Friday, January 25, 2008

The Clintons and the Black Electorate

There is a good deal of commentary in both the mainstream media and the blogosphere to the effect that the Clinton attacks on Obama, whatever their basis in truth or fiction, have had the effect of inducing black voters to rally around Obama as one of their "brothers," or something like that. It seems to me that there is something more fundamental going on: The Clinton position---again putting aside the relationship of the assertions to the truth---smacks of the old racist putdown, "Keep your place." And not in a very subtle way either. After all, the Clinton attacks grew in intensity and decibel level and acidity just as the polls showed Obama to be a serious rival. I don't think that this is an accident, as Pravda in its glory years used to put it, and it does not speak well for Bill's much-lauded but illusory political skills or for Hillary's ability to see political subtleties. And let's face it: Bill and Hillary would be perfectly willing to lynch someone if they believed that their political fortunes would be enhanced. But we already knew that.

Debate Wrapup

Quick takes from the 1-24-08 debate:

I just don't see how a man with so little charm can win the presidency unless his opponent is Hubert Humphrey. Maybe if her last name is Clinton.

McCain: Not bad. Sorry, Mr. Limbaugh, but he still sorta looks like a Republican, if you squint hard enough. Especially compared to what the Democrats are up to these days.

If he faces Hillary, it'll be Bill Clinton vs. McCain's mom. Sounds like a fair fight, although she has her wits more about her, and seems more presidential.

Giuliani: Not dead yet. Still the sharpest and most spontaneous knife in the GOP drawer. Has that actor's gift of making his rehearsed lines sound like he's saying them for the first time.

As previously noted, I'll see him in hell before he gets my vote. Sorry, Rev---you can aim at being FDR or Billy Graham in this life, but not both. And I don't want either of you as my president.

Ron Paul:
Always good for a laugh. Abolish Social security? Sure, why not. Almost as irrelevant and doltish as talking about abolishing the Internal Revenue Service. Oh, wait---Mike Huckabee actually did that. If this guy ever got the nomination, the electoral fallout would yield the Democrats 70 senate seats, as America ran screaming.

Most amusing moment of the night: Mainstream news insider/NBC "reporter" Andrea Mitchell telling and MSNBC host [and putative Republican] Joe Scarborough how conservatives are diggin' John McCain. Twice.

Even the quisling Morning Joe couldn't keep a straight face on that one.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Rush is Wrong, Statesmanship, or: The Year of the Mixed Bag

"I can see possibly not supporting the Republican nominee this election, and I never thought that I would say that in my life."--R. Limbaugh, January 21, 2008

Well, I must admit that if it's Huckabee vs. Obama, I might cross party lines for the first time since 1988 myself. Rush shares my antipathy for Huck, but I think he's really talking about John McCain.

Now, McCain has his sins against conservative orthodoxy, and wrote a bill with Ted Kennedy for what amounted to amnesty for illegal aliens. Very unpopular, but President Bush supported the idea, too, after all. McCain has since retracted this apostasy, and says he'll support border enforcement as the Will of the People.

Not great, but hey, that's the idiosyncratic McCain. Scarcer than honest men in Washington are people who agree with McCain 100% on the issues. It's part of his charm, what makes him appealing to independents, and what makes him the only Republican who, according to the current polls, is in a statistical dead heat with the Democrat candidates---any, all, and each, even against the odious John Edwards.

But what puts a burr under El Rushbo's bottom most is McCain-Feingold, a law that admittedly puts a dent in the First Amendment's protection of free political speech. Bad idea.

McCain was also one of only two GOP senators to vote in 2001, '02 and '03 against the Bush tax cuts [known today as "the Bush tax cuts"], a pillar of one of conservatism's three-legs-of-the-stool, economic liberty. But McCain's right out front in 2008 that he wants to make them permanent, under the somewhat twisted but clever logic that to repeal them would amount to a tax increase. McCain is philosophically against tax increases---and in this, the Year of the Mixed Bag, that should be sufficient.

As for the other two pillars of the conservative coalition, McCain's credentials on national security are nonpareil, and it was he who wanted to whack the counterattack in Iraq even more than Bush and the neo-cons did. As for social conservatism, McCain's record as a pro-lifer is nigh-perfect on abortion issues, although he's not an absolutist on banning embryonic stem cell research.

And if his "Gang of 14" bi-partisan coalition with 7 Democrats in the Senate was offensive to conservatives who wanted to go to the mattresses over Bush43 judicial nominees, it was that very peace treaty that put John Roberts and Sam Alito on the Supreme Court, neither of whom conservatives view as "compromise" candidates.

In fact, they may stand as the Bush43 administration's greatest accomplishment, and it may very well have been John McCain's statesmanship that made their confirmations happen.

So when the estimable Mr. Limbaugh says

The Drive-Bys [mainstream media] consider McCain's 'straight talk' anything they agree with, and the first item on the things they agree with him is: 'Bush sucks.'

I think he's missing the bigger picture here. Although it's unfair to call Bush43 a divider [he reached out to Ted Kennedy, after all, with "No Child Left Behind"], even Dubya's admirers confess that his style became more autocratic than statesmanlike. It was John McCain who buried the hatchet after the 2000 primaries, campaigned for him in 2004, and carried his water in Congress without losing himself and his credibility as his own man in the process.

"Bush sucks?" Hardly.

Look, Rush, I realize that you see yourself as a conservative first and a Republican second, and that's OK. You yourself admitted to the mistake of carrying the Bush administration's [and the GOP's] water, and regretted losing yourself in the process.

John McCain never did. That's presidential timber: his personal heroism is unquestionable, his statemanship and character as well.


Caught on CNN's "Situation Room"

WOLF BLITZER: ...and thank you for the excellent report, Lou. I had no idea things were that bad for the Republicans. Truly a party in chaos. Now over to Jack Cafferty, who gives us the opinions that create the news.

JACK CAFFERTY: Thanks, Wolf. Today's question---Does the president, Mr. Bush, really suck, or does he really REALLY suck?

Summer from Palo Alto writes, "He really sucks. He got us into an illegal war and let bin Laden slip away at Tora Bora. And then there's Katrina. Oh yeah, and tax cuts for the rich."

Brent from Boston says, "Really REALLY sucks. Iraq, Tora Bora, Katrina, and eroding our civil liberties. Oh yeah, and tax cuts for the rich."

William from Berkeley agrees. "Definitely really REALLY sucks. Iraq, Tora Bora, Katrina. Civil liberties, the police state, and Guantanamo. Oh yeah, and tax cuts for the rich."

Sheila from Long Island thinks he just really sucks. Howard from Vermont and Ted from Martha's Vineyard say, he really REALLY sucks. So you can see, Wolf, we're really all over the map on this one.

But Jim from Boise asks, "Why do you even pretend the "Situation Room" is a newscast? Jack Cafferty hangs over Wolf's shoulder like some demented Jiminy Cricket, asking leading questions when he's not spouting leftist propaganda every fifteen minutes. I mean, are you afraid people might think for themselves?"

But Noam from New York observes, "Why didn't you include 'really REALLY REALLY sucks,' which is what Dumbya actually does? Just proves you're all right-wing stooges for the globalist corporate newsocracy."

And there you have it. America speaks. Our next question---Barack Obama: Will he be a really great president, or a really REALLY great one? Wolf?

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack. I notice we got criticism from both the right and the left on that last question, which is what happens when you play it straight and down the middle. Which is why we here at CNN, as always, are proud to remain The Most Trusted Name in News™.

And at 8 PM Eastern, our award-winning special investigative report, "Planet in Peril: God's Warriors in our Broken Government." Don't miss it.