Politics Archives

Obama v. Trinity

Barack Obama, after having to distance himself from his own pastor, had to distance himself from a guest speaker as well, Father Michael Pfleger. But he was more that just a guest.

Father Michael Pfleger, a fiery liberal social activist and a white reverend at an African-American church — St. Sabina’s Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago — is a longtime friend and associate of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, having known him since the presidential hopeful was a community activist. In September, the Obama campaign brought Pfleger to Iowa to host one of several interfaith forums for the campaign.

Their relationship spans decades. Pfleger has given money to Obama’s campaigns and Obama as a state legislator directed at least $225,000 towards social programs at St. Sabina’s, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Pfleger, as you probably know, mocked Hillary Clinton’s crying, and suggested that her continued fight in the primary was because of racism. Of course, someone could turn that around and say that Obama’s continued fight was because of sexism. Neither is accurate, I imagine, but the accusation was outrageous enough that Obama had to distance himself from yet another speaker at his church.

In addition to the verbal distancing, Father Pfleger became the next person to be scrubbed from Obama’s “Faith Testimonials” web page, following Jeremiah Wright. (Seems that web page is a precarious place to be featured. They’re disappearing faster than political dissidents in the old Soviet Union.)

Which then led him to the, no doubt difficult, decision to leave the church after over 20 years. But even as he did so, he was hoping more people weren’t paying attention to his connection to Pfleger.

“I suspect we’ll find another church home for our family,” Obama said.

“It’s clear that now that I’m a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will imputed to me even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles,” he said.

“I have no idea how it will impact my presidential campaign but I know it was the right thing to do for me and my family,” he said.

“This was a pretty personal decision and I was not trying to make political theater out of it,” he added.

His association with Father Pfleger, as noted, goes back far, far longer than the Father’s recent appearance at Trinity. This isn’t someone “associated with Trinity”; it’s someone associated with Barack Obama. Again, this is a question of who one chooses to associate with, and combine this with close ties with former, and unrepentant, member of the Weather Underground, calls into question Obama’s judgement.

And this judgement extends to his choice of church. I don’t want to paint all members and guest speaker with a single, broad brush, but I do want to note that he’s attended this church for more than 20 years. Is it really reasonable to assume that this incendiary rhetoric just started in the 5 months since the Iowa caucuses? I find that hard to believe, so if it’s worth quitting the church over now, why wasn’t it worth quitting over years ago?

(Scott Ott, who writes the humorous ScrappleFace blog, has a serious piece at Townhall.com called “Dear Sen. Obama, Join My Church” that speaks perfectly to this issue.)

Obama’s statement gives the impression of not wanting to have to answer to every person standing in the Trinity pulpit. This is most certainly not the problem. The problem is the people in that pulpit who have over the years been his spiritual leaders by choice, and who have longtime relationships with him. Was this parting of the ways a political move or not? If it wasn’t, he’s projecting a false impression of his ties and expecting us to believe this vitriol is new to him. If it was political, then his explanation is disingenuous; this was much more a political decision than a personal one. Either way, this doesn’t speak well for Obama.

[tags]Barack Obama,Trinity United Church of Christ,Jeremiah Wright,Father Michael Pfleger,religion[/tags]

Ferraro on "Democrats’ Sexism"

Geraldine Ferraro discusses how the protracted and nasty Democratic primary season has split the party, enough for her to be concerned about November.

LAST YEAR at the beginning of the presidential primary season, Democrats were giddy with excitement. Not only did we have an embarrassment of riches in our candidates but we had two historic candidacies to enjoy. Once and for all our country would show that racism and sexism were not part of our 21st-century DNA.

Here we are at the end of the primary season, and the effects of racism and sexism on the campaign have resulted in a split within the Democratic Party that will not be easy to heal before election day. Perhaps it’s because neither the Barack Obama campaign nor the media seem to understand what is at the heart of the anger on the part of women who feel that Hillary Clinton was treated unfairly because she is a woman or what is fueling the concern of Reagan Democrats for whom sexism isn’t an issue, but reverse racism is.

As you may know, Ferraro is a Clinton supporter, so her criticism needs to be looked at through that lens. But the main issue here I think is that identity politics hath wrought this on the Democrats themselves. Frankly, I’ve not seen the sexism or racism Ferraro alludes to. I have read criticism of Obama from Clinton-supporting sites like TalkLeft, and I’ve read (rather nasty) criticism of Clinton from Obama-supporting sites like Daily Kos.

What I have seen are complaints that the Clintons are corrupt liars, Obama doesn’t have broad enough appeal within the base, jabs against folks in Appalachia, and other such sniping, but not sexism or racism. In fact, Ferraro’s column later notes that some are requesting an investigation in whether or not it actually happened.

Read the rest of this entry

A Stinging Rebuke

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) slaps his party on the back of the head and tells them to wake up.

As congressional Republicans contemplate the prospect of an electoral disaster this November, much is being written about the supposed soul-searching in the Republican Party. A more accurate description of our state is paralysis and denial.

Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.

Unfortunately, too many in our party are not yet ready to return to the path of limited government. Instead, we are being told our message must be deficient because, after all, we should be winning in certain areas just by being Republicans. Yet being a Republican isn’t good enough anymore. Voters are tired of buying a GOP package and finding a big-government liberal agenda inside. What we need is not new advertising, but truth in advertising.

Becoming Republicans again will require us to come to grips with what has ailed our party – namely, the triumph of big-government Republicanism and failed experiments like the K Street Project and "compassionate conservatism." If the goal of the K Street Project was to earmark and fund raise our way to a filibuster-proof "governing" majority, the goal of "compassionate conservatism" was to spend our way to a governing majority.

Indeed, Republicans, with control of the purse strings to incredible riches that is the constant lure in a centralized government as huge as ours, turned into the very things they criticized; spendthrifts.  In doing so, they further exemplified one of the major problems with government trying to "do something".  Each party essentially winds up promising money for votes.  A smaller central government, not nearly as flush with cash, would be required to stick more closely to its constitutional boundaries.  Instead, regardless of the party, government has, in recent administrations, decided that it knows better how to be "compassionate".

But, as Senator Coburn notes, it’s not "compassion".

Compassionate conservatism’s starting point had merit. The essential argument that Republicans should orient policy around how our ideas will affect the poor, the widow, the orphan, the forgotten and the "other" is indisputable – particularly for those who claim, as I do, to submit to an authority higher than government. Yet conservatives are conservatives because our policies promote deliverance from poverty rather than dependence on government.

Compassionate conservatism’s next step – its implicit claim that charity or compassion translates into a particular style of activist government involving massive spending increases and entitlement expansion – was its undoing. Common sense and the Scriptures show that true giving and compassion require sacrifice by the giver. This is why Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell his possessions, not his neighbor’s possessions. Spending other people’s money is not compassionate.

Precisely.  Read the whole thing, especially if you’re a Republican.

[tags]Senator Tom Coburn,Republicans,compassionate conservatism,K Street Project,small government[/tags]

Just a Gaffe

The whole dust-up over Barack Obama’s Memorial Day gaffe about his uncle helping liberate Auschwitz (which was really liberated by the Russians) should not be a big deal.  Republicans should not be trying to take some sort of advantage with this.  Honestly, in US political life, this sort of thing has never been a big deal.

Just ask Dan Quayle.

[tags]Barack Obama,Dan Quayle,Auschwitz,Memorial Day[/tags]

The "Uniter"

Hat tip to Instapundit for the bit from Kurtz’s "Reliable Sources":

And if you went to the Internet — you know, we all know about the false Muslim e-mails that go around about Barack Obama. But if you ever saw the language, the vulgarity, the vitriol that is hauled at Hillary Clinton by liberal Democrats, by the liberal blogs, largely by, frankly, Obama supporters, you’d be appalled. I mean, you’d punish your children for this.

Is that the sound of a united Democratic party?  Or is this?

Twenty-four percent (24%) of White Democrats nationwide currently say they’ll vote for the Republican candidate, John McCain.

That’s assuming that Obama gets the nomination.  Now, it’s just a poll, subject to the winds of change between here and November, but that doesn’t sound to me like Obama is uniting anyone, if a very significant portion of his own base will jump ship.

The Democratic primary has been nasty and protracted; not good for their eventual nominee. 

[tags]Barack Obama,Democrats,presidential election[/tags]

The Foreign Policy About-Face

Joe Lieberman, on his party and how it dealt with enemies:

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."

And then came the late 1960s, and it turned upside-down.  Or, perhaps more correctly, inside-out.  Read the whole thing.

[tags]Joe Lieberman,Democrats,foreign policy[/tags]

Friday links

Macro and Micro economics normally look at the economics of nations (and I’d think multi-nationals) vs the economics of individuals and smaller corporations. There is less discussion, as far as an outsider like myself, in making similar distinctions about Macro and Micro political theory, that is the theory of the body politic at the small scale (family/village/precinct) vs the theories of the same at the larger scales. In this essay, I’m not going to talk about the continuing dystrophy evident in the micro-political in America and how that anticipates movements towards autocracy at the macro-political level. For there is another “macro” to be discussed. That of time.

If we imagine the goal/end of government is to establish a small subset of Goods for its people, e.g., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for not just tomorrow but larger timescales. The Ancient Coptic society and it’s form of government lasted for an astonishing length of time, from about 3000 BC through until about 500 BC and Assyrian conquest (although “officially” it really fell in 31 BC when Rome conquered it). The point is, right now our leaders and thinkers about policy and politics do not try to imagine America and its democracy and how their policies might fit into a nation lasting for millenia. Heck, given medicare and social security and demographics and a little math and logic it is hard to imagine that they think much beyond the next election [ed: There is of course the possibility that they do in fact “think” beyond the next election but because of fundamental innumeracy the term “think” deserves scare quotes.] However this is not just their fault for very few people do consider the consequences of policy and praxis, of custom and lifestyle and how that will play out if repeated (and perhaps amplified) for 1,000 generations or beyond. Read the rest of this entry

Unintended, But Not Unforeseen, Consequences

Erik Erickson, a contributor to Redstate.com, also has a personal blog in which he talks about local politics (he lives in Macon, GA). Yesterday, he talked about a good local government program the finds summer jobs for high school students. It does its job well, he says, but it’s having a new problem.

Erik is on the Macon City Council’s Community Resources and Development Committee, and the lady who represents the program briefed the committee on it.

During the course of the lady’s presentation she lamented the increase in the minimum wage — this from a government bureaucrat who’d already blamed Bush for cutting other social program funding.

Because of the minimum wage increase, it is now more expensive to employ each student. Because it is more expensive per student, less students can be employed. The less students that can be employed through the program, the more students there will be on the street during the summer without jobs.

And that could very probably increase the rates of petty crime during the summer.

Way to go Democrats!

He titles the post “The minimum wage and unintended consequences“, but those consequences are certainly not unforeseen, as any honest economist would have to admit to it. Democrats, when arguing for an increase, however, never seem to mention that a minimum wage increase does not, cannot, happen in a vacuum. There are consequences to tampering with the free market, but the loss of jobs is minimized or ignored by a party that claims common cause with the poor.

[tags]minimum wage,free market,Democrats,living wage,unintended consequences[/tags]

Tuna and Mr Obama’s Campaign

In the 50s there was a tuna cannery that used an advertising campaign based on

“Our tuna will not turn black in the can.”

Now, no tuna by any manufacturer did not turn black in the can, however this campaign was highly successful. The trepidation and uncertainty generated by the thought that the other canneries never seemed to mention “turning black” in the can left them to wonder on that possibility. This sort of advertising is today illegal.

However it is not apparently illegal on the campaign trail. Mr Obama campaigns as the candidate of “hope” and that he is a “uniter.” ….

This is exactly the same sort of argument/campaign as claiming “will not turn black in the can.” It implies, by omission that the other candidate(s) are the candidates who will turn black in the can.

Mr Obama has announced that his campaign is a “higher” more ethcial sort of campaign. Yeah, right. It’s a campaign that uses advertisting tactics which have been illlegal for decades.

A Few Words For Senator Kennedy

Prayer for the Terminally Ill

Lord Jesus Christ our Savior: You were born for us; You hungered and thirsted for us; You suffered and gave Your life over to death for us. You have caused Your servant, Theodore Kennedy, to share in Your sufferings: Now cause him to share in Your grace. Let Your precious blood wash away the stains of his sins; let Your righteousness wash away his unrighteousness. Look upon his faith rather than upon his works when he stands before You as the Judge. As his life draws to a close, surround him with Your grace. Do not let his faith waver, nor his hope fail, or his  love grow cold. Do not let the fear of death cause him  to lose his  faith in You, or trust in anything other than You. Let him look to You steadfastly, so that saying “Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit,” he may enter into Your everlasting Kingdom where You reign with Your Father Who is from everlasting, and Your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

a second prayer

Lord and Master, Ruler of all and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: You do not desire the death of sinners, but rather that they may turn from their wickedness and live, willing that all should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. We pray that You will loose the soul of Your servant Theodore Kennedy from every bond and free him from every unfulfilled pledge which he has given, granting him forgiveness of all the sins he has committed from his youth until now, in word and in deed, knowingly and unknowingly, both that that he has confessed and those which he has concealed through forgetfulness or shame.

For You alone loose the bonds and restore the oppressed; You alone are the hope of those in despair, with the strength to forgive the sins of every creature that puts its trust in You. Lord and Lover of mankind, bid him to be released from all bonds of sin and of the flesh. Receive in peace the soul of Your servant Theodore Kennedy and give him rest in Your eternal dwelling with all Your saints, by the grace of Your only Son our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, with Whom You are blessed together with Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Not Ready For Prime Time?

I’m not a fan of Barack Obama and certainly don’t intend to vote for him in November. But I can’t help admire him for what he has been able to achieve: to rise from political obscurity to becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to (quite possibly) the next President of the United States in just a little over a year. That is a remarkable achievement for any candidate. Yet I keep getting the feeling that despite all that the Senator has achieved, he is not ready to be President. Read the rest of this entry

Two Different Candidates With The Same Problem

2008 is shaping up to be an odd election season. For the first time in recent memory, both parties’ nominees for President will have secured their nominations without winning an overwhelming majority of their respective parties’ votes. Both Barack Obama and John McCain will have a lot of work ahead of them to unite their parties. But they also share another similarity: both of them may need to select a running mate more conservative than they are in order to win the election.

Read the rest of this entry

Same-Sex Marriage Legalized in California

The California State Supreme Court decided yesterday that the millennia-old understanding of what marriage is, isn’t.

California’s Supreme Court quashed a ban on gay marriage in a historic ruling here Thursday, effectively leaving same-sex couples in America’s most populous state free to tie the knot.

In an opinion that analysts say could have nationwide implications for the issue, the seven-member panel voted 4-3 in favor of plaintiffs who argued that restricting marriage to men and women was discriminatory.

“Limiting the designation of marriage to a union ‘between a man and a woman’ is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute,” California Chief Justice Ron George said in the written opinion.

When the debate on a state constitutional amendment defining marriage was in full swing here in Georgia, those against the measure argued that we already had a law in Georgia making same-sex marriage illegal. They said that, therefore, we didn’t need to change the constitution. But the Left in this country has decided to use the judiciary to do an end-run around when they generally can’t get past the people or their representatives, and then they complain when they’re met on that battlefield.

The California situation is a bit more convoluted. The article gives us that history.

Thursday’s ruling came after a long-running legal battle that erupted in 2000 when California voters approved a law declaring that only marriages between men and women could be legally recognized.

In February 2004, the city of San Francisco defied state law by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, arguing that existing laws were illegal because they violated equal rights legislation.

A court later halted the issuance of licenses and declared that same-sex marriages that took place during this period were void.

However, San Francisco and civil rights activists waged a legal case arguing that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples was unconstitutional and that the law should be struck down.

In 2005 the San Francisco Superior Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that there was no justification for refusing to allow marriages.

But the decision was overturned in 2006 by the California Court of Appeal, which ruled in a 2-1 decision that the state’s desire to “carry out the expressed wishes of a majority” was sufficient to preserve the existing law.

California lawmakers have also voted in favor of gay marriage but the bill was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has said that the matter is for the state’s court system to decide on.

So in summary; the people said they didn’t want same-sex marriage, their alleged “representatives” decided they did want it, the governor stopped it, tossed it to the judiciary, and the judiciary ruled successively for it, against it, and now for it again.

And they’re calling this potentially historic.

Legal analysts say Thursday’s court ruling could have wide-ranging implications for other US states, noting the California Supreme Court’s history of landmark rulings.

Sorry, but this highly politicized process doesn’t sound like any sort of resounding history.  Leon Wolf at Redstate picked out the money quote from the decision, and finds that the court didn’t really rule on constitutional grounds at all!

And, in fact, it ain’t over yet. Over a million signatures have already been collected to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November. If this gets on the ballot, given the voting history, it’s sure to pass. Expect histrionics from opponents.

And remember what this issue did in 2004 for George W. Bush. It brought voters out in droves to vote on this issue, and while there were in the booth, most pulled the lever for Bush. Could this put California in play for McCain?

[tags]California,homosexuality,same-sex marriage,California State Supreme Court,Arnold Schwarzenegger,Georgia,constitutional amendment,George W. Bush,John McCain[/tags]

The Not-So-Post-American World

Townhall.com puts out, among many other things, a one-minute daily commentary by one of its contributors. This past Monday’s one was done by Michael Medved discussed the rising tide in the world as expressed by more pro-American leaders in countries such as Germany, England, Canada, Italy, Ukraine, France and others. (Sorry, no transcript, but it’s only 60 seconds to listen to.)

This seems to turn on its head the idea that our standing in the world, because of George W. Bush, is in decline. Indeed at this moment in time it appears to be on the rise. While those folks can’t vote in our elections, it will take away one of the Democrats’ talking points.

[tags]Townhall.com,Michael Medved,post-American,George W. Bush[/tags]

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