Friday, September 12, 2008

“His Inner Atticus”

Arianna Huffington is now advising Obama to run his campaign more like fictional characters. She writes:
“The last seven-plus years demand more than a detached analysis -- and certainly more than a beaming smile.

They demand indignation. Outrage. Fury.”

Yea, that’s a winning strategy. Americans just love voting for someone angry and indignant. Characters like that may make for good heroes on the silver screen, and I hate to remind Arianna of this, but we don’t live in a movie. I know that the Huffington Post has a lot of Hollywood staffers, and it can be confusing to see that John Cusack fellow and not immediately assume you’re in one of those crappy romantic comedies he has made.

Arianna thinks Obama should adopt a “Gregory Peck-does-Atticus Finch” persona to win this campaign. I on the other hand, agree with Dave over at Contentions, who writes:
“I think Obama should be like Optimus Prime. Everybody loves trucks that become robots that fight other robots.”
Now that would be change you can believe in. Get it? Cause he can change into a truck! Furthermore, Optimus Prime has fought in an intergalactic war for decades; If that isn’t foreign policy experience, I don’t know what is.

Columbia University Presidential Forum

The first part of McCain's piece on national service.

Moving on Up

I have taken the leap and purchased a URL for this site. You can now get here through:

You should still be able to come through the old web address, but if you link here through your blog, it would be of great help if you adjusted the location. I am told it will take a week or so for the site to work for all users in all corners of the internet, so if the new address doesn’t load for you now, try again in a day or so.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Palin, Obama Activists, and the Working Class

Now that the race has tightened, and with centrist minded Democrats like myself swinging clearly to McCain, you are starting to see some of Obama’s more ardent supporters go off the deep end in trying to smear MccCain’s VP, Sarah Palin. If you are reading my blog, you have likely heard most of the internet rumors and smears about Palin at this point: everything from a list of books they claimed she banned to raising her daughter’s daughter as her own.

While I do not care for Sarah Palin, and on a slew of issues we disagree completely, I do think things have gone too far in trying to bring her down, and that it is going to hurt Obama’s campaign, even when he is not responsible for the rumors. Clive Crook wrote in the Financial Times:
"The problem in my view is less Mr Obama and more the attitudes of the claque of official and unofficial supporters that surrounds him.

Little was known about Ms Palin, but it sufficed for her nomination to be regarded as a kind of insult. Even after her triumph at the Republican convention in St Paul last week, the put-downs continued. Yes, the delivery was all right, but the speech was written by somebody else – as though that is unusual, as though the speechwriter is not the junior partner in the preparation of a speech, and as though just anybody could have raised the roof with that text. Voters in small towns and suburbs, forever mocked and condescended to by metropolitan liberals, are attuned to this disdain. Every four years, many take their revenge.”
I agree completely. There are plenty of reasons to stand against Palin and her views on a slew of subjects, but her opponents have taken to crass class based comments and innuendos rather than policy arguments. As Neo-Neocon writes:
“Forget that she’s a college graduate, with a father who was a teacher. She went to the wrong college—or colleges. She’s a redneck, even if she’s from the far North where the sun hardly shines for half the year. She’s a redneck at heart, don’t you see, with the “mess” of a pregnant daughter and five children herself. How very gross.

She hunts. She fishes. Hubby’s a Marlboro man, minus the cigarettes. She’s a working woman but not an oppressed “worker.” She probably even shops at Walmart and listens to country music.”
Christopher Hitchens makes clear that the left’s apparent revulsion to characters like Palin rarely ends in their favor.
“Walter Dean Burnham, one of the country's pre-eminent Marxists, used to attract ridicule back in the 1960s and '70s by saying that Ronald Reagan would one day be president. He based this on various calculations, one of which was what I'll call the attraction-repulsion factor. Previous candidates of the right, from McCarthy to Nixon, indeed, had expressed powerful dislike and resentment of their foes. That can work, up to a point, but the problem is that if you radiate hostility, you also tend to attract it. Reagan didn't radiate it and also didn't attract it. He went on, in a genial enough way, to destroy the Democratic "New Deal" coalition. I don't think Gov. Palin has quite that sort of folksy charisma, but I am still not sure it's entirely wise to patronize her.”
At this point, it’s almost necessary for Obama to come out swinging against some of his left leaning supporters. He cultivated them throughout the primary to beat Clinton, and when he was leading in the polls against McCain, there was no need to upset this aspect of his base. I don’t fault him for not coming out against these rouge elements earlier, but his chances of winning this election look weaker than they did 1 month ago, and he may need to take action if he wants to turn that around.

Turning on these people by publicly condemning them may reassure the centrist minded independents that he is not beholden to these morons, but it may also piss off the very people who put him where he is today. It’s a risk for sure, but all moves at this point in the campaign are risky.

People I personally know, that I find to be generally intelligent in their professional lives, many of which have PHDs, have been sending me links to bizarre Palin conspiracies and unsubstantiated rumors in the last few weeks. They accepted them as legitimate without asking for even the scarcest form of detail. It boggles my mind that these folks, all of which support Barak Obama, don’t see how damaging it is to push these smears, and publicly throw support behind Obama out of the other side of their mouth.

Yet, if Obama loses in November, they won’t bother reflecting on how their ghastly gossiping helped lose them the election. Democrats won’t bother considering the fact that Obama was too inexperienced to lead the country in the eyes of many Americans. No one on the left will say he lost because some of his policies are wrong and unpopular.

They will cry Racism. Or “election irregularities.” Or Fox News. They will be wrong on all those counts, and that will allow them to make the same mistakes yet again in the next election.

I agree with Johnny Guitar, who writes:
“I appreciate why some people are practically drooling at this contest featuring the old guy and the woman versus the black guy and the Catholic. And while it is nice to have a change from the usual election between four Caucasian males with great teeth and bad haircuts, I also can’t ignore the fact that policy seems to have been demoted to a distant second place behind personality.”
He also brings us this picture. It sure says something, I just don’t know what exactly that is.

Monday, September 08, 2008

MSNBC Deals with Olbermann

MSNBC, or the Barak Obama Channel, has apparently dropped Keith Olbermann and Chris Mathews from the anchor chair for their election coverage. From the New York Times:

“MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

After months of accusations of political bias and simmering animosity between MSNBC and its parent network NBC, the channel decided over the weekend that the NBC News correspondent and MSNBC host David Gregory would anchor news coverage of the coming debates and election night. Mr. Olbermann and Mr. Matthews will remain as analysts during the coverage.”
While talking head programs generally tend to be partisan and silly, MSNBC’s decline into the left-wing counter to the Fox News channel was even more apparent during recent convention coverage, with Olbermann given free reign to foam at the mouth. He was clearly too much even for Matthews’ to tolerate, and the on-air spats between the two likely didn’t help either of their standings.

Now if we could just get that moron Sean Hannity to stop commenting on the election...


Jennifer Rubin writes for Contentions on this subject:
“The Left has compared MSNBC to Fox, but the analogy has always fallen on exactly this point: Fox separated talk-show partisans (e.g. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly) from news anchors and reporters ( e.g. Brit Hume, Chris Wallace) while MSNBC did not.”

The average Huffington Post commentator sees this as part of the vast Rightwing conspiracy to stifle democracy.