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NC PRIMARY POLL SHOCKER
CLINTON LEADS OBAMA

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 10:02 pm - April 30, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Just reported this evening on FOX News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” is a new poll out of my state of North Carolina — with our election looming for Democrats next Tuesday.

HILLARY CLINTON:  44%
BARACK OBAMA:  42%

Insider Advantage survey of 571 Likely Democratic Voters in NC
Poll Taken – April 29
Margin of Error:  +/- 3.8%

Given that on Election Days throughout this race, Obama has underperformed by about 5% in actual votes versus the pre-vote surveys…. Team Obama has got to be nervous about the once solid North Carolina election next week.

Stay tuned… Operation Chaos is in full Tar Heel mode right now!

[RELATED STORY:  Jimmy Carter talks up Obama.   Is this really HELPFUL to Barack before votes in North Carolina & Indiana?   After all, it isn’t too far on the ideological spectrum from Rev. Wright to Jimmy Carter.]

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

On Bishop Robinson, Ellen, Sexuality and Public Life

Ever since Gene Robinson was consecrated as a bishop of the Episcopal Church in November 2003, it seems to have become de rigeur for gay organizations to have him speak at their confabs or appears at public events alongside their president. He has addressed Log Cabin, appeared at a press conference with Human Rights Campaign (HRC) head Joe Solmonese and spoke most recently to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s (NGLTF) Creating Change Conference earlier this year.

As he speaks to these groups, Robinson, the first openly gay non-celibate individual to attain such a lofty clerical position in a mainstream church seems to be becoming more a gay celebrity than spiritual leader. Note, my use of the verb “seem” in the preceding sentence. He may well be doing excellent work in his New Hampshire diocese–and I certainly hope that he is.

It seems, however, we only read about him in articles and blog posts on gay issues — and not theological ones. I fear that becoming a gay celebrity, he is compromising his chances to change the image people of faith have of gay men and lesbians.

If after all the hullabaloo over his election had passed and he just focused on his job, people would see this bishop not as a man who dwells on his sexuality, but as a bishop like other bishops, just one who happens to be gay. They would thus better see that when one lives openly as a gay man (or lesbian), one’s sexuality is not the defining factor of his life, but just one aspect of it.

The more often he appears at gay confabs, the more likely it becomes that people see him as defining his life by his sexuality.

Seeing Robinson as a gay celebrity reminds me of the trajectory of the career of my favorite TV talk show hostess, Ellen de Generes. Whenshe came out with similar hullabaloo in 1997, making the cover of Time, she appeared to dwell on her sexuality. Nearly every episode of her sitcom the following year had a lesbian theme. Fewer and fewer people watched the show; it was canceled at the end of that season.

Five years later, she launched a daytime talk show where, instead of focusing on her own sexuality, she focused on her guests, using her own good humor and stage presence to draw them out, engaging them in thoughtful and amusing discourse while entertaining her audiences.

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The Challenge of McCain’s GOP Convention Speech

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:30 pm - April 30, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Noble Republicans

In the current issue of National Review, John J. Miller writes that Mark Salter, who has helped John McCain write his books has much writing to do “between now and November,” including the presumptive Republican nominee’s speech accepting the party’s presidential nod at this summer convention in Minnesota. I trust Salter realizes that this is perhaps he important project on his plate.

As that speech is likely to get more media attention than any other scripted address John McCain deliver in the next six months, Salter needs write something which defines the Arizona Republican to the American people and rebuts Democratic attempts to discredit that good man. This speech must reassure an anxious conservative base while convincing independent voters who already have a high opinion of the Senator but are wary of again leasing the White House to a Republican.

To appeal to both groups, McCain can’t break with the Republican who currently lives there, but does need to distance himself from that good man, but flawed president.

In 1988, without repudiating the then-incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush attempted to distance himself from Ronald Reagan with his reference to “a kinder, gentler America.” Many conservatives (including this one) saw the line as an unwarranted jab at the Gipper, suggesting his America were harsher and meaner, but the tone of the speech helped the then-Vice President bounce back from a deficit in the polls to a lead which he would enjoy until November.

Salter needs craft a similar speech with a passage somehow acknowledging the incumbent’s shortcomings, but, at the same time, showing respect for his accomplishments and appreciation of his national security leadership. McCain needs make it difficult, it not impossible, for the Democrats to present him as promising a third Bush term. Tying McCain to W, they believe, will bring down the Arizonan’s high favorables.

Mark Salter clearly has his work cut out for him. He needs perhaps write a memorable line which would juxtapose McCain’s independence, the numerous times he has parted company with his party, with his commitment to essential Republican principles, notably a strong national defense and decreased federal spending.

Should Salter succeed, he could well help shift the dynamic of the fall campaign in favor of the Republican nominee. Given his wordsmithing skills, there’s a good chance he will.

Hillary: Fighting Ugly for her Own Power

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:48 pm - April 30, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Only yesterday did I get around to reading an article which Glenn Reynolds linked on Saturday. Reading that piece, I learned that Eleanor Cliagree and I have some common ground; we both think Ms. Hillary wins ugly. That Newsweek columnist observes that in the remaining months of the campaign for the Democratic nomination there’s “time enough for Hillary to win ugly, if that’s what winning takes.

It seems that for Ms. Hillary political victory and the power that comes with it are the be-all and end-all of her life’s purpose. Not commitment to principle or any higher ideals, but to herself.

As Clift observes:

If the Clintons get back into the White House, it will be retribution time, like the Corleone family consolidating power in “The Godfather,” where the watchword is, “It’s business, not personal.”

As many have observed, with her back up against the wall, Hillary has emerged as a tenacious campaigner. Frequent Clinton critic Bill Kristol finds she “has turned out to be an impressive candidate.

Yet, watching her and (begrudgingly) impressed with her tenacity, I find my opposition to her grows. If she were fighting for some noble cause, I would see her as a true leader, a real American heroine. But, instead of waging a principled campaign for the highest office in the land, she has chosen the low road, switching her position on any number of issues and misrepresenting her own past, even misrepresenting her past positions on those very issues.

Even as Hillary has improved her chances at securing the Democratic nomination, her credibility continues to crumble.  Many of her erstwhile allies now see her as an opportunist. Is this an individual American women would want as a role model?

Kudos to Log Cabin for Handling “Out” Magazine Bias

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:23 pm - April 30, 2008.
Filed under: Gay Media,Gay Politics,Log Cabin Republicans

When I read Charles Kaiser’s response to (what I called in this post) “a raft of e-mails faulting him for failing to talk to a single gay Republican in his Out magazine article, ‘Washington’s Gay War,’” I knew the organization had scored a major success.

Their call to action (both on the web and in an e-mail blast to members) generated enough correspondence to get that magazine to take notice and respond.

For as long as I have been involved in Log Cabin, particularly when I was a club president in the late 1990s, I faulted the national office for not doing enough to challenge the anti-Republican bias of the gay media.

Many gays may well see gay Republicans as self-hating or otherwise “traitors to the cause” because our media offers slanted coverage of us, highlighting the most hypocritical, relying on stereotypes drawn from books, plays or their own imagination. Gay publications (and even some in the MSM) rarely offer accurate pictures of real live gay conservatives.

If we want our fellow gays to have an accurate picture of us, we need to do something to change the way the media covers us. Kaiser’s article was not the first biased piece, but just another example of shoddy reporting of gay Republicans.

In a welcome change from the past, Log Cabin’s national office refused to take this one lying down. They took action, pointing out the flaws in the article, asking members to contact the magazine. And they got results.

I daresay that the next time Out magazine commissions a piece on gay Republicans, it will turn to someone more willing to interview gay Republicans, listen to us and quote us in his article.

I’m delighted at how swiftly Log Cabin responded to this “hit piece.” They deserve major kudos for their efforts. This is a welcome change. It shows how much we can accomplish when we speak up. And dare to make waves.

Now on to the Advocate.

Leftists Act as if Hagee were McCain’s Longtime Pastor

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:01 pm - April 30, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,General,Liberals

Seems Obama supporters are really trying to mitigate the damage of the media focus on his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. First, they find gay-baiting in a clumsy remark by a Hillary supporter and now we learn (via the Washington Blade‘s Blogwatch) of yet another voice on the left decrying John McCain’s alleged hypocrisy for his association with John Hagee.

In yesterday’s Huffington Post, Valerie Tarico said the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had “positioned himself as a hypocrite” when he called Wright’s remarks “beyond belief.” Tarico claims that Bill Moyers “in an hour long interview last Friday showed the world the broader context in which the remarks were made.”

Actually, Valerie, Moyers used that interview to try to justify Wriight’s hate speech. Hugh Hewitt put the remarks in context by providing the text of the sermons. As Hugh put it, “The pastor could help us all if he would release recordings of all of his sermons, and Moyers ought to have asked for just that. If you are going to mount the defense of ‘out of context,’ then provide the context.

After attempting to claim that the Moyers interview exonerated Obama, Tarico reminds us that McCain “posed for the camera with John Hagee” who has uttered some pretty hateful (and nonsensical) things about Catholics and gays. Then, she asks, “why didn’t we hear Hagee’s ugliest remarks over and over on the air?

Valerie, that’s because John McCain didn’t sit in Hagee’s church on a regular basis for two decades and call him his “spiritual mentor.In fact.” it appears the Arizona Senator met with the Texas pastor only once–when he received his endorsement.

There’s a huge differnce between getting the endorsement of a narrow-minded preacher and associating with one on a regular basis over a twenty-year period.

Pansy-gate: Sad State of Gay America

Let me get this straight (excuse the insulting word, by the way). Gay activists are up in arms because NC Governor Mike Easley used the word “pansy.”

Well, God help us all. If Gay Americans don’t learn to get a tougher skin…their heads are going to be lopped off even easier than straight Americans when the Islamists are in power in Western Europe.

For all of the wailing from the Left over their claimed “non-issues” like flag-burning, wearing the flag on your chest, and supporting the troops — Pansygate makes the Gay Left look even more ridiculous and irrelevant than ever.

If Gay American activists were constantly up in arms about the worldwide threat to our community by an organized group of murderous Islamists, I might have more sympathy to those “completely offended” by Gov. Easley’s “pansy”.

I am not. Grow up, and get over the victimization mentality, folks.

PS – And don’t even start with me about how the American Religious Right is akin to Islamists. If you do, you must provide videotaped evidence of American Christian groups beheading or hanging gays. There is no moral equivalence in a worldwide pogrom of gays being spearheaded by radical Islamists.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from Dan): Seems Washington Blade editor Kevin Naff agrees with Bruce, writing in the Blade’s Blog, “Are we really so thin-skinned and politically correct that we’re offended by use of the word “pansy?” His advice: “Get over it, people. There are far more offensive things to worry about than an awkward turn of phrase.

Gay Conservative Voters don’t Need Gay-specific Appeals

As I read John Aravosis’ post on what he deems “Hillary’s gay problem,” I began to better understand the difference between gays on the left and gay conservatives (though not necessarily Log Cabin). Aravosis finds it problematic that the former First Lady’s almost never uses the word, “gay” in her speeches “to the public at large.

He provides a video of her appearance on logo (the gay cable network) where she seems uncomfortable even saying the word. (I watched it and agree.)

By contrast, “Obama mentions us in his speeches, a lot.” He’s impressed — as is our friend Dale Carpenter — that the Democratic frontrunner brings up gay issues “and not just before gay audiences.

To be sure, if Ms. Hillary’s logo appearance is emblematic of her attitude toward gays, she has a real problem. Her discomfort saying the word “gay” should be troubling to her gay and lesbian supporters some of whom act as if she has always been an advocate for gay people when the experience she cites (serving as First Lady to Bill Clinton) proves quite the opposite.

If it weren’t for that discomfort, I wouldn’t find her relative silence on gays all that troubling. It doesn’t really bother me that a candidate doesn’t mention gay people in his speeches or fails to push a particularly pro-gay agenda. Yes, I would like him to favor repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (and other discriminatory legislation which singles out gay people) and push for state recognition of same-sex unions, but just so long as he doesn’t engage in anti-gay rhetoric or promote discriminatory policies, i can feel comfortable supporting him.

This all boils down to my basic political philosophy that it’s not the government’s role to address social issues. I believe that if the government just leaves us alone, private institutions will effect the changes we need. We see that already in the increasing number of companies adopting non-discrimination policies and offering benefits to same-sex partners.

So, it doesn’t really matter to me that a candidate doesn’t bring up gay people in his political speeches, just as long as he doesn’t denounce us.

My sense is that most gay Republicans doesn’t identify politically as gay. We see ourselves as citizens who happen to be gay. And therein, I think, lies the primary distinction between gay liberals and gay conservatives. They want politicians to appeal to them as a political group.

We don’t require such appeals, content when politicians address other issues, leaving us alone to live our lives as we see fit and trusting private institutions to meet our social needs.

RELATED: Why We Don’t Need a “Gays for McCain” Group

My ambivalence on North Carolina ads

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:01 pm - April 29, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Liberals,Media Bias

While most conservative bloggers have faulted presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain for criticizing an ad by the North Carolina GOP linking the two Democratic gubernatorial candidates, Richard Moore and Bev Perdue, to Pastor Jeremiah Wright via his former parishioner Barack Obama (whom they both have endorsed), I am kind of ambivalent about the whole hullabaloo.

In an ideal world, McCain would have a point. We should reject the notion of guilt by association. Just because these two Democrats have endorsed a man whose pastor made offensive and anti-American remarks doesn’t mean they share his sentiments. It’s one thing to fault Senator Obama for attending Wright’s church and never challenging his pastor for his hateful remarks, it’s quite another to link those supporting the Senator’s presidential bid to those remarks.

But, we’re not living in an ideal world as McCain should know by some of the recent attacks leveled against him. For example, a number of left-wing groups (e.g., moveon.org) have presumed to establish his guilt by association, faulting him for “refusing to renounce the endorsement of Texas televangelist John Hagee” because of preacher’s anti-Catholic and anti-gay remarks. While “McCain repudiated the remarks as ‘nonsense,’ . . . he declined to renounce the pastor’s endorsement.” But, that repudiation wasn’t enough for the left.

It’s not just the left, CNN made much of a McCain supporter’s use of the B-word to describe Mrs. Clinton.

If the left can attempt to establish McCain’s “guilt” by his association (albeit infrequent) with this bigoted preacher, can’t conservatives then establish the “guilt” of Democrats by their association (albeit tenuous) with a bigoted preacher?

In an ideal political world, we would not focus so much on the associations of the people endorsing various candidates, but on his ideas, experience as well as the people with whom the candidate associates on a regular basis. Sometimes, alas, we do have to leave the ideal world and enter the real world, the rough-and-tumble of politics.

RELATED: Of Macacas, Unsubstantiated Allegations, Jim Webb’s Novel & Other Insignificant Issues

Gay Left Bloggers Find Gay-Baiting where there is none

Via the Washington Blade‘s blogwatch today, we learn of two Left-of-center bloggers, John Aravosis and Paul Spaulding, accusing North Carolina Governor Mike Easley of gay-baiting.

In endorsing former First Lady’s Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House, Easley claimed there’s nothing he loves more than a strong woman and Mrs. Clinton “makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.”

Spauldling who, like Bruce, resides in the Tarheel State, asked, “why didn’t our outgoing governor just go ahead and say ‘faggot?.” In a similar tone, Aravosis accuses the guv of “gay-bashing.” While I agree with his commenter Jaclemmons222 that the left-wing blogger “jumped the shark,” the blogger does have a point when he observes, “Hillary and her people will say anything to get elected.

Granted, the Governor is way off the mark with his remark. Tenacious campaigner Hillary may be, but she hardly qualifies as a strong woman. But, to suggest he’s gay-baiting suggests these bloggers are just looking for gay-bashing where there is none. Easley’s comment is certainly an example of rhetorical overkill, but it’s hyperbole not meant to be taken literally.

All he wanted to do was make a point about Mrs. Clinton’s strengths And sometimes politicians such analogies for rhetorical effect. Wrong he certainly was, but gay-baiting just because he used the word “pansy,” a word often used to denigrate gays? Hardly. The word also means “wimp.” Methinks that was the definition Easley was using.

I suggest these two bloggers stop trying to play the gay victim card. There are better ways to attack Mrs. Clinton. Showing how she shifts her views with the prevailing political winds is one way. That tendency will show how ludicrous Governor Easley’s comment really was.

A strong woman stands firm even when the currents turn against her. She would know that principle is more important than popular mood. Just ask a woman who really does make Rocky Balboa look like a wimp.

UPDATE: Blogger Michael Petrelis notes that the New York Times‘ Caucus blog has picked up on this story.

Will Negative ads Work Against McCain?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:36 pm - April 29, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Liberals

In my post on the LA Times Festival of books, I suggested I might comment further on David Frum’s observation there that “Hillary and McCain were among the most well-known figures in American politics.” Given our familiarity with these two, I wondered how much the campaign would serve to alter their public image.  

It does seem that the prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination has solidified and possibly increased Hillary’s negatives.  And this morning, as I read the New York Times article on Democratic National Committee (DNC) ads attacking the presumptive Republican nominee, I wondered if a prolonged barrage of negative ads would effect John McCain’s long-standing, largely favorable public image.

According to the Times, the DNC “has begun its first sustained advertising campaign against Senator John McCain, introducing a new commercial this week criticizing his recent comments that he could envision a United States presence in Iraq for 100 years.” Howard Dean’s party once again takes John McCain’s comments out of context, suggesting, he favors a hundred-years war. The full text of the remarks show he means something quite different.

Par for the course with the left spinning Republican remarks so as to portray their political adversaries not as they are, but as they want them to be so they can better attack them.

Dean is not alone in rushing to attack McCain.  Moveon.org and another left-wing group, Progressive Media USA, also have plans to run ads attacking the GOP nominee.  But, fundraising for these groups has been “slower than expected.”  While Democratic officials attribute this to donors “splitting their giving between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama,” I wonder if it’s because John McCain doesn’t arouse the ire of rank-and-file Democrats and non-activist liberals as does George W. Bush.

John McCain has been in the national public eye for over a quarter century.  His favorable ratings remain high. I doubt a DNC ad campaign will do much to change that, even one supported by other left-wing groups and the financial fortune of George Soros. 

“Out” Author Remains Clueless About Gay Republicans

While working on a piece expanding on this post for Pajamas, I chanced upon Charles Kaiser’s response to a raft of e-mails faulting him for failing to talk to a single gay Republican in his Out magazine article, “Washington’s Gay War.”

Introducing the response, Out editor Aaron Hicklin notes that the article “generated far more than the average grab bag of angry letters from readers,” citing Log Cabin’s call to action specifically. This correspondence, Hicklin believes, “seemed to warrant a response from the author.

Major kudos to Log Cabin for getting at least one gay media outlet to take notice of the concerns of the oft-misrepresented gay Republicans. It’s unfortunate though that Kaiser’s response only further demonstrates his ignorance of gay Republicans.

Despite our contention that he didn’t talk to any gay Republicans, Kaiser claims he did. He just didn’t see fit to quote them.

He further defends himself by saying that the article was “about gay political wars in Washington” and not gay Republicans. Well, shouldn’t a journalist covering a war strive to cover both sides? Kaiser only covers the Republican side from the perspective of Democrats.

He also contends that none of his correspondents challenged “the facts” in his piece.

Not privy to the correspondence, I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that statement. In the article itself, Kaiser lets others do most of the talking. And maybe no one challenged the various quotations in the article. But, they make claims which they fail to prove, notably that of Washington Post reporter Vargas, “If you come out on the Hill and you’re a Republican, you lose power.”

His article doesn’t reference a single Republican who lost power when he came out.

The issue wasn’t so much the accuracy of the quotations, but whom Kaiser chose to quote. And he himself acknowledged that he didn’t quote the gay Republicans with whom he talked.

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Hugh Hewitt & Robert Scheer Square off at LA Book Fair

Reading Hugh Hewit’s post this morning where he discussed his appearance yesterday in the Campaign 2008 panel at this week’s Los Angeles Book Festival of Books, I realized I had intended to blog on both and the fair.

Building on his point (which I referenced here) about the weakness of the two leading Democratic candidates, Hugh writes the “Dems look more and more like Thelma and Louise headed for the cliff.

More on that panel anon. First, about the fair itself. Given my love for books, I expected to leave with an armful, but surprised myself in buying only one–and that deeply discounted.

Every time I go to such gatherings or just visit to a large bookstore, I am impressed by the diversity of the offerings. I saw booths selling books (in one case, offering free Qu’rans) about Islam, others specializing in fantasy (and science) fiction, others in graphic novels, several in Buddhism and related themes, a number selling mysteries and other detective stories. The list goes on. And on.

I took note of at least four booths hawking left-wing books and information, ACLU of Southern California, Haymarket books, Leftbooks.com and the Nation Magazine. Puts truth to the left-wing lie about the “fascism” of the Bush era. If our nation were becoming fascistic, then such booksellers would not be able to display their anti-Administration, in some cases, anti-American, wares so openly.

In the aforementioned panel, the LA Times (the organizer of the event) offered a platform to outspoken Bush critic Robert Scheer. Neither the former Times columnist’s mean-spirited rhetoric nor his frequent misrepresentations of fact deterred the paper from inviting this left-wing blogger and columnist.

And Scheer did not disappoint, offering servings of angry rhetoric laced with regular distortions of the Bush record–and of conservatives in general. And he repeated the liberal/MSM notion that Hillary’s campaign tactics are right out of Rove’s playbook. Original these people aren’t.

I thought Hugh and co-panelist American Enterprise Institute fellow and National Review blogger/columnist David Frum had the better of the argument, but will give credit to the other liberal on the panel, blogger and former Howard Dean webmaster, Garrett M. Graff, for at least attempting to keep the conversation civil and not engaging in the kind of factual fantasy and rhetorical overkill which characterized Scheer’s comments.

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Karl Rove on Hillary & Obama

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:34 pm - April 28, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,National Politics

Perhaps so many on the left are so obsessed with Karl Rove because of his keen insight into political trends and candidates. Well, that combined with his partisan affiliation and electoral success.

If he were on the left, they’d love him.

There seems to be a strong consensus among conservative bloggers, pundits and other politicos that were the Democrats to nominate someone other than the two remaining candidates, Senator Obama and Mrs. Clinton, the race wouldn’t even be close and as I put it in a recent post, the GOP would be toast in 2008.

Yesterday in a panel on Campaign 2008 at the Los Angeles Festival of Books, Hugh Hewitt said that if former Virginia Senator Mark Warner of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh were the Democratic nominee, either would win this election in a walk.

What distinguishes Karl Rove is his ability to understand exactly why the two leading Democrats are weak candidates. In a column last Thursday for the Wall Street Journal, he wrote:

Mrs. Clinton started as a deeply flawed candidate: the palpable and unpleasant sense of entitlement, the absence of a clear and optimistic message, the grating personality impatient to be done with the little people and overly eager for a return to power, real power, the phoniness and the exaggerations. These problems have not diminished over the long months of the contest. They have grown. She started out with the highest negatives of any major candidate in an open race for the presidency and things have only gotten worse.

And he also understands her rival’s flaws. Click on more to read the full excerpt: (more…)

Left’s Obsession with Rove — & Clintonian tactics

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:49 pm - April 28, 2008.
Filed under: Liberals

The mere mention of Karl Rove’s name sends many on the left into fits of frenzy. When Hillary defeated Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary, left-wing bloggers (and even the New York Times) were quick to call her tactics torn “right from Karl Rove’s playbook.” (Ms. Hillary herself has leveled that very accusation against her Illinois rival).

Yet, so obsessed are these people with Karl Rove that they forget that the Clintons’ have been playing this kind of attack politics long before the “architect” of President Bush’s 2004 victory helped his client win election to the Texas Governor’s mansion in 1994.

Now the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat John Conyers of Michigan, “intends to investigate” the testimony of a witness in the fraud and extortion trial of Chicago developer and fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko. That witness, former “Illinois state official Ali Ata[,] is expected to testify about a conversation he had with Rezko in which the developer alleged Rove was “working with” a top Illinois Republican [Bob Kjellander] to remove the Chicago U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.

So, let’s unpack this. A top House Democrat thinks he’s onto something when person 1 (Ali Ata) says person 2 (Rezko, under indictment so not the most reliable source) saying person 3 (Kjellander) told him that person 4 (Rove) had plans to remove U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. With person 3, the one who supposedly heard Rove talk about firing the federal prosecutor denying it took place, it seems a pretty tenuous thread. But that won’t prevent some Democrats from getting all atwitter about it.

Talk about he said/she said, this is he said that he said he said that he said. I think we called that hearsay in law school. (Or in this case, hearhearhearsay.)

And person 1 (Ata) has already “pleaded guilty to lying to federal law enforcement officials and to one tax count,” hence his cooperation “with federal prosecutors.” (Check that post for more on Ata and the charges against him.)
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McCain’s feistiness in ’08 like Truman’s in ’48

By all measures, the election of 1948 was supposed to be a Republican blowout. The Democrats had been in the White House for sixteen consecutive years, their longest run there since 1824. The beleaguered incumbent had succeeded to office when his popular predecessor had died. Harry S Truman lacked his presence and charisma of FDR.

Most polls had Truman’s Republican challenger New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey up throughout the campaign, sometimes by margins higher than 10 percent. There were, to be sure, far fewer polls then than there are now. Yet, somehow that Democrat managed to pull it off, winning reelection in perhaps the most stunning upset in US presidential politics.

He pulled it off by running and aggressive campaign, barnstorming the country where his supporters implored him to “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!”

Many have compared the current Republican incumbent to his Democratic predecessor who won in 1948. Both followed (though Bush not directly) a partisan predecessor who redefined his party — and would inspire the faithful (in both parties) for generations after he left office (well, if the first generation after the Gipper is any indication, this inspiration should continue well into this century).

Bush, like Truman, has often been seen as bumbling through office. And among two-term presidents, only Truman has favorability ratings as low as those of George W. Bush.

A few pundits have compared Bush to Truman, Peggy Noonan being the first that I read. But, there are similarities, more of a temperamental nature, between John McCain and the Missouri Democrat. Both distinguished themselves in war, Truman in World War I, McCain in Vietnam. Both gained a reputation straight talkers, though Truman’s speech was known as “Plain Talk.”

Watching John McCain campaign these past few months, I have seen a feistiness similar to that Truman demonstrated on the campaign trail in 1948. In this week’s blogger conference call, for example, he didn’t mince words when he said, “I will be Hamas’ worst nightmare.” A statement like one Truman might make, simple, direct and to the point.

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Why I like George W. Bush (and some people hate him)

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:43 pm - April 26, 2008.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,National Politics

Just before the 2000 election, a friend asked how I could support George W. Bush for president when he was “just like the guys who picked on you in high school.” She was right–to a point. Like them, he came from an uppercrust eastern establishment family, never having to struggle as an adolescent to fit in, always having opportunities opening up for him thanks, in large part, to his family connections and his Anglo-Saxon pedigree.

I went to a private “college preparatory” school in the Midwest where my classmates, at one time or another, included a scion of the Taft family and one who claimed descent from the Adamses. Among these offspring of the “finest” Cincinnati families, I was an outsider.

Among the “popular preppies,” however, there were a few who did not pick on those of us of a different religious background, those less gifted at athletics or more interested in our studies. Or whose families only recently came into their fortune. Or had no fortune at all.

There was one preppie in particular who was always friendly to me–and everyone else for that matter. I recall once during assembly when one of the popular kids (and his Jewish hanger-on) put a ruler through a belt loop on my best corduroy pants and pulled, detaching the loop. The other guy was looking on, gently urging his friends to lay off while giving me an awkward, but amicable look that said, “They’re just playing around. Don’t take them too seriously.”

It was that look which defined him. When last I saw him at our fifteenth reunion, while he had a few more pounds and a lot less hair, he was exactly as he had ben in high school, asking me about my life and my mother (his Dad and my Mom went to high school together). He was unfailingly polite and seemed genuinely interested in my life and general welfare.

George W. Bush strikes me as this kind of preppie. One reason so many people hate him is that they see him as the classmate who pulled out my belt loop, someone born to a wealthy family who never had to work to achieve his social or financial success and who mocked those beneath him.

Yet, from what we know about the personal life of the president, we find him much more like the guy who asked about my mother than the ones who mocked my study habits and extracurricular interests (drama and Model UN).  While he does seem to have a lot of friends with a pedigree similar to his own, he doesn’t limit himself to such individuals.

In Texas, he surrounded himself with a diverse array of non-White Anglo-Saxon Protestant friends, including Hispanics and African-Americans. He remained close to his longtime family friend Charles Francis when the latter came out as gay. As President, he has met regularly with rabbis and other Jewish leaders at the White House. (This post references one of those meetings.)

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Why I like John McCain

While a number of my favorite bloggers wrote about their recent conference call with my man McCain, it was Roger Simon’s Pajamas’ piece on the tête-à-têtes which really hit home with me. In commenting on the call, Roger got at some of the things about John McCain which strike me as a presidential and which contrast him with his Democratic rivals for the White House.

Unlike Mrs. Clinton, he doesn’t seem threatened by his ideological adversaries:

I think one of the most laudable things about McCain is that people who disagree with him do not seem to threaten him. He relishes the rough and tumble of political discussion.

On the North Carolina GOP’s ad attempting to link both Democratic candidate for Governor to the anti-American rhetoric of Barack Obama’s former pastor:

The one bone of contention on the call was the North Carolina Republican Party campaign ad, using Wright and Ayers to bash Obama. McCain, as most know, asked for that to be taken down. He is taking the high road, as well he should, since he is running for President of the United States. If he wins, he’s going to have to be president of all Americans. Not only that, as everyone knows, national elections are won in the center. The wise candidate keeps his eye on that.

Again, a distinction from his Democratic rivals, particularly Mrs. Clinton. He knows he’s going to be president of all Americans and doesn’t delight (as she seems to) in the increasing animosity of the opposition’s rank-and-file (and lading pundits) to her, her campaign and her family’s political reputation.

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Barack Obama’s Acceptance Speech

DATELINE, Denver CO — August 28, 2008.  This is the unedited transcript of the acceptance speech given this evening by Democratic Party Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).

My fellow proper-thinking Americans and oppressed people of this nation — thank you.  You have spoken for change and we have delivered together.  For without change, we cannot have hope.  Without hope, there is no change.  When we get change we can lift up those bitter folks among us and rise to the promise of America.  The America that I observed from afar.

As we embrace this change together we must remember that we cannot challenge change for it is good.  Unity is most important for without unity, there is no hope; without hope, there is no change.  Without change there is no future.

So now I call on all Americans to ignore the past, ignore my past, ignore this nation’s history, ignore what has made this nation full of bitter and shallow people.   And rise up with me to the new Promised Land — the Federal Government.  Washington will be reclaimed by those of us who know better, who think better, who know you better than you know yourselves because we know that you know that you want change and change is hope.

Thank you for your nomination and I look forward to a spirited debate with Senator McCain so long as he doesn’t question my voting record, ethics, integrity, philosophy of governing, or the folks who have supported me and I grew up with.  Because if he does, it will be clear that the Republicans are devolving back to the policies of Jim Crow and all that it stands for.

Good night, and God Bless my campaign.

**************

Reactions to Senator Obama’s speech:

“That is the best political speech I have ever heard.  This man is a born leader.  He was specific, yet sweeping in his rhetoric.  America should be proud tonight.”  — Chris Matthews, MSNBC

“It was hard to watch this speech without being moved to tears.  I now fully understand why all those women fainted throughout the primary campaign.  I can’t go on.”  — Anderson Cooper, CNN

“How he could stand up there and accept the Democratic nomination and not call for Bush’s impeachment is beyond me.  This guy is a joke.  This country is a joke.  I’m a joke.” — Keith Olbermann, MSNBC

“Does anyone know what the hell Obama was talking about?” — Brit Hume, FOX News Channel

Ms. Hillary and the “Merkel Effect”

In his column yesterday on the Pennsylvania primary, Robert Novak attributes the difference between exit polls giving Mrs. Clinton a 3.6 point lead over Senator Obama and the final result yielding a margin of 9.4% to the “Bradley effect:”

Prominent Democrats only whisper when they compare Obama’s experience, the first African American with a serious chance to be president, with what happened to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley a quarter-century ago. In 1982, exit polls showed Bradley, who was black, ahead in the race for governor of California, but he ultimately lost to Republican George Deukmejian. Pollster John Zogby (who predicted Clinton’s double-digit win Tuesday) said what practicing Democrats would not: “I think voters face to face are not willing to say they would oppose an African American candidate.”

We may have seen something similar in the most recent national elections in Germany, yet involving a female as opposed to an African-American candidate. In polls leading up to the September 2005 balloting, the coalition (CDU/CSU) lead by Angela Merkel was running about ten points ahead of the incumbent SPD, but when people voted, this coalition won by just over 1% of the party vote, requiring her to form a Grand Coalition with the Social Democrats.

To be sure, a number of factors were at play in that election, including Mrs. Merkel’s own gaffes and effective last-minuted campaigning by then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, but I wonder if some Germans were reluctant to admit to pollsters they didn’t want a woman heading their nation’s government.

There have been a number of female heads of government and heads of state around the world, notably the UK’s Margaret Thatcher, but very few of them (including that great lady and Mrs. Merkel) won a direct national election where people voted for them (as opposed to voting for their party or regional representative(s)). When elected president of Iceland in 1980, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir “was the first woman in the world . . . elected a constitutional Head of State.” The Philippines have elected two female presidents (Corazon Aquino and incumbent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo).

I don’t know if Finnbogadóttir’s tally on election day in 1980 was less than her lead in the polls or if they even have polls in that Nordic (one could say Scandinavian) nation.

This all leads me to wonder if Mrs. Clinton somehow manages to win her party’s nomination, would there be a “Merkel effect” this fall and she not do as well on Election Day as she had done in the polls, merely because some people were uncomfortable with the idea of a female Chief Executive?

I just wish Margaret Thatcher were a few years younger and we could amend the Constitution allowing former female British Prime Ministers to stand for election as President of the United States.

We might better be able to test this theory with a woman who is a proven leader.