Monday, March 31, 2008

A Human Pendulum

Fool me once, shame on me.
Fool me twice, the full weight of the law and multinational military force on you.

An editorial at NRO details the current, predictable situation caused by the continued power grab made by Moqtada al-Sadr ("Mookie" to his friends). Unable to win political support for himself, al-Sadr has attempted to use violence to get his way. But his amateurish and repeated efforts show that his real intent is to win power for himself, not to establish a secure Iraq. He swings back and forth, sometimes suing for peace, but only when his prosecution of war has failed.

The Dhimmocrats and their coconspirators in the liberal main scheme media has tried to spin the latest effort by Moqtada al-Sadr ("Mookie" to his friends) as some general setback for the Administration's policy in Iraq, rather than simply a result of the continued power grab by this one guy. Now that he is standing down his forces, otherwise known as giving up, it's time to finish him.

For his latest round of rebellion against the legitimate, duly elected governing authority of his country, I think it would be a beneficial step for all humanity of Moqtada al-Sadr ("Mookie" to his friends) were made into a human pendulum, or otherwise were made to assume room temperature.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Open Letter to Senator Obama

The most popular blog at PajamasMedia is currently "An Open Letter to Senator Obama" from Lionel Chetwynd. Chetwynd's piece is beautifully crafted and even-handed lesson for Obama, his self-adjured moral superiority, and his incorrect supplication that we give Reverend Wright a pass for being stuck in 1959:

Dear Senator Obama:

I have now read and reread your speech, understanding you take this to be a “teaching moment,” I have applied myself to its lessons. But some questions have arisen and I need a little more clarification.

More below the fold.

When the news of Reverend Wright's distasteful silliness came to me, my initial reaction was that Obama so had to throw this guy under the bus.

On reflection, and in reading Obama's speech, I realized that he could not, and that it would not be possible: Obama chose that church to snuggle up to the folks who go there, and to the community on Chicago's South side. Without that church, he would have been an outsider. That isn't to say it was a calculated move in the beginning, as Obama had doubtless been an outsider his whole life.

But as his career blossomed and his identity as a liberal activist grew, his personal ties to the people at Trinity, not just to Wright, must have grown. These are his friends, the people who watched him raise his kids and he theirs. You don't cast that away lightly, even if they hold seriously erroneous beliefs.

As for Reverend Wright himself, to entertain personal loyalty to someone who led you to Christ is theologically unsound. At some point, we see that even though the person opened our eyes to the greatest gift ever given, they are still a person, with all of a person's failings.

That is the teaching opportunity I hoped you would evoke: not explaining Wright’s outrage to me, but explaining his outrageousness to him. That’s how we’ll reach the postracial era: by no longer justifying ourselves with what was, instead speaking to what now exists. Not deny the past, but recognize that’s what it is: past.

The Jeremiah Wright relationship is but one difficulty on the road to the White House for Obama, but it reveals his core, and perhaps insurmountable, problem: a lack of integrity. He is not the same person in private that he pretends to be in public. He is not a uniter, but a divider.

I wanted Senator Obama to rise above race, to say to his supporters, "If you intend to vote for me because of the color of my skin, then I would rather have you stay home on election day. Don't look at me, listen to me. Vote for me not as a symbol, but for my ideas and my determination to carry them out."

As much as I disagree with those socialist and harmful ideas, I could nevertheless respect him for standing or falling based on them.

Instead, he delivered a non sequitur, claiming that past racism could be papered over with increased funding of schools and bigger government programs, wasting the opportunity for what could have been.

And a vote for a symbol.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

When Anti-Semites Come to Dinner

Rafael Medoff at NRO notes that the State Department purposefully watered down a report on human rights abuses, especially in China, North Korea, and:

Now it is the Palestinian Authority’s turn to benefit from the State Department’s excessive generosity. On March 13, State released an 84-page report [PDF] on “Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism.” While describing anti-Semitic incidents in various countries around the world, the report was oddly reticent when it came to the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Searching the report, I could find scarce mention of Palestine, and yet by all accounts this is the region of the world in which enmity for Jews and Israel is at its sharpest. Could this possibly be part of an effort to appease Mahmoud Abbas, in preparation for his May visit to the White House? After all, Abbas is not just a noted Jew-hater, he got a Soviet Phd in Jew hating.

President Bush wants to achieve something in his final days in office: peace in Palestine. To achieve that goal, he appears willing to overlook not only past sins, but current ones as well. For instance, in the wake of the murder of eight rabbinical students, Israeli group Palestinian Media Watch says that the official Palestinian Authority daily newspaper (under Mahmoud Abbas' control)
... describes the murderer of eight yeshiva students in Jerusalem as a "groom" and his burial as his "wedding celebration." The story in Mahmoud Abbas's Al Hayat Al Jadida goes on to evoke the neighborhood Jabal Mukaber's "week of anticipation... preparing themselves for the wedding procession."

The term "wedding" is the expression commonly used in PA society, and in PA schoolbooks as well, to describe the death of Shahids - Martyrs for Allah. According to Islamic tradition, they will wed the 72 Dark- Eyed Maidens (Virgins) of Paradise. [emphasis PMW]
Until, and not before, the PLO. Dr. Mahmoud Abbas, and the leadership of the Palestinian Authority renounce acts of violence by civilians against civilians to achieve political ends, and acknowledge Israel's right to exist, they should not be allowed to set foot on American soil, and a fortiori, should not receive the public relations benefit from being seen hugging and shaking hands with the President of these United States.

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The Workman Deserves His Wages

Click the title.

Jeremiah Wright is building a mansion, tax-free. I'm in the wrong business.
(w/t FrankJ)

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Stupid, Lying Obama.

It almost hurts to watch.

Not content with throwing his longtime pastor and "mentor" under the bus, Barack Obama, Democratic presidential front-runner gets in, runs him over, and backs up to be sure, saying:

Had the reverend not retired, and had he not acknowledged that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I believe is the greatness of this country, for all its flaws, then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying at the church.
You sat there for 20 years without so much as a peep, but now you want us to believe that you would have left the church entirely?

You can tell a liar when his story keeps changing.

But even if the statement were true, accurately reflecting how Obama currently feels about Wright and his church, it says very little for Obama's character that he would respond to public opinion in such a way. I don't want a President who governs according the latest media frenzy. Say what you will about George W. Bush, but governing by opinion poll is not among his faults.

w/t: Moe

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Senator McCain on Foreign Policy

John McCain gave a foreign policy speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, and now that I've read it, I still don't know whether to be elated or dismayed. I don't know whether Senator McCain believes everything he says, or merely couches things in language he knows will please his opponents. But I do know that people govern how they campaign, generally if not in the specifics.

The biggest problem I have with Senator McCain is that in using his opponent's language, he implicitly accepts their positions. What to do about captured terrorist suspects:

America must be a model citizen if we want others to look to us as a model. How we behave at home affects how we are perceived abroad. We must fight the terrorists and at the same time defend the rights that are the foundation of our society. We can’t torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured. I believe we should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees under our control.
We can't turn lead into gold, grind up children to feed to cats, or yell fire in a crowded theater, either.

Lacking legality is among the many reasons we don't do those things.

By saying that it's wrong, McCain implies that we do it. He gives cover to our foes, and encourages the conspiracy-loving, coverup-seeking, America-hating moonbats at home.

I was very pleased to read this, however:

For decades in the greater Middle East, we had a strategy of relying on autocrats to provide order and stability. We relied on the Shah of Iran, the autocratic rulers of Egypt, the generals of Pakistan, the Saudi royal family, and even, for a time, on Saddam Hussein. In the late 1970s that strategy began to unravel. The Shah was overthrown by the radical Islamic revolution that now rules in Tehran. The ensuing ferment in the Muslim world produced increasing instability. The autocrats clamped down with ever greater repression, while also surreptitiously aiding Islamic radicalism abroad in the hopes that they would not become its victims. It was a toxic and explosive mixture. The oppression of the autocrats blended with the radical Islamists’ dogmatic theology to produce a perfect storm of intolerance and hatred.

We can no longer delude ourselves that relying on these out-dated autocracies is the safest bet. They no longer provide lasting stability, only the illusion of it. We must not act rashly or demand change overnight. But neither can we pretend the status quo is sustainable, stable, or in our interests. Change is occurring whether we want it or not. The only question for us is whether we shape this change in ways that benefit humanity or let our enemies seize it for their hateful purposes. We must help expand the power and reach of freedom, using all our many strengths as a free people. This is not just idealism. It is the truest kind of realism. It is the democracies of the world that will provide the pillars upon which we can and must build an enduring peace.

One of the central failings of our Cold War era policy was its reliance on stable autocrats like the Shah of Iran and Pinochet of Chile. This blind acceptance of stability over ideals was wrong then, demonstrating a lack of confidence in the rightness and power of liberty, and it's wrong now. While we can accept the allegiance of autocrats, we must not curry their favor over that of thei oppressed peoples.

Senator McCain indicated that he's a Global Warming Believer, and that depresses me.

He stopped just short of calling for an American Union, but on the positive side he fully endorsed free trade, at least in this hemisphere. At no time did he call for tariffs, which give me hope that he's a free trader on some level.

As I said, I feel better about it now that I've read it, except for the Gitmo and Global Warming stuff. Unfortunately, I suspect he really believes his own rhetoric there.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The New McCarthyism

Senator Joseph McCarthy was an anti-Communist in the 1950's who held hearings into Communist infiltration of Hollywood. His infamed question "Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" did very little to pull infomation from a witness, but it did have the advantage of tagging the person asked with that label, regardless of the answer.

In those days, when schoolchildren were being trained how to hide under their desks to survive a nuclear attack and there was a nonzero probability that Soviet agents would infiltrate our society and government, any hint of unpatriotic sentiment set off alarm bells. The ability to detect Communism in what was merely (or ostensibly, as you will) liberal dissent was akin to the ability to hear a dog whistle.

A man I need no dog whistle to dislike, Hillary Clinton advisor James Carville, compared former Presidential candidate Bill Richardson to Judas for endorsing Obama over Clinton. To his credit, Carville did not back down, despite the hypersensitive reaction in some quarters that invoking Judas was improper - sacrilege, perhaps.

And so the hypersensitivity is on full display today with charges of racism. It seems that any mention of race, no matter how innocuous the context, invites a charge of racism, bigotry, or intolerance, depending on the pitch of the whistle.

We are in a race for President, that quadrennial mania in which the slightest misstep can turn the body politic from admiration to antipathy in the space of a single news cycle. The presumptive nominee of one party is running as a black man, while claiming not to run as a black man. Any suggestion that he is running as a black man is met with the charges of racism, forever impugning the character of its target no less effectively than Senator McCarthy could achieve with an all-day hearing.

That Senator Obama is relying on the color of his skin, and not the content of his character alone, is apparent. There is scant different between Obama and his rival Hillary Clinton, and yet the racial disparity in their support is striking: most blacks support Obama, while Clinton is favored by most white (among their party).

Who will stand up to the charges of racism, as people should have met McCarthy's empty charges of communism? We must be able to explore the issues surrounding race without being clubbed down with ad hominem attacks, or the racial divide will only deepen.

Do you want to unite, Senator Obama? Put down your club.

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Anti-intellectualism? Yep.

Over at that there WWWW, Maximos responds to James Poulos of The American Scene, sniping at Christopher Orlet's review of a book by a Susan Jacoby. (I love the web.) In reply to Maximos, I submit:

While a doctorate in archeology earned in the study of Proto-Phoenician Basket Weaving does little to prepare one to make arguments on abortion or climatology, the mistake is not that such a learned person has the temerity to make the argument, but that anyone imputes to his argument any weight because of who he is in the first place. It takes no small helping of arrogance to do that for oneself.

Let arguments stand or fall as they are able.

We can toss Jacoby's faith in her received Truths into the same bin she tosses ours, pour on the EVOO, and light the pyre. "Intellectual" has always had both negative and positive connotations, because it carries innately a description of a person who doesn't do honest work.

There are at least two aspects of the anti-intellectualism to bring out. Jeff discusses the Chomsky syndrome, in which a man important in his own field has the hubris to assert relevance in another.

But the second is the tendency of the modern liberal to believe he must speak out on every issue. This derives, I think, from a view of integrity that defines it as constancy in liberalism. How often we hear huge liars and adulterers, not here named, described as people of "integrity". We shake our heads in disbelief, and wonder at the blinders the person must be wearing to make that claim. But it is that odd definition of integrity which is meant.

And so the liberal intellectual is compelled by a sense of integrity to speak out on every issue, else lose credibility to tu quoque. Ironically, the person loses credibility when doing so, not only from speaking on issues on which they are not fully expert, but from taking a uniformly partisan, unbalanced, or uncritical view of them.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In which I agree with Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and really bad economist, has one thing right. China is our enemy.

When Bill Clinton arranged for China to get Most Favored Nation trading status, he said trading with them would encourage them on the road to democracy. Nancy opposed him, saying we should not trade with wicked nations. In 1991, while Bill Clinton was seeking to pay back his Chinese masters, Pelosi went to China, as well, and found her way to Tiananmen Square:

Along with two other members of Congress, Pelosi unwrapped a banner that read, "To those who died for democracy in China." The decidedly undiplomatic delegation was immediately surrounded by police and Chinese "tourists" who pulled walkie-talkies from their backpacks.
Pelosi continues her fight against the state of affairs in China. While the Chinese Communists are calling for 'stepped up "patriotic campaigns"' in Tibet, which yearns for freedom:
Unrest among Tibet's Buddhist clergy has been blamed in part on compulsory "patriotic education" classes, widely reviled by monks for cutting into religious study and forcing them to make ritual denouncements of the Dalai Lama, who fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.
Freedom of thought, religion, and speech are non-negotiable. I encourage athletes all over the world to reject the Chinese demand for their complicit silence during the Games.

While I disagree with Speaker Pelosi on a wide range of topics, this is not one of them.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Lunactivists Take Part in Easter Mass

From Moe Lane of Redstate and the Gateway Pundit comes this poor use of of leverage: six adult brats disrupt a Catholic Mass in Chicago on Easter Sunday. I don't care why, and hesitate even to say "Iraq war", because they don't deserve it. The important part to me is that they were there to compain about something the Church and probably the congregation is against, to gain for themselves some measure of attention.

This has all of the elements of lunactivism, all rolled into a nice little package.

They call it "raising awareness", but it's an attention-getting device no different than a toddler's temper tantrum.

The setting chosen for the idiocy ensured the brats' phyical safety.

They wasted leverage. Catholic Mass, like almost all church services, is open to everyone, and a disruption like theirs was sure to result in blog stories like this one. I feel dirty and ill-used even giving them the attention they were after, but I feel compelled to note the absurdity of it all.

The lunactivism is shown most clearly because they were preaching to the choir: most of the cathedral goers are probably against the war, but the act of lunacy drives a wedge between the activists and their audience. All of the worshippers were aware of the war. were The only awareness they raised was a negative perception about those opposing it.

And guess what: despit the best efforts of anti-war leftists in Congress and nursery schools, Iraq is becoming a country again: it's own country, not ruled by a thug and not run by our enemies. In time, we will leave there, too. But for now, our armed forces are giving terrorism a bad name in Iraq.

And so there is this from Michael J. Totten:

Meanwhile, "Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War" and the Illinois Coalition for Peace and Justice are giving anti-war activism a bad name in America.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Lives!

Yay, we win!

Absent the resurrection, Jesus would have been forgotten in a lifetime, and probably not even have made it into the history books.

As it happened, however, He managed to get some ink.

His victory over the grave means that we can believe his words. All of the forces of Hell and Darkness arrayed against him could not defeat him, for even in their supposed triumph on the cross is the genesis of His revelation: obedience and faith overcome sin and failure.

Thank God.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Obama's Hell Week

So you want to be President. So do a lot of other people, but its popularity notwithstanding, I view the desire to be President as sufficient proof of some yet undetermined chemical imbalance. As circular confirmation, I present two stories from the news of the day.

Someone else with a clear chemical imbalance is the leadership of Hamas, who believe that the way to win friends is to cheer when you kill their friends. But appearing in the Trinity United Church of Christ newsletter from last summer (during the Presidential race) was an article by Mousa Abu Marzook of Hamas, claiming that Israel has no right to exist.

'Splain me that, Senator Obama. Square that with your public support of Israel. Which is it? Is Israel an ally, or is their existence yet another detail about which you'd be willing to negotiate with terrorists? Hamas claims not to be part of a larger struggle, but the players in the larger struggle make no such claims about Hamas.

In other news, Erick Erickson reports that Rev Jeremiah Wright has been invited to speak in Macon, GA. The mayor of Macon, an Obama supporter, calls Wright's sermon style "Socratic". Perk my ears! Like Socrates, Wright is pilloried for asking the wrong questions, for challenging the status quo, according to His Honor the mayor.

There is a clear difference between the two, however. Socrates' questions were always intended to winnow, never to incite. If he asked a question which was out of bounds, he knew it was out of bounds and was expecting an answer to bring the focus back in bounds.

But since it's Friday, I tried to imagine what a typical Wright-as-Socrates session would be like:

Wright: Do you suppose that white people invented AIDS?

SANE ANSWER: I thought it came from monkeys.

Wright: Suppose they did.

SANE ANSWER: OK, suppose they did.

Wright: Then you're saying they did it to kill black people?

SANE ANSWER: No, you said that.

Wright: Suppose they did.

SANE ANSWER: Well, that question presupposes that all white people act in concord, when in the United States AIDS has mostly killed whites.

Wright: Well, what about in Africa? Could there not be white people in Africa who invented AIDS to kill black people?

SA: I suppose there could be.

Wright: So since white people invented AIDS to kill black people, that is why they are giving out needles to also addict them with drugs.

SA: Sure, whatever. Look, I have to go ...

Wright: How can we avoid AIDS when white people are giving us needles, and I.V. drug use is one of the primary ways AIDS is spread?

SANE ANSWER: All someone need do is abstain from sex before marriage, and make sure his prospective mate did the same. But I have to ...

Wright: So you're saying black people can't do that?

SANE ANSWER: Your powers of understanding are unequaled. Good day.

Wright: I knew white people were racists.
I always thought "March Madness" was about basketball.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama: Granny a "Typical White Person"

The first step in getting out of a hole is to stop digging.

Barack Obama called in to a Philadelphia talk radio show and said:

The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. But she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know. . .there's a reaction in her that doesn't go away and it comes out in the wrong way.

The apple, as they say, falls not far from the tree.


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Hard Work Pays Off

In more ways than one. Click the title to read a great post.

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More Important than You'll Ever Know

Long, long ago, in a primary seaon far, far, away, the several States became jealous one of another over which could go first. Iowa and New Hampshire, it was agreed by all, should always go first. But who should go second, or third? These early primaries, it had been noticed, tended to narrow the field considerably, and probably determined the winner of the Empire. All of the States wanted to be part of that process, to be relevant to the selection of the Emperor.

There was much fretting and gnashing of teeth in the fine-panelled meeting rooms of Statehouses and Governor's manses across the fruited plain. Many of the States moved their primaries to February 5. Two, Florida and Michigan, pushed the envelope into January, incurring the wrath of one Darth Deanius (rhymes with "genius"), Democratic Party Chairman.

It was Deanius who had led the Party to adopt the "50-State strategy", lending Party support to candidates in races in every Congressional district, even if they seemed hopeless. Why is this even a debated issue? Without candidates in every district, a party withers. Support only a few candidates, and watch the pendulum of change wipe you out.

But Deanius decided that the delegates from Florida and Michigan, those envelope pushers, would not be allowed to vote at the Party convention in Denver. Two populous States, the loss of either of which would likely mean November defeat in this era of close contests, were to be completely ignored because Denius needed to crush their rebellion.

As it turned out, the nomination was not determined by those few early States. Rather than the decisive media monentum giving the nomination to one candidate, division deepened along group identity lines, pitting the Party's coalition of the disaffected power brokers against one another. Oh, if only Florida and Michigan would have had proper primaries, then someone would have emerged early on and the Democrats could have united against their common opponent, our armed forces.

But now Florida and Michigan, having been slain by Darth Deanius, are more important than he could have imagined. No, that's not quite right: he should have known that denying Florida Democrats, the most paranoid of the disaffected and disenfranchised, would be trouble.

How ironic that the author of the 50-State strategy should be the one to ignore those which mattered most.
(w/t to Moe)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More On Obama

The consensus among non-idiots appears to be "Nice speech ... hey, wait: did he say that?"

Jamal McCoy:

As an American with Black ancestry (that’s my new way of putting it!) I didn’t choose him to speak on my behalf to America, and tell my peers and co-workers that somewhere inside I harbor hatred towards them, which is expressed regularly on Sundays.I didn’t choose Obama as my representative! If I was sitting in a Church like his, I’d get up during the sermon and boo, before filing a “hate-speech” complaint.

And this brilliant comment:
Why is a guy who grew up a rich kid with a Kenyan father and Southern White mother (no ties to being a slave whatsoever) lecturing Northern Whites regarding the Civil War when it was our ancestors who fought and died in the Union Army to free the slaves?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Seeking Wrong Office

The response to Barack Obama's speech yesterday responding to criticism of his pastor and mentor Rev. Jeremiah Wright has fallen in to a pattern as predictable as the speech itself. White Liberals fawned, black liberals swooned, and conservatives (who, unlike liberals, mostly don't care about skin color) pointed out that the whole thing was a Big Lie:

TalkingPointsMemo wets its collective pants:

Obama went big, consciously presenting his personal story -- and candidacy -- as both symbol and realization of American history, addressing race, Wright, and more.

Marathon Pundit
I just finished watching Barack Obama's "race" speech. Obviously I'm not a supporter, but I thought it was flatter than last night's Jolt Cola. And Obama needed a jolt to overcome the inflammatory comments made by his longtime pastor and spiritual advisor.

Do you believe that acknowledging the very real legacy of discrimination--racism, sexism, bigotry, whatever-phobia--is best addressed by investing in the health, welfare and education of all children in the ways that Barack Obama supports? Does he support, for example, school choice and/or private school vouchers? Does he support, for example, a flatter, fairer tax system, which undeniably allows the disadvantaged poor to keep more of their own money? Or does he believe that we must "take care of" the disadvantaged by spending more on failing schools and raising taxes on those who provide jobs ("reverse the tax cuts") to Americans AND middle-class Americans (what about that "renounce the middle class" thing?) so we can fund more government programs?

The Absentee:

True, we must learn from and remember our past. The echoes of racism and slavery are here; they are in our every day. The echoes of the past ripple through these United States, they stain our conscience, they strain our unity. However, they are echoes. By their very nature, they come from the past. Echoes weaken over time and distance. They diminish. They die.

Those who, with courage and honesty, look at the great American landscape and see those echoes are right, and they are just. But they who take those echoes, who reinforce them, and give them greater amplitude ... they are wrong. Reverend Wright is wrong.

Barry had to come out and endorse Wright's message of racial hatred while claiming not to do so, and that's just what he did. "White folks do it, too" is not only irrelevant to the question at hand, but is false. White folks do not preach idiotic conspiracy theories from the pulpit Sunday after Sunday -- at least not if they want to stay in the preacher business.

Equating a few insensitive remarks made by his grandmother with Wright's vitriole was vile. The only office that man belongs in is a psychiatrist's.

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Missing Dissent

According to the mythos of the Inclusive Victims Movement™, dissent is patriotic. In fact, dissent is often said to be the highest form of patriotism, and for those who hold to such a view it seems to push all other forms of patriotism aside.

But conservatives can not and need not dissent, because (so the narrative continues) they are the ones in power, desperately clinging to their white picket fences. For a liberal to fail to dissent is a character flaw.

And from what would a conservative need to dissent? Since liberals only do Good Things, there is never any reason, according to the Inclusive Victims Movement, for anyone to dissent. Who can quarrel with going to church, or giving money to a hospital, or taking money from crooks, or lying about it afterwards?

Well, maybe a person wanting to be President shouldn't take money from crooks or lie about stuff willy-nilly.

Therefore, a person who wishes to be elected President of these United States by running on a platform of getting past race and coming together should do more than sit there when someone preaches things contrary to that platform.

If that person cannot stand up to the crowd in church and decry the wickedness, it is not, as Obama has falsely claimed, because he didnt know about it. Pastors do not long preach sermons with which the congregation is at odds, and congregations, unless they're dead, discuss what the pastor says in his sermons.

And men audacious enough to hope they can be President do not sit idly by while vile things with which they disagree are spoken. On friendly terms with a pastor, they will at least in private exercise their voice in dissent. Either Obama didn't disagree with the content of the pastor's message or he was to cowardly to dissent. We are left with one sad conclusion.

Obama knew about the content of the sermons because that's why he was there.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

The Surreality-Based Community

To contrast itself with the "faith-based community", the online left adopted the label "reality-based community". It's a blasphemous jab at religion in general and those who believe things without persaonally seeing them in particular.

The trouble is, everone believes things without seeing them. We read history, and believe it. We watch the news, and believe it. Our kids tell us they don't drink, and we believe them. We follow the most likely set of assumptions given what we have actually seen. We deduce and induce from the known to the unknown and back again to verify that our world-view is correct.

So how does the "reality-based community" deduce that 9/11 was the result of a giant conspiracy, or even a tiny one, composed of American officials?

How does the reality-based community back the surreal idiocy which forms the backdrop for the campaign of Barack Obama? He called a racist conspiracy theorist his "mentor". That's not guilt by association, it's guilt by admission.

How does the online Left become convinced that the President of the United States is more interested in personal gain than in defending his country against all enemies, foreign and domestic?

And as for domestic enemies, thinking about that problem for two seconds reveals how difficult must be the balance between finding domestic enemies and fulfilling the primary mission of any President, defending freedom. President Bush has spent American money and the blood of her patriots on his faith-base belief that democracy and the rights of free citizens are paramount. How the "reality-based community" collectively concludes that he has turned the country into a police state, on no evidence that anyone has actually been harmed, makes a beggar of credulity.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Mentor from Hell [Updated 2 times]

[Originally posted 3/13/08 12:57pm ; updates below]

Barack Obama's pastor is a racist who thinks 9/11 was our fault. OK. There are a lot of racists who think 9/11 was our fault, though not many in senior advisory positions for presidential campaigns. Why is this an issue?

As the inimitable FrankJ says:

Obama's book's title, The Audacity of Hope, came from a sermon of his pastor Jeremiah Wright. I guess he chose another sermon of Wright to base his book on, it would be called Jesus Hates Honkeys.

The existence of Wright offends me as a Christian, but this is supposed to be who Obama got his spiritual teachings from? In fact, secretly being a Muslim might actually be better than taking this guy's sermons seriously.

But isn't Obama's faith off limits for criticism? After all, we didn't dig up kooky things Mitt Romney's pastor or Hillary Clinton's priestess say. Why Obama?

This isn't vague references to being a (*gasp*) Mormon or obscure rules about goat sacrifices. These are specific statements made over a long period of time by someone the candidate has called a "mentor". That is implicit endorsment of the man's views.

Someone with such finely tuned hearing that he can pick up racism in Geraldine Ferraro's assessment that Obama is popular precisely and only because of his skin color should be able to detect it when it's preached at him from the pulpit.

Obama cannot get away with disavowing knowledge of this guy's views, nor with distancing himself from specific statements. He has to either throw this pastor under the bus, or better, explain why he disagrees with the pastor and still goes to the church.

[Update: Obama answers on HuffPo

Most importantly, Rev. Wright preached the gospel of Jesus, a gospel on which I base my life. In other words, he has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor. And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.

The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation. When these statements first came to my attention, it was at the beginning of my presidential campaign. I made it clear at the time that I strongly condemned his comments. But because Rev. Wright was on the verge of retirement, and because of my strong links to the Trinity faith community, where I married my wife and where my daughters were baptized, I did not think it appropriate to leave the church.

While that answers many questions, it raises others. Saying that "he has never been my political advisor; he's been my pastor" introduces irrelevancy. No one said he was your political advisor, just that he was a senior advisor to your campaign and on career moves.

Let's play Parse The Clintonese™, shall we?

[...] And the sermons I heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God and one another, to work on behalf of the poor, and to seek justice at every turn.

"And the sermons I heard him preach"

Obama heard several sermons. He equivocates mightily: he does not deny hearing these hate-filled sermons, though he seems to deny it. And he does not deny that other, possibly more offensive material is appeared in other sermons; he merely says that the sermons he "heard him preach always related to our obligation to love God" and our neighbor. Every sermon says that, but what else do they say? And because something is "related to" something else which is orthodox and positive doesn't mean that it is itself orthodox and positive.

Still and all, I am glad that the Senator has repudiated the remarks made by the retiring pastor. I regret asking that he throw the pastor under the bus, but now that he's done it, let's just move on.]

[Update 20080316

It seems I was right to parse 'the sermons I heard always said' as Red Herring. He was there.]

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Barack Obama's Extremely No Good Very Bad Day

Barack Obama must be thinking "What am I, Job?"

Two days ago he was enjoying the small victory of having brought down Geraldine Ferraro. Then yesterday:

  • Ferraro rebounded, as a backlash against Obama's constant barrage of charges of racism
  • His pastor and "mentor" is himself an America-hating racist
  • It was reported that in 2006 (as Senator) Obama arranged a $1 million earmark for the hospital where is wife had just gotten a promotion to Vice President, with a $200, 000 raise
  • The Rezco trial in Chicago shows that Obama lied about the extent of his relationship to the sleazy political fixer and campaign donation launderer.
These are all equally bad news for his campaign. Whether the anti-racism, anti-demagogue, conflict of interest with a touch of graft, or good old Chicago corruption charges would individually be enough to tarnish his reputation as a different kind of politician, I don't know. But taken together even his most ardent acolyte will have to reassess the Obama candidacy.

And surely the superdelegates to the Democratic convention will now have a much easier time supporting Hillary. All of this corruption and ickiness would make Huey Long vote Republican; if moderate, apolitical voters were to hear about it in the general election, they'd pull for John McCain.

Methinks the Obama campaign is played out.

But what will happen to the Democratic Party? Will they go to their convention in Denver and fight it out, with a willing but conflicted media delivering the show?

Mmmm, popcorn.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hillary Clinton Wins Nomination

Or rather, Barack Obama lost it. He lost the nomination in 2006, when he arranged an earmark of $1 million for an expansion of a hospital.

A hospital in Chicago ... where his wife worked ... as an administrator ... after getting a $200,000/year raise when her husband won his Senate seat.

Ah, Illinois. The only way we can tell if our politicians are crooked is if they're in office. Unfortunately, there is no similar test to find the ones who are not crooked.

w/t Redstate and NRO

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Dog Whistle Racism

When Geraldine Ferraro said that Barack Obama was lucky to be who he was, it said a lot more about her (and the mindset of Liberals) than she thought. Obama's reaction says even more about him and the way he would behave in office.

She told us that she views people through the lens of identity, but he showed that he does even more so. His reaction demonstrated his hypersensitivity, so that an Obama Administration would be four long years of unfettered political correctness.

The incident shows that candidate Obama has ears to hear racism in a comment the rest of us see as acknowledging the facts as they are.

She told us that, like the 90% of Black Democrats who are voting for Obama and the similar numbers of White female Democrats voting for Hillary, she wants a candidate who looks like her. Identity, and to a lesser extent personality and background, are more important to them than belief and policies.

The incident shows that Hillary is vulnerable to the race card, and Obama is willing to play it.

I had Hoped that this election would have been different, but some things never Change.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

You Can Stop Any Time

Geraldine Ferraro (D), 1984 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee and former head of Public Affairs at the PR firm Global Consulting Group, and Hillary volunteer, on Barack Obama:

"I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama's campaign - to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against," she said. "For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued.

Stop there, Geraldine. You've still got a defensible position. Everybody is clear that what you just said is the truth: part of Obama's appeal, the part that puts him over the top as the choice among Democrats, is his skin color. He's John Edwards in 2004: a first-term Senator with nice suits waging class warfare.
"And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position.
OK, Really. Just stop, and we can get your foot out of your mouth without any surgery or anything.
"He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." [...]

"I was reading an article that said young Republicans are out there campaigning for Obama because they believe he's going to be able to put an end to partisanship," Ferraro said, clearly annoyed. "Dear God! Anyone that has worked in the Congress knows that for over 200 years this country has had partisanship - that's the way our country is."

(My emphasis)

Oh, no. Too late. That whole leg is going to have to come off.

And you had such a nice career, too.

But I really get a kick out of the Obama campaign pretending to be completely unaware that he's benefiting from his skin color, while at the same time claiming to forge new ground.

And I'll stop right there.

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This Must Not Stand

Artists for Liberty?


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Politics of Greed

Following the intellectual, spiritual, and literal bankruptcy of the Soviet bloc of Marxist states in the 1980's, it seems that mankind would have learned his lesson. The reality of the results of those arrogant experiments in economic and social engineering should have quashed for all eternity the fantasy of a government solution to every problem. But it did not. Especially in this election year, the socialist panderers are stumbling over one another to offer magnanimous bribes to the electorate in order to secure its favor.

The socialist panderers in the Clinton and Obama campaigns tell the people that government can and should supply them with all of their needs, and can pay for it by taxing the wealthy "their fair share".

But what is a person's "fair share"? If two people bring their lunches to school and see a classmate with nothing to eat, fairness (between the two who brought lunches) would be found if each were to give the hungry student the same amount. Fairness in taxes would dictate that we each pay the same amount, but that is not what is suggested.

No, by the definition of "fair" used in the Democratic primary race, fairness means that those who have more should be required to give more, not of their own free will, but by force of ballot. What they really mean is that they don't think it's fair that some people have more than others in the first place.

It is a two-edged sword, this socialist pandering. On the one side it punishes success and discourages those who have worked hard from continuing to do so. On the back cut it slices away any desire for the poor to lift themselves out of their own troubles by their own efforts.

And no one challenges the socialists on their misdeeds.

When the Democrats mention the current tightening of mortgage credit, it isn't to say that people should not take on expenses they can't afford. It's to promise more government help, more interference in the market, even though it was precisely this interference which led to the problem. Home ownership is a political winner, so pandering politicians force banks not to deny too many loans.

Who stands up to the prattling of this Tyrant, turning aside his demands for instant gratification in favor of a more lasting Pursuit of Happiness? No one. Meanwhile, the Democrats play the envy of the Have Nots against the guilt of the Haves, creating a climate in which self reliance borders on hate speech.

For greed is not just the province of those already wealthy wanting more than their "fair" share; it's also the dwelling place of those who have little but want others to supply them with what they will not supply for themselves.

In this Illinipundit thread, the question is asked "Who is advancing Conservatism?" I responded there with:

Who is advancing Conservatism? That's the wrong question. I understand the shorthand of assigning a label to a set of ideas and all, but in the end it is the ideas themselves, and not the movement comprising them, that is important.

And 'Conservatism' is a misnomer, if so widely accepted a word can be a misnomer. Conservatism is the practice of holding on to the good aspects of a policy or situation, even if it means accepting the bad aspects; it stands in contrast to Liberalism, which is rejecting the bad aspects of a policy or situation even if it means letting go of the good ones.

The set of ideas we currently think of as 'Conservative' (and yes, I do it too) are really Libertarianism with a high value placed on the right to Life and abstention from sex and certain drugs. Conservatives are also more likely than Liberals to internalize the law into morality, which is another aspect of liking stability.

The real question is: Who is taking a stand and insisting that the mindset of Western Civilization is what we use to govern and will be the one we teach the next generation?

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Virtue of Liberality

There is a virtue that has fallen on hard times.

The virtue of Liberality is that trait in a person willing to share with others and to extend grace, to assume the best in others, even against the evidence of past behavior. It is trust in the goodness of others, and a willingness to give more than one gets in return. It's a fine trait, a high virtue. But like all virtues, it is not observed in the excess. That is, it is not virtue but folly to be found in one who gives away the rent money.

Another connotation of liberal thinking is the eager acceptance of new ideas and ways, even if nothing can be found wrong with the old ideas or ways. While a certain flexibility of mind is a positive characteristic, it often becomes indistinguishable from gullibility.

Both modern Conservatism and Liberalism derive from the Classical Liberalism of the 19th century, which rose to its zenith with abolition and the American Civil War. Actually, I think the peak of Classical Liberalism was Lincoln's decision to show grace to the former Confederacy.

The two began to diverge when the virtue of Liberality came to be seen by Liberals not as a personal trait, but as a characteristic of good government. If Liberality is good in a person, why would it not be even better in a government?

And so began a long slide of Good Deeds, in which government sought to supply more and more of the people's needs. Rather than simply protecting us one from another and from external enemies, the new approach to government is to take care of us and keep us from harming ourselves. That is the virtue of Liberality warped into a governing philosophy.

We should not be surprised that it fails so thoroughly. Ascribing human traits to government is an example of the Fallacy of Composition, which is applying the properties of parts to the whole. Grains of sand are hard, but the beach can be quite soft. Similarly, it's unwise to assume that the valuable virtue of Liberality is anything a government ought to have. Clearly government should not be liberal in excess, to the point of encouraging sloth.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

I recall past scandals, with their logs of text messages sent to Congressional pages, their descriptions of seedy encounters in airport restroms.

So I must admit to a certain partisan satisfaction when New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (D-NY), smug and self-righteous, admitted to involvement with paying for services which he ought to have got for free, or done without. Perhaps relief is a better descriptor than satisfaction -- relief that it isn't someone with whom I share a philosophy. But I am disappointed whenever anyone fails in their struggle over wickedness.

I must admit to a certain partisan satisfaction, no, anticipation when I hear that in all likelihood Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D-Chicago) continues the long standing Illinois tradition of political corruption, or Senatory Barack Obama (D-IL) is not forthcoming about his relationship with that same corruption. But I am disappointed whenever anyone fails in their struggle over wickedness.

I must admit to a certain partisan satisfaction, no, gloating when Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) of Michigan is caught refusing to pay taxes for her reelection financing. No matter how complicated the tax code is, the IRS is very clear when you owe them money, and ignoring that is really poor judgement. But I am disappointed whenever anyone fails in their struggle over wickedness.

But then I realized something. With each of these scandals of public malfeasance and abuse of the public trust, Americans have one less reason to trust their government.

And that is a cause for celebration, howsoever how it comes about.

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Unqualified Hope

Neither Barack H. Obama nor Hillary D. R. Clinton is qualified to be President of the United States.

They are both eligible, but not qualified.

First, neither one has any military experience whatsoever. They would both be a catastrophe, and given their anti-war rhetoric it is virtually certain that our enemies would test them.

Neither has any executive experience. Even the underqualified Bill Clinton was a governor. The equally underqualified George W. Bush allowed the media and his own desire for bipartisan cooperation to give us unneeded and outrageously expensive programs such as No Child Left Behind and Prescription Drug Freebies. He did campaign on that stuff, but the implementation of it betrays his lack of experience dealing with extreme partisans who claim not to be.

Neither one has a history of bipartisan collaboration, because both are partisans. When forced into working with political foes as President, neither would be any more effective than President Bush was at cooperating with political enemies. Now that I think about it, that might be a good thing.

Both are learning that a national election is a very different animal than a State or local one. In Hillary Clinton's case, being the candidate is a different role than advising one.

Let's look at all of the Presidents for the last 50 years or so.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was not just an Army General, but the Commander of Allied Forces in WWII. He was the General in charge of the army that won the bloodiest, most destructive war the planet has ever seen.

John F. Kennedy was a war hero, a three-term Congressman, two-term Senator, and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Lyndon B. Johnson was asix-term Congressman, as a Congressman volunteered for active Navy after Pearl Harbor, two term Senator, VP.

Richard M. Nixon
Naval officer in WWII, Congressman, Senator, two term VP

Gerald Ford Naval officer in WWII, 13-term Congresman, Speaker of the House, VP

James Earl Carter Naval officer ("nukelah" submarine engineer), Governor

Ronald W. Reagan Army officer (non-combat) Two-term Governor

George H.W. Bush: Naval officer, Congressman, Ambassador, CIA Director, VP
William J. Clinton: No military experience, Attorney General of Arkansas, Governor for 12 years
George W Bush: Air National Guard, Governor

John McCain: War hero, Congressman, four-term Senator
Hillary D. R. Clinton: Lawyer. First Lady. Two term Senator.
Barack H. Obama: 7 years Illinois State Senator. First term Senator.

Hillary Clinton is underqualified. Obama isn't even close, and the campaign is bearing that out.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

President Remains Commander in Chief

President Bush wielded the power of the veto pen over the bill that would have limited the CIA to using the same interrogation techniques used by Army interrogators.

This was a courageous and correct veto on the part of President Bush, but not just for the reasons he gave.

( reader rbdwiggins gives the text, linked above for the President's veto of H.R. 2082, the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008." This is cross-posted there.)

Those interested can follow here for the text of the bill itself, being notorious for URL-shifting.]

The future adults at the Talking Points Memo (w/t) are apopleptic, crying "Impeach! Impeach!" -- or perhaps it was just once, as it's hard to tell in that echo chamber.

The President was clear in his reasons for the veto:

The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror -- the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives. This program has produced critical intelligence that has helped us prevent a number of attacks. The program helped us stop a plot to strike a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti, a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi, a plot to hijack a passenger plane and fly it into Library Tower in Los Angeles, and a plot to crash passenger planes into Heathrow Airport or buildings in downtown London. And it has helped us understand al Qaida's structure and financing and communications and logistics. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaida and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland.

The main reason this program has been effective is that it allows the CIA to use specialized interrogation procedures to question a small number of the most dangerous terrorists under careful supervision. The bill Congress sent me would deprive the CIA of the authority to use these safe and lawful techniques. Instead, it would restrict the CIA's range of acceptable interrogation methods to those provided in the Army Field Manual. The procedures in this manual were designed for use by soldiers questioning lawful combatants captured on the battlefield. They were not intended for intelligence professionals trained to question hardened terrorists.

On has to wonder: if the CIA is limited to the same techniques as the Army, would there be any need for the CIA to interrogate? And once the front-line soldiers and officers interrogate an enemy combatant, having published our interrogation techniques in the Army Field Manual the enemy combatant would know what to expect and be ready for it, even if the CIA's questioners were more hightly skilled.

From a pure political calculation, some on the right who oppose non-standard interrogation (NSI) will be disheartened by this news. But they are missing a key point: this veto gives John McCain distance from President Bush, which he can exploit with independent voters, on an issue which is probably not as important to the war on terror as it's made out to be.

Because whether or not we use NSI or even full-on torture on detainees is not as important in the overall fight against them as is keeping our playbook hidden from the enemy. This bill would have exposed our methods to our foes, and if only for that reason deserved a veto.

But in the event that some madman was ready to explode a nuclear bomb in a major U.S. city, would we want to keep that information a secret? Or would we rather use every technique known to man to stop it?

Obviously we don't use non-standard interrogation on every detainee; that's why it's non-standard. But like our own nuclear arsenal, these techniques should be available to us, in all their horror.

Congressional Democrats know these things, but are shamefully demagoguing them just to score partisan political points.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Cheerleaders of Hate

You want hate crime? This is a hate crime. Palestinians cheer a massacre at a Jewish school. Eight students were killed, 35 others injured. The gunman, a Muslim and supporter of Hamas, was killed by a an off-duty Israeli Army officer who lived nearby.

The jihadist hate group Hamas probably planned the attack, and certainly praised it afterward. This is their modus operandi: stir up hatred and praise terrorism, lob bombs at the Israelis, and then become outraged when they retaliate on poor widdle Hamas. It's possible that Hamas didn't actually get involved in the attack until it was clear that it was popular with the Palestinians, at which time they opportunistically and cynically claimed credit.

Like the attack at Norris Hall at Virginia Tech in 2007, there was a Jewish hero. Unlike Professor Librescu, trapped in a gun-free zone, this hero was armed and stopped the killer dead.

Now that's a cause for celebration.

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Friday, March 07, 2008

That 3AM Call

The Obama camp assures us that neither Democratic candidate is ready to be Commander in Chief. Both will need some on the job training, apparently.

But then, Time Magazine says experience may be overrated. Uh huh.

While it's clearly true that Hillary Diane would be a fine phone answerer, there is one transcript of a phone conversation that many may not have seen:

911 OPERATOR: Capitol 9-1-1, what's your emergency?

FEMALE CALLER: I think my house is on fire.

911 OPERATOR: Where are you, ma'am?

FEMALE CALLER: In the kitchen, but Chelsea's asleep in the next room, so you'll have to speak softly.

911 OPERATOR: Where is your house, ma'am?

FEMALE CALLER: It's the White House.

911 OPERATOR: A white house, yes, but where is it located, ma'am?

FEMALE CALLER: Don't you know who I am? Just get here before Chelsea wakes up, or you'll be out of work, you got me?.

911 OPERATOR: Yes, ma'am, but how are we supposed to get there?

FEMALE CALLER: Big red truck, duh!

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

Speak not of a victim

The status of Victimhood is very important to the liberal culture. In many ways it is central to the liberal coalition, a requisite tag on the ear those wishing a place at the trough.

Says Drezner:

This leads to a central irony about this campaign. I don't doubt that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have suffered a multitude of small slights in their professional and personal lives because of their gender or race. However, if you think about this as a contest to see who has suffered the greatest because of their identity, it's not even close.

The candidate who has suffered the most in his lifetime is.... John McCain. As an individual, he has paid a much higher price for his identity as an officer in the United States military than Obama or Cinton has individually paid for their race or gender. And there's simply no way to spin it otherwise.

(w/t: Adam C at Redstate)
As individuals, the case is clear: McCain had it far worse and for a far greater cause than either of his opponents.

But to the Inclusive Victims Movement the election particularly this year is about symbolism, not substance. The amount and depth of trial each candidate has faced is not the issue. Hillary and Obama are running as proxies for all women and all blacks, respectively. That neither one of them has done any personal suffering beyond the normal trials we all face is irrelevant, because voters who identify with one or the other of them will impute their own ear tag.

But we are not, or should not be, electing an entire gender or a race to work in the Oval Office. We are electing an individual, a single person on whose life experience we must rely. The symbolism of putting a woman or a black man in the big chair is of no consequence to the world leaders with whom he or she will have to deal.

But life experience has led John McCain to a position of leadership in the Senate, while Hillary merely occupied an office and Obama has yet to do so.

McCain can leverage the progress in Iraq because the surge is a reflection of his stance all along. He knew that in attempting not to look mean and imperial we were trying to pacify a country with far too light a force. Because of that strategic mistake, we allowed Al Qaeda to gain a foothold in Iraq, which they have now all but lost. But that victory has come at great cost, a cost that a President McCain would have understood, a President Hillary Clinton would have run from, and one that a President Obama would have ducked like the other hard questions he never answers.

Because John McCain doesn't see himself as a victim.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Undeciders

The Democratic primaries are serviing to provide some excellent entertainment for those of us who are interested but don't care who wins, which is close to being a null set, to be sure. All Democrats are almost by definition interested, and most interested Republicans would rather have either Hillary out of the way in the primaries or would rather face her than Obama. I don't care who wins, since there's a nickel's difference between them substantively.

And that seems to be the way the Democratic Party primary system is structured. Since they all have the same policies, the Party bosses don't care who wins.

Or rather, they don't want anyone to lose. The totally proportional delegate system is serving to prolong the primary race. The Republicans have managed to select a winner and have begun the process of unifying behind Senator McCain. The Democrats, however, have not.

The winner-take-all primaries and media-driven momentum of herd voting are a classic positive feedback system, in which the slightest push one way or another tends to be decisive of the outcome. Like a marble balanced on knife edge, as long as two candidates stay even, the system is stable and no one is the clear winner. But once a few things start to break for one candidate, victory is near. And so it was with the Republicans this year.

But with proportional delegate selection, there is enough negative feedback for the system to correct itself and get the marble balance again -- so no winner emerges.

The Democratic Party likes this situation, since no one has to lose and get their feelings hurt until it's time to come together at the week of debauchery they call a convention to form a consensus as a community of all stakeholders. They like it so well, in fact, that they build in superdelegates to make sure no one like Obama gets too far ahead of the movers and shakers. Why, you ask? Now that could be anyone's guess.

And those movers and shakers, led by Mrs. Clinton, will be sure to make sure that all the votes in Michigan and Florida are counted. Won't they? Well, all of the superdelegate votes, anyway.

Don't get me wrong: I like that system. It has flare. It has intrigue. It has compassion. It's just not very democratic.

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