Category Archives: Uncategorized

Federal judge: Ohio SecState breaking the law by enabling ACORN

In the second ruling against her in as many weeks, Ohio State Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has been found in violation of federal election laws by a federal judge.  Sec. Brunner neglected to “take adequate steps to validate the identity [sic] of newly registered voters.”  The ruling stems from complaints about the Secretary’s program allowing people to register and vote at the same time, without waiting for the registration to be verified.

The nut of the complaints, of course, was that the lack of oversight in the registration/voting program left the door wide open for voter fraud.  At the front of the complainants’ minds was ACORN, the community organizing umbrella group with a long, documented history of unethical or criminal voter registration practices continuing into the present day, which is known to have deployed an enormous number of its troops to Ohio.  (As noted earlier, Ohio is one of the states of interest to the FBI in their probe of ACORN’s activities.)

Details below the break.

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Playing with fire at the town hall debate?

Miz Michelle raises the specter of the embarrassing YouTube-sponsored debate during the Democratic primary, after which evidence emerged that the Clinton, Obama, and Edwards campaigns had all made use of planted supporters in the question-submitting audience, under the false guise of “undecided” voters.

John Dickerson at Slate is also wary, anticipating a tendency for audience members to grandstand.  He writes an article entitled “Beware of Ponytail Guy,” in a reference to the pony-tailed opening questioner at the town hall debate between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992.  The questioner, a “domestic mediator” name Denton Walthall, scolded the two candidates ahead of time against going negative during the debate, imploring them to treat the audience as they would their own children (he actually used the sentence, “Could we cross our hearts?”).  I remember watching that debate 16 years ago, and my gorge still rises at the memory of this man simpering for the cameras as if he were addressing 5-year-olds.

I think that’s a risk you take in a loose format like this one.  When the audience controls the questioning, the chances of a sideshow, or (as in the YouTube debate) a hijacking by a campaign mole, go through the roof.  If the news is to be believed, it appears the Democrats have a longer track record of plants in town hall debates, but John McCain has been pushing for this format for months now (he is said to thrive in a freewheeling environment), and Obama has been ducking him every step of the way since early summer.  Now that the Democrats have coalesced further behind Obama since McCain first proposed his series of town hall debates (i.e. there’s less chance now of Obama getting unfriendly questions from primary-opponent plants), we’ll see if McCain doesn’t look back thinking maybe he should have watched what he wished for.

However, Dickerson at Slate points out that there’s a factor at play this year that wasn’t present when Denton Walthall reared his pony-tailed head at the town hall in 1992 — the blogosphere:

On Tuesday night, if Son of Ponytail Guy asks a question, he can rest assured that he will receive a thorough going-over in the blogosphere. So I suggest all prospective questioners Google themselves, make sure they’re on good terms with their co-workers, and wipe clean their Facebook page.

May the best troll win!

“This is President-for-Life stuff” UPDATE: “Frat boys” video just got worse

I’ve been pointed to the last straw on Uncorrelated.com.

You know, I didn’t say anything about the Obama Children’s Chorus, because while I agreed that “Sing For Change” was a little creepy, I thought it was an isolated incident:

Likewise, I didn’t say anything when the Alpha Omega Fraternity/Obama Militia video surfaced either, because I know that fraternity hazing rituals can be baffling sometimes, though considered together with the above Choir it constituted signs of a disturbing trend of recruiting impressionable kids or young adults eager to impress into a weirdly cultish form of authority-worship:  [UPDATE: Not a fraternity…middle school kids, at a teacher’s behest!  See below.]

Now comes the third incident of such weirdness in just over a week (via Gateway Pundit), and I’m finally moved to post.  A shopper at Costco stumbled upon a children’s book by Jonah Winter entitled Barack, a hagiographic roman-a-clef (complete with serenely beatific cover portrait) of a subject who, if the book is to be believed, is nothing less than superhuman.

See a cover photo, excerpts, and the implications below the break.

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New attack ad from McCain, but still no FM/FM

John McCain is back on the attack following his Palin-induced shot in the arm, and he’s attacking on…taxes?  Senator, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are just sitting there waiting for you.  The NRCC has even got the ball rolling for you.  Your first ad following the debate was a cringeworthy mishmash.  The tax-cutting pitch is all well and good, but take a wild guess as to what’s on people’s minds now?  Hint: it ain’t tax cuts, emphasized in this ultimately wasted ad:

As an aside, James Pethoukokis of U.S. News doesn’t think McCain is going to pick up that ball (and believes ACORN is going to get a pass in the bargain):

1) It is a complicated argument, and McCain is not good at making complicated arguments, not even about earmarks. (Note, additionally, his lack of defense of the war in Iraq during his debate with Obama. Amazing.)

2) There is a racial component to criticism of the Community Reinvestment Act that can make it sound like you are scapegoating minorities for Wall Street’s problems.

3) The campaign believes McCain’s time is better spent talking about taxes and energy and healthcare. Really.

Stephen Spruiell at NRO replies:

1) It’s not that complicated. McCain called for stronger oversight of Fannie and Freddie in 2005, but Senate Democrats (including Obama) blocked reform. Between 2005 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie bought up a trillion dollars worth of subprime mortgages. Some they kept, some they packaged and sold to Wall Street.

Thus Fannie and Freddie enabled and spread the contagion that melted our financial system, while the Democrats enabled Fannie and Freddie over John McCain’s objections. Conservatives cannot afford to lose the argument over what caused this crisis. One would think McCain would feel that pressure more acutely than most.

2) Fine. Steer clear of the CRA and focus on Fannie and Freddie. 

3) Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time?

Dunno about you, Sen. McCain, but I’m with Spruiell (as is Miz Michelle, I hear, though Ed appears pleased with the ad).  Sure, go ahead and slam Barack Obama as a tax-hiker (gawd knows he’s an easy target on that score), but there’s a lot of anger out there about the runup to the bailout just looking for its rightful target, and you’ve got history and a whole lot of C-SPAN footage on your side.

What does the Vice President do, Joe?

Joe Biden — lawyer, senator, constitutional scholar, Judiciary Committee chairman, vice presidential candidate — flubbed the question he should know more about than anything else:  the job description of Vice President.

After Gwen Ifill’s question about the VP’s role (which she gift-wrapped to Sen. Biden with a gilt-edged invitation to trash Dick Cheney, and Biden did not disappoint her), he replied:

Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

Where does one start?

  • Article I of the Constitution lays out the structure and nature of the legislative branch, not the executive.
  • Article II, the actual Article about the executive branch, establishes the office of Vice President and states he/she shall serve “together with the President.”
  • To be fair, Article I does define one role of the Vice President, namely that he/she “shall be the President of the Senate.”
  • Speaking of which, the Vice President votes in the Senate only in case of a tie.  Contrary to Biden’s assertion, the VP presides over the Senate any time he/she pleases.
  • The question was based on VP Cheney’s assertion that the VP’s role is not restricted solely to the executive.  Based on the fact that the VP is given mention in both Articles I and II, and that the VP is one of only two officials in the entire federal government (the other being the Solicitor General) with offices in two branches, that’s hardly an unreasonable interpretation.

Shannen Coffin at NRO posts a brief and excellent historical discourse on this major gaffe by Biden.  Coffin points out that for the first 150 or so years of American history, the VP’s role was primarily legislative, having virtually no executive authority at all:

The Executive Role of the Vice President, which is not delineated in Article II, has only developed in recent decades. Indeed, Vice President [Lyndon] Johnson was so concerned about certain delegations of Executive authority to him by President Kennedy that he asked the Justice Department whether he could constitutionally accept that delegation, given his concern that it would be inconsistent with his role as President of the Senate.

Read the whole thing.  Power Line, Captain Ed, and Instapundit have more (plus a paper by Prof. Reynolds on Dick Cheney’s vice presidential role and the constitutional legitimacy thereof).

So given that tradition, executive precedent, and black-letter constitutional law give the Vice President footholds in two branches of government, I’d say VP Cheney has a better handle on the job than Sen. Biden, who might make use of a pocket Constitution for the occasional self-administered pop quiz.  At least before a debate.

Well, THAT wasn’t supposed to happen, was it?

After the much-ballyhooed thumbs-up given to Crap Sandwich 2.0 by the Senate last night, Wall Street appears not so enthused.

The Dow Jones average greeted Harry Reid’s “middle class tax relief” spin with a drop of 348 points today, along with a NASDAQ loss of 92 points.  Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington State has sent a shock wave through the House by announcing his intention to attach an enormous and hideously expensive economic stimulus bill to the new bailout bill, angering House Republicans (and not just a few Blue Dog Democrats) who already think the bailout is too pricey and intrusive.  (Heaven forfend the Senate should be the only body permitted to inflate the spending in this bill to cosmic proportions.)

Are the Republicans being set up again?  House Democrats appear bent on throwing bill after unsupportable bill at them, daring them to vote them down.  My suggestion?  Call their bluff every time.  I’d much rather Congress fail to act and come under further pressure, than have them pass a bad law that will relieve pressure on them for a good one.

But they said Fannie and Freddie were fine…!

The Wall Street Journal (via Instapundit) has a long roundup of Democrats in the House and Senate who were howling at the very implication that anything might be wrong with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, back in 2003-2006 when the Republicans were beating their heads against the wall trying to reform oversight of both.  I posted video on this earlier.

As I’ve said on this blog before, McCain had better start running against Congress but quick; he’s the only one who can pull it off, and Congress has no fans left.  After being stabbed in the back by Nancy Pelosi last weekend, you’d think he’d be eager.

Captain Ed has a pop quiz.

(On a lighter note, Jim Treacher has an exclusive advance look at Ifill’s debate questions.)