Commentary Magazine


Posts For: October 17, 2008

Hot Water for Gen. Odierno

Here’s a reminder that the accomplishments of Gen. David Petraeus are credited to qualities that go beyond military genius.

Iraq’s prime minister slammed America’s top military commander in the country in remarks aired Friday, saying he “risked his position” when he said Iran sought to bribe lawmakers to vote against a U.S.-Iraq security agreement. Gen. Ray Odierno made the comments in an interview published Monday in the Washington Post, though he said he did not have definitive proof of the bribes. “The American commander has risked his position when he spoke in this tone and has regrettably complicated relations,” Nouri al-Maliki told a group of visiting Kuwaiti journalists in an interview shown on Iraq’s state television.

“The man is known to be good and kind, but how can he speak like this about a baseless case? What has been said is truly regrettable,” al-Maliki said.

Gen. Petraeus’s humility, restraint, circumspection, and flair for diplomacy are as much a part of the story of Iraq’s turnaround as, say, his “Anaconda strategy.” Not only does Gen. Odierno have enormous shoes to fill, but he must fill them very discreetly.

Here’s a reminder that the accomplishments of Gen. David Petraeus are credited to qualities that go beyond military genius.

Iraq’s prime minister slammed America’s top military commander in the country in remarks aired Friday, saying he “risked his position” when he said Iran sought to bribe lawmakers to vote against a U.S.-Iraq security agreement. Gen. Ray Odierno made the comments in an interview published Monday in the Washington Post, though he said he did not have definitive proof of the bribes. “The American commander has risked his position when he spoke in this tone and has regrettably complicated relations,” Nouri al-Maliki told a group of visiting Kuwaiti journalists in an interview shown on Iraq’s state television.

“The man is known to be good and kind, but how can he speak like this about a baseless case? What has been said is truly regrettable,” al-Maliki said.

Gen. Petraeus’s humility, restraint, circumspection, and flair for diplomacy are as much a part of the story of Iraq’s turnaround as, say, his “Anaconda strategy.” Not only does Gen. Odierno have enormous shoes to fill, but he must fill them very discreetly.

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A Friday In The Election

In a few hours on a Friday afternoon my email in-box can fill up with literally hundreds of emails from the campaigns, bloggers, outside groups and the like. Obama ate lobster in New York! ACORN is stealing the election! Joe the Plumber is a fraud! It all has a rather hysterical tone, and none of it seems like the stuff that moves voters at this late date.

Sure all of this is intended to influence the media mavens who in turn influence the voters, but let’s get real. The number of people who didn’t realize Obama was an elitist until they heard the lobster tale is . . . well . . .  probably zero. The number of swing voters who might be inclined to listen to McCain’s accusation that his opponent is an wealth re-distribution addict if not for the fact Joe the Plumber doesn’t have a plumbing license is also zero.

Do the campaigns think this stuff matters? Well, they all have jobs to do and news to “move” but sometimes you wish there was a moratorium on issues that only political insiders or die hard political junkies care about. How about a day, an entire day, in which the McCain camp talks about nothing but energy policy and the stupidity of dragging our feet on domestic oil development? Or a whole weekend in which the McCain camp talks about judges? Might that focus voters who are really in play? Perhaps, but it certainly would be a restbit from the babble of political staffers. Hey — here’s another picture ( oh, it’s the same one actually) of Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the pledge. You think that’ll swing Ohio? Me neither.

In a few hours on a Friday afternoon my email in-box can fill up with literally hundreds of emails from the campaigns, bloggers, outside groups and the like. Obama ate lobster in New York! ACORN is stealing the election! Joe the Plumber is a fraud! It all has a rather hysterical tone, and none of it seems like the stuff that moves voters at this late date.

Sure all of this is intended to influence the media mavens who in turn influence the voters, but let’s get real. The number of people who didn’t realize Obama was an elitist until they heard the lobster tale is . . . well . . .  probably zero. The number of swing voters who might be inclined to listen to McCain’s accusation that his opponent is an wealth re-distribution addict if not for the fact Joe the Plumber doesn’t have a plumbing license is also zero.

Do the campaigns think this stuff matters? Well, they all have jobs to do and news to “move” but sometimes you wish there was a moratorium on issues that only political insiders or die hard political junkies care about. How about a day, an entire day, in which the McCain camp talks about nothing but energy policy and the stupidity of dragging our feet on domestic oil development? Or a whole weekend in which the McCain camp talks about judges? Might that focus voters who are really in play? Perhaps, but it certainly would be a restbit from the babble of political staffers. Hey — here’s another picture ( oh, it’s the same one actually) of Obama not putting his hand over his heart during the pledge. You think that’ll swing Ohio? Me neither.

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Re: Powell’s Endorsement

This would be the second time this week that Colin Powell threw his reputation behind a politician. He also appeared as a character witness in the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens accused of falsifying Senate reports to conceal gifts (i.e. hundreds of thousands of dollars in home improvements). Perhaps both the trial jury there and the broader electorate will be soothed by Powell’s kind words.

However, in the presidential political realm, it would at the very least suggest Powell doesn’t believe much of what Barack Obama has been saying. I don’t recall Powell, while in office, suggesting an immediate cut-off of funds for U.S. troops in Iraq or urging the President to meet unconditionally with Ahmadinejad. I do, however, recall that he and John McCain joined forces on subjects such as a legislative ban on torture. But politics is strange stuff and maybe he has been given assurances and sees a different picture of Obama from the one on display in the Democratic primary and then the general election. So many people are banking on Obama’s callow deception of the netroot base, aren’t they?

This would be the second time this week that Colin Powell threw his reputation behind a politician. He also appeared as a character witness in the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens accused of falsifying Senate reports to conceal gifts (i.e. hundreds of thousands of dollars in home improvements). Perhaps both the trial jury there and the broader electorate will be soothed by Powell’s kind words.

However, in the presidential political realm, it would at the very least suggest Powell doesn’t believe much of what Barack Obama has been saying. I don’t recall Powell, while in office, suggesting an immediate cut-off of funds for U.S. troops in Iraq or urging the President to meet unconditionally with Ahmadinejad. I do, however, recall that he and John McCain joined forces on subjects such as a legislative ban on torture. But politics is strange stuff and maybe he has been given assurances and sees a different picture of Obama from the one on display in the Democratic primary and then the general election. So many people are banking on Obama’s callow deception of the netroot base, aren’t they?

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Powell’s Endorsement

If the rumors are correct, and Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, it will create a media frenzy. That will be advantageous for Obama, since controlling news cycles at this stage of the game is an undeniable asset. But will that endorsement change a single vote, or convince independent uncommitted voters to pull the lever for Obama? Do voters uncommitted at this stage of the game really care what Colin Powell thinks? Do they know who Colin Powell is, aside from having a vague recollection that he was the guy who told them Saddam Hussein had WMDs?

If the rumors are correct, and Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, it will create a media frenzy. That will be advantageous for Obama, since controlling news cycles at this stage of the game is an undeniable asset. But will that endorsement change a single vote, or convince independent uncommitted voters to pull the lever for Obama? Do voters uncommitted at this stage of the game really care what Colin Powell thinks? Do they know who Colin Powell is, aside from having a vague recollection that he was the guy who told them Saddam Hussein had WMDs?

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And When It Gets Old?

McClatchy Newspapers report on French Obama chic:

His visage appears between the svelte curves of fashion models on Europe’s most prestigious runways. His speeches are remixed into thumping music tracks in underground dance clubs. His campaign slogans are the foundation for modern art hanging on trendy Parisian gallery walls.

In Europe, Barack Obama is much more than the Democratic presidential nominee. He’s the hip new thing.

[...]

Earlier this month at the Paris Fashion Week, at least four top European designers unveiled dresses, skirts and tops featuring images honoring Obama.

At what point can we deem Europe’s cosmetic obsession with a black American presidential candidate offensive? I know we’re supposed to be overjoyed that the rest of the world loves Obama, but this is a pretty condescending brand of love, and it’s shocking that no one has objected to it. You don’t have to agree with Barack Obama to think he deserves more respect from the rest of the world than to be turned into an exotic fashion ornament. A “hip new thing” is still a thing. He may be Europe’s new PC fashion accessory, but he’s still our Democratic nominee. And if you think it’s his ideas on healthcare and the tax code that have Europeans jazzed, think again:

What strikes Obama’s Parisian supporters is the contradiction in France: Polls find that as many as 80 percent of its citizens support Obama, yet the country last year rejected the left-leaning Segolene Royal, who was poised to become France’s first female president, and elected the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.

So, if you’re French and you want to advertise your love of black people, you wear an Obama scarf. Meanwhile, unassimilated North African immigrants light up the skies of Parisian suburbs with nightly arson riots. Way to make with the diversity, Europe!

McClatchy Newspapers report on French Obama chic:

His visage appears between the svelte curves of fashion models on Europe’s most prestigious runways. His speeches are remixed into thumping music tracks in underground dance clubs. His campaign slogans are the foundation for modern art hanging on trendy Parisian gallery walls.

In Europe, Barack Obama is much more than the Democratic presidential nominee. He’s the hip new thing.

[...]

Earlier this month at the Paris Fashion Week, at least four top European designers unveiled dresses, skirts and tops featuring images honoring Obama.

At what point can we deem Europe’s cosmetic obsession with a black American presidential candidate offensive? I know we’re supposed to be overjoyed that the rest of the world loves Obama, but this is a pretty condescending brand of love, and it’s shocking that no one has objected to it. You don’t have to agree with Barack Obama to think he deserves more respect from the rest of the world than to be turned into an exotic fashion ornament. A “hip new thing” is still a thing. He may be Europe’s new PC fashion accessory, but he’s still our Democratic nominee. And if you think it’s his ideas on healthcare and the tax code that have Europeans jazzed, think again:

What strikes Obama’s Parisian supporters is the contradiction in France: Polls find that as many as 80 percent of its citizens support Obama, yet the country last year rejected the left-leaning Segolene Royal, who was poised to become France’s first female president, and elected the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.

So, if you’re French and you want to advertise your love of black people, you wear an Obama scarf. Meanwhile, unassimilated North African immigrants light up the skies of Parisian suburbs with nightly arson riots. Way to make with the diversity, Europe!

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Buffett Says Buy

This morning, Warren Buffett says he is now buying American equities. Once, his personal portfolio was totally invested in U.S. government bonds. Soon, he notes in his New York Times op-ed, he will own nothing but the shirt on his back and American equities. His argument is simple: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” Good American companies will recover and produce “new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.”

They don’t call Buffett the Oracle of Omaha for nothing, and he is undoubtedly correct. Over the long term, stock of American companies will be the best performing assets in the world. And it’s not hard to see why. Western Europe, plagued by ideas of state-led capitalism, will be stagnant. The oligarchs will continue to strangle the Russian economy, and China will be struggling to come to grips with the “contradictions” of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” People will soon forgot names of wealth-accumulation wizards like George Soros and Jim Rogers. And no one will be buying gold.

Nobody makes money betting against Buffett. Yet there is one factor that he does not mention in today’s New York Times piece. Great-power autocracies and rogue states always try to take advantage of the uncertainty and turmoil that inevitably accompany sharp economic downturns in the world’s democracies. In the past, they were never able to deliver knock-out blows. Now, however, some of them are armed with the ultimate weapons in history and others are on the verge of acquiring them. Their possession of dangerous arsenals destabilizes us all and even changes the structure of the international system.

So, we are at a precarious moment. The global financial architecture is disintegrating and the post-Cold War geopolitical structure is decaying. We are passing from a sweet spot in history-the best possible world-to something else. We may not yet be the “greatest generation,” but we may end up as the generation that faces history’s greatest challenges.

When that happens, Americans must once again find the will to lead. And when we do, Buffett will be proved right.

This morning, Warren Buffett says he is now buying American equities. Once, his personal portfolio was totally invested in U.S. government bonds. Soon, he notes in his New York Times op-ed, he will own nothing but the shirt on his back and American equities. His argument is simple: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” Good American companies will recover and produce “new profit records 5, 10 and 20 years from now.”

They don’t call Buffett the Oracle of Omaha for nothing, and he is undoubtedly correct. Over the long term, stock of American companies will be the best performing assets in the world. And it’s not hard to see why. Western Europe, plagued by ideas of state-led capitalism, will be stagnant. The oligarchs will continue to strangle the Russian economy, and China will be struggling to come to grips with the “contradictions” of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” People will soon forgot names of wealth-accumulation wizards like George Soros and Jim Rogers. And no one will be buying gold.

Nobody makes money betting against Buffett. Yet there is one factor that he does not mention in today’s New York Times piece. Great-power autocracies and rogue states always try to take advantage of the uncertainty and turmoil that inevitably accompany sharp economic downturns in the world’s democracies. In the past, they were never able to deliver knock-out blows. Now, however, some of them are armed with the ultimate weapons in history and others are on the verge of acquiring them. Their possession of dangerous arsenals destabilizes us all and even changes the structure of the international system.

So, we are at a precarious moment. The global financial architecture is disintegrating and the post-Cold War geopolitical structure is decaying. We are passing from a sweet spot in history-the best possible world-to something else. We may not yet be the “greatest generation,” but we may end up as the generation that faces history’s greatest challenges.

When that happens, Americans must once again find the will to lead. And when we do, Buffett will be proved right.

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The Evil That Is Joe the Plumber

The plot could not be more nefarious. In 2008, Barack Obama decides to go ring doorbells in Toledo, Ohio. A decade earlier, anticipating just such an event, the notorious S&L swindler Charles Keating instructs his son-in-law to move his son-in-law’s cousin, a man named Samuel, into the path of Barack Obama’s eventual walking tour. He further instructs Samuel to a) pretend he is a plumber even though he doesn’t have a license and b) to call himself “Joe” rather than “Sam,” since “Joe the Plumber” sounds better in a nationally televised debate than “Sam the Plumber.”  Then, when Obama shows up, Sam aka Joe is to ask Obama about Obama’s tax plan, and focus his eyes on Obama, thereby telepathically forcing the Illinois Senator to say he wants to “spread the wealth around.”

Surely this must be the true story. Otherwise, why would seemingly honorable people in the media, in the Left blogosphere, and a would-be vice president decide to investigate the bona fides of Joe the Plumber in a transparent effort to destroy the credibility, job prospects, and good name of a hard-working single father – when all he did, it would appear to the naked eye, was to live in a house on a block where Barack Obama decided to come calling in pursuit of a nice TV spot on the local news?

The plot could not be more nefarious. In 2008, Barack Obama decides to go ring doorbells in Toledo, Ohio. A decade earlier, anticipating just such an event, the notorious S&L swindler Charles Keating instructs his son-in-law to move his son-in-law’s cousin, a man named Samuel, into the path of Barack Obama’s eventual walking tour. He further instructs Samuel to a) pretend he is a plumber even though he doesn’t have a license and b) to call himself “Joe” rather than “Sam,” since “Joe the Plumber” sounds better in a nationally televised debate than “Sam the Plumber.”  Then, when Obama shows up, Sam aka Joe is to ask Obama about Obama’s tax plan, and focus his eyes on Obama, thereby telepathically forcing the Illinois Senator to say he wants to “spread the wealth around.”

Surely this must be the true story. Otherwise, why would seemingly honorable people in the media, in the Left blogosphere, and a would-be vice president decide to investigate the bona fides of Joe the Plumber in a transparent effort to destroy the credibility, job prospects, and good name of a hard-working single father – when all he did, it would appear to the naked eye, was to live in a house on a block where Barack Obama decided to come calling in pursuit of a nice TV spot on the local news?

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Insanely Hilarious

The biggest hit by Amy Winehouse, the tattooed junkie British neo-soul singer who also happens (oy) to be Jewish, is called “Rehab.” Here’s a guy singing “Rehab” in Yiddish.

The biggest hit by Amy Winehouse, the tattooed junkie British neo-soul singer who also happens (oy) to be Jewish, is called “Rehab.” Here’s a guy singing “Rehab” in Yiddish.

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Dispositive Disposition

With the sudden emphasis on temperament in election coverage, you’d think that Americans are going to the polls on November 4 to pick the White House dog. Focus on this farcical dimension is due to the fact that the MSM is madly in love with Barack Obama, but have run out of reasons to say exactly why.

They used to cite his objection to the Iraq War, but the U.S. is now winning, and a troop withdrawal plan has been negotiated without his input. They used to talk about his plan to tax the “rich” and relieve the poor, but with the market meltdown, raising anyone’s taxes sounds petrifying–plus Joe the Plumber brought out Obama’s socialist side on this issue and the press would rather try to discredit Joe. They used to praise his eagerness to re-establish America’s standing in the world, but in the nearly two years he’s been preparing his penance, America’s image has gotten a boost from its military achievement, the rise of the Right in Europe, the need for an ally against Russian aggression, and the call for leadership on the global financial crisis. They used to rave about his willingness to upset the status quo, but with his tacking to the center on a dozen different issues, that’s out the window. His outsider status? Sarah Palin swooped into the election from outside of the continental United States, while Obama is now running with a career D.C. benchwarmer.

They could never tout his experience.

So what’s left? This amorphous, quasi-mythical thing everyone’s decided to call temperament. And Obama’s, we’re told, is just right for the job: Measured, unflappable, and patient. And how far are legitimate media outlets willing to go to push the temperament line? Far enough to make Nancy Gibbs declare, in her contribution to Time, that “[t]he presidency is less an office than a performance.”

In other words, the MSM is now telling us this isn’t really Election 2008, but a spin-off of the West Wing, and we therefore should be superficial in choosing the leader of the free world. The problem is: when the world outside the borders of the television screen erupts, Obama is caught out like an Emmy-winner having a cue-card malfunction. After Russia invaded Georgia, Obama improvised some line about both sides needing to cease hostilities. It was only after John McCain identified the aggressor and where the U.S. interest lay in the conflict that Obama felt comfortable following suit. But while he was calm and collected, he said absolutely nothing about the potential start of the second cold war.

Here–after the most hyped-up, over-analyzed media-circus of an election in American history–is the distillation of the final pitch for the Democratic nominee: Vote Obama, he’s cool.

With the sudden emphasis on temperament in election coverage, you’d think that Americans are going to the polls on November 4 to pick the White House dog. Focus on this farcical dimension is due to the fact that the MSM is madly in love with Barack Obama, but have run out of reasons to say exactly why.

They used to cite his objection to the Iraq War, but the U.S. is now winning, and a troop withdrawal plan has been negotiated without his input. They used to talk about his plan to tax the “rich” and relieve the poor, but with the market meltdown, raising anyone’s taxes sounds petrifying–plus Joe the Plumber brought out Obama’s socialist side on this issue and the press would rather try to discredit Joe. They used to praise his eagerness to re-establish America’s standing in the world, but in the nearly two years he’s been preparing his penance, America’s image has gotten a boost from its military achievement, the rise of the Right in Europe, the need for an ally against Russian aggression, and the call for leadership on the global financial crisis. They used to rave about his willingness to upset the status quo, but with his tacking to the center on a dozen different issues, that’s out the window. His outsider status? Sarah Palin swooped into the election from outside of the continental United States, while Obama is now running with a career D.C. benchwarmer.

They could never tout his experience.

So what’s left? This amorphous, quasi-mythical thing everyone’s decided to call temperament. And Obama’s, we’re told, is just right for the job: Measured, unflappable, and patient. And how far are legitimate media outlets willing to go to push the temperament line? Far enough to make Nancy Gibbs declare, in her contribution to Time, that “[t]he presidency is less an office than a performance.”

In other words, the MSM is now telling us this isn’t really Election 2008, but a spin-off of the West Wing, and we therefore should be superficial in choosing the leader of the free world. The problem is: when the world outside the borders of the television screen erupts, Obama is caught out like an Emmy-winner having a cue-card malfunction. After Russia invaded Georgia, Obama improvised some line about both sides needing to cease hostilities. It was only after John McCain identified the aggressor and where the U.S. interest lay in the conflict that Obama felt comfortable following suit. But while he was calm and collected, he said absolutely nothing about the potential start of the second cold war.

Here–after the most hyped-up, over-analyzed media-circus of an election in American history–is the distillation of the final pitch for the Democratic nominee: Vote Obama, he’s cool.

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Are You Positive?

Mickey Kaus ponders whether there is time for John McCain to go “positive.” But “positive” is in the eye of the beholder. As others have pointed out, Barack Obama’s campaign is one based largely on fear and a negative contrast with George W. Bush. (And don’t forget the grossly inaccurate ads on immigration, healthcare, and other topics.)

To a large degree, McCain has already gone positive–offering a tax plan (but mysteriously not talking about it at the last debate), putting out a market-oriented healthcare plan, offering a (sort of) budget freeze and stressing his commander-in-chief qualifications. Sure, he contrasts all that with the tax-hiking, protectionist, big-domestic-spending-plans of his opponent. But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?

McCain for months has been struggling to convert an “experience vs. change” election into a “what kind of change?” election. He’s almost done it. While not as articulately or effectively as some would like, he used the better part of the last debate to shove George W. Bush out of the picture and contrast his slightly quirky right-of-center vision with that of “Senator Government.” That might not be pristinely “positive,” but it’s entirely substantive and very appropriate. This is what elections are about, after all: choices. It seems, however belatedly, that McCain has managed to formulate that choice by explaining his and his opponent’s plans. He may not win. But this is a positive development in the race.

Mickey Kaus ponders whether there is time for John McCain to go “positive.” But “positive” is in the eye of the beholder. As others have pointed out, Barack Obama’s campaign is one based largely on fear and a negative contrast with George W. Bush. (And don’t forget the grossly inaccurate ads on immigration, healthcare, and other topics.)

To a large degree, McCain has already gone positive–offering a tax plan (but mysteriously not talking about it at the last debate), putting out a market-oriented healthcare plan, offering a (sort of) budget freeze and stressing his commander-in-chief qualifications. Sure, he contrasts all that with the tax-hiking, protectionist, big-domestic-spending-plans of his opponent. But that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?

McCain for months has been struggling to convert an “experience vs. change” election into a “what kind of change?” election. He’s almost done it. While not as articulately or effectively as some would like, he used the better part of the last debate to shove George W. Bush out of the picture and contrast his slightly quirky right-of-center vision with that of “Senator Government.” That might not be pristinely “positive,” but it’s entirely substantive and very appropriate. This is what elections are about, after all: choices. It seems, however belatedly, that McCain has managed to formulate that choice by explaining his and his opponent’s plans. He may not win. But this is a positive development in the race.

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Recent Converts

Recently, three people for whom I have great respect have now endorsed Barack Obama for president. That would be Christopher Buckley, Christopher Hitchens, and now Fred Hiatt, editor of the Washington Post editorial page. The latter two are particularly surprising converts because both have been such stalwart supporters of the war in Iraq–a conflict that Barack Obama has tried as hard as possible to lose. (Buckley, by contrast, has been opposed to the war–as was, as far as I can tell, his father.) How do they reconcile their support for victory with a candidate who has been happy to accept defeat?

Here is Hitchens:

I used to call myself a single-issue voter on the essential question of defending civilization against its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors, and on that “issue” I hope I can continue to expose and oppose any ambiguity. Obama is greatly overrated in my opinion, but the Obama-Biden ticket is not a capitulationist one, even if it does accept the support of the surrender faction, and it does show some signs of being able and willing to profit from experience.

And here is the Washington Post editorial presumably penned by Hiatt:

Mr. Obama’s greatest deviation from current policy is also our biggest worry: his insistence on withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a fixed timeline. Thanks to the surge that Mr. Obama opposed, it may be feasible to withdraw many troops during his first two years in office. But if it isn’t — and U.S. generals have warned that the hard-won gains of the past 18 months could be lost by a precipitous withdrawal — we can only hope and assume that Mr. Obama would recognize the strategic importance of success in Iraq and adjust his plans.

The very next paragraph of the Post editorial continues in a similar vein, concerning Obama’s state support for tearing up trade treaties:

We also can only hope that the alarming anti-trade rhetoric we have heard from Mr. Obama during the campaign would give way to the understanding of the benefits of trade reflected in his writings. A silver lining of the financial crisis may be the flexibility it gives Mr. Obama to override some of the interest groups and members of Congress in his own party who oppose open trade, as well as to pursue the entitlement reform that he surely understands is needed.

“Adjust his plans”? “Profit from experience”? In other words, the best that these newly won-over Obama voters can say for him is that they hope that he is not a man of his word–that when push comes to shove he will abandon the promises that got him into the White House in the first place. I hope so, too, if Obama wins. But that doesn’t seem like a terribly convincing reason to cast a vote for president. Especially not when the other candidate (whose campaign I advise on foreign policy issues) has shown himself willing to take tough stances in defense of our national security even when they weren’t popular.

I can’t help thinking that Hitchens, Hiatt et al. are being too complacent about the prospects for Iraq, perhaps assuming that it almost doesn’t matter who is elected in November because victory is in the bag. It would be nice if that were the case–and it may very well be the case–but I would never underestimate our ability to squander hard-won gains through imprudent leadership of the kind that Obama has demonstrated repeatedly on the campaign trail.

Recently, three people for whom I have great respect have now endorsed Barack Obama for president. That would be Christopher Buckley, Christopher Hitchens, and now Fred Hiatt, editor of the Washington Post editorial page. The latter two are particularly surprising converts because both have been such stalwart supporters of the war in Iraq–a conflict that Barack Obama has tried as hard as possible to lose. (Buckley, by contrast, has been opposed to the war–as was, as far as I can tell, his father.) How do they reconcile their support for victory with a candidate who has been happy to accept defeat?

Here is Hitchens:

I used to call myself a single-issue voter on the essential question of defending civilization against its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors, and on that “issue” I hope I can continue to expose and oppose any ambiguity. Obama is greatly overrated in my opinion, but the Obama-Biden ticket is not a capitulationist one, even if it does accept the support of the surrender faction, and it does show some signs of being able and willing to profit from experience.

And here is the Washington Post editorial presumably penned by Hiatt:

Mr. Obama’s greatest deviation from current policy is also our biggest worry: his insistence on withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq on a fixed timeline. Thanks to the surge that Mr. Obama opposed, it may be feasible to withdraw many troops during his first two years in office. But if it isn’t — and U.S. generals have warned that the hard-won gains of the past 18 months could be lost by a precipitous withdrawal — we can only hope and assume that Mr. Obama would recognize the strategic importance of success in Iraq and adjust his plans.

The very next paragraph of the Post editorial continues in a similar vein, concerning Obama’s state support for tearing up trade treaties:

We also can only hope that the alarming anti-trade rhetoric we have heard from Mr. Obama during the campaign would give way to the understanding of the benefits of trade reflected in his writings. A silver lining of the financial crisis may be the flexibility it gives Mr. Obama to override some of the interest groups and members of Congress in his own party who oppose open trade, as well as to pursue the entitlement reform that he surely understands is needed.

“Adjust his plans”? “Profit from experience”? In other words, the best that these newly won-over Obama voters can say for him is that they hope that he is not a man of his word–that when push comes to shove he will abandon the promises that got him into the White House in the first place. I hope so, too, if Obama wins. But that doesn’t seem like a terribly convincing reason to cast a vote for president. Especially not when the other candidate (whose campaign I advise on foreign policy issues) has shown himself willing to take tough stances in defense of our national security even when they weren’t popular.

I can’t help thinking that Hitchens, Hiatt et al. are being too complacent about the prospects for Iraq, perhaps assuming that it almost doesn’t matter who is elected in November because victory is in the bag. It would be nice if that were the case–and it may very well be the case–but I would never underestimate our ability to squander hard-won gains through imprudent leadership of the kind that Obama has demonstrated repeatedly on the campaign trail.

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Sending Iran’s Regrets

Senator Barack Obama hopes to be the first American president to engage in diplomatic negotiations with the Islamic Republic regime in Iran. He even says he’s willing to meet with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Surely he must understand that what he’s proposing is a radical departure from foreign policy as practiced by both parties. Franklin Roosevelt didn’t meet with Adolf Hitler or Emperor Hirohito, Harry Truman didn’t meet with Kim Il Sung, Ronald Reagan didn’t meet with any Soviet leader until after glasnost and perestroika were in place, Bill Clinton didn’t meet with Saddam Hussein or Iran’s Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and no American president met with Fidel Castro.

Read the rest of this COMMENTARY web exclusive here.

Senator Barack Obama hopes to be the first American president to engage in diplomatic negotiations with the Islamic Republic regime in Iran. He even says he’s willing to meet with Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions. Surely he must understand that what he’s proposing is a radical departure from foreign policy as practiced by both parties. Franklin Roosevelt didn’t meet with Adolf Hitler or Emperor Hirohito, Harry Truman didn’t meet with Kim Il Sung, Ronald Reagan didn’t meet with any Soviet leader until after glasnost and perestroika were in place, Bill Clinton didn’t meet with Saddam Hussein or Iran’s Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and no American president met with Fidel Castro.

Read the rest of this COMMENTARY web exclusive here.

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You Have to Hand It to Them

The liberal media throng and Democratic elites never learn the right lesson. It’s been only a month since they vilified Sarah Palin, leading to a gigantic backlash and the largest surge in John McCain’s standing in the polls yet. But they didn’t learn. They are at it again with Joe the Plumber and, once again, are exercising no self-restraint.

They don’t, at bottom, respect non-elites from middle America or listen to their concerns. They treat them as cartoon characters or as frauds sent to foil their own quest for power. So they set upon Joe the Plumber in the mistaken view that what was significant about the interchange with Barack Obama were Joe’s concerns. And–surprise, surprise–you’ve got the makings of a backlash.

There are two problems with the approach of the Obama supporters. One, as with the Palin feeding frenzy and Bittergate, it convinces ordinary voters that the Democrats are vicious snobs. Two, it doesn’t address the problem: voters may begin to suspect that Obama is fixated on wealth re-distribution. That’s the idea the Democrats should be working to dispel. But since they can’t imagine that the public would have a problem with raising taxes in a recession, they don’t even bother to reassure voters that of course Obama wants the private sector to grow and of course he understands that you must tread carefully in tax-burdening small businessmen.

The McCain team must be pinching themselves: they can hardly believe their luck that the Democrats have attacked an everyman and prolonged a dangerous storyline. The only question remaining: will they keep it up? McCain couldn’t be that lucky, could he?

The liberal media throng and Democratic elites never learn the right lesson. It’s been only a month since they vilified Sarah Palin, leading to a gigantic backlash and the largest surge in John McCain’s standing in the polls yet. But they didn’t learn. They are at it again with Joe the Plumber and, once again, are exercising no self-restraint.

They don’t, at bottom, respect non-elites from middle America or listen to their concerns. They treat them as cartoon characters or as frauds sent to foil their own quest for power. So they set upon Joe the Plumber in the mistaken view that what was significant about the interchange with Barack Obama were Joe’s concerns. And–surprise, surprise–you’ve got the makings of a backlash.

There are two problems with the approach of the Obama supporters. One, as with the Palin feeding frenzy and Bittergate, it convinces ordinary voters that the Democrats are vicious snobs. Two, it doesn’t address the problem: voters may begin to suspect that Obama is fixated on wealth re-distribution. That’s the idea the Democrats should be working to dispel. But since they can’t imagine that the public would have a problem with raising taxes in a recession, they don’t even bother to reassure voters that of course Obama wants the private sector to grow and of course he understands that you must tread carefully in tax-burdening small businessmen.

The McCain team must be pinching themselves: they can hardly believe their luck that the Democrats have attacked an everyman and prolonged a dangerous storyline. The only question remaining: will they keep it up? McCain couldn’t be that lucky, could he?

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Iran Delay

First, it was the Russians stalling on a new round of UN sanctions against Iran–their excuse was Georgia. Now it’s the Chinese–and their pretext is a U.S. announcement, two weeks ago, of new arms sales to Taiwan.  Clearly, both nations do not see Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a strategic threat to their interests, or not as their top security priority.

Clearly, without them, no further UN Security Council resolution can be had to ratchet up sanctions on Iran. The Bush administration has been pursuing its own approach with Tehran by enacting its own set of sanctions, and some have pushed Europe to expand its sanctions regime as a result. But, given that not much time is left for the West to solve this crisis, it is high time Europe realizes it has to enact sweeping sanctions against Tehran without waiting for the Russians and the Chinese to come around. Otherwise, it will be either an attack on Iran (which European leaders deem to be “a catastrophe”) or a nuclear Iran, the consequences of which might be just as disastrous.

First, it was the Russians stalling on a new round of UN sanctions against Iran–their excuse was Georgia. Now it’s the Chinese–and their pretext is a U.S. announcement, two weeks ago, of new arms sales to Taiwan.  Clearly, both nations do not see Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a strategic threat to their interests, or not as their top security priority.

Clearly, without them, no further UN Security Council resolution can be had to ratchet up sanctions on Iran. The Bush administration has been pursuing its own approach with Tehran by enacting its own set of sanctions, and some have pushed Europe to expand its sanctions regime as a result. But, given that not much time is left for the West to solve this crisis, it is high time Europe realizes it has to enact sweeping sanctions against Tehran without waiting for the Russians and the Chinese to come around. Otherwise, it will be either an attack on Iran (which European leaders deem to be “a catastrophe”) or a nuclear Iran, the consequences of which might be just as disastrous.

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Confused?

If you are looking at the national polls, you might be wondering what is going on. One poll has a fourteen percentage point lead for Obama, another has two. Gallup has experienced some noticeable tightening over the last week and has two poll models to choose from.

I think two things are going on. First, no one is sure who a “likely voter” is.  If Gallup doesn’t know which model is right, it is hard for non-pollsters to fathom. On national pollster tells me that, given the uncertainty about turnout, using “registered voters” makes as much sense as anything. And second, a lot of people are sloshing around between undecided and each of the two candidates.

Is Barack Obama ahead? Sure, but the margin isn’t clear at all. Maybe the race is all but over. Or maybe things are still in flux, made a tad more unpredictable by the public’s discovery that Obama wants to “spread the wealth” and raise taxes in a recession. (Seriously, I bet a majority of the electorate didn’t know that until the debate.) And the undecideds? A smart pollster honestly confesses: “Who knows?”

This isn’t exactly unprecedented. If you like, take a walk down memory lane and look at the October 2004 polls. The race sure did tighten — but not enough for a come-from-behind win. What makes this year so interesting is that no one is quite sure who’s going to show up — or if Joe the Plumber is the last twist in the race.

If you are looking at the national polls, you might be wondering what is going on. One poll has a fourteen percentage point lead for Obama, another has two. Gallup has experienced some noticeable tightening over the last week and has two poll models to choose from.

I think two things are going on. First, no one is sure who a “likely voter” is.  If Gallup doesn’t know which model is right, it is hard for non-pollsters to fathom. On national pollster tells me that, given the uncertainty about turnout, using “registered voters” makes as much sense as anything. And second, a lot of people are sloshing around between undecided and each of the two candidates.

Is Barack Obama ahead? Sure, but the margin isn’t clear at all. Maybe the race is all but over. Or maybe things are still in flux, made a tad more unpredictable by the public’s discovery that Obama wants to “spread the wealth” and raise taxes in a recession. (Seriously, I bet a majority of the electorate didn’t know that until the debate.) And the undecideds? A smart pollster honestly confesses: “Who knows?”

This isn’t exactly unprecedented. If you like, take a walk down memory lane and look at the October 2004 polls. The race sure did tighten — but not enough for a come-from-behind win. What makes this year so interesting is that no one is quite sure who’s going to show up — or if Joe the Plumber is the last twist in the race.

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What Campaign Are They Watching?

As Abe has pointed out, there is no shortage of pundits ready to regale us with tales of Barack Obama’s calm, serenity, and superior temperament. We are told that “there hasn’t been a moment when he has displayed rage, resentment, fear, anxiety, bitterness, tears, ecstasy, self-pity or impulsiveness.” Huh? Have they been following this campaign? The infatuated punditocracy is leaving out one big, glaring exception: Obama’s reflexive, continual, and shameful tendency to play the race card.

It came up at the final debate, when he repeated the discredited allegation that errant supporters at a McCain-Palin rally shouted death threats about Obama. Charles Krauthammer reviews the dismal record of Obama and his supporters who resort to racial victimhood whenever The One has been criticized, noting:

In the name of racial rectitude, McCain has denied himself the use of that perfectly legitimate issue. It is simply Orwellian for him to be now so widely vilified as a stoker of racism. What makes it doubly Orwellian is that these charges are being made on behalf of the one presidential candidate who has repeatedly, and indeed quite brilliantly, deployed the race card.

How brilliantly? The reason Bill Clinton is sulking in his tent is because he feels that Obama surrogates succeeded in painting him as a racist. Clinton has many sins, but from his student days to his post-presidency, his commitment and sincerity in advancing the cause of African-Americans have been undeniable. If the man Toni Morrison called the first black president can be turned into a closet racist, then anyone can.

And Obama has shown no hesitation in doing so to McCain. Just weeks ago, in Springfield, Mo., and elsewhere, he warned darkly that George Bush and John McCain were going to try to frighten you by saying that, among other scary things, Obama has “a funny name” and “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.”

McCain has never said that, nor anything like that. When asked at the time to produce one instance of McCain deploying race, the Obama campaign could not. Yet here was Obama firing a pre-emptive charge of racism against a man who had not indulged in it. An extraordinary rhetorical feat, and a dishonorable one.

What makes this all the more dismaying is that it comes from Barack Obama, who has consistently presented himself as a healer, a man of a new generation above and beyond race, the man who would turn the page on the guilt-tripping grievance politics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Perhaps the bigotry of low expectations is at work here. One doesn’t expect any candidate to show “rage.” But as peevish, bitter, and self-pitying performances go, Obama’s ranks right up there.

It may be that stoicism and emotional restraint have been under-appreciated presidential qualities. Maybe we will discover the Zen-like benefits of inactivity, but all this strikes me as a strained effort to concoct a rationale — “temperament” — which sets Obama apart from his opponent. Certainly it is not a record of accomplishment or blazing originality in policy development.

But the Obamaphiles should at least be honest: his temperament is one which relies on deceit. And the result is a candidate who lacks the ability to recognize, absorb, and manage reasonable criticism. If he wins, we’ll see if that’s such a great emotional make-up for the presidency.

As Abe has pointed out, there is no shortage of pundits ready to regale us with tales of Barack Obama’s calm, serenity, and superior temperament. We are told that “there hasn’t been a moment when he has displayed rage, resentment, fear, anxiety, bitterness, tears, ecstasy, self-pity or impulsiveness.” Huh? Have they been following this campaign? The infatuated punditocracy is leaving out one big, glaring exception: Obama’s reflexive, continual, and shameful tendency to play the race card.

It came up at the final debate, when he repeated the discredited allegation that errant supporters at a McCain-Palin rally shouted death threats about Obama. Charles Krauthammer reviews the dismal record of Obama and his supporters who resort to racial victimhood whenever The One has been criticized, noting:

In the name of racial rectitude, McCain has denied himself the use of that perfectly legitimate issue. It is simply Orwellian for him to be now so widely vilified as a stoker of racism. What makes it doubly Orwellian is that these charges are being made on behalf of the one presidential candidate who has repeatedly, and indeed quite brilliantly, deployed the race card.

How brilliantly? The reason Bill Clinton is sulking in his tent is because he feels that Obama surrogates succeeded in painting him as a racist. Clinton has many sins, but from his student days to his post-presidency, his commitment and sincerity in advancing the cause of African-Americans have been undeniable. If the man Toni Morrison called the first black president can be turned into a closet racist, then anyone can.

And Obama has shown no hesitation in doing so to McCain. Just weeks ago, in Springfield, Mo., and elsewhere, he warned darkly that George Bush and John McCain were going to try to frighten you by saying that, among other scary things, Obama has “a funny name” and “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.”

McCain has never said that, nor anything like that. When asked at the time to produce one instance of McCain deploying race, the Obama campaign could not. Yet here was Obama firing a pre-emptive charge of racism against a man who had not indulged in it. An extraordinary rhetorical feat, and a dishonorable one.

What makes this all the more dismaying is that it comes from Barack Obama, who has consistently presented himself as a healer, a man of a new generation above and beyond race, the man who would turn the page on the guilt-tripping grievance politics of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

Perhaps the bigotry of low expectations is at work here. One doesn’t expect any candidate to show “rage.” But as peevish, bitter, and self-pitying performances go, Obama’s ranks right up there.

It may be that stoicism and emotional restraint have been under-appreciated presidential qualities. Maybe we will discover the Zen-like benefits of inactivity, but all this strikes me as a strained effort to concoct a rationale — “temperament” — which sets Obama apart from his opponent. Certainly it is not a record of accomplishment or blazing originality in policy development.

But the Obamaphiles should at least be honest: his temperament is one which relies on deceit. And the result is a candidate who lacks the ability to recognize, absorb, and manage reasonable criticism. If he wins, we’ll see if that’s such a great emotional make-up for the presidency.

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More on How Iran Will Fight

Not long ago, I pointed CONTENTIONS readers to a study explaining how Iran might fight a war against the U.S. in the Gulf. It is, I wrote, “A useful study for those wanting to explain, when the time comes, why the West hesitated to confront Iran, and how it lost the battle over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.” The bottom line: “the Islamic Republic holds the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz–the world’s oil lifeline–in its grip.”

Robert Kaplan, of the Atlantic, takes this argument one step further (Kaplan also quotes the study I wrote about):

Iran is bringing 21st century warfare to the seas by planning small-boat suicide attacks that would resemble in some ways the aerial and naval suicide missions launched by Imperial Japan during its last desperate days in the Second World War. At the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, the Japanese mixed unconventional and conventional tactics to kill 12,000 Americans and wound more than 33,000. Iran, by contrast, is threatening a purely unconventional naval war, including attacks on U.S. military targets and on international maritime traffic. Oil prices would spike, and Iran would enjoy a long-term profit, even if it temporarily could not export its own oil.

Kaplan assures his readers that the U.S. is “not defenseless against kamikaze warfare:”

“We have been preparing for it for a number of years with changes in training and equipment,” said Vice Admiral (ret.) Kevin Cosgriff, former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. . . . But Cosgriff cautions that the IRGCN represents an “evolving, thinking adversary” who may employ not only simple swarming tactics but also attacks by fewer platforms that come armed with more sophisticated weapons, like anti-ship missiles and long-range torpedoes.

The conclusion, though, is quite clear:

Some of the promoters of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities have sold the strike as a high-tech, airborne surgical attack. But a look at the naval environment indicates that like the Iraq invasion, what starts surgically could end very messily indeed.

As I said: useful for those wanting to explain, when the time comes, why the West hesitated.

Not long ago, I pointed CONTENTIONS readers to a study explaining how Iran might fight a war against the U.S. in the Gulf. It is, I wrote, “A useful study for those wanting to explain, when the time comes, why the West hesitated to confront Iran, and how it lost the battle over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.” The bottom line: “the Islamic Republic holds the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz–the world’s oil lifeline–in its grip.”

Robert Kaplan, of the Atlantic, takes this argument one step further (Kaplan also quotes the study I wrote about):

Iran is bringing 21st century warfare to the seas by planning small-boat suicide attacks that would resemble in some ways the aerial and naval suicide missions launched by Imperial Japan during its last desperate days in the Second World War. At the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, the Japanese mixed unconventional and conventional tactics to kill 12,000 Americans and wound more than 33,000. Iran, by contrast, is threatening a purely unconventional naval war, including attacks on U.S. military targets and on international maritime traffic. Oil prices would spike, and Iran would enjoy a long-term profit, even if it temporarily could not export its own oil.

Kaplan assures his readers that the U.S. is “not defenseless against kamikaze warfare:”

“We have been preparing for it for a number of years with changes in training and equipment,” said Vice Admiral (ret.) Kevin Cosgriff, former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. . . . But Cosgriff cautions that the IRGCN represents an “evolving, thinking adversary” who may employ not only simple swarming tactics but also attacks by fewer platforms that come armed with more sophisticated weapons, like anti-ship missiles and long-range torpedoes.

The conclusion, though, is quite clear:

Some of the promoters of a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities have sold the strike as a high-tech, airborne surgical attack. But a look at the naval environment indicates that like the Iraq invasion, what starts surgically could end very messily indeed.

As I said: useful for those wanting to explain, when the time comes, why the West hesitated.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Rep. Jack Murtha’s obnoxious slur of his own constituents probably is worth a point or two for John McCain in Pennsylvannia.

Barack Obama lied about Colombia? Oh yes.

In case you hadn’t appreciated the prospect of an undivided government with large Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, here’s a list.

Joe the Plumber is one savvy, insightful guy. The “egghead” class will sniff, but he makes more sense than 90% of professional politicians. And, of course, he’s in the latest ad.

If you thought Barack Obama was lying about his abortion record, you were right. Even voters who are not pro-life might be irked by the dissembling and the willingness of Obama to take extreme positions to satisfy the loudest constituency groups (Planned Parenthood, in this case) in the Democratic party.

Never too early to start testing the waters for 2012? The GOP could do a lot worse than Bobby Jindal.

So Obama will sit down with Ahmadinejad but not the Republican Jewish Coalition? Apparently debating informed and able adversaries isn’t high on the Obama team’s priorities, these days.

McCain apologizes to David Letterman?! Ugh.

I agree with James Taranto that “the most troubling thing about Obama’s relationship with Wright has nothing to do with race. It is, rather, Obama’s apparent insouciance in the face of Wright’s hostility toward America, the country Obama wants to lead.” It is especially ironic (hypocritical?), given that Obama chastised Sarah Palin for not responding to over-the-top comments from the campaign rally crowd (“your running mate didn’t mention, didn’t stop, didn’t say ‘Hold on a second, that’s kind of out of line.’”).

And yes, Obama has bought into the MSM invention about the nature of those hecklers’ comments. (Or has the MSM bought into Obama’s invention? Hard to keep it straight.)

The Washington Post endorses Obama in a rather half-hearted and apologetic fashion.

Do you think it’s personal that the McCain camp made NBC wait until after Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham,and local TV in Florida and New Hampshire to get its Sarah Palin interview?

Meanwhile, they seem to love Palin in New Hampshire. It seems there was another Granite State race that turned around very quickly without the pollsters fully noticing. Actually two this year.

McCain’s Alfred E. Smith dinner speech was quite a hoot. Hillary Clinton’s reaction is priceless.

USA Today blasts Big Labor’s Employee Free Choice Act. Shouldn’t every candidate be asked why their election warrants a secret ballot but a vote to unionize a workplace doesn’t?

Rep. Jack Murtha’s obnoxious slur of his own constituents probably is worth a point or two for John McCain in Pennsylvannia.

Barack Obama lied about Colombia? Oh yes.

In case you hadn’t appreciated the prospect of an undivided government with large Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate, here’s a list.

Joe the Plumber is one savvy, insightful guy. The “egghead” class will sniff, but he makes more sense than 90% of professional politicians. And, of course, he’s in the latest ad.

If you thought Barack Obama was lying about his abortion record, you were right. Even voters who are not pro-life might be irked by the dissembling and the willingness of Obama to take extreme positions to satisfy the loudest constituency groups (Planned Parenthood, in this case) in the Democratic party.

Never too early to start testing the waters for 2012? The GOP could do a lot worse than Bobby Jindal.

So Obama will sit down with Ahmadinejad but not the Republican Jewish Coalition? Apparently debating informed and able adversaries isn’t high on the Obama team’s priorities, these days.

McCain apologizes to David Letterman?! Ugh.

I agree with James Taranto that “the most troubling thing about Obama’s relationship with Wright has nothing to do with race. It is, rather, Obama’s apparent insouciance in the face of Wright’s hostility toward America, the country Obama wants to lead.” It is especially ironic (hypocritical?), given that Obama chastised Sarah Palin for not responding to over-the-top comments from the campaign rally crowd (“your running mate didn’t mention, didn’t stop, didn’t say ‘Hold on a second, that’s kind of out of line.’”).

And yes, Obama has bought into the MSM invention about the nature of those hecklers’ comments. (Or has the MSM bought into Obama’s invention? Hard to keep it straight.)

The Washington Post endorses Obama in a rather half-hearted and apologetic fashion.

Do you think it’s personal that the McCain camp made NBC wait until after Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham,and local TV in Florida and New Hampshire to get its Sarah Palin interview?

Meanwhile, they seem to love Palin in New Hampshire. It seems there was another Granite State race that turned around very quickly without the pollsters fully noticing. Actually two this year.

McCain’s Alfred E. Smith dinner speech was quite a hoot. Hillary Clinton’s reaction is priceless.

USA Today blasts Big Labor’s Employee Free Choice Act. Shouldn’t every candidate be asked why their election warrants a secret ballot but a vote to unionize a workplace doesn’t?

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