Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hillary's debate challenge

Allahpundit calls it "part of her new strategy to make him look like a complete wimp" -- keep challenging Obama to more debates:
Clinton took the debate dispute to a new level, challenging Obama to face off with her in a debate without a moderator, Lincoln-Douglas style.
"Just the two of us, going for 90 minutes, asking and answering questions, we'll set whatever rules seem fair," Clinton said while campaigning in South Bend. . . .
Trailing in delegates and the popular vote, Clinton has been stepping up the pressure on Obama for more debates in advance of primaries in nine days in Indiana and North Carolina. Clinton argued that Obama won't debate because he's unhappy with questions from moderators during the April 16 debate just before the Pennsylvania primary.
This is Politics 101: If you're comfortably ahead, avoid debate, since that tends to give legitimacy to your opponent. If you're behind, demand debates -- and accuse your opponent of ducking you if he refuses.

Obama was all in favor of debates when there were more than a half-dozen candidates in the Democratic primary field. The Democrats had more than 20 debates, and most of the time, the candidates took turns (a) bashing Bush, and (b) tag-teaming Hillary.

Once the field narrowed down to Obama and Hillary -- and once Rev. Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rants became an issue -- suddenly Obama decided he didn't need to debate as much. Funny how that happens.

Naturally, Obama declined Hillary's latest challenge:
Asked why he was repeatedly “ducking” Clinton’s debate challenges before the Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Obama said, as he has before, that he just wants to spend time with voters.
“I’m not ducking. We’ve had 21 (debates), and so what we’ve said is, with two weeks, two big states, we want to make sure we’re talking to as many folks possible on the ground taking questions from voters,” he said, so no debates.
“We’re not going to have debates between now and Indiana,” he said.
Obama wants to keep "taking questions from voters" -- and continue saturating the airwaves with attack ads -- without having to answer tough questions in a live debate. Funny how that happens, too.

Remember that Obama's sitting on a huge mountain of campaign cash, while Hillary's campaign -- at least before she got a big haul after winning Pennsylvania -- was practically broke. Obama outspent Hillary about 3-to-1 in Pennsylvania.

When I covered Hillary for The American Spectator last week, I filed my story from the lobby bar at the Harrisburg Hilton (where they have free WiFi). There was a TV in the bar, and it seemed like every time I looked up, there was another Obama ad slamming Hillary for taking money from "special interests." In fact, one Obama ad even accused Hillary of "the same old politics, misleading negative ads":

The most amazing thing about Hillary's comeback in Pennsylvania is that she did it despite this tsunami of TV ads from Obama -- in which he repeatedly claims that he doesn't take money from special interests (corrupt slumlords like Tony Rezko apparently don't qualify as "special interests").

Democratic double standard?

Hillary Clinton strategist Geoff Garin:
On the one hand, it's perfectly decent for Obama to argue that only he has the virtue to bring change to Washington and that Clinton lacks the character and the commitment to do so. On the other hand, we are somehow hitting below the belt when we say that Clinton is the candidate best able to withstand the pressures of the presidency and do what's right for the American people, while leaving the decisions about Obama's preparedness to the voters.
Who made up those rules? And who would ever think they are fair?
Team Obama has repeatedly claimed that Clinton is "Swiftboating" Obama. "Swiftboating," of course, is the sin of telling the truth about a Democrat. Unlike John McCain, the Clintons aren't afraid to hit hard in the full-contact sport of politics.

Yee. Haw.

Appomattox undone, says Newsweek senior editor Michael Hirsch:
In the summer of 1863, Robert E. Lee led an ill-advised incursion into Pennsylvania. His army was defeated at Gettysburg, and thence afterward Lee beat a fighting retreat until the South lost the Civil War. One hundred and forty-five years later, the South--or what has become the South-Southwest--has won another kind of Civil War. It has transformed the sensibility of the country. It is setting the agenda for our political, social and religious mores--in Pennsylvania and everywhere else.
(Via Hot Air.) My great-grandfather, Pvt. Winston W. Bolt of the 13th Alabama Infantry, was captured during that "ill-advised incursion," so I suppose I should smile at Hirsch's metaphor. Instead, I must confess my shock at Hirsch's assessment of this belated triumph of the Lost Cause. After trundling through a non sequitur paragraph about an "American Idol" contestant, Hirsch looks down from the Olympian heights and shares with us this "analysis":
As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge observed in their 2004 book, "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," the nation's population center has been "moving south and west at a rate of three feet an hour, five miles a year." Another author, Anatol Lieven, in his 2005 book "America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism," describes how the "radical nationalism" that has so dominated the nation's discourse since 9/11 traces its origins to the demographic makeup and mores of the South and much of the West and Southern Midwest--in other words, what we know today as Red State America.
This region was heavily settled by Scots-Irish immigrants--the same ethnic mix King James I sent to Northern Ireland to clear out the native Celtic Catholics.
After succeeding at that, they then settled the American Frontier, suffering Indian raids and fighting for their lives every step of the way. And the Southern frontiersmen never got over their hatred of the East Coast elites and a belief in the morality and nobility of defying them. Their champion was the Indian-fighter Andrew Jackson. The outcome was that a substantial portion of the new nation developed, over many generations, a rather savage, unsophisticated set of mores. Traditionally, it has been balanced by a more diplomatic, communitarian Yankee sensibility from the Northeast and upper Midwest. But that latter sensibility has been losing ground in population numbers--and cultural weight.
The coarsened sensibility that this now-dominant Southernism and frontierism has brought to our national dialogue is unmistakable. We must endure "lapel-pin politics" that elevates the shallowest sort of faux jingoism over who's got a better plan for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Note that Hirsch attributes to the North "a more diplomatic, communitarian Yankee sensibility" -- a sensibility that seems lacking in any actual Yankees anyone has ever met. Far from being "diplomatic" and "communitarian," the typical Yankee is a rude, pushy, vulgar, grasping materialist, Donald Trump being the perfect embodiment of this type.

Anyone who has lived in both North and South can testify to the difference in manners. Southerners are, in general, more friendly and courteous. Visit any commercial establishment in the South -- especially the small-town South -- and you will be thoroughly sirred and ma'amed and thanked and pleased. While the small-town North lacks the pushy rudeness of Northern cities, even small-town Yankees are less outgoing, their courtesy more formal and less enthusiastic, than in the South.

Yet Hirsch calls the South "savage" and "unsophisticated" -- quite true, if patriotism and courage are "savage," and faith and honor are "unsophisticated."

Best of all, Hirsch is a graduate of Tufts University (in Massachusetts) who's spent nearly his entire journalism career as a foreign correspondent and has never even set foot in the South, so far as one can tell from his Newsweek biography.

The arrogance of infernal Yankeedom!

UPDATE: In re-reading Hirsch's column just now, I find myself asking, "What's your point?" Is there any actual newsworthy relevance to this?

Hirsch contrasts "nativism and yahooism versus eagerness for the new and openness to innovation," then he says that in the Texan Bush there is "little trace left of the Eastern WASP sensibility into which he was born and educated," and there are some references to John McCain and Barack Obama. But there's no actual point, except that Michael Hirsch hates Southerners.

A senior editor at Newsweek has leisure to compose a 1,200-word screed telling more than 80 million Americans that he considers them uncouth barbarians? Nice work, if you can get it.

UPDATE II: Welcome Ace of Spades HQ readers. I've been a closet AOSHQ Moron for a long time, but I've never been a "Top Headline" before. I feel so ... special. Please give me money.

UPDATE III: Just for the heck of it:

How's that for savage and unsophisticated? If that doesn't make you stand up and salute, I don't know what will.

UPDATE IV: Instapundit:

"Jeez, they used to at least wait until after they lost the election to start this talk."

Zimbabwe crisis worsens

Recounts confirm that Mugabe's party lost the election:
Zimbabwe's electoral commission said Saturday that a recount of votes for 10 parliamentary seats confirmed the original results, including opposition victories, making it unlikely that the ruling party can wrest control of parliament.
Zimbabwean army and police raided the headquarters of the main opposition party in the capital, Harare, yesterday and arrested more than 100 people, some of whom had taken shelter in the building after falling victim to purported government-sponsored violence . . .
One of the arrested activists who managed to escape from police custody said the security officers took away at least 120 people in police and army vehicles.
He spoke last night to The Washington Times but asked not to be identified for fear the army would carry out reprisals against his family.
"At around 10 a.m. ... dozens of police and army trucks pulled up outside the MDC headquarters at Harvest House in Harare. They swarmed into the building, assaulting and handcuffing people as they went," he said.
If Jimmy Carter really wants to do something for peace and democracy, why doesn't he stop fooling around with Hamas and go do something about Zimbabwe?

Fear of Hillary's payback

Eleanor Clift:
I'm beginning to think Hillary Clinton might pull this off and wrestle the nomination away from Barack Obama. If she does, a lot of folks -- including a huge chunk of the media -- will join Bill Richardson (a.k.a. Judas) in the Deep Freeze. If the Clintons get back into the White House, it will be retribution time, like the Corleone family consolidating power in "The Godfather," where the watchword is, "It's business, not personal."
The post-Pennsylvania possibility of a Hillary comeback -- which grows more credible as Team Obama continues to flounder around with Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- is sure to strike fear in the hearts of many big-name Democrats who jumped on the Obama bandwagon in recent months. I'm guessing Ted Kennedy won't get invited to too many state dinners if Hillary re-occupies the White House.
Funniest line in Eleanor Clift's column:
During the 1992 campaign the pundits wrote off Bill Clinton, certain he couldn't survive allegations of infidelity and draft dodging.
Oh, come on, Eleanor! At this late date, I think we can all agree that those were not merely "allegations." Bill Clinton is, was, and always will be, a compulsive horndog. That's an objective fact.

UPDATE: Bob Herbert of the New York Times:
Barack Obama is winning, so why does it look like Hillary Clinton is having all the fun? . . .
You can almost feel the air seeping out of the Obama phenomenon. The candidate and his aides are brainstorming ways to counter the Clinton death-ray machine and regain the momentum.
Herbert's one of those left-of-Lenin liberals, but I like his "death-ray machine" phrase. I'm picturing Hillary's minions as the Martian invaders in "War of the Worlds," vaporizing everything in their path.

Lear jet liberalism

When you're a globetrotting rock star with seven (seven!) homes, you tend to rack up lots of frequent-flyer miles. Just ask Sting:
Sting, for instance, notched up an incredible number of air miles with his band’s world tour.
And it was revealed that his wife Trudie Styler travels between their seven homes in private jets or their fleet of cars, as well as importing farm produce hundreds of miles. . . .
Miss Styler, 53, was challenged on the issue when extolling the benefits of organic and locally-grown food.
The interview at the Earls Court Real Food Festival had been going well, until one journalist pointed out that the couple’s carbon footprint has been estimated as 30 times greater than the average Briton’s.
What caught my eye when I saw this story at Michelle Malkin's blog was the logo that said "My Carbon Footprint Is Bigger Than Yours." I feared that Sting had acquired one of the biggest carbon-producing accessories of all -- a baby. Hypocritical in all things, liberals love to preach the need for population control, even while they themselves produce large broods -- Nancy Pelosi has five kids, Ted Turner also has five, Al Gore has four.

Anyway the logo at Michelle's reminds me of one of my favorite double-entendres. People are often shocked to discover that my wife and I have six children.

"Six?" people say. "Why did you have six children?"

To which I answer, "Well, you know what they say about a man with a big carbon footprint."

In other celebrity news from The Daily Mail, they've got photos of Britney Spears in a bikini and Heather Locklear in a bikini. Reminds me of a Benny Hill joke:
Q. What's the hottest part of the sun?
A. Page Three!

See No Evil?

Michelle Malkin emphasizes an overlooked point about John McCain's condemnation of the NC GOP's Jeremiah Wright ad:
He didn’t bother to watch the 41-second video before his campaign leaned on the NC GOP to withdraw it.
He doesn’t want to see it, lest he sully his delicate eyes.
I'm glad that McCain-bashing is back in vogue with conservatives. For a few weeks after Crazy Cousin John cinched the nomination, it looked like people were going to bite their tongues and play the old "Rally 'Round the Republican" game. This week, however, I heard Rush Limbaugh hammering away at McCain and running a parody ad for "Citizen McCain," so maybe there's hope yet.

Malkin suggests the formulaic thinking behind the sight-unseen condemnation of the NC GOP ad:
McCain Math is the same as MSM Math: Southern + Republican + video featuring radical leftists who happen to be black = RACIST RACIST RACIST RACIST DANGER WILL ROBINSON!
And that's probably a fair appraisal of the situation. The MSM will find a way to tar the Republican presidential candidate as a "racist" no matter what he says or does. It's happened to every GOP nominee since Goldwater. If McCain thinks he can pre-empt that smear by taking photo-op trips to Selma -- or by lashing out blindly at fellow Republicans -- he's deluded.

The liberal Republican who defends himself by dumping on fellow Republicans is hardly a new phenomenon. But it's actually a lousy defense tactic. Just ask Lincoln Chafee and Mike DeWine -- once a Republican repudiates conservatism, it's only a matter of time before the Democrats beat him. If the voters want to elect a liberal, why should they vote Republican?

Panic in the Obama camp?

If you want to see the real impact of the Pennsylvania primary, check out Team Obama's plea to the superdelegates, obtained by the Wall Street Journal:
Polling data from across the country, from large states and small, reflects the advantage Senator Obama would bring in a race this fall. His ability to expand the Democratic base, and his ability to capture the crucial Independent vote, make him a stronger candidate than Senator Clinton, who would enter the fall campaign with the highest unfavorable ratings of any nominee in half a century. . . .
This is an S.O.S. from a campaign that's hitting the panic button.

Hillary's negatives are old news, but she won Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania -- key swing states for the general election. Obama's much-ballyhooed edge in delegates is chiefly the result of (a) primary wins in the Deep South, and (b) his campaign's superior effort at organizing in caucus states. But nobody seriously argues that Obama could carry South Carolina, Alabama, or Mississippi in November, and organizing among Democratic state-caucus delegates has no real carryover value to the general election.

Of Obama's superdelegate memo, Democratic consultant Jerome Armstrong says:
I don't know that I've ever seen anything a campaign poll memo that so obviously cherry-picks polls over the last 4 months to make their case. It's almost satire.
As I pointed out Friday in responding to Reed Hundt's TPM post:
Recall that in late March, Obama took a vacation to the Virgin Islands while Hillary, Bill and Chelsea were stumping all over Pennsylvania. But now, with her double-digit Pennsylvania victory and fundraising windfall, Hillary's seized the momentum, and Team Obama has belatedly realized that the nomination -- which seemed so certain in late March -- is in jeopardy of slipping from their grasp.
If Obama hadn't taken that vacation -- and if his infamous "bitter" remarks to his San Francisco donors hadn't leaked -- he might have put Hillary away in Pennsylvania. She was clearly on the ropes, and if he had won Pennsylvania, that would have been it. But he missed that opportunity, and now it looks like she's going all the way to Denver.

Obama's campaign is stumbling and grasping at straws to try to re-establish its claim that he's got the nomination iced, but the available evidence shows he's slipping badly. Hillary trailed nationally by 10 points before the Pennsylvania primary, but the latest Gallup numbers show a dead heat. Meanwhile, Indiana's a toss-up and Obama's lead in North Carolina was just 9 points before Hillary won Pennsylvania and before the NC GOP's Jeremiah Wright ad.

As bad as things are going for Obama, I predict they're about to get much worse. If it was Team Obama's idea that Wright go on a press offensive, it was a very bad idea. The smart thing would have been to tell Wright to lay low and just let the furor fade -- then Obama could dismiss future questions as "old news." But every time Wright goes on TV, his self-defense only revives the storyline, giving networks a chance to recycle the original inflammatory video clips.

Rev. Wright is turning into Obama's Tom Eagleton. (Maybe part of the problem is that most of Obama's campaign staff are so young, they don't even get the Eagleton reference.) If Hillary wins Indiana, the question of Obama's electability becomes much harder to ignore. Can the Democrats afford to nominate a candidate who loses Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana?

Friday, April 25, 2008


Obamaphile Reed Hundt:
Clinton did not make a dent in Obama's lead by her win in Pennsylvania but what has happened is that the republican attack machine has begun the swiftboating in the wake of her negative attacks rightly decried by the New York Times.
It is bootless to speculate about the self-destructive tactics of the Clinton camp. What matters is going on the offense against the author of the typically bizarre, distracting, and hideous rightwing attacks: John McCain.
Hundt (who has problems with capitalization and can't seem to figure out how to include hyperlinks) is simply echoing the Obama camp's talking points, e.g.:
  • Obama's got the nomination locked up;
  • All criticism of Obama is "rightwing" and thus illegitimate; and therefore
  • If Team Clinton benefits from any of the fallout over Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers or Tony Rezko, she is essentially helping the Republicans "Swiftboat" the Democratic candidate.
The problem with this argument is that the first premise is false. If Obama has the campaign locked up, why is he now rapidly shuttling back and forth between North Carolina and Indiana? Why are Obama's surrogates furiously attacking Hillary and insisting at the top of their lungs that the Florida and Michigan votes are invalid?

Recall that in late March, Obama took a vacation to the Virgin Islands while Hillary, Bill and Chelsea were stumping all over Pennsylvania. But now, with her double-digit Pennsylvania victory and fundraising windfall, Hillary's seized the momentum, and Team Obama has belatedly realized that the nomination -- which seemed so certain in late March -- is in jeopardy of slipping from their grasp.

What's the price, Nancy?

From Michelle Malkin comes this funny video clip of Nancy Pelosi claiming that gas is now $2.56 a gallon:

As of Monday, the average national gasoline price (regular) was $3.51 per gallon -- $3.85 a gallon in Pelosi's California. And, despite "$4 a gallon" talk, average gas prices haven't (yet) reached that level in any state.

Pelosi also claims that gas costs "nearly three times what it was when President Bush took office," but on Jan. 22, 2001, the average national price of regular gas was $1.47 per gallon. Since three times that would be $4.41 per gallon, then Nancy Pelosi is . . . lying would be too strong a word, perhaps, but it would be fair to say that, at least, Madame Speaker has been misinformed.

Besides which, we're currently enduring a temporary spike in gas prices, which can be expected to drop by mid-summer. So it might be more fair to compare current prices to prices in June 2000, when gas was $1.68 a gallon. Three times that would be $5.04 a gallon, and nobody's projecting anything like that any time soon.

Hillary's premature obituary

In the latest issue of The New Republic, Michelle Cottle has a 3,330-word opus on the Clinton campaign that ends thus:
From the outside, the struggle for control of a campaign that likely won't be around much longer may appear absurd. In Ballston, however, the sense of looming loss seems only to feed the fury, as advisers grab for what may be their last chance to right the ship. Whether driven on by dedication, desperation, or delusion, some of Hillary's not-so-happy warriors find themselves unable to give up the fight--not just against Barack Obama, but also against each other.
This is a problem for Cottle, in that:
  • The article went online before Hillary's double-digit Pennsylvania win breathed new life (and a reported $10 million fundraising bonanza) into her campaign;
  • In the course of the article, Cottle pretty much urinates all over the reputation of key Clinton strategist Mark Penn; portrays the Clinton campaign ("Hillaryland") as desperately chaotic; and depicts Bill Clinton as a meddlesome source of discord in his wife's campaign.
The subhead on the article -- "Inside Hillaryland's fatal psychodrama" -- is a clear tipoff to Cottle's intended purpose. Plainly, Cottle wrote this article in "Hitler's Last Days" mode: See the feuding of the Nazi inner circle as the Eastern Front collapses and Der Fuehrer madly orders phantom divisions hither and yon.

Chock-full of juicy nuggets about the backstabbing rivalries inside the campaign, Cottle's article effectively burns her bridges to Team Clinton. No sensible political reporter would have published such an article about a campaign that was still viable. Especially if Mark Penn retains any influence in the campaign -- and despite his demotion over his Colombian connection, Penn is still a key advisor -- Cottle will now be persona non grata with the Clintonistas.

And Cottle clearly knows it. She's bet the ranch that Obama will finish off Hillary -- and finish her off pretty quickly -- so Cottle gets hysterical over any news that may favor Team Clinton, including the continued disputes over the disenfranchised Democrats of Florida and Michigan:
For what feels like the one millionth time, I just did some segment over at MSNBC on the theme of how Michigan possibly impacts Hillary's position if the popular vote there is factored into the candidates' running tallies. From now on, my official position is this: It is a b.s. line of argument from the Clinton campaign -- and anyone else promoting it -- because the Michigan primary results are fundamentally illegitimate.
As you know, left up to me, neither Michigan nor Florida's delegates would be seated. Those states knowingly and flagrantly broke the rules. They knew what the penalty would be, and they did it anyway.
Cottle's premature obituary for Hillary's campaign, you see, puts TNR's senior editor in the decidedly unobjective position of having a stake in the game. If Hillary somehow comes back to snatch the nomination away from Obama, not only will Cottle have egg all over her face, but Cottle will also have a hostile relationship with the top campaign staff of the Democratic Party's nominee.

If Hillary wins now, Cottle's screwed. So watch Cottle's further campaign coverage with that in mind.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Ken Hanner, national editor of The Washington Times, is axed after 26 years at the paper.

Like I said, "Extremely gloomy."

UPDATE: Similarly gloomy reports at The New York Times.

That both the conservative Washington Times and the liberal New York Times are faced with staff reductions (and Ken Hanner's departure is certainly not the last such involuntary exit you'll hear abougt in coming days) bolsters my contention that liberal bias alone does not account for the downward spiral of the newspaper industry.

The underlying problem -- which no one wants to face -- is the declining number of literate Americans. "New Media" blather ignores this reality. Yes, readership of online media has increase astronomically in the 15 years since the Internet began to become a mass phenomenon. But total U.S. online readership does not begin to equal what total U.S. newspaper readership was in 1993.

Young Americans read less than older Americans, and young Americans are particularly reading less about politics and other "hard news" subject matter. The generation that finished school prior to the disastrous educational experiments of the 1960s and '70s is, on average, far more literate than the generations educated afterwards. As older readers die off, they are not being replaced with equal numbers of new readers.

We are becoming a nation of semi-literates, and semi-literates are a poor market for the printed word.


Find out what it means to me:
Atlanta police charged Georgia Thornton and her daughter Sequita with attacking Felecia Williams, a teacher at Southside High School, on Feb. 28.
The mother, 44, was charged with battery on a school teacher, disrupting public schools, criminal trespass and theft by taking in connection with the attack, according to the police report.
Sequita, 17, was charged with battery on a teacher and disrupting public schools, according to the report. . . .
Williams said Tuesday she had met with Thornton previously to discuss Sequita's grades and sporadic attendance. Williams asked a school police officer to observe a meeting a couple of weeks before the incident because she was afraid for her safety, she said.
On the day of the attack, Williams said the pair walked into her classroom during first period and began arguing about a book. Williams asked them to leave, but the mother pushed past her and grabbed a book off her desk, the teacher said.
When Williams, 40, tried to get the book back, the mother pulled the teacher's hair and threw her to the ground, the police report said. Then the mother and daughter stomped on the teacher, according to the report.
"She was swinging me by my hair, and my shoes flew off my feet," Williams said. "Then I was on the ground, and they were both pounding on me. I was terrified. So were my students." . . .
Thornton said she had been meeting with Williams because the teacher wouldn't give her daughter the correct grade.
If Sequita was making bad grades, maybe it's because she inherited the stupid gene from her mother, who supplies this Quote of the Week contender:
"That teacher, she had it in for my daughter," Thornton said. "I raised my daughter not to disrespect adults, so I took care of this situation. Yes, I hit her. I do what I have to do to protect my child at all costs."
(Via Jawa Report.) I miss my native Georgia. The news is always so much more fun down home.

Debacle update

New York Times headline (via Memeorandum):
Wright Says His Words Were Twisted
Can you say "double-entendre," boys and girls?

Rev. Wright words were certainly "twisted" in one sense, but he can't say they were misinterpreted. He said what he said, we've got it on tape, and if he didn't mean "God d--- America," he shouldn't have said "God d--- America."

I'm sure that at this point, Obama's ready to suggest that Rev. Wright go for a little car ride with Ted Kennedy -- and let Ted drive.

Jenna Bush for Bob Barr?

Taking her comments to Larry King entirely out of context, both CNN and the Examiner suggest the blonde First Daughter won't vote for John McCain.

Be still, my beating heart! While I don't want to discourage any bloggers from wild speculation about a "Jenna-Chelsea double-team" (?!) I'm wondering if maybe the problem is that Crazy Cousin John isn't conservative enough for Jenna. Maybe she's thinking about supporting Bob Barr on the Libertarian ticket. Read Jenna's quote again:
I mean, who isn't open to learning about the candidates and I'm sure that everybody's like that.
See? She's got that libertarian open-minded thing going on, and it just so happens that Barr will be in D.C. Saturday for the White House Correspondents Dinner. (Too bad Heidi Montag couldn't make it.)

Jenna and Bob could have a little chat over their spring salads and petite filets, and she's certainly welcome to join us for cocktails afterwards. (Bob and I go way back. Did I say way back? I mean, way back.)

All kidding aside -- well, not all kidding, since I might be dangerous if I ever got too serious -- Jenna's always been my favorite Bush twin. She just seems very down-to-earth and fun-loving. Given the trend of each generation of Bushes getting a little more conservative than the last, I figure maybe Jenna's so conservative she can't stomach the open-borders policy supported by her Dad and Crazy Cousin John.

And need I remind you that, just like Jenna, Ron Paul is from Texas?

Exegesis for Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi needs help finding her favorite Bible verse. Michelle Malkin explains:
On Earth Day, Nancy Pelosi quoted the Bible: "The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.' On this Earth Day, and every day, let us honor the earth and our future generations with a commitment to fight climate change." . . .
CNS News asked other Bible scholars for the source of the quote in the Old Testament that Nancy Pelosi keeps invoking.
They can’t find it either.
Can you?
Normally, I don't help Democrats, but because I am bitterly clinging to my religion -- and since I'm already working with Rush Limbaugh to help Hillary Clinton stage her comeback -- in this case I'll be happy to cite chapter and verse. Genesis 1:28:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
This verse kind of pisses off the Planned Parenthood crowd, to say nothing of the animal-rights activists.

Of course, Mrs. Pelosi is a typical liberal hypocrite in this regard. She supports population control, but has five children herself, much like Al Gore, who frets about mankind overwhelming the Earth but is a father of four, or Ted Turner, who supports China's one-child policy but is himself a father of five.

Since Mrs. Pelosi seems to be in such need of biblical guidance, I suppose she won't mind a backslid Baptist preaching her an old-time gospel sermon.

Because, you see, if you'll "spend a little time in the Word" -- as we bitter Bible-clingers are wont to do -- once you get finished reading the Old Testament, you come to something we call the New Testament, which is about a guy named Jesus. Maybe you heard of him.

Now, if there is one thing that Jesus hated, it was a hypocrite. This was his big beef with the scribes and Pharisees and other Jewish leaders of his day. The Pharisees were kind of like federal bureaucrats, in that they had the Jews all tangled up in details of the law, even while the fundamental principles of justice were being trampled underfoot. Matthew 22:23:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it? For yea, verily, I say unto you, once there was a mighty ruler, who preached condemnation on the rich, and heaped on the people burdensome taxes, though he himself was wealthy and his estate was untaxed. Hypocrite, thy name is Ted Kennedy!

O, dear brethren, let us continue in Matthew 23, and turn now to the words of Jesus in verse 27:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Now, my brothers, once there was a ruler who made war upon another nation, smiting them hip and thigh. Then after a season, that ruler left his high office, and another took his stead. But when this new ruler also made war upon that same nation, and smote them and conquered them, the old ruler cried out against his successor, saying, "Lo! he hath made war falsely and hath lied unto the people!" even though the second ruler had made war under the same premises as the first. Woe unto you hypocrite, Bill Clinton!

My brethren, I could keep preaching all day, but the offering plate's looking a little light this morning and I can smell the fried chicken the church ladies are cooking for potluck down in the fellowship hall. So I'm going to call it quits and let the choir sing a purty little hymn for you, and y'all come back next week, y'hear?

UPDATE: I'm much obliged to Mrs. Malkin for dropping a big link in the offering plate. And speaking of potluck with the church ladies, I'll remind you that the "World's Worst Person" once fed me lunch. What an odd coincidence that I quoted the Bible in that post, too.

Well, like I said, I could keep preaching all day, brothers and sisters, but the Rev. Stacy Bob has other duties to attend to, like counseling the young folks in our flock, for I fear they may grow weak in the struggle and yield to the temptations of the flesh. I keep telling 'em to study I Corinthians 7:9, and to remember that the Rev. Stacy Bob is available for weddings. God bless y'all.

UPDATE II: Hallelujah! Deacon Ed Morrisey lends comfort to Sister Nancy:
Apparently hoping to reach out to the bitter gun-hugging xenophobes of middle America, Pelosi adopted the Sunday Schoolmarm pose and told us that God wanted us to worship Gaia.
Now, it's kinda funny that Deacon Ed should mention this wicked sin of earth-worship, because it puts me in mind of another favorite passage of mine. Turn with me now to the first chapter of Romans, verses 18-25:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Now, like they say, read the whole thing, and see if you can't figure out why -- along about verses 26 and 27 -- some of Sister Nancy's constituents get a mite upset with that chapter.

UPDATE II: Rev. Ace and the AOSHQ Gospel Choir have at it.

Joan Walsh gets it editor Joan Walsh is a San Francisco lefty who makes Bill Ayers look like a milquetoast moderate. She's also an Obamaphile who's starting to sober up from her overdose of Hope and Change, and who's got a hungover epiphany about Hillary:
Clinton is just a campaign jackhammer, shattering your resistance with detail. I tried to tune her out, but I found myself listening to her long lists of what she'd do to solve the health care crisis, the mortgage crisis, the college education affordability crisis. And suddenly, hey! She's talking to me! She told me she'd do away with FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid! Everyone hates FAFSA! . . . Clinton solved problems I didn't even know I had. . . .
Sure, Clinton's "Solve every problem" shtick can seem like pandering -- trust me, she is not going to get rid of FAFSA! -- but it can also seem reassuring.
Whether you like her or not, it's hard not to concede that Clinton's second act, in which she (belatedly) discarded Mark Penn's incumbent costume and put on her Harry Truman outfit, is working better.
Having twice been on hand to watch Hillary do her neo-populist shtick at rallies, I know exactly what Walsh is talking about. Hillary's got this laundry-list spiel that's just bam-bam-bam -- a relentless list of problems she's going to solve and greedy rich scapegoats she's going to fight. ("I'm fighting for you!") The Democratic audiences laps this stuff and screams for more.

Assuming that you know absolutely nothing about economics and have no fear of a tax-hungry omnipotent Nanny State -- that is, assuming you're a Democrat -- then Hillary will tell you exactly what you want to hear.

Oil companies are shamelessly profiteering, and Hillary's going to fix their little red wagon, so that within 90 days of her inauguration, gas will be 29 cents a gallon again. Insurance companies are shamelessly profiteering, and she'll fix that, too, so that within 120 days of her inauguration, you'll be able to get guaranteed pain-free denistry for the price of a cold beer. Mortgage companies are shamelessly profiteering, but by the time Hillary gets through with 'em, they'll be paying you interest.

OK, she didn't actually make those specific promises, but you get my drift. What Hillary's populist routine is, more than anything else, is a revival of the Promise 'Em Anything Democrat, completely indifferent to questions of what those promises might cost in terms of higher taxes and bigger government.

She's Hubert Humphrey in a pantsuit, promising government goodies to The People just for the sheer joy of hearing The People cheer her for making the promise.

Hillary flatters The People. She tells them what great and wonderful folks they are, and how horrible it is that they lost their job or can't afford a tank of gas or have to stand in line for their veteran's benefits. How tragic it is that The People must suffer and do without! There must be someone to blame -- someone rich and greedy and indifferent -- and she's going to make those bad people pay for the wrong they've done!

It's all utter nonsense to anyone who understands economics, but like I said, we're talking about Democrats. And of course, anyone familiar with Hillary's Wellesley-Yale Law-Rose Law Firm biography might chuckle at the idea of her as a blue-collar populist, but you ought to see her do her routine live in front of a Democratic audience. Her family was fairly affluent and she grew up in a nice neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, but when she's giving her speeches, Hillary makes it seem that the Rodham family was just scraping to get by on her Dad's meager earnings.

Hillary's act is neither more nor less bogus than Obama's act, and their policy presciptions are equally nonsensical. But Hillary's Old School populism is a proven recipe that partisan Democrats can't resist, and if she keeps serving it up hot, there's no reason the regular customers shouldn't keep coming back for more.

Beware of assumptions

Soren Dayton offers an enthusiastic assessment of how Barack Obama could put the Rust Belt and Northeastern blue-collar white voters "in play" for Republicans in November. Some obvious problems:
  • A primary election is not a general election. If it is safe to assume that Democratic voters who didn't vote for Obama in the primaries would be "in play" for Republicans in November, why not assume that Republican voters who didn't vote for McCain in the primaries would be "in play" for Democrats in November? Partisan loyalties tend to be relatively stable, and primary voters tend to be highly partisan.(*) People who vote in a Democratic primary in April are unlikely to vote Republican in November.
  • Who says Obama will be the nominee? I mean, besides Obamaphiles, stressed-out Democratic officials, and DC press-corps types trying to "cover their bets" after going out on a limb to declare the nomination a lock for Obama? If every Republican strategist wants to forget about Hillary and spend the next three months preparing for a fall campaign as if Obama were certain to win the nomination, OK. But it's not a certainty.
  • Events happen. Exit polls, focus groups and demographic analysis have convinced a lot of people that politics is all about "trends." But trends are after-the-fact intellectual reifications of political behavior. Political trends do not exist independent of political events. A gaffe, a blunder, a scandal, an economic turn, a military action -- these things affect elections as much as any demographic trend.
  • Don't bet your hopes. The fact that you greatly desire an outcome doesn't mean that outcome is likely, or even realistically possible. I'm sure Republicans would like to believe that a McCain-Obama match-up would produce a Nixon-McGovern result -- e.g., a GOP landslide with lots of "hard hat" voters turned off by the apparent radicalism of the Democrat. Such hopes, however, cannot justify the huge gamble of investing major campaign resources in a state like Pennsylvania, that hasn't gone Republican since 1988.
Politics is not a science that can be plotted out in advance without taking into account surprises and contingencies. The slide-rule stuff is all very interesting, from an analytical perspective, but it doesn't win elections.

A gut hunch tells me that John McCain can't possibly win more electoral votes in November than Bush won in 2004, and that Pennsylvania -- which viciously dumped Santorum in 2006 -- will remain firmly Democratic.

But who knows? Anything can happen. I'll be content to wait until after Election Day to learn if my gut hunch was more reliable than Soren's micro-demographic analysis.

* I note that my statement here about the general stabilty of partisan loyalty and primary voters as highly partisan might seem to be contradicted by my own glee over the large number of party-switchers (160,000+ Republicans re-registered as Democrats this year) in Pennsylvania. But there is no contradiction at all. If anything, Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" shows the strength of partisan loyalty, in that Republicans were willing to re-register merely to wreak havoc among Democrats. Thus, demographic mapping showing a white-voter trend toward Hillary in the primary doesn't really suggest any extra "in play" factor in Pennsylvania, since many of those white voters were actually Republican crossover "mischief" voters. They were already Republican to begin with, and thus do not represent some previously untapped reservoir of new potential GOP voters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CONFIRMED: She's an Obama delegate!

UPDATED & BUMPED (again): The same MSM that leaped to a conclusion of guilt in the Duke lacrosse rape hoax now seems strangely reluctant to connect the dots regarding Obama delegate Rozita Swinton and her hoax calls that caused the Texas polygamy raid. CNN:
Authorities have not clearly said that they think Swinton made the March phone calls that prompted the raid. But the affidavit says she is "known to make false reports of sexual abuse to the police and other agencies."
Calls were made to a Texas family shelter March 29 and 30 from a female identifying herself as Sarah Barlow, the affidavit says. The caller said she was 16, had a baby about 8 months old and was pregnant again. She said that her 49-year-old husband was physically and sexually abusive toward her and that they were living at the YFZ Ranch.
The phone calls were made from a prepaid cell phone with no available records, according to the affidavit. However, it has been used in other cases linked to Swinton, the document says.
Do you guys in the MSM need somebody to draw you a picture? Texas officials are, understandably, reluctant to admit that the April 4 raid -- in which authorities seized 416 children from their parents -- was the result of a phony call from a hoaxer in Colorado.

Under the law, a raid based on a fake call may nonetheless result in criminal prosecutions or custodial intervention, but lawyers for any innocent parents at the FLDS El Dorado ranch are looking at a tort lawyer's dream case. So if reporters are waiting for Texas officials to state unequivocally that Swinton's bogus calls were the sole cause of that raid, they're going to be waiting a damned long time.

Whatever happened to the fearsome "watchdog" press that's supposedly always on guard against officials abusing their authority? Bet the cops in the Rodney King case wish the media had been this reluctant to jump to conclusions.

Special shout-out to Andrew Sullivan: Is everything just politics, man? When I began blogging about the Texas FLDS raid, it was just because I'd seen a headline and thought it was interesting in a freakish sort way.

But "from the git-go," as he says, Rusty Shackleford thought the story sounded fishy, and he was ultimately proven right. And as the bogusness of the case became more and more evident, one thought keep recurring: Texas took custody of all 416 children from the families at the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) Ranch.

They didn't just take pregnant teenagers, or pubescent girls at risk of being forced into "spiritual marriages." No, they took all 416 children -- babies in diapers, toddlers, 6-year-old boys, whatever.

To me, the entire Mormon belief system is bogus crackpot stuff, and this polygamous FLDS splinter sect has a documented history of illegal abuses. But ... all 416 children? I just can't get over the draconian quality of this. I know my 7-year-old gets homesick after spending two days at a friend's sleepover party. What a horrible thing for Texas to inflict an indefinite and painful separation on these children -- including even unweaned infants! -- whose parents' only malfeasance is to have resided at the FLDS compound.

That's my angle on the story, and the fact that the hoaxer whose bogus calls evidently caused the Texas raid is also a pledged Obama delegate is merely an amazing (and, I admit, amusing) coincidence. I'm sure you find this coincidence somewhat less amusing, Andrew, but when you start slamming Rusty as part of the "Clinton-Rove axis" (!) engaging in "McTruthiness" (?) your childish sub-DKos jibes only make you seem like a demented partisan hack.

Damn, Andrew -- you used to be an important journalist. It's disturbing to see you spiral downhill like this. Get hold of yourself.

An affidavit now definitely links Rozita Swinton to the call that caused the raid on the Texas sect.
* * * * *
In case you doubted that Rozita Swinton -- the Colorado woman accused of making the hoax calls that may have triggered raids on the Texas polygamist cult -- is actually an Obama delegate, now the Colorado Springs Gazette confirms it:

A 33-year-old woman with a reasonably clean criminal history, Swinton has been active in politics and once sold insurance. . . .
After the El Paso County Democratic caucuses and convention, she was named one of the 360 delegates to the state convention at the World Arena on May 17, chosen to support Barack Obama. El Paso County Democratic Chairman John Morris said he and other party organizers did not know Swinton. . . .
An accomplished liar "with a reasonably clean criminal history"? Well, of course she's a Democrat! And of course her fellow Democrats deny even knowing her. Kind of like Obama and Bill Ayers.

UPDATE: Rusty links and remarks:
Most of those in the comments still defending the raid seem to focus on the allegation that "girls as young as 13 are married and pregnant". One of the FLDS lawyers I keep seeing on TV says that this is patently false, and the claims made by the state is not that there are "13 year olds" but a single allegation that one 13 year old was pregnant 10 years ago.
If that is true would it change your perception that there is some justification for tearing hundreds of kids away from their families based on a search warrant executed on false grounds?
Good point. A kind of Manichean mindset appears to be affecting perceptions of this case. Some people seem to think it's an either-or proposition, and that we must choose to believe one of two things:

  • The FLDS are harmless and innocent religious eccentrics whose practices are beyond criticism.
... or ...
  • The FLDS are vicious and dangerous abusers whose practices justify even the most extreme measures by law enforcement.
In other words, this Manichean approach means that our judgment on the actions of Texas officials is made contingent on our opinions of the FLDS. If we think the FLDS are good, then raiding them is bad, and vice-versa.

I reject that approach. Regardless of whether the FLDS are good or evil, they are human beings who have -- what was Jefferson's phrase? -- "certain unalienable rights." Our rights are not dependent on our popularity; the fat geek has the same rights as the homecoming queen. And freaky religious cultists have the same rights as boring Methodists.

Furthermore, the fact that Swinton is an Obama delegate is certainly newsworthy, but it's hardly fodder for GOP attack ads. The fact that this one woman just happens to be both (a) an Obama delegate and (b) evidently deranged -- that's just a coincidence.

The area around Colorado Springs is a Republican stronghold (67% for Bush in 2004) and I'm sure that Team Obama had to cast a wide net to find enough delegates to file a state-convention slate. That this one kook happened to turn up in that delegation is a function of the Law of Large Numbers. Surely, somewhere among all the John McCain delegates to state GOP conventions, there is at least one Swinton-style kook. And let's don't even start with the Ron Paul delegates . . .

Video: NC anti-Obama ad

Michelle Malkin: "What is the big freaking' deal?"

Michelle's right. There's nothing wrong with the ad, and nothing wrong with the North Carolina GOP making a point about state Democratic politicians endorsing Obama. It's called "politics" and, as my girl Hillary would say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

I suspect the expressions of horror and condemnation from the RNC and the McCain campaign are essentially phony. They want to distance themselves from a potentially controversial attack ad, but they really don't mind the NC GOP taking the lead in roughing up Obama.

If Obama gets the Democratic nomination, McCain's going to have to get rough on his opponent sooner or later, and those fall attack ads will be less controversial if McCain is following a pre-established line of attack.

Sean Hackbarth makes a good point:
How is this different than McCain bringing up the Obama-Ayers connection last Sunday on ABC's This Week?
In the case of Ayers we're still trying to figure out how close the two are. With Wright there's no question what he said, and we know Obama was a member of his church from almost 20 years. How is speculating about a relationship less "offensive" than incontrovertible facts?
Generally speaking, when an opponent complains that an attack ad is "unfair," that's a good sign the attack is effective. Republicans are the only ones who ever complain about their own party's attack ads being "unfair."

Hillary's in the money

Is Operation Chaos behind this latest news?
Hillary Clinton parlayed her victory in the Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary into a pitch for funds, and her campaign said she raised $2.5 million in the hours after the polls closed.
"We can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who keeps on spending so massively," the New York senator said at her victory rally in Philadelphia. "The future of this campaign is in your hands."
Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the money came in less than three hours after voting ended. He called it "our best fundraising night ever."
Of course, Team Clinton didn't acknowledge the crucial role of Rush Limbaugh and Operation Chaos troops in this effort. But that's OK, Rush doesn't need their thanks, and his troops are content to work quietly behind the scenes.

If Rush says Hillary needs votes, she'll get votes. If Rush says she needs cash, she'll get cash. It's fascinating to watch as Rush carefully manipulates the Democratic nomination process into a quagmire.

Howard Dean may scream. The New York Times may panic. But have no fear: El Rushbo is the man in charge.

Progressive panic

Hillary's hard-fought double-digit victory in Pennsylvania produces panic on the editorial page of the New York Times:

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
An "inconclusive result"? Man, she clobbered Obama but good! And where is the evidence that "voters are getting tired of it"? I twice traveled to Pennsylvania to cover Hillary's campaign rallies. She had 'em waiting in line to get inside, and her supporters were ecstatically enthusiastic.

What the New York Times clearly means when it says "voters are getting tired of it" is that the New York Times is getting tired of it.

Where do those assclowns at the New York Times get the idea that Hillary is "mostly responsible" for the "negativity" in the race? Rev. Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rants -- that's not "negativity"? Obama dissing small-town America as a bunch of bitter yahoos -- that's not "negativity"?

All this editorial does is to confirm what we already know: The editors of the New York Times are a bunch of "progressive" Democrats who, like progressive Democrats everywhere, have been cheerleading for Barack Obama ever since he declared his candidacy. Hillary beat Obama and they don't like it, and so they're dumping all over her.

But just you wait: If Hillary somehow hangs in there and actually wins the nomination, the New York Times will jump up in her lap like a friendly puppy, and at that point, anyone who criticizes her then -- once she's the Democratic presidential nominee -- will be accused of mean-spirited hateful sexism.

Pennsylvania afterglow

Ah, time for conservatives to lay back, relax, light up a cigarette, and enjoy the bliss. "Operation Chaos" has scored, bigtime. That's right, Democrats. You've just been screwed.

Forget all the spin from the talking heads on TV. As I explain over at The American Spectator blog, there is only one man in America powerful enough to have made this happen:
It can scarcely be denied that Rush Limbaugh's Operation Chaos helped build Hillary's 10-point margin in Pennsylvania. More than 160,000 Republican voters switched their registration to Democrat in advance of Tuesday's primary, and undoubtedly many of those were hard-core Dittoheads who did just what Limbaugh has been suggesting for weeks: Vote for Hillary, in order to produce a deadlock in the Democratic presidential nomination fight.
Be sure to read the whole thing, since I have a hunch what Rush is going to do next. He's bitter, you know.

After a grueling six-week campaign in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton just beat Barack Obama by double digits -- as of 12:30 a.m., it was 55% to 45% with 98% of precincts reporting, according to CNN.

Hillary can now claim momentum. "The tide is turning," as she said in her victory speech Tuesday night.

Now, my dear progressive friends, the MSM will spend the next week amplifying and echoing Hillary's claim that her big win in Pennsylvania means "the tide is turning" in her favor. You're going to hear this claim parroted, in one form or another, all the way to Sunday, when Tim Russert, George Stephanopoulos, and Wolf Blitzer do their hourlong shows, which will then be digested and regurgitated for Monday's newspapers.

So we're looking at a solid week, at least, of talk about Hillary's big comeback to help sway those undecided primary voters in North Carolina and Indiana.

Can you say "bandwagon effect"? Better yet, can you say ... quagmire?

UPDATE: She sent me a thank-you e-mail:
Dear Robert,
Thanks to you, we won a critically important victory tonight in Pennsylvania. It's a giant step forward that will transform the landscape of the presidential race. And it couldn't have happened without you. There will be much more to do beginning tomorrow. But tonight, let's just celebrate the fact that you and I are part of a remarkable community of people tough enough, passionate enough, and determined enough to win big when everything is on the line. Thanks so much for all you do.


Hillary Rodham Clinton
"Tonight, let's ... celebrate ... you and I are ... passionate." Such a minx, and so subtle ...

UPDATE II: Scott McConnell is not a Rush fan -- Scott is really bitter -- but even he has noticed the success of Operation Chaos.

If anyone doubts that "Operation Chaos" was a real factor in Tuesday's result, check out Rush's interview with one of the troops, "doing the Lord's work" in Exton, Pa.

Republican operatives, afraid that publicity could doom Limbaugh's plan, deny it is having an impact:
RUSH: We'll start with Fox & Friends on the Fox News Channel this morning. The cohost Gretchen Carlson had this exchange with McCain campaign New York state chairman Ed Cox about Operation Chaos. (AUDIO:)
CARLSON: We want to talk to you about Operation Chaos, because Rush Limbaugh has been advocating his listeners to go out and register Democrat and vote for Hillary Clinton in the Pennsylvania primary, just to keep the whole chaos going on the Democratic side. Ed, your thoughts on that.
COX: Well, I -- I don't think that's going to have that much of an impact in the end, uhhh, but -- especially with this kind of a large turnout
Ah, the old "plausible deniability," you see?

UPDATE III: I'm amused by how many pundits -- Marc Armbinder, for one -- still seem to be stuck in the Conventional Wisdom mode of thinking Obama's got the nomination locked up and that Hillary is toast. This is clearly a situation in which Conventional Wisdom is worse than useless, but is indeed a hindrance to comprehending the genuine weirdness of the political reality.

Video: Danica Patrick's beaver

It's not new. It ran during the Super Bowl. But my old blog buddy Joe Budzinski suggested in a comment that posting this video of Danica Patrick, the hottest chick on wheels, dressed in black leather -- and petting her beaver -- would help increase my traffic. And increasing traffic is the name of the game, so I might as well go ahead and post this video of Danica Patrick posing in a bikini for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition:

Even though Danica removes her bikini top during the video, she's posing with her back to the camera when she does it, so it wouldn't be fair to describe this as a "topless video of Danica Patrick," even if you were trying to get random Google traffic from guys looking for a topless video of Danica Patrick. I'm sure we'll debate this distinction the next time the Bloggers Ethics Committee convenes.

Crisis '08: Election HQ

Hillary 55%
Obama 45%

98% of precincts reporting

The Democrats just got screwed. Enjoy the afterglow!

11:58 p.m. About time to wrap it up, but not before noting that Hot Air has video of Hillary talking to Larry King and saying, among other things, "I'm going until we get Florida and Michigan resolved" (about the 2-minute mark). That's my girl!

The big winners tonight? Rush Limbaugh and his "Operation Chaos" crew, who dealt Obama a bitter defeat. Now, it's time for Rush & Co. to put your money where your mouth is. C'mon, Rush -- how about a "Dittoheads for Hillary" radiothon? I'm sure that with your huge national audience, you could easily raise $1 million to help turn the Democratic convention into a complete deadlock.

Video of the latest Hillary ad for Indiana:

Got that? When Hillary is president, she's going to create jobs! jobs! jobs! Jobs for special prosecutors! Jobs for criminal defense attorneys! Jobs for investigative reporters! Jobs for sarcastic bloggers! Jobs for Rush Limbaugh! Jobs for Jay Leno joke writers! Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

11:20 p.m.: Yes, in case you're wondering, that last post with the county-by-county vote totals was a good excuse to get the words "Hillary" and "beaver" into the same post, in a shameless effort to get random Google hits. So I guess this would also be a good place to link the story about Chelsea and Gov. Ed Rendell doing a campaign tour of Philly gay bars, during which a lesbian posed for a photo with her arm around Chelsea, then told a reporter, "I grabbed her ass!"

Building traffic the old-fashioned way!

11:06 p.m.: The official results Web site was temporarily down, so I flipped over to CNN's listing of the county-by-county results in Pennsylvania. What's amazing is the number of counties in which Hillary won with 70% or more:
  • Armstrong 72%

  • Beaver 70%

  • Cambria 72%

  • Carbon 75%

  • Greene 75%

  • Lackawanna 74%

  • Lawrence 74%

  • Lehigh 76%

  • Luzerne 75%

  • Mifflin 70%

  • Northumberland 72%

  • Schuykill 74%

  • Somerset 72%
Some of those are counties where all the precincts haven't reported yet, but I count 13 counties with 70% or more.

10:48 p.m.: Plugging her Web site and begging for cash was the most telling thing in Hillary's victory speech. She just scored a big win, but unless she can get some money rolling in -- and do it pretty damn quick -- there's just no way she can keep going like this.

So if you're part of Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Crew," and you want the Democrats to tear each other apart all the way to Denver, then you've got to give Hillary some money.

10:40 p.m.: Hillary's victory speech -- Man, she looks saucy in green, doesn't she?

From the notebook: Bill and Chelsea in the audience. Teal green ensemble. Notice the matching jade earrings and necklace.

"It's a long road to 1600 Penn. Ave. and it runs right thru the heart of Pa."

She looks fresh and rested, but I notice a lot of that light-colored concealer under her eyes.

"Ready to lead on Day One" -- line she used when I heard her yesterday in Harrisburg. She's reading a prepared text, but most of her applause lines are standard -- she's actually better when she's doing it without a script.

"I'm in this race to fight for you" -- somebody should count how many times she said "fight" in this speech.

"This is your campaign and this is your victory tonight." Plugs her Web site, begs for cash.

"Some people counted me out and said to drop out ... The American people don't quit and they deserve a president who doesn't quit." Right, so why does she keep promising to pull us out of Iraq in 60 days?

"The tide is turning." They'll use this turning-tide metaphor a lot in the next week or so, just watch.

"America is worth fighting for." Again with the "fight."

Thanks Bill, Chelsea, her brothers, her mother, etc., "for their incredible love and support." When Hillary says "love" and "Bill" in the same sentence, doesn't your mind immediately flash on Monica? Or is it just me?

"If you're ready, I'm ready." Sounds kind of like a Cialis ad. The end of the speech is kind of lame. She needs some speechwriters with more testosterone and a better sense of phrasing. Despite lame ending, crowd cheers hysterically as she exits.

10:06 p.m.Waiting for Hillary's victory speech. Dem pollster Pat Caddell on Fox: Hillary "clobbering" Obama. Winning 75% in SW Pa. and in Scranton area.

Hillary just walked onstage. Back to update after her speech.

9:55 p.m.: Official results are coming in kind of slow, but that's to be expected in any Pennsylvania Democratic primary. It takes a long time for election officials in Philadelphia to make sure that all the dead people in the cemeteries vote in alphabetical order. Wouldn't want any irregularities, now would we?

9:44 p.m.: OK, folks, gut-check time for the "Operation Chaos" crew: How serious are you about causing anarchy in the Democratic primary race? I mean, if you really want to sow havoc, you ought to be willing to pay for the fun. To encourage you, here's Hillary's latest ad:

That is not -- repeat, not -- a parody. It's an honest-to-God official Hillary Clinton ad.

9:25 p.m.: Fox News calls it for Hillary. We pretty much knew that before the polls closed. It's the margin of victory that really counts.

9:15 p.m.: CNN now has the complete exit-poll results online. (Via Hot Air.)

8:40 p.m.: From our Let The MSM Tell You What To Think Department comes this ABC News headline:
Negative Campaign Tarnishes Clinton, Obama
"Tarnished?" Tainted? Besmirched and befouled? Despicably begrimed by their loathesome smear tactics? Horrified citizens of a shocked nation turn their heads in revulsion!

8:35 p.m.: The polls have been closed for more than half an hour in Pennsylvania, and the state's official results site is still showing 0% of precincts reporting. Could be a long night.

8:22 p.m.: Welcome Ace of Spades readers. I'm sorry I fell behind on my liveblogging, but I was working on John McCain's political obituary. Just a hobby of mine.

Just saw Michael Barone on the air with Brit Hume. Barone once bummed a cigarette from me at the Kennedy Center. Or maybe I bummed one from Barone. I can't remember. Anyway, we were outside smoking when up walked Ben Wattenberg. Famous DC people are usually encountered in clumps like that.

7:32 pm.: If Hillary wins in Pennsylvania, the one headline you will not read in tomorrow's papers:
Racist Democrats
Reject Obama in PA
The exit-poll data may indicate that racism played a role in the decision of Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters, but the MSM will never attribute such a sentiment to Democrats, generically. On the other hand, if Democrats eventually nominate Obama, every vote for the Republicans in November will be attributed to racism. To the MSM, "racist" and "Democrat" are mutually exclusive terms.

7:12 p.m.: Michelle Malkin has a live thread going and notes that Hillary won't quit, no matter what -- which is exactly the point I made in The American Spectator on March 26.

7:08 p.m.: A pollster, blogging about exit polls. Like a painter watching paint dry, I suppose.

6:58 p.m.: Crisis '08 exit-poll analysis from Ace:

How do you tell an exit pollster you're voting against the Mocha Messiah?
You can't. It's almost blasphemy.

Or bitterness.

6:31 p.m. Polls don't close until 8 p.m. EDT, but in the meantime, this urgent election bulletin: Crisis '08 HQ has just learned that, according to exit polls, gun owners went for Hillary 58-42. That 16-point spread, however, may actually be bad news for Hillary, since observers had expected her to carry the crucial gun-clinging "bitter" vote by a 2-to-1 margin.

6:18 p.m. The's an open thread at Hot Air, where Allah and the gang are wading through the early exit-poll numbers as if there were actual results. Meanwhile, I'm eating a sandwich while I continue to await ... actual results.

6:09 p.m. Philip Klein says early exit polls show a closer-than-expected result. But early exit poll results are always crap. The official vote count will start coming in soon enough. I'll wait for that. In the meantime, expect further updates on exit-poll panic . . .

5:58 P.M: Via Memeorandum, I bring you two blindingly obvious New York Times headlines:
Turnout High at End of Long Battle in Pennsylvania
. . . and . . .
Heavy Turnout in Pa.
Well, no freaking duh, sporto. A six-week campaign in a primary election that may prove pivotal to the Democratic presidential nomination, and you were thinking maybe turnout would be light?

Is there some kind of instant-stupidity drug that the New York Times administers regularly to its staff? Are they dosing the water-cooler, or what?

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.:
Now, you may be asking yourself, "If I can just click that link and get official results from the State of Pennsylvania, why should I bother to read what some stupid blogger says about it?"

Good question. But did you ever ask yourself the same question about watching election-night coverage on TV? Let's face it, millions of morons are going to spend tonight watching some guy on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC or Fox News telling them the same kind of stuff you're going to read here tonight. Why?

After all, by the time the TV talking head can say, "Hillary now leads 54 to 44," the official election site will have already updated the results so that it's 53-45 or whatever. The cold, hard, up-to-date facts of the election are not on TV. What people are watching when they watch news on TV is ... a TV show.

TV is about entertainment. It's a carnival, a circus, a spectacle. In other words, TV is show business. TV news is show business, too, and in some senses, TV news is even worse than sitcoms or soap operas, because people in TV news have the annoying habit of telling you what to think.

If you don't understand the difference between show business and news, allow me to suggest that you read a book by Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.

My wife and I have six kids, and we have sort of a slogan around our house, "TV rots your brain." The more TV you watch, the dumber you become. The power of television-viewing to destroy the intellect is why we have always limited our children's television viewing.

So tonight, instead of watching the usual carnival freaks on TV (e.g., the oleaginous Dick Morris on Fox) telling you what to think, why not spend the night with me, here in the blogosphere?

I'll update regularly with the latest tidbits of news, throw in a few jokes and stuff and, best of all, I won't tell you what to think.

Oh, I'll tell you what I think -- in the most emphatic manner possible -- but you're always free to think whatever you want. In fact, you can click on the "comments" and tell me what you think. Not that I actually care what you think, but you don't really care what I think, either. So it's equal. Fair and balanced, you might say.
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Welcome to the continually updated, entirely subjective Pennsylvania primary election thread. Since we all know that the fate of the Free World -- indeed, the destiny of life in the universe as we know it -- hangs upon the outcome, I'll be passing along news, vote counts, and random gossip from cable TV chatter as soon as it comes in.