Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, June 30, 2008

New Issue Up!

Happy 1st of July, and welcome to yet another issue of Common Conservative. We've got a "really big show" for you all this time, so sit back, put your feet up, and dig in already.

(Obligatory reminder ... this post will remain at the top of the page for the next 24 hours. Scroll down for any updates we might be inclined to put up.)

The Chief starts this issue off with a column on "Barack the Blank Slate."

Larry Simoneaux observes that gun free zones are anything but free.

Patrick Shanahan is still on hiatus (the lucky dog).

And Marcie and I tackle the gross miscarriage of jurisprudence known as Boumedien v. Bush.

Oliver Hagley starts off the guest columnists by addressing more than just one issue that happen to be on a lot of minds nowadays.

JJ Jackson takes on all the people criticizing speculators (read: Investors) in this current gas hitch.

Erik Rush correctly identifies what the Obama supporters are. (We'll fax him his winning cigar.)

Carey Roberts,/li> puts the final (hopefully) nails in the Clinton Ambition coffin now that Hillary has left the stage.

John Lillpop discusses Obama's lack of change on a sensible energy policy. (To which the rest of us asked "And you're surprised? He's a Democrat.")

And Jim Kouri wonders if the angered conservative base will be the downfall of the GOP. (We contacted the mascot, but it was unable to remember it put it's cell-phone.)

That's it. 'Nuff said. Get on over and start reading.

Publius II

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Shutting down free speech

(For the record, should this happen to us, we will move this site to TownHall.)

It seems some Obama supporters have been targeting anti-Obama blogs on Blogger. These people are Hillary supporters who have not yet jumped onto his bandwagon. Now our readers know that we are: A) Conservatives, B) We have no love for Obama, C) We have no love for Hillary, and D) We don't engage in any sort of mischief that could be considered a term of service violation on our site. We have worked long and hard to maintain our site, and to remain as relevant and fact-based (read: accurate) as possible,

But this borders on speech and thought police tactics:

Carissa Snedeker could be excused in thinking that she should have no problems in expressing her political views in the blogosphere. The Democrat had created Blue Lyon a few years ago, but had recently begun blogging about her membership in a growing group of Hillary Clinton supporters who didn’t yet support Barack Obama. Much to her surprise, when she attempted to log into her account, Blogger — run now by Google — had locked her out, as Simon Owens reports at Bloggasm:

“At first I thought it was just this random thing with Blogger’s spam bots,” she told me in a phone interview. “I thought that perhaps in their looking across the blogger universe, that I got accidentally flagged somehow. Stuff like that happens.”

But a short time later Snedeker received an email from another blogger claiming that a number of anti-Obama blogs had been “hacked” that same night. After some digging it became apparent that several Blogspot accounts had been shut down because of similar spam issues, and nearly all of them had three things in common: Most were pro-Hillary Clinton blogs, all were anti-Barack Obama, and several were listed on
justsaynodeal.com, an anti-Obama website.

A “Flag Blog” link sits at the very top of every free Blogspot account. If a person finds objectionable content on a Blogspot site or suspects it’s publishing spam, he or she can click on the link and it will send a notice to Google requesting “human review.”

I spoke to several of the bloggers who had accounts locked and every single one was convinced that it was Obama supporters who had flagged the blogs in some kind of concerted effort to silence them. But when I asked for specific evidence of this, most simply pointed out that only anti-Obama blogs were targeted — a fact that is certainly suspicious but not especially conclusive.

Read the whole piece over at Bloggasm for the full skinny. Mr. Owens notes that Ms. Snedeker is not the only one who has been targeted by Obama supporters. There have been others, and the harrassment doesn't just go to only bloggers using Google's Blogger program. Larry Sinclair (whom we have no love for either) has also been targeted.

If this is the politics of "hope" and "change" that his supporters believe in, then he needs to be stopped right now. The Democrats are already gearing up to bring back the Fairness Doctrine, which will kill talk radio. Legislation in the Congress to give bloggers the same First Amendment protections that the press has is stalled. Democrats want to silence our side of the ideological spectrum because they can't debate the issues. So in an effort to combat us, they seek to muzzle us.

This is not a spam site. This is not a site that delves into the politically stupid. (Sinclair's supposed "whitey" tape was a fake,a nd we knew that once the rumor got started.) If Blogger chooses to shut us down -- a "guilty-until-proven-innocent" scenario -- we will not return here, ever. Of course, as Captain Ed notes, Google/Blogger should be taking better care of it's customers, but that woiuld require them to hire competent people.

At the top of every Blogger blog there is an icon to click if people find the blog to be particularly offensive. That's all it takes to shut the blog down. Google will review the site to see if there is anything on their that could be deemed offensive, or if it's a spam blog, but that process takes days to accomplish, and again, the competence factor comes into play.

Muzzling us isn't going to shut us down. We'll move elsewhere. We'll continue the fight because that's why we got involved in blogging in the first place. We're political junkies, and we like to discuss such things. We love to write about politics, current events, and the law. We're not into "what's your favorite color, senator?" If we were like that, we'd be blogging at the KosKiddies sandbox.

Publius II

Dirty pool from the Left on McCain's service record

You know your making headway when the only thing the Left can throw at you is unfounded lies and vitriol about the honorable aspect of your life. John McCain is feeling that right now. Over the weekend, General Wesley "Weasely" Clark and a number of those on the portside of the 'Sphere launched into a new line of attack on John McCain. Unlike the New York times, which has swung and whiffed about a half dozen times, these nutters think they're going to gain traction in going after his war record:

The highest-voltage third rail of this presidential campaign may not be race, sex or age, but John McCain's military service.

McCain's campaign on Sunday issued a pair of outraged statements after retired general and Barack Obama supporter Wesley Clark said he didn't think that McCain’s service as a fighter pilot and prisoner of war was relevant to running the country. Obama has consistently praised McCain's service, and called him "a genuine American hero."

But farther to the left — and among some of McCain's conservative enemies as well — harsher attacks are circulating. Critics have accused McCain of war crimes for bombing targets in Hanoi in the 1960s. A widely read liberal blog on Sunday accused McCain of "disloyalty" during his captivity in Vietnam for his coerced participation in propaganda films and interviews after he’d been tortured.

"A lot of people don't know ... that McCain made a propaganda video for the enemy while he was in captivity," wrote Americablog.com's John Aravosis. "Putting that bit of disloyalty aside, what exactly is McCain's military experience that prepares him for being commander in chief?"

OK, Sparky, let's play your stupid, little game. Yes, McCain did do certain things while in captivity. It's called "breaking." They broke him. I can't recall too many people who haven't broken after enduring months and months of torture -- both physical and psychological. The NVA was good at it. The Koreans were good at it. The Japanese were good at it. Our enemies have always utilized torture as a means of extracting information. Hell, the Germans used it on spies they caught, and then their bodies were mutilated and hung.

What strikes me about this line of attack is that in 2000 Al Gore tried to use his service in Vietnam to prove he was fit to be president. That, despite the fact that he was "in the rear with the gear" typing on a typewriter. In 2004 John Kerry made his service in Vietnam the focal point of his qualifications while supporters like Dan Rather tried to besmirch George Bush's military service. But all of that seems to have gone by the wayside. Now McCain is facing attacks regarding his service. Typical of the hypocrites on the Left.

We'd like to remind General Clark of his own embarrassing situation where his orders to a British commander in Kosovo, if carried out, would have started another war. But I'm sure General Clark doesn't want to remember his own asininity in the face of slandering John McCain.

If this is the route Obama supporters are going to take, we're going to fire back with facts to show that their guys in combat don't exactly have stellar records either. And we do find this line of attack hypocritical from them. They prop their "heroes" up like they are the second coming, but God forbid a Republican cite his service as part of the qualifications to be the next commander-in-chief. Oh, and for the record, the Democrats have forgotten that to be president, you need not have served in the military. If that were a qualification, Barack Obama would be ineligible. So let's drop this line of attack, okay? It's tedious and serves no purpose to slander an American hero.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: K-Lo at The Corner has a statement released by Vets for Freedom chairman, Pete Hegseth. We suggest you read it all because he hits the nail on the pinheaded general.

Senator Obama on Firearms, via Robert Novak

The Prince of Darkness weighs in on the ever-evolving standards that Senator Obama seems to have when it comes to firearms:

After months of claiming he had insufficient information to express an opinion on the District of Columbia's gun law, Barack Obama noted with apparent approval Thursday that the Supreme Court ruled that the 32-year ban on handguns "went too far." But what would he have said had the high court's 5 to 4 majority gone the other way and affirmed the law? Obama's strategists can only thank swing Justice Anthony Kennedy for enabling Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion to take the Democratic presidential candidate off the hook.

Such relief is typified by a vigorous supporter of Obama who advised
Al Gore in his 2000 presidential campaign. Believing that Gore's gun control advocacy lost him West Virginia and the presidency, this prominent Democrat told me: "I don't want that to happen with Obama -- to be defeated on an issue that is not important to us and is not a political winner for us." He would not be quoted by name because he did not want abuse heaped on him by gun control activists.

This political reality explains the minuet on the D.C. gun issue that Obama has danced all year. Liberal Democrats who publicly deride the
National Rifle Association privately fear the NRA as the most potent conservative interest group. Many white men with NRA decals on their vehicles are labor union members whose votes Obama needs in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. That is why Obama did not share the outrage of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, an Obama supporter, over the Supreme Court's decision.

What may be Obama's authentic position on gun rights was revealed in early April when he said at a closed-door Silicon Valley fundraiser that "bitter" small-town residents "cling" to the Bible and the Second Amendment. That ran against his public assertion, as a former professor of constitutional law, that the Constitution guarantees rights for individual gun owners, not just collective rights for state militias. But his legal opinion forced Obama into a political corner.

Mr. Novak recalls the comments that Senator Obama used which dug him a deep hole. That was right before the Pennsylvania primaries, which he lost. Senator Obama forgets who those "bitter" people are. They are union people -- blue collar people who work for a living. They are teachers. They are firemen. They are dock workers, cab drivers, and truck drivers. They are America. And when he decided it was all right to slander them, it was heard around the nation. They did not appreciate that derision one bit.

So when it came to the gun case, DC v. Heller, he had to tap dance his way around it. His excuse of "I haven't read the briefs on it" is irrelevant. He is a Constitutional lecturer. What is your opinion on the Second Amendment, Senator? Forget the case, we would like to know where you stand on guns.

Of course, that is already on the record, now is it not? A pdf white paper attached to his website says it all:

Millions of hunters own and use guns each year. Millions more participate in a variety of shooting sports such as sporting clays, skeet, target and trap shooting that may not necessarily involve hunting. As a former constitutional law professor, Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he greatly respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting. He also believes that the right is subject to reasonable and commonsense regulation.

Notice that in this statement, not once are handguns mentioned. Not once does he state he believes, as a majority of the Supreme Court did, that the individual right upheld is one that revolves around us being able to defend ourselves? Not from an invading army as part of a militia, but as law-abiding citizens trying to protect ourselves, our homes, and our families. Senator Obama clearly does not agree with the court on that issue. He believes only hunters and sport shooters should be given Second Amendment rights.

Senator Obama is a lecturer on the Constitution. What is amazing is that he lacks the basic understanding of it. The Constitution sets the limits the government has to adhere to. The Bill of Rights enumerates what rights we as citizens have that the government cannot interfere with. According to Senator Obama, the government can do what it wishes when it wishes and there will be no repercussions. We, as citizens, are simply the little people who must comply.

We recall a time some 232 years ago when another man demanded we comply. The outcome, for him, was not good as his colonists embarrassed him on the world stage, and began an experiment that has lasted this long. Senator Obama would be wise to read up on his history, and understand why the people actually have firearms. It had a lot to do with throwing off the yoke of tyranny.


Romney at the Top of the McCain Veep List

This should make many conservatives happy. We know that a fair amount of them have said that if Senator McCain does not choose Mitt Romney that they may not vote for him. He brings a good deal to the ticket, including experience with economic issues -- a field in which Senator McCain has admitted weakness in.

From Mike Allen @ The Politico:

Surprising many Republican insiders, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is at the top of the vice presidential prospect list for John McCain. But lack of personal chemistry could derail the pick.

“Romney as favorite” is the hot buzz in Republican circles, and top party advisers said the case is compelling.

Campaign insiders say McCain plans to name his running mate very shortly after Barack Obama does, as part of what one campaign planner called a “bounce-mitigation strategy.”

The Democratic convention is in late August, a week ahead of the Republican convention. That means McCain can size up the opposing ticket before locking in his own.

The McCain campaign declined to comment, saying McCain has made it clear they are not to discuss the matter.

One of the chief reasons the Massachusetts governor is looking so attractive is his ability to raise huge amounts of money quickly through his former business partners and from fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons.

McCain sources tell Politico that they believe Romney could raise $50 million in 60 days. One close Romney adviser said it could even be $60 million.

Romney’s other advantages, according to people involved in McCain’s screening process:

— Squeaky-clean and fully vetted by the national media.

— Has presidential looks and bearing and immediately would be a strong campaigner who could be trusted to stay on message.

— Family’s Michigan roots would help in a swing state that went Democratic in 2004.

But there’s one big problem: Despite the buddy-picture choreography of a McCain-Romney campaign swing, McCain remains less than enamored with Romney.

And it’s not just the candidate. Some of McCain’s closest confidants evince little enthusiasm for Romney, feelings that are owed in part to lingering bad blood from the GOP primary, a genuine skepticism that such a conventional pick could bolster the ticket in a grim year for the GOP and concerns about whether his Mormon faith could imperil McCain in Southern states that Obama hopes to put into play.

And who exactly raised the issue of Governor Romney's faith in the primaries? It was not Senator McCain. No, it was Governor Huckabee. That is correct. Good old Mike Huckabee playing the role of the idiot Christian preacher raising questions about faith. That was one of the biggest reasons why we absolutely refused to support that man. He brought religious bigotry into the campaign where it was not needed.

The Mormon question has been dealt with. The press was in a tizzy after Governor Romney's speech on faith that he was not specific. Of course he will not be specific. He cannot be. That is a part of his faith, and it should be respected, not ridiculed. But he brings four things to the table that McCain's campaign people should be looking at.

His message on the economy is bar-none one of the best. He can raise a good deal of money. He is LDS, which plays to states like Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Missouri. And with his ties to Michigan, he will put the state in play.

The McCain camp would be wise to seriously consider Governor Romney. Thomas and I work in circles with many politically savvy Republicans, and many of them are saying that if Governor Romney is not the choice, they simply will not vote. Only a couple are willing to bend if the choice is Governor Pawlenty or Governor Palin. Other than that, there is no give.

If Senator McCain wants even an outside chance of bringing the base back on board, he should seriously consider Governor Romney. And he should make his announcement soon. Do not wait for Senator Obama. He will likely not make his announcement until the convention. Make this announcement as soon as possible, ride the bounce into the convention, and start drawing your base back in. Forget the "bounce-mitigation strategy." That sounds too much like Rudy Giuliani backing himself into Florida, and not competing in the earlier primary states.


Obama: Is He Bigger Than The Clintons In Hollywood?

Jeffrey Ressner @ The Politico asks that question in an interview with Rob Reiner. Now I am not going to cite any part of the interview. This is due only to the fact that it is a particularly boring interview. The central question is simple:

Is Obama bigger than the Clintons in Hollywood?

I think the question is improperly conveyed. He is likely to have the support of Hollywood; at the very least 98% of their support. Hollywood loves liberals. It is not out of anything other than ideological similarities. Hollywood is thoroughly insulated from the "real world." Actors and actresses, producers and directors, etc., all live in a fantasy world where they are waited on by their "handlers." Actors and actresses have "go-fers" that handle everything from their coffee of their dry cleaning. And they always gush over them. Sort of like how supporters of Senator Obama gush over him.

I also think the main reason why they jumped on the Obama coattails, and not on Senator Clinton's during the primaries is because the Clintons are yesterday's news. There is little that Hillary or Bill can do for Hollywood. When they were in the White House they could hand out favors, invite them to dinner, stay in the Lincoln bedroom, and such. Now, that cannot be handed out. They are in no position to hand out favors.

Senator Obama, on the other hand, could very well do that if he were elected. Additionally, I think Hollywood has joined the rest of the country who are simply sick of the Clintons. They were in our lives for eight years while Bill was president, and as long as Hillary is a senator, they continue to be here. The nation would love nothing more than to see both of them go back to Arkansas, and fade into obscurity. But that will never happen. They love the limelight. They love the attention. And they are not happy that the press, Hollywood, and many of their old friends are treating Barack Obama like a rock star. That, sadly, is their problem.

They should have known that when he gave the speech at the Democrat National Convention in 2004 that he was going to be a rising star in the party. The press simply went ga-ga over his speech, and noted that he had the potential to be president. Now, he is on that fast track.

Mr. Reiner said that he would do whatever was asked of him in terms of campaigning for Senator Obama, ad that he had spoken with his friends who also pledged support for him. Hollywood loves that star potential, and Senator Obama has plenty of it. Bill and Hillary had that, too. Recall the movie "Primary Colors" which was loosely based on Bill Clinton's 1992 run for the presidency? Could Hollywood do the same with Barack Obama? They could, and everyone knows that Hollywood can paint a person as good or bad.

Is he bigger? We do not think so. We think he is just the newest flavor of the month for Hollywood. He will have their support, and they will do whatever they can to see him win the presidency. He is young and charismatic, and they do so love that about people. The Clintons are old and out of the loop, so to speak. And Hollywood, just like America, in general, is probably fed up with the Clintons. It is simply a matter of Hollywood moving on, and the Clintons not getting the memo yet.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On DC v. Heller

Unlike yesterday, where I dove into the decision before actually reading it, I believe I will cite the initial news, then go read the decision before commenting on it. But, this is a momentous decision, and the court finally got one right:

The Supreme Court says Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the justices' first major pronouncement on gun rights in U.S. history.

The court's 5-4 ruling strikes down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision goes further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The basic issue for the justices was whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own guns no matter what, or whether that right is somehow tied to service in a state militia.

Lyle Denniston @ SCOTUSblog has a quick summary here and the 157 page decision is here. I will say this though and that is the decision is a blow to those who think like Senator Obama. Those who believe this right applies only to hunters and sportsmen are dead wrong. It applies to the people, in general, and their ability to defend themselves.

Now it is time to do some reading.


ADDENDUM: Heh. Jim Geraghty @ NRO's Campaign Spot weighs in with the following:

The Heller decision comes down today from the Supreme Court, either upholding or striking down the Washington, D.C. gun ban.

In preparation for the decision, it appears that another Obama statement is
reaching its expiration date:

With the Supreme Court poised to rule on Washington, D.C.'s, gun ban, the Obama campaign is disavowing what it calls an "inartful" statement to the Chicago Tribune last year in which an unnamed aide characterized Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as believing that the DC ban was constitutional.

"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

The statement which Burton describes as an inaccurate representation of the senator's views was made to the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 20, 2007.

In a story entitled, "Court to Hear Gun Case," the Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant and Michael J. Higgins wrote ". . . the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he '...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.'"

All statements by Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nutty Nancy Is On The Loose

We have little respect for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. It is not personal dislike. It is professional dislike. This woman is a incompetent, partisan hack who wants to institute the worst policies for this nation. Whether it is floating the idea of suing OPEC, or supporting windfall profits taxes on oil companies, or doing virtually nothing over the two years the Democrats have controlled the House, her inane ideas have done nothing to help this nation. Now John Gizzi @ Human Events shows us her true colors:

The speaker of the House made it clear to me and more than forty of my colleagues yesterday that a bill by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) to outlaw the “Fairness Doctrine” (which a liberal administration could use to silence Rush Limbaugh, other radio talk show hosts and much of the new alternative media) would not see the light of day in Congress during ’08.

In ruling out a vote on Pence’s proposed Broadcaster's Freedom Act, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA.) also signaled her strong support for revival of the “Fairness Doctrine” -- which would require radio station owners to provide equal time to radio commentary when it is requested. Experts say that the “Fairness Doctrine,” which was ended under the Reagan Administration, would put a major burden on small radio stations in providing equal time to Rush Limbaugh and other conservative broadcasters, who are a potent political force. Rather than engage in the costly practice of providing that time, the experts conclude, many stations would simply not carry Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other talk show hosts who are likely to generate demands for equal time.

At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor yesterday, I asked Pelosi if Pence failed to get the required signatures on a discharge petition to get his anti-Fairness Doctrine bill out of committee, would she permit the Pence measure to get a floor vote this year.

“No,” the Speaker replied, without hesitation.

She added that “the interest in my caucus is the reverse” and that New York Democratic Rep. “Louise Slaughter has been active behind this [revival of the Fairness Doctrine] for a while now.”

Pelosi pointed out that, after it returns from its Fourth of July recess, the House will only meet for another three weeks in July and three weeks in the fall. There are a lot of bills it has to deal with before adjournment, she said, such as FISA and an energy bill.

“So I don’t see it [the Pence bill] coming to the floor,” Pelosi said.

“Do you personally support revival of the ‘Fairness Doctrine?’” I asked.

“Yes,” the speaker replied, without hesitation.

(Please be sure you scroll below this piece to see how she is urging a filibuster of the FISA reforms in the Senate.)

So in essence, Ms. Pelosi believes in curtailing the freedom of speech. I think it is safe to make that assumption, based on the exchange. The free market helped spawn talk radio as we know it today. And from that the alternative media was born, and continues to thrive today. But Madam Pelosi dislikes the fact that we do have the freedom to speak our minds on a variety of subjects.

The freedom of speech, as enumerated under the First Amendment, gives us the right to speak out on our government. This was one of the founding principles of this nation. The First Amendment is all about our rights when it comes to the government. We have the right to speak out against it, assemble in protest over its decisions, demand a redress of grievances, the press has unfettered rights to criticize the government, and religion enjoys non-interference from it. When it comes to speech, we all have a right to speak. But we do not have the right to be heard.

Anyone of us can listen to someone rail about this issue or that issue, but we do not have to stick around and continue listening if we do not wish to. Madam Pelosi dislikes the fact that we do choose to tune into talk radio, and that we receive information from talk radio that we would not otherwise know about. The media, after all, is severely falling short in its job of news reporting. So if talk radio is quashed, which is what will happen if the Fairness Doctrine is instituted, then what will be next? Blogs? Vlogs? Other commentators on the Internet?

She should also consider this: If she does reinstate it, what is to prevent the Supreme Court from striking it down because it directly violates our freedom of speech? She seems to forget that in 1984 Associate Justice William Brennan wrote, in FCC v. League of Women Voters that they would reexamine the Fairness Doctrine if it had "the net effect of reducing rather than enhancing speech." No one can argue the contrary that the Fairness Doctrine would, indeed, curtail speech and not enhance it.

This is today's Democrat Party. They cannot compete in the realm of debate or with ideas. They seek only to curtail -- control, if you will -- the rights of the people of this nation.


On Kennedy v. Louisiana

First thing this morning, Marcie posted her initial reaction to the decision (before reading the actual decision), and it was, in my opinion lackluster. (No, I'm not bagging on my wife, so don't even go there.) But without having read the decision she couldn't thoroughly speak on it. We have now read it, and we are unimpressed with Justice Kennedy's view of this case. In fact, we are quite underwhelmed by his jurisprudential thought, and we are not surprised at the decision from the liberal wing of the court.

For years, the court has attempted to do away with the death penalty because, in their view, the practice is barbaric, or as the five justices today decided, it's "cruel and unusual." OK. Fine. Play that game you dolts. Ed Whelan can make no sense of the decision, but he offers this thought regarding the case:

Given previous rulings like Roper v. Simmons (see This Week for March 1, 2005), Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Kennedy v. Louisiana was entirely predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less appalling as a matter of supposed constitutional law.

Kennedy’s 36 pages of insufferable blather amount to little more than a declaration that the majority doesn’t think that capital punishment is ever a fair penalty for the rape of a child—“no matter,” as Justice Alito puts it in his dissent, “how young the child, no matter how many times the child is raped, no matter how many children the perpetrator rapes, no matter how sadistic the crime, no matter how much physical or psychological trauma is inflicted, and no matter how heinous the perpetrator’s prior criminal record may be.” And, Alito might have added, no matter even whether the rape victim died, so long as the rapist did not intend the death.

If I find time, I may focus more attention on Kennedy’s string of assertions. For now, I’ll just call attention to the facts that occasioned Kennedy’s pronouncement that “[e]volving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person”—the person whose dignity is the object of his concern being the rapist, not the victim and not other future victims.

We congratulate Justice Alito for handing down a particularly succinct rebuttal of his colleague. As Marcie explained this morning we have long supported an actual extension of the death penalty. It should not just be held for murderers, but extended to those perpetrators who do victimize the weakest among our society; namely women and children. Child molesters, child rapists, pedophiles, etc., in addition to those who sexually assault women. These are the basest members of our society -- the literal dregs -- that get their pleasure off the pain and victimization of those who are unable to protect themselves.

Now we'll admit that many women out there have attended self-defense courses, carry tazers or stun guns, and even firearms. (Marcie carries every time she leaves our home, no matter if it's going to school, or shooting up the road for some groceries.) But the simple fact remains that unless that female is fully prepared to defend herself, she can easily be taken by a man. If that man has the intent to rape her, there is little she can do once he subdues her. Granted, she will fight.

A child doesn't have the ability to truly fight. Kicking and punching will do little to stop an adult. And even if, by some miracle, the child knows how to handle a firearm (the likelihood of them getting to where the firearm is is nil), or can grab an instrument such as a knife, it'll only anger the adult trying to have their way with the child. This is where Justice Kennedy's “[e]volving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person” doesn't make sense. What of the respect for the victims of a crime like this?

Oh, and what of the case itself? What are the details? Ed gives a brief synopsis. Be warned, this is really sick:

The facts are graphic and awful. Kennedy (not the justice) was charged with the aggravated rape of L.H., his then-8-year-old stepdaughter. When police found L.H. some two hours after the attack, she was bleeding profusely from the vaginal area. She was transported to the hospital, where she was discovered to have a laceration to the left wall of the vagina that “separated her cervix from the back of her vagina, causing her rectum to protrude into the vaginal structure. Her entire perineum was torn from the posterior fourchette to the anus. The injuries required emergency surgery.” Shortly after he committed the rape, Kennedy called a colleague to ask “how to get blood out of a white carpet because his daughter had ‘just become a lady.’”

OK, Justice Kennedy, care to explain how you and your "nuanced" colleagues can come to the conclusion that lethal injection (which you did uphold as not being cruel) is cruel and unusual punishment for this piece of vermin? How you and your colleagues believe that life in prison for this scum is equal to the pain -- both physical and emotional -- that this child will have to live with the rest of their lives? For crying out loud, sir, have you no decency? He called a friend and LIED about how the blood got on the carpet!

This decision is one of the worst ones we have seen in the last couple of years. We thought the court reached the epitome of stupidity in Kelo v. New London when it trumped our rights as property owners; usurping a fundamental right enumerated in the Constitution, and one deemed incredibly important by the Framers. I won't go into the four cases where the court continually chips away at the president's inherent and enumerated powers in this war. (For those keeping score, those would be Hamdi, Hamdan, Rasul, and Boumediene.) But to see a travesty like this handed down from the Supreme Court is sickening.

We're sick of hearing prattle from the high court, such as “[e]volving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person," or “specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.” (The latter comes from Griswold, which is another mockery of Constitutional Law.) The flowery rhetoric means little, as does Justice Kennedy's 36 page meanderings into areas that bear no relevance on the case in question.

It's time the Supreme Court returned to its proper purview in this nation's government. Ladies and gentlemen, you are supposed to render decisions on the law, not play Indiana Jones, and make it up as you go along. The nation is sick of watching nine unelected judges decide to rewrite the Constitution based on whims, "personal intuition, gut feelings, hairs on the back of your neck, little devils or angels sitting on their shoulders." (Yeah, the quote is from Crimson Tide, but it's worth repeating for this endeavor.)

Now, these people are hardly unaccountable. There are provisions within the Constitution that would allow the House to begin impeachment proceedings of the justices that constantly go outside their prescribed boundaries. Article II specifically states that "The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good Behaviour ..." As we can see from recent decisions, these jurists are hardly acting in "good Behaviour." They are rewriting a fundamental foundation of law without going through the enumerated process; and a process in which they have no say.

Publius II

Hoisting Obama up by his own petards

Dean Barnett has an excellent piece up at The Weekly Standard that takes Obama to task over his same old song-and-dance about Iraq:

IT'S UNLIKELY THAT I'll get to talk to Barack Obama during this presidential campaign. Since he keeps even friendlies in the media at a distance, I probably have no chance of getting an opportunity to bend his ear.

But if I could ask Barack Obama one question, it would be this: "We haven't suffered a terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. Are President Bush's policies at least partly responsible for this? If so, which ones? If not, to what do you attribute our run of luck?"

Okay, that's more like three questions, but you get the point. I'm not confident that even the non-loony left as personified by the very sober and thoughtful Barack Obama can honestly assess the current administration. Yes, the administration has made errors in a thousand different areas. But if you surveyed the public right after 9/11 and suggested there would be no more attacks on American soil in the next seven years, the percentage agreeing to that proposition would have been nil.

Of course, Obama and his campaign could never give the Bush administration any kind of credit. Obama exclusively hews to liberal conventional wisdom, and there's no room in liberal conventional wisdom for even faint praise of the current White House.

This leads to one of the big problems with Barack Obama--he is very comfortable believing and repeating "conventional wisdom," even if that conventional wisdom has grown moldy. Take the war in Iraq. According to the website Icasualties.org, there have been 312 civilian and fatalities in Iraq in June as of yesterday. That means June is on a pace to have roughly 375 Iraqi casualties. To date, the best month in that regard since the start of the war was the preceding month, May '08, which saw 506 such deaths. In other words, the situation continues to improve.

But as blogger Tom Maguire points out, if you go to Barack Obama's website, they're still partying like it's 2006. "The goal of the surge," BarackObama.com
lectures, "was to create space for Iraq's political leaders to reach an agreement to end Iraq's civil war. At great cost, our troops have helped reduce violence in some areas of Iraq, but even those reductions do not get us below the unsustainable levels of violence of mid-2006. Moreover, Iraq's political leaders have made no progress in resolving the political differences at the heart of their civil war." (Emphasis added)
We keep hearing how web savvy the Obama campaign is, so presumably it could figure out how to edit its website if it wanted to do so. Factually, one can hardly imagine a group of assertions more at odds with reality. Regarding the lack of political progress, the Obama campaign is pathetically singing from last winter's hymnbook. In terms of casualty counts, the Obama campaign is risibly mistaken or simply dissembling.

The site insists that the casualty figures have not come down to the levels of mid-2006. Let's see--in May '06, there were 1,119 civilian deaths. June '06 saw 870, July '06 1,280. Lest you think I'm cherry-picking data to embarrass the Obama campaign (something that the campaign and candidate are perfectly capable of doing on their own), I'm doing the precise opposite. August '06 had 2,966 casualties while September had 3,539.

Once again, this month Iraq is on pace to have 375 civilian casualties and last month had 506 civilian casualties. It takes a peculiarly strong disregard for the facts to insist that the 2008 figures are worse than the 2006 figures, as the Obama campaign persists in doing.

This is how Obama works. He sets himself up to "tweak" the facts to suit him, and should the mistake be pointed out, you can be sure he will blame members of his campaign for it. He has no problem throwing people under the bus. We've seen him do it before to his people. He did it back in March when The Politico uncovered a pair of questionnaires that provided embarrassing information about where Obama stands on certain issues. Despite the fact his handwriting appeared on one of them, he claims his staffers answered the questionnaires without his knowledge, and that they "mischaracterized" his positions.

So, he could throw them under the bus when it comes to the casualty numbers. But what about his statements regarding the casualty numbers? Are they based off the information from his website? It would appear so, and if that were true it speaks volumes to his knowledge. He can't sit there and say things are getting worse in Iraq, or that they're the same as they were two years ago. There has been significant progress in Iraq. Even the "treasonous" New York Times admits that the surge has worked.

Dean also points to the fact he keeps claiming that we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. By going into Iraq we probably let bin Laden escape. (Personally, we believe he's pushing up poppies in Tora Bora.) But let's suspend our disbelief for a moment, and ask what would he do with Afghanistan? Would he dispatch more troops there? Would he urge NATO to send more forces? Who knows? There is nothing on his campaign website that speaks of Afghanistan. The meme pushed by the Left with regard to Afghanistan is one that is older than John Kerry's talking points from 2004, and it still holds no more water now than it did then. In fact, US and NATO troops have had repeated success in recent months (going back to January) with nailing Taliban and AQ forces that do the Pakistani border two step. We have intelligence assets that constantly point to high-ranking Taliban commanders that reach room temperature after reaching extremely high temps from Hellfires launched from Predator drones.

It's farcical to continue hearing this from Obama. He clearly knows nothing about either theater, and to continue pushing the fallacies doesn't make him look any smarter. While he may be a shrewd campaigner, as some are beginning to take notice of, he lacks the brains when it comes down to the nitty-gritty.

Publius II

John Bolton On The Possibility Of Israeli Airstrikes In Iran

Given the fact that everything points to us doing nothing, and the Israelis running exercises, his prediction could very well come true:

The Arab world would be "pleased" by Israeli strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities, he said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

"It [the reaction] will be positive privately. I think there'll be public denunciations but no action," he said.

Mr Bolton, an unflinching hawk who proposes military action to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons, bemoaned what he sees as a lack of will by the Bush administration to itself contemplate military strikes.

"It's clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility," he said. "I don't think it's serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don't think it's in the cards."

Israel, however, still had a determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, he argued. The "optimal window" for strikes would be between the November 4 election and the inauguration on January 20, 2009.

"The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defences by buying new Russian anti-aircraft systems and further harden the nuclear installations.

"They're also obviously looking at the American election calendar. My judgement is they would not want to do anything before our election because there's no telling what impact it could have on the election."

But waiting for either Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, or his Republican opponent John McCain to be installed in the White House could preclude military action happening for the next four years or at least delay it.

"An Obama victory would rule out military action by the Israelis because they would fear the consequences given the approach Obama has taken to foreign policy," said Mr Bolton, who was Mr Bush's ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006.

"With McCain they might still be looking at a delay. Given that time is on Iran's side, I think the argument for military action is sooner rather than later absent some other development."

Thomas and I have been watching this problem unfold, and have wondered why we did not want to make these strikes. The simple answer is that we are concerned what Iran's retaliation in Iraq would be. The last thing we need is Hezbollah spilling over the border in droves to attack the Iraqis and coalition forces. That is why we believe the US will not make these strikes.

The Israelis, on the other hand, have fretted over this for the past couple of years. They have watched the world do nothing. They have seen the United Nations Security Council issue worthless, empty sanctions -- sanctions that Russia and China have refused to abide by. They realize now that it comes down to their actions; they cannot depend on the world to deal with this problem.

Can it be carried out? Mr. Bolton weighs in on the target package:

Mr Bolton, however, dismissed such sentiments as scaremongering. "The key point would be for the Israelis to break Iran's control over the nuclear fuel cycle and that could be accomplished for example by destroying the uranium conversion facility at Esfahan or the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

"That doesn't end the problem but it buys time during which a more permanent solution might be found.... How long? That would be hard to say. Depends on the extent of the destruction."

The enrichment facilities do need to be struck first. Israel likely has the intelligence as to other sites that could be hit that will set the Iranians back. But, in the same vein, the world must work to make sure no elements of the now-defunct AQ Khan network contribute to Iran's nuclear program. The last thing we need is Iran making a nuclear weapon with the enriched uranium they already have, and with the assistance of North Korea via necessary technology.

At this point in the game, the goal is to slow them down to a standstill, and force them to give up the program altogether. But to do that, the capacity for them to enrich the uranium must be stopped. That is the world's biggest concern right now. If Senator Obama wins, he will probably condemn Israel. If Senator McCain wins, he might issue a half-hearted condemnation publicly, but he will be thanking the Israelis privately -- just as much as President Reagan was thanking them after they bombed the nuclear plant in Iraq in 1981.


Feingold & Dodd To Filibuster FISA Reforms

The HuffPo is reporting these two idiots are going to work to slow down the bill's passage. While they state they probably will not stop it, they want the progression slowed down:

Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) released the following statement today in response to the announcement that the Senate this week will consider the compromise legislation that would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):

This is a deeply flawed bill, which does nothing more than offer retroactive immunity by another name. We strongly urge our colleagues to reject this so-called 'compromise' legislation and oppose any efforts to consider this bill in its current form. We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that may have participated in the President's warrantless wiretapping program, and as long as it fails to protect the privacy of law-abiding Americans.

"If the Senate does proceed to this legislation, our immediate response will be to offer an amendment that strips the retroactive immunity provision out of the bill. We hope our colleagues will join us in supporting Americans' civil liberties by opposing retroactive immunity and rejecting this so-called 'compromise' legislation.

Let me see if I can explain this to the mental midgets. Th immunity provisions were put in the bill so the telecom community would continue to participate in this program. If they do not have the immunities -- something the House and Nancy Pelosi thoroughly understood -- they will not risk being involved in the collection of intelligence against our enemies. Remember that the ACLU and other left-wing groups were preparing to file lawsuits against the telecoms on the claim they violated the privacy of "Americans."

This shows how stupid people can be. Those being surveilled were under suspicion of aiding and abetting al-Qaeda, or other terrorist groups aiding al-Qaeda (such as Zawahiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad). Most of those that fell under the surveillance were not American citizens. They were aliens here, either lawfully or unlawfully, and those people have no rights under the Constitution. Remember that the Fourteenth Amendment literally states what makes a citizen a citizen. As they are not born or naturalized, they are not citizens.

It is important that we have the FISA reforms enacted. Without it we are literally blind to our enemies. The FISA reforms would continue to make it legal for us to listen in on incoming calls from abroad, and for us to monitor those suspected of terrorist activity within the country already.

Personally speaking, while the FISA reforms are necessary to streamline the procedures and to protect the telecoms, the president has the inherent authority, under Article II, Section 2 to order such surveillance in the name of national security. Recall, please, that presidents going all the way back to Carter have utilized the NSA in such endeavours, and the courts have never questioned that authority. Now they are, and they have activist jurists on the federal bench willing to allow these sorts of suits to bully the telecoms into not helping our intelligence services.

Senator Dodd and Senator Feingold are making a big mistake in their stance on this issue. They are standing up on their soapbox, and are purposefully trying to hold the bill up. Furthermore, the inclusion of an amendment to strip the immunities out of the bill will make it worthless. We need this passed, not held up by a couple of nuts looking for time in the spotlight.


Court Strikes Down LA Law On Child Rape

We saw this one coming. We knew the court would not uphold this law. There was hope that, perhaps, the court would uphold the Tenth Amendment, but alas:

The Supreme Court has struck down a Louisiana law that allows the execution of people convicted of a raping a child.

In a 5-4 vote, the court says the law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in cases of child rape violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

"The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,"
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

There has not been an execution in the United States for a crime that did not also involve the death of the victim in 44 years.

We can argue over this decision because Thomas and I have agreed the death penalty should be extended beyond simply murder; child molesters and rapists should be included in those put to death. For the most part, a pedophile is unable to be rehabilitated. The recidivism rate, unless closely monitored by mental health professionals and law enforcement, is high -- well within the ninetieth percentile.

Anyone who is victimized in such a fashion should have their perpetrator put down. Granted, unlike Boumediene which has clear-cut jurisprudence and precedent that can be argued, our opinion regarding this one is simply that the high court dislikes the death penalty for people they feel should not be held to account for their crimes.

The rape of a child, in our opinion, falls under the purview of the state to seek the death penalty. The person in question in this case would have been given the lethal injection cocktail -- a process that was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court back in April. We only wish the high court would make up its mind when it came to the death penalty. They seem to want it eradicated, yet they hand down contradictory decisions.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Supposedly, these three were the top picks? We doubt it.

Allah decided to run with this despite the names to the contrary. Take it with a grain of salt as it comes from Joe Klein who admits this amounts to nothing more than gossip, but the veep choices seem to be the talk of the town today, which is slow to begin with:

I have no way of knowing if this is true, though the source is excellent...but the word in Republican circles is that John McCain is quite frustrated by the vice presidential selection process because he can't go with any of his top three choices. They are:

1. Former Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania--McCain loves the guy, I'm told, and Ridge might bring Pa. into the Republican fold...but he's pro-choice. Fuggedaboutit.

2. Former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida--Ahhh, Florida. But, oy, that last name.

3. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida---Ahh, Florida....and brings Latinos, too! But born in Cuba, so ineligible for the office.

Tom Ridge is a definite no-no, given his pro-choice stance even though his term as DHS chief would help the ticket. McCain is running for Commander-in-Chief, and a little extra in the intelligence realm wouldn't help. He could've also helped with Pennsylvania.

Jeb Bush? Forget it. The nation is sick of having a Bush run things. Besides, if Florida is in question, what's wrong with Crist?

Mel Martinez? He is ineligible, and he was a strong proponent of the amnesty deal which was nearly rammed down our throats last year.

The reason we believe this is nothing more than gossip is the fact that the names we keep hearing are far better, and far more qualified. For those not keeping score at home, we keep hearing the following names:

Mitt Romney
Joe Lieberman
Bobby Jindal
Sarah Palin
Carly Fiorina
Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Lindsey Graham
Trent Lott
Michael Steele
Tim Pawlenty

Now that's a heck of a lineup. Granted, we mark off Jindal (not enough executive experience), Graham (involved with amnesty), Lott (disgraced Senate Majority Leader-turned-lobbyist), Hutchinson (pro-choice, and pro-embryonic stem cell research), and Lieberman (watch the party revolt at the convention if the former Democrat is named).

That leaves Romney, Palin, Steele, Pawlenty, and Fiorina. Anyone of these five would be fine (except maybe Fiorina, thanks to McCain railing on about "obscene profits"), and any one of them would compliment a McCain ticket. The other four bring executive experience and youth to the ticket. The question remains as to what else would they bring? Romney and Pawlenty may end up bringing their states with them (Massachusetts and Minnesota, respectively), but that's about all we see.

Truth be told, the veep talk doesn't really help either side right now. With five to six months left to go for the conventions, unveiling a vice presidential nominee now might provide the other side with fodder if they're not vetted properly. So the speculation is nothing more than passing-time gossip. It's fun to guess, but in the end most of us will probably be wrong.

Publius II

"The Case Against Barack Obama"

I am sure we all remember the 2004 bestseller "Unfit for Command" which drove the final nails into John Kerry's political ambitions for the presidency. David Freddoso, formerly of National Review, is in the process of finishing up his book "The Case Against Barack Obama" and we can only assume, based on Mr. Freddoso's excellent credentials, it will be devastating:

The same publisher that distributed the 2004 best-seller that took aim at John Kerry’s Vietnam service is planning a summer release of what’s scheduled to be the first critical book on Barack Obama.

Conservative journalist David Freddoso’s “The Case Against Barack Obama” will offer “a comprehensive, factual look at Obama,” according to Regnery Publishing president and publisher Marjory Ross.

But the book’s subtitle makes clear its perspective: “The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate.”

Ross contends that the mainstream media has offered insufficient scrutiny of Obama and likens the goal of Freddoso’s book to that of “Unfit for Command,” the scathing assessment of Kerry’s war record that rocketed to No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list.

By highlighting negative aspects of Obama’s record and background, Ross says, Freddoso may compel others to offer more critical coverage of the Democratic nominee.

We doubt the media will pay much heed to this book, other than trying to find a way to keep any of the more damaging aspects off of their news reporting. It is a historical fact that the majority of voters do not pay much attention to an election until after Labor Day, and the book is being released almost a full month before that day. It is being released exactly three weeks before the Democrat convention in Denver.

But what will the book examine?

Ross declined to share any exclusive details of Freddoso’s reporting since the manuscript hasn’t been filed yet, but said the 31-year-old journalist has material from Obama’s days in Chicago, Springfield, Ill., and Washington, D.C.

In an effort to tarnish his cultivated image as a reformer, the book will examine Obama’s relationship with members of the Windy City’s vaunted politician machine, including Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Freddoso also will probe Obama’s ties to more radical Chicago figures including the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, and William Ayers, the Hyde Park resident and former Weatherman.

Moving to the national stage, the book will argue that Obama’s political views are far to the left of the mainstream. “He’s the No. 1 most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, and nobody has really examined his record,” says Ross.

We are sure that this book will hurt him, gravely. He has tried to cover up his past dealings. He has tried to maneuver the political waters with as little controversy as possible. He uses only rhetoric to persuade people to believe in what he says. We recall a piece posted by Byron York lat week that examined his community organizing days. The gist of his accomplishments? Not much.

Mr. Freddoso's book, if done right, could easily sink his campaign. We are not saying this is the "October surprise" that will kill his candidacy, but it could prompt enough doubts in the minds of others -- especially among Democrats and possibly superdelegates -- that he is the wrong guy for the job.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mark Shields -- Obama couldn't pass a polygraph test

HT to Captain Ed

That's the gist of this exchange between Mark Shields and David Brooks on PBS's Newshour. Shields is rightly indignant at Obama's decision to back out of public financing:

Barack Obama made history this week. He became the first presidential nominee since Richard Nixon in 1972 to state that his campaign will be funded totally by private donations with no limits on spending.

It was a flip-flop of epic proportions. It was one that he could not rationalize or justify. His video was unconvincing. He looked like someone who was being kept as a hostage somewhere he was so absolutely unconvincing in it. It could not have passed a polygraph test.

I mean, coming up with this bogus argument the Republicans have so much more money -- the Republicans don't have so much more money. He's raised three times as much as John McCain has. ...

So what Obama didn't admit was, up until February of this year, when he told Tim Russert that not only would he aggressively seek an agreement on public financing, that he personally would sit down with John McCain and work it out, then, all of a sudden, they realized that all these small contributions were coming in and he was going to have a financial advantage in the fall against the Republican, and they grabbed it.

David Brooks his level best to blunt the assertions made by Shields, but they don't even come close to passing the smell test:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, David, would it have helped Obama if he had just come out and said, "Look, I think I'm raising more money, and I'm raising small contributions, and I've just changed my mind?"

DAVID BROOKS: It would have at least been honest, as opposed to sort of operatic, which that video was. He treated it as if some noble decision to finalize democracy. It was ludicrous.

I do think it's the low point of the Obama candidacy, and I think it for this reason. His entire career he has put political reform at the center of it. In the Illinois legislature, in the Senate, political reform has been the essence of who he has been. And so for him to betray this, to sell out this issue, what won't he sell out?

And it really reveals something about his conscience. It reveals that he has this idealistic side, which is a serious policy side, but he also has a tough Machiavellian side, a political hack side, and he wants to win.

And so, in some ways, this is terrible because it's epic hypocrisy. In some ways, if you want a tough SOB to be your president, he's shown he is a tough S.O.B.

Obama is a "tough SOB?" You've got to be kidding me. Brooks wants Obama to cover the spectrum that the lists. He's a Machiavellian hack? Oh please. I'll put money down that Brooks probably hasn't read as much by Machiavelli as he portends. And Obama clearly hasn't studied him enough to even be equated with him.

Obama bowed out of the public financing for exactly the reason that Shields gave, and it's the same point I made on Hugh's show: He saw how much money was rolling in, and didn't want to be constrained by the limits that public funding would've demanded. There was nothing noble about the decision. It came down to simple numbers.

So what Obama did was sell himself out for the almighty dollar -- the same dollar he has railed on and on about. He was outed earlier this week regarding his ties to lobbyist money and kudos to FactCheck for nailing him on it. By opting out of the public funding program, he's show n himself to be just another politician from DC that uses flowery rhetoric to convince people he's "different." He's not different. He just has covered up his stripes because he can't change them.

Publius II

Strained Relations On The Left

Many liberal pundits keep claiming that Senator Obama can repair the rift caused by his bitter fight for the nomination against Senator Clinton. ABC News received an inside glance to the Congressional Black Caucus meeting yesterday, and it was anything peaches and cream:

A Thursday afternoon meeting between Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus grew tense and emotional for a moment -- perhaps illustrating that weeks after Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., suspended her presidential campaign, some nerves remain frayed.

Most of the meeting was cordial, and after a presentation by Obama's pollster, many members of the CBC had nothing but pleasant exchanges with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.

But not everyone.

Sources at the meeting said that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, a Clinton supporter, expressed the desire that Obama and his campaign would reach out the millions of women still aggrieved about what happened in the campaign and still disappointed that Clinton lost.

Obama agreed that a lot of work needs to be done to heal the Democratic Party, and that he hoped the Clinton supporters in the room would help as much as possible.

According to Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., Obama then said, "However, I need to make a decision in the next few months as to how I manage that since I'm running against John McCain, which takes a lot of time. If women take a moment to realize that on every issue important to women, John McCain is not in their corner, that would help them get over it."

Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., a longtime Clinton supporter, did not like those last three words -- "Get over it." She found them dismissive, off-putting.

"Don't use that terminology," Watson told Obama.

Clarke did not react the same way.

"I, personally, as a Hillary supporter, did not take that as something distasteful," Clarke said. "Nothing like that."

But, Clarke said, Watson "latched on to those three words."

In Clarke's view, Watson thought Obama had just told her to "get over it." She didn't appreciate that, and she told him so and emphasized that it was a heated campaign and lot of healing remains to be done.

"I agree," Obama said. "There's healing on both sides."

Obviously Senator Obama did not direct "get over it" at anyone in the meeting, but the reaction was to be expected. Clinton supporters still do not like him, and they do not trust him. Furthermore, the grudge they bear is not just directed at the prospective candidate. It is also directed at the media, in general, for the slights they perceived in how Senator Clinton was treated during the primary fight.

Can we blame them? After all, for eight years we saw a willing media shilling for her and her husband. They continued to do it after her election to the Senate. Now, all of a sudden, she was kicked to the curb in favor of the new flavor of the month. And that new flavor has little to offer this nation except rhetoric and insane ideas that will do more damage to the country than many posit.

His economic ideas are nuts. Windfall profits taxes on oil companies? Does he understand who will be paying those taxes? We will, at the pump, everytime we fill up our gas tanks. His proposed hike in capital gains will virtually kill the financial markets as people pull their money out of them. His payroll taxes will harm the small businessman out there trying to make ends meet in an already weakened economy.

His foreign policy views are nonsensical. I will not go into the "Winne the Pooh" diplomacy that Richard Danziger proposed earlier this week. But his continued insistence that we should give relevance to the worst thugs in the world that have always stood against the notion of freedom and liberty will not endear him to voters.

Yes, there is healing that needs to occur, and we are not sure he has the ability to do that.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Congressional approval numbers in the toilet

Like we needed Gallup to point out the obvious. Seriously, we know that a lot of people aren't happy with how Congress is doing it's job. But it's nice to know that Congress's fecklessness hasn't been lost on the nation, as a whole. So, it's not just us that have less respect for these monkeys:

Only 12 percent of Americans now have confidence in Congress, the lowest percentage in the 35 years that the Gallup Poll has tracked the number.

Americans now view Congress less favorably any of the 14 other American institutions tracked by Gallup, including big business, newspapers and health maintenance organizations.

Even as President Bush’s approval rating languishes at a record low, more than twice as many Americans have confidence in the presidency — 26 percent — than have confidence in Congress.

The Democrats have controlled both houses of the Congress since January 2007. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic Party brand will find itself chained to the poor public view of the legislative branch. A recent analysis of ABC News-Washington Post polls found that in April the Democrats held a 24-point lead over President Bush as "the stronger leadership force in Washington." Today, it's a tie.

While Americans have long viewed their local representative more favorably than Congress as a whole, the public's current view of Congress is exceptionally poor. Today's 19 percent approval rating (a different measure than “confidence”) ties the record low of August 2007 and March 1992.

Friday's survey showed an across-the-board disapproval of Washington, with only 32 percent of Americans expressing confidence in the Supreme Court.

No one is pleased with Congress, and it doesn't matter which party is taking the beating. Both Republicans and Democrats have been slammed by the nation for putting together the pork-laden Farm Bill. While the far Left fever swamp will continue to rah-rah Nancy Pelosi's and Harry Reid's idiotic obstructionism, the nation's not happy with them. They made a promise to the nation when they ran to recapture the Congress. The "most ethical Congress ever" was Pelosi's infamous refrain. And what did we get for that promise?

There's the Countrywide Six scandal.

A non-transparent ethics/lobbying reform bill.

A climate bill that would have severely hurt this nation's economy.

Comprehensive immigration reform that was anything but comprehensive, or even close to reform.

Continued obstruction of the president's judicial nominees, prompting the GOP to react the only way it can.

This is what we got when the majority of the nation decided to change leadership and control in Congress. We sympathized with the public. the Republicans weren't faring any better, but our warning at the times was simple: If you put the Democrats in charge, things will only get worse, and you will rue the day. It appears, on the heels of these new approval numbers, that the nation has finally accepted its own selfishness in demanding change. See, the Democrats don't do any better than our side did, and they are, in fact, worse. They have not fulfilled even a minute number of promises they made in 2006. Yes, they got their minimum wage hike passed. They put together what they called ethics reform. But that's about it. (No, we don't credit them for renaming any post offices.)

They have acted like spoiled, petulant brats. They have fought the president tooth-and-nail on our efforts in this war and on his judges. They have done everything they can to obstruct progress. Now we don't put a ton of faith in Congress. The Framers warned of doing that. "A government strong enough to provide for everything is strong enough to take it all away." We still believe in a small, less intrusive government. Congress is a "necessary evil," if you will, to this nation. But they should be doing what we want them to do. They should have their feet held to the fire. And when they make promises, they'd better fulfill them.

Democrats hare giddy at their prospects this fall of holding onto Congress. The White House is another issue, and one we'll continue to argue over. We simply don't think that Obama's the right guy to be president. His ideas are outside the mainstream and radical. But Democrats in Congress should pay close attention to their approval numbers. If only 13% like what they're doing and trust them to keep doing it, that means 87% ain't too happy with them. We'd be willing to bet that the Democrat leadership is keeping their collective mouth shut on how worried they are for the November congressional elections.

Publius II