Hurricane Gustav hammered Cuba Saturday afternoon and is bearing down on Louisiana. The National Hurricane Center predicts Gustav will make landfall mid-day Monday, just in time for the Republican National Covention to gavel down.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin emerged from beneath his desk at his office earlier this afternoon to issue a mandatory evacuation order. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Warning that Gustav is the 'mother of all storms,' Mayor Ray Nagin late Saturday ordered a mandatory evacuation of the West Bank of New Orleans for 8 a.m. Sunday and the east bank for noon. 'We want 100 percent evacuation,' Nagin said. 'It has the potential to impact every area of this metropolitan area.'" If that wasn't clear enough, Nagin added: "You need to be scared and you need to get your butts out of New Orleans right now."
With the prospect of a devastating storm leaving tens of thousands of people homeless (again), the John McCain is thinking about putting off the St. Paul convention. "It just wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster," McCain said.
He might be right. But postpone for how long? The storm itself will likely hang around the Gulf Coast for a few days. The clean-up will take weeks, maybe months. The Republicans could hold their convention in January and some liberals would accuse them of being insensitive to the victims of Gustav. That's no doubt what Michael Moore had in mind speaking with Keith Olbermann the other day. "I was just thinking, this Gustav is proof that there is a God in heaven," Moore said Friday, barely containing his glee. "To just have it ... planned at the same time, that it would actually be on its way to New Orleans for Day One of the Republican convention, up in the Twin Cities, at the top of the Mississippi River." And Moore isn't the only one, as Powerline's John Hinderaker notes. Nothing like a little mass destruction to make a cheap partisan point. (I'm not about to ascribe this sentiment to the most Democrats -- that would be absurd. But I would expect the Obama campaign to discourage it.)
There is no shortage of news and information on Gustav -- what a difference three years makes. Twitter is coming in handy, with regular tweets from the indispensable NOLA.com. I'm also following stbernardnews, GambitWeekly and geekaren, who is following everything. Everyone should light a candle for the Crescent City this long weekend.
A few things you might want to know about John McCain's running mate:
More -- a lot more -- at palinfacts.com.
Update: Also here. (Keep refreshing the page.)
Here is the second paragraph of an AP story on Palin's emergence on the national scene. (Dateline: JUNEAU, that long-ignored outpost so far away from the "Meet The Press" studios so as not to really count, until now):
She has more experience catching fish than dealing with foreign policy or national affairs.
Tell me, please, when Barack Obama's lack of experience in foreign policy and national affairs was ever described in such a dismissive fashion by the "objective" media. As I recall, the MSM was making excuses for him, and then lauding his photo-op, rock-star tour of Europe as all he needed to be "smart" on foreign affairs.
And it should be said: One of the most pressing national issues at this very moment is energy policy, and Sarah Palin can go head-to-head with anyone on that issue.
So, the AP teaches us this: It's OK to so blithely dismiss a Republican vice presidential candidate who happens to be a woman, but it is out of bounds to dismiss a Democratic presidential candidate who happens to be black.
It's clarifying to know the rules.
A bit of wisdom, for whatever it's worth, in the midst of convention season generally and Obamamania in particular:
The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
There is seldom, if ever, any evidence that the new government proposed would be any better than the old one. On the contrary, all the historical testimony runs the other way. Political revolutions do not often accomplish anything of genuine value; their one undoubted effect is simply to throw out one gang of thieves and put in another. After a revolution, of course, the successful revolutionists always try to convince the doubters that they have achieved great things, and usually they hang any man who denies it. But that surely doesn't prove their case....
The ideal government of all reflective men, for Aristotle onward, is one which lets the individual alone -- one which barely escapes being no government at all. This ideal, I believe, will be realized in the world twenty or thirty centuries after I have passed from these scenes and taken up my public duties in Hell.
Courtesy of H.L. Mencken, in "Matters of the State," from the long out-of-print "Prejudices, Third Series," published by Alfred A. Knopf in the year of our Lord 1922. Suffice to say, Mencken was an optimist.
This morning, before Sarah Palin even delivered her great acceptance speech, the Obama campaign lashed out, deriding her as merely a mayor of a town of 9,000 people with no real accomplishments. (I guess taking on the head of the "legacy" Republican establishment in Alaska in a primary, defeating him despite being outspent, and earning a governorship is no big deal compared to winning two rigged elections and serving as a "community organizer.)
Well, by the late afternoon, The One himself was walking that statement back — and being gracious, as his campaign should have been all along:
On the trail Friday in Pennsylvania, the Democrat distances himself from his campaign’s first, sharply worded reaction to McCain’s veep choice.
Suggests his campaign was on a “hair trigger,” and says, “The statement that Joe and I put out reflects our sentiments.”
Adds: “I haven’t met her before. She seems like a compelling person … with a terrific personal story.”
Is the Messiah too busy turning water into wine to keep track of the disciples who are speaking political blasphemy? Or did he approve that original, sniping statement, and realize later how bad it played — requiring a personal "These are not the droids your looking for" moment?
Either way, Obama just made McCain's best day so far even better. If the Obama Camp keeps this up, they're going to make th Kerry '04 and Mondale '84 campaigns look like high points in Democratic presidential strategy.
Just got off the phone with my sister-in-law who works for Alaska Airlines and lives in Anchorage, and so I thought I'd relate this little story.
My sister-in-law was flying down to Seattle this spring, and a 7-month-pregnant Sarah Palin is escorted to the ticket counter by police. No entourage. The cops leave Palin there, she talks to the ticket agent and sits down in the general waiting area. My sister-in-law recognized the governor of her state and decided to approach Palin (very nervously). Palin gave my sister-in-law a hug (which went a long way in ending the nervousness) and they chatted pleasantly for several minutes.
The time for the flight came, and Palin waits in line with everyone else and takes her seat ... in coach.
That's the payoff. Sorry it's not more dramatic, but I thought I'd share it anyway.
Oh, and my sister-in-law in Alaska was an Obama suppoter -- until today.
"I'm voting for Sarah!" she said.
She won't be alone.
From ExUrb Kevin:
Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, says he and his wife were caribou hunting when they were told to come home and tune into their local radio station to hear “exciting news,” .
They interrupted a caribou hunting trip to get the good news that their daughter was about to be nominated for the second-most important job in the world.
Man, I love this country.
Me, too, dude. And note that Palin's getting-up-there-in-years father and mother were hunting.
I'm guessing life-long NRA member Sarah Palin got that adorable couch throw herself — the old fashioned way.
The Obama campaign's response to the Sarah Palin pick is as insipid as it was predictable: "John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same," said campaign spokesman Bill Burton.
The first thing the Obama campaign mentions is "mayor of a town of 9,000." No doubt it's one of those small towns, like those places scattered across the backwaters of Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the inhabitants quite unsurprisingly "get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Next we're told that Palin has "zero foreign policy experience." It's true that Palin didn't spend part of her childhood abroad or major in international relations in college. And it's also true that Palin probably lacks the vision to dream up sending $200 million to Iran, no strings attached, or partitioning Iraq. But she does govern a state where coastal residents are becoming re-accustomed to the sight of Russian bombers on patrol, which counts for something. (Besides, isn't this what advisers are for?)
Then comes the obligatory invocation of Roe. How long, I wonder, before Palin is criticized for giving birth to her Down Syndrome child, rather than simply aborting the baby like 90 percent of parents whose infant is diagnosed in utero? I give it less than 12 hours (I'm not sure this counts) but kudos to Harold Pollack over at HuffPo for taking the high road. Here's hoping his fellow partisans follow his example.
As for Big Oil, Palin seems to grasp a fundamental truth that the dreamers in the Democratic Party do not: More drilling alone won't solve America's energy woes in the short term, but refusing to drill will sure exacerbate the problem over the long haul. And petroleum isn't going away any time soon. "What will it take for Congress to enact comprehensive energy policy?" Palin wrote in June to Democratic congressional leaders, urging them to open 2,000 acres of the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve to exploration. "In my opinion, the debate about energy policy is no longer theoretical and abstract. Our failure to enact an energy policy is having real consequences for every American in their daily lives and has begun to affect America's place in the world." (That's a Google cached version of a press release with a link to the letter's full text -- the Web site of Alaska's governor is getting heavy traffic today for some reason.) (Palin discussed natural resource development in her 2007 and 2008 state of the state addresses.)
The key point to remember about Sarah Palin: John McCain is still the guy running for president, the guy Americans will vote for. Palin helps rounds out a problematic Republican ticket, just as Joe Biden rounds out a problematic ticket for the Democrats. Palin may be the sugar that helps some conservatives swallow the bitter pill that is McCain. Palin is risky. She has some notable weaknesses. But she's a lot less risky than Obama. Palin apparently takes no guff and, if her opposition to Ted Stevens and Don Young are any indication, she doesn't go along to get along. That might be good enough.
Several members of the media were seen cheering and clapping for Barack Obama as the Illinois senator accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday.
Standing on the periphery of the football field serving as the Democratic convention floor, dozens of men and women wearing green media floor passes chanted along with the crowd.
Two members of the foreign press exchanged opportunities to take each other's pictue while wearing an Obama hat and waving a flag.
Several others nearby screamed "woo" during some of Obama's biggest applause lines.
What a surprise.
Jimmy Carter says that John McCain is "milking" his time as a POW in Vietnam. McCain has no right to present his story as a factor for voters to consider as they judge his character (and, it should be noted, McCain declined to talk about any of this stuff for a long time). No. To Carter, talking about the most formative time of one's life — a story that should make all Americans proud — is just too much. And it's obviously hurting Obama, so Carter sees fit to characterize this in the most insulting way possible by saying that McCain's "milking" it.
Not that such a slur is unexpected coming from the mouth of America's worst ex-president (as long as Carter lives he will always beat Clinton for that designation), but here's the disgusting statement to USA Today:
DENVER — Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a "distinguished Naval officer," but said the Arizona senator has been "milking every possible drop of advantage" from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. ...
He said he was bewildered by McCain's performance at the Saddleback Presidential Forum hosted by pastor and author Rick Warren in Lake Forest, Calif., last month.
Carter said that whether he was asked about religion, domestic or foreign affairs, every answer came back to McCain's 5½ years as a POW.
"John McCain was able to weave in his experience in a Vietnam prison camp, no matter what the question was," said Carter. "It's much better than talking about how he's changed his total character between being a senator, a kind of a maverick … and his acquiescence in the last few months with every kind of lobbyist pressure that the right wing Republicans have presented."
Keep it up, Democrats. This is helping ... McCain. It will only remind people of the contrast between McCain's and Obama's answer to this question: What was the most gut-wrenching decision you ever had to make?
McCain told a story of amazing personal bravery — his decision to decline early release from the Hanoi Hilton, knowing that the North Vietnamese government would use it as a propaganda tool and that he'd be tortured for saying, "no."
Obama's answer? He came out in opposition to the Iraq war — as the representative of a highly liberal, staunchly anti-war state Senate district when his position on the matter was moot.
So now McCain is to faulted for having a better answer? By the way, Jimmuh. What was the most gut-wrenching decision you ever had to make? Deciding to bump your chief of staff from his preferred time on the White House tennis courts? Deciding to let Americans be held hostage by Iranian nutjobs for 444 days? Deciding to tell Americans to turn off their heat and put on sweaters? Deciding not to act on the "lust in your heart" for other women?
No wonder you're "bewildered." You're an idiot. Get off the stage, you big-toothed loser.
Gotta hand it to the McCain team. They've run a flawless campaign ever since Obama's "Ich Bin Ein Beginner" speech in Berlin. Their ads have kept Obama on the defensive — which is never good, but is just terrible when you are distracted and on flailing around during your own convention. And, once again, they've nailed it with this simple, classy ad which will run tonight after Obama's speech.
Classy. High road. Perfect.
It's also politically smart. Even though this ad will have a run-life of just a few hours, it is so gracious that it is likely to stick in the minds of voters: "Hey. That McCain. He's a nice guy." It will also make Obama look ungracious if he doesn't reciprocate with a congratulatory ad of his own after the RNC, and instead goes right on the attack.
Nice going, Maverick.
(HT: Yuval Levin)
Look, I'm not going to lie. I haven't exactly been following the proceedings in Denver from gavel to gavel. Neither has Steve Hayward. But he has a keen insight on the proceedings thus far:
The basic problem of Democrats is that it is committed to the idea that the Era of Big Government is Back, but when all of the constraints—fiscal and cognitive (see: Hayek)--cannot be overcome, and when the general program is not wildly popular with a majority of the public. (I have long thought that it was only a matter of time and gas prices before Americans swung rapidly to a pro-drilling opinion; that time has arrived, and Democrats will get run over if they really decide to stand with the Greens.) Hence the increasing reliance on shallow slogans and the philosophy of victimhood. Not that Republicans are much better in practice (see: Bush’s spending and regulatory record), but at least a presumption in favor of the private sector and individual initiative is a place that most of the public is more comfortable with.
Hayward, who recently completed the second volume of his biography of Ronald Reagan, has more to say about the comparison between Obama and the Gipper. Well worth reading.
The Rocky Mountain News details how best to make way to Invesco Field on Thursday for Barack Obama's historic acceptance speech. Best bet: Watch from my house in California. (Caveat: I may not actually be home.) Second best bet: Ride your bike to the stadium. Yikes!
The Washington Post's Richard Cohen reminisces about Biden's long history of longwindedness.
To quote something I once wrote, [Biden's] mouth is his Achilles' heel.
In response to that column, Biden called and left a message. He thanked me for the column . . . he needed to be told the truth . . . it was good for him . . . hard to hear, but in the end the sort of thing he needed to know . . . of course, he had his reasons for going on so long -- this was during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito -- since he had things to say . . . points to make . . . but, yes, I was right, and he went on too long and he had to do something about that and it was good of me to point it out. Beep! The machine cut him off.
Gotta love someone like that.
Yes. Yes we do.
The Dems open up their convention in Denver, and the Dow drops 241 points (or 2 percent).
And NASDAQ falls 49 points (also 2 percent).
I noticed the markets taking a hit while standing in line at the bank this afternoon, but by the time I got home Larry Kudlow had also posted on this at The Corner.
With the Denver Dems strutting their stuff, this could be a bumpy week for stocks. Did [any Democrats] say free-market capitalism is the best path to prosperity?
I'm sure we'll all have much more to say on this subject today, and in the weeks ahead, but I've gotta relate a quick story.
When I first started covering Capitol Hill for The Washington Times in 2002, it was exciting but I felt a little intimidated at first. After all, I'd followed politics all my life, but I'd never actually covered it from the source. The routine is that reporters stand behind velvet ropes outside the Senate chamber, wait for the guy or gal you need quotes from to emerge, and (usually) ride the elevator down to the tunnel that connects to the Senate offices across the street. Most often, you'd get what you need before the Senator ducks into the rail tram, or you'd ride with them with more questions.
Anyway, one of the first senators I had hounded with some questions was Joe Biden. I learned that there was a good reason why I was the only reporter who approached him. We walked to the elevator. We walked into the tram. We walked down long hallways to his Senate office doorway. He yakked and yakked and yakked. Despite telling me that he was already running late for a meeting, it took one of his aides almost physically pulling him away from me 30 minutes later for the interview to end. I remember looking at my notebook and thinking, "All that time, and I have nothing to use."
He struck me as a nice guy, a smart guy, but even by senatorial standards, he is very impressed with himself. He touched my shoulder, or gave me a light jab to my arm, at least a dozen times in our
conversation one-sided lecture. I can't wait for him to hit the trail with Obama. The campaign will have to fund carbon off-sets to counter the hot air emissions from their collective pie holes. Jonah Goldberg excerpts from a piece he wrote that really gets to Biden's essence:
He says interesting things, from time to time. I think he makes a fair point here and there. He was correct, for example, that Congress needed to have a real deabte over the war. I think he has some obvious verbal intelligence. But, again, what's fascinating — and what might be distracting some folks from seeing his underlying-yet-occassional smarts — is that he lets his ego and vanity get in the way. The man loves his voice so much, you'd expect him to be following it around in a grey Buick, in defiance of restraining order, as it walks home from school. He seems to think his teeth are some kind of hypnotic punctuation marks which can momentarily disorient the listener and absolve him from any of Western civilization's usual imperatives to stop talking. Listening to him speechify is like playing an intellectual game of whack-a-mole where every now and then the fuzzy head of a good point pops up from the tundra but before you can pin it down, he starts talking about how he went to the store and saw a squirrel on the way and it was brown which brings to mind Brown V. Board of Ed which most people don't understand because [TEETH FLASH] he taught Brown in his law school course and [TEETH FLASH] Mr. Chairman I'm going to get right to it and besides these aren't the droids you're looking for..
Good stuff, and spot-on.
Joel and I tackle the Saddleback presidential forum in this week's Scripps-Howard column. My view is that such public displays are part of the strange paradox of American politics in the early 21st century -- the confessional culture, but a culture ambivalent about public discussions of personal faith. I thought Rick Warren's questions were interesting, even revelatory. But if it had been up to me, I'm not sure I would have done the event.
"A president's faith -- or lack thereof -- undoubtedly shapes the way he governs," I write. "That's been true since George Washington's day. It's certainly true now. When George W. Bush named Jesus Christ as his favorite political philosopher at a Republican debate in 1999, that told voters a lot about the man and his world view -- for better or for worse. Barack Obama's remark to Rick Warren that deciding when an unborn child should have human rights was 'above his pay grade' is similarly revealing."
Joel argues, not without reason, that "Symbolically... the first presidential debate of 2008 left secular Americans out of the conversation." But he concludes: "Our politicians will never stop speaking -- and even pandering -- to the faithful. But they shouldn't leave the rest of us out in the cold."
Close readers will perceive that I sympathize with Joel here, but only a little. The problem with his argument -- and you really should read the whole thing -- is the sense of grievance it conveys. Left out in the cold? Do secular Americans have no opinion or stake in moral questions, especially as they conflict with public policy? This is the political climate we live in.
That said, I couldn't help but read Dan Henninger in Thursday's Wall Street Journal and think, Damn, I wish I had written that!
Well, that's a little bit of a misleading headline. There's really nothing to update ... except to draw attention to this headline from the AP:
Will young Paul, Huckabee backers stay with GOP?
Ummm ... when were Paul backers in the GOP?
Speaking of David Freddoso, he has a fine op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. The piece tells the story of Obama's first election compaign, his 1996 run for Illinois State Senate. That was the race in which Obama had all of his Democratic opponents disqualified from the ballot. It's so much easier to talk about reform when no one is seriously opposing you. Or, as Freddoso puts it, "Mr. Obama has never stood up against Chicago's corruption problem because his donors and allies are Chicago's corruption problem. Mr. Obama is not the reformer he now claims to be. The real man is the one they know in Chicago -- the one who won his first election by depriving voters of a choice."
Did John McCain "cheat" during his interview with Rick Warren this weekend? Did the presumptive GOP nominee concoct a story about a North Vietnamese prison guard drawing a cross in the dirt on Christmas? Probably not and probably not. Also, who cares? Nobody really expected this to remain a clean and civil and high-minded presidential campaign, McCain's promises and Obama's protestations notwithstanding. It never was one. We've never had such an election in this country. Why would 2008 be any different?
Ross Douthat's post linking the Corsi hullabaloo with Andrew Sullivan and the Daily Kos's efforts to debunk John McCain's cross anecdote is essential reading. The Kos Kommunity would love to think the very worst of McCain -- it isn't difficult to do -- and Sullivan hasn't been right in the mind for quite some time. Nevertheless, Douthat makes a salient point about the McCain business.
"I can't help noticing that Andrew has decided to elevate this campaign's tone with eleven posts (and counting, as I write) about the possibility that John McCain fabricated and/or plagiarized his story about a North Vietnamese guard sketching a Christmas-time cross in the prison camp dirt," Douthat writes.
It is, of course, possible that Andrew's suspicions are justified and McCain invented (or at the very least seriously embellished) the story to pander to the dread Christianists; all sorts of things are possible when you're dealing with a story that almost by definition can't be corroborated. But if this is the standard we're establishing, it's also possible that Jerome Corsi is right when he insinuates that Barack Obama is deliberately concealing the extent of his childhood exposure to Islam in order to maintain his political viability. After all, who can really say?
Douthat can say, of course. So can Sullivan and any one with half a brain. Douthat, however, makes the perfectly sensible point that such exercises aren't very useful or helpful: "Look, if Andrew thinks the possible 'cross in the dirt' fabrication represents a fruitful line of anti-McCain inquiry, he has every right to pursue it," Douthat writes. "But given my colleague's steady appeals for a more high-minded approach to political argument, I think he should ponder whether this sort of thing might, just possibly, be part of the problem rather than part of the solution."
Barack Obama, speaking Tuesday to an audience at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention in Orlando, had a strange complaint: "One of the things that we have to change in this country is the idea that people can't disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. I have never suggested that Sen. McCain picks his positions on national security based on politics or personal ambition. I have not suggested it because I believe that he genuinely wants to serve America's national interest. Now, it's time for him to acknowledge that I want to do the same."
I agree, of course. It should be possible to disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism. Here's the problem, though. Arguing that one's political opponent stakes out policy positions based on political calculation or ambition isn't the same as saying he's unpatriotic or a bad guy. Matter of fact, it isn't even in the same neighborhood. It isn't in the same galaxy. Obama knows this. He's trying to equate criticizing his inexperience with questioning his character. At the risk of questioning Obama's character, in this instance, he's being disingenuous at best.
Funny thing about questioning people's character rashly. Obama had the audacity to claim that Republicans and conservatives who challenged his stance on abortion were lying. But his campaign had to issue a clarification over the weekend that vindicated what many Republican critics have been saying for months about Obama's opposition to Illinois's Born Alive Act. According to the New York Sun, "Indeed, Mr. Obama appeared to misstate his position... on Saturday when he said the federal version he supported 'was not the bill that was presented at the state level.' ...His campaign yesterday acknowledged that he had voted against an identical bill in the state Senate, and a spokesman, Hari Sevugan, said the senator and other lawmakers had concerns that even as worded, the legislation could have undermined existing Illinois abortion law. Those concerns did not exist for the federal bill, because there is no federal abortion law."
Obama has been caught out on abortion. His position gives -- ahem -- lie to the idea that he is a champion of a post-partisan new politics.
I've been arguing a lot lately with my father about Obama, who insists that Obama's Islamic background is somehow relevant to the campaign. My answer is the Islam stuff is mostly distorted and, more important, distracts from the more compelling reasons to oppose Obama: He's a left-wing politician, tempered by Chicago Machine politics, whose weltanschauung and lack of executive experience makes him a very poor choice for president. The assertion is at least backed by ample evidence, while the whole Obama-as-secret-Muslim stuff is built on a toilet-paper thin factual foundation and a virtual landfill of rumor, innuendo, conjecture, speculation and outright falsehood.
The bottom line is Obama can be beaten soundly without attacks on his patriotism, real or imagined. As for his character, Obama is doing a fine job of exposing those flaws without help from the dreaded Republican Attack Machine.
Later tonight: Andrew Sullivan goes full-Corsi over crosses in the dirt. Or something like that.
William McGurn delves into Barack Obama's affection for taxation in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. The crux:
Mr. Obama, by contrast, started out much more directly, suggesting that if you make $150,000 or less you may be poor or middle class. A family with an income above $250,000, he went on to say, is "doing well." And if you find yourself in that category, he's going to target you for a tax hike -- all in the name of creating "a sense of balance, and fairness in our tax code."
In fact, the idea of fairness is at the heart of his whole economic argument. And he goes back to it in almost every public appearance.
He talks about it as a general theme: "It is time for folks like me who make more than $250,000 to pay our fair share."
"Fair share" is a matter of opinion. The question is: Pay our fair share for what?
David Freddoso's The Case Against Barack Obama finally arrived yesterday from Amazon. I'm about 75 pages into it. It reminds me of stuff I wrote months ago, and more recently in the Scripps Howard column and, of course, here. Freddoso, in other words, isn't a crank like some other people with anti-Obama books on the New York Times best-seller list. I haven't read Media Matters' critique yet -- I'll probably wait until after I finish the book, which is a pretty quick read. I'm sure there are errors. Freddoso wrote the book in a matter of weeks this spring and early summer. But that doesn't mean it's a bad book, or fatally flawed.
Here, I think, is the crux of Freddoso's case, from the book's introduction:
Whether in victory or defeat, Barack Obama's supporters will be the last ones to understand that he is just another politician. He is not and never will be worthy of such adulation...
Even a conservative who rejects his policies can rest assured that an Obama presidency will not mean the end of America, an Islamic takeover, or an American Bolshevik Revolution. Nonetheless, hidden in Obama's shapeless rhetoric about "Change" and "Hope" is a dangerous agenda that will take on real substance if he is given power.
What I've read of the book so far marshals some fairly compelling evidence in support of those assertions, but then again I don't need much persuasion. That's probably true for most of Freddoso's readers. It may be that The Case Against Barack Obama is most effective as a moderating influence on Corsi fans who are certain that the untried, untested U.S. Senator from Illinois is some kind of drug-addled, flag-hating would-be ayatollah in disguise.
I feel bad for Obama supporters, including so-called Obamacons. The very best that can be said of George W. Bush is that he has been a deeply disappointing president, despite the war. Conservatism as a political force is weaker today than it was eight years ago, in large part because of what Bush has done in its name. Conservatives are looking at a long and painful time in the wilderness, regardless of whether McCain manages to win the election.
Millions of Americans see Barack Obama as a post-conservative,
post-political post-partisan alternative (see comments) and a force for genuine reform. He isn't. If Obama wins in November, it won't be long before his supporters realize the truth about Obama, a truth that most of us on the right already know -- he's just another politician, beholden to liberal special interests and unwilling to challenge the status quo. American will survive an Obama administration. Will Obama voters?
This story from Politico amuses me: "McCain alarms base with abortion comment." Golly, what could McCain have said?
Top social conservative leaders in key battleground states are urging John McCain not to pick a running mate who supports abortion rights, warning of dire consequences from a Republican base already unenthused about their nominee.
McCain’s comments Wednesday to the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge’s pro-abortion rights views wouldn’t necessarily rule him out quickly found their way into the in-boxes of Christian conservatives. For those who have been anxiously awaiting McCain’s pick as a signal of his ideological intentions, there was deep concern that their worst fears about the Arizona senator may be realized.
“It absolutely floored me,” said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. “It would doom him in Ohio.”
Oh, please. Conservatives shouldn't be shocked by anything McCain does at this point. McCain's contempt for conservatives is well known. Any attempt at reconciliation since February has been a complete sham. Conservatives can take some comfort knowing that McCain is fiscally sound. But that's about it. Tom Ridge? Good grief!
Conservatives have a clear choice this election: a liberal Democrat or a conservative Democrat. The next four to eight years will be all about reflection and rebuilding. But don't expect anything from the White House.
According to the Associated Press, "Authorities said a man who died of possible cyanide poisoning at a Denver hotel was 29-year-old Saleman Abdirahman Dirie of Ottawa."
Hey, accidents happen. It's not at all strange for a foreign national to be carrying a pound of poison. Based on what little the authorities have released, it would be foolish to jump to any conclusions. I'm sure there is nothing to see here.
So... uh... how about those Olympics?