I am spending Memorial Day Weekend in New York with my Dad.
We along with 28,743 other people are now the proud owners of a Rusty Staub Bobblehead. The New York Mets were giving them away before today’s game against the San Diego Padres. Amazingly, the Mets didn’t have Staub throw out the first pitch or have some kind of on field ceremony for him. Instead, Le Grande Orange made a cameo appearance in the stands shaking hands with a member of the Royal Canadian Navy who could not correctly identify the season Staub became the first Met to drive in 100 or more runs in season. Staub had 105 RBI for the Mets in 1975. I am amazed that it took 15 years for a Met to drive in 100 runs in a season. I am also amazed that he held the team record for 15 years until it was broken by Darryl Strawberry who knocked in 108 runs in 1990. Mike Piazza and David Wright have the Mets team record with 124 RBI in 1999 and 2008, respectively.
Speaking of Wright, he was hitting .397 going into the game. Padres starter Clayton Richard wanted no part of Wright and essentially gave him an unintentional, intentional walk in the first inning. Up came Scott Hairston. I turned to Dad and said, “His number don’t show it but this guy has pop in his bat.” A few moments later, Hairston hit a three run homerun to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. Hairston isn’t a superstar but almost every time I see him play he goes deep.
I had never heard of Vinny Rottino until today. In fact, I said to Dad, “I’d like some rottino for dinner tonight.” Well, I’m sure somebody is buying Rottino dinner tonight because he hit his first big league homerun in the first to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
The Mets didn’t score again until the 8th when Ike Davis had a pinch hit RBI double and back up catcher Mike Nickeas belted a grandslam homerun to give the Mets a 9-0 lead. It was the light hitting Nickeas’ second big league homerun.
But the star of the show was Johan Santana who tossed a complete game four-hit shutout. It was his first shutout since 2010. Santana missed the entire 2011 season due to shoulder surgery. Today, Santana made a very strong case that he has returned to Cy Young form. Santana threw 96 pitches, 74 of them for strikes. Very, very impressive. The only question is if he can sustain this over an entire season.
CitiField is an improvement over Shea Stadium. While the new Yankee Stadium is more architecturally impressive, I’d rather watch a game in Queens than in the Bronx. It also makes for a quicker day. The game lasted 2 hours and 18 minutes. At Yankee Stadium, 2 hours and 18 minutes gets you into the fifth inning with no Rusty Staub Bobbleheads in sight.
First, The Washington Post went after Mitt Romney for an alleged bullying incident which took place nearly 50 years ago. Then they went after him for a massacre committed by Mormons in Arkansas 150 years ago. Now they’ve gone after him for his rhythm or lack thereof.
As you probably know, Romney was heckled by residents of West Philadelphia (egged on in part by the Obama campaign) during a visit to a charter school run by Kenny Gamble of Gamble & Huff fame. More on him later.
Here is the WaPost’s Philip Rucker describing Romney’s interaction with schoolchildren:
Inside the school, Romney debated issues with educators and tried to connect with students. When he visited a classroom where the kids in the elementary school choir were standing, swaying and clapping to the beat of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile”, Romney appeared charmed but did not dance with them. Rather, he tapped one of his toes slightly and bobbed his head, but did not catch the rhythm.
Didn’t catch the rhythm? Romney isn’t a contestant on Dancing With The Stars or So You Think You Can Dance? But apparently the WaPost thinks being able to dance like Savion Glover is a prerequisite for residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course, if Romney had danced with the kids you can be sure he would have got grief for it as he did when he sang “America The Beautiful” a few months back.
The WaPost could have taken a moment from its critique of Romney’s footwork to mention that Kenny Gamble is now known as Luqman Abdul Haqq (a.k.a. Brother Luqman). Luqman has been buying up properties in South Philly and has been criticized for wanting to turn Philly into a Muslim only enclave and for his association with jihadists in the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).
Not only does Romney get heckled by people who don’t know what they’re protesting but he gets blamed for things for which he was not responsible. Brother Luqman criticized Romney for the anti-busing activities which occurred in Boston during the 1970s. Except that these activities took place a quarter century before Romney was elected Governor.
And on top of it, the WaPost goes after Romney for being rhythmically challenged. All things considered, Romney’s time is better spent campaigning elsewhere.
Just out of graduate school (for the first time), I had the privilege to serve as research assistant to the eminent Ben Wattenberg — senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute, and long-time host of PBS’s Think Tank. (I’d mention his son, Daniel Wattenberg, made a name for himself right here at TAS, when he teamed up with David Brock to expose the infamous “Troopergate” scandal that haunted the Clintons, for years.)
A true gentleman and scholar, Ben Wattenberg has a unique knack for humanizing American life through his encyclopedic grasp of social and economic data. I can honestly say I’ve never met a man so positive about the prospects for our future. If you’re ever in need of a jolt of confidence about this American experience, by all means, thumb a few pages of any of his eleven books.
Yesterday, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal — and hinted at some of the lessons gleaned in his 2004 work New Demography: How Depopulation Will Shape the Future. His column suggests a confidence in the buoyancy of America’s population and its bearing on geopolitical, economic and cultural consequence.
An instance of Wattenberg’s optimism:
Why is this so important to America? A hefty and growing population can yield power and influence. It’s been a long time since a nation with a small population influenced how the world works—think the 16th-century Dutch and Portuguese.
Size also yields vast economies of scale. As population grows, through fertility and immigration, a healthy housing market is inevitable. It’s either that or tens of millions of Americans sleeping on the streets. Bet on the boom.
There’s corporate growth too, across industries. Imagine an American corporation, XYZ, that wants to start doing business in Thailand. Only in a polyglot nation like America can XYZ search out and find the adult children of Thai immigrants who know America inside and out but also know Thai customs and language.
Few if any nations have all these advantages. The demography in play guarantees that the 21st century, like the 20th, will be an “American Century.”
Ever sanguine, Mr. Wattenberg remains a true believer in our exceptionalism. I thank him for his years of hard work, the opportunity he offered me and this most recent, and welcome reminder of what makes America great.
Sen. Tom Coburn, a doctor, utilized his medical expertise when he declared that “the country’s sick” while discussing his new book, The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America at The Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday.
His diagnosis? A dysfunctional political class right here in Washington.
More specifically, he lamented the absence of leadership in the current political arena, dominated instead by politicians who focus on the “symptoms” rather than the “real disease” and its “treatment options.”
Coburn has at times been labeled a deficit hawk, but has also been a divisive figure on the right. Last year, he publicly butted heads with Grover Norquist and his anti-tax colleagues when he pushed for a plan to eliminate ethanol subsidies, which Norquist viewed as a gross violation of the advocacy group’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge, as the proposal did not offset the new government revenue with tax cuts elsewhere. Coburn argued that higher revenues are necessary to reduce the nation’s massive deficit.
“[T]here has to be some revenue component to [the tax structure], and anybody that says that’s not the case, I think they’re just wrong and they’re not thinking about the long-term health of our country,” Coburn had said then.
He described his new book, The Debt Bomb, as “a compilation of how we got where we are, conflict of interest in the average politician, and why they would vote for their next election rather than the best interest of the country.”
As a three-time cancer survivor, Coburn is all too familiar with effective treatment options. His prescription for the nation’s debt crisis was a “very limited government,” which he believed to be “the principle and the key behind our freedom.” In order to attain this, Coburn called on the American citizens to demand action from their representatives.
Coburn expressed hope that “we will re-embrace [this] principle.” For more on Coburn’s commitment to principle, I heartily recommend this report by Andrew Ferguson.
Our friend Aaron Klein over at World Net Daily has made a remarkable — if unsurprising — discovery.
As Klein writes here, in 1996 there was a town meeting in Chicago presented by “The Democratic Socialists of America.” And on the speaking list?
That’s right. As listed on the pamphlet Klein has obtained with photo included:
Barack Obama. Candidate. State Senate. 13th Legislative District.
Again, you wonder why Sean Hannity is vetting the President? And our friends at Breitbart.com? Precisely because finding things like this pamphlet were not done in 2008.
But they are finally surfacing and being discussed. They are decidedly relevant — and yes, Governor Romney is beginning to incorporate this point as the fall campaign gets under way. See Romney here on Fox and Friends taking on Obama over capitalism.
Kudos to Mr. Klein and WND.
Follow the first link above to Klein’s story and take a good read.
Thanks to the heavy lifting of former Attorney General Edwin Meese, the concept of “originalism” has gained serious traction within the judiciary, and even in academia.
On June 7, Meese will be honored as one of the four 2012 Bradley Prize recipients during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. By calling attention to Meese’s contributions to the conservative cause, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation has performed a valuable service. If President Obama wins re-election, he could potentially remake the U.S. Supreme Court. For this reason alone, it is worth reviewing the former attorney general’s key observations.
A critical turning point came in 1985 when Meese addressed the American Bar Association (ABA) in Washington. Here, he made the case for a jurisprudence rooted in the Constitution’s text and its original meaning. Since President Obama could potentially remake the U.S. Supreme Court if he wins re-election, it is worth reviewing some of Meese’s key observations.
“By seeking to judge policies in light of principles, rather than remold principles in light of policies, the Court could avoid the charge of incoherence and the charge of being either too conservative or too liberal,” Meese explained in his ABA talk. “A jurisprudence seriously aimed at the explication of original intention would produce defensible principles of government that would not be tainted by ideological predilection. This belief in a jurisprudence of original intention also reflects a deeply rooted commitment to the idea of democracy.”
A close confidante to Governor Reagan and later President Reagan, Meese, who now chairs the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, has been a potent intellectual force within the conservative movement.
“Ed Meese has been an invaluable public servant,” said Michael Grebe, president and chief executive officer of the Bradley Foundation. “His entire career has been devoted to upholding the rule of law and making the nation more secure.”
Meese’s 1985 ABA speech jolted Washington’s liberal establishment. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan accused originalists of “arrogance cloaked as humility” during a talk at Georgetown University that same year.
There was no reliable way modern judges could properly discern original meaning, he argued.
But Meese was unrelenting.
In subsequent speeches, he continued to hammer home the idea that judges should not substitute their own political convictions in the place of fixed constitutional meanings.
Given how narrowly divided the U.S. Supreme Court is between constitutionalists and activists, Gov. Mitt Romney would do well to channel Meese’s commentary on originalist jurisprudence.
I was very pleased to be contacted by USA Today on Thursday, asking me to write an opposing view on their take that the conviction and sentencing of Dharun Ravi was fair because society is becoming less tolerant of bias. (They had seen my American Spectator article which made roughly the opposite point to theirs.)
I wrote my view for them, and it has been published as the “Opposing View” in Friday’s USA Today:
I wrote about TAS alumni Phil Klein’s new Mitt Romney ebook on the main site. One point I didn’t get to bring up was Phil’s rebuttal to a popular big-government conservative argument: that the Medicare prescription drug benefit and No Child Left Behind got George W. Bush reelected, and therefore we have those expansions of government to thank for John Roberts and Sam Alito. (Of course, without conservative pressure we might have ended up with Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers, but be that as it may.)
Despite the passage of No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug bill, Bush actually did worse among voters who considered education and health care their most important issues in his 2004 reelection campaign than he did in his 2000 run. According to CNN exit polls, those voters who identified education as the issue that “mattered most,” favored Al Gore over Bush by a spread of 52 percent to 44 percent. Yet four years later, John Kerry trounced President Bush among voters who thought education was most important, by a margin of 73 percent to 26 percent. Similarly, in 2000, Gore had a 64 percent to 33 percent advantage among health care voters; in 2004 Kerry was favored by a margin of 77 percent to 23 percent. Keep in mind, this was even though Bush’s overall percentage of the popular vote increased in 2004.
It’s not even clear that Medicare Part D was the chief reason for Bush’s gains among senior citizens. As Phil points out in his ebook, 21 percent of seniors cited moral values as their top issue and another 19 percent picked terrorism. Only 12 percent named controlling health care costs.
Aaron notes that Elizabeth Warren has pulled even with Scott Brown in the latest poll despite the Native American flap. It’s Massachusetts; Barack Obama will be on top of the ticket this November. So you can always expect a candidate like Warren to remain competitive. Nevertheless, I think it is striking that Scott Brown is polling better in Massachusetts than George Allen is in Virginia. Warren looks much more beatable than just a few months ago.
For all the controversy around Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American status, it would appear that it has not hurt her with Massachusetts voters.
According to a new poll released by Suffolk University, Warren has closed the gap between herself and Scott Brown. Warren trails Brown by only a percentage point (48% to 47% of likely voters). Back in February, Brown had a nine point lead over Warren.
The most significant part of the poll is that while 73% of those surveyed were aware of the controversy with regard to Warren claiming status as a Native American, 69% of those folks didn’t see what the fuss was all about.
Of course, this is a by-product of living in a liberal state. Most folks here in the Bay State not only favor affirmative action but see nothing wrong with Warren’s claims even if they are dubious. In which case, Scott Brown could be in a lot of trouble. If voters in Connecticut didn’t care about Richard Blumenthal misrepresenting his military service, is it really a stretch to imagine that Massachusetts voters won’t care if Elizabeth Warren lied about being Native American to advance her career?
On Wednesday, President Obama delivered the commencement address at the Air Force Academy. As with most Obama speeches, it was full of self-congratulation.
As George Will put it, “If you struck from Barack Obama’s vocabulary the first-person singular pronoun, he would fall silent, which would be a mercy to us and a service to him, actually.”
In his speech at the Academy, Obama used the word “I” 36 times. (“Me” was only used a further two times, while some fraction of the 69 instances of “we” were simply aggrandized versions of “I”.)
After explaining to the airmen and women that they would face fewer deployments than other recent graduates because of the winding down of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama embarked on a litany of self-defense, cloaked in terms of leadership, almost pathetic for the Commander-in-Chief speaking at a military academy.
Obama said that the US is “leading on global security,” almost amusingly mentioning “reducing our nuclear arsenal with Russia.” You would think he would not want to remind us of the sweet nothings he whispered to former Russian President Medvedev about increased “flexibility” after the 2012 elections.
He said we are leading economically, at a time when his outrageous budget deficits have even Europeans ignoring the US when it comes to being a role model for how to keep a nation from bankruptcy.
He said we’re leading “on behalf of freedom” because of our actions in Libya, where he said we “led from the front,” again an odd reminder of the fact of his “leading from behind” as well as a reminder that thousands are being slaughtered in Syria as the US stands nearly silent.
He said that “there is a new feeling about America (and)…new confidence in our leadership.” Perhaps he has not noticed the results of Pew’s annual survey of opinion of America which, other than in Japan, has generally been sliding during Obama’s presidency.
Perhaps most disingenuous and clever, however, was Obama’s stated support for capitalism, a word which must be difficult for him to utter. He urged the listeners to “(put) aside the tired notion that says our influence has waned or that America is in decline” and then suggested that “we fought our way back (and) created the largest middle class in history and the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.”
The president transitioned this into calling for more “investing,” which is his code for government spending, and to “get on with nation-building here at home.”
Obama went on to a theme of an upcoming “American Century,” but in typical Obama fashion said that it will be “because we have the strongest alliances of any nation.” Even when he said that “no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs,” that was based on “shaping the global institutions of the 20th century to meet the challenges of the 21st.”
In other words, according to Obama, the US will only be strong because it works through the United Nations, a premier anti-American institution if ever there was one, and because we skip through the fields of foreign affairs holding hands with other nations’ diplomats. That may be Obama’s definition of strength, but it is one which most prior American presidents and others in position of national leadership would not recognize. Indeed, some might consider Obama’s characterization a description of American weakness rather than strength. An interesting message to deliver at a military institution.
It was also amusing to hear the president say that he supports “the liberty of individuals,” getting in a jab at Walmart by saying “we stand with…the entrepreneur who wants to start a business without paying a bribe.” Of course, there were many labor unions whose implicit bribe of campaign contributions earned them waivers from the tyrannical mandates of Obamacare. Cash may not have changed hands, but this administration is no better than the money-grubbers Obama criticized in his speech.
Obama added that he believes in a “simple yet revolutionary idea — there at our founding and in our hearts ever since — that we have it in our power to make the world anew, to make the future what we will.” I doubt this was the conception of Madison and Jefferson. Their goal was not to “make the world anew” but to create a nation in which the powers of the federal government were limited so that people are free to pursue happiness. If our Founders knew that a big government radical like Barack Obama was using them as his stated inspiration and justification for his policies and practices, they would shout out in disapproval.
The Commander-in-Chief is an appropriate speaker at a military academy’s graduation. But this president’s words serve to remind that he is a narcissistic, self-congratulatory, internationalist well outside what many, especially in our military, believe our nation’s leader should be.
From the Wall Street Journal:
LAHORE—A Pakistani doctor who helped the Central Intelligence Agency track down Osama bin Laden was sentenced to 33 years in prison, officials said, a decision that will further strain relations with the U.S.
The doctor, Shakil Afridi, established a vaccination program at the CIA’s request in Abbottabad, a Pakistan garrison town where bin Laden was living. The plan was to collect DNA from residents of the compound where the U.S. suspected bin Laden was hiding.
Pakistani authorities arrested Dr. Afridi shortly after U.S. forces killed the al Qaeda leader in a raid on his compound a year ago. Leon Panetta, who was CIA director at the time, appealed to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari for the release of Dr. Afridi on a visit to Pakistan after the raid. CIA officials also worked intensively with Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the U.S. to gain the doctor’s release.
U.S. officials had expected that Dr. Afridi would be set free after questioning. But Pakistan instead launched an investigation and continued to hold him.
“The doctor was never asked to spy on Pakistan. He was asked only to help locate al Qaeda terrorists, who threaten Pakistan and the U.S.,” said a senior U.S. official with knowledge of counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in Pakistan. “He helped save Pakistani and American lives. His activities weren’t treasonous, they were heroic and patriotic. “
Dr. Afridi was convicted in a secretive sentencing in the Khyber tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, where the case could be kept out of the public eye.
Pakistan’s tribal regions are governed under a special set of laws that date to the British colonial era and give wide-ranging powers to a government-appointed political agent, including the right to sentence people to time in jail…
An official with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate military spy agency contested the U.S. view that Dr. Afridi was a patriot. “He wasn’t serving Pakistan. He was serving Americans,” the official said.
No surprise that an ISI official would talk as if Pakistan and the US aren’t allies; as Eli Lake explained in a New Republic feature on the Pakistani “deep state” last year, elements of the ISI are allied with al Qaeda and the Taliban, and those same elements have helped support a terrorist safe haven the tribal regions where Afridi was sentenced. One of Eli’s sources put it this way: “Imagine if the CIA was supporting the drug cartels of Mexico over the wishes of the Congress and the White House… That’s what we have in Pakistan.”
But in that situation, it would be incumbent on the government to arrest those rogue pro-cartel agents. If the Pakistani government can’t or won’t curtail its anti-American security apparatus — if it doesn’t even protect someone like Dr. Afridi — at what point is the government itself, for all intents and purposes, our enemy?
A Quinnipiac Poll released today shows Mitt Romney with a 47 to 41 lead over president Obama in Florida, a state whose 29 electoral votes are absolutely necessary for a Republican to win the White House. The poll shows that today Romney’s six point lead over Obama would become an eight point lead — 49 to 41 — if Florida’s conservative rookie U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, were on the ticket with him. The poll has a margin of error of 2.4 percent.
Florida, which elects mostly Republicans to state and local offices, has been a close business of late at the top of the ticket. Obama won in Florida in ‘08 by 2.8 percent. The state has been decided by an average of 2.4 percent over the last three presidential races. The 2000 race was won (finally) by George W. by a whiskery margin of 537 voters.
In this poll 52 percent of respondents told pollsters they disapprove of Obama’s record and say he doesn’t deserve a second term. Only 44 percent say he should be rehired. Even the gender gap has disappeared among Florida voters, where the ladies fancy Romney as much as they like Obama.
Bernie Quigley’s defense of Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American heritage have been both widely and wisely mocked by the likes of Ace of Spades, P.J. Gladnick at Newsbusters and the triumvirate of Jonah Goldberg, Kevin D. Williamson, and Mark Steyn at National Review Online.
But before I pile on, it should be noted that Quigley cannot be completely dismissed as a left-wing crank. Back in July 2009, Quigley eviscerated President Obama for his snobbery in his handling of the Gates-Crowley affair. Quigley’s evisceration of Obama won him praise from no less than Rush Limbaugh.
Having said that, I shall proceed to pile on. Quigley begins by writing:
Elizabeth Warren might be excused for wanting to be Native American. She can claim an old American soul, going back generations in Oklahoma. In the heartland it is almost universal for those who have been there for a few generations to claim Indian blood; that is, to wish it were there even if it isn’t.
Well, if not Indian blood then perhaps high cheekbones will do. It is almost universal for us to want higher cheekbones and for those of us that have the means, your friendly plastic surgeon can make those dreams come true. But it won’t make you any more Native American than the late Chief Jay Strongbow.
It is not so much a lie as it is the acculturation of personal and regional American myth; the fabric of old-soul American consciousness.
If John Edwards is convicted then I guess he can appeal to a higher court and say that his conduct was only being representative of old-soul American consciousness.
The first poetic vision of Europeans in the new world was that James Fenimore Cooper, who conjured Natty Bumpo. He had an “Indian name” - he had several: Hawkeye, Deerslayer, Pathfinder - indicating that he had been “reborn” in the new world in the Indian spirit. It is the oldest and most important myth in the American canon of our folklore, from Lone Ranger, who died and became “born again” via agency of an Indian shaman, and Fox Mulder, who returned from the dead via Indian intercession in “The X Files,” born anew with the past burned away in death, to enter a new age under the flag of the White Buffalo.
I mean if Quigley is going to go all out on a limb then why not conjure up an image of Kevin Costner on his hand and knees uttering, “Tatanka”?
So Warren’s claim to be “part Indian” is correct in mythical terms. Every old-school white Oklahoman is in this regard even if this is nominally not true. But it is not a lie to want to be Indian and imagine your ancestors were.
Actually, it would be bald-faced lie. To put this matter in some perspective, I grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario where there is a significant Aboriginal population both on and off reserve. I greatly admire Aboriginal culture and tradition. But I am not about to go around and claim to be an Aboriginal Canadian. To do so would be wrong and profoundly disrespectful. With that said, it is one thing to identify with Native Americans; it is quite another to identify yourself as a Native American. Even if it’s only 1/32 Native American.
I hope Mitt Romney remembers this and incorporates Indian blessings and ritual in his inaugural ceremonies as Canadians do and as they did in those terrific Winter Olympics in Salt Lake in 2002. And I hope Elizabeth Warren doesn’t back down on this, because wanting to be Indian, like Hawkeye, makes us in a deeper sense fully American.
I’m not sure which Canadian inaugural ceremonies Quigley is referring to exactly. Given that he mentioned the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics perhaps he was referring to the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. But there weren’t any Aboriginal blessings when Stephen Harper’s Tory government was first sworn into office six years ago by Canada’s Governor General at Rideau Hall. Besides, could you imagine if Mitt Romney were to suddenly claim Native American heritage? The Washington Post would call him Chief Flip Flop faster than you could say Bain Capital.
I do agree with Quigley on one thing. I hope Liz Warren doesn’t back down on this either because as long as she doesn’t then her credibility remains suspect. OK, so Warren wants to be Native American. I want to pitch for the Red Sox. That doesn’t mean Bobby Valentine is going to take Daniel Bard out of the starting rotation and give me the ball on Memorial Day against the Tigers. And if he did, it wouldn’t make me any more fully American than I am now.
Ron Paul finished a distant second in the Kentucky primary, despite his son being the state’s junior senator. But a Paul supporter — a backer of both Ron and Rand (who reciprocated) easily won the Republican nomination in the fourth congressional district.
Thomas Massie defeated his nearest opponent in a four-way race 44.8 percent to 28.6 percent. The district has been represented by a Republican for all but six years since 1967 — when quite conservative Democrat Ken Lucas held the seat — making Massie a heavy favorite to win the general election in November. Politico referred to it as “another Randslide.” This is part of the movement-building I’ve been writing about for a while that will have impact beyond Tampa.
We’re in a strange political cycle, and much political wisdom has been overtaken by events. Even the seemingly unquestionable old saw, “You can’t beat somebody with nobody,” may have to be revised.
A political no-name took 42 percent of the vote on the Democratic side in Arkansas’s open presidential primary Tuesday. Even more interesting, “uncommitted” took 42 percent of Kentucky’s closed presidential primary, where only Democrats could vote.
What does it say for President Obama’s re-election hopes when even Democrats think they would be better off with someone chosen later, or perhaps no one in the White House, than with Obama?
This raises some interesting questions. If no one wins an election, does he/she still have to be sworn in? Could we soon hear something like: “I, none of the above, do solemnly swear….”
The latest Gallup poll finds that only 41 percent of Americans identify themselves as pro-choice on abortion, the lowest percentage ever recorded. Fifty percent identify as pro-life, just one point shy of the record. Pro-lifers now outnumber pro-choicers among independent voters.
Sonograms, science, and real-life experience with abortion have clearly made it harder to reconcile choice with the reality of the act being chosen.
CBN always does a great job with its nightly newscasts, thorough and insightful. For whatever reason, sometimes they like having me on. So there I was yesterday, trying to explain the significance of the debt crises in Europe and in Barack Obama’s America:
Tomorrow, representatives from the United States and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council (plus Germany) will sit down for talks in Baghdad with representatives from Iran. They’ll be meeting with Islamic Republic’s security council chief to gauge Tehran’s commitment to its nuclear program, and its willingness to curtail uranium enrichment, both significantly and transparently.
The talks come mere days after Yukiya Amano, director of the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA), announced he had reached terms granting the nuclear watchdog unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear sites and scientists. On the bright side, this is the first time since 2007 that Iran has allowed access to its nuclear infrastructure. However, skeptics claim that Iran’s assurances of compliance simply hint at a none-too-subtle attempt to earn some leverage at the bargaining table. Of course, they’re probably right.
Regardless, here’s what’s going on behind the scenes at the Baghdad talks:
I missed it, but on Thursday night our friend Scott McKay at the Hayride (Louisiana) had a far better post on the Rev. Wright controversy than I just did a little while ago. Mixing McKay’s excerpts from a Jeffrey Kuhner column with mcKay’s own comments, here are some essentials:
Dr. Eric Whitaker, a close Obama friend, sent an email proposing $150,000 to muzzle the pastor; Mr. Wright says he refused. (The Obama administration recently awarded a $6 million grant to the University of Chicago Medical Center’s Urban Health Initiative. Who runs the initiative? You guessed it: Dr. Whitaker.) …. Not to mention that Eric Whitaker, who is Obama’s buddy, might have to explain under oath how, as a bigwig atop the food chain at the University of Chicago Medical Center, the hospital ended up paying Michelle Obama some $316,000 a year for a job that they did away with after she left. Yes, you read that right. He might also talk about how that was around the time the hospital was looking for congressional earmark money for a new pavilion (Michelle’s husband was a U.S. Senator at the time), and didn’t get it – which was around when her salary started getting cut. She said, of course, that she was cutting her hours after Obama started his run for president, but again, she wasn’t replaced.
Ahh, Chicago Democratic politics! Gotta love them! Tony Rezko, anybody? Remember how poor widdle Barry Obama just wasn’t paying close enough attention to how Rezko was helping them? And now Barry is a $10 million man, even though he claims he was still struggling to pay off student loans until eight years ago. Right…. Or should I say, Wright?
Kathleen Parker today at times seems almost ready to acknowledge that raising issues related to the infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a perfectly legitimate exerise, but then, as is her wont, she veers off into near nothingness with an equivocal “above it all” dodge about how this is all just silly-season politics.
Here’s what she and almost everybody else is missing: The story now is not about Obama’s 20-year relationship with Wright — which is indeed now “old news,” even though it never got adequately aired or criticized four years ago — but instead about new and credible allegations that an emissary for Obama offered to buy Wright’s silence. The story told by Wright himself seems to suggest that violations of several laws might at least have been approached (although the technicalities of the various laws at play can be tricky), and certainly that something highly unseemly and unethical occurred (from Obama’s end, or at least from his alleged intermediary). This is decidely not old news. This is even more decidely not “racist.” This is a legitimate issue, one that, if the shoe were on the conservative foot, the establishment media would be leading all their front pages and their newscasts with for many days on end.
If Rev. Wright makes these claims, why isn’t 60 Minutes interviewing him? Why isn’t the Washington Post editorial board weighing in, in stentorian tones (if the written word can be stentorian), about the need to adequately examine disturbing allegations that might at least cast light on a president’s character even if not on his legality? (Any day now, however, I do expect a WaPost piece about how Romney back in the Sixth Grade paid a classmate $20 to cover his tracks while he played hookie in order to pig out at the ice cream parlor.)
After all, it wasn’t Republicans who said the Rev. Wright was important and admirable; it was Barack Obama himself, repeatedly… until Wright embarrassed him. Well, if the morally exemplary Rev. Wright, who may be outspoken but hasn’t yet been called a liar, says he was offered hush money, then the media should be banging down his door wanting more details. Wright may be a racist demagogue, but those asking for more attention to this matter should be able to do so without a single racial implication being raised.
So now we know.
As has long been the assumption of conservatives about the liberal media, a Washington Post “opinion blogger” — Erick Wemple by name — has now illustrated the perils of writing about television or radio shows one does not watch.
Friday afternoon, in this post — which went up at “03:49 PM ET, 05/18/2012,” meaning Friday afternoon at almost 4pm — Wemple took after Sean Hannity for complaining that the media had not vetted President Obama and his relationship with Jeremiah Wright. While the link above sends you to the Wemple’s WaPo blog, in the way of current events the post about Hannity will surely scroll off the screen at some point. So we are re-publishing the text of Wemple’s post below, along with a link to the video of Hannity he included as presented by Mediaite.
Wemple’s demand? That Hannity and Fox investigate the Obama-Wright connection instead of complaining that it wasn’t being investigated by other media.
By the time Wemple had posted his Hannity complaint, Fox had already been advertising Hannity’s Friday night hour-long special that did just that. Not to mention that Hannity himself had discussed this upcoming TV special repeatedly on his radio show.
And since Wemple seems to have missed the last four years, he is apparently completely unaware that it was Hannity who first interviewed Jeremiah Wright back in 2007 after learning about Wright from journalist Erik Rush. Mr. Rush was on the panel the other night, and is seen here discussing the very first investigative column he wrote about Reverend Wright in February — of 2007.
To help Mr. Wemple along in his understanding, here’s a link to Hannity’s book Conservative Victory published 2010 — that would be two years ago — in which Hannity details in print what he had already looked into on television. Which is to say the links between Obama and Jeremiah Wright. That would be, Erik, pages 17-33.
So what to learn from Mr. Wemple?
Apparently Erik Wemple doesn’t watch or listen to Hannity — he gets his Hannity info in clips from other media, Mediate in this case. Then, blissfully unaware of what’s really going on in the world of Fox News or Hannity’s TV show or radio show, Wemple blogs a laughably wrong post based on bad information — and looks like a dope. Except, of course, in the world of liberal journalists who do exactly the same thing he looks like a wizard of smart.
So the apology from Wemple to Sean Hannity and Fox News will appear when?
If you’re familiar with our friend Phil Klein, whether through his work at the Washington Examiner over the past year or here at AmSpec in years past, you know that he’s long been one of Mitt Romney’s most dogged and incisive conservative critics. In his new ebook, Conservative Survival in the Romney Era, Phil takes a detailed look at how the right should relate to Romney as a nominee and (if he wins) as president — how, in other words, to support him over Obama without giving Romney a pass. Phil considers how the CEO-like Romney responds to ideological pressure, examines the Bush-era votes on Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind as a cautionary tale of a dynamic to avoid, sketches out an ambitious domestic policy agenda to serve as a yardstick for success, and, in anticipating the charge that he shouldn’t be criticizing the GOP nominee during a critical election seasons, lays out a philosophy of ideological journalism as a distinct enterprise from partisan activism.
At 14,000 words, this five-chapter mini-opus is a great use of the ebook format, presenting ideas that are a bit too complicated to fit into an article with an immediacy that wouldn’t be possible in a full-length book. Buy the Kindle edition here.
1. According to this report by Byron York, Jeremiah Wright agreed not to publish an acccount of his “God damn America” sermon — or the 2008 presidential campaign controversy it caused — until after Barack Obama has faced the voters for the second time in 2012. The president’s former pastor initially made this disclosure to Ed Klein for the book The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House. York confirmed University of Chicago emeritus professor Martin Mary urged Wright to keep quiet. But when it comes to Wright’s notes about the firestorm, there is more:
When Klein asked more about the box, Wright revealed that in 2008 Eric Whitaker, a close friend of President Obama’s, offered him a substantial sum of money to stay quiet about his relationship with Obama until after the ‘08 election.
I’m skeptical that the Wright episode will have the same impact this year it could have had in 2008, when Obama was still not defined in the eyes of the American people. But this does suggest questions about Wright will not go away entirely.
2. The NAACP, one of the nation’s largest and oldest mainline civil rights organizations, endorsed same-sex marriage as a “civil right.” The NAACP board’s decision offers support to President Barack Obama on an issue where his (ostensibly new) position is unpopular within the black community ahead of the November election.
3. Marco Rubio sounded very much like a man looking for a major role in this year’s Republican presidential campaign — perhaps even as a vice presidential running mate — when he spoke at South Carolina GOP fundraiser this weekend. The Florida senator pressed the case against the president and called him a “divisive figure.” Said Rubio: “The president and his party’s view of America’s government and our lives is a failed one. It hasn’t worked. His ideas that sounded so good in the classrooms of Harvard and Yale haven’t really worked out well in the real world.”
4. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising Democratic star, called the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney and Bain Capital “nauseating.” Salon called him the “surrogate from hell, but Booker’s Meet the Press appearance sounded like old-fashioned Clintonian triangulation. “Enough is enough,” Booker said. “Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”
5. So far the Bain attacks haven’t dented Romney’s rise in the polls.
6. Ron Paul’s latest money bomb — his first online fundraiser since announcing he wasn’t going to expend further resources in the primary states and quite possibly the last of his political career — has raised just under $785,000 at this writing. Paul supporters also won 12 of 13 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Minnesota this weekend, conceding the last slot to Michele Bachmann.
Gibb’s death marks the second notable passing from The Disco Era in the past 72 hours. On Thursday, Donna Summer passed away of lung cancer at the age of 63.
While The Bee Gees are synonymous with disco with their songs from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (“Stayin’ Alive”, “Night Fever” and “You Should Be Dancing”) they had a long string of hits from the late 1960s and early 1970s (“Massachusetts”, “I Started a Joke” and “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” - all of which featured Robin on lead vocal).
Aside from a brief two year stint as a solo artist, The Bee Gees remained together through good times and bad for more than 40 years until the death of Robin’s fraternal twin Maurice in 2003. It would be more than five years after Maurice’s death before Robin and older brother Barry would perform together in public.
In a cruel twist of fate, Robin would suffered from a blocked intestine (the same condition which killed Maurice). Robin underwent surgery back in March but subsequently went into a coma for a week but came out of it. Unfortunately, Robin’s health prevented him from missing The Titanic Requiem which he co-wrote with his son Robin-John.
Barry Gibb is now only surviving member of The Bee Gees. Prior to the deaths of Maurice and Robin, Andy Gibb (the youngest brother) died of a heart ailment brought on by drug abuse at the age of 30 in 1988.
I’ll leave you with Robin Gibb talking to Leo Sayer about his fascination with British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel who designed, amongst other things, the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?