Saturday, August 16, 2008

Obama VP Hagel?

Seems far-fetched, but whatever.

Fun with demographics

Here are some interesting Gallup numbers:
  • John McCain leads by double-digit margins among all educational subgroups of white voters except those with postgraduate degrees, where Barack Obama has a double-digit lead.
  • Black voters support Obama by a whopping 90% to 3%.
  • In age subgroups, McCain's strongest support (47%) is among those 65 or older, while Obama's strongest support (59%) is among those under 30.
  • White guys love them some Maverick -- McCain gets a 22-point margin among white males.
  • Single chicks love them some Hope -- Obama gets a 29-point margin among unmarried females.
  • Racist Democrats? McCain gets 14% of the votes of white Democrats.
  • Whistling Dixie? Obama leads by double digits in every region except the South, where McCain leads by 10 points.
  • Ruh-roh: Obama has a 6-point lead in battleground states.
And as of 6:52 p.m. ET, they still haven't posted the Gallup daily numbers.

Question for Edwards supporters

From Deceiver:
The Associated Press looks at Rielle's final $14,000 payment from the Edwards campaign in April '07. After the $100,000 he'd already paid her for 15-20 minutes of amateurish video. Question for those few remaining "It was just sex!" holdouts: Do you really think the contributors to the Edwards campaign appreciate the idea that they might have helped him pay for it?

Huffy Plouffe

Obama strategist David Plouffe is getting a bit ... edgy when Democrats start wondering why St. Hopey is still dead-even with Maverick:
"Democrats should take a deep breath and realize that there are a group of voters who won't make up their mind about a candidate until deep in the fall," said David Plouffe, Mr. Obama's campaign manager. "And there are 18 states that are battlegrounds for a reason, and they'll be decided by 2 to 4 points. I don't care about national polls."
Yeah, you wanna bet 18 states are within the 52-48% range on Nov. 5? I mean, seriously, Georgia?
"The polls will change, but we know we need 200,000 new voters to be competitive in Georgia, and now is when we have to get them."
OK, I was born in Atlanta, lived there until 1997, still have lots of friends and family down home, and I will guaran-damn-tee you Obama won't win Georgia. Let's look at the facts, shall we?
  • Fact: In 2004, George W. Bush got 1.9 million votes and beat John Kerry by 17 points (a margin of more than 500,000 votes) in Georgia.
  • Fact: In 2006, a miserable mid-term year for Republicans nationwide, Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue got 1.2 million votes and defeated Democrat Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor by 20 points (a margin of over 400,000 votes) in Georgia.
  • Fact: In the 2008 Georgia Democratic primary Feb. 5, Obama and Hillary combined got 1.03 million votes.
  • Fact: Not a single poll this year has shown Obama leading in Georgia, and Rasmussen has consistently shown McCain ahead in the 9%-10% range.
I have talked to Georgia Democrats who voted for Hillary -- including hard-core yellow dogs I've known for decades, who wouldn't cross the street to piss on a Republican if he was on fire -- who express very deep reservations about voting for Obama. Trust me, there will be a certain number of "Hillary Democrats For Barr" votes on Nov. 4.

At this point, Georgia is one of the strongest Republican states in the country -- rivaled perhaps only by Oklahoma or Texas -- and every dime Team Obama spends there is a dime wasted. I'd bet if national Democratic officials were to talk to Democratic officials in Georgia -- e.g., Reps. John Barrow and Jim Marshall -- those Georgia Democrats would tell them the same thing.

For Plouffe to talk about "18 states that are battlegrounds ... decided by 2 to 4 points" when that list includes Georgia is evidence that Obama's Chicago HQ has lost touch with on-the-ground political reality.

Obama a 'map-changer'?

One of the big claims of Team Obama, has been that their candidate will run a "50-state strategy" (the pet idea of David Sirota). He is, they say, a "map changer."

David Plouffe famously named Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina as red-to-blue targets for Obama -- but two of those states are currently rated "likely Republican" by Rasmussen, and the third is "leans Republican," while two major "swing" states (Florida and Missouri) are also still in the "leans Republican" column.

Looking at the Rasmussen state-by-state charts overall, while the Democrat is overall in better shape -- as can be expected, given the generic problems for the GOP this cycle -- there is not really evidence that Obama's living up to the "map-changer" hype.

Three Republican "red" states from 2004 (New Mexico, Iowa and Colorado) are currently rated "lean Democrat" by Rasmussen, but three of the more recent four polls show McCain slightly ahead in Colorado, and while Iowa and New Mexico remain problematic for Team Maverick, those two states have only 12 Electoral College votes between them.

Meanwhile, two blue states in the "lean Democrat" column -- Pennsylvania and Michigan -- remain in play. Obama's failure to put Michigan out of reach is his biggest vulnerability, and this is mainly due to local political conditions in the state.

What McCain must do to reach 270 Electoral College votes (EVs) and clinch the election is:
  • Hold onto the states currently listed as "lean/likely Republican" (227 EVs);
  • Win the three "toss-ups," Ohio, Virginia, Nevada (38 EVs);
  • Win Colorado (9 EVs).
That simple formula gets McCain to 274 EVs. If he can add either Pennsylvania or Michigan -- he's got a margin of error in case, for instance, Obama picks Evan Bayh as VP and thus carries Indiana.

Doing all this won't be easy -- Virginia could be a big fight, and Ohio is sure to be a real battleground again -- but it is both feasible and simple. It's not a political longshot, and doesn't require a lot of complicated "strategery."

Despite months of adulatory press coverage, Obama is still not at 50% nationally, Maverick is hard on his heels, and that all that Democratic hype about a "50-state-strategy" with a "map-changer" candidate is starting to smell a lot like something that isn't "Hope."

Hmmm. 3 p.m. and no Gallup

UPDATE 8 p.m. -- Finally, the numbers, and no big news: Obama 45%, McCain 44%.

As of this hour, Gallup hasn't yet posted its daily tracking numbers. Rasmussen has it Obama 46%, McCain 45%, but I'm wondering why it's taking Gallup so long to go up with their numbers. They were tied at 44% in Gallup yesterday.

4:40 p.m.: STILL no Gallup daily. I'm strongly beginning to suspect they've got McCain pushing ahead -- since Obama clinched in June, McCain has never led the Gallup daily, which surveys registered (not "likely") voters -- and that they're holding the news to try to get a Drudge link and a network news push.

Obama: $51 million July

When Team Maverick held a conference call Friday to announce they'd raised $27 million in July (plus another $26 million by the RNC), I wrote:
Probably Team Maverick expects Obama to announce huge numbers for July, and so they wanted to get ahead of the story by putting McCain's numbers in context of the large RNC/state GOP fundraising operation.
Prophetic powers vindicated:
Sen. Barack Obama raised $51 million in July, falling short of his one-month record, but raising enough to end the month with $65.8 million in the bank -- a formidable number for the middle of the summer.
By the way, somebody want to explain to me again how Republicans are "the party of the rich"?

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Obamascam: TicketGate in Denver

Michelle Malkin detects the scent of bovine manure exuded by St. Hopey's promise of "first come, first served" tickets to his mile-high apotheosis at Invesco Field:
[I]t appeared the ticket give-away wasn't as advertised but because the campaign perpetuated the idea that the vast majority of passes would go to regular people of all backgrounds and political beliefs.
Instead, several of those who missed out said they suspect the bulk of the tickets were passed out to people who worked for -- or gave money to -- the campaign.
"It just makes me angry," said Katherine Thayer, of Denver. "If they're going to go out and say it's first-come, first-served and then turn around and reward people who volunteer or gave money, then they ought to be up front about it."
Prediction: By this time next week, prime tickets to the Obamatheosis will be going on Craigslist for $200 and up. Just because Democratic bigwigs rant and rave against greedy capitalists doesn't mean they'll pass up a chance to make a quick buck.

Folks, if you think you got bamboozled on this "free ticket" scam, just see how long you'll be waiting for that "middle-class tax cut" he's promising you. When you volunteer to be a doormat, don't complain about the footprints on your back.

Delusion at Hope HQ

"The polls will change, but we know we need 200,000 new voters to be competitive in Georgia, and now is when we have to get them."
-- David Plouffe

Speaking as a native Georgian, Mr. Plouffe, I certainly hope you'll pour maximum effort into this project. You register all those voters, you run lots of ads in Georgia, and when you're through pissing away your campaign's money and manpower on this doomed cause, Georgia will still vote Republican, and the whole world will be laughing at you Nov. 5 if you come up a few thousand votes short in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

Your candidate couldn't even compete with Hillary Clinton in Kentucky or West Virginia -- states with far stronger Democratic trends than Georgia --and yet you persist in the belief that you're going to win a state where John Kerry finished on the short end of a 17-point deficit?

Quos perdere vult deus dementat prius.

Howard Dean's honky party

Michelle Malkin notes the lack of diversity in the DNC leadership. It's like a mayonnaise-and-Wonderbread sandwich, with a side order of saltines and vanilla ice cream for dessert. We're talking blindingly Caucasian -- a Barry-Manilow-concert-audience degree of pure, intense whiteness.

Creepy cult guy paroled

George Feigley's words:
"I require total devotion to my desires. You may not have a will nor desire of your own which do not project my wishes. I expect this complete commitment from my wives, my concubines and my children ... Make yourselves my delight. If there is discord among you, I will have you whipped."
Feigley is the megalomaniacal "prophet" of a cult called the Neo-American Church and in 1975 was convicted of raping three girls. He was released from prison yesterday, to return to Harrisburg, Pa., where the crime occurred:
Feigley wielded fear like a conductor's baton. He forced the children to obey his commands for sex with him and other cult members, often with onlookers and to be photographed using sexual devices.
OK, Feigley is pure evil and his neighbors are up in arms about his release. My question: What's the deal with these cult people who get involved with this kind of loon? The all-powerful psycho-prophet who demands total obedience from his followers -- what's in it for the followers?

Sure, it was the '70s, and there were a lot of leftover hippie types still seeking "enlightenment" yadda yadda. But this kind of stuff keeps happening (Koresh, Heaven's Gate, FLDS, etc.), suggesting that there is some small percentage of people with a deep masochistic streak and the kind of profound gullibility that makes it possible for them to believe that divine wisdom can be found through complete obedience to a guy named "George Feigley."

Yes, Feigley apparently has devoted followers even now. That's the genuinely creepy part.

Jeralyn on Edwards

Jeralyn Merritt, a lawyer and a Democrat, examines the role that lawyers played in the John Edwards scandal:
The fact that all three lawyers -- those for Edwards, Hunter and Young -- contacted the Enquirer within days of the publication of her being photographed pregnant on December 12, and that Edwards' lawyer told them that Rielle was going to deny the paternity allegation, suggests to me, as a lawyer, it was a joint strategy.
Well, of course, it was a joint strategy. What boggles my mind is (a) Young's willingness to be the fall guy for his boss, and (b) Hunter's failure to realize that she's being played.

It's obvious to me that Hunter's lawyer is part of the Edwards operation, and thus representing Edwards' interests, rather than Hunter's. Any lawyer could see that Hunter could file a paternity suit and (assuming the kid is Edwards') win a lucrative settlement. She could get at least a quarter-million for the tell-all magazine photo exclusive, another half-million for the book rights, and the movie rights -- oh, man, the sky's the limit.

Instead, at the insistence of Edwards' army of lawyers, she's hiding out and taking $15,000 a month in hush money. Crap, do the math here, Rielle -- you're getting gypped, big-time.

Now, back to Jeralyn's blog:
Unlike the right wing bloggers covering this who may just be gleeful to see John Edwards, a prominent Democrat trashed, it bothers me for a different reason. . . .
On one level I'm angry because I supported both Edwards and Hillary between October and December. I covered them equally in Iowa and spent hours attending his campaign events and writing about them. I would have endorsed Hillary much earlier had Edwards not been in the race. As a blogger, that matters to me.
OK, first, the "glee" thing: Speaking as a right-winger, I never thought Edwards was anything other than a phony, and let me explain why. That "son of a poor mill-worker" stuff was pure bunk, if you actually know anything about life in Southern textile mill towns. (My grandmother worked for years in the mills in LaGrange, Ga., where my uncle and cousins still live.)

Edwards' father actually worked his way up to supervisor for Milliken, meaning he was respectably middle class in the mill-town millieu, and if he wasn't rich -- well, who was? But they were by no means poverty-stricken, and if his dad felt a grudge at having to work his way up, and being passed over a few times along the way -- again, welcome to a very large club. I quote:
"They weren't quite as humble as Edwards makes it sound,'' says Pat Smith of Robbins. "Wallace was a very important man at the mill. ... They weren't rich, but they weren't struggling poor."
In fact, Edwards' father's life story was a classic American bootstrap tale of upward mobility, and for Edwards to poormouth his childhood and imply that his family lived hand-to-mouth was an insult to his father's hard work. As someone whose own parents were of the same hard-working middle-class type -- my dad worked 37 years at the Lockheed plant in Marietta, Ga. -- I've never been tempted to poormouth my upbringing in some pathetic attempt to aggrandize myself by belittling my own parents.

Edwards' masquerade is just like Bill Clinton's phony poor-boy shtick -- Bill's stepfather owned a car dealership, his mother was a nurse, he attended private school all the way up through eighth grade, and we're supposed to think he was some kind of barefoot urchin? Give me a freaking break.

If there is any right-wing "glee" in the Edwards scandal, it is in the vindication of our original judgment of the man as a phony. The fact that he fooled so many people for so long ought to cause those he fooled to question their own judgment, including their willingness to believe that the original Enquirer reporting on the scandal was some kind of "smear." Not every negative fact about a Democrat is ginned up by Karl Rove, you know.

At least, right-wingers are going into this election with their eyes open. There is no conservative of any weight who considers John McCain "one of us." Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham -- not one of them trusts Maverick any farther than they can throw him. On Nov. 4, millions of conservatives will nonetheless, as Ann Coulter says, get drunk and vote for McCain. Duty, not Hope.

And frankly, far-sighted Democrats might want to buy a few drinks themselves, for I suspect that if Hope should triumph on Nov. 4, you're in for a disillusionment as severe as anything Edwards has given his erstwhile supporters.

Wouldn't it be strange if it turned out that, of the three leading contenders for the Democratic nomination this year, Hillary was the most trustworthy?

Hillary: Not good enough for No. 2?

My column at Pajamas Media:
Informed political observers have realized since June that Hillary Rodham Clinton won't be Barack Obama’s running mate. As Obama prepares to announce his vice-presidential choice, however, it will be worthwhile to watch the reaction of the ill-informed and unobservant — which is to say, the independent "swing" voters who will ultimately decide the election.
Especially for those swing voters who voted for Hillary in the Democratic primaries, it may come as a brutal shock to learn that the former First Lady won't be on the ticket in November. The shock will be amplified when those voters learn that Obama's choice was the result of an ABC ("Anybody But Clinton") process that excluded Hillary from serious consideration months earlier.
Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Thomas Lifson at American Thinker:
It is still theoretically possible that Obama will shock everyone by offering Hillary the second spot, and perhaps equally possible Hillary will launch a coup, if enough super delegates abstain in the first roll call vote, in order to throw the voting open on subsequent ballots.
Meanwhile, Patrick Ruffini suggests that talk of Bayh and Biden, et al., could be a "massive head fake":
If you're Obama, why not choose a VP who strengthens you all over and consolidates a source of weak support? Who has been thoroughly vetted? Whose selection would be a surprise and galvanize support for the ticket?
If Bill Clinton can be sent to Tahiti for the next 80 days, it just might work.
Ruffini's prediction makes perfect sense to me. Nothing else will solve The Obama's Democrat deserter problem.
OK, since we're just talking gut hunch here:
  • The real problem with Hillary at VP is that she has played Team Obama like xylophone. She thinks he'll lose without her, but can't make it look like she's unhelpful. So while publicly she says she is willing to be the running mate, privately she insisted on impossible terms -- setting Obama up to make it look like he rejected her, rather than the other way around. She's thinking ahead to 2012.
  • It's definitely Bayh. His name was floated long enough to test reaction, which was overwhelmingly positive, and only then did we start hearing talk about Biden, et al. That's just chaff to throw people off and keep up the sense of mystery. It's Bayh all the way.
  • Biden makes zero sense. He's got no constituency, he's from an electorally insignificant state, and if Team Obama wants "gravitas," they'll definitely go with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Bayh is the obvious do-no-harm choice, a young and telegenic Midwestern governor from a red state. Ruffini says Bayh was "vetoed by the netroots," but what better way for Obama to give the Kos crowd some Sister Souljah tough love and demonstrate he's not a tool of the Left?

Bayh all the way. Ignore all chatter to the contrary.

UPDATE II: The Ruffini theory prompts Allah to one of his longest posts evah:
Picking her would indicate that Obama thinks he has a bigger problem with Democrats than with independents and needs to purchase "unity" even at the expense of alienating centrists and handing McCain a gift-wrapped GOTV angle. . . . Is the sore-loser PUMA contingent really so huge within the party that he genuinely fears it's going to cost him the election?
Answer: It's not PUMAs, it's mainly older independent women who are at stake here. They voted for Hillary in the primaries, but haven't paid much attention to the "inside baseball" chatter since Obama clinched in June and did those "unity" photo-ops with Clinton. In their cluelessness, they figured an Obama-Clinton ticket was the common-sense solution, and when Obama picks someone else -- it's Bayh, I tell ya -- they're going to feel that this is a high-handed insult to the former First Lady. It's all about the arrogance meme, see?

Republican media relations, cont'd

Rule One: Treat reporters like unwelcome scum:
A reporter tried to ask McCain about a new anti-Obama book, to which McCain responded cryptically "gotta keep your sense of humor." McCain staffer Brooke Buchanan then stretched her arms in front of her boss, saying "we're not doing that," and escorted reporters to the door.
There is a secret Republican campaign staff training school where staffers are taught this technique of making sure that reporters are treated as mortal enemies and allowed as little access to the candidate as possible. The same training school also teaches Republicans to complain constantly about bias in the media.

That there might possibly be a connection between these two phenomena is something that the trainers never seem to have considered.

David Limbaugh can't hear it, either

The "dog whistle" appeal to racial fears that liberals see everywhere in the Republican campaign against Obama? Here's another conservative saying, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?":
Reuters featured a piece by Matthew Bigg, titled "When it comes to race, U.S. politicians talk in code." . . .
Biggs says that references to Obama's alleged inexperience (alleged?) and perceived arrogance (perceived?) "could also be seen as subtle racial digs," according to unnamed commentators -- probably meaning Biggs himself.
How do the unnamed clairvoyants infer racism from these legitimate criticisms against Obama?
Limbaugh sees this as intrinsic to liberals' sense of "self-anointment as moral paragons," and this pretense of paranormal perception -- claiming to see racial "code" where normal people see only the regular give-and-take of politics -- makes sense in no other way.

Liberals are able to see these things because of their superior intelligence and virtue, of course, and so our failure to see the same thing is therefore (further) proof that we are stupid and vicious.

Pointing an accusatory finger in someone's face is not generally a successful means of persuasion, and liberals jumping up and down screaming "racism" at every criticism of Obama are probably having an impact on public opinion quite contrary to their intentions.

Friday, August 15, 2008

'The McGovern coalition'

Over at the American Spectator blog, my friend Jim Antle examines evidence that, despite the repeated debacles of liberal Democratic presidential candidates over the years, the McGovern coalition -- that left-wing base with which George McGovern got 38 percent of the popular vote in his landslide 1972 defeat -- has grown to a near-majority.

Rather than clog up AmSpecBlog with a long back-and-forth, I'll reply here, and begin by ceding the major point: People who don't live conservative can't be expected to vote conservative.

A nation where fatherless babies account for 37 percent of births, and where another 22 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, is not a nation where individualism and personal pride in self-sufficiency -- the virtues of an autonomous yeomanry, the sentiments that underly American conservatism -- are likely to flourish.

The recognition that a majority of Americans no longer hold such views was what prompted Paul Weyrich's famous 1999 admission that conservatives had lost the Culture War. Somewhere over the past 50 years, a majority of Americans have absorbed the cultural Left's message that only saps uphold the basic bourgeois virtues (honesty, industry, sobriety, thrift) and that sturdy ancient virtues like loyalty, patriotism and martial courage are actually evil.

As for the moral ideals associated with the marriage-based family, from pre-marital chastity to marital fidelity to filial obligation, these are sneered at as mere superstitions, when they are not denounced as prejudices fomented by "the Religious Right."

Intellectuals ascendant

What happened? In his book, Drawing Life, David Gelernter places the blame on the ascendancy of intellectuals, and cites changing opinions toward crime as indicative of the revolution that intellectualism has wrought in our culture.

Gelernter recounts a Life magazine photo-spread from the '30s, showing how cops had ambushed two criminals and shot them dead. The caption referred to this ambush as a "neat trick" -- the kind of attitude toward criminals that is no longer acceptable in polite society anymore.

"What about their rights?" the intellectual demands to know, and thus deprives the Ordinary American of the sense that his own moral judgment is respectable. If we do not have contempt for the criminal -- and intellectual maundering about the "rights" of robbers suggests the criminal is not contemptible -- does this not undermine the law-abiding citizen's basis of self-esteem?

That is the tiniest tip of a very large iceberg of how intellectuals have undermined the moral basis of our society, as Gelernter sees it. If you haven't read Gelernter's book, do so. And while you're at it, you should also read Barbara Dafoe Whitehead's The Divorce Culture, Carolyn Graglia's Domestic Tranquility, Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed, Robert Bork's Slouching Toward Gomorrah, and David Horowitz and Peter Collier's Destructive Generation -- all of them, in one way or another, chronicling how intellectualism has subverted American culture.

The failure of liberalism

While this trend has seriously undermined the moral basis of a free society, it nevertheless continues to be true the the Left has been unable to consolidate power. There are reasons for this, chief among them that liberal policies don't work.

The basic program of American liberals has remained unchanged for more than 70 years: Increasingly greater government control of the economy, substituting bureaucracy for free enterprise. While this liberal Welfare State program isn't exactly socialism -- they're not advocating that government actually expropriate "the means of production" -- it suffers from the same deficiencies exposed by Ludwig von Mises in Socialism. Government bureaucrats simply don't have the informational basis necessary to run the economy as efficiently as it is run by private individuals.

Because they derive their revenue from coercion (taxes), government agencies are immune to market pressures, and thefore inevitably suffer from bureaucratic bloat, corruption and inefficiency. Thus, the liberal program of government growth diverts the nation's wealth from productive and efficient uses (the private sector) to unproductive and inefficient uses (the government sector).

The liberal does not see things in these terms, of course, nor does he see how his policies are based in a profound contempt for the "little people" to whom he promises this tax-funded largesse. One can only believe that government must provide "benefits" for the working man if one believes the working man incapable of providing for himself.

Yet the working man is not stupid. He is capable of seeing the failures of liberal policies, and you will find that if you merely begin discussing the failures of these policies, pretty soon the working man is offering examples of failed policies you hadn't even thought of.

Moreover, the working man -- the "little guy," the Ordinary American, as I think of him -- is not as blind to the contemptuous condescension of liberals as the liberals would like to think he is. And that's the real reason why no Democratic presidential candidate has gained a majority of the popular vote since 1976.

The failures of Bushism

Ultimately, liberals cannot hide their snobbery and phoniness. John Kerry was the perfect example of this, and while we ought rightly to be alarmed by the fact that Kerry got 48 percent of the vote, this is as much due to the failures of President Bush and the Republican Party as to the success of liberalism.

Who was it that pushed through the big-government boondoggle known as No Child Left Behind? Who federalized airport security under TSA? Who twisted arms to pass Medicare Part D?

Every election is a choice, and if neither party stands for limited government, then what does it matter which big-government party wins? When Republicans abandon sound conservative principles, Democrats ultimately gain.

It may be that the Republican Party's abandonment of Reaganism has now become so complete, and so obvious, that the Democrats will triumph in November. Certainly, the GOP has done nothing since 2006 to indicate it understands its basic problem, and John McCain is not a conservative.

On the other hand, I've seen this act before -- or something very much like it. The Democrats are so overconfident they can scarcely even be bothered to campaign. They sent Obama overseas for nine days, and now he's been off for a week's vacation in Hawaii. The Republicans, on the other hand, know they're between a rock and a hard place, and they've had McCain out stumping as much as his 71-year-old frailty can handle.

Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think McCain -- who called himself the underdog the other day when I saw in him York, Pa. -- faces any disadvantage that hard work cannot overcome. In fact, I'm so old-fashioned I don't think anyone faces any disadvantage that hard work cannot overcome. Fortune favors the hard-working, and if Obama thinks he's going to bodysurf his way to the White House, he's setting himself up for disappointment.

What the result will be on Nov. 4, I don't know. And what the long-term consequences will be of a Republican or Democratic victory, I don't know either. But trends in human affairs are not abstract eventualities that occur separate from the acts of individual men. Trends change, because men act. Or, to put it another way:
I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing.
Old-fashioned, like I said. I'm also reminded that on June 6, 1944, the 4th Infantry Division landed in Normandy, only to discover that they'd landed a full mile south of their objective. They were on the wrong beach. What to do? Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. declared, "We're going to start the war from here!"

Which is to say, rather than worrying about everything that's already gone wrong to put us in the inarguably bad fix we're in, let's try to figure out how to move forward from where we are now. The election of Barack Obama is not forward movement, and the defeatist attitude among some conservatives that Obama's election cannot be prevented (or, perhaps, should not be prevented) is perhaps the Democrats' best hope for victory.

The stakes in '08

Defeating the Democrats this year might be only a limited tactical achievement, but the effect of such an outcome in terms of morale -- crushing the liberals' hopes at a time when every political indicator suggested they were destined for victory -- would be incalculable. Their ambition of consolidating their supremacy in Washington would be delayed another four years, at least, and the ultimate consequences cannot be imagined.

To resort to another military analogy, the situation of the conservative movement now can be likened to that of Washington's army in late 1776, after they were whipped out of New York and forced to retreat across New Jersey, desperate merely to escape the British onslaught. Washington's surprise counterattack across the Delaware -- the battles of Trenton and Princeton -- wasn't much, in terms of its strategic impact. Yet its morale value was priceless, and tactically, it enabled Washington to go into winter quarters without fear of another British attack.

By putting the White House beyond the Democrats' grasp for another four years, a McCain victory in November would buy the conservative movement time to gather its strength, without diverting resources to fight a desperate rear-guard battle against Obama's push for nationalized health care.

The 2010 elections are crucial, especially in the state legislatures, since the census will result in redistricting. Overall population trends favor the GOP ("red" states gaining House seats, "blue" states losing House seats) and if Republicans can control enough state legislatures, the redistricting process following the census may result in gains that will put the Democratic congressional majority at risk in 2012 and beyond.

Of course, it may be that not even this would be enough to throw the Democrats out of the congressional saddle. And it may be that, if the GOP regained a majority, it still wouldn't be able to advance a conservative agenda. But those are speculative concerns that are beyond our power to affect at present.

What is certain is that an Obama victory Nov. 4 would consolidate control of the federal government under the Democrats, and immediately confront us with the prospect of the ultimate entitlement program, nationalized health care. As Philip Klein has shown in the July/August issue of the American Spectator, this is a step that, once taken, seems impossible to undo, with political consequences that extend far beyond the field of health care.

So I think we ought to spend more time thinking about what can be done to deal the McGovern coalition yet another humiliating defeat, and stop talking as if their triumph were an inevitable "fate that will fall on us no matter what we do."

As my father liked to say, "Can't never could."

Canadian pervert captured

"Canadian pervert" is redundant, I know . . .

South Park - Blame Canada - The best video clips are here

Protectionism, the Left's xenophobia debunks AFL-CIO/Obama attack ads that blame John McCain for layoffs in Ohio:
German-based DHL announced a deal that could result in 8,200 lost jobs in Wilmington, Ohio. And McCain did in fact oppose an amendment that would have kept DHL from buying Wilmington-based Airborne Express. . . .
[T]he Teamsters union praised the merger at the time, saying that it would lead to more jobs. And at first, more jobs indeed followed.
The ads also imply that the DHL merger is a direct cause of the job losses in Ohio, which we find to be both unlikely and unsubstantiated. Airborne Express had laid off 2,000 employees before the merger, and analysts at the time said that the struggling carrier would need to make expensive investments in its international infrastructure to remain competitive. . . .
The AFL-CIO mailer is the most explicit, saying that "McCain helped cut a deal that sent over 8,000 jobs to a foreign-owned company." Obama's television ad, which began airing on Aug. 14, charges that "John McCain helped pave the way for foreign-owned DHL to take over an American shipping company."
This is how Democratic Party and labor union goons exploit fear and economic ignorance, and except for banning international trade, I don't know what could ever satisfy them.

If U.S. companies invest overseas, that's "off-shoring," and is supposedly bad for American workers. but if foreign companies invest in the U.S., that's a foreign "takeover," and is supposedly bad for U.S. workers.

Airborne Express was experiencing hard times, and had already cut 2,000 jobs. So the company sells out to a German competitor, DHL. The hard times continue, however, and so another round of layoffs is necessary.

The DHL buyout did not cause the layoffs in Ohio. DHL inherited the problems at Airborne Express when it bought the company, and the layoffs are the result of those problems, which pre-existed the DHL buyout.

To blame the "foreign-owned company" is ridiculous, and to blame McCain for opposing an amendment that would have blocked the buyout is lunacy. There wouldn't even be an America without investment by "foreign-owned companies"!

Hello? It was investment by British and Dutch capitalists that funded the original colonial ventures in what is now the United States. Foreign capital helped build the railroads that spanned a continent. The United States has always welcomed foreign investment, because foreign investment is a very good thing.

Ever since the 1970s, the Left has been demonizing foreign investors -- especially Arabs and Japanese -- who are supposedly buying up everything in America as part of some shadowy takeover scheme. This is ignorant nonsense, anti-economic gibberish.

When foreigners invest their money in U.S. businesses, this is a vote of confidence in America's prospects for economic growth. Capital investment creates jobs.

If, in this one instance, the DHL buyout of Airborne Express has been followed by layoffs, it does not follow that the buyout caused the layoffs. This is the logical fallacy known as post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

So why is it "hate" when Americans complain about an illegal influx of poor Mexican workers, yet it's not "hate" when Democrats demonize the legal business activity of rich German investors? Why is dishonest fear-mongering about foreign capitalists not stigmatized as xenophobia?

Because the Left controls the terms of debate, that's why. They are permitted to spread harmful anti-economic ideas and even to promote fear of foreigners, so long as it helps elect Democrats. But don't you for a minute think their opponents enjoy any such privilege.


Signs that Obama is in trouble

St. Andrew of the Bleeding Heart:
Since Obama's hubris in Berlin, he has lost almost every cycle of this campaign, and lost all of them quite badly. I'm not sure his campaign gets how far they have sunk, and how ineffectual and passive Obama has seemed these past few weeks.
This is basically a reiteration of the "why don't they get tough?" meme, where liberals claim that Democrats lose because they refuse to take the gloves off. As if accusing Bush of plotting 9/11 as part of a conspiracy to gut the Bill of Rights, steal Iraq's oil and funnel profits to Halliburton didn't constitute an "attack."

Meanwhile, as Ace notes, St. Andrew has accused John McCain of being a "drama queen."

Just. Too. Weird.

Weird. Beyond. Words.

Also incredibly weird.

Rev. Caldwell: Thou shalt not joke

The pastor who officiated at Jenna Bush's wedding is horrified that John McCain made a joke:
"Well, I don't know a lot about John McCain's family history, I do know, however, that as recently as last week I think it was, the Senator made a comment in South Dakota regarding his wife entering some Buffalo Chips contest which is this topless deal and if she were to enter she would probably win it and my personal opinion and based on my understanding of the Christian faith, that's not not, N-O-T, not the type of expression that a presidential candidate, or anyone for that matter who is a follower of the Christian faith, ought to make," said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell. "I don't know if that is a perfect case in point, but it surely does help to juxtapose the DNA of Senator Obama, if you would, versus the DNA of Senator McCain."
What part of "lighten up" doesn't he understand? Here's the obvious joke at the Sturgis rally:

ABC is engaged in Obama propaganda here, because while the pastor is introduced in the lede as having officiated at Jenna's wedding, it's not until the fourth paragraph that we are told:
Caldwell, a close personal friend of President Bush who supports Obama for president, is the senior pastor at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas. Caldwell made his comments on a conference call with reporters sponsored by the Matthew 25 Network, a liberal Christian Group. Matthew 25 is planning to air a pro-Obama ad on Saturday during the Rick Warren forum with Obama and McCain.
So, a pro-Obama pastor is engaged in pro-Obama politics. Not surprising. The story, as written, is misleading.

This really kind of frosts me. Republicans suffer from the image of being uptight, stuffy prudes. But when a Republican makes a little joke -- My wife could win Miss Buffalo Chips, harharhar -- suddenly liberals cry foul. What next from ABC News?

Republican Jokes
About Homeless,

By Jake Tapper

GOP and McCain campaign officials yesterday denounced a right-wing Internet site that advocates violence against the homeless and Scandinavians.
"We absolutely abhor these ideas," McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said in a statement. "Senator McCain has many friends in the Scando-American community, and several of his former top campaign staffers are currently living
under bridges in cardboard boxes, so the Senator deeply appreciates the plight of the homeless.
The controversy ensued after complaints about an Internet blog site known as Ace of Spades HQ, whose Republican proprietor has repeatedly made comments about "beating up hobos," having sex with "Latino trannies," and has used terms like "lutefisk gobblers" to demean Scandinavians.
"We consider the term 'hobo' to be profoundly offensive to the homeless-American community," said Maureen O'Shaunessy, spokesperson for the National Alliance for Housing. "This kind of language constitutes an assault on the dignity of the millions of innocent people who suffer this plight as the result of the housing crisis."
Attempts to contact the pseudonymous proprietor of the Ace of Spades site were unsuccessful . . .
Continued on Page 213

UPDATE: Rev. Caldwell appears in this ad by the Religious Left group Matthew 25:

Allahpundit sees "a thinly veiled attack on McCain," but I don't see how that works, given that Maverick's been married to his current wife for longer than Barack has been married to his wife. To raise the issue of McCain's 1980 divorce is to suggest that whatever Obama was doing in 1980 -- keggers in college? -- is also fair game. I think Team Obama ought to heed the advice of the unnamed Republican strategist quoted by ABC: "My advice to the Obama people: 'proceed with extreme caution.' They don't want to get into a discussion of character and background."

Illegals support Obama

Lisa Schiffren reports from New York:
As it happens, most of the counterfeit purses, sunglasses, and some other shlock are sold by West Africans, most of whom are here illegally. In recent days, around the city I have noticed a new addition to their wares: rows of baseball caps with an "Obama" logo. No McCain caps — ever. If you ask, they laugh in a none too friendly way.
For pointing this out, Ms. Schiffren is accused of being anti-capitalist. Myself, I'm all in favor of unauthorized, bootleg, tax-dodging, sidewalk capitalism in New York. Anything that cheats the Bloomberg bureaucracy out of a nickel is a good thing. The more the underground economy booms, the greater the likelihood the city's deficits will force the city to lay off some of the subnormal parasitical scum they call "public school teachers."

Poll Watch update

Gallup TIED: McCain 44%, Obama 44%

Obama was up by 6 just two days ago. Gallup says the shift is "due more to movement away from Obama than toward McCain. . . . This could to some degree reflect Obama's absence from the campaign trail while he vacations in Hawaii."

The daily tracking polls lately have had more ups and downs than Rielle Hunter in John Edwards' hotel room.

Rasmussen today finds Barack Obama 2 points ahead of John McCain, 47%-45% ("leaners" included). And to show you what kind of idiots the Democratic Party attracts, 24% of Democrats say they still think it's possible Hillary Clinton could win the nomination.

Will update later with the Gallup numbers and such other new poll data as I can manage to corner in the men's restroom of the Beverly Hilton.

Video: College debate professors demonstrate advanced rhetorical techniques

As Ace says, "latter-day Ciceros":

My college professors never mooned each other or called each other "f***ing a**holes." Maybe this explains my lack of progressive enlightenment.

UPDATE: I'm on my third viewing now -- this is better than the Olympics -- and love how the Emory University professor gets up on a chair and starts ranting (about 7:25) about "community":
I think most, if not all, of you want to build bridges. And if you don't want to build bridges, I'm not talking to you!
Beyond parody . . .

Barack: Under the bus, Kwame

Detroit's indicted mayor is unwelcome in Denver:
The convention should be about the economic problems facing the nation overall and Michigan specifically, Brent Colburn, Obama’s Michigan campaign spokesman said.
"Many Michigan families are struggling as a result of the failed policies and old politics that John McCain wants to continue. The focus of our convention to people back here in Michigan should be on Barack Obama and how the party intends to get America back on track, not a distraction involving the troubles of one individual," Colburn said in a statement released this afternoon.
Later today, Kilpatrick issued a statement calling Obama's nomination "a historic event, however I'm focused on running the city, and I don't want anything to distract from that extraordinary moment. The focus should remain on uniting the party and leading our great nation in a different direction."
Translation: Democratic Party bigwigs told Kwame to shut up and skip the convention, or else his corrupt party cronies might not be too generous with those legal-defense-fund contributions.

But notice the double standard: Nobody's disinviting the Chappaquiddick swim champ, are they?

(Hat tips: JWF and AOSHQ.)

Morons for peace

Crusty '60s leftover Tom Hayden chronicles how the "peace" movement has spent the past year shooting itself in the foot. To quote esteemed political philosopher Larry the Cable Guy, that there's funny, I don't care who you are.

McCain: $27 million in July

On a conference call this morning, John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis talked about the Republican fund-raising operation, and said the campaign raised $27 million in July and completed the month with $21 million cash on hand.

The RNC will report raising $26 million in July, ending the month with $75 million cash on hand, Davis said.

In addition, Davis said, GOP state committees in key states have another $100 million cash on hand. Overall, the McCain campaign feels that they are in a very competitive position with the Barack Obama campaign. Beginning Sept. 1, the Republican will have more than $80 million in federal matching funds.

Ed Morrisey of Hot Air asked if Obama's foreign trip had affected fundraising, and Davis said "not so much in July as in August" there had been "an uptick in Internet fundraising" as a result of the success of a YouTube video that got over 1 million views.

Davis noted that both parties are holding their conventions relatively late this year, so that there are only 10 weeks from the start of the conventions until Election Day, which he called "one of the most intense political periods we've ever seen."

Davis assessed the current situation as a "pretty even race," saying that the McCain campaign has "effectively consolidated" the Republican base, remains "competitive with independent voters," and is doing well with "disaffected Democrats."

UPDATE: Showing his alarm over the fundraising success of the McCain campaign, Barack Obama went bodysurfing.

UPDATE II: Ed Morrisey notes:
The invitation came at short notice, and I assumed it would cover their fundraising numbers for July. Calling a press conference to announce it indicated that they either had good news, or needed to explain bad news.
Probably Team Maverick expects Obama to announce huge numbers for July, and so they wanted to get ahead of the story by putting McCain's numbers in context of the large RNC/state GOP fundraising operation.

Video: Obama = Taxes

New ad from Team Maverick:

UPDATE: Republicans have called for the elimination of capital-gains taxes, which have the effect of punishing investment, especially in real estate. Instead, Obama wants to increase the capital-gains tax on families earning more than $250,000.

Supposedly, people earning more than $250,000 a year are rich. But since income is annualized, and the sale of a home is income, then the year that you sell your house -- for which you paid $150,000 in 1995, but which is now worth $400,000 -- guess what? You're "rich" that year, and Obama's raising your taxes.

Capital-gains taxes, like estate taxes, are a moldy leftover of the New Deal era, originally conceived as a means of taxing inherited wealth accumulated before the income tax was instituted. But today's investors have accumulated their capital while paying tax on their incomes -- it's already been taxed once. To force them to pay another tax when they sell their assets or leave an estate to their children is an unfair double-taxation that discourages investment without producing significant revenue for the government.

The main beneficiaries of these idiotic tax policies are (a) tax lawyers and investment counselors who help guide rich people through the loopholes, and (b) the Democratic politicians who dishonestly demagogue these measures as taxing "the rich." Anybody stupid enough to fall for Obama's tax-the-rich nonsense deserves to be screwed over.

'Racism' in Canada

Kathy Shaidle shows how "human rights" in Canada don't include free speech.

Barring Barr in Boston

Jim Antle chronicles how Massachusetts Libertarian Party chairman George Phillies -- who placed fifth in the "Dogfight in Denver" -- appears to be conniving to keep LP presidential nominee Bob Barr off the ballot in the Bay State:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit last week to help get Barr a place on the ballot. Unfortunately, the intransigence of state election officials has been compounded by mixed messaging by some supporters of the ACLU lawsuit - especially Phillies himself.
Almost immediately after Barr secured the nomination, Phillies told Reason magazine that the Massachusetts Libertarians might hold a state convention to nominate a separate candidate. "Nominating this man," he is quoted as saying of Barr, "is the equivalent of nominating an Imperial Wizard of the KKK to lead a party of African-Americans." He repeated a variation of this statement on the state party's website shortly afterward.
Phillies and certain other hard-core LP activists basically resent the effort of Barr's supporters to expand the Libertarian Party beyond its current status as a philosophical debating society and make it a party of major political significance.

This has been an internal tension within the LP almost from the outset, as Brian Doherty explained in Radicals for Capitalism. The "libertarian" label has, unfortunately, attracted a number of fringe flakes who don't seem much interested in mainstream free-market ideology -- deregulation, low taxes, reduction of government bureaucracy -- but who are passionate about, inter alia, gay rights and drug legalization.

This drift has resulted in the party becoming a sort of Geek Club whose members take turns nominating each other for state and local offices they don't stand a chance of winning, and then staging quadrennial "More Libertarian Than Thou" contests for their national conventions.

At a time when the Republican Party appears to have forsaken its Goldwater/Reagan message of limited government, one might expect the LP to be scooping up huge contributions and winning over voters disgusted by the GOP's abandonment of principle. Yet as the situation with Barr illustrates, when disillusioned Republicans approach the LP, they inevitably find themselves confronted by the Geek Club contingent, whose worst fear is that their private debating society will be taken over by people who aim to actually win elections.

'The human cauldron'

Rick Moran wonders what mischief Hillary's supporters might cause at the Denver convention and (on page two) Moran captures a famous moment from conventions past:
But the [1912 Republican] convention itself was one for the ages, as delegates scuffled and Taft floor whips vainly tried to control what soon got out of control. Noted Kansas editor William Allen White . . . wrote as he surveyed the proceedings that he was looking down "into the human cauldron that was boiling all around me." The tension was palpable between TR's progressives and Taft's regular Republicans. And when most of Roosevelt's delegates abstained at TR's request to protest the raw deal, Taft waltzed off with the nomination.
Gorious. 'Tis a shame we live in such a time where Vanilla is the preferred flavor of politicians and Rocky Road is banned from our convention menu.
Frankly, the Republicans bear most of the blame for the vanilla-fication of conventions. In 1972, Richard Nixon's campaign led the way by orchestrating the Miami convention as a made-for-TV spectacle, with absolutely zero spontanaeity. Reagan's re-election campaign in 1984, and George Bush's 1988 campaign, did the same thing. The Democrats emulated the superior stagecraft of the Republicans and began organizing their own scripted snoozefests.

What's interesting is that, the more the parties have orchestrated their conventions with TV in mind, the more the broadcast networks have scaled back their coverage, complaining that no one wants to watch. Maybe they could do some sort of reality-TV deal: Convention Island, or Who Wants to Be the President?

Dan Riehl beats the NY Times

The New York Times says that a connection between two trial lawyer buddies of John Edwards "went unnoticed" during the reporting on the Rielle Hunter scandal.

Unnoticed, except by Dan Riehl, four days earlier, and Dan does a victory lap, while wondering when the New York Times is going to get around to reporting that Edwards crony Fred Baron is now raising money for Barack Obama.

UPDATE: Former Sports Illustrated investigative reporter Lester Munson relates a bizarre story from Rielle Hunter's past, when she was Lisa Druck.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why she's Ann Coulter

Sixteen words:
Edwards certainly is adept at reading stupid women, or as his campaign called them, "the base."
Ouch. There's another 700 or so words where that came from, so read the whole thing.

Math not required for journalism majors

The New York Times admits its reporters don't know the difference between revenue and profit. A "classic of economic ignorance," John Hinderaker observes.

The New York Times doesn't have a comics page, but its corrections are always entertaining.

What she said

Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft refutes the skepticism of those who scoffed at Howard Wolfson's assertion that, had John Edwards dropped out when the National Enquirer first broke the Rielle Hunter scandal in October 2007, Hillary Clinton might have won the Iowa caucus and gone onto win the nomination.

Nancy Pelosi's liquor problem?

Dan Riehl examines dealings between Nancy Pelosi's husband and the whiskey company Seagrams, which might be viewed as a conflict of interest.

Team Obama cedes the obvious

Hillary's name will be placed in nomination at the Democratic Convention in Denver:
During the Denver gathering, Democrats will officially choose Obama to run against Republican John McCain this fall, but the state delegations will do a traditional roll call for their nominee's vanquished primary opponent as well. . . .
The two sides made the announcement Thursday in a collegial joint statement.
"I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton's historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion," said Obama, an Illinois senator.
If Obama and his DNC allies had sought to deny Hillary a roll-call vote, it would have been a most un-democratic convention. Score this a victory for the PUMAs.

Barack Kwame Kilpatrick Obama

Michigan's Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm says "it would be incredibly cynical and wrong" for the GOP to take advantage of the scandal surrounding Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has been charged with conspiracy, perjury, obstruction of justice, misconduct in office, and felony assault.

Kilpatrick is a Democratic super-delegate whom Barack Obama has praised as "doing an outstanding job":

(Via Hot Air.) The Kilpatrick scandal is apparently one reason Obama hasn't been able to pull away in Michigan -- polls show him leading, but barely outside the margin of error.

It's easy to see how Kilpatrick being front-page news would tend to heighten racial sensibilities in the state. If Obama throws Kilpatrick under the bus, it would alienate some black voters. But as long as Kilpatrick is on the bus, it tends to alienate some percentage of white voters in Michigan. Team Obama's hope is that the Kilpatrick scandal will go away without requiring Obama to take a stand.

UPDATE 9/4: Kilpatrick pleads guilty, resigns.

Walter Shapiro, disappointed

Nearly 40 years in journalism, and he still accepts Democrats at face value?
Five days after Edwards flat-lined on "Nightline," I am still embarrassed by how badly I misjudged him both in print and in my personal feelings. . . .
My wife (a magazine writer who developed her own friendship with Elizabeth) and I had several off-the-record dinners with the Edwardses. . . .
I naively believed that I knew Edwards as well as I understood anyone in the political center ring. Yet I never saw this sex scandal coming -- partly because I accepted the mythology that surrounded the Edwards' marriage and partly because I assumed that any hint of a wandering eye would have come out during the 2004 campaign.
Shapiro then draws this "moral to the story":
If we stopped expecting would-be presidents to be paragons of marital fidelity and shining examples of religious faith in the public sphere, we would not set ourselves up for constant disappointment at human frailty.
No, the real lesson is far more simple: Don't trust politicians . . . especially millionaire lawyer politicians.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Weird confession

My friend Victor Morton, the Rightwing Film Geek, says that the issue of Playboy featuring an interview with Siskel and Ebert was "one of only three issues I ever purchased." Heh.

Also, the new remake of Brideshead Revisited doesn't suck as bad as Victor expected.


Thomas Frank:
Conservatism is an organic expression of the business community, which is the most powerful element of American society.
Eh? Russell Kirk, Whittaker Chambers, Richard Weaver -- just shills for the Chamber of Commerce?

McCain disses Lieberman?

Michelle Malkin caught John McCain refusing to come to Joe Lieberman's defense during a press conference. I wouldn't call it "under the bus," but it is certainly odd.

The way to handle a question like that is to say, "Hey, Joe can speak for himself. I'm proud to have his support, but I don't tell him what he can or cannot say, or put words in his mouth. If you've got a problem with something Joe said, take it up with him."

My readers in Iraq

My most recent article in the American Spectator draws a letter to the editor from Michael Tomlinson, who's stationed at Camp Habbaniyah, Iraq:
Robert Stacy McCain is too easily swayed and frightened by polls. While John McCain may be slightly behind or even tied with Obama in the polls the good news is Obama isn't doing as well as his Democrat predecessors at this time in the election cycle.
"Frightened by polls"? I'm not frightened. I was just including a "state of the race" assessment in a feature article about McCain's appearance in Pennsylvania when I wrote:
That the result on Nov. 4 could hinge on Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes is an optimistic forecast for a candidate who continues to trail his Democratic rival in recent national polls. No Republican presidential candidate has carried Pennsylvania since 1988, and recent statewide polls show Sen. Barack Obama leading by more than 7 points. . . .
While polls are flawed intruments, they are the only evidence we have to assess voter support for the candidates at this point. It's certainly possible that Obama's support will collapse in the next 82 days, but to assume such a collapse is to go beyond the available evidence.

I'm lousy at predictions, and I don't do cheerleading, but I didn't mean to offend Mr. Tomlinson or any other Republican by pointing out that the odds are against a McCain victory. As McCain himself said, he is the underdog.

Oh, you knew this was coming

A transvestite to compete on America's Next Top Model:
One of the 14 girls who will compete on the new season of America's Next Top Model -- which returns to The CW on September 3 -- is transgender.
"My cards were dealt differently," Isis, a 22-year-old former receptionist, tells Us Weekly. . . .
Will she be a role model?
"I like to help people, but I'm here to follow my dreams," she tells Us.
The inclusion of Isis is being hailed by GLAAD president Neil Giuliano as "an unprecedented opportunity for a community that is underrepresented on television.
"We applaud Tyra Banks and The CW for making this historic visibility of transgender people possible," Giuliano said.
This kind of PC gesture is only a gesture. "Isis" will not become a "top model," and the entire purpose of her inclusion is to give TV time to an "underrepresented community."

Say it ain't so!

Jamie Lynn Spears' baby daddy, Casey Aldridge, 19, has been cheating with a 28-year-old floozy, Kelli Dawson.

Man, talk about a worldview-shattering disillusionment and the destruction of romantic idealism . . .

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arkansas Democratic chairman shot

LATEST (3 a.m.): Information about gunman Timothy Johnson continues to be scarce and sketchy, but KARK reports: "We heard from multiple sources that Johnson was employed at the Gwatney-family owned Chevrolet dealership in Jacksonville." The station also reports:
Johnson was fired from his job in Conway before the shooting Wednesday.
Conway police were called to the Target just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, because of some anti-target graffiti he had written on the wall. Employees there say he was irate, but he left the scene before officers arrived.
So he got fired from Target, but several sources say that he used to work for the Gwatney family's auto dealership.

LATEST (8 p.m.): The gunman's death was apparently not self-inflicted, as had been speculated earlier:
After the suspect avoided spike strips and a roadblock along U.S. 167 near Sheridan, police rammed his car, spinning it, said Grant County Sheriff Lance Huey. He got out of his truck and began shooting, and state police and sheriff's deputies fired back, striking him several times, he said.
Hastings said investigators found at least two handguns in the suspect's truck.
The police spokesman seems to discount the disgrunted ex-employee angle:

At a late afternoon news conference, Little Rock Police Lt. Terry Hastings said Gwatney was shot multiple times in his upper body. Hastings said there is no known connection between Gwatney and the gunman and police have not commented on a possible motive.

ID on the suspect:
He has now been identified as Timothy Dale Johnson, 50, of Searcy. A sister who lives in Sheridan identified him, police said.
Johnson had no prior police record, according to the Little Rock police and a motive was still unknown. "This is one of those where we may never know," said Police Lt. Terry Hastings.
UPDATED & BUMPED (AGAIN): Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney has died after being shot by a man who was apparently a disgruntled former employee of Gwatney's auto dealership. The gunman was 51 and died of a gunshot wound, which may have been self-inflicted.

UPDATE II: When in doubt, blame Michelle Malkin.

UPDATE III: Bitterly clinging to guns and religion:
Moments before the Democratic headquarters shooting, a man with a gun threatened the building manager of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention headquarters seven blocks east. It wasn't known if the incidents were related.
Dan Jordan, the denomination's business manager, said the building manager asked the man what was wrong and that he said "I lost my job."
UPDATE IV: The party chairman was shot three times; details of the police pursuit of the gunman:
According to police, officers chased the gunman down Interstate 530 toward Pine Bluff, until he was forced off at the Sheridan exit. They caught up with him in Sheridan and a gun battle ensued in which the gunman was captured after he was shot by police. He was taken by MedFlight air ambulance to Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock. Lt. Terry Hastings of the Little Rock police reported on Wednesday afternoon that the gunman had died.

UPDATE V: Disgruntled former employee of the party chairman's auto dealership?

Sources say they are working to confirm tentative information that the suspect was a former employee of a Gwatney car dealership. News reports are identifying him as Tim Johnson, 50, of Searcy. He reportedly was a body shop worker at a Gwatney dealership in Sherwood.

Allah suggests this might be another "garden variety wacko," rather than politically-motivated terrorism.

Very disturbing news:
A gunman entered the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday and shot the party chairman, who was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. The gunman asked to speak to the party chairman, Bill Gwatney, and fired three shots at the office near the state Capitol. . . .
The suspect was chased into Grant County, south of Little Rock, and apprehended after being shot, the police spokesman said. The suspect's condition and motive were not known.
Sarah Lee, a sales clerk at a flower shop across street from the party headquarters, said that around noon Gwatney's secretary ran into the shop and asked someone to call 911.
Lee said the secretary told her the man had come into the party's office and asked to speak with Gwatney.
When the secretary said she wouldn't allow him to meet with Gwatney, the man went into his office and shot him, Lee said.
She said the secretary described the man as in his 40s and white and drove off in a blue truck.
Will update as further details become available.

China's gold medal tweens

Allah has a long thread about suspicions that China's gold-medal gymnatic team includes girls under the IOC-mandated minimum age of 16. He includes this video in which NBC panelists discuss the situation:

All the panelists speak of the advantage of younger girls in gymnastics in terms of psychology, but the actual advantage is physiological. As girls mature, their pelves (sorry, but that's the plural of "pelvis") become wider and heavier, giving them a lower center of gravity. This makes it more difficult to perform the rapid flips, handstands, etc.

As Allah notes, the average Chinese Olympic gymnast was 3 inches shorter and 30 pounds lighter than the average member of the U.S. team, and that difference is mostly a function of age and maturation level. Of course, since the Chinese girls are under a totalitarian regime, their diet and exercise regimens might be more tightly orchestrated to control their weight.

Frankly, I think it's idiotic to put a minimum age limit on Olympic athletes. If the Olympics is supposed to be about competition among the best athletes in the world, who cares if the world's greatest gymnasts happen to be 14-year-old girls?

Communist Party endorses Obama

Hope, comrades!
A broad multiclass, multiracial movement is converging around Obama's "Hope, change and unity" campaign because they see in it the thrilling opportunity to end 30 years of ultra-right rule and move our nation forward with a broadly progressive agenda. . . .
The struggle to defeat the ultra-right and turn our country on a positive path will not end with Obama's election. But that step will shift the ground for successful struggles going forward.
(Hat tip: JWF, LGF.) A "broadly progressive agenda" isn't exactly "death to the bourgeois oppressors," but it's close enough for CPUSA.
UPDATE: Dr. Melissa suggests the MSM is covering up Obama's real-life CPUSA connection.

'The Pelosi Premium'

The day Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, the average price of gas was $2.33 a gallon. That price has since increased 74% to $4.04 a gallon. (Hat tip: Bohemian Conservative.)

Congratulations, Nancy, on your 19% approval rating.

Obama blows poll lead

Margin-of-error territory:
With less than two weeks to go before the start of the presidential nominating conventions, Barack Obama's lead over John McCain has disappeared. Pew's latest survey finds 46% of registered voters saying they favor or lean to the putative Democratic candidate, while 43% back his likely Republican rival. In late June, Obama held a comfortable 48%-to-40% margin over McCain, which narrowed in mid-July to 47% to 42%.
Perhaps they forgot to poll in Berlin. Obama's very popular there, I'm told.

UPDATE: According to this poll, 28% of those who supported Hillary in the Democratic primaries aren't supporting Obama. So 28% of 18 million is about 5 million. And 18% of Hillary's primary voters (about 3.25 million voters) say they'll vote for John McCain in November.

All together now: Raaaaa-cism!

UPDATE II: Ed Morrissey:
With two weeks before the convention, Obama needs a momentum reversal, and he needs it quickly.
Ed ignores the raaaaa-cism, but let me suggest something else that's being ignored: Many Hillary primary supporters have (falsely) assumed that she would be Obama's running mate, and haven't paid attention since. When Obama announces his (white male) running mate, he will lose support among women.

UPDATE III: I explained this last month:
These voters quite naturally assume that, after such a close-fought contest, Hillary has earned the right to be on the ticket. They haven't noticed Obama's comments and furious vetting efforts that show he's seeking an ABC ("Anyone But Clinton") running mate, with most speculation centering on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. And when it is finally announced that Hillary won't be on the ticket, it's going to be a huge jolt, one that many will perceive as a purposeful insult to the former First Lady.
Like Cagney and the grapefruit:


Undocumented immigrant. Dead. In Denver. With "a container of what authorities initially suspect to be the deadly poison cyanide."

His name is Saleman Abdirahman Dirie. No doubt a white supremacist encouraged to this act of hate by those "celebrity" ads.

Unmitigated idiocy

Joseph Palermo is a professor of history at Cal State-Sacramento, and is also an idiot. Palermo makes reference to objectionable material on the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) Web site, and says:
This kind of racism aimed at Barack Obama's candidacy for president should not be tolerated as we approach the most intense phase of the election cycle.
This kind of white supremacy, interconnected with the Republican Party . . . should require clear and repeated denunciations from John McCain.
The CCC is not "interconnected with the Republican Party," and does not take its marching orders from the GOP or from John McCain. (I'm sure CCC chairman Gordon Lee Baum would laugh at the very suggestion.)

Thus, Palermo is asking McCain to repudiate attacks that he never authorized or endorsed, by an organization in which he is not involved. It's like asking Obama to repudiate every offensive remark posted in the comment fields of Democratic Underground or Daily Kos.

Peter Beinart, political hack

Having complained of the Republican hackery of National Review's Rich Lowry, I now note the Democratic hackery of the New Republic's Peter Beinart.

Beinart at least had the decency to become a "senior fellow" at a think tank before offering himself as a freelance campaign consultant for Barack Obama, but exactly what affirmative action has to do with "foreign relations" -- Beinart's area of presumed expertise -- is beyond me.

Young journalists, take note: If you want to be a journalist, be a journalist. If you want to be a campaign consultant, be a campaign consultant. If you want to be a policy specialist, be a policy specialist. Beware the hubris that makes you think you can be all of the above. You'll only make yourself look ridiculous.

Edwards: His lips are still moving

Lies, lies, lies:
And now The ENQUIRER has uncovered that Edwards' political operatives are still paying his mistress Rielle Hunter -- and she was whisked away on a private jet two days before he confessed their extramarital affair on national TV!
The ENQUIRER has also confirmed that Edwards secretly visited Rielle and their love child three separate times at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles this year -- a fact that proves he is still lying to America and his wife.
Private jets, mistresses, secret trysts at the Beverly Hilton -- in which one of the two Americas does this stuff happen? Like I said, once they figure out you're never gonna sue for libel, the tabloids can print anything.

New Orleans corruption: Name that party!

Corruption in program to rehabilitate flood-damaged housing in New Orleans -- the New York Times publishes 1,067 words about it. "Democrat" is not one of those words.

Maryland: State of idiocy

Jimmie has the whole story.

All-American Maverick

Reporting for the American Spectator:
YORK, Pa. -- Grand Funk Railroad's "American Band" blared from the speakers as Sen. John McCain shook hands with supporters following his town hall meeting here yesterday.
The song's lyrics -- celebrating a rock band's hedonistic depredations with groupies like "Sweet Connie" -- don't quite match the staid image of the GOP, but like the '70s rockers, the presidential candidate was here to help Pennsylvania Republicans "party down."
"I think we're going to be up late on election night, and I'm the underdog," McCain told a crowd of more than 3,000 at the Toyota Arena, and made a prediction: "I think you're going to hear the commentators say, 'Well, we're waiting for Pennsylvania.'"
That the result on Nov. 4 could hinge on Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes is an optimistic forecast for a candidate who continues to trail his Democratic rival inrecent national polls. No Republican presidential candidate has carried Pennsylvania since 1988, and recent statewide polls show Sen. Barack Obama leading by more than 7 points. . . .
Read the whole thing.