The World According to Oatney
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The unFairness DoctrineThere seems to be no small movement among certain people on the Left to reinstate, as a matter of federal regulation, the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." The Fairness Doctrine was a regulation that was supposedly designed to insure that radio and television stations gave "equal time" to both sides of an issue by insuring that if someone talked for three hours about issue A from one point of view, or about the issues from a certain viewpoint, a station had to give three hours to the opposite point of view.
In theory, this sounds like a wonderful idea. The problem, of course, is that radio and television stations which are privately owned are in the business of making a profit. They sell advertising to businesses, who look to advertise on programs that are highly rated and get a great many listeners so that their products and services get the maximum amount of exposure. The end result is that if a program on radio or television is not seen to have many listeners or viewers, it will be canceled.
If a radio or television station or network has a political or news program which tends to look at the issues from a certain point of view, and that program remains on the air, it does so because it is getting enough listeners or viewers to charge plenty of money for advertising during that time bloc. If the Fairness Doctrine were in force, a station would be forced to counter the popular program with another program from the opposite point of view. The second program may not be near as popular as the program which caused it to exist, and it would be a money loser.
This happened frequently in the days that the Fairness Doctrine was in force. The reaction of many radio and television stations was that rather than have a popular show that discussed the issues of the day from a certain point of view, the opted not to have any such programs with the exception of the most bland sort of news show. In this way, a station avoided having to waste money to abide by the Fairness Doctrine. Rather than enable the freedom of speech, the Fairness Doctrine helped to quash it.
In August of 1987, the FCC abolished the Fairness Doctrine by a unanimous vote. Since that time, the "fairness" that the doctrine was meant to uphold has been enhanced by the introduction of a myriad of different cable news channels and programs, as well as a proliferation of different views on the internet. A forceful introduction of the Fairness Doctrine in today's climate could be seen as an attempt to drive conservative talk radio and television from the air.
In the name of fairness and free speech, liberals would like to destroy free speech.
The irony and hypocrisy is really quite overwhelming.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Taking Barack Obama to CollegeThe Politico's Harry Siegel shares how Barack Obama could win the popular vote and lose somewhat handily in the electoral college, thereby losing the General Election:
Here’s the scenario: Obama racks up huge margins among the increasingly
affluent, highly educated and liberal coastal states, while a significant
increase in turnout among black voters allows him to compete — but not to win —
in the South. Meanwhile, McCain wins solidly Republican states such as Texas and
Georgia by significantly smaller margins than Bush’s in 2004 and ekes out narrow
victories in places such as North Carolina, which Bush won by 12 points but
Rasmussen presently shows as a tossup, and Indiana, which Bush won by 21 points
but McCain presently leads by just 11.
One possible result: Even as the national mood moves left, the 2004 map
largely holds. Obama’s 32 new electoral votes from Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado
and Virginia are offset by 21 new electoral votes for McCain in Michigan and New
Hampshire — and despite a 2- or 3-point popular vote victory for Obama, America
wakes up on Jan. 20 to a President McCain.
Of course, this is precisely what the electoral college is designed to do-to ensure that all portions of the country are represented in the choice for president and that the votes of Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, and even Idaho and Wyoming carry weight and can't be written off. Put more simply, the State-by-State electoral system insures that you can't win the presidency merely by carrying large cities, you must carry portions of the country that are at least somewhat representative of all walks and all places of American life.
For all of the talk from our friends on the Left about diversity, expect them to moan for weeks, even months, after the election if John McCain wins a sizable electoral majority and loses the popular vote. Once again we will hear the chorus coming from big-city liberal Democrats that the electoral college needs to be abolished. We will hear that it is not representative of the people (in New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles). When people in Middle America begin to clamor that their collective votes be respected and that it is their States' sovereign right to vote for whom they choose, we will doubtless hear that the electoral college, and even the very Constitution of the United States itself is racist-all because the constitutional system will not have caused Barack Obama to prevail.
The hypocrisy in all of this is manifold, however. A friend of mine involved in Democratic politics told me that prior to the 2000 Election, the Gore people were preparing for a possible clamour to arise in the election result. Some of their internal numbers showed them that it was possible for George W. Bush to win the popular vote but Al Gore to win in the electoral college. The Vice President was quietly preparing to wrap himself in the mantle of the Constitution and insist that the process be respected. When the reverse happened, all Hell broke lose.
I would fully expect Barack Obama to wrap himself in a constitutional security blanket if he won in the electoral college and lost the popular vote. I also strongly believe that he would have every right to do so.
I believe very strongly in the electoral college because over the years we have managed to whittle away at a Constitution that was designed to protect States' rights and local control, and the college is one of the last true vestages of real States' rights that we have in our present political system. It must be preserved at all costs, and we must be willing to accept the outcomes of presidential elections where the college is a factor.
So today I want to issue a challenge to my friends on the Left who support Barack Obama. If we wake up on Wednesday, November 5th and Barack Obama has lost the popular vote, but he has clearly won the vote in enough States to win the election in the electoral college, I am fully prepared under that scenario to acknowledge Barack Obama as the President-Elect of the United States-fair and square. Will you be willing to do the same if the situation is reversed and John McCain has won the electoral college?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Obama Met With Hezbollah Agent in DetroitWhile Barack Obama has been busy excluding Muslim women from the front row in order to guard his image, Debbie Schlussel reports that he has seen fit to meet with an agent of the terrorist group Hezbollah while in Detroit:
Yesterday, Barack Hussein Obama wrapped up his trip to Michigan by meeting
with a group of "community leaders."
But one of those so-called leaders has been identified as an agent of
Hezbollah--Osama Siblani, publisher of the Arab American News. Siblani, an open
supporter of the terrorist group, was handpicked for the invite by the Obama
campaign and spoke one-to-one with Obama.
But Siblani's brother works for Al-Manar a/k/a Hezbollah TV in Lebanon. And
Siblani's newspaper is Hezbollah's house organ in America. Sources say Hezbollah
has funneled money to the paper. Siblani was at a small 2006 Dearbornistan
meeting identified in the Kuwaiti newspaper, Al-Seyassah, as a meeting of Sheikh
Hassan Nasrallah's American Hezbollah agents.
And Siblani has openly praised Hezbollah as "freedom fighters"--the group that murdered over 300 U.S. Marines and U.S. Embassy employees--everywhere from Hezbollah rallies to interviews on National Public Radio to a Detroit radio station which constantly has him on, unchallenged. At a 2006 pro-Hezbollah rally in Dearborn, which I attended, Siblani called for the participants to "pray for the Hezbollah martyrs."
While Siblani claims that Obama was not responsive to Siblani's direct
question to him about Obama's flip-flop-flip speech on Jerusalem at the AIPAC
conference, Obama didn't exactly defend Israel or its right to an undivided
Jerusalem or anything in the AIPAC speech to Siblani, either--a true sign that
Obama doesn't really believe in anything he says.
So while Obama is telling AIPAC what a friend of Israel he is, he meets with the friends of Hezbollah, an organization that would like to wipe Israel off the map and whose leaders have given every impression that they would love nothing more than to kill every Jewish person on the face of the earth. Barry O. is giving every impression to the enemies of America that he is their friend. Fidel Castro has endorsed Barack Obama. Hamas has made it clear that they think it would be grand if Obama were elected. Clearly, this is not merely because they are looking forward to having a sit-down meeting with Brother Barry-they believe Barack Obama will be a friend to them, and not a friend to America's allies.
Elect Barack Hussein Obama President, and get a friend of the organization that kills U.S. Marines!
The Head Scarf AffairBarack Obama's presidential campaign has caused a stink with a few folks in the Muslim community in Detroit because a couple of underlings denied two Muslim women wearing headscarves a chance to sit in front of Barack Obama at a rally there:
At a rally for Senator Barack Obama in Detroit on Monday, two Muslim women said they were prohibited from sitting behind the candidate because they were wearing head scarves and campaign volunteers did not want them to appear with him in news photographs or live television coverage.
The Obama campaign said it quickly called the women to apologize after
learning of the incident. “It doesn’t reflect the orientation of the campaign,”
said Anita Dunn, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “I do not believe that mistake
will be made again.”
The apology is apparently not enough for the two ladies who were offended by the campaign's actions:
Hebba Aref said she appreciated the apology but wanted an invitation to sit
behind the podium at a future event. '
While one can understand why these ladies would be offended, at this point I'd be willing to take a guess that they are going to have to be happy with a simple apology, or simply not be made happy at all. All through the primaries, Barack Obama had to deal first with rumors that he is secretly a Muslim, then after those rumors died down, the comments of his former pastor made it appear as though he sympathizes with terrorists. His very name leads some to believe, however falsely or exaggerated, that he has an affinity with the Muslim world that makes people in Middle America extremely uncomfortable.
Barack Obama and his entire campaign team know that he will have to deal with that image, and that it will dog him constantly between now and November. In no way can his public events be seen to make him overly sympathetic to Islam, or make it appear that he has droves of Muslim supporters. Barack Obama knows this, and so does his entire staff right down to the lowliest volunteer.
It is an extremely harsh political reality-but reality is what the Obama camp is now beginning to wrestle with.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
McCain and ConservativesJohn McCain and his campaign are have been making an attempt in recent weeks to reach out to social conservatives, largely because McCain is finally figuring out that he can't win without this critical Republican voting bloc. McCain's biggest problem seems to be that many social conservatives are still quite wary of him:
But Ms. Viars, who is among a cluster of socially conservative activists in Ohio being courted by Senator John
McCain’s campaign through regular e-mail messages, is taking a wait-and-see attitude for now toward Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.
“I think a lot of us are in a holding pattern,” said Ms. Viars, who
added that she wanted to see whom Mr. McCain picked for his running mate.
The campaign has been peppering over 600 socially conservative grass-roots and national leaders with regular e-mail messages — highlighting, for example, Mr. McCain’s statement criticizing a May 15 decision by the California Supreme Court overturning the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, or his recent speech on his judicial philosophy. It has also held briefings for small groups of conservative leaders before key speeches. Charlie
Black, one of Mr. McCain’s senior advisers, recently sat down with a dozen prominent evangelical leaders in Washington, where he emphasized, among other things, Mr. McCain’s consistent anti-abortion voting record.
“For John McCain to be competitive, he has to connect with the base to the point that they’re intense enough that they’re contagious,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “Right now they’re not even
John McCain must at least be given credit for making an effort to reach out to social conservatives, but the problem is that McCain has made no concrete promises to the great high church of the conservative movement that can be relied upon. The thing that most social conservatives are most concerned about is the state of the federal courts. As I have written in this space before, it is on the issue of the federal bench that most social conservatives invest most of their energy, and it is on the matter of judges alone that most of us supported the President for a second term (and he has delivered).
John McCain seems to lack the understanding that the judicial appointment power of the President is the primary concern which motivates social conservatives in the modern era. Perhaps the problem is far deeper, since it seems that John McCain simply doesn't understand social conservatives or religious people.
No one is asking that John McCain "see the light" and embrace all that the social right has championed for years overnight. While such a conversion should be welcomed, it would likely be met with great skepticism since Senator McCain's record simply would not reflect his newfound cause. Instead, John McCain must demonstrate that his ears are open and he is willing to listen to social conservatives, especially on the critical issue of the federal courts. Mr. McCain's choice of a running mate could bring the social Right a long way toward giving him the chance he desires from them.
It is true that conservatives-especially social conservatives-increasingly have no place for Barack Obama. With each day that passes, Mr. Obama manages to make the conservative stomach turn. The prospect of his election is viewed in conservative circles is now widely viewed as absolutely unacceptable. If John McCain believes that merely because conservatives think his opponent is far worse than he, that we shall go right along humming his tune without the expectation of anything in return, he is in for a rude awakening. If Jogn McCain wins in November, it will be because outraged conservatives go to the polls in numbers in key swing States to vote against Barack Obama. Not a day will go by in a McCain Administration when John McCain will not be reminded of that reality.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The Creation of the UpsetThe Washington Post reports that according to their latest joint poll with ABC, Barack Obama leads 48% to 42% over John McCain. A six-point margin can whittle down to nothing in five months, and for the Obama campaign, the devil is in the details of these results:
In the first Washington Post-ABC News poll since the Democratic nomination contest ended, Obama and McCain are even among political independents, a shift toward the presumptive Republican nominee over the past month. On the issues, independents see McCain as more credible on fighting terrorism and are split evenly on who is the stronger leader and better on the Iraq war.
Nearly a quarter of those who said they favored Clinton over Obama for the nomination currently prefer McCain for the general election, virtually unchanged from polls taken before Clinton suspended her campaign.
The key statistic is that this poll is deja-vu:
The new survey shows Obama running ahead of McCain by 48 percent to 42 percent among all adults. Among registered voters, the margin is essentially the same -- 49 percent to 45 percent. At this point four years ago, Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry held identical leads over President Bush among all adults and among registered voters.
The translation, of course, is that this poll doesn't really mean a thing. For several months prior to the 2004 General Election, we were all told about John Kerry's poll leads. The very day of the vote itself, the networks were declaring that the exit polls were heavily favoring Senator Kerry. Once the actual results began to come in, the scene was reminiscent of 1948, when H.V. Kaltenborn predicted Thomas Dewey the winner-until the results came in and he retracted himself.
The 2008 election so far has all of the makings of a news media-created upset, including opinion polls and skewed press data that do not reflect the reality on the ground-rather like 2004.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Multiple Press Sources: President Bush May Be Recieved into Holy Catholic Church at Term's EndCatholic News Agency forwards a report from the London Telegraph and the Italian daily Il Foglio that President Bush is seriously considering being received into full communion with the Catholic Church at the expiration of his Presidential term in 2009. [Note-If the President really is converting, the earliest he could be received into the Church is Easter 2009, unless it should be the choice of the minister who oversees his preparation, as well as the President himself, that he should be received at an earlier date.]
While some may be quick to dismiss this as mere rumor, it should be pointed out that Catholics surround the President at the highest levels, and he has given the nation its first Catholic Supreme Court majority in the history of the Republic. Further, the President's Brother is not only a practicing Catholic, but also a Knight of Columbus. The President has more Catholics on his White House team than are extant on the Notre Dame football starting roster. At some point, one has to believe that all of this Catholicism in the President's inner circle will finally bring the President himself around.
Aside from all of that, I have long thought the President to be a closet Catholic-that he was secretly one of us. The press crowed for days prior to the visit of Pope Benedict XVI that the Pope was going to rake the President over the coals about Iraq in public. That not only didn't happen, but the President rolled out the red carpet for the Holy Father in a way that was truly deserving of the dignity of the Petrine Office-something that has never before happened in this country, but would indicate that the President understood very well that he was welcoming the Vicar of Christ.
The press in this country loves to make great political stock out of the disagreement between the President and the Holy See over Iraq. However, a Vatican official who didn't wish to be identified had this to say to The Telegraph and Il Foglio:
"Anything is possible, especially for a born-again Christian such as Bush."
He added that while the Holy See deplored the war in Iraq, "on ethical matters he has always had a line that is practically identical to that of the Vatican." Mr Bush has spoken out against gay marriage, abortion and stem cell research. He proposed amending the US constitution to "fully protect marriage" as the "union of man and woman as husband and wife".
The unnamed person stated what Catholics in this country who actually care what the Holy See says have known for quite some time-that in spite of strong disagreements over foreign policy, particularly the war, that Bush was always preferable to the Church compared to what the Democrats had on offer for the reasons stated above.
For all of my disagreements with the President, I have always known that he has a respect for the Church unmatched by any previous President, including John F. Kennedy-who once elected tried to run from the doctrine of the faith as though it were some plague. It really isn't surprising that President Bush should be received into the Church. This story was first leaked, by the way, when the President was meeting with the Holy Father-for the second time in three months.
If the President is seeking to enter the Church, I would say that Benedict is aware of it from the President's own lips. I would also hazard to point out that if all of this is true, the Pope is overjoyed both for the President and for the Church.
(Thanks to Father John Putka, SM)
Obama's Running Mate CanundrumNewsweek's Andrew Romano reveals via Stumper why he doesn't believe Barack Obama is likely to choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate:
Not likely. Clinton brings more pluses to the ticket than any other contender--but she also brings more minuses. For every possible pro, in fact, there seems to be an equal and opposite con. For example: proponents of the pairing say that Clinton would assist Obama electorally by solidifying his support among the 18 million voters--many of them older women, Latinos and working-class whites--who chose her over him in the Democratic primaries. That's undoubtedly true. But even though Clinton would shore up some of Obama's demographic soft spots, she could do him irreparable damage elsewhere.
Take those blue-collar voters. As The New Republic's Noam Scheiber has written, "working-class whites who vote in Democratic primaries are often very different from the working-class whites who don't." That is, while the first group seems to dislike Obama, the second group--i.e., Republicans and independents--seems to dislike Hillary. (Overall, 67 percent of Republicans have very unfavorable views of Clinton, 24 percentage points more than feel that way about Obama; among independents, Clinton's 32 percent negative rating among Independents is 10 points worse than Obama's.) The result: you "risk alienating two groups of working-class whites by putting her on the ticket."
Far more to the point than even Romano is able to isolate here, Barack Obama has a great deal of trouble with working-class white voters, but these same voters are not, as a group, fond of Senator Clinton either. Those blue collar voters who felt compelled to vote in the Democratic primaries-and who voted in overwhelming numbers for Hillary Clinton-seem to have done so as much (or more) out of a sense of voting against Barack Obama, as out of any loyalty to Senator Clinton.
After the divisiveness of this primary season, many of these voters will be likely to go for John McCain in November. I've spoken with a few Democratic "homers" over the last few days who will say, as can be expected, that they believe Barack Obama will win. The difficulties that Obama will face go beyond mere political considerations. Considering that reality, Obama doesn't need a running mate who appeals to one or two prime political subgroups. To win in November, Barack Obama needs a running mate who can hit the proverbial political grand slam.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
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