the transcript below shows McFadden’s growing frustration:

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN: It seemed like a good day to talk to Hillary Clinton about the other most famous woman in politics. Is Sarah Palin good for women?

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, I think that there has been a tendency in our discussions about Governor Palin's candidacy to sort of put it in this either/or. If you think the fact that she's on the ticket is a milestone, which I happen to think it is. She's obviously an accomplished political figure in her own right, having been elected governor of her state. Aren't many people who have done that. You can celebrate that and be, you know, very impressed by that, but still say the McCain/Palin ticket should not lead our country.

MCFADDEN: Is she ready to serve as commander in chief, senator?

CLINTON: Well, I believe that our ticket is much better.

MCFADDEN: Does she deserve, does she have the right to stand on your shoulders in this regard?

CLINTON: You know what, I think we all stand on other people's shoulders. I believe that you can hold two thoughts simultaneously. You can hold the thought that she's an extraordinary woman. But that doesn't mean that she and John McCain should lead our country. For a million reasons that I think people understand.

MCFADDEN: But it must rankle you, I mean, to be compared to Sarah Palin.

CLINTON: It doesn't. None of this rankles me at all. I mean it really doesn't.

MCFADDEN: You said something just a moment ago downstairs that I must say made sit up straighter.

CLINTON: [Speech clip]: You know, I didn't set out to run as a woman for president, but that's the only way I could run. [Clip ends] Well, I was really saying, you know, I didn't consider myself the woman candidate. Although obviously I was. I mean, that's who I am. But as I got into the campaign and realized that's how people were seeing me, for better or for worse in some situations, that there was this historical burden that I was carrying, that I had not anticipated. It became apparent that there's a lot of unfinished business in our country when it comes to gender.

A Sober Analysis of the Race: The People Have Not Yet Anointed Obama

If you paid attention to over-heated Left-wing blogs in full sexist mode, along with the piously intoning liberal punditry in the MSM cresting on a wave of misogynous sewage, you’d believe the presidential race ended this week with the banner headlines regarding the RNC’s funding of Sarah Palin’s campaign wardrobe.

According to our all-wise media – both the old and the new – voters should be more concerned about Palin’s clothing allowance than Sen. Biden’s dire warnings about what we can expect within the first six months of an Obama Administration. The gaffe-prone Biden has guaranteed an international crisis deliberately ignited to test the “brilliant” 47-year-old president who seduced the DNC into selecting him as its nominee on the basis of his abilities as a motivational speaker and fundraiser.

In contrast to the above, Adam Nagourney at the NY Times puts the state of the race in perspective with his sober analysis. (For the record, the Times just endorsed Obama for the presidency.)

Nagourney reports:

“Here are what Mr. McCain’s advisers are watching hopefully (and Mr. Obama’s are watching warily) as the contest enters its final days.


“Two issues have turned up in the final days, courtesy of some inopportune remarks by Mr. Obama and his running mate, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. Both have entered the campaign dialogue, and it is probably a little too early to tell whether they will have the impact that Mr. McCain hopes they will.

“The first was Mr. Obama’s response to the plumber in Ohio who asked about his proposal to increase income tax rates on households making over $250,000 a year, in which Mr. Obama asserted that there was a need to “spread the wealth.” Mr. McCain seized on the response to reprise the he-will-raise-your-taxes attack that has historically had resonance in states like Florida, Iowa and New Hampshire. “We believe we have traction with the tax issue,” said Charlie Black, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain.

“It was no coincidence that Mr. Obama spent about 10 minutes rebutting the notion that he would raise taxes on the middle class at a rally here in Florida on Tuesday. Advisers to Mr. Obama are carefully watching state polling and focus groups in Florida, Ohio and Virginia, where Mr. McCain is waging a vigorous push on this issue.

“The other was Mr. Biden’s prediction that a foreign power would test Mr. Obama with a crisis in the first months of his presidency. That remark goes to what has been the heart of Mr. McCain’s argument about the need for the next president to have experience in “handling high-stakes situations. No one in Mr. Obama’s campaign is disputing the potential damage from Mr. Biden’s remark, but they hope it will be offset by the endorsement of Mr. Obama by Colin L. Powell, the former secretary of state, on Sunday.


“Pollsters say there has never been a year when polling has been so problematic, given the uncertainty of who is going to vote in what is shaping up as an electorate larger than ever. While most national polls give Mr. Obama a relatively comfortable lead, in many statewide polls, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are much more closely matched. Even a small shift in the national number could deliver some of the closer states into the McCain camp, making an Electoral College victory at least possible.

‘“The next 13 days will tell the story,’ said Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, pointing to recent polls showing Mr. McCain gaining in his state. ‘I’m optimistic. I think he’s going to take Florida.’

“The other question is whether there is a hidden resistance among whites to casting a ballot for an African-American. That could potentially be a problem for Mr. Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama’s advisers argued that race had already been factored into polls; but it was notable that the Times/CBS News poll found that one-third of voters said they knew someone who would not vote for Mr. Obama because he is black. That is a question formulation pollsters use to try to get at prejudice that a voter might not otherwise own up to.


“Mr. Obama has made major strides in expanding the voter pool, especially among young people and African-Americans; the question is whether first-time voters, especially younger ones, will actually turn out. Consider this: An ABC News/Washington Post poll on Thursday found that first-time voters support Mr. Obama by 73 percent to 26 percent.

“Mr. McCain’s campaign looks to history for evidence of how big a step it is for new voters to go from registering, which can take place at a doorstep, to actually voting. Still, by every indication here in Florida — where there were two-hour lines in the southern part of the state as early voting began this week — the Obama campaign may be delivering on the formidable get-out-the-voter operation it has promised.

“Which is not to say they are not a bit worried.

‘“Complacency is a big concern of ours, and that’s why we’re going to campaign energetically from start to finish here,’ David Axelrod, the chief strategist to Mr. Obama said in an interview. ‘We don’t want anybody to think that this thing is done — it’s not done. One of the things that can undo us is if people believe that.”’

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just Testing: Is the Junior Senator from Illinois Ready to Lead?

If Hillary Clinton were the Democratic nominee, no one would be questioning her readiness to lead the nation at this stage of the general election campaign. For one thing, she would have known better than to pick Joe Biden for her running mate. The gaffe-prone Biden, who customarily gets a free pass from the media as in, “That’s just Joe, being Joe,” has caused some concern with his recent guarantee of an international crisis in the first six months of an Obama Administration.

As a consequence, Obama is again on the defensive about his foreign policy credentials, and as we know, the Obama campaign is masterful at stagecraft.

According to the LA Times:

“Reporting from Richmond, Va., and Cincinnati -- Barack Obama, thrown on the defensive by his own running mate, staged a high- profile appearance with a team of silver-haired advisors Wednesday to assert his readiness for any foreign crisis that might erupt if he becomes president.

‘“Yes, we are going to face a number of threats and tests and challenges,’ the Democratic nominee told reporters. Obama blamed that prospect on ‘a bad set of policies’ pursued by President Bush, which he said have produced ‘unresolved wars’ in Iraq and Afghanistan and a slumping world economy.

“That's why it's going to be important for us, I think, to move with resolve in a new direction," Obama said after a closed-door session with his national security brain trust at a hotel in downtown Richmond, Va.

“The question of judgment and experience -- especially on national defense and foreign policy matters -- has hung over Obama throughout the campaign, starting in the primaries. Lately, however, there have been signs that voters have grown increasingly comfortable with the idea of the Illinois senator sitting in the Oval Office.”

Read more.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Media Pillories Sarah Palin, but Gives Gaffe-Prone Biden a Pass

Photo credits: AP

Kirsten Powers at the New York Post is wondering why Biden’s latest gaffe at a fundraiser last Sunday hasn’t exploded in the media. Powers rightly points out that if Sarah Palin had dropped such a bombshell regarding a McCain Administration, we would never hear the last of it.

But heck, folks, Biden was just warning us of a possible international crisis if Obama is elected. Over at the left-leaning Huffington Post the banner headline on the front page is all about Sarah Palin’s expensive wardrobe paid for by the RNC. Now which issue do you think the American people should be most worried about?

Powers puts Biden’s scary comments into perspective:

“Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden as his running mate prompted a small wave of warnings about Biden's propensity for gaffes. But no one imagined even in a worse-case scenario such a spectacular bomb as telling donors Sunday to "gird your loins" because a young president Obama will be tested by an international crisis just like young President John Kennedy was.

“Scary? You betcha! But somehow, not front-page news.

“Again the media showed their incredible bias by giving scattered coverage of Biden's statements.

‘“There were a few exceptions. On MSNBC's ‘Morning Joe,’ co-host Mika Brzezinski flipped incredulously through the papers, expressing shock at the lack of coverage of Biden's remarks. Guest Dan Rather admitted that if Palin had said it, the media would be going nuts.

“So what gives?

‘“The stock answer is: ‘It's just Biden being Biden.’ We all know how smart he is about foreign policy, so it's not the same as when Sarah Palin says something that seems off.

‘“Yet, when Biden asserted incorrectly in the vice-presidential debate that the United States ‘drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon,’ nobody in the US media shrieked. (It was, however, covered with derision in the Middle East.) Or when he confused his history by claiming FDR calmed the nation during the Depression by going on TV, the press didn't take it as evidence that he's clueless.

“And Biden is the foreign-policy gravitas on the Democratic ticket, so his comments are actually even more disconcerting.”

Read more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biden Predicts Obama - like JFK - Will Be Tested with an International Crisis

Photo credits: AFP/Getty

Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama in the Democratic primary, with all of the Camelot imagery and suggestions that the torch had been passed from JFK to BHO, reminded me of the reality of what actually transpired during JFK’s brief time in office. Camelot aside, I vividly recall holding a three-month-old baby in my lap while watching news coverage of the latest developments in the Cuban missile crisis. Needless to say, I have no desire for an encore to that nuclear game of chicken with Russia or any other nation in the world.

But guess what? Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, praised for his years in the Senate and the depth of his knowledge of foreign affairs, recently made a startling prediction the other day of what Americans might expect early in an Obama Administration. The New York Post reports:

“Biden wonders whether Barack Obama is qualified to be commander-in-chief.

‘“Mark my words,’ Biden warned Sunday at a Democratic fund-raiser. ‘It will not be six months [after the inauguration] before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.’

‘“Then he added, ‘Watch. We're going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.’

“Now, here's where it gets scary.

‘“Obama's ‘gonna need your help to use your influence within the community to stand with him. Because it's not gonna be apparent initially, it's not gonna be apparent that we're right.’

“He's going to need help?


“What's particularly disturbing is Biden's Kennedy analogy.

“For those who don't recall, it was a scant five months after JFK became president that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took his measure.

“Kennedy had just bungled the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, then went off to a summit in Vienna - where Khruschev determined that the rookie chief executive could be had.

“Two months later, construction began on the Berlin Wall, precipitating a crisis that nearly led to a US-Soviet shooting war in Europe.

“And 14 months after that came the Cuban Missile Crisis - when nuclear Armageddon was only barely averted.

“Is Biden saying that America's current enemies - sorely aware of Obama's inexperience - plan to test a President Obama with similar crises, to see what he's made of?

“Sure seems like it.

“But what if Obama is still on the wrong side of the learning curve when this major international crisis hits?

“More important: What if he makes the wrong decision - as even Joe Biden suggests he might?

“After all, Obama was wrong about the troop surge in Iraq.

‘“And he was wrong in his initial response to Russia's invasion of Georgia - when he urged the victimized nation to ‘show restraint.’

‘“And he was wrong when he said he would gladly sit down unconditionally with people like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - the very people his own running-mate now says are planning to ‘test’ him.

‘“As John McCain said yesterday, ‘We don't want a president who invites testing from the world . . . The next president won't have time.’

‘“Little wonder, then, that Biden later admitted that he ‘probably shouldn't have said all this.’

“But why not, Joe?

“It's doubtless all true.

“And it's much better to get it all out now - rather than wait until it's too late to do anything about it.”

Monday, October 20, 2008

Barack Obama’s Puzzling Embrace of the Colin Powell Endorsement

Well, I have to tell you I was somewhat puzzled by the ecstatic response of Barack Obama and his campaign to Colin Powell’s belated endorsement. Did I really hear Gwen Ifil on the PBS News Hour this evening suggest that the Powell endorsement settled once and for all any lingering questions about Obama’s experience or lack thereof?

And I had a flashback to that oft-played video of Powell making the case for war by speaking convincingly at the United Nations about the certainty of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Think, people. Obama is the candidate who used his speech in 2002 at an anti-war rally -before he became a United States Senator – as grounds for the American people to elect him our president.

So how credible is Colin Powell’s support for Barack Obama at this stage of the game?

I’ll let Marc Rubin answer that question:

“Colin Powell, who in spite of an illustrious career will always be known as the man who, as Secretary of State made the presentation to the UN which made the case for the most dishonest and disastrous foreign policy and military decision in American history, has endorsed --guess who? -- Barack Obama as the person who has the judgment to be President.

“Okay you can stop laughing now.

“Just as a reminder, this is the Secretary of State who made a case for war based solely on the information received from an informant code named Curveball who even at the time of Powell's UN speech, the CIA had warned was an alcoholic and proven liar, someone who had even lied about being first in his graduating class at college ( sounds a little like Obama's claim of being a Constitutional Law professor even though there is no record of Obama having taught a single class in Constitutional law at Harvard or anywhere else) and that none of his information could be confirmed. This is the person who is now telling us Obama has the judgment to be President.

“But for anyone who sees McCain as four more years of Bush and couldn't vote for him on those grounds ,this has to send them back to square one. Especially since Obama has stated that Republicans were the party of ideas, and has embraced many of Bush's positions like those on government spending for faith based initiatives, retroactive immunity for the telecoms and off shore drilling. And now Bush's Secretary of State, who used his own prestige and judgement to sell the war in Iraq to the American people is now telling us what he thinks is best for the country.

“So Powell’s endorsement is not so much of an endorsement as it is an indictment of everything that is wrong with Obama and how unqualified he is for the job.”

Read more here.

Calm Down, People: Wall Street is Showing Signs of Improvement

Just minutes ago, Michael Grynbaum at the NY Times reported:

“Signs of improvement in the credit markets brought a wave of relief to Wall Street on Monday morning, as investors sent stocks to another big rally and welcomed comments from the chairman of the Federal Reserve that seemed to encourage a new government stimulus package.

“At the close, the Dow Jones industrials were up 413.21 points or 4.6 percent, closing back above 9,000. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose nearly 4.8 percent, and the Nasdaq composite index was up about 3.4 percent.

“After weeks of extraordinary coordinated efforts by the world’s governments and central banks, investors awoke on Monday to find — finally — signs that credit was beginning to flow more easily.”

Hopefully today’s positive signs from Wall Street will soon herald good news for the rest of us out here in the hinterland struggling to hold the fort on America’s Main Streets.

To read the NY Times report in its entirety, go here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Different Take on Sarah Palin: “A Sophisticated, Elegant, and Articulate Politician”

After all of the left-wing, sexist garbage thrown at Sarah Palin lately, I was stunned to come across this item at the Huffington Post by Noel Irwin Hentschel. Hentschel recently had the opportunity to meet Palin in person, and she describes the GOP VP nominee as follows:

‘“She may be folksy while in her charming hometown of Wasilla, but when she is on the road, in San Francisco, Sarah Palin is also a very sophisticated, elegant and articulate politician. I brought my 27 year-old daughter Shannon, who is a third year law student, with me to meet America's most recent ‘talked about’ role model.

“We were preparing to be introduced to the Governor of Alaska when she took the lead and walked across the room, in a dark business suit and knee high boots, with her arms stretched out to greet us. She then put both her hands in mine and then in my daughter's to shake them warmly, telling us how happy she was to make our acquaintance. We then spoke about China and the importance of our relationship with this powerful country and how tourism from China to America was vital to our nation's economy.

“Earlier in the year, I had heard from friends in the Chinese government that they had visited Alaska and met the Governor and they were very impressed with her shared desire to bring more Chinese visitors to her state and to the U.S. to help offset the balance of trade. We discussed that Chinese travelers spend more money than any other international traveler and that tourism was a key "people to people" form of diplomacy. I let the Governor know that Madame Ma, the Vice Minister of Commerce for China, was looking forward to meeting her in Beijing and I would be happy to make the introduction of these two dynamic women leaders, both committed to strengthening the friendship between America and China for economic stability and peace in our world.”

To read Hentschel’s post in in its entirety, go here.

National Poll Average Shows Obama’s Lead Dwindling

What’s going on? In the national poll average posted by Real Clear Politics this morning, Obama’s lead over McCain has dwindled from over 7 points to 4.9 points: Obama 48.8 vs. McCain 43.9.

Watch Sarah Palin in Person on Saturday Night Live! (video)

Go here to see Sarah Palin in her appearance on Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hillary’s Supporters Still Refuse to Sit Down, Shut Up, and Get With the Program

Hillary Clinton's supporters in the Democratic primary who still refuse to be coerced into voting for Barack Obama this November were insulted today, Oct. 18, by Derrick Z. Jackson in the Boston Globe and yesterday, Oct. 17, by Lanny Davis in the Wall Street Journal.

Jackson argues in the Globe that Obama’s poll numbers have risen in New Hampshire due to a change of heart by the Granite State’s Clinton supporters, and he provides several examples of anecdotal evidence to make his case. Judging from the 104 readers’ comments posted so far to Jackson’s op-ed, Clinton supporters, outraged by the assumption they've fallen in line with a corrupted Democratic party, far outnumber Jackson’s exaggerated claims.

(By the way, it was Jesse Jackson, Jr., the Obama campaign’s national co-chair, who went into a videotaped rage shortly after Sen. Clinton won in New Hampshire; This top aide to Obama revealed his Neanderthal sexism by accusing Clinton of faking tears to win the primary, and he went on to play the race card by making the horrendously false charge that she had not shown compassion for Katrina victims.)

To read Derrick Z. Jackson’s op-ed in its entirety, go here.

In the meantime, Heidi Li Feldman took issue with Lanny Davis for his suggestion in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that “Democrats should be glad Senator Clinton stayed in the race because she made Senator Obama a better general election candidate.”

Feldman points out:

“Mr. Davis, we were glad Senator Clinton stayed in the race because we watched her win the popular vote. Many of us believe that if the Democratic Party had followed its own rules and the superdelegates and regular delegates had not been coerced by Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Obama's campaign (who Chairman Dean turned over the DNC to in June when no candidate had actually won the party's nomination), Senator Clinton might very well have been the party's nominee.

“We were glad Senator Clinton stayed in the race because we thought she would make a superior President to either Senator Obama or any Republican, including Senator McCain. I still believe that.”

Feldman, a law professor at Georgetown University, highlighted a particularly offensive passage from the Davis piece:

“There always was a danger that certain working-class/rural voters who strongly supported Mrs. Clinton in such state primaries as Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia would not easily transfer their support to Mr. Obama. The same worry was often repeated about Democratic women who were angry or simply grieving about Mrs. Clinton not being picked as the nominee.”

Feldman explains:

'"Mr. Davis, by definition, I do not qualify as one of the 'certain working-class/rural voters' you disparage with the remark. But let me make it perfectly clear: I am not angry or 'simply grieving' about 'Mrs. Clinton not being picked as the nominee.' I am distressed that the Democratic Party rigged its own nomination process and PICKED a candidate rather than ELECTING one.

“You began this election cycle supporting Senator Clinton, Mr. Davis. And as the tagline in the WSJ article states you are ending it as an Obama supporter. Given the patronizing and dismissive tone of the passage I quote above, I imagine you feel much more comfortable with the candidate you now back than the one you originally preferred.”

To read Heidi Li Feldman’s post in its entirety, go here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Substantive Presidential Debate, and a Good Job by Bob Schieffer

Just turned off the post debate blather on CNN following the third and final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama.

Compared to the two preceding it, this was a substantive debate that for the most part focused on critical issues of importance to American voters during a global financial crisis. I thought Obama responded as a liberal with few exceptions, and McCain came through essentially as a moderate conservative.

I find myself agreeing with Obama on issues like Rove v. Wade, health care, and education, but then wondering how someone as inexperienced as he is can be expected to follow through as president.

On the other hand, I’ve witnessed John McCain the reformer in action over the years and know that he truly has not been one to hew to the party line as Obama has done in his short tenure in the U.S. Senate. Plus, it has gotten really tiresome to hear Obama repeatedly accuse McCain of offering four more years of George W. Bush.

McCain has the record to prove that he can work across the aisle. Obama has no record to speak of. Which makes the DNC seem even more perverse in selecting Obama over Hillary Clinton as its candidate in opposition to the will of the majority of voters in the primary.

Finally, a word about Bob Schieffer. Regular readers of Katalusis will know how offended I’ve been by the media bias, whether liberal or conservative, throughout the primary and the general election. Lately, I’ve been appalled at how the Obama camp has gotten away with its ugly ageist attacks on McCain; whereas, McCain has been called out for every negative ad his camp has produced. When Schieffer began the debate by asking about negative ads, he listed examples from both campaigns, including the sickening ageist stuff from the Obama camp. That's the first time I’ve heard anyone in the media suggest there’s something wrong about referring to an older opponent as “erratic,” “out of touch,” etc. – and from the expression on his face, Obama hadn’t seen it coming.

Kudos to both candidates tonight for a good debate and even pretty good sportsmanship, and kudos to Bob Schieffer as well for his questions and his skills as moderator.

The Caucus at the NY Times has already done some fact checking about claims made by the two candidates tonight. To read the findings, go here.

High Stakes in Tonight’s Final Debate Between Obama and McCain

Obama and McCain face off at 9 p.m. Eastern at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York this Wednesday with a potential audience of 60 million or more.

John Whitesides at Reuters reports this morning:

“The debate comes as new opinion polls show Obama gaining strength nationally and in battleground states after weeks of economic turmoil and plunging stock markets, with more voters saying they trust Obama's leadership on the economy.

“A Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll gave Obama a 4-point edge over McCain, but other national polls showed a larger margin for the Illinois senator. A CBS News/New York Times poll that showed Obama leading by 14 percentage points was the fifth survey this week to register Obama's lead in double-digits.

“The bad poll news heightened the debate stakes for McCain, who unveiled a package of measures on Tuesday to help investors, particularly older Americans, who have seen their retirement savings decimated by stock market losses.

“But McCain also said he was not finished talking about Obama's service on a community board in Chicago with former 1960s radical William Ayers. The Arizona senator said he was likely to talk about Ayers during the debate.”

Read more.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Here’s an Idea for the Media: Question Obama

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz has made a startling suggestion in today’s column: with just 22 days left in the race, the media should be focusing on Barack Obama, the man who is most likely to take office in January 2008.

Balz writes:

“The presidential race is not over, but at this point, Obama has a better chance of becoming president than McCain, and as a result, the questions ought to be going toward him as much or more than McCain -- questions not of tactics but of substance.”

Balz continues:

“It is hard to think of a new president who inherited such a rapidly altered landscape. Franklin Roosevelt inherited a country in crisis, but the crash on Wall Street began years before he was elected in 1932. The 44th president's world has been turned upside down in a matter of months, and literally on the eve of the election.

“How adaptable is Obama to all of this? How willing is he to address these questions in real time, as opposed to later? How much time has he given recently to rethinking the scope and ambition of a possible Obama administration? Would he come to office with a determination to be bold or to be cautious? Is he the pragmatist that allies have suggested -- or committed to a more ideologically oriented agenda, as his critics say?

“Other questions that ought to be raised include what his commitment to bipartisanship amounts to at this point. He has talked about turning the page on old politics throughout his campaign. What does that mean?

“All hard-fought campaigns become more partisan toward the end, but how much would that color Obama's approach, should he end up in the Oval Office? Will he hew closely to the wishes of Democratic congressional leaders or will he demonstrate some independence from them in an effort show the country what he might to do create a broader coalition as president? Will he do anything before the election to signal what he thinks?”

Read more.

Sarah Palin Draws Huge Crowds Despite Misogynous Assault from Obama Supporters and Their Media Allies

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her family

When Sarah Palin set foot on the national stage about six weeks ago, the Obama campaign at first responded with derision. Then she gave her convention speech. They got the message. Here was a genuine threat to the ascendancy of Barack Obama. How dare this small town female upstart from Alaska compete with Obama in drawing huge crowds and raising millions of dollars?

It took a few days to gear up Obama’s netroots shock troops who had polished their skills in vulgar sexist assaults on Hillary Clinton. But soon they were up in arms, dead set on destroying this latest female daring to crack that glass ceiling. It didn’t take the national media long to get in sync with the netroots, and I held my breath as I wondered how long it would take for these misogynous forces to destroy the youthful Palin who lacked the experience and thick skin of a Hillary Clinton.

I’m a long-time liberal when it comes to most policy issues, but this second assault in one election year on a female candidate stirred up my sense of solidarity with another woman I sensed was in danger. How crude could Obama supporters get? Here’s an example posted at the Hillary Clinton Forum; it’s an email from Frank P., a Democrat for McCain:

‘“I was at a Sarah Palin event in Philadelphia, at the Park Hyatt Hotel - late Saturday afternoon (Oct. 11th). If you are easily grossed out by the ‘C’ word, I am sorry. But as Andrea says below, if McCain supporters wore a shirt that said ‘Obama is a ___’ or even ‘Obama is a ____’ or ‘Obama is a ____’ at an Obama Rally, they would either be thrown off the premises, have their heads kicked in, or even be detained at the local police station (I know this for a fact: I just had on a McCain button at a recent Obama event and I didn't think I was going to get out alive).

‘“Sorry the picture is not clearer. But these four young people were right in front of the hotel. They have on the nicest shirts. There were worse. There was group as well carrying around a fake dead fetus - exclaiming that ‘abortion should have been the path for Bristol(?) Palin.’ And quite a few smoke bombs, etc. etc.”’ Read more and see photo here.

But the misogynists haven’t won yet. True to form, Patrick Healy at the NY Times reports with a heavy dose of sarcasm this morning on a recent McCain-Palin campaign rally in Virginia Beach. Sarcasm aside, Healy is forced to admit:

“As the Republican vice-presidential nominee for six and a half weeks now, Ms. Palin has emerged as the most electrifying speechmaker among the four politicians on the major party tickets. She generates enormous fervor at her events; people sometimes do not stop clapping or shouting words of praise until Ms. Palin pauses.

According to Healy, the Virginia Beach rally drew 10,000 supporters, demonstrating that the hate-mongering assaults by the Obama campaign and its media allies have done little to dampen the enthusiasm of conservative Republicans for Sarah Palin. Could be the low-life tactics of the extreme left wing of the Democratic Party have even increased the intensity of Palin’s support from her base.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hillary Clinton Supporter Paul Krugman Wins Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

In my earlier post today, I lamented the fact that Hillary Clinton, the best qualified candidate to lead the country out of its current financial crisis, was forced out of the Democratic race by the DNC and its media allies. It was especially gratifying to learn later today that Princeton professor and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, a Hillary Clinton supporter, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Krugman was a strong Clinton supporter throughout the Democratic primary. He argued consistently that Sen. Clinton’s health care plan was far superior to Obama’s and most likely to provide universal health care insurance coverage for Americans.

Unlike the aforementioned DNC and its media allies, Krugman spoke out against the rampant sexism of the Democratic primary. In the aftermath of Clinton’s concession speech, he posted at his blog, the Conscience of a Liberal (NY Times):

“The 2008 campaign has been a very disillusioning experience for a lot of people. You can make a very good case that Barack Obama was the right person for the Democrats to nominate, and Hillary Clinton the wrong choice. But the way we got there was terrible. The raw sexism, in all too many cases coming from alleged progressives — see above — was part of it. So, too, was the inability of many alleged progressives to see that the news media created the narrative of Hillary Clinton as race-baiter in much the same way that, 8 years ago, they created the narrative of Al Gore as congenital liar — by assembling a montage of quotes taken out of context and willfully misinterpreted.

“This whole story shouldn’t affect peoples’ votes in the general election: there are huge substantive issues at stake, and a wide difference between the candidates on those issues. So this is no time for a protest vote. But 2008 was definitely the year in which the progressive movement lost a lot of its innocence.”

Forced to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils in the Worst Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression

Tony Rezko and Barack Obama, photo credits: Politico

We’re in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and bogged down in two wars, but in the run up to the presidential election in November, neither of the two major candidates is qualified to steer the nation safely through good times, much less these deeply troubled waters.

To my knowledge Barack Obama has never been responsible for any budget other than that of the Obama family, which he managed to screw up with his ties to indicted Chicago businessman and political fundraiser Tony Rezko who helped him buy a house.

John McCain undermined his own credentials early on in the race by admitting that economics was not his strong suit.

In light of the above, it’s sickening to recall how the corrupt Democratic party brutally pushed Hillary Clinton out of Obama’s way during the primary, thus depriving the nation of the leadership in the next four years of the candidate easily best qualified in both economic and foreign affairs.

Can you imagine how much it would have done for the nation’s spirit in the aftermath of the recent Wall Street meltdown to realize that it might soon be guided by a second Clinton Administration, now celebrated by even the blatantly calculating and hypocritical Obama team as an era of peace and prosperity?

But back to present day reality: Politico’s David Paul Kuhn reports this morning that Republican strategists are saying that McCain must hammer on the economy in the remaining weeks of the campaign.

Kuhn writes:

‘“He’s going to have to do something bold unless he basically has a very good night Wednesday night,’ veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins said, referring to the upcoming final presidential debate. “If he doesn’t convince people to have a second look, it’s over.’

“Rollins suggested McCain should reconsider and pledge to serve only one term in office and then focus solely on revitalizing the economy and getting troops out of Iraq.”

Now there’s an idea!

Read more.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Obama Doesn’t Measure up to his Latest Role Model, Bill Clinton

Politico’s Ben Smith posts this morning about Obama’s cautious, vague response to the current economic crisis.

Smith writes:

“The nation's economic crisis triggered Obama's sharp rise in what had been a tight race. But Obama hasn't tried to seize the kind of central, national leadership position for which Sen. John McCain grasped, and fell short. Nor has he been touting — Bill Clinton-style — a highly detailed plan for what he'll do the moment he takes office.”

Later on in his post Smith again compares Obama’s economic approach to that of Bill Clinton:

“Still, Obama's response had some veterans of the last administration noting the contrast with former President Clinton, whose politics were always rooted in richly detailed policy plans.”

Nevertheless, Scott Helman at the Boston Globe points out:

“ABINGTON, Pa. - Barack Obama likes to draw inspiration from Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., but his apparent role model of late is someone a bit more contemporary: Bill Clinton.

“With the economy in crisis and Election Day in sight, Obama can't say enough about the Clinton epoch - the job growth, the budget surpluses, the broad prosperity - and often lauds the former president's economic stewardship as a model.

‘“We need to do what we did in the 1990s and create millions of new jobs and not lose them,’ he told 6,000 people in Abington, outside Philadelphia, last week. ‘We need to do what we did in the 1990s and make sure people's incomes are going up and not down. We need to do what a guy named Bill Clinton did in the 1990s and put people first again.’

“The crowd roared.”

Helman reminds readers:

“During the primaries, Obama at times praised the Clintons for their past work. But in the heat of the battle, hardly a week went by when he did not take swipes at the 1990s - at both the policies and the politics the Clintons promoted.

Felman cites Hillary Clinton’s rejoinder on one occasion to Obama’s frequent attacks:

‘“You know, sometimes during this campaign, my opponent criticizes the '90s, criticizes what my husband did,’ she said in Philadelphia in April, according to The Chicago Tribune. ‘But when I hear him criticizing the 1990s, I'm always wondering which part of it didn't he like - the peace or the prosperity? Because I like both.”’

Helman fails, however, to call Barack Obama and his campaign to account for their egregious attempts to label both Bill and Hillary Clinton as racists after Sen. Clinton’s win in New Hampshire. (Watch video of Jesse Jackson, Jr., national co-chair of the Obama campaign, delivering an all-out sexist and racist rant against Hillary Clinton.)

The Clintons have long been known for their devotion to human rights on behalf of all people; nevertheless, the Obama camp's racist smears served to alienate many African-American supporters from Sen. Clinton and increase their support for Obama.

When pinned down during the Las Vegas debate, Obama made clear – after most of the damage had been done – that he was well aware the Clintons were not racists.

Since the onset of the general election campaign, the Obama camp has been relentless in exploiting the support of the Clintons, even though, as Scott Helman points out, it has required yet another major shift for Obama, who, since the primary, has proved himself the most agile flip-flopper to ever hit the national stage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How the Power of the Vote Went Missing in the Democratic Primary

Skeptical Woman, guest posting for Lynette Long today, responds to a comment by Michelle Obama on the power of the vote.

Skeptical Woman writes:

‘“This morning, Morning Edition carried a story from North Carolina Public Radio on Michelle Obama speaking in Greensboro (9/18). She said, ‘Voting is the first real access to power we have in this country.’ If that were true, Hillary Clinton would be the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

“Any power we voters have to elect our own nominee has been overturned by the processes and machinations of the Democratic Party on many different levels. The results of undemocratic and easily manipulated caucuses were privileged over inclusive primaries, where people actually vote. Delegates were allotted to each candidate not according to how many votes s/he received, but by some formula that included past gubernatorial election results, so that votes in some districts counted more than others. State conventions added unpledged delegates who were not elected by voters.

‘“The Democratic Party's system of unpledged ‘superdelegates,’ delegates by virtue of their status as party leaders or elected officials, clearly contravenes the idea of ‘one person one vote,’ and many of these PLEOs appear to have endorsed based on contributions to their campaigns from the presidential candidates. The Rules and Bylaws Committee ignored the actual vote in Michigan and awarded delegates to a candidate for whom not a single vote was cast, including 4 delegates earned by another candidate. The RBC and the Credentials Committee manipulated the voting process by disallowing, then allowing the participation of delegates of Michigan and Florida at times that favored the candidate who actually received fewer votes.”’

Read more.

The Week the Presidential Race Stood Still

Photo credits: AP

At the HorseraceBlog today, Jay Cost offers his explanation as to why the poll numbers for Obama and McCain haven’t moved this week:

“One week ago, the House of Representatives passed the financial bailout bill. At the end of that day, the RCP average stood at: Obama 49.2%, to McCain 43.4%. As of this writing today, the RCP average is essentially unchanged: Obama 49.2%, to McCain 42.9%.

“Why has the Republican gotten no traction in the last week? After all, the congressional spectacle was supposed to be damaging his prospects because (as the story went) Obama looked so cool and McCain too hot. Now that it's over, shouldn't his numbers be on the rise?

“No. That was never McCain's problem. McCain's problem a week ago is the same as his problem today, enhanced anxiety about the economy. The deal failed to sooth any nerves, so McCain is still in a weakened position.

“We can see this with crystal clarity by looking at what average voters are looking at. Here are the above-the-fold portions of my hometown newspaper for the last five days.”

Read more.

“The American President” now starring Barack Obama, er, Michael Douglas (video)

Foon Rhee at Political Intelligence (Boston Globe) asks today, “Is Barack Obama channeling one of liberals' favorite presidents, albeit a fictional one?”

Rhee explains:

‘“The Democrat's stump speech today in Chillicothe, Ohio, had some echoes of the climactic speech given by President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, in the 1995 movie ‘The American President.’”

Watch the video and read more here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Long, Drawn Out, Boring Campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain

Earl Ofari Hutchinson has been the most upfront political commentator in the 20008 presidential campaign. Ofari has never been caught up in the en masse media swoon for Barack Obama. Even during the most trying days of the Democratic primary, Ofari chose not to join the chorus of media pundits doing their best to force Hillary Clinton out of the race. Yes, that would have been consistent with Obama’s tactics in Illinois – force your opponents out of the race so you can walk to the finish line and claim your prize. Google Alice Palmer.

Most recently, Ofari offers his analysis of the second presidential debate and although he goes into detail; whereas, I simply yawned, he and I were obviously on the same page. I just couldn’t shake off my boredom long enough to write up the performance of our two mediocre candidates for the highest position in the nation. Honestly, couldn’t America have done better?

Ofari spells it out:

“OK, we now know for the umpteenth time that Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain will cut taxes, provide affordable health care to everyone, drill for more oil, expand nuclear power use, end global warming, rein in the Wall Street fast buck artists, take out Osama Bin Laden, and end the war in Iraq either by withdrawal or victory. And yes we know that both have had a tough family upbringing, and therefore they know what working people have to go through.

“These themes have been rehashed and reworked so many times that we can recite them in our sleep. But what we don't know and certainly haven't heard in the debates is what Obama and McCain will do about failing urban public schools, the HIV-AIDS pandemic, their view of the death penalty, the drug crisis, how they'll combat hate crimes, shore up crumbling and deteriorating urban transportation systems, and what type of judges they will appoint to the federal judiciary and to the Supreme Court.”

Read more.

Gallup Poll: Potential Effect of Race in Presidential Contest Neutralized

Gallup reports fascinating results from a recent poll that attempts to determine the potential impact of race in the presidential contest between Barack Obama and John McCain.

Frank Newport reports:

“While 6% of voters say they are less likely to vote for Barack Obama because of his race, 9% say they are more likely to vote for him, making the impact of his race a neutral to slightly positive factor when all voters' self-reported attitudes are taken into account.

“At the same time, 6% of voters say John McCain's race will make them less likely to vote for him, with 7% saying it makes them more likely to vote for him, leading to the same basic conclusion: McCain's race, like Obama's, is on balance neither a plus nor a minus.

‘These conclusions are based on eight dimensions potentially affecting the vote for both candidates. The dimensions were included in Gallup's Oct. 3-5 poll, and analyzed overall by Gallup's Jeff Jones.”

Read more.

Video Spoof: In Case McCain Wins, Canada Welcomes American Liberal Elites

I picked up this video over at Political Intel (Boston Globe) encouraging American elites to move to Canada if the Republicans win the presidency again. According to Political Intel, the video spoof originated at Slate, the online political magazine.

A Quagmire of Misogyny: The MSM, the Netroots, and MoveOn.Org

The Wall Street Journal has an opinion piece today by Dorothy Rabinowitz titled News Flash: The Media Back Obama. Here’s a news flash for Rabinowitz: the media has backed Obama since the early days of the Democratic primary when it began its relentless assault on Hillary Clinton. Princeton historian Sean Wilentz remarked months ago that the media chooses our presidents and clearly, if Obama wins, as is very likely at this point, we will have the media primarily to thank.

We also need to know that the liberal media – liberal that is in every way except for its rampant sexism and ageism – has been ably served in its obeisance to Obama by his thousands of youthful, white male supporters collectively known as the netroots who are frightening in their overwhelming viciousness toward any woman in a position of authority – they even compulsively trash Katie Couric.

And then there’s Moveon.Org, led by – you guessed it – a 27-year-old white male Obamaphile and described thusly in a Washington Post article today: “Although it's not a formal arm of the Democratic Party -- and the group doesn't rule out endorsing and financing third-party candidates -- MoveOn has become synonymous with the party's left wing.”

As I’ve said before, the left wing of the Democratic Party elite and their media allies in both the MSM and the blogosphere are driven by a pathological hatred of women, technically known as misogyny. And mark this: in its progressive disguise, the left is even more deadly than the extreme right.

To read more of WaPo’s article on MoveOn.Org, go here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gov. Palin’s take on the second presidential debate

Perry Bacon, Jr. at the Washington Post provides an informal look at a relaxed Sarah Palin watching last night’s debate from a North Carolina pizzeria where she had just held a rally. In blue jeans and windbreaker, Palin joined several GOP leaders who watched the debate on Fox News.

Bacon writes:

“As she greeted the surprised crowd of more than 50 at the small pizza place, she posed for several cell phone pictures. When Dana Corey, who was about to start eating, realized Palin was there, he was on the phone with wife. He asked if Palin would say hello and the governor did, joking, "Libby, why is your husband here drinking beer without you?"

“The Corey family lives in Wilmington, N.C., and Mrs. Corey explained to the governor that her husband was there because he was working on a construction project in Greenville.

“As the debate started, the governor sat with Charlotte mayor Patrick McCrory, and the state's Republican senators, Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr, along with Burr's wife, as several televisions in the bar showed the Fox News telecast of the debate.

“At the onset of the debate, Palin took out a pen and some paper. And for the next hour and half, along with chatting with the politicians, she often took notes of what the two candidates were saying. Interviewed after the debate, Dole said Palin was writing down many of their exchanges on energy, while Burr noted that Palin was "focused on what Barack was saying."

“Perhaps like anyone else watching the town hall, the governor looked away at times and spent some time texting on her phone.

“Corey came over to Palin's table, this time with his daughter, a college senior, on the phone. Palin greeted her too. Dana Corey said Allie enjoyed talking to Palin but was still deciding between Obama and McCain even after the Alaska governor pushed her man on the phone.

“The dozen reporters with Palin were seated in a different section of Boli's from Palin, although we could see her throughout. She smiled at some of McCain's remarks about energy independence and took notes quietly when Obama spoke. At the end of the debate, her aides brought reporters over to Palin's table.”

Read more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Draw in Nashville Debate as Obama and McCain Point Up Their Differences

I watched the McCain-Obama town hall debate on CNN this evening, but before I listened to any of the comments by the “best political team on television” (yawn), I had already decided it was a draw with one exception: I thought McCain showed more warmth and empathy in connecting with members of the audience who got to ask questions. For example, a man who mentioned his Naval background wound up shaking hands with McCain.

Who would have guessed that each campaign would issue statements declaring its candidate the winner?

Jill Hazelbaker, McCain's communications director, said:

"Tonight, John McCain won the debate. He was the only man who demonstrated he had the independence and strength to take on everything that's broken in Washington and on Wall Street. John McCain had a clear plan for improving the lives of Americans -- keeping them in their homes through his American Homeownership Resurgence Plan. From Barack Obama, we heard half-truths and contradictions between what he says and what he has done. He said he supported offshore drilling but has opposed it for months. He talked about tax cuts but he voted for higher taxes 94 times and promises increased taxes on small businesses. He talked about reducing the size of government but has proposed hundreds of billions of dollars in new government spending. Tonight, Barack Obama had an opportunity to level with the American people, but instead all we heard was more of the same."

Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe stated:

“Barack Obama won a resounding victory in John McCain’s favorite debate format because he made the case for change that will rebuild the middle class. The American people asked tough questions tonight, and only Barack Obama was in touch with their struggles and offered clear and passionate answers about creating jobs, reducing health care costs, cutting taxes for 95% of working families, and responsibly ending the war in Iraq. John McCain was all over the map on the issues, and he is so angry about the state of his campaign that he referred to Barack Obama as ‘that one’ – last time he couldn’t look at Senator Obama, this time he couldn’t say his name. The McCain campaign said, ‘if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose,’ and John McCain definitely lost tonight."

A Spiritual Response to the Global Financial Crisis

A tragic result of the stock market crash in 1929 was the suicide reports. According to news accounts, several people shot themselves, and at least one person died from intentionally leaving the gas stove on.

Today we’re in the midst of another severe financial crisis that has already gone global, and I’m aware of at least two recent murder-suicides, one in Los Angeles and one in Louisville, Kentucky. The Los Angeles deaths were clearly related to financial concerns as an unemployed accountant killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself.

Despite the bailout bill and other measures taken recently to halt the economic downturn, we can expect the economy to get worse before it gets better. More and more Americans are facing financial hardship, if not disaster, and it’s hard to know where to turn for help.

If you’ve followed my blog over the months since its inauguration in late August 2007, you know that from time to time I’ve published a continually revised version of the ancient Buddhist loving kindness prayer. Today, as I read my latest version, it occurred to me how appropriate it is for this occasion. Whatever your beliefs are about prayer, it seems to me that sending forth this kind of energy into the universe has to be for the good of all. So in this global financial meltdown, I invite my readers to join with me in speaking these words:

May we release all burdens of guilt, shame, fear, and loss from past trauma that no longer serve us and needless fear and anxiety about the future;

May we be filled with loving kindness;

May we be protected from all internal and external harm;

May we be as healthy and whole as possible;

May we be centered, peaceful, and at ease;

May we be happy;

May each of us enjoy both spiritual and material

McCain vs. Obama: a Town-hall Style Debate in Nashville Tonight

In the run up to tonight’s debate in Nashville, Kate Seelye at the Caucus (NY Times) mentions that Obama is leading McCain in most of the national polls; however, both CBSNews and Reuters/CSpan/Zogby Tracking now show Obama ahead of McCain by only three points. And according to RealClearPolitics, Obama’s average national lead has shrunk to 5.3 points today. The race is still tight.

Seelye offers scheduling information for the second presidential debate and also a few pointers regarding what to expect from McCain and Obama:

“If Senator John McCain is in fact trying to shift the focus of attention away from his ability to deal with the economy, it should show up tonight on the debate stage.

“Mr. McCain meets Senator Barack Obama at Belmont University in Nashville in the second of three presidential debates.

“The event starts at 9 p.m. Eastern and runs for 90 minutes. You can see it on the networks, most of the cable shows, all over the Internet and, of course, right here, live. We will also be live blogging the debate as it unfolds and fact-checking along the way. And tonight we have asked members of the U.S. military to watch the debate along with us and share their thoughts.

“The debate comes just a month before Election Day, a time when undecided voters — are there really any left? — traditionally start making up their minds. It affords Mr. Obama a chance to “seal the deal,” since most opinion polls show him leading Mr. McCain.

“This should make for a riveting encounter. Mr. McCain needs to do something dramatic to halt his slide. He and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, have taken a sharply negative turn on the campaign trail, and he may well continue that tone tonight.

“The format is a town-hall style meeting, with about 80 uncommitted voters on stage with the two candidates, and that may play to Mr. McCain’s strength. He has a way of warming up with a live audience and feeding off their energy.

“But here’s the thing about voters: they are concerned with their pocketbooks (or wallets, as the case may be). So while Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have been trying to get some mileage out of Mr. Obama’s past — and fleeting — association with a former 1960s radical, it seems likely that the voters will pull tonight’s conversation back to issues that matter most to them, like the economy, health care and education.

“Questions posted on the Internet for the debate show that voters are intensely interested in what the candidates will do to shore up the tanking financial system. They also want to know how the $700 billion bailout for Wall Street will alter their plans for other domestic and foreign programs.”

Read more.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Palin and Clinton: facing the two extremes of sexism

From Taggles a comparison between the sexism faced by Hillary Clinton in her presidential run compared to the sexism now face by Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate (reprinted in full):

Extremes of Sexism - Same Results
October 4, 2008

I have been thinking a lot lately about the sexism that Hillary faced in her run for the White House and contrasting it with the sexism that Sarah Palin faces in hers. There is some commonality between the two, but in general there have been two extremes of sexism that can be identified. They are both undermining to women. Here’s how I see it:


· Hillary is cold.

· No man would ever want to have sex with Hillary.

· Men are afraid Hillary will castrate them.

· Hillary has too much Washington experience.

· Hillary has too much baggage.

· Hillary was too wonkish.

· Hillary craved power

· Hillary’s old.

· Hillary wears a pantsuit.


· Sarah is hot.

· Men want to have sex with Sarah.

· Men are not afraid for their private parts around her.

· Sarah does not have enough Washington experience.

· Sarah has no baggage.

· Sarah’s a beauty queen.

· Sarah’s power is not earned.

· Sarah’s young.

· Sarah wears skirts.

It is all so damaging. All too pervasive. Women are continually clubbed with these biases. Make it stop, please!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hillary Clinton on Entertainment Tonight (video)

Here’s a great video posted at by blogger Kate Sokolov who writes: “Yesterday, Hillary sat down with Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier to talk about our new grassroots volunteer program Hillary Sent Me!, the first Presidential debate, and everything Hillary is doing to help elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden. This is just part one of a two part interview. Tune in tonight to hear the rest of her interview or check back here for the video!”
To watch the video go here.

Hillary and Sarah: Facing Glass Ceilings both on Earth and in Heaven

It’s the weekend and I’m looking forward to church tomorrow when our guest speaker will be Julie Landsman, author of the recently published book, Growing Up White: A Veteran Teacher Reflects on Racism. I’ve not read Landsman’s book, so I’m curious to learn whether or not she takes into account what growing up female has meant to her.

Both racism and sexism have emerged as themes in the 2008 presidential race, and so-called progressives have effectively demonstrated their strong opposition to racism in their support of Barack Obama; on the other hand, they zealously joined right-wing extremists in their all-out sexist assault on Hillary Clinton as they did their best to force her out of the race as early as the run-up to the New Hampshire primary.

Most recently, the sexist, misogynous bullying of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and every member of her family by liberal blogs and the mainstream media has been unrelenting. As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I disagree with Sarah Palin on most of the issues, but I will continue to stand with her against the hate-mongering attacks she has undergone from the online shock troops who congregate at liberal Web sites like the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos, as well as the legions of sneering MSM pundits.

But speaking of church, George Davis’ article in the WashingtonPost/Newsweek’s On Faith column this morning discusses gender equality not only on earth but also in Heaven. Davis, author and professor emeritus at the Newark Campus of Rutgers University, writes:

“After the long struggle of Senator Hillary Clinton to become the Democratic nominee for President, and the selection of Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for Vice President, most Americans are spending a lot of time thinking about ending gender discrimination and breaking glass ceilings.

“Personally, I wonder if women, generally, can have gender equality on earth without having it in heaven. As long as we anthropomorphize the creative force of the universe, the Supreme Being, as male, is it possible for a woman to really feel equal?”

Read more.