Monday, September 08, 2008

Apologia

Montana Headlines corrects his errors in what is, even by blogosphere standards, a remarkably ungracious post. He characterizes his previous post as "a bit of hyperbole."

I suppose. But this bit of hyperbole is wearing mighty thin, especially after hearing it for hours each week on Hannity. Let me state this as baldly as possible. Barack Obama is not descended from Olympus. He is not a god. He is not Jesus Christ. He is not the Messiah. He is not the Chosen One. He has never claimed to be any of these things. His supporters do not claim he is any of these things. Anyone who does claim he is any of these things is either deranged or engaging in a tiresome "bit of hyperbole." Besides, if Obama were a god, he would not be a U.S. citizen and would be ineligible to run for president.

Montana Headlines cites two quotes about Obama from me to justify his hyperbole:
He has accomplished what no politician in American history has ever managed to pull off.

and
...he has done all that a human being can do in so short a time to prepare himself for the world's most demanding job.


The first statement is simply factually accurate and will remain so, no matter what happens in November. The second can't be a statement of fact because it is always possible that a human being could do more than Obama has done. But it is an eminently defensible position, and I welcome anyone to take it on.

The rest of the post speaks for itself. When I refer to the "whole Republican argument," I clearly am referring to the Republican argument in response to Obama's claim that he has enough experience. I do not touch on any of the broad range of other issues one might consider in choosing a president. Indeed, I heard nothing in John McCain's acceptance speech that I found objectionable.

In fact, I rarely touch on policy, other than on bedrock constitutional issues. Some commenters at Montana Headlines suggest that I am taking a liberal stance, but that is nonsense. Look at the case I have made: I have explored the candidates' qualifications. I have looked at public statements that might indicate a poor understanding of the issues. I have looked at Palin's record in Alaska, which actually could be a record most liberals would find OK: a windfall profits tax, lots of government projects and earmarks, redistribution of wealth, targeting Republican corruption, big talk but not much action on social issues. The elements that trouble me are not her political positions but her management record, which suggests (but does not yet quite prove) a certain arrogance unwelcome in public service.

I also have been troubled by some of the things she has said since her nomination. I think it is safe to say that if Obama had done the same things in the first week of his campaign as she has (lying about the Bridge to Nowhere, putting a pregnant daughter on public display, fundamentally misunderstanding Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac, refusing to meet with reporters) that he would have long since been back on the bench as the junior senator from Illinois.

My concerns are what they always have been: I want good government. I want honest politicians. I want fealty to the law and the Constitution. I want a serious and respectful discussion of the issues. I don't want cheap shots and lies, and I'm pretty sick and tired of hyperbole.

If you can find a liberal sentiment on that list, have at it.

UPDATE: Montana Headlines responds, in much kinder terms than I did. I didn't mean to sound quite as grumpy as I did, but Monday was another very long and not very good day. And today will be another one, damn it. I will try to be better. It would be a shame to have this corner of the Montana blogosphere as poisoned as the political campaigns are becoming.

18 comments:

Chuck Rightmire said...

David: From my viewpoint your whole last paragraph is a liberal viewpoint. Incidentally, the ACLU is offering bumper stickers in three to six weeks that say something like 'I'm a voter for the Constitution." I've sent for one.

Anonymous said...

I have found one way to make my life much more pleasant. I turn Hannity OFF. I am certainly of the "conservative" bent but I see no reason to listen to that drivel.

Eric said...

Barack Hussein Obama not the Messiah?

Why did they build him a temple at the convention?

And at almost every outdoor speech he gave why did they have people in the crowds fainting from excitement, like a televangelist would have?

The more I read the piece by Dr. Jack Wheeler, the more truths' I find in it - to quote him -

"Thus Obama has become the white liberals' Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White. There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, no arguments Hillary could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed In Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd."

Randy said...

Your Montana Headlines link is bad.

David said...

Eric, Greek columns have been used since the early days of the Republic as a symbol of America's link to the roots of democracy among the early Greeks. The columns stand for freedom, not for divine rule.

No wonder you find Jack Wheeler believable, because if anything is absurd, that quote is.

Todd said...

I don't want cheap shots and lies, and I'm pretty sick and tired of hyperbole.

My advice to you: Turn off your AM radio. I know it's kind of fun to tune in to the lunatic Nazi far-right gnash-o-sphere-- if for no other reason than to hear the rant du jour from the paranoid schizophrenic coalition.

But it sure doesn't help one reinforce his belief in his country or his fellow man.

Coobs, you remain as clueless and confused as ever.

James said...

Feb 16, 2008 WND

Call it the Barack Obama traveling salvation show – campaign rallies and speeches that seem like the secular counterpart of tent-meeting revivals and evangelistic sermons common in the U.S. a century ago.

And, in apparent similarity to the religious enthusiasm of that bygone era, some of those coming to hear the Democrat presidential candidate "preach" his message are fainting as he speaks.

A video compilation by Breitbart.TV shows Obama on several occasions breaking off his speeches to address someone who has collapsed, usually close to the stage, and to call for medical personnel while he offers bottled water to the overcome supporter.

The similarity between the events and the emotive opportunity it offers the candidate has some on the web questioning whether the campaign is employing shills or whether the phenomenon is evidence of fanaticism and cause for concern.

David said...

Todd, I am sure that is good advice, and I have no doubt that my weakness with respect to AM talk radio will bring on some additional punishment in Hell, not to mention the hell on earth it brings me.

But I should emphasize that the worst of what's going on right now is in the campaigns themselves. The McCain-Palin campaign is still just flat-out lying about the Bridge to Nowhere, and McCain has openly questioned Obama's patriotism, not to mention pushing the ridiculous "celebrity" and "messiah" themes.

Obama is, at least up to this point, a lesser offender, but his dumb ad about how many houses McCain owns certainly isn't helping matters.

The funny thing is, I have yet to find a defense from any Palin supporter on the Bridge to Nowhere lie. Can somebody show me one? Or is lying just OK with the GOP?

Eric said...

Todd what exactly am I clueless about - the 'correct' meaning of the temple?

And I suppose I'm clueless because anybody not following Obama is obviously on the wrong path?

Todd said...

The difficulty in pointing your cluelessness out to you, Eric, is that if you weren't clueless, I wouldn't have to point it out, and because you are clueless, you wouldn't realize your own cluelessness. A tad existential, I know, but there it is.

On to the task at hand:
1) Barack HUSSEIN Obama. That's pretty tired now; everybody knows his middle name, and you just look like a fool for including it at every turn;

2) Call it the Barack Obama traveling salvation show...
Because of your hyperpartisanship, you underestimate the damage GWB has done to the country and the world. Some people are excited about the prospects of putting the broken pieces back together again, and Barack HUSSEIN!!! Obama shoulders that hope for a lot of people;

2) As David said, Greek columns were supposed to symbolize democracy-- a concept which we hope will make a comeback in the years ahead. Sorry you missed that allusion;

3) And at almost every outdoor speech he gave why did they have people in the crowds fainting from excitement... You get this from Rush or Hannity? Just sheer idiocy.

4) Thus Obama has become the white liberals' Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White. If you see truths (or truths') in any of that nonsense, please re-read the beginning part about cluelessness.

Eric said...

Something about his correct name offend you Todd?

(1) Don't forget who we're talking about here - a man who is half-white, but rejects it, and the other half is Kenyan, hence the Arabic name.

But let's not mention it in polite company, right? After all, he acts like an African American, descended from slavery, right?

(2) Salvation show? I didn't call it that, but google up the words Obama Salvation Show and watch the videos of his shills 'fainting' in the crowds.

(3)It looked like a temple, or outdoor cathedral to me, and a lot of other people too!

(4) I will not support Barack Hussein Obama now, or ever, because he is way too liberal, and other than beating Hillary in the primary (something that wouldn't have happened but for the misdeeds of Florida and Michigan) he has nothing to qualify himself to be President. He was a community organizer in Chicago, spent some time in the Illinois legislature, was just elected to a term in the Senate, and has been campaigning ever since. He has not emerged as a leader in the Senate, and has nothing noteworthy on his resume. If that is your idea of clueless, I am proud to be called so.

Anonymous said...

When did McCain openly question Obama's patriotism? I know he's questioned his judgment on the Iraq war and national security issues, but I don't recall him ever calling him unpatriotic. Can you please provide a specific example?

As for the Bridge to Nowhere, she did what she said she did, she opposed it. But indeed, she didn't tell the whole truth. So if you want to call that a lie, well, its your blog, so have at it. But flatly calling her claim a lie isn't quite the whole truth either.

It probably safe to say that no one would have known that her daughter was pregnant if left-wing bloggers hadn't made up the story about her having her daughter's baby, and forcing her hand as it started to leak into the conventional press. It is interesting to note that the Palin kids played a much smaller role in the GOP convention than the Obama kids played at the Democratic convention. Was Obama wrong for putting his kids "on public display"?

You also aren't happy about Palin "refusing to meet with reporters." Remember she just was placed in this role a short time ago; she had no time to prepare. You also are forgetting that Obama avoided the press in the early stages of his campaign.

Last January, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post said Obama was a "remote figure to those covering him....." and Newsweek said "The contact is limited"...as the Obama campaign saw the media as "more as a logistical problem than a channel for getting stuff out."

It would be interesting to know if you were critical of the Obama campaign for that strategy.

problembear said...

this hyperbole originated with mccain's very tacit, deceitful and thinly veiled passive aggressive style of racist-based (with camoflage) tactics that appeal to the worst and most base of human nature. the insults hurled at obama are becoming more bold by the day. i believe that my grandfather's advice when dealing with such a person is to pay out enough rope to let him hang himself. i believe that is exactly what obama intends to do.
if i had any respect for john mccain before this election it has all evaporated. the man and his party are depraved and deserve the end that awaits them.

David said...

Anonymous 812, On July 21, McCain said that Obama "would rather lose a war than lose a campaign." Wouldn't you agree that anybody who would do that is unpatriotic?

Palin actually did support the bridge. Only after Congress cut off funding did she decide to oppose it. Even then, she kept the money. So she never sent any message at all to Congress, again, either in fact or as metaphor.

If it were up to me, I probably would keep kids and spouses out of campaigns altogether. Of course, that won't happen. But I do believe that having a pregnant, unwed daughter would have knocked Obama out of the race on Day One. There is a double standard.

Sorry, I don't have time to check right now into when Obama first met with reporters after announcing his candidacy.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with your conclusion that McCain was calling Obama unpatriotic, when you look at the full context in which McCain was talking.

http://embeds.blogs.foxnews.com/2008/
07/22/mccain-obama-would-rater-lose
-a-war-in-order-to-win-a-political
-campaign/

In short, McCain had risked his political future on supporting the surge, which looked foolish at the time. Even now, Obama says the surge has succeeded beyond his "wildest dreams," or some such thing. In his full comments on July 21, McCain was referring to how Obama didn't want to support the surge, but was calling for, essentially, an immediate pullout from Iraq. Obama was trying to get to the left of the other candidates in the Democratic primary. One can point to benefits of an immediate pullout, but it also would be admission of defeat, a loss.

I think McCain's criticism of Obama was a criticism of his judgment, not of his patriotism. You think otherwise. So be it.

As for the bridge, you declare bluntly that she lied about the bridge. I don't see it in black and white terms, but do admit she didn't tell the full truth. Here's a Washington Post Fact Checker piece that calls her claim "half true." I think "half true" is a little different than "lying." http://voices.washingtonpost.com/
fact-checker/2008/09/
politifact_mccain_exaggerates.html

You believe that if Obama had a pregnant, unwed daughter he would have been knocked out of the race, then declare there is a double standard. But you have no way of knowing there is a double standard based on pure conjecture.

I also suppose one could argue that left-wing bloggers and the press went after Palin and her daughter in such a frenzy -- asking about DNA, amniotic fluid, her ability to take care of 5 kids and run for office, etc -- that it created a backlash and helped gain acceptance of her daughter's situation. But who's to say the right wouldn't overreach & do the same thing if Obama had the pregnant daughter.

As for Obama's press relation's, here's a story that might refresh your memory. He kept the press at arm's length for months. It wasn't until early this year .. when he started getting a lot of grief...that he started to have much press conferences, interviews and the like. Previously he mostly did staged events and speeches in which he declared things like: "We are the ones we have been waiting for. Our time has come."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/
content/article/2008/01/27/
AR2008012702160.html

6 Generations said...

Just wanted to wade in with details of when Barack Obama was interviewed by the press: On February 6, 2007, four days before he officially announced his candidacy for president of the United States, Barack Obama was interviewed by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft. The first question: "What qualifies you to be President of the United States?" You can read the details of that interview here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/
02/11/60minutes/main2458530.shtml

Other interviews that come to mind? How about the interview about his presidential platform on energy and the environment? You can read it here: http://www.grist.org/feature/2007/
07/30/obama/

Oh, gee, with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show in August (There's a pt. 1, but I found pt 2 first:http://www.thedailyshow.com/
video/index.jhtml?videoId=91996&title=
barack-obama-pt.-2

Fox News Channel's Carl Cameron interviewed Barack Obama in Clinton, Iowa, on Sept. 12, 2007. The interview was aired on "Special Report with Brit Hume":
http://insidecable.blogsome.com/
2007/09/12/fncs-cameron-interviews-
barack-obama/

Here you can find a pdf file of an interview in September, 2007:
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/
immigration/2007/09/
exclusive-barac.html

Here is a "Meet the Press" interview with Barack Obama on Nov. 11, 2007: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/
21738432/

Here is an interview with National Journal's Linda Douglass, Nov. 8, 2007:
http://www.nationaljournal.com/
onair/transcripts/
071108_obama_barack.htm

Here's an interview (Nov. 26, 2007) with Barack Obama on Net Neutrality: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/
26/qa-with-senator-barack-obama-
on-key-technology-issues/

Want more? Here is a list of speeches--with video, at The Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
wp-dyn/content/linkset/2008/06/12/
LI2008061202912.html

I would add more, but I got tired of looking, and I know this is a useless exercise, anyway--just made me feel better to get some facts.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say that Obama never met with the press. But as the story I supplied a link to indicated, his campaign greatly restricted access--until earlier this year. (I was amused to see that one of the Obama interviews was with Linda Douglas, who is now his PR person ... bet that was hard hitting....I
also remember that 60 Minutes interview... that first question
on what qualifies you to be president was the only "tough" one
that I recall....the others were along the lines of: How do you
hold up under the stress of campaigning...)

With these defenses of Palin here, I don't want to imply that I think Palin is the most qualified person out there to be VP. That would be silly, as there are others with a lot more experience, more knowledge, etc. Admittedly, McCain picked her based on a political calculation and so far it seems to be working pretty well. (Obama used political calculations also in picking Biden, and that doesn't seem to be working out quite as well.)

The experience debate points out one of Obama's big weaknesses. And the problem for the country is that he's at the top of the ticket.

I will admit I would have been happy to see Democrats win the
presidency this year .... but here's the if ... if they had
nominated someone less liberal and if they didn't control both
houses of Congress. It would have been good to see a change in
administrations.

So why do I stick up for Palin? I suppose I like to stick up
for someone getting so hammered by Democrats and the press. It is
amazing to see the obsession that they have with her.

Ironically, I suspect that feeding frenzy and attacks are
backlashing on both of them. McCain has been rising in the
polls, and the credibility of the press continues to sink.

Just in the last week or so I saw a poll that said 70 percent
of all Americans think most journalists are trying to help
elect a candidate, and the big majority see Obama as that candidate. The Democratic adviser Mark Penn said the US media are treading on thin ice by going after Palin so hard, as he noted they haven't been digging into the travel records, expense accounts, etc of the other candidates, and the public resents the double standard.

I would note that we know next to nothing about Biden's family,
his kids lobbying activities, his own Rezko ties, his own
questionable land deals, etc. And the press has done as little
reporting as possible on the Obama ties to Wm. Ayers and the
old Chicago politicos, etc.

Ironically, all the attacks on Palin seem to have the affect of
making her a sympathetic figure. And when pundits predict she'll blow her interview with ABC, they lower expectations. She does OK, not great, and she wins. The viewers also see she's not the ogre/idiot the press has portrayed her as. (Turns out that Mr. Gibson misled about her quote on her
Iraq prayer, got the Bush Doctrine wrong, and looked rather
condescending, so the press comes out the loser again.)

Its amusing in a way. And I'm not really rooting for the press to look bad. we need a strong press to hold the powerful accountable. They just need to learn how to be tough with their ideological friends, as well as those they disagree with, so that they have credibility with a broader cross section of Americans.

Well, I've gone on far too much about Sarah Palin too.

David said...

Anonymous,
Please don't blame the press for Charlie Gibson.