Saturday, November 1, 2008

On the rogue diva whack job

Kathryn Jean Lopez's latest column defending Sarah Palin, carries a stern permission warning, so I won't quote it, except this one sentence:
She has presented America with an entirely new type of feminism, one that conservative women and the Catholic Church can finally understand and identify with.
Eh? K-Lo lost me around that curve. I don't want a "new type of feminism," or an old type of feminism, or any feminism at all. Feminism sucks. (Or, as I like to say, "Equality is for ugly losers.") And what does the Catholic Church have to do with it?

K-Lo's column would be more convincing if she were explicit about the real culprit in the Team Maverick debacle (i.e., the bailout stunt) and if she would identify the real source of the anti-Palin attacks. Palin is being sabotaged by Republicans who are trying to scramble aboard the Jeb Bush 2012 bandwagon.

Conservatives who support Palin recognize her as a potential fresh start for the GOP, whereas devotees of the status quo are looking to continue the Bush dynasty. Republicans got stuck with John McCain as this year's nominee not because there was an overwhelming landslide for McCain (who finished with just 47% of the GOP primary vote) but because conservatives failed to unite behind an Anybody But McCain candidate.

Mark my words, the 2012 primaries will come down to Jeb Bush vs. Please God Not Jeb Bush, and Palin is the obvious PGNJB candidate. If the field gets overcrowded with a bunch of wannabes -- Huckabee, Romney, etc. -- dividing up the PGNJB vote, then we'll get Jeb Bush. We've already had two Bushes too many.

So, yeah, the GOP is screwed because somebody made the wrong running-mate choice, but it wasn't made by John McCain in 2008. It was made by Ronald Reagan in 1980. Conservatives should rally around the slogan, "NO MORE BUSHES."

Obama, the homophobe

Guess who is the new spokesman for Proposition 8, the California ballot referendum to ban same-sex marriage in California?

Maybe some reporter should ask Obama what he thinks about Proposition 8, and the Christian Right's use of his statement in support of that measure. Of course, a question like that might get you kicked off the campaign plane.

Thanks to Michael Peterelis, who is gay and Green and doesn't trust Democrats.

Palin barnstorms Ohio

After doing three rallies in Florida and one in North Carolina on Saturday, here is Sarah Palin's Sunday schedule: Google Map directions for any hard-core Sarah fans who want to try to cover the whole trip -- 334 miles by car. Good luck.

BTW, those times are for door-openings, and I'd advise anyone planning to attend a Palin rally to get there at least a couple hours before those times. The lady really draws a crowd:

Maverick & Anna Nicole

Ben Smith suggests they're "cleaning out the oppo drawer" at Hope HQ, but I don't see how this hurts the 72-year-old senator:

Hot chicks are not a political liability.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Where they are, where they aren't

Maybe this will ease Jane Fonda's nerves:
NBC/WSJ co-pollster Peter Hart (D) sends along this observation: "Forget the polls, just look at what the candidates are doing and where they are spending money." At this time in 2004, he notes, Kerry-Edwards were campaigning in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Florida. In 2000, Gore-Lieberman were in the states of Missouri and Ohio, as well as in Florida. But in 2008, Obama and Biden AREN'T campaigning in Pennsylvania, Minnesota or Wisconsin. Instead, they’re in Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, as well as the perennials of Ohio and Florida. "You do not have to read poll numbers -- just look at their travel schedule," Hart tells First Read. And as we learned yesterday, the Obama campaign is now spending money in Arizona, Georgia, and North Dakota.
The momentum clearly favors the illegal alien's nephew. And of course, the Blame Sarah First crowd has already picked out their scapegoat. Just in case the Palin-bashers need a reminder, here's what I wrote on Sept. 8:
Saturday [Sept. 6], Zogby reported McCain-Palin with a 50-46 percent lead over Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden. Sunday morning Rasmussen found the race a dead heat, and Gallup showed McCain pulling ahead 48-45 percent among registered voters -- "McCain's largest advantage over Obama since early May," Gallup noted. Late Sunday evening, a fresh round of polling from Gallup showed McCain had widened the margin to 4 points among registered voters -- and had a whopping 10-point lead (54-44 percent) among likely voters.
As important as the latest numbers were the trends the tracking polls revealed. Obama actually gained in the immediate wake of the Palin announcement, booming ahead by 8 points (Gallup) and 6 points (Rasmussen) as the media slammed the new Republican running mate. However, once America saw Palin speak for herself -- in a broadcast whose ratings nearly equaled Obama's own "Barackopolis" acceptance speech in Denver -- voters apparently surged toward the GOP.
Given a chance to speak for herself, then, Palin was an immediate hit, and as I reported from Ohio Sept. 10, she became "The Sweetheart of the Heartland." By Sept. 15, Democrats were ready to hit the panic button.

What went wrong, then? I've explained this several times, but now -- as the campaign nears its end -- I want to reiterate the narrative once more: From a 1-point Gallup lead on Sept. 16, McCain went to a 10-point deficit by Oct. 10 -- a period of time that covered all three Obama-McCain debates. And it was during that same time period that McCain repeatedly endorsed a big-government approach to the financial crisis. As late as Sept. 24, it was still a three-point race. By Sept. 29 -- after McCain's push for the bailout and after the first debate Sept. 26 -- Obama led by 8 points. Attempting to hang this around Sarah Palin's neck is not merely unfair, it's absurdly counterfactual. Clearly, she was never consulted in any of these decisions, including the pullout from Michigan.

The McCain's campaign rejection of "libertarian populism," its refusal to acknowledge the morality of markets, its preference for economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin's big-government approach to the financial crisis, was the proximate cause of this impending disaster. I know that thousands are praying for a Republican miracle on Nov. 4, but with Obama up by 10 in the latest Gallup, it's important to brace yourself for spin from pundits and Republican "insiders" (including McCain campaign staffers who are already aboard the Jeb Bush 2012 bandwagon) who are going to try to make Sarah Palin the scapegoat for a defeat that was not her fault.

UPDATE: Doug Mataconis:
There was absolutely nothing surprising about John McCain's reaction to the financial crisis, because it was completely consistent with what we've been hearing from Senator McCain for years now. He's never been a champion of the free market, he's consistently sided with government bureaucracy and with the basic idea that government even needs to step in to situations like this -- a position he reiterated in his interview on Meet the Press last Sunday.
In other words, Maverick did what Maverick could be expected to do, and the GOP knew what it was getting when it picked him.

Roll Tide!

Alabama went into the 4th quarter with a 28-0 lead over Arkansas State, apparently averting a homecoming letdown the week before the big showdown in Baton Rouge with LSU.

October traffic

Live by the Sarah Palin bikini pics, die by the Sarah Palin bikini pics. That's the moral of October's traffic at The Other McCain -- a healthy 123,837 visitors, nearly 4,000 a day, but no match for the Sarah Palin bikini-driven frenzy of 291K in September.

I reaped the reward of being one of the first bloggers to figure out that "Sarah Palin bikini" was random-Google-traffic gold, filing a post from the smoking lounge at the Denver airport the day after Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate. The market was soon crowded with imitators, but I was the top Google result for a long time, and suddenly people on my blogroll were e-mailing to ask, "Hey, did you link me? I started getting lots of hits from you, but I can't figure out what post you linked."

A thing of beauty may be a joy forever, but Google gold doesn't last. As attacks on Palin mounted, as McCain slumped in polls, and as the prospect of her becoming vice-president consequently faded, the raw curiosity (or oppo-research interest) in scandalous Palin pics declined. And frankly, Republican-leaning bloggers haven't been giving me much linky-love since Oct. 2, when Team Maverick pulled out of Michigan and I called the election over.

Well, OK, one down month out of eight. The general trend is still upwards. October's traffic was 68% higher than August, and if the bikini boost of September caused me to spend less time link-whoring, I didn't completely slack off in October -- 267 posts for the month. That's an average of nearly 9 new items daily, in addition to my writing and blogging at the American Spectator.

So I'm keeping pretty busy, and the post-election analysis ("Hate vs. Hope: Armageddon '08") should drive a lot of traffic. The other day, I had the joy of handing my wife a Google AdSense check -- a small reward for months of work, and mostly thanks to the Barracuda:

UPDATE: Instalanche! That's the way to get November off to a rockin' start!

Abu Jihad al-Masri, R.I.P.

The good guys scored a kill:
An Egyptian Al-Qaeda operative -- described by the United States as the terror network's propaganda chief -- was killed in a missile strike in Pakistan, security officials said on Saturday.
Abu Jihad al-Masri was among several rebels killed when two missiles fired by a suspected US spy drone hit a truck in the North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan on Friday night, they said.
The United States has offered a one-million-dollar bounty for the death or capture of al-Masri, who has appeared in an anti-Western video introduced by Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's number two.
"The strike was aimed at a vehicle carrying Abu Jihad and two others. The target was successfully hit and all three people were killed," a senior Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Terrible how we're losing the War on Terror, eh?

Obama's shrinking middle class

His definition of "middle class" has shrunk steadily:

Via Hot Air, where Ed Morrisey reports that Obama's definition of "middle class" used to be even lower:

What you see in that brief 54-second clip is Obama's government-centric view of economics: "The problem was [the Bush tax cuts] weren't targeted at the short-term stimulus of the economy." The notion of government "stimulating" the economy short-term, rather than encouraging long-term growth by freeing up capital investment, is the classic Keynesian "pump-priming" fallacy.

The Earned Income Tax Credit that Obama praises as "tax cuts for working families" was originally created as an incentive for very low-income workers, since the total benefits package of the Welfare State (including cash welfare payments, food stamps, public housing, and Medicaid) was -- and still is -- a disincentive to work.

And Obama, in praising tax cuts for families making $50K-$70K completely ignores the $1,000 per-child tax credit that were part of the Bush tax-cut program. (As a father of six, I especially liked that one).

Then he talks about "the money we've given up," as if the tax cuts actually reduced government revenue. (Hello, Laffer Curve? Total federal revenue increased after the tax cuts!) Obama suggests that the reduced revenues (which weren't actually reduced) deprive Illinois of "transportation dollars" and "health care dollars." But nobody is stopping Illinois from increasing state tax revenue to fund such programs. Why should people in Illinois send more tax money to Washington in hopes of getting back a fraction to spend on their "enormous needs"? It's nuts.

Obama by 10?

Bandwagon effect?
Barack Obama leads John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily tracking interviewing conducted Wednesday through Friday by an identical 52% to 42% margin among both traditional likely voters and expanded likely voters. Obama leads by a similar 52% to 41% margin among all registered voters.
This is the first time since Gallup began estimating likely voters in early October that there is no difference between Gallup's two likely voter models. Obama's lead of 52% to 42% using Gallup's traditional estimate of likely voting criteria takes into account past voting as well as current intentions. Obama's identical lead using the expanded model takes into account only current voting intentions.
I'm having a hard time thinking of any particular reason why what was a 2-point race on Monday should have swung so strongly in Obama's favor in the span of five days. If this Gallup swing is real -- if a tsunami of late-deciding voters pushes Obama to a double-digit win -- the likely explanation will be bandwagon psychology. The marginal undecided voter wants to vote for the winner.

UPDATE: Allahpundit offers this reminder that miracles do happen:

Palin's special base

The LA Times reports:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin arrived at the Boyer Orchards here Friday afternoon, entering a sweet-smelling wooden barn full of crates of apples. "This is gorgeous," Palin said, greeting workers.
The visit was designed to highlight small businesses and their special needs and how a John McCain administration would help them.
And the Republican vice presidential candidate did talk business and taxes with Matthew and Bruce Boyer, whose family has owned and worked this 300-acre orchard for 51 years now.
But it was after their business chat that Palin had some special moments with a special fan, Amber Brown. As Palin left the barn, an excited crowd outside was mid-verse singing "God Bless America," but roared at the sight of Palin.
Brown, who is 23 and from New Paris, held a poster that said: “I have Down’s syndrome and I’m voting for you. I’m a fighter too!”
That kind of cuts through the cynicism, eh?

Obama's criminal coalition

In addition to the support of his illegal alien aunt, Barack Obama is also counting on the votes of other criminals:
In Colorado, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC) has been helping inmates who are eligible to vote. The Aspen Daily News reports:
In Colorado you are barred from voting only from the day you are convicted of a felony offense until you complete your prison time and any parole sentence.
So you can vote if you are in jail on a misdemeanor conviction, free on bail for any crime, if you are a pre-trial jail detainee, or have completed your sentence and parole. Colorado felons are allowed to vote while on probation.
So if you're awaiting trial or on probation for carjacking, drug dealing, rape or murder, Obama is the Change you've been waiting for.

Notes from a Democrat in PA

Thomas Lifson reports that a McCain volunteer found this note left by a Democrat in a hotel business center:
Bad News from the Keystone State . . .
PA is an overwhelmingly white, fundamentally racist state. And I am talking openly, flagrantly racist. Especially in the south west, folks have no problem throwing around the N-word in casual conversation. But unlike the southern states, these white rural folks haven't been solidly converted to the Republican Party. Maybe it's the history of unionism, maybe it was the lack of civil rights issues. But until this election, these rural Democrats haven't had their party allegiance tested by race. These are the "Clinton Democrats", the Murtha Democrats, the Bob Casey Democrats, etc.
In August, I sat in a diner in the middle of Fayette County and listened to an older white man at the next table talk about how he'd always been a Democrat, he supported Clinton but couldn't bring himself to vote for a N-word.
Does this mean McCain will win Pennsylvania? I still doubt it. The reason you're seeing reports like this is because Democrat volunteers are working out in Central Pennsylvania, which is tough sledding for any Democrat. If you're an Obama volunteer campaigning in Wilkes-Barre or Chambersburg, it must seem like a daunting uphill battle. However, the Central PA vote will be completely swamped by the massive Obama vote from Philly and its affluent suburbs full of rich white liberals. The polls now indicate the state could be close, but an outright McCain win is the longest of long shots.

Ohio snoops on Joe the Plumber

Columbus Dispatch:
Vanessa Niekamp said that when she was asked to run a child-support check on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher on Oct. 16, she thought it routine. A supervisor told her the man had contacted the state agency about his case.
Niekamp didn't know she just had checked on "Joe the Plumber," who was elevated the night before to presidential politics prominence as Republican John McCain's example in a debate of an average American.
The senior manager would not learn about "Joe" for another week, when she said her boss informed her and directed her to write an e-mail stating her computer check was a legitimate inquiry. . . .
Director Helen Jones-Kelley said her agency checks people who are "thrust into the public spotlight," amid suggestions they may have come into money, to see if they owe support or are receiving undeserved public assistance.
Niekamp told The Dispatch she is unfamiliar with the practice of checking on the newly famous. "I've never done that before, I don't know of anybody in my office who does that and I don't remember anyone ever doing that," she said today.
Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland and Jones-Kelley, both supporters of Democrat Barack Obama, have denied political motives in checking on Wurzelbacher. The Toledo-area resident later endorsed McCain. State officials say any information on "Joe" is confidential and was not released.
They "denied political motives" -- and who can doubt? "I did not violate the rights of that man, Joe Wurzelbacher." Michelle Malkin:
If Joe the Plumber were Jawad the Suspected Terrorist, civil liberties activists would stampede the halls of Congress on his behalf. Liberal columnists would hyperventilate over the outrageous invasions of his privacy by Ohio state and local employees. The ACLU would demand the Big Brother snoopers’ heads. And Democrat leaders would convene immediate hearings and parade him around the Beltway as the new poster boy/victim of unlawful domestic spying.
But because peaceful American citizen Joe Wurzelbacher is an outspoken enemy of socialism, rather than an enemy of America, the defenders of privacy have responded to his plight with an impenetrable cone of silence.
Jawad the Suspected Terrorist, of course, would never endorse a Republican. We know whose side they're on.

Expert reaction

Second Amendment historian Clayton Cramer (author of Armed America, the definitive refutation of academic fraud Michael Bellesiles), examines the attacks on Sarah Palin and suggests that liberal attacks stem mainly from two causes:
1. She's a pro-life, evangelical Christian.
2. She's a woman.
To the left, it is axiomatic that every woman has to be pro-choice and hostile to the patriarchial system of oppression that is Christianity.

Reacting to my criticism of the anti-Palin "experts" among the pre-war Iraq hawks, Cramer says:

I do think Stacy is on to something here: when the people that played a major part in the Iraq strategy suggest that Palin was an incredibly bad choice -- consider the source.
My point was not to say that all hawks are disqualified from criticizing Palin. What I objected to was the "expert" assertion that Palin is (a) the basic cause of Republican electoral difficulties and/or (b) somehow symptomatic of a fundamental problem with the conservative movement.

This is scapegoating pure and simple, and its sources are among those who far more deserve to be thus blamed than the governor of Alaska. Her son is fighting the war the "experts" demanded, and the lady's reward is to be vilely insulted by them? Just to think of this injustice makes my blood boil. If this were 1850, they would be invited to meet me in Bladensburg, the miserable curs!

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

UPDATE: Peter Wehner:

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve detected in some of the conservative critics of Sarah Palin . . . a tendency to call attention to the fact that their position has (supposedly) made them, and their dear friends, vilified figures.

I certainly by God hope they're vilified! They deserve far worse. I have remarked to friends that there is nothing wrong with these intellectual pansies that a good ol' Alabama ass-whuppin' wouldn't cure. As a matter of fact, I'm going to invite Charlie Martin to CPAC just in case David Brooks dares show his face . . .

This is your brain on Hope

The idea that Barack will put gas in your car and pay your mortgage? When I was 19, I tripped out so badly on psilocybin mushrooms and Bolivian flake cocaine that I required hospitalization, but to see someone reach such a condition of utter delusion without massive amounts of hallucinogens . . . shocking beyond words.

Via the delightful Ericka Andersen, who observes:

Obama's message IS that you won't have to worry about that kind of stuff because he's going to fix it for you. . . . Where is his emphasis on hard work and self-provision, independence and pride? I never hear him talking about any of those things.

Ericka, don't you realize that "hard work and self-provision" are Rethuglican racist code words? Next thing you know, you'll be talking about "law and order" (nudge, nudge).

Friday, October 31, 2008

In defense of ignorance

Tom Fleming at Chronicles:
Dan Larison on his Eunomia blog now on AmCon has drawn attention to our old friend Stacy McCain’s defense of ignorance. Palin and her supporters are virtuous, he is arguing, precisely because what they don’t know won’t hurt them. I fear, however, that it will hurt us. This is worth an entire issue of the magazine. Since Socrates (at least) we have understood that to pilot the ship of state requires skill, not just a good heart, especially when that ship is no longer a simple republican skiff but a nuclear powered submarine armed with missiles carrying nuclear warheads. Besides, it is easier to make a judgment of someone’s experience and competence than of the soundness of his heart.
The joy of limited government is that the ordinary citizen should be able to ignore politics, and most Americans do so. They are, therefore, generally ignorant of politics -- and certainly they are ignorant of the internecine disputes among conservatives. The average Republican voter in Pennsylvania sees Sean Hannity on TV and likes him. The same voter sees Pat Buchanan on TV and likes him, too. To this average voter, Hannity and Buchanan are both conservatives, allies against liberal Democrats, even though Buchanan and Hannity have very different philosophies and policy ideas.

Sarah Palin is the governor of Alaska, a very popular and for all I know a very good governor. She apparently focused her attention on the job she was doing and, prior to being chosen as McCain's running mate, had paid little attention to the national and international issues that the presidential campaigns were talking about. Very good, I say -- I wouldn't want my governor to be obsessed with presidential politics, but rather to concentrate on doing his job as governor.

Palin's honest ignorance of presidential-level issues was held up as evidence that she is, or was, unprepared for the vice-presidency -- as if years of studying such issues were in itself qualification for the office. Evidence contradicts this idea.

Sarah Palin is extraordinarily shrewd and is a natural as a politician. She figured out early on that some people on the McCain campaign are profoundly incompetent (hello, Tucker Bounds) and that other people on the McCain campaign are selfish and arrogant beyond words (you know who you are, sweetheart).

Sarah's shortcomings on Aug. 29 have been rapidly remedied, and by 2011 could be remedied entirely. Considering that she is the strongest, most viable alternative to Jeb Bush, I would suggest that some of her conservative critics should try to befriend her, and not merely join the sneering  snobs.

VIDEO DEBATE: Funny vs. Funny

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at

For the past couple of weeks, I've been learning Final Cut Pro video editing software, and that is some fine editing.

Overcoming the anti-Palin smears

Mark Horne's online book, Sarah Palin: New American Feminist is now available. (First chapter PDF)

'Admiring incomprehension'

Media dreams of Barack Obama:
While journalists have swarmed to Alaska with admirable alacrity to ferret out every detail of Sarah Palin‘s energetic life, the media have drawn a curtain of admiring incomprehension in front of Obama’s own exquisitely written autobiography, Dreams from My Father. Because few have taken the trouble to appreciate Obama on his own terms, the politician functions as our national blank slate upon which we sketch out our social fantasies.
America does not know, or does not understand, who the man really is. The media has portrayed him, with his eager cooperation, as something he is not. The people who are trying to warn America about this yawning chasm between the perception and the reality of Obama are being demonized, stigmatized and marginalized. If you don't listen to them now, Nov. 5 will be too late.

So, please, read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Having read the whole thing, I'd like to call your attention to something the author writes  about the other major-party candidate for president:
John McCain doesn't seem to have noticed that the Grand Strategy of the Bush Administration -- Invade the World, Invite the World, In Hock to the World (or as blogger Daniel Larison put it, “Imperialism, Immigration, and Insolvency") -- has driven us into the ditch.
One of the most important things for conservatives to understand about this election is that the fundamental problem of the Republican Party stems from having heeded the advice of its enemies, including some enemies who wrongly call themselves "conservative." If John McCain loses this election, it will be a defeat for McCain and a defeat for the GOP, but it will not be a defeat for conservatism, if conservatism were understood correctly.

It is unfortunate that the term "conservatism" has been abused to describe policies of the Bush administration (hello, No Child Left Behind) that aren't even remotely conservative. It means nothing to shout "liberal! liberal! liberal!" at the Democrats, if the conservative alternative is not clearly and accurately defined -- or, even worse, if liberal policies are wrongly labeled "conservative," as is the case with so much of what Bush and McCain have done over the years.

Hate him, he's Canadian

Investigative reporter Matthew Vadum displays his comic genius on "The Daily Show":

Matthew tells me he's gotten hate mail as a result of this appearance. I should explain that Matthew is a top-notch investigative journalist whose reporting on ACORN has set the standard. He "gets" the kind of humor that they want on "The Daily Show," and the jokes he made were jokes. The jokes were based in fact -- indeed, ACORN has used crack dealers in its operations -- but they were still jokes.

Attaboy, John Solomon!

I left The Washington Times in January immediately after -- not necessarily because -- John Solomon was named to replace Wes Pruden as editor. (Solomon is a former Washington Post editor and, as I said at the time, "If I wanted to work for a Postie, I'd have applied at the freaking Post."). But today, Mr. Solomon earns his salary, and my admiration, after the Obama campaign kicked the Times' Christina Bellantoni off the campaign in an act of petty vengeance:
The Washington Times, N.Y. Post and Dallas Morning News -- three newspapers that recently endorsed John McCain -- have been kicked off Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's plane in the final days of his campaign. . . .
The Obama campaign informed The Washington Times Thursday evening of its decision, which came two days after The Times editorial page endorsed Senator John McCain over Mr. Obama. The Times editorial page runs completely independent of the news department. . . .
"This feels like the journalistic equivalent of redistributing the wealth. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars covering Senator Obama's campaign, traveling on his plane, and taking our turn in the reporter's pool, only to have our seat given away to someone else in the last days of the campaign," said Washington Times Executive Editor John Solomon. News organizations typically pay campaigns for the cost of traveling on the candidate's planes. . . .
"I hope the candidate that promises to unite America isn't using a litmus test to determine who gets to cover his campaign," Mr. Solomon said.
Christina Bellantoni's work covering this campaign cannot be faulted, and she has no bias except in favor of the truth. For the vicious monsters at Team Obama to have made her the object of their spite is entirely a reflection of the evil in their hearts, and reflects nothing on Christina. I had the honor of working with Christina and edited her stories (which never needed much editing, frankly), and can say that she is such a thorough professional that I couldn't even tell you what her political views are -- and her views never mattered, since she did excellent reporting, no matter what the assignment was.

John Solomon's defense of Christina -- and of The Times' integrity as a news organization -- has lifted from him the otherwise indelible stain of his former association with that Other Paper.

As for Team Obama's idiocy, I have bitched fiercely about the McCain campaign's self-defeating hostility to the press, but Team Maverick at least has never been this stupid.

'Experts' vs. the Hockey Mom

One of the things I hate about the Washington elite is their knack for evading responsibility, and I take aim at a few of these slippery bastards in my latest American Spectator column:
None of her critics in the commentariat could ever draw such a crowd or generate such enthusiasm, and yet they do not hesitate to proclaim that she is "not close to being acceptable in high office" ([Ken] Adelman), that her selection as John McCain's running mate is "irresponsible" ([Francis] Fukuyama) and even that she "represents a fatal cancer to the Republican Party" ([David] Brooks).
Popularity as a pathology? What Brooks and the others are saying is that these people who spend hours in the cold October wind for a chance to see Sarah Palin are too stupid to know what's good for them. "Listen to us," say the political experts.
YES, THE EXPERTS always know best. In September 2002, [George F.] Will advocated "preemptive" war with Iraq, with a nuclear "mushroom cloud" as the alternative. Now, he denounces as "carelessness" the war he once urged, lumping Palin into the same category of Republican error.
Fukuyama militated for war with Iraq much earlier, signing onto the Project for the New American Century's 1998 letter to President Clinton calling for "a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power." In the run-up to the 2003 invasion, Brooks warned that "the fog of peace" was blinding critics to the "menace" of Saddam. Among the advocates of invasion, Adelman took the cake, so to speak, by predicting a "cakewalk" in Iraq.
Experts, you see. And at nothing are they more expert than evading responsibility, a task that requires scapegoats. So the unpopularity of the Republican Party has nothing to do with the policies the experts urged and the politicians the experts supported. Rather, it's the provincial hockey mom who is to blame.
"Cakewalk Ken" and Fukuyama have now declared their support for Obama, citing Palin prominently among their reasons. Brooks and Will have not (yet) declared themselves acolytes of Hope, but have made clear that they view Palin as an unalloyed dead weight on the GOP.
Experts in Washington think themselves infinitely more important to the Republican Party than mere voters in Pennsylvania who stand in line to see the Alaska hockey mom who sent her oldest son to fight the war the experts once urged.
Our Republican experts don't fight wars or send their sons to fight them. They don't make hand-lettered signs and drive 50 miles to wait in the October wind for the chance to wave their signs inside an arena in Cumberland County, Pa. . . .
Please read the whole thing.

'Middle-class tax cut' memories

To the tune of an old song, "We'll Meet Again":


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Predicted pundit spin

Just took a look at the Real Clear Politics electoral map -- extraordinarily grim outlook, really. If the current map holds true, expect the pundits on Election Night and days afterwards to focus on how the Republican won only in the South. You know, in Southern states like South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming . . .

This is a favorite shtick of the MSM, to deride Republican as only winning those redneck racist cracker holy rollers down South, in Alaska, Kansas, Idaho . . .

Of course, it now looks as if Obama will win in Virginia, possibly even in North Carolina and Georgia. But when a Democrat wins in the South, this shows that these areas are becoming more enlightened and tolerant (because of an influx of superior Yankees, no doubt).

The MSM have got it into their heads that the Republican Party -- the party of low taxes, limited government, traditional values and strong defense -- is simply inferior, appealing only to hateful stupid people. Thus, Republican failure is evidence that America has wised up and rejected the hateful stupidity, while GOP success is bad news: A triumph of fear!

We could jeer at this tendentious spin from the MSM were it not for the fact that so many Republicans allowed themselves to be frightened away from advocating potentially popular policy because they've internalized the opposition spin, and fear being labeled "mean-spirited."

UPDATE: Linked by Dave Weigel at Hit & Run and by the eternally crunchy Clark Stooksbury.

Hookers for Hope

Democrats and whores, a natural coalition:
John McCain and Barack Obama, if you're wooing a population of registered voters who are young, female and drawn to men in suits, then Allegheny County has 675 ladies ready to pull your lever.
They're convicted streetwalkers, escorts and brothel babes collared in 2000 and from 2003-2006, uncovered by the Trib.
Based on the prostitutes' voter registration cards, they're destined to become Obama girls in November. That's because 78 percent of them registered as Democrats. . . .
The Illinois senator also has the advantage with local "johns" -- 72 percent go Democratic. And convicted pimps: Four out of every five register Democratic. And for the most special of special interest groups -- male transvestite hookers -- they're batting a thousand for Dems, albeit in drag.
The trannies, the truck-stop lot lizards, the whore-hoppers and pimps -- they're all about Change!


Amazing protest today at Los Angeles Times, urging them to release the video showing Barack Obama toasting Jew-hating PLO operative Rashid Khalidi:

(Via Michelle Malkin.) Lots of photos of the protest at Mere Rhetoric.

Al Qaeda endorses Obama

Less surprising even than the New York Times endorsement:
An al Qaeda leader has called for President George W. Bush and the Republicans to be "humiliated" . . .
"O God, humiliate Bush and his party, O Lord of the Worlds, degrade and defy him," Abu Yahya al-Libi said at the end of sermon marking the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, in a video posted on the Internet.
Allahu akhbar, Obama!

UPDATE: Another dangerous extremist, Erica Jong:
"My friends Ken Follett and Susan Cheever are extremely worried. Naomi Wolf calls me every day. Yesterday, Jane Fonda sent me an email to tell me that she cried all night and can't cure her ailing back for all the stress that has reduces her to a bundle of nerves." . . .
"If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it's not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets."
You know, it's funny what she said about Jane Fonda. I've been sleeping like a baby ever since I got back from seeing the thousands who lined up Tuesday to see Sarah Palin in Pennsylvania. I'm more worried about Saturday's Alabama-LSU game than I am about Tuesday's election.

Amen, Craig Shirley!

I agree with almost everything he says:
I heartily endorse fingerpointing and bloodletting. . . .
I would rather speak today of Governor Palin and the cut and run crowd of the Republican Party. I think it is not a coincidence that many hail from New York City, as it seems they have channeled the "Lost Generation," moaning, whining, bewailing the fact that Sarah Palin is not.... one of them. . . . A generation ago, the same elitists bewailed "that actor" taking over the Republican Party. None of them thought as highly of Reagan then as they profess to now. Few have ever gotten their hands dirty running a campaign and some like David Brooks are in need of an ideological booster seat. Debate yes over Palin, but for Brooks to call her a "cancer" on the GOP is vile in the extreme, unchivalrous, unmanly and most especially untrue. No one would ever think of calling Brooks a "cancer" but he is not a conservative, has never been a conservative, does not speak for conservatism and is simply being derivative. One suspects his cruel comments are more about settling old high school scores, when young women like Palin were chosento be the homecoming queen while young men like Brooks were always chosen last for a pickup basketball game. . . .
(This is the part I disagree with -- Brooks is at least a suspicious lesion on the Republican Party, and Sarah Heath wasn't the homecoming queen, rather a starting point guard on the basketball team, whereas Brooks had a note from his mother excusing him from P.E. class because of his allergy to gym socks.)
Palin has been ill served by her staff, who have been leaking against her and she is wise, according to recent reports, to chart her own course. If Palin is guilty of anything, it was not understanding the insidious relationship her "handlers" and the Washington elites have with each other. Palin is guilty of not understanding that, for these people, she is simply a vehicle through which they have fun and make profit. She has only found out recently and ruefully that if she calls one of her handlers simultaneous to a call say, from Chris Matthews, the handler will take Matthews call first. Governor Palin, put not your faith in princesses. . . .
Palin should pick up this populist issue and run with it. Palin needs to let the people know their common sense conservatism is always right, and the ideologically casual elites of the modern GOP are always wrong.
Damn straight! We'll see you at CPAC, Mrs. Palin -- and I'm going to talk to a few friends about exactly who will not be on the invitation list at CPAC next year.

Joe the Guitarist

Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry comes out of the closet as a Republican. Wow. First, Ted Nugent, now Joe Perry -- could somebody check with Eddie Van Halen? And now I'm wondering if Jimmy Page is secretly a Tory . . .

Video: Planned Infanticide

Students For Life explains:

In the footage, the Planned Parenthood nurse describes to the pregnant woman that the abortion would entail delivering her son alive and, after the woman asks if the baby can be born alive, the nurse admits that "it does happen, but it wouldn't be able to survive on its own so eventually the baby does die."
This footage is shocking on multiple fronts and is relevant given the current presidential race. In August, an abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen, was featured in an ad asking why, as an Illinois State Senator, Barack Obama voted 4 times against a bill that would have protected babies born alive during an abortion called the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The bill was drafted after Chicago nurse Jill Stanek discovered that babies were being born alive during abortions and left to die.
The SFLA video includes an audio clip of Senator Obama speaking out against the bill in 2002 on the Illinois Senate floor attacking the bill as burdening "the original decision of the woman and the physician to induce labor and perform an abortion."
In the 3rd presidential debate on October 15, 2008, Obama said that he voted against the bill because it would have infringed upon Roe v. Wade and was medically unnecessary, claiming protections were already in place. However, the law he is referring to did not have the specific protections that would have provided medical care to babies born alive during abortions.
As evidenced in the SFLA video, the practice of allowing babies born alive during abortions to die, which is defined as infanticide, is still being practiced today. Senator Obama argues that to let these babies live is "to burden the original decision of the woman." . . .
Kristan Hawkins, SFLA's Executive Director remarked, "I was absolutely stunned when the Planned Parenthood nurse revealed that allowing a baby to die after being born alive is a common practice for abortionists. It begs the question of why a presidential candidate will not support human rights protections for babies born alive during an abortion procedure. This is outright infanticide, and a candidate for President defends it!"

I'm sure Doug Kmiec can explain why Catholics and other pro-lifers should vote for Obama anyway. Ed Morrisey has more at Hot Air.

The irony here is that Democrats insist on "comprehensive" (i.e, explicit) sex education in public schools, but they lie through their teeth about abortion and hide the facts behind a wall of propaganda and euphemisms.

Comment of the Day

Over at Hit & Run:
The "lessons" our Republican friends glean from this election will be wrong, and after a spasm of recriminations and self-doubt, they will embark pell-mell down the same road they have been on for the past decade; I say this with complete confidence.
The aphoristic commenter has a profoundly ironic sense of humor, and a deep knowledge of history.

HuffPo writer kills former lesbian lover

Hope was not enough, and she refused to take her anti-depressants, and so . . .
Carol Anne Burger killed her former lover by stabbing her 222 times with a Phillips-head screwdriver and then took pains to hide her crime, police said Wednesday.
Jessica Kalish, who shared a house with Burger despite breaking up with her more than a year ago, was found last Thursday stuffed in the backseat of her gun-metal BMW sedan . . .
As investigators studied the case, several telltale signs, including the ferocity and personal nature of the attack, pointed to Burger, they said.
But before they could question her, Burger walked out into her back yard, pressed a gun up under her chin and pulled the trigger, police said. Detectives found her body there last Thursday but couldn't locate a suicide note.
The murder-suicide evidently occurred shortly after Burger wrote about the Obama-inspired glee in "the gay Mecca of Fort Lauderdale." Somehow, the Left will find a way to blame Bush. Or Halliburton. Or maybe it was an assassination by the evil misogynist homophobic theocrats, with assistance by the CIA and the Mossad.

UPDATE: Just sent John Hawkins an e-mail:
Don't you see that the HuffPo writer's so-called "murder-suicide" was actually . . . THE REICHSTAG FIRE? You can't melt steel with jet fuel, y'know!
He obviously believes the Big Lie by the fascist police . . .

Sully calls Palin 'delusional ... fanatic'

"Sarah Palin, an unhinged, know-nothing, delusional religious fanatic . . ."
And if anybody was ever an expert on delusional fanaticism, it's Andrew Sullivan.

Do you believe in miracles?

Pennsylvania NBC poll:
Obama 47%
McCain 43%
Margin of error: 4%
This is either a statistical anomaly or the greatest political miracle of my lifetime. But I'm still thinking about those thousands who stood in line in the cold wind to see Sarah Palin on Tuesday, so it's impossible for me to be objective.

UPDATE: As noted here previously, some people are trying to make Palin the scapegoat for an expected GOP defeat Nov. 4. Some of those people are backstabbing assholes professional Republicans working for the McCain campaign:
John McCain's campaign is looking for a scapegoat. It is looking for someone to blame if McCain loses on Tuesday.
And it has decided on Sarah Palin.
In recent days, a McCain "adviser" told Dana Bash of CNN: "She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone."
Imagine not taking advice from the geniuses at the McCain campaign. What could Palin be thinking?
Also, a "top McCain adviser" told Mike Allen of Politico that Palin is "a whack job."
Maybe she is. But who chose to put this "whack job" on the ticket? Wasn't it John McCain? And wasn't it his first presidential-level decision?
The thing to remember about professional political operatives is that when someone is peddling loyalty as a commodity, caveat emptor.

And to hell with George Will, too

George Freaking Will blames Palin:
From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism. Tuesday's probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign's closing days.
Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain's saddle than his association with George W. Bush. Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party" is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents "are in charge of the United States Senate"?
How fascinating that Will, just like Frank Fukuyama, now lumps Sarah Palin together with the invasion of Iraq, considering that Will, just like Fukuyama, was among those who called for a "preemptive" attack on Iraq back in the day:
Some critics seem to say that in order for the president to "make the case" for proving that the danger is present, its presence must be evidenced by a "smoking gun." But that means America cannot act against Iraq until acting is much more dangerous, when Iraq has nuclear weapons. . . .
As Condoleezza Rice has said, let us hope the smoking gun is not a mushroom cloud.
It seems Will is blaming Palin for his own "carelessness." He's forging the first draft of history: Having rewritten the past to exempt himself from blame, now he is falsifying the present to hang the blame on Palin. Well, George, if you were so wrong in 2002, why should we believe you're right now?

UPDATE: Linked by some lefty Brit blogger, and also by PrestoPundit, who points out that this would be a nice time to re-read Hayek's thoughts on "Why the Worst Get On Top."

Celebrity Update

Haven't done one of these in a couple of weeks, so here is all the sleazy tabloid trash:

Ruffini on 'Rightroots'

Patrick Ruffini engages the ideas bandied about by Jon Henke, Ace and John Hawkins about expanding and empowering the conservative blogosphere:
Most conservative blogs are still stuck in 2003 -- both in terms of the overwhelming focus on media criticism and punditry, and the tendency to outsource electoral politics to the Republican Party. . . .
Building critical mass behind an independent online movement on the right will probably require new people. The old blogs that have been with us since 2003 will not go away. But they'll need to be joined by people who care more about Indiana's 8th district than Islamofascism, and MN-SEN more than the MSM. . . .
Almost without exception, conservative bloggers are hobbyists, and those that aren't are usually employed by old line conservative media. A lack of politically sophisticated full-time bloggers, as well as dependence on existing center-right institutions, is holding the rightroots back from becoming a full-fledged counterpart to the netroots -- one that is not beholden to the Republican Party or the offline conservative movement.
Very interesting points on which to expand. A few relevant points to consider:
  • There is an institutional division between the conservative movement and the Republican Party. The movement is based in 501(c) think tanks and advocacy groups which are, by law, separate from the Republican Party. Persuading the conservative 501(c)s to support the blogosphere -- and to do so effectively -- would be a major accomplishment. As to the official GOP, their demonstrated preference has been to exploit, rather than support, conservative bloggers. This stems from the fact that the GOP's career political operatives have the utmost contempt for volunteers and amateurs, which is how the party operatives view bloggers.
  • An outright alliance with the GOP requires an abandonment of independence. This, I think, is the really big stumbling block for (most) conservative bloggers. The Republican Party's never paid me a dime. I am not beholden to them, and don't want to be. The GOP pays big commissions to professional fundraising operatives. Why, then, should I offer myself as a volunteer fundraiser for Republicans? I'd be happy to sell them an advertising spot on the page, but it makes zero sense for me to give them freebies. It's kind of like the old adage, they're not going to buy the cow if they're already getting the milk for free.
  • Nothing's stopping conservative bloggers from plugging individual candidates. I hate to bludgeon readers with the obvious. I've linked Allen West's Web site several times, but I don't feel like I always need to say, "Hey, you people, go give him money right now." At some point, you have to credit your readers' intelligence. Are my readers so stupid or lazy that they won't do anything to support good candidates without me explicitly telling them to? If conservatives can't figure out this kind of stuff without my help, we're screwed anyway.
Bottom line: Conservative bloggers aren't going to get respect from the GOP by volunteering themselves as partisan shills. To the extent that conservative bloggers are to blame for a lack of support from the Republican Party, it's precisely because too many bloggers have been too willing to do the GOP's bidding for free. If you offer yourself as a doormat, don't complain about the footprints on your back.

BTW, as much as I admire Ruffini's quip about caring more about MN-SEN than MSM, can he tell me why any conservative should care about the re-election Norm Coleman, who voted "yes" on S.2611? It would seem to me a very bad thing if Coleman could piss all over the base like that and get away with it. Maybe I'm not "politically sophisticated" enough to understand this.

10/28: Whose party is it, anyway?
10/27: 'Trust us, we're professionals'
10/27: Romney aides slagging Palin?
10/26: Schmidt pushed McCain to back bailout
10/25: GOP gotterdammerung
10/25: GOP to base: 'Drop dead'

Blitzer twists Palin's words

Elizabeth Vargas of ABC asked Sarah Palin is she was so discouraged by the attacks on her that, if not elected vice president, that she'd just go back to Alaska. Palin answered:
I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken, that would bring this whole … I'm not doing this for naught.
Palin went on to say she was "thinking that it's going to go our way on Tuesday, Nov. 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of the people will be revealed on that day."

From this -- an honest, feisty, optimistic answer to a sandbagging question by Vargas -- the dunderheaded Wolf Blitzer tries to spin a "rogue" moment and imply that somehow Palin was undermining McCain:

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

ACORN & the subprime crisis

Investigative reporter Matthew Vadum reveals ACORN's role in causing the subprime mortgage debacle:
In a circa 1999 document, "To Each Their Home: Success Stories from the ACORN Housing Corporation," the ACORN affiliate called the American Dream a sham and bragged about undermining banks' underwriting standards. . . .
ACORN Housing took credit for developing "several innovative strategies" to get around pesky traditional lending guidelines, which were unfair because they "were geared to middle class borrowers."
Instead of using passé measures of creditworthiness such as, say, credit history and having an adequate income, ACORN convinced lenders to adopt "more flexible underwriting criteria that take into account the realities of lower income communities." Henceforth, some banks serving inner cities would accept "less traditional income sources such as food stamps."
You read that right: ACORN pushed banks to count food stamps as income in determining mortgage eligibility. Think about that when you get your next 401(k) statement. Your investments are in the toilet and the world's financial system is teetering on the verge of meltdown because of these left-wing poverty pimps. They're promoting "equality" only in the sense that all Americans are getting equally screwed.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Francis Fukuyama, suck-up

Francis Fukuyama, another member of Bill Kristol's neoconservative Project for the New American Century, follows "Cakewalk Ken" Adelman onto the Obama bandwagon:
I’m voting for Barack Obama this November for a very simple reason. It is hard to imagine a more disastrous presidency than that of George W. Bush. It was bad enough that he launched an unnecessary war and undermined the standing of the United States throughout the world in his first term. But in the waning days of his administration, he is presiding over a collapse of the American financial system and broader economy that will have consequences for years to come. As a general rule, democracies don’t work well if voters do not hold political parties accountable for failure. While John McCain is trying desperately to pretend that he never had anything to do with the Republican Party, I think it would a travesty to reward the Republicans for failure on such a grand scale.
McCain’s appeal was always that he could think for himself, but as the campaign has progressed, he has seemed simply erratic and hotheaded. His choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate was highly irresponsible; we have suffered under the current president who entered office without much knowledge of the world and was easily captured by the wrong advisers.
Who are these "wrong advisers" who "captured" Bush? I think it safe to say that Fukuyama means "Advisers Who Are Not Francis Fukuyama." On the other hand, Fukuyama did not hesitate to call for acts of war against Iraq in 1998, when he signed a letter to President Clinton urging him to implement "a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power."

Fukuyama's attack on Sarah Palin is unjust, essentially making Palin the scapegoat of his disillusionment with Bush. But alas, before the "unnecessary war" started -- as the result of the ill-informed president being advised by Advisers Who Are Not Francis Fukuyama -- Fukuyama was busy scapegoating conservative and libertarian opponents of the war as "unrealitistic" and "isolationist."

When Fukuyama was in a position to influence events, he instead focused his attention on attacking rivals. And now that President Bush's failures have destroyed the credibility of his former friends, Fukuyama instinctively attacks Palin -- a target of opportunity, so to speak -- in the process of endorsing Obama, whose (alleged) superiority in "knowledge of the world" means more to Fukuyama than Obama's transparent sympathy for America's enemies.
He's just a suck-up, not nearly as clever as he thinks himself to be, and if the götterdämmerung of the Bush era has yielded no other benefit to humanity, we can at least be thankful that it has made Fukuyama entirely irrelevant.

Obama: Rev. Wright 'is a wonderful man'

Photos: Palin rally

A few more photos from yesterday's Sarah Palin rally at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

The guy in the biege overcoatwith the "Latinos for McPalin" sign is Carl Rodriguez, youth ministry director for the Seventh-Day Adventist church and a buddy of mine.

This guy said his baby is voting Republican. A neglected political fact -- babies tend to be hard-core pro-lifers.

Country singer Sarah Marince, who performed before the rally, poses for a picture with some ugly old dude.

"First dude" Todd Palin shakes hands at the "overflow" event after the main rally.

At the "overflow" event, Sarah Palin wore a T-shirt with the slogan "Ship Happens" -- an unofficial Shippensburg University motto of sorts.

Chicago, USA

Daleyism going nationwide:
Obama's campaign has exhibited a disturbing and consistent tendency to squash dissent, rough up his critics, conceal records (medical and state senate voting records, for starters), enlist police powers for political ends, aid and abet in voter registration fraud, and pull the race card. This is worse than the old politics, which was a code word for "Clinton-Bush politics." The closest analogy I can think of is Richard Nixon.
The danger, therefore, is not that Obama will be a recycled, cynical liberal. It is that, given the latitude afforded by a compliant media and a Democratic Congress, the temptation to abuse power will be overwhelming. It's the Chicago Way, after all.
The Clintons elevated such masterful practicioners of Chicago-style politics as Rahm Emanuel, John Podesta and Sidney Blumenthal. Now, the Chicago crowd will run the whole show.

'Hype: The Obama Effect'

New DVD from Citizens United, $19.95:

So much for the 'secret' part

When you read about it in the Politico, it's not "secret":
Two days after next week's election, top conservatives will gather at the Virginia weekend home of one of the movement's most prominent members to begin a conversation about their role in the GOP and how best to revive a party that may be out of power at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue next year.
The meeting will include a "who's who of conservative leaders -- economic, national security and social," said one attendee, who shared initial word of the secret session only on the basis of anonymity and with some details about the host and location redacted.
The planned "secret" session is also mentioned in this New York Times article -- naming the names of the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and the Leadership Institute's Morton Blackwell among those who see Sarah Palin as a focal point of conservative revival. (Clever idea.) Of course, the "secret" session is only for "top conservatives," so the rest of us poor slobs will just have to await orders from on high, I suppose. A grassroots movement organized on a top-down basis -- this should be fun to watch.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

'Stand up and fight!'

My latest American Spectator article:
"Fight!…Fight!…Fight!" The word punctuated John McCain's peroration to thousands of Pennsylvanians who turned out in Hershey on a cold, drizzly morning to cheer him and running mate Sarah Palin.
"Fight for the ideals and character of a free people," McCain urged, as he neared the end of his speech. "Fight for our children's future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all."
The crowd inside the Giant Center at Hershey Park was cheering so loudly as to drown out most of the Republican candidate's words, so that all they heard was "fight!" That was enough, however, for Republicans like Joe the Recording Engineer. Joe Trojcak owns a sound studio near Hershey and says he's been a Republican activist since 1992. "I got tired of yelling at my TV," explains Trojcak, 44, who worked as a volunteer at yesterday's "Road to Victory" rally.
Small businessmen like Trojcak have become Republican heroes ever since the Oct. 12 chance encounter between Barack Obama and "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher in Ohio.
Please read the whole thing. One of the things I enjoy most about covering a campaign is the chance to talk to the people who attend these rallies -- some of the nicest people in the world. All that chatter a couple weeks ago about episodes of ugliness at McCain rallies was a complete misrepresentation of the overwhelming majority of people I've talked to at events this year -- and that's true of Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.

Attending a campaign event is an act of civic engagement, and civic engagement tends to correlate with good personal qualities. So the delegates at the Democratic convention in Denver were nice people, and so were the people who attended the Hillary rallies and McCain rallies I've covered.

BTW, here's video of McCain's peroration:

Obama: Always late

Bill Clinton is notorious for running late, but it looks like Obama may excel him in that habit.

What I won't watch tonight

Obama's disinformercial, live on all four networks at 8 p.m. ET:
"We've seen over the last eight years how decisions by a president can have a profound effect on the course of history and on American lives; much that's wrong with our country goes back even farther than that."
Then, while standing before a stately desk and an American flag, Mr. Obama, in a suit, says: "We've been talking about the same problems for decades and nothing is ever done to solve them. For the past 20 months, I’ve traveled the length of this country, and Michelle and I have met so many Americans who are looking for real and lasting change that makes a difference in their lives."
This is not a logical argument, but the Obama campaign is not about logic. Obama has no track record on which the voter can evaluate him or his policies. This is what annoys me when I hear people talk about Obama's tax plan as if it were a piece of legislation now being debated on the Senate floor. There is at least a 50% chance that Obama will never actually propose that plan to Congress, and certainly no guarantee that Congree would pass it, as now written. Washington doesn't work that way.

If you want to understand the wide gap between a presidential candidate's stated intentions and his actual policies in office, you ought to read David Stockman's The Triumph of Politics (about the Reagan administration) and William Greider's Who Will Tell the People (about the Clinton administration). Reagan really wanted to cut the federal budget; he just couldn't get the votes. Clinton really wanted to implement his promise of a middle-class tax cut, but his economic advisers told him it couldn't be done.

Whether you vote for Obama or McCain, we'll be electing our first president since Gerald Ford who hasn't previously been a governor. There's no record of either man in executive office, but at least John McCain has some meaningful record in Washington. Obama is a shot in the dark, and no one -- no one -- can predict what he'd actually do as president.

We know, however, that Obama is a left-wing Democrat. His most influential policy advisers will likely share the same outlook. So we'll have unfettered liberalism of a kind that we haven't seen since 1993-94. There is a reason Obama's strongest support comes from people under 30 -- they don't really remember that two-year period when Clinton had a Democratic majority in Congress. It was a freak show, an embarrassment. And you can expect even worse of an embarrassment if Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are in charge.

Obamaphiles may enjoy the $3 million infomercial. And it might sway voters with short memories or insufficient judgment. But I won't watch it. God bless Michelle Malkin for volunteering to watch it for us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Whose party is it, anyway?

Driving back from Pennsylvania tonight, I kept thinking about those thousands of people I saw standing in line -- and I mean, they stood in line for hours -- waiting to see Sarah Palin at Shippensburg University.

Buddy, it was cold. Maybe 40 degrees, cloudy skies and a stiff wind. I walked the length of that line. It stretched on and on, around the corner, and on and on some more. It was amazing. The doors opened more than two hours before the rally, and still they couldn't get everybody through the metal detectors in time.

After the rally was over, the media handler grabbed a bunch of reporters and took us out the back door to another building. I was thinking "press conference," but I was wrong. Instead, we found ourselves in the performing arts center, where about 500 people were waiting -- people who hadn't made it through the line in time to get into the rally. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd came out on stage. Sarah gave a little speech, and then she and Todd shook hands and signed autographs for 15 minutes. It was something they didn't have to do, but they did it for the people who had stood in line in the cold.

Driving home, I thought about the people who stood in that long line and asked myself, "Who were those people?"

The Republican Party, that's who. And they love Sarah Palin. So exactly who the hell is Christopher Buckley? Who the hell is Ken Adelman? Who the hell is Kathleen Parker?

Screw them. It's not their party. The party belongs to the people. And the people love Sarah Palin. So I wrote a post at the American Spectator blog:
If somehow John McCain pulls off a miracle Nov. 4, it will be in no small measure due to the excitement that Palin has brought to the ticket. Let the cynics attend a Palin event and try to imagine those crowds turning out for, inter alia, Tim Pawlenty.
And if Obama wins on Nov. 4, Palin immediately becomes the GOP front-runner for 2012. She'll be the No. 1 Republican fundraiser no matter what happens, and she'll be the star attraction at state-party events.
John McCain might have made dozens of mistakes in this campaign, but picking Sarah Palin was not one of them. If you don't like it, just go to a Palin rally and tell that to the people -- they'll tell you where to go from there.
Anyway, that got linked at Instapundit and Hot Air, and I might as well link it, too, because it's right. There is no substitute in politics for popularity, and if Palin's poll numbers were hurt by all the negative media, so what? The Republican grassroots are crazy about her and four years from now, all that negativity will be a distant memory.

I love Bobby Jindal, but Sarah's been through the fire. She took some of the dirtiest smears the MSM could lay on her and came out smiling. The people are with her. It's her party, and anybody who thinks they're going to take it away from her has got another think coming.

UPDATE: This internecine sniping -- the who's leaking what to whom stuff -- is typical of the professional political operative class. Most of it is coming from third- and fourth-echelon people, who are trying to (a) curry favor with people in the upper echelons, (b) exact some sort of petty vengeance on a perceived rival, and/or (c) make sure they don't get blamed for anything. The organizational dynamics of the official GOP are so catastrophically poisonous, it's a miracle they ever win anything.

Daniel Larison and James Poulos give me down-in-the-country, and I won't complain. I'm just trying to warn you guys: The choices in 2012 are likely to come down to Jeb Bush vs. Please God Not Jeb Bush. I'm thinking Palin is the strongest PGNJB candidate available.

UPDATE II: To show you what I'm talking about with the line to see Palin, here is a photo taken from the head of the line:

You see that building at the upper left? I went around on the other side of that building, turned on my video camera, and started walking toward the end of the line:

Hear the noise that wind made? That was a cold, cold wind, my friend. And I didn't even make it all the way to the end of the line. This was about 4 p.m. -- the doors opened at 2:15, which means that they'd already been admitting people for nearly 2 hours and the line still stretched more than a half-mile.

UPDATE III: Great minds think alike, I guess. Just noticed this article in The New York Times mentioning Morton Blackwell and Brent Bozell as among those who see Palin in similar terms.

'Nothing is inevitable here'

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- 6:30 p.m. -- The rally just ended, but not before a group of us reporters were hustled over to an adjacent building where Sarah and Todd Palin greeted the "overflow" crowd -- folks who had been too far back in line to make it into the rally. The fans were thrilled, and I was an arm's length away from the Palins as they signed autographs. Pretty cool.

5:30 p.m. -- The beginning of the event has been inexplicably delayed. She just took the stage, and the national press actually arrived after she did.

4:20 p.m. -- Walked down the line of people waiting to get inside Heiges Field House to see Sarah Palin. The line is at least a half-mile long, and it's about 35 degrees outside. Just ran into Byron York of National Review, who drove up from DC for the event.

4:50 p.m. -- Opening act for the rally is country singer Sarah Marince. She sounds good. She doesn't look bad, either.

5:10 p.m.: OK, now I'm totally embarrassed. Just briefly interviewed Sarah Marince, who is only 18 (younger than my eldest daughter). She is from Moon Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh, and was "discovered" by the McCain campaign Aug. 30 in Washington, Pa. The campaign held a rally there the day after Palin was announced as running mate, and the organizers asked if there was a local performer available for the event -- Sarah got the gig, and has since appeared at "like, 18 rallies," she says.

Is she a Republican? "Of course!" she says brightly. She's wearing big peace symbol earrings, and nobody seems to mind. She lives part-time in Nashville and her mother is her manager.

PREVIOUSLY: An icy rain didn't stop thousands from turning out for a McCain-Palin rally this morning in Hershey, Pa., and they were fired up by John McCain's never-say-die speech.

"Let me give you the state of the race today," the candidate said. "There's one week to go. We're a few points down. The pundits have written us off, just like they've done before." (Damn those pundits!)

Most polls show the Republican trailing by double digits in Pennsylvania, a statistic belied by the enthusiasm of the crowd inside the Giant Center at Hershey Park.

"My opponent is working out the details with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid of their plans to raise your taxes, increase spending, and concede defeat in Iraq," McCain said. "He's measuring the drapes, and he's planned his first address to the nation for before the election. I guess I'm old fashioned about these things I prefer to let the voters weigh in before presuming the outcome. . . . Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit."

A planned outdoor rally in Quakerstown, Pa., was canceled due to the weather -- 43 degrees and rainy -- and McCain flew to Fayetteville, N.C., for an event, while Sarah Palin will come here to Shippensburg University for a 5 p.m. rally. A long line is already queued up outside the Heiges Field House. I'm temporarily filing from the Starbucks at the university library, where I just overheard a student on her cell phone: "Dude, Sarah Palin's here. . . . Yeah, I saw her and I was like, 'Wazzup?'" (She explained was just kidding with her brother.)