Commentary Magazine


Posts For: October 18, 2008

Bring On The Boo Birds

I don’t approve of pelting anyone with anything — but really, can you blame a McCain crowd for showing contempt for a MSM “newsman”? If  MSM wants to be treated as impartial arbiter, a “watchdog” and not a lapdog of one candidate, its members should consider some behavior modification.

Demand not just medical records but earmark records from Joe Biden. Ask Barack Obama why he served on the Woods Fund with Bill Ayers for years and if he specifically approved grants to ACORN and a host of leftwing groups. Do a 3000-word piece on Obama’s earmarks and ties to corrupt Chicago officials to counterbalance the dozens of 3000-word pieces going after the other side (e.g. “Palin annoys Wasilla librarian” and “Cindy McCain was addicted to pain killers”).

Even more shocking, not a single one of the networks news outlet or mainstream national newspaper has looked at Obama’s unprecedented attempt to use the Justice Department to chill speech. In all the pieces on “temperament” no one has reminded voters that the last president to try to employ law enforcement officials — as Obama did in Missouri — to go after opponents exercising First Amendment rights was Richard Nixon, not exactly the model of presidential temperament.

No one is suggesting these should be the only topics explored by the media, but the fact that none of them has been leaves one to conclude that the MSM has chosen sides. They are no longer covering the campaign, they are bolstering one side and making news judgments which invariably aid one side over the other. That, at the very least, deserves some cat calls.

I don’t approve of pelting anyone with anything — but really, can you blame a McCain crowd for showing contempt for a MSM “newsman”? If  MSM wants to be treated as impartial arbiter, a “watchdog” and not a lapdog of one candidate, its members should consider some behavior modification.

Demand not just medical records but earmark records from Joe Biden. Ask Barack Obama why he served on the Woods Fund with Bill Ayers for years and if he specifically approved grants to ACORN and a host of leftwing groups. Do a 3000-word piece on Obama’s earmarks and ties to corrupt Chicago officials to counterbalance the dozens of 3000-word pieces going after the other side (e.g. “Palin annoys Wasilla librarian” and “Cindy McCain was addicted to pain killers”).

Even more shocking, not a single one of the networks news outlet or mainstream national newspaper has looked at Obama’s unprecedented attempt to use the Justice Department to chill speech. In all the pieces on “temperament” no one has reminded voters that the last president to try to employ law enforcement officials — as Obama did in Missouri — to go after opponents exercising First Amendment rights was Richard Nixon, not exactly the model of presidential temperament.

No one is suggesting these should be the only topics explored by the media, but the fact that none of them has been leaves one to conclude that the MSM has chosen sides. They are no longer covering the campaign, they are bolstering one side and making news judgments which invariably aid one side over the other. That, at the very least, deserves some cat calls.

Read Less

The Gray Lady Does Her Part

The New York Times doesn’t bother any longer to conceal its boosterism for Barack Obama or to uphold any semblance of journalistic integrity. You can get the drift of their latest hit piece on Cindy McCain here, and you can read up on the latest Times tactic — lying to teenage friends of the candidate’s daughter to dish dirt. (Can we now dispense with the snooty condescension about tabloids which “pay” for stories? That seems to be a vast improvement over trolling for teenagers through Facebook.)

But what impact does this have? A story like this, I would suggest, does nothing for Obama. Anyone not firmly in the Obama camp isn’t going to moved by this hatchet job. First, it doesn’t say anything of note about the candidate (oh, him). Moreover, the venom flows so freely that it is hard to imagine an undecided voter or a weak McCain supporter would ignore all of that and conclude, “By gosh — how could I vote for McCain, now!”

However, the cumulative effect of hit pieces on Cindy, the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy, and the “get Joe” effort has made many conservatives really mad. What’s more, this is the sort of thing that would engage an irregular voter, one who might not otherwise make the effort to turn out on Election Day. Indeed, if you came up with a plan for juicing up the conservative turnout it would be hard to come up with a better one: attack the spouse and belittle the little people. Probably not what the Gray Lady had in mind.

The New York Times doesn’t bother any longer to conceal its boosterism for Barack Obama or to uphold any semblance of journalistic integrity. You can get the drift of their latest hit piece on Cindy McCain here, and you can read up on the latest Times tactic — lying to teenage friends of the candidate’s daughter to dish dirt. (Can we now dispense with the snooty condescension about tabloids which “pay” for stories? That seems to be a vast improvement over trolling for teenagers through Facebook.)

But what impact does this have? A story like this, I would suggest, does nothing for Obama. Anyone not firmly in the Obama camp isn’t going to moved by this hatchet job. First, it doesn’t say anything of note about the candidate (oh, him). Moreover, the venom flows so freely that it is hard to imagine an undecided voter or a weak McCain supporter would ignore all of that and conclude, “By gosh — how could I vote for McCain, now!”

However, the cumulative effect of hit pieces on Cindy, the Sarah Palin feeding frenzy, and the “get Joe” effort has made many conservatives really mad. What’s more, this is the sort of thing that would engage an irregular voter, one who might not otherwise make the effort to turn out on Election Day. Indeed, if you came up with a plan for juicing up the conservative turnout it would be hard to come up with a better one: attack the spouse and belittle the little people. Probably not what the Gray Lady had in mind.

Read Less

Multiple Choice for the Day

Is Obama’s “spread the wealth around” remark to Joe the Plumber the 2008 version of:

a) “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe”?

b) “I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said the control of nuclear arms”?

c) “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did”?

d)  “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it”?

e) Eh, no big deal.

Is Obama’s “spread the wealth around” remark to Joe the Plumber the 2008 version of:

a) “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe”?

b) “I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said the control of nuclear arms”?

c) “Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did”?

d)  “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it”?

e) Eh, no big deal.

Read Less

Sure They’re Going To Lose?

Gail Collins writes: “Americans are also in a very low state about the presidential elections. Once again we’ve hit that magic moment when both sides are sure they’re going to lose.” Well, the first sentence may be true, but I see no evidence whatsoever of gloom and doom on the Democratic side. I suppose the terminally neurotic will always be on edge, but are real Democrats sweating that they are on the verge of an historic defeat? The folks in my neighborhood with the Obama signs seem pretty cheery these days.

Yes, the over-the-top vendetta to get Joe the Plumber might suggest some mild level of concern from Obama supporters, but I hardly think that’s evidence that they expect to lose. The Joe-phobes are merely trying to discredit the notion that ordinary people can see through political cant — and to dissuade future upstarts from making fools of snooty Democrats. No, Democrats and their PR department, otherwise known as the MSM, are mainly trying to think up ways to fill the dead time after 7pm EST when they expect to declare victory on Election Night.

But here’s the rub: the Democrats do need to keep the troops motivated and get all those new voters to the polls. A sense of impending defeat is essential — otherwise all those college kids might stay home. In an election where turnout really will decide some swing states, aggravated, exaggerated angst is essential. And you can always count on the Gray Lady to provide the motivation and the talking points for the Democrats.

Gail Collins writes: “Americans are also in a very low state about the presidential elections. Once again we’ve hit that magic moment when both sides are sure they’re going to lose.” Well, the first sentence may be true, but I see no evidence whatsoever of gloom and doom on the Democratic side. I suppose the terminally neurotic will always be on edge, but are real Democrats sweating that they are on the verge of an historic defeat? The folks in my neighborhood with the Obama signs seem pretty cheery these days.

Yes, the over-the-top vendetta to get Joe the Plumber might suggest some mild level of concern from Obama supporters, but I hardly think that’s evidence that they expect to lose. The Joe-phobes are merely trying to discredit the notion that ordinary people can see through political cant — and to dissuade future upstarts from making fools of snooty Democrats. No, Democrats and their PR department, otherwise known as the MSM, are mainly trying to think up ways to fill the dead time after 7pm EST when they expect to declare victory on Election Night.

But here’s the rub: the Democrats do need to keep the troops motivated and get all those new voters to the polls. A sense of impending defeat is essential — otherwise all those college kids might stay home. In an election where turnout really will decide some swing states, aggravated, exaggerated angst is essential. And you can always count on the Gray Lady to provide the motivation and the talking points for the Democrats.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

A skating rink provides an apt analogy for the economy. Something tells me an Obama Administration would have a skate subsidy and a very loud bullhorn. And, yes, a Zamboni machine — to spread the ice.

Whatever you think of Barack Obama’s temperament, we can all agree Al Franken has a rotten one.

Well, there’s at least one House seat for the GOP.

Hawaii joins Massachusetts and California in learning that universal health care is harder than it sounds. Do you think Hawaii’s native son has gotten word?

In this unscientific poll, over almost 150,000 people (approximately two-thirds) think Joe the Plumber’s privacy was invaded. I’m sure 90% say the lesson is: never ask a politician anything worth asking.

Even the Washington Post can spot Obama’s misrepresentation on Colombia. I wonder if Hispanic voters in Florida did. (Shocking, really, that someone as intellectually dishonest on so many topics in foreign policy–the surge, North Korea, Colombia, NAFTA –would nevertheless get an endorsement from the Post.)

Great advice from Mark Steyn: conservative pundits in the NY-DC corridor should sneer less and learn more from “practicing” conservatives in the heartland. Put differently, if it there weren’t a lot of Sarah Palins, there wouldn’t be many people reading what the pundits write, let alone implementing their ideas. The alternative is that conservatism goes the way of Latin — a dead language.

James Antle comes up with a clever retort to the intellectually elastic pro-life Doug Kimec, who seems to think an Obama presidency would be no threat to his pro-life views (or he just doesn’t care so much about the latter? hard to tell).

You’re not excited about the upcoming race for head of the RNC? You’re in good company. (And, yes, it’s like jousting to be captain of the Titanic as it slips below the water line.)

When you see a quote like this (about the suspected Colin Powell endorsement) from an unnamed “McCain official,” you wonder what motivates people: “It’s going to make a lot of news, and certainly be personally embarrassing for McCain  It comes at a time when we need momentum, and it would create momentum against us.” Really, if you can’t help your man  and can’t resist the urge to twist the knife, stop cashing your paychecks and get a blog.

Blazing insight: “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Lebanon will not be a fully sovereign state until Hizbullah and other militia groups are disbanded.” Perhaps we can look forward to: “There will be no international security and stability until North Korea and Iran give up their nuclear ambitions.” And, no, the U.N. won’t be doing anything to further either of those laudable goals.

A skating rink provides an apt analogy for the economy. Something tells me an Obama Administration would have a skate subsidy and a very loud bullhorn. And, yes, a Zamboni machine — to spread the ice.

Whatever you think of Barack Obama’s temperament, we can all agree Al Franken has a rotten one.

Well, there’s at least one House seat for the GOP.

Hawaii joins Massachusetts and California in learning that universal health care is harder than it sounds. Do you think Hawaii’s native son has gotten word?

In this unscientific poll, over almost 150,000 people (approximately two-thirds) think Joe the Plumber’s privacy was invaded. I’m sure 90% say the lesson is: never ask a politician anything worth asking.

Even the Washington Post can spot Obama’s misrepresentation on Colombia. I wonder if Hispanic voters in Florida did. (Shocking, really, that someone as intellectually dishonest on so many topics in foreign policy–the surge, North Korea, Colombia, NAFTA –would nevertheless get an endorsement from the Post.)

Great advice from Mark Steyn: conservative pundits in the NY-DC corridor should sneer less and learn more from “practicing” conservatives in the heartland. Put differently, if it there weren’t a lot of Sarah Palins, there wouldn’t be many people reading what the pundits write, let alone implementing their ideas. The alternative is that conservatism goes the way of Latin — a dead language.

James Antle comes up with a clever retort to the intellectually elastic pro-life Doug Kimec, who seems to think an Obama presidency would be no threat to his pro-life views (or he just doesn’t care so much about the latter? hard to tell).

You’re not excited about the upcoming race for head of the RNC? You’re in good company. (And, yes, it’s like jousting to be captain of the Titanic as it slips below the water line.)

When you see a quote like this (about the suspected Colin Powell endorsement) from an unnamed “McCain official,” you wonder what motivates people: “It’s going to make a lot of news, and certainly be personally embarrassing for McCain  It comes at a time when we need momentum, and it would create momentum against us.” Really, if you can’t help your man  and can’t resist the urge to twist the knife, stop cashing your paychecks and get a blog.

Blazing insight: “UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Lebanon will not be a fully sovereign state until Hizbullah and other militia groups are disbanded.” Perhaps we can look forward to: “There will be no international security and stability until North Korea and Iran give up their nuclear ambitions.” And, no, the U.N. won’t be doing anything to further either of those laudable goals.

Read Less

Joe The Radio Star

John McCain features Joe the Plumber in his weekly radio address. Yes, my eyes did begin to roll back in my head when I saw the most dreaded word in political punditry(“Joe”), but then I got to the meat of McCain’s remarks. They are probably the most effective he’s uttered during this entire campaign. After recapping the Barack Obama-Joe conversation (for anyone in a coma the last week), he explains:

My opponent’s answer showed that economic recovery isn’t even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to “spread the wealth around.”

You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism. And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, “spreading the wealth around” is a familiar idea from the American left. And that kind of class warfare sure doesn’t sound like a “new kind of politics.”

This would also explain some big problems with my opponent’s claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?

Well, that’s the key to Barack Obama’s whole plan: Since you can’t reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe.

In other words, Barack Obama’s tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington. I suppose when you’ve voted against lowering taxes 94 times, as Senator Obama has done, a new definition of the term “tax credit” comes in handy.
At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives. They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Senator Obama. Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut it’s just another government giveaway.

What’s more, the Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America, and especially for small businesses like the one Joe dreams of owning. Small businesses provide 16 million jobs in America. And a sudden tax hike will kill those jobs at a time when need to be creating more jobs.

There it is — finally. The “it” is the argument against Barack Obama: he’s wedded to income re-distribution, not growth, which is exactly the wrong philosophy at the worst possible time. (If Joe had talked about protectionism and tort reform, it would have been ideal, but one can have only so much political good fortune.) This is the heart of the “choice election” formula (as opposed to “experience vs. choice”) which McCain has been struggling to articulate.

If he gives this speech (or the Alfred E. Smith roast remarks) every day and repeats the substance in every interview — with a reminder that the trio of Obama-Reid-Pelosi  will be an unchecked liberal juggernaut — he might make the race very interesting. And he might even keep the network anchors up late.

John McCain features Joe the Plumber in his weekly radio address. Yes, my eyes did begin to roll back in my head when I saw the most dreaded word in political punditry(“Joe”), but then I got to the meat of McCain’s remarks. They are probably the most effective he’s uttered during this entire campaign. After recapping the Barack Obama-Joe conversation (for anyone in a coma the last week), he explains:

My opponent’s answer showed that economic recovery isn’t even his top priority. His goal, as Senator Obama put it, is to “spread the wealth around.”

You see, he believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe, in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism. And a lot of Americans are thinking along those same lines. In the best case, “spreading the wealth around” is a familiar idea from the American left. And that kind of class warfare sure doesn’t sound like a “new kind of politics.”

This would also explain some big problems with my opponent’s claim that he will cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans. You might ask: How do you cut income taxes for 95 percent of Americans, when more than 40 percent pay no income taxes right now? How do you reduce the number zero?

Well, that’s the key to Barack Obama’s whole plan: Since you can’t reduce taxes on those who pay zero, the government will write them all checks called a tax credit. And the Treasury will cover those checks by taxing other people, including a lot of folks just like Joe.

In other words, Barack Obama’s tax plan would convert the IRS into a giant welfare agency, redistributing massive amounts of wealth at the direction of politicians in Washington. I suppose when you’ve voted against lowering taxes 94 times, as Senator Obama has done, a new definition of the term “tax credit” comes in handy.
At least in Europe, the Socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are upfront about their objectives. They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Senator Obama. Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut it’s just another government giveaway.

What’s more, the Obama tax increase would come at the worst possible time for America, and especially for small businesses like the one Joe dreams of owning. Small businesses provide 16 million jobs in America. And a sudden tax hike will kill those jobs at a time when need to be creating more jobs.

There it is — finally. The “it” is the argument against Barack Obama: he’s wedded to income re-distribution, not growth, which is exactly the wrong philosophy at the worst possible time. (If Joe had talked about protectionism and tort reform, it would have been ideal, but one can have only so much political good fortune.) This is the heart of the “choice election” formula (as opposed to “experience vs. choice”) which McCain has been struggling to articulate.

If he gives this speech (or the Alfred E. Smith roast remarks) every day and repeats the substance in every interview — with a reminder that the trio of Obama-Reid-Pelosi  will be an unchecked liberal juggernaut — he might make the race very interesting. And he might even keep the network anchors up late.

Read Less

What Is Going On?

Welcome to the “thugocracy”: the Obama camp wants to Department of Justice to investigate not voter registration fraud, but people talking about voting fraudincluding the GOP ticket. If you don’t believe it, read the bizarre letter sent by the Obama campaign’s lawyer. This one follows on the heels of another letter asking the DOJ to “investigate” the 527 independent group which ran one of the first Bill Ayers ads.

The McCain camp is naturally not pleased and put out a statement which reads in part:

Today’s outrageous letter to Attorney General Mukasey and Special Prosecutor Dannehy at the Justice Department asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Senator McCain and Governor Palin’s public statements about ACORN’s record of fraudulent voter registrations (including in this week’s Presidential debate) is absurd. It is a typical time-worn Washington attempt to criminalize political differences. For someone who promises ‘change,’ it is certainly only more of the same.

“The letter’s request that the Department of Justice investigate ‘recent partisan Republican activities throughout the country’ is almost a parody of the Obama campaign’s attempt to intimidate their political opponents. In case Sen. Obama’s lawyer did not notice, we are in the midst of a political campaign, not a coronation, and the alleged criminal activity he calls ‘recent partisan Republican activities’ are what the rest of us call campaign speeches and debates. All of this is unfortunately reminiscent of the Obama campaign’s recent creation of a ‘truth squad’ of Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs to ‘target’ people who criticize Sen. Obama.

And if you are wondering where civil liberties groups and the mainstream media are, you have to understand: the First Amendment ranks considerably lower than getting The One elected. On his way out the door, Attorney General Mukasey might perform one last bit of public service and give a series of lectures on the centrality of free speech, the sanctity of free and fair elections, and the utter inappropriateness of using the power of the state to silence your opponents.

And, as we start to bear an uncanny resemblance to a banana republic — complete with a cult of The Leader, roaming thugs in support of the same,  and fraud-tainted voting — you’ll know that we really are experiencing “change.” Whether this is a passing spasm of election exuberance or a frightful look at the future remains to be seen.

Welcome to the “thugocracy”: the Obama camp wants to Department of Justice to investigate not voter registration fraud, but people talking about voting fraudincluding the GOP ticket. If you don’t believe it, read the bizarre letter sent by the Obama campaign’s lawyer. This one follows on the heels of another letter asking the DOJ to “investigate” the 527 independent group which ran one of the first Bill Ayers ads.

The McCain camp is naturally not pleased and put out a statement which reads in part:

Today’s outrageous letter to Attorney General Mukasey and Special Prosecutor Dannehy at the Justice Department asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Senator McCain and Governor Palin’s public statements about ACORN’s record of fraudulent voter registrations (including in this week’s Presidential debate) is absurd. It is a typical time-worn Washington attempt to criminalize political differences. For someone who promises ‘change,’ it is certainly only more of the same.

“The letter’s request that the Department of Justice investigate ‘recent partisan Republican activities throughout the country’ is almost a parody of the Obama campaign’s attempt to intimidate their political opponents. In case Sen. Obama’s lawyer did not notice, we are in the midst of a political campaign, not a coronation, and the alleged criminal activity he calls ‘recent partisan Republican activities’ are what the rest of us call campaign speeches and debates. All of this is unfortunately reminiscent of the Obama campaign’s recent creation of a ‘truth squad’ of Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs to ‘target’ people who criticize Sen. Obama.

And if you are wondering where civil liberties groups and the mainstream media are, you have to understand: the First Amendment ranks considerably lower than getting The One elected. On his way out the door, Attorney General Mukasey might perform one last bit of public service and give a series of lectures on the centrality of free speech, the sanctity of free and fair elections, and the utter inappropriateness of using the power of the state to silence your opponents.

And, as we start to bear an uncanny resemblance to a banana republic — complete with a cult of The Leader, roaming thugs in support of the same,  and fraud-tainted voting — you’ll know that we really are experiencing “change.” Whether this is a passing spasm of election exuberance or a frightful look at the future remains to be seen.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.