Saturday, June 21, 2008

U.S. casualty rate down in Iraq

"War means fighting, and fighting means killing," a famous general once said. Thus, casualties are not an argument against war. Casualties are an inevitable result of war, and if a war is worth fighting, it is worth fighting whatever the casualty rate.

Nevertheless, since Vietnam, many Americans have accepted the idea that military casualties are unacceptable. These people have argued that our troops should be withdrawn from Iraq because the casualty rate is too high.

During the first four years of the Iraq war (2003-2006), U.S. military deaths totaled 2,999, according to, a rate of about 750 per year. This may seem like a heavy toll, but historically it is not. More than 6,500 U.S. troops were killed in the course of a little over a month to capture Iwo Jima, a 5,000-acre volcanic speck in the Pacific. During a single three-year period (1967-69) of the Vietnam war, the U.S. lost more than 39,000 troops killed in action -- i.e., an average of more than 1,000 deaths per month.

However, if the defeatists were correct in arguing that 750 combat deaths per year was an indication of U.S. failure, and thus cause for withdrawal, what if the casualty rate declined?

Well, guess what? In May, U.S. forces suffered only 19 deaths in Iraq, the lowest monthly total since the invasion began in March 2003. And this was not an anomaly, but part of a trend of declining U.S. casualties as a result of the apparent success of the "surge" that began in February 2007.

The surge only reached full strength in August, and the surge brigades are now returning home. If lower U.S. casualty rates are a measure of success, the surge appears to have been an overwhelming success. A comparison:
U.S. deaths in Iraq
Jan.-May 2004: 334 (66.8/mo.)
Jan.-May 2005: 332 (66.4/mo.)
Jan.-May 2006: 293 (58.6/mo.)
Jan.-May 2007: 475 (95.0/mo.)
Jan.-May 2008: 179 (35.8/mo.)
This chart, I would argue, helps demonstrate the folly of using casualties -- or rather, a lack of casualties -- as a measure of military success. The relatively low casualty rate of U.S. forces now is undoubtedly a consequence of the heavy fighting done by U.S. forces in 2007, when the surge began and when U.S. casualty rates were highest.

Still, U.S. casualties for the first five months of this year are 38.9% lower than for the first five months of 2006. if high casualties are an argument for withdrawing from Iraq, then by the same logic, low casualties should be an argument for not withdrawing from Iraq.

In fact, given that U.S. forces in Iraq suffered fewer combat deaths in May than did U.S. forces in Afghanistan, why isn't Barack Obama advocating withdrawal from Afghanistan?

Who is fueling Obama rumors?

Liberal columnist Walter Brasch:
Voluminous lies and exaggerations about Sen. Barack Obama permeate the conservative talk shows, e-mails, and Internet. From bitterness dripping in an equal amount of invective and stupidity, we are told that Obama is a radical Muslim "mole" who is waiting to take over America, that he attended Muslim schools and was indoctrinated in that faith, that he switched to Christianity solely to get elected to office, and that he took his oath of office by placing his hand on a Koran.
I listen to lots of talk radio and spend hours a day on the Internet, and have never once heard this "Obama is a Muslim" stuff from any conservative sources. Where do I hear it? Only from liberals like Walter Brasch, who claim to be fighting "smears" from the right.

Unless and until Brasch and his fellow liberals are prepared to cite specific examples -- to name names, rather than generically attributing these rumors to "the right" -- they should shut up about this stuff.

UPDATE: Via Insty, Howard Mortman points to this ad that ran in South Dakota, using footage from an Obama speech in which he says America is "no longer a Christian nation":

That shoddy-looking ad, which looks like it was put together on a laptop as a class project by a high-school sophomore, was referenced by Obama in explaining his decision to opt out of public funding. It's worth noting that this ad ran during the South Dakota Democratic primary, meaning that its sponsors were probably a Hillary Clinton front group.

Team Barr's growing pains

Bob Barr's presidential campaign just sent out a fundraising message, seeking to raise $40,750 "immediately" to cover the cost of moving into new headquarters in Atlanta:
Right now, we're completely out of space in our temporary location (as I type this, I'm literally back to back with six others in a single office) and can't fit in any more workers. The location that we need to secure . . . is an old AT&T call center. [Campaign] Russ [Verney] loves it because it's a very big open room with only two, small windows.
The Barr campaign is very Web-oriented, organizing grassroots supporters via Meetup, and signing up more than 2,500 members on its Facebook group. Barr was on the Dennis Miller radio show Friday, and just appeared on

Video: Britney update!

She's back in Los Angeles, where she almost caused a paparazzi riot on her arrival at LAX. In watching that video, I'm thinking:
  • The advent of relatively cheap autofocus digital cameras has swollen the ranks of semi-pro paparazzi. The cost of film would keep most of them out of the game.
  • Celebrities could avert this kind of scene if they'd stop trying to play the hard-to-get recluse, surrounded by bodyguards shoving photographers aside. Britney could have come out the arrivals gate, held an impromptu photo session, and then said, "OK, boys, you've got your pics. Now, I need to go catch my ride, so please let me through."
Think about it. There are other stars as big as or bigger than Britney who don't routinely cause paparazzi mob scenes. She's just not handling them correctly.

UPDATE: Britney's sister, trailer-trash role model Jamie Lynn Spears, is also back home after giving birth to a 7-pound, 11-ounce bastard girl.

McCain surging?

It may just be a fluctuation, but John McCain, who was at 41% in the June 9 Gallup Daily tracking poll is now at 44%, while Barack Obama, who was 48% on June 9, is now at 46%. This is the third poll since June 13 in which Gallup has shown a 2-point race, which is a statistical dead heat.

Oddly enough, in its poll for USA Today, Gallup reports a 6-point lead for Obama. But the Newsweek poll (with Obama up 15 points) remains an anomaly. Early polls are apt to be a bit deceiving. It's June, and most people are thinking about vacation, not politics. Swing voters don't really pay much attention before Labor Day.

GOP's cash cache

The attention to Barack Obama's fundraising advantage overlooks the $50 million edge that the RNC has against the DNC. Exactly what the RNC plans to do with all that money is yet to be determined, but the cash shortage at the DNC means either (a) Democratic donors don't trust DNC chairman Howard Dean, or (b) the DNC's been profligate with the money it's already raised. Or possibly both.

Meanwhile, it appears that the McCain campaign had a very good May, pulling even with Obama in terms of monthly fundraising.

UPDATE: Kenneth Vogel:
Obama’s announcement Thursday that he would become the first candidate to opt out of the public financing program for the general election was a big deal for some of the nation’s most influential newspaper editorial boards, which have long been ardent champions of campaign finance reform and which had thought they’d found a kindred spirit on the issue.
Friday morning, scathing editorials in many top broadsheets characterized Obama’s move as a self-interested flip-flop, dismissed his efforts to cast it as a principled stand and charged that Obama wasn’t living up to the reformer image around which he has crafted his political identity.
Just for the record, I am in favor of self-interest and opposed to "reform." But Obama wants to have his self-interested cake and eat his "reform," too.

UPDATE II: Jeralyn Merritt notices that the Rocky Mountain News has an idea for Obama: "Say, buddy, since you're so flush with cash, how about helping pay for the convention?"

Celebrity news update

Keeping up with the red-carpet crowd, so you don't have to:
  • Nicole Kidman is 41 years old, and pregnant with country singer Keith Urban's baby.
  • Keira Knightley talks about the nude scenes in her new movie: "I always bare my breasts. . . . I said, 'All right then.' It was very simple. . . . It was a sex scene." Indeed, Keira has been known to have "wardrobe malfunctions" before.
  • Tween idol Jesse McCartney poses for the cover of a British gay magazine. This is one of those celebrity situations where a geezer like me had to ask himself, "Who the heck is this person?" He is set to play Frank Hardy in an upcoming "Hardy Boys" remake. He was in a USA cable series. Other than that, as far as I can tell, he's just a 21-year-old actor famous for being cute.
  • Gee, when your movie title is "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," think you're going to have problems with the ratings board? You're right.
  • Britney Spears briefly returned to her hometown to see her jailbait sister Jamie Lynn give birth. The baby arrived, and Britney departed. Unwed mother Jamie Lynn chose an appropriately trailer-trash name ("Maddie Briann") for her baby. It's like the Snopeses got their own reality series.
  • Brittany Snow (another one of those "stars" I had to look up) says she has a "girl crush" on Natalie Portman. What a terrible thing, to be obsessed with Natalie Portman.
  • Video: Jessica Simpson interviewed by a country music station.
  • Former supermodel Christie Brinkley is going through a bitter divorce, with all kinds of kinky allegations. She never should have dumped Billy Joel.
  • Two more "stars" I never heard of, Lauren Conrad and Audrina Partridge, in bikinis. (Kind of a slow week for the paparazzi, I guess.)
If that's not enough celebrity news to satisfy you, go to WeSmirch, the gossip blog aggregator, for lots more.

Obama plays the race card

In Florida:
"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?
The fact that Obama is young and inexperienced -- prior to 2005, he was an Illinois state legislator -- is fair game. But have the Republicans ever made an issue of Obama's race? No, nor are they ever likely to do so.

Obama's trying to play the victim, and if he keeps it up, he will generate a backlash. Americans are going to have a hard time believing a Harvard Law graduate who owns a $1.65 million home is a victim.

UPDATE: Ed Morrisey:
The ironic part of this argument is that it ignores the tactics his fellow Democrats used in the primary. . . . It was, after all, staffers on the Hillary Clinton campaign that sent the photo of Obama in African garb to the Drudge Report. It was Bill Clinton who suggested that Obama’s victory in South Carolina was no more significant than Jesse Jackson’s in 1988.
When Democrats do it, nobody notices.

Money for nothing?

A liberal academic writes a column exposing "the small-donor fallacy" -- especially that Barack Obama's fundraising is somehow different from other candidates:
Contributions of less than $200 do not have to be itemized in reports to the Federal Election Commission, so we have no idea how many are made. We also cannot rely on the candidates' rhetoric to match the facts. During a Feb. 26 debate in Cleveland, for example, Obama said that "we have now raised 90 percent of our donations from small donors, $25, $50." His campaign's own data from January 2007 through January 2008 show that 36 percent of donated funds were from small donors. Obama probably meant that 90 percent of the individuals who contributed were small donors, but the number of donors has not been verified. . . .
[F]or most of his campaign, big donors have been Obama's mainstay. Employees of investment bank Goldman Sachs, for example, have contributed more than $570,000 to his campaign.
So much for the idea that Obama is collecting campaign cash mostly from the downtrodden masses, an idea that is further exposed as ridiculous:
Another problem with asserting that small donors are an antidote to undue influence by wealthy contributors is that even small donors are almost certainly much richer than the average American.
In a study of $100 contributions to state campaigns in six states during 2005, the Campaign Finance Institute found that more than half of donors earned between $75,000 and $250,000 a year. The median U.S. income that year was $46,000. While it's tricky to extrapolate to the presidential race, it is unlikely that campaign giving has suddenly become a common pursuit of working-class families.
Professor Jay Mandle's class-warfare theme and his call for more campaign finance regulations are unfortunate, but he is onto something important: The reality of Obama's fundraising doesn't necessarily match the perception. Just because a donor gave contributions via the Internet, rather than buying a ticket to a $500-a-plate fundraiser, doesn't really mean anything except perhaps saving the candidate the cost of putting on a dinner.

UPDATE: How does this relate to Obama's dishonest attack on Republicans as the tools of "special interests"?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Al Gore vs. 'Hot Air' tour

Al Gore is trying to prevent Americans for Prosperity from launching their hot air balloon at a Nashville park:
Gore spokesperson Kalee Kreider said earlier this week they were looking into whether the group was violating any ordinances. I spoke with the group about that very point.
"I don't believe Al Gore controls the air space over Belle Meade," AFP Spokesperson Annie Patnaude told NIT. "Stan Hess is our FAA licensed balloonist, and the balloon is a federally licensed aircraft. We're permitted to launch from Percy Warner Park and have been told there are no other restrictions."
Now, via Insty, the update:
Sure enough, just a few hours before our event was scheduled to kick off, the Nashville Parks and Recreation Department has been in touch, claiming that the permit they approved doesn't allow us to launch our balloon from the city park where we're holding our event -- even though we told them repeatedly exactly what we planned to do. . . .
It seems pretty clear that Gore allies in Nashville / Davidson County Metro government are trying to spare their local Oscar winner more embarassment, following this week's revelation by our friends at the Tennessee Center for Policy Research that Gore's already-high personal energy use is up 10 percent over last year -- to the point that he uses about 19 times as much energy as the typical American family.
6/19: AFP balloon visits Marietta today
6/11: Hot air over America

Ice on Mars?

So says NASA. If they find any scotch to go with the ice, then I'll be impressed.

Organized ignorance

Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman is one of the most famous professor's in the history of the University of Chicago. But he's "controversial":
[S]ome faculty . . . want to put the brakes on a plan to name a new research center after the Nobel Prize-winning economist.
In a letter to U. of C. President Robert Zimmer, 101 professors . . . said they feared that having a center named after the conservative, free-market economist could "reinforce among the public a perception that the university's faculty lacks intellectual and ideological diversity."
About a half-dozen faculty members aired their concerns Tuesday in a meeting with Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum, who remain committed to the project. Rosenbaum said the university plans to put about $500,000 toward launching the center next year, but it hopes the expected $200 million endowment for the center will come mostly from private funds from alumni and business leaders.
"It is a right-wing think tank being put in place," said Bruce Lincoln, a professor of the history of religions and one of the faculty members who met with the administration Tuesday.
Dude. You're a professor of religious history. What the hell do you know about economics? Besides which, please explain to me the need for "diversity" in economics. An economic proposition is either true or it is false. What these campus lefties actually want is equal time for collectivist falsehoods.

(Via Insty and Volokh.)

Puzzling omission

Just noticed that the Gallup Daily tracking poll has ceased to be daily. Whereas the poll's result was reported every day up through Wednesday, we got no report Thursday and have had none today. Perhaps they got tired of BounceWatch?

UPDATE: OK, so now they post the numbers:
Obama 46%
McCain 44%
Obama has fluctuated between 44-48% since May 22; McCain has fluctuated at 41-46%. The current fluctuation has Obama ahead by a statistically insignificant 2% -- i.e., still no bounce.

Knocked up update

Via Hot Air and Breitbart, CBS video of superintendent Christopher Farmer talking about the secret teen pregnancy pact at Gloucester High School:

Allah observes:
According to Time, "nearly half" of the 17 pregnant girls — actually 18 now, per the Gloucester Daily Times — were in on it. . . . Might the fact that Gloucester High offers a full-time day-care center have something to do with it?
Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner. Human beings respond to incentives. If you make it easier to engage in irresponsible behavior, you'll get more irresponsible behavior.

The psychologist, Dr. Elisabeth Guthrie, talks about pregnant girls gaining "the impression of being an adult ... independent." How does a 15- or 16-year-old girl achieve "independence" through motherhood alone? Are these girls getting Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, public housing? If the girls (or the girls' parents, or the sires of the girls' offspring) were required to shoulder the entire financial burden -- including the cost of medical care -- I suppose pregnancy would create more a sense of financial desperation, and less a sense of "independence." Incentives, you see.

Meanwhile, the Business and Media Institute notes how CBS tries to place the blame for this situation on the economy.

UPDATE: CNN has an Associated Press report, but at $2.50 a word, I can't afford to quote it.

'Random adults' and ANWR

Allahpundit notes a 10-point disparity between a Gallup survey and a Rasmussen survey on the question of drilling ANWR. Observing that the two surveys were taking a month apart, Allah says this "probably means opinion on ANWR has shifted somewhat too."

No, it means Gallup polled "random adults." Look:
Results for the Gallup Panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,013 national adults, aged 18 and older . . .
Now, notice that Rasmussen polled "1,000 likely votes." This undoubtedly accounts for all the difference in the two surveys.

Compared to "random adults," actual voters tend to be older, more educated, and with higher income. "Likely voters" pay more attention to current events and public affairs than do "random adults."

One of the most dishonest things that polling firms and news organizations do is to ask political questions in surveys of "random adults," then report those results as if they were politically significant, when they are not. People who don't vote, don't count when it comes to politics. The disinvolved and uninformed tend to be more liberal than actual voters; pollsters and media know this, and thus use "random adult" surveys as propaganda to make liberal policies seem more popular politically than they actually are.

Wild for West

From my latest American Spectator article:
Conservatives seeking a gleam of hope amid gloomy prospects for November are beginning to turn their eyes toward sunny Florida, where an Iraq war veteran is waging a David-and-Goliath battle for Congress.
Allen West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who made headlines five years ago with his gunpoint interrogation of an Iraqi prisoner, is challenging first-term Democratic Rep. Ron Klein in Florida's 22nd District.
After the 2006 midterm meltdown that helped Klein defeat 13-year incumbent Clay Shaw, many Republicans -- including presidential candidate Sen. John McCain -- are campaigning as boring centrists.
West, however, is bringing a back-to-basics conservative message. He takes a strong stance against illegal immigration, favors drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and criticizes free-spending Washington ways.
"What you see happening is that the Republican Party has gotten away from its basic ideology," West says, adding that 2006 "was a bad year for Republicans because they started acting like Democrats.”
By all means, read the whole thing, and be sure to visit Col. West's Web site.

Update: Col. West & FL22

Who said Barr wouldn't make a difference?

The latest poll from Georgia:
  • McCain 44%
  • Obama 43%
  • Barr 6%
  • Undecided 7%
The New Republic is excited, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Obama's poll numbers may actually improve in coming weeks:
"This is a very precarious situation" for McCain, [pollster Matt] Towery said. "It's precarious because it's going to be a battle to the end."
Towery said Obama could actually pick up another 2 to 4 percentage points given the phenomenal increase in voter registration among African Americans in Georgia.
"I had it in my gut this was going this way, but I really didn't have it confirmed until last night."
Don't blame me. I haven't been to Georgia since last month.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bob Barr: 'Power to the people'

Urging people to sign up at

Incredible. Just incredible.

A story that got overlooked earlier this year: In Dallas, it was discovered that a 12-year-old girl had danced nude in a strip club -- and yet the club was allowed to keep its license:
The mere fact that a 12-year-old girl danced nude at a northwest Dallas strip club isn't enough to close its doors.
That's because the city ordinance that regulates sexually oriented businesses does not allow authorities to revoke the license of such a business for employing someone under the age of 18.
The sixth-grader danced at Diamonds Cabaret over a two-week period late last year, authorities say. They also say they found a 17-year-old girl working in the club in January. . . .
"There's a laundry list of things we can use to deny or revoke a license, but having a 12-year-old dancing in their establishment is not one of the things that automatically enables us to revoke their license," said Lt. Christina Smith, a vice unit commander who oversees licensing of such establishments.
This is insane. If there were any sanity left in the world, an angry mob of citizens would have stormed down there, burnt that club to the ground, tarred and feathered the owners, and ridden them out of town on a rail.

Someone please explain to me how (a) there is nothing in Texas law that prevents preteens from performing as strippers, and yet (b) Texas officials can execute a SWAT raid on that polygamist compound and seize more than 400 children on the basis of a bogus tip?

I guess if "reality TV" can have pre-teen pole dancers . . .

UPDATE: In other 12-year-old news:
A Canadian court has lifted a 12-year-old girl's grounding, overturning her father's punishment for disobeying his orders to stay off the Internet, his lawyer said Wednesday.
The girl had taken her father to Quebec Superior Court after he refused to allow her to go on a school trip for chatting on websites he tried to block, and then posting "inappropriate" pictures of herself online using a friend's computer.
The father's lawyer Kim Beaudoin said the disciplinary measures were for the girl's "own protection" and is appealing the ruling.
"She's a child," Beaudoin told AFP. "At her age, children test their limits and it's up to their parents to set boundaries."
(Via Ace.) Hmmm. Twelve-year-olds posting "inappropriate" photos on the Internet. Judges who won't let parents enforce discipline. Do you think these two phenomena might be related?

UPDATE II: For some reason, Whiskey Fire believes the fact that this is part of a custody case means that one cannot draw "broad social or cultural conclusions" from it. I'll keep this in mind the next time some idiot blows up an abortion clinic -- just another isolated incident. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Luce Ladies: The Video

The Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute is one of my favorite organizations, providing leadership training to conservative women. As they point out in the video, they offer paid internships in Washington, sponsor the monthly Conservative Women's Network luncheons in Washington, and help students bring speakers like Michelle Malkin, Star Parker, Amanda Carpenter, Bay Buchanan and Ann Coulter to college campuses.

I first learned about the Luce Ladies when Lisa De Pasquale (who is now CPAC director) was CBLPI program director and invited me to a CWN luncheon to hear Kate Obenshain speak. That RSVP was a no-brainer: "Let's see, a roomful of conservative women and a free lunch. Yeah, I'll be there."

Since then, I've gotten to know Michelle Easton and her staff, and always do what I can to promote the organization. (Including blogging about their annual calendar.) As a matter of fact, Kathleen McCann -- CBLPI's lecture director, who is interviewed in the video -- joined the Luce Ladies after I recommended she get in touch with them last year.

CBLPI works hard to provide role models, mentoring, education, and networking opportunities for young conservative women, both in Washington and on college campuses across the country. Liberal bias in academia has an especially heavy impact on women students, since feminist ideologues in women's studies programs promote the notion that all women are (or should be) "progressive."

Student activists trained by CBLPI push back against that message, making sure their fellow students hear about conservative ideas their professors never tell them about. Just in watching that 5-minute video, I saw the faces of CBLPI-trained students like Allison Aldrich who are really making a difference.

Little wonder, then, that the Left has taken notice of CBLPI's success. The Nation, America's leading liberal magazine, recently called the Luce Ladies "the conservative group to watch in the upcoming years."

You know you're doing something right when the Left starts warning people about how dangerous you are. So give the Left something to worry about: Support the Lucy Ladies.

Evangelicals vs. McCain

Tim Carney, now writing the Evans & Novak Political Report, sees trouble for John McCain:
On the religious conservative side, McCain is also facing difficulties. Ineptitude and insensitivity resulted in insults to two evangelical leaders, the Rev. John Hagee and Focus on the Family's James Dobson.
Hagee has told friends that McCain "threw [him] under the bus," by soliciting his endorsement, and then disowning him after news came out about a previous offensive-sounding comment about Hitler. . . .
McCain also bungled an opportunity to patch things up with Dobson, who is very influential. Dobson had said last year that he could never vote for McCain, but this spring, he reached out to the nominee. Dobson wanted a meeting in Colorado Springs, but McCain demanded a meeting in Denver. No meeting ever happened.
There is little in McCain's record as a senator to upset evangelicals, but little to excite them either. . . . To evangelicals . . . he doesn't come across as "one of us."
(Hat-tip: Kleinheider.) It's not just evangelicals who don't perceive McCain as "one of us." The Republicans seem to be counting on voters perceiving Obama as "one of them."

UPDATE: Donald Rumsfeld also doesn't consider McCain "one of us":
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently declined to answer whether he will support Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for president. . . .
McCain has said that Rumsfeld will "go down as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." . . .
Rumsfeld told The Hill that he has not followed the presidential elections, but instead has been focused on work for his private foundation.
Asked whether that meant he wasn’t going to support McCain, Rumsfeld answered: "I have not been involved at all."
That's going to leave a mark.

High school baby boom

Weird story from Gloucester, Mass.:
As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies -- more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. . . . School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," [principal Joseph] Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.
(Via Hot Air Headlines.) Despite the obvious fact that these girls wanted to get pregnant, the idea that teenage pregnancy must always be an accident, the result of ignorance -- that what kids need is more classes about condoms and pills -- nevertheless persists:
[A]fter nurse practitioner Kim Daly had administered some 150 pregnancy tests at Gloucester High's student clinic, she and the clinic's medical director, Dr. Brian Orr, a local pediatrician, began to advocate prescribing contraceptives regardless of parental consent, a practice at about 15 public high schools in Massachusetts.
It's an interesting story, so read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Allahpundit asks, "Any theories?" A couple:
  • Nature triumphs over nuture. Let's face it: Baby-making is biologically programmed into the female psyche. Absent any strong incentive against getting knocked up -- i.e., ferociously protective parents who threaten to beat the living daylights out of any guy who tries to get frisky with their daughter -- this is what will happen.
  • The power of suggestion. The school has a program to keep pregnant students from dropping out. Once the girls see one of their classmates walking around with a baby, they get ideas in their heads.
If you really want to understand the issue of teen pregnancy, you should read Maggie Gallagher's The Age of Unwed Mothers (available online in PDF format).

Video: Obama breaks a promise

He offers a dishonest rationale for breaking his pledge to participate in the public campaign financing system. (Via Time and Hot Air Headlines.)

The obvious conclusion is that Obama was willing to go whichever way would allow him to raise more money than the Republicans. He promised to stick to the public-financing system (which caps his contributions at about $85 million) because it sounded good at the time. Now, ignoring the millions that Soros & Co. have pumped into Democratic 527s, he breaks his pledge, claiming that Republicans are going to use 527s to gain some sort of unfair advantage. Unbelievable.

Obama-Pooh '08

Michelle Malkin notes that the "army of Photoshoppers" has been busy illustrating the idea promoted by an Obama adviser that Winnie the Pooh is a "fundamental text on national security." (This image is via American Elephant.) For some reason, Pooh's name was left off the list of the advisers on Obama's "senior working group on national security."

Given the Democratic nominee's need for gravitas on foreign policy, I think Pooh deserves consideration as Obama's running mate.

Remember: You can't spell "Hope" without "Pooh"!

Video: Barr says drill ANWR now!

In an online interview with the Washington Post, Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr says "we do need to begin immediately, as quickly as possible, drilling in ANWR":

Both John McCain and Barack Obama are opposed to drilling the estimated 86 billion barrels in ANWR. Barr, the only pro-drilling candidate, also appeared yesterday on Neil Cavuto:

The Don Young intern guide

Some interns in the office of pork-barreling Alaska Rep. Don Young put together an "intern survival guide," including tips for dealing with the congressman's wife. But, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the guide's reference to an "A-Team" -- people whose phone calls are to be put directly through to whomever they call -- includes the names of several lobbyists:
Some, like [Rick] Alcalde, are tied to an ongoing investigation into a $10 million earmark Young secured for Coconut Road in Florida. Alcalde, a transportation lobbyist, worked for a real estate developer who sought the earmark and was a major financial contributor to Young’s campaign. [Randy] DeLay is the Houston-based lobbyist brother of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, [Jack] Ferguson is a former chief of staff to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who is also under federal investigation.
(Via Memeorandum.) Someone said to me the other night that what happened to the Republican congressional majority after 1995 is they saw how the Democrats had done business and figured, "Hey, that's the way it's done." Of course, the people who had elected them had other ideas, and once it became apparent that the Republicans were no different than the Democrats, the people figured they might as well just stay home on Election Day. The epitaph on the tombstone of the conservative revolution should read, "Business as usual."

AFP balloon visits Marietta today

Americans for Prosperity is bringing its Hot Air Tour to Marietta, Ga., today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway reports:
The Georgia chapter of Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax group, is hosting a Thursday event featuring free a hot-air balloon ride, to underline what it says are the harsh economic consequences of fighting global warning.
AFP already had its “Hot Air Tour” up and floating elsewhere during the Washington debate over the now-stalled Lieberman-Warner climate bill, which calls for capping carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, transportation and industrial sources.
The AFP will have its balloon (and 70-foot tether) at Jim Miller Park in Marietta at 11 a.m. Thursday.
Word is that you don’t have to present yourself as a global warming skeptic to go up in the balloon. But they may ask for a different answer before they bring you down.
They'll be in Birmingham, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn., on Friday. Yesterday, they were in Savannah, Ga. , where Jamie Durden reports:
Tim Phillips, president of AFP, says if one particular piece of legislation called "cap-and-trade" passes, it could make our energy sources so expensive, it would cripple middle Amercians.
"Right now we rely on so much of the Middle East for our oil and that's not the answer," he said. "We have something like 21 billion barrels of oil right here off the continental shelf. We should go out and get that and look for new technologies and to have a prospersous economy is the best way to make sure we're finding new technologies."
The success of the balloon tour demonstrates that, even in the 21st-century "new media" age, nothing beats good old-fashioned ballyhoo in terms of generating public attention.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Historic news I can't quote

Maryland voters have made history by electing the state's first female Africa-American congresswoman. I'd tell you more, but the Associated Press is threatening to charge bloggers $2.50 a word now.

However, I can still quote the Washington Post for nothing, and can report that the special election was marked by "exceptionally low turnout." That news would cost you $7.50 from the AP.

McCain drills Obama

Very good zinger:
For Senator Obama, the solution to every problem and the answer to every challenge is a new tax. And he is convinced that a 1970’s-style windfall profits tax is just what America needs in the 21st Century. . . .
When I announced this policy the other day, Senator Obama wasted no time in mischaracterizing it. He described my position as -- you guessed it -- another example of Bush’s third term. I guess the senator has changed his position since voting for the 2005 Bush energy bill -- a grab-bag of corporate handouts that I opposed. Come to think of it, that energy bill was the only time we’ve ever seen Senator Obama vote in favor of any tax break -- and it was a tax break for the oil companies.

Now that's more like it, Maverick. Amazing how much better Crazy Cousin John does, once he gets on the right side of an issue. Don Surber says, "Bush’s third term? I can only wish. Beats Jimmy Carter’s second."

More terrorism by Kony

Joseph Kony's LRA terrorists have struck again, this time in South Sudan:
The South Sudanese army (SPLA) clashed with a group of LRA fighters at Nimule, on the border with Uganda, on Sunday, according to UN sources. The SPLA reportedly killed three members of the LRA and captured one. . . .
[Ugandan army] spokesperson Capt. Chris Magezi . . . confirmed the presence of an LRA group in Pageri, 40km north of the Ugandan border, over the weekend.
"On Saturday night, around 30 LRA fighters attacked the village of Pageri. They looted food and abducted two people, a man and a woman. The woman was later released," Magezi said yesterday.
According to army intelligence, the group crossed the River Nile again on Sunday night.
"They moved in the direction of Kajo Keji, heading back towards Garamba National Park (in the eastern DR Congo)," Magezi said. "We think they came to get weapons and food."
The Rev. Sam Childers, whose Angels of East Africa missionary orphanage is at Nimule, reports that the orphanage is safe. Childers is seeking contributions to fund his next trip to Sudan.

Although the Ugandan army is ready to go after the LRA, the spineless State Department continues to urge negotiations with Kony's gang of thugs. Kony's LRA has mercilessly killed, kidnapped and mutilated Ugandan and Sudanese civilians, sending hundreds of thousands fleeing as refugees. If a terrorist had done this to Americans, would we be negotiating?

Democrat: Don't deport the hotties!

Hope for a bipartisan consensus?
A New York congressman who has been romantically linked by tabloid newspapers to several high-profile, beautiful women, is one step closer to creating a special work permit for foreign fashion models.
Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, a 43-year-old bachelor, has proposed legislation giving international beauties their own U.S. visa category, rather than have them compete with computer analysts and scientists for the non-immigrant H-1B visa for skilled professionals.
"From Fashion Week to our vibrant publishing industry to the many designers that call New York City home, fashion is a vital part of our economy that drives thousands of jobs," Weiner said in an email to Reuters.
The New York Post recently romantically linked Weiner to Huma Abedin, who was recently featured in Vogue magazine.
Huma Abedin is glamorous, all right, but Weiner's not the only Democrat linked to Abedin. Weiner's "H-1B for Hotties" proposal was unearthed by David Weigel of Reason, prompting Jim Antle to endorse the Weiner plan as "a principled exception to my restrictionist position . . . an increase in immigration I can support."

The congressman's proposal reminds me of the original "gee-hottie," Fawzia Mohamed, Miss Egypt 2006, who I'm sure could get an H-1B visa anytime she wants one. Obviously, Fawzia is a powerful force for freedom in the Middle East -- nobody wants to put her in a burqa.

Hillary's moves

She makes exactly one joint appearance with Obama, then announces she'll disappear for a month:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is taking a month off from Congress to recuperate after her marathon run for the presidency.
She is not expected to return to the Senate until July 7 or July 8 after the Independence Day recess, according to two Democratic sources. . . .
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a stalwart supporter of Clinton's presidential bid, would say only that she and former President Bill Clinton "wanted to go somewhere private and far away where she could rest."
So, for three weeks, while Obama tries to get Hillary's supporters to rally behind him and unite the Democrats, the Clintons will be in seclusion. You can almost hear Bill saying, "Yeah, you go ahead and campaign, Barack. We'd love to help you, but . . . aw, man, we're just so tired, y'know? Anyway, good luck, buddy. We're outta here." Meanwhile, Hillary's friends are still spinning for her:
ABC News chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos saw what he called "danger signs" for Obama. . . .
Women, particularly married white women, however, may be a problem for Obama, according to the Washington Post/ABC poll.
It showed that McCain has a 20 point advantage over Obama among married white women, a group that George Bush also won in the last two presidential elections.
Stephanopoulos told GMA that the figure was a "danger sign" for Obama. "This is a huge gap that Obama has to close if he's going to do well."
LBJ in 1964 was the last Democratic president to win a majority of white voters. That's a fact -- you can look it up -- and the 20-point gap among married white women is not anomalous; it's fairly close to the situation faced by Al Gore and John Kerry. So by hyping that one demographic, Stephanopoulos is just playing the loyal Clintonista.

The empty suit

Karl at Protein Wisdom examines the career of Barack Obama and concludes:
Much of Obama's lofty message of unity and hope really came from campaign consultant David Axelrod, who "long ago hatched the idea that Democrats' campaigns should revolve more around personality than policy." . . .
In sum, Barack Obama's record, judgment and message are at best entirely undistinguished in the field of presidential politics. At worst, we have Axelrod's campaign of personality attracting a cult of followers so creepy that even many Obama backers are put off by it, to a man who admits he is a "blank screen,” with a message that is either illusory or tyrannical. It is in those people that I find little to admire.
On his first day as the presumptive Democratic candidate for president earlier this month, Barack Obama committed a serious foreign policy blunder. Reciting a litany of pro-Israeli positions at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he avowed: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided."
In promising U.S. support of Israel's claims to all of Jerusalem, Obama couldn't have picked a better way to offend the world's 325 million Arabs and 1.5 billion Muslims.
Of course, once the AIPAC conference was over, Obama took it back, and said he didn't realy mean it.

Anne Hathaway single again

Seems the brunette "Get Smart" hottie just ditched Raffaello, her Clinton-connected bad-boy beau. The important question: Now that she's dumped her Eurotrash paramour, will Anne also stop running around half-naked?

She's alive!

When last we heard from Mary Katharine Ham, she was leaving to go to The World's Least Important Newspaper. I warned at the time that she was heading into the Bermuda Triangle of journalism, and feared that she might never be heard from again.

Yet I came home just now to find a Facebook message telling me that indeed, she survives! Granted, she appears to be sharing space with a bunch of losers -- like this guy -- but she is at least verifiably in existence, which is more than can be said for Bill Sammon. (One hears the occasional rumor that Bill's still out there somewhere, but no one can say for sure.)

Seriously, MK: I was downtown Tuesday night and passed by an Examiner box. The main front page headline was about Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open. Way to go, getting the big exclusive there! Man, nobody else is going to have that story, and it's the kind of inside-Washington stuff that really makes a difference. Your investigative team on Capitol Hill probably put in a lot of overtime to get that scoop. Drudge must have gone crazy for that one, y'know what I mean?

I figure Anschutz hired MK for the online job as a precursor to putting her in charge of the whole doggone paper, since she's got way more news sense that whatever clueless clown is in charge now. I give her about six months before she mounts a coup to depose the current editor. In the meantime, we can still turn on Fox and watch MK:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fertility scoreboard

Just because you can't hang with my "brute baby-making force," Will Wilkinson, there's no need to go projecting your psychological insecurities onto others. I'm up 6-0, and you'll just have to learn to cope with being on the losing end of this Darwinian thing. Just hang out there in your genetic cul-de-sac, and I'll keep on surfing my personal demographic wave into the future.

And as to you, Megan McArdle, you may say "ever-increasing populations are neither sustainable nor desireable," but it's sure a lot of fun to try.

Surf's up!

ChiComs on Obama

This is hilarious:
"Obama's skin color is the biggest focal point of this year's U.S. election," said the opening line in a front-page editorial in the overseas edition of Monday's People's Daily newspaper. . . .
The editorial sought to explain that Obama's breakthrough should not be understood as a demonstration that race relations have crossed a threshold in the United States that China has yet to approach. Obama, it said, became the Democratic Party's presumptive presidential nominee because, as a Harvard lawyer, he shares the same "background" as others in the U.S. elite.
I'm pretty sure I've heard this People's Daily argument somewhere else before, maybe from Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

The other Other McCain

Just got an e-mail from Barry McCain of Mississippi (undoubtedly another cousin via our Carolina ancestors, Alexander and Hugh McCain) who is an expert in all things Ulster.

BounceWatch continues

Two weeks after the final Democratic primary, the Obama bounce still stubbornly fails to materialize. The poll numbers have stabilized, with a slender Obama lead in the latest Gallup tracking poll:
The presidential campaign may be entering a period of somnolence in these summer weeks prior to the late August and early September conventions in Denver and St. Paul. The candidates will be valiantly attempting to break into voters' consciousness by staging news events and announcements in the weeks ahead -- as was the case with the endorsement of Barack Obama by former vice president Al Gore in Michigan on Monday night -- but how much these types of events will affect voter preferences remains to be seen.
What is important here is what has not happened. The electorate's putative hunger for "change," which was the entire rationale of the Obama insurgency, has not been reflected in a post-primary surge of support toward the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Maybe the anticipated Obama tsunami has merely been delayed, and next week he'll open up an insuperable double-digit lead. But I'm begin to doubt it. Call it a hunch.

UPDATE: Linked by Allahpundit, who has more. By the way, notice the grim pessimism for which Allahpundit is renowned. The great thing about pessimism, as George Will observed, is that you're seldom disappointed, and sometimes pleasantly surprised.

UPDATE II: Latest state polls:
  • MN: Obama 47, McCain 46
  • KY: McCain 53, Obama 41
  • VA: Obama 45, McCain 44
  • NC: McCain 45, Obama 41
All of these results are good news for McCain, with the possible exception of Virginia:
  • Given the 93% total in Minnesota, I suspect that polls includes "leaners"; Obama's under 50% and McCain's neck-and-neck, so that's good news in an industrial Midwest state.
  • Obama didn't even bother to campaign in the Kentucky primary, and McCain looks safe there.
  • Obama actually made a campaign trip to North Carolina last week, but it seems to have had no impact; the state still looks like it will stay reliably Republican.
  • Virginia is a special case. It's been GOP presidential territory for decades, but the Virginia Republicans have stumbled badly the past few cycles, with some help from "Macaca." Given the Democratic trend in the state -- which is chiefly a function of a Yuppie influx in the DC suburbs of Northern Virginia -- for McCain to be roughly even at the outset could be considered good news. However, if Obama picks former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner as his running mate, it could turn into a real fight.
In other words, there is no evidence that Obama's nomination has remade the electoral landscape, or that there is any overwhelming surge toward the Democrats. As has been true in both of the past two elections, a rough equality in party strength at a national level -- which the general electorate split near 50-50 -- translates into an Electoral College advantage for the Republicans.

Why? Because Democratic voters are overwhelmingly concentrated in a few large states -- California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, etc. -- and the party's message has limited appeal outside those liberal bastions. Helped by Republican scandals and blunders, Democrats have had some success outside their core regions in recent years by running congressional and statewide candidates on centrist messages. There is, however, no evidence so far that Obama's presidential candidacy can follow on that success.

Obama is a liberal, and to the extent that he is perceived as a liberal, the chances are that he will suffer an electoral fate similar to previous liberal Democratic presidential candidates.

On Douthatism

Left-wing blogger Whiskey Fire calls me a "douchebag," but my magnanimous rule is: Call me what you want, just link me. So I don't harbor a grudge, and when I noticed he'd linked me again today -- once more, to call me a "douchebag" -- I spent a bit of time reading his blog and found we had something in common: We don't much care for Ross Douthat.

Douthat recently attempted a definition of conservatism:
A commitment to the defense of the particular habits, mores and institutions of the United States against those socioeconomic trends that threaten to undermine them, and those political movements (generally on the left, but sometimes on the right) that seek to change them radically in the pursuit of particular ideological goals.
As is Douthat's wont, this definition is nebulously philosophical, and Whiskey Fire is not impressed:
There is not much in Douthat's post to make me reconsider my contention that it's a mug's game to try to distinguish between Pure Conservatism and Conservatism as it has been actually practiced by actual people, especially since the rise of Movement Conservatism. . . .
Douthat wants to tell us that the end state of conservatism is some sort of post-ideological zen-like condition where "There are no final victories" and "'elegant, short-term' resolutions are often all that we should aim for." Hooray!
Such mockery is deserved. Douthat's conservatism is that of a bright young intellectual sitting around reading Russell Kirk, rather than of someone wading into the political fray to smite his enemies hip and thigh.

American conservatism, I would suggest, begins with the Calvinist insight that we are fallen creatures living in a fallen world and that human perfection is not an option. We cannot retreat to Eden, nor can we advance to Utopia. Ergo, the liberal (or as they would now have it, "progressive") project of legislating our way to "social justice" is a fool's errand.

The progressive project

William F. Buckley Jr. was once asked by the Oxford Union to debate a feminist -- I think it was Germaine Greer -- but he and his antagonist were unable to agree on the wording of the proposition to be debated. After a good deal of back-and-forth, a frustrated Buckley finally offered: "Resolved: Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile."

This jest contained the kernel of a great truth. The progressive quest is always the same: "More." There is never a final demand that, once granted, will cause the progressives to say, "Well, that's it. Disband the coalition. Dissolve the advocacy groups. Dispense the foundation endowments as direct charity to the downtrodden."

Every concession gained for the progressive project expands the constituency of Welfare State clientele, who can then be mobilized to demand more concessions. "Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile," you see?

Having begun in the late 1800s with industrial labor's demands for wage-and-hour regulation, etc., the progressive coalition gradually has been swollen by programmatic measures to include, inter alia, farmers, senior citizens, schoolteachers, artists, women, racial minorities, environmentalists, gays, illegal immigrants -- each with its own special-interest advocacy groups, each with existing policies and programs to defend, each with demands for new policies and programs. And there is never an end to the agitation, never a shortage of grievances whose redress requires new legislation, new expenditures, new regulation and new penalties for those who refuse to cooperate with the progressive agenda.

Order: Natural vs. artificial

Every time a meddlesome government tinkers with the fine-tuned machinery of an organic society -- every time a new bit of social engineering is implemented, a new tax imposed, new regulations promulgated -- there are unintended consequences. Government action preempting the ordinary processes of the private sphere is an artificial intrusion that has ramifications beyond the direct objectives of the action.

This is why, when liberals urge some new governmental program "for the children," conservatives risk the accusation of being "anti-child" in order to warn that any real gains obtained by such a program will likely be offset by losses elsewhere, for such has been the experience of decades. (If there is one thing that distinguishes liberalism from conservatism, it is that liberals seem incapable of learning from experience.)

One need only look at the socio-economic implosion of America's great cities in the half-century after World World as proof of how unintended consequences operate. (Fred Siegel's The Future Once Happened Here is an eye-opening chronicle of the failure of urban liberalism.) Not everything that contributed to the downward spiral of America's cities was the result of progressive policy, but over and over, the policies that progressives proposed as solutions turned out to aggravate the problems. Go to Detroit, see block after block of vacant lots where homes and businesses once stood, and behold the enlightened future to which progressivism promises to lead us.

By the repeated attempt to substitute governmental action for private initiative, imposing an artificial blueprint on the natural chaos of a free society, the progressive project steadily destroys those organic institutions which serve the necessary functions that an expanding government progressively preempts. Each new intervention then tends to entail further intervention. This slow-motion slide toward the Total State was what Friedrich Hayek warned against in The Road to Serfdom, and Hayek's warning is as true today -- nay, it is more true -- than it was some six decades ago, before the accretion of layers of progressivism unimagined by Hayek in 1944.

Douthat vs. Burke

Ross Douthat's attempt to distill conservatism into a philosophical statement fails because it is at once too ambitious and too timid. Douthat timidly refuses to say simply that conservatism is the negation of liberalism, for fear that this is indefensible as philosophy.

Only a Harvard boy could be constrained by such fears. I certainly don't care to debate philosophy, when I can see all around me the real-life failures of liberal policies. Conservatives always prefer real life over philosophical abstraction, a point made clear by Edmund Burke in his magnificent Reflections on the Revolution in France. If Burke was omitted from Douthat's syllabus at Harvard, or else he failed to comprehend on the first reading what Burke was saying, he ought to amend the deficiency.

Burke specifically derided the French philosophes, at a time when their prestige was near its zenith. He saw the French Revolution for what it was, an attempt to conform society to a philosophical plan, and saw likewise that this effort was doomed to become a nihilistic work of destruction. That Burke foresaw this at the very beginning of the Revolution, before the triumph of the Jacobins and the onset of the Terror, should encourage conservatives to emulate his skeptical stance toward philosophy, so-called.

To the extent that conservatism is a philosophy, it is a philosophy of opposition -- as Buckley said, standing athwart history crying "Stop!" Whatever ridicule conservatives absorb on account of this stance, we at least absolve ourselves of responsibility for the failures of the progressive project.

Whiskey Fire is correct to chastise Douthat for attempting to "distinguish between Pure Conservatism anf Conservatism as it has been actually practiced by actual people." Douthat's distinction reminds me of those leftist apologists for communism, who have always insisted that real communism is something different than the practices of actual communists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro.

If political projects endorsed by conservatives have failed, it is incumbent upon conservatives to admit and explain the failures, rather than attempting to elude responsibility by intellectual abstraction. If there are fake conservatives who have advanced unconservative projects under a false flag, then Douthat should name names, expose these impostors, and be specific about who and what he is abjuring, rather than retreating from politics into the false sanctuary of philosophical verities unconnected to any real-world policy.

Oh, and Whiskey Fire and I agree on something else: $12.50 for using five words of AP copy on a blog? "Bite me."

Obama's Mapquest

From my latest American Spectator article:
Democrats can be forgiven for panicking at reports that Team Obama is trying to figure out how to win in November without winning Florida. Or Ohio. Or even Pennsylvania.
Admittedly, it was an "alternative" scenario that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe discussed with activists Friday at the Capitol City brew pub in Washington.
"You have a lot of ways to get to 270," Plouffe said, according to the Associated Press. "Our goal is not to be reliant on one state on November 4th."
Plouffe's remark may have been nothing more than an expression of his candidate's "organize everywhere" philosophy.
Yet if it was more than that -- if his comments signaled a willingness of the Obama campaign to cede major battleground states to Arizona Sen. John McCain -- Democrats could be in for their third consecutive presidential disappointment this fall. ...
For Obama and his people, Clinton's bloody-minded persistence was unwelcome, yet another sign that she cared more about herself than the fate of the party this fall. But it also served, or should have served, as a blaring alarm about the scale of the challenge the presumptive nominee will confront in the general election.
"I certainly hope so," Clinton replies when I suggest this to her. . . .
It would be hard to overstate the private pessimism that Hillary and Bill Clinton feel about Obama's general-election prospects. Or the irritation they feel about the dismissive attitudes of some of his advisers toward her coalition, as evinced by the words of Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, after the Pennsylvania primary: "The white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections … This is not new that Democratic candidates don't rely solely on those votes."
Hillary's ready to say "I told you so." Team Obama ignores her.

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Hillary's exit

New York Magazine:
The Hillary I encounter a few minutes after Obama leaves the building [at the AIPAC summit June 4] is somber, prideful, dark-humored, aggrieved, confused -- and still high on the notion that she is leading an army, Napoleon in a navy pantsuit and gumball-size fake pearls. . . .
"The real lesson of the campaign is that neither my base nor his base alone is sufficient for a general election," she tells me. "That's important to stress, because now we need to look to November and how we put together a winning majority. We've gotta get this coalition to work together, because clearly the Republicans have been more successful at picking off the people who voted for me, and that's exactly who they’re going after again."
The astute reader will detect a dismissive, contemptuous tone in John Heileman's article (you should read the whole thing) and I suppose he's not alone in that attitude. Every time I showed up on the campaign trail to cover Hillary (in Greensburg, in Harrisburg, in Shepherdstown) I was struck by how hostile the press was toward her. Many of the reporters seemed to resent the fact that she wouldn't just quit and let Obama have the nomination.

I am not the type to throw around words like "misognynist," but thinking back on it, it does seem like some of the most hostile treatment Hillary got from the press -- I'm particularly thinking of one surly, bearded CBS reporter who showed up at Shepherdstown -- came from male reporters. And there was that bit with the manly Tim Russert.

It's as if those reporters doubted Hillary's power, or her willingness to wield power for her own purposes. As if they really didn't believe that Hillary would be willing to take her campaign all the way to Denver, or that she might be less than enthusiastic about rallying her disgruntled supporters to the Obama banner, knowing that it was only because of the media and the (disproportionately male) superdelegates that she'd been denied the nomination.

Heh. Just you wait, buckos. Hillary's got about $30 million in campaign debt, and I'm thinking she'll get a lot more contributions for her debt-relief fund if Obama loses than if he wins. Then she'll be the "I told you so" candidate, the ticket to ride for 2012, and she's going to make you sexist swine crawl. And the same goes for turncoat sellouts like Patti.

So go ahead and cheer for Obama, fellas. If you're not cheering on Nov. 5, just remember how you dissed Hillary. Hell hath no fury . . .

UPDATE: Jason Horowitz:
A former bundler to Hillary Clinton just called in to tell me that Barack Obama's selection of Patti Solis Doyle as chief of staff to the campaign's eventual vice presidential nominee is the "biggest f--- you I have ever seen in politics."
The donor, speaking on background, said that everyone in Clinton circles knows the two have hard feelings towards one another and haven't spoken since Clinton removed Solis Doyle as campaign manager, and that Clinton loyalists view her with deep suspicion and believe that she is shopping around a book deal and acted as a background source for an extremely harsh Vanity Fair piece about Bill Clinton.
Hey, Patti, try to see if you can finish this sentence: "Payback's a b----."

Update: Col. West & FL22

UPDATED & BUMPED: Just got off the phone with LTC West himself, who told me he'll be interviewed Tuesday on The Laura Ingraham Show.

While talking to the colonel, I learned, among other things, that he's an Atlanta native like me. We talked SEC football -- he's a University of Tennessee alum, while I'm a University of Alabama fan. He said he'd be happy to give me a "Roll Tide!" When I accused him of pandering, he added, "Except on the Third Saturday in October."

PREVIOUSLY: Just got off the phone with a campaign staffer for Col. Allen West, the Republican challenger to Rep. Ron Klein in Florida's 22nd District. The staffer said the campaign’s baseline poll last month showed Klein "surprisingly weak" and that, despite Col. West's relatively low name-recognition, there was a lot of excitement because he is "such a compelling candidate."

The district "went heavily for Hillary" in the Democratic primary, which the West campaign feels is a good omen for their candidate, because Clinton voters were generally more hawkish than Obama's. The district, which extends along the coast northward of Miami, has about 12 percent Jewish voters, many of whom are "uncomfortable" with Obama, the staffer said. (Unless I'm mistaken, El Rushbo lives in the 22nd District.)
While West's fundraising so far is no match for Klein's $2 million war chest, the staffer said the record-setting 2006 campaign -- where Klein and incumbent Republican Rep.
Clay Shaw spent more than $3 million combined -- was an anomaly. Usually it doesn't take that much to win FL22, and "we feel we will have enough to be competitive," the staffer said.

Asked whether it was a possibility that the John McCain campaign might make an appearance with Col. West, the staffer said probably not before October, if then -- especially since Team Obama is making noises about ceding Florida to McCain. If there is a fight for Florida, however, the West campaign may help boost McCain more than vice-versa, the staffer said, because Col. West is such an "inspirational" candidate.

BTW, the staffer said the West campaign is very much aware of, and grateful for, their support within the conservative blogosphere. To quote See-Dubya, "hint, hint."


New Obama theme song

(Via Hot Air.) Libertarians would respond, "Roll it fat like a cigar, and vote for Barr."

'Whitey'? Who me?

I'm nicely tanned, thank you very much, and never lighter than a medium beige. Still, the Chicago Tribune says that if you're "dumb" enough to take umbrage at being called "whitey," then you "deserve to be insulted."

Beyond the irony of being lectured on what people should or should not take offense at by those who constantly remind us that giving “offense” is commensurate with “hate speech,” and as such, is worthy of special remedies . . . what is especially astounding and galling about his piece of Foucaultean dross is that it seems to take its own cynical argument seriously . . ."
"Foucaultean dross" -- that there's some mighty fancy talk, coming from a po' white cracker like Jeff.

Eat your heart out, Charlie

Charlie Sheen's ex-wife, Denise Richards, says she's once again ready for her close-up, Mr. Hefner:
Reality television star Denise Richards is considering shedding her clothes for Playboy magazine once again.
The former Bond girl, who posed for Hugh Hefner's magazine in 2004, is thinking about a return to the men's mag. . . .
"I think that my niche is as a sex symbol. I'm never going to be the girl next door, so why not play up my niche?"
Please, Denise. You don't really want us to think about your "niche," do you? We prefer to fondly remember your youthful niche, back when your niche was fresh and innocent, before Charlie got hold of it, ruined it and moved on to explore new niches.

How come, now that you've got a 37-year-old mother-of-two niche, you're sporting your aging niche all over the place? You're lucky even to pass the Ace of Spades HQ Test anymore. For crying out loud, you're nearly as old as Jennifer Aniston, and at least halfway to being Nora Desmond:

Latest Gallup: Obama 46%, McCain 42%

Still not the "bounce," but McCain remains flat:
The latest release, based on June 13-15 interviewing with over 2,600 registered voters nationwide, shows Obama regaining a statistically significant lead overMcCain. Over the weekend, the race was slightly closer, but Obama still held an advantage. . . .
The percentage with no opinion is down slightly to 13% in today's release, though this is still higher than it has been for most of the tracking to date.
If Team Obama has cause for concern, McCain's stagnant numbers (he's been below 46% in Gallup's dailytracking poll since June 1) should be equally concerning for Republicans.

UPDATE: Ace of Spades:
No matter how much the MSM wants to present Obama as a unifying figure who can and should garner 85% of the popular vote, the fact is he couldn't even manage a majority of the vote in the Democratic primary.
Also via AOSHQ, Kate Beckinsale doesn't want to show her booty in a nude scene. Which doesn't have a lot of political significance, but I thought you might be getting bored with all this poll stuff.
Meanwhile, via the WaPo, my beginning Electoral College map:

Just six states -- New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Washington and Vermont -- gets Obama to 130, while McCain needs 16 states (Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas South Carolina) to get to 146, leaving 261 undecided. I suppose I could go ahead and call Georgia for McCain, but don't want to discount the Barr factor.