Archive for September, 2008
Obama’s Scorched Earth Policy…Team Obama seeks to muzzle critics through smears, intimidation, and censorship.
No words better sum up the fashion by which Barack Obama’s campaign handles criticism than “the politics of personal destruction.” Although popularized by Bill Clinton, the phrase embodies the political left’s timeless approach to securing victory in elections. Destroy your foe and hope that his ideas never become the issue, as ideological debate is not something at which they excel. Yet this year was supposed to be different. The junior senator from Illinois promised an end to divisiveness, partisanship, and “politics as usual.” Recent events illustrate the emptiness of these platitudes. Since August, Team Obama has fought a covert war against their opposition and muzzled them by any means available.
Legal methods appear to be their response of choice. When a commercial from the American Issues Project linked Obama to former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers, the campaign filed a complaint with the Department of Justice requesting that the 527 be criminally investigated. Simultaneously, they contacted “stations running American Issues Project’s ad in an unsuccessful attempt to compel them to pull the spot.” The same tactic was used in the primaries in regard to Hillary Clinton. Luckily, the Department of Justice does not — as of yet — deem the free expression of speech a felony or a misdemeanor.
More licit chicanery ensued with John McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin. Rather than combat her popularity with disputation, the man who lauds himself a catalyst for hope and change “airdropped a mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators, and opposition researchers into Anchorage, the state capital Juneau, and Mrs. Palin’s hometown of Wasilla to dig into her record and background.” What they will turn up is unknown but largely irrelevant. Quixotic endeavors and profligate spending are integral to Obama’s maneuvers. The same is true of ad hominem argumentation.
Indeed, the bombarding of faultfinders has become a cause célèbre this year.
Attempts to critique Obama are met with vitriol from partisan loyalists and members of the mainstream media. Respecting diversity is anathema to his legionnaires. The arguer, rather than the argument, becomes the focus for their irrational blowback. In their minds, the only acceptable way to describe the Democratic nominee is as the savior of our polity. Deconstructing his associations is forbidden. That Obama knows more radicals than moderates is blatantly obvious, but bringing it up is an act of hate. This practice showcases how rooted in emotion the political left is. Their willful abandonment of logic is perplexing until one contemplates how much their hysterics confuse independents.
The Obama campaign is aware of this eventuality and has created a site called “Fight the Smears.” It sends out emails via a “live action wire,” a tocsin alerting the faithful that someone somewhere has besmirched the name of The One. Like Sauron in The Lord of the Rings, their wrath is terrible and their retribution swift. Soon after their leader is challenged or merely inconvenienced, all contentions which contradict him are systematically recast as “smears” or personal assaults.
I personally witnessed this transpire upon the release of Dr. Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. Operatives sent out a “Push Back Now” component wherein supporters initiated a nefarious attempt to damper the author’s legitimacy and sales. They derided Corsi as a “vile smear-peddler” who published “a book of lies.” The senator’s sycophants were so terrified of its contents that they put together a 41-page pamphlet purporting to refute it. Corsi counterattacked with a rejoinder of his own and elucidated those positions that the campaign conceded.
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Obama’s constant deference to McCain as in “John is right…”; the worried side-looks over at McCain, who, in contrast, addressed the audience; and the desire for false intimacy (employing “John” instead of “Sen. McCain”) reflected the relative lack of gravitas on Obama’s part—something that transcends education, eloquence, and youthful vigor.
Did the McCain debate victory matter? Yes, it helped, but time is running out and the economy is trumping the campaign battlefield. It matters little that Chris Dodd in disgraceful fashion took $165,000 from the miscreants at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or that Barney Frank’s vehement opposition to reform of those institutions empowered their near-criminal leveraging.
Instead, the incumbent administration and its party in general get blamed or credited for the current economy. Moreover Wall Street as right-wing free-market sewer is a far better known talking point than the more complex corruption of hyper-liberal legislators legitimizing their own dishonesty and graft through calls to help the poor and minorities get loans and be relieved of their debts.
In the next two debates, McCain has to hit Obama harder on his past and rattle him. Or barring that, the proposed settlement will have to improve markets and stop talks of the Great Depression. The voters want to tilt McCain, but the last 10 days have been framed (in part accurately) as hyper-capitalism, greed, and wildly unregulated free markets hurt Middle America–and that narrative has cost (unfairly) McCain, who wanted to regulate Frannie Mae and Freddie Mac more than did any Senate Democrat, in aggregate about six points in the polls.
The irony is that the basics of the US economy–demography, productivity, innovation, infrastructure, legal structures, and higher education–are, as McCain said, sound. They are in far better shape than anywhere abroad (look at a shrinking Europe, or disgraced industries in China, or Indian fervor and unrest, or Russian criminality.) In that regard, if I had capital (I don’t, so easy to speculate), I would buy houses in good locations, and the stocks of well-run companies since they are at historic lows, will rebound, and their value won’t tank since the US won’t tank.
I think the bail-out will end up making rather than losing money, and by 2009 the economy will be back to near normal. Indicators as diverse as GDP, inflation, unemployment, and deficits as a percentage of GDP are not as disturbing as in our recent past.
The Obama Two Step
The truth is that we have an election between a moderate Republican whose centrist positions worry conservatives, who is pitted against a fringe-hyper-liberal candidate who must somehow assure the voters he is merely liberal. Never in recent history, have Republicans nominated one so moderate, never Democrats one so hard left. Yet we are not getting from a proud and unapologetic Obama “My left-wing views have at last proven prescient and arrived, and McCain’s namby-pamby moderation is not what these crisis times call for.”
Instead, it is dissumaltion all the time, as Obama (for now) essentially has refuted most of his prior positions on the major issues. Even his tax-and-spend plans are now on hold, pending the Wall Street uncertainty. We know nothing really of his background between Columbia and Harvard Law School. Few can figure out exactly what he and Ayers were trying to do with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge other than to give someone else’s millions to further the hard-left agendas of a number of cronies whose efforts did not result in any marginal improvement in the Chicago schools.
In other words, the most liberal presidential candidate in our memory is suddenly posing as a moderate centrist not much different from McCain (e.g., “I agree with John…” ad nauseam). And McCain thus far has not been able to scratch the thin veneer. Had Palin once worked in community organizing with a Timothy McVeigh, or had McCain been the member of a white supremacist church for 20 years, or had McCain been judged the most conservative member of the Senate, the McCain-Palin ticket would have long ago imploded.
How did Obama so successfully metamorphosize?
The Strategy of Preemption
Note what’s behind the recent efforts of St. Obama to threaten to go to the courts after the NRA ads, to swarm Milt Rosenberg’s radio station in Chicago to badger guest Stanley Kurtz, or to unleash Missouri law-enforcement on McCain’s campaign ads.
Partly this hardball is a sort of determination not to play Democratic softie again, since a liberal myth has arisen that Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, et al. lost elections only because of unfair hit ads rather than their own hard-left agendas. In that regard, Obama has prepped the battlefield well.
First, by playing the race card, all criticism can be couched in advance as racist in origin, and much of it has.
Second, by playing the no-more-swift-boat card, all campaign ads (compare the Limbaugh smears, or the third-party [cf. the role of Howard Dean’s brother] attacks on McCain’s health) are always to be seen as retaliatory and contextualized as defensive.
Third, Obama wants to “get in their face” and show that he’s “tough” and not another wilted-flower Dukakis. So he preens that he will bring a gun to a knife fight, and is going to “go after” John McCain. Because we are so prepped that this is not Obama’s natural inclination, we are to show forbearance that he is “forced” to go negative.
Fourth, we are seeing a traditional ‘noble ends, justify crude means’ campaign of the left, in which the annointed often excuse transitory street tactics for the sake of the greater good. Threatening to sue, or to intimidate guests, or to “get in their faces” are legitimate tactics because we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to obtain the “change we are waiting for,” in a “vero possumus” messianic figure who will stop the seas from rising, and the planet from heating—if we just accept his divinity.
In such a context, worry about the past of Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, or Jeremiah Wright, or concern about flops on campaign finance, town hall debating, FISA, NAFTA, guns, abortion, capital punishment, drilling, Iran, the surge, or Jerusalem, or fear of a high-tax more entitlements agenda, consistent with Obama’s most liberal Senate voting record, and lavish distribution of grant funds when working as a Chicago organizer and Ayers sidekick on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge—yes, all that legitimate worry must instead be seen as racist, or Rovian, or more of Bush/Cheney polarization.
Race, race again everywhere
The most brilliant prepping has been an anticipatory demonization of the white working class in an effort through shame, fear, or pity to sway them to vote Obama. The narrative advanced is that if McCain wins, the real reason is because working-class Democrats—once they collectively get into the privacy of the voting booth—sighed and voted against Obama because he is of half-African ancestry, despite telling pollsters they would not.
In the last two weeks I think I have read at least 20 op-eds with one of the following three premises: (1) warning: Many Americans are racists, and the election will thus hinge on race, so you have one last chance to get it right; (2) shame: The world is watching, and will either like or dislike us, depending on our support for Obama; (3) fear: If Obama loses, expect furor or even near riots.
So will the white working class take into consideration race? I don’t think so if one defines race as skin color, or larger cultural issues of black versus white. After all, Americans have never voiced an iota of racism about eight years of African-American Secretaries of State, who were the most visible representations of US foreign policy.
Most conservative Democrats’ worries about Obama have nothing to do with race per se, but center solely around five other issues:
(1) his judgment and the degree to which he felt comfortable with an array of disreputable figures, whether Chicago racketeers like Tony Rezko, radicals like Ayers, or racists like Pfleger and Wright;
(2) perceived elitism that transcends arugula riffs, such as his Pennsylvania clingers speech; his oceans rise/planet cools egomania; ‘we are the change . . .’ hubris; his silly new presidential seal; the Berlin second coming and Greek temple backdrops; Michelle’s rants about being suddenly proud of the US; and the worship from the hip and smug elite like a Barbara Streisand, Woody Allen, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, etc. The net result of this is a certain “I can save you all from your natural Neanderthal tendencies of voting for those who really don’t know how to help you like I do.”
(3) his ultra-liberal Senate voting record, especially on matters of defense, abortion on demand, education, and taxes, and subsequent flops and flips to disguise this record; most voters don’t want higher taxes, don’t think government has all the answers to our current problems, are tired of identity politics, and think the world abroad and the UN are mostly unstable if not scary;
(4) his flippant, instinctual riffs that reveal occasional ignorance—confusion over how many states, the location of Kentucky, the liberation of Auschwitz, tire pressure over oil drilling, etc;
(5) the degree to which his supporters have resorted to thuggery: photo-shopping John McCain’s Atlantic Magazine picture; hacking into Palin’s email; swarming talk radio stations when guests question Obama’s integrity; media seen in the tank while posing as objective journalists; trafficking in rumors about her Down syndrome pregnancy; daily Hollywood moronic outbursts; threatened law-suits, etc.
Don’t Tread on Them
The white working class is tiring of the constant sermons on race, either chauvinism or veiled threats or overt insults. Obama’s supporters really need to cool it, and stop suggesting that at each dip in his polls, Americans are proving less than noble people. The only thing that will really lose them the working-class vote is the gun-to-the-head, you’d better vote this way or else attitude.
I grew up among the Democratic working classes, and I can vouch for one eternal truth about them: anyone who lectures them about what they “must” do—or else—will simply achieve the opposite result, every time. Time might be better spent making the very difficult argument that 60% of the white vote going for McCain, not 95% of the African-American vote going for Obama, is in some way proof of America’s unhealthy racial chauvinism.
Obama, after all, at some point in his career made the political decision not to become a public figure in the manner of a Colin Powell. From the beginning he should have said something to the effect that African-Americans have always voted for white candidates that they agreed with, and whites in turn will do the same when the opportunity arises to vote for African-Americans—and then left it at that.
Instead, from the very beginning of his political career, he chose to talk about “transcending race” to gullible liberals while seeking black nationalist credentials to solidify his Chicago base. As I have worried earlier—Obama, I think, has set back racial relations a number of years by caricaturing the white working classes, legitimizing nuts like Wright and Pfleger, warning that votes against him arise from racial fears, and talking loosely about “reparations,” racial-identity charter schools, and the need for “oppression studies”.
A Condoleeza Rice made a number of statements about race, but none of them were polarizing or suggested racial identification was central rather than incidental to her character. We will look back at Obama as a racial polarizer of the first order, despite the utopian rhetoric of racial transcendence and the daily op-eds from his supporters accusing America of being racially intolerant by passing on the Obama Sermon on the Mount.
LONDON — A second-hand camera sold on eBay by a top MI6 agent held secret records used in the fight against Al Qaeda terrorists. Names, snaps, fingerprints and suspects’ academic records were found in the memory of the digital device.
Alongside them were photos of rocket launchers and missiles which spooks believe Iran is supplying to Usama Bin Laden’s henchmen in Iraq.
And a hand-drawn graphic revealed links between active Al Qaeda cells — with terrorists’ names and occupations.
Meanwhile a document marked “top secret” detailed the encrypted computer system used by real-life James Bonds working away from MI6’s London HQ.
Among those named in the material was 46-year-old Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who was captured by the CIA in 2007.
The fanatical Iraqi Kurd, one of Al Qaeda’s highest-ranking lieutenants, is being held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay.
The Nikon Coolpix camera was snapped up for just $31 on the auction website by an innocent 28-year-old deliveryman who lives with his mum.
He discovered the secret material as he downloaded pictures from a U.S. vacation at his home in Hemel Hempstead, Herts.
Not only do they divulge secrets about operations, operating systems and previously unheard-of MI6 departments, but they could put lives at risk.”
Special Branch were last night trying to trace the bungling M16 officer, who lives in the Home Counties. He faces the sack.
A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: “We can confirm we seized a camera after a member of the public reported it. Intelligence officers are investigating.”
Top brass at MI6 and MI5 were rocked by the incident — the latest in a string of security lapses.
A government employee who left sensitive documents on a train in June is expected to be charged under the Official Secrets Act. The Cabinet Office official was suspended and interviewed by police after the papers, relating to Al Qaeda and the Iraq war, were handed to the BBC.
They were left in an envelope on the train bound for Surrey from London.
Cross posted from El Campeador
DiscoverTheNetworks.org provides a comprehensive look into “Barack’s World”: his Radical and Socialist Influences; Political Allies and Advisors; Religious Affiliations; Organizational Affiliations; Academic Affiliations; Foundations; Money Scandals; Family.
A damn fantastic post by