Commentary Magazine


Posts For: July 30, 2008

A Troop Visit, After All

Maybe Barack Obama finds it challenging to squeeze a troop visit into his schedule, but at least the wounded veterans at Walter Reed can rely on Iraq’s interior minister Jawad Karim al-Bolani for appreciation.

Yesterday, Bolani went the hospital’s Military Advanced Training Center and thanked U.S. troops for freeing Iraq from Saddam:

We have come … to express our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by these great warriors, soldiers, in freeing the Iraqi people and in helping us in Iraq recover from tyranny and dictatorship. We also want to express our gratitude to the families of all these great men and women and express how important their sacrifices are for our nation.

I’d like to hear what the “I thought there was supposed to be candy and flowers” crowd has to say to say about that.

Maybe Barack Obama finds it challenging to squeeze a troop visit into his schedule, but at least the wounded veterans at Walter Reed can rely on Iraq’s interior minister Jawad Karim al-Bolani for appreciation.

Yesterday, Bolani went the hospital’s Military Advanced Training Center and thanked U.S. troops for freeing Iraq from Saddam:

We have come … to express our gratitude and appreciation for the sacrifices made by these great warriors, soldiers, in freeing the Iraqi people and in helping us in Iraq recover from tyranny and dictatorship. We also want to express our gratitude to the families of all these great men and women and express how important their sacrifices are for our nation.

I’d like to hear what the “I thought there was supposed to be candy and flowers” crowd has to say to say about that.

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The Cairo Files: Pre-Revolutionary Egypt?

Egypt is frequently compared to pre-revolutionary Iran. After all, like Iran in the 1970s, Egypt is ruled by an aging, American-backed authoritarian regime, which is largely seen as having failed to promote social, political, and economic progress. Meanwhile, domestic support for Islamist groups has risen dramatically in recent years – a consequence of a regional embrace of Islamism, as well as Islamist groups’ providing key social services that the Egyptian government has failed to deliver. Finally the Egyptian regime has responded to this challenge much as it Iranian predecessor did: with brutal repression, which has only exacerbated public resentment.

Most recently, Egyptian frustrations have largely arisen from the government’s duplicitous economic policies. The story is as follows: after a successful string of workers’ protests and a general strike on April 6th, opposition groups began organizing for another series of demonstrations on May 4th – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s birthday. The Egyptian government pre-empted these demonstrations, however, when it announced a 30 percent raise in wages for state workers on May 1st. Then, when plans for the May 4th demonstrations fizzled, the government suddenly chimed in with a new policy that entirely wiped out the wage increases – massive price hikes for gasoline (46 percent!), cigarettes, and other goods.

In turn, during my recent trip to Cairo, many opposition leaders and activists spoke of a looming “explosion” (infigar). Naturally, I always asked the same question: does this mean a revolution? Here is where the Iran-as-Egypt analogy falls apart: every political leader and activist I spoke with – from the radical Islamic Labor Party to the liberal (and pro-American) Ghad party, as well as analysts from across the Egyptian political spectrum – saw no possibility of a domestic revolution in the near future.

Generally speaking, two factors are preventing a revolution. The first is opposition groups’ belief that the regime is simply too strong to overthrow, and that violence would be a strategic mistake. In this vein, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Muhammad Habib defined the looming “explosion” – his word – as “public demonstrations,” calling a violent overthrow of the government “impossible.” Meanwhile, even the Brotherhood’s harshest domestic critics confirmed the Brotherhood’s claim that it lacks arms, and therefore – despite being Egypt’s best-organized opposition movement – lacks the capability to immediately catalyze a revolution.

The second factor standing in the way of a revolution is historical. As the director of one liberal NGO told me, historically, Egyptians have only revolted against foreign occupations. In turn, he said, overthrowing an Egyptian-run government – no matter how corrupt – lacks public legitimacy. Moreover, public consensus sufficiently supports none of the major opposition groups as an alternative to the regime. Finally, as a number of interviewees argued, Egyptian society typically shuns violence, further complicating prospects for an Iran-like “explosion.”

Of course, none of this is to say that an Iran-like revolution is impossible in Egypt. It is easy to see how certain opposition groups – with their members scattered throughout the country and better connected to one another than ever before – could theoretically launch an insurgency if they were truly committed to it. Still, for the moment, the consensus seems to be against such action, while the regime appears to be managing its domestic challenges as effectively as ever.

Egypt is frequently compared to pre-revolutionary Iran. After all, like Iran in the 1970s, Egypt is ruled by an aging, American-backed authoritarian regime, which is largely seen as having failed to promote social, political, and economic progress. Meanwhile, domestic support for Islamist groups has risen dramatically in recent years – a consequence of a regional embrace of Islamism, as well as Islamist groups’ providing key social services that the Egyptian government has failed to deliver. Finally the Egyptian regime has responded to this challenge much as it Iranian predecessor did: with brutal repression, which has only exacerbated public resentment.

Most recently, Egyptian frustrations have largely arisen from the government’s duplicitous economic policies. The story is as follows: after a successful string of workers’ protests and a general strike on April 6th, opposition groups began organizing for another series of demonstrations on May 4th – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s birthday. The Egyptian government pre-empted these demonstrations, however, when it announced a 30 percent raise in wages for state workers on May 1st. Then, when plans for the May 4th demonstrations fizzled, the government suddenly chimed in with a new policy that entirely wiped out the wage increases – massive price hikes for gasoline (46 percent!), cigarettes, and other goods.

In turn, during my recent trip to Cairo, many opposition leaders and activists spoke of a looming “explosion” (infigar). Naturally, I always asked the same question: does this mean a revolution? Here is where the Iran-as-Egypt analogy falls apart: every political leader and activist I spoke with – from the radical Islamic Labor Party to the liberal (and pro-American) Ghad party, as well as analysts from across the Egyptian political spectrum – saw no possibility of a domestic revolution in the near future.

Generally speaking, two factors are preventing a revolution. The first is opposition groups’ belief that the regime is simply too strong to overthrow, and that violence would be a strategic mistake. In this vein, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Muhammad Habib defined the looming “explosion” – his word – as “public demonstrations,” calling a violent overthrow of the government “impossible.” Meanwhile, even the Brotherhood’s harshest domestic critics confirmed the Brotherhood’s claim that it lacks arms, and therefore – despite being Egypt’s best-organized opposition movement – lacks the capability to immediately catalyze a revolution.

The second factor standing in the way of a revolution is historical. As the director of one liberal NGO told me, historically, Egyptians have only revolted against foreign occupations. In turn, he said, overthrowing an Egyptian-run government – no matter how corrupt – lacks public legitimacy. Moreover, public consensus sufficiently supports none of the major opposition groups as an alternative to the regime. Finally, as a number of interviewees argued, Egyptian society typically shuns violence, further complicating prospects for an Iran-like “explosion.”

Of course, none of this is to say that an Iran-like revolution is impossible in Egypt. It is easy to see how certain opposition groups – with their members scattered throughout the country and better connected to one another than ever before – could theoretically launch an insurgency if they were truly committed to it. Still, for the moment, the consensus seems to be against such action, while the regime appears to be managing its domestic challenges as effectively as ever.

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Re: The End for Olmert

Not take long after Olmert declared his intention to step down, Israel’s Channel 10 news published the results of a new poll, in which Israelis were asked whom they would want to see as Prime Minister: Likud chairman and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu; Labor head and former prime minister Ehud Barak; or one of two possible new leaders for Olmert’s Kadima party: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, or Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who is currently her leading opponent in the race for Kadima’s leadership. The results:

Scenario A: Livni heads Kadima: Netanyahu 36%; Livni 24.6%; Barak 11.9%
Scenario B: Mofaz heads Kadima: Netanyahu 36.6%; Barak 14.8%; Mofaz 12%.

We learn two things from these polls: First: Israelis are really not interested in the current government, and are likely to punish not only Kadima but also their coalition partner, Labor. Second: for this very reason, both Kadima and Labor are likely to do everything in their power to keep the government going as long as possible. The key to Israel’s political future, then, rests, as it so often does, with the coalition’s third-largest party, Shas. And Shas is likely to milk its current position as political linchpin for all it’s worth.

Not take long after Olmert declared his intention to step down, Israel’s Channel 10 news published the results of a new poll, in which Israelis were asked whom they would want to see as Prime Minister: Likud chairman and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu; Labor head and former prime minister Ehud Barak; or one of two possible new leaders for Olmert’s Kadima party: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, or Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who is currently her leading opponent in the race for Kadima’s leadership. The results:

Scenario A: Livni heads Kadima: Netanyahu 36%; Livni 24.6%; Barak 11.9%
Scenario B: Mofaz heads Kadima: Netanyahu 36.6%; Barak 14.8%; Mofaz 12%.

We learn two things from these polls: First: Israelis are really not interested in the current government, and are likely to punish not only Kadima but also their coalition partner, Labor. Second: for this very reason, both Kadima and Labor are likely to do everything in their power to keep the government going as long as possible. The key to Israel’s political future, then, rests, as it so often does, with the coalition’s third-largest party, Shas. And Shas is likely to milk its current position as political linchpin for all it’s worth.

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They Need Better Lines

The Obama camp is having a rough day. They are making a hobbled attempt to separate themselves from a hate-filled, sexist and racist video. Rather than say “We deplore it,” they, as Phil Klein points out, feel compelled to compliment the artistry of the person who composed this work of “art.” What audience do they think is listening to them? This is not a Hollywood fundraiser or a Democratic primary crowd. They have to corral working class voters and women. I’m sure the artistry is lost on them. Not a good move.

Worse still, the Obama camp is reduced to stamping their feet and whining for McCain to stop mocking them. What’s wrong with the new “Celeb” ad? They can’t say because all McCain is doing is holding a magnifying glass up to the Chosen One and asking if that’s really what a presidential campaign is all about. In place of a reasoned rebuttal (because there is none), the Obama camp goes into “outrage” mode. That’s how the McCain camp knows something is effective. (The other sign may be the poll averages.)

But this is a problem the Obama team created by deciding to go the international cult route. Imagine if one or more of the candidates for Prime Minister in Israel came to the U.S., staged a giant rally in Central Park, spoke of his delight in being a “citizen of the world” and made a fundraising video touting the goodwill mission. Wouldn’t both Israelis and Americans be horrified? The reaction would be: “What the heck is he doing here and why isn’t he back home making his case to his own voters?” And people would begin to buzz that the candidate had lost perspective, had dragged another country into national elections and now fancied himself leader of a new international order. And so it is with the Obama trip.

Free advice for the Obama camp: stop sounding like an egomanic, stop whining, change your position on drilling, go to some town halls and talk bread-and-butter issues. Otherwise it’s downhill from here.

The Obama camp is having a rough day. They are making a hobbled attempt to separate themselves from a hate-filled, sexist and racist video. Rather than say “We deplore it,” they, as Phil Klein points out, feel compelled to compliment the artistry of the person who composed this work of “art.” What audience do they think is listening to them? This is not a Hollywood fundraiser or a Democratic primary crowd. They have to corral working class voters and women. I’m sure the artistry is lost on them. Not a good move.

Worse still, the Obama camp is reduced to stamping their feet and whining for McCain to stop mocking them. What’s wrong with the new “Celeb” ad? They can’t say because all McCain is doing is holding a magnifying glass up to the Chosen One and asking if that’s really what a presidential campaign is all about. In place of a reasoned rebuttal (because there is none), the Obama camp goes into “outrage” mode. That’s how the McCain camp knows something is effective. (The other sign may be the poll averages.)

But this is a problem the Obama team created by deciding to go the international cult route. Imagine if one or more of the candidates for Prime Minister in Israel came to the U.S., staged a giant rally in Central Park, spoke of his delight in being a “citizen of the world” and made a fundraising video touting the goodwill mission. Wouldn’t both Israelis and Americans be horrified? The reaction would be: “What the heck is he doing here and why isn’t he back home making his case to his own voters?” And people would begin to buzz that the candidate had lost perspective, had dragged another country into national elections and now fancied himself leader of a new international order. And so it is with the Obama trip.

Free advice for the Obama camp: stop sounding like an egomanic, stop whining, change your position on drilling, go to some town halls and talk bread-and-butter issues. Otherwise it’s downhill from here.

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Two Tales

Guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan, Chris Bodenner questions the hullaballo surrounding Barack Obama’s telling congressional Democrats, in a closed door meeting, that his becoming president is “the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world is waiting for,” and that “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” Chris writes:

Isn’t McCain’s candidacy largely built on the awe-inspiring symbolism of his own personal sacrifice and duty to country? (And rightly so.) Thus, without equating the two, why isn’t Obama’s life and candidacy also grounds for symbolic importance? (whether you personally agree it’s important or not) And why is it arrogant of him to acknowledge the obvious? McCain acknowledges his own symbolic greatness in public all the time.

I see two problems with this comparison. The first is that, unlike Obama, McCain has not predicated his campaign on his identity or personal story. He’s predicated it upon his experience, namely, his more than two decades of service in the House and Senate. A part of his campaign narrative is, yes, his character. But it’s hardly the crux of his campaign, whereas Obama — given his utter lack accomplishments befitting a potential president — has little else to base his campaign on other than his winning personality and vague calls for “change.” Obama’s greatest tangible accomplishments are two books, both of which he wrote about himself.

Secondly, to the extent that McCain has used the “awe-inspiring symbolism of his own personal sacrifice and duty to country” as a campaign theme, it’s relevant to being president. Contrary to what Wesley Clark says, getting shot down over Vietnam and being tortured for five years, while certainly not a requirement for presidential office, is a qualification. It’s a real demonstration of love of country, honor, and leadership capability. These things rightly matter to Americans when electing a president. The “symbolism” of John McCain is attributable to what he did, “his own personal sacrifice,” not who he is. What has Barack Obama “sacrificed” for America?

Guest blogging for Andrew Sullivan, Chris Bodenner questions the hullaballo surrounding Barack Obama’s telling congressional Democrats, in a closed door meeting, that his becoming president is “the moment, as Nancy [Pelosi] noted, that the world is waiting for,” and that “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” Chris writes:

Isn’t McCain’s candidacy largely built on the awe-inspiring symbolism of his own personal sacrifice and duty to country? (And rightly so.) Thus, without equating the two, why isn’t Obama’s life and candidacy also grounds for symbolic importance? (whether you personally agree it’s important or not) And why is it arrogant of him to acknowledge the obvious? McCain acknowledges his own symbolic greatness in public all the time.

I see two problems with this comparison. The first is that, unlike Obama, McCain has not predicated his campaign on his identity or personal story. He’s predicated it upon his experience, namely, his more than two decades of service in the House and Senate. A part of his campaign narrative is, yes, his character. But it’s hardly the crux of his campaign, whereas Obama — given his utter lack accomplishments befitting a potential president — has little else to base his campaign on other than his winning personality and vague calls for “change.” Obama’s greatest tangible accomplishments are two books, both of which he wrote about himself.

Secondly, to the extent that McCain has used the “awe-inspiring symbolism of his own personal sacrifice and duty to country” as a campaign theme, it’s relevant to being president. Contrary to what Wesley Clark says, getting shot down over Vietnam and being tortured for five years, while certainly not a requirement for presidential office, is a qualification. It’s a real demonstration of love of country, honor, and leadership capability. These things rightly matter to Americans when electing a president. The “symbolism” of John McCain is attributable to what he did, “his own personal sacrifice,” not who he is. What has Barack Obama “sacrificed” for America?

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VP Considerations

I will refrain from any “guess the VP” antics because it really is impossible to see through the spin. But without squinting to read the tea leaves, I have a few thoughts. First, I would imagine being a blabbermouth about your prospects is a negative thing and suggests problems (e.g. inexperience, message discipline). Second, for Barack Obama the hard thing is whether to compensate for his lack of experience or to deny that it is an issue. Many have commented that Tim Kaine lacks the same things Obama does –national security credentials, hard accomplishments, etc. — but by picking him Obama certainly wouldn’t risk putting someone on the ticket who might overshadow him and get tongues wagging. (“Well if experience is so darn important for a VP why not the President?”) So it is a tricky line to walk on the experience/national credentials front: make it better or make it more obvious.

For John McCain the problem seems more simple: who will do no harm? Don’t upset the base, but don’t freak out independents. It really isn’t so much a question of what the VP might add but what damage he might do. None of those in the VP running (from what we know) seem to have the ability to guarantee a state or a demographic group. At most they may help in a state (Michigan or Minnesota). But the key to McCain’s victory is not to take the country by storm in a spasm of excitement. He essentially must make the case that Obama shouldn’t be trusted with the presidency and is a political opportunist. So the watchwords for McCain: don’t make that harder, don’t create a distraction and don’t do anything to diminish his argument that his ticket is the one for governing in tough times. And if the press screams “Boring!” Well, that’s par for the course and not how the election is going to be won or lost.

I will refrain from any “guess the VP” antics because it really is impossible to see through the spin. But without squinting to read the tea leaves, I have a few thoughts. First, I would imagine being a blabbermouth about your prospects is a negative thing and suggests problems (e.g. inexperience, message discipline). Second, for Barack Obama the hard thing is whether to compensate for his lack of experience or to deny that it is an issue. Many have commented that Tim Kaine lacks the same things Obama does –national security credentials, hard accomplishments, etc. — but by picking him Obama certainly wouldn’t risk putting someone on the ticket who might overshadow him and get tongues wagging. (“Well if experience is so darn important for a VP why not the President?”) So it is a tricky line to walk on the experience/national credentials front: make it better or make it more obvious.

For John McCain the problem seems more simple: who will do no harm? Don’t upset the base, but don’t freak out independents. It really isn’t so much a question of what the VP might add but what damage he might do. None of those in the VP running (from what we know) seem to have the ability to guarantee a state or a demographic group. At most they may help in a state (Michigan or Minnesota). But the key to McCain’s victory is not to take the country by storm in a spasm of excitement. He essentially must make the case that Obama shouldn’t be trusted with the presidency and is a political opportunist. So the watchwords for McCain: don’t make that harder, don’t create a distraction and don’t do anything to diminish his argument that his ticket is the one for governing in tough times. And if the press screams “Boring!” Well, that’s par for the course and not how the election is going to be won or lost.

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The End for Olmert

The Israeli prime minister just concluded a surprise press conference in which he announced that he will not run in the September Kadima primary. Carl in Jerusalem liveblogged Olmert’s appearance and provides a rough English translation.

The Israeli prime minister just concluded a surprise press conference in which he announced that he will not run in the September Kadima primary. Carl in Jerusalem liveblogged Olmert’s appearance and provides a rough English translation.

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Stating the Obvious in Pakistan

The C.I.A. has shown Islamabad evidence of what Islamabad knows better than the C.I.A. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is intimately involved with al Qaeda-related operatives in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Specifically, the Directorate for the ISI has strong ties to Maulavi Jaluddin Haqqani’s militant network. The Haqqani group, among others, is responsible for the recent up-tick in violence in Afghanistan.

There is nothing new here. The ISI’s jihadist connections have threatened Pakistan’s stability for many years, and in turn have kept that country’s leadership from fully complying with U.S. demands to crack down on terrorism. The various attempts on President Musharraf’s life are believed at least to have been made possible by members of the ISI and that inescapable threat certainly contributed to Musharraf’s ultimate ineffectiveness. Not only is the ISI supporting terrorism in the tribal areas, but they’re doing the same in India and Iran. Pakistan’s new civilian government seems willing to do something about it, but not quite motivated. The Pakistani military is making every effort to keep the ISI under their control and safe from government intervention.

The question is: what is the U.S. going to do about it?

Intelligence agents show documentation while jihadists based in the tribal region continue to kill Americans in Afghanistan. Shall we simply ask Islamabad more earnestly for help? Somehow American foreign policy has devolved into making requests and living with rejections. At the same time, we’re forced to play whack-a-mole and suffer a scolding for every piecemeal effort. On Monday an unmanned U.S. drone took out al Qaeda biological weapons expert Abu Khabab al-Masri in the tribal region and before the day was done Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani expressed his dismay, even though the U.S. has express permission to take out high level targets with drones.

John McCain and Barack Obama offer the exact same boasts about their willingness to take out targets inside Pakistan, but what’s to be done about Islamabad’s compliance? McCain simply asserts that he has a better relationship with Pakistan’s leadership than Obama does. Obama, for his part, has a disastrous idea. He wants to reward Pakistan by tripling our non-military aid to that country. Consider the absurdity: Obama wants to increase aid to Pakistan’s citizens in the hope that the country’s rogue intelligence community will cooperate with America and turn on themselves.

Asking and giving does not diplomacy make. How’s this novel idea: Instead of tripling aid to Pakistan, let’s cut it way back and set some conditions with the reasonable civilian government. If they make genuine progress in cracking down on the ISI, American beneficence gets boosted to unprecedented levels. And then the U.S. can begin training Pakistan’s Frontier Corps as true anti-terrorism soldiers. If not, Pakistan will continue to feel the pain. Anything is better than asking and giving while troops are under fire. The U.S. has leverage by virtue of being the U.S. Washington has either forgotten this fact or forgotten how to use it.

The C.I.A. has shown Islamabad evidence of what Islamabad knows better than the C.I.A. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is intimately involved with al Qaeda-related operatives in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Specifically, the Directorate for the ISI has strong ties to Maulavi Jaluddin Haqqani’s militant network. The Haqqani group, among others, is responsible for the recent up-tick in violence in Afghanistan.

There is nothing new here. The ISI’s jihadist connections have threatened Pakistan’s stability for many years, and in turn have kept that country’s leadership from fully complying with U.S. demands to crack down on terrorism. The various attempts on President Musharraf’s life are believed at least to have been made possible by members of the ISI and that inescapable threat certainly contributed to Musharraf’s ultimate ineffectiveness. Not only is the ISI supporting terrorism in the tribal areas, but they’re doing the same in India and Iran. Pakistan’s new civilian government seems willing to do something about it, but not quite motivated. The Pakistani military is making every effort to keep the ISI under their control and safe from government intervention.

The question is: what is the U.S. going to do about it?

Intelligence agents show documentation while jihadists based in the tribal region continue to kill Americans in Afghanistan. Shall we simply ask Islamabad more earnestly for help? Somehow American foreign policy has devolved into making requests and living with rejections. At the same time, we’re forced to play whack-a-mole and suffer a scolding for every piecemeal effort. On Monday an unmanned U.S. drone took out al Qaeda biological weapons expert Abu Khabab al-Masri in the tribal region and before the day was done Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani expressed his dismay, even though the U.S. has express permission to take out high level targets with drones.

John McCain and Barack Obama offer the exact same boasts about their willingness to take out targets inside Pakistan, but what’s to be done about Islamabad’s compliance? McCain simply asserts that he has a better relationship with Pakistan’s leadership than Obama does. Obama, for his part, has a disastrous idea. He wants to reward Pakistan by tripling our non-military aid to that country. Consider the absurdity: Obama wants to increase aid to Pakistan’s citizens in the hope that the country’s rogue intelligence community will cooperate with America and turn on themselves.

Asking and giving does not diplomacy make. How’s this novel idea: Instead of tripling aid to Pakistan, let’s cut it way back and set some conditions with the reasonable civilian government. If they make genuine progress in cracking down on the ISI, American beneficence gets boosted to unprecedented levels. And then the U.S. can begin training Pakistan’s Frontier Corps as true anti-terrorism soldiers. If not, Pakistan will continue to feel the pain. Anything is better than asking and giving while troops are under fire. The U.S. has leverage by virtue of being the U.S. Washington has either forgotten this fact or forgotten how to use it.

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Three Problems

The Obama team is facing three competing, but equally problematic (and connected) negative storylines. The first is The Ego. You have to love their initial defense: well he really is the symbol of America. Then they went with “the mean Republicans took it out of context.” Actually it was the Washington Post and really, even in some broader context who says things like ““I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions”? Well, other than Him. (And as Dean Barnett points out, the “context” doesn’t really help.)

Needless to say the MSM sees the danger looming. First Read (covering “the hubris factor“) explains that “this narrative has been ready to explode at some point and even a misreported quote was enough to spark this arrogance watch. Some see him violating the cardinal sin of politics, acting as if this campaign is about him.”

And now the McCain team decides to go full throttle: mocking and exposing the emptiness of “celebrity” status. Once again, it turns out that Obama is funny, or at least can be made fun of.

Second storyline: those female Hillary Clinton supporters are not agog over Obama. The question remains: Will they sit home? Vote for McCain? But it seems that the Ego Problem exacerbates the Women Problem. These gals, after all, were the ones who rolled their eyes with Hillary Clinton and nodded their heads when she lambasted his goo-goo rhetoric as “just words.” They don’t really like the King of the World shtick. So the more the Ego meme takes hold, the worse the problem for him with luring the working class, middle-aged Hillary set.

Final storyline: his New Politics theme is deader than dead. First came the campaign finance switcheroo and all the flip-flops. Now it turns out that the “little people” he’s taking donations from include some lobbyists. So, he doesn’t really talk about New Politics anymore because it fails the plausibility test. That might be alright (since many didn’t know what the New Politics meant anyway), but what is the replacement theme? Right now it’s the Ego. In short he’s lost his essential message, or one of them ( the other being: “Bad George W. Bush. McCain=Bush. Vote for Me.”), and he’s not talking about much else.

So maybe all this was inevitable. And you can’t argue that the McCain camp isn’t doing its job and fanning the flames. But it sure does seem a long time ago that the entire MSM was in a state of rapture over the trip.

The Obama team is facing three competing, but equally problematic (and connected) negative storylines. The first is The Ego. You have to love their initial defense: well he really is the symbol of America. Then they went with “the mean Republicans took it out of context.” Actually it was the Washington Post and really, even in some broader context who says things like ““I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions”? Well, other than Him. (And as Dean Barnett points out, the “context” doesn’t really help.)

Needless to say the MSM sees the danger looming. First Read (covering “the hubris factor“) explains that “this narrative has been ready to explode at some point and even a misreported quote was enough to spark this arrogance watch. Some see him violating the cardinal sin of politics, acting as if this campaign is about him.”

And now the McCain team decides to go full throttle: mocking and exposing the emptiness of “celebrity” status. Once again, it turns out that Obama is funny, or at least can be made fun of.

Second storyline: those female Hillary Clinton supporters are not agog over Obama. The question remains: Will they sit home? Vote for McCain? But it seems that the Ego Problem exacerbates the Women Problem. These gals, after all, were the ones who rolled their eyes with Hillary Clinton and nodded their heads when she lambasted his goo-goo rhetoric as “just words.” They don’t really like the King of the World shtick. So the more the Ego meme takes hold, the worse the problem for him with luring the working class, middle-aged Hillary set.

Final storyline: his New Politics theme is deader than dead. First came the campaign finance switcheroo and all the flip-flops. Now it turns out that the “little people” he’s taking donations from include some lobbyists. So, he doesn’t really talk about New Politics anymore because it fails the plausibility test. That might be alright (since many didn’t know what the New Politics meant anyway), but what is the replacement theme? Right now it’s the Ego. In short he’s lost his essential message, or one of them ( the other being: “Bad George W. Bush. McCain=Bush. Vote for Me.”), and he’s not talking about much else.

So maybe all this was inevitable. And you can’t argue that the McCain camp isn’t doing its job and fanning the flames. But it sure does seem a long time ago that the entire MSM was in a state of rapture over the trip.

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Thou Shalt Not

After scolding Republicans for the wacky notion that we should develop our domestic oil reserves Thomas Friedman questions Barack Obama’s sincerity and motives with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan. Friedman writes:

For many Democrats, Afghanistan was always the “good war,” as opposed to Iraq. I think Barack Obama needs to ask himself honestly: “Am I for sending more troops to Afghanistan because I really think we can win there, because I really think that that will bring an end to terrorism, or am I just doing it because to get elected in America, post-9/11, I have to be for winning some war?”The truth is Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Pakistan are just different fronts in the same war.

Friedman goes on to doubt the efficacy of sending more troops to Afghanistan and ends with a warning:

Before Democrats adopt “More Troops to Afghanistan” as their bumper sticker, they need to make sure it’s a strategy for winning a war — not an election.

Friedman has violated two of the main Shalt Nots in the Barack Obama Rules of Permissible Criticism. (These must be published somewhere. After all, infractions are regularly called with a shrill whistle from Chuck Hagel, or with a severe tut-tut from a liberal cable TV pundit expressing “disappointment” that John McCain would go so “low” as to violate what everyone agrees are the appropriate parameters of Obama criticism.)

First, Friedman impugned the Great Man’s motives. He pointed to the lunacy of supporting a war against al Qaeda in one country, but not the other. Friedman inferred not that Obama is behaving illogically (because he assumes Obama is a logical fellow), but rather that he must be acting out of base motives (or self-deception) to win an election. McCain has been called for multiple personal fouls on that one. I imagine Friedman’s letter of reprimand from the Defenders of Obama will be coming forthwith: Thou Shall Not Question His Pristine Motives.

Second, Friedman casts doubt on the notion that Iraq doesn’t matter and that it is irrelevant to the outcome in Afghanistan. That is hogwash in netroot land. Iraq is beside the point, didn’t he hear? We should have been using that money for domestic spending or in Afghanistan against the same enemy which was running rampant in Iraq pre-surge. So Friedman has clearly overstepped: Thou Shall Not Point Out Facts (e.g. the same enemy is in both places).

It is, of course, on these very points and others that John McCain has been vilified by the liberal pundits and Left blogosphere. Ironically Friedman’s paper does just that as the New York Times editors excoriate McCain for many sins (e.g. Thou Shall Not Point Out His Snubs of Soldiers). But, as Freidman aptly demonstrates, there is plenty of reason for McCain to argue that his opponent is not operating in good faith. As McCain himself explained yesterday:

On Iraq, Barack Obama says he wants peace, but even today he opposes the strategy of the surge that succeeded in Iraq and will succeed in Afghanistan. No rational person could see the progress we’ve made in the last year and a half, and not recognize that the surge, and the brave Americans who made it work, rescued us from a terribly dangerous defeat and put us on the road to victory. I don’t question his patriotism. This country has been as good to Senator Obama as it has been to me, and I’m sure he loves it. He just doesn’t understand how our defeat in Iraq would have left al Qaeda with a base to prepare attacks against us; increased Iranian power in the region; and threatened to draw other countries in the Middle East into a wider war that would have demanded even greater sacrifices from us. He didn’t see the danger in his policy, and so he thinks Iraq was just another issue to play politics with. Just like he doesn’t see that his policy of unconditional withdrawal before we are certain Iraqis can protect the gains we have achieved at the cost of American blood and treasure could result in in renewed violence and a third Iraq war.

Now it is not surprising that Obama supporters, the Times chief among them, don’t like the arguments offered by McCain. But frankly there is nothing inappropriate or outlandish about his making them. And as Friedman points out, there’s plenty of reason to question Obama sincerity and motives in pursing arguments that are so entirely divorced from reality.

After scolding Republicans for the wacky notion that we should develop our domestic oil reserves Thomas Friedman questions Barack Obama’s sincerity and motives with regard to Iraq and Afghanistan. Friedman writes:

For many Democrats, Afghanistan was always the “good war,” as opposed to Iraq. I think Barack Obama needs to ask himself honestly: “Am I for sending more troops to Afghanistan because I really think we can win there, because I really think that that will bring an end to terrorism, or am I just doing it because to get elected in America, post-9/11, I have to be for winning some war?”The truth is Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Pakistan are just different fronts in the same war.

Friedman goes on to doubt the efficacy of sending more troops to Afghanistan and ends with a warning:

Before Democrats adopt “More Troops to Afghanistan” as their bumper sticker, they need to make sure it’s a strategy for winning a war — not an election.

Friedman has violated two of the main Shalt Nots in the Barack Obama Rules of Permissible Criticism. (These must be published somewhere. After all, infractions are regularly called with a shrill whistle from Chuck Hagel, or with a severe tut-tut from a liberal cable TV pundit expressing “disappointment” that John McCain would go so “low” as to violate what everyone agrees are the appropriate parameters of Obama criticism.)

First, Friedman impugned the Great Man’s motives. He pointed to the lunacy of supporting a war against al Qaeda in one country, but not the other. Friedman inferred not that Obama is behaving illogically (because he assumes Obama is a logical fellow), but rather that he must be acting out of base motives (or self-deception) to win an election. McCain has been called for multiple personal fouls on that one. I imagine Friedman’s letter of reprimand from the Defenders of Obama will be coming forthwith: Thou Shall Not Question His Pristine Motives.

Second, Friedman casts doubt on the notion that Iraq doesn’t matter and that it is irrelevant to the outcome in Afghanistan. That is hogwash in netroot land. Iraq is beside the point, didn’t he hear? We should have been using that money for domestic spending or in Afghanistan against the same enemy which was running rampant in Iraq pre-surge. So Friedman has clearly overstepped: Thou Shall Not Point Out Facts (e.g. the same enemy is in both places).

It is, of course, on these very points and others that John McCain has been vilified by the liberal pundits and Left blogosphere. Ironically Friedman’s paper does just that as the New York Times editors excoriate McCain for many sins (e.g. Thou Shall Not Point Out His Snubs of Soldiers). But, as Freidman aptly demonstrates, there is plenty of reason for McCain to argue that his opponent is not operating in good faith. As McCain himself explained yesterday:

On Iraq, Barack Obama says he wants peace, but even today he opposes the strategy of the surge that succeeded in Iraq and will succeed in Afghanistan. No rational person could see the progress we’ve made in the last year and a half, and not recognize that the surge, and the brave Americans who made it work, rescued us from a terribly dangerous defeat and put us on the road to victory. I don’t question his patriotism. This country has been as good to Senator Obama as it has been to me, and I’m sure he loves it. He just doesn’t understand how our defeat in Iraq would have left al Qaeda with a base to prepare attacks against us; increased Iranian power in the region; and threatened to draw other countries in the Middle East into a wider war that would have demanded even greater sacrifices from us. He didn’t see the danger in his policy, and so he thinks Iraq was just another issue to play politics with. Just like he doesn’t see that his policy of unconditional withdrawal before we are certain Iraqis can protect the gains we have achieved at the cost of American blood and treasure could result in in renewed violence and a third Iraq war.

Now it is not surprising that Obama supporters, the Times chief among them, don’t like the arguments offered by McCain. But frankly there is nothing inappropriate or outlandish about his making them. And as Friedman points out, there’s plenty of reason to question Obama sincerity and motives in pursing arguments that are so entirely divorced from reality.

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Milbank Goes There

The same Washington Post reporter/columnist who boasts that the National Review describes him as, “The most anti-Bush reporter currently assigned to the White House by a major news organization,” has a heavy-hitting column (already touched on by Jennifer here) accusing Senator Barack Obama of “becoming [his party’s] presumptuous nominee.” It’s a charge levied every few days (the most persuasive piece of late was Charles Krauthammer’s), but it has to hurt more coming from a member of Obama’s choir.

Dana Milbank’s underlying criticism is that Obama’s actions share a peculiar similarity to George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s. Obama commands a “presidential-style” that slows traffic, shuts down hallways, and attracts action-halting attention. Also, Obama has high profile meetings, conducts business in secrecy, frequently reveals his “inexperience,” and has too much “pride.” Milbank’s greatest complaint, however, is about the way the Obama campaign locks out the press.

Obama has run his candidacy on a single issue: his rhetoric suggests that he is campaigning as the anti-Bush candidate. With President Bush’s approval ratings in the pits, it’s an altogether sensible campaign strategy. But if Milbank’s critique is to be taken seriously, what does it say about the all those voting for Obama? If they hated Bush’s tactics, why do they let them slide in Obama? Perhaps the President’s supposedly sinister modus operandi was never really that objectionable after all.

The same Washington Post reporter/columnist who boasts that the National Review describes him as, “The most anti-Bush reporter currently assigned to the White House by a major news organization,” has a heavy-hitting column (already touched on by Jennifer here) accusing Senator Barack Obama of “becoming [his party’s] presumptuous nominee.” It’s a charge levied every few days (the most persuasive piece of late was Charles Krauthammer’s), but it has to hurt more coming from a member of Obama’s choir.

Dana Milbank’s underlying criticism is that Obama’s actions share a peculiar similarity to George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s. Obama commands a “presidential-style” that slows traffic, shuts down hallways, and attracts action-halting attention. Also, Obama has high profile meetings, conducts business in secrecy, frequently reveals his “inexperience,” and has too much “pride.” Milbank’s greatest complaint, however, is about the way the Obama campaign locks out the press.

Obama has run his candidacy on a single issue: his rhetoric suggests that he is campaigning as the anti-Bush candidate. With President Bush’s approval ratings in the pits, it’s an altogether sensible campaign strategy. But if Milbank’s critique is to be taken seriously, what does it say about the all those voting for Obama? If they hated Bush’s tactics, why do they let them slide in Obama? Perhaps the President’s supposedly sinister modus operandi was never really that objectionable after all.

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Re: Anecdotes

As Daniel points out, Barack Obama left no trail as a law professor. But if you weren’t surprised that Barack Obama got through his stint as head of Harvard’s Law Review without writing anything , weren’t surprised that he didn’t accomplish much as a community organizer and know he has no legislative achievement from his brief tenure in the Senate, you won’t be shocked to learn that he left no footprints as a lecturer at University of Chicago’s Law School. Sure, the students loved him and became “groupies” ( you couldn’t make this up, really), but the other adults noticed that he did not engage intellectually and never put his own views to the test of vigorous debate with his peers.

Why this recurrent pattern of non-achievement and invisibility? For one thing, Obama never stayed in one spot very long. If you are continually looking ahead, plotting your next move you don’t have much time or incentive to devote yourself and your full energies to mastering your current job. For another, if you take a position you are likely not to please everyone. And we know that more than anything else Obama craves and thrives on adoration and has searched much of his life for acceptance. Once you voice a view, people will disagree. You won’t be a uniter and you won’t be universally loved. And finally, if you put out your views, whether in writing or verbally, you will be subject to scrutiny. People may find your logic wanting or your ideas outmoded. And then (and years later) you will be held to account for the positions you took.

So it should hardly come as a surprise that Obama has left no trail. (And you can understand why he is a bit sensitive about the topic of his own accomplishments.) But with that comes a host of questions. Is he capable or just glib? Can he put words in action or stand up to hostile forces? And is he out to improve and better those around him or just self-promote? We have never had a major candidate so close to the presidency who not only lacked a record of any note, but who seemed to have made an art form of not having one. It is extraordinary and deeply troubling.

As Daniel points out, Barack Obama left no trail as a law professor. But if you weren’t surprised that Barack Obama got through his stint as head of Harvard’s Law Review without writing anything , weren’t surprised that he didn’t accomplish much as a community organizer and know he has no legislative achievement from his brief tenure in the Senate, you won’t be shocked to learn that he left no footprints as a lecturer at University of Chicago’s Law School. Sure, the students loved him and became “groupies” ( you couldn’t make this up, really), but the other adults noticed that he did not engage intellectually and never put his own views to the test of vigorous debate with his peers.

Why this recurrent pattern of non-achievement and invisibility? For one thing, Obama never stayed in one spot very long. If you are continually looking ahead, plotting your next move you don’t have much time or incentive to devote yourself and your full energies to mastering your current job. For another, if you take a position you are likely not to please everyone. And we know that more than anything else Obama craves and thrives on adoration and has searched much of his life for acceptance. Once you voice a view, people will disagree. You won’t be a uniter and you won’t be universally loved. And finally, if you put out your views, whether in writing or verbally, you will be subject to scrutiny. People may find your logic wanting or your ideas outmoded. And then (and years later) you will be held to account for the positions you took.

So it should hardly come as a surprise that Obama has left no trail. (And you can understand why he is a bit sensitive about the topic of his own accomplishments.) But with that comes a host of questions. Is he capable or just glib? Can he put words in action or stand up to hostile forces? And is he out to improve and better those around him or just self-promote? We have never had a major candidate so close to the presidency who not only lacked a record of any note, but who seemed to have made an art form of not having one. It is extraordinary and deeply troubling.

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The AFP Outs Livni

The headline of the Agence France Presse story: “Israeli foreign minister admits she was Mossad agent.” A confession! But this has never been a secret: it was discussed at length, for example, by Livni herself more than a year ago in the cover story of an obscure publication called the New York Times Magazine.

In other news, the AFP has uncovered evidence that Senator John McCain was a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. Details remain sketchy, but he apparently was shot down and spent several years in captivity. The AFP hopes to have more information soon.

The headline of the Agence France Presse story: “Israeli foreign minister admits she was Mossad agent.” A confession! But this has never been a secret: it was discussed at length, for example, by Livni herself more than a year ago in the cover story of an obscure publication called the New York Times Magazine.

In other news, the AFP has uncovered evidence that Senator John McCain was a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. Details remain sketchy, but he apparently was shot down and spent several years in captivity. The AFP hopes to have more information soon.

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Doctor, Meet The Monster

Like Dr. Frankenstein, the mainstream media is getting nervous about the monster they have created. A Washington Post reporter, describing Barack Obama’s meeting with Congressional Democrats, frets: “Perhaps he’s beginning to believe the hype” and quotes Obama as saying to his fellow Democrats, “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” Gulp. Then the Post’s Dana Millbank tells us:

Barack Obama has long been his party’s presumptive nominee. Now he’s becoming its presumptuous nominee. Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president’s) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally. . .Some say the supremely confident Obama — nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that “the odds of us winning are very good” — has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn’t need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions.

And even a conflicted Maureen Dowd senses thing have gotten out of hand:

At home, Jon Stewart was poking fun at the grandiosity of the “Obama Quest” and “the Obamanauts.” He showed film clips of “our hero” in chain mail fighting off dragons and a Cyclops in his crusade to come home and rule over Dreamerica. . .The Obamanauts were so elated that they didn’t even seem to mind the caricature of Obama, ears sticking out, that had been drawn on the round We-Are-The-World Obama logo in the press section. The cartoon candidate demanded: “Worship me.”

Well, if this all seems too much for the pundits they have only themselves to blame. They tingled, they gaped, they pumped, they spun, they tore down his primary opponent and they debased themselves by leaving their objectivity home and muting their demands for decent access to the candidate and reasonable disclosure of information. So if the Creature is now out of control and the subject of ridicule and even mocking (see, he was funny after all), then they might examine the coverage they have afforded him these many months. Once can hardly blame the Great One for believing his press clippings.

Like Dr. Frankenstein, the mainstream media is getting nervous about the monster they have created. A Washington Post reporter, describing Barack Obama’s meeting with Congressional Democrats, frets: “Perhaps he’s beginning to believe the hype” and quotes Obama as saying to his fellow Democrats, “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.” Gulp. Then the Post’s Dana Millbank tells us:

Barack Obama has long been his party’s presumptive nominee. Now he’s becoming its presumptuous nominee. Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president’s) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally. . .Some say the supremely confident Obama — nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that “the odds of us winning are very good” — has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn’t need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions.

And even a conflicted Maureen Dowd senses thing have gotten out of hand:

At home, Jon Stewart was poking fun at the grandiosity of the “Obama Quest” and “the Obamanauts.” He showed film clips of “our hero” in chain mail fighting off dragons and a Cyclops in his crusade to come home and rule over Dreamerica. . .The Obamanauts were so elated that they didn’t even seem to mind the caricature of Obama, ears sticking out, that had been drawn on the round We-Are-The-World Obama logo in the press section. The cartoon candidate demanded: “Worship me.”

Well, if this all seems too much for the pundits they have only themselves to blame. They tingled, they gaped, they pumped, they spun, they tore down his primary opponent and they debased themselves by leaving their objectivity home and muting their demands for decent access to the candidate and reasonable disclosure of information. So if the Creature is now out of control and the subject of ridicule and even mocking (see, he was funny after all), then they might examine the coverage they have afforded him these many months. Once can hardly blame the Great One for believing his press clippings.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Could he go again? No matter how hard the media mavens try, they never seem to get it right.

Larry J. Sabato identifies a key drawback for Tim Kaine: he’s not very good at his job. (“I would characterize Kaine’s term to this point as belonging to the bottom quartile. . .even Democratic legislators friendly to Kaine say privately that he is often a distant governor, certainly compared to Warner, inclined to give orders without thorough follow-up and flexibility.”) But since Obama isn’t big on getting things done I don’t see that this would handicap Kaine’s chances. Still, is it the reverse of the Clinton-Gore theme (young gun reformers who get things done) –sort of Nice Guys Who Don’t Perform?

I adore the idea of “foolishness meters” — but what would be the highest reading?

Soldier Snubgate finally reaches page one of the Washington Post, but in the guise of a story claiming the McCain camp lacks evidence to say the reason Obama backed out was because he couldn’t bring cameras. But that in itself is a bit misleading — what the McCain camp has done is put out some eleven excuses offered by the Obama team and argue nothing justifies reneging on a promised visit. ( Yeah, the Post does mention that, two-thirds of the way through the piece.) The Post settles on the explanation that Obama campaign advisor General Gration wasn’t allowed in so Obama backed out. Not exactly taking charge is it? That and the “Who’s On First?” excuse routine is going to do him in as a great manager of men if he’s not careful.

But when the New York Times doesn’t buy Obama’s excuses you know he’s not fooling anyone.

Thank goodness for the foreign media that tells us: “Iraqi forces backed by American troops have launched a major operation against insurgents in the north-eastern Iraqi province of Diyala. This is one of the last strongholds of al-Qaeda militants in the country.” You mean we’ve defeated , killed or chased away all the rest — like a real victory? Who knew?

Maybe people don’t like hype? They don’t very much like something Barack Obama has been saying or doing.

BarackBook, faux briefing books, “Obama in Berlin” and “media love” ads — some McCain team members are having fun. At least we know which campaign has a sense of humor.

Arrogance has its downside. People begin to notice you are talking down to them and that it’s all about you instead of them.

Could he go again? No matter how hard the media mavens try, they never seem to get it right.

Larry J. Sabato identifies a key drawback for Tim Kaine: he’s not very good at his job. (“I would characterize Kaine’s term to this point as belonging to the bottom quartile. . .even Democratic legislators friendly to Kaine say privately that he is often a distant governor, certainly compared to Warner, inclined to give orders without thorough follow-up and flexibility.”) But since Obama isn’t big on getting things done I don’t see that this would handicap Kaine’s chances. Still, is it the reverse of the Clinton-Gore theme (young gun reformers who get things done) –sort of Nice Guys Who Don’t Perform?

I adore the idea of “foolishness meters” — but what would be the highest reading?

Soldier Snubgate finally reaches page one of the Washington Post, but in the guise of a story claiming the McCain camp lacks evidence to say the reason Obama backed out was because he couldn’t bring cameras. But that in itself is a bit misleading — what the McCain camp has done is put out some eleven excuses offered by the Obama team and argue nothing justifies reneging on a promised visit. ( Yeah, the Post does mention that, two-thirds of the way through the piece.) The Post settles on the explanation that Obama campaign advisor General Gration wasn’t allowed in so Obama backed out. Not exactly taking charge is it? That and the “Who’s On First?” excuse routine is going to do him in as a great manager of men if he’s not careful.

But when the New York Times doesn’t buy Obama’s excuses you know he’s not fooling anyone.

Thank goodness for the foreign media that tells us: “Iraqi forces backed by American troops have launched a major operation against insurgents in the north-eastern Iraqi province of Diyala. This is one of the last strongholds of al-Qaeda militants in the country.” You mean we’ve defeated , killed or chased away all the rest — like a real victory? Who knew?

Maybe people don’t like hype? They don’t very much like something Barack Obama has been saying or doing.

BarackBook, faux briefing books, “Obama in Berlin” and “media love” ads — some McCain team members are having fun. At least we know which campaign has a sense of humor.

Arrogance has its downside. People begin to notice you are talking down to them and that it’s all about you instead of them.

Read Less




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