James Taranto on Sarah Palin’s abortion effect on liberals

Mr. Bookworm loathes Sarah Palin:  “She’s not one of us.”  I don’t know what he means.  She’s a married mom with children.  She went to college.  She and her husband work.  They pay taxes.  She doesn’t drink (or not to excess), smoke, or do drugs (so far as we know).  She’s well-groomed.  She has a sense of humor.  She’s interested in the world around her.  She’s religious but we actually have some friends and neighbors who are religious too.

Of course, she’s really religious.  She actually takes it seriously.  I think that’s what irks him so much.

And that’s kind of what irks others about her.  Or, as James Taranto makes more specific, its her moral objection to abortion, which is undoubtedly a byproduct of her religion, that drives the women bonkers.  To the pro-choice crowd, abortion is the last gasp of freedom.

I know this for a fact, because it’s the way I thought.  Abstinence is great as birth control, but it denies a woman access to one of life’s fundamental pleasures.  Birth control itself is great, except for all the problems with it:  the hormonal nightmare of the pill, the mess of the diaphragm, the risk and embarrassment of the condom.

When all else fails, when you’ve given in to your instincts, but the birth control didn’t work, you’ve still got abortion.  Abortion keeps you from a life of less money, less sleep, less freedom, less control over your time, less self-indulgence, less time for movies, reading, dinners out, dates, etc.  And all that’s after the baby’s born.  Abortion also keeps you from nine months of vomiting, non-stop peeing, back pain, hemorrhoids, massive weight gain, heart burn, sleepless nights, all of which suffering is followed by a few minutes to several days worth of incredible pain.  Oh, yeah!

I totally get it.  I really, really get it.

The only problem is that the other end of this equation, the one causing the nine months of discomfort, followed by the 18 years of sleepless nights, no money, etc., is a human being.  It’s a baby, a toddler, a child, an adolescent and a young adult.  It is a person, whose smell is instantly recognizable to you, who turns to you in times of happiness and times of need, who constantly grows and changes, often making you very proud.  It is a potential mother, father, sister, brother, doctor, soldier, maintenance person, bus driver, lawyer, good Samaritan, criminal.  It is potential.  It is life.

These facts, the imbalance of parenting, means that those who are invested in freedom from pregnancy because it makes their own lives better (and it does) are very angry at Palin.  She reminds them that, not only is another life involved, but also that one can be happy and productive, both despite and because of that other life — even if that other life is disabled.  She makes liberals, especially women, feel inferior.  And there’s no one better to savage than the woman who makes you feel lazy, whiny, self-centered, and ugly.

Yes, Palin was the victim of a blood libel

I don’t have problems with calling things by their true names.  So, I don’t think Palin erred in using the correct phrase — blood libel — to describe the heinous rhetorical attacks leveled against her.

Barry Rubin does an excellent job explaining precisely why her word choice was so accurate.

Jews have suffered inordinately from blood libels, but it doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones against whom that particularly malevolent type of falsehood is uttered.  Call things by their true names.  That’s part of freeing oneself with the truth.

The vicious Palin tweets

A couple of days ago, I posted a YouTube video made up entirely of tweets from Palin haters.  It was a classic “unclear on the concept” thing, as the tweeters, in response to their perception that Palin’s “hate speech” caused the Tucson shooting, tried to top each other with vivid and obscene fantasies about Palin’s torture, death and dismemberment.

YouTube has removed that video.  I don’t know if it was a principled stand against violent threats against a politician, or a craven attempt to hide Lefty violence.  

Whatever.  I think people need to see the ugliness emanating from the Left.  The video is still on Vimeo, so I’m reposting it here.

Palin Death Wish Tweets Re Tucson Shooting from Legal Insurrection on Vimeo.

(Thanks to Lulu for the new link)

The Ivory Tower gets further sullied; and by the way, Sarah Palin was the victim of a blood libel

Ivory Tower used to be a compliment.  Now, just as ivory has degraded in social standing (the whole death of elephants thing), so too has the Ivory Tower’s star fallen (the whole death of logic, common sense, morality and actual education thing).  This morning, I posted about UC Berkeley’s buffoonish Chancellor (paid by taxpayers, both state and federal), who waded in on behalf of lunatics everywhere by opining that the insane, vaguely Leftist Loughner was a manifestation of the conservative movement.  Oh, yeah!

My friend Zombie now alerts me to the fact that — and this is true — since 2009, Berkeley has played host to a “scholarly,” taxpayer-funded, “academic” center that focuses on right wing movements.  No, really.  It’s true.  Really.

As Zombie says, “Students can now get a Bachelor’s degree in TEAPARTY=NAZI with a minor in OMGREDNECKS!”

What Zombie further discovered was that — no surprise here — one of the center’s scholars in residence has given his scholarly opinion (Did you get that?  This whole thing is scholarly, so you have to take it seriously) that the Tucson shooting is all the fault of American conservatives.  Zombie comments amusingly (as always) on the fact that this academic freely admits that there is no connection between Loughner and the right wing but, res ipsa loquitur, he still concludes that right wingery must be Loughner’s motivating force — because, after all, what else could be?  (Hint:  Loughner hears voices in his head.)

Aside from the rank intellectual dishonesty behind that scholarly conclusion (and that’s the nicest thing I can think to say), what really impressed me was the way in which it was written.  Since these opinings are the product of a modern academic, the writing is turgid, polemical, cant-filled, and barely intelligible:

Unlike in the case of Oklahoma City, where the perpetrator was explicit in his insurrectionary aim and managed to pull off his catastrophe, in Tucson there is enough ambiguity about the perpetrator that radicalism on the right is unlikely to feel the need to abate. In the absence of, as it were, a smoking gun—the perpetrator himself assuming responsibility in the name of the movement—the impact of Tucson is likely to be an amplification rather than any amelioration of the fierceness of our political climate.

This unintelligibility is, of course, the product of Leftist education. When I was at Berkeley 30 years ago, I drove my professors bonkers when I kept asking them to explain their Marxist claptrap. I was sufficient naive that, at the time, I didn’t know it was Marxist claptrap.  As a grammarian and lover of the English language, I simply knew that it was impossible to understand the arcane words, bizarre sentence structure and illogical ideas I routinely heard and read in my classes. You couldn’t parse those sentences for love or money.

So, respectfully, I kept asking them — teachers and fellow students — to explain. And they couldn’t. They couldn’t because (a) they had no idea what the phrases they were parroting meant and/or (b) they understand that there was no meaning behind those phrases.  (As for choice “a,” I will forever lovingly recall the desperate student who wrote, regarding The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Oscar Wilde’s descriptions of flowers throughout the text were “meant to represent the phallic symbolism of the female sexual organs.”  Ooo-rah!)

Just to show that I’m not making this up (or that I wasn’t too stupid to understand my teachers and their texts), here is an actual prize-winning example of bad writing from UC Professor Judith Butler:

“The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relationships in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.”

Take that, oh ignorant Sarah Palin, who has the temerity to communicate using familiar words, organized in logical fashion, adding up to understandable ideas. How dare she?

And speaking of “how dare she?,” somehow all this ties into Palin’s newest (alleged) rhetorical crime, which consists of using the phrase “blood libel” to describe what the chattering classes aimed at her in the wake of the Tucson shooting. Many (well, make that the New York Times) are upset about this. The paper of anti-Israel record is horrified that one of the most philosemitic politicians in America would dare to use a phrase associated with Jews.

Color me limited (and Jewish), but it seems to me that she used the perfect phrase.  You see, a blood libel, such as the one aimed for centuries at Jews (still aimed, by the way) is a statement that, without any proof whatsoever, accuses someone of having  . . . yes, innocent blood on his or her hands.

In today’s news context, to savage Palin for accurately describing what was being done to her as a “blood libel” is the equivalent of a high tech lynching.  Whoops!  Did I use another metaphor that is only allowed for certain races?  Silly me.  I thought language in America was a vehicle for communicating ideas, not for isolating (or slicing and dicing) races, classes, and victims.

Our universities have a lot to answer for.  In the 1960s, craven administrators, embarrassed by their possible  complicity in racism, collapsed before the student revolts.  Worse, in the coming years, they took those students into the fold as academics themselves, nursing the viper to their collective breasts.  The result is a generation of Marxist, antisemitic, statist, incoherent people who use their academic credentials and bombastic, unintelligible writing to flim-flam the masses and, worse, to try to control the intellectual tone in this country.

Irony alert with some on the Left showing themselves very unclear on the concept

Is there a cause and effect between hate speech and violence?  These tweeters are certain there is, and they believe that Palin should be tortured, given loathsome diseases and killed for having the temerity to engage in (unidentified) hate speech:

Hat tip:  The Jawa Report

Sarah Palin’s statement

If you haven’t already seen it, here’s a link to the video of Sarah Palin’s response to the shootings — the actual bullets aimed at real bodies in Tucson, and the rhetorical bullets aimed at political bodies in Tucson’s wake.

The beginning, with it’s platitudes about “the process of healing” (and when did mourning become therapeutic) left me cold.  Palin hits her stride, though, when she quotes Reagan, and she just keeps going. I’m ambivalent about a Palin presidency, but I sure think she’s an important, clear and honest voice on the political scene, and she grows in stature with every bizarre attack against her.

Political violence: from whence does it emanate

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” – President Barack Hussein Obama

I posted this as a comment to Book’s previous post, but have now posted it independently as a challenge to all of us Bookworm salon aficionados.

Here’s the premise: virtually all the political violence that has happened in America as come from people associated with the Democrat and/or the Left.

Here’s my list thus far (continuous updating):

DEMOCRAT /LEFT – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. Mass. Sen. Charles Sumner beaten by S. Carolina Rep. Preston Brooks over perceived insults made in speech by Brooks (1856).
  2. John Wilkes Booth (anti-Republican Democrat) assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Southern night riders and the KKK during Reconstruction and into the mid-1900s. (Democrats) – question: do we count each of the lynchings as separate acts of violence?
  4. Chicago Haymarket riot (1886)
  5. Pres. McKinley’s 1901 assassination by Leon Frank Czolgosz (Leftwing anarchist)
  6. Sedition Act of 1918 by Woodrow Wilson (Progressive Democrat)
  7. Assassination attempt on FDR, killing Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, by Guiseppe Zangara in 1933 (left-wing anarchist)
  8. FDR’s internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII (Democrat progressive)
  9. FALN attack against Pres. Harry Truman (communist)
  10. Sheriff Bull Connors, Gov. George Wallace (Democrats)
  11. John Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (communist)
  12. Pres. Johnson’s “War on Poverty”
  13. 1968 Democrat Convention
  14. Robert Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan (leftwing Palestinian supporter)
  15. Sarah Jane Moore’s attempted assassination of Pres. Gerald Ford
  16. Berkeley People’s Park riot in 1969 (campus socialists, communists and anarchists)
  17. Students for a Democratic Society aka SDS (communist)
  18. Bombing (1970) of Math Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison (anti-war communists)
  19. Symbionese Liberation Army (communists)
  20. American Indian Movement (AIM) killing of FBI agents at Wounded Knee (socialist American Indian activists)
  21. The Weathermen, incl. Dohrn and Ayers (communist)
  22. Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN bombings (communist)
  23. Black Panthers (Left-wing socialist/communist)
  24. James Jones of Jonestown fame (apostolic socialism)
  25. Earth Liberation Front (ELF)
  26. Attack on Branch Davidians (Janet Reno, Clinton Administration)
  27. Ted Kaczynski – Unabomber (leftwing anarchist and environmental fanatic, Gore acolyte)
  28. Left-wing violence, destruction and physical assaults at 1999 G-20 meeting in Seattle.
  29. Attack on Washington, D.C. Holocaust Memorial by James Wenneker von Brunn (anti-U.S. socialist sympathizer)
  30. Left-wing violence, destruction, physical assaults and weapons convictions at 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis.
  31. Joe Stack, Austin IRS bomber (anti-Republican, anti-capitalist, anti-wealthy people)
  32. Physical attacks on conservative speakers at university campuses
  33. Multiple physical attacks against Tea Party rallies by SEIU and others (2009).
  34. Shooting of pro-life demonstrator James Pouillon in Owosso, MI (2009)
  35. Physical assault by S. Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge against student, caught on video.
  36. Discovery Center attack and hostage-taking by James Lee in Sept. 2010 (leftwing environmentalist)

REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE – LINKED VIOLENCE

  1. John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry (?)
  2. Attacks on abortion clinics and murders and attempted murders of abortion providers (conservative Christian group-affiliated (?) individuals)
  3. Firearm attack by Jim D. Adkisson against Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, claiming opposition to its policies (2008)
  4. 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph (see “attacks on abortion clinics” above).

xxxxxxxxxxx

Please delete, amend or add-to the list as you see fit.

Or, let’s have even more fun: how about a comparable list of CONSERVATIVE acts of political violence?

We shall then be able to offer two lists for posterity.

Comments and contributions? Please make them as specific as possible.

UPDATE***

I have broken these out into two lists and will make additions as they come in.

UPDATE***

OK…I’m convinced. I’ve taken the Tuscon, Ariz. shooting off of the “Left” column.

Helping American Jews learn to give Sarah Palin the love she deserves

Israel has no greater friend than Sarah Palin.  She has shown repeatedly that she has a deep and abiding respect for the Jewish state, and that she understands the existential stresses under which it survives.  Benyamin Korn gets this and, despite incredible derision from Jewish Democrats, has begun working to build a Jewish coalition recognizing Sarah’s myriad virtues vis a vis Israel.

As part of Korn’s effort, he has started a blog site called Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.  The website needs a bit of polishing, especially since the newest posts seem to be appearing at the bottom, not the top, which makes the site look stale, rather than vital.

That’s cosmetic stuff, though, and easily fixed.  What matters is the substance here, which is that Korn is trying to get American Jews past their superficial prejudices (“she’s from Alaska;” “she speaks funny;” “she didn’t go to an Ivy League college;” “she belongs to a fundamentalist Christian sect;” etc.) and instead to look at the woman’s substance.

I don’t know whether Sarah is ready to be president, whether she is electable (given how much the Left’s hatred permeates society, infecting people who are casual about their politics), or whether she is actually presidential material.  Only time will tell.  What I do know about Sarah is that she is a truly admirable American, many of whose values resonate with me and with most Americans (even those prejudiced Jews); that she is a bone-deep philosemite, whose appreciation for Jews extends to the state of Israel; and that she is a political powerhouse who cannot and should not be ignored.

So, please, check out Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin.  Help make it a vital, much-read website.  American Jews, how have long been on the receiving end of unthinking prejudice, need to expand their minds.  They need to leave behind a Left that is increasingly, and openly, antisemitic, and they need to look to their true friends.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

Round-up of random stuff

I have a bunch of open tabs on my monitor, so I’m just going to jumble all of the stuff here, in one post:

On Obama, the UN, and the World:

I noted yesterday that Obama seems to have a huge problem with the more democratic nations in the world, and a corresponding affinity for the totalitarian dictators.  That’s why I think his “naive” speech about the UN having more power isn’t naive at all, but is part of his desire to place more power in the hands of the dictators.  And you know you’re in good company with that kind of viewpoint when Anne Bayefsky, the greatest UN Watcher of them all, says that Obama’s speech was deliberately calculated to appeal to the totalitarian in the UN.  The speech should also be seen as part of a package that has Obama offending Britain again, while bullheadedly siding with a would-be Honduran dictator who has tin-foil delusions about Israeli operatives beaming radiation into his head.

On media matters:

Just to let you know that Rachel Maddow is not only biased, she is completely dishonest.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?

The potential AIDS vaccine

I supposed it’s good news that scientists have come up with an AIDS vaccine.  Except that it only protests 30% of the people who use it.  To me, that means “back to the drawing board.”  However, some in the scientific community seem to believe that it means it’s ready for prime time:  “Even a marginally helpful vaccine could have a big impact. Every day, 7,500 people worldwide are newly infected with HIV; 2 million died of AIDS in 2007, the U.N. agency UNAIDS estimates.” Color me stupid, but wouldn’t you think that giving people this vaccine would increase high risk activity, something that would offset and possibly exceed any benefits from the vaccine?

The New York Times continues to explore the possibility that Obama is not perfect

In a long, boring editorial in the NYT today, the editors did something bizarre. After first making sure we all knew that Afghanistan is George Bush’s fault, they suggested that maybe, just maybe, the Dear Leader might want to get off his tuchis and figure out a way to prevent Afghanistan from once again becoming an Al Qaeda/Taliban cesspool out of which the worst kind of destructive Islamic germs emerge.

As the inexperienced Obama self-destructs before us, Palin grows

Obama may be so bad that he’s scaring even his friends, but the opposite news is that Sarah Palin, who wasn’t ready for prime time (not that it mattered because she was only running for Veep, and she has more smarts in her finger than Biden in his whole brain), is polishing herself, learning and growing.

Can’t we just dislike the man because he’s a yutz and a putz?

Did you know that Walter Mondale is still alive? Go figure. Well, he is, and he’s assuring us (thoughtfully, of course) that yes, racism is what makes people hate Obama. Not all people, but some people. Well, that’s probably true. But I’m willing to bet that the critical mass of people who are turning against him — many of whom voted for whom or were just neutral — dislike the man because he’s incompetent on the economy, and all too competent when it comes to destroying America’s strength and standing in the world.

A trend we hope stays in Britain

The newest trend amongst Britain’s elementary school aged children is “shag-bands.”  Shag is the British slang for copulation.  The different colored bracelets represent an ascending scale of sexual acts from kissing and touching to things you don’t want to know about.  The younger elementary children see the bracelets as decorative.  The older ones are putting them to the purpose for which they were intended.

The past you always have with you

An amateur treasure hunter in England turned up one of the largest Anglo-Saxon hoards ever.   It is a reminder of how little we still know about the world around us.  It is a wonderful window to the past.  And it is a reminder that civilizations come and civilizations go.

A liberal defends the media’s savage attack on Palin

Last week, I recommended that you read Carl Cannon’s Sarah “Barracuda” Palin and the Piranhas of the Press.  Cannon, who holds no brief for Palin, nevertheless thinks that the press’s behavior once she was on the national scene demonstrates that the American media is in freefall.

Cannon begins by pointing out that, after offering their opinions (“Sarah is an idiot”) as fact, the media moved on to relaying rumors as actual news stories.  These rumors included (but certainly are not limited to) the claims that Trig was in fact Bristol’s son, that she advocated book burning, and that she was a Patrick Buchanan supporter.  Minimal investigation, of the type the MSM was unwilling to make, would instantly have disproven each of these scurrilous charges.

What particularly incensed Cannon, though, was the media’s handling of the Vice Presidential debate.  While Palin’s showing was unpolished and she made errors, Biden went off the deep end with lies, lies, and idiocies.  A fair media would have reported on both side’s errors.  Our media, however, attacked Cannon and gave Biden a free pass.

This is old history for you, although Cannon sews it together so well.  What’s new is the reaction I got from one of my very liberal friends when I posted a link to Cannon’s article on facebook, along with my comment that it’s time for the American media to become like the British media, and simply announce its political orientation up front.

My liberal friend was incensed by the article.  What was so funny was his justification for thinking it was a bad article.  I won’t quote my friend here, but the bottom line was his belief that Cannon’s essay should not be taken seriously because Palin was such an unserious figure.  In other words, the press was under no obligation to report honestly about her (or about Biden), because she didn’t deserve to be elected.

Think about that:  my friend believes that it is the media’s responsibility to weed out bad candidates by whatever means possible, including lying to and withholding information from the American people.  I’ve heard of monarchies, oligarchies, theocracies, democracies, but my friend is now proposing a media-ocracy (a concept that sounds remarkably close to mediocrity).  I don’t know about you, but that’s one of the scariest damn things I’ve ever heard.

Palin’s pass

You all know by now that Palin is abruptly quitting her job as Alaska’s governor.  Speculation is rife as to her motives.  Many see her as planning for her next political office.  I don’t believe that.  Nobody’s going to want a quitter in the White House.  There’s got to be something more going on here.

I hope it’s not ill health on anyone’s part.  It may just be that the attacks on her family have gotten too vicious.  While I suspect she can take it, maybe they can’t.  Or maybe she can’t take it either.  I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such vicious personal attack in my entire life.  It would be sad, though, if the politics of personal destruction — a tactic that’s entirely unrelated to her politics or competence — proved so spectacularly successful.

Overheard on the soccer field

I was sitting near two women and overheard part of their conversation.  After a lengthy back and forth praising Oprah, this gem came out:  “Sarah Palin is stupid but she communicates really well to Americans because most Americans are stupid.”

Obama’s positions — some of which you might not like

At HotAir, you can read this long, detailed and thoughtful post examining Obama’s positions on myriad issues.  As you read the post, think about what I was trying to say yesterday:  figure out what beliefs you hold, and then match them to the candidate.  We’ve been so personality driven this election, that it’s been all too easy to say Obama = smart, dumb, honest, crooked, inspired, drab, inexperienced, etc., or Palin = savvy, idiotic, conservative, wacky, intelligent, inexperienced, experienced, etc.  All these adjectives are easy to throw around, but neither adjective in this war of words (or invective) presents an honest assessment of the beliefs these two lightening rods hold.

As I said before, if your fundamental belief is that government is the answer, Obama, whether he’s smart, dumb, honest, dishonest, or whatever, is your candidate.  (Although you might want to heed Biden’s warning that America will be attacked by a foreign entity and Obama’s response will challenge even the faithful.)

On the other hand, if you think government’s role is to protect Americans’ freedom as much as possible, and to step in only to police deviations from honesty, than the McCain-Palin ticket is your answer, and that’s true regardless of whether you think McCain is old, experienced, too aggressive, not aggressive enough, or whatever.  Incidentally, I’d add to this that you’re a McCain-Palin kind of voter if you don’t like OPEC manipulating world oil prices to our detriment and pouring the profits into funding radical Islam around the world.

Anyway, ignore the personalities and the invective.  Look at your beliefs, align them with the candidates’ records (not their rhetoric), and vote accordingly.

One other reminder:  For those who are pro-Choice, but are in all other respects aligned with the McCain-Palin ticket, please don’t let that stop you from voting for them.  The worst that will happen is what should have happened all along, before the dishonest Roe v. Wade opinion (and even abortion proponents concede its dishonesty):  The issue will be recognized as one that is not a proper matter for federal involvement and will be returned to the States.

In blue states, it will remain entirely legal.  In purple states, it will remain entirely or mostly legal.  In the handful of true, blue red states, it might, might be narrowed, although it will always be available in cases of rape, incest or risk to the mother.

I know this is an important issue for conservative pro-Choicers, but don’t let it narrow your frame of reference so much that it blinds you to all the other important issues, many of which will have more and greater impact on the greatest number of Americans than abortion ever will.

Remember thatr PBS poll I told you about?

The other day, I asked you to respond to the poll because we individualists (my new, Century-appropriate name for conservatives) didn’t want it to be one-sided (as in limited only to liberal, or statist, PBS viewers).  It turns out that the PBS viewers are also worried about the outcome.  That’s why I got this in an email (emphasis mine):

This seems to be important, it only takes about 5 seconds.  Thought you’d want to know.

PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified.  Apparently the right wing knew about this in advance and are flooding the voting with YES votes.  The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media.  It can influence undecided voters in swing states.

Please do two things — takes 20 seconds.

1) Click on link and vote yourself.

Here’s the link:
http://www.pbs.org/now/polls/poll-435.html

2) Then send this to every single Obama-Biden voter you know, and urge them to vote and pass it on.

The last thing we need is PBS saying their viewers think Sarah Palin is qualified.

God forbid that a taxpayer funded media organization should represent alternative political views, right?

(BTW, don’t bother to go to the poll.  As we already discovered, it’s old and dysfunctional.)

Don’t believe everything — or even anything — that you read in the papers

From James Taranto’s Best of the Web Today:

The McCain campaign has released Todd and Sarah Palin’s 2006 and 2007 tax returns, the Associated Press notes in a brief dispatch, which ends as follows:

The McCain-Palin campaign had said the tax returns would be released Monday, but it suddenly put them out Friday afternoon–a time long used by government to reveal embarrassing news because few people watch TV or read newspapers Friday evening and Saturday.

And the Palins’ tax returns are embarrassing because . . . well, the AP doesn’t say in its brief (129-word) dispatch. A later, longer version of the dispatch, which contains the same closing paragraph about “embarrassing news,” reveals that the Palins’ tax liability for 2007 turned out to be greater than they thought when they filed for an extension in April. As a result they may owe the IRS interest but not penalties. That’s embarrassing?

Could it be that the AP just throws in that disclaimer about “embarrassing news” on all Friday afternoon stories? Nope, NewsBusters.org notes that when Joe and Jill Biden released their tax returns three Fridays earlier, no such disclaimer was included in the AP’s report.

It did, however, mention that “the Bidens’ move is designed to pressure Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin to release her financial records.” Apparently in the AP’s eyes, all news is embarrassing to Sarah Palin.

A hilarious example of press bias against Palin occurred last FridayI on “The Diane Rehm Show,” a production of Washington’s WAMU-FM. The exchange between hostess Rehm, caller Tom of Norwich, Vt., and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne begins at about 46:10 of the “10:00 News Roundup”:

Tom: I just wonder why not more has been made of the statement by Palin during the debate last night that “Maliki and the Talabani”–this is a quote from the transcript–“also in working with us are knowing again that we are getting closer and closer to the point of victory.” The Talibani obviously are our absolute enemy and have been since 9/11; Maliki, our central ally in Iraq. This to me is a tremendous blunder, revealing a very superficial familiarity with these sorts of terms.

Rehm: Thanks for calling, Tom. . . . E.J.?

Dionne: I think that “superficial” is absolutely the right word for the knowledge or the lack of knowledge Palin showed yesterday. I’m glad the caller raised that one, and I suspect there is going to be a scouring of that transcript for exactly that sort of gaffe. That has echoes of some of the stuff she said to Katie Couric.

If you look at the debate transcript, however, you will see that the reference is not to “the Talabani” but to Talabani–as in Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq.

Unlike Tom and Dionne’s misunderstanding, Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi‘s misquotation of Palin can’t be chalked up to superficiality. Her Sunday column included the following correction of her Friday column:

My column on the vice presidential debate incorrectly quoted Sarah Palin. Here is the correct quote: “And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people.”

The correction is a bit of a misquote too. Palin actually said, “I may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you want to hear,” as the official transcript confirms; some media transcripts missed the two italicized words.

Although the Web version of Vennochi’s Friday column has the almost-correct quote, we were able to retrieve the original column from Factiva. Here is how Vennochi quoted Palin:

The strategy for John McCain’s running mate was clear. Be folksy and perky. Her answers were sprinkled with “darn right,” and “betcha.” Early on, Palin told moderator Gwen Ifill she could ask whatever she wanted; “I’m gonna answer whatever I want.”

The most charitable explanation for this is that Vennochi, making notes during the debate, wrote down her interpretation of what Palin said and then mistook it for an actual quote.
Oh, the Sunday column that includes the correction is headlined, “Instead of Hype, How About Honesty?” Good question!

Keeping the faith *UPDATED*

I did something kind of special today:  I went to a big fundraiser and heard Sarah Palin speak before a relatively small audience (1,200 of her closest friends in Northern California).  There are definitely perks to being a political volunteer.

I had a wonderful time, too.  I got to check people in, and everybody was so very happy to be there.  If things were a little wrong with the contents of their envelope (tickets, name tags, etc), they were so cheerful about it, just because they felt that they were in a special place, at a special time.

Once my volunteer stint finished, I was able to go into the large ballroom, pull up a chair, have a lovely brunch, and listen to Sarah Palin speak.  She didn’t say anything you haven’t already heard:  she spoke about her accomplishments, about John McCain’s accomplishments, about cleaning house in Washington, and about Obama’s association with Bill Ayers.  She gave a funny apology for the Couric interview, saying that the fault was hers, because she wanted to talk about substance, and Couric kept asking her insubstantial questions that frustrated her.

It’s always interesting to see in person someone you’ve only seen on TV, especially someone you’ve seen only in two settings:  before hostile interviewers or before tens of thousands of adoring fans.  In the more “intimate” setting of an approving, well-informed audience of 1,200, she was a true star.  Her rhythm is just great.  She knows how to time things, and she makes the whole speech sound very personal.

Palin had no teleprompter, just some notes in front of her, to which she referred occasionally.  She sounded very conversational and, the more conversational she sounded, the more charming she got.  Everyone sitting there (and everyone reading this post) knows and admires a woman just like her.  These women work with you, they carpool with you, they hang out at your kids sports with you, they’re at the bus stop, and sometimes you just socialize with them:  they’re funny, warm, incredibly competent, well-organized, attractive without being threatening.  It’s of these women that you always hear other women say “I’d hate her if she wasn’t so nice”  — with “hate” being the operative term for, “I’m incredibly jealous of this woman who makes me look lazy and incompetent,” but she’s just too delightful not to enjoy.

Watching Sarah, and feeling the enthusiasm and warmth in the room, made me realize that there is still hope for this campaign.  McCain has been declared politically dead over and over in the past two years, and he keeps coming back.  He’s a warrior, not some weenie guy who slinks away in the night.  And William Kristol reminds us that, in the waning days of the most bizarre campaign in American history, despair is our enemy (emphasis mine):

The odds are against John McCain and Sarah Palin winning this election. It’s not easy to make up a 6-point deficit in the last four weeks. But it can be done.

Look at history. The Gore-Lieberman ticket gained about 6 points in the final two weeks of the 2000 campaign. Ford-Dole came back more than 20 points in less than two months in the fall of 1976. Both tickets were from the party holding the White House, and both were running against inexperienced, and arguably risky, opponents.

What’s more, this year’s race has already–twice–moved by more than 6 points over a span of only a few weeks. The race went from McCain up 2 (these are the Real Clear Politics averages) on September 14 to Obama plus 6 on October 2, less than three weeks later. In the four weeks before that, the race had moved from Obama plus 5 on August 12 to McCain plus 2 on September 12.

So while there’s reason for McCain-Palin supporters to worry, there’s no reason to despair.

Despair is what the Obama campaign is hoping and working for. If a campaign can convince supporters of the other candidate that the race is effectively over, the enthusiasm and volunteer efforts drop off–as does, ultimately, their turnout on Election Day. Just as important, undecided and loosely affiliated voters become persuaded there’s no real contest and lose any incentive to look closely at the candidates. This explains the efforts of the Obama campaign–aided by a colluding media–to sell the notion that the race is over, that McCain supporters should give up, and undecided voters should tune out.

Don’t despair. It’s not over ’til it’s over. Obama is worse than we thought, and McCain is better than we often give him credit for being. And Sarah is a great politician, with a wonderful future no matter what happens. All is not lost.

UPDATEA post from another blogger who was there and felt that same enthusiasm, with a bit more substance, too, than my impressionistic post.

UPDATE II:  Despite the enthusiasm, Melanie Morgan (who was there too) says that some of the movers and shakers want McCain to get off his derriere and do some moving and shaking of his own — and Palin did promise that he would.

A few comments about the debate *UPDATED*

I’ve watched almost all of the debate, but it’s bedtime now, and I’ll have to save the rest for later.  Three comments:

1.  The first, the most obvious, and the most pressing question:  How many botoxes did they kill to create that abnormally smooth, completely motionless forehead Biden was sporting?  That was creepy.

2.  Was I the only who noticed that Biden speaks in the language of class warfare, while Palin talks of American exceptionalism?

3.  Regarding the debacle on Wall Street, I wish someone would explain clearly the difference between deregulation, and the issue of oversight, which would have prevented this from happening.

The problem on Wall Street wasn’t deregulation.  Instead, it was a problem of too much regulation — that is, the government started telling banks how to loan money.  The instructions required loans that went against banks’ financial interests, so banks started doing funny-money stuff to protect themselves — and they did so with Fannie’s and Freddie’s active participation.  That was the Democratic side.

None of this would have happened if there had been oversight.  Oversight doesn’t mean telling Wall Street what to do, it means policing Wall Street to make sure that, when it makes business decisions, it does so honestly.

Obama/Biden want to increase how much government dictates to Wall Street, and we’ve seen what a disaster that is.  McCain/Palin want to get government out of bossing Wall Street around, and get government to do its more natural and appropriate role of policing Wall Street.

Those two concepts are hugely different from each other but, because nobody’s articulating this difference, including McCain and Palin, Obama and Biden are getting away with conflating the terms, muddying the waters, and besmirching McCain’s reputation and foresight.

Overall, Biden smirked but didn’t gaffe; Palin was a little nervous, but hit the high points.

UPDATE:  I see I was not the only one to notice Biden’s forehead shield.

UPDATE II:  I’m sure you’ve already read what the top bloggers have to say.  Here are links to what some of my friends (some of whom are coincidentally pretty top bloggers themselves) have to say:

The Anchoress (who has wonderful links)

Lorie Byrd at Wizbang

Steve Schippert at Wizbang

Cheat-Seeking Missiles

Brutally Honest

Flopping Aces

If you think someone wrote a particularly good debate post, please feel free to link in the comments.

The debate

I haven’t watched the debate yet.  I’ve been doing volunteer work (yes, we selfish conservatives sometimes give generously of our time), getting food, preparing dinner, and wrapping up a brief that needs to be filed tomorrow.  What I thought I’d do, therefore, is reprint here a prediction I made about the debate in an email I sent a friend early this afternoon. Since I probably won’t get to watch Sarah in action until the weekend, you can tell me if I’m right or wrong.  Here’s my email:

I can predict the only possible outcomes for this debate:

Whether she does well or not, the MSM will savage her.

If she truly does well (outside of MSM perceptions), the conservative blogosphere will celebrate and hope for an 11th hour victory among ordinary Americans.

If she truly does badly (outside of MSM perceptions), we’ll be enveloped in despair, because the election will be over.  Barring a true October surprise showing something not just awful, but new and awful about Obama, it will have ended tonight.

If she does medium well (outside of MSM perceptions), we will still have lost, because the media savagery will control the public perceptions.

In other words, there’s only one possibility for a good outcome, and that’s if Palin truly shines.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Trying to break through the media fire

Since the moment Palin burst onto the scene, the media has engaged in the most sustained attack I’ve ever seen on a single political candidate.  Outright lies, partial lies, rumors, half-truths, full truths — it doesn’t matter.  There’s just a giant information dump onto the public radar, with the hope that most people will never sort through the information, but will just be left with a general impression that Palin is an idiot who lies, cheats, steals, slaughters animals indiscriminately, hunts and burns witches, sleeps with her whole family, censors books (but probably can’t read ’em), and (worst of all) believes in God.

The McCain campaign has now set up a pretty cute little website aimed at countering the worst of the smears against her.  It’s called, appropriately enough, Palin Truth Files, and it deserves some attention.

A lovely homage to Admiral Stockdale

In 1992, I watched the three way Vice-Presidential debate, pitting Al Gore, Dan Quayle and last-minute Perot pick Admiral James B. Stockdale.  I saw 90 minutes during which Admiral Stockdale opened with two philosophical questions (“Who am I?  Why am I here?”) that made him look befuddled, not thoughtful, and then I watched him vanish in the melee that was the Gore-Quayle verbal fist-fight.

As a die-hard Clintonite, I resented his being there (although I’ve since realized that it was Perot’s and Stockdale’s presence on the ticket that enabled Clinton to win), and I was not inclined to take the man seriously.  I’m sorry now that I didn’t.  His son has written a lovely homage to him, one that explains the way in which he was brutally dragged into an alien political landscape and exposed to a great deal of public humiliation.  Mr. Stockdale also tells us precisely what kind of a man his father was, and how even this gauntlet didn’t touch his true core:

As everyone saw that evening, he was not a politician. He was a fighter-pilot ace, a Medal of Honor recipient, and a wonderful dad and human being. During his eight years as a POW, he slit his scalp and beat his face with a stool to prevent his captors from parading him in the streets for propaganda purposes. He gave starving men his food rations when he himself was starving. And at home, after his release in 1973, he was a respected leader, scholar and writer. He considered himself a philosopher.

He studied the Greeks — specifically Epictetus, an ancient slave and stoic who espoused the idea that individuals have free will and absolute autonomy over all matters within their control. He believed we must not wallow in self-pity when the chips are down, but rather recognize that we have the power to choose how to respond to everything.

My father adopted this philosophy while a graduate student at Stanford University in the early 1960s. So he never took pity on himself — ever. Not as a POW when he was tortured, forced to wear leg irons and to live in solitary confinement. And not after the debate. He knew he had put himself into that arena.

Mr. Stockdale wraps up his article with a great deal of sympathy of what has been and will be happening to Sarah Palin.

Digital manipulation to alter Sarah Palin’s world views

Would you be surprised to learn that both ABC and CBS coincidentally managed to edit out of their interviews with Palin those moments when she expressed moderate, hands-across-the-water foreign policy views?  No.  I wouldn’t be surprised either.

Hat tip:  The Anchoress

The media and this election

I haven’t gotten up to speed yet this morning for blogging, but my fellow bloggers have, and they’ve already posted some good stuff.

The Anchoress has noticed that, as the debates draw near, the MSM is working diligently to prepare the American audience . . . by lowering expectations.  Obama, once hailed as the greatest American orator since Lincoln, is now being billed as uneven and inexperienced (which is really shocking, considering that his resume as a lawyer and a teacher is supposed to make him at least marginally adept at dealing with oral challenges, right?).

Then, per Confederate Yankee, we learn that there is no proof to back up the reprehensible charge that Alaska generally and Wasilla specifically, under Palin, charged women who had been raped with the price of the rape kits used on them.  One person made the charge to much press hullabaloo, and then vanished; myriad people have rebutted the charge, and the press has ignored them completely.  Hmmm.

In response to the charge that the NYT is one of his propagand arms, Obama fired back with the claim that the NYT has written 40 “probing” stories about him.  Laer examined Obama’s charge very carefully and found it wanting.

Grass roots, my a**!

Dr. Rusty Shackleford has been investigating the myriad smears that sprang into life instantly the moment Palin arrived on the political scene.  The smears appeared to be the result of grass roots efforts from concerned citizens.  Shackleford’s research shows that the opposite is true — that a PR firm has been orchestrating this effort to manipulate the American voter:

Extensive research was conducted by the Jawa Report to determine the source of smears directed toward Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Those smears included false allegations that she belonged to a secessionist political party and that she has radical anti-American views.

Our research suggests that a subdivision of one of the largest public relations firms in the world most likely started and promulgated rumors about Sarah Palin that were known to be false. These rumors were spread in a surreptitious manner to avoid exposure.

It is also likely that the PR firm was paid by outside sources to run the smear campaign. While not conclusive, evidence suggests a link to the Barack Obama campaign. Namely:

  • Evidence suggests that a YouTube video with false claims about Palin was uploaded and promoted by members of a professional PR firm.
  • The family that runs the PR firm has extensive ties to the Democratic Party, the netroots, and are staunch Obama supporters.
  • Evidence suggests that the firm engaged in a concerted effort to distribute the video in such a way that it would appear to have gone viral on its own. Yet this effort took place on company time.
  • Evidence suggests that these distribution efforts included actions by at least one employee of the firm who is unconnected with the family running the company.
  • The voice-over artist used in this supposedly amateur video is a professional.
  • This same voice-over artist has worked extensively with David Axelrod’s firm, which has a history of engaging in phony grassroots efforts, otherwise known as “astroturfing.”
  • David Axelrod is Barack Obama’s chief media strategist.
  • The same voice-over artist has worked directly for the Barack Obama campaign.

This suggests that false rumors and outright lies about Sarah Palin and John McCain being spread on the internet are being orchestrated by political partisans and are not an organic grassroots phenomenon led by the left wing fringe. Our findings follow.

You can read the rest — in which Shackleford carefully backs up each of his claims — here.

Questioning whether Hillary will be the October surprise

It’s Saturday and I’m posting at McCain-Palin 2008.  As always, since I think it’s a wonderful cooperative blog, I’d like to get more traffic headed its way and, therefore, I’m publishing the beginning of my post here in the hope that you finish reading the rest of it there:

Biden is a never-ending source of delight — for those who don’t like Biden. Whether he’s chastising reporters for being out of shape, demanding that the wealthy show their patriotism by transferring their money to the middle class, making bizarre and ill-informed pronouncements regarding Catholic doctrine and abortion, or offending Ohioans en masse, you can really count on the guy to get it done (or, should I say, to get it done wrong). Nothing about this is new; it’s just Biden being Biden.

If gravitas means being old, gray, and a Congressional seat warmer, Biden is the ticket. However, if gravitas means being thoughtful, informed and wise, Biden is, and always was, the comedy man in this straight man’s role. Although Obama must have known going in what he was getting with Biden, you can’t help wondering if he’s suffering from buyer’s remorse right now. That’s especially true given the legions of women who took umbrage at the way he cavalierly insulted Hillary and who, in response, fled to McCain.

The question then, at least in the blogosphere, is whether Obama is going to pressure Biden to withdraw for some sympathetic reason, such as health or a family crisis, enabling Hillary to come in and save the day. While everyone with any sense will know that Biden’s withdrawal is manufactured, some women may be so glad to see Hillary back on the ticket that they’ll yield to the Democrats’ siren song. Frankly, I’ve been one of those worried about this.

Noemie Emery, however, is much more sanguine.

So, if you want to read more, you’ll find the rest here.

Life imitates art when it comes to the Palin candidacy

Many years ago, courtesy of Turner Classic Movies (my favorite TV station), I watched The Farmer’s Daughter, a 1947 film starring Loretta Young and Joseph Cotten.  Over the years, I’ve carried a strong memory of liking the movie a great deal, and no memory at all of the plot.  So, when I saw that The Farmer’s Daughter was coming around again, I asked TiVo to catch it for me — and am I glad I did.

First of all, the movie is every bit as charming as I remember, and I’d probably think that even if I wasn’t a Joseph Cotten fan.  It’s a wonderful bit of movie-making from the heyday of the Hollywood studio system, with the stars luminous and the character actors pitch perfect.

Second, the movie seems prescient about Palin’s presence in the presidential race.  For those who don’t know (spoiler alert here), Loretta Young, sporting a strong American/Swedish accent, plays the eponymous “farmer’s daughter,” a young woman named Katrin Holstrom.   Katrin is beautiful, incredibly competent, strong, cheerful and has solid middle American values.

When we first meet Katrin, she is leaving the family farm for the big city, where she plans to attend nursing school.  Unfortunately, hoping to save some money, she hops a ride with City Slicker (yes, capital letters for that old fashioned concept) who tries to hit on her (she rebuffs him), and leaves her broke and stranded.  Undaunted by this setback, she makes her way to the City and, to re-earn money for nursing school, takes a job as a maid for the fabulously wealthy Congressman Glenn Morley (that would be Joseph Cotten).

Because this is a Hollywood movie from the 1940s, Katrin and Glenn, of course, fall in love.  But politics intrudes.  Glenn’s fellow congressman dies suddenly, leaving his seat open.  The “party” (unnamed but, in this Truman era movie out of already-then-progressive Hollywood, clearly the Republican party) nominates someone it thinks is electable — and Katrin objects, quite publicly, to his myriad political defects.  The “opposition” (Democratic, of course) sees a winner in Katrin’s beautiful looks, wholesome aspect and clear talk, and convinces her to run for Congress.

Katrin’s run is going very well indeed until, suddenly, scandal erupts.  The painter who took her money and abandoned her, appears to announce that she spent an illicit night with him.  She is publicly humiliated and her candidacy looks as if it will collapse.

So far, I’m sure you’re with me on the parallels to Palin’s story:  beautiful, incredibly competent, clear-speaking, honorable woman is plucked out of obscurity to great political acclaim.  However, as her candidacy picks up speed, nefarious forces emerge to try to tarnish her image (Tasergate, alleged faked pregnancies, alleged affairs, alleged censorship, and a whole lot of other alleged et ceteras).

And this, of course, is where the movie and the Palin reality part ways.  In the movie, as you can guess, the forces of good band together to save Katrin’s reputation and prove that she’s being unfairly besmirched, she and Morley profess their love for each other, and everyone lives happily ever after, in both life and politics.

How different from what is happening to Palin.  In Palin’s case, there is not one besmirching, but many.  And unlike the situation in the movie, where the removal of a single smear reveals Katrin as her true moral self, here the removal of one smear leads the opposition to redouble its efforts and come up with more and more slanders.

Worse, in the public narrative — the newspapers — there is no knight in shining armor to come and rescue Palin’s reputation.  Instead, it is shredded into ever smaller pieces, with each bit of exculpatory information buried deep within the papers’ unread pages.

The 1947 movie is a powerful indictment of the way in which political corruption and moral turpitude can come together to destroy the strongest person.  It’s only the Hollywood happy ending machine that keeps the movie going as a fairly light romance and prevents it from veering into tragedy.

We can only hope as we watch the machine rage against Palin that she is able to pull off a happy ending in real life, so that we can all watch the movie next year with a smile, rather than regret.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Difficult decisions

The media is struggling with difficult decisions.  On the one hand, media members have to ask themselves if they should report about Sarah Palin’s tanning bed, the fact that she was interested in seeing her ex-brother-in-law lose his job after issuing death threats to her father and tasering her nephew, or her question about controversial books (a question that never went anywhere, mind you).  On the other hand, they’re wondering whether they should report that Barack Obama has had tight relationships for decades with known America-haters, who advanced Communism, race hatred and sexual deviance; that he played a money/political back-scratching game with a felon (that would be Rezko); that he spent twenty years listening to a pastor spouting race and America hatred; that he tried to keep American troops in Iraq, despite his claim that they their presence their was dangerous and unnecessary, simply to advance his own political ascendency; and myriad other little details that keep popping up about Barack Obama’s past and politics.  Decisions, decisions….

Okay, you got me.  The above was a total lie.  It was complete satire.  The media has never faced down this decision.  For the media, it’s always been a no-brainer.  Their patriotic duty, as they see it, is to ensure that Obama wins and McCain loses.  Media members have no interest in being the public’s eyes and ears, dutifully reporting all available information to the American people so that the latter can draw their own opinion.  The stories revolving around this election and the way in which media members choose stories and attack and defend the candidates make it plain that the media has abandoned its role as an investigative organization, and has become, for the most part, a highly partisan branch of the Democratic party.

By the way, for those with short historic memories, there was a party organ like that in the former Soviet Union, with the ironic name of Pravda (truth).

From the McCain campaign to the world

The McCain campaign is giving substantive responses to the attacks the Obama campaign is leveling against it:

TO:                 Interested Parties

RE:                Empty Words And Insults Cannot Cover A Weak Record

DATE:            September 15, 2008

Over the last few days, the Obama campaign has watched their poll numbers falter and decided to lash out with personal attacks against Senator McCain and Governor Palin.

While their attacks can be explained in part as an over-reaction to declining poll numbers, they are also symptomatic of a candidate with a thin record who is unable to explain problematic votes and statements.  Senator Obama unwittingly provided a preview of this strategy in Denver when he said: “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.”

Because in many instances the facts are not on his side, Senator Obama has made up for this by hurling insults in the hope that people will not examine the record. In recent days, we have seen this tactic played out repeatedly:

Earmarks: In recent days, Barack Obama has decided to engage Senator McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in a debate over earmarks. However, despite his attempts to call everyone who examines his record a liar, the facts are clear:

While Senator McCain has never requested a single earmark, Senator Obama has requested nearly a billion dollars worth during his short time in office.  Though Senator Biden has been in the Senate for 36 years, he has only disclosed his earmarks for one year.

Senator Obama increased his earmark requests during each of his first three years in office. Governor Palin has cut requests for earmarks for Alaska by $150 million since entering office, and she has cut those requests every single year.  She has also vetoed a half billion dollars in wasteful spending at the state level.

Senator Obama has also attacked Governor Palin over the “Bridge to Nowhere,” despite the fact that he actually voted for the bridge, and his own party in Alaska credited her for ending the project.  The fact is the bridge ballooned in cost between the time it was first budgeted and when Palin became governor. Once in the Governor’s office, Palin examined the new facts and concluded that the project had become too expensive and a poor use of tax dollars. This conclusion led to her decision to end the project, as detailed in numerous press accounts at the time.

Sex Education: When confronted with questions about his support for K through 12 sex education, Barack Obama has lashed out at the propriety of any questions on what he voted for.  The text of the bill in question reads:

“Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.”

The fact is that this legislation stated expressly that children in grades kindergarten through 12 were to be taught about sexually transmitted diseases.  If Senator Obama believes that it is not appropriate to teach kindergarteners about sexually transmitted diseases, he should have joined with the minority who voted against the bill.  Instead, he supported it.

While Senator Obama has tried to assert that all he’s ever been concerned about was protecting young children from predators, the facts tell a different story.  For example, in describing his position on sex ed for kindergarteners in 2004, Obama specifically said it included topics other than sex predators or inappropriate touching, saying, “If they ask a teacher ‘where do babies come from,’ that providing information that the fact is that it’s not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing.”

In 2007, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that he supported “age-appropriate” sex education for kindergarteners. When challenged about what was “age-appropriate,” the Obama campaign cited guidelines that included comprehensive and explicit teaching that should concern every parent.

Taxes: The Obama campaign claims that anyone who says that Senator Obama is going to raise taxes is lying. But the fact is that what Senator Obama says and what he has voted for are two different things.

He pledges on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class, but in the Senate, he voted for higher taxes on people making just $42,000 per year. He has voted for higher taxes or against tax cuts 94 times.  It is not a lie to point out this record of votes.  At the beginning of the campaign, he promised to raise taxes on every American with an investment through his increases on capital gains and dividend taxes.

Over the course of this campaign, he has run away from this record of supporting higher taxes. That is not surprising in an election year, but that is also why the record is important.  Senator Obama has put forth so many versions of his tax plan, voters are naturally going to judge him not just on what he says on the campaign trail, but what he has done during his time in office.

Senator Obama can hurl all the insults he wants, but his record is still a fair point of discussion in this campaign.

Behind every successful woman is….

The very clever Lionel Libson (father of our own Joseph Libson, who sometimes comments here) came up with this great Photoshopped image (click on image for a larger version):

Thy Will Be Done

Thy Will Be Done

Charles Gibson — two headed donkey

It turns out that Charles Gibson has two different interview modes.  If you’re male, black and a Democrat, it’s very loving.  If you’re female, white and a Republican, it’s condescending, aggressive, and dishonest.  I know that from all the articles I’ve read about each interview.  Now, the Anchoress reprints a compendium of questions (generated at a Hillary forum) from each interview, just to hammer the nail into Gibson’s two-faced coffin.  (And yes, that’s a weirdly mixed metaphor):

Obama interview:

How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
How does it feel to “win”?
How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
Who will be your VP?
Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
Will you accept public finance?
What issues is your campaign about?
Will you visit Iraq?
Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

Palin interview:
Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
Questions about foreign policy
-territorial integrity of Georgia
-allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
-NATO treaty
-Iranian nuclear threat
-what to do if Israel attacks Iran
-Al Qaeda motivations
-the Bush Doctrine
-attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

H/T: Mike Devx, who was also kind enough to check to make sure that the list is correct.

Why Palin is not at risk of being the Republican’s Messiah

Charles Krauthammer wrote a nice article tracking Obama’s swift rise and (probably inevitable) decline.  In the section dealing with Obama’s peak moments, Krauthammer compares him to Reagan — and explains why the two men and the public’s reaction to those two men are completely different.  If you substitute Palin’s name every time Krauthammer writes “Reagan,” you’ll see why we’re not at risk of turning Palin into a pathetic political Messiah:

The problem is that Obama began believing in his own magical powers — the chants, the swoons, the “we are the ones” self-infatuation. Like Ronald Reagan, he was leading a movement, but one entirely driven by personality.

Reagan’s revolution was rooted in concrete political ideas (supply-side economics, welfare-state deregulation, national strength) that transcended one man. For Obama’s movement, the man is the transcendence.

Which gave the Obama campaign a cultlike tinge. With every primary and every repetition of the high-flown, self-referential rhetoric, the campaign’s insubstantiality became clear. By the time it was repeated yet again on the night of the last primary (No. 3), the tropes were tired and flat.

Palin’s principled move in the right direction

We all know that the turning point in the public mind for John Kerry’s candidacy was his famous “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it” when speaking of his ultimate vote against military appropriations for Afghanistan and Vietnam.  Voters were left with the impression that this was a man who was so layered in random nuance and political calculation that, when he actually had to make a stand, he turned his back on principles and went with poll-driven expediency.

Democrats are now trying to make the same play against Sarah Palin by pointing to the fact that she used to accept substantial earmarks for Wasilla, and that she was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.  What they don’t get is that her trajectory is completely different from Kerry’s.

Kerry went from an acceptable decision to an unacceptable one.  Palin, however, traveled in the other direction:  She went from making bad decisions to making good decisions.  She had an upward learning curve, both at a practical and a values level.  As she mastered governance, she opted for principles over politics as usual.  I think that’s something to applaud, not to insult.

The flaw in the argument

James Taranto puts his finger on something that’s been bugging me about the malevolent attacks leveled against Sarah Palin for choosing to have, rather than to abort, Trig.  After citing to three such attacks, he has this to say:

This is worse than tasteless or even unhinged. It is depraved. It represents an inversion of any reasonable conception of right and wrong, including liberal conceptions.

Fowler uses Palin’s motherhood to disparage her accomplishments, an obvious betrayal of the principle of women’s equality. And although proponents of permissive abortion laws nearly always claim to support not abortion but “a woman’s right to choose,” here we have three of them rebuking Palin for choosing not to abort her baby.

He has other excellent arguments attacking these varous points these liberal luminaries make, but this is the one that strikes me most strongly, because I’ve been aware of the huge flaw in their reasoning, but unable to articulate the problem.  Taranto, thankfully, did it for me.

It’s not a whiny sexist issue

As you know, I’m willing to assume that Obama, rather than intentionally calling Palin or McCain a pig, used an infelicitous expression, which may or may not have had any subliminal resonance for him (although it clearly did for his audience).  Listening to the speech, I find much more upsetting how inarticulate Obama is.  This man cannot think on his feet and it shows:

Whatever Obama’s motives and meaning, conservative pundits are now fearful that Palin’s team is making a mistake treating this as a sexist attack (this is a good example of this viewpoint).   I agree that this is a big mistake, but not for the same reason as the pundits.  I agree because this attack — if attack there was — wasn’t sexist.

There have been other sexist attacks launched against Palin, with liberal pundits piling on to explain why Palin can be VP or can be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen, but she can’t be both.  But Obama was not attacking Palin’s sex.  He was using a shorthand — lipstick — to identify her.  He could equally well have said “You can put a pig in glasses.”

The insult, therefore, wasn’t tied to her sex, it was tied to what he did with that identifier:  Obama, having used code for Palin (if one is assuming that’s what he intended to do), then proceeded to call either Palin or McCain a pig.

In my world it’s appropriate to take some umbrage when someone calls you a pig.  You can reasonably challenge the crudity that Obama keeps displaying when he’s feeling tired and/or on the defensive.   It bespeaks a low mind and an angry, ugly sensibility, and aptly highlights McCain’s graciousness in this campaign and Palin’s happy warrior quality.

Of course, having said all that, it is worth noting that Obama’s anti-Hillary campaign saw him making points that were somewhat derogatory of women.  This fact is rather interesting when laid alongside the fact that Obama’s life seems to have been so thoroughly dominated by strong women. I leave it to the armchair and real psychologists amongst you to figure out if there’s a pattern here.