Contact Me

About RightWing NutHouse

Site Stats

blog radio

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More


(Romeo St. Martin of Politics Watch-Canada)

"The epitome of a blogging orgasm"
(Cao of Cao's Blog)

"Rick Moran is one of the finest essayists in the blogosphere. ‘Nuff said. "
(Dave Schuler of The Glittering Eye)

October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004



Blacksmiths of Lebanon
Blogs of War
Classical Values
Cold Fury
Diggers Realm
Neocon News
Ravenwood’s Universe
Six Meat Buffet
The Conservative Cat






















‘Unleash’ Palin? Get Real






"24" (96)
Bird Flu (5)
Blogging (198)
Books (10)
Caucasus (1)
Cindy Sheehan (13)
Decision '08 (288)
Election '06 (7)
Ethics (172)
Financial Crisis (8)
FRED! (28)
General (378)
GOP Reform (22)
Government (123)
History (166)
Homeland Security (8)
Iran (81)
Katrina Timeline (4)
Lebanon (8)
Marvin Moonbat (14)
Media (184)
Middle East (134)
Moonbats (80)
Obama-Rezko (14)
Olympics (5)
Open House (1)
Palin (5)
PJ Media (37)
Politics (649)
Presidential Debates (7)
RNC (1)
S-CHIP (1)
Sarah Palin (1)
Science (45)
Space (21)
Sports (2)
Supreme Court (24)
Technology (1)
The Caucasus (1)
The Law (14)
The Long War (7)
The Rick Moran Show (127)
War on Terror (330)
Who is Mr. Hsu? (7)
Wide Awakes Radio (8)


Admin Login


Design by:

Hosted by:

Powered by:

I’m leaving shortly for the airport to fly out to Minneapolis and the Republican National Convention.

I will be covering it as part of the Pajamas Media team – the only online publication granted a booth above the Excel Center floor. Not sure what my responsibilities will be but I will almost certainly do a little writing, a little editing, and no doubt a little partying as well.

I might mention that PJTV will be making its debut at the convention. Read here what it’s all about – sounds new and exciting. It’s a subscription service but I think it has a chance if what they’re talking about as far as programming is concerned. I intend to pony up and I hope you at least give the idea some consideration.

This Palin smear on her baby that I write about below is incredible. It is based entirely – entirely – on supposition. Things like how a woman is supposed to look when she’s six months pregnant and the tiny bulge in her daughter’s teen age tummy being seen not as evidence that she eats too many Ho-Ho’s but that she is with child is “balmy” is the Brits would say.

It’s daft. It’s nuts. It’s cuckoo. It’s every adjective you could possibly come up with that denotes unhinged idiocy on the part of the left. I was joking yesterday when I wrote that the left would demand that Palin take a DNA test to prove the child is hers. Judging by how this story is spreading like wildfire across the leftysphere, my joking may become a reality sooner than I ever dreamed.

Coupled with the other major attack meme that is emerging – that Palin should be staying home and taking care of her Down Syndrome kid – and you have an interesting contretemps for the left; that for all their whining about how low and dirty the GOP and conservatives play the game, they have proved they can get in the gutter and root around with the worst the GOP has to offer.

I will try and post on this site during the convention but time factors may make that an impossibility. If not, catch my stuff at Pajamas Media as I’m sure I’ll have a few things to say about the RNC.

By: Rick Moran at 6:22 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

The “Baby is her Daughter’s” Palin Smear
CATEGORY: Decision '08

This is actually pretty interesting, as far as political smears go. Driven entirely by the internet, the thought that Sarah Palin’s 5th child, born in April and afflicted with Downs Syndrome, is not really hers but her daughter’s should be exhibit “A” in any study of how low the left can go in attacking their opponents.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air had all the nauseating details:

This popped up on a Daily Kos diary and has unfortunately been repeated by bloggers who should know better.  The rumor is a weird reversal of the John Edwards story, only this time, critics refute Palin’s maternity.  Supposedly, so the story goes, the baby really was their eldest daughter’s (currently in high school), and not hers.  The proof?  At six months, Palin didn’t “look pregnant”, and supposedly her daughter had mono and took some time off from school. 

That’s it.

This is, simply, despicable.  Babies born to teen mothers rarely have Downs Syndrome anyway, whereas the possibility for that with a mother in her 40s is about 1 in 20.  Athletic women sometimes do not show until late in the pregnancy.  The whole rumor rests on the notion that the state’s most visible woman could carry out a fake pregnancy in front of the press while simultaneously hiding her daughter, and then pull a switcheroo – and for what possible purpose?  To cover up a teen pregnancy, in this day and age?  Give me a break.

Note how without any proof whatsoever, the diarist at Kos simply pulls random events out of thin air and connects them.

My friend Jazz Shaw has more, quoting from the actual Kos diary:

;...the oldest girl is rumored to have actually been the one who had the last baby, the one with Down’s Syndrome. She was taken out of school the last 4 or 5 months of her mother’s pregnancy.

On March 5th, 2008 Alaska’s Republican Governor, Sarah Palin, announced to the media that she was 7 months pregnant with her 5th child. She is currently 44.

Palin’s daughter Bristol is 16 and attends an Anchorage high school. Students who have attended class with her report that she has been out of school for months, claiming a prolonged case of mono.

Palin does not appear pregnant in any recent photographs. The announcement came as quite a shock to people who had worked closely with her, and have been quoted as saying that she did not appear pregnant whatsoever during the prior 7 months. While this is debatable, you can judge for yourself here:

Palin “doesn’t appear” pregnant. “Students report” her daughter has been out of class. Palin aides “have been quoted as saying…”

How does a pregnant woman “appear” at six months? Which students “report” that her daughter was out of school? Where were the quotes? Why no link? Ditto Palin “aides have been quoted…”

This is the very definition of a smear – wild charges made with absolutely no verifiable proof.

Just for comparison purposes, Jazz has a picture of Palin when she was 6 months preggers that the Kos Kooks believe “prove” she wasn’t with child and hence, the only possible explanation in all the universe is that she’s covering for her teenage daughter.


How about Angelina Jolie at 6 months?


Still not convinced? Let’s take a peek at Brazilian Super Model Ambrosia at 6 months:


(For you doubters, here’s a link to the Jolie image and Ambrosia picture with the accompanying story saying they are six months pregnant.)

NO WAY Palin can look as good as she does at 6 months preggers, right?

But do you think that is going to stop the left? Not MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow:

Reader johnkelley e-mails to remind me of a segment which I saw on MSNBC earlier. Rachel Maddow (yes, I know… I know) told what sounded like a completely obscure, irrelevant story about Palin giving birth to her last child. Apparently, as she noted, Palin’s “water broke” while on an extended trip to Texas, but she hopped a plane back home immediately to give birth in Alaska, “so desperate was she not to have her child born in Texas.” Is Maddow on to something related to the first story in this piece but not ready to take it to the airwaves?

This is one of those blog stories that will percolate a few days and then explode on to the screens and pages of the MSM. Before you know it, the left will be demanding Palin take a paternity test to “prove” the child is her own.

This, coupled with “Troopergate” –  where Palin fired the Commissioner for Public Safety because he wouldn’t fire a state trooper – her sister’s ex-husband – for gross violations including tasering her stepson and drinking on the job – will no doubt be played to the hilt by lefty blogs and their allies on MSNBC. It remains to be seen if they get any traction out of it.


If you are totally in the tank for Obama, no doubt you loved the speech and thought it was one of the greatest in history. That’s fine. I’m glad you’re proud of your candidate and believe he did a great job.

But you will forgive me if my own, somewhat more honest and analytical take on what Obama said doesn’t quite match your gushing, effusive, unrealistic assessment.

It was a very good political speech and unmatched political theater. As I pointed out in my post on the Top 10 American Speeches of all Time, there are three elements that make a great speech. The first is the moment in time when the speech is delivered. The second is the venue where it is delivered. And finally, the words themselves must be as powerful when read as they are when spoken.

Obama did very well with all three, although the last element dragged down the overall ranking a bit. Without a doubt, the moment in history was there – first black man to accept the nomination of a major party is a huge historical deal and is one of those identifying moments in history; a “hinge” of history, if you will.

The venue was good but more because it was the Democratic convention and because of the number of people watching it rather than the speech having a grand backdrop like an inaugural address or King at the Lincoln Memorial. (As a convention speech having a lasting impact, it fell far short of Kennedy’s 1980 speech or – love it or not – Pat Buchanan’s 1992 barn burner, not to mention Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” stemwinder in 1896.)

Where the speech failed the test of historically “great” were the words themselves. In places, it soared. In others, it was just liberal boilerplate. Rereading it this morning, I was struck by how ordinary it truly was. There was hardly a policy proposal we haven’t heard from Democrats over the past 2 decades. To say that this represents “change” is arguable.

So not one of the great speeches of all time but a very good address that accomplished some of the things Obama set out to do. Obama. Obama got “specific” in the sense that he attached some concrete proposals to the idea of “change.” But he was no more forthcoming in how he was going to achieve this “change” as he has been in the past.

Case in point:

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now.

So—so let me—let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president.

Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will—listen now—I will cut taxes—cut taxes—for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.

1. What does it mean when he says he will give tax breaks to companies that create “good jobs right here in America?” Eliminating capital gains for small business that create high tech jobs sounds fine but we are talking about jobs in the thousands not millions. And is that part of his plan to give tax breaks to companies that “create good jobs right here in America.” What’s a “good” job? What kind of tax break? Who gets it?

And doesn’t Obama realize that 45 million Americans already pay absolutely no federal income tax? Hard to cut someone’s taxes when they’re not paying any. There are another 18 million taxpayers who pay less than $500 in federal taxes. The point being, somebody has to pay for what you are proposing in the rest of your speech. And after you’re through upping the tax burden on the richest two percent (who already pay 88% of all the taxes from individuals in America) and carry through with your Carteresque idea to reduce domestic oil production by taxing “windfall” profits from oil companies, the well goes pretty dry.

Then there are these “specifics” on energy policy:

And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close.

As president, as president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.

I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.

There are a couple of jaw droppers in there. First, if this is his energy “plan” I would start laying in a generous supply of firewood and go out and buy a good bicycle. The government doesn’t “invest” in clean coal technology. It can incentivize the changeover or mandate it by simply changing the clean air standards for coal fired power plants. And if Obama thinks his own party – his own liberal base – is going to allow him to start building nuclear power plants, he doesn’t read blogs very much nor does he listen to his own members of Congress.

But “helping our auto companies retool?” Is he planning on making the government a partner with Ford, GM, and the rest? Auto companies don’t need to retool, they need better leadership. Relying on profits from gas guzzling SUV’s and trucks is why automakers are in such dire straits today – despite signs all over the place that the price of gas was going to go up because of tight supplies. Executives at the auto companies took the easy road of short term profit and sacrificed the long term viability of their companies.

And Obama wants to reward this bad behavior by helping them “retool?” It would be nice if the designers actually had cars for which the retooling would be necessary. Maybe we should solve that little problem first and then think of big giveways to giant corporations and big labor.

And then there was Obama’s “chicken in every pot” line, promising to ” make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.” Can he get any less specific than that? I leave it to your imagination for how this particular giveaway might work.

Finally, there was this:

And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy—wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels—an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.

It might seem like a lot of money – $150 over the next decade – but it is less than a drop in the bucket compared to what we spend every year on energy. And Obama wants to spread that paltry sum out over 10 years.

No we will not drill our way out of this crisis. But wind and solar power are not the answer to our long term energy needs either. Those technologies too, will be stop gap measures and never supply more than a couple of percent of our energy needs. The answer is the most abundant element in the universe – hydrogen. And Obama never mentioned it in his speech.

So Obama’s specificity on how he will bring about “change” was slightly better than in the past but not much. Education, health care, paid sick leave, and the rest of liberal policy proposals all sounded wonderful. But as far as how he was specifically going to implement them or even what some of them meant, we are still in the dark.

He even borrowed from Republicans:

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.

But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.

I believe Gerald Ford was the first candidate to make this promise at a convention. The Democrats had Bill Clinton and Al Gore making similar promises. It is a ridiculous political premise that the president (actually whoever he chooses to head up OMB) will go through the budget “line by line” and find savings. The old Grace Commission did something similar and had less than 10% of their recommendations passed by Congress.

The fact is, many of those “obsolete” programs benefit someone somewhere. Trying to cut programs much less eliminate them causes such screams of anguish that no president has come close to realizing significant savings in the federal budget. With only around 15% of the budget “discretionary” spending with the rest tied up in defense and entitlements, there is only one place Obama can go to pay for his “change;” the Department of Defense.

He has already said he will cut tens of billions by slowing down programs and eliminating others including missile defense. This doesn’t “save” much at all because what you do by cutting a defense contract in the “out” years is simply extend the contract while the contractor keeps adding “cost +” accounting.

But Obama didn’t say he was going to cut the military budget in Denver:

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.

First, the next person that tells me Obama was being “specific” last night is going to make me scream. This is about as non-specific as you can get and still be on the stage. Just how does he create a world without nuclear weapons? It is nothing more than liberal pablum and for people like Andy Sullivan to gush about Obama “specifics” last night is simply ignoring reality.

But Obama’s talk of “rebuilding our military” flies in the face of what he said last year:

Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems…and I will institute an independent Defense Priorities Board to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.

Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal I will not develop new nuclear weapons…I will seek a global ban on the development of fissile material…and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off of hair-trigger alert…and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.”

Which is it, Barack? “Rebuild” the military or tear it down?

Obama’s speech last night still fell way short of specifics – despite what shamelessly gushing reporters had to say. I nearly had a stroke when Carl Bernstein, appearing on CNN as an “analyst” said that this was “the greatest convention in modern times” – as if the first two nights weren’t incredible yawners not to mention near disasters for Obama. And apparently, the press showed their true colors during the speech:

Several members of the media were seen cheering and clapping for Barack Obama as the Illinois senator accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday.

Standing on the periphery of the football field serving as the Democratic convention floor, dozens of men and women wearing green media floor passes chanted along with the crowd.

Two members of the foreign press exchanged opportunities to take each other’s picture while wearing an Obama hat and waving a flag.

Several others nearby screamed “woo” during some of Obama’s biggest applause lines.

No doubt they just couldn’t help themselves.

Overall, not bad at all for Obama. Lacking many specifics (although more specific than he has been in the past) with his usual excellent delivery made the night a triumph for him.

I would grade him out at a B minus. It should give him a bounce in the polls even when McCain names his choice of running mate. The question will be, how long that bounce will last and what will things look like after the dust settles from the Republican convention which, as we speak, may be postponed due to Tropical Storm Gustav.

My guess is that by mid September, we will be back to the 4-6 point Obama lead from July. And the number of days that McCain will be able to carve into that lead will start to dwindle.

By: Rick Moran at 9:01 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


With many liberals cheering them on, the Obama campaign is putting on a full court press on several fronts to silence critics and quash Conservatives attempts to publicize the candidate’s relationship with former Weather Underground terrorist William Ayers.

In effect, the Obama camp is putting the entire nation on notice; screw with us and we will make your life so miserable you will wish you had never heard the name “Bill Ayers.”

I can sympathize with their frustration. Their attempts to carefully craft an image and narrative of a political moderate who could bring both sides together may not be able to stand the revelation that not only did Obama seek out radicals in his spiritual life by joining the church of a conspiracy minded bigot but also made alliances with political radicals like Ayers (and the Maoist New Party) to advance his career.

We are still waiting for an explanation from Obama why in the name of all that is good and holy did he actually seek out and ask for the endorsement of a proudly Maoist organization like The New Party? Why did he knowingly, eagerly accept volunteers from this organization to staff his campaign for his first state senate run? What possessed this self proclaimed moderate to make common political cause with a group whose goal was to remake the Democratic party and infuse it with Marxist principles?

Perhaps a better question would be why the press has failed in their responsibility to make this fact known to the public. How can it not be relevant to the debate over Obama’s claims to be a political moderate? If John McCain had sought out the endorsement of an avowedly racist organization and used their members as foot soldiers in his campaign, we could rightly question his fitness to be president. But here we have The Messiah cozying up to far left radicals and despite the fact that the information is available to anyone with a modicum of ambition to uncover Barack Obama’s murky past, (It’s right there on the New Party website ) the press seems singularly disinterested in the matter.

Bias? Perhaps. But I take the much more realistic view that most of the press is just plain lazy. This causes them to miss as much stuff about McCain as they do Obama. They are – with precious few exceptions – lazy, cynical, ideologues who don’t want to be bothered with anything that changes the revealed truth they dispense to a public they care little about and indeed, see as ignorant yahoos not worthy of their brilliance.

Conservatives have taken it upon themselves to fill the void. Enter Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons who created the most devastating ad of the political season so far, asking viewers “How much do you know about Barack Obama” and then proceeding to outline the colorful and violent career of William Ayers, terrorist. There is nothing untrue in the ad. Every fact about Ayers, every quote from him is on the record – much of it taken from Ayers’ own book! The Obama take on the ad is that it smears him by connecting him to Ayers bombings. I don’t see that at all and, in fact, the ad goes out of its way to connect Obama to Ayers in his incarnation as a professor of education at the University of Chicago.

Judge for yourself:

“Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?” is not violating the law by asking people to vote against him. If it is a violation, then every ad ever put out by Moveon.Org would have to be pulled and the Board of Directors arrested. It isn’t even close.

But Obama decided to write the Department of Justice anyway and ask them to prosecute. They also asked Justice to prosecute Simmons.

Can the DOJ really do that? Would they do that?

Technically, they could. But in practice they almost never do. It is a damned effective strategy anyway because just the threat of a DOJ investigation is enough to scare a lot of people off – those without the deep pockets of Mr. Simmons who can’t afford the thousands of dollars in lawyers fees they would incur if Justice were to turn their legal eye in their direction.

The Obama campaign knows this which is why it is so insidious. Obama is not asking Justice to enforce the law. They are using a Justice as a club to knock their opponents out of the game and to silence critics.

In a similar manner, the gambit of using their lawyers to send letters to TV stations airing the ad is pure intimidation, nothing more. The Obama campaign can take no legal action and they know it. It is impossible to prove slander (in this case because the facts presented are all true) but again, the threat of using the legal system is usually enough to force those without the means to defend themselves against even a frivolous lawsuit to stop airing the ad.

So Obama’s campaign against broadcasters like Sinclair and donors like Harold Simmons are not serious attempts to have the Department of Justice enforce the law but rather pure hardball politics, played to the hilt by people who evidently do not mind chilling free speech when it gets in the way of their ambitions.

One can usually gauge how badly an opponents attacks are hurting a candidate by the virulence of their response. Nowhere is that more evident than in the additional campaign by the Obama camp to stifle opposition and keep the lid on the Ayers matter by, in effect, trying to shut down one of the most respected talk radio shows in America while using extraordinarily and unusually harsh language to describe a journalist.

Milt Rosenberg’s talk show on weekday nights is a must listen for those interested in politics and culture. Sophisticated, urbane, witty, and intelligent, Rosenberg can be counted on for lively conversation with guests that run the gamut from best selling authors to bloggers.

Last night. Rosenberg invited conservative journalist and intellectual Stanley Kurtz on to talk about what he had learned so far in his examination of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge documents that the University of Illinois released to the press on Tuesday. It was a foregone conclusion that the documents were going to make Obama out to be a dissembler – perhaps even a liar – about his relationship with Ayers. Despite Obama’s claims that Ayers was “just some guy in the neighborhood,” the two worked closely together, attending dozens of meetings together and even going on a retreat.

But that didn’t stop the Obama campaign from calling Kurtz a liar:

Barack Obama’s campaign hasn’t advertised this a great deal this week, but the campaign’s “Action Wire” has been waging large-scale campaigns against critics. That includes tens of thousands of e-mails to television stations running Harold Simmons’ Bill Ayers ad, and to their advertisers — including a list of major automobile and telecommunications companies.

And tonight, the campaign launched a more specific campaign: an effort to disrupt the appearance by a writer for National Review, Stanley Kurtz, on a Chicago radio program. Kurtz has been writing about Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, and has suggested that papers housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago would reveal new details of that relationship.

The campaign e-mailed Chicago supporters who had signed up for the Obama Action Wire with detailed instructions including the station’s telephone number and the show’s extension, as well as a research file on Kurtz, which seems to prove that he’s a conservative, which isn’t in dispute. The file cites a couple of his more controversial pieces, notably his much-maligned claim that same-sex unions have undermined marriage in Scandinavia.

“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” says the email, which picks up a form of pressure on the press pioneered by conservative talk radio hosts and activists in the 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz’s lies,” it continues.

The results were beyond the Obama’s camp expectations.
Zack Christenson, executive producer of “Extension 720 with Milt Rosenburg,” said the response was strong.

“I would say this is the biggest response we’ve ever got from a campaign or a candidate,” he said. “This is really unprecedented with the show, the way that people are flooding the calls and our email boxes.”

Christenson said the Obama campaign was asked to have someone appear on the show and the headquarters declined the request.

“He got into the files just yesterday, so we wanted to have him on to find out what he found and, if at all possible, we wanted to get the Obama campaign to get their side of the story,” Christenson said. “That’s why the uproar is kind of amazing, because we wanted the Obama campaign’s take as well to kind of balance it out.”

The show’s producer said the calls dropped off after the show’s first hour. He did not have a count of calls, but said it was “non-stop.”

Obama’s campaign has launched similar offensives against stations that have run campaign ads that it did not like.

The point is not that these Obamabots didn’t have the right to call in and complain. They most certainly did. The question is just what is it that Kurtz or Simmons, or anyone else is saying about Ayers and Obama that is untrue? The callers could not give specifics of “the smear.” The Obama camp has yet to be specific about how Kurtz is “smearing” Obama.

Apparently, Milt Rosenberg spent so much time dealing with these fanatics that Kurtz could barely get a word out (you can hear the audio here).

As I mentioned the other day, this is playing politics “The Chicago Way” – perhaps more Sicilian than South Side, “back of the yards boys.”

And the Obama campaign is using the DOJ as their own hit men.


Allow me to take off my partisan hat for a moment and try to give a coldly analytical view of the Democratic convention at the halfway point.

It seems to me that the major themes of the convention have largely been subsumed by the Clinton drama and that the more the Obama camp tries to assuage the hurt feelings of the PUMA’s, the Hillraisers, and the bitter end Hillaryites, the more they become resistant to the call for unity. Frankly, I don’t know what else the Obama people could be doing to rectify this situation. They have bent over backwards to accommodate the wishes of Hillary’s campaign and, by extension, her supporters. And all that they seem to be getting for their trouble are leaks about how “arrogant” they are and how they have been disrespectful to Hillary and her supporters.

What this has done is elevate the level of tension in the hall so that rather than coming off excited and confident, the Democrats seem hesitant and worried. And the speeches – with a couple of notable exceptions – haven’t helped matters.

True, political oratory is a lost art on both sides of the aisle and I expect the GOP convention to feature equally snooze-worthy addresses. But if you look at the major addresses so far, you can be forgiven for being a little perplexed.

The success of the Kennedy and Michelle Obama speeches can be attributed to their emotional appeal on a personal level and not to how they fit into any overall attack strategy or even how they fulfilled the particular theme of Monday evening – “One Nation.” Yes, the minor addresses did that quite nicely with a wonderful rainbow of people testifying to how the last 8 years have been detrimental to America. But no one saw those speeches unless you were watching C-Span or PBS. The Kennedy-Michelle speeches were personal triumphs and dramatic, heart tugging political theater. But what did they accomplish for the Obama campaign?

Just for contrast, look at the first night of the 2004 GOP convention. Giuliani and John McCain brought the crowd to their feet with attacks on Kerry and the Democrats. The Rudy speech had the dual kicker of 9/11 still being relatively fresh in people’s minds and the convention being held in New York City. McCain’s ringing endorsement of Bush that night contrasted with Hillary’s rather desultory unity speech last night tells the story.

I’m not the only one mystified by the first night’s speeches. James Carville, Paul Begala, and other partisan Democratic commentators also talked about the lack of a unifying message and the fact that the Democrats were wasting time by not going after McCain and the Republicans. Many lefty bloggers were also disappointed although they were effusive in their praise for Michelle Obama’s home run of a speech about her family. Again, if the goal were to capture an audience with drama and hold them, the Obama campaign succeeded. But as far as getting out a specific message and savaging the Republicans? Not so much.

They did a much better job last night but Holy Jesus someone give Mark Warner a shot of Vitamin B. Thankfully, his “Keynote” address lasted only about 15 minutes because I haven’t seen a keynoter that bad since Clinton’s 45 minute drone in 1988. I hesitate to bring up Zell Miller’s rousing killer of a speech from 2004 if only because you can’t compare apples and Sominex. Still, Warner gave an interesting speech even if it had no partisan red meat for the faithful to gnaw on. The question is was anyone in the TV audience listening after 5 minutes?

This brings us to Hillary’s roof buster. She has improved her public speaking skills enormously in the last 18 months. The transformation has been remarkable. I would say the last third of her speech was the best part of the convention so far for the Democrats and the best I’ve ever seen from her.

Josh Marshall also noticed the vast improvement:

That was quite a speech. It occurred to me as she built to the conclusion in the last few minutes, that the pre-2008 Hillary Clinton would not have been capable of that speech. That’s not a dig. But she grew incredibly as a candidate over the course of this campaign. And this was an immensely powerful delivery, and a richly woven together speech. The beginning seemed fine but not remarkable. But it slowly built into something very powerful.

But I somewhat agree with this analysis by Ron Fournier of AP that she never personalized her endorsement of Obama and that by making her support for the nominee an extension of her own campaign, she lessened its impact:
She took the high road Tuesday night because it was also her best road politically; if Obama wins, she still emerges as a central voice in American liberalism, replacing the ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy. And if Obama loses, as Hillary said he would during the campaign, she is blameless and the party can turn back to her without guilt in four years.

Behind the scenes Tuesday, the Obama and Clinton camps struck a tentative deal that would allow some states to cast votes in a roll call before somebody — possibly Clinton herself — cuts short the tally and asks the convention to nominate Obama by unanimous consent. This was her price for ending her historic bid for the presidency in a manner that, however messy, still left Obama in a stronger position than Kennedy left Jimmy Carter in 1980, when the Massachusetts senator extracted platform concessions and shrank from the traditional unity show at the final gavel.

But she did extract her price.

The bill came due Tuesday. The crowd. The applause. The promise of a vote Wednesday, and a speech laced 17 times by some variation of the pronoun “I.”

She barely mentioned Obama for the first 2/3 of her speech (3 times by my count) and then poured it on during the last third. Did her call for unity fall on deaf ears? This piece in WaPo tried to gauge reaction by interviewing a dozen or so Hillary supporters – many of whom had variations of this response:
Most delegates agreed that Clinton’s impassioned speech marked a step toward reconciliation. The crowd in the Pepsi Center stood to applaud almost every time she mentioned Obama by name.

John Burkett, a Pennsylvania delegate and staunch Clinton supporter, attached an Obama button to his shirt. A New Mexico delegate said the “H” on his shirt will be replaced with an “O” come Thursday.

The last survey I saw had about 30% of Hillary supporters saying they would either stay home or vote McCain. I think most of those started on the road to the realization that Obama is really their only choice and will vote for him in November. In the end, given history and the partisan times we live in, I would expect that 30% to fall far below 10% by election day.

One other note on the speeches. I thought that Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was outstanding. I can see how he won in such a heavily Republican state. Very personable and likable.

The LA Times’ Peter Wallsten added that party activists “got a glimpse Tuesday of a surprising new breakout star: a jovial, round-faced warrior with a bolo tie who managed to attack Republicans while keeping a smile on his face.”

Keep an eye on Schweitzer. We’re likely to hear more from him in the future.

I’ll agree with that except any politician from a small state – Republican or Democrat – is always at a disadvantage in a national race. Not impossible to overcome but they start out behind because of a bias in the MSM against them. I might add that candidates from the deep south have the same problem.

Overall grade for the convention so far? I give it a C+. Obviously some of that was beyond Obama’s control given his problems with Hillary Clinton and her supporters. And his campaign has done everything they can, going more than halfway to meet Clinton’s concerns. But the impression I’ve gotten is that many Hillary supporters don’t want to be convinced and their tepid support is dragging down the convention a little.

The Democrats have a case to make and they are not consistently making it – too many tangents, too many other stories about Hillary, Bill, and that whole drama are distracting from what should be their main message; the country can’t afford 4 more years of a Republican in the White House. I think the country is ready for that message, will be receptive to it – if they ever get around to consistently hammering it home.

The press is to blame for stirring the pot but a good campaign will do things that take the press by the scruff of the neck and force them to cover their themes, their issues. Both Democratic and Republican candidates have been able to do this before under worse circumstances. So far, the Obama campaign has perhaps not failed but could certainly be doing a better job.

It’s not too late to turn this thing into an A+ triumph for Obama. But tonight must be a real grand slam of an evening if the country is going to be properly prepped for Obama’s big night on Thursday.

By: Rick Moran at 11:22 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Hillary Clinton's supporters split over Biden...


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

Tonight, I’ll welcome American Thinker’s News Editor Ed Lasky to the second chair as we interview National Review’s political correspondent David Freddoso whose best selling book The Case Against Barack Obama has gotten praise far and wide for its clarity and excellent documentation.

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.”

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 3:25 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)


Mayor Daley couldn’t have played it any tougher.

If you anger a big shot for the Machine in Chicago, you’re likely to lose your access to the patronage wagon that rolls around the city dispensing jobs and city contracts – a catastrophic turn of events for a local pol who depends on those goodies to keep his friends and associates happy and growing fat at the public trough. And things can get rougher for you if you’re not careful.

Own a restaurant? Amazing how the health inspector shows up and, no matter how clean the place is, writes you up for having rats in the kitchen and cockroaches on the plates.

Own an apartment building? Isn’t it amazing how the city building inspector – the guy who you usually wave to as he walks by your building during his “inspections” suddenly takes a keen interest in load bearing beams and termites infesting the woodwork.

Renewing your business licence can become a bureaucratic nightmare. Or, in one famous case (to be fair, few believe this story) one alderman was giving former mayor Richard J. Daley a hard time and city plows “forgot” to plow most of his ward after a big snow storm.

Barack Obama has shown in the past that he can be as hard as nails when it comes to political combat. You might recall that during his very first run for the state senate, he hired the best election law attorney in Chicago who showed up at the elections board one fine day and proceeded to systematically challenge the signatures on the nominating petitions of every one of his rivals. In the end, he had them all thrown off the ballot thus allowing him to run unopposed in the Democratic primary which was tantamount to being elected.

It shouldn’t surprise us then to see Obama take the gloves off and try a little political kneecapping of his opponents:

Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads.

Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project,” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks.

Obama has also launched his own response ad, directly addressing Simmons’ attempt to link him to domestic terror.

The project is “a knowing and willful attempt to violate the strictures of federal election law,” Obama general counsel Bob Bauer wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Keeney last week in a letter provided to Politico. Bauer argued that by advocating Obama’s defeat, the ad should be subject to the contribution limits of federal campaign law, not the anything-goes regime of issue advocacy.

Like every single 527 ad I’ve ever seen, it skirts very close to the edge of calling for the outright defeat of a candidate. The question they ask – “Do you know enough to elect Barack Obama?” – answers itself. But as far as an overt call for Obama’s defeat, it’s not there and for Obama to imply that it is smacks of simple, hardball politics.

But Obama has gone one better and has written letters to various TV stations who are airing the aid, threatening them with loss of advertising revenue as they claim to be organizing their supporters to urge advertisers not to buy ads on stations that run the piece. He certainly seems a little huffy when he says that the ads are “an appalling lie, a disgraceful smear of the lowest kind on the senator’s patriotism and commitment to the rule of law.”

Where might the lie be, Senator? Is it the part that talks about what the Weather Underground did – setting a bomb off in the capitol, attacking armored cars and killing guards? That part is certainly true. Or was it that you didn’t serve on the Woods Foundation Board with Ayers? The ad doesn’t even mention your close collaboration with Ayers on the Annenberg Challenge Project. Nor does it mention the several panels you appeared on with Ayers – one of which was set up by your own wife.

Just what part of the ad is a “lie?” You are on a first name basis with an unreconstructed radical, an unrepentant terrorist who wishes he could have done more violence than he actually did. The American people certainly have a right to know why you don’t think this singular relationship – an unheard of connection that you jaw droppingly defend – should disqualify you from being president.

How did we get to the point in this country where people like William Ayers, his equally unrepentant wife Bernadine Dohrn, and other radicals who advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government in the 1960’s and ‘70’s have become “mainstream?” To be sure, Obama is not alone. Mayor Daley has defended Ayers:

“I don’t condone what he did 40 years ago, but I remember that period well,” said Daley, an Obama supporter whose father, Richard J. Daley, was a favorite target of the antiwar movement when he was mayor in the ‘60s. “It was a difficult time, but those days are long over. I believe we have too many challenges in Chicago and our country to keep refighting 40-year-old battles.”

Daley sees Ayers as a bridge to the Hyde Park liberals who are always on the lookout for a candidate to oppose him and many of his cronies. It would make sense for Hizzoner to cultivate a relationship with Ayers – despite the utter contempt in which he and the vast majority of his Hyde Park neighbors hold Daley. I don’t think Hizzoner would like to hear what they call him at those UIC cocktail parties.

But it also explains how the Democratic party Machine can get close to people like Ayers, not to mention their pandering to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright and that other South Side religious bigot Father Micheal Pfleger. It’s not what any of those radicals have said or done its what they can do for the party and the Machine that’s important.

But outside of Chicago, these people are political poison, rightly disgusting average Americans and calling into question the judgment of anyone who associates with them. Perhaps Obama sincerely didn’t realize that his relationship with these radicals would be such a big deal, that no one cares what Ayers did 40 years ago or that he feels the same today. If so, that kind of insularity is frightening – one more reason to question his ability for the job.

Obama has stupidly called additional attention to the Ayers issue by releasing a weak response ad that asks why John McCain is worried about what happened 40 years ago and that Obama was only 8 years old when Ayers was committing mayhem. Either he just doesn’t get the fact that it is Ayers brazen attitude that he didn’t do enough bombing back in the day that is the problem today or he thinks no one else believes it important. And the reference to how old he was when Ayers was bombing the Pentagon is just plain weird. No one is saying Obama helped Ayers bomb the Pentagon. The point, as hammered home in the ad, is that Obama calls this man a friend. Again, perhaps he just doesn’t think it important.

Of this he will no doubt be disabused shortly. The ad is running heavily in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Unless TV stations are cowed by Obama’s hardball politics, it is likely this ad and others like it will run from now until election day. I have little doubt that the Reverend Wright will make a reappearance in the next few weeks as well, reminding the voter that despite everything that Obama says – all of his soothing platitudes and innocuous sounding tripe – this is a man who has associated with radicals for most of his adult life. And asking whether this is the kind of person we want as our next president is an absolutely legitimate exercise.

By: Rick Moran at 8:29 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (26)


It was long past midnight on July 14, 1972 when George McGovern, a good and decent man, stepped to the podium in Miami Beach to give his speech accepting the nomination of the Democratic party for president. A genuine war hero who hated what the Viet Nam War was doing to the country, McGovern rode to the nomination on the scruffy coattails of the young, the disaffected, the grudge holders, the racialists – the entire victimhood society that now controls the Democratic party.

You knew this convention was going to be different when the Illinois delegation headed up by Richard J. Daley was summarily booted from the premises when challenged by a faction led by Jesse Jackson. Daley’s “elected” delegates did not contain enough women, minorities, or homosexuals according to the new party rules pushed through by McGovern and his revolutionaries. Humiliated, Daley vowed to show McGovern who ran the Democratic party in Illinois by barely lifting a finger for him in the general election campaign. Nixon gained nearly 60% of the vote to carry the state in November.

McGovern never knew what hit him. He thought that if he allowed the crazies who rioted in 1968 to take over the party, that he would expand the base and create an entirely new coalition of the young, the left, and minorities along with traditional Democratic allies like organized labor and the intelligentsia that would open a new era in government and politics.

What McGovern didn’t count on was backlash. He himself recognized this when he remarked “I opened the door to the Democratic party and 20 million people walked out.”

In Denver this year, graduates of that 1972 laboratory in identity politics are now firmly in control of the Democratic party. They have gone from revolutionaries to party insiders. They are in Congress, the Senate, the statehouse, and staff the numerous special pleader organizations and groups that form the backbone of the party. Barack Obama was all of 10 years old at the time. His running mate, Joe Biden, was part of that revolution, running his first campaign for the Senate on a McGovern platform and winning that fall – one of the few Democratic bright spots in an otherwise dismal political year.

The 1972 convention was an unmitigated disaster for the Democrats as every special interest group with a cause or a grudge got to debate their pet issue in full view of a national TV audience that dwindled as the convention droned on. The long windedness of the speakers, the confusion, the disorganization, the whole spectacle of long haired freaks wanting to legalize marijuana, lesbians wanting recognition, women’s rights advocates pressing for an equal rights amendment, and speaker after speaker trashing the United States for its involvement in Indochina went on long past midnight, even unto dawn on a few days.

This was the background as McGovern made his pitch to the country around 1:00 AM eastern time.

McGovern’s acceptance speech is a remarkable document. You can lift entire passages from the text and place them next to remarks made by Barack Obama and the only way you would be able to tell the difference was the more flowery rhetoric of the messiah.

This is from McGovern’s speech:

Yet I believe that every man and woman in this Convention Hall knows that for 30 years we have been so absorbed with fear and danger from abroad that we have permitted our own house to fall into disarray.

National security includes schools for our children as well as silos for our missiles.

It includes the health of our families as much as the size of our bombs, the safety of our streets, and the condition of our cities, and not just the engines of war.

If we some day choke on the pollution of our own air, there will be little consolation in leaving behind a dying continent ringed with steel.

So while protecting ourselves abroad, let us form a more perfect union here at home. And this is the time for that task.

But it is in the famous peroration of McGovern’s early morning tirade – “Come home, America” – that one is struck by how little the Democratic party has changed in their ideas and class conscious rhetoric:
From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America

From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America.

From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of the neglected sick—come home, America.

Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward.

Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this “is your land, this land is my land—from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters—this land was made for you and me.”

At the time, this was revolutionary. Now, it is mainstream Democratic thought. And the hard left, having clawed its way to the top of the party pyramid through sheer hard work and a dogged determination to outlast their more moderate foes are on the verge of realizing their dream of a man who talks their talk ascending to the White House.

In a very real sense, those kids in tye died shirts and bell bottoms from 1972 have indeed “Come Home.” They’re all grown up now. They are not only teachers and lawyers for special interest groups but bankers, stockbrokers, financial planners – your neighbors and friends. To one degree or another, they have made peace with “the system” they so violently opposed in their youth. But there still burns a need to “reform” that system and make it “fair” – not as a goal but as a result. There is still resentment against “the rich” and pity for “the oppressed.”

And there is still the overweening sense in their own superior ability to tell the rest of us how we should spend our money, how we should save, what we should buy, what we must eat, what we should be watching on TV or listening to on the radio – in short, an almost messianic faith in the ability of government working through their will, to make all of our lives better. We see some of this on the far right as well – busybodies who want to peak into our bedrooms or stick their nose in decisions that are none of their business. Using government for the purposes of forcing us to behave or think a certain way regardless of whether it is the right or left is just plain wrong and has no place in a free society.

But it is on the left where this impulse is the strongest. Today they seek the same top down solutions to problems – or see a government solution to something that either isn’t a problem or would curtail our freedom of choice – advocated by George McGovern in 1972. The difference is that those 1972 Democrats were outriders, amateurs trying to play a professionals game. The result was a slaughter at the polls.

But today, those kids have grown up and become professionals. They know how to run national campaigns. They have learned not to be so forthcoming in how they intend to give us “hope and change.” The more nebulous their rhetoric the better. In this, they have found the perfect vessel – Barack Obama; a man who says absolutely nothing and says it with great feeling and emotion better than anyone in American history.

If they win, we will enter an era where the majority will attempt to remake America into something more like a European social democracy. In fact, they brag about where many of their ideas come from – the failed economic models in France and Germany. Regulation of business and industry will be reintroduced. Social programs like national health insurance, top down mandated education reform, and the alphabet soup of programs for the poor will be expanded to include “the middle class” thus making more Americans more dependent on government than ever before.

I don’t mind losing if the Democrats proudly run on that kind of platform with full disclosure of how they intend to turn America into a semi-socialist state. But they don’t have the guts to do it because they know they would lose. Hence, they will continue to hide behind Obama’s soaring rhetoric that promises such a bright future but is a little hazy on the details.

George McGovern and his revolutionaries sincerely wanted to remake America because they believed what they were advocating was consistent with our democratic heritage and values. I was one of those who supported McGovern in 1972 and believed he and the rest of us would remake America into a paradise where all shared in her bounty and peace on earth would replace the endless wars and tension with the Soviet Union. Today’s left isn’t quite as idealistic. For them, it is about power and control – a far cry from the belief that we could change their world by believing in the sheer goodness of our motives.

A scant 5 years later, I realized what utter nonsense I believed when I was 18, having had my eyes opened by reading such conservatives as Hayek, Kirk, and Buckley; that government was a utility, not an engine of change; that real change occurred in men’s hearts and minds and could not be mandated by bureaucrats and pompous legislators; that the government could mitigate the effects of inequality but not cure the underlying diseases that caused it; and that there were nations that meant to do the United States harm and accommodating them only encouraged their aggressiveness.

In a fair contest between my ideology and that espoused by the McGovernites who now control the Democratic party, I would bet the farm that the American people would choose the liberty of the individual over the crushing statism offered by the other side.

Let’s hope they make the right choice in November.

By: Rick Moran at 8:37 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (16)


Being from the Chicago area and having written about Chicago politics off and on since I began this site, many bloggers, reporters, and radio hosts have asked for my thoughts on the relationship between Barack Obama and the Chicago political Machine. Invariably, my answer is necessarily shallow and incomplete because in order to do justice to the question, many aspects of his relationship to parts of the Machine must be fleshed out while other connections must be found to the reformers and their allies. In short, there is no easy answer to the question of Barack Obama’s status as a Chicago politician and trying to pigeonhole him as Machine hack or courageous reformer just doesn’t tell the whole story.

That’s because overall, the one thing that informs Obama’s career – the one defining characteristic of his rise has been an overarching ambition to achieve high office. This has forced him to make alliances with individual Machine politicians like Illinois state Senate Leader Emil Jones and fixers like Tony Rezko. At the same time, he has kept one foot firmly planted in the reformers camp, running for the state senate out of a district that elected legendary reformer Alice Palmer while occassionally talking the talk of an anti-Machine crusader.

How does he get away with it? Obama is a very clever, very tough, very shifty politician as we have seen these past 17 months. He is both of the Machine and an outsider. And the thing that makes these seemingly disparate parts whole is the engine of his ambition. Whatever suits his plans at the moment is what determines where he comes down on an issue or a personality.

It has been fascinating to watch Obama supporters try and defend Obama’s cozying up to the Machine over the years. They refer to “building bridges” or “reaching out” to all factions in order to pass a bill. This paean to Obama in today’s Washington Post by author of the V I Warshawski crime novels Sara Paretsky that purports to “explain” Obama’s Chicago career is an example of what I mean:

Like me, Barack Obama arrived in Chicago with high ideals and a passion for social justice. Unlike me, he found that his road does lead through electoral politics. One of my novels, “Burn Marks,” shows how an idealistic person can be squeezed by the political process. In that book, my fictional president of the county board, Boots Meagher, gets involved in an arson-for-hire scheme that leads to murder and almost gets V I Warshawski killed when she investigates. At the end of the novel, after V I gets too close a look at the lengths to which some people will go to keep the right friends friendly, she gets a key reminder from an old pal: “This is Chicago, sweetheart, not Minneapolis.”

That book presents a snapshot of the most sordid aspect of Chicago and Cook County politics, but I believe that Obama has found a way of threading the needle between working with the established powers and maintaining a commitment to social justice. He ran for Congress in the 2000 primary against four-term incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush. He steered clear of the key players in the Illinois Democratic Party to run as clean a campaign as possible, and he lost resoundingly. Since then, he has built essential bridges without seeming to have lost his integrity.

“Threading a needle” is a misnomer. Obama’s “commitment to social justice” is exactly as deep as it needs to be at the moment. And if his stand on an issue like abortion or gun control causes problems, he simply changes it and then claims he never did – even in the face of quotes from speeches that make him out to be a liar. It is breathtaking. And it is shameless. But it has stood him well over the years.

And Paretsky is laughably uninformed of she believes Obama eschewed endorsements from the Machine in his 2000 race against Bobby Rush in order to run a “clean campaign.” The fact is, Rush had all the major endorsements locked up already, giving Obama, who would have killed for an endorsement from Jones, Stroger, or Daley himself, nowhere to go for major support but the weak and ineffective reformers he had been lukewarm toward for 4 years. Obama lost badly and took away a valuable lesson in defeat; next time I run I’m going to have the Machine in my corner.

Enter Emil Jones, long time Democratic leader of the state senate and the consummate Machine insider. The story of how Obama came to run for the United States Senate is revealing not only of Obama’s overweening ambition but also of his unadulterated gumption when his own career is at issue.

The story, perhaps apocryphal, has Obama walking into Jones’ office following the ascension of the Democrats to majority status in the state senate for the first time in 26 years in 2002. The way Jones tells it, Obama told Jones he had “the power to elect the next senator from the state of Illinois. Jones responded, “Do you know anybody I could make a US senator?” Obama reportedly replied “Me.”

Rather than kick the young whippersnapper out of his office on his ear, Jones chuckled and spent the next year building Obama up. How did he do that?

When asked about his legislative record, Obama rattles off several bills he sponsored as an Illinois lawmaker.

He expanded children’s health insurance, made the state Earned Income Tax Credit refundable for low-income families, required public bodies to tape closed-door meetings to make government more transparent and required police to videotape interrogations of homicide suspects.

And the list goes on.

It’s a lengthy record filled with core liberal issues. But what’s interesting, and almost never discussed, is that he built his entire legislative record in Illinois in a single year.

It was Jones who attached his name to those 26 pieces of legislation. And it was Jones who also gave Obama some other high profile issues to shine on:
Jones further helped raise Obama’s profile by having him craft legislation addressing the day-to-day tragedies that dominated local news headlines.

For instance, Obama sponsored a bill banning the use of the diet supplement ephedra, which killed a Northwestern University football player, and another one preventing the use of pepper spray or pyrotechnics in nightclubs in the wake of the deaths of 21 people during a stampede at a Chicago nightclub. Both stories had received national attention and extensive local coverage.

Obama supporters never mention why Jones might have been so forthcoming in his support of this unknown state senator who had been shellacked by 30 points in his one campaign for higher office. The idea that a Machine insider would do anything for anybody without expecting something in return is ludicrous. So just what did Jones want from Obama?
Last June, to prove his commitment to government transparency, Obama released a comprehensive list of his earmark requests for fiscal year 2008. It comprised more than $300 million in pet projects for Illinois, including tens of millions for Jones’ Senate district.

Shortly after Jones became Senate president, I remember asking his view on pork-barrel spending.

I’ll never forget what he said:

“Some call it pork; I call it steak.”

Spoken like a true Chicago pol.

We see a similar pattern of behavior in his relationship with Tony Rezko, the convicted fraudster and political fixer who took Obama under his wing when he was a young attorney working at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a small but well connected law firm that was assisting Rezko and his associates with getting city and state contracts to rehab low income housing.

The relationship with Rezko is perhaps the most complex of Obama’s life. Rezko was apparently the initiator of many of the contacts between the two. While Obama mostly saw Rezko for what he was – someone who could do him a lot of good when it came time to run for office. Were the two men friends? In the tangled world of Chicago politics, it would be more accurate to say that the two were “associates.” Rezko almost certainly annoyed Obama at times with his efforts to get closer to the young man while Obama, clearly seeing electoral consequences with getting too chummy with a character like Rezko no doubt tried at times to keep him at arms length.

We see this most clearly in Rezko helping Obama acquire his mansion. It seems unbelievable but apparently, Rezko did indeed show up almost out of the blue with an offer to buy the vacant lot next door to the mansion thus making it possible for Obama to save around $600,000 on the purchase price. The sellers of the house have confirmed as much as they also confirmed that there were no other bidders on the property. This is not out of the ordinary in that Rezko was, as I said, usually the initiator of contact between the two. For his part, Obama would then use Rezko as a bundler for his political campaigns as well as using Rezko’s extensive contacts in the Chicago real estate development community to meet others who could shake the campaign money tree.

Obama used Rezko’s “generosity” in order to buy his dream home even though at the time, Rezko was being investigated for the crimes that are sending him to jail and Obama knew it. What did Rezko want in return? Continued access to Obama is certainly one price the senator paid for Rezko’s largess. There is some evidence that came out at the trial that Rezko was in contact with Washington lawmakers, trying to get them to intervene with the State Department who had denied a visa to one of Rezko’s business partners, billionaire Nadhmi Auchi. Obama denies he or anyone in his office contacted Foggy Bottom on behalf of Auchi or Rezko but such interference is common and there would be little evidence of it anyway.

So the question of why a “reformer” would be hanging around with a shady Chicago fixer answers itself; because both men found they could do each other a lot of good. For years, Rezko was Obama’s goto guy for campaign money while Obama worked diligently at the state level to steer lucrative rehab and other contracts to his associate. Perfect political symbiosis and very revealing of Obama’s working with the Machine whenever doing so would help his career.

What do the small group of dedicated Chicago reformers think of Obama? The one word that continually escapes their lips when describing Obama is “pragmatist.” On several high profile issues, Obama has indeed supported them – if rather tepidly at times. But on some key endorsements, Obama has chosen to back the Machine hack rather than the reform candidate. The case of Dorothy Tillman is instructive. A corrupt, hard nosed woman, she was famous for drawing a gun in a city council meeting. The reformers put up an excellent, well qualified candidate to run against her in the Democratic primary:

Just three months before Obama made his endorsement, the Lakefront Outlook community newspaper ran a three-part investigative series exposing flagrant cronyism and possible tax-law violations that centered on Tillman and her biggest pet project, a taxpayer-funded cultural center built across the street from her ward office that had been hemorrhaging money since its inception.

In the end, Tillman lost the election despite Obama’s endorsement, which critics said countered his calls for clean government. Obama told the Chicago Tribune that he had backed Tillman because she was an early supporter of his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.

Tillman was also a close ally of Mayor Daley and Cook County boss John Stroger – two men who Obama absolutely needed on his side in his run for the presidency. Indeed, Obama also endorsed Daley himself, proclaiming that city hall had been “cleaned up” thanks to the Mayor’s efforts. The rank cynicism of saying that he was endorsing the man who made city hall a cesspool of corruption in the first place was visible to anyone who cared to look.

The fact that both sides in this debate over Obama’s ties – or lack of them – to the Machine have ammunition for their arguments should tell you a lot about how Obama has managed this sticky, complicated relationship over the years. But there is little doubt that he was nurtured by the Machine, cut his teeth using the tactics of the Machine – as when in his first state senate race, he had all the other candidate’s ballot petitions thrown out by challenging the signatures – and in the end, allowed the Machine to embrace him as their candidate for president of the United States. Many of his top campaign aides are connected to the Machine in one way or another. And, of course, he moved his campaign headquarters from Washington to Chicago which no doubt pleased Mayor Daley.

The biggest question I have is will this complex dance with the Chicago Machine continue if Obama wins the presidency? What’s the payoff for Daley and his cronies? To believe that those fellows support a candidate out of altruism is loony.

And maybe its time the American people started asking themselves the same question.

By: Rick Moran at 10:11 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Campaign Notebook: Obama defends species act...

In choosing Senator Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate, Barack Obama has acknowledged his own shortcomings while recognizing that the election he and his people thought a cakewalk a few months ago is now a battle royale along the lines of the 2000 and 2004 contests.

Republicans would do well not to celebrate too much over this choice. On the surface, it may appear to be a mistake – an almost comically bad selection by Obama due to Biden’s well known (and well documented) verbal gaffes. And, as Politico points out, this should worry the Obama camp:

But while Biden, 65, made strides during the primary season on curbing his legendary penchant for leaving no thought unspoken, those who have watched him (and listened to him) over the years know the Obama team will spend some sleepless nights wondering what he might say at any given moment.

Leaving that aside, Biden is a formidable presence and brings quite a bit to the table. He is, by Democratic party standards, a moderate, especially on foriegn policy where he has distinguished himself as Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate. He voted for the Iraq War and has consistently advocated victory in that conflict. An early and harsh critic of Administration Iraq policy (like John McCain), Biden and McCain have been seen as the biggest advocates for putting more troops into Iraq as far back as 2004. He supported Bush’s Pakistan policy until he began to run for president. He has taken a tough stance against the Russians. He has fully backed our efforts in Afghanistan.

He can be called a foreign policy realist – something he will have to abandon now that he is running with the most idealistic and naive candidate in history. But Obama doesn’t care where he stands on issues as much as his perceived “experience” overcomes his own lack of foreign policy credentials.

Domestically, he is further left but has been known as a friend of credit card companies and banks. He is very liberal on social policy (he received a 0% rating from the Family Research Council) and does well with organized labor. He got a perfect score from the liberal ADA in 2005 and 2006.

What are Obama’s expectations? What does he bring to the ticket?

Joe Biden is an attack dog, a savage puncher who brings some skills to a debate. He will more than ably fill the traditional role of a running mate by attacking McCain like there’s no tomorow while Obama preaches his hope and change mantra staying above the fray.

It is true that Biden is in love with his own voice (most senators are) and he can be very windy at times. But the Obama camp will keep him on a very short leash which will help and I expect he will also be somewhat protected from the press. This may minimize the gaffe potential.

As far as his personal attributes he is an emotive sort of fellow which plays well with most voters. He has a working class upbringing although after 36 years in the senate, he is far beyond those humble beginnings. He is a Catholic and may help shore up Obama’s working class Catholic base that Hillary won so handily in Pennsylvania and other states.

I’ve listed most of his negatives except the intangible. Joe Biden is the consumate inside the beltway, Washington insider. For Barack Obama to go before the people now offering “hope and change” is ludicrous. Also, Biden is only 7 years younger than John McCain so using his age against him is now under the bus.

But it is his ability as a back alley brawler that Obama probably chose him. His sarcasm can sometimes be too biting and at times he comes off as just plain mean. But when he smiles that huge, teeth baring grin and lets loose a torrent of invective against his opponent, he can be fearsome.

This campaign started with both men saying they wanted to elevate dialogue and stay away from personal attacks. But any student of history can tell you that this is the strategy of the loser and the winner is usually the one who is most able to portray his opponent as the devil incarnate. Negative politics is like torture; it is used because it works. And with the country still in a 50-50 split,  the candidate who can hit first and hit the hardest will probably come out on top.

This blog post originally appears in The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 9:03 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

The Command T.O.C. linked with A Very Good Analysis of The Joe Biden Selection... Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Obama selects Biden to be veep running mate ...