Category Archives: Barack Obama

Word spreading about hostility to coal?

Ohio Coal Association president Mike Carey has made his and his organization’s thoughts known on Obama’s stated plans for slow strangulation of the American coal industry:

“Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America’s coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it.

“These undisputed, audio-taped remarks, which include comments from Senator Obama like ‘I haven’t been some coal booster’ and ‘if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them’ are extraordinarily misguided.

“It’s evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state’s voters…”

More commentary, with expanded text of the OCA statement, here and here. References made to an old Biden Gaffe Watch favorite.

No word yet as to the effect of Obama’s “bankrupt” comments, or Carey’s response, on other coal-producing swing states such as those Carey mentions, or others such as Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, or New Mexico.

Ouch. And again I say, ouch.

Mary Katherine Ham at the Weekly Standard blog has assembled this collection of clips into what she calls “Obama’s Attack Ad on Himself”:

The number of fundamental policy positions on which Obama has simply and brazenly reversed himself is staggering, especially (as MKH puts it) while “floating above us all as the post-partisan redeemer of America.” Ham expresses regret at not having posted this video earlier; I regret it also, since it’s over three and a half minutes long (way too long for a TV spot) and won’t be carried anywhere but the Web; if it had been released earlier, it might well have filtered into TV news coverage. I should note that I don’t say that as a knock against her (it’s a very effective clip collection, and good on her for getting it out); just as a measure of agreement that it’s a shame it took longer to assemble the requisite video than she expected.

More here, here, here, and here. Jim Geraghty sums up the message: “All Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them.” The blog post that follows that title, a roster of major policy positions that make up Obama’s flip-flop playlist, is truly breathtaking; a wonder to behold.

Not to bring up polls again, but…

Yes, I know I blogged earlier that I didn’t want to blog on polls, because they’re unreliable this year due to the complete absence of solid and consistent standards, demographic balances, or turnout models from one poll to the other. However, I’m going to blog on polls once again before the election is over, and I’ll be staying true to my word because it’s another blog post on polling unreliability.

OK, I also know it sounds like I’m trashing a field of professional study of which I was a part for some time, but I’m really not; I still believe in the basic soundness of political polling. I simply think this year’s election dynamics are unique in their unpollability. However, there is an area of political polling in which I have never had any faith, at least not since I knew what they were. The area is that of the damnable exit poll.

More wonkery, notes of caution for Obamacolytes, and reasons for optimism for McCainiacs, below the break.

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Starving us of energy, for our own good

Does Barack Obama even want Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, or Virginia?

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there…. So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

So said Sen. Obama in a San Francisco Chronicle interview in January. (More here, here, and here) Fairly in line with Joe Biden’s professed hosility to coal of any kind (video here). Residents of the above coal-producing swing-states and others will be delighted to hear of Obama’s ambition to put them all out of work by way of punitive government fees. He went on to say that “under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” (Obviously, this was back when Hillary was still “inevitable” and Obama had less to lose.)

So with what, pray tell, would Obama fill the cavernous energy gap left by all of our shuttered coal plants, which after all do represent by far our biggest domestic energy source (nearly half our power production) and would leave us almost totally dependent on foreign energy sources if “bankrupted” by Obama’s cap-and-trade system?

The not-so-pretty search for an answer, with one alternative after the other shoved off the table, below the break.

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Will you be rich come Inauguration Day?

No, I’m not talking about Gwen Ifill’s book-selling prospects in the event that Barack Obama wins.

I’m talking about the sinking bar for the Democrats’ definition of “rich” as it pertains to the threshold income level at which Obama’s tax plan would really pack a wallop. Where do you step out from beneath the protective umbrella of the hallowed, untouchable middle class and graduate to state cash-cow status? Are you safe from the Obama harvesting machine if you make less than:

  1. $1,000,000
  2. $250,000
  3. $200,000
  4. $150,000
  5. $120,000
  6. $70,000
  7. $41.500
  8. All of the above

Well, if Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, any number of various Obama campaign bigs, and Obama himself are to be believed, the answer can only be “All of the above.”

During the Democratic primaries, where class envy was an easier sell and solid economic plans were not yet necessary, Obama contented himself with railing against “millionaires,” which had more of a personal touch than “corporations” and allowed for comparisons of personal income. Same bugaboo, different tax form.

After Obama’s nomination, he released his tax plan to the public, declaring (as he did in July at a gathering in Georgia), “If you make $250,000 a year or less, we will not raise your taxes. We will cut your taxes!” This figure came up repeatedly during the debates. And there was much rejoicing among the acolytes.

Last weekend, the Obama campaign released a TV ad in which their candidate assured us, “If you have a job, pay taxes, and make less than $200,000 a year, you will get a tax cut.” The candidate said this would apply to “95% of working Americans,” a figure I and others (including the AP and CBS News) have said numerous times is a mathematical impossibility.

Then came Tuesday, when Obama’s running-mate, Sen. Joe Biden, lowered the bar further to $150,000. It was at about this point that the serial bar-lowering turned into a great ad opportunity for the McCain campaign.

There’s more lurking in the background, however, that the campaign had to leave out for time’s sake…it looks like he’s been shining us on all along. In an interview in 2003, toward the beginning of his Senate campaign, Obama pegs the middle-class upper income limit at $70,000. How thoughtful…looks like he’s just slipping lower and lower numbers by us so that he might ease us into our newfound “richness.”

At least that would go some way toward explaining his recent loyal support and vote for the Democrat-crafted budget bill for FY 2009, which slapped a tax hike on individuals making as little as $41,500. I can just see all those middle-class folks basking in their newfound patriotism as they join the ranks of the nouveau riche.

Oh, hell, I feel richer already.

UPDATE: The McCain campaign’s “Slippery Slope” ad (referenced in the $150,000 paragraph above) has been updated to include the Richardson clip. Unfortunately, it’s way too long for a 30-second spot, and looks to be restricted to Web-ad status.

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.

Oh, sure, NOW they tell us…

Now that the Obamfomercial has filtered into the public consciousness, a spark of epiphany flickers in the unblinking eye of Barack Obama’s major-network entourage: the senator’s economic numbers — mirabile et horribile dictu! — don’t add up.

As I noted in my anti-liveblog on the mega-ad, the Associated Press was fairly quick to post a lengthy fact-check dossier on Obama’s cross-spectrum waste of time. CBS appears to be the latest to comprehend this late-dawning horror. Mercy me, can it be true?

If he closes every loophole as promised, saves every dime from Iraq, raises taxes on the rich and trims the federal budget as he’s promised to do “line by line,” he still doesn’t pay for his list. If he’s elected, the first fact hitting his desk will be the figure projecting how much less of a budget he has to work with – thanks to the recession. He gave us a very compelling vision with his ad buy tonight. What he did not give us was any hint of the cold reality he’s facing or a sense of how he might prioritize his promises if voters trust him with the White House.

And it only took them until the weekend before the election to put 2 and 2 together, so to speak.