His words wear especially thin when he was dealt a defeat like Tuesday's. Mr. Obama was routed despite outspending Hillary Clinton on television by almost 3-1. While polls in the final days showed a possible 4% or 5% Clinton win, she apparently took late-deciders by a big margin to clinch the landslide.
And, as I noted in the same column, Clinton carries Jacksonians—the descendants of those Scots-Irish, Scots Lowlanders, and northern Englishmen who settled the Appalachian chain starting in Pennsylvania in the 18th century and heading southwest, ultimately to Texas, in the 19th. Clinton won 70 percent or more of the vote in 15 counties in the mountains, including the old anthracite country in the east and the bituminous coal country in the west. She won 74 percent in Lackawanna County (Scranton), the home base of Sen. Bob Casey, who endorsed Obama, and she won 79 percent in Fayette County (Monongahela Valley south of Pittsburgh). The latter is on the border of West Virginia, and the results here, as well as in earlier primaries in Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia counties adjacent to West Virginia, suggest that Clinton will win more than 70 percent of the vote in the primary there May 13. Sean Oxendine's excellent map makes this point graphically.
Barone points out that Hillary could possibly catch Obama in the popular vote total, if Florida and Michigan are included. Of course the Obamaniacs will squeal that it's unfair to count those states, and they have a point. And Floridians and Michiganders will counter that it's unfair not to count them, and they have a point. The idea that this is going to be over without lots of bad blood is a pipe dream.
My wife Barbara has begun yelling at the television set every time she hears Hillary Clinton. This is abnormal behavior, since Barbara is a meditative practitioner of everything peaceful and organic, and is inspired by Barack Obama's transformational appeal.
For Barbara, Hillary has become the screech on the blackboard. From First Lady to Lady Macbeth.
All the old 1960s radicals seem to be coalescing around Obama, which is reason enough to pull for Hillary (in the nomination, of course, not in the general election).
AYERS AND DOHRN BECAME RESPECTABLE FIXTURES OF THE MAINSTREAM IN CHICAGO
Bill Ayers And Bernadine Dohrn "Became Respectable Fixtures In Mainstream Liberal Chicago Years Ago." Alexander Cockburn wrote in and op-ed for the Las Vegas Review Journal, "Late last week, the Clinton campaign was leaking stories about support for Obama from the former Weather Underground couple Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, both of whom became respectable fixtures in mainstream liberal Chicago years ago." [Las Vegas Review Journal, 3/2/08]
Yeah, respectable mainstream liberals say "Death to capitalism!" all the time.
The New York Times attempts another smear of John McCain, and fails. Of course, because of some sloppy writing, some liberal bloggers are outraged. Here's the key portion:
Mr. Diamond finally bought the land for $250,000 in 1999. He obtained an unusual guarantee from the Army that provided a generous water allowance outside the standard allocation process — a bonus that continues to rankle municipal officials on the dry Monterey Peninsula.
“Those guys got a sweetheart deal,” said Michael Keenan, whose family bought the housing complex from Mr. Diamond for nearly $30 million two years later. Mr. Diamond acknowledged turning a profit of $20 million.
Not surprisingly, some have read that passage to mean that Diamond turned $250,000 into $30 million, while others have read it to mean $250,000 into $20 million. But if you sell something for $30 million and you profited by $20 million, then what was your original cost, class? That's right, $10 million. You see, the $250,000 was the purchase price on a completely different transaction. The Times mentioned the purchase of the housing complex a page earlier in the story:
Tipped off by a fellow Tucson developer, Mr. Diamond had snapped up a housing complex there that had been built on land leased from the Army, giving him the inside track to buying the land when the base shut down.
Indeed. A "constituent matter." McCain's pal managed to snag this prime coastal land — complete with special water rights — for $250,000 and then sell it two years later for $30 million.
Captain Ed has more on this issue, pointing out that the Sierra Club, which lauded some of the transactions at the time, is now bleating about how unfair they were.
In the events, McCain’s legislation had broad support from both business interests and the environmental community. The Sierra Club endorsed both bills at the time, although Rutenberg has them complaining now. The Tucson Audubon Society supported the 1994 bill, which makes the pygmy owl issue rather moot (McCain has supported the protection of the pygmy owl). The National Parks and Conservation Association also backed both bills.
See also Tom Maguire, who points out that the Fort Ord land was not quite as attractive as the Times makes it sound:
Progress toward production of new workforce housing has been slow. Barriers to housing development such as complex regulatory procedures and approvals, antiquated infrastructure on the former Fort Ord, and environmental contamination and costly building removal have made the reuse of Fort Ord a particularly difficult challenge for any kind of development, including workforce housing.
Also, note that when you look at these transactions carefully, the Times' narrative doesn't make any sense. Diamond bought the housing units for $10 million in order to get the inside track on a piece of land worth $250,000? That's the tail wagging the dog.
Let me tell you what I would say to John McCain: neither of us is an expert on national defense. It's true that you went to one of the service academies but you were in the bottom of the class. It's true that you were a pilot in Vietnam, that you were shot down and spent most of the war in prison and we all sympathize with that and honor you for your courage. But you and I both had these battle experiences, you as a Navy fighter plane, I as an army bomber. I am not going to criticize your war record and your knowledge of national security but I don't want you criticizing mine either.
If I'd be allowed just one little dig at Senator McCain, since he gave me. I would say, 'John, you were shot down early in the war and spent most of the time in prison. I flew 35 combat missions with a 10-man crew and brought them home safely every time.'
McGovern claims that McCain said in a panel discussion on Robert McNamara's book regretting his involvement in Vietnam, that "Well we all know that George McGovern knows little about national defense."
My guess is that this panel discussion took place in 1995 on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. Unfortunately the real audio and real video feed doesn't work so we can't check McGovern's recollection, and of course one word (a) before "little" would change the meaning of McCain's comment entirely.
It was early 1992, and the occasion was an informal gathering of a select committee investigating lingering issues about Vietnam War prisoners and those missing in action, most notably whether any American servicemen were still being held by the Vietnamese. It is unclear precisely what issue set off McCain that day. But at some point, he mocked Grassley to his face and used a profanity to describe him. Grassley stood and, according to two participants at the meeting, told McCain, "I don't have to take this. I think you should apologize."
McCain refused and stood to face Grassley. "There was some shouting and shoving between them, but no punches," recalls a spectator, who said that Nebraska Democrat Bob Kerrey helped break up the altercation.
Since I was mentioned in the Post story I can offer my account of the McCain-Grassley argument. First, I did nothing to intervene; the two Senators worked it out on their own. Second, the subject of the debate - the status of Americans held as prisoner in Vietnam - was one that always provoked violent, ugly debates. The precise point of disagreement between the Senators was over a man name Robert Garwood. Senator Grassley believed he was a hero whose reputation was destroyed by the Defense Intelligence Agency. Senator McCain believed him to a traitor who caused prisoners (like Senator McCain) to receive additional encounters with torture. Both Senators were extremely angry. Senator McCain was explosive (who wouldn't be?) but at no time threatening. Most important: McCain won the argument. My experience is that his anger always has a purpose and in this case the purpose was to defeat Senator Grassley's argument which he did decisively.
Posted By: Bob Kerrey | April 21, 2008 at 07:45 AM
Garwood is an interesting case. He claimed to have been captured by the Viet Cong in 1965, but this claim is doubted by many, and he was charged with desertion (although not convicted). By 1967, according to some POWs, he was assisting the North Vietnamese in POW camps. At his trial, the following evidence was included of his collaboration with the enemy:
"Robert GARWOOD had a multitude of jobs at the camps. He acted as a guard to some of the prisoners. On other occasions he acted as an interpreter for the commander or anybody that spoke Vietnamese and did not speak English."
"Robert GARWOOD carried a wallet or pouch that he had for his possessions, and he carried a picture of HO CHI MINH in it."
"...GARWOOD sucker punched HARKER in the ribs."
"'His' physical condition was better than that of the POWs living at the compound."
"PFC GARWOOD aided the enemy by acting as interpreter, collaborator, guard... He was also an interrogator."
Garwood apparently tired of life in Vietnam by 1979 and requested to be repatriated to the United States. He was placed under a military court martial and was convicted of being a collaborator and assaulting an American POW. At the time he made no claims about Americans still being held in Vietnam, although by 1983 he was claiming to have such knowledge.
He was interviewed in 1981 by the BBC, which includes this account of his original capture:
At each village, young boys threw stones at his head, at his wounded arm and at his testicles. Whenever he yelped in pain, they squealed in delight.
They would sneak up behind him and jab sharp bamboo sticks up his unguarded anus.
The VC marched him all through the second night in a cold, bone-chilling rain.
Garwood, wearing only his shorts, shivered violently as he stumbled along on his bleeding and swelling feet.
Ummm, wearing shorts, but his anus was unguarded? And if the VC had him prisoner, why did the kids have to "sneak up behind him"? Don't get me wrong, I am sure that American prisoners were treated horribly. But this has the aroma of a story that has been compiled from several others that don't mesh perfectly.
He describes a wounded arm, and yet despite appalling details that would lead one to suspect gangrene, somehow nobody describes him as a one-armed man:
By the third day, his would had become infected and his arm had swollen up to three times its normal size and it began to stink like rotting meat.
And get this oddball sentence:
He couldn't see the large dark circles around his sunken eyes.
Couldn't see the sunken eyes either, I'd wager.
If you're as surprised as I am at the MSM covering this story of Vietnamese atrocities, well, understand that it's only a prelude to covering American atrocities to poor Mr Garwood:
Recently declassified files prove that the Pentagon knew Garwood was alive after 1973.
He was abandoned by his own government!
They told his father he was dead.
On his own, he escaped and returned to the United States.
He was charged with Desertion. If convicted, he could have been executed.
The meme that there were still POWs in Vietnam had an oddball resonance with elements of the Left and the Right back in the 1980s. The Right, of course, loved it because it proved what dirty bastards we had been fighting in Southeast Asia. And the Left found a way to accept it as indicating that our government had lied to us yet again about Vietnam. It was one last thing to hate about Nixon.
So eventually the Left began to adopt Bobby Garwood. If what he was saying was true the government had railroaded an innocent and honorable man. And if what he was saying was false, he was a commie sympathizer and collaborator with the North Vietnamese. So either way he's a hero, in the eyes of the Left.
So a TV movie was made for him, starring Ralph Macchio (the Karate Kid) as Garwood. Did it have a liberal slant? I haven't seen the movie, but guess for yourself; the second actor billed is Martin Sheen. His story was also done in book form by a "former Emmy-winning 60 Minutes producer". Not that that means she's a liberal or anything. Except when you read this, you can kind of check off that box:
Now, in a newsbreaking new book, SPITE HOUSE: The Last Secret of the War in Vietnam, investigative reporter Monika Jensen-Stevenson, author of Kiss the Boys Goodbye, unveils the shocking truths behind a contemporary American tragedy. She reveals Garwood's innocence and exposes the U.S. government's dreadful initiatives against its own men in Vietnam.
I always remind myself to watch for confirmation bias, although I am not always successful at avoiding it. I found this discussion of Robert Garwood circa 1999-2005 compelling and very believable, despite the rather obvious fact that the author is the jilted former husband of Garwood's wife. It certainly indicates that Garwood has remained a lowlife.
Thomas Frank, who wrote the buffoonish What's the Matter With Kansas? has been hired by the Wall Street Journal as their designated liberal. He checks in with a column today on Barack's comments about Gods, Guns and Gays:
If Barack Obama or anyone else really cares to know what I think, I will simplify it all down to this. The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they've got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup. I don't care whether they enjoy my books, or would rather have every scrap of paper bearing my writing loaded into a C-47 and dumped into Lake Michigan. If it will help restore the land of relative equality I was born in, I'll fly the plane myself.
This is something that always amuses me about liberal commenters; because they always believe that things are bad and getting worse, they often engage in nostalgia for the past, which is (of course) a distinctly conservative trait.
Actually, as with most Obamaniacs, he takes up the bulk of his time Hillary-bashing:
Well, that sounded good last year, but over the past two months, the actions and words of Hillary Clinton have gone from being merely disappointing to downright disgusting. I guess the debate last week was the final straw. I've watched Senator Clinton and her husband play this game of appealing to the worst side of white people, but last Wednesday, when she hurled the name "Farrakhan" out of nowhere, well that's when the silly season came to an early end for me. She said the "F" word to scare white people, pure and simple. Of course, Obama has no connection to Farrakhan. But, according to Senator Clinton, Obama's pastor does -- AND the "church bulletin" once included a Los Angeles Times op-ed from some guy with Hamas! No, not the church bulletin!
Here's Bill and Bernardine being interviewed in Colorado; hence all the interest in Ward Churchill's claim to have taught the Weatherman people how to make bombs from the questioners. I do like the opening quote though from Ayers, revealing his unrepentant Marxism:
Asked how he feels about capitalism, Ayers replies, "Hate it. Do you want me to elaborate the point? Death to capitalism!"
Here's Ayers, Dohrn, Jeff Jones and Kathy Boudin (who later participated in the Brinks robbery that left two policemen and a security guard dead) in a documentary they made in 1975. It may seem comical at certain points, but it is important to realize that these people were deadly serious.
Bill talks an at SDS reunion at Michigan State. Note the "Cuba" baseball jersey:
Update: Michelle Malkin has a links-rich post on Ayers and Dohrn. Lots of info here; this story ain't going away.
The Washington Post runs an article on the legendary John McCain temper. They admit that (with the exception of the ridiculous Bumiller exchange) that it has not surfaced during this election. But get this bit:
During the early 1990s, McCain telephoned the office of Tom Freestone, a governmental official little known outside Arizona's Maricopa County. McCain had an unusual request. He wanted Freestone, then chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, to reject a job applicant named Karen S. Johnson, whose last governmental position had been in the office of a former Arizona governor and who had just interviewed for a position as an aide in Freestone's office.
According to two employees in the office, McCain told Freestone that the applicant's past political associations left her carrying unflattering baggage.
The pair of Freestone staffers thought it odd that a U.S. senator would even know that Johnson had applied for a job in their office, let alone that he had taken time out of his workday to pick up a phone and weigh in on a staffing matter so removed from the locus of Washington power. But McCain's disenchantment with Johnson was personal: A few years earlier, he had an angry exchange with her while she was the secretary for Republican Arizona Gov. Evan Meacham, who was impeached and forced out of office for campaign finance violations.
Around the time of Meacham's ouster, Johnson said, McCain paid a visit to him. Johnson recalled that McCain swiftly used the opportunity to lecture Meacham: "You should never have been elected. You're an embarrassment to the [Republican] Party."
A stupefied Meacham just stared at the senator. An indignant Johnson, as she tells the story, snapped at McCain: "How dare you? You're the embarrassment to the party."
As Johnson and another person working in Freestone's office remember, the surprised supervisor told Johnson about McCain's objections to her. "But I'm hiring you anyway," Freestone told her.
For Johnson, McCain's call raised questions as to whether he bore a lasting animosity against anyone who ever challenged him. "Everyone in [Freestone's] office thought it was all ridiculous . . . and petty," remembers Johnson, a devout Republican conservative who today is an Arizona state senator.
Hoo-boy. Karen S. Johnson is indeed a buffoon, and her boss was an embarrassment to the Republican Party, so much so that the Republicans themselves impeached the dolt. Let's talk a bit about Karen S. Johnson. She chaired Pat Buchanan's 1996 run in Arizona. She's a North American Union fruitcake:
Karen Johnson was named worst legislator of the year in 2002 by the Arizona Republic for abusing her authority as House Rules Chair to hold up bills. Karen is a big believer in marriage, she's been married five times so far. She has also sponsored legislation that would make it harder to get divorced.
“Ron Paul has been my hero for decades. I applaud his integrity as well as dedication to the principles of our sacred Constitution. Congressman Paul’s matchless service to our country and unparalleled devotion to the ideals of freedom and liberty, which this country used to represent, is noble beyond words.”
So yes, she's got a little baggage that might be considered a tad unflattering.