Archive for May, 2008

The Hill magazine is reporting that Sen. Obama has left the church he vigorously defended just 3 short months ago. Here’s what they’re saying:

Democratic front runner Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), weathering the storm from another controversial pastor, resigned from his church Saturday.

The senator is leaving Trinity United Church of Christ after remarks made by Father Michael Pfleger surfaced last week showing the Catholic priest mocking Obama’s rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).

Earlier this year, Obama was hurt by inflammatory remarks made by his longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and his handling of the controversy.

My question is simple: What’s Sen. Obama’s motivation for leaving TUCC? To the unbiased observer, it appears as though he’s essentially leaving for political considerations. Shame on him for that.

Here’s another question national journalists aren’t asking: Why didn’t Sen. Obama leave when he saw his fellow congregants dancing and applauding during Jeremiah Wright’s racist sermons? A truly post-racial, postpartisan politician would’ve left long before the YouTube videos appeared. That’s allegedly what drove Oprah from TUCC.

Why should we believe that Sen. Obama is a post-racial, postpartisan politician? What proof do we have that verifies his claims? I’d suggest that they don’t exist. I’d further suggest that a truly post-racial, postpartisan politician wouldn’t have stayed at TUCC for essentially political reasons.

Sen. Obama only got upset with Jeremiah Wright when Wright embarrassed him at the National Press Club. That tells me that Sen. Obama didn’t take offense with Jeremiah Wright’s words until they were directed at him. After all, churches are one of the places where you ‘vote with your feet’. In that instance, words don’t mean much.

Obviously, Sen. Obama’s apologists in the national media will say that this proves Sen. Obama is beyond partisanship.

Quite he contrary. He’s proven that it’s all about politics with him.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Less than eight short years ago, Gore-Lieberman attorneys argued that every vote should count. It was so repetitive that “Count every vote” became a punchline for comedians. Against that backdrop, it’s ironic that Sen. Obama’s people will be arguing against seating the entire Michigan delegation. Here’s what the Detroit Free Press is reporting:

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer is delivering the argument for restoring the state’s lost delegation to this summer’s nominating convention, saying the state has already suffered a penalty from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton not campaigning in the state during the primary.“Michigan’s Democratic voters have already been punished enough for what has occurred over the last year,” he said.

Brewer also argued that not restoring Michigan to full strength puts it at risk of being captured by Republicans. In the last four elections, Michigan has gone for the Democratic presidential candidate but there are worried it could be lost if the delegation, lost in a scheduling dispute with the national party, is not restored in full.

Said Brewer: “Michigan has been completely bypassed. Every time (presumptive GOP nominee) John McCain visits Michigan or Republican officials campaign on his behalf, they never fail to remind the voters how the Democrats have ignored Michigan.”

Several points must be made. From the Democrats’ standpoint, Chairman Brewer is right that the state has been punished by Hillary and Obama campaigning there. That said, they’ve been punished because Howard laid things out in a very straightforward way what would happen if Florida and Michigan moved their primaries up before SuperDuper Tuesday on February 15. At the time, it was obvious that he’d have to revisit that decision. It was equally clear that he got painted into a corner because he tried pandering to New Hampshire and Iowa.

Which leads to this day. Had Dr. Dean not pandered to New Hampshire and Iowa, with 4 and 5 electoral votes respectively, we might’ve had Michigan and Florida first. Or possibly Iowa, followed by Michigan the next Tuesday, with New Hampshire and Florida next in line.

Now the DNC’s decision is back to haunt them. If they don’t seat the Florida and Michigan delegations with full voting rights, the DNC will be correctly accused with being hypocrites. Many of the people that continuously chanted “Count every vote” in 2000 will be the same people saying in 2008 that not all votes are created equal.

This isn’t the only war happening inside the Democratic Party, either. It’s just the one that’s the highest profile right now. (I’ll have more on the Democrats’ other problems in another post.)

The bottom line is that Democrats could’ve proven that they’re for change, thereby voting for a different schedule. Instead, they chose to accept a status quo schedule which they now have to defend.

One final irony must be pointed out. If Michigan’s and Florida’s election results are counted, Hillary will have garnered more votes than Obama, yet Sen. Obama will have more delegates.

Whatever happened to the principle of one person, one vote?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

As is always the case, there’s more to the Obama case than meets the eye. I just found a post where Pastor Michael Pfleger invited Louis Farrakhan to speak at his church last year.

Last week the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke at The Faith Community of St. Sabina, which is pastored by Father Michael Pfleger. The May 25 speech was Min. Farrakhan’s first time speaking publicly since Mother’s Day.

This was great to see because it brought two of my favorite people together. Minister Farrakhan who was on his death bed from cancer last year, reportedly spoke for an hour at St. Sabina and in a powerful way. Pfleger spent many hours with Min. Farrakhan during his illness.

Father Pfleger and Min. Farrakhan have shared an long friendship as they both have labored to uplift the African-American community in Chicago and throughout the country. Anyone who actually listens to the Minister as opposed to relying on sound bites knows that if his heart has any hatred, it’s a hatred of evil and injustice. The Muslim minister and Catholic priest know that what matters most is doing God’s work, especially for the least of these, my brethren.

This begs the question of what Sen. Obama really thinks about Louis Farrakhan. Here’s what he recently said about Farrakhan:

“I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan,” Obama said in a statement released by his aides. “I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.”

How is it then that his church of 20 years has honored Farrakhan? How is it that someone who’s preached at his church admires Farrakhan enough to invite him to preach at his church? What are Sen. Obama’s true beliefs about Farrakhan? I’m not convinced that we know yet. I’m not certain we ever will.

Israpundit has a great collection of who Michael Pfleger is. You’ll want to read it.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When the Jeremiah Wright tapes appeared, Sen. Obama said that the sermons didn’t “reflect his views.” Now another nutty priest said some extremely offensive things, the crowds still cheered and Obama issues another apology.

It’s becoming obvious that TUCC is an extremely racist church. It’s getting increasingly difficult to believe that Sen. Obama isn’t at least tolerant of this type of behavior because he still hasn’t moved.

What’s also apparent is that TUCC isn’t a theological church in the traditional sense. It’s a political church. Back in the glory days of the Boston Bruins-Philadelphia Flyers rivalry, sportswriters would say that they went to a boxing match and a hockey game broke out. It’s becoming clear that those same sportswriters would write that they attended a political rally at TUCC and a church service broke out.

Here’s the Pfleger clip that’s enraged sensible people everywhere:

Notice him joking that people know that he isn’t political while everyone laughs. The pastor then returns to the pulpit and says that they appreciate the message and they appreciate the messenger.

Whwen will people question whether Sen. Obama is a postracial, postpartisan politician or just another liberal Chicago machine politician? It isn’t like we haven’t seen enough proof. It’s simply a matter of whether we’ll trust Sen. Obama’s slick words or our lying eyes.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Barack Obama says he isn’t surprised by the snippets from Scott McClellan’s book. Why am I not surprised? Here’s what he said:

“The fact that he said it obviously is unusual,” the likely Democratic nomineee responded.

He added: “I haven’t read it. I don’t think that the substance is particularly surprising. I think many of us have been troubled by the lack of straightforwardness in this administration. The only news is that somebody within the administration has confirmed what a lot of us have thought for some time.”

This is actually quite revealing. It isn’t a stretch to think that Sen. Obama agrees with John Conyers, Russ Feingold and the rest of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade. Why else would he think that President Bush manipulated us into war with Iraq?

Certainly the only ‘proof’ that’s been produced that President Bush lied us into war’ were the discredited Downing Street Memos. Thus far, only the Tin Hat Brigade has bought into that farcical tale.

Sen. Obama’s reaction also tells us that he doesn’t need documented proof to presume Republicans are nefarious and dishonest. Whatever happened to independent verification and fact-checking? Does Sen. Obama think that that’s a right only afforded to liberals?

Until Mr. McClellan offers documented, dated proof of his allegations, I’ll consider them just that: allegations. After much rehashing of this stuff, I won’t hold my breath on seeing documented proof, whether it’s from Mr. McClellan, the Wilsons or anyone else from the Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

The postpartisan facade will fade fast if Sen. Obama continues hanging around with the Tinfoil Hat Brigade. It’s already disappeared as far as I’m concerned.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I pride myself in writing detailed fiskings of liberal political figures. That said, I’m humbled by Karl Rove’s total demolition of Sen. Obama in this morning’s WSJ. Here’s the opening of his op-ed:

This week’s minor controversy about Barack Obama’s claim that an uncle liberated Auschwitz was quickly put to rest by his campaign. They conceded that it was a great uncle whose unit liberated Buchenwald, 500 miles away.

But other, much more troubling, episodes have provided a revealing glimpse into a candidate who instinctively resorts to parsing, evasions and misdirection. The saga over Rev. Jeremiah Wright is Exhibit A. In just 62 days, Americans were treated to eight different explanations.

Mr. Rove then lists each of the variations Sen. Obama gave in those 62 days. To call Rove’s listing each of these versions mental torture is being kind. By the time Rove finished listing the various versions, the average reader will understand that Sen. Obama isn’t an honest man, much less a postpartisan politician.

After listing the eight variations of the Wright story, Mr. Rove then lists the variations Sen. Obama has given about flag lapel pins and whether he’d meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions.

This Rovian analysis of what lies ahead for Sen. Obama should frighten Sen. Obama:

The list goes on. Mr. Obama’s problem is a campaign that’s personality-driven rather than idea-driven. Thus incidents calling into question his persona and character can have especially devastating consequences.

Stripped of his mystique as a different kind of office seeker, he could become just another liberal politician, only one who parses, evades, dissembles and condescends. That narrative is beginning to take hold. If those impressions harden into firm judgments, Mr. Obama will have a very difficult time in November.

This won’t help Sen. Obama sell himself as a postpartisan politician. If he isn’t viewed in that light, his chances of winning are slim at best.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Based on this St. Cloud Times editorial, written by James Mogen, pro-growth capitalism is now part of the far right. Here’s how Mr. Mogen arrives at that conclusion:

Continuing to use her office for campaign activities, Rep. Michele Bachmann recently touted her support from the right-wing radical organization Club for Growth on her congressional Web site. The club is a far right-wing group made up of Wall Street financiers. You may be familiar with the group for its negative ads in 2004.

Instead of denouncing extreme groups like them, Bachmann is proud of its support and is now taking direction from the club. After the club demanded that representatives submit to their “key votes,” Bachmann opposed the recently passed farm bill, which promises to bring major support for area farmers, environmental initiatives and hungry children and families.

CFG is a “right-wing radical organization”? Based on what criteria? Mr. Mogen doesn’t give us the criteria by which he arrived at that conclusion. Instead, this is typical of his ‘logic’:

This group, like Bachmann, is far more conservative than the Minnesotans she is supposed to represent.

In fact, the club has been known to go after moderates who vote their district. The club’s support for Bachmann illustrates her own far-right positions are out of line with those of the 6th District.

Saying that Rep. Bachmann is “far more conservative than the district” she’s supposed to represent doesn’t make sense. If this were true, how did she get elected? Mr. Mogen certainly can’t honestly say that Rep. Bachmann ran as a squishy moderate, either. Anytime I hear someone speaking with this type of certitude, I worry because there isn’t room for differing perspectives.

But I digress.

Let’s find out what CFG is interested in. Here’s what their About Us page says:

Club for Growth is a national network of thousands of Americans, from all walks of life, who believe that prosperity and opportunity come through economic freedom. We work to promote public policies that promote economic growth primarily through legislative involvement, issue advocacy, research, training and educational activity.

The primary tactic of the separate Club for Growth PAC is to provide financial support from Club members to viable pro-growth candidates to Congress, particularly in Republican primaries.

Club for Growth Policy Goals:

  • Making the Bush tax cuts permanent
  • Death tax repeal
  • Cutting and limiting government spending
  • Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts
  • Expanding free trade
  • Legal reform to end abusive lawsuits
  • Replacing the current tax code
  • School choice
  • Regulatory reform and deregulation

What we can deduce from Mr. Mogen’s editorial is that he thinks that keeping taxes low and spending under control is something only far right radicals believe in.

I wonder how many independents think that that’s an extremist’s agenda. I wonder if independents think that replacing the current tax code is a good idea or part of an extremist’s agenda. I wonder how if independents would characterize school choice as an extremist and unwelcome approach to education. Somehow I don’t think many people would think of any of thoes things as part of an extremist agenda.

Here’s how Mr. Mogen finishes his anti-Michele diatribe:

The 6th District is made up of independent-minded voters looking for a moderate to carry their views. El Tinklenberg is that moderate. A former minister, mayor and state transportation commissioner under Gov. Jesse Ventura, Tinklenberg is committed to challenging the Washington status quo, and will not be controlled by the big money forces of the Club for Growth. I encourage you to support El Tinklenberg in November.

this editorial started with the absurd and finishes with the laughable. Saying that El Tinklenberg won’t “be controlled by the big money forces of the Club for Growth” is probably true. What isn’t true, though, is thinking that he wouldn’t “be controlled by the big money forces” of K Street. I’d bet the ranch that it’s impossible for a former lobbyist like Tinklenberg to not be swayed by K Street’s influences. I’m confident that K Street’s priorities won’t often match the Sixth District’s priorities, either.

I’d bet that the Sixth District isn’t “looking for a moderate to carry their views.” I’d rather bet that this is just Mogen’s wish, not statistical fact. In 2006, the Sixth District was often described as “Minnesota’s Bible Belt.”

Finally, I’ll repeat what I said here: that El Tinklenberg isn’t a moderate. Here’s what he said in May, 2006:

“I [Elwyn Tinklenberg] would support a resolution for impeachment if it was brought to me. I would not introduce one. I think there are so many issues that have been waiting for resolution. So many issues that have to be addressed from the war to the economy to health care that we need to move on and move on aggressively.” Source: Star Tribune, May 10, 2006

What did President Bush do that rises to the level of impeachment? Did he cause a constitutional crisis? If President Bush didn’t cause a constitutional crisis, then why would Mr. Tinklenberg say that he’d vote for impeachment?

Announcing that you’d support impeaching a president (a) before you’re elected, (b) before articles of impeachment were even debated in the House Judiciary Committee and (c) before your political party had control of the House of Representatives isn’t the mark of a moderate, independent-thinking individual.

Rather, it sounds like a man pandering to the, DailyKos, Huffington Post wing of the Democratic Party. Those aren’t the voices of moderation.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Lost in the discussion about what the Golden Child’s motivation was in talking about his uncle…um, great-uncle…um…grandfather liberating Auschwitz…um…Buchenwald is how intellectually curious Sen. Obama is while challenging his decisionmaking and understanding of Iraq. Here’s how Sen. McCain accomplished that:

“Sen. Obama has been to Iraq once, a little over two years ago he went and he has never seized the opportunity except in a hearing to meet with Gen. [David] Petraeus,” McCain said at a campaign event in Reno, Nevada. “My friends, this is about leadership and learning.”

Again raising the issue of Obama’s willingness to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, McCain also said of the Illinois senator, “He wants to sit down with the president of Iran but hasn’t yet sat down with Gen. Petraeus, the leader of our troops in Iraq?”

I’d think that a minimal requirement for being commander-in-chief is learning firsthand what our guys are doing, especially in war zones. Another requirement would be understanding the consequences of the decisions he makes. We can only speculate on the damage Sen. Obama’s immediate troop withdrawal policy would have on the region, on the jihadists and on the Maliki government. What’s beyond speculation, though, is that removing our troops at the rate Sen. Obama is talking about would embolden the jihadists.

People tried characterizing then-Gov. Bush as lacking intellectual curiosity with regards to foreign policy. At the time, that was treated as speculation because proof didn’t exist that substantiated that claim. Now, however, we’ve got proof because of what Sen. Obama has utterly ignored. What’s worse is that Sen. Obama wouldn’t seek the advice of Gen. Petraeus or Gen. Odierno. We know that because of this Washington Post article:

Obama, who opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, has said that there is no military solution to the conflict and that he would start bringing troops home after becoming president to force Iraqi factions to resolve their differences. Obama said he would withdraw about one to two combat brigades a month, with the goal of having all of them out within 16 months.

Nowhere does Obama say that he’d condition his removing troops on what the field commanders told him. They’re coming out even if Gen. Odierno or Gen. Petraeus recommend that they stay. That, my friends, is the epitome of elitism. Sen. Obama hasn’t had the time or the inclination to learn about the military. He’s refused to travel to Iraq to learn firsthand what’s happening there.

In short, Sen. Obama is utterly unqualified to be commander-in-chief. What’s worse is that he hasn’t shown any inclination to learn enough to be commander-in-chief.

It’s time we woke up to the realization that we shouldn’t send a toy messiah to do a man’s job.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Scott McLellan’s book is getting alot of buzz this morning, mostly on the basis that it sounds like it’s written by the Daily Kos. I’ll reserve judgment on whether the snippets now being discussed are reflective of the book until I read the book but I don’t need to wait to pass judgment on this quote in the AJC’s article:

“President Bush has always been an instinctive leader more than an intellectual leader. He is not one to delve into all the possible policy options, including sitting around engaging in extended debate about them, before making a choice,” McClellan wrote. “Rather, he chooses based on his gut and his most deeply held convictions. Such was the case with Iraq.”

Based on what Bob Woodward wrote in “Bush at War”, McLellan’s take simply doesn’t hold water. Woodward wrote about how President Bush would toss out a subject with his national security team and let them argue about their positions to get the benefit of multiple perspectives.

It’s also worth noting that Dr. Rice said that she appreciated President Bush’s ability to “ask the third, fourth and fifth questions” on foreign policy subjects.

At this point, I don’t find that portion of McLellan’s book credible but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on the book until I’ve read the entire book. One thing that I won’t give him the benefit of the doubt on, though, is his capabilities as a press secretary. Frankly, he was brutal, possibly the worst press secretary in White House history. Many was the time that conservatives complained about his press briefings, which I later nicknamed as the “fetal position briefings.”

There was a night and day difference between his briefings and Tony Snow’s briefings. McLellan would accept the premise of the reporters’ questions; Tony wouldn’t. McLellan just kept repeating the same answer; Tony would first challenge the premise, then recite statistics to refute the premise.

Don’t think that Mr. McLellan didn’t notice that Tony Snow was a media star for the White House. Compared with McLellan being kept out of sight as often as possible, that had to hurt his ego pretty good.

In an interview Tuesday, McClellan said he retains great admiration and respect for Bush. “My job was to advocate and defend his policies and speak on his behalf,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me now to share my own views and perspective on things. There were things we did right and things we did wrong. Unfortunately, much of what went wrong overshadowed the good things we did.”

That’s quite the telling quote. Why didn’t Mr. McLellan think that it was his job to challenge the premise of the reporters’ questions? His job wasn’t to be the Washington press corps’ punching bag. It was to get accurate information out to the American people. He failed miserably in that capacity.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this post at TPM, Barack Obama has turned down John McCain’s offer of going on a joint trip to Iraq. Here’s the Obama campaign’s official explanation:

“John McCain’s proposal is nothing more than a political stunt, and we don’t need any more ‘Mission Accomplished’ banners or walks through Baghdad markets to know that Iraq’s leaders have not made the political progress that was the stated purpose of the surge. The American people don’t want any more false promises of progress, they deserve a real debate about a war that has overstretched our military, and cost us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars without making us safer.”

Sen. Obama has essentially accused Sen. McCain of grandstanding on this life and death issue. I’d doubt that anyone would believe that Sen. McCain is capable of grandstanding on this important of an issue. The biggest thing that Sen. McCain has going for him is his reputation of being an honorable man, especially when it comes to military matters.

I’d further suggest that Sen. Obama’s statement smacks of extreme arrogance. Notice the certitude with which Sen. Obama says that we aren’t safer as a result of the war. That’s pretty extraordinary considering the fact that he hasn’t visited Iraq since he started preparing for his run at the presidency. How does he know that Iraq isn’t better off now that the surge has changed the landscape? Does SEn. Obama think that the Anbar Awakening is a figment of Sen. McCain’s imagination? Does Sen. Obama think that the Maliki government meeting 12 of the 18 benchmarks isn’t significant?

Sen. Obama’s credibility will take a beating because he speaks with such certitude. People might’ve given him the benefit of the doubt if he’d recently visited Iraq. If there’s anything that the American people don’t like, it’s a know-it-all who hasn’t done his homework. If Sen. Obama wants to speak with such certitude, he’d better know everything there is to know about the subject.

Voters will be merciless if they think that Sen. Obama speaks with certainty without doing his homework. There’s an adjective for people like that. That adjective is haughty, which, not so coincidentally, is the word people used to describe John Kerry.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative