Friday, August 29, 2008

The maverick ticket

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a very risky pick as vice president. As a first-term governor, it brings the issue of experience front and center. But the news media, in the first few minutes of trying to digest this, are missing the point.

Palin has built her reputation as a gutsy reformer. She stood up against her own party's corruption in Alaska.

John McCain's strategists probably believed that the experience argument against Obama is relevant, but ultimately out of their hands. In other words, if Obama performed well in the debates and the public viewed him as qualified for president, the argument is negated.

Reform, on the other hand, is something that Obama can't claim. He has the festering Rezko house deal and did nothing about corruption in his own state.

McCain and Palin have bucked their own party. They are truly independent. Obama and Biden are not. They are boilerplate Democrats with no credible record of reform.

Suddenly, the change ticket changed to McCain-Palin.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

The symphony that wasn't

Pundits both left and even some from the right were effusive in their praise of Barack Obama's speech last night. Once again, Obama, the magician, fooled them.

This speech wasn't even close to great as a piece of art. It was a mismash of several different styles—stump speech, soaring rhetoric, churlish attacks, defensive pre-emption. Much has been made about Obama writing his own speeches. If you look closely at the text, it appears that Obama's language was invaded by insertion of the attacks and pre-emption.

Read the text and then read George W. Bush's 2000 acceptance speech. Putting aside partisan feelings, the Obama speech is not even close to GWB's as a piece of writing.

The tactics of Obama's speech may have been clever, we'll see. But a symphony it wasn't.

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Clever emptiness

My immediate impressions of Barack Obama's speech is that more than anything, it was a tactical treatise.

He tried to pre-empt Republican attacks to come and gave a few more specifics to satisfy those who say he is an empty suit. It was the same old liberal ideas we've heard for four decades, but of course delivered in a superior way than previous liberal presidential candidates.

There wasn't a single new idea or theme. He probably believes he doesn't need one—he'll ride the dissatisfaction with Republicans to victory.

In a way, a very defensive speech. John McCain needs to jump right back into his face. If he does, he will win.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Liberals getting nervous about Obama

Here's what a prominent liberal blogger thinks of the Democratic convention so far.

The first two days of the convention were wasted, or seemed so from my vantage point. Tonight, Joe Biden will rip into McCain. And tomorrow, Obama will do whatever he does. Then on Friday, at noon, John McCain will announce his vice presidential nominee, strangling any convention bounce in the crib. Then the Republican Convention will begin, and you can be assured that they will remember Barack Obama's name. They will remember how to make fun of him, how to mock his celebrity and inexperience. And the media will not cover Ron Paul's protesters with the vigor or attention they gave to Hillary Clinton's diehards. Instead, they will cover four days of straight attacks on Barack Obama, culminating with a grave address about sacrifice and service from John McCain. And unless Obama's convention makes a sharp turn tonight and tomorrow, they will have done nothing to soften the impact of these attacks and themes or create a counternarrative for the media to cover.

Probably should have thought of that before nominating the most liberal and inexperienced major party candidate in U.S. history.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Barack's biggest problem

Barack Obama has lots of political problems but none is as large as this ad and this issue. He has no good response. He won't gain the trust of middle America once they absorb this information.

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Biden's Rezko problems

Joe Biden's ties to the Tony Rezko scandal were reported on in the last 24 hours by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Daily Herald. The accounts focused on Joe Cari, a longtime Democratic fundraiser.

Biden has described himself as a 30-year friend of a key figure in the Rezko trial who's pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge in Chicago and is awaiting sentencing.

Another angle to the story is David Wilhelm. The former DNC chairman and Bill Clinton campaign manager was a key advisor to Biden's 1988 and 2008 campaign run. Wilhelm also is a longtime confident of Barack Obama's senior strategist David Axelrod.

As I wrote previously, the news media has curiously failed to ask Wilhelm questions about his role in the Rezko scandal in Illinois, dubbed Operation Board Games. His firm was subpoenaed after taking a no-bid pension contract from the Teachers' Retirement System, the agency where a significant portion of the Rezko related fraud was centered. He was campaign chairman in 2002 for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, whose administration is so entwined in Operation Board Games the DNC won't allow him to speak at the convention this week. The Rezko scandal centered on funneling money to Blagojevich's campaign fund, and Wilhelm served as the captain of that ship when it raised much of its money.

Then, suddenly, as the Blagojevich investigations heated up, Wilhelm moved back to his native Ohio, denying the move had anything to do with the prosecutorial atmosphere in Illinois. That was two years ago. At the very least, you would think the media would ask him if he's been questioned by the feds about Operation Board Games.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , , ,

The Dems' housing shortage

Not decisive evidence, but a focus group conducted by Frank Luntz shows that, like many speculated last week, the Obama "seven houses" attack on John McCain is not effective.

Then Luntz plays Obama's ad attacking McCain on the "seven houses" issue. Nobody much likes it; the meters stay below 50 for both Republican and Democratic leaners. After that comes McCain's response ad, the one featuring Tony Rezko. Republican meters shoot up to 80, while the Democratic meters climb slightly above 50. Asked later, people think Obama's attack ad was good, but the Rezko response raised new questions. "For Barack to get money from someone else — and who knows where he got that money to get his house?" one woman asks. In general, says another woman, in McCain's ads, "the issues were a little more clear."

I would be curious how the Bill Ayres ad tested. I bet better than all the other attacks last week.

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Biden already fading

He's fading from view on Barack's logo. The One didn't want to share a ticket with his 50-50 rival and now he doesn't even want to equally share his logo with Joe Biden.

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

About that train to Wilmington

That "man of the people," the scrappy senator Joe Biden from Scranton, who takes the train every morning and evening from Wilmington, DE., to Washington DC, apparently has an arrangement with Amtrak that sounds antithetical to what the Democrats are trying to sell.

Read this first person account of a passenger. It's fascinating.

No sooner had we left the station than a porter appeared to ask for my order—after all, I had paid the tab.  I asked for a cup of black and looked back down at my notes for the morning's testimony.  The porters remained and I looked up, telling him I was immune to offers of food served on planes or trains.   "That's not it, sir.  This is a reserved seat and you will have to move."
   "I didn't notice that these were assigned seats." I replied
  "This one is, just the same." he told me.

As a taxpayer, the notion that any operation as heavily subsidized as Amtrak should treat one fare-paying passenger any differently than another is offensive.  "I think I will stay here"   
  "I will have to call security, then."  This substantially raised the stakes and came to the point of valor wasted so I got up to move across the aisle.
  "Is this O.K?" I sneered at what was objectively my employee.
  "Fine, sir and let me help you move your case.  I'll be right back with your coffee."

A private seat for Senator Scrappy. The Democrats are trying to sell Biden as an asset in attracting working class votes. It won't work. There are few politicians in Washington who exude pomposity more than ol' Joe.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The great (un)uniter

Closest primary race in history and Barack Obama treated the second place finisher like a discarded one-night stand. His first great test of leadership: flunked.

A top Clinton advisor also told CNN they were "outraged," over how the process was conducted.

"You can't put [Obama VP vetters] Eric Holder and Caroline Kennedy on an hour plane ride to Chappaqua just to check the box? They should have done it just for the optics," this person said. "Barack never even said to her, 'Here's how I envision the job'– not one discussion with her about [the position]."

"They thought her supporters were mad before? They are really mad now," this person also said. We knew it was never going to happen but you would have thought they might at least make a show of it."

Former Clinton strategist Paul Begala echoed similar frustrations on CNN Friday night.

"I think there are a lot of Hillary voters who are going to say, 'Hey, wait a minute, man You said you were going to put her on the short list. You know, you didn't even vet her. You didn't call her. You didn't seek her advice,'" Begala said. "By the way, he didn't seek President Clinton's advice either. He's actually the guy who I think picked the best vice president in American history. You would think maybe you would sort of check in with him."

The convention looms. Obama's "bounce" might just come from his own party.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Biden: A defensive pick

Barack Obama's fairy tale unraveled more this morning with his pick of Joe Biden as vice president. These scenarios are now officially dead:

1. Barack Obama is a great uniter. He couldn't pull off bridging the big divide in his own party—between his supporters and Hillary's. Had he somehow brought the two together on the ticket, it would have been a powerful symbol about his future governance.

2. Barack Obama is a transformational figure. Instead of picking a new generation leader like Tim Kaine or Kathleen Sebelius, he picked a career senator. That reflects his weakening position in the polls and his gravitas deficit compared to John McCain.

3. Barack Obama will run a different kind of campaign. Biden brings little to the ticket except as a capable sparring partner with Republicans. Obama needs a person to sling mud back-and-forth and he knows it.

4. Barack Obama is headed for a wide victory. Picking Biden is acknowledgement that if he does win the race, it will be a tight victory. Although it is dubious assertion, it is telling that Democrats are saying that Biden will help carry Pennsylvania. If Obama needs help carrying Pennsylvania at this point, he's in trouble.

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama's dumb attack

Seeing his polls collapsing, Barack Obama took his own party's advice "to get tougher" by mocking John McCain for owning seven houses. It's a dumb move.

Regular Americans aren't as enamored with class warfare arguments as are left-wingers. If it is such a fertile attack, why didn't the Bush campaign use it against John Kerry in 2004? Further, McCain is an older man who served years in a prison camp so I don't believe anyone feels he's led a "charmed life."

And, of course, it opens Obama to a more full discussion of his sleazy house deal with convicted felon Tony Rezko.

A panic move by Obama that will not work.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

State AG could break Annenberg stonewall

A state university is stonewalling the public on the release of documents (Chicago Annenberg Challenge documents relating to Barack Obama, terrorist Bill Ayers). This is exactly the type of case that Illinois AG Lisa Madigan says she can resolve, through her creation of a Public Access Counselor.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is committed to ensuring open and honest government in Illinois. As part of that commitment, the Attorney General's Office works closely with members of the public and government officials to ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA).

For the first time in Illinois history, Attorney General Madigan established the position of Public Access Counselor within the office to respond to questions concerning FOIA and OMA, offer valuable training on the requirements of these laws to public officials, the media and members of the public, and to take action to resolve disputes arising under these laws. Through the Public Access Counselor and the experienced attorneys in the Public Access and Opinions Division, Attorney General Madigan's Office will work to ensure that these laws fulfill their goal of providing the public with access to government documents and decision making.

Public Access can be reached at 217-558-0486, or by writing to the Attorney General's Springfield office at 500 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62705.

Somebody ought to ask her to intercede.

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ad coming

30 seconds, coming to a computer screen/TV near you:
1. Barack's "above my pay grade" video.
2. 129 "present" votes in state legislature.
3. Video of McCain speaking with certainty, conviction.
4. Who's ready to lead?

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Barack's simmering born alive lie

Today, more clarity from the right on Barack Obama's lie regarding his votes on state "Born Alive" legislation.

The Chicago Tribune gives the issue lots of words and scant treatment of Obama's blatantly changing stories.

So what's the controversy? Ultimately, it may lie in the tug-of-war that is Illinois politics and some conflicting statements Obama has given over the years about why he opposed various versions of the bill.

Meanwhile, on the left blogosphere, it's time to attack the messenger.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Monday, August 18, 2008

The answer that will haunt Obama

I'm not the first person to express this view, but upon watching the Saddleback Church debate again, it's clear to me that Barack Obama produced the only lasting video clip. His answer on abortion was unbelievably bad. He had to know the question was coming and still stumbled through it. It was the verbal equivalent of one of his 129 "present" votes in the state legislature.

This isn't the Democratic primary anymore and Obama's campaign team made a major mistake in agreeing to this format—and, by not preparing for it.

Technorati Tags:
, , ,

Will media yawn at Barack's big lie?

Jill Stanek and others have been pushing Barack Obama to give a straight answer on his votes in the Illinois senate on "Born Alive" legislation.

Obama, as do all pro-choice politicians, is used to giving responses on abortion that are unresponsive to the question, knowing that the pro-choice news media will cover for them.

Here, however, Stanek and company have caught the Obama campaign in a big lie. A big lie that I predict the Obama fawning news media will try to ignore.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Saturday, August 9, 2008

An affair to forget finally gets noticed

A fine summation by blogger Patterico of the MSM's refusal to cover the John Edwards episode until yesterday.

If it's news now that he admits it, then it's news.

Since he admits it, it was true.

Since it was true and it was news, you have no excuse. You got beat.

If the National Enquirer sucks, then you got beat by a news outlet that sucks.

That means you suck worse.

Thanks for listening.

Love and kisses,


If you watched the Nightline interview, you can tell he still believes he has a chance to be Attorney General.

Technorati Tags:
, ,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Barack Obama's Chicago

A clout heavy city worker first got a taxpayer funded pool that enraged neighbors and now, a ComEd generator, as neighbors suffered through an extended power outage.

John Kass has the scoop.

When I wrote about him years ago, the Sun-Times was acting like Daley's News and defended him in an editorial, calling him a good neighbor, noting he promised to get rid of his offending pool. The paper has since switched its tone, lecturing Pool Boy for being part of Daley's vast patronage operation. That's the same operation that will gear up for Sen. Barack Obama in November as he reforms our nation's politics, not Chicago's.

Kass is well aware that Chicago is the city that hired Barack Obama's wife, produced Obama's fundraiser/alter ego, and is media-engineered by Obama's main political advisor. Oh, that same media advisor also helps ComEd get rate hikes and the power company's CEO is a board member at Michelle Obama's place of employment.

He'll change Washington, though, I'm sure.

Technorati Tags:
, , , ,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Barack's America

One of the most important and overlooked stories of the campaign—the Boston Globe story about Barack Obama's housing debacle—is put to video.

Technorati Tags:
, , , , ,