Friday, September 18, 2009

 

Open Thread

Shanah Tovah to all of my friends in the Tribe! Happy Friday to all others. Tell me what's on your mind!



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2009's Official "WTF?" Moment

Mark Levin interviews infamous sportswriter/commentator Stephen A. Smith:


Most assuredly not what you might expect!

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Obama's Sunday Blitz

This weekend, Barack Obama goes for the Sunday talk-show equivalent of the all-out blitz: He will be on NBC's "Meet The Press," CBS's "Face The Nation," ABC's "This Week," CNN's "State of the Nation" -- as well as Spanish-language Univision. (The only notable exception appears to be, ahem, "FOX News Sunday." Mr. President, what, the "fair and balanced" crew don't get any love?) On top of that, on Monday, David Letterman gets thrown in for good measure (wanna bet that the president will avoid any jokes about Special Olympics?).

Given the pummeling that the administration has received in the last couple of months over health care -- and Democrats in full retreat from their left-wing allies ACORN -- the question is being asked, "Isn't the president overexposed?" After all, he's given well over 100 interviews since becoming president -- two and a half times as many as Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did at equivalent times in their presidency

His overall job approval has suffered during that time: From 70 percent in the dizzying early days -- to around 50 percent now.

But this isn't the first time the "overexposure" question has been posed. George Will posed it six weeks into the Obama presidency. And a few others piled on too. And the question was even addressed in this space.

But there's one major reason why the White House is willing to "overexpose" Barack Obama: He's the Democrats' best weapon; he's the best salesman on health care and a host of other issue that Democrats can deploy. And a Pew Research poll released Thursday underscores the fact. Despite the falling job approval numbers, Obama's personal characteristics remain remarkably strong with the public:

Yes, there has been erosion -- he's been in office nearly eight months and had a brutal partisan debate, why woulldn't there be? Yet, the public view of Obama on all but one of a series of personal attributes -- "strong leader," "well-organized," "trustworthy," etc., are in the 60s at least. Even the one outlier, "Is able to get things done," registers at 58 percent. That's a good foundation for a president still trying to make a sale. If his personal qualities had collapsed along with his job approval, the public would immediately tune him out wherever he appeared. Conversely, the fact the public still likes Barack Obama gives him an enormous amount of power to keep impacting the debate.

One side note: That continuing good will also explains why the White House completely refuses to be drawn into the "racism" debate. Not only does it "distract" from the issues at hand, if Obama did engage it -- and gave any credence to the claims of Jimmy Carter and others -- so much of those personal-attribute numbers would fade. After all, if racism remained such a factor in public antipathy toward Barack Obama, would 64 percent of Americans still consider him "trustworthy" (that's 11 percent more than voted for the president, by the way)?

In short, your best salesman is only overexposed when 1) customers are no longer interested in buying what he's selling, or 2) don't believe his pitch. The White House has determined that Barack Obama hasn't reached that point yet.


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The real ACORN news story

If "guilt by association" would doom a politician, Obama would have been downed by Bill Ayers. So why should a news story about an organization which is connected to Obama, and which receives federal funding undoubtedly thanks to Obama, be close enough to him to be considered politically toxic? As Toby Harnden of Britain's Telegraph explains it:
If there’s one story that’s had it all in the past week it’s the series of undercover reporting stings that have uncovered the true nature of ACORN - the Association of Community Organisations for Reform Now. It’s got sex, misuse of taxpayer funds, the condoning of illegal activity by officials and connections to Barack Obama.
I missed the part in there where this should not be considered news?

Ironically, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show explains the real ACORN story best:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Audacity of Hos
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Yes, the real story is that no one in the alleged Media covered it, except for Fox News.

But let us give credit to the Woodward and Bernstein of our age: James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles at biggovernment.com. Granted, the ACORN story isn't Watergate. But considering the overwhelming majority of our Media couldn't report the ACORN story, even when it was handed to them, do you honestly think they could uncover a Watergate-style story?

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

 

A Yankee Accomplishment...

...as seen by The Onion. As much of a Yankee and Jeter fan as I am, I must admit that this was very funny.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

 

Post Racial America: Greenwald vs. Carter vs. Limbaugh

The always oh-so-helpful former President Jimmy Carter has added some gasoline to the fire sparked by Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie" last week, declaring that Wilson's outburst had racial animus at its heart:
"There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African American should not be president," Carter said last night, discussing the verbal attacks on Obama that have included last week's outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.
In doing so, Carter became the most prominent member of the bandwagon being ridden by Maureen Dowd last weekend:

I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.

But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

Politico also identified other Democrats adopting the growing belief that the intense hostility toward Obama is driven by race.

Ironically, the strongest pushback to this growing meme comes from someone on the left. Salon's Glenn Greenwald produces a rather compelling reminder that Bill Clinton arguably had far stronger criticisms -- fair and unfair -- launched against him than Obama has to date:
To see that, just look at what that movement's leading figures said and did during the Clinton years. In 1994, Jesse Helms, then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, claimed that "just about every military man" believes Clinton is unqualified to be Commander-in-Chief and then warned/threatened him not to venture onto military bases in the South: "Mr. Clinton better watch out if he comes down here. He better have a bodyguard." The Wall St. Journal called for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the possible "murder" of Vince Foster. Clinton was relentlessly accused by leading right-wing voices of being a murderer, a serial rapist, and a drug trafficker. Tens of millions of dollars and barrels of media ink were expended investigating "Whitewater," a "scandal" which, to this day, virtually nobody can even define. When Clinton tried to kill Osama bin Laden, they accused him of "wagging the dog" -- trying to distract the country from the truly important matters at hand (his sex scandal). And, of course, the GOP ultimately impeached him over that sex scandal -- in the process issuing a lengthy legal brief with footnotes detailing his sex acts (cigars and sex talk), publicly speculating about (and demanding examinations of) the unique "distinguishing" spots on his penis, and using leading right-wing organs to disseminate innuendo that he had an abandoned, out-of-wedlock child. More intense and constant attacks on a President's "legitimacy" are difficult to imagine.
Obviously, this list comes from a left-wing writer, so it comes with its own bias on what might be considered legitimate criticisms of Clinton. But the overall point is valid: There was a venom directed toward the Clintons that was somewhat unprecedented. And it had nothing to do with race.

(Now, yeah, Clinton was, pace Toni Morrison, "the first black president" but still...All jokes aside, most of the above-mentioned attacks occurred well before Morrison's famous New Yorker piece. Indeed, Morrison partly looked to the ferocity of those attacks to create the foundation for her "black president" construct.)
All that said, Rush Limbaugh does nothing to help conservative critique of the Obama administration with bits like this -- blaming two black kids beating up a white kid on "Obama's America." Obviously, if a liberal blamed a school shooting in the early part of the decade on "Bush's Wild Wild West" attitude in favor of Second Amendment rights, it would be grossly unfair and conservatives would howl. But, even so, such a charge would not carry with it the racial aspect that Limbaugh is intentionally injecting into the mix. It's outrageous and offensive -- and gives fuel to the Carter liberal charge that conservatives are trying to mine racial animus as much as possible out of anything having to do with Barack Obama.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

 

Kanye, Go West -- and Keep Going

Remember how Kanye West informed the country that "George Bush doesn't care about black people" in the wake of Katrina?

Well, it looks like at least one black person doesn't like Kanye West. In the wake of the Video Music Awards debacle Sunday night, President Obama said today (in a supposedly "off-the-record" moment), "Kanye West is a jackass."

Finally, a statement that unites the nation (Kelly Clarkson basically said the same thing)!

Who knows, maybe this was an unintentional-intentional "Sister Souljah" moment that allowed Obama to get a do-over on the "Cambridge police acted stupidly" line. Yes, I'm cynical enough to believe that.

But so what? Whether the intent was political or not, it's the president speaking truth!

Rep. Joe Wilson, can I get an "Amen"!!

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