Saturday, June 07, 2008

 

The Lady Steps Aside

It couldn't have been easy for Hillary Clinton. She has expended a lifetime of ambition to reach a certain goal. So far, she has fallen short, to a younger, faster blacker version of the man she joined in the White House 16 years ago.

But, today, she stepped aside with a rather magnanimous speech. Yes, there seemed a bit more about her -- and women -- than I might have liked. But, I'm not a woman -- or a Democrat -- and I can't well judge what is an appropriate endorsement address for a hardfought Democratic primary campaign. However, I thought she came across as genuine and rather warm. While not happy that the campaign came to this point, she seemed to be enjoying this last moment.

I thought she also did something rather grand by rhetorically embracing Bill Clinton, both as her husband and as one of the three post-Kennedy Democrats in the White House. She did this -- even as some of his outbursts on the trail may have cost her crucial votes and her reputation.

She sounded like she was earnestly trying to hand the baton to Barack Obama.

Will her supporters accept it? It may take awhile -- Obama has his own work to do -- but I thought Hillary did her part of the job fairly well today.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

 

Open Thread

After a very busy "hit" week here at RT (my response to the Michelle Obama rumours generated much attention in Le Grand Blogosphere), a hot weekend is on the horizon!

There may be some blogging Saturday what with Mrs. Clinton's much anticipated speech.

But for now, it's time for you to thread away!

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

 

Boomer Agonistes

When I've commented before on the connection between the Clinton machine and Boomer culture, the inevitable response is, "But Obama is a boomer as well."

No, he's not.

Yes, he was born in 1961, and some demographers assess the boom years as 1946-64. But others see the Boom ending --
in a cultural sense, as much as a demographic one -- as ending in 1960. And, you can just tell that Barack Obama is of a different generation that the Clintons or the Bushes or the Gores. It's not about race, but about culture and the themes that this newer gerneration emphasizes.

John Zogby
ably summarizes the problems of the generation that just wouldn't leave:
The Clintons are proto-typical Baby Boomers - committed to ideals of peace and justice but overwhelmed with themselves. They (we, because I was born in 1948) are consumed with being the center of attention, the bride and groom at every wedding, so much so, that the ends don't simply justify the means, they are one and the same. Getting elected is the game, the final goal, the definition of self-worth. In his recent book, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan decried the mentality of “the permanent campaign” that he said permeated the White House of George W. Bush (the other Boomer president), which in some respects mirrors the Clinton behavior.

Sad to say, Bill Clinton became best known for the hallmarks of Boomerism – self-centeredness and permanent adolescence – as exhibited by the Lewinsky affair and all the other, lesser controversies and scandals.

The obsessions and legacy of the Clintons led to what the American voters thought was their antidote – the election of Bush, the boy who woke up and discovered he was President. Of course, they were wrong.

Bush’s exemplification of permanent adolescence could be seen almost immediately. The big new story out of the White House in early 2001 was his penchant to award everyone with childish nicknames, but there were other indications. Then, discussing the threat of Iraq in 2002, Bush said “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”

We soon discovered that loyalty and clubbishness trumped experience and judgment, and an inability to admit mistakes destroyed credibility around the globe and three decades of Republican prestige in handling foreign policy. All the credit that the GOP earned through Richard Nixon’s efforts with China and Ronald Reagan’s tactics to successfully unravel the Soviet Union from within has been lost by the inflexible, inward-looking approach in dealing with Iraq and, now, Iran.

After 16 years, Americans have finally declared, state by state, caucus by caucus, primary by primary, that they have had enough of the Boomer generation in the White House.
An Andrew Sullivan reader also bemoans the examples of his generation that made it to the highest office in the land:
First, a man who refused to take responsibility for himself, and acted like the rules did not apply to him. Pretty much the epitome of the left's attitude in the late 1960s. Followed by a man who also refused to take responsibility, and acted like a stereotypical frat boy who never grew up.

In reality, there were a lot of us who were responsible adults. But apparently that was not the route to the Presidency. When history looks at us, there will be a tendency to take our generation's Presidents as a proxy for us all. God, how I wish it were not so! But there you have it.
Goodbye to all that.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

 

Friday, Um, SATURDAY, I'm In Love

That's when Hillary reportedly calls it quits.

UPDATE: Grrrr...Another reason Hillary ticks me off: She changed the day for pulling out, thus screwing up my very witty post title!! I mean, come on, how many times do you get to use a Cure song for a post header? Grrr...

UPDATE II: Andrew Sullivan has a very point on why the withdrawal was moved back a day -- apparently June 6th would have been an awkward date to end a nomination fight.

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"This Is Our Time"

Ideology and partisanship aside, I am glad to congratulate Barack Obama as the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. From the moment he stepped on the national scene four years ago, it was obvious he was the future of the Democrats.

The future arrived earlier than anyone could have imagined. As the saying goes, fortune favors the bold.

He did what the "experts" (including yours truly) never thought possible -- not merely beating the Clinton machine, but also ending the Boomer political culture it embodied.

For this post-boomer, black, immigrant and others of us out there, Obama's words resonate:

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.
This isn't an endorsement of Barack Obama for president -- yet --but it is a tip of the cap to someone who has combined remarkable charisma, a superb organization and a fundraising capability for the ages into a truly potent mixture -- enabling him to become the first black/African-American/biracial/whatever nominee of a major party.

Barack Obama -- a new wonderful chapter in the American story.

UPDATE: An old boss summarizes the Obama moment.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

 

Government at work

It can make you laugh at it's absurdities, or angry that you're paying for it, or even cry in frustration, but government is amazing at it's ability to display incompetence, from the highest elected politician, down to it's lowest bureaucrat.

PORK ALERT!
For all this incompetence, one might ask whether we pay politicians too much, or even not enough. Don't worry: They take what they want. As the
Fox News documentary “Porked: Earmarks for Profit” shows, at least three U.S. congressmen (two Republicans and one Democrat) managed to get earmarks for either their own or their family's profit.

Here is one example for you from Fox News:
In February 2004, [former Speaker of the House Dennis] Hastert, with partners and through a trust that did not bear his name, bought up 69 acres of land that adjoined his farm some 60 miles outside Chicago. The price was $340,000. In May 2005, Hastert transferred an additional 69 acres from his farm into the trust.

Two months later, Congress passed a spending bill into which Hastert inserted a $207 million earmark to fund the “Prairie Parkway” which, when completed, would run just a few miles from the 138 acres owned by Hastert’s trust.

After President Bush flew to Hastert’s district in August 2005 to sign the bill, Hastert and his partners flipped the land for what appeared to be a multi-million dollar profit.
THE GLOBAL WARMING HOT POTATO
The issue of man-made Global Warming has been tabled temporarily, thanks to over 31,000 American scientists who have
signed a petition which states:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catostrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.
So now that we have decided there is NOT a problem which requires immediate attention, what does the U.S. Senate do? They are debating the America's Climate Security Act of 2007, more affectionately called "The Lieberman-Warner Cap and Trade Bill" by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

What will the bill get us?
...Lieberman-Warner would have virtually no effect on the climate, according to Dr. Patrick Michaels, a former president of the American Association of State Climatologists and now senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute: "Say the U.S. actually does what the law says, though no one knows how to. The result is an additional 0.013 degrees (C) of 'prevented' warming," says Michaels.
And the potential cost? (from Forbes.com)
According to a study released by the National Association of Manufacturers earlier this year, Lieberman-Warner would cause 1.8 million job losses, as much as a $210 billion gross domestic product reduction and possibly a 33% increase in electricity prices by 2020.
But with all this comes good and bad news. The good news is the Senate will probably not pass it. Even if they do, President Bush has already said he will veto it.

The bad news? Both Barack Obama and John McCain have said they want to institute a similar system.

NOT MARRIED IN NEW YORK
What can you say about a court clerk working in an understaffed office who refuses to perform a wedding ceremony because she is "too tired"?

I know what I say. This is your government at work.

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And So I Face The Final Curtain...

...regrets, she's probably had a few...

A moment approaches that I have steadfastly refused to believe would occur. But now, as the last few hours of the Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign tick down, a couple of musical tributes:



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Monday, June 02, 2008

 

Michelle & Farrakhan Sitting In A Tree...Not

So, the blogosphere is abuzz with rampant speculation that there exists a videotape from the Trinity Church where Michelle Obama and Louis Farrakhan are going ape-shit over race in America, blaming "whitey" for this, that and the other offense.

Over at National Review, Jim Geraghty
tries to tamp down the rumor.

That's a smart move on his part.

No tape exists. I am willing to bet my first-born on it.

You know why I know no tape exists? Because all copies of it were wrapped up in an American flag and burned on a woodpile ignited by Hillary Clinton and Kitty Dukakis. I didn't see it, but my best friend's cousin's boyfriend saw the whole thing.

Let me explain.

This is the '08 version of a really weird conservative urban legend that pops up every four years, The names change, but the basics remain the same: 1) It always involves the wife of the Democratic presidential candidate; 2) It always portrays the wife -- not the candidate -- committing some anti-American, unpatriotic act.

I was first exposed to this during the 1988 campaign when the line was, "There's a picture out there of Kitty Dukakis burning the American flag...just wait til that comes out..." (that one got out of hand when a GOP senator
actually believed it and called a press conference to say he would soon produce the evidence -- which never materialized). Four years later, "There's a picture out there of Hillary Clinton burning the American flag...just wait 'til that comes out..." In 1996, the Hillary thing repeated itself. In '04, there was a similar one about Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Differences this year: Because of the racial angle and Jeremiah Wright, Michelle Obama -- and Louis Farrakhan, for good measure -- are blaming "whitey." Because of YouTube, it's a clip, not a photo. Oh, and it's also real early: This urban legend isn't supposed to start making the rounds until September or so. Perhaps it's because this one has "crossed over" -- Larry Johnson is a lefty blogger partial to Hillary, so he's caught up in the feverish wish that this might be true. Sorry, Larry, don't hold your breath.

I'll believe it when I see it. Actually, given how things can be photo-shopped and video altered, I may not even believe it then.


UPDATE: RT welcomes readers of Instapundit, Kausfiles, Conservative Grapevine, John Cole and Reason's Hit & Run blog! Whew!! Nice to have so many new folks dropping in!!

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White Entitlement

The comments at Trinity United Church that got Rev. Michael Pflegler -- and, by extension, Barack Obama -- in trouble:



The most remarkable aspect of Pflegler's performance is that if you close your eyes, there's no way you could tell that the speaker is a white Catholic priest. By every aspect of vocal tone and body language, he channels the African American preaching style. He has, in effect, channeled Jeremiah Wright.

And here is a Clinton supporter at the DNC rules committee upset over the proceedings. To Harriet Christian, Barack Obama is an "inadequate black male" who will guarantee that "John McCain is the next President of the United States." Harriet "was a second-class citizen" who is now "nothing":



Harriet Christian is, clearly, channelling
Geraldine Ferraro who sparked the anti-Obama white female backlash with her comments in the winter that Obama was winning because he was "lucky" to have been born black.

And, finally
this is Bill Clinton, living an entitled existence while terrified that he is to be supplanted as the the "first black president":


By the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, he was reduced, in a Philadelphia radio phone interview, to denying that his comments in South Carolina had been in any way racially charged, and instead insisted that the Obama camp “played the race card on me.” He sputtered, “I mean, this is just, you know … You really gotta go something to play the race card with me—my office is in Harlem.” At the end of the interview, apparently unaware that he was still on the air, Clinton was heard to say, “I don’t think I should take any shit from anybody on that, do you?” Asked the next day by another reporter what he had meant by saying the Obama campaign “was playing the race card,” Clinton would have none of it. “No, no, no, that’s not what I said,” he erupted, as if he did not know that his earlier comments had been recorded and were all over the Internet.

....

As the primaries ground on, the campaign deployed Clinton more strategically (and, perhaps, more effectively) in the kinds of smaller towns presidents never visit—47 stops in Pennsylvania, 39 in Indiana, 50 in North Carolina—where he stumped in largely white, working-class areas but, poignantly for a man once dubbed the nation’s “first black president,” not in African-American ones. That sea change in Clinton’s standing among blacks will remain a consideration in how to use him, or not use him, in the general-election campaign, no matter who the Democratic nominee.

...

His presidential pension has totaled more than $1.2 million since he left office, and despite his fantastic private-sector income, an analysis this spring by the Web site Politico showed that he has taken almost as much in taxpayer dollars for his post-presidential existence as the other two living ex-presidents—Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush—combined. Since 2001, Clinton has received more in almost every category—pension, staff salaries, supplies—than any of his colleagues in that smallest of clubs. Before Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford died, Clinton’s telephone and rent expenses came close to exceeding the comparable expenses for all four then living former presidents combined. Part of the difference is that Clinton served eight years in office, entitling him to a federal health-insurance plan and a higher pension than Ford, Carter, or Bush, and part is that his office space in Manhattan is more expensive than space in Atlanta or Houston.

Still, there is a repellent grandiosity about Clinton’s post-presidential style. Before he settled on more modest space in Harlem, Clinton had intended to rent the entire 56th floor of Carnegie Hall Tower, in Midtown, for roughly $738,000 a year. He changed course after a rash of sharp congressional and public criticism. Each year at Christmastime, Clinton sends out to supporters a slim, paperbound volume of his Selected Remarks, with a gold-embossed “Happy Holidays” greeting card replete with the requisite “bug” showing it was printed in a union shop. Last year’s number ran 25 pages and featured three thoroughly ordinary efforts: a commencement speech at Knox College, in Illinois; remarks to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, in South Africa; and comments at the 50th-anniversary commemoration of the de-segregation of Little Rock Central High School. “Since leaving office,” the first page of the booklet states, “President Clinton has devoted his time and energy to causes of both personal concern and global significance.”
Back in March, we noted the Clinton entitlement mentality -- and how it was being expressed in racial politics. Forgive me for quoting myself:

Okay, so freshman senator Barack Obama currently leads the Democratic presidential nomination race in popular votes, states and delegates won! With that resume, he would, according to Hillary Rodham Clinton, be a pretty good vice presidential candidate -- for her? WTF??In what Bizarro world does the person running behind discuss concessions that the leader in the race should consider?

...Obama supporters could reasonably ask if Hillary Clinton would treat another rival --leading her by every statistical measure -- as an inferior to be considered as a running mate? Or, more bluntly, any white rival? (Yeah, Hillary likely considers everyone else her inferior, but would she adopt the same sort of condescending strategy?)

With respect to the Clintons, Fr. Michael Pflegler was absolutely correct. He is not engaging in racial paranoia -- a la Wright and his AIDS conspiracy theories (stipulating the 401k stuff is BS). He has accurately called out Hillary Clinton -- who has allowed her surrogates to force her supporters into believing that their "rightful" moment has been taken away from them. White women are now the aggrieved party.

And don't think that a potential canny move by John McCain might not take advantage of a race-gender rift in the Democratic Party.

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