Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 12, 2008
POLITICS: Obama Rumor Mill

If you go out on the web you will find with Barack Obama, as with any national political figure, a broad spectrum of charges ranging from the indisputably true to the undeniably crackpot, and plenty in between. Here's two of the hot recent ones that fall in the gray area, as well as one example of how the mainstream media can follow up on stuff like this.

This essay by Jack Cashill argues somewhat convincingly that Dreams of My Father had the assistance of a ghostwriter, and more speculatively that the ghostwriter was Bill Ayers. I don't know a lot about Cashill but the essay is basically in the category of "plausible but unproven speculation." On the upside, Cashill doesn't make any really uncheckable assertions of fact other than his linguistic analyses (which could presumably be rechecked by MSM sources), so you can apply your own judgment.

Then we have this report sourced out of the Daily Mail in London suggesting an extramarital affair by Obama. (H/T Ace, who applies the Andrew Sullivan standard). Aside from Clinton and Gary Hart, we've had rumors of this kind in the past with Kerry, McCain (aside from the known affairs on his first wife, that is), George H.W. Bush, Palin and John Edwards, and only the Edwards one panned out. I don't put much stock in this or think the media should report it without investigating and getting the facts right. But I would hope they do seriously investigate stuff like this even when it's about Obama.

Then we have this September 29 report from Ken Timmerman of Newsmax about Obama's lack of financial controls and resulting receipt of large numbers of shady and quite likely illegal campaign contributions, including from foreign sources. Newsmax is not the most credible of sources - I generally don't cite their work unless it can be corroborated - but Timmerman, too, made clear what his sources were (FEC records) and you had to wonder why no major media outlets had tried the same thing. Shamed by Newsmax, which the IHT version of this credits, the New York Times ran basically the same investigation and seems to have come to basically the same conclusion, albeit without bringing themselves to address the more problematic foreign-donor angle. But it's a key example of the major media lacking the initiative to do basic due diligence on Obama until a fringe-y right-wing source delivers them a completed story on a platter.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:04 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (55) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Hang it up, assjack, you have nothing less. Your "credibility" as a non-baseball writer has always been suspect, but this and recent post really betray you as a hack.

Have some self awareness and admit your candidate has nothing left on real issues. Why print a bunch of rumors about the next President, when you've ignored facts about the current one for 8 years.

Posted by: Crank Hater at October 12, 2008 11:12 AM

You guys do get awful touchy when anyone questions your Messiah. Why such a note of panic?

Posted by: The Crank at October 12, 2008 11:21 AM

Interesting stuff. More, please.
For instance, Hanoi John's collaboration with his NV captors in exchange for more comfortable lodging and better medical care, his extramarital dalliances that earned him the enmity of the Reagans, the organized crime connections of the father ofhis current wife (or, the "cunt", as he so affectionatly refers to her), from whom the money came to launch his political career, globetrotting with Keating, or just his general mavericky maverickness which has him talking one side of an issue before voting the other.

Posted by: rs at October 12, 2008 11:30 AM

Crank, have you read the recent article in Rolling Stone about McCain's background? I believe the comment by "rs" addresses that article, which raises serious questions about McCain's judgment and even his war record. No surprise that a major party candidate has exaggerated his record and cleansed his biography of the bad stuff, but you may want to avert your gaze from Obama for the moment and take a look at this article. If you think Obama is a bullshitter, well, he is not the only bullshitter in this race.

Posted by: steve at October 12, 2008 11:57 AM

rs, see, that's the difference. You guys get rumors, usually based on anonymous sources, they get printed up in big media outlets and you all repeat them as fact.

I generally don't traffic in rumor and when I do, I make clear that it's rumor and what the basis is for believing or disbelieving the source. And our side can't get the major media to report on or even investigate stories about Obama until they are 100% bulletproof.

Posted by: The Crank at October 12, 2008 12:11 PM

Obama is not my messiah and I'm not so delusional to believe that he'll really "change" anything. (However, I firmly believe that he's got a better head on his shoulders than an old, off-balanced asshole and a mental midget created by guys like Bill Kristol...yeah that's opinion.)

But, in reading your website for baseball news and seeing all your political commentaries, I was wondering this: If Obama wins, do you want him to fail? You're clearly a smart man and I respect your intellect, but it seems like you do.

Posted by: Kent at October 12, 2008 12:16 PM

steve - You mean this? (I do wish when you folks point to sources you'd provide links). I looked that over and as far as McCain's Navy career and POW experiences are concerned, there really isn't anything in there that McCain hasn't discussed at greater length in Faith of My Fathers, where he talks about breaking under torture, about the heroism of other POWs, about the fact that others were treated worse because they lacked McCain's father's position and about the changes in conditions at different times of his imprisonment. Have you read Faith of My Fathers? It's an excellent book - McCain, through Mark Salter (who did most/all of the writing), is pretty frank and doesn't pull punches about that period of his life.

Posted by: The Crank at October 12, 2008 12:22 PM

Is there an echo at the bottom of the barrel?
Just think if Obama cheated on and left his first wife. Used his new wife's trust fund and family connections to run for office. A few years ago, be warned away from an attractive lobbyist. Admitted into college on family connections and not merit. Damn, thats McCain. Silence from the Crank on all those things. We are still waiting on your research on the Chicago Political Machine.
Soon I am sure you will post Obama was never really the editor of the Havard Law Review and/or that job was never important anyway. Did not mean to steal your thunder on that one.

Posted by: javaman at October 12, 2008 1:26 PM

Is McCain's record over-heroicized? Quite possibly, although some of the charges against him are laughable. Take this one from the anti-McCain article cited above by Crank. "On one of his runs at McCain [named for his grandfather] Field, when ground control put him in a holding pattern, the lieutenant commander once again pulled his family's rank. "Let me land," McCain demanded over his radio, "or I'll take my field and go home!"

This is presented by the author as a serious criticism. It's obvious someone has a humor deficit, and that someone isn't John McCain, who is, if anything, too much of a cutup.

The countervailing problem with Obama's record is that so much of it is hidden or falsified. His memoir substitutes for vetting. But memoirs are--speaking realistically--a branch of fiction. While U S Grant did a fine job with his, some are worse than others. Obama's *Dreams of My Father* tends to the fictional in both content and style.

The backgrounds of McCain and Palin are out in the open, while Obama's schooling, Wall Street job, relations with Acorn and its front operations, legal career, "professorship," accomplishments as a legislator, social history and more are masked or distorted. Even his birth records are un-released.

Topping this, his politics are those of a chameleon, changing according to the voters whom he is attempting to court. Not surprising in a politician, but the amplitude of Obama's policy variations are extreme, leading us to wonder whether they are those that meshed so well with Bill Ayers, or whether there is any base at all.

I'm willing to say that McCain was far from my first choice as candidate for President, and I flirted with the idea of withholding my vote. But when Obama gained the Dem nomination such self-indulgence became unacceptable.

I expect McCain to be a marginal President. I fear Obama will be an actively harmful one.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 12, 2008 2:14 PM

Crank, he's not my messiah, you know that well enough. You might want to go back and read your posts over the years. George W Bush is far more your messiah than Obama is someone else's. He's not a messiah, just someone in the Democratic Party (Hillary Clinton is the other) who understands what the GOP always did: you have to win for it to count.

CNN had a great thing: reviewing who won the SNL debate Thursday night. Great stuff. The GOP pundit they had pounded Obama for being to "professorial." NOw that stuff did wash when Stevenson faced Ike, but you had an articulate smart guy against a genuine administrative war hero, who earned every accolade given him. McCain finished almost at the bottom of Annapolis, and let's not forget how he "earned" his way in. And Obama got into Harvard almost the same way. But Obama had to do well to keep those scholarships. I think the public has had it with "one of us" when one of us is dumbed down like W. The American public is angry and scared, and both are justified. And your guys attack someone for acting too smart.

Shame shame shame.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 12, 2008 3:01 PM

With regard to Jack Cashill's claim that Obama's first memoir was written by Bill Ayers, it appears to be a possibility, but even Cashill doesn't go further than that.

On the basis of my own experience it at least appears unlikely that Obama wrote *Dreams From My Father* without significant assistance or gross editing. Fiction--the branch of literature most closely related to memoir--is more difficult than non-fiction, and experience in expository writing does not readily transfer to fiction. Yet Joe Klein stated in an article about Obama for *Time* that the book "may be the best-written memoir ever produced by an American politician." We might question Klein's worshipful opinion, but the book is generally considered well done.

What I say specifically is that the stylistic quality of the book seems beyond the skills of a first-time writer. (Let me state that I haven't read the entire book, and depend for my evaluation on quoted excerpts and comments by others.) Obama has a couple of published poems, and they are abysmally bad. But most modern poetry is bad, so I'm not sure the poetry proves much about his skill.

The other unlikely event in connection with his book is that a publisher would have approached him, offering an advance. Unknown writers--and published writers whose previous books haven't sold quite well--make proposals to publishers, and usually cannot command an advance. To get serious consideration they must have a "platform." That is, have either a reputation or accomplishments that, if publicized, will draw readership.

If you've led the takeover of the House of Representatives, you have a platform. If you are the spouse of a sitting President, both you and your dog have a platform. If you've a reputation as one of the more blatant sluts--female or male--in Hollywood, you have a platform.

If you are the first African-American Editor of the Harvard Law Review you *might* have a platform that would facilitate publication by a university press. But to write for general publication a memoir about your journey of personal identification? I question this. And to get what was supposedly a significant advance? I also question that.

This will certainly stand as a mystery until the deathbed confession of Bill Ayers or some publishing underling, for we can be sure the truth will never issue forth from the reputed author, and the rest of us can only speculate.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 12, 2008 3:10 PM

Actually his first book sold very little on the first printing. It was sent to reprint after his speech at the DNC four years ago then it took off. For all the digging you guys claim you seem to always ignore the facts.
So now we are keeping a list of who have written a memoir?

Posted by: javaman at October 12, 2008 3:57 PM

What's next out of you Crank? Obama helped plan 911?

Posted by: seth soothsayer at October 12, 2008 5:17 PM

Java:

Please note that I wasn't referring to the *sales* of his memoir but the unlikelihood it would have been solicited and given an advance. That it sold poorly simply reinforces my contention.

I say it's not easy to write well, not easy to obtain a recognized publisher, and quite difficult to obtain an agent. If you've any experience to the contrary, state your techniques, because I'd like to learn more.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 12, 2008 5:33 PM

For me, as a veteran, this election boils down very easily to one issue, after the economy (as if that were not enough.) What is the voting record of each candidate regarding issues that are important to vets and active-duty folks in uniform?

"You guys get rumors, usually based on anonymous sources, they get printed up in big media outlets and you all repeat them as fact."

Here's your damned rumors, Crank. The people have spoken. Get back to baseball, for crying out loud:

Veterans Groups Give McCain Failing Grades. In its most recent legislative ratings, the non-partisan Disabled American Veterans gave Sen. McCain a 20 percent rating for his voting record on veterans' issues. Similarly, the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a "D" grade for his poor voting record on veterans' issues, including McCain's votes against additional body armor for troops in combat and additional funding for PTSD and TBI screening and treatment.


McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans' Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans' health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans' health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)

McCain Voted At Least 28 Times Against Veterans' Benefits, Including Healthcare. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 28 times against ensuring important benefits for America's veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. (2006 Senate Vote # 7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes # 55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes # 40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes # 74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote # 328; 1998 Senate Vote # 175; 1997 Senate Vote # 168; 1996 Senate Votes # 115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes # 76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote # 306; 1992 Senate Vote # 194; 1991 Senate Vote # 259)

McCain Voted Against Providing Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Veterans. McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments for certain veterans' benefits. (S. 869, Vote 259, 11/20/91)

McCain Voted to Underfund Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion. (H.R. 2099, Vote 470, 9/27/95)

McCain Voted Against a $13 Billion Increase in Funding for Veterans Programs. McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion. (S.C.R. 57, Vote 115, 5/16/96)

McCain Voted Against $44.3 Billion for Veterans Programs. McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies. (H.R. 2684, Vote 328, 10/15/99)

McCain Voted Against $47 Billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (H.R. 4635, Vote 272, 10/12/00)

McCain Voted Against $51 Billion in Veterans Funding. McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA. (H.R. 2620, Vote 334, 11/8/01; Vote 269, 8/2/01)

McCain Voted Against $122.7 Billion for Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. (H.R. 2861, Vote 449, 11/12/03)

McCain Opposed $500 Million for Counseling Services for Veterans with Mental Disorders. McCain voted against an amendment to appropriate $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. (S. 2020, S.Amdt. 2634, Vote 343, 11/17/05)

McCain opposed an Assured Funding Stream for Veterans' Health Care. McCain opposed providing an assured funding stream for veterans' health care, taking into account annual changes in veterans' population and inflation. (S.Amdt. 3141 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 63, 3/16/06)

McCain Voted Against Adding More Than $400 Million for Veterans' Care. McCain was one of 13 Republicans to vote against providing an additional $430 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans. (S.Amdt. 3642 to H.R. 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06)

McCain Supported Outsourcing VA Jobs. McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. (S.Amdt. 2673 to H.R. 2642, Vote 315, 9/6/07)

McCain Opposed the 21st Century GI Bill Because It Was Too Generous. McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would "encourage more people to leave the military." (S.Amdt. 4803 to H.R. 2642, Vote 137, 5/22/08; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/2/08; Boston Globe, 5/23/08; ABCNews.com, 5/26/08)

Posted by: macsonix at October 12, 2008 7:53 PM

the ghostwriter was Bill Ayers.

I have to admit, Crank, I laughed out loud when I saw this. I know you didn't mean it as a joke, but the fact that you GOPers are SOOOOOOO obsessed with the Ayers thing is . . . crazy. Dude, the global economy is collapsing! If McCain can't board that train, and hijack it and take it in his direction, he's doomed.

For the sake of your own dignity and the fading chances of your party, get off the Ayers thing!

Not to mention, just for argument's sake, what if Ayers ghost-wrote the book? So what? Does that suddenly make him a bad candidate? If he wrote it himself, you might consider voting for him?

Posted by: Mike at October 12, 2008 8:11 PM

the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America

You are kidding, right? Right?

Posted by: The Crank at October 12, 2008 8:53 PM

Pathetic. Truly pathetic.

Maybe Obama and Ayres secretly ran Abu Ghraib and brainwashed the troops into torturing at gitmo. It no doubt was Ayres pulling the strings on Obama and causing the stock market to fall. And, didn't Obama dream up the idea of credit default swaps? Why stop there? Tie him to the Kennedy and Lincoln assasinations.

Do you have any idea of how truly stupid you look?

Posted by: Magrooder at October 12, 2008 9:06 PM

Are you actually this obtuse?

"Not to mention, just for argument's sake, what if Ayers ghost-wrote the book? So what? Does that suddenly make him a bad candidate? If he wrote it himself, you might consider voting for him?"

While not important of itself, it's just one more lie from a candidate whose whole background is a manufactured legend. It's not an election-breaker, but highly interesting to speculate about.

And in other news, I find it highly entertaining that McCain the veteran hates both veterans and active-duty troops. What's next, that Palin hates hunters and hockey players?

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 12, 2008 9:34 PM

"Not to mention, just for argument's sake, what if Ayers ghost-wrote the book? So what? Does that suddenly make him a bad candidate? If he wrote it himself, you might consider voting for him?
Posted by Mike at October 12, 2008 8:11 PM"

Mike,

To folks with a clue it doesn't matter if he wrote the book. We understand he is an empty suit and wouldn't vote for him regardless. However, the book matters to some who say they are voting for him because he is so erudite. I even saw an op-ed from a conservative elitist idiot who based his decision to vote for Obama (even though he disagrees with him on all the issues) because after reading his book he feels the empty suit is a smart guy like him. Well, will Christopher Buckley turn around and vote for the ghost writer if it turns out some other goof wrote the book?

Posted by: largebill at October 12, 2008 9:42 PM

No, I'm not kidding, Crank. Just because you are willing to hitch your wagon to whatever dreck is coming out of RedState doesn't mean that the rest of the electorate is. Furthermore, are you suggesting that it's somehow out of the realm of possibility that this guy first founded a group for vets out of his personal passion for veteran's issues and then decided, after being asked by people in the know about McCain's voting record on said issues, that he would accept their offer to make him the Vet Director of the Obama campaign? Why on earth would this seem illogical to you? Talk about conspiracy theorism...

And nobody said McCain hates vets. But his voting history on these issues is a factual matter of public record. AND he and his campaign staff are more than willing to bet the farm that most Americans will take it for granted, as you guys so obviously have, that his votes have nearly always supported vets. Unfortunately, that's just not the case at all.

And clearly, vets are not quite as entertained as you might be, Dai.

Posted by: macsonix at October 12, 2008 11:41 PM

Phil Carter being a Democrat long predates him being involved in IAVA or even going to Iraq, if you have followed his blogging since 2003.

Posted by: Crank at October 13, 2008 12:02 AM

So Masonix does the digging and argues with facts, and all you respond with is that maybe an organization is not as independent as you think. Hmmm, maybe a name does count, you know, like it should have been called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

The simple fact is the republican party, which seemed hellbent to send troops into harms way, seemed equally hellbent to keep veterans, once they come home, especially wounded, out of the VA system. I have a close relative who is a veteran, and he is getting more roadblocks now.

So you are no longer pounding the law, the truth, and the table broke from being pounded. The furniture is gone, and the air is all that's left.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 13, 2008 12:08 AM

Regardless of who wrote it "Dreams of My Father" is a remarkable book. It's a memoir by a guy whose great accomplishment in life to that point was editing Harvard Law Review. But of course the real reason he was even approached to write it is because he was a trailblazer-- HLS Review's Jackie Robinson, if you will. Well done, I suppose. What's truly remarkable about the book is that it's the first public instance of what we all know to be a, if not the, salient characteristic of the junior Senator from Illinois: the ruthless denigration of strong women in furthering his ambition. In "Dreams" it's his mother. What else, after all, is a several hundred page rumination about the contours of a non-relationship w/ his deadbeat Dad but a protracted insult to the woman whose grit and sacrifice made his success possible? Sure, he wrote a few nice things about Mom, but the clothes she put on his back, the food she put on his table and the study habits she insisted upon pale next to the aura of Great Absent Daddy in the making of The Obama. Later instances of this distasteful, soon to be presidential, character trait are, as you'll recall, the grandmother who helped raise him described as a "typical" racist white person, the junior Senator from New York described as all manner of depravity incarnate, and most recently the tawdry and salacious slanderings of Alaska's governor. Obama '08. Watch out, ladies.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 12:11 AM

Daryl, there's a point at which I have better things to do when it comes to issues that are completely off topic of the original post.

Posted by: Crank at October 13, 2008 12:14 AM

I should add that I admit I'm not a veteran or an expert on those issues. But people I know and trust who are - like the author of that RS post - think the attacks on McCain from that perspective are laughable.

Posted by: Crank at October 13, 2008 12:18 AM

Crank

I generally don't post here since I agree with most of what you say & you say it more concisely & clearly than I could.

But most of the commenters on this great post of yours are attacking you so violently that I would calmly note that their hysteria proves your point. And that, based on their rantings, probably none of them are intellectually or emotionally capable of even understanding your point.

Seems that all rumors against Republicans get picked up eventually in the MSM, even if the particular MSM outlet adds some, ultimately meaningless, gobbledygook, face-saving crap like "While we have as of yet been unable to verify beyond a reasonable doubt the rumor that the GOP candidate beat his wife, nevertheless a number of outlets & people who do not traffic in rumor have given clear & convincing reasons why such rumor cannot be ignored by reasonable people."

When it comes to Republicans, the fact that a charge is made is a fact to be considered with equal gravitas as a fact proven.

When it comes to Democrats, a charge made is a smear & is just personal & nothing here, just keep moving, please.


Rumors against Dems are spiked

Posted by: From Inwood at October 13, 2008 12:19 AM

To be fair, Obama himself hasn't specifically insulted Gov Palin. Nor, it might be argued, did he personally engage in anything worse than normal political roughhousing with Clinton. Fair enough. But he hasn't exactly reined in his surrogates either. And why should he? Deploying Andrew Sullivan as his misogynistic id is so much more efficient.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 12:21 AM

Kent

You digress & ask Crank:

“If Obama wins, do you want him to fail? You're clearly a smart man and I respect your intellect, but it seems like you do.”

Why would you even suggest this? If President Obama fails, like President Carter did, our country fails along with him.

Oh, I get it. You think that we will give Obama the same treatment that many Dems gave W.

Well perhaps you’re describing the way things are: losers live for schadenfreude. Like Sampson, they want to destroy the temple.

But it’s my point (& Crank’s I believe) that if the MSM wasn’t so in the tank for Dems, then the fever-swamp rumors against Republicans & the BDS of the last eight years & the current PDS would’ve been ignored. If you’re correct that people on the Right will act toward a President Obama as people on the Left have against President Bush 43, then it will be quite interesting to see how Obama & people on the Left handle it.

Oh, wait, they won’t have to: “The Fairness Doctrine” will be enacted & the MSM will have no truth correctors. The NYT can do away with its “Corrections” Section. It won’t even have to do rowbacks!

Posted by: From Inwood at October 13, 2008 12:52 AM

To folks with a clue it doesn't matter if he wrote the book. We understand he is an empty suit and wouldn't vote for him regardless. However, the book matters to some who say they are voting for him because he is so erudite.

For argument's sake: ok. Don't agree, buit I see the larger point.

That does not answer, however, my larger point, which is Crank's (and other GOP-philic pundits') mantra-like repetition of Bill Ayers as the boogie man.

All campaigns have their boogie men, and all administrations have them too. But this is one of the strangest, most politically tone-deaf applications of the boogie man I've ever seen.

And just as you say Obama's use of a ghost-writer would mean something in terms of what you believe to be his biggest flaw, I would also argue that McCain's out-of-touchness is amply demonstrated through this bizarre Ayers thing.

No. One. Cares.

To put it bluntly, to hear the hard-core GOPers tell it, Ayers is responsible for more harm than Snowball, Emmanuel Goldstein, and Bill Clinton's wanton penis combined. His very existence within 10,000 miles of Obama threatens the foundations of our civilization.

Weird.

* * *
Finally, to Crank: this never-ending critique you've been receiving lately is what I warned you about since last spring. You can't unload day-after-day with cant, spin, half-truths, and propaganda and expect the objective portion of your readership to lap it up. Honest political analysis is one thing; partisan hatchet jobs are another. No one likes his intelligence insulted.

I bet there are members of your own political camp who feel the same way, although they keep quiet because they like the ostensible ends, even though the means smell bad.

Posted by: Mike at October 13, 2008 7:12 AM

If no one likes his intelligence insulted, why have so many fallen for that great fraud Obama? His campaign, w/ its "hope" and "change" vapidity, its relentless cynicism advertised as progress, its exploitation of America's tragic history in order to define as "racist" any attempt to make sense of the man's background and associations, and its fundamental presumption/demand that a spokesmodel with nice suits but no evidence of accomplishing anything in his life which remotely qualifies him for the presiency, has been one long "f--- you" to the intelligence of the American people. Contrary to the assertion above, on 5 November at least 51% of the American people are going to reveal they like being insulted just fine.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 8:29 AM

Seamus, if you want to blame Americans' stupidity for Obama's popularity, be my guest. God knows liberals have been doing the same thing for years regarding Bush. But it'll be much more contructive for you and your party to understand the reasons why he's galvanized the country and is poised to be our next president. Hint: It's not because Obama's a charlatan.

Posted by: Ryan at October 13, 2008 9:00 AM

Stupidity? No. Masochism better explains why Obama will be our next president. Don Juan's the world over know the surest way to a well-meaning, if high strung, lady's heart are mild insults delivered with a grin. The anxious co-ed or second year associate likes his sense of humor and thinks she really understands him. It's an old, old trick. The electorate loves this rakish flirt's attention, and would rather endure his come-on lines than see him walk away. It's an old, sad story. Remember the '90s?

I can't argue that he's poised to be president, but I'm not sure Obama's "galvanized" the country. He's benefited from an overdue-- and therefore too precipitous-- economic downturn. His razing of the House of Clinton, though the means were ignoble, is to his credit. I suppose the lemonade here is the prospect his success offers of never again being threatened with a Clinton restoration. Until Chelsea turns 35, anyway.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 9:15 AM

That Obama might not in fact be a charlatan is the real fear. if he actually believes the BS he peddles, and allows to be peddled on his behalf, we're all in trouble. If on the other hand he is a more or less typical American politician who will say and do what's necessary to get elected, and will be so satisfied with the big chair and the fawning reporters and the foreign junkets that he won't actually do anything to jeopardize that position and so will govern...wait for it...conservatively, our Republic will be just fine.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 9:25 AM

"I can't argue that he's not poised to be president..." two posts above. Apologies.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 9:41 AM

"Stupidity? No. Masochism better explains why Obama will be our next president. Don Juan's the world over know the surest way to a well-meaning, if high strung, lady's heart are mild insults delivered with a grin. The anxious co-ed or second year associate likes his sense of humor and thinks she really understands him. It's an old, old trick. The electorate loves this rakish flirt's attention, and would rather endure his come-on lines than see him walk away. It's an old, sad story. Remember the '90s?"
With all due respect, that's the oddest characterization of Senator Obama's appeal that I've ever read.

Posted by: Ryan at October 13, 2008 9:55 AM

You should get out more. And consider the fundamental conservative insight-- whether at the campus watering hole, the high rise conference room at 10:00 pm, or the feverish political rally, human nature is as it has always been.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 10:06 AM

"If on the other hand he is a more or less typical American politician who will say and do what's necessary to get elected, and will be so satisfied with the big chair and the fawning reporters and the foreign junkets that he won't actually do anything to jeopardize that position and so will govern...wait for it...conservatively, our Republic will be just fine."

It sounds to me like you're perfectly happy with the status quo - which can be characterized as simple and brazen irresponsibility on a gargantuan scale: the horrible deficit spending, an economy on the brink of ruin, widespread corporate welfare (which seems to find its way into every economic decision, in good times and bad), the collapsing public schools, sending this country's future to fight and die for lies, power and greed, the shameful treatment of our men and women in uniform, the plummeting American value proposition abroad, the wholesale auctioning of liberty and freedom here at home, the turning of a nation's blind eye to rational, scientific processes which jeapordize the very future of this planet. Indeed, you actually just put in writing that politics as usual in this country is absolutely fine with you. Oh, yeah - you're what passes these days for a "conservative".

Good thing what is shaping up to be a huge portion of the popular electorate thinks you're off your rocker.

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 11:33 AM

Perfectly happy? Not at all. But I'll take it over whatever concrete programs result from furiously fulminating about how unjust and awful early 21st century American society- by leaps and bounds the most wildly successful society in human history-is. Cassandras w/ zero sense of history who think their generation is the first ever to be victimized by an absence of perfect wisdom, and so irrationally seek to assuage their insecurity by championing a snake oil selling demagouge are the vanguards of decadence and decline. If Obama does in fact possess leadership qualities he has failed thus far to display, among his earliest tactics as President will be to marginalize your type.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 12:14 PM

Obama is the status quo, just a sugar-coated version of it. The only reason I'm even considering voting for Obama is that McCain is a dangerous person in whom to invest the power of the presidency and the ability to use nuclear weapons. In my opinion, he's the most likely person to start WWIII whose run for POTUS on a major party ticket in my voting lifetime.
What rumors? Hanoi John's collaboration with the NV is self-admitted, as are his extra-marital "mistakes" (which includes becoming engaged to his present wife, whose father's shady business practices landed him in prison, while still married to his first), as are his "mistakes" of vacationing with and accepting money from convicted felon Charles Keating, whose shady business practices landed him in prison.
As far as walking his talk, well, there's immigration, taxes, torture, etc.... Not to mention his ever-changing views on anything that might endear him to the "Jesus rode a dinosaur " crazies of the reality challenged wing of the Republican Party.

Posted by: rs at October 13, 2008 12:26 PM

Wow...I thought Obama was supposed to be the one with splendid (elitist?) language describing a vacuous hole between his ears. Funny how the "types" who are being marginalized (albeit a bit tardily) are the moronic McCain rally-goers, replete with monkey dolls and drunk on misinformation, who couldn't spell demagouge if their double-wide depended on it.

What is entertaining is watching you guys dance around the room trying to avoid bumping into the truth. Your guy is toast. And it's his own (and his party's) fault for running a fine example of what NOT to do in a presidential campaign. It's not because his opponent is selling snake oil. It's because your guy is LOSING fair and square.

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 12:33 PM

Wait, rs - don't let us get off-topic again, lest we be disqualified or not rate a response from the Crankster himself. What were we talking about again?

Oh, yeah - tilting at windmills.

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 12:37 PM

I thank you for the spelling lesson. All those lectures from Obama about how important education is are really paying off. As for avoiding what's increasingly obvious, it is interesting that in your victorious glee you've failed to consider that Obama will, in all likelihood and as rs points out, fail to live up to the wild expectations you have of him. And thank goodness. If you stop pressing your nose against the glass and step back a few paces, you'll see that the American system, such as it is, works. Obama's presidency will likely be further proof of that.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 12:54 PM

Wild expectations? Where precisely did I post anything even remotely resembling a wild expecation? I've simply been asking for accountability, transparency, rational and logical policies, and an aversion to making the same mistakes over and over and over again.

All that must sound pretty wild to a party that has given us stars like DeLay, Cunningham, Norquist, Rove, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Palin.

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 1:07 PM

Your criteria for reason and logic are well-expressed in your standard issue neo-lefty diatribe against the thoroughgoing awful-ness of contemporary America a few posts above. Therefore, expecting President Obama to craft policies consistent with those criteria can be fairly, if somewhat generously, defined as "wild".

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 1:15 PM

You're right, seamus - I should just be happy I don't live in Somalia and live with whatever mediocrity Washington and Wall Street will allow me to enjoy. No sense in trying to improve things in the US when they could always be worse. Thanks for the tough love. How incredibly inspiring you are!

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 3:44 PM

That you think politics, and politicians, should inspire tells much more than you realize. It's not flattering.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 4:56 PM

Once again, you've got quite a way with confusion. A sarcastic comment about your lack of inspiration and inability to inspire does not equate to a mindset that politicians and politics should do so as a matter of necessity.

On the other hand, I thought you were our resident American history expert. Were that the case, you would already know that many times our elected representatives have inspired the electorate - and rightly so. For while it may not be their responsibility, it is a beautiful thing when they expect it of themselves.

And finally: Flattery?! I don't expect you to be able to play nicely with others. It's your sandbox, after all. I'm just visiting, like sanity at a McCain rally.

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 5:39 PM

"And clearly, vets are not quite as entertained as you might be, Dai.

Posted by macsonix"

Let me put it more simply: I'm a veteran, and I am *quite* entertained by the idea that McCain votes against the welfare and rights of veterans. Unless you were referring to veterinarians, about whom I can't comment.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 13, 2008 6:52 PM

"inspire" "beautiful"...used to describe unnamed (though it's probably not too hard to guess who you have in mind) American politicians is a pitch perfect parody of the immature liberal voter. I began this exercise by comparing Obama's success with the American electorate to that of a cynical Don Juan on the town on a Friday night. Seducer seducing the desperately seducable. I didn't expect anyone to serve as such a fine example, but I must tip my hat. Well done.

Posted by: seamus at October 13, 2008 7:07 PM

seamus, I was personally thinking of Eisenhower, Lincoln, Madison, FDR, JFK, RFK, and in less powerful ways, Reagan and Clinton. But if you think I'm immature and desperately seducible, like I said - this is your sandbox, you can play however you want to.

And Dai, putting it simply is an understatement. As previously noted by another on this thread, I give you a plethora of facts regarding McCain's deplorable voting record and you serve up merely a glib, offhandedly dismissive response. Care to mention how the several dozen votes noted speak to you personally as a veteran? Or are you saying that you question the veracity of the information?

Know what? I just don't care anymore. You guys are going to play victim for the next four years, so knock yourselves out. I'm sure you'll get lots of sympathy in this forum. The major media outlets are against you. The nonprofits are against you. The elites and academics and writers and pundits and Hollywood and damn, even your own candidate is against you if he's willing to admit that Barack Obama is a decent man who loves America. There is a conspiracy around every corner. Those partisan veteran's groups (like the Disabled American Veterans) are against you. So let me shed my single tear over your beleaguered plight and get on with it, already.

Posted by: macsonix at October 13, 2008 8:54 PM

macsonix,

You can't argue with an ignoramus and by goin at it with seamus and dai, you've picked two prime examples. Sit back and enjoy their increasing despair.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 13, 2008 10:07 PM

One thing I find interesting is all those who defame McCain for collaborating with the NVA. It was, as far as I know, pretty common for American captives who were tortured to give up some information in order to keep body and soul together. McCain has made no secret of the fact he "broke," as did others before and after.

Some seem to have the idea that because name, rank and serial number are the only info the Geneva Conventions require be given, that anyone who goes further is some kind of traitor.

Although "traitor" was always an incorrect designation, this used to be true when dealing with relatively civilized peoples like the Germans, but even then most captives gave up more in response to pressure or trickery. After Korea, however, when it was plain that we were dealing with nations that ignored what are essentially European standards of military behavior, at least one service changed its standard.

I've attended lectures and taken part in an exercise on behavior. The post-Korea standard was to resist as far and as long as possible, but recognized that excessive pain, starvation and dessication, drugs and severe fatigue made unlimited resistance impractical. Unless we've gone back to the older standard in the past decade or two, resistance is only demanded up to a point, although each person must decide that point for himself.

Tell you what, let no one scoff at torture who hasn't successfully resisted it himself, alone and unsupported. After all, we can't all be as tough as Gordon Liddy--or as nuts.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 14, 2008 12:42 AM

Explain please how accurately describing McCain as a collaborator is scoffing at torture? It's McCain himself, characteristically playing both sides of the issue, who scoffs at the a shameful practices of this administration, practices that were considered war crimes when committed by our enemies against our POWs.
Common or not (and not all prisoners broke and sang like McCain), Hanoi John violated the POW code of conduct by volunteering military information, including his father's identity as a Navy admiral, knowing (hoping?) it would gain him special treatment. That's collaboration.

Posted by: rs at October 14, 2008 10:11 AM

"No. One. Cares."

Sadly, that might be true. But just because the electorate is generally too stupid and too awash in moral relativity and hypocrisy to care about these things concerning Obama, does not mean that they should not be pointed out.

Posted by: per14 at October 14, 2008 11:10 AM
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