Monthly Archives: October 2008

Sharing toys vs. Redistributing them

As if it weren’t eye-popping enough for Joe Biden to get in Katie Couric’s face and insist that paying higher taxes is a “patriotic” act, now Barack Obama is taking that ball and running with it, equating opposition to redistributionism with “selfishness”:

John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness. You know, the next thing, the next thing I know they’re gonna, you know, find evidence of my communistic tendencies because I shared my toys when I was in kindergarten.

If I’ve said this before, I’ve said it a thousand times: there is nothing selfish or inhumane about opposition to higher taxes and government-mandated wealth redistribution, especially given the history of both. Sen. Obama is a contemptible demagogue for trying to pass off this doctrinaire statism as virtuous in comparison.

Explanation, including a more apt vision of little Barack in kindergarten sharing his (and other people’s) toys, below the break.

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Bill Clinton, always eager to help

Two weeks after Jesse Jackson did his part in promoting Obama with a jubilant announcement to an international audience in Europe that an Obama administration would put Israel in its place diplomatically, now Bill Clinton is pitching in with some “help” of his own.

Clinton was in Florida with Obama for a mend-the-fences rally (full speech text here), and Clinton proudly declared to the crowd that the great thing about Obama’s performance during the early days of the financial meltdown is that he was completely clueless:

“I haven’t cleared this with him and he may even be mad at me for saying this so close to the election, but I know what else he said to his economic advisers (during the crisis),” Clinton told the crowd at a Wednesday night rally with Obama in Florida. “He said, ‘Tell me what the right thing to do is. What’s the right thing for America? Don’t tell me what’s popular. You tell me what’s right — I’ll figure out how to sell it.’”

Now, I don’t expect Obama to have all the answers, any more than I do McCain. As Allahpundit points out, even Alan Greenspan was caught unawares by the severity of the collapse. However, I do not expect a prospective president to run around like a headless chicken, shouting “What’ll I do?? What’ll I do??” And what’s that about “you tell me what’s right, I’ll figure out how to sell it”? Who is this man now, Joe Isuzu? It would be one thing if Obama had collected an ad hoc brain trust and brought along some ideas of his own for a brainstorming session, or at least some core economic and philosophical guidelines to keep his thoughts on track. Instead, Clinton tells a story of a greenhorn pleading for a script and a TelePrompTer.

Clinton ticked off a list of people he says Obama called:

I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers, he talked to my economic advisers. He called Hillary. He called me…

And now we get down to the real message. Barack Obama is an awesome pick because he goes to the Clinton Brigade first.

You know, I really do believe that the former president was genuinely trying to pay Obama a sincere compliment. That’s the worst part. Bill Clinton appears constitutionally incapable of saying anything without making it all about Bill Clinton (although, as in the above quote, he’ll occasionally throw Hillary a bone). He wants to make Obama look good, but by boiling Obama’s thought processes down to “you tell me what’s right, I’ll figure out how to sell it,” Clinton turns him into the textbook definition of an empty suit.

Obamfomercial ratings match Perotgramming

Oh, that has gotta hurt bad.

Nielsen announces that TV ratings for Barack Obama’s multi-network blanket infomercial only slightly beats out the mind-numbing pie-chart party broadcast by billionaire circus sideshow Ross Perot on Election Eve in 1996. Perot went on to win slightly over 8% of the vote.

Now some people might say that a 21.7% share is pretty good. Those people would be right if it hadn’t been insanely hyped, broadcast over five networks, and featured one candidate of only a two-candidate race. (Captain Ed’s got my back.) As it stands, the Nielsen ratings reflect the expected audience of such a production. The people who watched were the ones predisposed in the first place to sit through a gauzy tribute to Barack Obama for half an hour. That is to say, those who are already hard-core supporters.

The rest of the viewing public already knew what was coming.

No. 1 on YouTube for a reason

Obamagirl is prettier, but if I were an undecided voter this weekend, this video would put even her out of my mind. Make absolutely sure you watch past the spoken part.

I saw this video some time back (it’s was uploaded two months ago), but according to the BBC it’s become “the most-viewed election-related video on the YouTube website” since then, racking up over 11.3 million hits as of this posting.

The most striking part about it (outside of its content) is that while the McCain campaign did make a decision early on to spend less money on TV and more on YouTube advertising, the campaign never even had a hand in this. It’s entirely homemade; filmed, edited, and uploaded by volunteers, and starring an Iraq veteran who remains nameless throughout. McCain’s most effective Internet ad didn’t cost him a dime.

UPDATE: Fox News’s Shep Smith interviewed the no-longer-unnamed soldier, Sgt. Joe Cook, during his hour-long show. It was actually a fairly good interview, with Smith pressing Sgt. Cook to explain his assertion in the video that Sen. Obama has been “disrespectful” to the troops, but doing so respectfully himself, and in a manner that evokes a civil and enlightening exchange.

As with Joe Wurzelbacher and Tito Muñoz, I hope Sgt. Cook has a minimum of skeletons in his closet, or he can expect a lot of unwanted attention in the next few days. Fortunately, this late in the game, and with the race this close, I doubt that even the most bloodthirsty oppo professional on Obama’s staff, or the most starry-eyed Obama cheerleader in the media, will be so stupid as to go through the garbage cans of a wounded Iraq veteran who served honorably.

The Obama press purge continues

First it was radio. Then it was TV. Now, finally, the Obama campaign has completed the media-suppression trifecta by cracking down on unsympathetic newspapers.

In a report first broken by Drudge, it appears three newspapers have been booted from the Obama campaign plane: the Washington Times, the New York Post, and the Dallas Morning News. As it happens, all three are papers that had the nerve to endorse John McCain for president.

The campaign says it needed to make room on the plane for “network bigwigs” and reporters from the black magazines Essence and Jet, all of whom are naturally more interested in seeing a President Obama sworn in. The Washington Times feels especially aggrieved by the decision, since they have been with the campaign since Day One:

“We’ve been traveling since 2007 with him. … We’re a relevant newspaper — every day we break news,” Solomon said. “And to suddenly be kicked off the plane for people who haven’t covered it as aggressively or thoroughly as we are … it sort of feels unfair.”

He said the newspaper protested but was turned down again by the campaign.

“I can only hope that the candidate who describes himself as wanting to unite the nation doesn’t have some sort of litmus test for who he decides gets to cover the campaign,” Solomon said, noting that the Obama campaign’s decision came just two days after the paper endorsed McCain.

(Emphasis mine.) Thus falls the latest blow in the saga of what I’ve called Battered Media Syndrome. After swamping a radio show with shrill and hostile nuisance-calls to penalize it for hosting an Obama skeptic, then barring not one but two TV stations who had the temerity to ask Joe Biden uncomfortable questions, the campaign has now denied access to reporters from print newspapers who decline to pledge allegiance to The One.

Will their colleagues who still have their access shake off their Battered Media Syndrome and stand up for their fellow journalists? Or will each of them simply keep telling himself or herself “well, at least I know he still loves me” until their own next misstep gets them jettisoned as well?

If Obama is elected, I can’t wait to see what the evolution of the White House press corps makeup looks like.

(More reaction here and here. Don Surber is also noticing BMS symptoms; he tries his hand at explaining it, and may have some points, but frankly I’d rather just see them shape up.)

UPDATE: I’m getting emails calling to my attention how John McCain kicked Maureen Dowd and Joe Klein, both frequent McCain critics, off his plane, and that I should condemn that too, shouldn’t I?

Well, no. Dowd and Klein are opinion journalists, not reporters. When they lost their seats, the New York Times and Newsweek still had reporters aboard; the publications themselves were not barred as the WaTimes, NYPost, and DMNews were from Obama’s plane. Indeed, some time back a NYPost columnist was booted from the Obama plane for a less-than-flattering column he wrote about the candidate, and I didn’t say anything, because the Post still had a presence on the plane (their reporters), and frankly Obama isn’t obliged to give a seat to a guy with a history of slamming him.

There is no excuse, however, for ditching the entire press crew of a publication for their editorial board’s position, especially reporters; doubly especially in the last week before the election when such coverage is crucial.

Barbarians (AKA readers) at the gate

And here I thought this might actually go away.

The Obama-Khalidi tape, still in Los Angeles Times captivity, is drawing considerably more attention than the Times expected. The newspaper’s headquarters was confronted by a large crowd of Americans under the foolish, provincial impression that a videotape of a presidential candidate giving tacit approval to hours of Jew-hatred and Israel-bashing, and actively toasting its star purveyor, might actually be newsworthy, or at least that it might not be appropriate to stiffarm the thousands of people demanding that the videotape’s contents be released.

(Video courtesy of Mere Rhetoric, which has photos and more video at the link. More reaction here and here.)

So far, the reasons given by the Times for not releasing the tape (which was used as source material for a Times story by Peter Wallsten on Obama support among Palestinians), in chronological order over the course of the last five days, are:

  1. In a conversation between and Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft and Wallsten: “When I asked him about the video he said that as far as he was concerned he was through with the story.”
  2. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs got an email from the readers’ rep saying their reporting should be good enough: “The Times did write about the tape, so I’m not sure what you mean about suppressing the video or information from the video. Here is a copy of the report about the video.”
  3. Johnson blogged that Fox News’s Brit Hume asked the Times for their side of the story, to which they replied, “No comment.”
  4. The Times said in a statement replying to accusations from the McCain campaign: ““The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it…The Times keeps its promises to sources.”
  5. Most recently, the Times expanded on that last one by telling an emailer the source might come to harm if the tape were released: “The reporter agreed with his source not to release the tape in return for getting acess to it…To break that agreement might put the source of the tape in jeopardy.”

So what do you think? Which one’s the truth, if any?

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has Fox News video of Khalidi hiding from cameras and siccing security on the crew.

UPDATE II: Andrew McCarthy has an excellent rundown of the situation, explaining in great detail why the Times’s high-minded “journalistic ethics” blather isn’t worth the time wasted reading it.

UPDATE III: Jennifer Rubin at Pajamas Media has a link to a Khalidi lecture. Read the article and check the video…not a pretty picture.

America’s newest “ex-Marine” panics

Rep. John Murtha is drowning.

Camp Murtha has hurried out a mass mailing to the Congressman’s donor list begging for an additional $1 million so that he may cling to his seat for two more years. Such a cash infusion would supplement the eleventh-hour ad buys the DCCC have suddenly dumped on his district in an effort to save some of the votes their candidate is hemorrhaging. If his “racist, redneck” statemates decide they haven’t blown all their spare cash on Cheetos, Mountain Dew, and tractor pull tickets, perhaps they will come to the rescue of this pitiable, vestigial relic. Or perhaps not.

(Speaking of Murtha’s “racist” and “redneck” comments, check the latest mailing from his opponent Bill Russell, who is obviously having a ball with this. Bringin’ Jeff Foxworthy up north!)

A new Dane & Associates poll (H/T Miz Michelle) shows the race a statistical dead heat, with Murtha hanging onto a 1.8-point lead (45.5% to 43.7). With this many voters still undecided about a thirty-plus year incumbent, Murtha’s got plenty to worry about.

Republicans, on the other hand, finally have something to look forward to.