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Several weeks ago, the McCain campaign reinvented itself by sloughing off some deadwood, replacing incompetents with pros from the Bush-Cheney team of 2004, and overall, tried to bring a sense of order out of the chaos.

McCain brought in proven winner, Steve Schmidt, to ride herd on the new outfit and tighten up message delivery which had become so scattershot that Republican politicos warned the candidate that he risked everything unless some discipline was applied to the process of organizing and promoting what the candidate was trying to accomplish.

So far, the results are very mixed. There are signs that the campaign is indeed more organized, more focused especially in developing a coherent set of issues that resonate with the voters.

But the message machine is still broken – especially when the McCain team goes on the attack.

Marc Ambinder talked to former McCain campaign confidante John Weaver who was not impressed by the campaign’s latest efforts in going after Obama:

With the release today of a McCain television ad blasting Obama for celebrity preening while gas prices rise, and a memo that accuses Obama of putting his own aggrandizement before the country, Weaver said he’s had “enough.”

The ad’s premise, he said, is “childish.”

“John’s been a celebrity ever since he was shot down,” Weaver said. “Whatever that means. And I recall Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush going overseas and all those waving American flags.”

Weaver remains in contact with senior McCain strategists and, for a while early this year, regularly talked to McCain.

The strategy of driving up Obama’s negatives “reduces McCain on the stage,” Weaver said.

“For McCain to win in such troubled times, he needs to begin telling the American people how he intends to lead us. That McCain exists. He can inspire the country to greatness.”

He added: “There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn’t at Obama’s. For McCain’s sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop.”

I saw the ad and wondered, wtf? What does Brittney Spears have to do with presidential politics? The ad seemed petulant, as if the candidate were complaining that it was unfair that Obama was more popular than McCain.

Childish indeed.

I’m sorry, but there’s just no other way to put it; McCain’s campaign is still foundering, sinking slowly beneath the waves as the Good Ship Obama’s wake continues to slosh over the gunnwales on its way by.

What is the number one issue on people’s minds these days? The price of fuel outstrips everything else in importance. Not only do gas prices speak to people’s fears for the future but energy dominates the voter’s own perception of their economic well being. Every single day, we should hear from the McCain campaign a single, boring, refrain; just drill, baby! The polls show overwhelming support for doing just that. Obama is on the wrong side of that divide and has in fact, led with his chin on this issue on a number of occasions begging McCain to knock his block off and score big.

Case in point, Obama now tells people to keep their tire pressure up and everything will be just fine:

There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling — if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!

Ed Morrissey tears into this simple minded sophistry with relish:
Er, no it couldn’t. The Green River oil shale formation could produce at least 800 billion barrels of oil alone, enough for over 100 years at our current rate of consumption (20 million barrels per day). Would inflating our tires eliminate every single drop of oil we use? Of course not! Nor would it save any significant amount at all. Tire inflation could improve gas mileage by about 3%, which would relate to about 600,000 barrels of oil a day at the most absurdly optimistic extrapolation.

Ed points out later that most cars made in the last 25 years don’t require a “tune-up” every 5,000 miles. Most manufacturers recommend a tune up every 100,000 miles.

But the point isn’t tune-ups and inflated tires. The point is getting more energy. And Obama and the Democrats are dead set against that. While everyone has figured out that drilling won’t completely solve the main problem of energy independence, it’s a nice stop gap measure and has the advantage of a relatively short turnaround time. It might take a decade for alternative energy sources to begin to make a dent in our oil usage. But the effects of drilling – if begun now – can be measured in months.

But we don’t hear this from the McCain camp. This should be the dominant message coming from the campaign. Instead, we get “Obama the celebrity” or “Out of touch Obama” which is a silly claim to make from a guy who can’t even operate a personal computer.

The Fix interviewed several GOP strategists who seem less than impressed with the way the campaign’s message is being delivered:

Sigh,” emailed one senior party strategist who later added: “Every Obama ad since his announcement has fit nicely into a theme, an argument. McCain ads are just catch as catch can, one wild swing at Obama after another. Their increasing bitterness reflects a campaign that is more about some sort of therapeutic frustration venting for the staff than any coherent strategy to elect McCain. It’s unprofessional to the core.”

Another high-level party operative grumbled: “It seems like they are talking to the press pack, not voters.”

That first critique may be a bit harsh but it speaks to the confusion the campaign is experiencing in trying to figure a way to dent Obama’s armor. Right now, the playing field is still wildly tilted in Obama’s favor – partially because many voters still see him as the agent of change and partly because despite some questions being raised by the media lately, Obama still enjoys overwhelming press support – so much so that while Obama’s press was outstanding on his recent trip abroad, the candidate received a dead cat bounce in the polls. The race is where it was before the trip even happened.

This may sound like good news for McCain except he doesn’t appear capable in taking advantage of it. It is Obama who is his own worst enemy and it looks like it will continue to be that way:

Obama seems to have everything going for him. A fresh face. A smooth, cadenced speaking style suited for TV. A message of change at a time when Americans historically favor change, after one party holds the White House for two terms. And after several convictions of GOP legislators.

Obama’s got tons of money. An attractive family. Energized followers. A media that’s curious about the new guy and tired of….

...the dogged old POW one. High gas prices, a poor housing market, a two-front war ongoing and a slightly sagging economy, all of which should help political challengers. Not to mention an unpopular incumbent president.

A lead’s a lead, but political strategists are puzzled.

As many analysts have been saying for months, the race is Obama’s to lose. But those analysts didn’t take into account such a feeble effort coming from the McCain campaign. McCain has to do something positive, say something about the future rather than these constant “gotcha” charges that only play into Obama’s “new politics” theme and his contention that McCain is part of the old way of doing things.

Can the ship be righted in time to catch and defeat Obama? I am guessing not. The problem is apparently partly due to McCain himself:

Sen. John McCain last week delivered one of his sharpest critiques yet of Sen. Barack Obama’s Iraq policies, carefully reading a prepared speech that accused his Democratic rival of failing the commander-in-chief test and promoting ideas that would force American troops to “retreat under fire.”

But just hours after his crisp performance, the Republican presidential candidate blurred his own message with an offhand comment to a television interviewer that Obama’s proposal for a 16-month time frame for removing combat troops from Iraq might be a “pretty good timetable.” That seemed to run counter to his attempts to cast Obama as naive on foreign policy, and it sent his aides scrambling.

And there you have the McCain campaign in a nutshell. For a former military officer, McCain appears to lack the discipline necessary to win the race.

It may come to walling McCain off from the press – fewer avails and press conferences. But whatever is done must be done quickly. Time is running out and the Obama campaign is too smart, too well funded, and too motivated to allow for the kind of weak, unfocused attacks on him that the McCain camp has tried this past fortnight.

By: Rick Moran at 11:50 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (22)

CATEGORY: Blogging, Politics

As many of you know, I am a blogger without a presidential candidate. Ever since I wrote that I believed John McCain was too old to be president, I have been precluded from giving voice to my support for any major candidate running for chief executive.

Sorry Jazz, I couldn’t consider Bob Barr. I think that the ascension of a libertarian to the office would be as disastrous as elevating Obama.

That said, many of you have rightly pointed out that I am entirely too negative on this blog and reading my posts on the presidential race is getting to be depressing. You wonder why I can’t write positive, uplifting posts about a candidate that I can get behind and support wholeheartedly. You question why I’m always coming down so hard on Obama and why I slap McCain around on a regular basis.

I hear you. As a writer, it’s easy to fall into a rut and reiterate the same points over and over again. How many times can I reveal Obama as the anti-Christ before you start groaning for relief? The same thing happens to commenters too. How many times can you call me a racist and not have it get old? There are only so many ways you can question my sanity, my intelligence, or the true nature of my ancestry.

Therefore, I have decided to temporarily endorse a candidate for president so that I can write positive, glowing blog posts which will advance the candidate’s attempt for high office.

There is little doubt that this candidate is qualified to be president. She has as much executive experience as Obama, is in much better condition than McCain, is prettier than Bob Barr, and has more common sense than Ralph Nader.

  » Read More

By: Rick Moran at 8:21 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (34) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with A dark diagnosis reaffirmed a commitment...

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show,, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, my guest will be my good friend Ed Morrissey from Hot Air.Com. We’ll banter about recent events on the campaign trail and assess the race as it stands now, at the end of July.

The show will air from 7:00 – 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.” A podcast will be available for streaming or download around 15 minutes after the show ends.

The Chat Room will open around 15 minutes before the show opens,

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 6:27 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)


If I were a gambling man – and believe me when I tell you that I would place a bet on the outcome of a tiddlywinks match – I would put McCain’s odds of winning the presidency at 5-1. My good friend Rich Baehr at American Thinker gives McCain a one in three chance of pulling it out but that may be a tad optimistic.

The London line has it Obama a prohibitive 2-7 favorite with McCain’s odds at 5-2. Clearly, the pros are skeptical about McCain’s chances given all the factors at work today.

But oddsmakers only deal with the here and now and with probabilities for the future. McCain could have a true senior moment (moreso than he has already demonstrated) and disappear from contention. Meanwhile, Obama might commit a faux pas so serious that even his slavering devotees in the press would have to report it. Granted, the incident would have to be monumental – like some enterprising reporter discovering Obama begging the Maoist New Party for their endorsement in his 1996 state senate race while accepting volunteers from the radical communist group – but it could happen nonetheless.

The odds of McCain self destructing are probably greater than Obama’s which is another reason he is such a strong favorite.

The only other chance I believe McCain has is to change the dynamics of the race at a fundamental level. Right now, Obama has all the advantages. The issues that matter most to the American people – the economy, health care, Iraq – are either playing into his hands or, as with the war in Iraq, he has been able to manipulate his position to appear out in front of the situation. Bush, McCain, and Petreaus may all disagree with the idea of a 16 month timeline for withdrawal but enough dust has been kicked up by Maliki and Obama himself so as to obscure the candidate’s flips and flops on the war. That’s just the way it is and bitching about it won’t change the fundamental fact that Obama is going to get a pass on Iraq and perhaps even receive a boost if his slaves in the media get their way.

McCain will do no better with the economy (a general issue that speaks more to the voter’s comfort level with their personal financial situation) and health insurance where people appear to favor more government intervention.

But McCain has a couple of ace issues that are in play and that the American people are much closer to his ideas than Obama. I’m talking about gas prices and anti-preference referendums that are on a couple of ballots this fall but something McCain could turn into a national issue.

McCain’s embrace of his home state’s anti-discrimination referendum is being called a flip flop and rightly so. In the past, McCain has opposed these ballot measures, calling them “divisive.” But with voters all over the country overwhelmingly in favor of repealing these preferences in hiring, academics, and the letting of contracts, McCain would do well to embrace these referendums where ever they are on the ballot.

In addition to Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska will also have the civil rights measures on the ballot. There is also a chance that a couple of other states might have referendum to vote on if organizers can gather enough signatures and work their way through the gauntlet of challenges being made by liberals. If McCain were to fully support these measures, it could be as important to his chances in some states as the anti-gay marriage referendums were to Bush’s victory in 2004. The important thing is that these civil rights measures have won and won big everywhere the voters have been given an opportunity ot vote on them.

It would make for a nice little wedge issue for McCain if he could tie his efforts in with some popular ballot initiative like the anti-discrimination laws. Given the majorities they have passed in other states, identifying his campaign with scrapping quotas and other preferential criteria might tip the balance in his favor on election day.

The other issue that is in play in which McCain has a huge advantage is the oil drilling issue which translates directly into voter anger over gas prices. My personal belief is that the blame for our current situation has many fathers on the Hill and in the White House from both parties. We were given the gift of 35 years to solve our energy dependence problem and fumbled the ball miserably. Both parties muffed the chance and here we are, 35 years after the Arab oil embargo exposed our vulnerability to foreigners with regards to our energy supply still promising to do something about it.

In the intervening years, our foreign policy has been held hostage by these desert potentates . And we’ve accepted it because it meant that gas would stay cheap. Well, now we have our foreign policy still being held hostage and gas is $4 a gallon, nearly doubling in the last year. Democracies may not do well at long term planning but we’re geniuses when the wolf is at the door howling to get in. Now that we have no choice, I am supremely confident we are going to lick our energy problem – and a helluva lot faster than Obama and the left can possibly imagine.

There are many things we have to do in order to get our energy house in order; build nuclear power plants, increase our use of “alternative” energy sources like solar and wind (no, alternative energy will not come anywhere close to ever – ever solving our energy needs but increasing their use is still a good idea), self-imposed fuel savings such as we’ve already seen with the huge drop off in driving compared to last year, and manufacturing energy efficient cars and appliances.

I am unconvinced that government mandating such efficiencies is any better than letting the market do so. If auto makers want to go bust, let them keep building SUV’s and if people want to go broke filling the tanks of those behemoths, let them. However, I give a little more credit to the intelligence of the American auto maker and consumer. The price of gas and other fuels will be the primary determinant of how great the impetus toward energy efficiency will eventually be realized.

But we can also drill. And drill. And then drill some more. And when we’re done with that, just for good measure we can drill there too. No one is saying we can become totally independent of foreign fuel sources by drilling offshore, in North Dakota, or in the west where we have tens of billions of barrels of oil locked up in shale. But reducing our dependence would be a nice goal and if in the near future we could import 25% less than we are now because we are tapping our own sources of oil, it would go a long way toward reducing the price of gas at the pump. It would dampen speculation by stabilizing the supply while bulking up our inventories which would also have a calming effect on the market.

Here is where McCain can hit a home run. And Obama would be left out on the mound watching as McCain ran rings around him. By large majorities the American people want us to start drilling and start drilling now. Politicians who get in the way of that sentiment do so at their own risk.

Obama is trapped by his environmental left into basically saying “Prices are high. Shut up and learn to live with it.” He may make a few tentative steps toward nuclear power generation but here again, McCain can run him ragged by boldly embracing a program to build as many nuke plants as can safely be built in the shortest amount of time.

At almost every turn, McCain has the advantage on this issue and he should be constantly pushing for drilling responsibly but on a large scale and as quickly as possible. He should also open government lands to the drill bit.

Now it is true that McCain has been pushing the drilling angle but he has been doing it in a half assed manner, almost as if he is apologetic about it. The problem, of course, is that he has left himself open to charges of hypocrisy because of his global warming position which is decidedly against any additional oil coming to market. The two issues are not incompatible. There are still ways to reduce carbon emissions while drilling for all the oil we can handle.

But the entire drilling issue is symptomatic of what is wrong with McCain’s campaign. Listless, directionless, and only recently has any semblance of organization begun to be seen. He isn’t going to win by playing it safe. He has got to take chances, be bolder in his policy proposals. And standing up for drilling offshore and anywhere else that a realistic field can be tapped would be a good first step.

These two issues can redefne the race if McCain has it in him to embrace what they represent; the core concerns and values of his natural constituency. If elections are about getting more of your people to the polls than the other guy can get his people to the polls, McCain better start thinking about what will motivate his voters to get out of their easy chairs on election day and cast their ballot for him. Otherwise, he is going to get slaughtered.

By: Rick Moran at 2:47 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)

Maggie's Farm linked with Weds. morning links...

I know it is not politically correct to say that Obama “creeps me out.” That’s because immediately after uttering such blasphemy, our friends on the left would put me on the couch and matter of factly inform me that I am suffering from “The White American Disease” and recommend a torturous rehabilitation that would include watching 6 hours a day of “Blaxploitation” films and continuous viewings of Roots in order to inculcate the proper amount of white guilt and outrage directed against white males into my racist psyche.

That’s fine. Just don’t include the execrable remake of Shaft in with the bunch. I much prefer the original with Richard Roundtree as the title character. Now that brother was kewl. He oozed class. And when it came to getting back at the man, he had no equal – all others were pale imitations. Samuel L. Jackson may be a better actor. But he’s something of a nerd, isn’t he? Roundtree, despite not being a gifted thespian, was anything but a nerd.

Anyway, this was a hard list to compile, especially since I didn’t want to get into his physical appearance. I understand he’s very healthy and works out all the time but good Lord, can’t we put some meat on the poor guy? He makes Jack Sprat look like Arne. No doubt there is a standing rule in the Obama campaign that absolutely, under no circumstances, is the candidate to be photographed next to a bean pole.

People can’t help how they look so perhaps it’s best we not include any physical attributes in this creep out list. Besides, Obama’s most obvious distinguishing physical characteristic is hard to miss. Lots of people have commented on it and been chastised for their shallowness. Considering how it dominates his appearance, it is strange that he never did anything to lessen its impact.

No, dummy. I’m talking about his ears.


10. It creeps me out that whenever Obama makes an appearance, the rain stops falling and the sun comes out. As a rationalist I am loathe to ascribe a direct cause and effect to this phenomenon except that it happens quite frequently and the rainbow created by the sun breaking through the clouds spells out “Yes We Can!”

Probably just a coincidence…

9. It creeps me out that there are about twice as many women at Obama rallies as there are men. Now I am not of the Melvin Udall School of anti-feminist thought (when asked how he writes women so well, Udall responds “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability”). But what is one to think when watching the reaction of females as Obama is speaking? I’m sorry, but it is hard to imagine a man covering their mouth, chest heaving, barely able to contain himself and then ooooohing and aaaaaahhing when the messiah says something particularly vapid and innocuous.

Elvis, I can understand. But a politician?

8. It creeps me out that the press seems hypnotized by this guy. Grown men and women blubbering like babes when talking about how exciting he is, how mesmerizing he is when he speaks. It’s as if “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” has come to life and the pods have been placed in every newsroom in America. It isn’t just Crissy Mathews and MSNBC. It’s news anchors at CNN, reporters for Time and Newsweek, editorial writers at WaPo and the New York Times. Big media is in the tank for this guy in a big way. They have thrown off all semblance of fairness (never mind objectivity) and just don’t care that people know they are in Obama’s corner. They can’t be shamed into changing. They evidently won’t be deflected from doing their best to elect Obama.

This kind of thing causes the hairs on the back of my neck to prick up – like walking through a graveyard at midnight. It is just plain creepy – no other word for it.

7. It creeps me out that Obama’s rhetoric about America is so apocalyptic. It is “the worst” this or “the most” that. He is a serial exaggerator – so much so it would be impossible for anyone to debunk all of his outrageous “doom and gloom” claims.

And what’s really, really creepy is that after addressing this litany of horrific evils perpetrated by Bush and the Republicans, he holds himself up as just the man to fix everything. If the United States were as bad as he describes it, no sane person would want to live there. And yet, Obama will ride to the rescue and “restore” America.

Shining knights on white horses riding to save us is one thing – we’ve seen that before many times in American politics. But Obama’s powers extend beyond Coolidge’s Hoover’s promise of a “chicken in every pot” to a promise to heal the souls of America and Americans.

I don’t know what’s creepier. The candidate saying it or his supporters believing it.

6. It creeps me out that with the exception of most conservatives, Obama’s radical associations and radical past – including his being on a first name basis with an unreconstructed terrorist – doesn’t seem to bother many people. What am I missing here? When Obama makes an actual political alliance with a radical Maoist organization like The New Party, going so far as to attending their meetings and recruiting their members to work on his state senate campaign, why is there no call for the candidate to explain himself? Nor has there been any effort – save a couple of scattered stories in the National Review and elsewhere that detail Obama’s association with the radical group ACORN.

It’s as if the entire “Obama movement,” made up mostly of good, mainstream Democrats, is so in thrall to the candidate that they can’t see the warning signs of this fellow’s true radicalism. They dismiss his past by simply pointing to the here and now and saying “See? He really is a moderate kind of guy after all.” We don’t know that because no one has ever – ever – asked him to explain why he sought the endorsement of a radical communist group when running for the state senate and why he associated himself with the radical group ACORN.

Beyond creepy. Truly scary…

5. Has there ever been a creepier presidential hopeful’s spouse than Michelle Obama? She actually said this to a political gathering last February: “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

Rarely has there been a creepier utterance by a major candidate for president or his spouse (Ron Paul has said some very, very creepy things). This one set off alarm bells in my head the moment I heard it. It elicited the question that many of us who oppose this guy have been asking more and more frequently lately.

Just who in the hell does this guy think he is? “Require” us to do what? “Demand” what? Besides coming off sounding like Evita Peron, Michelle Obama has a very weird view of the art of politics which works by persuasion and not by compulsion.

That one registers a 8.5 on the Creepy-O-Meter.

4. It creeps me out that Obama continues to speak as if he is president already and that the election is some mere formality that if he had his druthers, we could do without. His use of the royal “we” is very weird as well. Jack Tapper of ABC News noticed the same thing about Obama and his staff. Just one example of many: During an interview with ABC’s Nightline, he said he “wouldn’t be doing my job as Commander in Chief” if he just did whatever the generals said in Iraq. Obviously, it is not his job. And this is not the only example as Tapper points out in that Newsbusters piece.

A couple of times where the candidate falls into the mental state of what he would do as president and referring to himself as already elected would be understandable. Obama does it all the time and is seemingly unaware of how it makes him appear.

3. I find it very creepy that Obama removed the American flag at the back of his plane and replaced it with a great big “O?” Tell me that doesn’t creep you out. The flag and the “O” would be just fine. But why remove the flag?

Judging by the way he has flip flopped all over the place on the flag pin mess (which I believe is a non-issue whether or not he wears it but the flip flopping is of legitimate concern) it should call into question just what this guy believes. Again, warning bells should be going off in everyone’s head and either the press is too cowed to ask him questions about it or they just don’t care.

2. I can’t believe every American wasn’t creeped out by Obama’s fake presidential seal that he featured for exactly one day at a conference of governors. This story actually gave me a slight feeling of panic wondering if this guy is a megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur or…what? I couldn’t think of another reason any candidate would have the audacity of overweening pride and destructive ambition to create, approve, and then display such an artifact. Did someone bother to ask the candidate what he was thinking when he approved the use of that seal?

I thought not. The press may not have liked the answer.

1. The number one thing about Obama that creeps me out is the ease and comfort with which he lies. All politicians lie. Presidential candidates lie more than other politicians. But Obama’s lies are brazen and breathtaking. His explanation for why he allowed his kids to be interviewed by “Entertainment Tonight” was so ridiculous as to be a parody of the truth. But he was allowed to get away with it because the venues he chose to “explain” his demonstration of parental stupidity were friendly or, as in the case of Good Morning America, hardly a news outlet at all.

Presidents lie all the time. They do so for a variety of reasons – mostly to save their political hides. But Obama lies as a matter of course and has a familiarity with the practice the begs for an explanation. Krauthammer thinks it’s ego. He sums up everything that creeps me out about Obama here:

Obama may think he’s King Canute, but the good king ordered the tides to halt precisely to refute sycophantic aides who suggested that he had such power. Obama has no such modesty.

After all, in the words of his own slogan, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” which, translating the royal “we,” means: “I am the one we’ve been waiting for.” Amazingly, he had a quasi-presidential seal with its own Latin inscription affixed to his podium, until general ridicule—it was pointed out that he was not yet president—induced him to take it down

He lectures us that instead of worrying about immigrants learning English, “you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish”—a language Obama does not speak. He further admonishes us on how “embarrassing” it is that Europeans are multilingual but “we go over to Europe, and all we can say is, ‘merci beaucoup.’” Obama speaks no French.

His fluent English does, however, feature many such admonitions, instructions and improvements. His wife assures us that President Obama will be a stern taskmaster: “Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism … that you come out of your isolation. ... Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.”

For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when “our planet began to heal.” As I recall—I’m no expert on this—Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.

I try to laugh and make fun of the candidate’s hubris, the wild eyed, gyrating women who nearly swoon when he speaks, the supporters who walk and talk as if they were programmed – but my heart is rapidly losing the desire to make sport of this situation. Unless he shoots himself in his own foot, this man is going to be the next president of the United States.

And that, dear subscribers, is the creepiest thing of all.

This post also appears at The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 9:42 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (120)

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This article originally appeared on the Pajamas Media website.

I must confess to a weakness for listening and reading good political speeches. I wrote an article a while back on the top ten American political speeches of all time and never had so much fun writing and researching anything.

What determines a good political speech? Theodore H. White believed there were three elements that made a speech special. First, the moment in history when the words are delivered helps frame the speech and give it the proper context. Second, there must be a suitable backdrop: Gettysburg Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the House of Burgess in 1775 where the focus of American resistance to British tyranny settled. Patrick Henry giving his “Give me Liberty or give me death” speech in a tavern or in a church would not have been as impactful.

Finally, the words themselves must be memorable, crafted so that the man, the moment, and the backdrop all come together to create superior oratory.

For Barack Obama, it might be unfair to saddle him with the expectation that he would make a speech as memorable as the address delivered by John Kennedy when Berlin was the flashpoint for nuclear confrontation with the Soviets and the airlift still fresh in Berliners’ memories. Or that Obama could match an address that was as emotionally satisfying as Reagan’s challenge to the Soviets to “tear down this wall” when hope for change had been stoked to a very high level by Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost. Reagan and Kennedy went to Berlin in order to accomplish something specific. Obama went to Berlin to make a campaign commercial.

Obama is not president. There is no great crisis in Berlin or in Europe that would make Tiergarten Park a place of resonance for his words to echo down through the ages. Instead, he was a political candidate with the gift of oratory who came to Berlin to show the folks back home that he wasn’t a total rookie when it comes to overseas affairs.

The first leg of his trip was designed to underscore the candidate’s knowledge and judgment about Afghanistan, Iraq, and the thorny issues of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Playing to rave reviews in the press and getting a boost from the Iraqis who appeared to embrace his talk of setting a timetable for American withdrawal, the first leg was judged a big success by the punditocracy (could it ever have been anything else?).

But was it really necessary to come to Western Europe? This leg almost appears to be included for the sake of vanity – to show how much the rest of the world wants Obama to be president. Outside of a few American expatriates, there are no votes to be harvested there. Only photo-ops with leaders of countries about which most Americans could care less.

But that didn’t stop the hype from beginning to build days in advance for Obama’s Tiergarten Park speech, moved after the German government gently refused permission for an address at the Brandenberg Gate. Some enthusiasts in Germany predicted a million people would turn out for the party. Last night, the Obama crew sought to tone down expectations considerably, and it’s a good thing they did: somewhere between 100-200,000 turned out for Obama’s attempt to leave his mark on history. Still an enormous throng but not the overwhelming crush of humanity that some were saying would show up.

The speech itself was good, filled with plenty of Obama cliches that somehow sound new when he delivers them. It was well delivered like all Obama addresses, but curiously subdued at times. Whether it was because a sizable segment of the audience did not speak English or some other reason, Obama seemed to struggle in getting reaction from the crowd. Interrupted several times by applause, the speech nevertheless was not greeted with the wild enthusiasm many expected. There was occasional chanting of “O-BA-MA” and “YES-WE-CAN,” but it wasn’t sustained and tailed off rather quickly.

Obama used the seminal event in Berlin’s history – the 1948 airlift – as well as the former presence of the Berlin Wall to talk not as an American but as “a citizen of the world” to the “people of the world.” After a glowing recitation of how Germans and Americans worked together to save Berlin during the Soviet blockade, Obama consciously evoked the memory of John Kennedy, if not in words then in meter and imagery. Where Kennedy challenged the world by telling the doubters “Let them come to Berlin” and see what free men were capable of, Obama called on “people of the world” to come to Berlin and witness what the German-American partnership had accomplished:

People of the world – look at Berlin!

Look at Berlin, where Germans and Americans learned to work together and trust each other less than three years after facing each other on the field of battle.

Look at Berlin, where the determination of a people met the generosity of the Marshall Plan and created a German miracle; where a victory over tyranny gave rise to NATO, the greatest alliance ever formed to defend our common security.

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

People of the world – look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

With “walls” as context, Obama sought to show that new walls that have been erected in place of the east- west divide must also be torn down:
That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another.

The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

We know they have fallen before. After centuries of strife, the people of Europe have formed a Union of promise and prosperity. Here, at the base of a column built to mark victory in war, we meet in the center of a Europe at peace. Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they have come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic found a way to live together; in the Balkans, where our Atlantic alliance ended wars and brought savage war criminals to justice; and in South Africa, where the struggle of a courageous people defeated apartheid.

So history reminds us that walls can be torn down. But the task is never easy. True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. They require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy; of progress and peace. They require allies who will listen to each other, learn from each other and, most of all, trust each other.

His call to bring down the walls between “Christians, Muslims, and Jews” received the largest applause of the speech. That, his call to end the Iraq War, and his desire to rid the world of nuclear weapons drew the only enthusiastic responses from the throng during the entire speech.

Obama didn’t get much reaction when he called on the people for support of the effort in Afghanistan and against terrorism in general:

This is the moment when we must defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. This threat is real and we cannot shrink from our responsibility to combat it. If we could create NATO to face down the Soviet Union, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York. If we could win a battle of ideas against the communists, we can stand with the vast majority of Muslims who reject the extremism that leads to hate instead of hope.

This is the moment when we must renew our resolve to rout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, and the traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomes war. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But my country and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first mission beyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people of Afghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done. America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troops and your troops; our support and your support to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help them rebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn back now.

Calling on the Germans to help with security in Afghanistan is pointless since the German government will not allow their troops to engage in combat operations, just like most other NATO countries. Indeed, Obama’s base here at home is having difficulty with his Afghanistan policy, where he calls for additional troops to be transferred from Iraq.

And this bring us to Obama’s peroration:

But I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived – at great cost and great sacrifice – to form a more perfect union; to seek, with other nations, a more hopeful world. Our allegiance has never been to any particular tribe or kingdom – indeed, every language is spoken in our country; every culture has left its imprint on ours; every point of view is expressed in our public squares. What has always united us – what has always driven our people; what drew my father to America’s shores – is a set of ideals that speak to aspirations shared by all people: that we can live free from fear and free from want; that we can speak our minds and assemble with whomever we choose and worship as we please.

Those are the aspirations that joined the fates of all nations in this city. Those aspirations are bigger than anything that drives us apart. It is because of those aspirations that the airlift began. It is because of those aspirations that all free people – everywhere – became citizens of Berlin. It is in pursuit of those aspirations that a new generation – our generation – must make our mark on history.

People of Berlin – and people of the world – the scale of our challenge is great. The road ahead will be long. But I come before you to say that we are heirs to a struggle for freedom. We are a people of improbable hope. Let us build on our common history, and seize our common destiny, and once again engage in that noble struggle to bring justice and peace to our world.

Earlier, Obama alluded to his major campaign theme – that “this is our moment. This is our time.” When placed beside the litany of challenges he issued on Darfur, Iran, the Middle East, nuclear weapons, global warming, and a host of others, his call to action seemed forced and unnatural. Accomplishing anything – especially against the kind of instransigence demonstrated by Darfur or Iran – will take much more than feel-good, cliché-riddled speeches. Since no plan was offered to specifically address these problems, the whole exercise had an air of fantasy about it.

He left the Tiergarten as he had arrived – to thunderous applause. But how will this play in a place like my hometown of Streator, IL - population 15,000 and as close to the middle of Middle America as you can get?

First, I suspect news of the speech will come to most of my fellow Streatorians as a whisper on the wind. Most will not have seen it or read it and will be influenced – if they are influenced at all – by the usual suspects. The media will be talking about the speech for days and a consensus will eventually form. They will also talk to their neighbors about it (Streator is a very neighborly town) and make a judgment of their own.

Will they be impressed that so many turned out to hear an American that they don’t know much about? Will they wonder what the heck the guy was doing in Europe talking to Germans when they would rather have him here talking to Americans, telling them what he’s going to do about gas prices? Will it alter their perception of Obama as a man who doesn’t know as much about foreign affairs as his opponent?

In the end, my fellow townsmen will shrug their shoulders and not think it a big deal anyway. And perhaps, in the larger scheme of things, it isn’t the history-making event it might have been. Obama was hoping for a grand slam home run, a thumping denouement to his overseas trip. Instead, he gave a middling performance in front of a relatively subdued crowd and will come home secure in the knowledge he didn’t strike out – but still finding elusive the time and backdrop that will allow his rhetoric to resonate down through the ages.

By: Rick Moran at 1:42 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


Did you hear it yesterday? Even coming through the television couldn’t weaken the magic of The Voice as it worked its weirding way on all within earshot. It wasn’t the words themselves – vapid, cliche ridden, dog earred, 40 year old liberal pablum. And it wasn’t necessarily the way Obama delivered the words – the cadence and rythmn evoking the feeling you were listening to a combination of preacher and carnival huckster.

Obama’s gifts as an orator include his strong, melifulous voice – an instrument he plays beautifully using the full extent of the upper and lower registers, raising and lowering volume quite effectively. His phrasing is usually perfect. He never needs to stop mid sentence to take a breath or find his place on the teleprompter. There is little wasted motion as his body language and movement screams authority and confidence. No awkward hand motions. Everything is smooth as melted butter.

Above all, Obama has an extraordinary sense of his own performance – probably the result of hours and hours spent in front of a mirror. This has given his speeches a sense of the dramatic lacking in most political addresses. The guy could read the menu at a vegan restaurant and hold people spellbound.

All of these gifts, however, tend to obscure what he is actually saying rather than illuminate his ideas as Reagan’s or JFK’s oratory did. For JFK and his alter ego/wordsmith Teddy Sorenson, words were clay in their hands as they would carefully construct beautiful images while laying their ideas on top like captions to a photograph. Not a natural speaker like Obama and Reagan, Kennedy more than made up for that deficiency by never speaking down to his audience and inspiring people with, what at the time, was the boldness of his vision.

Reagan’s gifts were those of an actor. No modern speaker used the combination of body language and voice so perfectly. His sense of his own performance, like Obama’s, was pitch perfect. Reagan, much more than Obama, had an exact idea of what he looked like coming across on the small screen. He knew how his upper body was framed by the camera almost, it seemed, to the pixel. This allowed for a closer, more intimate look at the speaker. There was no wasted motion, no large moves of the hands or shoulders by Reagan. He and the camera were one which heightened the sense of drama that his words then completed.

Not surprisingly, Obama uses his gifts not to enlighten but to obscure the real ideas that lie beneath his rhetoric. Those ideas date back to the beginnings of the new left in the 1960’s and have not changed much in the intervening years. And there is no better example of this than his speech yesterday in Berlin.

A few examples will suffice:

Look at Berlin, where the bullet holes in the buildings and the somber stones and pillars near the Brandenburg Gate insist that we never forget our common humanity.

Constant references throughout the speech to the idea of “the brotherhood of man” – Lenin’s “new man” who was, as Obama identified himself, a “citizen of the world” who shared “common values” with all. Except those bullet holes – pot shots taken by East German gaurds at people fleeing tyranny – have nothing to do with “common humanity” and instead are reminders of the brutality of one system of government – communism. Until the left in this country and Europe come to grips with the evils perpetrated by that system, the chances of it happening again are probably better than 50-50.
People of the world—look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together, and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.

Obama loves rewriting history. Talk about hating America, we heard the same crap from the left about how hated we were all during the 1980’s right up until the time the wall fell. Even then, it was Gorbachev and not America who was responsible for that miracle according to liberals.

The fact is, the “world did not stand as one” against communism. Most of the world was against us. It was Thatcher, Reagan, and Pope John Paul II who freed Eastern Europe and anyone who was alive at the time knows it.

As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.

As even most responsible pro-global warming scientists will tell you, that is a crock of crap. It is impossible to prove cause and effect for droughts in the midwest being connected to a drought in Kenya. That is silly, stupid, and deliberately misleading. And Obama might want to make a note that there is more ice in the Arctic this summer than there has been in about 50 years.
That is why the greatest danger of all is to allow new walls to divide us from one another. The walls between old allies on either side of the Atlantic cannot stand. The walls between the countries with the most and those with the least cannot stand. The walls between races and tribes; natives and immigrants; Christian and Muslim and Jew cannot stand. These now are the walls we must tear down.

More pie in the sky “brotherhood of man” crap especially because Obama fails to mention the reason why many of those walls are standing; if they came down, chances are a lot of those people would be at each other’s throats and no amount of magical speaking or wishful thinking will change that fact.
This is the moment when we must renew the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Not surprisingly, this old lefty dream received the most applause from the assembled masses. Like gun control, it is likely that if we take nukes out of the hands of nation states, the only ones who have them will be the terrorists.

And that’s a world I don’t want to live in.

This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century—in this city of all cities—we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.

Would someone please tell me why there has been this fascination, this love affair with Russia on the part of the left for 90 years? I am sure Putin is licking his chops as a wolf looking at a bunch of sheep if Obama becomes president. Putins idea of “partnership” might differ a bit from the messiah’s.
This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many.

Confiscation anyone? Obama wants to extend this old leftist dream of robbing the rich and giving some of it to the poor (the rest going to government bureaucrats) from American rich to the rich of other countries. Why another nation’s system of wealth distribution should be anyone else’s business – least of all Barack Obama’s – is beyond me.
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands.

More global warming hysteria. Beg to differ with the messiah but the children of today will almost certainly miss the effects of catastrophic global warming – if it happens – since most responsible global warming advocates see a 100-200 year timeframe before the worst occurs (this despite recent “studies” showing differently). And at the moment, the world’s weather just isn’t cooperating as the earth has actually cooled over the last decade. But that won’t stop this gigantic con game from going forward to redistribute the wealth of the world while curbing if not destroying industrialized civilization.
Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

Very nice words, Barack. Very pretty. But what are you going to DO about it? As a topper for recycled leftist pap, this is the keeper – the belief that if we all just “stand” with the dissident from Burma, he won’t have his head and hands chopped off. Or the bloger in Iran won’t be thrown in jail if we hold a concert. Or the voter in Zimbabwe won’t have their head bashed in if we all sit around in a circle and think good thoughts.

The utter stupidity and yes, uselessness of these ideas is dressed up in beautiful prose and delivered by a gifted charlatan who, I am coming to suspect, doesn’t have a clue what he will do once in office. End the Iraq war? Not hardly. The man says so himself. National health insurance? Whose plan? How’s he going to get it passed? Taxes up. Some people’s tax bill (like mine) doubling.

When is someone going to ask him what he’s going to do to bring down the price of gasoline? Nothing in his speech to the non-voting Germans made mention of that. The housing crisis? More regulation and bail outs, rewarding bad business practices and stupid consumers both.

Obama’s disguising his far left ideas in pretty language and excellent delivery of his speeches is exactly the opposite of what almost every great political orator in American history has sought to do. Due to his “weirding ways,” he has managed to fool a great number of people into believing he is something he is not; a politician that will transform America into some kind of utopia where we all get along and people are healthy, happy, and content.

Strip aside the rhetoric and the mesmerizing presence on the stump and you are left with a rather ordinary, rather inspid liberal with visions of a planet united and America a slavish partner to the goals and aspirations of the bureaucrats at the United Nations – the US an emasculated presence while our own vital interests take second place to those preaching the gospel of universal brotherhood.

This has been a dream of the new left for 60 years. And Obama, the word made flesh of that dream, is just the man to fulfill that destiny.

By: Rick Moran at 8:22 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

Maggie's Farm linked with Friday afternoon links...

As Barack Obama enters the final leg of his “Meet the Messiah” world tour, alighting in Germany and preparing for what promises to be the most spectacular campaign speech evah, we back home are stuck with the usual mundane irrelevancies that have been passing for “debate” this electoral season, trying to make mountains out of molehills while doing our best to apply gravitas to the most hopelessly inane incidents and gaffes.

Frankly, I’m sick of it. Every time McCain opens his mouth it does not “disqualify him from being president.” Other, more basic attributes of the candidate are to blame there. And whenever Obama lies through his teeth, or flip flops, or makes outrageous statements that prove he would rather lose a war and win an election than the opposite, it doesn’t mean he’s some anti-American, ignorant, lying wretch. That simply isn’t possible given how the press is shortstroking his candidacy. All it means is that the Obama is an overly ambitious, arrogant, supremely overconfident politician with something of a god complex, a royal sense of entitlement that would put Henry VIII to shame, and an anti-democratic belief in his own inevitability (and perhaps invincibility).

While McCain should probably be home playing with children (or in the senate doing the same thing), Obama deserves to be cast into the outer darkness. I’ve been trying to decide which past American politician he reminds me of the most but have yet to settle on just one. He appears to have Nixon’s ruthlessness, Huey Long’s megalomania, Aaron Burr’s thin skin, and Edwin Summer’s penchant for wild exaggerations in his oratory.

Yeah, but don’t say he’s “anti-American.” I wouldn’t dream of it. In fact, Obama is proving himself to be “all-American” in that only American politicians can hold such utter contempt for the voter and find themselves loved for it. Ross Douthat nails it here:

Yes, of course the Hitler comparisons are absurd, but I’d really like to know which genius on the Obama campaign thought it would be a good idea to have their candidate conduct a major campaign rally in Europe with three months to go till the election and their candidate, despite an incredibly favorable climate and a fumbling opponent, still clinging to a 2-4 point lead in the polls? Overall, the overseas tour has been good to Obama, both for the obvious reasons and because making joint appearances with foreign leaders is a solid-enough way to build up his credibility as a potential Commander-in-Chief. But photo ops are one thing, Beatlemania-style rallies are quite another – and having your candidate appear in front of tens of thousands of adoring European fans when your campaign’s biggest problem, as John Judis puts it today, is that “Obama remains the ‘mysterious stranger’ rather than the ‘American Adam’ to too many voters who are put off rather than attracted by his race and exotic background” strikes me as the height of political folly. The Berlin rally probably won’t hurt Obama – voters aren’t really paying attention to anything election-related right about now, and it’ll be forgotten by the time the fall campaign begins in earnest. But it could do some minor damage, and it certainly won’t help him. (If he’s counting on the expat vote to put him over the top, then he’s in more trouble than anyone thinks.) Is it too late to call the whole thing off?

Not so fast with dismissing the Hitler comparison there Matt. I’m not saying that Obama is like Hitler for holding a mass rally, speaking beneath a Nazi icon with a hundred thousand screaming, fainting, frothing at the mouth Germans as a backdrop for campaign propaganda. All I’m saying is that Hitler would have given his hearty approval.

That doesn’t make Obama Hitler. First of all, the whole mustache thing just doesn’t work for Barak. If Obama was going to do the facial hair thing, no doubt he would go the goatee route or perhaps the suave, sophisticated, cat about town Sammy Davis, Jr. look with the sideburns and moustache combination. It used to be we didn’t trust politicians unless they had facial hair. Maybe the messiah could bring those halcyon days back.

So while Obama does not resemble Hitler – either politically or in profile – if one were to be completely honest they would concede that there is no doubt the ex-paper hanger would have admired Obama’s use of huge crowds and flowery (but empty) rhetoric in order to advance his candidacy. Hitler might have gone a little further and recommended the event be held at night and that extensive use be made of torches  along with running off  millions of copies of the Obama “Presidential” Seal and singing a lusty chorus or two of the “Horst Wessel Song.” Probably too late to change.

And allow me to carry the analogy a little further (in for a penny, in for a pound). The entire Obama campaign – it’s clarion call for unity, hope, change, and the unspoken but very real appeals to the brotherhood of man – all of this sounds familiar to students of national socialism. No, the Democrats are not Nazis. But the evil genius of Hitler recognized what people longed for in a political society. The feel good notion of “unity” which basically means that we should stop arguing and just do what the leader says along with “hope and change” that speaks to the need of people to believe in something greater than themselves – the anti-cynicism drug.

And then there’s Obama’s unspoken appeal to the brotherhood of man. Nazis tried to make this a racial appeal and couple it with the notion of unity (“Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer”). Obama is not so crude. His very existence as a multi racial candidate is an appeal to unify the country not by highlighting race but by subsuming racial differences and bringing about a transformative episode in American history. A nice trick if he can pull it off. At the moment, his candidacy appears to be having the opposite effect as the black/white divide has never been more pronounced.

So is Ross correct in so cavalierly dismissing the Hitler parallels? Of course he is. And it is a 100% dead certainty that Obama and his people are not consciously following a blueprint for gaining power laid down by Hitler and Goebbels.

But that doesn’t mean we should ignore tactics like mass rallies/ campaign commercials featuring fawning, slobbering Obama fans worshiping the ground he walks on and dismiss Obama’s “hopenchange” mantra as juvenile twaddle. None of this takes place in an historical vacuum and recognizing and identifying parallels allows us to understand the psychology of the candidate.

NOTE: I have absolutely no doubt this post will be misinterpreted. Those who are smarter will deliberately do so. Those who are stupid just won’t know any better (and probably won’t be able to read it anyway).

Consider this pre-emptive attack on your honesty and integrity my final word on this post.

By: Rick Moran at 8:46 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (29)


As inspiring as a bar of cream cheese, as interesting as a broken clock, John McCain at any age would prove to be bad presidential candidate. At age 72, he is making his own case that he should have been put out to pasture years ago. Even if you don’t believe McCain is too old to serve, there is a growing perception that he is and it is this that may very well doom his candidacy.

A president, he will not be. This is largely beyond his control and has nothing to do with his long life devoted to serving the United States. He suffered and almost died fighting for America – something I readily admit I have no idea whether I would have been able to muster the guts to match – and he has spent the last quarter century in the halls of power fighting to make America safe and strong.

He is a vanishing breed in Washington – an honorable man. Certainly more honorable than his opponent whose shamelessly wild swings toward the center done in order to obscure his wretched judgment on the importance and vital necessity of being able to leave Iraq with some sense of American honor proves Obama’s overweening ambition and shocking lack of principle will not matter in November.

Perhaps because his supporters are too busy gloating they can’t see how their candidate has delivered a body blow to their entire critique of the Iraq War and in the process moved much closer to John McCain’s position than any of them thought might have been possible even a couple of months ago.

Both McCain and Obama say they want “victory” in Iraq and that it is not only achievable but necessary. Both say that Iraq is a front in the War on Terror (McCain agrees with al-Qaeda that Iraq is the “central front” in the War on Terror while Obama says it is an “important” front). Both say the surge has worked although for different reasons (Obama’s reasoning is more solid on this point).

Anyone care to revisit how our lefty friends see the war in Iraq? That it is “unwinnable?” That it is not a front in the War on Terror (a war they believe is made up by Bush in order to have an excuse to grab dictatorial powers)? That the surge didn’t work? Either their judgment is superior to Obama’s or they are wrong and Obama is right. Which is it?

Maybe liberals can make all that disappear down the memory hole but I’m doubting it. Their own candidate has now abandoned them, hung them out to dry. And after he is elected and finds his timetable idea a chimera, then perhaps we can get serious about removing our troops properly and in good order. McCain’s idea of semi-permanent bases will be abandoned but that may be a good thing. In the end, our relationship with the Iraqis is just too complex and leaving a sizable force there for decades will probably cause unnecessary friction. Any residual force, however, will probably be there at least 3 years and perhaps beyond that so get used to it my liberal friends.

None of this will prevent Barack Obama from becoming president. As much as it pains me to contemplate the idea of this fakir sitting in the oval office, it might be even more damaging if John McCain were to somehow manage to pull the upset of the ages and win through to victory.

That’s because I believe McCain is too old to be president. Not in years – 72 is not too old for some. For him, it is. Time has passed him by. Even when not making gaff after gaff he seems unsteady and confused at times. And even If you accept the explanation that McCain speaks off the cuff a lot and one’s tongue is bound to get tied up at times and anyone’s brain can experience a hiccup now and again, his fitness for office – fairly or unfairly – will be a major issue in the campaign.

Frankly, I don’t see how he can defuse it.

The contrast alone with Obama’s relative youth will make anything McCain tries a tough sell. The last time the age issue cropped up was 1984 and Ronald Reagan’s devastating one liner that took age off the table in the campaign permanently. But the Gipper’s opponent was Walter Mondale, no spring chicken himself. McCain is fighting the growing perception of being too old while trying to minimize or dismiss the stark contrast between his own advancing years and Obama’s seeming youthfulness.

Of course, the late night comics are having a field day with McCain’s gaffe prone campaign, portraying the candidate as a confused old man and who can blame them? They have plenty of fodder to feast on. Admittedly, the real impact that Leno et al have on voters may be slight. But the constant belittling and denigration of McCain abilities due to his age are not helping to dispel the notion that McCain couldn’t handle the job of president.

In this respect, the slightest doubt among voters about whether he is up to the job might be enough to sink his candidacy. That’s because, as Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei of Politico point out, almost everyone knows an oldster who is slipping away mentally:

The McCain campaign says Obama has had plenty of flubs of his own, including a reference to “57 states” and a string of misstated place names during the primaries that Republicans gleefully sent around as YouTube links.

McCain aides point out that he spends much more time than Obama talking extemporaneously, taking questions from voters and reporters. “Being human and tripping over your tongue occasionally doesn’t mean a thing,” a top McCain official said.

But McCain’s mistakes raise a serious, if uncomfortable question: Are the gaffes the result of his age? And what could that mean in the Oval Office?

Voters, thinking about their own relatives, can be expected to scrutinize McCain’s debate performances for signs of slippage.

Every voter has a parent, grandparent or a friend whose mental acuity declined as they grew older. It happens at different times for different people — and there is ample evidence many people in their 70s are as sharp and fit as ever.

To McCain supporters who point out quite rightly that Obama is a gaffe machine himself, I would answer that the context is different. Obama gaffes cannot be construed as evidence of failing mental faculties. In other words, it’s not the gaffe itself that is the issue. Obama’s verbal faux pas reveal ignorance and inexperience – troubling for voters but not a deal breaker.

McCain’s flubs raise questions of mental fitness. And with every voter aware of the little red button that, when pushed, launches the missiles, they are bound to be much more concerned about a candidate who exhibits similar symptoms to people in their own lives who they have watched as age has taken them away via dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

McCain’s performance on stage can be quite good at times. At other times, he reminds me of the way my mother was just before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I am not saying McCain has Alzheimer’s. His doctors have given him a clean bill of health just recently when the candidate released his medical records – with a noticeable lack of psychiatric information. McCain was trying to defuse his other health issue – a reoccurring melanoma that the doctors say shouldn’t pose a problem for him.

But diagnosing the diseases of age can be problematic. Ronald Reagan did not have Alzheimer’s his last years in office but sometimes behaved in a similar fashion to McCain. Of course, it was less than six years after he left office that he informed the nation he was suffering from the disease that would eventually claim his life.

McCain could very well make it through 4 or even 8 years of office and not get any worse. Will voters want to take that chance? I think it’s a good bet they won’t. The Obama campaign won’t even have to raise the issue because the press will do it for them. And the judgment of voters about McCain’s abilities, despite the many negatives of Obama and the real gamble people might believe his presidency would be, nevertheless seems certain to derail John McCain’s ambition to be president.

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