Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't Take It Down

Instead of capitalizing on his opportunity to go after Barack Obama when he is politically weak, John McCain is whining that the North Carolina Republican Party should remove this ad:

They are refusing to do so-good for them. We can't help it John McCain will not accept the victory that Obama and Clinton are handing him. If McCain refuses to do his part to insure that a Democrat is not elected in November, the rest of us will act to insure that calamity does not occur.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

The Four Hour Wait

I've heard of having to wait, but tonight was more than a bit rediculous. I arrived early-very early, in fact, at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin for the Knights of Columbus State Convention. I understand that my room might not be ready-especially since I requested a rail shower and a king-sized bed. I waited for four hours on my room to be ready. The worst part was that I wasn't the only one. There were several people who waited for as long as I did on their room (since we arrived plenty early and I had a 4:00pm Central Time meeting, I had planned to shave and freshen up beforehand-that plan was shot all to Hades).

I do not expect special treatment from anyone, but I do expect some courtesy. Beyond putting my things in the bell closet while waiting four hours for my room, no additional hospitality was extended to myself or the other waiting Knights. When I was finally told that my room was ready, the bellman did not carry my things to my room-after the wait I had, I think it well in order to carry my things and kiss my hind quarters. My expenses are being paid by my home council in the form of a reimbursement, and they are paying good money to put me up well, wet, and fed.

As for the accomidations themselves, they are very fine-but I should not have had to wait four hours on them.

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K of C State Convention

I will be attending the annual State Convention of the Tennessee State Council of the Knights of Columbus at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin, Tennessee this weekend. There will be posts over the weekend-but light blogging.

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Obama's Opportunity Lost

A piece in yesterday's New York Times underlines the role Democrats believe that race may be playing in their nomination campaign-whether they want to admit it or not:

For Mr. Obama, race presents two potential problems: Voters opposing him simply
because he is black, and Democrats who will not support him because they do not
think a black man can win a general election.

Democrats who believe race does not play a role within their own party are living in the Land of Dilusion. Many of them believe that this is only the case among older voters, and that boomers and younger voters surely have no questions or qualms about Barack Obama's race. Race should definately not be the issue for which we discard Barack Obama as a candidate, but it will be an issue for one reason or other in the minds of some voters. Whether it is that these voters do not think Obama can win a General Election due to race (and rest assured, when Obama loses in November this is what his supporters will claim anyway), or because some voters just refuse to vote for a black man, race plays a role to some degree with many Democratic voters. They won't say it publicly, they'll reflect it privately in the voting booth.

Some of Barack Obama's problems that his supporters are chalking up to the race issue are of his own (or his wife's) making however.

His remark at a private fundraiser in San Francisco about bitter
blue-collar workers “clinging” to guns and religion was the kind of assertion
that would be damaging to a candidate of any race. Inflammatory statements by
Mr. Obama’s former pastor,
A. Wright Jr.
, who is black, have been seized on by Republicans to present
Mr. Obama as unpatriotic. An advertisement released by Republicans in North
Carolina on Wednesday included that portrayal.

The statement by Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, that “for the first time
in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country,” has been invoked by
Republicans in an effort to portray Mr. Obama as culturally unlike the people he
is asking to vote for him, a historically potent line of attack.

The Jeremiah Wrong Affair and Obama's San Francisco comments-along with Michelle's big mouth-undercut Obama's opportunity to reach out to the Democrats' "chronic voters" who have been skeptical of him. These things merely reinforce the notion that at the very least he is not ready for prime time, and at most he is unfit in the eyes of these voters for the Oval Office. Obama backers can scream race all they want, but Obama was very close to winning over some voters who might not otherwise have considered him because they didn't think a black man could win-and he shot that effort all to Hell.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Here Comes the Fight

I commented yesterday that the popular vote was going to be an issue in the Democratic nomination fight before it was over, and that while Barack Obama will continue to have a nearly insurmountable pledged delegate lead. Sure enough, the Wicked Witch of New York is already claiming a popular vote advantage:

The day after her big win in Pennsylvania, Hillary Rodham Clinton said
Wednesday that she now has more votes than anybody who has ever run for
president in a Democratic primary.

Clinton is including Michigan and Florida, primaries she won after all the
candidates agreed to boycott the states for holding votes too early for party
rules. Obama had his name pulled off the ballot in Michigan, so he doesn't get a
single vote from that state.

"I'm very proud that as of today, I have received more votes by the
people who have voted than anybody else, and I am proud of that," Clinton said
at a rally in Indianapolis. "It's a very close race, but if you count, as I
count, the 2.3 million people who voted in Michigan and Florida, then we are
going to build on that."

Obama and his people are right, of course, that because he followed the rules that the Democratic Party had set out and took his name off the Michigan ballot, the contest in that State was hardly a fair fight and not one that the Clinton camp can rightly claim. Not only will that not stop them from doing so, but since Democrats are the party utterly obsessed with popular votes (and which, over the years, has turned vote scamming and political demagoguery into an art form), it seems more than a bit hypocritical that the party which thinks we ought to trash the Constitution when electing a president cannot see their way clear to trash their own rules. Their method of governing their party ought to be reflective of the way they generally govern when in power-no direction, no rules but those they create, no absolutes, and no care for who they screw over when they change the rules they expected others to follow.

If the intra-party political situation plays out among the Democrats the way that the pundits are predicting that it will, they shall all proceed to Denver for Deviancy Days wherein they shall proceed to destroy themselves. Florida and Michigan will demand representation, will be denied for violating the rules, some superdelegates will protest that these States do not have representation. Some delegates (super and otherwise) will protest that "the popular will" is being denied whether they represent Obama or Clinton.

In the midst of all of this very public mess, the leadership of the national Democratic Party will be exposed for what it truely is-the lowest sort of cheap, vote-rigging, conniving swine, a collection of criminals in suits who speak "power to the people" while insuring that a fair bit of that power is kept to them.

The whole business makes me feel great to be a Republican.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Pennsylvania New Math

Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary yesterday by 10 points, 55-45%. It wasn't the 12-15 point victory that I had predicted here a few days ago, but the overall vote totals show a difference of nearly 216,000 raw votes between the candidates-and in a primary that can be termed as a very sizable victory.

The real question is this: What does the Pennsylvania victory mean for the Clinton campaign? Barack Obama did manage to win another chunk of delegates yesterday to add to his total, and that means that his overall pledged delegate lead has increased to a total that is insurmountable without superdelegates. The Associated Press estimates that Obama's pledged delegate total stands at 1,481 along with 233 superdelegates for a total of 1,714. Hillary Clinton's AP estimate, including superdelegates is 1,589. The New York Times estimates the overall totals as Obama 1,636, Clinton 1,481. NBC News has their own delegate count going on the Democratic side:

Obama leads in pledged delegates per the NBC hard count (1482 to
1326), overall delegates (1720 to 1588), the popular vote (14,447,568 to
13,964,439), and total number of contests won (29 to 15). Note: We’re not
including Texas in this last total, given that Clinton won the primary but Obama
won the caucus and netted the most delegates. That new popular vote total (not
counting FL or MI) has Obama leading Clinton, 49%-47%. For those keeping score,
that's a difference of 483,129.

It is clear that Barack Obama will now enter the Democratic National Convention with the lead in pledged delegates because the remaining primary calendar favors him. However, the popular vote nationally between these two has Obama leading by less than half-a-million votes. Clinton will not win North Carolina, but if she does better than expected there and in Indiana (A "stop Obama" movement in Southern Indiana via GOP cross-voters, perhaps?), it is possible that higher-than-expected vote total for Clinton in those two States coupled with her win in Pennsylvania and expected victories in West Virginia and Kentucky could give her the lead in popular votes nationally-and we all know how big Democrats are on national popular votes. Further, if either Florida or Michigan are included in the delegate mix in any way, Hillary Clinton will have a popular vote lead.

While the latter scenario of including Florida and Michigan is less likely at this point, Hillary could overtake Obama in popular votes by getting large Republican crossovers in Western North Carolina and Southern Indiana. There was a great commotion in the press over the number of registered Republicans in Pennsylvania switching their registration to Democratic to vote in the Democratic Primary, largely because it was presumed that this would be an Obama demographic-but a majority of the crossovers went for Clinton. If we see similar crossovers in Indiana and North Carolina, those numbers could favor Hillary Clinton.

I still believe that Obama will win the Democratic nomination at their convention in Denver, but he will limp his way "to the nomination battered and bruised" to quote Domenico Montanaro. If he survives the Democratic National Debauchery Festival in Denver, he will then be beaten like a rag doll in November.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Pennsylvania Primary Results


Roundtable discussion of the results of the Pennsylvania Primary with Fabian Story, C. Hatton Humphrey, Ken Marrero, Warner Todd Huston, and led by David Oatney.

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What Pennsylvania Could Mean

Today's the day in Pennsylvania, and the question will not be whether Hillary Clinton is going to win the overall vote in the Keystone State, but by what percentage will she win. Because of the Democrats' proportional delegate allocation system, if Obama manages to keep the totals close, he maintains his overall delegate and popular vote lead.

Barack Obama has managed to shoot himself in the foot both in Pennsylvania and all over small-town America with the discovery of his remarks about people in Middle America being bitter people who cling to religion and guns. Well, most folks that I live around aren't bitter, but they do cling to their faith and their firearms. Further, if people in this part of the country had a problem with Obama before, he is now the target of the popular wrath out here. The worst possible outcome for both of these campaigns is what can be termed an indecisive one:

...A Clinton victory by less than five points, which would give Obama an opening to declare "victory" of sorts and create renewed pressure on Clinton on the future of her campaign; and a Clinton victory by more than five but less than 10, which is the most likely result if some of the better polls are to be believed. This would be considered a solid victory, but would it be big enough to fundamentally change the dynamics of the race?

The answer to the latter question, of course, is that it would not change the dynamics of the race in terms of the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama has managed to hand John McCain the tools with which to beat him in November outside of Pennsylvania. A Clinton victory of less than 10 points will not change a thing and the primary season will keep rolling.

What could make things interesting would be if my prediction turns out to be right and Obama loses by 12 to 15 points. It would likely guarantee a brokered convention with a very nasty floor fight.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Pennsylvania Prediction

For the first time in this election cycle, I am prepared to predict that the polls are wrong and that Hillary Clinton will actually score a larger-than-expected victory in Pennsylvania tomorrow:

In the so-called "T" region of the state (almost everything between Philly and
Pittsburgh), Clinton leads 51%-37% with 11% undecided; this is one of the few
demographic groups sporting double-digit undecided. Two other interesting
crosstabs with high undecideds also signal the potential that the undecided vote
will break for Clinton. Among bowlers (24% of the electorate) and gun owners
(38% of the electorate), Clinton leads big among these cultural conservatives:
She's up 54%-33% among bowlers and 53%-28% among gun owners. So while the poll shows Clinton with a narrow -- and arguably narrowing -- lead, the clues inside
the numbers indicate this is her race to lose and that her lead could expand.

Prediction: Clinton will win the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary tomorrow by at least 10 points and possibly 15-perhaps higher. I think the Obama people are grossly underestimating the impact of his "bitter" remarks, and he did look weaker that he has before now in the debate the other night. Obama supporters can relax for now, though. Even if he loses tomorrow as resoundingly as I believe he will in the Quaker State, it will not be enough to stop him unless Hillary carries one of the remaining States where Obama is expected to do very well-the remaining primary calendar strongly favors Barack Obama.

Obama backers shouldn't count their chickens for the General Election, however. Their man has managed to hand the McCain campaign the rope with which to hang him, should John McCain actually decide to wisen up and pull the noose.

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White Pine Town Budget Hearings

I have just returned from the morning session of the annual ritual in the Town of White Pine heretofore known as the city budget hearings. Much of what occurred this morning was expected, and there were no miscarriages of justice on the city's part in failing to properly fund city services. There are, however, derelictions of duty on the part of the Jefferson County Commission that could cause the city more than a bit of grief.

Most of our County Commissioners don't regularly visit White Pine or Baneberry, hence they are unaware of how our Volunteer Fire Department functions (it is actually a department of city government, which makes it different than other volunteer departments in Jefferson County, and Baneberry is a retirement community whose small group of citizens can barely lift a firehose-hence, we have a standing mutual aid agreement with Baneberry-they provide a fire station, truck, and gear for themselves, we help them with manpower).

This lack of visitation by county officialdom probably explains why 10th District County Commissioner Robert Beeler insists on behaving in a manner resembling a mule's behind, giving Chief Cotter and Chief Brady grief over signing an interlocal agreement that the Tennessee Municipal League says is absolutely necessary if they are to insure our firefighters and first responders when they respond to a call outside the city limits of White Pine. County Commission was set to approve an interlocal agreement today that will last until June 30th. They must approve one that will last beyond that time period as well, or after June 30th our men and women will not be insured if they respond to a county fire call. That means that the Town of White Pine will not be sending its firefighters and first responders on any calls outside of the city limits if there is no interlocal agreement in force. If the Jefferson County Commission fails to approve and interlocal agreement with the White Pine Volunteer Fire Department, they will then be forced to explain to the people of the 3rd District who live outside of the White Pine city limits why they will no longer have any fire protection.

If you live in the Town of White Pine, your sewer rates may soon increase. No one in the room liked that idea, but the cost of some of the chemicals that the EPA is now requiring the White Pine Water and Sewer Department to use cost an enormous amount of money-and they have just increased in price. Not all of these chemicals are absolutely necessary to clean our sewage, but the EPA says we must use them. All hail, oh great and powerful federal government, thine unfunded mandates we labor to fulfill in glory, praising thy tyranny as we go!

The cost of fuel is increasing the cost of all things in the city budget, including the cost of our garbage trucks, police cruisers, and of course our fire engines and trucks. Nearly every city department is budgeting $4.00 a gallon for fuel next year. I'm praying to God that isn't a sign of things to come, but I suspect that to our detriment it probably is. To the credit of Mayor Stanley Wilder and White Pine's Aldermen, there has been no talk this morning of an increase in taxes, but there has been talk of an increase in the tax base with the likelyhood of the development of Exit 4 off of Interstate 81 and the possible building of a new subdivision.

Police Chief Charlie Epps says his Department has budgeted for the lease of some new, more efficient cruisers-rotating old ones out of the fleet two or three at a time.

Alderman Jerry Calfee, longtime fireman and servant of the community, continues to insist that he will not run for another term on Council when his current term expires this year. Who, I wonder, might replace him......

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Only Secularists Support Rank Secularism

This past Friday evening, I happened to catch part of the PBS program Bill Moyers' Journal, specifically the part where Bill Moyers gives an editorial comment before introducing a guest. In this case, Moyers was commenting on the fact that during the pastoral visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States this week, the Pope has repeatedly warned of the dangers of secularism. In Bill Moyers' reckoning, what he views as America's secular heritage was one of the great things about the United States.

Bill Moyers' claim to be a real journalist long ago ceased to be, and his fealty and servitude to the Democratic Party has been a fact of his political life (He was Press Secretary to Lyndon Johnson), so the notion that he has in his head-one that is contrary to the very history of the nation (see Holy Trinity Church v. United States-1982) -that this is a secular society or that it was meant to be such, has now become the doctrinaire view both of the Left in this country, and the national Democratic Party as a whole.

Secular society has brought so much good to the world, the great master artists of the last millinium were all inspired by the wisdom of secularism. The great classical composers such as Bach, Handel, Beethoven, and, and Haydn were given their great works through the power and glory of secularism. Stalin, Mao Pol Pot, and Hitler erred in not embracing secularism.

Oh, I forgot, all the great masters were Christians...and all of those terrible mass murdering dictators were rank secularists.

At the end of Bill Moyers' rant, he admitted to his audience that he is an agnostic. In saying this, Moyers managed to prove something that I have observed for many years-that the most militant proponents of public secularism in this country are infidels who lack any faith whatsoever. Their lack of faith ought not spoil the enjoyment of faith for the rest of us.

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