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In his finest hour, Obama manifests his greatest weakness

A lot of lefty bloggers are calling the president’s question-and-answer session yesterday with House Republicans his “finest hour.”  And there’s no doubt, even among his conservative critics, that it was a great performance.  But, was it more than just that, a great performance, a mere bit of political theater?

At this Republican retreat, he got what most Republican presidents get in their press conferences:  tough questions from their critics.  And by most accounts, he conducted himself masterfully.  The National Review’s Jim Geraghty believes “this event did Obama a great deal of good“:

it was the antidote to everything that was insufferable about the State of the Union – the uninterrupted platitudes, the dishonest framing, the aversion to acknowledging alternative views, the endless droning, etc.

Allahpundit thinks “the format ended up benefiting Obama more than” House Republicans:

He was on camera the whole time; he did most of the talking; he got to show that he’s perfectly capable of extemporaneous debate even with multiple prepared challengers lobbing questions.

First, major kudos to Obama for doing this and conducting himself with such grace.  The real test will be whether or not he can show some flexibility in responding to the concerns Republicans raised yesterday.  It’s one thing to conduct a press conference-style exchange on broad issues of policy.  It’s another thing to work with legislators from the opposing party to craft real legislation.

In reading the various encomia of the president’s performance (as well as some more critical coverage), watching segments of the exchange and reviewing the transcript, I agree he was more on “his game” than he has been in recent days.  But, the way he handled his critics suggest that he didn’t see his job in going to the Republican retreat as a means to solicit Republican ideas, but instead as an opportunity to convince them of the merits of his own.  He’s just trying to, to borrow an expression from his State of the Union address, explain himself “more clearly to the American people,” righting what is, in his view, the biggest wrong of his first year in office.

And therein lies his greatest weakness–that he believes people will just support his agenda if he expresses himself more clearly.  The problem, he believes, is not the ideas, but their expression.

“Gay” Pashtuns, or Social Acceptance of Homosexual Behavior

Welcome Instapundit Readers!!!

Maybe I shouldn’t read Instapundit on days when I oversleep.   While I was eating my breakfast, I kept chancing upon posts which inspired me to pen three of my own (including this one).

This morning, Glenn linked an article that addresses an issue that has long fascinated me, particularly as it relates to the ancient Greeks, but also because it deals with the complexity of human sexuality.  The article considers the homosexual practices of ethnic Pushtuns in Afghanistan:

An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

The study, obtained by Fox News, found that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually — yet they completely reject the label of “homosexual.”

Sounds a lot like the ancient Greeks where older men often took a younger man (really a teen) as a lover and sought to educate him while enjoying the pleasures of his body.

But, can we call them “gay”?

It is only recently in human history that we have considered the notion of sexual orientation as an immutable characteristic, with most people physically attracted to members of the opposite sex, a certain percentage (which may well vary across history and culture) are physically and emotionally drawn exclusively to their own sex.  To be sure, in the Symposium, Aristophanes was did articulate a view of human sexuality similar to the current notion.  But, his ideas didn’t gain much currency until recently.  In many cultures, when men had sex with other men, this recreation was just an extracurricular past time.  It did not define their sexual identity.

The Greeks of mythology and history, Achilles and Alexander, respectively, held up as gay exemplars, were anything but.  While each had a male lover*, neither steered clearer of the “fairer sex.”   (more…)

Hawai’i Democrats Kill Same-Sex Civil Unions

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 pm - January 30, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Politics

An Instapundit reader wrote Glenn Reynolds to report that Hawai’i “one-party state; the state house of reps is 45-6 Democrat-Republican and the state senate is 23-2. Yes, your family has more members eating together at a breakfast than the Hawaii senate minority.”  So, naturally, given the hosannas the gay auxiliary to the Democratic National Committee Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sing to their the Democratic Party, you’d think the Aloha State legislature would be at the forefront of the fight for gay people.

Well, that reader was commenting on Glenn’s post about Hawai’i killing civil unions: “Hawaii lawmakers declined to vote Friday on a bill that would have allowed same-sex civil unions, effectively doing away with the measure.

And who could have prevented just such a vote?  Hmmm. . . . let me see.  Now, who sets the legislative calendar?  Is it the minority party?  Nope, it’s the majority, so I’m guessing that with 45 Democrats in the Hawai’i House, the Speaker is not a Republican.  And the article confirms it.  Calvin K.Y. Say, a Democrat, holds the job.  My hunch was correct.  Indeed, he pretty much takes responsibility for the failure to vote on the measure:

“You can call me a coward, but we are all not cowards. We’ll make our tough decisions as we go ahead,” Democratic Speaker of the House Calvin Say said he told civil union backers. “But members were concerned, and that was my role as the speaker to make that determination and decision to do what we did today.”

Well, if the members are concerned, perhaps they think their constituents oppose extending civil unions benefits to same-sex couples.  Seems like there’s work to be done in making the case.

HRC did do a press release on the matter, but unlike the AP, did not identify Mr. Say’s partisan affiliation.  In fact the word Democrat is not to be found in their release.  Nor do they mention that the Governor who “has never made a veto threat on the topic of Civil Unions” is a Republican.  Nor do they name her.

Don’t want to ruin that narrative, Joe, now do we?

Leftists Astounded at Conservative Ascent Before FoxNews?

FoxNews Derangement Syndrome has long since joined Palin Derangement Syndrome and Bush Derangement Syndrome as conditions afflicting the angry left.

Glenn Reynolds often asks is there anything bacon can’t do?  Maybe he should also ask is there anything FoxNews (or Sarah Palin or George W. Bush) can’t be blamed for.  On Thursday and today, he linked two posts either correcting or failing to correct Robert Reich’s post* faulting FoxNews for helping gin up that “huge anti-incumbent wave” in 1994, you know, against the then-Democratic congressional majority.

Problem is, as Frank Ross points out, “Prof. Reich overlooked one minor detail: FoxNews Channel’s first broadcast wasn’t until October 7, 1996.”

The Huffington Post which also ran the column, as Alpaca reports, has yet “to issue a correction/retraction to the story.

Guess the editors there still can’t fathom how Republicans won back Congress without FoxNews.  I mean, you know, how else could the American people have been turned against health care reform which everyone supports because it’s the right thing because liberals back it and they always want the very best for everyone (Except Sarah Palin.  And George W. Bush.   And Dick Cheney)?

But, here’s the kicker:  Reich was Secretary of Labor during the entirety of Clinton’s first term.  He’s not some upstart leftie blogger who didn’t to to college until this century and didn’t know when Fox was founded.   Reich was in the public eye in 1994; he had to be aware that there was no FoxNews until the month Clinton was re-elected.  Is this then, some kind of ex post facto memory when you apply your current prejudices to the past?

* (more…)

Obama Fails First Terror Test: Americans At Risk

I couldn’t say it better myself, so I will let US Senator Susan Collins do it:

“The Obama administration appears to have a blind spot when it comes to the War on Terrorism.  And, because of that blindness, this administration cannot see a foreign terrorist even when he stands right in front of them, fresh from an attempt to blow a plane out of the sky on Christmas Day.”

Collins is correct.  President Obama, AG Eric Holder, Gestapo Janet and all those who answer to them are back in a pre-9/11 mindset.  Their treatment of the Christmas Day Bomber blows a whole in the lie from Obama that he “understands” we are in a war.

Obama lies, Americans will die.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)