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Barack Obama’s Celebrity Story Line

“Politicians held captive by their big-money contributors or succumbing to interest-group pressure–this is the staple of modern political reporting, the story line that weaves its way into just about every analysis of what’s wrong with our democracy.”

Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope

Looks like the Democratic presidential nominee is doing what he can to get that story line out there. Reuters’ David Alexander asks, “So what does Barack Obama do after a hard day of defending the common man during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

And answers: “Throw a $28,500-a-head fundraising dinner, of course.” With Barbra Strisand singing.  In Beverly Hills, that is.  You know, the place with movie stars, swimming pools.

Well, he got his story.  it’s the buzz of Hollywood, allowing McCain to knock him for Streisand’s serenading.

Seems like Barack Obama is just asking his Republican rival to make another commercial like this one.

UPDATE:  Remember that Obama “barred television crews” from the event, next time the media goes after Republicans for a similar such exclusion for events featuring a less well-heeled crowd.

UP-UPDATE: No wonder Clinton fundraiser Democratic National Committee Platform Committee member “Lynn Forester de Rothschild has said she thinks Democratic nominee Barack Obama is arrogant and has a problem connecting with average Americans.” After “bringing in more than $100,000 for” Hillary, Ms. de Rothschild is backing John McCain.

Will Rangel Help Republicans Regain Congress?

Despite House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s best efforts, New York Democrat Charles Rangel is refusing to step down as House Ways & Means Committee chair. Although his committee oversees federal tax policy, “the Harlem congressman [has] admitted owing at least $10,000 in back taxes.”   Rangel “failed to disclose rental income from his Dominican Republic beach home.”

The longer Rangel maintains his committee chairmanship, the more people will see that while Democrats regained their congressional majority just two years ago, promising to clean up Congress, they have acted upon promise.  The situation has worsened since Nancy Pelosi took hold of the Speaker’s gavel.

As Congress fails to rein in excessive spending, its approval rating continues to plummet.

The publicity this scandal generates could remind voters how little the Pelosi Democrats have done to change the ways things are done in Washington. Two years ago, the Mark Foley scandal helped sink any chances Republicans had of retaining Congress. Will Rangel’s problems have a similar effect on the Democratic incumbents?

It’s too soon to tell, but before we Republicans break out the champagne, bear this in mind: the media seems far less interested in Democratic scandals than in Republican ones. And this one doesn’t involve sex.

Virginia’s War Against Litter

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 4:36 pm - September 16, 2008.
Filed under: Humor

Now for something completely different: a moment of levity in this grueling campaign season…

Drivers beware: the Commonwealth is now enlisting “angry Rednecks” into its anti-litter brigades (or are they battalions, Senator Biden?) so throwing trash on the road may become an even greater risk to one’s health! Remember, these “bitter” folks “cling to guns or religion” so won’t have any problem taking care of scofflaws. In the name of Jesus of course.

Spotted this sign today on a country road whilst driving around. Pretty damn funny!

— John (Average Gay Joe)

Obama: Party Loyalty as New Kind of Politics?

In the Prologue to his book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Barack Obama writes:

Perhaps more than any other time in our recent history, we need a new kind of politics, one that can excavate and build upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans

So, you’d think a guy who wants to build on such “shared understandings” would break ranks from his party on a pretty regular basis. That’s not what the the Corner’s Yuval Levin found when he perused Congressional Quarterly “Vote Studies Workbook,” :

Obama and Biden, for instance, turn out to have very high party loyalty, following the extremely unpopular leaders of the Democratic senate on almost every close vote. Obama’s party loyalty score was 96%, making him a more orthodox Democrat than even the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, whose score was 93%. Biden was tied with Reid, at 93%. John McCain, meanwhile, had a party loyalty score of 81%, among the lowest in the Republican conference, as many of his fellow Republican senators could no-doubt attest.

Maybe for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, excessive party loyalty, even exceeding that of the hyperpartisan Harry Reid, must define their new kind of politics.

Like McCain, Palin Doesn’t Mince Words

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:01 pm - September 16, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Strong Women

Commenting on John McCain’s Worth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him in my previous post, how the Arizona Senator, “rarely minces words, daring to criticize public figures, including leading social conservative Paul Weyrich.”

Well, it seems his running mate is cut from the same cloth. According to Lisa Murkowski, the junior Senator from Sarah Palin’s home state, her governor “didn’t care who she ticked off. I’ve told my colleagues, ‘Don’t underestimate this woman’ . . . . She’s not afraid to challenge. It may be bold. It may be crazy.” (As reported in the Wall Street Journal‘s Political Diary (available by subscription.)

Seems she’s the kind of gal who can bring real change to Washington, unafraid to challenge, not caring who she ticks off.

I’m liking her even more.

Initial Thoughts on Obama’s Audacity of Hope

Yesterday, after finishing John McCain’s Worth the Fighting For: The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him, in some ways a sequel to his memoir, Faith of My Fathers : A Family Memoir, I decided to buy Barack Obama’s, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, in some ways a sequel to his memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.  I had read (and enjoyed) both presidential candidates’ first memoir, McCain’s during the Republican primary campaign of 2000, Obama’s earlier this year.

What struck me about Worth the Fighting For was that McCain talked as much (if not more) about his various mentors and heroes as he did about himself.  I have now read about one-third of Obama’s second book and so far it’s all about himself.

He jumps from topic to topic with occasional nuggets of wisdom.  At times, he writes with intelligence, offering insight into American political history and the flaws in our system.  Other times, he seems mealy-mouthed and spouts cliches and sound-bytes.

By contrast, McCain rarely minces words, daring to criticize public figures, including leading social conservative Paul Weyrich.  When Obama berates an adversary, he doesn’t identify him by name, such as an Illinois Republican legislator who inveighed against “a plan to provide school breakfasts to preschoolers.”  That man, in Obama’s words, “worked himself into a lather,” yet since he doesn’t identify him, we don’t now who he is — or if the Democratic author accurately summarized the Republican’s speech.

While McCain lambastes some people with whom he disagrees on certain issues, he shows respect for others, calling, for example, former Senator Jack Danforth a “decent man” even as the Missouri Republican opposed his move to terminate the special parking privileges for Members of Congress at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia (just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C.).

In short, McCain’s book in long on specifics while Obama’s is long on abstractions.  Perhaps, the second two-thirds of the book will effect my initial evaluation.  I’ll let you know.