Change is an effective mantra in elections following two consecutive terms by one party in office. That is especially the case when the current officeholder is unpopular and the economy is weak. Barack Obama has that as a tremendous advantage in this race and recent polls breaking his way show it, but there are some significant factors that could still lead to his undoing.
When you look at the unpopularity of the current administration, the financial crisis that has overshadowed all other issues, the fawning media and the promise of a charismatic young figure offering change, it would appear this race is over. In fact, it would not be surprising if that candidate were leading by twenty points by now. Prospects are certainly looking good for an Obama win at this time, but there are a few factors that can still work in John McCain’s favor. Obama’s liberal voting record, his far left associations and the fact that Democrats control the Congress could all still cause trouble for Obama.
Obama is spending significantly more in my state of North Carolina than McCain, so I see a lot of Obama ads. One I saw several times this week was incredibly reminiscent of some Bill Clinton ads from 1996. I remember the Clinton ads because even though I opposed him, I was impressed by how good and how persuasive they were. Bill Clinton sat in what looked like could be a living room, or perhaps a large homey office, with natural lighting, and talked directly to the camera. He told voters that he was for a middle class tax cut and for “ending welfare as we know it.” I couldn’t argue with either of those ideas. I knew enough about the Democratic party at the time to know it was pretty unlikely that would happen, but I had to admit it sounded good.
When Clinton promised those things, the economy had already begun, and was maintaining, a steady recovery. That didn’t stop him from referring to it as the worst economy in 50 years, though, and the nation bought it. Now we have an economic situation that both candidates agree is one of the most dire our country has faced. In spite of the fact that Democratic policies are largely to blame, the unpopular sitting Republican President and his party are going to be saddled with the majority of the blame. Those in the media will ensure they are, regardless of whether or not they are deserving of it.
In the Obama ad I have seen many times this week, he is sitting in a setting very similar to the one Bill Clinton used in 1996. Also like Clinton, he talks directly into the camera and promises tax cuts for the middle class. Will this approach be as effective for Obama as it was for Clinton?
A big difference between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama is that Clinton could credibly claim to be a moderate. He was a governor from a southern state. Southern Democrats are sometimes just as conservative as their Republican counterparts. Barack Obama is from Chicago and he has an unbelievably liberal voting record both as a state legislator and in the United States Senate. Barack Obama has voted against tax cuts or for tax increases 94 times. Obama has a liberal track record that should set off voters’ alarm bells. Why should anyone believe he would now cut taxes when he has consistently opposed them for so many years?
Bill Clinton promised tax cuts, but even in an economy that was recovering nicely, he came back to voters barely a month in office and said that in spite of working as hard as he had ever worked, he was not going to be able to deliver them. There are certainly many excuses Obama could find to back out of his tax cut promise, but even if he did come through on it, there is another problem with it. Obama’s tax plan is hard on small businesses. Even though many lower and middle income individuals would see less taxes personally, small businesses would face a bigger tax burden. Those small businesses employ lower and middle income people. If voters understand that the same tax policy that might allow them a bit more money in their refund checks could also put them in the unemployment line, they might not be so eager to vote for it. The only way they will know that though is if John McCain can successfully make that point.
The only reason Bill Clinton delivered on his “ending welfare as we know it” pledge was because after vetoing it twice, he was told that he had to pass it or he would lose his re-election. He therefore signed a welfare reform bill that a Republican majority had passed. That brings up another factor that could work in McCain’s favor. Voters favor divided power.
The Democrats currently control both the House and Senate and barring some extreme unforeseen circumstances will not only continue to hold, but most likely increase their margins of control. Barack Obama has the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. Most far left liberal policies are not terribly popular with American voters, but if the Democrats control the White House and all of Congress, voters will have essentially given them a blank check to do just about anything they want. One only has to look at the extreme liberal voting record of Barack Obama, as well as the liberal agendas and records of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to see what they can expect in an Obama presidency.
It should be obvious to voters that an Obama presidency along with a Democrat-controlled Congress would result in the most liberal policies many of us have seen in our lifetimes or imagined in our wildest nightmares. Add to that the very real possibility that a President Obama would appoint two or three Supreme Court judges. There would be virtually no check on the power held by liberal Democrats and they would feel emboldened by the election to claim a mandate for anything they proposed.
This is a scenario that should frighten all but those in the most extreme left wing of the Democrat Party, but I don’t think it is a scenario that most voters have really considered. Those in the media are not going to write or talk about Obama’s extreme liberal voting record, just as they have not, and will not, investigate his associations with the likes of domestic terrorists, slumlords, and fat cats that fleeced Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is up to the McCain campaign to draw that picture for the voters.
Those on the left will say it is fear mongering, even though for years they have warned of the extreme right wing and the fascist dictator state that America would become under Republican governance. They can’t do that with John McCain, who has so often been in opposition to conservatives. Since he would almost certainly have a Congress controlled by Democrats, any attempt to scare Americans with a rightwing fascist state is absurd.
Those on the left can neither credibly argue that a far left agenda would not prevail in an Obama administration. Barack Obama’s voting record is Exhibit One that is exactly what voters should expect. The case against Obama and complete Democrat control of government is bolstered by crooked associates of Obama such as William Ayers, Tony Rezko, and Rev. JeremiahWright. Additional clues to the leftist paradise that might exist under Obama can be seen in the thuggish attempts to silence his critics, whether it be his goons trying to shut down talk radio interviews or his operatives in state offices who are threatening to sue anyone who makes claims about Obama they deem false.
It would be no mystery to voters that an Obama presidency would be dominated by a far left liberal agenda if they were looking at the track records and associates of the candidates. Instead they are largely being shown an illusion of a modern day Messiah who is ready to unite the country and solve all its problems. They are being shown images of adorable children singing songs of worship and praise to Obama who is going to “rearrange” things to make them right. They are being given fluffy, puffy stories about the candidate by those who profess to be news reporters. The veil is so thin, really, if you know what stands behind it. Whether or not the McCain campaign can lift that veil in the final month of this campaign will determine the course of the country in ways we can only now imagine.
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I am no violet, and I know that politics is an ugly business. But I must say: The attempted destruction of Gov. Sarah Palin — by some of the worst forces in this country — is making me sick. You? For most of our lives, we have heard squawks from the left about civil liberties. Also about the “politics of personal destruction.” I know they hate her, politically and personally. But won’t some of them stand up against what is happening now? Just for the sake of a semblance of integrity?
And, by the way: The argument that Sarah Palin is less prepared than Barack Obama is laughable. It basically comes down to: “I think Barack’s smarter than Sarah. And cooler — less country.” A few days after the Republican convention — before talking points really gelled — I went on Irish radio (from the comfort of my home in New York). A man on the other end was not able to say that Obama had more experience. So he said, “He has a more rounded intelligence.”
This was after he had heard one speech by Sarah Palin. And the obvious core of his objection was: She’s a conservative.
As usual, what is rotten is all the pretending: all the pretending about experience and censored books and whether she has traveled widely enough. If they’d only say, “She’s a conservative, and that is intolerable,” that would be fine. It would even be welcome. But they have to go into all this other, and destroy the woman personally.
And once they stigmatize and caricature a person, that person usually stays stigmatized and caricatured — as with Quayle, as with Bork. Reagan, somehow, managed to escape the noose. How about “our Sarah”? In reality, she is a reformist governor and a heartwarming American success story. Will they — you know: “they” — succeed in making her an extremist dunce?
Stay tuned . . .
Earlier this morning, I wrote that the attacks on Governor Palin — particularly the breaking into her e-mail — were making me sick. (Here.) One reader wrote, “I, too, have been feeling a physical revulsion over the Left’s determination to destroy Sarah Palin, by any means necessary.” That reader spoke for many.
One of them said, “What would be the general media reaction if Obama’s e-mail were hacked and disseminated? It would be a lot stronger.” That, too, is a common sentiment.
In my earlier post, I wondered whether Palin would be permanently stigmatized and caricatured — à la Bork, Quayle, and Thomas. Or would she escape the noose, like Reagan? Many readers thought she would — given her communication skills, and given the multiplicity of media now: We have websites, talk radio, etc.
Yes, but there were plenty of outlets in the 1980s and ’90s. And no one’s communication skills are better than Bork’s or Thomas’s. Quayle isn’t bad, either — you don’t rise that high in politics without knowing how to communicate.
Other readers said that Palin was finished, done: “I see that the polls have dramatically switched in Obama’s favor within just one week. I guess that the Borking — the destruction — of this governor is complete.” Another reader said, “I thought Sarah Palin would be a superstar. Now, she’ll be nothing more than a national joke. The Republicans haven’t fought back. The MSM has won.”
Then there is continuing amazement over the sheer hatred that Palin has aroused: “I am almost 60 and come from Massachusetts. In all my years, I have never seen anything like this, and don’t want to see it ever again. I have a friend who is both feminist and left-leaning. I asked her why they hate Palin so much. She said, ‘Because she’s had it all: family, career. And she did it without a man like Bill Clinton helping her. She did it on her own.’”
I have said it before: Hillary Clinton’s husband was president of the United States. Sarah Palin’s works the night shift in an oil field. Who is the feminist hero? Bien sûr.
I myself have a tale to relate. An episode left me kind of shaken, honestly. Last week, I was talking to a friend of mine — a very warm and humane woman. We’ve been friends for years. I had been away, and we hadn’t talked politics — but then, we never do. We never had. She’s a liberal, of course — virtually everyone here in NYC is. And I never, ever bring up politics (with pretty much anyone — not worth the trouble) (and, of course, I do it professionally).
But she said to me, out of the blue, “What do you think of Sarah Palin?” And while I was drawing breath to answer, she said, “I hate her.”
That kind of took my breath away — because this friend of mine is no hater. But she said it with firm, horrible conviction. She said it with true emotion in her eyes. Frankly, I was too taken aback to reply, other than to say, “Well, my feeling is the exact opposite.”
I can see how you might disagree with Governor Palin — she’s a conservative, after all. I can see how you might find her unprepared even for the vice-presidency. But hate? Hate a woman who rose from a modest background to be governor of her state? Who is obviously a warm, civic-minded, talented mother of five?
It must be abortion, religion, and culture. If she were pro-choice, went to a mainline church (only on Christmas and Easter), and didn’t hunt, she’d be okay. At least less attacked. But then, she wouldn’t be herself, would she?
I consider myself a very patriotic person, and I have been teased or damned all my life for my pro-American views — particularly in academic settings. But, I’m sorry, this is, in many ways, a sick country.
by Steven Ertelt
August 29, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Most Americans heard the name Sarah Palin for the first time on Friday as Senator John McCain named her as his running mate. They’re getting a glimpse of the fact that the Alaska governor is pro-life on abortion, but what they may not know is she takes a unique approach to her position.
Palin is a member of Feminists for Life of America — a venerable but little known pro-life group that focuses on the pro-woman reasons for opposing abortion.
The organization is considered an expert on understand how abortion hurts women and the complications abortion involves from a medical, physical and mental health standpoint.
Beyond that, Feminists for Life has championed the notion that one of the best ways to reduce abortion is to do the kind of work abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood should, but aren’t doing — namely, providing pregnant women with resources they need.
Feminists for Life has spearheaded efforts to make sure pregnant and parenting college students, who have the highest abortion rates in the nation, get tangible help like medical referrals, child-care and assistance in completing their education.
Palin, a mother of five, recognized the need to do more than say she opposes abortion and joined the organization.
In August 2006, she told the Anchorage Daily News, she recognized the struggle young women face in an unplanned pregnancy saying, “no woman should have to choose between her career, education and her child.”
For Palin, there is no inconsistency between advocating for women and taking a pro-life position.
“I believe in the strength and the power of women, and the potential of every human life,” she said.
Serrin Foster, the president of Feminists for Life, told LifeNews.com “there is a certain excitement” about Palin getting the nod as the second woman on a major party ticket to run for vice president.
She said that, for Palin to join her group, she must recognize the practical ways it is helping women find life-affirming solutions to unexpected pregnancies.
“Feminists for Life is dedicated to systematically eliminating the root causes that drive women to abortion—primarily lack of practical resources and support—through holistic, woman-centered solutions,” she said.
“We recognize that abortion is a reflection that our society has failed to meet the needs of women and that too often women have settled for less. Women deserve better than abortion,” said Foster.
Though Palin’s pro-woman, pro-life agenda makes sense, she has already come under some attack.
Shortly after McCain unveiled his selection of her as his running mate, CNN anchor John Roberts went after Palin’s parenting in a question to conservative commentator Dan Bash.
“She has a child with Down’s Syndrome, and care for children like that can take a lot of time. Is there any concern about the balance of that?” Roberts asked.
Bash retorted: “The McCain camp is probably wondering if she were a man, whether you would be asking the same question.”
For Palin, as a pro-life woman and “feminist” she’d like say she can accomplish both.
Related web sites:
Feminists for Life – http://www.feministsforlife.org
.- Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo, responded to criticism by radical feminists this week who accused him of pressuring the country’s legislature not to legalize abortion, saying these groups do not represent the interests of women.
“Women have always had all of my respect,” the cardinal said, “but I have never agreed, nor will I ever agree, with feminists of the bad kind, who are given over to everything except helping women.”
According to the cardinal, feminists, together with the United Nations, are the ones pressuring the governments of the world to legalize abortion.
Feminist groups, he explained, do not fight for the dignity of women, but rather they bring women down with the help of some sectors of society. “Only an imbecile, a moron, someone ignorant of everything, could defend that position,” he said.
I can’t agree more! The feminists DON’T represent the real women or our interests. Get a job femicommie’s. Join us in rebelling against the feminists who destroy families, women, feminity, marriage and men.
Hmmm. Maybe . . . I am not a feminist after all.
Maybe . . . working in a man’s world for 42 years and busting my butt to beat them up the ladder deletes me from the feminist category.
Certainly . . . because I’m not appalled or sickened or shocked by Sarah Palin’s stealing the thunder from Obama the orator, I am not a feminist.
Give me a break.
I’m tired of women working hard for a hammer that never breaks the glass ceiling; disgusted when Hillary Clinton, an incredibly capable, brilliant woman, lost the fight of her life; disheartened by other countries throughout the free world being led by formidable women before America is.
Only this time, it was an amazing orator named Barack Obama who was stealing our thunder . . . and I was . . . well, you know. Pissed.
And then along came Palin, a woman of the tundra who could be America’s next best frontier story — and I was pleasantly surprised.
Hell, I was delighted.
So what if she’s a Republican? I tend to vote for Republican presidents.
So what if she didn’t know the definition of the Bush Doctrine? Her performance was a Western draw. Bravery in tact. But no one shot.
So I asked myself — what fault is there in admiring a woman who is against abortion — even though I believe in freedom of choice?
What’s wrong with huge respect for a woman who chose to give birth to a Down syndrome child knowing full well what was in store for her and her family?
And if appreciating a woman who chose a husband who supports her ladder-climbing skill puts me in the non-feminist category, well maybe that’s where I belong.
To be blunt, Palin is like a zephyr blowing across the prairie with a retro hairdo tied back like a sheaf of wheat.
She is real. She is rural. She may not be a brilliant tactician, but she’s got street sense. Palin is so unlike the very controlled Hillary Clinton, who would never be caught dead in red heels.
Thus, it now appears Palin has emerged as “everywoman” to a huge portion of our female population; a woman never really identified with what we thought was our quintessential role model — a highly educated woman who wears tailored suits, whose voice is never shrill and who has a husband who makes more than she does.
I don’t know what perfume Palin wears, but to me she smells of the soil.
Our huge land once had the call of the frontier for a new start — and Alaska became the last of it.
Palin’s kind of grit and savvy is akin to a frontier story: a young woman who was raised in a land of big sky and the midnight sun, a metaphor of sorts for being able to spot trouble a long way away.
In the next two months, Palin may be able to forge a hammer big enough to crack the glass ceiling. Maybe not.
And no Palin moose gun may be powerful enough to pursue critics of John McCain, who — rightly or wrongly — may be tarnished by our economy.
But McCain did choose a tough and savvy woman as his running mate . . . and it is refreshing to think, at least for a while, a little air from the Alaskan aerie wafted through America.
As American women are drawn to the Republican vice-presidential candidate, US writer Rebecca Johnson explains her appeal
When my cell phone rang on vacation, I eyed the phone number wearily. It was my employer, Vogue, calling. My four-year-old, just out of the ocean and covered in sand, was whining for a shower. My three-year-old was thirsty. My hedge-fund husband was upstairs on his BlackBerry making plans to buy Dubai. I picked up the phone.
It was the publicist from the magazine calling to say that CNN wanted to interview me about Sarah Palin. My initial response was cool. “What do they want to talk about?”
“You’re one of the few people who has interviewed her for a national publication,” the publicist answered, referring to an article I had written earlier this year profiling the governor of Alaska for the magazine.
“Is she dead?” I asked worriedly. Alaska is notorious for small plane crashes – that’s how the politician father of the writer and journalist Cokie Roberts died – and I knew Palin owned a float plane.
It never really occurred to me that she might be the vice-presidential candidate. With so little time in office, even Alaskans hadn’t yet made up their mind about Sarah Palin’s job as governor of the state.
After the publicist set me straight, I ran down to the beach to find my mother. A left-leaning Quaker who is president of the League of Women Voters in her Texas town, my mother is the least likely person to celebrate the election of a Republican to national office.
But as a young woman she had lived in Alaska, teaching English to natives and living on a houseboat. It was the place she had gone to escape her Southern Baptist country club-attending, bridge-playing parents and it loomed large in our family as a mythic paradise, a place where you could escape the chains of civilisation and reinvent yourself.
As soon as my mother retired from her job as a professor at a community college, we drove the Alaska-Canada highway together, revisiting the site of her early bliss. During that month-long trip, I glimpsed what she saw in the state.
A whole day could go by without us seeing another soul: a solitude that complete could scrub the worst personality clean. The people we met were prickly, opinionated and original. Gore Vidal once famously said that California was so full of oddballs it was as if somebody had picked up the country and shook it so that all the loose pieces landed in the west. These days, the pieces are landing in the north.
With so few people around, conventional wisdom seems irrelevant and laws have a way of seeming arbitrary. When we were ready to sleep, we’d pull off the road and pitch a tent. But the harsh calculus of wilderness also reveals what is essential.
You don’t plan well, you don’t make it through the winter. The wood pile outside Sarah Palin’s parents’ house is half a city block long for a reason. Forget New York City. If you can make it in Alaska, you can make it anywhere. When Sarah Palin says she doesn’t care what we east coast liberals think about her, she means it.
“Sarah Palin is the vice-presidential candidate,” I told my mother when I found her under a beach umbrella.
We hugged each other joyfully. Politics be damned, Palin was a woman and she was an Alaskan! Moreover, I had been impressed with her when I interviewed her – not for her politics (I’m one of those east coast liberals she doesn’t care about) but for the other things that people across the country are responding to right now:her warmth, her work ethic, her “can-do” attitude.
If life is simply a reprise of high school, Palin was the jock who attended church faithfully, ran the soup kitchen, and organised the bake sale. If her paper on the Lincoln-Douglas debate wasn’t the most nuanced, so be it. Something has to give.
In my article, I wrote about how hard it is for Palin not to smile. The American media has been dismissive of that beauty-queen smile but Palin really did enter the Miss Wasilla contest for the scholarship money. (To make extra money, her retired parents currently shoo the birds off the runway at the Anchorage airport so the birds’ bodies don’t muck up the engines’ turbine.) Even then, Palin didn’t like the pageant and was appalled when they asked her to turn around and show the judges her behind.
Once upon a time, I also would have been contemptuous of Palin’s incurable optimism but, having been knocked around by life a bit, I now understand what a gift chronically happy people are given.
Life hands them difficulties -a Down’s syndrome baby, a 17-year-old daughter pregnant before her life as an adult has even begun, a much-needed job on the oil and gas commission that comes with too many strings – and she is not flummoxed or depressed or angry or self-pitying. She endures.
My liberal friends were outraged when rumours about Barack Obama attending a Madrassa or being a Muslim surfaced on the internet, but all week they have been gleefully trading emails of Sarah Palin distortions.
There was the doctored picture of her carrying a rifle, wearing a stars-and-stripes bikini while a man in the background drank Schlitz beer. Or dopey quotes about God, creationism and moose, all of which have been subsequently debunked.
There have also been snide remarks about Wal-Mart and K-Mart, as if there is something shameful about trying to save money. The week before Palin’s nomination was announced, people were talking about John McCain’s inability to remember precisely how many houses he and his gazillionaire wife own. A few weeks before that, the news was Cindy McCain’s $250,000 American Express bill (those lime-green shifts aren’t free).
Todd Palin earns an hourly wage at his job on the North Slope oil field; Sarah Palin makes $125,000 a year as governor of Alaska. They’re not poor, but Alaska, where most things have to be flown or shipped in, is an expensive state and they have five mouths to feed.
Palin isn’t shooting moose for sport; her family eats what she kills. If she shops at Wal-Mart for diapers, the vast majority of American women can relate.
It’s no wonder the latest Washington Post poll shows an unprecedented shift of 20 points among white women towards McCain since he announced Palin as his running mate. Times are hard and getting harder.
In a perfect world, people would vote based on issues. Care about a woman’s right to choose her own biological destiny? (so killing a different humanbeing is choice?) Vote pro-choice (vote to kill babies just because it’s in a womens womb? ). Unfortunately, life is still a lot like high school. We vote for people we like, people who make us feel comfortable and heard.
Having watched folksy George W trounce the patrician Al Gore and John Kerry, you’d think the Democrats would have learned this.
Deriding Palin’s modest background and lack of Ivy League credentials will only turn voters off. We should celebrate what is groundbreaking about Sarah Palin: a card-carrying member of Feminists for Life is a big step forward from Housewives for Life. And then we should talk about the issues.
Rebecca Johnson, Telegraph, UK,11/09/2008