Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who will hold Daley accountable for O'Hare?

When will Mayor Daley, dozens of other Illinois politicians and the Chicago media establishment pay a price for the O'Hare International Airport expansion plan, a public policy blunder of epic proportions.

Just as former U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald and a few others said years ago, the plan eventually would collapse because it was economically and operationally unfeasible. The prophecy was brought into focus recently when the Chicago Tribune found letters that showed airlines have no intention of funding the second and largest phase of the $20 billion project because it makes no economic sense.

In short, there never was adequate space to make a workable expansion work at O'Hare. But Mayor Daley and corporate chieftans in Chicago had no intention of driving to the south suburbs for a new airport where it belonged. So they spent hundreds of millions of dollars for public relations, planning, and land acquisition ramrodding the ill-conceived O'Hare plan forward. The Tribune was particularly helpful to the "cause" by, in Fitzgerald's words, "going on a jihad" against all those who dared oppose the expansion.

Besides the enormous expenditures, which total at least $2 billion to date, there was a tragic human cost. This was chronicled by Dennis Byrne, a longtime critic of the expansion, who makes the point that victims were the working families that Democrats unfailingly claim they represent.

What Daley and his greedy cronies did to Bensenville, a community that had minded its own business for more than 100 years, borders on the criminal. Daley and airport planners knew that they did not need to destroy hundreds of Bensenville homes for years, until later phases of O'Hare expansion were scheduled. Yet, they launched an unprecedented political, economic and government attack that exceeded bounds of decency.

The expansion plan is not dead yet. Mayor Daley and other politicians won't backtrack. They have too much invested in a plan that has paid them hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from myriad O'Hare consultants and contractors. There's always a chance, with a President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, that taxpayers will bail out this monstrous misjudgment.

If there was a functioning news media in Chicago, it would spend months untangling the runaway public policy steamroller that was artificially created to prop up this mega-boondoggle. It should be yet another reminder that when the establishment and the media lock arms in favor of a narrative or a plan, citizens should be very wary.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Right needs new online news outlet

Patrick Ruffini is doing a great job framing the Right's challenges for the future. He's the Republican's preeminent new media tactician. He nailed it in a recent column that pointed out the difference between conservative and liberal online sites and blogs.

Another problem is that conservative bloggers are there to provide you with their opinion. The new pillars of left-wing media are there to provide you with information, such as that on the U.S. attorney firings. Recognizing that page A1 of any newspaper usually trumps the op-ed page in setting the agenda, these outlets have fashioned themselves as dispensers of information — information usually helpful to the Left and its candidates.

This is because TPM, ThinkProgress, and the Huffington Post are all full-time operations employing reporters, whereas conservative blogs usually run the work of amateur or part-time writers. When conservative bloggers are full-time, they are generally commentators and not reporters.

The Left's work over the past six years showed itself in 2008. It tipped the balance of power. In 2004, the MSM tried to blockade the Swift Boat issue and the Right responded with a 527 counterpunch that perplexed the Left and resonated with the electorate.

This time, the MSM media doubled down on its blockade of negative narratives about Barack Obama and the Left was ready to do battle with emerging 527s and other independent expenditure groups. The Obama group attacked the groups in court and the Left online presence, buttressed by millions in donations by wealthy liberals, helped knock down any attacks on Obama. Thus, the Right was left only with talk radio, conservative blogs and Fox News. That wasn't enough to get traction with the electorate.

The problem, as Ruffini pointed out, was content. The legitimate criticisms on Obama were stuffed and the Right had no mechanism to further explore them. There was a desperate need for new content. For example, we all know that Obama and Bill Ayers were lying about the true nature of their relationship but nobody found new facts to rebut the lies. Others narratives were left on the table, such as the Tony Rezko-Obama house sale and Obama's participation in a slum scheme that enriched his top donors and screwed his low-income constituents.

New information matters in a campaign. Hillary Clinton would be president today if her researchers had found the Rev. Jeremiah Wright videos a couple of months before ABC News found them.

What the Right needs is a new online news entity. It should be sufficiently funded to hire at least half a dozen seasoned investigators/journalists to get to the bottom of news narratives the MSM refuses to explore. We need to stop complaining about MSM bias and start making it irrelevant.

Of course we need much more in terms of good candidates, good ideas and a reworked online infrastructure. But we can't ignore that the Left created a massive shield that allowed a largely unexplored and untested poser to get elected president. We know the same shield will be employed in future elections. Let's not get blocked again.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Family friend=babysitter

Who do you trust to baby-sit your kids? Why, a "family friend" of course.

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Don't ever believe a MSM "fact-check" again

All those MSM "fact-checks" that said Barack Obama barely knew unrepentant domestic terrorist Bill Ayers? They were lies. Today, Ayers said in a forward to a new book he is hawking, that he and Obama are "family friends."

Here's what one of those esteemed fact checks said a few weeks ago. There were many others just like this one.

What we object to are the McCain-Palin campaign's attempts to sway voters – in ads and on the stump – with false and misleading statements about the relationship, which was never very close. Obama never "lied" about this, just as he never bragged about it.

Remember, these "fact-checks" were quoted by the Obama campaign as proof that Republicans were barking up the wrong tree on Ayers. So the MSM refused to cover the issue and then produced false fact-checks to cover Obama's tracks. Dishonest is the only polite word that comes to mind.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paglia on Palin

Liberal writer Camille Paglia smacks down her ideological soulmates for their mindless trashing of Sarah Palin. Paglia is a gifted wordsmith who consistently has defended the Alaska governor.

Liberal Democrats are going to wake up from their sadomasochistic, anti-Palin orgy with a very big hangover. The evil genie released during this sorry episode will not so easily go back into its bottle. A shocking level of irrational emotionalism and at times infantile rage was exposed at the heart of current Democratic ideology -- contradicting Democratic core principles of compassion, tolerance and independent thought. One would have to look back to the Eisenhower 1950s for parallels to this grotesque lock-step parade of bourgeois provincialism, shallow groupthink and blind prejudice.

I like Sarah Palin, and I've heartily enjoyed her arrival on the national stage. As a career classroom teacher, I can see how smart she is -- and quite frankly, I think the people who don't see it are the stupid ones, wrapped in the fuzzy mummy-gauze of their own worn-out partisan dogma. So she doesn't speak the King's English -- big whoop! There is a powerful clarity of consciousness in her eyes. She uses language with the jumps, breaks and rippling momentum of a be-bop saxophonist. I stand on what I said (as a staunch pro-choice advocate) in my last two columns -- that Palin as a pro-life wife, mother and ambitious professional represents the next big shift in feminism. Pro-life women will save feminism by expanding it, particularly into the more traditional Third World.

As for the Democrats who sneered and howled that Palin was unprepared to be a vice-presidential nominee -- what navel-gazing hypocrisy! What protests were raised in the party or mainstream media when John Edwards, with vastly less political experience than Palin, got John Kerry's nod for veep four years ago? And Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, for whom I lobbied to be Obama's pick and who was on everyone's short list for months, has a record indistinguishable from Palin's. Whatever knowledge deficit Palin has about the federal bureaucracy or international affairs (outside the normal purview of governors) will hopefully be remedied during the next eight years of the Obama presidencies.

Despite this dress-down, expect the liberal thought robots to continue snide commentary regarding Palin. They will continue their attempt to destroy her so she doesn't destroy them in 2012.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

The biggest blunder of the campaign—by far

When the history of this campaign is written, it should include a massive mistake by the Hillary Clinton team that probably cost her the presidency: Her negative research team failed to find the Rev. Jeremiah Wright tape.

ABC News was first to air the infamous tape of parts of Wright's sermons on March 12—after the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary, Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses and several other key contests. By then, Barack Obama had a strong hold on the nomination. Once the tape aired, Obama's poll numbers dropped and he struggled the rest of the primary season, barely limping home the nominee.

Had the Clinton team found the tape and dropped it at a strategic point during those early contests, Obama would have been toast. There's really not much question of this.

The haunting part of this from the Clinton perspective is that the sermon tapes were available online and at Wright's church. A basic job of negative research would have found them.

An ABC News review of dozens of Rev. Wright's sermons, offered for sale by the church, found repeated denunciations of the U.S. based on what he described as his reading of the Gospels and the treatment of black Americans.

In the negative research business, this is malpractice. The Obama campaign also screwed up by not finding the tape in advance and removing it from the church and internet.

This was the unpublicized turning point of the campaign.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reaching across the aisle—with a steak knife

John Ruberry found this passage about Rahm Emanuel, President-Elect Barack Obama's rumored choice as chief of staff. This is bi-partisanship we can believe in.

That night, on the northwest side, Rahm Emanuel was elected to Congress. A former Clinton whiz kid who'd gotten his start as a fundraiser for Mayor Richard M. Daley, Emanuel was connected -- in the three years after leaving the White House (where he'd helped push through NAFTA), he earned $16 million putting together Wall Street mergers. He was also zealously partisan. He had once owned a consulting business devoted to finding skeletons in Republican closets. At a Clinton victory dinner in Little Rock in 1992, Emanuel celebrated by reciting a hoped-for necrology of Democrats who had "f*cked" the president-elect. After every name, he stabbed a steak knife into a table and screamed, "Dead man!"

Who will be his press secretary, Keith Olbermann?

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McCain's "negativity" was a smear

A historian says the MSM/Obama narrative that John McCain was waging a dirty campaign was false.

Finally, the protectiveness that Obama elicited from others also explains why McCain's fall campaigning was reviewed so harshly. Throughout the year, Obama was often spared the task of defending himself because others with prominent media platforms did it for him. As the campaign progressed, a whole slate of possible criticisms—including legitimate concerns about his record or his foreign-policy chops—were deemed, as if by cultural consensus, beyond the pale. Indeed, it's worth recalling that October's hyperbolic claims about McCain's negativity echo similar (and similarly unfounded) claims about Clinton's campaigning back in the spring. Does Obama somehow invite historically unprecedented negativity? Or are his enthusiasts just unusually quick to perceive it? In any event, Obama benefited more from labeling his rivals as uniquely sleazy than he suffered from whatever sleaziness they displayed.
Obama fully deserved to defeat McCain on Tuesday. But he deserved to win because his party and his program presented the better hope for a better America, and not because he is purer of heart than other politicians—or any less able to throw a punch when his political future demands it. Like all good politicians, Obama appears to understand this important distinction. The rest of us should, too.

Expect to see more outbursts of truthfulness when the Obama savants come out of their trances.

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President-Elect Obama

America's greatness is never more evident than during our transfers of power. Our longest campaign for president is over and Barack Obama is the winner. As the architect of a well-run campaign, he deserves great credit.

As someone who strongly disagrees with his policies, I will hope that America prospers and is safe during his presidency. I will resist the urge to oppose his every move, as the Left did shortly after George W. Bush took office. The Left figured that to win the presidency back, they had to vigorously and viciously oppose him, no matter the issue. That strategy fell short in 2004 but finally the weight of the Bush attacks gave Obama the playing field for victory in 2008.

The Right has no chance if it follows that strategy. For one, it will not have the MSM as an ally in attacking Obama. At all big moments, the press will tend to defend Obama because in part they helped create his historic presidency. The Right will have to choose an unflinching leader who will apply conservative values to a modern world. A leader who understands how to intelligently take on and work through a hostile press. It will take some time to sort it out.

I will not engage in John McCain bashing. He is an American hero. He ran the best campaign he could in an impossible climate for a Republican. His age was an unspoken hindrance, rightly or wrongly. Another lesson is that it's impossible to be elected president without strong support from the base of your party. My initial read of the yesterday's results indicates that the Republican base underperformed. It's far more effective to consolidate your base and reach out than vice versa—in either party. Sarah Palin helped McCain with his base but in the end, a vice presidential selection can only marginally affect the presidential race.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Why this race is not over....

The experts are idiots. Keep that in mind. They are often wrong. Polls are often wrong. Just a few months ago, the polls were 10.9 points off in New Hampshire. Several other states were also called wrong.

RealClearPolitics - Election 2008 - New Hampshire Democratic Primary.jpg

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

A lump of coal for Obama's hopes?

Is this the November surprise to tip the "bitter clingers" in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, and Virginia to swing to John McCain in the eleventh hour?

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McCain has a shot at Pennsylvania

Columnist Selena Zito of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review believes John McCain can win Pennsylvania. Polls have showed him inching to within several percentage points of Barack Obama.

"This race is still not a slam-dunk for Barack Obama," says Pennsylvania Democrat Mark Singel, a former lieutenant governor and acting governor.

Pennsylvania voters move pretty dramatically in the very last days of the campaign, he says.

I'm surprised Obama is not here on Sunday. Instead, he's in Ohio. If there's a late tightening in the race, McCain will win Ohio. But Pennsylvania is tougher for Republicans. Without it, McCain probably can't be president.

"In an odd way, many liberals are tone-deaf about normal people, who worship God, country, sports and their communities and don't care all that much about politics," says former Villanova political scientist Bob Maranto.

Maranto says what's causing Pennsylvania voters to give Obama a second look goes beyond Obama's "share the wealth" notion: "They are suspicious of him and his Ivy League buddies who have never run anything in their lives (but) that now want to run the country."

He adds that "it is all in the arrogance."

That exactly describes the Reagan Democrats I grew up with in Missouri. They are not voting against Obama because they are racist. They are voting against him because of his elitism and arrogance.

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"Send price signals"=raise taxes

More video of Barack Obama's left-wing economic philosophy that the news media failed to highlight during the campaign.

And listen here about Obama's plan to bankrupt the coal industry.

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