ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain strength attacked by the paper that endorsed him

The "news" that the Times finds fit to print:

The Long Run
For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk
By JIM RUTENBERG, MARILYN W. THOMPSON, DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and STEPHEN LABATON

WASHINGTON — Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

Mr. McCain helped found a nonprofit group to promote his personal battle for tighter campaign finance rules. But he later resigned as its chairman after news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor. He has criticized the cozy ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, but is relying on corporate lobbyists to donate their time running his presidential race and recently hired a lobbyist to run his Senate office.

“He is essentially an honorable person,” said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. “But he can be imprudent.”

Mr. Cheshire added, “That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why he was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator,” Charles Keating, whose ties to Mr. McCain and four other lawmakers tainted their reputations in the savings and loan debacle.

During his current campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. McCain has played down his attacks on the corrupting power of money in politics, aware that the stricter regulations he championed are unpopular in his party. When the Senate overhauled lobbying and ethics rules last year, Mr. McCain stayed in the background.

With his nomination this year all but certain, though, he is reminding voters again of his record of reform. His campaign has already begun comparing his credentials with those of Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic contender who has made lobbying and ethics rules a centerpiece of his own pitch to voters.
[...]
Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”

That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

“Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr. Weaver continued. “Ms. Iseman’s involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort.”

Thinly sourced red meat from the paper that endorsed McCain. No actual charge or evidence that there was an affair, just a concern by former (now ticked off) staff aides that it had turned into one.

Speculation is that the Times had this information and was holding it from print as they endorsed him. The Times will now be under pressure to name the individuals who are making this charge and a full hearing of the details is in order - hotel receipts, pictures of the two in a warm embrace, and phone logs should be required. Heck, the Dems still didn't believe that Bill had an affair when a DNA stained dress was uncovered - you'd think they'd be interested in some degree of evidence.

All I have to say is that this is a pure Rovian play - identify your opponents strength and turn it into his weakness. This is what Rove did with Kerry in 2004 (war record) and Gore in 2000 (wonkish dweeb). McCain's constant attacks against the corrupting influence of lobbyists set him up nicely for this downfall.

It really is a shame that that Romney guy was "too good looking, too goody-two-shoes" for our party's nomination.

Is this the reason that Huckabee has been hanging on in the campaign? Perhaps it's why he's been so cordial with McCain, knowing that he would fall in due time. I assume that many of the candidates knew that the Times had this story, but felt it was outside of the bounds for them to raise the issue in the primaries.

All Hail President Obama!

Captain Ed is also covering, attacking the Times' thin sourcing. Malkin thinks this is fitting, given that McCain tried to partner with the MSM for so long. And Don Surber makes the strong case that the Times is hypocritical, since sex is private.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

****************************
ARC: Brian adds

I disagree a little with your point, Saint. This is not a Rovian play by the New York Times. Like a Grand Master in chess, Karl Rove was able to see the follow on moves.

McCain's biggest weakness, as MSM outlets were happy to point out over the last few weeks, was the base. The talk-radio listening, MSM hating base. And the New York Times just delivered McCain a big fat present all but wrapped up in a bow. In my short drive this morning, talk radio was filled with discussions defending John McCain, and blasting the New York Times. This will give the base something with which to rally around McCain.

A Rovian move would have been for the New York Times to have spiked the story on McCain's bombshell, and then let the rumor out that they had spiked it to defend him. That would have had the base running from him. But then, that wouldn't have helped the editors on the New York cocktail party circuit.

Reading through the article I'm struck how many times the word "Keating" is used. 17 times. And nowhere are the names of the 4 Democratic senators mentioned A search of the New York Times for the previous year of articles that mention McCain and Keating, show's only 3 hits. One is an op-ed by Christopher Buckley, "The Manchurian Candidate". The other is just a mention in a quote from Guliani's campaign defending Guiliani's relationship with Bernard Kerik in a news article about Kerik's indictment. The only other article penned by the New York Times was an editorial written last week lamenting how the candidates won't release their tax returns until they are the nominees. We get it, McCain was associated with the (democratic!) Keating 5 scandal.

As an aside, the following paragraph in that article is just a gem:
Participation in big-money politics inevitably runs the risk of encountering deep-pocketed benefactors who can become back-slapping embarrassments. Mr. McCain learned that lesson when he was caught up in the Keating Five scandal in the 1980s. The Clintons have also learned this lesson across the years, just as Senator Barack Obama rues what he calls “boneheaded” dealings with Antoin Rezko, a Chicago businessman indicted last fall for fraud and influence peddling.
Get it? Mr. McCain learned a lesson. The Clintons have learned a lesson. Barack Obama rues.

Futher update: Looks like its got a blogname now. The Dragonslayer Theory.

And the greatest conspiracy of all — could the Times so love their Maverick that they’d set themselves up as a dragon for McCain to slay and thereby reclaim his conservative bona fides? Well, er, no, but that’s the effect!
Futher futher update!: It sounds like the rumor of the spiking of the story was going to hit on Monday, so they Times got out in front of it to save their cocktail party credentials. Oops!

According to Black, the Times only went with the story now because The New Republic was set to run a piece next Monday about internal dissensions at the paper over whether to run the long-held article.

After the TNR reporter, Gabriel Sherman, began making phone calls to the Times and others outside the paper, they decided to publish, Black alleged.

More updates: From the Corner:

I'm Getting a Lot of These [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

An e-mail:

I'm the typical conservative who has not been happy with the McCain ascendancy, but the NYTimes has accomplished what Tojo did with Pearl Harbor. They have awoken a sleeping giant. We have been reminded who the real enemy is and it is not Senator McCain. I'm ordering my bumper sticker today.


Honest opinion or spin? It doesn't matter, it gives a rallying point for the party.

ARC: Brian

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Liberal Fascism on Display in Obama

Have been reading Jonah's Liberal Fascism and it's quite interesting - especially for those of us who are knowledgeable enough about 20th century fascism and who scoff at the notion that fascism is some right-wing phenomenon. Jonah's book is well researched and makes a credible case which provides "progressives" with the single defense of pointing out that the mustachioed smiley face on the cover is over the top.

Anyway, this post isn't a review of Jonah's book (that's for later). No, this post is to point out that Obama's speeches are more fascistic than the cheering audiences realize. From the Campaign Spot at NRO:

"Barack Will Never Allow You to Go Back to Your Lives as Usual."

Last night I appeared on Hugh's show, and his producer Duane mentioned a Michelle Obama speech at UCLA. Captain Ed talked about this a bit, but I hadn't seen anyone transcribe the part of the speech where it gets a little... unnerving. It starts at about 8:41 in the audio.
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

I'm sorry, nowhere in the Constitution does it authorize the President of the United States to demand anyone shed their cynicism. And I'm all for people pushing themselves to be better, but I don't think the President demanding it is the way to go about it.

And what if we kind of like our lives as usual? What about Americans' freedom to be uninvolved and uninformed?

Darleen at Protein Wisdom transcribed what follows:
"You have to stay at the seat at the table of democracy with a man like Barack Obama not just on Tuesday but in a year from now, in four years from now, in eights years from now, you will have to be engaged."
Ah. Apparently apathy will be criminalized, then?

Does anybody on the left side of the aisle find this rhetoric a little creepy? Isn't this describing an authoritarian presidency way beyond anything George W. Bush has done or proposed?

Do the powers of the presidency really encompass everything Michelle says Obama wants and plans to do? Based on this rhetoric, isn't he actually running for messiah?

UPDATE: A great line from reader Mike: "That tingle going up Chris Matthews' leg is a shiver going down my spine."

I suppose that Arbeit macht Frei is more sinister because it's in German, but much of the Third Way and post-partisan bullsh!t that Obama is spouting is similar to that offered by Adolf and Il Duce back in the 20s and 30s. The current system is broken and we have to get beyond the internal divisions and unite for the common good.

No one really knows what Obama stands for - other than other people's rhetoric and other people's policies. But, all of his supporters trust in Him and know that he will provide for them.

The increasing tendency for Progressives to trust in the State - or to trust in the ability of the State to regulate and reign in business to achieve the social policy goals of the State - is exactly the fascist ideology that was implemented in Italy and Germany. Sure, Progressive policies don't have a racist or Anti-Semitic bent to them, but racism and anti-Semitism don't encompass the entirety of fascist ideology.

Meanwhile, the libertarian insistence on individual freedom to choose and "dogmatic individualism" is laughably viewed by Progressives as fascistic.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

But Of Course - Clinton/Obama for Cuban Jefes!

Darn, wish I had thought of this! (Thanks to Scrappleface)

Castro Quits: Clinton-Obama on Short List?
by Scott Ott for ScrappleFace

(2008-02-19) — As Cuban President Fidel Castro announced today he would end his half-century of totalitarian rule, sources close to Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to tamp down speculation that they were on “the short list” of potential replacements for the ailing Communist dictator.

Rumors in Cuba carry the currency of mainstream media coverage in the U.S., and many Castro-supporters are eager to find new leadership that combines Castro-like charisma with iron-fisted leadership tactics and revolutionary support for government-run health care, education and industry.

“A Clinton-Obama ticket,” said one unnamed Cuba scholar, “combines the power and the glory that was Fidel Castro, with the unshakable commitment to collectivism, controlled economies, and virulent resistance to the United States as a superpower.”

Experts suggest that as co-presidents of Cuba, Mr. Obama would be the mouthpiece, giving stirring six-hour speeches about the majesty and beauty of poverty in a Communist Utopia, while Mrs. Clinton would work behind the scenes to ensure full agreement with those speeches at all levels of government.

“The question now for Cuba,” said the scholar, “is can we continue to survive here on the ash heap of history? With these two great leaders at the helm, the answer would be a resounding, ‘Si, se puede! Yes, we can!’

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Back to Reality for Obama? Not Likely

Larry C Johnson provides a service to the Dems in their nomination process, pointing out that all of the adulation and Obama-gasms from supposedly objective and "hardball" reporters have the unintended consequence of glossing over Obama's questionable ties.

Given that Obama hails from Chicago, one would think that questions regarding corruption and ties to unscrupulous characters would be the first order of business, but when you've got the fever and your leg begins to tingle, you can throw all of the rules out of the window.

Johnson provides examples of three individuals which could cause damage to Obama in the Fall. Here's an excerpt:

The Tony Rezko Problem:

There is a growing body of material in the blogosphere on this issue (looseheadprop has an excellent overview), but the mainstream media has paid little attention and most Americans know nothing of Rezko's bribery and corruption trial. Not yet. But that will change starting February 25, when Rezko goes on trial in Chicago. The best Obama can hope for is an acquittal or mistrial. He cannot deny his longstanding friendship with Rezko. A man who has played a significant role in raising funds for his political campaigns and a man who helped Obama and his wife get the home of their dreams.
[...]
When Rezko is convicted and, the details of the corruption and bribery charges are fleshed out and the public learns that Senator Obama got some of that dirty cash, do you really believe the public won't care that the Democratic nominee for President is involved with a convicted felon? Hell, this is a political attack ad that writes itself.

The William Ayers Problem:

William Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist, though he is normally described as a distinguished education professor. One does not necessarily rule out the other, but he himself acknowledges planting bombs in U.S. Federal buildings. There is now undeniable proof of a longstanding relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers. We are not talking about two guys who just happened to bump into one another on the street. We are not talking about a secret admirer (Ayers) who quietly sent $200 to an aspiring politician.

No, we are talking about William Ayers hosting a fundraiser for Barack Obama and actively working with him to secure Barack's first electoral victory in Illinois. But wait, there is more. Barack and Ayers also served on the board of the Woods Fund. And they worked together to give money to some other folks, including a group with ties to the PLO.

What makes Ayers so toxic is his own written record equating U.S. Marines with terrorists. Look at the beating that John Kerry took for tossing his medals over the White House fence. Ayers did not toss medals, he threw bombs. Real ones. Bombs that exploded.

Do you think that Republicans will ignore Obama's ties to Ayers? The two were serving on the same board in 2002. We are talking less than six years ago and the record will come out showing some questionable grants by these two characters. William Ayers, in the age of terrorism, will be Barack Obama's Willie Horton.

The Problem of Rashid Khalidi:

So far, the press has paid little attention to Obama's ties to Rashid Khalidi, Middle East Professor at Columbia University and PLO activist.
[...]
But the relationship with Khalidi has not yet received the white hot media attention that tends to occur during the dog days of July and August, when the press needs a story. And guess who helped broker the appearance of Iran's Ahmadinejad last summer at Columbia University? Professor Khalidi.
[...]
Now, which presidential candidate is calling for talks with Iran? You do not have to be Karl Rove or Lee Atwater to figure out how to tie Obama with Ahmadinejad using Obama's friendship with Khalidi.

I don't know what else is out there on Obama. Unfortunately, the worshipful, servile attitude of many Democrats and media personalities so far has hindered a tough look at Obama's friends and associates and his judgment. But that will come. What should concern Democrats keen on taking back the White House is whether or not these issues will be fully vetted before Obama is installed as the candidate. My guess is no.
[...]

I doubt that the MSM will pay much, if any, attention to these issues (or anything other problems) that come up. Obama is too compelling a candidate to the MSM to be foiled by actual corruption and scandal.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama Adds Details - But They're Not Fit to Print

I'm sure that Obama will make the "pivot" and start to provide specific policy details. Or perhaps not... perhaps the MSM will carry him the finish line without him having to provide any specifics whatsoever.

The New York Times
tells us that Obama is adding "details" to his campaign. But, no where in this story do I see any actual details. Just more bullshit from Obama's beyond-partisan approach (which means, you've got to stop being partisan and agree that socialism/fascism is the way to go!). Please point out in the comments any "details" that Obama provides in the following New York Times article:

February 17, 2008
Obama Adding Detail to His Oratory
By JEFF ZELENY

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — If he does say so himself, Senator Barack Obama delivers a fine political speech.

“Don’t be fooled by this talk about speeches versus solutions,” Mr. Obama told a crowd of Wisconsin voters. “It’s true, I give a good speech. What do I do? Nothing wrong with that.”

To that confident strain of self-assessment, the audience roared with approval.

A shrug of the shoulders and a few deadpanned retorts, some of which stop just shy of mocking his rival, is the latest approach Mr. Obama has taken to respond to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s criticism that his words offer more poetry than substance.

Yet as he traveled across Wisconsin last week, Mr. Obama seemed to have let loose a little more of his inner-wonk, which his strategists had once urged him to keep on the shelf.

Even as he was dismissing Mrs. Clinton’s criticism, he appeared to be taking it at least mildly to heart — a suggestion that as a line of attack, she might be on to something.

Suddenly, he was injecting a few more specifics into his campaign speeches. Giant rallies that had sustained his candidacy through a coast-to-coast series of contests on Feb. 5, notable for their rhetorical flourishes and big applause lines, were supplemented with policy speeches and town-hall-style meetings, complete with the question-and-answer sessions he abandoned as he roared out of Iowa and into New Hampshire. (In hindsight, he conceded as he reviewed a defeat to Mrs. Clinton, that was a mistake.)

By every indication, this was not a random change in the Obama style. The senator decided to clue in his audience to the shift on a recent morning in Janesville, Wis., where he presented an economic proposal to create seven million jobs over the next decade.

“Today, I want to take it down a notch,” said Mr. Obama, of Illinois, standing on the floor of a General Motors plant. “This is going to be a speech that is a little more detailed. It’s going to be a little bit longer, with not too many applause lines.”

After raising more money, winning more states and garnering more votes than Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama has demonstrated a new air of certainty. But advisers said despite his questionable flares of confidence — acknowledging to audiences, for example, that he believed he did in fact give a good speech — he was mindful of being too sure of himself at this unfinished moment in the Democratic nomination fight. And clearly the criticisms by Mrs. Clinton — and, not incidentally, by Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee — that Mr. Obama is a candidate with more flash than substance are being taken as something of a warning shot.

Before Mrs. Clinton arrived Saturday evening in Wisconsin, appearing at the same state Democratic Party dinner in Milwaukee as Mr. Obama, she spent days criticizing her rival while campaigning in Ohio, where the primary is March 4. In city after city, she warned voters about politicians who offered oratory steeped with big promises but ultimately did not deliver.

“Speeches don’t put food on the table,” said Mrs. Clinton, of New York. “Speeches don’t fill up your tank, or fill your prescription, or do anything about that stack of bills that keeps you up at night.”

The long-distance message — “My opponent gives speeches; I offer solutions” — clearly was heard here in Wisconsin. Barely hours after Mrs. Clinton introduced the line in Ohio, Mr. Obama had woven the words into his speech as a new punch line. (By contrast, he did not acknowledge the criticism from Mr. McCain, who said Mr. Obama’s speeches had been “singularly lacking in specifics.”)

Here in Eau Claire on Saturday, as Mr. Obama spoke to more than 3,000 people, he devoted several minutes to addressing Mrs. Clinton’s criticism. The response, advisers said, was designed to crystallize support among those who had already made up their minds in the race and were choosing Mr. Obama.

Why else would a candidate repeat the attack lines used against him? Except, of course, it allowed him to address the criticism at campaign stops in Oshkosh, Green Bay and Eau Claire.

“Part of what I think Senator Clinton doesn’t seem to understand,” Mr. Obama said, “is that the way you get things done is not just having a bunch of bullet points and position papers. Every candidate has them.”

Representative David R. Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and respected on Capitol Hill as being among the small share of lawmakers intricately familiar with the federal budget. Mr. Obey said he was more than comfortable with Mr. Obama’s grasp of substance.

“If I weren’t, I wouldn’t have endorsed him,” Mr. Obey said Saturday. “You can’t make much headway on substance until you have somebody who can break through the rancorous atmosphere, build new alliances and cut through old barriers.”

Still, even as Mr. Obama dismissed the criticism, there were adjustments under way in his strategy to maintain his advantages in Wisconsin.

After taking Valentine’s Day off the campaign trail, Mr. Obama also had intended to stay at home in Chicago on Sunday. With the prospect of the race tightening here, he suddenly added a campaign stop to his itinerary. He was heading to a town-hall-style meeting in Kaukauna, located in the Fox River Valley, a politically crucial area rich with Democratic and independent voters.

He was scheduled to deliver a speech. And take questions from voters.

uggh... this Fall is going to be terrible. The MSM is going to have the tingle going throughout the campaign.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler