Saturday, February 16, 2008

Really big conservative endorses McCain

The big headline of the day is that former President George H.W. Bush is going to formally endorse John McCain next week.

That's a really significant conservative endorsement. Remember all of the great conservative things Bush I did in office, like raise taxes through the roof after promising "no new taxes" and spending the economy into recession?

Yes, that's an endorsement I would want to trumpet from the housetops.

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T-FIRE pancake breakfast and David Davis speech this morning

Tennesseans for Immigration Reform and Education (T-FIRE) will host a pancake breakfast this morning with featured speaker Tennessee Congressman David Davis (R-First District). Congressman Davis will discuss his efforts in Congress aimed at securing our borders, protecting our national sovereignty, and discouraging illegal immigration.

State Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) is slated to speak in introduction to Congressman Davis. The all-you-care-to-eat pancake breakfast begins at 8:30am, with speakers taking the podium at 10:00. The cost is $5.00.

The event will take place at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall, 2503 East Andrew Johnson Highway, Morristown, Tennessee.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

GOP delegate count update

Mitt Romney has not only endorsed John McCain, but has formally asked his delegates to the Republican National Convention to throw their support behind McCain. Assuming they do so, this places John McCain's actual delegate count at 1,104 to Mike Huckabee's 243. (MSNBC)

1,191 are needed to nominate.


Ragsdale's fall girls?

By now everyone who follows local politics in East Tennessee is aware that embattled Knox County Community Services Director Cynthia Finch has stepped down, and that she reportedly did so Wednesday night:

"During the course of the meeting with Mr. Arms and Mr. Troyer, there were a number of concerns discussed and brought to her attention. Evidently, as a consequence of looking at these concerns and issues that they brought to her attention, she felt this was the best decision for her," says Dwight Van de Vate, spokesman for Mayor Mike Ragsdale.

Ms. Finch, of course, had been among the worst offenders in the Knox County P-Card Affair, using her county card to purchase numerous personal items, including personal gas and health club memberships. Up to this point, Ragsdale and Arms have defended Finch-even joining in the whole "County Commission is racist" spectacle. Now, Finch is gone with very little fanfare.

It really makes the observer wonder: Was Ragsdale shielding Finch because she had dirt on the Mayor (and what dirt might they have had)? What did Margie Loyd know? Was Riquitta Bone made into Mike Ragsdale's office fall girl when it became apparent that the Purchase Card scandal could erupt into something bigger?

Obviously, I'm not the biggest fan of people filing discrimination charges to avoid taking personal responsibility for their actions (that tactic seems to be an epidemic these days), but was filing a claim of discrimination against Ragsdale's office the only way Margie Loyd knew to fight back against being used by Ragsdale to deflect attention away from him?


The Rush factor

John McCain already has enough problems with trying to unite the conservative base of the Republican Party behind him, but now the most listened-to radio talk show host in the country is openly flirting with simply not supporting the Republican nominee:

Asked what Mr. McCain might do to change his mind, Mr. Limbaugh said: “I don’t think there’s anything he could do. If he did do it, he would be accused of selling out.” Then, in a familiar baritone as resonant as it is on the air, he added, “If I were to endorse McCain based on the current circumstances, I’d be looked at as a party hack.”

To the extent Mr. Limbaugh offered Mr. McCain any consolation, it was this: “What I can tell you I’m sure of is, I’m not going to be endorsing Obama or Hillary — unless it’s a joke to make a point.

Reached Thursday, the McCain campaign’s communications director, Jill Hazelbaker, said she had no comment on Mr. Limbaugh’s criticisms. But the senator’s supporters are concerned enough about where Mr. Limbaugh is leaning that former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas telephoned the commentator privately late last month from the international economic conference in Davos, Switzerland, to preach Mr. McCain’s virtues, Mr. Limbaugh said.

And purely as a broadcaster, he said, it will not make much difference whether Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton wins.

John McCain can pretend that Rush Limbaugh's lack of support does not matter, but the entire national Republican apparatus knows that they largely owe Limbaugh and his colleagues in the conservative radio sphere for the GOP takeover of Congress in 1994. The turnout in heavily-Republican areas in 2000 and 2004 was due in no small part to the influence of EIB.

There is no doubt in my mind that Rush is telling the truth when he says that he is in the business to get listeners, and that any impact on the outcome of elections or the process of government is because listeners, not Limbaugh, take action. Many liberals mistakenly believe that Rush Limbaugh's devotees are lemmings who will do whatever Limbaugh tells them, but that presumption is based on the falsehood that listeners to Limbaugh and other conservative chat hosts do not have minds of their own. I've listened to Rush for nearly 16 years, and have also developed a taste for other conservative hosts during that time. I have never agreed with Rush 100% of the time, and on some days I don't even agree 75% of the time-but I have always liked him because I believe that he is someone who shares many of my basic values and beliefs about politics and society. Most of Limbaugh's listeners see his show as one that allows them to visit a place for three hours a day where Red State America can have its own on-air town hall of sorts.

Limbaugh's listeners will do what they think is best in the voting booth, but that doesn't mean that Limbaugh's words have no impact-to deny this would be like me saying that my words in the blogosphere have had no impact in East Tennessee. I enjoy writing and I want to have readers-and I know that my readers come to me not to be informed, but because they are
informed. I respect that they can think for themselves, but I know that things that I have published on the internet have had impact and influence because people have told me so (it always surprises me to learn who is reading). If my blogging has an impact, Rush Limbaugh has had far more of one whether it is intended or not.

John McCain can play dumb all he likes about the influence of his conservative critics in talk radio or even the blogosphere, but failure to reach out to those critics or to prove himself may very well cost him dearly in November.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ragsdale may reap what he sows

Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale loves to throw mud at his political opponents whether there is truth to the mud or not. He also has never cared whether the dirt that he and his operatives sling at their opposition is politically relevant or not. You reap what you so, the Scriptures tell us-and in Mike Ragsdale's case, his sins do find him out.

The World received a note this morning from a confidential source that the Mayor has apparently been carrying on a "hot and sizzling" extramarital affair with Knox County Director of Neighborhoods Alison Wagley. The source also informed us that Sandra Clark may break the story in the next edition of the Halls Shopper, but as yet that remains to be seen (we hope The Shopper does put this story in print).

We've also been told that the major news outlets are aware of this story but they do not want to be the ones to break it. It will be very interesting to see if Gene Patterson has anything to say about the story if and when the Shopper actually breaks it. Normally, we wouldn't bother with a story like this, but if this proves to be corroborated there is a certain justice in it. The man who loves to trash the reputation of others and destroy his political opponents could be brought down by his own sin, sleaze-and yes, shortsightedness.

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Democrat delegate math

The press is saying (quite rightly) that Ohio and Texas are critical States for Hillary Clinton to win in her quest for the Democratic nomination, and the polls in both of those States presently have her leading by comfortable margins. Not only does Barack Obama have plenty of time to close the gap in both States, he doesn't even need to win those primaries in order to remain competitive or the virtual frontrunner. Because the Democrats award delegates proportionally in virtually every State where they hold nominating contests, there is a formula whereby Obama could still win the Democratic nomination.

Obama has to win the Vermont Primary and Rhode Island Primary on March 4, because Hillary sweeping all four States that day would deal a blow to Obama's campaign from which it would be very difficult to recover. However, assuming Obama can win Vermont and Rhode Island, he may already have won in Hawaii and Wisconsin, both of whom vote this coming Tuesday. If he can pull around 35% of the vote in Texas and Ohio, he will have enough delegates to stay alive. If he wins in Mississippi on March 11, then wins the Nebraska primary on May 13, the Oregon Primary on May 20, and Montana and South Dakota on June 3, all he needs to do is run competative races in Pennsylviania (April 22) West Virginia (May 13), and Kentucky (May 20), and he will likely have won enough delegates to guarantee a brokered convention.

If the Democratic superdelegates are left to decide the nominee instead of the grassroots, it could have a demoralizing effect on Democratic grassroots and depress grassroots motivation in November. Democratic Party brass (including Chairman Howard Dean) are very much aware of that reality and are not likely to let that happen.

A brokered convention could benefit Obama. If Hillary emerges from a brokered convention where superdelegates nominate her, the Republicans will have the advantage once the conventions are over.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Comrade Obama

Here's what Investor's Business Daily had to say about Comrade Obama and his associates:

How is it a front-runner for the highest office in the land can reject an American flag on his lapel but permit the display of a huge Cuban flag at one of his offices, emblazoned with a mass murderer's mug?

Improbable as it sounds, it's true. Barack Obama, displaying the same "anything goes" standard of patriotism he showed when he ostentatiously refused to wear a U.S. flag in his lapel, now shows he's got a whole different idea about patriotism.

One of Obama's volunteer offices in Houston was caught operating under a huge flag of communist Cuba with Che Guevara's face printed on it, according to images shown on Fox News. Flak from bloggers ensued — followed, of course, by spin control.

But rather than repudiate the image, Obama would only call it "inappropriate," apparently without insisting it be taken down. That contrasts with his dismissal of his Senate colleagues who wear lapel flags as "hypocrites." Some hypocrites.

The display of the Castroite flag with Che's picture on it sends a particularly disturbing message about his campaign. Apparently, Obama tends to attract the kind of people who think of mass murderers like Che and Fidel as romantic revolutionaries. Those same people see Obama as a man with a messianic message. These are the voters he'll be indebted to should he win higher office.

In 1996, Cuba shot down two U.S. planes, killing six Americans whose only "crime" was trying to rescue Cuban refugees at sea. Had a political candidate in Latin America pasted up a picture of Che at election time, there'd be no doubt where he stood — ones who did just that are now running countries with names like Bolivia and Venezuela. Is that what Obama really stands for?

Perhaps Obama thinks that Communist sympathizers have a place in the America that he says he wants to build. If that is the case, is this a man that we really want to be the leader of the free world?

Is this the anthem of Obama's America?

(Thanks to Father John Putka, SM)

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More cheap desperation from Hillary

How do we know that Hillary Clinton is not only behind, but may indeed be way behind? She is running a new ad in Wisconsin criticizing Barack Obama for not debating her in that State where he holds a sizable lead.

Why should Obama debate Hillary in America's Dairyland? Anyone who knows anything about political campaigns is aware that debates tend to benefit the candidate who is behind in the polls. If no debate is scheduled, it behooves the candidate who has the lead not to engage in one.

That Hillary seems so desperate for a debate seems to be an indication that she is going to take yet another licking at the polls.

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Our Lord Barack the Christ?

Apparently there is a person or group out in la-la-land that seriously believes that Barack Obama is the Messiah.

This is truly frightening. I knew that there was a cult of personality coalescing around Obama-a group of people who were supporting him and didn't know why, and most of these folks have no clue what Obama stands for-only "change." (Note: Yes, Obama has serious and thoughtful supporters as well. Some of these are regular readers here). However, the cult of meaningless Obamaism apparently takes on a new and very blasphemous meaning for some.

I know that masses are following him for no real reason, but were he to be elected he apparently has a few devotees who believe he is the Anointed One.

Talk about manipulative power...

(Hat tip: Stephanie Richer)

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Patomac Primary Roundtable podcast


A discussion of Primary results in Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Adam Graham, John McJunkin, Warner Todd Huston, Fabian Story, and Ken Marrero join David Oatney.

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Che Obama

When I first saw this picture of Barack Obama's Houston office, I wondered if this might be some kind of internet hoax. Surely, I thought, no Democratic candidate would be stupid enough to allow for pictures of known Communist guerrilla leader, show trial specialist, and mass murderer Che Guevara, or any other Communist, Marxist, or those who publicly sympathize with them in a campaign office. Since the 1960's, the Democratic Party doesn't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to sympathizing with Communists and Marxists, and in some locales the party has literally crawled with Marxists and pseudo-Marxists over the years (Berkeley, anyone?).

To its credit, the national Democratic apparatus has done a good job of rooting out the Marxists from their ranks. Whether they privately sympathize with Marxism is certainly their prerogative and right as an American citizen, but they know that it is not politically wise to publish Marxist sympathies when trying to elect a candidate to public office. More simply put, modern Democratic leadership knows that center-left political activism is effective, but Marxism/Communism is bad.

Since I first saw the shot of the Guevara flag, I have since heard of the reality of its existence in the Houston Obama campaign office from multiple sources, and now believe the picture to be accurate. It may be that Barack Obama had nothing to do with the placing of that flag in his campaign office, but it needs to be removed from a place that is in ANY WAY representative of his campaign. If it is not removed, this sends a signal that the Obama campaign sympathizes with Marxists/Leninists/Communists. Further, those who would put the flag in place need to be purged from the campaign. Why?

If this gets any legs, Obama's chances at the nomination could be ruined. If Obama is nominated and does not clearly distance himself from the Marxists in his campaign, he will have handed the Republicans a major coup: John McCain would normally have a great deal of trouble rallying the GOP's conservative base, but if the base believes they are facing a person who is openly sympathetic to Marxism, McCain won't have to do much rallying.

This statement was to be found on the website of Fox 26 in Houston:

The office featured in this video is funded by volunteers of the Barack Obama Campaign and is not an official headquarters for his campaign.

Considering what reporters were saying about the office in the report, why does something seem amiss here?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Getting uncomfortable

A Hillary superdelegate on what she must do at this point in the race for the Democratic nomination merely to remain in the race (not necessarily to win):

“She has to win both Ohio and Texas comfortably, or she’s out,” an anonymous superdelegate who currently supports Clinton.

She can't just win, but must win "comfortably." If she's out after performing uncomfortably, what would qualify as an "uncomfortable" win for her?


Bauer will "make" McCain conservative!

Gary Bauer, founder of the Campaign for Working Families and formerly of the Family Research Council, endorsed John McCain Monday. In doing so, he promised to "make him the best conservative candidate possible."

"At the end of the day, they're going to be united. And I believe if I can work with Senator McCain to make him the best conservative candidate possible, that's a good thing," Bauer said.

Let me get this straight, Bauer is going to "make" John McCain a conservative? I'd love to sit in on those transformation sessions! The press is acting as though a Gary Bauer endorsement is some major coup, but Bauer endorsed John McCain in 2000-endorsing him now would hardly be a surprise.

Gary Bauer did serve as the Undersecretary of Education under President Reagan, and when it comes to pro-family fiscal and social policy, there is no more sound advocate in the country than Gary Bauer. Outside of his short-lived 2000 Presidential primary campaign, however, Bauer has not sought or held elective office. He has never dealt with executive or legislative responsibility on a first-hand level, and his level of experience is very low. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, since everyone has to start somewhere in public life (no matter where that might be). I was in the audience at a Right to Life breakfast before the March for Life in Washington in January 1999 when Bauer hinted that he might run for President. I remember thinking then that I Bauer's pro-family positions were right on-target, but that his grasp of other issues that might face him as President would likely be extremely limited.

I remember watching some of the early debates that year with my friend Aaron Harris (now of the Baltimore Examiner), and we both agreed that Bauer was way out of his league. On social issues, Bauer was a first-rate candidate, but when he tried to answer a question on Social Security reform and made himself out to look like an uninformed couch potato (something I know he is not), I understood that his issue-range simply is not diverse enough to be taken seriously as a candidate.

Granted, I don't think John McCain is a raging liberal, but Gary Bauer cannot make John McCain into something he is not. It is painfully obvious that Bauer has decided to play go-along rather than take the time to make a serious and thoughtful endorsement.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

The new bosses

In the Democratic Party, bought-and-paid-for superdelegates could decide that party's nomination contrary to the wishes of it's rank-and-file. In the Republican Party, political bosses have decided to call caucuses over before all the votes are counted to avoid John McCain being swept on a day of primaries and caucuses when he was utterly destroyed.

In Washington State, when the vote doesn't go the way the bosses want they just end the counting.

Huckabee campaign Chairman Ed Rollins:

“The Huckabee campaign is deeply disturbed by the obvious irregularities in the Washington State Republican precinct caucuses. It is very unfortunate that the Washington State Party Chairman, Luke Esser, chose to call the race for John McCain after only 87 percent of the vote was counted. According to CNN, the difference between Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee is a mere 242 votes, out of more than 12,000 votes counted—with another 1500 or so votes, apparently, not counted. That is an outrage.

“This is not about Mike Huckabee. This is not about Senator John McCain. This is about the failings of the Washington State Republican Party. All Republicans should unite to demand an honest accounting of the votes, so that Republicans can have full confidence in the results, and full confidence in the eventual Republican nominee. As I said, we are prepared to go to court, and we are also prepared to take our case all the way to the Republican National Convention in September.

“Our cause is just. We must reemphasize the sacred American principle that all ballots be counted in a free, fair, and transparent manner.”

If you voted in the Washington Caucus on Saturday, you should want all votes to be counted. No matter where you are from, you should demand that fairness should rule the day. This is disgraceful, and it speaks very low of our respect for the process.

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Who was the conservative choice?

The Tennessean did a story about how some Tennessee Republicans are not the least bit happy with the prospect of John McCain as the GOP nominee:

Republicans like Nancy French, a Maury County resident who has been preaching the gospel of Romney through her Web site,, for the past two years, said she'll have a hard time forgiving McCain's past positions on tax cuts and illegal immigration.

"John McCain has been giving social conservatives the middle finger for 25 years," French said, citing McCain's efforts to regulate campaign finances as just one example of when the candidate has bucked GOP orthodoxy.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," French said. "I want to vote, but I don't think I can pull the lever for John McCain." The U.S. senator from Arizona is the Republican Party's presumptive nominee following Romney's withdrawal from the race on Thursday.

"We're at risk," French said. "Our party is fractured, and the Democrats have strong candidates that people believe in."

First of all, even though I did not vote for Mitt Romney in the end, I have great admiration for Ms. Nancy's work. This State had no more enthusiastic champion for Romney than Nancy French and her husband David. They're good conservatives and good Republicans, and if I'm writing a story about the primary and I need to talk to a Romney person, the first person I would call would be Nancy French.

With that said, The Tennessean did a terrible job with this story. Staff writer Bonna Johnson quite rightly wrote that Republican voters are cool to McCain, but the story was written in a way to suggest that most GOP voters who were anti-McCain trended toward Mitt Romney, but the results showed something different. The only counties where Romney did exceptionally well were the collar counties around Nashville, and in Maury County, home to Nancy French herself. It is a standing rule of Tennessee politics that if a Republican cannot carry any counties in East Tennessee, that person cannot win Statewide. I'm researching the results right now, and I have to admit that I have all counties in front of me and I am having to pick through these Statewide results "by hand," but so far I have not found a single East Tennessee county carried by Mitt Romney. In terms of county-by-county results, both Huckabee and McCain did well here. John McCain carried Knox, Jefferson, Cocke, Cumberland, Hawkins, etc. Huckabee carried Hamilton County by nine points, a huge coup for the Statewide vote (which would indicate that he did reasonably well in the City of Chattanooga), and also carried counties like Blount, Loudon, Miegs, Union, Unicoi, Johnson, and Sullivan. Even in the East Tennessee counties where he lost to McCain (like mine), Huckabee tended to finish a narrow second and Romney third-in some cases a distant third. In the East Tennessee counties Huckabee won, McCain was usually in second-which would seem to indicate that Romney was actually pulling votes from Huckabee here.

Mitt Romney proved to be a very poor Statewide candidate in Tennessee, but you wouldn't know that by the way The Tennessean was covering voter reaction. Mike Huckabee won the State (something conceded very quickly in the article) yet there was no word from Huckabee people in the paper. Romney's candidacy was treated as the predominate choice of Tennessee conservatives, but the results from some of our State's most conservative counties show that Huckabee was the choice of most conservatives, and that Romney may have kept Huckabee from carrying East Tennessee outright (though Howard Baker's endorsement did help McCain, no question of that).

Nothing against the Romney camp (especially Nancy French), but their Statewide showing could be viewed as an embarrassment by some-but there was little mention of that in The Tennessean. I understand that it is a Nashville paper, but Republican primaries in Tennessee are not won or lost in metro Nashville. It might behoove The Tennessean to remember that when covering future primaries.

As for being cool to McCain-I think Ms. Nancy and many know that I feel their pain.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekend primary podcast roundtable

Listen to this round's Primary Roundtable HERE!

A discussion of the primaries and caucuses in Washington State, Kansas, Louisiana, and Nebraska (Dems) with Warner Todd Huston, Adam Graham, and led by David Oatney.

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Mike Huckabee has won the Louisiana Primary by a narrow margin after winning Kansas early yesterday. Although John McCain "won" the Washington Caucus by an extremely narrow margin over Mike Huckabee, candidates that were no longer in the race received a greater combined percentage of the vote than McCain.

And this is our "presumptive nominee!"

A few more nights like last night for Barack Obama and Hillary might as well get out of this before her political capital is entirely spent. I would also prefer she get out of the race before I start having un-Christian levels of enjoyment watching her humiliation.


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