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Friday, February 22, 2008
McCain Blogger Conference Call Report

The senator started by stating his feelings on the Kosovo situation and the storming of the embassy in Belgrade. He indicated that it was his understanding that it was a case of drunken hooligans and slow response from the local police. On the Cuba situation, Senator McCain indicated that he disagreed strongly with Barack Obama's statement last night that he'd meet with Raul Castro with no conditions.

I got the chance to ask Senator McCain a question about the electoral college map given reports that a McCain/Obama matchup might shake things up, and asked him to tell us the states he felt he could break through in, and for one state that he felt would be difficult to defend.

He replied that he didn't want to get too far ahead of himself in respect for Governor Huckabee (no mention of fruitcake Ron Paul), but that he felt he does have to run a 50-state campaign. He did feel that he could be competitive in California (I agree), New Jersey (ditto) and New York (probably a stretch). He cited New Mexico as a state which will have to be vigorously defended.

There were no significant questions on the New York Times story; one blogger did express the thoughts of (I believe) most of us, that the story was nothing more than a smear job.

Fausta asked a question about a Hawaiian native bill that is apparently kicking around in Congress; Senator McCain expressed concern that this might be an attempt to give the natives a status similar to that of Native Americans (i.e., Indians), which had been settled at the time of Hawaii's admission to the union.

James Joyner of Outside the Beltway asked about Cuba, pointing out that the current US policy towards that island nation has not changed in his lifetime. Senator McCain noted that our policy towards Cuba has prevented them from exporting Castroism elsewhere, and that Raoul Castro is every bit the thug that his brother has been. I agree here, and note that Obama's comments will make it very difficult for him to be competitive in Florida, where the Cuban exile community is based.

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Liberal Bloggers Try to Tie NY Slimes Piece to Stolen Honor

Oh my, just when you thought that the fantasies couldn't get any more fantastic:

For the moment, though, I'm more interested in the 2004 election--the one McCain didn't run in. You see, I find it a mighty curious coincidence that two of the companies for which Iseman was lobbying John McCain in 1999 and 2000--the time of their potentially inappropriate relationship--also happen to be the two television companies that championed the Kerry smear, "Stolen Honor," in 2004.

Stolen Honor

Stolen Honor, you'll recall, was a 45-long propaganda piece, repeating the allegations the Swift Boaters made against John Kerry. It came out in September 2004 (as Republicans have promised a smear against Hillary or Obama will come out at precisely the same time this cycle). Shortly thereafter, Sinclair Broadcasting ordered its stations to pre-empt normal broadcasting to play the "documentary." Sinclair also fired one employee who complained about the order.

Bzzzzt! Wrong! Stolen Honor was not about the Swift Boat Veterans' allegations at all. There was no discussion of Kerry's Purple Hearts or Christmas in Cambodia. Instead the focus was on POWs held in North Vietnam, and how Kerry's staged "Winter Soldier" hearings in the early 1970s created this false image of our soldiers in Vietnam as acting in a fashion reminiscent of Jenjhis Khan. It was about how the North Vietnamese used Kerry's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when interrogating the POWs, to say, look, here's a naval officer who admits he committed war crimes. Why don't you admit your war crimes as well?

The only real connection between Stolen Honor and the Swiftees is that the POWs and the Swift Boat Vets combined forces. But there really was no overlap in the charges made against Kerry by the two groups.

But the post does us one big favor; it reminds us of John McCain's reaction to Sinclair's later decision not to air Stolen Honor:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., blasted Sinclair's decision: "There is no valid reason for Sinclair to shirk its responsibility in what I assume is a very misguided attempt to prevent your viewers from completely appreciating the extraordinary sacrifices made on their behalf by Americans serving in Iraq."

Something for us conservatives to remember when considering John McCain's initial negative reaction to the Swiftees is that he supported Stolen Honor. McCain opposed the focus on the medals, but felt the focus on Kerry's antiwar activities was legitimate.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Michelle Obama at UCLA

There are parts that are good but my god she's frightening:

The Times Serves Up a Nothing Burger

As Clara Peller would say:

The New York Times serves up a giant (3000 words) bun on supposed improprieties between Senator John McCain and a female lobbyist, but even they must have sensed how weak the story was, because they entitled it "For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk".

Not even the liberal bloggers are biting on this one.

Greg Sargent:

Let's try a little experiment. Let's take the meat of the big New York Times story and substitute the words "Dem Presidential Hopeful" for "John McCain"...

If these words had appeared on the front page of The New York Times, wouldn't we all be yelling and stamping our feet about "panty sniffing" and condemning the use of anonymous sources who suggest a possible affair that may or may not have happened and wasn't directly alleged by anyone?

That's a sincere question. Wouldn't we?

Matt Yglesius:

NB, thinking more clearly past my loathing of John McCain, the Times's effort to substitute innuendo for making a straightforward true or false assertion is seems like a pretty shameful attempt to set up a Kaus-like presumption of guilt. If they have reporting they're willing to stand behind of a McCain-Iseman affair, they should publish it. And if, as seems to be the case, they don't have the reporting, then they shouldn't write the story.

And from the starboard:

Captain Ed:

The New York Times launches its long-awaited smear of John McCain today, and the most impressive aspect of the smear is just how baseless it is. They basically emulate Page Six at the Post, but add in a rehash of a well-known scandal from twenty years ago to pad it out and make it look more impressive. In the end, they present absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing -- only innuendo denied by all of the principals....

Power Line:

What is most striking, though, if you actually read the story, is how thin it is. It's mostly about the Keating Five scandal, which dates to the late 1980s. The "news" that gives the story a hook has to do with McCain's friendship with a pretty blonde lobbyist that apparently ended in 2000. As for the purported affair, the Times offers zero evidence.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Dumbest Terrorist Ever?

Thank god this buffoon was caught:

A 21-year-old Clearwater man was arrested at Tampa International Airport this weekend after security personnel found a box cutter in a hollowed-out book, authorities said.

But it's okay, because he cut out the book to hid pot in. And yes, he had some other reading material along for the flight:

Officers found books in the backpack titled "Muhammad in the Bible," "The Prophet's Prayer" and "The Noble Qur'an." He also had a copy of the Quran and the Bible.
Klein And Others Get It Wrong

Joe Klein gets huffy in defense of Barack Obama:

A curious passage from John McCain's victory speech last night:

Or will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested invading our ally, Pakistan, and sitting down without pre-conditions or clear purpose with enemies who support terrorists and are intent on destabilizing the world by acquiring nuclear weapons?

In time, I'm sure, Barack Obama will explain that any meetings with Iranian leaders will be fully prepped by staff in advance, including advance meetings at the ministerial level...but what about the first part of the quote? Utter nonsense. Here's what Obama actually said:

I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an Al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.

And, in fact, Obama was merely saying that he supported current U.S. policy. A month ago, for example, a bomb launched from a CIA predator drone killed the Al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al-Libi in Pakistan. Was McCain opposed to that?

The point is, McCain's loose, inaccurate talk continues a sad pattern....

But of course, Klein gets it wrong. In fact, Obama's speech was characterized at the time as supporting an invasion by US troops into Pakistan.

ABC News:

In a strikingly bold speech about terrorism Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Illinois Sen. Barack Obama called not only for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but a redeployment of troops into Afghanistan and even Pakistan — with or without the permission of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

The (UK) Telegraph:

Obama 'would send US troops into Pakistan'

The Washington Post:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a pointed warning yesterday to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying that as president he would be prepared to order U.S. troops into that country unilaterally if it failed to act on its own against Islamic extremists.

So who's guilty of "loose, inaccurate talk" here?

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Is Obama the New Benny Hinn?

Considering there's been so much talk about him as a cult leader, and the fainting spells at his rally:

(Volume check at work):

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Obammie Commie?

Cliff Kincaid says so:

In his books, Obama admits attending "socialist conferences" and coming into contact with Marxist literature. But he ridicules the charge of being a "hard-core academic Marxist," which was made by his colorful and outspoken 2004 U.S. Senate opponent, Republican Alan Keyes.

However, through Frank Marshall Davis, Obama had an admitted relationship with someone who was publicly identified as a member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). The record shows that Obama was in Hawaii from 1971-1979, where, at some point in time, he developed a close relationship, almost like a son, with Davis, listening to his "poetry" and getting advice on his career path. But Obama, in his book, Dreams From My Father, refers to him repeatedly as just "Frank."
Cindy McCain: Very Proud of Her Country

Unlike Michelle Obama.
Defending Michelle Obama, Badly

Over at the Moderate Voice, Angela Winters attempts to defuse the time bomb:

They are questioning her patriotism and saying that her statement means she has never been proud or very proud of anything about America before.

Well, pardon me for taking her at her word, which was as follows:

....for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.

Their accusations are without merit for many reasons. One reasons is because anyone who is even mildly objective knows that she was speaking in the moment to a crowd.

Not sure what "speaking in the moment" means; from the context I'd guess it's a euphemism for "bs"-ing? Then comes the inevitable hyperbole:

Michelle remembers all the good things about the 50s, but she also knows that black men were being lynched every weekend as a picnic theme among other things.

I doubt very much that Michelle remembers anything about the 1950s, considering she was born in 1963.

Other Reactions: Mary Katherine Ham notes this episode and that Hillary has appointed the Mayor of Toledo (last heard telling the Marines to get out of town) to her Ohio victory team, and comments:

I know we're not allowed to question their patriotism, but really, guys?

John Cole at Balloon Juice sees it as a big nothingbar:

The way these guys on the right manage to gin up controversies over NOTHING and then have it widely repeated and circulated is simply amazing.

As you can probably tell, John's on the Obama Kool-Aid bandwagon. Taylor Marsh, who's a huge Hillary fan sees it a little more sensibly:

My uncle Dick certainly didn't serve his country and get battle fatigue in WWII so people could pick and choose pride in this nation based on personal association to some politician, forgetting the greater glory we all serve through our country's ideals.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Obama's Wife Finally Proud of the USA

Sounds like she wasn't singing along with Lee Greenwood:

Obama's Real Plagiarism

Is not that he lifted a few lines from Deval Patrick on "just words" as reported in the New York Times. As Captain Ed points out, it's not like he was talking about the generations of his family that grew up in the coal mines of Wales, like Joe Biden when he plagiarized Neil Kinnock.

It's that his whole campaign, and particularly the "change" and "hope" mantras are lifted directly from Hillary's husband, circa 1992. Of course Obama at least gave the proper attribution for the original remarks:

"You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in the real lives of real people, and it will bring real results if we just have the courage to change. I believe deeply in those words, but I have to admit those words are not originally mine. They were actually Bill Clinton's in 1991 and 1992. ..."


Say What?

Armstrong Williams, in an otherwise mundane discussion of the Clinton's dastardliness, drops this bombshell:

The word on the street is that the Obama campaign and New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg have already met and devised an incredible plan if Clinton wins the nominee. Mayor Bloomberg would give nearly $1 billion to Obama's campaign after which Obama would bolt from the Democratic Party and run as an Independent candidate with king-maker Bloomberg as his running mate. The Obama campaign realizes that Obama is too new at this game and doesn't have the political weight of the Clintons to bring in the true heavy-hitters of the party's hierarchy. So, according to sources it was Bloomberg himself who suggested this cunning strategy. It's mind boggling that the Clintons are willing to destroy the entire Democratic Party, and potentially in the process lose the White House and seats in Congress, for their own selfish thirst for power and glory.

I'm not the biggest fan of the Clintons by any means, but who is willing to destroy the party here? And the whole story doesn't hold together very well; why would Bloomberg dig deep into his pockets to finance Barack? Is it even legal? We all know of the millionaire's exception, but does it apply to running mates?

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Sunday, February 17, 2008
If You Slice the Votes This Way....

Hillary Clinton is in the lead.

But, since this is actually the Democratic primary, perhaps we should look at how Democrats have actually voted. Based on the available exit polling data, we find that Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Barack Obama in the number of votes – As of February 16, 2008, 391,992 more Democrats voted for Clinton than Obama.

That number does not include results from the District of Columbia, because of a lack of exit polling data. If we include DC, and assume that 100% of the voters were Democrats, Clinton still has a lead among Democrats of 333,981 votes.

But that number also doesn’t include Florida. Add in Florida’s Democrats, and Clinton’s lead advantage increases to 565,684. Nor does it include Michigan; and even if we assign all the Democrats who voted “uncommitted” to Obama, Clinton’s lead among Democratic voters grows to 678,276.

Interesting to find liberals saying that we shouldn't count all the votes. I've blogged on Lukasiak, the writer of this post, back in 2005.
Moron the Delegates Issue

I must confess I am enjoying watching the angst play out on the Democratic side about the delegates from Florida and Michigan and what to do about them. Sean Wilentz and Julian Zilizer check in with a hand-wringing OpEd at the WaPo:

The magnified importance of the early showdowns also opens the door to abuse. This year, Democrats in Michigan and Florida moved up their contests, thereby drawing the ire of the national party, which vowed not to seat the delegates. Unless something changes, voters in these states will be unfairly removed from the decision-making process, and neither candidate will benefit from their support.

"Neither" candidate will benefit? But if we included them, which candidate will benefit? As Karl at Protein Wisdom points out, they're both supporting Hillary for President, which explains this:

For one thing, caucuses can be highly undemocratic. They eliminate the secret ballot, forcing voters to declare their loyalties publicly, and are thus vulnerable to intimidation and manipulation. They also shut out many citizens who have to work during caucus times. If you can't show up at a specific hour, you can't vote -- a particular problem for people with fixed shifts, including many of the working poor. (The supposedly democratic caucuses can also discriminate, as happened to Sabbath-observant Jews who couldn't get to Nevada's Saturday caucuses.) And there are usually no absentee ballots, of course.

The caucuses, of course, have been a notable strong point for Obama and a weakness for Hillary. As I have pointed out in the past, they are raising arguments of convenience (caucuses favor Obama and hurt Hillary) to arguments of principle (caucuses are undemocratic). Indeed, if you look at the various "principles" being espoused, it's pretty easy to tell which candidate they support. Kos suggested the other day splitting the delegates from Michigan and Florida down the middle; somehow this would give them "representation". Kos supports Obama. Others suggest that they be allocated per the primary; those people support Hillary. Only Newt Gingrich, who appears not to have a horse in the derby proposes the sensible thing, which is to have a do-over.

Look also at the convenient arguments referenced in this, better OpEd piece by John Broder.

“A reformer in office becomes an establishment figure by definition and then by definition resists the next round of reforms — it’s human nature,” Mr. Hart, a supporter of Mr. Obama, said. “They have an interest in protecting the status quo. That’s what superdelegates are, people against rocking the boat and taking a generational leap.”

Opposed to the superdelegates? We didn't need to wonder whom he supported.


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