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Posts For: August 3, 2008

Death of an Oak

Heroism is a horribly overused word these days. We live in an age in which politicians actually use the word “heroic” to describe the most ordinary casts of mind and behavior — loving your kids, for example, or going to your job every day. It has been the inestimable good fortune of the world’s population these past five decades to have shared the Earth with one of the greatest heroes in history, the foremost example of intellectual courage of the 20th century.

What Alexander Solzhenitsyn accomplished in his 89 years on this earth was something very particular, and it was not precisely what he wanted to accomplish. He wanted to be a great Russian novelist in the tradition of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and he labored ceaselessly to achieve this aim, but it was not to be. His two greatest works, at least among the dozen or so I have read, were non-fiction. There was, of course, the towering accretion of thousands of tales of totalitarian torment called The Gulag Archipelago – a book that will be read forever. Less well known, but perhaps oddly more interesting, is his half-life autobiography, The Oak and the Calf, which is a book about temptation — the temptation to give in, to let the Soviet censor have his way here and there, to do what will make its author more comfortable even if doing so means bowdlerizing his own unmistakable vision of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist tyranny.

It is almost unimaginable that he resisted the temptation, when no one would ever have known that he had succumbed, and when the earthly reward would have been great. The man had, after all, been sent to the Gulag for writing a letter at the tail end of World War II complaining about Stalin. The letter was intercepted, he was declared an enemy of the state, and he was sent to Siberia and after serving nearly a decade, was sentenced to internal exile. He suddenly found a moment of freedom when the magazine Novy Mir was permitted to publish his chilling short novel about the Gulag, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and then, as quickly as it was granted, it was snuffed out again.

The Oak and the Calf is in large measure the account of the relationship between Solzhenitsyn and his name editor, the poet Alexander Tvardovsky — a beautifully observed description of the man who would not give in and his effect on the man who would and did. Though he is usually thought of as some kind of angry Prophet raining down fire and brimstone on the unbelievers, Solzhenitsyn shows great compassion for the accommodationist Tvardovsky, who made the decisions he had to make; he was a perfectly fine man who tried to do some good when he could.

It was Solzhenitsyn who was the impossible pain in the ass, because he could not bring himself to make those accommodations; he knew his path was one only a very few could possibly follow, because it required that one’s soul be made of oak, and humans with that kind of solidity come along a few times a century.

Solzhenitsyn had a weakness for grand theory, especially about Russia and the Russian soul, and it was this that caused him time and again to dip his toe in some brackish waters. There will be more to say in coming days about his view of the Jews and their role in Russian history. In the hours immediately marking his passing, let us just say this about Alexander Solzhenitsyn: He stood athwart the greatest evil the world has ever known, and, by the grace of God, he outlived that evil, by 16 years.

Heroism is a horribly overused word these days. We live in an age in which politicians actually use the word “heroic” to describe the most ordinary casts of mind and behavior — loving your kids, for example, or going to your job every day. It has been the inestimable good fortune of the world’s population these past five decades to have shared the Earth with one of the greatest heroes in history, the foremost example of intellectual courage of the 20th century.

What Alexander Solzhenitsyn accomplished in his 89 years on this earth was something very particular, and it was not precisely what he wanted to accomplish. He wanted to be a great Russian novelist in the tradition of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, and he labored ceaselessly to achieve this aim, but it was not to be. His two greatest works, at least among the dozen or so I have read, were non-fiction. There was, of course, the towering accretion of thousands of tales of totalitarian torment called The Gulag Archipelago – a book that will be read forever. Less well known, but perhaps oddly more interesting, is his half-life autobiography, The Oak and the Calf, which is a book about temptation — the temptation to give in, to let the Soviet censor have his way here and there, to do what will make its author more comfortable even if doing so means bowdlerizing his own unmistakable vision of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist tyranny.

It is almost unimaginable that he resisted the temptation, when no one would ever have known that he had succumbed, and when the earthly reward would have been great. The man had, after all, been sent to the Gulag for writing a letter at the tail end of World War II complaining about Stalin. The letter was intercepted, he was declared an enemy of the state, and he was sent to Siberia and after serving nearly a decade, was sentenced to internal exile. He suddenly found a moment of freedom when the magazine Novy Mir was permitted to publish his chilling short novel about the Gulag, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and then, as quickly as it was granted, it was snuffed out again.

The Oak and the Calf is in large measure the account of the relationship between Solzhenitsyn and his name editor, the poet Alexander Tvardovsky — a beautifully observed description of the man who would not give in and his effect on the man who would and did. Though he is usually thought of as some kind of angry Prophet raining down fire and brimstone on the unbelievers, Solzhenitsyn shows great compassion for the accommodationist Tvardovsky, who made the decisions he had to make; he was a perfectly fine man who tried to do some good when he could.

It was Solzhenitsyn who was the impossible pain in the ass, because he could not bring himself to make those accommodations; he knew his path was one only a very few could possibly follow, because it required that one’s soul be made of oak, and humans with that kind of solidity come along a few times a century.

Solzhenitsyn had a weakness for grand theory, especially about Russia and the Russian soul, and it was this that caused him time and again to dip his toe in some brackish waters. There will be more to say in coming days about his view of the Jews and their role in Russian history. In the hours immediately marking his passing, let us just say this about Alexander Solzhenitsyn: He stood athwart the greatest evil the world has ever known, and, by the grace of God, he outlived that evil, by 16 years.

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The Thirty Years War

Today, David Ignatius writes that the Bush administration is unlikely to bomb Iranian nuclear sites.  “There is uniformity across the U.S. government about the way to proceed with Iran,” says an unnamed official quoted by the Washington Post columnist.  “Everyone from this White House, including the vice president’s office, is in agreement that the military option is not the best option at this point.”

Ignatius is undoubtedly correct.  In June, both Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went to Israel to say that Washington was not in favor of the use of force and that Iraq opposed Israeli planes crossing its airspace.  “The military option, although always available, is not our preferred route,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell at the end of last month.

So what does Israel think?  Its defense minister, Ehud Barak, told reporters in Washington last week that there was still time for “accelerated sanctions.”  Yet there is nothing accelerated about the American-led drive to impose additional coercive measures on Tehran.  Instead of trying to stop the Iranians cold, the Bush administration has shifted gears and embraced a softer approach.  As a practical matter, the new policy contemplates years of additional diplomacy.

The Israelis, however, do not believe that there is much time left.  On Friday, Shaul Mofaz, the country’s deputy prime minister, said that Iran is on the verge of a technical breakthrough and would be able to enrich uranium at “military levels” by 2010.  The American response has been to provide reassuring words to Jerusalem and consider offering it radar to detect incoming Iranian ballistic missiles, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated to Barak last week during their meeting.

Why would Israel need radar unless Washington thought the Iranians would get nuclear warheads?  Last week, a senior State Department official said the United States takes the Iranian threat “seriously,” but the Israelis could be forgiven if they thought that the Bush administration had already given up.  For Dubya, Iran is just one more problem to be managed before noon on January 20 of next year.  For the state of Israel, it is an existential threat.

Washington, therefore, cannot just let the matter fester.  On their own, the Israelis can only dent the Iranian nuclear program, slowing it down two months to two years, as Ignatius reports this morning.  A failure to destroy the entire program and the regime itself will only pave the way for Iranian counterstrikes and a series of military actions and reactions that can embroil the Middle East in a modern Thirty Years War.

Today, David Ignatius writes that the Bush administration is unlikely to bomb Iranian nuclear sites.  “There is uniformity across the U.S. government about the way to proceed with Iran,” says an unnamed official quoted by the Washington Post columnist.  “Everyone from this White House, including the vice president’s office, is in agreement that the military option is not the best option at this point.”

Ignatius is undoubtedly correct.  In June, both Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went to Israel to say that Washington was not in favor of the use of force and that Iraq opposed Israeli planes crossing its airspace.  “The military option, although always available, is not our preferred route,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell at the end of last month.

So what does Israel think?  Its defense minister, Ehud Barak, told reporters in Washington last week that there was still time for “accelerated sanctions.”  Yet there is nothing accelerated about the American-led drive to impose additional coercive measures on Tehran.  Instead of trying to stop the Iranians cold, the Bush administration has shifted gears and embraced a softer approach.  As a practical matter, the new policy contemplates years of additional diplomacy.

The Israelis, however, do not believe that there is much time left.  On Friday, Shaul Mofaz, the country’s deputy prime minister, said that Iran is on the verge of a technical breakthrough and would be able to enrich uranium at “military levels” by 2010.  The American response has been to provide reassuring words to Jerusalem and consider offering it radar to detect incoming Iranian ballistic missiles, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates indicated to Barak last week during their meeting.

Why would Israel need radar unless Washington thought the Iranians would get nuclear warheads?  Last week, a senior State Department official said the United States takes the Iranian threat “seriously,” but the Israelis could be forgiven if they thought that the Bush administration had already given up.  For Dubya, Iran is just one more problem to be managed before noon on January 20 of next year.  For the state of Israel, it is an existential threat.

Washington, therefore, cannot just let the matter fester.  On their own, the Israelis can only dent the Iranian nuclear program, slowing it down two months to two years, as Ignatius reports this morning.  A failure to destroy the entire program and the regime itself will only pave the way for Iranian counterstrikes and a series of military actions and reactions that can embroil the Middle East in a modern Thirty Years War.

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It Really Isn’t Hard To Figure Out Why

Democrats remain flummoxed and liberal pundits fret: what’s the matter with Barack Obama? He is supposed to be winning. By a lot. Well, a Democrat is supposed to be winning, but this particular one is having his share of problems. Charles Krauthammer on Friday explained:

I think the sheen from earlier this year, where he was seen as a streaking meteor and he was the candidate of hope–I think it was Brit Hume who said he started the year by selling hope, but now he’s selling audacity. And I think there’s a sourness setting in. And you see it even in mainstream press when you get a Dana Milbank of “The Washington Post” write a brilliant article in which he says said that Obama started out as the presumptive Democratic nominee, and now he’s the “presumptuous” Democratic nominee. So there is a sort of a turn in the zeitgeist. Where the energy issue is hitting is in congress. The Democrats have made a huge mistake here, the stubbornness of Pelosi and Reid in not allowing a vote. The Democrats know it is a losing issue. It’s manna from heaven because Republicans were running uphill on all the economic issues, and they are clearly on the side of public opinion on this.

It is really three factors at play: Obama has gotten worse, John McCain’s campaign has gotten more aggressive in pointing out that Obama has gotten worse and Obama is no longer talking about the issues which were underpinning that huge advantage Democrats were thought to enjoy.

It’s the last point which has liberal supporters stumped. What happened to the laser-like focus on the economy? What happened to the non-stop message that John McCain is George W. Bush’s clone? These were lost in the audacity festival in Berlin and the aftermath of the trip (e.g. the soldier snub gaffe). But even before that, between the securing the nomination and the overseas trip, the major campaign storylines have been: Obama’s flip-flops, Wesley Clark slurring McCain, Hillary Clinton voters still upset, Obama’s repositioning (kind of) on Iraq, the success of the surge, and the faux seal and the arrogance meme.

Where was there anything positive for Obama or any moment in which he was leading the policy discussion? In any other year the candidate who ceded the debate so dramatically would be losing. It’s a measure of how tough a year it is for Republicans that Obama is still effectively tied.

So why not more focus by Obama on the economy? Well, first he thought he had to fix his commander-in-chief problem. That may have been a giant waste of time and simply distracted from the central problem Obama faces on domestic policy. Obama has a significant challenge there which I suspect he has to fix, and fix quickly. Most of his economic plan is a collection of tax increases for the “rich” and corporations and estates. Throw in some protectionism and it’s not a very credible message during a weak economy. So he can rail about the faltering economy and call it the Bush-McCain depression but until he has a more attractive, growth-oriented approach it may be hard to seize the high ground.

And when you’re not driving the message, others will. That’s in large part why the stories become all about “process” and his personal deficiencies. That polling lead he is supposed to have, I suspect, won’t appear until he can diffuse and shut down the myriad of harmful storylines now circulating. And to do that, he’ll need a clear and believable economic message. Come to think of it, McCain could use one too.

Democrats remain flummoxed and liberal pundits fret: what’s the matter with Barack Obama? He is supposed to be winning. By a lot. Well, a Democrat is supposed to be winning, but this particular one is having his share of problems. Charles Krauthammer on Friday explained:

I think the sheen from earlier this year, where he was seen as a streaking meteor and he was the candidate of hope–I think it was Brit Hume who said he started the year by selling hope, but now he’s selling audacity. And I think there’s a sourness setting in. And you see it even in mainstream press when you get a Dana Milbank of “The Washington Post” write a brilliant article in which he says said that Obama started out as the presumptive Democratic nominee, and now he’s the “presumptuous” Democratic nominee. So there is a sort of a turn in the zeitgeist. Where the energy issue is hitting is in congress. The Democrats have made a huge mistake here, the stubbornness of Pelosi and Reid in not allowing a vote. The Democrats know it is a losing issue. It’s manna from heaven because Republicans were running uphill on all the economic issues, and they are clearly on the side of public opinion on this.

It is really three factors at play: Obama has gotten worse, John McCain’s campaign has gotten more aggressive in pointing out that Obama has gotten worse and Obama is no longer talking about the issues which were underpinning that huge advantage Democrats were thought to enjoy.

It’s the last point which has liberal supporters stumped. What happened to the laser-like focus on the economy? What happened to the non-stop message that John McCain is George W. Bush’s clone? These were lost in the audacity festival in Berlin and the aftermath of the trip (e.g. the soldier snub gaffe). But even before that, between the securing the nomination and the overseas trip, the major campaign storylines have been: Obama’s flip-flops, Wesley Clark slurring McCain, Hillary Clinton voters still upset, Obama’s repositioning (kind of) on Iraq, the success of the surge, and the faux seal and the arrogance meme.

Where was there anything positive for Obama or any moment in which he was leading the policy discussion? In any other year the candidate who ceded the debate so dramatically would be losing. It’s a measure of how tough a year it is for Republicans that Obama is still effectively tied.

So why not more focus by Obama on the economy? Well, first he thought he had to fix his commander-in-chief problem. That may have been a giant waste of time and simply distracted from the central problem Obama faces on domestic policy. Obama has a significant challenge there which I suspect he has to fix, and fix quickly. Most of his economic plan is a collection of tax increases for the “rich” and corporations and estates. Throw in some protectionism and it’s not a very credible message during a weak economy. So he can rail about the faltering economy and call it the Bush-McCain depression but until he has a more attractive, growth-oriented approach it may be hard to seize the high ground.

And when you’re not driving the message, others will. That’s in large part why the stories become all about “process” and his personal deficiencies. That polling lead he is supposed to have, I suspect, won’t appear until he can diffuse and shut down the myriad of harmful storylines now circulating. And to do that, he’ll need a clear and believable economic message. Come to think of it, McCain could use one too.

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Obama’s Fundamental Condescension Toward Americans

When Jesse Jackson complained that Barack Obama talked down to black people, he was right on the money. But Obama’s condescension is of a different nature than Jackson realized. Obama is not showing disrespect for audiences when he tells them to take responsibility for their actions and plan for the future. Those moments represent the Democratic nominee’s, too-rare but commendable, efforts to hold adults accountable for their own lots. That’s respect. Obama’s condescension is on display every he time tells people he’ll protect them from their own carelessness or stupidity. Take this from Obama’s speech yesterday to the Urban League:

This election is about the couple I met in North Las Vegas who saved up for decades only to be tricked into buying a home they couldn’t afford.

Really? Is this election about protecting adults who don’t bother to read, or don’t understand, the fine print in their mortgage and purchasing contracts? And if you are not one of those adults, do you really want a presidential nominee addressing you as if you were?

For Obama, the answers are apparently “yes” and “yes.” And that doesn’t apply exclusively to Americans of color. Here he is infantilizing another audience in Philidelphia this past May:

Think about it. The top mortgage lenders spend $185 million lobbying Congress, and we wonder why Washington looked the other way when they were tricking families into buying homes they couldn’t afford.

There’s no question that sub-prime lenders are an unsavory bunch, but is there no responsiblilty to be borne by grown-ups looking to purchase homes? It’s as if Obama thinks the father of our country is P.T. Barnum and this is suckernation.

Obama’s concern for gullible Americans covers issues large and small, and extends both to civilians and those serving in uniform. He doesn’t even give U.S. troops credit for choosing what they want to watch on television. Obama noted on his recent trip abroad that American troops often watch Fox News. “Why is FOX always on?” he asked Fox’s Major Garrett. “They make the choice,” Garret said. Obama’s reply: “Is that the commander in chief’s choice?” That’s it: they were “tricked into” watching fox.

This is all of a piece with Obama’s views of the working class that came to light back in April. He knew why Americans clung to guns, God, and xenophobia better than they did. He saw that they’d been “tricked into” believing in those things after another (the U.S. government) let them down. “It’s not surprising,” he said. In other words, this is what Barack Obama expects of you: bad judgment, an inability to grasp details, a lockstep mentality, and incurable bitterness.

Maybe this explains why he’s so confident he’ll win in November.

When Jesse Jackson complained that Barack Obama talked down to black people, he was right on the money. But Obama’s condescension is of a different nature than Jackson realized. Obama is not showing disrespect for audiences when he tells them to take responsibility for their actions and plan for the future. Those moments represent the Democratic nominee’s, too-rare but commendable, efforts to hold adults accountable for their own lots. That’s respect. Obama’s condescension is on display every he time tells people he’ll protect them from their own carelessness or stupidity. Take this from Obama’s speech yesterday to the Urban League:

This election is about the couple I met in North Las Vegas who saved up for decades only to be tricked into buying a home they couldn’t afford.

Really? Is this election about protecting adults who don’t bother to read, or don’t understand, the fine print in their mortgage and purchasing contracts? And if you are not one of those adults, do you really want a presidential nominee addressing you as if you were?

For Obama, the answers are apparently “yes” and “yes.” And that doesn’t apply exclusively to Americans of color. Here he is infantilizing another audience in Philidelphia this past May:

Think about it. The top mortgage lenders spend $185 million lobbying Congress, and we wonder why Washington looked the other way when they were tricking families into buying homes they couldn’t afford.

There’s no question that sub-prime lenders are an unsavory bunch, but is there no responsiblilty to be borne by grown-ups looking to purchase homes? It’s as if Obama thinks the father of our country is P.T. Barnum and this is suckernation.

Obama’s concern for gullible Americans covers issues large and small, and extends both to civilians and those serving in uniform. He doesn’t even give U.S. troops credit for choosing what they want to watch on television. Obama noted on his recent trip abroad that American troops often watch Fox News. “Why is FOX always on?” he asked Fox’s Major Garrett. “They make the choice,” Garret said. Obama’s reply: “Is that the commander in chief’s choice?” That’s it: they were “tricked into” watching fox.

This is all of a piece with Obama’s views of the working class that came to light back in April. He knew why Americans clung to guns, God, and xenophobia better than they did. He saw that they’d been “tricked into” believing in those things after another (the U.S. government) let them down. “It’s not surprising,” he said. In other words, this is what Barack Obama expects of you: bad judgment, an inability to grasp details, a lockstep mentality, and incurable bitterness.

Maybe this explains why he’s so confident he’ll win in November.

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Tut Tut

Even Barack Obama’s blogosphere fans and the major mainstream press aren’t buying Obama’s “Who, me?” defense on playing the racial victim. If David Axelrod fesses up, there isn’t too much more they can do for their favorite candidate. (And when The Chosen One says “I don’t think it’s accurate to say my comments have nothing to do with race,” it is time to pack in the denials.) Yet everyone is so dismayed, so disappointed that John McCain would make an issue of it. The double standard — bad for Obama to do it, really bad for McCain to mention it — is glaring, but should not be surprising.

But it’s not just on the subject of race that the campaign umpires find infractions. And the fouls are only called on one side. Obama and his surrogates can call McCain old and confused. No problem there. Obama can construct a weird cult of personality. Silence. But when McCain points the latter out, with humor and a pop culture sensibility that many thought they’d never see from his camp, the campaign etiquette police swing into action. He’s lowering the debate! He’s imitating Karl Rove! They feign disappointment and whine that politics should be conducted on a higher plane. We are not amused, they announce.

But really. This is another version on the New Yorker magazine cover flap. The Obama apologists don’t want Him mocked. They want everyone to take his cotton candy rhetorical rubbish as gospel and to pretend he is uttering words of great import. They certainly don’t want him reduced to the status of mere mortal politician. And they absolutely won’t abide by efforts to unmask the post-racial canard.

The McCain camp gets plenty of advice, some good and some atrocious. The pleas to knock off their attacks and return to treating Obama with kid gloves falls into the latter category. But I suspect they know that, and have no intention of discarding a winning hand. That doesn’t mean they can run a campaign solely on skewering Obama, or that they can ignore big issues. (But they haven’t, and indeed their singular focus on energy has been one of their most successful policy forays.) By the same token, though, they cannot win without engaging the public in debunking the New Politics and post-racial myths. And that, of course, is why the Obama media minions don’t like the newly aggressive McCain campaign. Not one bit.

Even Barack Obama’s blogosphere fans and the major mainstream press aren’t buying Obama’s “Who, me?” defense on playing the racial victim. If David Axelrod fesses up, there isn’t too much more they can do for their favorite candidate. (And when The Chosen One says “I don’t think it’s accurate to say my comments have nothing to do with race,” it is time to pack in the denials.) Yet everyone is so dismayed, so disappointed that John McCain would make an issue of it. The double standard — bad for Obama to do it, really bad for McCain to mention it — is glaring, but should not be surprising.

But it’s not just on the subject of race that the campaign umpires find infractions. And the fouls are only called on one side. Obama and his surrogates can call McCain old and confused. No problem there. Obama can construct a weird cult of personality. Silence. But when McCain points the latter out, with humor and a pop culture sensibility that many thought they’d never see from his camp, the campaign etiquette police swing into action. He’s lowering the debate! He’s imitating Karl Rove! They feign disappointment and whine that politics should be conducted on a higher plane. We are not amused, they announce.

But really. This is another version on the New Yorker magazine cover flap. The Obama apologists don’t want Him mocked. They want everyone to take his cotton candy rhetorical rubbish as gospel and to pretend he is uttering words of great import. They certainly don’t want him reduced to the status of mere mortal politician. And they absolutely won’t abide by efforts to unmask the post-racial canard.

The McCain camp gets plenty of advice, some good and some atrocious. The pleas to knock off their attacks and return to treating Obama with kid gloves falls into the latter category. But I suspect they know that, and have no intention of discarding a winning hand. That doesn’t mean they can run a campaign solely on skewering Obama, or that they can ignore big issues. (But they haven’t, and indeed their singular focus on energy has been one of their most successful policy forays.) By the same token, though, they cannot win without engaging the public in debunking the New Politics and post-racial myths. And that, of course, is why the Obama media minions don’t like the newly aggressive McCain campaign. Not one bit.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

It was hard enough keeping track of Barack Obama’s shifting positions–now we have to monitor the “gestures” also?

Charles Krauthammer on the surge: “This is the biggest turnaround of American fortunes in war since 1864. This is not exactly as dramatic as the taking of Atlanta during Sherman’s march, but what you have is a turnaround from a war that was being lost two years ago, and nobody quite knowing how to win it, to a war that could be won by next year.”

A very interesting possibility. Not that I think he could “deliver” his home state, but his reputation in the Old Dominion is certainly better than the Governor’s. (Really, has anyone had much of anything good to say about Tim Kaine since he leaked himself into the limelight?)

In case there was any doubt, Obama’s not doing any townhall debates, it seems. If you remember the Philadelphia debate and you’ve watched any of his press conferences or the Katie CouricCharlie Gibson or Terry Moran  overseas interviews you know why.

While instructing us that only by voting for Obama can we demonstrate that we aren’t racially insensitive, Maureen Dowd asks: “Can Obama overcome his pride and Hyde Park hauteur and win America over?” Well, then maybe it’s his pride and Hyde Park hauteur, not his race, that are the problem. Nah. Must be those hick, gun-toting, racists that are to blame.

The Post has more excuses for the photo preference for Obama than my kids have for staying up past their bedtimes. And the Post’s excuses are a lot weaker. He’s cuter and younger? Good grief.

Not exactly like Dean Acheson leaving out Korea. But a good reminder that if you’re going to pander you better hit everyone.

They are just stumped, it seems. How could Obama not be loved by everyone?

A wonderful column, but I’m thinking that there would be plenty of competition for “America’s Silliest Local Legislators.”

It was hard enough keeping track of Barack Obama’s shifting positions–now we have to monitor the “gestures” also?

Charles Krauthammer on the surge: “This is the biggest turnaround of American fortunes in war since 1864. This is not exactly as dramatic as the taking of Atlanta during Sherman’s march, but what you have is a turnaround from a war that was being lost two years ago, and nobody quite knowing how to win it, to a war that could be won by next year.”

A very interesting possibility. Not that I think he could “deliver” his home state, but his reputation in the Old Dominion is certainly better than the Governor’s. (Really, has anyone had much of anything good to say about Tim Kaine since he leaked himself into the limelight?)

In case there was any doubt, Obama’s not doing any townhall debates, it seems. If you remember the Philadelphia debate and you’ve watched any of his press conferences or the Katie CouricCharlie Gibson or Terry Moran  overseas interviews you know why.

While instructing us that only by voting for Obama can we demonstrate that we aren’t racially insensitive, Maureen Dowd asks: “Can Obama overcome his pride and Hyde Park hauteur and win America over?” Well, then maybe it’s his pride and Hyde Park hauteur, not his race, that are the problem. Nah. Must be those hick, gun-toting, racists that are to blame.

The Post has more excuses for the photo preference for Obama than my kids have for staying up past their bedtimes. And the Post’s excuses are a lot weaker. He’s cuter and younger? Good grief.

Not exactly like Dean Acheson leaving out Korea. But a good reminder that if you’re going to pander you better hit everyone.

They are just stumped, it seems. How could Obama not be loved by everyone?

A wonderful column, but I’m thinking that there would be plenty of competition for “America’s Silliest Local Legislators.”

Read Less




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