Archive for October, 2008

Deregulation Is to Blame?

One of my biggest fears about the likely Democratic sweep next week is the resulting re-regulation of our nation’s economy. Without a Republican president to stand in their way, I truly fear the damage that will be caused by giving people like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd total free reign. Frank’s record speaks for itself. He is the one who famously said in 2003:

“These two entities—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—are not facing any kind of financial crisis, [and] the more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

Barack Obama has already rationalized this likely torrent of regulation by claiming over and over again that the current mess is a direct result of President Bush “letting the market run wild,” though he never says what specific Bush action he is referring to.

Here is a terrific article from the Wall Street Journal which proves that contrary to Senator Obama’s claim, the last eight years were hardly a period of deregulation. Has Senator Obama never heard of Sarbannes Oxley?

And along similar lines, here is a terrific editorial from the San Diego Union-Tribune which directly traces the Fannie/Freddie mess to Congressional meddling, wherein our Congress pressured lenders to “approve ever more loans to buyers of modest means” thereby “eroding the criteria banks traditionally used to gauge the risk of default.”

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Dissent of the Day

A reader says my connecting of some dots regarding Barack Obama and his potential stance towards Israel is way off base, and offers a different read on why an Obama administration would improve our standing in the world:

Electing Obama will begin to restore the United States
to the world leadership position it occupied before the disaster that
has been eight years of Republican control began. Because the current
administration lied to, insulted and belittled most of the free world
while pursuing self destructive foreign policies this country is now
held in contempt by most of the free world, and lacks the ability to
lead. “My way or the highway” as a foreign policy has been, to put it
mildly, a failure. Don’t vote for Obama so we can make friends, vote
for Obama to say to our former friends and allies “Bush lied to us too
and treated us with contempt too, and we don’t like it any better than
you do. We really do want to work together to make the world a safer
and more decent place.” It is the first step to restoring our position
as the leader of the free world. And convincing them that we are not
insane.

As for the McCain fans in Israel, do you think maybe the demographic is
slightly skewed? Is it possible that Americans living in Israel (or
spending enough time there to vote absentee) are older and a tad
wealthier than the rest of us suckers stuck here in Bush/Cheney land?
Or that they are true single issue voters, not particularly concerned
about what is best for America but voting based on what is best for
Americans living in Israel?

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Israelis See Things Differently

This came as no surprise at all:

A survey of Americans in the Holy Land released Thursday found that absentee voters supported Republican John McCain over Barack Obama by a three-to-one margin.

Let’s face a basic fact- one of the reasons that a lot of muslim countries hate the US is because of our alliance with Israel.

So every time I hear an Obama supporter say, in substance, “Electing Obama will make the world like us better,” I wonder if they really are saying “Electing Obama will lead to a weaker alliance with Israel, which in turn will make those who hate Israel (a big chunk of the world) like us better.” That’s certainly the vibe among the vocal supporters of Obama at DailyKos and other liberal bastions. And it was Senator Obama himself who fueled these notions with comments like “Nobody is suffering more than the Palestinian people.

I’ll blog more on this later, but let me ask, to those who want to make the rest of the world “like us more”, is placating hate the answer?

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Not Drinking the Kool-Aid

The staff at Slate was polled, and they are supporting Obama by a wafer-thin margin of 55-1; I have little doubt that at most MSM outlets, the results would be similar.

Which is why it’s so refreshing when I stumble on the rare journalist who breaks from the pack and is actually willing to criticize “The One.”

Here, Campbell Brown at CNN takes Obama to task for flat-out breaking his promise to participate in public financing. Of course Obama broke the pledge for the simple reason that he realized he could raise and spend a lot more money if he declined to participate in the program – anyone who buys his silly claim implying that “I didn’t realize that actual people would fund my campaign” is seriously on da Kool-Aid.

And here, Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic says the LA Times should release that Obama video from 2003. Key quote:

[Because] information in an open society shouldn’t be kept secret and… the voters should make up their own minds about whether or not they trust certain candidates, this video should be set free

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Fair is Fair

If I am going to perpetually hammer those media outlets which spin for Obama, then in fairness I should point out (the extremely rare) media outlet that spins for McCain. So much as I am addicted to the DrudgeReport, it’s misleading for Matt Drudge to highlight over and over again those few polls which show the race to be close. I will stick with the RealClearPolitics polling aggregation, which at the moment shows Obama leading by a comfortable 6 points

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Finally…

Several days after the blogosphere raised the issue, John McCain has finally tried to put the heat on the LA Times to release that video of Senator Obama in 2003. As I’ve said before, I have no idea what is on that video. But if it’s so innocuous, why hide it? Isn’t a free press supposed to just report the news and then let the people decide?

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Least Surprising Headline… Ever!

“Daly Passes Out at Hooters”

(note: Apparently the headline has now been changed to an equally not-surprising “Golfer Daly Drunk, Detained”

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Bob Herbert: Now You’re All Smart!!

Elitism? At the New York Times? I know, it’s shocking.

Bob Herbert has decided that this year, since the voters appear to be supporting his candidate, they must be substantive and informed. Implying of course that in the past, when they have rejected his candidate, they all were stupid sheep.

In his latest loveletter to Barack Obama, Herbert opines that since polls show that Barack Obama is ahead, ipso facto, the voters all have become like totally intelligent.

You see how that works, gang? Vote for my guy, you must be smart; vote against my guy, then you’re stooooopid.

Did he really say that they are smarter? Oh yes- here is the quote:

But it was clear that the message, style and strategy of [Obama's] campaign pointed to a new direction for American politics, and that a new generation of voters — younger, smarter, more diverse, more open-minded — was anxious to follow his lead.

What exactly is his evidence that the preference for Obama is proof of deeper reflection by the voters? One quote from a random voter (who maybe actually exists, but in light of the Times’ track record here, maybe does not really exist at all):

I remember talking with a voter named Debra Gable…”I dislike politics,” she told me, “because we focus on our differences even though we have so many more commonalities. That’s what I think I’m hearing from Obama, so I want to see how he is in person.”

Based on that (alleged) quote, Herbert is amazingly able to draw the following conclusion about the electorate as a whole:

With the country facing enormous problems (even before the meltdown of the credit and financial markets in recent months), the voters wanted more substance from their candidates.

Substance? Is he kidding? Barack Obama, with his thinnest of resumes, with his minimal track record, with his ambiguous talk of “hope” and “change” is all about substance and not all about style??

I know a great many Obama supporters- many of whom are extremely smart and extremely well-informed. But when I ask them to name Senator Obama’s most significant accomplishment as a Senator, most can’t name any at all. When I ask them what specifically they like about his economic policies, most are aware only that he wants to raise taxes “on the wealthy”, but can offer little more.

Heck, even elected officials who are involved in the Obama campaign seem to have trouble naming a specific thing he has done as a Senator.

But this is how it works in Bob Herbert’s world. Agree with him, you’re smart and open-minded. Disagree, you’re ignorant and closed-minded. Ahh, the Times.

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More re: LA Times and Obama Video

The story (which I posted on here) about the LA Times refusing to release a video of Barack Obama heaping praise on Palestinian “activist” Rashid Khalidi appears to be gaining some traction.

Of course, if John McCain were a better candidate, he himself would have made this tape an issue; instead it falls to the blogosphere to get the ball rolling.

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Sen. Stevens Convicted

I will shed no tears over the conviction of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. An unapologetic lifelong champion of pork-barrel projects like the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, the facts of this case illustrate the extent to which pork and corruption go hand in hand. Ted Stevens was no friend of the taxpayer. And senators of his ilk completely undercut the efforts of other Senators (like Tom Coburn and John McCain) to restore the Republican party’s image as the party of fiscal discipline.

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LA Times Helping Out Obama?

Is the Los Angeles Times refusing to release a videotape in its possession in order to help Barack Obama avoid embarassment? Well, you decide. Here are the pertinent facts:

1. The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), in case you have been asleep for the last 45 years, is an organization responsible for countless acts of terrorism, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Jewish men, women and children.

2. Rashid Khalidi, according to the New York Times “work[ed] for the PLO” in the 1970’s, later becoming a professor at the University of Chicago, and then Columbia University.

3. At a party thrown in his honor in Chicago in 2003, attended by Barack Obama, Khalidi did the following, according to the Los Angeles Times:

At Khalidi’s going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. “You will not have a better senator under any circumstances,” Khalidi said.

4. Obama’s participation in this event was cited as a reason why, again according to the LA Times, “Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama.” Lest anyone question why any of this matters or relates to policy, and lest anyone claim this is just “guilt by association,” here is the relevance:

And yet the warm embrace Obama gave to Khalidi, and words like those at the professor’s going-away party, have left some Palestinian American leaders believing that Obama is more receptive to their viewpoint than he is willing to say. Their belief is not drawn from Obama’s speeches or campaign literature, but from comments that some say Obama made in private and from his association with the Palestinian American community in his hometown of Chicago, including his presence at events where anger at Israeli and U.S. Middle East policy was freely expressed

5. In its article about the 2003 event, where Obama himself spoke, the LA Times stated “The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.”

6. The LA Times is refusing to post the video on its website or share it with other news organizations.

I obviously have no idea what this tape shows. And neither do you. And that’s the point. Perhaps it shows absolutely nothing which would embarass Senator Obama.

But if the event was newsworthy enough to warrant an article in the LA Times, why not share the tape and let the people decide?

More importantly, do you have any doubt at all that if the LA Times possessed a video of John McCain speaking at an event in honor of a person with alleged ties to a terrorist organization, they would at the very least post it on their website, or share it with other news organizations who are interested in seeing it?

Again, why not let the people decide? Who is the LA Times protecting?

Hat tip: www.littlegreenfootballs.com

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Dirty?? Well, McCain Pulled This Punch

We’ve had some healthy spirited debate here on StillRight about the McCain campaign and allegations that his campaign has been “dirty” and has employed a “win at any cost” strategy.

But as Charles Krauthammer points out, McCain has chosen to never mention what was probably the most controversial issue during the primary season:

Moreover, the most remarkable of all tactical choices of this election season is the attack that never was. Out of extreme (and unnecessary) conscientiousness, McCain refused to raise the legitimate issue of Obama’s most egregious association — with the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Dirty campaigning, indeed.

Let’s remember, Hillary Clinton herself had no problem at all discussing Reverend Wright during the primary season. And in a televised debate, the folks at ABC News found the issue relevant enough to raise it at length. Yet McCain oddly (and in my view foolishly) has never discussed the matter.

As for the accusation that the McCain campaign overall has been especially dirty, Krauthammer offers this:

Nor will I countenance the “dirty campaign” pretense. The double standard here is stunning. Obama ran a scurrilous Spanish-language ad falsely associating McCain with anti-Hispanic slurs. Another ad falsely claimed McCain supports “cutting Social Security benefits in half.” And for months Democrats insisted that McCain sought 100 years of war in Iraq.

McCain’s critics are offended that he raised the issue of William Ayers. What’s astonishing is that Obama was himself not offended by William Ayers.

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McCain Mailer Controversy

A reader sent in a note about this controversial McCain mailer, saying :

I’m sure you have an explanation, but this flyer….proves that your argument posted the other day, that the Republican
party has not changed in the past decade, and your claim that McCain
should not be held responsible for the ugliness of those calling Obama a terrorist during McCain/Palin rallies, could not be more hopelessly
wrong. This flyer is repulsive. It is emblematic of the new Karl Rove
and Bush-Cheney GOP and it is precisely what is wrong with today’s
Republican party: they have abandoned any pretense that principle or
even policy matters, and they have decided that power is the only goal.
Worse, they are entirely comfortable with the concept that fear
mongering and hatred are acceptable campaign tactics to achieve that
power.

Well, I won’t disappoint.

First, the reader says that the mailer has nothing to do with “policy.” But in fact, the mailer hits on a very fundamental policy difference between the candidates. Whether or not the next President should sit down with Ahmedinajad (and others of his ilk) is an open, legitimate question. To be sure, many foreign policy experts support Senator Obama’s position. And many others disagree, myself included. For historical support, I point to the disastrous consequences of the agreements which were struck with Adolf Hitler and Yasser Arafat. Some foreign leaders have neither the ability nor the intention to ever honor their agreements. And let’s remember, no President, Republican or Democrat, has established diplomatic relations with Iran since the fundamentalist revolution of 1979.

As for fear-mongering, that goes back many, many decades, and is hardly the sole province of either major party. I mean didn’t LBJ basically write the book on it with this inflammatory spot saying Barry Goldwater would start a nuclear war, an ad still considered the most powerful and controversial political spot in history? And wasn’t the entire Jimmy Carter re-election campaign based on the depiction of Ronald Reagan as a warmonger?

Don’t take my word for it, folks. The Washington Post talked four years ago about the role fear was playing then and the role it had played in prior campaigns:

With both campaigns embracing what often amounts to the politics of fear, voters are getting a heavier-than-ever dose of speeches and television ads from Bush, Kerry and political groups designed to convince them the other ticket would make the world more dangerous and increase the likelihood of casualties or catastrophe. Historians say this tactic is more pervasive than in past presidential campaigns, including Jimmy Carter’s portrayal of Ronald Reagan as a warmonger in 1980 and Lyndon B. Johnson’s famous “daisy girl” ad that warned of nuclear war if Barry M. Goldwater was elected in 1964.

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On Bloomberg III

He’s been a terrific mayor, and I will almost certainly vote for him again. Still, there is something that just doesn’t feel right about a politician supporting term limits only until the point where it actually affects himself.

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More About Election Hanky-Panky

Responding to my earlier post about the ACORN shenanigans, a reader asks that I (in order to be fair and balanced) link to this story from CNN about election hanky-panky by a Republican operative in 2002. I’m happy to grant his wish. But if you take a look at my post, I never suggested that only liberals or Democrats engage in election fraud; rather I cited the ACORN story to show why the Supreme Court in my view got it right when it said states have the right to require voters to show some form of identification when they vote.

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