February 26, 2008

the turban flap and the final word on flip flopping

Hillary Clinton, when asked about it, didn't exactly deny the charge that her campaign chose to circulate the above picture that first appeared on the Drudge report. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called the move “...the most shameful offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election."

It remains to be seen what effect the disbursement of this photo will have on American voters who most likely are not appreciative of the finer points of Taliban-esque fashion.

However, my concern here is the endless use of the term "fear mongering" by those on the left side of the aisle. It is overused and almost exclusively employed by those on the left. Further, the term starts to become a caricature of itself (for lack of a better depiction) when you stop and consider that by running around proclaiming "fear mongering" in everything that the people making the charge are themselves fear mongering. The net result is to attempt to make people afraid of fear mongering. Democrats are, at this point, fearful of fear mongering.

And like a few other bumper sticker tag-lines that Democrats use, it has been used so often and applied to so many situations that it is watered down to the point where it has almost no meaning. The term "swift-boated" , which apparently now applies to any negative campaign attack no matter how substantive is another term that I would ask be retired for similar reasons. Also, the expansion of the definition of what many on the left believe constitutes a "flip-flop" has watered the term down to the point where it apparently applies to every politician who has ever changed their position on any issue, for any reason, over any period of time. When a term is applied so generically like this it loses any distinctive meaning. For example, back in 2004 John Kerry flip-flopped when he said that he voted for the 80 million "...before he voted against it." This was an example trying to have it both ways within the span of one statement. This was back when "flip-flop" meant changing your position within a very short amount of time for political reasons. Apparently now the term flip-flop applies to any policy position change that occurs for any reason during any amount of time. Since this would apply to almost every politician under the sun, the term has now lost meaning and like the terms "fear mongering" and "swift-boated", it should be retired due to bastardization, co-option, and overuse.

February 18, 2008

Just words. Just not Obama's

The Clinton campaign has accused Obama of plagarizing Deval Patrick when he used nearly identical language in a speech the other night that Patrick used on Boston Common in 2006. The similarities of Deval Patrick and Barack Obama have been chronicled before here. The two men are friends and it doesn't surprise me that they share speeches and, unlike the Clinton campaign, I don't see this as a "where's the beef" gotcha moment. If both parties have no objections, then there is really no problem with two allied politicians sharing the same rhetoric. Deval Patrick responded to this incident by saying,

"Sen. Obama and I are longtime friends and allies. We often share ideas about politics, policy and language. The argument in question, on the value of words in the public square, is one about which he and I have spoken frequently before. Given the recent attacks from Sen. Clinton, I applaud him [for] responding in just the way he did."

I can't imagine that anyone would at this point be terribly surprised to learn that Obama is using the same playbook that Deval used to wax poetic his way to office. In the end, this is nothing more than manufactured controversy concocted by a flailingly desperate Clinton Campaign.

February 07, 2008


The last hope of conservatives that they might have some representation in November has dwindled away to nothing. Mitt Romney has just suspended his presidential campaign.

Despite all the heaps and heaps of criticism and questioning of everything from his religion, to his conservative credentials, to his stance on the Iraq war, this man was a great candidate. Today is a sad day for conservatives, for Republicans, and for America.

Conservative talk radio decided too late to support Romney and now they have ended up with a presidential candidate who has been the bane of their existence for decades in John McCain who has taken the opportunity to side against conservatives and conservatism almost whenever given the chance.

I suppose Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul remain in the race which isn't a surprise given the politically tone deaf nature of their campaigns. By suspending his campaign now, Romney graciously allows McCain to consolidate Republican support behind him. I would expect nothing less from the man I have passionately supported for years. Today Mitt Romney has acted in accordance with the way he ran his campaign, with class and selflessness.

February 05, 2008

Independents for Romney

As an independent/unenrolled voter, I hadn't planned on voting in today's Massachusetts primary election. I was under the impression that these were "closed" primaries, but after John McCain won the GOP primary in Florida as a direct result of independents and Democrats voting for him, I figured I would at least try to go and vote for my candidate.

And vote I did, for Mitt Romney. No ID was needed and once I found my name on the rolls I was asked which party's primary I would like to vote in. "Republican", I said happily and moments later I had cast my vote for Romney, hopefully canceling out one of the the countless other independents and Democrats in Massachusetts who today voted for McCain in a contest many believed was restricted to only those registered in a given party.

While I was pleased to be allowed to vote, I would have preferred to have been prevented from voting since I am not in fact a registered Republican.

The fact that independents and Democrats can vote in a GOP primary is disturbing. Given that there really is no difference in terms of policy between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton I imagine that there will be quite a few left-leaning individuals voting for John McCain, thereby corrupting the purity of what should be a contest amongst Republicans rather than the general electorate.

I think the argument that McCain is a conservative and has conservative Republican support will be settled by the end of today's voting when we see the typical Florida-type results where McCain wins, not on the basis of conservative Republican support but because of the independent and Democratic vote.

The latest John McCain TV ad boasts, "John McCain: the True Conservative". That is correct, if by "conservative" they mean "guy who votes with liberals".

February 03, 2008


As I was reading the lengthy comment section of the latest Hugh Hewitt piece, I came across this gem. I have been ham-handed in my defense of the charge that Romney has flip flopped on issues when compared to this concise run-down written by fellow unknown conservative blogger laboring in virtual (ha) obscurity, Ryan Larsen. As usual, click the title of this post to see the referenced composition.

"This is not just Overbite; it's the media. I'd like to talk about the fact that the timetable charge is not the only false charge made against Romney. If you go down the line you see distortion after distortion.

For example, they say that Romney flip-flopped on Immigration, charging that he supported McCain’s bill in 2005 and that he had sanctuary cities in Massachusetts. But the fact is, sanctuary status was instituted on a city level that Romney had nothing to do with and with a liberal legislature there was nothing he could do about it. And Romney did not endorse McCain’s bill in 2005. In fact he explicitly said he was not willing to endorse it. He did say that it was “reasonable” but the 2007 bill is very different from the 2005 bill and the provisions Romney objects strongly to like the z-visa, were NOT in the 2005 bill. So his position did not change, the bill changed.

They also say he changed on the death penalty because he didn’t execute anyone in Massachusetts. But the fact is, Massachusetts doesn’t have the death penalty and Mitt Romney fought to try to get one.

They also say that Mitt Romney changed on gay marriage. But the fact is, Romney has always been against gay marriage.

In 1994 he said he supported gay rights, but the term “gay rights” had a different meaning in 1994 than it does today.

They also say that he changed on waiting periods for guns. But the fact is, Romney supports background checks and because technology has changed, waiting periods are no longer required for background checks.

They say that Romney refused to comment on Bush’s tax cuts, but the fact is, when he was asked he was trying to pass a budget through a liberal legislature and wisely chose to stay out of national politics.

They also claim that the total tax burden went up under Romney, but the numbers they use include city taxes. At the state level, taxes went down because Romney cut them. And then they try to say that fees are like taxes. And I’m surprised at how many conservatives don’t understand that fees are conservative. A fee covers the cost for a special good or service (similar to paying a local business except it’s the government); when the fee is not high enough to cover the cost of the service provided, the taxpayer ends up subsidizing. Romney saved tax dollars by eliminating the taxpayer subsidizing of fees. This is conservative because if I lose my drivers license, why should tax dollars be used to get me a new one?

And then with the Martin Luther King stuff, they conveniently leave out the fact that George Romney not only led civil rights marches but Martin Luther King Jr. actually said that he thought George Romney would make a good president.

And then another distortion is they claim that Mitt Romney put 50 dollar abortion co-pays into his healthcare plan. But that’s a lie. It was a court decision that did that, it was not in the bill.

These facts need to get out"

February 02, 2008

The sell out express

Conservative thinker Thomas Sowell has written a scathing piece regarding the very same subject matter that I have been addressing here at length lately. Sowell suggests that McCain's lies about Romney are a symptom of a larger issue, namely his lack of character and his general dishonor.

"We have been hearing for years that Senator John McCain gives 'straight talk' and his bus has been endlessly referred to as the 'Straight Talk Express.' But endless repetition does not make something true.

The fact that McCain makes short, blunt statements does not make him a straight-talker.

There are short, blunt lies — and he told a big one on the eve of the Florida primary, when he claimed that Mitt Romney had advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

Even the Washington Post, which supports McCain, said that the senator 'has distorted the meaning' of what Governor Romney said, that Romney 'has never proposed setting a date for withdrawal.’

During Mitt Romney’s ABC News interview that Senator McCain twisted, Governor Romney was asked by the interviewer whether he agreed with President Bush’s veto of congressional legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal, and whether Romney as President would veto similar legislation.

'Of course,' was Romney’s reply. There was no ambiguity.

Confronted with his lie on Wednesday night’s debate, McCain blustered and filibustered in a manner reminiscent of Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny, when he was caught in a lie during a navy inquiry.

When confronted with any of his misdeeds, Senator McCain tends to fall back on his record as a war hero in Vietnam.

Let’s talk sense. Benedict Arnold was a war hero but that did not exempt him from condemnation for his later betrayal.

Being a war hero is not a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free card. And becoming president of the United States is not a matter of rewarding an individual for past services.

The presidency is a heavy responsibility for the future of the nation, including generations yet unborn. Character and integrity are major qualifications.

The passing years and a friendly media have allowed Senator McCain’s shortcomings in the character and integrity department to fade into the background.

McCain was one of 'the Keating Five' — senators who used their influence to try to protect a failing savings & loan company, which also became the subject of a corruption investigation.

During the 2000 primaries, the Associated Press reported Senator McCain’s joking about people with Alzheimer’s.

This went beyond bad taste because (1) it was known at the time that Ronald Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s and (2) the media to whom McCain was pandering hated Ronald Reagan.

It is especially ironic now to see McCain wrapping himself in the mantle of President Reagan.

With the momentum of his Florida primary win behind him, going into the 'Super Tuesday' primaries, John McCain has now been restored to the position of front runner that the media gave him at the outset.

Other Republicans are jumping on his bandwagon. This may have less to do with McCain’s own qualities than with the prospect of getting Cabinet posts or Supreme Court appointments as rewards for their political support.

It may all look like a done deal. But the McCain-Kennedy bill giving amnesty to illegal aliens looked like a done deal two years ago — until the public realized the truth behind the spin and brought that sell-out to a screeching halt.

Super Tuesday may be the voters’ last chance to bring the so-called 'straight talk express' to a screeching halt.

It should be called the 'sell-out express' because McCain has sold out not only with amnesty for illegal aliens but also sold out the First Amendment with the McCain-Feingold 'campaign finance reform' bill that was supposed to take big money out of political campaigns, but blatantly has not.

McCain also sold out on judicial nominations by making his own side deal with the Democrats, undercutting Republican attempts to stop Democrats from filibustering judicial nominees instead of voting them up or down.

This is quite a record for someone running as a straight talker.