Saturday, May 17, 2008

Preakness Day

In anticipation of the Preakness today, here's a redux of the 2007 classic.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Mike Williams Does It Again

I discuss Tennessee State Senator Mike Williams sending campaign literature under the guise of an update at The Newsstand today.

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The Politics of Appeasement

The big furor of the day among Democrats seems to have been the President's remarks about Barack Obama wanting to appease terrorists. Democratic leadership are all up in arms about the President saying this, but there is just one problem: What the President said is the truth-and I am not a great fan of the Bush Administration.

Regardless of how one might feel about the Iraq War (and readers will remember that I was against the war when it began and I've made that clear here dozens of times), the people that Senator Obama somehow thinks he can talk to are people who hate America for America's sake-they detest what America is about as a principle, and they felt that way long before the invasion of Iraq. The people who piloted civilian aircraft into the World Trade Center are the same folks who attempted to destroy that building when Bill Clinton was President. Their hatred of our nation and all that we stand for completely transcends political parties or ideologies. They do not care if the President is Bill Clinton, George Bush, or Barack Obama, when these people say "death to America," they intend to do their part to bring that about.

Barack Obama says he would like to negotiate with Hamas. This is a group of people whose ultimate goal is to kill as many Jews as possible, and the Jews they do not kill they would like to drive into the sea. Rather than a "two-state solution" to the Palestinian question, Hamas sees a one-state solution that doesn't involve Israel, and involves the extermination of Israelis. Senator Neville Chamberlain Barack Obama believes he can negotiate with these people-I suppose because his name is Hussein. He wants to negotiate with the regime that sponsors these people, one that is Hell-bent on bringing about an apocalyptic vision at the present time. Note that I'm not talking about bumping into the Iranian ambassador in the hall at the U.N., and I don't mean we should turn them away if they come to us ready to meet us on our terms and terms that involve the security of our allies in the region. That is not what Barack Obama favors-Barack Obama wants to go to the enemy that would exterminate us and our allies and negotiate with them. One wonders what he would be negotiating for, a slow death instead of a quick one?

There is a very legitimate argument-one that I have made in the past-that the United States would be better off to withdraw ourselves from Middle Eastern affairs completely and let the situation play out as it will. We should, I believe, give no aid to Israel in the form of money, equipment, or manpower-but we should also give no aid or comfort to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, or any of the Arab or Muslim regimes in the region. The United States should be, where the Near East is concerned, a neutral power.

Even if the United States were to adopt this approach, it would not likely change the attitude of Hamas, Al Qaeda, or the regimes that support these groups-they would still hate America because America would stand in the way of the world-wide Caliphate that they seek to establish. Barack Obama thinks he can negotiate with people bent on killing Americans and destroying our way of life.

The Democrats can play a sort of pseudo-unity game now because of the President's comments, but they are deluding themselves if they do not think that Barack Obama's policy of negotiating with, and perhaps even appeasing terrorists will not come up again between now and November-it will, it should, and the American people will levy judgement upon it.

As for the Democrats accusing the Republicans of lobbing a "political attack" at Obama-get real, this is an election. We are here to wage a political campaign, not to hold your hand and sing Kumbuya. There will be plenty of time after November to shake hands and praise the goodness of the process. Until that time, y'all are fair game.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Edwards Finally Bows

John Edwards has officially come out and endorsed Barack Obama in what is a blatant attempt to bring the voters on board that Obama cannot win. It can't be said, however, that Edwards' endorsement is not sincere-just late in coming. The endorsement is likely "sincere" in the sense that John Edwards' primary goal would seem to be fostering partisan unity among the Democrats:

It would have meant more in February or March, but John Edwards'
endorsement of
Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination waswelcomed nonetheless by a politician eager to turn the page.

A person close to Edwards, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he
wanted to get involved now to begin unifying the party. Edwards and Obama spoke
by phone Tuesday night, and Edwards agreed to fly to Grand Rapids the next day.

Edwards didn't even tell many of his former top advisers of his
decision because he wanted to inform Clinton personally, said the person close
to him. His wife, Elizabeth, who has said she thinks Clinton has the superior
health care plan, did not accompany him and is not part of the

No one should operate under the illusion that Barack Obama is really John Edwards' first choice for the presidency aside from himself. While I am quite sure Elizabeth Edwards is very much her own woman, I would venture to say that she and her husband do think very much alike. John Edwards made no early endorsement of Obama or Clinton because he likely isn't overly fond of either one (remember that he would have won Iowa were it not for Obama's turnout machine there, and the race might be very different today) and deliberately wanted to wait the process out.

In talking to a few of the voters Obama needs to win over this morning, I discovered that they shared the opinion that I just expressed-that Edwards is picking the logical candidate now that it appears that the delegate math is strongly in Obama's favor, and that this was an obvious partisan move designed to foster some sort of unity within the party-"he just picked the winning side," one person pointed out. Most also said, however, that Edwards' decision didn't change their minds one bit about Obama and they wouldn't be voting for him in the fall. James Carville seemed to underscore that reality this morning:

Political strategist and Clinton ally James Carville said Edwards' endorse
was a psychological boost for Obama, but unlikely to sway many voters.

"I think it certainly helps in terms of the psychology of the
superdelegates," Carville told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday,
referring to the elected officials and party leaders who will ultimately
determine the Democratic nominee.

John Edwards made the logical political move for John Edwards-a move I doubt he liked. He also knows that his endorsement will not win the voters that Obama needs to win in November.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obama's Written-Off Constituency

Hillary Clinton utterly destroyed Barack Obama in the West Virginia Primary last night by 41 points. The drubbing was so bad for Obama that he was only able to keep Clinton's vote totals below 50% in a single county-Jefferson County, which sits in on the Maryland-Virginia line not far from Washington. Further, exit polls indicated that a majority of Mountain State voters went for Clinton whether they had a college degree (54%) or not (69%). Further, some exit polling indicated that West Virginians did not believe Barack Obama shared their values.

This victory underscored Barack Obama's weakness with blue-collar white voters, who are the country's largest single voting bloc. To some, pointing out this reality makes one a racist. It is not the least bit racist to point out what the numbers and the facts are saying. The most troubling exit poll statistic for Barack Obama is the one that says that those who voted against him yesterday are willing to do so again:

Barely a third of Clinton supporters say they'd vote for Obama over John McCain
in a November matchup. As many claim they'd vote for Republican John McCain and
a quarter said they would not vote for president. If that horse race were
Clinton vs. McCain, half of Obama backers say they'd vote for Clinton, about
three in 10 say they'd back McCain and the rest would stay home.

As much as Obama's backers do not want to hear it, these numbers show that Hillary Clinton's electability argument has real teeth. Obama can win the nomination, but at what cost to Democrats? All of these people who voted against him in the primaries will do it again in November, which will more than balance off any Republican vote losses to Bob Barr (which I do not believe will be very high, sans Pat Buchanan and Reform in 2000), and has the potential to turn into a real Electoral College rout. There is the very real possibility that Barack Obama could win the popular vote by getting his turnout machine mobilized in major cities, but lose the election by a relatively large Electoral College margin. Obama could also be beaten in a landslide that makes 1984 look like a walk in the park for the Democrats.

For conservatives, there is what Adam Graham rightly calls a "nightmare scenario" that could develop. Republicans continue to lose Congressional seats in special byelections, losing a key race in Mississippi last night. We could see a scenario develop where John McCain beats Barack Obama significantly in November, while Democrats pick up even more seats in the House. To the casual observer, this appears to defy logic-but John McCain has a lot of crossover appeal to Democrats. These are people who would likely have no trouble voting for McCain at the head of the ticket and voting Democratic in downticket races, and let's face it-McCain doesn't give one wit about the political welfare of the Republican Party as a whole, he just wants to be the President. If that is the situation that unfolds in November, it could produce a serious long-term split in the Republican Party. This isn't likely to create three parties, but would greatly reorganize the two-party system in our country.

As for Barack Obama, he is in for even more electoral rude awakenings. His people are already writing off West Virginia in the fall...I think they do so at their peril, because it says a lot-not about West Virginia's political importance, but about the kind of people his campaign is discarding so readily-the very demographic he needs most in order to win in November.

SOME PERSONAL NOTES: As you might have read in previous posts, I have familial roots and heritage in West Virginia, so I watched this primary with great interest. My great-uncle (maternal side), Dan Neely, served as the County Assessor in Fayette County for nearly a quarter-century. In the Democratic Primary in Fayette County last night, Hillary Clinton won with a whopping 70% of the vote to 22% for Obama. Such totals throughout Southern West Virginia cannot be viewed merely as an embrace of the Clintons-but as an explicit rejection of Barack Obama, especially since West Virginia Democrats opened their primary process to unaffiliated voters (but not to registered Republicans) for the first time ever yesterday. Sure, some Republicans did manage to seep through, but remember that Democratic registration in West Virginia already hovers around 70% Statewide. That is one of the highest such percentages in the country, yet Democrats haven't been able to carry the State in 12 years in a presidential vote.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Almost Heaven Says No You Can't


A roundtable discussion of the results of the West Virginia and Nebraska Democratic Primaries with Adam Graham, Bill Schulke, and late in the show, Fabian Story.

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His son is working for the Daily Mail...

The national press seems to be making a big deal over the fact that The Charleston Gazette has endorsed Barack Obama. Why, it's such a major breakthrough. Obama even wrote an op-ed in today's paper.

The Gazette isn't the only widely read paper in Southern West Virginia, however-the Charleston Daily Mail has endorsed Hillary Clinton, admitting the obvious:

Both Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are from the liberal wing of the Democratic party. West Virginia Democrats tend to be more conservative.

West Virginia political history is something with which I am quite familiar, and this would be a massive understatement. Robert Byrd campaigns as a social conservative, he was one of the leaders in passing the Defense of Marriage Act. The Daily Mail continues:

The Daily Mail, which is philosophically at odds with both contenders for the Democratic nomination, endorses Hillary Clinton.

The Daily Mail is by far West Virginia's most conservative newspaper. Unfortunately for Senator Obama, it is also just as widely read as the Gazette, and has traditionally been far more editorially in-tune with public opinion in the Mountain State.

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Hell No You Can't

Sharon Cobb is someone who I consider a personal friend, so she'll just have to forgive me for giving her a good drubbing for engaging in the same thing that many liberals accuse conservatives of doing constantly: Rank stereotyping.

In her post of yesterday bemoaning the reality that Barack Obama is going to take the drubbing of his life in West Virginia today, Sharon wrote:

To be clear, most of West Virginia residents are good, hard working people, but most of them aren't online or calling both campaigns checking the FACTS about Obama and and the Clintons. They're good, trusting people, so when the Clintons tell them something is true, many of them believe it.

Hidden (in Sharon's case quite unintentionally, I'm sure) within this kind of statement is the implication that people in West Virginia are either too ignorant or too stupid to make up their minds on their own who to vote for, that they are lemmings who will believe whatever Hillary tells them, and that their views are irrelevant to the larger political picture-and that the cultural liberals who populate the Obama campaign and the Democratic Left know what is best for people in West Virginia better than the people who live there.

As a descendant and relative on my Mother's side of a three-time U.S. Senator and former Governor of West Virginia, I find this mentality to stink with effete snobbery. There are often times that I wonder if some of the educated hippies, yippies, yuppies, and guilt-ridden wealthy white people who populate the Obama campaign secretly stand around and sing "Elitism is Neat" while mocking those of us who live the life of the typical Middle American. If Liberals wonder why it is that Barack Obama can't win the votes of blue-collar whites, the mentality expressed by Obama's supporters is the reason why.

Barack Obama couldn't win in Pennsylvania, and he had Philadelphia votes to fall back on. Demographically, West Virginia is a more Southern version of Pennsylvania-and there is no Philadelphia. If this is the mentality Obama and his people have toward the people of West Virginia-and folks with the blue collar everywhere-then Barack Obama deserves to lose as badly as the polls are projecting. I personally hope he loses so badly that he will be too shamed to ever show his face in Charleston for the rest of his life.

If Obama is the Democratic nominee, West Virginia will go Republican in November for the third straight time. As much as I dislike and distrust John McCain, it might just be worth it for him to win in November for no other reason than for Barack Obama to be beaten to a political pulp.

Barack Obama thinks people like me are bitter. The more I think about the mentality of Obama and many of the people in his campaign, I'm not sure that I am bitter-but I'm just plain mad.

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The Mountaineer Factor

Hillary Clinton made a good point in stopping to campaign at a Biscuit World (if you've never spent serious time in West Virginia, Tudor's Biscuit World is a Southern West Virginia staple):

"I keep telling people, no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia."

On this point, Clinton is absolutely correct. If a Democrat cannot win traditionally and heavily Democratic West Virginia, it is a signal of almost certain defeat in the General Election (see 1984, 2000, 2004). West Virginians will not be inclined to support Barack Obama in large numbers, and the sheer scale of his defeat there in the Democratic Primary today could send a signal of what is to come in November.

If Clinton wins the West Virginia Primary by more than 20 points, or gets a victory as high as 25 or 30 points, it is safe to say that Barack Obama will not be able to count on victory in West Virginia in the fall, and if he cannot win there, his odds of winning the General Election are far more slim than the polls would seem to indicate.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

News Sentinel Reports Truth On Ragsdale-for Once

The News-Sentinel seems to express shock-shock, I say-at the reality that Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale is an unethical, immoral, wasteful prude:

Knox County's auditor this afternoon released a long-awaited final audit of purchasing card use in county Mayor Mike Ragsdale's office, including auditor Richard Walls' rebuttal to the administration's assertion that the mayor and two aides were "cleared" by documents they turned over in March.

Walls, who's appointed by County Commission, released a preliminary draft in February that cited almost $48,000 in inadequately documented expenditures by Ragsdale and his staff.

Today's final version still cites $39,115 in questionable expenditures from October 2002 to May 2007 - $29,544 with missing receipts or documentation and $9,571 that have insufficient documentation of the business purpose justifying it.

A total of $188,747 in charges was examined during the time period covered by the audit, and Walls said the expenses with missing receipts include 376 transactions - 19 percent of the total transactions and 16 percent of the total dollar amount purchased.

We now know that Mike Ragsdale has joined his staff in inappropriate wining and dining and that his current philosophy of "blame everyone else, it is all their fault" will no longer hold. The fact that he is a notorious public adulterer may not have caused the press to take notice, but the reality that his affair(s) were happening without much concealment from the public should have given a clue to the press and the public at-large that Ragsdale has absolutely no shame.

It should come as no surprise to readers of this weblog that Mike Ragsdale is now under federal investigation for what could amount to insider trading since he invested in the stock of a company to which he passed nearly one million dollars in federal grant money through Knox County accounts:

"The Federal Highway Administration has referred the matter to the Office of the Inspector General," spokesperson Nancy Singer explained. "Any questions pertaining to the investigation should be referred to the OIG."

A spokesperson for the Knox County Mayor's Office says Ragsdale finalized another deal that same month, by investing $10,000 of his own money into IdleAire -- the same company for which he had just secured one million taxpayer dollars.

After spending years editorially kissing Mike Ragsdale's hind quarters, the Knoxville News-Sentinel now shows itself willing to report on his purported criminal activity, rather than do his personal bidding as they normally do. Of course, we've been chronicling Ragsdale's wrongdoing here for a very long lime. See what happens when you report news instead of treating the object of the news as though he were the Messiah?


Don't Count Your Chickens, Clintons Can Play Dirty

Hillary Clinton went to church in Grafton, West Virginia yesterday, and held a "Mother's Day celebration" there in which she read an interesting letter:

“Happy Mother’s Day,” the woman wrote to Clinton. “Hopefully I’ll be wishing you one next year as president. You have already succeeded at the world’s hardest job, being a mother. The second hardest job should be a breeze for you.”

It has been pointed out in these pages for the last several weeks that Barack Obama has tremendous liabilities to overcome if he is to win the General Election. Chief among these is that he is pitifully lacking in support among working-class white voters and, as has already been discussed here in detail, he cannot win without the support of that critical voting bloc. It is because of this lack of support among blue collar whites that I believe Democratic presumptions of victory are not only premature, but may well be proven flat out wrong in November.

Barack Obama's supporters have an initial presumption they must overcome, however. The press and the Obama camp are making the mistake of declaring that the nomination is theirs, and this should not be done until the Chairman of the Democratic National Convention declares that Obama has the votes from the floor, no matter what the delegate count happens to be. If there is one thing-perhaps the only thing-that hard-core Obama supporters have in common with true conservatives it is that the Barack backers have come to understand the great truth that conservatives have known for years: Bill and Hillary Clinton are thoroughly wicked people who will say and do anything they need to in order to achieve their objectives. Principles mean nothing to the Clintons, as they have none of them whatsoever. The former President is, with all due respect, a philandering criminal scumbag whose raw political skill is unmatched in modern history. He is such a mastermind that those of us who despise everything that he is or that he stands for stand in total awe at his ability to escape justice as well as the political consequences of wrongdoing.

Bill Clinton's wife, far from being Mrs. Independent, has learned everything she knows about the inner workings of Democratic politics from her husband. Barack Obama and his campaign have learned during the course of this primary season just how low the Clintons can indeed go. Knowing this, you would think that Obama's camp would also know that they should never assume that the Clintons have no dirty tricks remaining with which they might wrest the nomination from Barack Obama's grasp.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Today is Pentecost, the day in which the Church came into being. In honor of this great feast, I discovered this video of a live performance of Mozart's Veni Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit).

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