Saturday, August 23, 2008
What Does the Biden Pick Say?
Andrew polls himself and, shockingly, finds the pony
Leaving aside all the necessary gaming of how this affects the election, what does the selection of Biden tell us about Obama's potential decision-making as president? This is the second big decision of the national campaign (the first was opting out of public financing). I'd say it suggests a serious, adult attitude toward the enormous burden that the next presidency will be, especially in foreign policy.
From there it's into the de rigeur
bashing of Dick Cheney, blah blah blah.
Poisoning the Well
Jacob Weisberg claims that only racism
can explain any John McCain victory.
What with the Bush legacy of reckless war and economic mismanagement, 2008 is a year that favors the generic Democratic candidate over the generic Republican one. Yet Barack Obama, with every natural and structural advantage in the presidential race, is running only neck-and-neck against John McCain, a sub-par Republican nominee with a list of liabilities longer than a Joe Biden monologue. Obama has built a crack political operation, raised record sums, and inspired millions with his eloquence and vision. McCain has struggled with a fractious campaign team, lacks clarity and discipline, and remains a stranger to charisma. Yet at the moment, the two of them appear to be tied. What gives?
Yawn. And the only reason I think Jacob Weisberg is a moron is because I'm an anti-Semite, I suppose. And the only reason Hillary lost? Clearly those misogynistic Democrats who couldn't handle a powerful woman.
Interesting pick; certainly not the "Change" pick. Power Line runs down many
of the known problems and goofball statements he's made. This one certainly raised an eyebrow:
Crowley's TNR profile concludes with a striking example of Biden's foreign policy sophistication. In the wake of 9/11, in a meeting with his staff, Biden experienced an epiphany:
Biden launches into a stream-of-consciousness monologue about what his [Senate Foreign Relations] committee should be doing, before he finally admits the obvious: "I'm groping here." Then he hits on an idea: America needs to show the Arab world that we're not bent on its destruction. "Seems to me this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran," Biden declares. He surveys the table with raised eyebrows, a How do ya like that? look on his face.
One obvious criticism of the pick is that it leaves the women dangling. Their historic moment didn't come, and they didn't even get the Miss Congeniality award.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Who Watches the Watchmen?
It may be nobody
Incidentally, Watchmen is currently the #7 book at Amazon. Jerry Corsi's Obama Nation is at 11
, and dropping. (List is dynamic and will change hourly).
Zogby Stunner: McCain by 5
It's Zogby, so take it with a shaker of salt, but I think he's got the direction right
UTICA, New York – As Russian tanks rolled into the Republic of Georgia and the presidential candidates met over the weekend in the first joint issues forum of the fall campaign, the latest polling includes drama almost as compelling - Republican John McCain has taken a five-point lead over Democrat Barack Obama in the race for President, the latest Reuters/Zogby telephone survey shows.
McCain leads Obama by a 46% to 41% margin.
The result is especially staggering because Zogby had Obama up by seven in July, which was also an outlier. But other polls have shown similar moves in direction if not magnitude. Look at the decline among subgroups. Obama lost nine points among Democrats, eight points among women, 11 among Catholics and 11 among city dwellers.
It's starting to look like 1988.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Corsi On the Outs
Nice to see everybody's catching up with where I've been for a year and a half now. Jon Henke says let's kick him out of the tent
The continued tolerance and prominence of Jerome Corsi - his books, columns and appearances - is just embarrassing. It is embarrassing for the Right, embarrassing for Republicans, embarrassing for conservatives and libertarians, embarrassing for all of us. Ross Douthat
It's not just that he's frequently, remarkably wrong - something pretty well documented and acknowledged by both the Left and (while less enthusiastically) the Right. (and the Obama campaign (PDF), of course) Both the Obama campaign and Hugh Hewitt acknowledge that Jerome Corsi is "fringe".
I'm not big on ritual denunciations: I'd rather argue with people than read them out of the conversation, as a general rule, and I hope my distaste for certain styles of political discourse is clear enough without my having to publicly denounce Ann Coulter every time she pulls an offensive, sales-goosing stunt on live TV. But along with Jon Henke and Pete Wehner, I think it's worth making an exception in the case of Jerome Corsi's anti-Obama book, whose Amazon page won't be linked here. It isn't just that Corsi himself is a conspiracy theorist and a crank, or that his best-selling farrago of innuendo and outright smears exemplifies everything that's wrong with a certain sort of right-wing publishing, or that David Freddoso's The Case Against Barack Obama demonstrates that it's perfectly possible to write an anti-Obama book without descending into the fever swamps.
Conservatism has been an intellectual home to people like Burke and Buckley. The GOP is the party that gave us Lincoln and Reagan. It seems to me that its leaders ought to make it clear that they find what Dr. Corsi is doing to be both wrong and repellent. To have their movement and their party associated with such a figure would be a terrible thing and it will only help the cause of those who hold both the GOP and the conservative movement in contempt.
Let me specify here that this is not about the bad blood between myself and Dr. Corsi. I make no bones about the fact that I dislike him, but that's not the issue. His conspiracy theorizing, first about the North American Union and later about 9-11 are.
Here's his response from WND
"That the Obama campaign has chosen to portray me as a 9/11 Truther just shows how sloppy and inaccurate the research going into their rebuttal was," said Corsi, a senior staff writer for WND. "Let me make clear that I fully accept and endorse the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission that the Islamic hijackers who flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were the sole cause of the attack."
This is probably going to make no sense to most of you, but that is a non-denial denial. There are Truthers who accept the hijackers and the planes, they just think the government "made things worse" via controlled demolition.
"As I explained on the radio, I am typically interested in scientific evidence that lies outside the explanation of conventional hypotheses," he continued. "Science advances by rejecting hypotheses, not by establishing hypotheses. In other words, should somebody find convincing scientific evidence that challenges some aspect of any official report, that evidence will not automatically confirm the truth of an alternative hypothesis."
This is all very true. But the point is that the convincing scientific evidence does not exist to throw out the hypothesis that the heat from the burning office fires (not the jet fuel, that burned off fairly quickly) weakened the steel sufficiently that it could not hold up the weight of the building above it, and once that happened the building collapsed. Corsi made that leap to believing that Steven Jones was right, that hypothesis had been disproven. And it is not as if Steven Jones was not well-known; most of us had heard of the disgraced BYU physics professor who was forced to retire after his 9-11 nuttery got out. So why did Corsi endorse his work?
Update: Vox Day, a WND columnist, doesn't help Corsi any with this
I don't have the answer, but I suspect that what Douthat and Dreher are attacking is Corsi himself, because if Corsi is credibly raising issues about Obama, as he previously did in the case of Kerry, then it's also entirely possible, if not downright probable, that he's credible with regards to the issues he's raised about the plans for the North American Union and what happened on 9/11. And that simply cannot be born; better an Obama presidency than the puncturing of their conventional political worldview.
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Lame Left
How in the world did Matt "the USA would have been even awesomer if we had stayed a colony of England" Yglesias get a job blogging for the Atlantic
Like everyone else in DC, I’m pondering the so-called “Veepstakes” — Evan Bayh? Joe Biden? Jack Reed? Sebelius? — except unlike a lot of people I’m having a hard time developing really strong opinions about it. Which reminds me of one pretty strongly-held opinion of mine: We should eliminate the office of the Vice Presidency.
Is there no end to the reformist impulse? Yglesias goes on to say that he thinks we should just change the order of succession, cutting the speaker of the house and the Senate President Pro Tem out of the mix, so that the next in line is Secretary of State.
Of course, as pointed out by numerous commenters, this would just make the Secretary of State even more of a political office than it already is. Plus, what happens, say, if the President-Elect dies before taking office? What happens if he dies after taking office but before his cabinet has been approved.
But it's the kind of "change for the sake of change" that would appeal to somebody like Matt.
How To Tell McCain Won
Because the media are already trying to claim
MS. ANDREA MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, there was the crisp, immediate, forceful response by John McCain, clearly in a comfort zone because he was with his base. And Barack Obama, taking a risk in going there but seeing an opportunity. And a much more nuanced approach. The Obama people must feel that he didn't do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that -- what they're putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.
Apparently the "cone of silence" bit refers to the fact that McCain was supposedly in another room when Obama was being questioned. To liberals, the idea that McCain could possibly have beaten Obama is impossible, so they invent reasons why it happened. Remember this whole bit of fruitcakery?