Saturday, May 24, 2008

Chaput: "Catholics for Obama" Have Mistaken Reasoning

His Grace Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver (who once worked on Bobby Kennedy's presidential campaign) won't be supporting Barack Obama, unlike people in a so-called "Catholic" group of Obama supporters who recently quoted him to attempt to justify their wrong-headed position.

The Archbishop doesn't seem to think the rest of us Catholics should give support to Obama, either. From the experience of having "been there and done that," Archbishop Chaput explains why people who think like Obama cannot be trusted to rightly protect human life from conception.

Check out Archbishop Chaput's web column.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Plans

We'll have light blogging until Sunday afternoon, as we have company visiting for the weekend...

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.


Something tells me...

Barack Obama is now searching-albeit considerably more secretly than his likely Republican opponent-for his running mate:

Democratic officials said Thursday the party's likely nominee has asked former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson to begin vetting potential vice presidential picks. Johnson did the same job for Democratic nominees John Kerry in 2004 and Walter Mondale in 1984.

The campaign also does not want to discuss the effort because they are still engaged in a fading primary campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama has repeatedly declined to discuss possible running mates while the primary is ongoing.

If Obama and his people are smart, they will remember where his weaknesses are, rather than write off the people and places that he could not win-as has been suggested by some of Obama's supporters. If they know what they are doing, they will pick a candidate who appeals to many of the people that Obama has thus far been quite unsuccessful in convincing.

Something tells me that Obama will instead choose someone who is in his own mold, and it will backfire in November.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Do You Believe in Miracles? Yes!

The 105th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee yesterday adjourned sine die. They did so without raising taxes.

Yes, miracles still happen.


Kentucky Primary Show


Adam Graham (host) and I discuss the results of the Kentucky Primary, have a detailed breakdown of the battleground States for the fall, and take a moment to give our thoughts and prayers to Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). Fabian Story joins late in the show.

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Vice President Jindal?

The New York Times reports that John McCain is meeting with potential running mates, and one of the folks he is meeting with would indeed be a very pleasant surprise to have on the Republican ticket:

Charlie Crist, the Governor of Florida, and Bobby Jindal, the Governor
of Louisiana
, have both accepted invitations to meet with Mr. McCain at
his home in Arizona, according to Republican familiars with the decision. One
Republican said that Mitt Romney, a former rival of Mr. McCain for the
presidential nomination — is also expected to visit him this weekend. Mr.
Romney’s advisers declined to comment.

Bobby Jindal would be decried by Democrats as young and inexperienced, but he has many assets that make him very attractive on the Republican ticket. Jindal is a strong social conservative who is extremely pro-life, he strongly opposes embryonic stem-cell research, he supports the second amendment, voluntary school prayer, and even favors teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in public schools. Clearly, Jindal would appeal to evangelicals in the party who are disillusioned by Senator John McCain.

Jindal, however, is a very devout Catholic. He embraced the Faith as a teenager, and at least one person I talked with who is more familiar with Jindal told me they believed that he is a daily communicant. He is far more open to the Church's social doctrine than an evangelical would be, and that would likely appeal to blue-collar ethnic Catholics in States like Pennsylvania and Ohio-voters Barack Obama has hitherto had trouble with. What's more, Jindal's family immigrated from India and he was able to be elected Governor in a socially conservative Southern State. In an election when liberals can be expected to make an issue of Barack Obama because of his race-as evidence that we are moving toward a "post-racial" future (assigning to another made-up word whatever value the Left thinks that it has), Jindal as a candidate for Vice President shows that Republicans and conservatives are also a diverse group of people from many different backgrounds with unique ideas (in Jindal's case, when he ran for Governor, Democrats in Louisiana actually attacked his ethnic background in an attempt to say he wasn't a real Louisianian-it backfired). Of course, because Jindal is a conservative we could expect our friends in the party opposite to find some way to say that the diversity Jindal represents isn't authentic.

Bobby Jindal is also a policy wonk on the issue of health care-it is a specialty of his, having served as Louisiana Secretary of Health and Hospitals, and was Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare. He has a degree in biology and public policy from Brown-and he is a Rhodes Scholar. If health care reform becomes an issue in a McCain Administration-as it almost surely will be- it is quite conceivable that a Vice President Jindal would play a starring role in the process.

The biggest problem with making Jindal the Number Two on the ticket isn't his age (36) or perceived inexperience, but the reality that he has only been Governor since January of this year. Jindal ran on a strong platform of reforming the corrupt nature of Louisiana politics, and his strong work in this regard is making waves there and has only just begun. If he were to leave for Washington after barely a year in office, much of his promised agenda would remain unfulfilled.

I do not expect Jindal to be McCain's final choice, but if he were to be chosen, I think he'd be a huge hit on the campaign trail and would balance McCain very well. As a national leader, Jindal is someone the conservative movement can look to as part of the future of the political cause.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Briley Says We're to Blame for His Departure

Rep. Rob Briley has given his farewell speech on the House floor in Nashville, in which he blasted the bloggers who helped bring him down (of which this weblog was but one of many):

"And to those who write on the Internet — those things I believe they call 'blogs' — just because you say it, doesn't make it true," he said.

I guess Briley's arrest for drunk driving and destruction of police property was untrue. I suppose his obvious affair with the lobbyist for the Tennessee Trial Lawyer's Association, and the obvious conflicts of interest involved with that (as well as in crafting DUI legislation after being arrested in violent fashion for a DUI) were also things that were patently false.

Rob Briley did make a public admission of his alcohol problem before the House-an act of great courage on its face. However, Briley (and all elected leaders) must be prepared to answer for their actions and to pay politically when it is clear that they have done things which violate the public trust-and what Briley did clearly violates that trust, even if it does not violate his oath of office. Christ told us that he who has not sinned should cast the first stone, so I won't cast stones at Briley-but I will say that to deal with his life problems, he must take an attitude of responsibility for them. Instead, as The Tennessean reports today, Briley would like to restrict public access to the Legislature:

He then issued a warning to the media that if they could not handle the responsibility of reporting on the state's public records, they would lose access to that information.

Briley is hardly in a position to tell the rest of us that we ought not be able to access the doings of the General Assembly. His tirade sounded something akin to "I got nailed because of public access, otherwise I wouldn't be in this position, so because I got caught, the people who nailed me to the wall for my actions are the irresponsible ones."

The sad part hidden in Briley's remarks is the reality that many others would like to limit our access to the Legislature for the very reasons that Briley openly admitted-but they would never say so publicly. The continuing lesson is that if you don't want to get caught doing things that will force you out of public office, you might try not doing the things that would get you forced out of office.


Kentucky and Oregon: General Election Preview?

Just as I thought they would do, the major press is attempting to ignore Hillary Clinton's drubbing of Barack Obama in Kentucky by focusing entirely on Obama's victory in Oregon. First Read, for example, is attempting to play this as Obama having an Appalachian problem-he can't win working-class white voters in Appalachian States, they say. He does not have a problem with the same demographic in Oregon, so he must not have a problem. These folks (and nearly all national media outlets) are ignoring two key demographic realities. The first is that Oregon is a much more socially liberal State than Kentucky as a whole. It is a State that will likely go in Barack Obama's favor in the fall, while Kentucky likely will not.

The second factor that the press (who would like to believe that Barack Obama does not have a serious problem among working class whites) is what the map in Kentucky showed us last night. Yes, Hillary Clinton did extremely well in the Appalachian counties in Eastern Kentucky. She did equally as well, however, in the Blue Grass country of Central and West-Central Kentucky, and in the river bottoms of Western Kentucky. Obama could not even carry the college towns of Richmond in Eastern Kentucky and Bowling Green in the Central West, in what should have been strongholds for him. It wasn't just the Appalachian counties that rejected Obama, it was the entire Commonwealth-right across the board. Obama even did poorly in Kenton and Campbell Counties, which border Cincinnati, and which have a much higher African-American population than some of the other counties he lost.

The map of how the primaries turned out looked less like a Democratic Primary, and more like a General Election with a Democrat running against a Republican. Barack Obama carried Fayette County (Lexington) and Jefferson County (Louisville)-and neither by a wide margin, with Clinton literally carrying everything else by a huge margin, whether it was in Appalachia or not.

What the result in Kentucky and Oregon shows us is not that Obama will have an easy road, but that we are in for another tight Red and Blue election, one in which Obama will not be able to afford to write States off, because the small States he wants to avoid will break his campaign. He won a State he is supposed to win and lost a State that he will almost certainly lose in the fall. Unless Barack Obama has a serious change in strategy (which we know he can do), he is in for a hard ride in November.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton says she's staying the race at least until June. She says she can still be the Democratic nominee. Under ordinary circumstances, I'd have to ask what the woman is smoking, considering that her campaign debts keep piling on and she can't seem to catch Obama in the delegate count:

And in her victory speech in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night, Mrs. Clinton
made a pointed appeal, telling her supporters she would keep campaigning until
there was a Democratic nominee — “whoever she may be.”

There are strong indications that the DNC Rules Committee is going to come up with a compromise on seating Florida and Michigan delegates-which would change the "magic number" needed to win the nomination.

So what does Ms. Hillary know?

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Naifeh's In a Big Hurry

The Tennessee General Assembly could adjourn as early as today. One source inside the Capitol informs me that because some of the proposals at hand (including House Bill 3019, which essentially exempts churches from being considered schools when used for educational activities for the purposes of fire codes-a handy tool used to harass home-schoolers under present Tennessee law) are controversial. There could be over 75 bills on the calendar by the end of the day.

What is most interesting about this apparent marathon that is taking place in the House today is that under normal circumstances, Jimmy Naifeh would be in no hurry to adjourn the House in an election year-if he can find some parliamentary device with which to extend the session, he would normally so so, because early adjournment and terminus of a sitting General Assembly would tend to help Republicans, as it gives them more time to campaign (readers may or may not know that Tennessee legislative custom, unlike the federal government, is that the two Houses may operate independently and might not adjourn at the same time when a session ends).

Jimmy Naifeh seems to be in a major hurry to get done today-are there some Democrats in swing districts in trouble?


Obama's Campaign Problem

First Read is predicting Kentucky and Oregon in advance of the final results in either State:

Much like a children’s soccer or Tee Ball game, tonight’s contests in Kentucky (which Clinton is expected to win big) and Oregon (ditto for Obama) are going to allow everyone to walk out a winner. And that’s especially good news for Obama, because the party’s presumptive nominee is going to lose a race by 20-plus points for a second-straight week.

Nearly all of the networks, of course, will attempt to spin tonight's results as a victory for Obama in spite of the drubbing he is about to take in Kentucky. The press is attempting to avoid anything resembling an August fight in Denver because the Democratic National Committee has decided to arbitrarily swing the superdelegates in Obama's direction. That is fine from an internal perspective-the Democratic Party can solve its internal melee however it chooses, and that is an affair for Democrats to decide upon among themselves.

The problem is that Barack Obama has simply refused to campaign in Kentucky, just as he did not campaign in West Virginia. Further, he (or his campaign staff) have essentially admitted that they are writing off these States in the fall. The people of States like Kentucky and West Virginia will remember that Obama has written them off, and if there is one thing the last two election cycles should have taught the Democrats, it is that Middle America really does matter, and no State should be written off.

If Obama was smart, he would campaign well in the States that he is the least likely to win (like Tennessee), otherwise, if he were to be elected he will inherit a nation that is extremely divided and half of which have opinions of Obama that range from strong dislike to outright hatred. That is dangerous for his administration because it could mean negative results for him in mid-term elections. If Obama is serious about winning in November, he needs to act like someone who is ready to unite the country behind him. That is something the Democrats have yet to figure out how to do.

Early (and thus changeable) prediction: John McCain wins in November, but Democrats pick up more Congressional seats.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

If You Can't Take the Heat...


Barack Obama tells the Tennessee Republican Party to "lay off" Michelle Obama's unpatriotic comments-while he sends her out to publicly campaign for him. Mike Huckabee hints that he would take the GOP Vice Presidential nomination if offered.

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The Obamas Need to Learn to Take the Heat

Barack and Michelle Obama apparently don't like it that the Tennessee Republican Party has continued to take Michelle Obama to task for her infamous remark "for the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country." Apparently, they think we ought to lay off Ms. Michelle:

"The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me,
my track record," Obama said. "If they think that they're going to try to make
Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find
unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family."

There is one problem with Mr. Barack's analysis, and it is that his wife volunteered to go out and campaign for her husband, and it is in the context of a campaign appearance that she made the remarks in question. If Michelle Obama is going to campaign for her husband, she has to be prepared to take the heat for any remarks that she might make on the campaign trail-that is part of politics. If Michelle Obama didn't campaign for her husband, then Barack Obama would be correct-she would not be fair game. She is a part of this race, however-she's chosen to join the national discussion, and so she and her words are very much available for political fodder.

Mr. Obama, you are a candidate for President of the United States, and this is a part of political reality. If your wife is going to campaign for you, both you and she must be prepared to take the political heat. If you can't do that, perhaps you aren't capable of the pressures inherent in the presidency.

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Clinton's Claims

Hillary Clinton is once again trying to claim that she leads in the popular vote in the Democratic primaries:

Clinton also repeated that she is "leading in the popular vote" -- although that claim is based only on when you add the votes she gained from the contests in Florida and Michigan, and Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in the latter race.

It is a rather cheap shot to make in two contests where Clinton violated the established rules of her national party (as did the State Democratic organizations of Florida and Michigan) by participating in a nominating contest scheduled earlier than party rules allowed. The other Democrats running for President at the time honored the rules and neither campaigned in Florida and Michigan nor appeared on the ballot in those States-hence, Hillary's claim to be a fair-fight popular vote leader rings very hollow.

Florida and Michigan's Democratic primary process does raise an interesting question, however: What if all the candidates had campaigned in Florida and Michigan? Would the race be different, and is Barack Obama's likely anointing by the Democrats a sheer accident of the rules? Is Obama a nominee of circumstance and not process who was made so by a penalty imposed on State political organizations which neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama officially or actually control?

Clinton would almost certainly have won Florida even with Obama on the ballot there. The demographics favored her strongly, with a strange coalition of Hispanics, expatriate New Yorkers, and working-class whites in the panhandle the likely producers of a win. This would have significantly increased Hillary's delegate total, but would still not be enough to claim a decisive edge over Obama.

The real question mark is Michigan. Obama would have carried Detroit by a huge margin, and perhaps Lansing as well, but Clinton likely would have carried everything else. Would "everything else" have been enough for Clinton to win Michigan, and even if she did would her net delegates give her a significant lead over Obama (the margin in Michigan likely being very close)? These are questions that will never be answered, but are reasonable to ask when it is considered that if Florida and Michigan had legitimate primaries where the delegates were counted, the outcome of the Democrats' nominating process might be very different.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Look What Brown Did For You

No matter what happens in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks, this horse is incredible and the Preakness Stakes yesterday was really an amazing run.


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