Commentary Magazine


Posts For: October 19, 2008

Re: Re: Powell Endorses Obama

Sure, it’s annoying. But it shouldn’t be the least bit surprising. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. The endorsement is great for Obama, because stories about Republicans who have defected are like cocaine to the media. Is there a more celebrated figure among the politically enlightened than a Republican who finally realizes the error of his ways? And for Powell, it’s a shrewd move. His estrangement from the Republicans began while he was still a member of the Bush administration, and took the form of repeatedly leaking to the press in an attempt to discredit his boss. He knows he has no future with the Republicans, and figures that for the remainder of his working years — Powell is 71 — Washington will be run by Democrats. So you give a nod to Obama and get a twofer: you revive your reputation, which is tarnished by Iraq, and you make your professional life very easy for the coming years.

It is interesting that the same people who say that the members of the Bush administration who took us to Iraq are a bunch of liars and war criminals are now celebrating the wisdom and good judgment of one of the people most implicated in “lying us into war.” (Remember Powell’s WMD presentation to the UN?) Powell did his reputation a great disservice by refusing to repudiate the anti-Semitic statements of his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, who referred to several Jewish members of the Bush administration as “card-carrying members of the Likud party…You wouldn’t open their wallet and find a card, but I often wondered if their primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel.” Wilkerson also called on the president and vice president to be impeached. On all of this, Powell says nothing. But when the PR payoff will be huge, he shows up on Meet the Press.

Sure, it’s annoying. But it shouldn’t be the least bit surprising. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. The endorsement is great for Obama, because stories about Republicans who have defected are like cocaine to the media. Is there a more celebrated figure among the politically enlightened than a Republican who finally realizes the error of his ways? And for Powell, it’s a shrewd move. His estrangement from the Republicans began while he was still a member of the Bush administration, and took the form of repeatedly leaking to the press in an attempt to discredit his boss. He knows he has no future with the Republicans, and figures that for the remainder of his working years — Powell is 71 — Washington will be run by Democrats. So you give a nod to Obama and get a twofer: you revive your reputation, which is tarnished by Iraq, and you make your professional life very easy for the coming years.

It is interesting that the same people who say that the members of the Bush administration who took us to Iraq are a bunch of liars and war criminals are now celebrating the wisdom and good judgment of one of the people most implicated in “lying us into war.” (Remember Powell’s WMD presentation to the UN?) Powell did his reputation a great disservice by refusing to repudiate the anti-Semitic statements of his chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, who referred to several Jewish members of the Bush administration as “card-carrying members of the Likud party…You wouldn’t open their wallet and find a card, but I often wondered if their primary allegiance was to their own country or to Israel.” Wilkerson also called on the president and vice president to be impeached. On all of this, Powell says nothing. But when the PR payoff will be huge, he shows up on Meet the Press.

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Bad News from RAND

A recent RAND study suggests that American airpower will be unable to counter a full-scale Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2020.  The report, entitled “Air Combat Past, Present and Future,” notes there’s a matter of geography.  We have one air base within 500 nautical miles of the Taiwan Strait, and China has 27.  Beijing’s air assets are based right across that body of water while American planes will have to come from Kadena Air Force Base in Japan’s Okinawa or Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.  Aircraft carriers closer to the area of combat will be at risk due to China’s large submarine force and its other anti-ship countermeasures.The report is full of grim details.  Chinese bases are hardened, more so than ours:  Beijing’s forces could “damage, destroy or strand 75 percent of aircraft based at Kadena.”  China’s radars can see stealthy American planes.  China can probably defeat American beyond-visual-range weapons.

More important, Beijing’s military modernization, when combined with superior numbers, makes for an overwhelming Chinese advantage.  If we have to fly from Kadena, China will enjoy a 3:1 advantage in fighters.  The edge is 10:1 if we have to operate from Andersen.  The United States still has a technical lead over China, but the People’s Liberation Army is catching up fast.  While the United States will have to cut back defense outlays, China is accelerating.  This year’s announced military budget reflects the 18th double-digit increase in the last 19 years.

The report says the U.S. needs a plan to counter the Chinese.  So how will we defend Asia’s most endangered democracy?  The first thing to do is ditch the policy of “strategic ambiguity,” which has only emboldened Beijing by encouraging it to doubt American resolve.  We need to declare, in unmistakable terms, that an attack on Taiwan will be considered an attack on the United States and that we will use all the weapons we have.  This approach kept Europe safe during the Cold War and is protecting Japan today.

Of course, the Bush administration, which has mostly taken China’s side on Taiwan issues, will not make such a pronouncement, and neither McCain nor Obama have said they would do so.  But it’s high time we begin recognizing who are our friends and who are our enemies.  Our friends are the democracies of Asia, and we should consider their enemies as our enemies.

“China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans,” says American analyst Robert Sutter.  This century and last, Americans die when we fail to understand the world clearly.

A recent RAND study suggests that American airpower will be unable to counter a full-scale Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2020.  The report, entitled “Air Combat Past, Present and Future,” notes there’s a matter of geography.  We have one air base within 500 nautical miles of the Taiwan Strait, and China has 27.  Beijing’s air assets are based right across that body of water while American planes will have to come from Kadena Air Force Base in Japan’s Okinawa or Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.  Aircraft carriers closer to the area of combat will be at risk due to China’s large submarine force and its other anti-ship countermeasures.The report is full of grim details.  Chinese bases are hardened, more so than ours:  Beijing’s forces could “damage, destroy or strand 75 percent of aircraft based at Kadena.”  China’s radars can see stealthy American planes.  China can probably defeat American beyond-visual-range weapons.

More important, Beijing’s military modernization, when combined with superior numbers, makes for an overwhelming Chinese advantage.  If we have to fly from Kadena, China will enjoy a 3:1 advantage in fighters.  The edge is 10:1 if we have to operate from Andersen.  The United States still has a technical lead over China, but the People’s Liberation Army is catching up fast.  While the United States will have to cut back defense outlays, China is accelerating.  This year’s announced military budget reflects the 18th double-digit increase in the last 19 years.

The report says the U.S. needs a plan to counter the Chinese.  So how will we defend Asia’s most endangered democracy?  The first thing to do is ditch the policy of “strategic ambiguity,” which has only emboldened Beijing by encouraging it to doubt American resolve.  We need to declare, in unmistakable terms, that an attack on Taiwan will be considered an attack on the United States and that we will use all the weapons we have.  This approach kept Europe safe during the Cold War and is protecting Japan today.

Of course, the Bush administration, which has mostly taken China’s side on Taiwan issues, will not make such a pronouncement, and neither McCain nor Obama have said they would do so.  But it’s high time we begin recognizing who are our friends and who are our enemies.  Our friends are the democracies of Asia, and we should consider their enemies as our enemies.

“China is the only large power in the world preparing to shoot Americans,” says American analyst Robert Sutter.  This century and last, Americans die when we fail to understand the world clearly.

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Re: Re: Powell’s Endorsement

Colin Powell struck a disingenuous note with his concern about the increasing nastiness of the GOP, and its effect on his endorsement. Powell said he has

heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion [that Obama’s] a Muslim and might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America. I feel strongly about this particular point. We have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.

He also said, “and John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.”

Why the “but”? If you believe that a) John McCain is a paragon of inclusiveness, and b) the GOP is losing its moral standing to polarization and prejudice, then you would logically c) want McCain to steer the party back on course — not abandon it to the influences you’ve cited as disturbing.

And does Powell really think the Democrats are less polarizing? I don’t know who his anonymous Republican big shots are, but I certainly can attach names to the divisive smears that have come from senior members of the party Powell will be voting for next month. Nancy Pelosi has called the president “an incompetent leader,” a “man with no judgment” and a “liar.” She’s called the Republican Party “immoral” and “corrupt,” all the while diminishing the accomplishments of U.S. troops, and crediting the success of the surge to “Iranian goodwill.” If a Republican of her stature spoke this way, he’d be drummed out of public service.

It was Hillary Clinton who was brave enough to say Barack Obama is not a Muslim “as far as I know.” It was Charles Schumer who said in 2006 that letting an Arab company manage a handful of U.S. ports was “a homeland security accident waiting to happen.” It was none other than Senator Barack Obama who complained, “[N]ow we’re allowing our port security to be outsourced to foreign governments,” when in fact the majority of American ports were already run by foreign (non-Arab) companies. Whereas John McCain said, “We’ve got some very, very big issues that I think are perhaps more important than whether a country that’s freer than China should have control of some of our terminals.”

And if I start in on the anti-Semitism expressed by Democrats, you’ll still be reading this when you should be out voting. Powell is entitled both to his anonymous hate-mongers and his indifference to John McCain’s record as a uniter. But if he’s simply done with the GOP, he should say so.

Colin Powell struck a disingenuous note with his concern about the increasing nastiness of the GOP, and its effect on his endorsement. Powell said he has

heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion [that Obama’s] a Muslim and might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America. I feel strongly about this particular point. We have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.

He also said, “and John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.”

Why the “but”? If you believe that a) John McCain is a paragon of inclusiveness, and b) the GOP is losing its moral standing to polarization and prejudice, then you would logically c) want McCain to steer the party back on course — not abandon it to the influences you’ve cited as disturbing.

And does Powell really think the Democrats are less polarizing? I don’t know who his anonymous Republican big shots are, but I certainly can attach names to the divisive smears that have come from senior members of the party Powell will be voting for next month. Nancy Pelosi has called the president “an incompetent leader,” a “man with no judgment” and a “liar.” She’s called the Republican Party “immoral” and “corrupt,” all the while diminishing the accomplishments of U.S. troops, and crediting the success of the surge to “Iranian goodwill.” If a Republican of her stature spoke this way, he’d be drummed out of public service.

It was Hillary Clinton who was brave enough to say Barack Obama is not a Muslim “as far as I know.” It was Charles Schumer who said in 2006 that letting an Arab company manage a handful of U.S. ports was “a homeland security accident waiting to happen.” It was none other than Senator Barack Obama who complained, “[N]ow we’re allowing our port security to be outsourced to foreign governments,” when in fact the majority of American ports were already run by foreign (non-Arab) companies. Whereas John McCain said, “We’ve got some very, very big issues that I think are perhaps more important than whether a country that’s freer than China should have control of some of our terminals.”

And if I start in on the anti-Semitism expressed by Democrats, you’ll still be reading this when you should be out voting. Powell is entitled both to his anonymous hate-mongers and his indifference to John McCain’s record as a uniter. But if he’s simply done with the GOP, he should say so.

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Re: Powell Endorses Obama

John, I was struck by how little Colin Powell said on the substance of Barack Obama’s views. Was Obama right on the issues on which he opposed Powell (e.g. the decision to go to war)? We don’t know. Does Powell agree with Obama’s views on Iran (e.g. direct talks with Ahmadinejad, opposition to Kyl-Lieberman)? Again, he doesn’t say. When you’re in the feel-good business — “transformational,” he calls it — the substance of your views matter not so much.

The one note of national security substance which he provides is a curious one: “We now see that things are a lot better in Iraq. Maybe if we had put a surge in in the beginning, it would’ve been a lot better.” Did Powell support the surge? I don’t think so, at least not according to the tell-all books we have seen. But I am sure McCain did and Obama did not. Ah, well.

As for its impact on the race, I suppose those people who hold special respect for Powell and not very much for Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Alexander Haig (who all endorsed McCain) will be moved. If we use your multiple choice  quiz from yesterday on the Powell endorsement, I’ll take “e.” And one final thought: if McCain thought he was going to get extra credit for showing restraint on Reverend Wright and thereby convince elite opinion makers what a swell, sensitive guy he was, it didn’t quite work out.

John, I was struck by how little Colin Powell said on the substance of Barack Obama’s views. Was Obama right on the issues on which he opposed Powell (e.g. the decision to go to war)? We don’t know. Does Powell agree with Obama’s views on Iran (e.g. direct talks with Ahmadinejad, opposition to Kyl-Lieberman)? Again, he doesn’t say. When you’re in the feel-good business — “transformational,” he calls it — the substance of your views matter not so much.

The one note of national security substance which he provides is a curious one: “We now see that things are a lot better in Iraq. Maybe if we had put a surge in in the beginning, it would’ve been a lot better.” Did Powell support the surge? I don’t think so, at least not according to the tell-all books we have seen. But I am sure McCain did and Obama did not. Ah, well.

As for its impact on the race, I suppose those people who hold special respect for Powell and not very much for Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger, and Alexander Haig (who all endorsed McCain) will be moved. If we use your multiple choice  quiz from yesterday on the Powell endorsement, I’ll take “e.” And one final thought: if McCain thought he was going to get extra credit for showing restraint on Reverend Wright and thereby convince elite opinion makers what a swell, sensitive guy he was, it didn’t quite work out.

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Iran Options

This was really inevitable: “Israel expects the U.S. to initiate direct talks with Tehran if Senator Barack Obama is elected president.” Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid has some details from discussions under way in Israel’s Foreign Ministry:

[D]iscussions have been underway for months between Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Security Council, the Mossad, the Defense Ministry and academic experts. The significance of the discussions is that they were coordinated by the foreign minister and Kadima chairwoman, prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni.

The result of some of these meetings and deliberations was also to be expected:

The plan divides activities in Iran into four teams that will advise Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide. The team charged with diplomatic action against the nuclearization of Iran will consist primarily of personnel from the strategic wing of the Foreign Ministry and will cooperate with other bodies in the defense establishment. It will focus on increasing international pressure on Iran.

The team tasked with Iran’s economic isolation will discuss divesting from Iran, cancelling deals, particularly on energy, boycotting Iranian banks and increasing monitoring of Iranian money in foreign banks.

Another team will work to isolate Tehran in areas other than the nuclear plan, highlighting issues of human rights, Iranian support for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and organizing rallies during visits by senior Iranian officials.

A fourth team will deal with issues of public diplomacy – writing articles in leading newspapers around the world, conducting press briefings, engaging in public relations efforts against the Iranian regime on university campuses, and disseminating intelligence against Iran in the media.

The article (the Hebrew version; in English it’s a bit different) says that Israel will demand that Obama “condition any talks between the West and Iran on halting uranium enrichment.” Not that Israel shouldn’t demand such a thing, but–what happens if Obama refuses? We don’t know. And there are other obvious problems with the plan. Here’s what’s likely, in my opinion, to happen to these four teams:

A. Team one will discover that the world has no appetite for increasing the pressure on Iran.

B. Team two will learn that such sanctions can be applied here and there, but aren’t sufficient.

C. Team three will learn that getting attention in times of economic crisis for such things as human-rights violations in Iran isn’t easy.

D. Writing articles: yes, that will definitely stop Ahmadinejad.

This was really inevitable: “Israel expects the U.S. to initiate direct talks with Tehran if Senator Barack Obama is elected president.” Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid has some details from discussions under way in Israel’s Foreign Ministry:

[D]iscussions have been underway for months between Israel’s Foreign Ministry, the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Security Council, the Mossad, the Defense Ministry and academic experts. The significance of the discussions is that they were coordinated by the foreign minister and Kadima chairwoman, prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni.

The result of some of these meetings and deliberations was also to be expected:

The plan divides activities in Iran into four teams that will advise Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide. The team charged with diplomatic action against the nuclearization of Iran will consist primarily of personnel from the strategic wing of the Foreign Ministry and will cooperate with other bodies in the defense establishment. It will focus on increasing international pressure on Iran.

The team tasked with Iran’s economic isolation will discuss divesting from Iran, cancelling deals, particularly on energy, boycotting Iranian banks and increasing monitoring of Iranian money in foreign banks.

Another team will work to isolate Tehran in areas other than the nuclear plan, highlighting issues of human rights, Iranian support for terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and organizing rallies during visits by senior Iranian officials.

A fourth team will deal with issues of public diplomacy – writing articles in leading newspapers around the world, conducting press briefings, engaging in public relations efforts against the Iranian regime on university campuses, and disseminating intelligence against Iran in the media.

The article (the Hebrew version; in English it’s a bit different) says that Israel will demand that Obama “condition any talks between the West and Iran on halting uranium enrichment.” Not that Israel shouldn’t demand such a thing, but–what happens if Obama refuses? We don’t know. And there are other obvious problems with the plan. Here’s what’s likely, in my opinion, to happen to these four teams:

A. Team one will discover that the world has no appetite for increasing the pressure on Iran.

B. Team two will learn that such sanctions can be applied here and there, but aren’t sufficient.

C. Team three will learn that getting attention in times of economic crisis for such things as human-rights violations in Iran isn’t easy.

D. Writing articles: yes, that will definitely stop Ahmadinejad.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

The evidence builds that the McCain camp badly botched Sarah Palin’s rollout. That said, the savage media treatment helped create the conservative backlash which will, the McCain team hopes, boost the base’s turnout. Lesson for future VP’s: don’t let the campaign staffer know-it-all’s control your fate.

If you were an undecided voter, would it make you more inclined to vote for Barack Obama if you were told you were hung up on race? On the other hand, I find it hard to believe anyone pays much attention to Joe Biden.

Well, if you ever need someone to send a poison-pen letter, John Dowd is the fellow. His nastygram to the Gray Lady about its pathetic story on Cindy McCain (don’t take my word — ask Salon’s Glenn Greenwald) really is a thing to behold. (h/t Mark Hemmingway)

To conclude this of Barack Obama–“his instincts are conservative—he is a churchgoing, Christian family man”–you’d have to ignore the church he was going to, his entire voting history, a slew of professional and personal relationships and over a year of rhetoric from his primary campaign. That suggests either denial or deep cynicism about the life Obama has lived.

Does McCain have some of the worst spokespeople ever?

About Joe the Plumber: “When we saw a middle-class guy, a common tradesman, who can articulate conservative values and principles off-the-cuff, without being intimidated by the awe-inspiring presence of the world’s most powerful man, we smelled a rat,” the [Obama campaign] source said. “Not to mention the fact that he’s living in one of those middle states where there’s no chance of him meeting the kind of intellectuals who could train him to speak intelligibly.” Ok, that’s from ScrappleFace. But it’s a sadly accurate take from inside the NY-DC corridor.

Not exactly “I am Spartacus! ” But it’s a trend. The MSM plays dumb — they are playing, right?

Instead of more dreary media conference calls with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, maybe the McCain camp should put on Stephen Moore and Joe the Plumber.

Sam Schulman names some names among eastern conservative pundits and concludes: “All share a dreadful secret–their writing is driven by an anxiety to be tastemakers to the gentry, not merely thinkers and entertainers. There is nothing more anxious-making than striving to create taste for the classes, not masses, or even to keep up with it. (The struggle to do so is etched in the lines of Tina Brown’s face.) But what the classes think is a matter to which the GOP standard-bearers are sadly but nobly indifferent.”

I have a different take: like Edna St. Vincent Millay (“I love humanity but hate people”), there is a class of pundits who love conservatism but hate conservatives.

And no, I don’t think the issue for Sarah Palin and others is just finding a better pundit to listen to. If you’re an elected conservative with high approval ratings, you already know more than just about any pundit–at least when it comes to winning elections and governance. If you want to know about successful conservatism go ask Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, or even Rudy Giuliani, not the “house conservative” at an MSM newspaper.

Jeffrey Goldberg tells you about everything you ever imagined was wrong with airport security. Unless there’s an ocean, the answer seems to be: just drive.

Nebraska has better judgment than Obama. But you already knew that.

When you see a headline reading “Polls in 8 countries show wide Obama support,” do you wonder if ACORN has overseas offices?

The evidence builds that the McCain camp badly botched Sarah Palin’s rollout. That said, the savage media treatment helped create the conservative backlash which will, the McCain team hopes, boost the base’s turnout. Lesson for future VP’s: don’t let the campaign staffer know-it-all’s control your fate.

If you were an undecided voter, would it make you more inclined to vote for Barack Obama if you were told you were hung up on race? On the other hand, I find it hard to believe anyone pays much attention to Joe Biden.

Well, if you ever need someone to send a poison-pen letter, John Dowd is the fellow. His nastygram to the Gray Lady about its pathetic story on Cindy McCain (don’t take my word — ask Salon’s Glenn Greenwald) really is a thing to behold. (h/t Mark Hemmingway)

To conclude this of Barack Obama–“his instincts are conservative—he is a churchgoing, Christian family man”–you’d have to ignore the church he was going to, his entire voting history, a slew of professional and personal relationships and over a year of rhetoric from his primary campaign. That suggests either denial or deep cynicism about the life Obama has lived.

Does McCain have some of the worst spokespeople ever?

About Joe the Plumber: “When we saw a middle-class guy, a common tradesman, who can articulate conservative values and principles off-the-cuff, without being intimidated by the awe-inspiring presence of the world’s most powerful man, we smelled a rat,” the [Obama campaign] source said. “Not to mention the fact that he’s living in one of those middle states where there’s no chance of him meeting the kind of intellectuals who could train him to speak intelligibly.” Ok, that’s from ScrappleFace. But it’s a sadly accurate take from inside the NY-DC corridor.

Not exactly “I am Spartacus! ” But it’s a trend. The MSM plays dumb — they are playing, right?

Instead of more dreary media conference calls with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, maybe the McCain camp should put on Stephen Moore and Joe the Plumber.

Sam Schulman names some names among eastern conservative pundits and concludes: “All share a dreadful secret–their writing is driven by an anxiety to be tastemakers to the gentry, not merely thinkers and entertainers. There is nothing more anxious-making than striving to create taste for the classes, not masses, or even to keep up with it. (The struggle to do so is etched in the lines of Tina Brown’s face.) But what the classes think is a matter to which the GOP standard-bearers are sadly but nobly indifferent.”

I have a different take: like Edna St. Vincent Millay (“I love humanity but hate people”), there is a class of pundits who love conservatism but hate conservatives.

And no, I don’t think the issue for Sarah Palin and others is just finding a better pundit to listen to. If you’re an elected conservative with high approval ratings, you already know more than just about any pundit–at least when it comes to winning elections and governance. If you want to know about successful conservatism go ask Tim Pawlenty, Bobby Jindal, or even Rudy Giuliani, not the “house conservative” at an MSM newspaper.

Jeffrey Goldberg tells you about everything you ever imagined was wrong with airport security. Unless there’s an ocean, the answer seems to be: just drive.

Nebraska has better judgment than Obama. But you already knew that.

When you see a headline reading “Polls in 8 countries show wide Obama support,” do you wonder if ACORN has overseas offices?

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Are They Confused?

The New York Times reports on Sarah Palin’s trip to Pennsylvannia:

“Obama says that his only involvement with Acorn was when he represented the group as a lawyer,” she said before a crowd of 6,000 people. “But what about the training that he provided Acorn’s staff? And the $200,000 that he got for Acorn when he was on the board of the Woods Fund? And the fact that Acorn endorsed him this year? And they sure are working hard on his behalf. Now wouldn’t that be a lot of baggage to drag into the Oval Office?”

The Obama campaign has said that the candidate was only briefly involved with Acorn, representing it in a lawsuit in 1995 and conducting training sessions for the group.

And what about this Woods Fund? Hmmm. The Times doesn’t say. Do its viewers even know what the Woods Fund is, given the Times’ paucity of reporting on the topic? Not likely. And they certainly haven’t seen reported in the pages of the Times any of the other organizations that received Woods Fund money. And the fact that ACORN is “working hard” for Obama — does the Times mention the $800K plus paid by the Obama camp to ACORN? Nope.

If readers lived in the Times news cocooon, they’d like be baffled by the story or assume Palin was making up stuff. Certainly if there was real information out there substantiating a long-standing relationship between Obama and a group under investigation by the FBI for coast-to-coast voter registration fraud they would have read about this before, right? Not really. Perhaps if the Times covered all the news that is fit to print and not just a sliver helpful to its favorite candidate its stock price wouldn’t look like this. (h/t Glenn Reynolds)

This, by the way, is why it is critical for candidates to talk about topics like ACORN, Ayers, and the like. It forces the MSM to mention information they otherwise could comfortably ignore. And their readers and viewers then get a hint that there is a whole swatch of news that isn’t been covered.

The New York Times reports on Sarah Palin’s trip to Pennsylvannia:

“Obama says that his only involvement with Acorn was when he represented the group as a lawyer,” she said before a crowd of 6,000 people. “But what about the training that he provided Acorn’s staff? And the $200,000 that he got for Acorn when he was on the board of the Woods Fund? And the fact that Acorn endorsed him this year? And they sure are working hard on his behalf. Now wouldn’t that be a lot of baggage to drag into the Oval Office?”

The Obama campaign has said that the candidate was only briefly involved with Acorn, representing it in a lawsuit in 1995 and conducting training sessions for the group.

And what about this Woods Fund? Hmmm. The Times doesn’t say. Do its viewers even know what the Woods Fund is, given the Times’ paucity of reporting on the topic? Not likely. And they certainly haven’t seen reported in the pages of the Times any of the other organizations that received Woods Fund money. And the fact that ACORN is “working hard” for Obama — does the Times mention the $800K plus paid by the Obama camp to ACORN? Nope.

If readers lived in the Times news cocooon, they’d like be baffled by the story or assume Palin was making up stuff. Certainly if there was real information out there substantiating a long-standing relationship between Obama and a group under investigation by the FBI for coast-to-coast voter registration fraud they would have read about this before, right? Not really. Perhaps if the Times covered all the news that is fit to print and not just a sliver helpful to its favorite candidate its stock price wouldn’t look like this. (h/t Glenn Reynolds)

This, by the way, is why it is critical for candidates to talk about topics like ACORN, Ayers, and the like. It forces the MSM to mention information they otherwise could comfortably ignore. And their readers and viewers then get a hint that there is a whole swatch of news that isn’t been covered.

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Powell Endorses Obama

He thinks Obama can be “transformational.” He doesn’t like Palin. He doesn’t like the negativity of the McCain campaign. Unquestionably, whatever his considerable flaws, Colin Powell is a genuinely great American and a great public servant. But as a political actor? That is, to put it mildly, an open question. His high-profile role both at the Republican Convention in 2000 and as the first declared cabinet secretary in a possible Bush administration helped generate a staggering 8 percent of the black vote for Bush in 2000. Obviously, Obama doesn’t need Powell’s help there. And what about with independents? Somehow, if they still haven’t made their minds up yet, an October 19 endorsement by somebody isn’t going to tip the scales.

No, what this does is suck up oxygen for a few days, and could potentially do damage to what appears to be a small degree of momentum McCain has found in the past six days. It could also spur some people on the Right to say some profoundly stupid things on race that would help stoke the media fire against the McCain campaign’s putative racism.

On the other hand, it could mean nothing.

He thinks Obama can be “transformational.” He doesn’t like Palin. He doesn’t like the negativity of the McCain campaign. Unquestionably, whatever his considerable flaws, Colin Powell is a genuinely great American and a great public servant. But as a political actor? That is, to put it mildly, an open question. His high-profile role both at the Republican Convention in 2000 and as the first declared cabinet secretary in a possible Bush administration helped generate a staggering 8 percent of the black vote for Bush in 2000. Obviously, Obama doesn’t need Powell’s help there. And what about with independents? Somehow, if they still haven’t made their minds up yet, an October 19 endorsement by somebody isn’t going to tip the scales.

No, what this does is suck up oxygen for a few days, and could potentially do damage to what appears to be a small degree of momentum McCain has found in the past six days. It could also spur some people on the Right to say some profoundly stupid things on race that would help stoke the media fire against the McCain campaign’s putative racism.

On the other hand, it could mean nothing.

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Why Is This Close?

National tracking polls range from two to seven points as of Sunday morning. Why is the race as close as it is and why is it getting closer?

You have your pick of explanations. John McCain finally got some traction at the last debate. Joe the Plumber reminded voters why they don’t trust liberals with the economy. Barack Obama never answered the “spread the wealth” concern. Americans are getting used to the “new normal” — a recession. Non-urban, non-elites have had it with Democrats and the MSM dumping on little guys. Voters are getting nervous about undivided government. Discussion about some of the Obama associations (e.g. Bill Ayers, ACORN) has actually penetrated through the media’s filter and raised questions anew about who Obama is and whether his judgment is sound.

It may be some or all of these. Or it maybe that the race was always going to be close and was momentarily distorted by the shock of the financial meltdown. What is clear is that McCain has some momentum. Whether this is 1948 all over again remains far from certain. Bottom line: the outcome is not determined and, pardon the cliché, but it all depends on who shows up at the polls on Election Day.

National tracking polls range from two to seven points as of Sunday morning. Why is the race as close as it is and why is it getting closer?

You have your pick of explanations. John McCain finally got some traction at the last debate. Joe the Plumber reminded voters why they don’t trust liberals with the economy. Barack Obama never answered the “spread the wealth” concern. Americans are getting used to the “new normal” — a recession. Non-urban, non-elites have had it with Democrats and the MSM dumping on little guys. Voters are getting nervous about undivided government. Discussion about some of the Obama associations (e.g. Bill Ayers, ACORN) has actually penetrated through the media’s filter and raised questions anew about who Obama is and whether his judgment is sound.

It may be some or all of these. Or it maybe that the race was always going to be close and was momentarily distorted by the shock of the financial meltdown. What is clear is that McCain has some momentum. Whether this is 1948 all over again remains far from certain. Bottom line: the outcome is not determined and, pardon the cliché, but it all depends on who shows up at the polls on Election Day.

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