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Obama, a fumbling partisan with an aura

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:32 am - July 31, 2009.
Filed under: Obama Watch

There are few pieces which get at the essence of Barack Obama’s problems as president than does Michael Barone’s column Wednesday,
Obama has aura but doesn’t know how to legislate.  In the process of evaluating Obama’s first six months in office, this Hephaestus (so dubbed because of his attention to detail) distills and refines some of the standard criticisms we conservative bloggers raised about the Democrat during the 2008 presidential campaign:

We knew that day that Obama was good at aura, at generating enthusiasm for the prospect of hope and change. His inspiring speeches — the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Des Moines, the race speech in Philadelphia, the countless rallies in primary and caucus and target states — helped him capture the Democratic nomination and then win the presidency by the biggest percentage margin in 20 years.

But it turns out that Obama is not so good at argument. Inspiration is one thing, persuasion another. He created the impression on the campaign trail that he was familiar with major issues and readily ticked off his positions on them. But he has not proved so good at legislating.

We constantly faulted Obama for his lack of experience and absence of accomplishment.  Barone spells it out, providing facts from the president’s biography to show why the incumbent is not adept at either legislating or governing.

Yeah, Obama gives a good speech (from time to time) and can captivate an audience, but he can’t author legislation.  (Sounds like something a wise woman said at the GOP Convention last summer.)

Despite the Democrat’s campaign self-portrayal as a postpartisan kind of guy, he’s staffed his White House with some pretty partisan fellows, far more partisan than all but a handful of Bush aides:  “Most of Obama’s top White House staffers,” Barone observes, “are politics operatives, not policy wonks.”  This man is just a standard issue politician with a better presentation than most.

Instead of relying on my synposis/interpretation of Barone’s column, as with anything by this Olympian of punditry, just read the whole thing.

Who determines when “full equality” has been achieved?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:00 pm - July 30, 2009.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay America,Gay PC Silliness,Gay Politics

It seems a day does not go by without my receiving some e-missive from the various gay groups touting their efforts to promote equality.   I’m most amused when I receive such missives from the group calling itself Freedom (sic) to Marry, its leaders obviously oblivious to the longstanding tension between those two concepts.

Recently, Kathy Griffin sent me a fundraising solicitation on behalf the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, “Emmys, Schmemmys- equality’s what really matters.”  And I thought freedom was what matters.  Not just that.  At nearly every gay political gathering we attend, we hear about the goal about achieving that goal of “full equality” (whatever that means).

I cringe every time I hear that expression, knowing how various Communist and socialist regimes sought to impose equality.  And how efforts in (mostly) capitalist countries to mandate such equality have gone awry, costing individuals (& private associations) their freedom, thwarting entrepreneurial expansion and innovation and hindering economic growth.

As we consider the achievement of “full equality,” do those who promote the notion have any idea what it means beyond a lofty-sounding ideal?  I mean, to achieve full equality, you’re going to need someone enforcing it, to make sure the playing field is level and the results equitable, er, equal.  Who’s going to be doing that?  What benchmarks, what standards will they use to measure “full equality”?  And who will be watching these watchers to make sure they administer their offices fairly?

And what will be the cost of their administration to the freedom of others who may not share this ideal of equality?

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t understand the market for health insurance

In a week during which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi paints private health insurers with a broad brush, claiming they oppose government health care because “they don’t want the competition”,* I am realizing the benefits of that competition, finally canceling an HMO with one carrier which, just in the past five years doubled my premiums.

I have found a new plan with another carrier, 45% less expensive than my old plan.  Yes, I’ll have to pay more for doctor visits, but given how infrequently I go to the doctor, I’ll still be saving a lot (a real lot) of money.  And I even have dental coverage with my new plan, something I did not have with my old carrier.

Had I gone to an insurance broker earlier than I had, I could have saved as much as $5,000 over the past four years alone.  My mistake was not realizing the extent of the industry competition and only trying to get a new plan with my old carrier.  Only when I discussed my options with a friend who happens to be an insurance broker (whom I owe a steak dinner–more on this anon) did I realize the options available to me.

It seems that many of those who, like Mrs. Pelosi, decry the health insurance industry are unaware of the choices we have.

Below the “jump,” with some information redacted, I include the text of the letter I sent to my old carrier canceling my policy: (more…)

Can Obama lead without active assistance of MSM?
(to which he had become accustomed in campaign & administration’s early days)

Barack Obama has done so well since he first came to national attention (with his speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention) in large measure because of the fawning treatment he has received from the news media.  They have soft-pedaled stories of his past association with a rogue’s gallery of unsavory characters.  They all but ignored his extremely liberal voting record and failed to question how he could run as a new kind of politician when he was a product of Chicago’s machine.  (He had no record of ever challenging that notoriously corrupt machine.)

Basically, the media all but exempted him from going on defense.  In those few moments when during the 2008 campaign, their best efforts notwithstanding,  he was put on defense, he stumbled badly.  In the immediate aftermath of the GOP convention,* it looked like the wheels were coming off his campaign busBarack Obama was not good on defense.

So, now with the media narrative shifting, will Obama be able to push his agenda without the active assistance of the MSM, indeed, with their increased skepticism–as they are now offering greater coverage to (and even shown some sympathy for) critics of his plans?

* (more…)

GayPatriot Gathering in San Francisco Sunday 08/02 @ 2 PM

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:02 am - July 30, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

Last time, I was up in the Bay Area to visit my nephew, a reader suggested I organize a “mixer” for blog readers.  I’ll be leaving early Sunday morning to spend a few days with my mother (in town to visit her daughter and grandson) in order to organize a 2PM brunch on Sunday, August 2 with some readers.  Please let me know if you’d like to join us.

Defend Marriage as an Institution to Avoid Slippery Slopes

As those who read this blog know all too well, I find it difficult to take seriously many advocates of gay marriage because they make the case for marriage as a right without defending it as a social institution.

No wonder many opponents of gay marriage believe state recognition of gay marriage would put us on a slippery slope to state recognition of polygamous and polyandrous (one woman to multiple men) unions.  We might feel we’re on less of a slippery slope if gay marriage advocates both defended marriage as a lifelong sexually exclusive partnership between two individuals and criticized those offering alternate definitions of the institution.

They could do just that, if, as blogging law professor William Jacobson, they faulted Newsweek for its fawning article on polyamourous couples.

Read his post to see just how he mocks Newsweek.  When I read it, I wondered (and not for the first time) how reluctant the leading gay marriage advocates have been to promote the social benefits of marriage and to defend one of the ancient institution’s essential aspects–sexual exclusivity.

Maybe if they did that, gay marriage opponents would find it far more difficult to raise the slippery slope argument.

On gay issues, academic freedom takes backseat to political correctness

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:00 am - July 29, 2009.
Filed under: Academia,Free Speech,Freedom,Gay PC Silliness

Perhaps because I had planned a short post on equality–and how gay leaders, in making that notion the watchword of our their movement have lost sight of the American ideal of freedom, that a post that Glenn linked caught my attention as I was preparing for bed.

It’s a story we’ve heard before; it’s just the facts are different.  Students at NYU Law School protested the appointment of Dr. Thio Li-Ann, a law professor from Singapore because of her support for a law in her homeland criminalizing homosexuality.   748 students signed a petition including this paragraph:

By bringing Dr. Thio to NYU, the Law School is acting in opposition to its own policy of nondiscrimination and undermining its commitment to advancing human rights world-wide. This is a step backwards in the Law School’s longstanding support of the LGBT community.

In opposing Dr. Thio’s appointment, the students were discriminating against her point of view. Disagree with her I most certainly do, but shouldn’t people be able to challenge her positions through argument?  I mean, isn’t law school supposed to teach students how to think and argue?  You know that old Socratic method and all.

So, once again, the advocates of “diversity” and “tolerance” have shown themselves remarkably intolerant of different points of view.  Academic freedom takes a back seat to political correctness.  As Wendy Kaminer puts it:

. . . gay students (and members of other historically disadvantaged groups) are said to suffer actual discrimination when the administration hires faculty members who argue against anti-discrimination laws.  This confusion of speech and action — of advocating for discrimination and actually engaging in it — is common in academia, where academic freedom is too often limited to the freedom to advance prevailing ideals of equality.

According to Kaminer in response to Dr. Thio’s withdrawing of her appointment,

NYU law school dean Richard Revesz smartly finessed questions about her appointment by noting that while her views should not have disqualified her, despite their variance from the university’s ideals, the quality of her arguments in support of her views were relevant to her evaluation.

(Emphasis added.)  What is it about so many on the left that they’d rather shun or discredit their ideological adversaries than engage them?  If they were so confident of their views, they would welcome such an adversary as it would give them an opportunity to show the strength of their arguments by contrasting them to the weakness of hers.

Second Lieutenant Obama

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 10:15 pm - July 28, 2009.
Filed under: Obama Watch

Last fall, I watched (helplessly, it felt, from overseas) as still-to-this-day-Senator John McCain’s campaign imploded as the economy tanked. Probably the most embarrassing thing to witness was his inexplicable attempt to suspend the race and even cancel a debate so he could dash back to Washington, DC, to vote on some bailout that today in retrospect is simply more money pissed away.

Then-Senator Obama cooled his own heels, took inventory of the situation, and although detractors attempted to paint him as indecisive and slack-jawed about the situation, was able to play it as a testament to his introspective and thoughtful style compared to McCain’s spastic and rash reaction. Whatever merits of either perspective, it was certainly the last nail on the McCain campaign coffin (which had begun to shut a couple weeks earlier with the financial meltdown itself).

While I never viewed Obama’s tendency to lack in his reaction as anything more than his opportunistically taking a comfortable place on the sidelines (witness his “Present” votes, for example), I admired at least his ability to make it seem like he was in control and smooth. Calm, cool, and collected.

There have been several incidents of late, however, that make me question (anew) his readiness for the job of chief decision-maker. He’s losing it. He’s now the one acting rash. The one lurching, the one lashing out. And we’re now seeing his lack of experience cost him and us.

Three cases in point:

Making Gates’ issue a racial one prevents us from moving beyond race

I have long believe that the primary goal of the gay movement should be promoting real and lasting social change, creating a society where we can live openly without suffering derision or marginalization because of our difference.  That is, people would see our sexuality as incidental to our essence.

“Oh, you’re gay?” someone would say when we come out, “Well, my best friend does Civil War reenactments, never much understood it, but, well, he enjoys it.”  The comparison may not be perfectly apposite, but is at least appropriate.  Being gay is just one aspect of who we are–and not the defining aspect.

And yet, just as some in America see our sexuality as our defining aspect, others see race.  Perhaps the greatest hope of those of use who did not support Barack Obama’s candidacy is that his election would help us move beyond defining each other by the color of our skin.  Race would become incidental.

But, the way the President–and many of his allies–have handled the Gates issue makes it clear that this Administration will not serve to help us transcend race, that is, unless his defenders dare to fault the professor’s boorish behavior and address his own anti-police prejudices.

This is only an issue about race because Professor Gates (and his followers in the MSM) have made it one.  Roger Simon calls it a “nostalgia for racism“:

The secret wish of these people, buried not far from the surface, is for things not to have changed. They have a nostalgia for an evil past when they could feel self-righteous and victimized. Self-defeating indeed. . . .  In those days [time of Civil Rights Movement] it was very easy to tell right from wrong and feel good about your actions. These days it’s a lot more complicated.

And what this race nostalgia has done is make it increasingly difficult to realize Dr. King’s dream.  Instead, we’ve become increasingly race-obsessed, with the woman who had called the cops to complain objecting to being called white as she has “olive-colored” skin, leading law professor Wiliam A.  Jacobson to lament: “Is this what we have come to? Measuring skin tone as an indicator of intent? So if Whalen were black, no racial profiling; if white, racial profiling; but olive colored people?

Republican-Haters Misinformed about Object of their Obsession

Sometimes, when I talk to gay activists or just plain “politically aware” gay people who support the various left-leaning national gay organizations about the RepublicanP Party, they act as if my party was dedicated to the proposition that anti-gay attitudes are integral to the GOP.   These people, with a knowledge of history going back to the early years of this century, also are convinced that previously the animating spirit o the GOP was support of the subjugation of racial minorities, especially black people.

Yet, if they would spend the amount of time they spend decrying the GOP on learning about the history of American conservatism, they might realize that the real animating principle of our movement is freedom.  Homosexuality is, at most, incidental to conservative ideology–and we gay conservatives have long been working to make it a non-issue.

It would just be nice if we didn’t have to spend so much time explaining to people why we prefer the GOP to people who have no clue what the party stands for. Some of these people consume a great deal of information on the web, yet remain mightily misinformed about a party they denigrate on a regular basis.

Did Obama lose clout in letting Congress write “stimulus”?
(and other significant legislation)

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:18 am - July 28, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Congress (111th)

In the waning days of the George W. Bush Administration, shortly after the 111th Congress had been sworn in, we first learned the price tag for the Democrats’ “stimulus” packaged, cobbled together in the back rooms of Democratic offices on Capitol Hill.  As the price tag hovered around $1 trillion, we in the rightosphere were astounded that anyone could consider legislation with such a tab, not even four months after Congress passed the bailouts which would ultimately total $700 billion.

And this while the federal government was already awash in red ink.

At the time (in those halcyon January days), I wondered if perhaps the Democrats were engaging in a little political theater.  You see, shortly after winning election, promising a “net spending cut,” the then-President-elect promised to “scour the federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts.”  I never believed him for a second, but thought he might try and look like he was cutting the budget.

So, I was certain he was going to tell congressional Democrats that while he appreciated the hard work they put into the “stimulus,” he couldn’t sign it as it stood and asked them to come up with something far less costly.  The piece of theater was never staged.  He tried to maintain appearances only through the rhetoric of fiscal prudence.

I wonder if by letting Congress draft the “stimulus” as he has been letting various liberal Democrats craft other significant legislation that he is ceding his power to Congress–and diminishing his own stature at the same time. According to the Hill, Presidential scholar Paul Light has reached a similar conclusion:

One of the reasons Obama has spent so much capital, aside from his ambitious agenda, has been his willingness to cede so much control to Congress, Light said. . . . To that end, Light says, Obama has made a mistake in making Pelosi his “broker,” spending his political capital but not always to his benefit.


Obama Faulted Bush Administration for Rushing Legislation

If someone found a tape where George W. Bush, long before he had been elected President faulted a Democratic Administration for using tactics that he would use once in office, you can bet that the media would be playing that audio clip on a regular basis.

Well, while reading what was on the mind of various friends on Facebook, I chanced upon a YouTube audio a reader had linked revealing then-U.S. Senator-elect Barack Obama faulting the Bush Administration for rushing legislation through:

When you rush these budgets that are  foot high and nobody has an idea what’s in ’em and nobody’s read ’em . . . .  and it get’s rushed through without any clear deliberation or debate . . . .  There was no real debate about that [Patriot Act]. It was so quick after 9/11 that it was introduced that people felt very intimidated by the Administration.

Seems kind of newsworthy, no?

Wonder if some Democratic Congressmen, trying to hold onto their seats next fall, will be complaining that they were intimidated by the Administration. Wonder how many of our Representatives and Senators read the “stimulus” before voting for it.  Or Waxman-Markey, especially given that 300-odd page amendment inserted in the dead of night.

Oh, well, as the White House Chief of Staff might say, those crises are terrible things to waste. And, you see, when a Democrat’s in the White House, it’s in the national interest to rush legislation because, well, you know, they’re doing the right thing and they mean so well.

All that said, I’m eager to see how many MSM outlets will publicize Barack Obama’s words on the 185th anniversay of George Eliot’s birth.  (The interview is dated November 22, 2004.)

Barbara Boxer Ma’amapalooza

If you take a look at the two videos which those of us in the rightosphere have promoted in order to show the pettiness, condescension and hypocrisy of California’s junior Senator, Ma’am Barbara Boxer, you’ll note that both men, Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harry Alford, President and CEO of the Black Chamber of Commerceas a sign of respect, address this left-wing woman as “Ma’am.”

She only objects when the military officer uses the term, asking that he call her Senator instead, offering, “It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title [Senator], so I’d appreciate it [if you called me Senator.”   Yet, a month later, Alford used the term she found so objectionable in June and did not complain.

So, to show just what a hypocrite this woman is  — and perhaps to show the animus she harbors against the military, please share with us, links to other congressional hearings when the witness addressed Mrs. Boxer as “Ma’am.”   I would bet a decent amount of money that prior to her raising the objection to that good soldier, she rarely–if ever–objected when someone else called her “Ma’am.”

So, we invite you to share with us video clips of witnesses testifying before Mrs. Boxer in Senate committees and calling her “Ma’am.”  Just cut and paste the link into a box in our comment section. Let’s see if she ever objected before June 2009.

And while you’re at it, let us know if you have evidence of local news in the major California media markets covering Ma’am Boxer’s embarrassing exchanges.  The biggest such markets are Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, Redding and Monterey.

And just a reminder, here’s Ma’am Boxer objecting when General Smith calls her Ma’am:

. .  and not caring when Harry Alford does:

Obama Needs to Learn from Himself About Apologizing

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:18 pm - July 26, 2009.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites,Obama Watch

Reading Tom Maguire’s obsevation that “the Apologizer-in-Chief, who is comfortable saying “I’m sorry” for all America if not himself,” caused me to wonder why a President can apologize for his country’s mistakes, but can’t apologize for his own.

Or does he just think he’s bigger than his country?

Look, all he needs say is that he made a mistake speaking in haste without knowing all the facts and he apologizes for doing so.  I mean, heck, the Mayor of his home town thinks the President “should have gathered the facts first before commenting on Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s encounter with Cambridge, Mass. police“.

It’s not just the absence of apology which is telling about Obama, but the fact that he weighed in on the issue in the first place.  He would have avoided all controversy, had when the question was asked, he said that he didn’t know all the facts, as he was focused on national issues.   This was a local issue which local officials should sort out.  He had every confidence that Governor Patrick and the authorities in Cambridge would get to the bottom of this.  Or some such.

The President could end the controversy by speaking words he can’t seem to say when addressing his own actions, “I’m sorry.”  It’s not that he’s out of practice of anything.  I mean, just look how readily he’s apologized for his country in recent days.

The Two Words Obama Can’t Seem To Say


Remember how the Left howled at the same perceived stubbornness of George W. Bush?  Obama seems to have the same problem… if not worse.

He blames everyone else for his mistakes, and seems unwilling to change direction even when he is shown to be wrong (or flat-out lied).

So is Barack Obama the reincarnation of Jimmy Carter… or George W. Bush?

Time will tell.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Can the president say he’s sorry, admit he made a mistake?

Recall, for a moment when George W. Bush was running for reelection in 2004 and the media thought it their duty to expose that good man’s every flaw.  Regularly portraying (with some justification) the Iraq War as becoming a quagmire, they wanted the then-President to admit his mistakes.

Writing about the then-President’s April 2004 press conference, CNN’s Sean Louglin noted the tenor of the questions:

The president was pressed by reporters repeatedly on whether he felt he had made any mistakes in Iraq or in not recognizing the threat of terrorism before September 11, 2001.

Emphasis added.  The media, who had determined that W had many many mistakes, barely considers that his successor may have made a few.  (Yes, there are exceptions.)

And it seems that that successor, Barack Obama, is every bit the man they portrayed W to be, stubborn and incapable of admitting his errors.

Just look how the incubment handled a comment he made in his press conference earlier this week.  He then said Sgt. James Crowley “acted stupidly” when he arresed black Harvard scholar Henry Lewis Gates Jr.  Instead of apologizing to the officer and saying he was wrong, he sought instead to clarify his remarks:

Because this has been ratcheting up and I helped contribute to ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically and I could have calibrated those words differently.

Indeed, attorney Jan LaRue thinks Obama “distanced himself” from personal responsibility:

Whatever he said in his phone call to Sgt. James Crowley, Obama didn’t admit to the rest of us that he apologized for his ignorant, drive-by assault. He didn’t say that he was “sorry” for “maligning” Crowley before the entire world for acting “stupidly” and for characterizing him as a racial profiler. He distanced himself from any concept of personal responsibility or regret, instead regretting how things turned out: “to the extent that my choice of words didn’t illuminate, but rather contributed to more media frenzy, I think that was unfortunate.”

Couldn’t he have just said he was wrong to speak in haste and so prejudge the situation by his choice of  adverb (“stupidly”)?

Why can’t the president just say he made a mistake to speak as he did and apologize, realizing that given his office, when he speaks, his words carry far more import than do those of a private citizen? Barack Obama could learn a lesson from Arthur Fonzarelli.

Sometimes our critics do have a point even as they help make ours

Every now and again, a critic makes a point or raises a fact which challenges something we said. Sometimes, they do get a the heart of our arguments, other times, they just quibble with an issue we addressed in our posts.  And sometimes they even make our points for us, especially when we address the nastiness of some leftists and the bias of the press.

Yesterday, one reader thought he had devastated my point about how many in the media are ever eager to bask in the glory of Obama’s presence, much like an unpopular kid in high school eager to be associated with the Big Man on Campus, when said reader pointed out that just like Obama on July 4, President George W. Bush held an off-the-record barbecues for the White House press corps when he was in office.

As I reviewed my post this morning, I realized that my critic had helped make my point.  You see, I had written:  “Can you imagine the media reaction had Obama’s predecessor attempted to organize such a shindig?”  And my reader mentioned (without linking) a piece where Dan Froomkin, then-blogger for the Washington Post, reacting pretty harshly to the off-the-record barbecue.  I needn’t imagine such a harsh reaction; my critic supplied it.  Doubt if anyone at the Post was as critical of W’s successor for organizing the same type of shindig which got Froomkin’s goat. (more…)

Never Call a Goddess a Dog Flea

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:27 pm - July 25, 2009.
Filed under: Good Advice,Mythology and the real world

Commenting on the battle between Ares and Athena in Book 21 of the Odyssey, scholar Silvia Milanezi offers some sound advice:

. . . when Zeus gives permission for the god to choose their favourites, Ares challenges Athena to single combat provoking her by such harsh words as  . . . ‘dog fleas’ . . . . Athena quickly silences Ares’ insults:  she knocks him out, hitting him with a stone, and finishes him off with her laughter and insults (21.408).  He who dares call her a dog flea (421) is quickly reduced to dust.

Emphasis added.  Let that serve as reminder to you all.

GayPatriot Denver Brunch on Sat. Sept 5?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:33 pm - July 25, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Travel

. . .  or possibly a dinner on Thursday the 3rd?

I’ll be in Denver in he first week of September to check out the ElderPatriotBrotherWest’s new digs and hoped to arrange a lunch or dinner with readers that weekend.

If you’re in the Rocky Mountain State and would like to attend just such a shindig, let me know either in the comments or via e-mail.


You Know You’re in LA when. . .

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:18 am - July 25, 2009.
Filed under: Amazing Stories,LA Stories

.  . . you see a woman whose hair has obviously been bleached blonde, blow-dried and styled.  She wears a seemingly stylish sweatshirt without stain.  There is no blemish on her skin, at least none you can see for she has applied a generous (but not excessive) amount of makeup. And she asks you for money so she can get something to eat. For some in this town, appearance is more important than nutrition.