Tag Archives: republican
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.
There are some moments when members of a political movement come together as one, sharing the same thoughts, feeling the same emotions, breathing the same shallow breaths. One of those occasions occurred Thursday night when Republicans around the country crouched nervously behind their sofas, glimpsed out tentatively at their flat screens and gripped their beverages tightly as Sarah Palin walked onto the debate stage at Washington University in St. Louis.
There she was, resplendent in black, striding out like a power-walker, and greeting Joe Biden like an assertive salesman, first-naming him right off the bat.
Just as the midcentury psychologist Abraham Maslow predicted, Republicans watching the debate had a hierarchy of needs. First, they had a need for survival. Was this woman capable of completing an extemporaneous paragraph — a collection of sentences with subjects, verbs, objects and, if possible, an actual meaning?
By the end of her opening answers, it was clear she would meet the test. She spoke with that calm, measured poise that marked her convention speech, not the panicked meanderings of her subsequent interviews.
When nervous, Palin has a tendency to over-enunciate her words like a graduate of the George W. Bush School of Oratory, but Thursday night she spoke like a normal person. It took her about 15 seconds to define her persona — the straight-talking mom from regular America — and it was immediately clear that the night would be filled with tales of soccer moms, hockey moms, Joe Sixpacks, main-streeters, “you betchas” and “darn rights.” Somewhere in heaven Norman Rockwell is smiling.
With a bemused smile and a never-ending flow of words, she laid out her place on the ticket — as the fearless neighbor for the heartland bemused by the idiocies of Washington. Her perpetual smile served as foil to Biden’s senatorial seriousness.
Where was this woman was during her interview with Katie Couric?
Their primal need for political survival having been satisfied, her supporters then looked for her to shift the momentum. And here we come to the interesting cultural question posed by her performance. The presidency and the vice presidency once was the preserve of white men in suits. As the historian Ellen Fitzpatrick pointed out on PBS Thursday night, if, in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro had spoken in the relentlessly folksy tones that Palin used, she would have been hounded out of politics as fundamentally unserious.
But that was before casual Fridays, boxers or briefs and T-shirt-clad Silicon Valley executives. Today, Palin can hit those colloquial notes again and again, and it is not automatically disqualifying.
On Thursday night, Palin took her inexperience and made a mansion out of it. From her first “Nice to meet you. May I call you Joe?” she made it abundantly, unstoppably and relentlessly clear that she was not of Washington, did not admire Washington and knew little about Washington. She ran not only against Washington, but the whole East Coast, just to be safe.
To many ears, her accent, her colloquialisms and her constant invocations of the accoutrements of everyday life will seem cloying. But in the casual parts of the country, I suspect, it went down fine. In any case, that’s who Palin is.
On matters of substance, her main accomplishment was to completely sever ties to the Bush administration. She treated Bush as some historical curiosity from the distant past. Beyond that, Palin broke no new ground, though she toured the landscape of McCain policy positions with surprising fluency. Like the last debate, this one was surprisingly wonky — a lifetime subscription to Congressional Quarterly. Palin could not match Biden when it came to policy detail, but she never obviously floundered.
She was surprisingly forceful on the subject of Iran (pronouncing Ahmadinejad better than her running mate) though she stepped over the line in claiming that Democrats sought to raise the “the white flag of surrender.”
Biden, for his part, was smart, fluid and relentless. He did not hit the change theme hard enough. He did not praise Barack Obama enough. But he was engaging, serious and provided a moving and revealing moment toward the end, when he invoked the tragedy that befell his own family and revealed the passion that has driven him all his life.
Still, this debate was about Sarah Palin. She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.
By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.
Bob Hoffman in Kansas City on why Dumbocrats go berserk at Sarah Palin
The relentless criticism of Sarah Palin has more to do with her gender and conservative views than her qualifications.
Democrats are upset because John McCain didn’t get the memo that only Democrats are allowed to nominate women. Liberals are upset because McCain didn’t get the memo that only women with liberal views are worthy of representing women.
Democrats and liberals want desperately to keep Republicans in the imaginary box Democrats portray them in. For Republicans to deviate from the stereotype Democrats have conjured up about them is an outrage and must be stomped out quickly.
Democrats believe they have the exclusive right to promote the progress of women in politics. Now the Republicans have stolen the ball, and the unthinkable is now a possibility: The first woman to ascend to the White House may do so in a Republican presidency.
Obama the former cocaine user turned down an offer from Lindsay Lohan to host an event because he thinks the PRESENT cocaine user is not up to mark.
John McCain has weighed in over Barack Obama’s reported slap in the face to Lindsay Lohan. The Chicago Sun-Times quotes an unnamed high-level Barack source who says they rejected Lohan’s offer to host an event because she “is not exactly the kind of high-profile star who would be a positive for us.”
Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for the McCain campaign tells TMZ, “So let me get this straight — they turned away Lindsay Lohan, but Barack Obama has friends like unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers and convicted felon Tony Rezko? Maybe LiLo is just too upstanding for Barack Obama.”
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.