Thrilla in Phila

Obama’s ham-handed defense of his San Francisco remarks last night – in which he flagrantly violated the First Rule of Holes – was just one of the nuggets from last night’s Democratic slugfest in Philadelphia worth revisiting. Let’s go to the transcript to hand out a few awards.

hillaryobama41608.jpgMost Impartial Moderator
So, along with Charlie Gibson, the debate was moderated by…former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos. What, Harold Ickes wasn’t available?
Most Glaring Historical Ignorance
Gibson gets the award for this question:

Just to quote from the Constitution again, “In every case” — Article II, Section 1 — “after the choice of the president, the person having the greatest number of votes of the electors shall be the vice president.”
If it was good enough in colonial times, why not in these times?

Yes, Gibson managed to pick the very first provision of the Constitution to get scrapped because it proved in practice to be a disaster, and what’s more, a disaster in some ways reminiscent of what the Democrats face today. This provision was bad enough when it saddled President John Adams with a Vice President, Thomas Jefferson, who was a vocal critic and leader of the opposition, but then it gave us the fiasco of the 1800 election, including the 18th century version of “Operation Chaos”:

The election exposed one of the flaws in the original Constitution. Members of the Electoral College could only vote for President; each elector could vote for two candidates, and the Vice President was the person who received the second largest number of votes during the election. The Democratic-Republicans had planned for one of the electors to abstain from casting his second vote for Aaron Burr, leading to Jefferson receiving one vote more than Burr. The plan, however, was bungled, resulting in a tied electoral vote between Jefferson and Burr. The election was then put into the hands of the outgoing Federalist Party controlled House of Representatives. Most Federalists voted for Burr in order to block Jefferson from the Presidency, and the result was a week of deadlock. Federalist Alexander Hamilton, who detested both but preferred Jefferson to Burr, intervened on Jefferson’s behalf, which allowed Jefferson to ascend to the Presidency. Hamilton’s actions were one cause of his duel with Burr, which resulted in Hamilton’s death in 1804.
Jefferson’s victory ended one of America’s most acrimonious Presidential campaigns to date….The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, was added to the United States Constitution. The Twelfth Amendment stipulates that electors make a distinct choice between their selections for President and Vice President.

Chutzpah Award
To Obama, for this:

[T]he problem that we have in our politics, which is fairly typical, is that you take one person’s statement, if it’s not properly phrased, and you just beat it to death. And that’s what Senator Clinton’s been doing over the last four days.
And I understand that. That’s politics. And I expect to have to go through this process.
But I do think it’s important to recognize that it’s not helping that person who’s sitting at the kitchen table who is trying to figure out how to pay the bills at the end of the month.
And Senator Clinton’s right: She has gone through this. You know, I recall when, back in 1992, when she made a statement about how, what do you expect, should I be at home baking cookies?

This is a twofer. First, Obama complains about beating a phrase to death despite his own endless and misleading reworking of McCain’s “100 years” remark, and then he manages to remind people (albeit with all sorts of caveats) about Hillary’s notorious “baking cookies” crack. What’s the word I’m looking for here? Slick.
The Judge A Man By His Friends Award, Part 1
Hillary tore into Obama over the Rev. Wright stuff:

I have to say that, you know, for Pastor Wright to have given his first sermon after 9/11 and to have blamed the United States for the attack, which happened in my city of New York, would have been just intolerable for me. And, therefore, I would have not been able to stay in the church.
And maybe it’s, you know, just, again, a personal reflection that, regardless of whatever good is going on, and I have no reason to doubt that a lot of good things were happening in that church.
You get to choose your pastor. You don’t choose your family, but you get to choose your pastor. And when asked a direct question, I said I would not have stayed in the church.

And she kept on hammering Obama with more things that your typical NY Times-reading Democratic voter might not have heard about:

It is clear that, as leaders, we have a choice who we associate with and who we apparently give some kind of seal of approval to. And I think that it wasn’t only the specific remarks but some of the relationships with Reverend Farrakhan, with giving the church bulletin over to the leader of Hamas, to put a message in.

The Hot Seat Award
Stephanopoulos threw Obama a hand grenade with this question: “[D]do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?” And followed up again: “But you do believe he’s as patriotic as you are?”
(Gibson did a fine job running the debate, but Stephanopoulos got in a few too many of these rabbit punches).
What, You Believed Me? I’m a Clinton!
Hillary on Bosnia – yeah, that was not so true.

I may be a lot of things. But I’m not dumb. And I wrote about going to Bosnia in my book in 2004. I laid it all out there. And you’re right. On a couple of occasions in the last weeks, I just said some things that weren’t in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book.
And, you know, I’m embarrassed by it. I have apologized for it. I’ve said it was a mistake. And it is, I hope, something that you can look over because, clearly, I am proud that I went to Bosnia. It was a war zone. General Wesley Clark is here in the audience with me, as one of my major supporters. He and I were talking about it before I came out.
You know, our soldiers were there to try to police and keep the peace in a very dangerous area. They were totally in battle gear. There were concerns about potential dangers. The former president of Bosnia has said he was worried about the safety of the situation.
So, I know that it is something that some people have said wait a minute. What happened here? But I have talked about this and written about it. And then, unfortunately, in a few occasions, I was not as accurate as I have been in the past.
But I know, too, that being able to rely on my experience of having gone to Bosnia, gone to more than 80 countries, having represented the United States in so many different settings, gives me a tremendous advantage going into this campaign, particularly against Senator McCain.
So, I will either try to get more sleep, Tom or, you know, have somebody that, you know, is there, as a reminder to me. You know, you can go back for the past 15 months. We both have said things that, you know, turned out not to be accurate. You know, that happens when you’re talking as much as we have talked. But, you know, I’m very sorry that I said it. And I have said that, you know, it just didn’t jive with what I had written about and knew to be the truth.

That Must Have Been That Other Barack Obama Guy
Obama: “I have never said that I don’t wear flag pins or refuse to wear flag pins.”
Oh, really?
The Judge A Man By His Friends Award, Part 2
Hillary took the baton from Stephanopoulos on Obama’s associations with Bill Ayers, formerly of the terrorist group the Weather Underground:

I also believe that Senator Obama served on a board with Mr. Ayers for a period of time, the Woods Foundation, which was a paid directorship position.
And, if I’m not mistaken, that relationship with Mr. Ayers on this board continued after 9/11 and after his reported comments, which were deeply hurtful to people in New York and, I would hope, to every American, because they were published on 9/11, and he said that he was just sorry they hadn’t done more.
And what they did was set bombs.

In fairness, the comments at issue were in a NY Times profile published the morning of September 11, i.e., they were made before the attacks of that day. But hey, an unrepentant radical terrorist is an unrepentant radical terrorist; he didn’t need those attacks to tell which way the wind was blowing.
Great Moments in Moral Equivalence
Obama’s response on Ayers?

The fact is that I’m also friendly with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans in the United States Senate, who, during his campaign, once said that it might be appropriate to apply the death penalty to those who carried out abortions.
Do I need to apologize for Mr. Coburn’s statements? Because I certainly don’t agree with those, either.

Yeah, Obama will win a lot of friends by equating pro-lifers with terrorists. As Adam notes, “Sen. Coburn ran for office and is trying to change the law without making any violent actions. William Ayers tried to kill innocent people to make a political point.”
Now, This Means War
Obama didn’t forget that he’s not the only one with a soft spot for leftist radicals:

[B]y Senator Clinton’s own vetting standards, I don’t think she would make it, since President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act… than me serving on a board with somebody for actions that he did 40 years ago.

That was just a great comeback, in all seriousness. Of course, it won’t be of much use against McCain.
I’m All Outta Wiggle Room
Hillary’s been trying out straddles on Iraq for a long time, despite having never backed off her original support for the war, but she’s going all-in for the Democratic nomination now:

[U]pon taking office I will ask the secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and my security advisers to immediately put together for me a plan so that I can begin to withdraw within 60 days. …I have been convinced and very clear that I will begin to withdraw troops within 60 days.

Where will this lead? “We don’t know what will happen as we withdraw.”
Best One-Liner By Someone Not At The Debate
McCain, on video:

All these tax increases are under the fine print of the slogan hope. They’re going to raise your taxes by thousands of dollars a year and they have the audacity to hope you don’t mind.

Jim Geraghty noted Hillary laughing at this line.
Read My Lips Award
After Hillary promised to jack up the top income tax rates:

I am absolutely committed to not raising a single tax on middle- class Americans, people making less than $250,000 a year. ….
STEPHANOPOULOS: An absolute commitment, no middle-class tax increases of any kind?
CLINTON: No. That’s right. That is my commitment.
GIBSON: Senator Obama?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Would you take the same pledge?
OBAMA: Well, I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I’ve been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes.

The latter isn’t even remotely consistent with Obama’s many tax hike schemes and big-spending plans, but we can certainly hold him to the pledge.
Taxes Aren’t For Revenue, After All
I loved this exchange in which Obama basically admitted that he was looking to raise the capital gains tax for punitive purposes even if it didn’t produce more revenue:

GIBSON: All right. You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton,” which was 28 percent. It’s now 15 percent. That’s almost a doubling, if you went to 28 percent.
But actually, Bill Clinton, in 1997, signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.
OBAMA: Right.
GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.
OBAMA: Right.
GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down.
So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year — $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That’s not fair.
And what I want is not oppressive taxation. I want businesses to thrive, and I want people to be rewarded for their success. But what I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don’t have it and that we’re able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools.
And you can’t do that for free. ….
[Y]ou don’t propose tax cuts, unless you are closing other tax breaks for individuals. And you don’t increase spending, unless you’re eliminating some spending or you’re finding some new revenue….
GIBSON: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.
OBAMA: Well, that might happen, or it might not. It depends on what’s happening on Wall Street and how business is going.

Hillary, to her credit, was at least willing to put some limits on how much she would raise the capital gains tax:

GIBSON: …I want to be clear, the question was about capital gains tax. Would you say, no, I’m not going to raise capital gains taxes?
CLINTON: I wouldn’t raise it above the 20 percent, if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton administration.
GIBSON: If I raised it at all. Would you propose an increase in the capital gains tax?
CLINTON: You know, Charlie, I’m going to have to look and see what the revenue situation is.

Of course, you pay capital gains taxes regardless of your income (many retirees have more capital gains than income), so we are already disregarding the stuff they were just saying about not raising taxes on people at various income levels. Ah, it was fun while it lasted. Kinda like Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign promise of a middle class tax cut, which he then threw overboard (although as noted he did finally cut the capital gains tax five years into his tenure).
Money…That’s What I Want
Oh, and tax hikes? We weren’t done with tax hikes:

CLINTON: …I’m certainly against one of Senator Obama’s ideas, which is to lift the cap on the payroll tax, because that would impose additional taxes on people who are educators here in the Philadelphia area, or in the suburbs, police officers, firefighters and the like.
So I think we have to be very careful about how we navigate this. So the $250,000 mark is where I’m sure we’re going. But beyond that, we are going to have to look and see where we are….
OBAMA: Well, Charlie, I just have to respond real quickly to Senator Clinton’s last comment. What I have proposed is that we raise the cap on the payroll tax because millionaires and billionaires don’t have to pay beyond $97,000 a year. That is where it is capped. Now, most firefighters, most teachers, you know, they’re not making over $100,000 a year. [Ed. – Unless they are two-career families where both make, say, $60K a year] In fact, only 6 percent of the population does.
And I’ve also said that I’d be willing to look at exempting people who are making slightly above that. ….
GIBSON: But, Senator, but that’s a tax. That’s a tax…
OBAMA: Well, no, no, look…
GIBSON: … on people under $250,000.
OBAMA: …this is an option that I would strongly consider, because the alternatives, like raising the retirement age or cutting benefits or raising the payroll tax on everybody, including people who make less than $97,000 a year…
GIBSON: There’s a heck of a lot of people between $97,000 and $200,000 and $250,000. If you raise the payroll taxes…
OBAMA: And that’s…
GIBSON: … that’s going to raise taxes on them.
OBAMA: And that’s why I’ve said, Charlie, that I would look at potentially exempting those who are in between.

Unexpected Love For Dick Cheney Award

I’m probably more likely to ask advice of the current president’s father than the president himself, because I think that when you look back at George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy, it was a wise foreign policy.
In how we executed the Gulf War, how we managed the transition out of the Cold War, I think is an example of how we can get bipartisan agreement.

Hey, some love for the days when Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary! Woohoo! (H/T, via Glenn).
There was more interesting stuff on foreign policy, guns, and affirmative action.

26 thoughts on “Thrilla in Phila”

  1. Wow. So those are the “issues” which need to be debated during these times of disastrous wars, economic meltdown, the USSRing of the country (embrace of torture, spying on its citizens, etc) and trashing of the Constitution.
    The US gets what they deserve and, of course, the media is complicit.

  2. It’s interesting to me that Crank considers McCain’s “100 year” remark off limits to Democratic criticism because of his interpretation of McCain’s true intentions and the contextual backdrop, but he doesnt do the same about “bitter”. Frankly the general public is sick of the overanalysis/parsing phenomenon that is occuring (as reflected in polling data about these issues, as well as the general trend of Hillary plummeting while McCain and Obama steadily gain). I’m anti-McCain and Im bright enough to realize that McCain doesnt want us to be at war for 100 years. I think intellectually honest conservatives dont really believe that Obama wants in his heart of hearts to screw over PWT rural America. This obsession with cherry picking words on wedge issues and forgetting or minimizing the context underestimates the voting intelligence and mood of the electorate this time around.

  3. You guys keep bitching about why we’re stuck on these issues that are not important to you and yet you refuse to reply to the very solid point our host here and others have made. Your presumptive nominee has NO RECORD. We need to know just how radical a liberal this fellow is. It’s almost like you all are afraid we’ll learn something.
    Answer the question: Why should we buy your pig-in-a-poke?

  4. “I think intellectually honest conservatives dont really believe that Obama wants in his heart of hearts to screw over PWT rural America.”
    I don’t think anyone has said that. Speaking for myself, I’m sure he wants to help. He could have the noblest of intentions. I just think the problem is that he wants to rule from his ideologically superior throne. I think that’s arrogant, and possibly dangerous. It IS an issue.

  5. “Your presumptive nominee has NO RECORD.”
    Well, he is more experienced than numerous other Presidents and Presidential nominees. I would assume you were not a Bush voter – he had much less experience than Obama did in government.
    This is a pretty good summary of his record. I’m not the biggest fan, but the “empty suit” meme just doesn’t pull weight.
    I’d be interested to see which bills in his past make him a “radical liberal,” sponge. Housing assistance for low-income veterans? Legislation to halt nuclear weapons proliferation? Designating July 12, 2007, as “National Summer Learning Day?”
    Please give us insight on this “radical liberal.” With voting records, please.

  6. Obama could have NO record at all and given McCain’s “experience” he would be the better nominee. McCain’s history is littered with political gaffes, moral wishy-washiness (at best) and actions that have required censure. He’s a disaster.

  7. What seems to be the most overlooked aspect of the electability/experience argument is that by and large, conservative and liberal, Americans across the board are fed up with Washington politics as usual and therefore any candidate’s real or perceived lack of experience can actually be marketed, albeit carefully, as an asset rather than liability. The midterm elections of 2006 and significant numbers of defeated incumbents come to mind.
    That said, it is of course critical to examine any candidate’s character, and this is where things can go from understandable analysis to outright paranoia in a hurry. At the end of the day, you gotta admit that having friends and associates in questionable places didn’t keep the Bushes or Clintons out of the White House. My sense is that American voters expect pretty much anyone who is a prominent politician to have some colleagues who might be a little sketchy.
    As far as Obama’s personal views, admittedly his “bitter” remarks could have been more carefully chosen but again, as seth has pointed out, an intelligent voter who has no stake in punditry or cheerleading is ready to move on to more substantive topics relating to the candidate’s makeup and character.
    Endgame: This debate was a horrible example of divisive tactics and wedge issue trumpeting. I could not possibly care less whether a candidate will or won’t wear an American flag pin on his or her lapel. And pointing out that they once said they wouldn’t, but now seem to have forgotten the statement, reminds me of the kind of things my neighbor’s teenage daughter talks about constantly. Where’s the beef?

  8. I just had to point out that the further I get through the debate transcript, the more I am reminded of one of my favorite novels. It took me a while to pinpoint it, but I finally realized that the effect on the reader (at least this one) is remarkably similar to Kafka’s “The Trial”.

  9. Why should we buy your pig-in-a-poke?
    Doesn’t matter “why.” You & Crank and all the other GOPers aren’t gonna “buy” him no matter what. He’s a Dem, and you’re voting Republican.
    What’s so hard about that formula, and why do you guys hide behind this lie about his “experience” or his “bitterness”?
    That’s what I’m so up-in-arms about. I don’t give a crap who you support, that’s your business. It’s the rank dishonesty behind the “analysis” that’s so ridiculous.

  10. These debates are a waste of time, all of them. I never watch them. The answers are rehearsed and they questions focus on trivia. Then everyone is looking for “clues” about the candidates’ performance, like facial expressions and body english and gaffes. When the first half hour of the debate focuses on garbage like flag pins and patriotism, you know its going to be another un-enlightening campaign season this year. No wonder we constantly wind up with unacceptable candidates.
    The right wing is now focused on Obama’s alleged association with Bill Ayers. Who the hell cares? Someone who can’t pay his mortgage or afford gas who never heard of Ayers doesn’t care about this nonsense. No wonder people don’t bother to vote.

  11. There is a significant difference between Obama’s use of McCain’s ‘100 years’ statement and the focus on his calling middle Americans bitter people who cling to their religion and guns: Obama and his supporters are lying about what McCain said, while Obama’s opponents are quoting him accurately.
    Republicans are not lying about Obama’s experience or ‘his’ bitterness. The ‘bitterness’ here is what Obama ascribes to everyone who hasn’t attained his own level of material fortune – saying otherwise is a pretty poor attempt to change the focus of what’s being raised. But that’s all we get now, whether its asserting a moral equivalence between his grandmother’s private remark and the commercial broadcasts of his pastor, or between the musings of a senator on possible proposal to change the law and an unrepetant terrorist’s actual bombings. That and the inevitable calls to move on from their candidate’s more problematic statements without follow-up.

  12. BO has said that his judgement is superior to President Bush’s. I disagree, and his choice of association is only one reason for that.
    Steve, if you are unconcerned about BO and Bill Ayers, that tells me that your judgement is no better than BO’s. Let’s compare McCain’s choice of association to BO’s. If you are old enough, you’ll remember Charles Keating. McCain acknowledged that this was a terrible mistake on his part, did not defend Keating, and went on to not only not do it again, but also to sponsor legislation that was intended to prevent it from happening.
    Sidenote, I am open to reasonable criticism of the legislation as it may not really have worked as intended, but the important point was that he did not defend what he did, not did he minimize the gravity of his error.
    The points about Bill Ayers have been made, and if this is the sort of person with whom you would consort or would have no problem with a President consorting, I am left speechless as it is indefensible, and it is important. Perhaps to a great intellect as yourself not as important as raisng capital gains taxes to 28% or creating an even bigger bureaucratic mess of health care than Medicaid has already been, but still, unrepentence about bombing the Pentagon should have some significance.
    I do not ask that BO specifically cross the street to pee on Ayers’ shoes, but minimizing this association is beyond defensible.

  13. jp2, you’re joking, right? You want to see his actual voting record and how it’s so radically liberal? My point is that there is not enough of a record. What record there is got him named “most Liberal Senator” but that’s in the eye of the beholder. He’s ducked voted on some of the most contentious issues.
    I have no intention of voting for Obama no matter what, but I’m only slightly more inclined to vote for McCain. You guys know that a closer look will only motivate guys like me to get off the bench and vote against a confirmed radical leftist. That’s why this stuff is driving you crazy. You’re all saying, “STOP looking at that elephant in the room! The elephant won’t pay anybody’s mortgage!”
    You guys always say that during the primary, when your candidates are sucking after your votes. Maybe you’d be happier if the garbage they sell you could be sold out of the public eye so they wouldn’t have to answer for it in the general.

  14. You’re going with the ” I’m really sorry I took a whole bunch of money from this crook, lived in his pants for the better part of 5 years, did everything in my considerable power to ensure his ability to grift and graft and I am really sorry that lots of people lost their money. Really I am. Here’s some legislation that I’ll sponsor but ignore later on. By the way are their any hot lobbyists around?” as evidence of his contrition or moral fortitude? You really, really have to be kidding. McCain’s a snake. As Mike says, “You’re voting for him because he’s the GOP candidate.”

  15. Fine Jim. They all lie no matter what they say except BO. He never lies, he makes 100% correct decisions all the time, any criticism is unfair, he has no need to defend anything he’s done or any of his associations.
    Here’s what I think would be a stupid line of attack on BO. He admits to pot and cocaine use in his youth. So what, he doesn’t do it anymore, and as far as I know, he does not advocate their use. If that came up in a debate, I’d have the same reaction as you’ve shown for this issue.
    On the other hand, how bloody hard is it for him to extend that kind of reasoning to his personal associations? How about, “I knew the guy, but I did not realize he was a scum bag. Now that I know better, I do not associate with him any longer and I will not tolerate this kind of person in my private life nor in any public affairs I conduct as President”. Instead, he defends Ayers through moronic dissembling such as “He’s an English professor”. Oh really, that makes it all OK then.
    Unrepentent domestic bombers are not the kind of people who should be around the President. It really doesn’t matter that you can’t figure it out because you’re not running for anything. I hold a candidate to a higher standard.

  16. The media are elitists who are out of touch with what American citizens think.
    Obama continues to climb in the polls.

  17. Funny, I never mentioned Barack Obama in my post. A touch defensive that last post seems, NRALM. Could it be the “changing of the topic” for which anyone who mentions that W might not be the best President ever on this board get accused?

  18. It’s funny how even Obama’s most tangental relationships are scrutinized, yet any Republican candidate who embraces Bush gets away with it, notwithstanding the rampant corruption, militarism and arrogance of the Bush administration. Nothing that any of Obama’s “alliances” ever did will come close to the horrific war in Iraq which has killed 4,000 soldiers. To me, that’s the bottom line here.

  19. And it’s Steve landing a surprise uppercut in late-round action.
    Semper Fi
    Deeds not words
    Rangers lead the way

  20. Jim, the whole post by Crank was Obama wall to wall. Moreover, you seemed to be responding to me, and I was discussing Obama.
    Steve, if these are tangential relationships, why does BO look so weak in explaining them? I understand that in a Democratic primary, they may not make much of a difference. That may not be the case in the general election.
    All I’m trying to say to anyone is that BO seems to have chosen poorly in regard to his associations. Ayers, Wright, maybe more with Rezko (but I know that is not completely worked out so I draw no conclusions at this time). This is why candidates should be vetted, like Guiliani’s experience with Bernard Kerick. BO has become so loved, so fast, that we have no idea about how many mistakes he may have made. McCain’s errors in judgement have all been out there for scrutiny for some time. They have cost him already, and may be fatal, but at least we know all of them, and he doesn’t spin like BO when asked. You may not like or agree with the answer, but at least you get one instead of a chnaged subject.
    Good luck kiddos. I’m out for some drinks and a maduro.

  21. Consider this thought experiment: Assume that a conservative candidate for the GOP nomination spent two decades at a church whose senior pastor was a white supremacist who uttered ugly racial (as well as anti-American) epithets from the pulpit. Assume, too, that this minister wasn’t just the candidate’s pastor but also a close friend, the man who married the candidate and his wife, baptized his two daughters, and inspired the title of his best-selling book.
    In addition, assume that this GOP candidate, in preparing for his entry into politics, attended an early organizing meeting at the home of a man who, years before, was involved in blowing up multiple abortion clinics and today was unrepentant, stating his wish that he had bombed even more clinics. And let’s say that the GOP candidate’s press spokesman described the relationship between the two men as “friendly.”
    Do you think that if those moderating a debate asked the GOP candidate about these relationships for the first time, after 22 previous debates had been held, that other journalists would become apoplectic at the moderators for merely asking about the relationships? Not only would there be a near-universal consensus that those questions should be asked; there would be a moral urgency in pressing for answers. We would, I predict, be seeing an unprecedented media “feeding frenzy.”
    The truth is that a close relationship with a white supremacist pastor and a friendly relationship with an abortion clinic bomber would, by themselves, torpedo a conservative candidate running for president. There is an enormous double standard at play here, one rooted in the fawning regard many journalists have for Barack Obama. They have a deep, even emotional, investment in his candidacy. And, as we are seeing, they will turn on anyone, even their colleagues, who dare raise appropriate and searching questions–the kind journalists are supposed to ask. The reaction to Stephanopoulos and Gibson is a revealing and depressing glimpse into the state of modern journalism.

  22. Imagine if McCain embraced a war-monger who misled the country into a war which cost us billions of dollars and led to thousands of U.S. casualties. Oh, wait: McCain did embrace such a guy. We can go around in circles on the so-called hypocracy of both parties’ campaign strategies. Whoever pours it on the most will win in November. That’s how it works.

  23. Steve, Bush is pretty unpopular these days, but if you seriously think that the American public would view a guy like Rev. Wright similarly to a man who got 60 million votes four years ago, you are in very severe denial about Obama’s problems.

  24. No, I’m not in denial about Obama, and I do not carry his water. It’s sad that Rev. Wright is demonized while elected officials who have inflicted far greater damage to this country are not similarly demonized. In a rational world, McCain would be ruined by his support for Bush.
    Republicans love issues like those involving Rev. Wright, Obama’s allegedly unpatriotic wife and his so-called relationship with Bill Ayers. These are relatively trivial issues and do not affect the average person, certainly not someone whose kid is in Iraq or who can’t pay the mortgage. Not to mention future generations who are going to have to live with our terrible approach to the environment.
    Why is it that in nearly every election since 1988, the GOP has tried to paint the Democratic nominee as unpatriotic? They try it every time. This tactic diverts attention from the real issues. It also reflects an inherently authoritarian approach by the Republicans. Support the Commander in Chief or the military, or you are an anti-American. Pledge allegiance to the flag or you hate America. What nonsense.
    Once again, we are heading into a presidential campaign without a serious discussion of the issues. We deserve the terrible leaders that we are stuck with, and from both parties. Crank, you are much more intelligent than most conservatives who bloviate on the airwaves, and I dont’ say to that to be patronizing. Why are you buying into this crap?

  25. What if the President had as close friends, political consultants and allies “pastors” who blamed 9/11 on abortionists and queers. Or another who took massive amounts of money from people railing against homsexuality, drug use, etc., engaged in homosexual activity while on meth with a male prostitute. Imagine if that happened. Oh, right.

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