Election Post-Mortem (+ Ayers Interview)

Our media is so poor, so dumb, so ignorant, so insanely out of it, that they make Bill Ayers look like the sane guy in the room. Jebus.

Now if you watch this thing it’s clear that Ayers is still a radical, a Boomer radical, i.e. a tenured professor radical who isn’t really getting his hands dirty or is that hardcore nowadays. He’s pretty pathetic in my mind.  He only sees the evil of the Vietnam War but not of the Weathermen.  That’s straight up crazy and disgusting in my view, but he’s up front about it, so you can’t fault the guy for lying or hiding something.

But there’s nothing else to it.  Those are his views and we learn yet again (for anyone who had a brain) that there was no secret relationship between Ayers and Obama. And this is the really bizarre part of this whole thing, I’ve never grasped.  If you listen to the discussion (particularly the first couple minutes) a couple of things are clear:

Then State Senator Alice Palmer asked Ayers to host a coffee in his host which he did as he later says WITHOUT HAVING MET Obama.  i.e. What is clear is that this is local machine party politics and he knew the State Senator, was a support of the Democrats in the area, never met the guy, and held a little thing for him.  Obviously Obama is a young guy and is just following along the machine.

The key line is “I knew about as well as thousands of other Chicagoans. (my emphasis).”

The notion about Ayers describing himself as a “family friend” which the interviewer (Chris Cuomo) not being able to read English I suppose can’t understand (after having it explained to him)  refers to a word used in Ayers’ new afterword to his book (don’t think Billy isn’t cashing in on this).  Ayers clearly explains “family friend” is how OTHER people (“the blogosphere” in his words) characterized the relationship.  i.e. NOT HIS OWN CHARACTERIZATION.  Not how he Ayers would define the connection (nor of course Obama).  Ayers says the relationship was Professional and Public.

i.e. Professional meaning not about Ayers’ views–since Obama was there to work on a board with him and a whole mess of other people and Obama has shown no inkling to being drawn to the radical-militancy of an Ayers.  And PUBLIC meaning not about secret meetings (i.e. they were public).  Not friends.  Not mentor.  Not influence.  Nada.

Which is exactly what Obama said all along.  Wow.  No, it can’t be.  There must be some hidden secret agenda.  Somebody tell Sarah Palin.

This again goes back to the strange decision the right had to go the David Freddoso line of attack or the Jerome Corsi conspiracy mongering line.  What you could criticize in this whole thing if you were a Republican/conservative is that it clearly shows that Obama was a Chicago-Democratic machine city pol.  That is the Freddoso line of attack.  But it was clear by this past summer, certainly after Clinton failed to make any hay on Ayers and/or Rezko in the Dem primary that such a line wasn’t going to be enough.  So out came the Corsi conspiracy stuff.  The dark suspicions and all the rest.  Obama couldn’t say anymore because there wasn’t anymore to say, and if he made something up to as it were Come Clean, then he would have been retroactively accused of lying.  And since there wasn’t actually anything else to say, then it was perfectly fertile ground for fetid projections from the wingnuts.

I’m sure glad all that time was spent on this oh so important issue.  I mean anybody who follows politics knows how this works.  An eager beaver like Obama is not going to spend capital in his early days of climbing the ladder on some wacko like Ayers who has been accepted back into the left-wing Dem circles of Chicago.  The issue for the purity patrol types is that he didn’t stand up and refuse contact with him, so that he (Obama) wouldn’t get contaminated on the patriotic front.  But here I think Ayers’ point about the desipcable nature of actions during the Vietnam War has a partial validity.  Namely God knows any Republican candidate has associations in the past (particularly in the Military Industrial Complex, hello McCain) that have violence in their past.  Welcome to America people.  The real issue is not the violence per se, it’s the radical side to Ayers.  It’s that he criticized the government that sends some folks into a lather.  If it was violence that was the issue (or generaly wingnuttery, hello conservative movement) there’s enough of that to go around.

What the McCain Campaign and assorted elements on the right in the campaign did that I could never understand was not grasp that Obama wasn’t that kinda liberal.  He moved through those circles, he had to play the game.  He had to move up the ranks through that world.  No doubt about that fact.  But the guy is like a super-America lover.  It’s a love based in a certain vision of what America represents.

That is to quote Obama:

“It was a Creed written into the Founding Documents, Yes We Can.”

That’s definitely one view of the Founding Documents or the reason to love America.  There are others.  Some that could help balance out the blindspots in Obama’s vision of America.  e.g. Maybe the Founding Documents were written because “NO WE CAN’T.”

NO WE CAN’T as a people be trusted except under the rule of law (see Bush and Torture).  NO WE CAN’T rely on democratic procedures alone to protect civil rights (see California and Prop 8’s failure).

But that aside this guy wasn’t Dukakkis or Gore or Kerry.  Much less Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton.  The GOP embraced that argument at the cost of some serious long term peril for the party.  [I think they were bound to lose anyway, but they could have lost without appearing so F’in Insane].

The Sarah Palin-ites of the right wing had been sold those lines for years as a sorta cynical ploy by the elite in the GOP, except they believe it and have called the upper crusts on it and have in many ways relativized them.  [Goodbye Northeast to GOP].  Palin and likeminded individuals didn’t get the memo that it was a kinda wink-wink nudge nudge line of attack.  They want their pound of political flesh for those who are politically impure, presidential or otherwise.  And so the GOP sinks further into bat shit insanity.  Leaving us with the pathetic Democratic Party and the even worse whiny/bitchy sides of the progressive blogosphere (bleh and double bleh).

Fortunately yours truly has always been impressed that Obama has a history of dealing with and at times playing the left (see above), so I take some comfort in the fact that I voted for the guy principally because I trusted his instincts, not because he was going to heal the planet or whatever crap he had to say to get elected and get a bunch of looney self-impressed folk to sing songs or cry or think the universe is heading up in light because of his ASCENSION no less to power.  [Hint: By linking to the Ascension of Jesus I’m mocking all this; I don’t secretly think Obama is the Second Coming or for his Jewish devotees I suppose The First Coming]. Since he know has to deal with the nutty left, his background has served him well in that regard.

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Published in: on November 14, 2008 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Turn Left Over the Cliff?

From Paul M. at Powerline:

An Obama administration would almost certainly be to the left of the Clinton administration. It might well be to the left of any U.S. administration ever.  (my emphasis)

Query:  Does this final sentence make any sense?

I know the all important question you are thinking to yourself:  Will Barack Obama be to the left of Grover Cleveland?  Inquiring minds seriously want to know. srlsy.  Is he to the left of James Madison or James K. Polk or to the left of William McKinley and William Howard Taft?

What the hell does this even mean?

The highest tax bracket during Eisenhower (THE REPUBLICAN) was something like 91%!!!!.  Obama wants to go back to like 36% on that bracket.  Is Obama to the left on that one?

Obama cites as a model for his foreign policy view George HW Bush for Chrissakes. He’s a return to the basic bipartisan liberal internationalist framework that has guided policy (minus the early year of George W. Bush’s presidency) since the end of WWII.  Is he to the left of Truman on foreign policy?  Again what does that mean?  Didn’t Nixon go to China?  When they were nuclear armed and run by a totalitarian crazy man (and it actually worked btw).  Is Obama to the left of Kissinger?  He wants to add troops (I think incorrectly) in Afghanistan and has said if they have high value targets in Pakistan he will kill them without approval from the Pakistani government—since is when is that the position of the super far left?

The only history comparison I think are New Deal on.  There was a general consensus from FDR through Carter, call it the welfare state based on Keynesian economics and the Republicans who were president during that time basically bought into that consensus and simply tried to minimize it (i.e. Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford). There were Republicans/conservatives within the Senate/House who advocated a more radical undoing of the Welfare State (most notably Sen. Robert Taft aka Mr. Ohio) but they were never very influential.

Then came the Reaganite consensus and the only Democrat Prez during that consensus model learned to live with that model and try to be centrist/left-center within the frame of that consensus.  His name you will recall was Bill Clinton.  Clinton was the left’s Eisenhower in this analogy.  [Similarly there were more anti-Reaganite elements from the Democratic Left in the House and Senate who similarly were in large part unsuccessful in undoing the Reaganite governing majority view].

That Reaganite coalition/consensus (built around monetary economic policy) is now going to be electorally shattered on Tuesday night.  Obama will indeed be the first president of a new consensus/paradigm coalition.  Obama’s victory whatever size it is will be interpreted as an outsized victory perhaps relative to its hard numbers because all presidents who come at the end of a coalition/beginning of a new one are seen as transformational presidents.

The Obama coalition or whatever it will called will be to the left of the previous Reaganite one to be sure, but it’s not a wholesale return to the FDR model. Again look at the issue of taxes.  Or Obama’s support of the Supreme Court recent ruling on handguns.

Where Obama is trying to form a long term effect is not through the raising of the taxes on the really rich–acually just letting the Bush tax cuts expire and go back to the Clinton levels–but in his attempt to create a massive middle class tax cut.  But since when is tax cutting something from the left?  It’s now longer tax cuts but the boogey man of redistributionism.  The right apparently loves a tax cut until its for the middle class.

Obama is a University of Chicago Democrat on economics not a Keynesian, so in some (actually many) ways I see much more statism in the New Deal consensus than in Obama.  Yes Obama wants free trade deals to have environmental and labor standards in them which is to the left of Clinton, but is that the leftmost in history?  When the country used to be run by economic nationalists and mercantilists?  Clinton was really (see above) center or really I would say (particularly on trade) center-right, in which case being to the left of Clinton doesn’t tell you much.  It means Obama could be center, center-left, left-center, or really left on the issue.  I would say probably center-left.  Compared to the recent presidents that is the furthest left technically but on in the Powerline world is that the most left in the history of the United States.  And the inevitable slop to Marxist domination.

Undoubtedly Obama will be more progressive/to the left of previous administrations on climate change legislation.  And the evil leftism here is a cap set by the government and the free market determining the sale of carbon permits???  I can here the red troops shouting slogans to Che now.  Can’t you comrade?  God and The Market All Holy help us.

He won’t be to the left of Clinton SCOTUS nominations.  He will appoint equally liberal judges as did Clinton (the one area Clinton did manage real liberal progressive influence).  That issue is so polarized that everyone has come down completely on one side or the other on that one.

So really it seems to me the only policy Obama has that would be a real shift to the left is on health care.  He expressly did not push for a mandate/single payer system (a la Hillary and John Edwards) in the Democratic Primary because of his generally center-left tendencies.  Obviously it also has to do with learning how and why Bill Clinton was unable to pass health care legislation in his first term.  But even there if it could be proved he was secretly some much more left wing guy, he clearly is hardheaded about politics and something like his health care policy frame shows that he understands the necessity of working incrementally.  He’s a gradualist reformer not a radical.  The question for Obama will be whether he gets swept more by the Democratic Congress.  That will be a very interesting relationship and his ability to handle that one will go a long way to determining the success or failure of his administration (on domestic issues).

Oh and I guess education, he is to the left of Clinton.  But with everything else going on education is going to be far down the list of his changes.  Probably not until a 2nd term if he gets one frankly.

Published in: on November 2, 2008 at 6:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Update

Right on cue, like clockwork, via Ambinder re: Palin today on how Obama Hearts Terrorists:

It’s that Obama “is not a man who sees America as you and I do.”   This is the message that opponents of Obama began with: he’s not one of us. He’s culturally foreign. He doesn’t share your values.  He’s dangerous. It worked a little bit in the summer when there was nothing else to pay attention to. The McCain campaign hopes that it will somehow get those voters who’ve crossed the river of Obama-doubt to jump back across to the other side.

On the plus side, I guess Sarah Palin can now name which specific paper she reads.

Published in: on October 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm  Comments (4)  
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Obama and Abortion

Ross Douthat writes:

But Warren, to his credit, didn’t pose a metaphysical question, or a biological one. He asked a legal question: “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Obama tried to dodge by saying that from a “theological perspective” or a “scientific perspective” the issue is “above his pay grade.” But Warren asked a more narrow question, and one that any politician who votes on abortion laws should be able to answer. And of course, as a supporter of Roe and Casey, Obama does have an answer: He thinks that a baby acquires rights when it’s born – well, perhaps depending on how and why it happens to be born – and lacks them at every juncture before birth. He just didn’t want to come out and say it.

There’s two pieces in here. 1)The charge of the dodge and 2)The infanticide charge which Douthat I think being too cute by half references but throws in a perhaps to cover himself.

On the first, I actually think Douthat is (more or less) right that Obama dodged the question. One could argue I suppose that the distinction between a theological/scientific answer regarding status of a fetus and a legal one is without any real difference–i.e. the Warren legal route is simply a back door way of asking the same question. Because who is going to believe a fetus has rights and not believe from a philosophical and/or religious point of view its a full human being. But that aside, I think Douthat’s interpretation that Obama believes the individual has rights at birth is correct.

On the second, I find Douthat’s surfacing of what was originally a fringe-smear depressing (and beneath the quality of his blog, which I think is otherwise high). (more…)

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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Obama, McCain public finance: Hypocrite versus Hypocritical Law Breaker

So Obama has opted out of the public financing of campaigns. Good move. I always thought it was a dumb idea and even dumber for Obama to make the pledge. So the move is hypocritical; no way on earth anyone is going to pass up the advantages his money making machine gives him. Obama’s point about the system being broken is true (see below as its co-author is currently in illegal violation of such statute) but still mostly a gambit to deflect hypocrisy charges. It was broken before he made the promise to “pursue” it. I guess we could have a what is the meaning of pursue (and did he do it), but mostly I just think this is some smoke and mirrors on their part.

On the other hand, John McCain actually broke the law that he himself wrote on the subject–and is now calling Obama a hypocrite on this point. That takes hypocrisy to a new level. Again poll after poll shows that public finance is a big deal for about 4% of the population. But anyway, here’s the thing with McCain:

The McCain campaign was broke last year as you may recall, he took out a loan the collateral of which was the promise that he would win the nomination and take public financing. So in other words,the collateral on his loan was your tax money (for the Americans reading this). As Mark Schmitt said this doesn’t violate the letter of the law but pushes the envelope (to put it mildly) on the spirit of the thing. Not to mention the guy you know sponsored the legislation and has built his media/pol image around this clean, reformer, do gooder image. Total crock but whatever.

The deal with the loan however was that he would be forced to have to take public financing. McCain massively exceeded his spending limit in the primaries and will not be taking p-f in the general. In other words McCain is forced by law to take public finance and is not doing so and therefore is in violation of his already shady loan and the law he actually wrote. Nor did McCain’s unilateral withdrawal from the p-f system receive approval from the Federal Election Commission. Not so fast Johnny you may be saying except that   he won’t be prosecuted on the matter (A) Because he’s McCain and it’s America B)Because there is not a quorum on the Commission because The President only nominates subservient hacks that the Democrats won’t correctly ratify).

Obama made a campaign promise he isn’t keeping. Not good but not on the same level as breaking your own legislation and convincing yourself you are such a reformer/purist that you can disregard little things like you know the law. As McCain has made clear throughout his political life (and would do more so as president) he will flaunt the law in order to push his reformist (so called) agenda.

Nobody looks particularly good out of this episode, but McCain’s actions are for me an order of magnitude worse than Obama’s.

Some Straight Talk for ya.

Of course the media will never actually bring any of this up.  It’ll all be is Obama a hypocrite?

Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 8:56 am  Comments (5)  
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Re: Obama’s Baby Mama

Now that Fox has done and called Mrs. Obama a baby mama (which connotatively typically means an unwed mother btw memo to Fox), I think the Obama camp should use this moment to unleash some scary black propaganda and really freak some crackers out.  I mean black people are scary right?  This is the same Fox would also correctly noted that fist bump is a terrorist act. Which btw I saw Sens. Diane Feinstein and Kay Bailey Hutchinson do (to each other) on Wolf Blitzer’s Late Edition last Sunday.  Therefore two departments need to be called 1)Homeland Security and quickly detain these two terrorists (the women Senators I mean) and 2)the culture police/brothas because the fist bump is now officially dead if white women senators are doing it on CNN.

I suggest the new theme song for the Obama campaign should be as follows:

Published in: on June 13, 2008 at 11:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Obama and Iran

Saw Senator Kyl (R-AZ), a big McCain supporter on Late Edition with Wolf Blizer the other morning from Managua. 

Kyl parsed Obama´s recent speech to AIPAC regarding his position on talks vis a vis Iran.  The text of his speech here.

Obama states:

We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. That starts with aggressive, principled diplomacy without self-defeating preconditions, but with a clear-eyed understanding of our interests. We have no time to waste. We cannot unconditionally rule out an approach that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We have tried limited, piecemeal talks while we outsource the sustained work to our European allies. It is time for the United States to lead.

There will be careful preparation. We will open up lines of communication, build an agenda, coordinate closely with our allies, and evaluate the potential for progress. Contrary to the claims of some, I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking. But as President of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leader at a time and place of my choosing – if, and only if – it can advance the interests of the United States.

Kyl after reiterating some of these points (and I´m paraphrasing here) stated that is essentially what President Bush´s view is and the sane one.  And Obama is right to come to it now but that isn´t what he said before.  Then he went on with the bloody shirt he´ll talk to Ahmadinejad line.

With all due respect to the Seantor, to make clear yet again, preparing for talks is not the smae as a precondition.  Bush and McCain both have preconditions to talks with Iran.  The only talks worth having–as opposed to the limited talks the Bush administration had very briefly with Iran only over Iraq–is a bury the hatchet, all issues on the table kinda thing.  The kind Bush and now McCain say will only happen once Iran certifiably stops all nuclear enrichment (even for possible civilian nuclear power allowed in the Non-Proliferation Treaty).

That is a precondition.  Obama is not talking about preconditions but simply not going in flying blind.  And for the millionth time, he would not talk to Ahmadinejad because that dude has very little if any influence in foreign policy.  And to the degree he does (not much) it is as a mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Guard.  The very group Obama could help decrease in influence by strenghtening the hand of other actors.  e.g. Ali Larijani, former nuclear negotiator now Speaker of Parliament and huge foe of Ahmadinejad, very close to the Supreme Leader.  Or Rafsanjani.  Or Iran´s Foreign Minister or UN Ambassador, all members of the Conservative anti-Ahmadinejad group.

Now I still think along with Thomas Barnett that Iran is getting the bomb.  It would be nice if Obama offered taking regime change off the table in exchange for no nuke but the Iranians already offered that deal in ´03 and were rebuffed and the Iranians do not do no well.  Again following Barnett, given that the Iranian thing looks like a done deal who´s the better choice.  I´ll take Obama because the McCain response would clearly be as he sung, Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran.  Think oil would stay at $140/barrel with a strike on Iran?  Can you say 250-300 dollar oil?

Oh and Iran is putting mad pressure on Maliki not to sign a long term bases security agreement with the US.  Which the Iraqis don´t want, the US Congress isn´t golng to get to vote on, and the regional players are not happy with either.  Sounds like a winner to me; I´m mean what could possibly go wrong with that scenario. 

 

 

 

Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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