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French President Wary of Obama’s Content-Free Policies

One of the things Obama supporters repeat ad nauseum about their candidate is that his election would restore our image abroad.

Today, ABC News reporter raises that very question, “Could an Obama Win Restore America’s Global Image?“  Her subhead answers the question in the affirmative.  But, over at the Atlantic, a sensible blogger wonders if European leaders are worried about Obama.

A month ago, Victor Davis Hanson found that beneath the popular enthusiasm for Obama lay serious concerns about the Democrat’s policies.

Another reporter, ABC’s indispensable (and adorable) Jake Tapper links a report in Israeli newspaper Haaretz indicating that French President Nicolas Sarkozy “views the Democratic candidate’s stance on Iran as ‘utterly immature’ and comprised of ‘formulations empty of all content’:

Following their July meeting, Sarkozy repeatedly expressed disappointment with Obama’s positions on Iran, concluding that they were “not crystallized, and therefore many issues remain open,” the Israeli source said. Advisors to the French president who held separate meetings with Obama’s advisors came away with similar impressions and expressed similar disappointment.

Sarkozy’s concerns are consistent with those raised this summer by European officials that Obama’s “campaign pledge to begin direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program without preconditions could potentially rupture U.S. relations with key European allies early in a potential Obama administration.“  Obama’s election might restore our image abroad, but at the cost of our relations with our allies.  Our influence would thus be reduced.

Commenting on Sarkozy’s comments, Ed Morrissey calls Obama an “empty suit” who could “wind up being “more unilateral than George Bush in his foreign policy.”

Another sign that Obama’s change from the last eight years means a change for the worse.

Obama the Unknown

In his recent essay on media bias in the 2008 presidential race, Michael Malone writes:

I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

. . . . what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

But, gradually, in dribs and drabs, at the end of the campaign, the MSM, well, at least the daily newspapers from our nation’s two largest cities, are reporting something conservative writers have been abuzz about for weeks, if not months: how little we know about Barack Obama and his policies.

In today’s LA Times, Peter Nicholas, a reporter who has covered the Democrat, writes, “those of us who were sent out to take his measure in person can’t offer much help in answering who he is, or if he is ready. The barriers set in place between us and him were just too great.” Read the whole thing to better understand his point, the difference between the charismatic candidate and the humdrum human being.

(more…)

An interesting irony of this election:
Hillary supporter links Rush Limbaugh

In a post this morning, I noted the irony that those voting for Obama as a “change” from the last eight years will really get more (much more) of the same on domestic policy should their man win.  For like the Republican incumbent, the Democratic nominee favors ever higher levels of federal spending.

Another irony of this election is the number of people supporting their ideological adversaries.  We read regularly of conservatives backing Obama, perhaps the most liberal Democratic nominee ever.

But, the MSM are less wont to cover the numerous left-of-center feminists backing McCain-Palin.  Shelly Mandell, the president of the LA chapter of the left-wing National Organization for Women (NOW), has endorsed the Republican ticket, largely because of the party’s vice presidential nominee:

Now, we learn that Elaine Lafferty, former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine, has been advising the McCain campaign.  This feminist dismantles some of the media myths about the Alaska Governor and finds her to be smart and a “quicky study.”

I only fully egistered the meaning of Ms. Lafferty’s defense (which a reader sent me last night) this afternoon when my left-leaning lesbian Palin-loving friend forwarded me an e-mail she got from her Hillary 2012 listserv, a link to Rush Limbaugh’s remarks on the Democratic Party’s threat to private pensions.

A Hillary supporter encouraging us to listen to Rush Limbaugh.  Ah the ironies of the 2008 election!

Left-wing hate speech: a defining feature of the Bush era

If you got your news from “old media,” you’d think that the GOP was a party of race-baiting hate-mongers, with Democrats refusing to stoop to their level. Just look at the reaction of certain liberal gay bloggers to the West Hollywood resident is displaying a mannequin of “Sarah Palin hanging by a noose from the roof of [his] home.”

While they rightly condemned this juvenile display, they acted as if such antics were a regular occurrence on the right, but a rare one on the left.  At Towleroad, Andy opined, “As much as I despise the GOP ticket, mimicking the hate and racist imagery that McCain supporters have been flaunting with regard to Obama isn’t funny or original. It’s just stooping to their level.”

Actually, Andy, that’s not stooping to the level of a few isolated McCain supporters, but expressing themselves in the manner of many left-wing bloggers in the Bush era.

As Jamie Kirchick noted in an op-ed in the New York Daily News, while the “sleaze” of the McCain campaign “has become the accepted media narrative over the past several weeks,” conservative smears of Obama “don’t hold a candle to the left’s rhetoric over the past eight years.”

Among his examples:

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann spews over-the-top, hateful rhetoric in his “Special Comments” on a regular basis. He has said that the Bush administration threatens America with a “new type of fascism,” referred to the GOP as the “leading terrorist group in this country” on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, and has said that Fox News is “worse than Al Qaeda” and “as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan ever was.”

Those pundits who rush to criticize a handful of angry, mean-spirited Republicans are nowhere to be found when their own ideological allies do the exact same thing.

Perhaps, they’ve become immune to left-wing hate speech as it’s become such a defining feature of the Bush era.

We’ve won in Iraq, but will W get any credit? Will McCain?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:55 pm - October 28, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,War On Terror

At least since August 24, 2003, fewer than six months after American troops began operations in Iraq, John McCain faulted the Bush Administration’s strategy.  While praising our service members, he identified the problem:  “they don’t have enough resources. There’s not enough of them, and we are in a very serious situation, in my view, a race against time.

For the next three years, McCain pressed the Administration to develop a new strategy to respond to the increasing violence and to prevent Iraq from sliding into civil war.  Finally, after his party suffered badly in the 2006 elections, the president took McCain’s advice and implemented the “surge.”  It succeeded and now the “war is over.”  We’ve won.  (Via Instapundit.)

While McCain deserves a lot of credit for pushing for the type of strategy that succeeded while Bush stood pat, the president did show a remarkable resolve when he realized he needed to shift course.  Charles Krauthammer sums it up:

it is precisely that quality [equanimity] that allowed him to order the surge in Iraq in the face of intense opposition from the political establishment (of both parties), the foreign-policy establishment (led by the feckless Iraq Study Group), the military establishment (as chronicled by Woodward) and public opinion itself. The surge then effected the most dramatic change in the fortunes of an American war since the summer of 1864.

For all the president’s missteps in his second term, at least on national security, particularly Iraq when he finally found his footing, he demonstrated remarkable qualities of leadership.

McCain also demonstrated such qualities. And another, important to a chief executive. He showed foresight. Not just that. He put national security concerns ahead of his political ambition, standing firm on supporting the surge even as advisers warned his stand could hurt him politically.

As Michael Gerson observed on Friday, his leadership on Iraq may not help him in the current campaign. Another irony of this campaign is that the success of the strategy McCain long proposed could well help his opponent who was so spectacularly wrong about the surge.

Voting Against Last Eight Years to Get More of the Same
but with a tax increase

At least, since 2003, conservatives have been criticizing President Bush for failing to hold the line on domestic spending.  He didn’t a veto a single bill until 2006, never challenging the spendthrift budgets Congress passed.

With Obama proposing trillions in new spending, those who are voting against the “last eight years” will be getting more, much more (much, much more) of the same in an Obama Administration.  One of the great ironies of this campaign.

In his post on Obama’s lead in Pennsylvania, Michael Barone considers another intereseting irony of this campaign.  Barone attribues that lead to the Democrat’s strength in the Philadelphia suburbs where affluent voters are turning away from the GOP because of the “recent decline in household wealth” due to tumbling house prices.  “The irony here is that voters motivated by anger at the decline in their wealth seem about to elect a president who has promised to embark on wealth-destroying policies.

Pennsylvanians are voting their anger not their economic interests.

As we enter the last week of this campaign, we’ll find whether voters come to understand Obama’s economic agenda.  That’s why I still have hope that McCain can win.  While Americans aren’t happy with the fiscal record of the past eight years, they don’t want it amplified.

We don’t want an ever larger, federal government and a more tightly regulated economy (as Obama has promised).  We prefer free markets.  And the Democrat, in Jennifer Rubin’s words, “certainly exhibits no affection for or understanding of the benefits of market capitalism.”

Will voters comes to understand that by November 4 or have they decided they want change, without realizing what that change entails?

The publication of Obama’s 2001 discussion of how to bring about redistributive change confirms that his comment to “Joe the Plumber” about spreading the wealth reflects his general economic philosophy. His proposed tax “cut” to 95% of households when 44% don’t pay any federal income tax is a manifestation of this philosophy.

Such policies are a surefire way to stifle economic growth.

In many ways, given that both Bush and Obama favor ever higher levels of domestic spending, the primary difference between the Democrat candidate’s economic policies and those of the much maligned Republican incumbent is that the Democrat plans to increase taxes on the most productive members of our society.

So we’d get Bush’s spending policies minus the incentives he provided for productivity.  Kind of like providing a recipe for repeating the last eight years, but without the economic growth.

How I can respect certain Obama supporters

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:00 am - October 28, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Presidential Politics,Obama Watch

In a recent defense of Sarah Palin, I quoted an Obama supporter who, like many with whom I’ve spoken, couldn’t identify any of his candidate’s accomplishments (nor define any of his policy positions).  He supported the Democrat because of his abilities to inspire and unite.  In the comments section, a reader wrote “So, you’re using one ignorant supporter’s lack of knowledge about his candidate to support the view that there is no reason to actually support the candidate.

While I am amazed at the number of Obama supporters who have no clue what their man stands for beyond “hope” and “change,” I do know that many have solid reasons for backing the Illinois Senator.  Indeed, I’ve been having a regular e-mail exchange with one such woman, a smart and well-read Democrat from my synagogue.

While she and I both have great respect for our rabbi and our faith, we have little in common politically.  She believes the market meltdown was caused by an absence of oversight.  I, by too much government involvement the mortgage industry.  She favors a larger role for the federal government.  I, a smaller one.

In the end, we’ve agreed to disagree because, as she put it, “I think that Obama’s policies and coalition are better for the broad range of Americans than are McCain’s.  You believe the opposite.  The rest is just cant.”  The cant being each of our particular criticisms of the opposing team.

I can respect her vote for Obama because she is aware of his man’s stands on a number of issues.  As I’m sure are a great number of Obama supporters.

There are two primary reasons I frequently mention the myriad of other Obamaphiles I meet who, when pressed to identify something their man accomplished, fall silent.

First, to note the hypocrisy of Palin critics (and those who say they can’t vote for John McCain because he tapped her as his running mate.)  Some of those very oblivious Obama supporters fault Sarah Palin for her lack of experience.  If experience matters for the vice president, shouldn’t it also matter for the president?

Second, to show how Obama’s success has less to do with “ideology” than persona.  Most of his supporters don’t realize they’re backing a man who favors a bigger government, much bigger.

If you believe in a stronger federal government at home and a less bold American stance abroad, you have good reason to support Barack Obama for president.  And I respect your choice (while disagreeing with you decision.)  That said, it’s troubling that so many Americans have became so enthusiastic for a candidate about whom they know so little.