Archive for October, 2008

Charlie Cook: Looks Like It’s Over

There probably is no political pundit in America more respected than Charlie Cook. If anyone can truly lay claim to being “non-partisan”, it’s him. And in his opinion, this race is for all intents and purposes over. It’s well worth a read.

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Poll Shows Murtha Slipping

Murtha’s reelection is no longer a foregone conclusion.

Memo to self: If elected to Congress, avoid referring to my constituents as “racist” and “redneck.”

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This ACORN Stuff

CNN (seriously, CNN… not FOX) is leading tonight on its webpage with a story on ACORN, the left-wing, pro-Obama “community organizing” group which apparently has been engaging in widespread voter fraud.

What this really proves to me is that the Supreme Court was right-on when it ruled earlier this year that states could require voters to show some form of ID when they vote. I mean, come on, isn’t that like a total no-brainer? Or do you really think that someone who registered as “Mickey Mouse” or “Donald Duck” should just be able to walk in and vote without showing any form of identification at all?

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Obama and the Unions

No, Obama isn’t a socialist.

But organized labor is going all out for Obama, and if you think they are not expecting anything in return, you’re a fool.

And this brings me back to a theme. For all of the rhetoric about McCain’s “old ideas”, the reality is that it’s Obama’s ideas (restricting free trade, raising taxes, and empowering unions) that are completely outdated, and would be terrible for the nation’s economy. It all sounds a lot like Jimmy Carter’s economic agenda, and some of us are old enough to remember how that worked out.

To see the destrutive impact which powerful labor unions can have, just look at Europe; the crippling strikes, and the high unemployment.

This is the Obama plan to make us more competitive? Higher taxes (which of course makes the US less attractive to growing companies who can set up shop anywhere on the globe), opposing free trade agreements (obviously limiting our exports) and more powerful unions (and all the inefficiencies the unions ALWAYS bring)?

Bottom Line from your humble sensible right-wing blogger: Obama offers lofty (and in my view empty) rhetoric, but I sure would love to know why opposing free trade agreements, raising taxes on the most successful companies, and empowering labor unions are (a) new ideas or (b) good ideas?

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Unity

You know, they look pretty good together….

Dancing Political Stars

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Yes, It’s Called Capitalism

Barney Frank, the man who staunchly opposed reigning in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for years, and claimed ”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” has now proposed that no one on Wall Street should receive a bonus this year. No one. His rationale:

“There should be a moratorium on bonuses,” Frank, a
Massachusetts Democrat, told reporters yesterday in Washington.
“They have a negative incentive effect because they are the ones
that say if you take a risk and it pays off you get a big
bonus,” and if it causes losses “you don’t lose anything.”

As to the first part, well, he has a point- in this crazy capitalist system we have, if you take a chance and it pays off, then you get rewarded. It’s pretty much the case in any industry. And that is a bad thing because…???

But it’s the second part that is really absurd. Someone should tell all the people who have lost their jobs in the last few months (or seen their portfolios demolished) that Barney Frank thinks they really haven’t lost anything.

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I’m Just Asking

Quick question for you: Who do you think has to make more executive decisions on a daily basis- the Governor of Alaska, or a United States Senator halfway into his first term?

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This Is News?

So both New York tabloids today hyped the news that prior to his DWI arrest, Joba Chamberlain had been drinking at… a strip joint. Shocker. A professional athlete on a Friday night during the off-season. Personally, I would have considered it more newsworthy if he had been someplace OTHER than a strip joint.

Anyway, they showed a picture of the place:
Joba’s Strip Club
Is it me, or does this look more like a shoe store than a strip club? Maybe it’s a Nebraska thing.

Oh, and the cover charge apparently is 3 dollars.

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Judge Flasher

Yet another reason to never use a bathroom at Starbuck’s.

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Rev. Wright Redux?

Is the McCain campaign planning to bring up Barack Obama’s association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright? Given that McCain has never raised it before, I would think not. But then I read this interview by Hugh Hewitt with McCain campaign chair Rick Davis.

Hugh Hewitt: Now there is a report in the media, a couple actually, that your campaign is divided over whether or not Jeremiah Wright ought to be an issue in the last three weeks. What is the situation? Will Jeremiah Wright be part of the McCain campaign’s appeal to people to consider Barack Obama in the last three weeks?

Rick Davis: Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign. Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we’re all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you’ve got to rethink all these things. And so I think we’re in the process of looking at how we’re going to close this campaign. We’ve got 19 days, and we’re taking serious all these issues.

That interview was five days ago, and nothing has happened on the Wright front since. But in any event, we will know fairly soon if anything comes of this…

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Dissent of the Day

A friend of StillRight shares his views on my earlier post about the state of the Republican Party and the allegation that the party has shifted. As always, I am grateful for contributions of this nature, and hope he will continue to share his thoughts:

First, you make the assertion that the Republican party is not “changing” or “moving right” or “becoming mean”. I think people like Gen. Colin Powel and David Brooks might disagree, but that’s neither here nor there. Whether the party “changes” permanently is an academic point; McCain has decided to align himself with the “right side” of the Party. In this election, McCain has pandered to the Republican Party’s most conservative members (VP pick of Palin, pro-life, “taxes are socialist”). This strategy — which, in hindsight, seems so obviously flawed — is partly to blame for McCain’s current position in the polls. Would the Republican base have voted for Obama if McCain had stood up to the base on issues where they disagree? I doubt it. At most, the base would be less “energized” (whipping McCain/Palin partisan crowds into a hate-filled frenzy) resulting in lower turnout in traditionally red states. Would the resulting lower turnout have cost him a victory in those states? I doubt it. But, McCain’s strategy of burning bridges to the centrist members of his party (by choosing an unqualified, but staunchly conservative, VP; by ignoring scientific facts and suggesting that we can drill our way out of the current energy crisis; by the use of polarizing and incendiary rhetoric) has assured that he’ll have a very hard time capturing states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and now even Virginia. McCain’s strategy has also resulted in the alienation of the more centrist members of his own party. Again, whether this shift is permanent or merely a politically expedient decision — albeit probably an unwise one — is really an academic point and something that we’ll have to simply wait another 4 years to see.

Second, the way you write it, it’s almost as if the “unpopular war” and “recent economic downturn” merely happen to occur. You take no responsibility for these policies. The fact is that Bush/McCain are both responsible for beating the drum to a war of choice in Iraq. The fact is that irresponsible fiscal policies now result in record deficits. These deficits are due to the Bush tax cuts — that McCain was against before he was for — combined with reckless spending. The problem with deficits is that, eventually, it catches up with you; borrowing costs of the Federal Government become too high. This results in inflation and/or the downgrading of US Debt. And if you think the crisis is bad now, pray we don’t ever have to confront these issues fully (unless you like paying for a gallon of milk with a wheelbarrow of $50 dollar bills.) The problem with reckless fiscal policies — even if they don’t result in hyper-inflation — is that it hamstrings and weakens our government. A government that cannot spend (because it’s already in the hole too much) has a harder time injecting money into the economy when it needs to.

Bottom line: poor policies of Republicans in government are to blame for the party’s unpopularity. These are not mere “unfortunate occurrences” but choices by Republicans in power.

Finally, even the current administration agrees that traditional Republican solutions to past economic problems will not work to fix this current crisis. Traditional Republican solutions of: “government, get off my back” and calls for less regulation are being tossed out the window. Instead, the US Government is buying stock in banks and exploring new ideas for stricter oversight of the entire financial industry. It’s very hard to sell these ideas to traditional Republicans. That’s the main reason why McCain and other Republicans have difficulty with this crisis and are having trouble drumming up support for their ticket. Their traditional, instinctive, solutions to past economic downturns — tax cuts or rebates and less regulation — won’t work here. Indeed, arguably it was the failure of oversight combined with the irresponsible fiscal policies that got us here in the first place. After eight years policies that encouraged corporate excess, vastly increased the gap between rich and poor, and badly mismanaged the war and the response to Katrina, people want a change.

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Classic Biden: Video from ‘88

I don’t know what’s the most noteworthy aspect of this old clip of Joe Biden- his outright lying about his academic record, his amazing condescension in telling a voter “I have a higher IQ than you“, or the fact that he apparently has regrown some of his hair since then. Classic stuff.

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“Republicans Have Changed” Allegation Is Nonsense

I hear this allegation all the time: “The Republicans have changed, the party has moved to the right, it’s not the same as it was under Reagan, etc, etc, etc….” Colin Powell himself made this allegation yesterday, and CNN’s Gloria Borger does it again today.

This charge, I must say, is total crap. Utter nonsense.

And most of the people making it apparently know nothing about Ronald Reagan and his agenda.

I knew Ronald Reagan (well, not personally, but I did get to see him speak a couple of times). I will forever consider myself a Reagan Republican. And let me tell you, Ronald Reagan was no moderate. He was a hardcore conservative who came to power by challenging and defeating and ultimately obliterating the old moderate guard that had previously dominated the Republican party.

Let’s look at the facts.

Reagan was a pro-lifer and under his direction the Republican party adopted a staunchly pro-life platform. So that hasn’t changed.

Reagan had a strong relationship with evangelical leaders and was attacked by his opponents for his ties to Jerry Falwell. So nothing new on that score.

Reagan enacted the biggest tax cut (in terms of marginal rates) in American history. So that hasn’t changed, as McCain calls for a tax cut.

Reagan took unilateral military action in Grenada and Lebanon. So going-it-alone isn’t a new thang.

Reagan enacted a huge increase in defense spending. And the party still supports that principle.

Reagan appointed the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, and tried to make the court even more conservative by nominating Robert Bork. And McCain promises to appoint strict constructionists in the same mold, so no change on that front, General Powell.

***Ohh, but wait, wasn’t Reagan a sunny simple optimist in contrast to today’s mean, mean Republicans??***

An optimist sure, but he wasn’t always so sunny in his outlook. The man knew evil when he saw it. And said so.

After all, Reagan was a hard-line anti-Communist who called the Soviet Union the “evil empire”. So I guess that supposedly “bellicose language” about the “axis of evil” is nothing new either.

***Ohh, but wait, the campaign tactics of the Republicans are so mean this year***

Puh-leez. They ALWAYS say that about the Republican candidate. Liberals still whine about the Swift Boat ads. Heck, some of them are still whining about Willie Horton, and that was 20 years ago!

The Bottom Line: Yes, John McCain is behind in every poll, and will probably lose big. But it has nothing at all to do with the party “changing” or “moving right” or “becoming mean.” It is entirely the result of people being sick of a Republican president due to an unpopular war and a recent economic downturn.

Oh, and anyone who tells you that Ronald Reagan was a “moderate” doesn’t know anything about Ronald Reagan.

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John Kerry: The Gift Who Keeps On…

So just when he had become a distant memory, here comes John Kerry with a brand new gaffe, making a joke at John McCain’s expense that no doubt will lead to some verbose and overwrought apology by Kerry. This one only adds to Kerry’s long history of amazingly stupid comments.

What this really shows is how superior a candidate Barack Obama is to John Kerry. In nearly two years of campaigning, I think Obama has made just one real gaffe, that whole bitter-people-cling-to-guns-and-religion thing. Whereas Kerry just can’t help himself.

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Dissent of the Day

In response to my earlier post alleging partisanship on the part of Frank Rich and the New York Times, a reader offers this response, which I post in its entirety. I am grateful for his contribution to this site, and hope he will continue to share his insight. Here it is:

Yes, there are racists and bomb-throwers on both sides of the political
spectrum, although I have little doubt that if you piled up all of the
bigoted right-wing venom floating around the internet and the airwaves
it would dwarf whatever liberal nastiness StillRight can extract from
the Daily Kos and wherever else he trolls (Michelle Malkin? The author
of “In Defense of Internment,” a book claiming Japanese citizens
voluntarily moved into the WWII internment camps? Some source!).

Anyway, StillRight argues that Liberal commentators are “partisan” and
unfair to McCain, because they use a double standard to evaluate his
righty wackos vs. the lefty wackos. StillRight complains that Frank
Rich has written a column which points “to a few nutty people who said
offensive things at McCain rallies, and (surprise!) [he] blame[s] the
McCain campaign for these nutjobs.” According to StillRight “it is
absurd to blame John McCain for the comments of some of his wacko
supporters. I think John McCain’s record speaks for itself.”

StillRight might have a point if Rich’s article actually blamed McCain
for the remarks of his supporters, but he didn’t. Here’s what Rich
really wrote:

“what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the
violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by
Palin
. Obama “launched his political career in the living room
of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note
the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs
him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real Barack Obama?” it’s
no surprise that someone cries out “Terrorist!” The rhetorical
conflation of Obama with terrorism is complete . . .

What’s troubling here is not only the candidates’ loose inflammatory
talk but also their refusal to step in promptly and strongly when
someone responds to it with bloodthirsty threats in a crowded arena. Joe
Biden had it exactly right when he expressed concern last week that “a
leading American politician who might be vice president of the United
States would not just stop midsentence and turn and condemn that.” To
stay silent is to pour gas on the fires.

It wasn’t always thus with McCain. In February he loudly disassociated
himself from a speaker who brayed “Barack Hussein Obama” when
introducing him at a rally in Ohio. Now McCain either backpedals with
tardy, pro forma expressions of respect for his opponent or lets
second-tier campaign underlings release boilerplate disavowals after
ugly incidents like the chilling Jim Crow-era flashback last week when a
Florida sheriff ranted about “Barack Hussein Obama” at a Palin rally
while in full uniform.”

So Rich is actually complaining about what McCain and his lightweight
attack dog VP candidate Sarah Palin say, and about what they countenance
being shouted in their presence during their rallies. Yet, according to
StillRight this is “partisanship” because Rich is not also holding Obama
responsible for some internet blogger’s rants or nasty anonymous emails sent to a racist right wing fringe author. But obviously the two
situations are poles apart. Rich is not suggesting that McCain must
disavow every lunatic post on the Drudge Report or every braying right
wing radio talk show host who makes racially tinged attacks on Obama.
(Although asking McCain to disavow the statement, made in a newspaper
article written by the McCain County Chairman in Buchanan County
Virginia, that Obama’s platform includes “Mandatory Black Liberation
Theology courses taught in all churches” and sending $845 billion to
Africa “so the Obama family there can skim off enough to allow them to
free their goats,” or the statement of the Chairman of the Virginia
Republican Party that there is a connection between Bin Laden and Obama
- because “both have friends who bombed the Pentagon,” wouldn’t seem
unreasonable.)

Put simply, it is certainly true that neither the left nor the right has
a monopoly on wackos. But the right sure seems to welcome the worst of
theirs with open arms, and manages to make them feel right at home, in a
way that responsible leaders on the left simply do not. In this late
stage of the campaign, with McCain facing almost certain defeat due to
his complete inability to convince voters that he has a clue about the
economy, or that he has been anything but Bush’s lapdog for the past 8
years, it appears that whipping up the “base” with inflammatory rhetoric
and turning a blind eye when things get really ugly is part of the
strategy of desperation employed by the McCain campaign. McCain’s
record would “speak for itself” if his current behavior was consistent
with the record, but sadly it is not. It is quite disappointing to see
a once honorable man debased so completely by unabashed ambition. To
point that fact out is not partisanship, it is honesty.

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