Obama's speech has told me what I need to know...
What I learned from Barack Obama's Philadelphia speech...
Barack Obama will tell a bald faced lie if he feels it politically expedient. There is simply no other conclusion to be drawn, no other way to reconcile the denial of knowledge, and subsequent acceptance of knowledge, of Reverend Jeremiah "McCrazy" Wright:
March 15th: "But the sermons I've always hear were no different than the sermons you hear in many African-American churches. I had not heard him make such, what I consider to be objectionable remarks from the pulpit. Had I heard them while I was in church, I would have objected. Had that been the tenor of the church generally, I probably wouldn't be a member of the church."
March 18th: "Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely..."
So which is it? It is, of course, the latter, the first claim was simply unbelievable. To return to an analogy we've used before, one does not eat at the same restaurant for 20 years and profess ignorance of the menu. He had might as well have said he attended the sermons, but didn't inhale - too incredulous and clever by half. So, now he's apparently got religion and copped to attending church with the full knowledge that the Reverend occasionally asked the Lord Almighty to use his omnipotent power to damn the United States. Now that we've cleared that up...
Barack Obama will use his own grandmother as a political prop. The wheels on the bus may go round and round, but it goes right over his poor Grandmother, who he felt he could toss under the bus - and who, if she could get the bus off of her, might be rolling over in her grave.
"I can no more disown him (Reverend McNutty) than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."
The ease of using Grandma as a decoy buoy leaves a bad taste in ones mouth. Grandma loves me, but Grandma was... what exactly? A racist? A closet bigot? Not so closeted? And note that Grandma made him cringe, but 20 years of the Sermon on Mount Crazy didn't evoke any public comment until it started causing trouble with his campaign machinery.
Here's a question I am *dying* for someone to ask - did Barack ever take his white mother or grandparents to his church for a taste of Reverend Wrights bilious rants?
Barack Obama will present a Hobson's Choice as your only choice. This paragraph actually tells you all you want to know, and is masterful in creating a choice that actually is no choice at all. Let's pick it apart. Here is your choice, America:
"For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism." First, establish an onerous windmill to tilt against. "We can tackle race only as spectacle - as we did in the OJ trial - or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news." Okay, here he's attempting to establish both the middle ground and moral high ground - by choosing two well known racial touchstones and take his position as being distanced from each. It is an appeal to occupy a reasonable center. "We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words." Ah, here's the first punch - almost a soft, rhetorical blackmail that intones the playing of these videos - which are the center of this controversy - is part of the problem, part of cynical racial politics, is in itself a racially charged act. "We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card" The follow up punch, when stuck in the mud, attempt to drag your opponent down with you. This says "See Mom! It's not just me!" - rhetorical smoke screen. "...or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies." This is a shot at the solar plexus of the electorate. Translation - white males, you aren't going to be racist and vote for John McCain en masse are you? Or just the racist ones? Are you racist white McCain voters still beating your wives?
Setting up this almost caricaturish false set of alternatives uses a well worn rhetorical tool to create a choice that is indeed no choice at all.
Barack Obama will divine the victim in all of us. I guess the audacity of hope demands an abundance of despair. To be honest, the grievance politics of Reverend Wright and Barack Obama are not that far apart - we noted the hard left coating to the chewy center of Wright's obnoxious anti-American tirades. Both rely on the presupposition that we are all getting screwed - for Wright, it is white America, for Obama, corporations. Bogeymen of different stripes are still bogeymen.
Barack Obama wants you to pay no attention to that man behind the pulpit. As noted above, his speech has soft sold the notion that continuing to play the incendiary remarks of Reverend Wacko is an act that continues racial exacerbation - nevermind the net result is to bury a problem for him. The Reverend has almost been disassociated from being truly a party to his remarks: because he is a product of a segregated upbringing, because he baptized his kids, because Barack simply knows him better than us, and trust him, he's really not all that bad once you get to know him. He's been doing "God's work" which apprently when it doesn't involve invoking the Lord's damnation upon the nation he resides in, "housed the homeless", presumably put there by white racism, spent time "ministering to the needy", presumably robbed by whites, provided "day care services and scholarships and prison ministries", which I assume was the best place to inculcate hate and anti-social racist rhetoric, and "reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS", which I can presume also included letting them know their disease was caused by the US government and designed to get rid of minorities.
Obama has tried to inoculate this relationship, to create some kind of perverse equivalence that intones that we all have disagreements with the our pastors on some things, don't we?
Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
This is phony baloney - these aren't remarks which we disagree with, these are outlandish invective that go far, far beyond doctrinal or topical disagreement. There are topics upon which reasonable people can disagree - and Reverend Wright isn't bringing up a single one of them. That AIDS is a bio-weapon created by whites to off the earth's black population isn't something reasonable people can disagree upon, it is a lunatic proposition wholesale. Obama's ridiculous attempt to equate this idiocy with the differences one may have with your church on what to serve at the Sunday social or if full immersion is the only scripturally approved form of baptism is insulting. Recommending that his worshipers sing God Damn America instead of God Bless America is not a topic on which reasonable people can disagree, it is in fact a most unreasonable topic which reasonable people will find offensive.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, because he may be saying something crazy to the next President of the United States...
At least Obama can put the whole Muslim thing to rest...
There is indeed one bright spot for Barack Obama for being linked to the Minister of Crazy, Reverend Jeremiah White, and the Trinity United Church of Christ and Black Victimization Identity Politics (okay, we made that last part up) for 20 years - we can put that whole "Is he a Muslim?" thing to bed.
The Reverend has since be jettisoned from the campaign, in a move that can only be described as "at the very least". What the head of this congregation has said is, frankly, clinically insane:
"America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. . . . We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns, and the training of professional killers . . . We bombed Cambodia, Iraq and Nicaragua, killing women and children while trying to get public opinion turned against Castro and Ghadhafi . . . We put [Nelson] Mandela in prison and supported apartheid the whole 27 years he was there. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God."
His voice rising, Mr. Wright said, "We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . ."
Concluding, Mr. Wright said: "We started the AIDS virus . . . We are only able to maintain our level of living by making sure that Third World people live in grinding poverty. . . ."
This is pretty boilerplate agitprop for the radical left, but includes outlandish claims even the most ardent fellow traveler would blush at - the AIDS virus has an empirical history that can pretty well be demonstrably shown to have emerged as most other diseases have, without malicious racist intent of Zionist American White Masters.
It has been argued that merely attending church with the good Reverend does not constitute an endorsement of any of his political views, and the Obama campaign has been quick to point out that Obama has repudiated these statements, saying "Most recently, you heard some statements from my former pastor that were incendiary and that I completely reject, although I knew him and know him as somebody in my church who talked to me about Jesus and family and friendships."
A good statement - but I cannot fully accept it. There remains a nagging problem for Obama - the campaign has had several hiccups with folks directly connected to the candidate that have somewhat aspersive in nature. Be it Michelle Obama's comments about being proud of her country for the first time (the insinuation of course being ashamed as a matter of course), or Reverend White's crazy America hate, or even the candidate himself drawing odd attention to himself over not wearing a flag lapel, or putting his hand on his heart during the national anthem. It's not the any one of these is a "Eureka!" discovery into Obama's true feelings, but a series of coincidences is no coincidence.
The test of the rational man is this - if I, attending a church, heard my pastor say any of these things, in church or out, would I continue to attend unless I, at a minimum, sympathized with the statements if not outright agreed? I believe the rational man does not compartmentalize faith and morals from each other, and no matter how much a man preaches the love of Jesus, if he preaches radical hate, be it of man or nation, there is no reconciling the two unless you believe them both.
If John McCain attended church where the pastor said he believed in Jesus and believed in racial segregation and opposed interracial relations, McCain would be given a wooden cross by the media and led to the nearest hill. Why? Because a rational man cannot in good conscious absorb one message without the other. Attendance is tacit approval of the message. One does not eat at the same restaurant for 20 years unless he likes the food. The same goes for the church.
We could create a dozen more off-the-cuff euphemisms - the simple fact is that church attendance is a voluntary choice, and associating yourself with this church associates you with what the church stands for. This includes Reverend McCrazy and his rantings, as well as the Reverend's less publicized affinity for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whose rantings are all to familiar to the testimonial nuttiness of Reverend White.
We are left with the following truth - the primary spiritual advisor of Barack Obama - and potentially next US President - thinks the US invented AIDS to get black people.
Ask not who the crazy church bell tolls, it tolls for Obama...
Enough debris to keep a CSI episode going for weeks...
Let's first examine our prediction from two days ago. While delegates are still being assigned, we did pretty well - extremely well in fact. McCain's total is likely to be almost spot on. Romney ran weaker - much weaker - in the South than even we anticipated, and that weakness meant Huckabee was able to score some wins in states like Georgia and Tennessee and impressively almost Missouri. As a result, McCain took the lion's share.
Romney has no logical path to win the nomination, except John McCain's expiration. No other route exists. Huckabee seems to be boosting for position in the party, and likely stays in since his campaign has been high mileage on little fuel. Texas should spell the end of both campaigns.
This much you knew, since we told you so two days ago.
To the Democrats. A tremendous number of dynamics at play. Small state victories for Obama where youth voters at Universities - the only population centers in many of these states - help Obama rack up large vote totals. Clinton showing the results of long preparation in large states that contain traditional Democrat machinery.
Problems loom for both.
Obama has a problem - it's with Latino voters. I have seen it discussed, but there is an issue nobody is talking about - the notable Latino/Black tension emerging in urban areas. As a constituency party, Democrats are susceptible to a zero-sum struggle between the emerging Latino community and traditional Black Democrats. This is not something that is going to be solved during this election. Expect this to be a major problem for Obama in a general election. Also worrisome, blue-collar union voters are not Obama voters. Not NEA voters - these are easily in an Obama tent. But traditional union guys from the Local 533 Steamfitters union don't buy in during the revival-like speeches of Obama. Call them "Fuggedaboutit" voters, they will not take easily to an Obama candidacy. Why? They prefer straight grit to lilted prose.
Hillary has her own problems. Foremost, as reported today, she has money troubles. Hillary has more big donors, but those donors are easily capped at roughly $2k, where Obama's donors are more numerous wells he can return to as needed. The other problem she has is that she cannot secure the nomination anytime soon. She is unlikely to have good news until states like Texas, where a large Latino vote should give her delegates to counter what is likely to be a steady drip of losses in upcoming caucus states. Hillary also has a problem with men - very, very few like her, and that will not change in the general election either. The real question is what damage will be done between the traditional black vote and Hillary's campaign if the primary stretches to a convention where Democrat super-delegates go to the traditional uppercrust white candidate - especially if Obama manages to limp in with a slight delegate lead. Hillary will use whatever pieces of the Democrat machinery are available at the convention to secure the nomination - that's not underhanded, that's politics. That could create a notable backlash and leave a very bad taste in the mouth of black voters - the only Obama constituency likely to hold a grudge in such an event, as wealthy liberals will vote for Hillary in a heartbeat, and young voters will probably vote in the paltry underwhelming fashion they do in most other elections.
Hillary's strength right now is with women - there are more women than men, and more women vote than men. This is a natural advantage. But there is that cadre of women that against type do not like Hillary - where they may support Obama, they may find McCain an acceptable candidate - why? Because they will feel comfortable with a McCain that is "reasonable" to them - like Goldilocks, they can be convinced to go with a candidate not too right, not too left, but just right....
As of today, McCain has the nomination for the Republicans. We give the edge on the Democrat side to Hillary - she has the operators, she will win in traditional Democrat states, and at the convention, she has the brass ones to do what it will take to win.
The question for the general then becomes - will disaffected conservatives have the brass ones to do what it will taken to win...
Just an oddity that strikes me as... odd...
Is it just me, or is there something just a little creepy about Utah voting *90%* for Romney? I mean those are pod-people numbers for a candidate.
Last time I saw an election where a candidate got 90% of the vote, Saddam was on the ballot...
Doing tricky math, so you don't have to...
Having done advanced algorithmic gymnastics in our head, here is how we think the delegate count will shape up as of tomorrow:
McCain - win 629 delegates
Total - 722
Romney - win 308 delegates
Total - 385
That lead is insurmountable. With the big delegate winner-take-all prizes in New York, New Jersey, and Arizona, that's 206 off the top. Missouri is also WTA and as a fairly moderate bellweather (and is not a closed primary), that's another 58 delegates that go to only the statewide winner. Ironically, states where Romney is performing well, such as California and Massachusetts, will distribute their delegates among the candidates - even were Romney to win in California, he'd likely only clear some 15 more delegates than McCain. Romney cannot trade delegates, he must clear and shut out in order to gain ground.
There simply does not appear to be a path for Romney to pick up the delegates needed to derail McCain. After Tuesday, McCain can lose almost 2 to 1 and still win.
Tomorrow is Thunderdome. Two men enter. One man leave.
The white haired dark horse...
A word to the wise - those seeking the Republican nomination for President should hope for a non-entry, or at least an early exit, for one Newt Gingrich. Don't expect his name to do your work for you, if you don't knock him out, you will have real trouble.
Because few people are able to share the same stage with him and not come off sounding like lesser entities. Newt has a devastating combination of command of language, historical knowledge, and political savvy. If you let a contest come down to debates, you will likely lose.
Recent focus group polling confirms this. People are put off at first by the awkward name or reputation, but Newt nearly always converts people with a very measured delivery and confident perspicacity.
Do not underestimate his ability to gain support if he can get to the later rounds.