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Hillary & the Politics of Gaffes

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:05 pm - May 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Blogging,Media Bias

One of the things about blogging is that if, for whatever reason, you take a few days off from posting and then return, wanting to comment on something that happened in that time period, you find that when you do chime in, somebody else (or a number of somebody elses) has pretty much said anything you might have to say on the topic.

Such is the case with Hillary’s reference in South Dakota to the assassination of Robert of Kennedy. Asked why she was not dropping out of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, the former First Lady said:

My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don’t understand it

My first thought was what a bone-headed comment. My second was somewhat sympathetic, understanding what she was trying to say and realizing that it came out differently than she had intended (wanting to point out that the 1968 contest for the Democratic nomination was still ongoing at the time of the California primary that year). My third thought was that the inartful remark would destroy the little remaining chance the former First Lady had to win her party’s presidential nod.

And this largely because of her family’s history, the rumors swirling about it, coupled with the pro-Obama blog and media machine, eager to cast anything she says in the worst possible light.

Click on more to read comments I found particularly insightful and the conclusion I draw from them. (more…)

Is Obama the next Bill Clinton (& Al Gore)?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:14 pm - May 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics

Running for the president in his mid-forties, Barack Obama has a lot in common with the last Democrat to win the White House, Bill Clinton. Both are smart, charismatic men who graduated from top law schools and have wowed their party faithful with their eloquence and visions of hope. Both men assembled crack political teams for their campaigns and drew favorable coverage from the media. Heck, they even have the same star sign, Leo, both born in August (Obama on the 4th, Clinton the 19th).

And it seems these two men have something else in common, a quality they share with another recent Democratic nominee, Al Gore. They both love to invent stories about their past (or that of their family) to better able to appeal to the audience they are addressing. The likely Democratic nominee “told a Selma [Alabama] audience that the 1965 March on Selma resulted in his conception.” This guy really is amazing, being conceived three-and-one-half years after he was born.

Yesterday, he did it again:

I had an uncle who was one of the — who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family was is that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months.

Problem is that the Red Army liberated Auschwitz. There’s more on the story here.

Guess with Hillary’s campaign fading, the Democrats still want a candidate with access to that old Clinton magic which includes an ability to rewrite one’s past to fit the current campaign narrative.

UPDATE: Roger Simon reports that the Obama campaign has backtracked to say that the candidate meant Buchenwald, not Auschwitz.

Bob Barr Pledges To Repeal DOMA

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 9:07 pm - May 27, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Gay Marriage,Gay Politics

American politics are really weird sometimes. The changing of positions is enough to give me whiplash. Up is down, down is the new up. White is black, black is the new white. Um…thanks Bob, I guess.

Oh I just can’t keep up…

— John (Average Gay Joe)

Camille & Peggy on Hillary

As I begin serious work (but a bit too sporadically of late) on my dissertation on the goddess Athena, I intend to consult the iconoclastic columnist and scholar Camille Paglia as she makes frequent reference to the gray-eyed Greek deity in her seminal study, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson.

While Paglia has little in common with the columnist I have dubbed “My Athena,” (well, they are both smart women who write about politics, but other than that . . . ), neither seems to care much for the Former First Lady who currently hopes (against ever increasing odds) to turn her husband into the first First Laddie.

Within twenty-four hours last week, each woman in her own unique style got at Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses as her presidential campaign slowly implodes. Finding Mrs. Clinton in “Godzilla mode,” Camille contends that people who assume the New York Senator will “withdraw gracefully in a few weeks are living in cloud cuckoo land. The Clintons are ruthless scrappers who will lock their bulldog teeth in any bloody towel.

This scholar of gender and culture wonders about the politician’s feminist credentials, noting how her husband has “masterminded” her bids for public office:

Hillary has tried to have it both ways: to batten on her husband’s nostalgic popularity while simultaneously claiming to be a victim of sexism.

Well, which is it? Are men convenient sugar daddies or condescending oppressors?

These are not the qualities of the woman who should serve as our nation’s first female chief executive who, in Camille’s view, “must have a consistent character and steady demeanour.” In similar vein, Peggy compares the former First Lady to three great female leaders, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, contrasting their failure to blame their setbacks on sexism with Hillary’s regular complaints that “that sexism has been a major dynamic in her unsuccessful bid for political dominance:”

Meir and Gandhi and Mrs. Thatcher suffered through the political downside of their sex and made the most of the upside. Fair enough. As for this week’s Clinton complaints, I imagine Mrs. Thatcher would bop her on the head with her purse.

As with anything by these two ladies, you’d do better to read their works in the original than to read my poor attempts to capture their eloquence and insight. So just check out Camille here and Peggy here!

Can Jimmy Carter Win Jimmy Carter Bitter Old Man Award?

Dear Gay Patriot readers:

As you may recall, just about one year ago, we awarded Dan Rather the first James Earl Carter Bitter Old Man Award, an honor bestowed on those “men over 70 who, in their dotage, by the very bitterness of their manner, follow in the footsteps of the nation’s worst president.”

In several statements in the past few days, Carter has demonstrated the very bitterness which defines the award. Having long since forgotten the tradition of U.S. presidents never criticizing their successors while abroad, this unhappy octogenarian faulted the incumbent administration for drafting a Middle East policy which has become “one of the greatest human rights crimes on Earth” as he suggests the current president is a “war criminal.” And even after being rejected overwhelmingly by the American people, he has tried to engage in diplomacy on behalf of the United States.

And we haven’t even gotten to his criticism of the Administration’s Iraq policy, offering such criticisms Memorial Day weekend.

Just moments ago, I received an e-mail from a reader, alerting me to a post highlighting the former president’s follies. But, he wasn’t referencing the comments I made above. This time, Carter was musing about Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb:

I’m not sure that is going to happen, but if it does, what do we do? They are rational people like all of us in this room. Do they want to commit suicide? I would guess not. So what we have to do is talk with them now and say to them we want to be their friends . . .

Um, Jimmy, do you recall what happened in those dark days when you were president and the Iranian mullahs violated international law and took our allowed our diplomats to be taken hostage? Do you want to be friends with those people?

Calling them rational!?!?!? Guessing that they don’t want to commit suicide!?!?!? Have you been paying any attention to Islamofascism over the past quarter-century or so? These are not rational people. They believe in committing suicide to advance their goals. Not just believe in it, practice and promote it — and train for it.

So, the question is, is this an example of Jimmy’s bitterness? Or just his stupidity or his support of anything which opposes the interests of the country he once led?

If stupidity, then we probably can’t offer him his own award. If bitterness, then the question is, should he be awarded an eponymous honor?

Please use the comments section to share your thoughts.


B. Daniel Blatt
(AKA GayPatriotWest)

The Truth About Muhammad

I finally had the chance to get through this book, via the unabridged audio verson.  It’s a rather interesting work, though more along the lines of religious apologetics in my view than useful political commentary.  As an apologetics piece and even an unabashedly biased view of history, Robert Spencer’s work is quite powerful.  Christianity and Islam have fundamental differences and while co-existence is needed for mainly temporal reasons these shouldn’t be glossed over.  Yet take this book for what it is:  a Christian look at Muhammad and Islam and it certainly articulated many of the reasons I myself do not follow the latter.  It would be foolish to rely solely upon this book for information about Muhammad and Islam for it is only one look at these subjects.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed it and will probably seek more on these topics.

Where Spencer fails in my view is the first and last chapters, wherein he attempts to turn a religious apologetics piece into contemporary political commentary.  He is correct that Islamofascists, Muslim radicals or whatever term one wishes to employ about those Muslims who use violence to further their goals, are inspired by the violent beginnings of Islam.  Any religion can be exploited as an ideology to be wielded in the temporal realm.  I’m not quite sure what Spencer is asking for in these chapters.  While Spencer himself is a fellow Catholic, this appears to be a dubious flirtation with the medieval notion of Christendom that one sees among many  American Protestants today. It’s a rather curious flirtation at that because on the one hand they wish to maintain the American ideals of democracy and freedom, but only seen through the lens of their brand of Christianity. Nor are they consistent even in this as most would reject stripping ‘heretics’ or atheists of their rights under the Constitution. Yet if we look back on what Christendom meant to the medievals, then matters which cause harm in the spiritual realm are all also matters of State concern. The lines between Church & State are very tenuous, if not non-existent in many cases. Under this scheme, atheism and heresy are just as bad as murder. Indeed, one could reasonably argue that they are worse since it’s not just the body that is killed but the eternal soul and society as a whole suffers from the confusion these sow by obscuring the Truth. I’ve yet to see how their dubious flirtation with this notion resolves the inconsistencies in their reasoning, let alone a full understanding on their part of how adoption of this idea would kill the “American experiment”.  The “fiction” the secular West maintains about Islam being a “religion of peace” is a useful and necessary one.  Granted, we shouldn’t be blinded by such rhetoric, and such is ripe for parody and dry moments of irony, but unless we are willing to reinstate Christendom, take up the Cross and eradicate Islam once and for all, Spencer’s commentary here isn’t very applicable in resolving modern conflicts.  Understanding one’s enemy is one thing, adopting an antiquated worldview in combating them is quite another.

UPDATE: It appears that this post elicited comments from Mr. Spencer and caused a bit of a stir at his site as well as on this blog. Instead of creating a new posting about this, I thought it more prudent to respond there. You can find Mr. Spencer’s comments and my reply here. Please note that as this is the first time I’ve posted there it may take a few hours for my response to appear as comments there are moderated.

— John (Average Gay Joe)