You are currently viewing archive for August 2008
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
There's talk on the street; it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody's watching you
People you meet, they all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like you're something new

Remember that fellow Barack Obama? He was the young man with the winning smile who could do no wrong. The nice boy who was all the rage for a while. What ever happened to him?

Seriously, when the McCain campaign called Obama the "biggest celebrity in the world," they had it exactly right. The assertion: the Obama boom has had much more in common with the career arc of Britney Spears than Abraham Lincoln. The mainstream prObama press, so desperate for McCain to go negative, pounced on the fairly innocuous but absolutely penetrating assessment with enthusiasm. Team McCain was right to suspect that the hubris of the Obama campaign (movement) would not brook such blasphemous drivel. The Obama nation took the bait with gusto. Dirty campaigning! Karl Rove! Lee Atwater! Alex Castellanos! How dare you compare our Redeemer to a Messiah! How dare you compare our Deliverer to a cinematic Moses! And, for the first time in this campaign, the McCain needle moved a bit. The truth (albeit said in jest--but finally said) resonated.

Next Phase: how do you combat the star power of Paris Hilton? Invite Lindsey Lohan and her lesbian girlfriend to your party.

What is the genius of the Sarah Palin pick?

1. She is a new even more outlandish storyline for the celebrity-driven mainstream media. Somebody told me that Barack Obama made a speech a while back and drew a pretty good crowd. I vaguely remember that--but last Thursday seems like a month ago. Did you know that Sarah Palin earned her nickname, "Baracuda," as the point guard for her state championship high school girls basketball team? Was that before or after she was a runner up in the Miss Alaska pageant? Her husband seems dreamy. I wonder what he is really like?

You're walking away and they're talking behind you
They will never forget you 'til somebody new comes along

Advantage McCain. Of course, a big difference in Obama and Palin is that the mainstream prObama press will not be nearly as friendly to this new star bursting onto the scene. Sarah Palin will need to watch her back and carefully think out every move she makes. One misstep and this campaign is over. Talk about pressure. If she can walk this tightrope, she is more than up to handling the pressure of executive responsibility. However, as long as it lasts, Obama's star is diminished somewhat.

2. McCain has tricked the Obama boosters into making experience the central issue of this campaign. This woman, Sarah Palin, is not ready to lead on day one. Hmmm. This woman, Sarah Palin, is not ready for a three a.m. phone call. Really? The attack on the inexperienced veep candidate from the inexperienced presidential campaign seems tantamount to sacrificing your queen for the other fellow's bishop.

Message to Democrats: she's rubber and you're glue. Anything you say bounces off her and sticks to you.

3. She has a chance to become America's sweetheart. I said earlier she is Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington, but she may also be Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm--Mary Pickford. The righteous woman gone to Babylon, taking on the powerful and the underhanded and the dastardly, and finding a way to triumph in the end. It's a compelling narrative. Will it take hold? Hard to say. To repeat, she is not going to have a friendly mainstream media to "boom" her story--but, if all the stars align just right, it might just catch on anyhow.

But, until a negative consensus actually forms in the mind of the American people organically, the Palin persecutors snipe at her at their own peril. There is bound to be a lot of ugliness directed her way. How cruel it is, and how well she handles it (she needs to be tough but not shrill to be truly sympathetic), will go a long way in determining who we decide she really is.

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
I don't know how tall Sarah Palin actually stands. I am guessing she is no giant, as she played point guard on her small-school high school girls basketball team--they called her "Baracuda." She is certainly not plain, at least not in the sense one means when we describe a woman with that word. To the contrary, Sarah Palin is the most strikingly comely vice presidential candidate in American political history.

An Aside: as much as this pick is designed to attract (and revivify) national security moms, I am convinced Governor Palin is also aimed at men from forty-two to ninety-five, who like to sneak a peak at Desperate Housewives every once in awhile--regardless of the less-than-plausible plot lines. I am guessing that Sarah Palin grew up watching Jill and Kris Monroe, Kelly Garrett, and Sabrina Duncan kicking and judo-chopping their way through a slew of bad men and evil-doers. She was not alone. There is a whole generation of us out there who like our women smart, beautiful, and ultra-capable.

Sarah Palin looks very comfortable in her fatigues squeezing off rounds in the desert. She strikes us as both tough as nails and soft to the touch as she shepherds her five kids onto center stage. Moreover, she grabs the microphone with the confidence and poise of a beauty queen who knows one important secret: she has been successful at everything she has ever attempted.

John McCain hopes fervently that his pick will stand tall and strong in the face of the upcoming media barrage--and he certainly hopes that beyond her good looks, her "regular Jane" story will resonate with plain folks.

My thoughts on the news?

Ambivalence. Quite frankly, my head is spinning.

On one hand, a really weird campaign took a dramatic turn toward ridiculous.

When I close my eyes and ponder Sarah Palin as the veep, my stomach hurts.

When I watch her and listen to her, my spirits rally.

What is wrong with Palin?

By some reckoning, the wise old statesman, John McCain, just burned his most meaningful trump card: EXPERIENCE. The conventional thinking called for McCain to paint his opponent as a forty-seven year-old, wet-behind-the-ears, half-term senator, far too naive to fully grasp the intricacies inherent in leading the most vital nation on the planet through a complicated swamp of pitfalls in an extremely dangerous world. McCain gave that up yesterday. Why? Not because it was not true (that line of argument was fairly accurate). No, McCain tossed EXPERIENCE because it was likely NOT compelling to a majority of Americans. Why give away this issue? Ask non-nominee Hillary Clinton? As Mark Shields said yesterday on the Newshour, John McCain was on a path to garner 45 percent of the vote.

In that sense, giving away the EXPERIENCE issue was probably a smart (even necessary) strategic choice. But, unfortunately, John McCain went even further when he tapped a forty-four year-old, half-term governor from a fairly insignificant electoral state (whose first and only prior job in politics was mayor of a small suburban town) to run as his second chair.

The Danger? If America elects John McCain, this woman, Sarah Palin, will be one heartbeat away from the presidency and be in charge of leading the most vital nation on the planet through a complicated swamp of pitfalls in an extremely dangerous world. McCain is a seventy-two year-old, weathered and shopworn, former POW, "cancer-survivor" (as all the Democratic pundits and spokespersons keep reminding us). Was this a responsible choice?

Is she ready?

Is she ready to be president? Is she ready for the next sixty-eight days? Is she ready to trade jabs with these lethal and seasoned heavyweight contenders in the most intense and punishing political prize fight around? Or, to switch sports metaphors, did John McCain really just call up a promising minor leaguer to pitch the first game of the World Series?

Is she ready? It is hard to imagine how she could be--but we will see.

What is right with Sarah Palin?

She is a woman. My initial thought on this gambit: Too Gimmicky. Come on. No one is going to fall for this. The shout-out to Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton. The chastisement of the good old boy network. The reference to women's suffrage. Doesn't this play way too manipulative and obvious?

All the talking heads are quick to point out that she is not an old school feminist. She is pro life. She is an evangelical. She is a movement conservative. Was anybody really expecting that the disaffected Hillary gals were really going to vote for this Bobby Jindal in a skirt?

By the way, she really does shore up the conservative base--but in a completely unorthodox way. Albeit breathtakingly brief, she possesses an actual track record as a conservative reformer, taking on the Republican establishment and thrilling hardcore conservatives simultaneously.

Why might women identify with her? The same reason many men will.

She is a no-nonsense fresh face. She radiates sincerity and authenticity. She exudes real personhood. She really is (no joke, no spin, no Hollywood magic) one of us. Although she takes away the EXPERIENCE card, she actually reaffirms McCain's true ace in the hole: his reputation as a maverick--which translated into the language of the common American means: "we think he is an honest man."

We know nothing about her--but at first blush, she strikes us as an honest woman.

At first blush, she is Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington.

Of course, making a good first impression is only the beginning. We shall see what we think of her on second thought. No doubt, this was a "Hail Mary," as some pundits have described it. It was a low percentage play with the clock winding down. But, every once in a while, a Roger Staubauch rears back in the gloom of a Metropolitan Stadium and throws a rainbow into the end zone and a Drew Pearson stands under the football and catches it on his hip.

And the crowd goes wild.

Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
An ABC new producer is arrested in front of a hotel while his crew was trying to photograph big-money lobbyists meeting with Democrat officials. The arrest guarantees air time linking big-money lobbyists to Democrats. It also reinforces the theme of liberal leftist fascism.

Must have been secret Rove mind manipulation.

Better yet, there is video.

27/08: Great Speech

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
In brief:

Hillary did as much as anyone could have expected--and much, much more.

Will it turn the tide of battle in favor of Obama?

This is impossible to say.

I had an idea last week. What if Obama had come into the convention and asked the delegates to pick his vice president? Think of the symbolism. A massive dose of energizing democracy in the Democratic Party. Of course, the convocation would have chosen Hill—and the hearts of the faithful would have soared.

Thinking about last night, you can just imagine the tidal wave of emotion that would have swept the hall with the ascension of Mrs. Clinton. Now that would have produced a bounce.

But that is not what happened, and there is nothing more irrelevant that counter-factual history.

It is Biden.

The good news for Hillary: she took the mound in a tough spot, threw hard (squelching a dangerous rally for the other team), and proved herself a team player. If Obama wins we will look back at last night as a turning point. If Obama loses, the defeat will rest squarely on his shoulders.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Story here with links.
Does Obama meet the Constitutional requirements for president? There is enough evidence to ask the question.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Quoth Me: If Biden gets the nod, I promise to eat my hat (as I jump for joy).

I really don't have many hats, so I will settle for a little crow.

First of all, I like Joe Biden more than most of my friends and conservative compatriots.

I have written:

I am guessing that most of our reading community does not understand my admiration for Joe Biden. You see the grandstanding, bloviating, self-absorbed senator always mugging for the cameras. I see that Joe Biden too, of course. But I also see the Joe Biden who is talented, diligent, and dedicated to good government. I admire the America-loving public official who has spent almost his entire career learning foreign policy and the judiciary in order to be a constructive element of the solution. He is, in fact, quite good at and what he does, and he oftentimes offers incredibly astute analysis on the topics to which he had dedicated his life.

After the Democratic midterm election victory, I placed great hope in him to act as a voice of moderation in a volatile political atmosphere (hopes he quickly dashed--which I wrote about back in January of 2007):

My sincere wish was that the Senator would choose statesmanship over grandstanding. There are two Bidens. Most of us are familiar with the blowhard-Biden of the judiciary committee, spewing gibberish and comically attempting to match wits with great legal minds. But there is another Biden. A thoughtful, pragmatic and experienced Senator who loves his country more than himself.

I was hoping for the statesman Biden--but got the clown. The demagoguery above also serves as his unequivocal signal that he seeks the Democratic Party's nomination for president in 2008. Only Joe Biden with a bad case of Potomac Fever would be addled enough to display this degree of wanton foolishness.

Under Present Circumstances, do I still think Biden is a bad move for Obama? Yes. Although I say so with a large dose of humility. Team Obama has had most of this right thus far. Based on past performance, their accuracy quotient is much higher than mine. Having said that, why do I continue to think this is a mistake?

1. Obama missed a chance to improve his fortunes in an important electoral state (Virginia, New Mexico, Indiana, to name only the most obvious). Congratulations, Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden. You are now assured of Delaware's three electoral votes. In that regard, it is the smartest choice since George W. Bush grasped Wyoming's three electoral votes with the selection of Dick Cheney.

Obama left a lot on the table. No matter how effective Biden might prove to be, Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. There were some choices out there that would have created gigantic strategic problems. This one does not.

2. Biden has a big mouth and (thus far in his life) an uncontrollable ego. Biden talks a lot, and he has a penchant for injudicious statements. Back in February of 2007, I wrote repeatedly in his defense concerning his controversial comments regarding the then-insurgent candidate, Barack Obama.

Remember this statement:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

He was essentially right--but do you recall the outrage? At the very least, considering the target audience to which he was appealing, Biden's comments were foolishly chosen.

Why haven't we seen more Joe Biden dust-ups over the years? For the simple reason that no one really pays him much attention. Not so anymore. From now until 4 November, the world will be following him around and scrutinizing his every word. Not good for Camp Obama. Sure, the mainstream PrObama press will give him a pass whenever possible, but the conservative media will push and press every chance they get. My guess is that Biden will give them plenty of chances. These guys are likely to be putting out fires almost continually.

3. For all of Biden's faults, ironically, his positive attributes are likely to overshadow the primary candidate. The lesson of 1988 was that a VP nominee should not make the top guy look small by comparison. Remember the undercurrent that eventually dominated the 1988 landscape: why isn't Lloyd Bentsen (the distinguished and seasoned Texas senator) at the top of this ticket? Michael Dukakis (the man in the tank with the funny hat) grew less presidential with every appearance of the stolid but steady Bentsen.

Will this happen for Obama-Biden? Maybe.

4. We will read this odd move as an admission that Obama is deficient in foreign policy.

Why Biden? Because the Democratic Party wise men, in a minor panic over the late instability in Eastern Europe, now wonder if recent events make the experienced Republican warrior infinitely more attractive. What if American voters come to a late-breaking realization that we really do live in a dangerous world? While the foreign policy of "come on, y'all, can't we just all get along?" seemed bold and innovative in the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire, we have slept since then. We have wondered about "Three AM Phone Calls." What if there really are bad actors on the world stage who will not bend to the eloquent rhetoric of an Ivy League intellectual? What if nations really do pursue their own interests irrespective to the goals of greater humanity?

Joe Biden is an answer to those questions. Joe is old school. Joe knows.

But Americans don't vote for vice presidents. If those questions really need an answer, John McCain is it. The Obama brain trust would have been wiser to roll past those questions as if they did not matter. By admitting that foreign policy is relevant, Obama cedes this newly important field to his opponent.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer

How many houses do you own? Most Americans could answer that question quite easily.

But John McCain couldn't remember yesterday when asked by reporters. It's actually kind of ridiculous. He paused and said, "I think—I'll have my staff get to you." (The correct answer? At least seven.)

This could be an election-defining moment—it's a reminder of just how out of touch John McCain is with the lives of regular Americans. We need to make sure every voter hears about it.

All the networks are gleefully reporting this new line of attack. Is it a "defining" moment? Maybe. Elections are funny things. This thrust is undoubtedly going to enjoy the full support of the prObama mainstream media.

But what's the point, really? Are we now not allowing rich guys to be president?

How many houses does John Kerry have? How many houses does the Kennedy family own? How many houses does Al Gore own? How many houses did FDR own?

Less than seven? More than seven?

Nearly thirty years ago, John McCain married a beautiful young woman from a rich family. Does Barack "I'll take the high road" Obama really think that fact is an election-defining moment?

You never know how these things are going to play--but my guess is that most people will see this desperation shot as embarrassing (to Obama). My second prediction: no one in the mainstream media will see the attack as anything less than legitimate. And that's the way it is.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Why will Barack Obama offer the veep to Virginia governor, Tim Kaine?

Because it is the smartest play, and Team Obama always makes the smartest play.

Right now, Republicans all over the globe are praying earnestly that Candidate Obama will choose Joe Biden as his running mate. Why? Biden is a gaffe-prone bloviator and a thirty-year Washington insider.

But it gets even worse than that.

If Obama chooses Biden, we will read the move as an admission that he is deficient in foreign policy.

Why is Biden suddenly viable? Because the Democratic Party wise men, in a minor panic, seem suddenly mindful that a late-breaking realization among the American voting public that we live in a dangerous world might make the experienced Republican warrior infinitely more attractive.

What to do?

Put Joe Biden on the ticket.

Wrong Move! Why?

1. Americans do not care about foreign policy, actually. No one is talking about Russia and Georgia. Bringing attention to specific international challenges does not help Obama--rather, it damages him. He needs to keep it simple on foreign affairs. "Bush is bad. Bush gets us into bad wars. McCain is even worse."

2. No one outside of political junkies have ever heard of Joe Biden. Even if a veep could help you on foreign policy, Joe BIden is not Colin Powell (from ten years ago) or Sam Nunn (from fifteen years ago) or Henry Jackson (from thirty years ago). Biden is not an impact player. He is famous inside the Beltway, but a near compete unknown to the vast majority of Americans.

An Aside: Sam Nunn today is not Sam Nunn from fifteen years ago either.

3. Biden has a big mouth and an uncontrollable ego.

If Biden gets the nod, I promise to eat my hat (as I jump for joy). Joe Biden is more likely a "secretary of state in waiting" during this campaign.

Why Tim Kaine?

He is young, dynamic, from outside of Washington, a sitting governor, and he might be able to deliver his home state of Virginia.

Even if Republicans held on to VA, they would need to divert copious amounts of campaign cash to hold VA. Tim Kaine is a Republican strategists nightmare. GOP insiders all over America have their hands clasped together, every head bowed, every eye closed, fervently praying: "please, Lord; not Tim Kaine."
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
From Eugene Robinson's column in the Washington Post:

Here come the goons, right on schedule.

The "author," and I use the term loosely, whose vicious lies damaged John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign has crawled back out from under his rock to spew vicious lies about Barack Obama. Right-wing radio talk-show hosts are dutifully transmitting this concocted venom. This presidential campaign has officially gotten ugly.

Mr. Robinson finds himself livid at the prospect of right-wing hoodlums coarsening the political discourse in America and, presumably, contributing to the decline of civility in campaign polemics.

Of course, along the way Robinson describes Jerome Corsi, author of the 2004 attack on John Kerry, Unfit to Command, and the recently published Obama Nation, as a "paranoid and delusional" right-wing blogger, anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim, cog in the "right-wing smear machine."

So much for measured tones.

If Mr. Robinson's point was that we should be more judicious in the way we talk to one another, the lesson seems lost somehow in translation. Actually, the thrust of the Robinson piece is clear: lay off my anointed candidate, Barack "say his middle name and you're a racist" Obama.

Granted, Eugene Robinson is not the most incisive thinker of his generation--but his breathless screed against screeds is actually fairly emblematic of the recent spate of angry rejoinders from the prObama political pundits.

The general refrain against Corsi is Al Franken-esque: "lies and the lying liar who tells them."

I do not write in defense of Jerome Corsi. I do not know Jerome Corsi. I have never read a book by Jerome Corsi (nor do I intend to start with this one). However, I keep reading these articles asserting that Corsi traffics in inaccuracies and innuendos, waiting for the specifics--but, ironically, they never seem to arrive.

Beneath all the sound and fury, Robinson (like many others I have read) objects to two main Obama Nation assertions.

Robinson (1):

Corsi's new volume of vitriol...seeks to smear Obama as a "leftist" and add fuel to the false and discredited rumor that he is secretly a radical Muslim, or at least has "extensive connections to Islam."

Note: I am not counting "leftist." Robinson throws that label (in quotes) out there and abandons it as a line of argument. defines leftist as "a member of the political Left or a person sympathetic to its views." Sure, at one time, "leftist" clearly meant socialist. On the other hand, I am not sure that under the evolving definition of leftist, even Obama would disagree with the characterization.

If Corsi actually accuses Obama of being "secretly a radical Muslim," I cannot find that phrase in any of the articles taking him to task. The closest construction seems to be the line Robinson quotes: "extensive connections to Islam."

Barack Obama was born Muslim (to a Muslim father). He briefly attended an Islamic school as a youth. He then tried desperately to find himself within the context of his African-Muslim family.

Technically speaking, those connections to Islam are arguably quite extensive.

Does that mean Obama is a Muslim Manchurian Candidate? I personally am convinced that he is not. I am personally 100 percent convinced that Barack Obama came to Christ and is a practicing Christian, just as he claims to be.

However, does that mean his "extensive connections to Islam" are off limits to voters, reporters, and political opponents? That sounds pretty restrictive.

Robinson (2):

Corsi repeats the charge, thoroughly disproved, that Obama was in church for one of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most incendiary sermons.

Thoroughly disproved by whom? But, more importantly, so what? Obama worshipped at Trinity under the pastoral care of Reverend Wright for twenty years. Implying that Obama missed the service where Wright offered some specifically egregiously offensive and somehow out of character statement strains our credulity. Is Robinson really positing that Obama was somehow ignorant of the real Jeremiah Wright?

This line of argument is much more disingenuous than the "insinuations" to which Robinson objects.

I can find the calumny and the overheated righteous indignation in these condemnations of Corsi, but where are the purported lies?
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
The Pew Forum provides links to articles from various sources on the faith of John McCain and of Barak Obama.

The Forum also has essays on the faith of each man. Click on Religious Biography from the links above.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
What to say about John Edwards?

I have never been an fan. Reviewing my previous posts concerning his candidacy, I cannot find anything positive I have written about him. By contrast, I have praised Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama generously from time to time, finding many things to admire about them over the course of the last two years. But I have consistently viewed and described Edwards as a charlatan and a coxcomb.

So, having said that, here goes some analysis regarding this latest Edwards melodrama from an extremely skeptical (perhaps even cynical) and certainly unfriendly source:

1. Some pearls of wisdom from an unlikely poet: Taylor Swift. In general, I am a cautiously optimistic admirer of hers--although I too often find myself feeling like I am intruding on some high school girl's junior-year diary. No matter, her response to infidelity in her current hit, "Should've Said No," is one of the most succinct and astute reactions to romantic betrayal in eons.

You should've said no,
You should've gone home,
You should have thought twice before you let it all go.
You should've known that word 'bout what you did with her'd, get back to me.

And I should've been there, in the back of your mind,
Shouldn't be asking myself why,
You shouldn't be begging for forgiveness at my feet,
You should've said no
Baby and you might still have me.

Nothing more to say. Think Elizabeth Edwards right now. Although, I have to wonder: why does a woman rich and powerful in her own right, stay with a womanizing weasel like John Edwards for three decades? Love is blind?

2. Scandal and Politics. Perhaps you think infidelity is a major character flaw. Perhaps you don't. Perhaps you think unfaithfulness within a marriage is a private matter irrelevant to the career of a public man. Perhaps you find such behavior indicative of a general pattern of behavior.

An Aside: for all of my currently smiling and clucking Republican friends, who will argue that this revelation is proof that John Edwards is a scoundrel only the Democratic Party could love, I offer this thought experiment:

What if the New York Times, during the third week of October 2008, proves beyond a reasonable doubt that John McCain has engaged in serial adultery? Will you then concede the election to the morally upright Barack Obama out of principle?

An Aside within an aside: I say “out of principle” because if that happens (and I am about 65 percent sure that it will), speaking in practical terms, we will in effect concede the election to Barack Obama.

Ironically, this unraveling Edwards sex scandal paves the way for a more vigorous investigation of the allegations against McCain. No conspiracy here--but this is the fickle finger of fate emerging once again to pile one more pound of handicap on the seventy-two year-old senator trying to ascend the greasy pole.

But, let us return to the current scandal: what has always turned my stomach about Edwards is his egregious willingness to lie and posture in pursuit of ambition.

He wanted to be president, so he voted for the Iraq War. He still wanted to be president, so he rushed to be the first candidate to admit that his pro-war vote had been a mistake. He wanted to be president, so he said he really cared about the poor and worried about "Two Americas." He wanted to be president, so he continued to campaign for president even after his wife was diagnosed with cancer (telling the world that continuing was all her idea). He wanted to be president, so he told people how much he adored her (even as he humiliated her).

I never trusted the SOB.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
LGF has this link to Stanley Kurtz's reporting on B.Obama between '96 and '04. For sources he reached beyond the Sun-Times and Tribune to the black newspaper The Chicago Defender and to The Hyde Park Herald.

From Kurtz:

What they portray is a Barack Obama sharply at variance with the image of the post-racial, post-ideological, bipartisan, culture-war-shunning politician familiar from current media coverage and purveyed by the Obama campaign. As details of Obama’s early political career emerge into the light, his associations with such radical figures as Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, Reverend James Meeks, Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn look less like peculiar instances of personal misjudgment and more like intentional political partnerships. At his core, in other words, the politician chronicled here is profoundly race-conscious, exceedingly liberal, free-spending even in the face of looming state budget deficits, and partisan.

It seems to me that we still can see that same politician if we look carefully. Witness Obama's continued references to racism as he tries to disarm his critics, his trillion-dollar spending proposals, and his money and support ties to the gay and lesbian activists.