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Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
One of my favorite pundits, Dean Barnett, wrote today that the big problem with Barack Obama is that he is a man of inaction—all rhetoric and no ability to perform worthy deeds.

If only...

As a conservative in the most classic American sense, I would rejoice in the assurance that Obama plans to do nothing but talk.

Liberal administrations govern best that govern least.

I could rest much easier if I thought an Obama presidency portended merely lofty flights of empty rhetoric. However, an eloquent but harmlessly passive President Obama strikes me as unlikely.

If not his tendency to prefer oratory over action, what is my biggest concern with Barack Obama?

His willingness to abide deranged purveyors of scary black nationalism?

His inexperience?

His ties to shady Chicago power brokers? His slipperiness? His lack of respect for his "average white lady" grandmother?

No. Those are distractions. What is actually most troubling about Obama?

He is too liberal.

He owns the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. According to the National Journal, he is more liberal than Ted Kennedy, John F. Kerry, Russ Feingold, Dick Durbin, and Barbara Boxer.

Under ordinary circumstances, he is way too liberal to win election as president of the United States. Generally, the “ultra-liberal” label equals certain defeat in a national election. But, unfortunately, these are not ordinary circumstances.

The Democratic candidate in 2008 will run buoyed by intense George W. Bush fatigue, restlessness over an unpopular five-year war with no end in sight, and uncertainty in the face of an economy perceived to be tenuous at best---or, even worse, on the brink of cataclysm.

The Democratic candidate in 2008 will run against a presumptive Republican nominee who is seventy-one-years-old, admittedly inexpert in economic policy, who bravely advocates extending the five-year war indefinitely, if need be.

This is a good year to run as a Democrat.

The base of the Democratic Party understands this moment. And, this time, they will not be easily intimidated into selecting a moderate candidate who will seem more appealing to centrists and independents in the fall. They just don't think they need to play things "safe" this time around. They think they are running down the court for a slam dunk. They can nominate any reasonable candidate and win. Why not pick the guy they really like--the anti-war, post-racial, Kennedyesque liberal orator?

This turn of events devastated Hillary, of course, who spent years preparing to run as a moderate, national security Democrat whom you could trust at 3:00 a.m.

As noted, the dismal unpopularity of Bush, the failing economy, and the troubles that accompany a protracted and unsatisfying military engagement make this particular political season particularly irregular.

However, even with all that, Obama still might have run into trouble, save for the "concept." Americans fell in love with this symbol for an age.

But, if Obama gets by Hillary (which I am not ready to concede), he will arrive virtually unstoppable in the General. And, if elected, I expect him to skillfully translate his electoral triumph into a mandate for liberal action. With a Democratic majority in Congress, and the Fourth Estate abuzz with adoration, we are likely to see the most active and most prolific legislating president since Lyndon Johnson.

Make no mistake, President Barack Obama could be the most transformative American political figure of our lifetimes. My worry is that the transformation is going to prove as disastrous as the last attempt at creating a so-called Great Society.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Barack Obama speaks today, March 18, 2008, "A More Perfect Union."

Uncollected Thoughts:

11:30 a.m. CST. Although I have not seen the speech, the early reviews are strong.

From a learned friend (ftr: I don't think he reads the blog):

"Did you happen to watch the speech Obama just gave to address his relationship with his preacher? It was a hell of a speech. He addressed not only black anger but also white resentment and the historical roots of both. I really like this guy, and I think it’s primarily because I perceive him to be honest about the issues that really matter and to speak sincerely about them. I’m sure his politics are different from you, but do you get that same vibe from him? That he’s honest and sincere, even if he perceives the nation’s problems and their solutions differently than you do?"

That is good news for Obama.

When I read the speech (and watch the video), I will be looking for two things:

1. Did he address the fundamental logistical and legalistic issues of what did he know and when did he know it? Did he present a plausible defense on the main charge?

2. Did he offer a speech and performance captivating enough to encourage his admirers to disregard the specifics and continue to believe in the magic?

Number Two may be the more important question.

I will report back when I know more....
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
"For everyone here in Ohio and across America who's ever been counted out but refused to be knocked out, and for everyone who has stumbled but stood right back up, and for everyone who works hard and never gives up, this one is for you."
Old "Blood and Guts" Hillary Clinton

Very Briefly: I have been predicting that Hillary would become the next president of the United States for a long time. I came to that conclusion based on her superior organization (which included her access to the best talent), her ability to out-raise and, therefore, out-spend any potential opponent, and her lock on the Democratic Party establishment.

Well, I was wrong about almost everything (maybe everything--only time will tell). But I was certainly wrong about all those insurmountable advantages. As she faces perhaps the most enthralling candidate for president in the last one hundred years, she is losing the money race, she has lost the party bigwigs, and it turns out that her staff were mere mortals. But there she stands, like a stone wall, in the face of withering opposition.

She does it on guts.

She is Hillary Clinton, and she does not give an inch.

Love her or hate her, but admit that she is one tough S.O.B.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
What was George Washington's middle name?

Trick question. The first president of the United States to have a middle name was John Quincy Adams. He was the sixth decider-in-chief. He was elected in the disputed election of 1824 (over two-namer, Andrew Jackson), and he served from 1825-1829.

During the nineteenth century, presidents with middle names were the exceptions rather than the rule:

William Henry Harrison

James Knox Polk

Hiram Ulysses Grant, who, according to legend, changed his name to Ulysses Simpson Grant upon entering West Point because he preferred the sound of U.S. Grant to the initials H.U.G.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes

James Abram Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Stephen Grover Cleveland dropped his first name and subsequently went on to fame and political fortune with the trimmer handle.

For the most part, twentieth century presidents were rich with middle names.

Technically, Teddy Roosevelt was the sole exception, although, like Cleveland, Thomas Woodrow Wilson and John Calvin Coolidge dropped their assigned first names when they hit adulthood.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the president who made it all matter. Then JFK and LBJ.

Jimmy Carter tried to forget his middle name was Earl. Bill Clinton seemed to revel in his middle name: Jefferson. Opponents of George Bush-41 attempted to make hay out of his four-banger, upper-crust-sounding family name: George Herbert Walker Bush. His son, Bush-43, has been called simply "W." by many, as a shorthand distinction between him and his father, as well as a low-grade measure of disrespect.

Is it "the ultimate fear bomb" to call Barack Hussein Obama by his full name?

Presumably, the unfortunate moniker was given to him with the best of intentions by his parents who loved him and wanted the best for him.

Sometimes names turn out to be unforeseen obstacles or annoyances.

A Personal Aside: my parents affixed me with a perfectly sophisticated, cultured, and fairly uncommon given-name back in 1964 (Ashley). During the 1980s, my first name became popular as a feminine given-name. I wish I had a dollar for every early-twenty-something who has asked me over the last fifteen years: "how come you got a girl's name?"

But it's my name. I am who I am.

My advice to BHO: Deal with it.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Tocqueville thinks this guy is on to something. I agree.

From the Insta-punk:

Race as a "three-edged" sword:

"If every gaffe or unpleasantness committed by the Obamas on the campaign trail is going to be shushed up or suppressed to spare their racial sensitivities, resentment is bound to grow like mushrooms in the dark. If that's the strategy, the third edge will cost Obama the election."

The politically correct perils of an Obama presidency:

"If the Clintons can't make a dent in the campaign of a coolly ambitious, non-African-American, Ivy League Chicago machine politician, what will any of of us be able to do if he turns out to be inept, short-sighted, vengeful, corrupt, or actively seditious? If some clumsy American politician accidentally says something to offend his 300K-a-year Princetonian executive wife, for example, will we all have to apologize -- or pay in some other coin? If he violates his vow to uphold the Constitution, will we have the recourse we would have with mere politicians? Or will every voice -- in politics and the press -- fall silent, because raising an objection of any kind is tantamount to a hate crime?

"What stories will not be pursued by the already horrifyingly cowardly PC media? What legitimate policy objections will not be posed by senators and congressmen who are already living in daily fear that their most inadvertent verbal slip will bring down 400 years worth of resentment on their heads?"

Provocative. Post in full here.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Last week I voted (early) for John McCain in the Texas primary. Barring some unforeseen calamity or epiphany, I will vote for John McCain again in the fall. However, I seriously considered requesting a Democratic ballot in order to vote for Hillary Clinton for the nomination of her party.

Why did I waive my right to "cross over," as we refer to it here in the Lone Star State?

--I very much wanted to vote for one specific Republican, "Doc Anderson," down the ballot in the GOP canvass.

--To vote Democratic, the procedure requires a promise to refrain from any Republican Party activity for a calendar year. Although I am not a very active Republican, I would have felt uncomfortable making that declaration. And, as it was designed to do, the promise gave me pause intuitively.

--Most importantly though, I know a number of Republicans have advocated a vote for Hillary Clinton as a method of sabotage; that is, vote for Hillary to extend the internecine Democratic Party fight for a few more weeks or months. Many of these Republicans also see Mrs. Clinton as a more vulnerable opposition candidate in November. For the record, in my view, they are right to worry that the Obama juggernaut is unprecedentedly powerful and unique as a political force.

Notwithstanding, I abhor sabotage. I ultimately demurred from wading into the Democratic primary because I would have invited suspicion among my friends in the other party, who might have wondered whether I really had their best interest in mind. I did not want even the hint of impropriety or the suggestion that I attempted to deprive Democrats of their best candidate. And, in the end, for that reason, I determined that my vote would do Hillary Clinton more harm than good.

Having said that, I have always participated in my own private Democratic primary, mentally supporting a candidate that I wanted to win the nomination--based not on who would be easiest to beat in my opinion, but based on who, if elected, would make the best president. Examples: Joe Lieberman in 2004; Paul Tsongas in 1992 (although I had a soft spot of Clinton that year also); Henry Jackson (and then Jimmy Carter) in 1976.

Here is a less than complete list of reasons (and something of a review) of why I think Hillary Clinton is the best Democratic Party alternative this time around:

1. I believe Hillary is a tough-minded, no-nonsense person. She is a hard-boiled realist, who understands national vital interests as well as political necessities. She will throw rhetorical bones to the left but govern in the center, because she will want to be reelected. She will employ the traditional American foreign-policy making establishment and pursue a moderate-to-firm course in international relations. She will not be exactly what I want, but neither will she bring about a socialist revolution or a unilateral retreat from American interests abroad.

John Edwards was fairly close to reality when he said a "vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the status quo."

2. This is really a more specific extension of #1: if Hillary remains faithful to her record and rhetoric, her election will commit the Democratic Party en masse to the global war on terror. Just as Harry Truman and the Democrats owned the Cold War until Dwight Eisenhower came along and embraced the policy, the War on Terror at this moment is a unilateral Republican policy. It is vital for American survival that the Democrats have a partisan interest in our success in the larger war on terror.

Note on style for some of my Democratic friends in re "war on terror": I understand that this articulation is problematic for some—but, in order to avoid the less than constructive semantic argument, suffice it to say, we face a worldwide movement to create chaos, which must be addressed in a bipartisan way.