Category Archives: Barack Obama

Possibly the Dumbest Challenge Yet to Obama

Ever heard of Wayne Allyn Root? You’re not alone. 

Root is the Libertarian candidate for vice president.  He says that Barack Obama is a commie who only got into Harvard Law School because he’s black.  He also says that he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, although he does admit that some of his best friends are not, in fact, black (see below).

Root and Obama were apparently at Columbia University at the same (“class of ’83”). He says Obama is a big phony because

I didn’t know him. I don’t think anybody knew him. But I know that the guy who writes the class notes, who’s kind of the, as we say in New York, the macha (shouldn’t that be macher? – GB ) who knows everybody, has yet to find a person, a human who ever met him. Is that not strange? It’s very strange.

Never met [Obama] in my life, don’t know anyone who ever met him. At the class reunion, our 20th reunion five years ago, 20th reunion, who was asked to be the speaker of the class? Me. No one ever heard of Barack! Who was he, and five years ago, nobody even knew who he was.

Bitter much?

[I]Don’t know why. Kept to himself…. The only thing I could even imagine is that he talks in his biographies about being, you know, his identity crisis, his “am I black or am I white?” He chose black. And he hung out with a couple of black kids and never went near anybody and his wife? That’s the only thing I can think of. All my buddies are white, what can I tell you! They don’t know him, nobody’s ever seen him, I don’t know what to tell you.

So now I ask out loud in the press, I challenge my classmate to give his GPA against mine. And let’s see if he really is the bright guy they all say he is. What if we discover he got into Harvard with a C average? Is he then the brilliant man America thinks he is? That would be a very good question, don’t you think?

Root’s theory is of course borne out by the fact that Obama failed miserably at Harvard Law, rising only to the presidency of the law review. As lawyers across America know, presidents of the Harvard Law Review are a dime a dozen and generally can only look forward to a career of ambulance-chasing and prosecution of dubious soft tissue injury cases.

John McCain brags that he graduated fifth from the bottom at the Naval Academy.  All we know about Sarah Palin is that she attended five colleges in the six years it took her to graduate.  Joe Biden’s college years were apparently fairly checkered and his grades weren’t great

So I hope that Obama, McCain, Palin and Biden each take up Root’s challenge. 

UPDATE:

I talked to a friend who attended Harvard Law with Obama.  My friend, who still knows Obama and supports his candidacy, raises several of the issues discussed above and some others:

I don’t know what Barack’s grades were at Columbia, but Harvard’s decision to admit him can hardly be criticized. They admitted a guy who went on to, among other things, make law review (a color-blind competition based on grades and/or writing ability), become President of the Law Review, become an influential US Senator at an early age, become a Constitutional Law professor at Univeristy of Chicago, and, of course, the Democratic nominee for President after beating out Hillary Clinton.

While he may or may not have been a straight-A student, no-one has ever criticized his intellect. But I do agree with Root’s implicit thesis that intelligence is very important in whom we select as Present. So let’s look at McCain’s and Palin’s intellectual and academic records please … electing McCain would be trading a President who got through college on a “gentleman’s C” for one who “brags” that he barely graduated. (Palin went to at least 4 colleges, and we don’t yet know what her grades were.) And can there be any doubt that Bush got into Yale because of the color of his skin and the name of his kin? Does anyone think McCain got into the Naval Academy on merit or academic prowess?

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John McCain, Politics, Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin Interview Watch II

Sarah Palin is now the Republican nominee for vice president.  She has never done an interview as a national candidate.

Yesterday, sassy muckraker Matt Drudge reported that Oprah Winfrey, an Obama supporter, has refused to have Palin on her show. He posted this item:

BIG DILEMMA: OPRAH BALKS AT HOSTING SARAH PALIN; STAFF DIVIDED Fri Sep 05 2008 08:55:46 ET

Oprah Winfrey may have introduced Democrat Barack Obama to the women of America — but the talkshow queen is not rushing to embrace the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket!

Oprah’s staff is sharply divided on the merits of booking Sarah Palin, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT. “Half of her staff really wants Sarah Palin on,” an insider explains. “Oprah’s website is getting tons of requests to put her on, but Oprah and a couple of her top people are adamantly against it because of Obama.”

One executive close to Winfrey is warning any Palin ban could ignite a dramatic backlash!

It is not clear if Oprah has softened her position after watching Palin’s historic convention speech.

Last year, Winfrey blocked an appearance by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, timed to a promotional tour of his autobiography.

Oprah and executive producer Sheri Salata, who has contributed thousands of dollars to Obama’s campaign, refused requests for comment.   

Today, the story is updated with a statement from Oprah saying that she’d love to have Palin on after the election.  This is of course entirely academic since Sarah Palin refuses to be interviewed (except for the local journalists to whom she might speak in various non-cosmopolitan battleground towns) .

Meanwhile, the LA Times has a breakdown of who will be appearing on which Sunday talk shows.  Notice who’s missing?

Three of the four now-official candidates on the major-party presidential tickets are scheduled to sit down for questions: Democrat Barack Obama on ABC’s “This Week,” his running mate, Joe Biden, on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and Republican John McCain on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

So no interviews for Palin in the foreseeable future.  Pathetic. 

If Palin is hot to be on Oprah, though, I’d love to see it done this way: Just as the show opens and Palin walks onto the set, Tom Brokaw, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Schieffer or Wolf Blitzer walks on from the other side and is announced as the day’s special guest host. You go girl!

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, media, Politics, Sarah Palin

Electoral Count: Obama 301, McCain, 224

This is all pre-RNC, of course, but it’s nice to see a map this blue:

  Go look at it before it changes.

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics, Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin Interview Watch

The way we learn about candidates and their preparedness to deal with difficult issues is through their records and interviews.  Sarah Palin has no record on foreign and defense policy and, despite her speech to the RNC, her views are virtually unknown to the American people. 

By contrast, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and John McCain have been forced to give answers in split seconds to difficult questions — without scripts.  That’s the least we should expect from someone seeking national office.

Sarah Palin is not giving interviews.  The McCain campaign’s defense to the decision to keep her away from difficult questions is as pathetic as anything I’ve ever seen.  Via Swampland:

The American people don’t care to know what their potential president knows about national security, foreign policy, the economy or anything else? Of course not.  We’re only at war in two different countries, facing a resurgent Russia, multiple crises around the world and living with an economy which is deteriorating by the day.

Now we learn that not only will Palin not be available for interviews with the election two months off, she’s leaving the campaign trial and going back to Alaska.

This is a simple cost/benefit analysis by the McCain campaign.  The calculus is this: The campaign loses more if Palin gives an interview in which she looks foolish and unprepared for the vice presidency or presidency than it loses by simply enduring the critisim and suspicison it knows for certain it will face by locking her away. 

The campaign can only have concluded that it is better to face speculation that she’s hiding from interviews solely because she doesn’t know the answers to difficult questions than it is to let her give one and confirm it.  That’s the only reason to take the enormous risk of keeping her stowed away.  

A very good friend’s frequent references to Abraham Lincoln sums it up: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”  And this is the kind of removal of all doubt the McCain campaign is trying to avoid (I can’t find the video, but you get the idea):

Texas Gov. George W. Bush is enduring sharp criticism for being unable to name the leaders of four current world hot spots, but President Bill Clinton says Bush “should, and probably will, pick up” those names. 

The front-runner for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination faltered Thursday in an international affairs pop quiz posed by Andy Hiller, a political reporter for WHDH-TV in Boston.

Hiller asked Bush to name the leaders of Chechnya, Taiwan, India and Pakistan. Bush was only able to give a partial response to the query on the leader of Taiwan, referring to Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui simply as “Lee.” He could not name the others.

Bush gave that interview in November 1999.  The 2000 election didn’t happen until a full year later.  Between the interview and November 2000, he had time to learn the issues.  He hired Condoleezza Rice and studied as hard as could.  Look how well that turned out.  

Sarah Palin has 60 days.

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, media, Politics, Sarah Palin

Those Who Forget History Are Doomed to Repeat It

A lot was said about John McCain’s decision to appear in front a bright green backdrop the night Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination.  None of it was good.  Much of the criticism dealt with the way bright green made him look even older than he is. This is what that looked like:

Tonight, McCain began his acceptance speech looking spry for a 94 year old, an effect accomplished by clever set construction.

UPDATE:

So far, he’s thanked President Bush for his courageous leadership. As an Obama supporter, I’d like to thank Senator McCain for providing the video for our campaign’s next commercials.

He just said, “change is coming.” How, exactly does that happen when you vote 90% with the Bush Administration? Oh, now I see: he just said he keeps his word. He said he’s got the “strength and backbone” to bring about change. Never mind the voting record and the running mate who refuses to be interviewed, who wants to ban books, outlaw abortion and was for the bridge to nowhere before she was against it. See how that works?  Change!

McCain says he voted for more troops to be sent to Iraq “when it wasn’t the popular thing to do.”  I suppose that did take some courage.  Wouldn’t it have been more courageous to oppose the Iraq war in the first place? If only we had a candidate who did..

UPDATE TWO:

Education is the civil rights movement of the 21st century?

Education isn’t a civil rights movement.  Gay marriage is.  Preventing discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation is what equal protection means. Back in 2004, John McCain called the disgraceful, politicized, bigoted attempt to amend the constitution to make discrimination against gays permanent “un-Republican.”   That, of course, was before he sought the nomination of the Republican party.

UPDATE THREE:

Did you know John McCain served in Vietnam?

UPDATE FOUR:

Just as McCain exhorted Americans to teach the illiterate to read. . .

On behalf of a grateful Democratic Party, thank you, John McCain.  And thanks to Janice for the catch.

UPDATE FIVE:

Janice and I aren’t the only ones to notice the green background.

UPDATE SIX:

Jed noticed the guy with teh segn to (and has a better picture of it).

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The DNC Has Its Shit Together

McCain = Bush.  That’s all this election is about, and the DNC nails it.

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John McCain Served in Vietnam?

John McCain served honorably in Vietnam.  He cites that service whenever he’s questioned about an issue for which he doesn’t have a good answer.  Instead of describing any particular policy or his twenty six year record in Washington, his convention has been a three day description McCain’s military record.  Expect to hear even more about it in his acceptance speech tonight.

Remember that just a couple of weeks ago, McCain was criticized for his inability to remember how many many houses he owns.  At the Democratic convention, Joe Biden said that McCain couldn’t understand kitchen table issues because he would first have to decide over which kitchen table he would discuss them. McCain ultimately formulated this non-sequitur of a response:

I spent five and a half years in a prison cell, I didn’t have a house, I didn’t have a kitchen table, I didn’t have a table, I didn’t have a chair,” said McCain, citing his history as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. “I spent those five and half years not because I wanted to get a house when I got back home.”

Subject changed.  No longer was the issue McCain’s age, forgetfulness, or inability to identify with the difficulties facing average Americans. 

Intimidated, the media let him off the hook: How can you question a war hero and former POW about whether his memory is what it used to be or whether he understands what life is like for other Americans?  So they didn’t.

When John Kerry ran for president in 2004, Republicans savaged his service in Vietnam.  Republican delegates, in a particularly unpatriotic display, wore purple Band-Aids at their convention to mock what they claimed were exaggerated or falsified descriptions of the circumstances under which he was wounded in battle. 

Swift Boat Vets for Truth, a Bush front group, was vicious.  They alleged that accounts of Kerry’s bravery in combat were exaggerated or even fabricated.  In short, they lied about him

Democrats, by contrast, have gone out of their way to honor McCain’s service, and rightfully so. 

But in ’04, Kerry didn’t help.  His references to his experience in war — like McCain’s — were overbearing and frequently came off as self-serving.  I recall hearing conservative bloviators suggest that he went to Vietnam simply so that he could use it as a resume-booster thirty five years later in a run for president. 

Throughout the ’04 campaign, James Taranto, who writes for OpinionJournal, referred to Kerry as the “haughty, French-looking Massachusetts Democrat, who by the way served in Vietnam.”  It’s a great line and effectively mocked Kerry’s incessant references to his service.  It turned Kerry’s frequent references to his service into a joke. 

Kerry’s service itself became a liability.  He was seen as a limp-wristed pansy who didn’t know how to fight a war.  Meanwhile, Bush, who avoided Vietnam and skipped out on his National Guard unit, became a steely-eyed warrior with the fortitude to defend America. 

It was completely absurd.  So where are the mainstream editorialists mocking John McCain for pulling out his service every time he can’t think of a better answer?

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Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics