One post: An Aussie Salutes America--Us v. Them.
The late Charlton Heston was justly famed for his characters, as much as for the characters he played on screen. A loyal LFTC reader sent me a marvelous 1999 speech the actor gave to a college audience. Heston passionately and articulately defends his conservative values, and assails political correctness. Heston recounts as well his finest public advocacy hour: when, in 1991, he confronted Time-Warner executives at the annual meeting, and forced them to listen as he read cop-killer rap lyrics that Ice-T had recorded for a TW subsidiary. The executives squirmed, but none could silence Moses!
April 29, 2008 in Class & Crass: Culture Vultures; Vultures' Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)
Charles Krauthammer pronounces nuclear non-proliferation a dead letter, courtesy of the West's flaccidity vis-a-vis North Korea and Iran. The New York Sun's Eli Lake details the latest news as to North Korean - Syrian cooperation, that led to the nascent plutonium nuclear reactor which Israel destroyed last September 6; even if Syria didn't plan to try to manufacture nuclear bombs, its plant served as a way for North Korea to eventually produce weapons-grade plutonium in a remote area thought free of close aerial scrutiny. Which leaves, Iraq having killed preventive war as a politically viable option, deterrence as our only remaining option.
If deterrence fails, the consequences of a Hiroshima-size nuke detonating on the Washington, DC Mall are summarized here in the Washington Times. Ashton Carter proposes coping strategies for the aftermath. One assumption Carter helps raise doubts as to is that after a single terrorist nuke is set off in an American city, we would, as soon as we find out whom (using nuclear forensics to trace), instantly retaliate. Except that the going assumption, as Carter notes, is that such a group will have other weapons in reserve. If they face instant annihilation (assuming we find them, what incentive have they to not set off any other devices they have? The deterrence that likely will be our main strategy for stopping nuclear terror and sponsoring states appears a slender reed indeed.
The Washington Times updates the air travel scene. The Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) has begun a program to continually review all names on its watch list. The Terrorist Encounter Review Process (TERP--someone was clever enough not to include watch as the second word, which would have yielded the acronym TWERP) will scrub the 450,000-name watch list regularly. A full 5 percent of the names are of people believed to live in the United States. The TSC gets 24,000 requests for removal annually, about 70 per day. Records are updated daily and widely shared.
TERP is a vital program. Anger due to being wrongly kept on a watch list can, if enough people are mad, undermine support for aggressive terrorist screening programs. A biometric ID card would further aid this program. There is another aid: a sign-up traveler program, now underway at many airports. Fly Clear is now available at 16 airport areas nationwide (some areas have multiple airports with the program activated), including major New York City and Washington, DC airports.
I have signed up. The procedure has two stages: (1) an online registration; (2) take your registration number to a sign-up location, where you will be photographed and fingerprinted, plus iris identification used when feasible. You will need two forms of official identification. The procedure for the second part can run at least 10 minutes, depending upon how easily you fingerprint and scan (I proved a hard case). then, at the airports, you go to a much shorter security line.
I recently flew from DC to NYC, Reagan to LaGuardia. Fly Clear has a separate security lane, where after showign ID, you must have a fingerprint checked by optical scan. If you pass, then you get to jump the regular line, and then get in front of the queue to push your bags through the scanners. The security is exactly the same. So if the regular line is short, it isn't worth it. If it is long, you will save time.
Fly Clear is not a true trusted traveler program. For that, you would need to give more security info, to get a pass through security, or a more limited check. This is just a line-jumping program. It can prove convenient if you fly at rush times, or on a day with delays that stack up the regular queue.
Here is more on Tuesday's PA primary result, and what it augurs for future primaries. Jay Cost details the key voter group results, comparing PA with Ohio, and finds that Hill matched her Ohio win. Fred Barnes sees PA giving vigor to Hill's argument that she is more electable come the fall. Dick Morris dismisses Hill's surge as too little, too late; he says that Hill invested too much in an early knockout, leaving her unable to go the full distance.
For the May 6 Democratic primaries, Real Clear Politics polls show Obama +15.5 (range +9 - +25) in North Carolina, and Hill + 2.2 (range Hill + 16 - Obama +5) in Indiana. Obama leads in 2 of the 5 Indiana polls, and Hill's +16 seems an outlier, so consider the state dead even. NC's heavy black vote (only 10 percent in PA) pretty much guarantees an Obama win, so Hill must win solidly in Indiana to keep momentum.
My bottom line: Hill's final adjusted PA margin of just over 9 points was good enough to stave off a super-delegate stampede to Obama, but not good enough to be likely to change the dynamic of the race; a PA margin in the low teens would have changed the race. She will need to make further inroads into Obama's standing with swing voters and key groups, in order to win solidly in Indiana. But at least she is still in the game.
As I went to bed last night, Hill led 55 - 45 with 99 percent of the vote in. It keeps her in the race, but is not the blowout margin she could have used. More on Pennsylvania tomorrow, after I review analyses. Now, enjoy this 88-second YouTube video on how Hillary can defy the odds and prevail!
Terror Free Tomorrow conducted a poll in late 2007, surveying Saudi attitudes on many subjects, including views of terror and the U.S. Some of the results are startling: 69 percent support strong & close relations with the US; 85 percent would approve more of the US if we left Iraq, 75 percent if visa quotas were increased, or if the US signed a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia; 40 percent of Saudis held a favorable opinion of the US, up from 11 percent in May 2006; 63 percent oppose Saudi fighting Shia in Iraq, 66 percent oppose Saudis fighting Sunni, and a plurality oppose fighting coalition forces; less than 10 percent have a favorable view of al-Qaeda, and 88 percent support Saudi military action against AL-Q; 15 percent hold a favorable view of Osama; 89 percent have unfavorable opinions of Jews, and less than 1/3 favor a two-state peace treaty between Israel & the Palestinians; 57 percent oppose Iran's nuclear quest. Domestically, 93 percent rank reducing unemployment & inflation first, then 88 percent for fighting terror, 81 percent for subsidizing foreign mosques, 80 percent for a free press & free elections 61 percent for fighting jihadists and 43 percent for allowing women to drive.
TFT also polled Iranian citizens before the March 14 election. 76 percent support normal relations & trade with the US, 71 percent favor working with the US to settle Iraq, 60 percent back unconditional negotiations with the US; more than 75 percent support US investment; 84 percent support US investment in medical, humanitarian and educational assistance from the US; more than 60 percent of Iranians would improve their view of the US if we withdrew from Iraq, or increased visas quotas or entered into a free trade treaty with Iran; Domestically, 86 percent support free elections for the Supreme Leader, versus 9 percent who oppose this; after the economy, Iranians are strongest in favor of free elections and a free press; 70 percent favor Iran accepting full inspection of its nuclear program, in return for aid & investment; 53 percent favor the program. But 73 percent of Iranians oppose a peace treaty with Israel and support its demise; over 60 percent support aiding Palestinian war efforts against Israel; 45 percent would recognize Israel as part of a deal with the US. Om the brighter side, the Shia Iranians do not hate other religions: 5 percent dislike Sunni Muslims & 10 percent dislike Christians.
Common to both: (1) dislike of American policy; (2) desire to more constructively engage America; (3) growing detestation of Al-Qaeda and rejection of Islamist terrorism; (4) hatred of Jews and rejection of the existence of the State of Israel--even as part of a two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state.
Compare these numbers to views re the US elsewhere in the Islamic world: Pakistan, 72 percent dislike, 19 percent like; Turkey 83-9 against; Egypt, 78-21 against (despite more than $50 billion sent to these ingrates over the past three decades). Only two Muslim countries had higher favorable ratings of the US than did the Saudis: Bangladesh and...Iraq. yes, IRAQ. (Nancy, Harry, Barack, Hillary, are you listening?)
Another compilation of polls, taken by Gallup from 2001 - 2007, is Who Speaks for Islam?, one of whose two co-authors is Georgetown professor John Esposito, who was adviser to Karen Hughes during her feckless tenure representing America with Islam's votaries and governments. The book asserts that Muslims want basically the same thing Western peoples want: freedom, democracy, economic growth, equality for women, with an added emphasis on the role of Islam in societal life. U.S. policy is the chief culprit for animosity towards America. Some 7 percent of Muslims are radicalized--9 million out of 1.3 billion worldwide. In the past generation, Muslims have moved away from Western orientation. Muslim women resent being depicted by Westerners (like Karen Hughes) as backward in status. The book's sunny portrait is hard to credit. T o be sure, this does not counsel despair, only to suggest that matters appear more precarious than the book's picture suggests.
Condi Rice continues to believe that most Palestinians want peace, citing polls purportedly showing 70 percent of Palestinians favoring settlement; she discounts exhortations for suicide bombing and other TV propaganda, stating that leaders are not volunteering. But the April 21 Jerusalem Post cites polls showing that more than half of Palestinians oppose a settlement, a number that is growing. Thanks to Andy McCarthy of NRO for these citations.
Ben Stein's new film, "Expelled," about how a ferocious academic orthodoxy is stifling debate about evolution and intelligent design, opened 8th among all new films this past weekend, grossing $3.2 million box office at 1,052 screens. At issue is not whether one believes in evolution, as many intelligent design advocates acknowledge that evolution explains many things. Rather, it is the imposition by intimidation of academic orthodoxy that is the film's focus, as reputable scientists who dare to question whether Darwinian doctrine explains all its purport to explain, find their careers derailed. As LFTC is sponsored by Discovery, I posted my thoughts on intelligent design on August 22, 2005, in LFTC's second month and after a two-part unfavorable New York Times story.
For the convenience of new LFTC readers, reproduced verbatim below is my August 22, 2005 posting, which, at the end, links to the related New York Times article (whose link is still live).
Letter From The Capitol, August 22, 2005: "Darwin Daze"
The New York Times ran a front-pager yesterday attacking Discovery Institute's advocacy of allowing schools discretion to include "Intelligent Design" in school curricula, and a follow-up piece this morning on questions about evolution. But the Times misses the point. What matters is less what is taught than how it is taught. When "creation science" was proposed as as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution, critics were right in saying that Creationism--which holds that the world was created by a Supreme Being in 4004 B.C.--is dogma, not science. But they were wrong in asserting that Darwin's theory was beyond question. Neither does Intelligent Design seem to me to be science. Its advocates believe it is, but most scientists today do not agree.
What makes science "science" (from Latin for "knowledge") is, as the philosopher Karl Popper put it, that it is falsifiable. It proceeds by deduction and empirical observation, with consequent repeated confirmation. Science is always open to subsequent modification or refutation. Thus Isaac Newton's elegant, predictable, mechanical universe reigned supreme for over two centuries. Along came Planck, Einstein and others and within a quarter-century (1900-1927) unveiled a new micro-world, one disorderly, probabilistic, affected by our observation of it and just plain weird. Crossing the street we are best advised to observe Newton's Laws, as quantum effects in the macro-world are infinitesimal. (Newton's Laws trump man-made traffic laws--if the light says cross but a truck is coming do you cross, or follow Sir Isaac and wait?) A "unified field theory" of physics, Einstein's dream, remains unrealized. (Einstein, who like many great scientists believed in God, once complained to Niels Bohr, in protesting against the quantum world he was central in discovering, that "God does not play with dice." To which Bohr replied that he, Einstein, was not to tell God what to do.)
Which brings us back to Darwin. Teaching his brainchild as irrefutable, as truth that cannot be questioned, is to teach science as dogma. Teaching science as dogma is just as wrong as teaching dogma as science. Dogma is beyond question; science never is. Scientific truth, by its very nature and unlike dogma, is open to subsequent refutation. We even teach certain theories known now to be false as part of a good education. Study the ancients and you will (one hopes) learn about the Ptolemaic view of the Heavens, the "phlogiston" theory of the chemical elements, and so on. And learn what replaced them. (Stand, as I have, at 80 degrees north and 80 degrees south, well within the polar circles, and in summer time see the sun revolve around the sky, always in sight, and Copernicus is not intuitive. albeit he is right.)
The Times today notes that ID cites things arguably not fully explained by Darwin's elegant theory (the Times cites ID's questions about complexity, pace of change, information theory); ID posits that science does not explain everything in our universe. Which manifestly it cannot. If the universe began with a Big Bang from a "singularity," how did the singularity get there? Is ours the only universe? ID points to many narrow ranges that must exist, else there would be no us, and says that design is the most likely explanation for their concatenation. Is our world too improbable to happen by chance? Or are we one of a quadrillion alternate universes?
To state such is not the same as agreeing with ID theories; because ID seems to me not to be falsifiable it does not appear to me to be science. So long as some residual uncertainty exists it is possible to posit ID as an explanation, and thus one can never disprove ID for all possible cases. Immunity to definitive refutation removes ID from the ambit of falsifiability.
Teaching science as revealed truth beyond all question is wrong and
fearful. Be not afraid to acknowledge science's inability to explain
all. At the same time, trust that builders of airplanes follow
scientific principles in their work. In a century, Darwin's universe
may, like, Newton's, be overthrown or merely shoved aside to make room
for a new one. Or it may not. Turning every attempt to question
science into a replay of the 1925 Scopes Trial may be good
political--and media--theater. It is not helping education. Science
presumes that our minds are honest, open, modest in asserting what we
know and that we accept that our knowledge is contingent at best, with
certitude about all likely to elude us. Whether to teach ID or not I
leave to educators to debate. But either way, they should teach
science as science, not as dogma.
NY Times: The Evolution Debate
April 23, 2008 in Class & Crass: Culture Vultures; Vultures' Culture | Permalink | Comments (0)
Wall Street Journal South America maven Mary Anastasia O'Grady charts political currents in that continent, and shows how much damage Nancy Pelosi's obsession with satisfying militant unions here can damage America's interests down there. Anther factor: Nancy loves Hugo Chavez, says the Weekly Standard. The $62 billion trade deficit for 2000 - 2007 under NAFTA is cited as a factor by some, but a Wall Street Journal article explains that $58B of the $62B--94%--is due to energy imports from Canada & Mexico.
If you ask me, I prefer Tia Maria to Tia Nancy.
Last week's Democratic presidential debate did not remind me of Glenn Miller's iconic PEnnsylvania 6-5000 swing-era smasheroo, but it did dial a number for 2008: Barack Obama's number, which George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson dialed correctly, for the first time, ending the media's fawning fainting spell over Obama, once and for all. David Brooks says that Obama finally "fell to Earth." Had Hill not won New Hampshire, Brooks writes, Obama might have been the candidate before Pastorgate, Bittergate and Bowlinggate (my nicknames). Brooks says of Obama's Hyde Park neighborhood, where he lived for a time:
Some of us love Hyde Park for its diversity and quirkiness, as there are those who love Cambridge and Berkeley. But it is among the more academic and liberal places around. When Obama goes to a church infused with James Cone-style liberation theology, when he makes ill-informed comments about working-class voters, when he bowls a 37 for crying out loud, voters are going to wonder if he’s one of them. Obama has to address those doubts, and he has done so poorly up to now.
The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel thinks that Bittergate will endure. She writes: "'Yes we can' has devolved into 'Who the heck is this guy?'" Here money paragraphs:
Mr. Obama's political brilliance to date has been to use his message of hope to deflect questions about himself or his record. He'd actually created the perception that to challenge him was to challenge "hope" itself. Think back to that soaring race speech, which so successfully turned the debate toward America's shared problem, and away from Mr. Obama's individual Jeremiah Wright problem. But the San Fran comments proved one scandal too many; man and message have now been delinked.
And so nearly the whole first hour of Wednesday's debate was devoted to Mr. Obama's gun-God comments, his wisdom in sticking with a rabid pastor, his links to 1960s radicals, even his patriotism. The candidate's frustration was visible, and he spent yesterday complaining the debate was the latest in "gotcha games" that take away from the "issues." Then again, among the important "issues" for many voters are a candidate's beliefs, character and judgment. Mr. Obama will just have to get used to it.
The Washington TImes reports that Jimmy Carter's new favorite terrorist group, Hamas, has endorsed Obama, who countered by branding Hamas "a terrorist organization" (Barack, call Jimmy!). (GOP Congresswoman Sue Myrick of NC has called upon Condi Rice to revoke Jimmy Oil's passport; not a bad idea, but it will not fly.) Meanwhile, here are WT's money paragraphs:
Hamas' top political adviser, Ahmed Yousef, embraced the Obama campaign Sunday in an interview on WABC radio, saying, "We like Mr. Obama. We hope he will [win] the election."
He compared the Illinois senator to President John F. Kennedy, saying he was a "great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance."
The New York Sun praises Gibson also, for asking both candidates to comment on the empirical reality that capital gains tax cuts have, contrary to conventional wisdom, yielded added revenue for the Treasury, and thus why oppose such cuts, or even, raise such taxes to earlier, higher levels that produced less revenue?
Mona Charen pleads for more debates, so we can learn more about Obama. She writes of unrepentant domestic terrorist William Ayers, this:
Bill Ayers is no run-of-the-mill lefty. Along with his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, he was a founding member of the Weather Underground, a radical spin-off of the SDS that “declared war” on “Amerikkka” in 1970 and planned a terrorist attack on Fort Dix, N.J., that the group anticipated would be “the most horrific hit the United States Government has ever suffered on its soil.” Alas for them, three of the Weathermen were blown up in a Greenwich Village apartment while mixing the ingredients for the bomb. The Weathermen had more success on other outings, planting bombs in a New York City police precinct house, the U.S. Capitol building, and, this was a nice touch, on Ho Chi Minh’s birthday in a women’s bathroom at the Pentagon. The group claimed credit for a total of 25 bombings and assorted other acts of incitement and mayhem. Reflecting on his life as a revolutionary, Ayers told the New York Times that he didn’t regret setting bombs. In fact, he found “a certain eloquence to bombs, a poetry and a pattern from a safe distance.” The New York Times profile was published on Sept. 11, 2001.
Then she points out what most folks (media included) are missing:
Other than zinging Sen. Clinton by pointing out that Bill Clinton had pardoned two members of the Weather Underground (there’s that taint again), Obama’s response was lame and deceptive. “[T]he notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense, George.” Doesn’t it? Obama and Ayers served together on the eight-person board of directors of the Wood Fund. An early organizing meeting about Obama’s political career was held in Ayers’ living room. This isn’t just “somebody he knows.” Some of us wouldn’t even shake hands with Ayers, far less accept a $200 donation and his hospitality. Suppose John McCain had a similar relationship with abortion-clinic bomber Eric Rudolph?
Ace politics maven John Fund further details Obama's Ayers connection, which includes the 1995 meeting Charen referred to, a kick-off event for Obama's run for state legislator. Fund also details how ex-Weatherman Ayers has danced around his past role and falsely claims to have no need to repudiate terrorism, but denying he was ever a terrorist in the first place. As Fund notes, this hardly means that Obama shares the same convictions with Ayers, but his willingness to associate with such a despicable character reflects poorly on Obama himself. NRO's Stanley Kurtz probes multiple versions of Pastor Wright's sermons and finds some to have been politically sanitized.
Pennsylvania will test to what extent Obama has morphed from star-quality avatar of voter frustrations and dreams, into a conventional liberal pol with a slick veneer of wit and grace, tinged as well by an undercurrent of racialist passion. An April 17 - 19 Gallup poll shows Obama up 47-45 nationally among Democrats, down from being up 51-40 a week earlier, but up from a 1-point deficit the day before. Helping Hill's chances is that last-day deciders have broken more for her, as a known quantity, reports the Washington Times. Coupled with the 5-point hit Obama took among his party's voters for Bittergate, plus the fact that Hill has generally under-polled in industrial states, this might push Hill's margin to over 10 points. A late Sunday poll shows a shift towards Hill among likely voters and a 10 percent margin, highest this week. Matt Drudge reports that Clinton internal polling shows up up 11 points.
Also, 20 percent say that if their choice is not the nominee they will support John McCain this fall. In this vein, Jed Babbin sees Obama as having a political glass jaw--he cannot take criticism well, as the debate showed. Babbin's piece also flagged the video (50 sec., the day after the debate) of Obama giving Hillary a barely-disguised finger over her debate attacks, which sent the pro-Obama crowd into a buzz.
Michael Barone paints a portrait of the Keystone State, which has, he writes, "punched below its weight" in presidential politics; its lone Oval Office occupant was James Buchanan, often tabbed as worst president of all (worse than Jimmy Oil?). The state has 7 percent of the population 50 years ago and was an industrial powerhouse; today, it has 4 percent, and is the grayest state after Florida. Western Penn symolizes the state's cultural conservatism--it is strongly Catholic; the affluent cities in the east symbolize its eocnomic liberalism. It remains the nation's sixth largest state, with 21 electoral votes (once, 1912-1928, it had 38). But it resembles 1950s America, and thus, Baone concludes, its value is limited to its 21 electoral votes. As the Keystone States goes, so goes...the Keystone State.
But have some fun at the end of this piece, and enjoy this YouTube audio of the Glenn Miller tune (with modern video clips and a modern orchestra--I couldn't find the GM version online).
Watching the joyous festivities at Yankee Stadium, and contrasting them with videos of Pastor Wright's venomous sermons and his approving congregation, explains why Barack Obama thinks rural denizens of Flyover America "cling" to their religion during hard times, nursing their resentments. Obama's depiction accurately describes the black "liberation" theology of his church, one that postulates racial resistance to oppression and fans the flames of popular anger. Such is the polar opposite of the love, beauty and pageantry shown in the Mass at St. Patrick's and the next day at Yankee Stadium. No wonder Obama does not get it.
Pope Benedict XVI made a grand impression in America last week, and was received respectfully, on the surface, in the UN General Assembly. George Weigel, author of a major biography on Benedict's superstar predecessor, lauds this Pope in a superb appraisal of this one's mission. Weigel sees the Pope setting in motion a grand dialogue between Christianity and Islam, noting that since the Pope's Sept. 12, 2006 Regensburg speech, which at the time sparked violent protest from militant Islamists, moderate Muslims have come forth to engage the Pope in dialogue. As for the UN, consider the nice reception obligatory obeisance to the address (English text begins p. 3) by a figure who, if dissed by the delegates, would win in the mind of Western public opinion. The UN dares much, but not attacking a widely revered figure. Justifying the reverence even non-Catholics give him, the Pope visited the Park East Synagogue in New York City--a first for the Papacy, and by a German Pope, no less. I marveled at the beautiful pageant that is Mass at St. Patrick's led by the Pope himself, listening to a top tenor sing Domine Deus in glorious voice. Sunday the Pope made these remarks at Ground Zero. "The House That Ruth Built," 85 years ago, now in its final season before demolition, hosted the final Mass. A House built by a Sultan (Babe was known as, among other nicknames, the Sultan of Swat) is brought towards its final curtain by a Pope.
In all, to this non-observing but admiring observer, Benedict XVI seems a worthy successor to the impossible-to-follow act that was John Paul II. And Benedict--Latin for "good say"--chose the right Papal name.
Angela Merkel won't send troops into Iraq, but her government is pressing is EU to accept more Christian refugees from Iraq. Under her predecessor, the revolting Gerhard Schroeder, Germany revoked the refugee status of the 70,000 Christians who had fled Saddam's Iraq, saying that after the coalition toppled Saddam there was no risk of persecutions (8,000 had been deported by last year). This was false, as this article details. The Iraqi government has not protected Christians from Muslim persecution. About 400,000 or Iraq's 800,000 Christians have fled. The irony is that the Christian community in Iraq has lived there since before the time of Muhammad and, hence, the birth of Islam. Their language is Aramaic, not Arabic. What makes their brutal mistreatment by George W. Bush's "Religion of Peace"--murder, destruction of property--all the more obscene is that virtually alone among religious groups in Iraq the Christians have refrained from participation in the ethnic wars. For their pacific, honorable behavior they are paying a cruel price. Whatever Europe declines to do for them, America should step forward and accept responsibility as a moral obligation, resettling them here if need be.
5 posts: (1) Fannie, Freddie & Us--"It's the Earth Stupid!"; (2) 2008 Culture War Milestone--The Home Front; (3) 2008's Racial Wild Card--The Home Front; (4) Great Quotes, and Great Lessons--Cyber-Serendip; (5) Mass Transit: Wheels Come Off in Barack's City--The Home Front.
The Wall Street Journal fingers the real financial peril to taxpayers from potential bailout guarantees. No, not Bear Stearns and the measly $29B at risk, a sum equal to about 2/10 of one percent of our $14 TR GDP. Nor capitalist buccaneer Wall Street, which, in toto, could cost taxpayers 3 percent of GDP--$400B. Rather, try Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plus other government-guarantee agencies, whose collective collapse would stick taxpayers with a bill equal to 10 percent of GDP--yes, about $1.4 TRILLION! And how did Congress deal with these risks? By reducing the capital requirements for the two FMs, and increasing their jumbo lending limit to $729,750.
Dan Henninger spots a turning point this past week, in the Culture War, famously declared by speakers at the 1992 Republican Convention. Despite being reviled by the Democrats and their media allies, and endlessly caricatured, values voters persevered, giving George Bush his win over John Kerry in 2004. Obama's backtracking from his San Francisco riff and Hillary's tossing a shot in a Pennsylvania bar do not mean they have deserted Bicoastal America for Flyover America. But they both recognize that Flyover Culture--its religiosity, its affinity for firearms, constitutes a political talisman before which they must genuflect, in the form of public respect, if not of policy. And that, as DH notes, is a major shift in American politics.
Journalist & author Harry Stein flags a hidden factor in the 2008 election: anti-race preferences measures that may be on as many as four state ballots this fall. Colorado is near-certain to have one, with Arizona, Missouri and Nebraska also quite possibly voting on their versions. These will turn out whites less likely to support Barack Obama. Needless to say, opponents are trying every underhanded tactic in the toolbox, including misrepresenting the measures, screaming racism, etc. and litigating to keep signatures below the threshold level by challenging everyone's John (or Jane) Hancock. Pro-preference forces already have succeeded in Oklahoma, which requires a high signature count in a short time (90 days); proponents met the total by a few thousand votes, but with 72 percent of signatures typically valid on petitions of this kind, and opponents prepared to challenge very signer, capitulation was inevitable. This occurred in a state where polls show 90 percent of residents opposing preferences.
Colorado & Missouri are potential swing states come the fall.
Check out these Great Quotes (3 min. video) sent me by an LFTC reader. My favorites: (1) "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." - Dr. Martin Luther King; (2) "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt; (3) "Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." - Albert Einstein; (4) "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again intelligently." - Henry Ford; (5) "If a man does his best, what else is there?" - George S. Patton; (6) "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt.
At the risk of appearing politically incorrect, the first three quotes should be absorbed by Barack Obama's race-obsessed, America-hating congregation (forget the present and former pastors there, as both are lost causes); racial grievances, victimization and presumed entitlement to eternal compensation (the perfect equality that allegedly will terminate compensation for racial discrimination will never come about in any imperfect society, which all human society is), all these are a prescription for perpetual failure. Henry Ford's contribution exemplifies the "can-do" spirit that makes American entrepreneurs the world's finest. The last pair strike a common theme, i.e., that the limits of human beings are no excuse for not trying to excel.
Oh, the Ronald Reagan quote is incomplete. His full quote, from the 1980 campaign, was: "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose your job; and a recovery is when President Carter loses his job."
Check out this article (despite poor color, this link word "article" is live) for how passengers self-evacuated a stuck subway train yesterday, at some risk to themselves. Details in the article will explain why they did so. There are 12 slides near the top, of which the last few hit home. Near the end of the article is a 40-second cellphone video underground, which is harrowing.
Big Mac needs to convince voters that he is not Alfred E. Neumann, taking a "What, me worry?" attitude. The good news is that Mac is not Alfie. The bad news is, that, to date, Mac has not provided voters with a serious, coherent package to digest for the fall campaign. Needless to say, he needs to do so.
Economist Richard Rahn excoriates Congress & the administration for passing the absurdly misnamed Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. EISA prohibits switching to shale oil and tar sand deposits in the US & Canada, because they increase carbon emission pollution. That we would thus reduce our dependence upon Mideast oil mattered not. Better than Saudis be pleased, than Al Gore be displeased.
Martin Sieff writes that Iraq still is a very dicey proposition. He adds a Churchillian lesson about starting wars with too much confidence. Both are fair points. But in attributing the war to hyper-idealism by a few "neos" he goes too far. The Iraq mess was a bipartisan decision. The Iraq Liberation Act, designating Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, was passed in 1998. Most senior Clinton administration officials, including the former president himself, backed the Bush administration's decision to go to war if Saddam continued to flout (as he did) relevant UN resolutions. Only 6 senators, according to Jay Rockefeller, who, as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, should know, bothered to review even the 90-page summary prepared by the intelligence community, which contained its reservations. Put another way, the Iraq war was not a "neo" sales job. Oh, BTW, Congress could have, but chose not to, stopped President Bush from bypassing the French permanent veto at the UN. Congress stayed silent.
Former UN Ambassador and nuclear non-proliferation star at State John Bolton flags Foggy Bottom's latest proposed cave-in, taking North Korea's "acknowledgment" and in effect, its word, as to the status of its nuke programs, rather than insisting on rigorous inspections. JB asks 43 to wake up before it is too late. So do the Wall Street Journal editors, who decry the limitation of the North's declaration to its plutonium program, exempting its enriched uranium program. Foggy Bottom fecklessness at its worst, and most dangerous.
Our Worst ex-President Ever, properly best described by borrowing "Putzhead" from Al D'Amato, Bret Stephens catches saying something even stupider than his norm. Jimmy Oil cut loose in Israel, as to how leaders in dictatorships represent the people, in contrast to problematic democracies, answering a question from an Israeli journalist who had observed that only Shimon Peres among Israel's leaders had met with Putzhead Numero Uno, and then only to reprimand him: "In a democracy, I realize you don't need to talk to the top leader to know how the country feels. When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that's the dictator, because he speaks for all the people."
Really, asks Stephens? Stephens lists human rights victims of tyrannical rule that Jimmy Oil will ignore while sucking up to Hamas. But do not get me wrong. I, alone among all Americans, am all for Jimmy Oil's trip--provided, that is, he stays over there with Hamas, until he meets his Maker.
Michael Barone captures the difference between younger voters and the rest of us: they cannot remember the horrors of 1970s stagflation. Riffing off James Carville's famous 1992 campaign slogan for Clinton, "It's the Economy Stupid!", Barone suggests that for today's Millennials "it's the economy, huh."
5 posts: (1) Iran: Bush Back-Channels Barack?--Weenie Watch; (2) Bookworms at the UN & a New NGO Watchdog--Turtle Bay Tortoise; (3) Obama's Pennsylvania "Oh My!" Come September--The Home Front; (4) Israel's Carter "Jimmys" Ours--Weenie Watch; (5) Congress's Confirmation Crash--The Home Front.
The Independent reports to my great distress, if it is true, that for five years--yes, five years--the US has been conducting clandestine back-channel negotiations with...Iran. Yes, that Iran. Yes, this administration, the Bush administration. As in Bush Junior. I guess 43's new national security adviser is Barack Obama. Here is a golden opening for Big Mac to distance himself from the Bush Iran policy.
Well, at the UN they may not yet have "beat their swords into plowshares" but they have, the Washington Post tells us, burnt nearly 100,000 books--as part of a history project, no less. Kudos to UNESCO! Savonarola has nothing on these non-local yokels. Untied Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, eh? How about United Nations Embracing, Spreading and Celebrating Orwelliamism?
On the good news front, take a peek at the Global Governance Watch website created by its co-sponsors, the American Enterprise Institute & the Federalist Society. This neat resource will be a massive database tracking four themes common to the UN and the hydra-headed Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) alliances that between them seek to undermine the governance by the democratic nation-state that protects Western constitutional freedoms. The four themes: (1) Development; (2) Global Regulation; (3) Human Security; (4) National Security.
Yesterday, AEI hosted a kick-off event, featuring former UN Ambassador John Bolton and, among others, Claudia Rosett, scourge of UN corruption scandals. Bolton stressed how NGOs increasingly use--well, abuse--the legal concept of ius cogens (Latin legalese for "compelling law"--see this Wikipedia for a nutshell article for lay readers) to impose, chiefly upon the United States, compliance obligations despite lack of treaty ratification. The idea is that by custom certain laws become universally binding. Except that whereas custom once meant decades, if not centuries, now certain treaties are adopted by 100+ countries and presto, they assert that America is bound by custom. Nice work if you can get it, eh?
Jennifer Rubin's witty "Stix Nix Obama's Pix" (riffing on the famous "Hix Nix Stix Pix" 1930s headline in Variety) recaps Obama's insulting sally at rural voters, and argues that it will resonate with voters come this fall. It puts paid to Obama's magic-carpet, above politics shtik once and for all. Noemie Emery adds historical perspective, harking back to Gary Hart's 1984 campaign. Adding insult to injury, Hillary likens Obama's elitism that that of John Kerry & Al Gore. Bill Kristol dredges up Karl Marx's put-downs of religion; not mentioned by him, but also pertinent, is Marx's "idiocy of rural life" zinger. And we learn from NRO about the "Obamamometer" his fellow students at Harvard Law used, charting Barack's serial suck-ups to professors ISO academic immortality. NRO's Lisa Schiffren sees confirmation that Obama's ostensible religiosity is faux in his denigration of rural churchgoers, and serves up a menu of Obama speeches and remarks, for those with the time and patience to troll through them.
Now hear this: While the Real Clear Politics averaged polls show Hill up by 7 (3/27 - 4/10 date range, Hill + 3 - Hill + 18 range), a new Pennsylvania poll by American Research Group shows Hill up by 20 points. Yes, 20 (57 - 37). Is this an outlier? ARG has been an outlier in the past. Maybe, but consider these points. First, the poll was taken 4/11-13, and thus more fully reflects Obama's goof than does any RCP poll to date. Second, ARG's three prior Pennsylvania polls were quite plausible estimates: Mar. 7 - 8, 52-41; Mar. 26 - 27, Hill 51-39; April 5 - 6, 45-45. So from even-up on a poll taken on the cusp of Obama's April 6 goof, ARG shows a 20-point swing. Obama may have compounded the damage yesterday, when he chided Hill for acting like Annie Oakley, and asked if his audience could picture Hill toting a six-gun in a duck blind. Fox anchor Shepard Smith, laughing, noted, that's the wrong gun for duck-hunting!) Serves him right for not asking Dick Cheney.
September will hold other surprises. On September 8, if trial schedule keeps, you-know-who's search "for the real killer" resumes in a Las Vegas courtroom, further racializing Obama by reminding white voters about a raial nullification verdict that showed a yawing gulf between the races, one that Obama no longer plausibly can bridge, thanks to his former pastor and his spouse. Then will come the Petraeus - Crocker tag team testimony, when Democrats will find overkill hard to resist as November looms. Finally, look for Michelle the Mouth to mouth off, probably during a friendly suck-up interview when her guard is down, about what she really thinks of America. The NRO article I cite above offers this forgotten gem from M-the-M:
Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
Think of Fred singing to Ginger those great Irving Berlin lyrics:
There may be trouble ahead
But while there's moonlight and music
And love and romance
Let's face the music and dance
If Barack & Michelle do not make better "moonlight and music" with rural white voters, the "trouble ahead" will be Big Mac in the White House (unless, says George Will , former GOP Congressman Bob Barr, running on the Libertarian Party ticket, does for Big Mac what Ralph Nader did for Gore in 2000). Ominously for Barack, Andrew Breitbart told Fox that Oprah's approval number has fallen from 74 to 55 percent! And as Jed Babbin writes that with Mr. Bill as Hill's perpetual albatross, her road to 1600 Pennsylvania (Barack, that's the house, not the state!) is far from clear, should she somehow become the Donkey nominee.
Israel has taken the unprecedented step of refusing security protection during the visit of Global Pest-in-Chief Jimmy Carter. This "Jimmying"--call it a term for failing to offer security when needed, as Carter failed to do for four years while President--is reasonable, as Carter has not only done much to try to undermine Israel's security, but also, last year, published a book in which, among other things, he accused Israel of policies towards the Palestinians worse than Rwandan genocide. The 1994 genocide saw 800,000 Africans killed in 90 days. If Israel killed 800 Palestinians in 90 days the world would go ape. Jimmy Oil's statement amounts to a diplomatic blood-libel against Israel and the Jews, a falsification worthy of Nazi propaganda. Not that Carter is actually a Nazi. It is simply that his nuclear engineer mind is too dense to grasp even elementary differences--vast ones--between genocide and Israel's policies toward the Palestinians. Thus, even Ehud Olmert, Israel's Jimmy Carter if you ask me, decided that protecting Jimmy Oil was asking too much.
Of Jimmy, the best line about him came from the late Frank Sinatra. Shortly after Carter became President (Jan. 1977), Ol' Blue Eyes appeared on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" for the first time in nearly a decade. Carson was in full "bow & scrape to Chairman of the Board Frank" mode, effusively thanking Frank for finally coming back to the show. To which Sinatra replied, without missing a beat, that he had promised Carson, after his last appearance, that he wold come back on Carson's show "when America elected a peanut farmer president."
Wall Street Journal politics maven John Fund tallies myriad vacancies at key agencies, because Democrats in Congress would rather have nobody than confirm Bush appointees. The situation is even worse in the courts. The confirmation process is broken. Here's how to fix it: (1) Limit hearings to senior posts and all judges; (2) limit committee hearings to review & recommendation, without the prerogative to deny a timely floor vote; (3) require a vote within 90 days, with one extension of 30 days if 2/3 of the Senate so authorizes. Administrations could get their lineup in place within the first 100 days, and replace as needed. The catch: Find a Senate willing to surrender part of its senatorial prerogatives. Oh well, it was a nice thought.
5 posts: (1) Iraq: American Heroes--The Home Front; (2) Deterrence: States, Groups & Nuclear Terrorism--The Home Front; (3) An Earmark for Al-Qaeda & Osama--The Home Front; (4) "Fitna": A Fit for Dutch - Muslim Dialogue--Weenie Watch; (5) Islamic Terror & China--Us v. Them.
Ex-Special Forces soldier Lt. Col. Roger Carstens salutes three American heroes: Gen. Petraeus, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and, above all, Navy SEAL MA2 Mike Mansoor. The exchange Carstens presents between Gen. Petraeus & Rep.Wexler, on what constitutes victory in Iraq, is a classic. But it is Mike Mansoor, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade to save his comrades, who shines brightest. Watch the 10-minute photo gallery at the Navy's Seal website. Michael Fumento pays tribute to Mansoor, whom he encountered during an "embed" stint in Iraq. He recounts other heroic deeds by Mansoor, including saving one fellow SEAL's life, for which Mansoor won a Silver Star. In all, Mansoor's unit has been awarded 11 Silver Stars, the most for any unit since Vietnam.
All four American servicemen who have won the Medal since 9/11 did so by giving their lives to save comrades (the other 3: Paul Smith & Jason Dunham in Iraq, and Mike Murphy in Afghanistan). The pictures could be scenes from a million lives, but how many of those others could have done what Mike Mansoor did? Surely not I. His sacrifice is all the more poignant for our knowing that Mike Mansoor, as the photos show, loved life, family & friends. His death was not that of the fanatical, brainwashed (by others, or self-induced) suicide-bomber zombie pumped up with insane visions of 72 virgins in Paradise, but that of a man in a rare youthful full maturity, a man who knew the true value of what he was giving up.
Mike Mansoor's noble deed showed in sharp relief the difference between the sacrifice borne of courage and loyalty, from the suicide of the fanatic. Fanaticism is not a synonym for courage. Those trained to worship death deny, in doing so, the supreme, irreplaceable value of what they give up. And their sacrifice is delusional, driven by false visions of a pseudo-grandeur. Mike Mansoor, by contrast, knew fully the supreme value of the life he cherished, and of the years awaiting him if he returned home. He gave up all that for the love of his comrades. His was an act of courage supreme, performed with full realization of the consequences. Mike Mansoor was a soldier and warrior, whose memory civilized people must honor forever.
Charles Krauthammer writes that action against Iran has stalled at the level of tepid sanctions at the UN (despite the UN inspectors finding that, contrary to the US intel finding last fall, Iran worked after 2003 on multi-point detonation, a technique for triggering nukes, and that into 2004 Iran worked on warhead design--after the 2003 date US intel says such work stopped). With no meaningful prospect that a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities before President Bush leaves office, a doctrine of deterrence against messianic religious Iranian mullahs must be developed. CK suggests that a 37-word doctrine be proclaimed:
It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear attack upon Israel by Iran, or originating in Iran, as an attack by Iran on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon Iran.
CK adds that as a codicil, the US add a Holocaust Declaration: As a beacon of tolerance and as leader of the free world, the United States will not permit a second Holocaust to be perpetrated upon the Jewish people.
It is better than nothing, to be sure. Were a president to propose this, expect Foggy Bottom to scream "Foul!" on behalf of its Arab clients.
Not that the administration has been silent. Last February 8, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley gave a speech laying out a doctrine of deterrence for non-state actors who aid and abet, or simply fail to exercise due care to stop, nuclear terrorism against the United States. After reporting on progress made in securing nuclear material (details below), Hadley stated:
As many of you know, the United States has made clear for many years that it reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force to the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, our people, our forces and our friends and allies. Additionally, the United States will hold any state, terrorist group, or other non-state actor fully accountable for supporting or enabling terrorist efforts to obtain or use weapons of mass destruction, whether by facilitating, financing, or providing expertise or safe haven for such efforts.
Writing in the Weekly Standard, Elbridge Colby interprets to encompass negligence on the part of intermediaries. Colby argues: that "enabling" encompasses negligence, and notes that already there are stringent liability standards applied as to quarantines, third-party tort cases and under European "Good Samaritan" laws. Colby concludes that "catastrophic terrorism is a threat that both justifies and requires a more exacting standard of behavior. When the consequences are so grave and traditional approaches so insufficient, society may reasonably call for higher standards of behavior."
I doubt that Hadley intended enabling to include mere negligence, despite the logic underlying Colby's argument. But under Hadley's doctrine we could tell the Pakistanis (perhaps already we have) that if anything traceable to A. Q. Khan's nuclear network winds up detonating in an American city, Pakistan will answer for it. That might motivate the Pakistanis to make sure Khan has told them, and they pass on to us, everything. Pakistan, y aiding Khan's efforts and deceiving the West, can legitimately be made an insurer that the technology it helped spread does not enable a WMD attack on America's homeland.
As to nuclear security efforts, according to Hadley there has been much progress: (1) US nuclear warheads, at 3,800, are at their lowest level since the Eisenhower administration, with a goal of the US and Russia reducing their arsenals to 1,700 - 20000 warheads by 2012; (2) during the Bush years, the amount of weapons grade nuclear material (uranium and plutonium) retired coud have been used to make 22,000 nuclear bombs; (3) about 20 percent of US commercial electric power comes from nuclear power, with half that powered by fuel scrapped from Russia; (4) per the Bratislava Initiative, the US & Russia have upgraded security at 85 percent of Russian nuclear sites; (5) the US has converted 51 reactors in 29 countries from highly-enriched to low-enriched uranium, suitable for commercial use only; (6) secured more than 600 sites that together have enough radioactive material to make 9,000 "dirty bombs"; (7) 85 nations have signed on to John Bolton's Proliferation Security Initiative; (8) the G8 Global Partnership Initiative has, since 2002, led to dismantling of Russian nuclear submarines and destruction of chemical weapons. All in all, not such a bad record.
But author & academic James Kurth warns that deterrence ultimately will have to be "defined down" to deal with sub-national groups like al-Qaeda. Kurth believes that Iran can be deterred as readily as was the Soviet Union, because it has territory, people and vast assets (natural resources, etc.) to protect from nuclear retaliation. Kurth believes we may need to target deterrence at specific tribal groups, like the Pashtuns, who are sheltering al-Qaeda in Waziristan and Citral (in NW Pakistan). Kurth also sees India as a possible lever to use if Pakistan becomes an Islamist failed state.
The utility of tribal-level deterrence seems a slender reed on which to bet our future security.
Frederick Kagan assesses the Afghanistan-Pakistan border challenge as to getting senior al-Qaeda HVTs (high-value targets). Top HVTs reside in Waziristan, in the Federally Administered Tribal areas (FATAs), and in Chitral, on the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Both lie on the Pakistani side of the 1893 Durand Line that bisects Pashtun territory. Sending troops to Afghanistan does zero for nailing HVTs on the far side of the Durand Line. Kagan argues that Afghanistan is not in dire straits, despite resurgent Taliban, and that the prime objective is to secure elections set for 2009. Congress can help, he writes, by passing the supplemental defense appropriations bill, sending funds to our forces inside Afghanistan. Those funds can buy friends. Kagan informs us that American soldiers often say that dollars are their best bullets.
So here is a proposal: With Afghan GDP around $5 billion, send half that amount as bribe money. Take the $2.5 billion from the approximately $25 billion in annual earmarks members of Congress toss to their constituents. Instead of funding a bridge to nowhere for $225 million, trim earmarks by 10 percent and send the funds to our soldiers to buy Afghan allies. That still leaves plenty of dough to bribe your constituents into voting to re-elect incumbents. Alas, do not hold your breath.
Yet author Steve Coll, whose Ghost Wars is a classic recounting of the Afghan & Pakistan stories from the late 1970s to 9/11, argues that the next two years will afford us the best opportunity since 2001 to kill Osama bin Laden. Coll attributes this prospect to a combination of political changes in the two Asian countries--more democracy--and also to al-Qaeda's depredations in the region undermining its local welcome. Coll cites polling data showing that in the North West Frontier region of Pakistan, al-Qaeda's support has fallen to single digits, due to hundreds of locals having been killed.
Coll says that Bush administration policies of solid support for Musharraf and $10 billion aid sent to Pakistani military and intelligence services created perverse incentives for the Pakistanis to perpetuate the crisis so they could continue to receive massive aid. The newly democratic political equation in Pakistan, whose new roving ambassador-at-large, the strongly pro-American Hassan al-Haqqani, knows that the Bush administration is skeptical that a democratically governed Pakistan will better fight Islamist terrorism than did Musharraf. Coll says that thus the new rulers have a major incentive to prove their thesis, that a democracy will fight terrorism more vigorously than a dictatorship.
Dutch Parliament Member Geert Wilders has scored a ten-strike with his 15-minute film, "Fitna" (Arabic for "strife"): Far from engendering riots, the film has sparked constructive dialogue. The Wall Street Journal suggests that the reason for this is that "Fitna" does not satirize the Islamic religion. It presents Quranic verses, juxtaposed with terror scenes. Militants are not offended by this, as it accurately portrays their view of the Quran's commands. Muslim moderates are offended, but when they respond, they do so like moderates: they criticize, instead of launching terrorist attacks or starting riots. And moderate Muslims also criticize the jihadists. A "win-win" for free debate in the Netherlands.
Author Janet Levy examines a little-watched Islamist terrorist conflict, inside China's Xingjiang province, home to 30 million Muslim Uighurs. Her 7-pager is highly informative. As she notes, It is hard to be sympathetic to China,, whose thuggish government brutally represses Tibetans. But Islamist jihadists are also not cuddly. Her article is well worth a read.
Here is the text of President Bush's Iraq address yesterday, plus a companion fact sheet released by the White House. Yesterday I had a long conversation with a Brit friend who served a year in Iraq working for the feckless (he agreed) Coalition Provisional Authority, plus served many tours in the British military. I ran by him my "Brits made deals with local mafias,thus abandoning the locals" complaint re Basra. My friend answered that yes, the Brits did, just as in Northern Ireland, make such deals. They were, he explained, simply necessary, and did not constitute abandoning the locals to the mercies (not tender) of the mafias. Rather, the Brits would tell mafia leaders: "You get this much power, and this much money; you do not do the following, and if you do we will crush you." Practical advice from an experienced hand. And my apologies to the Brits, stalwart soldiers always.
Michael Baron looks at Obama - Hill and sees deep tribal divisions. He presents numbers among various voter groups that show a sharper polarization within Democratic ranks than in any election he can remember. Whites are 53-39 for Hill, blacks 80-17 for Obama, Latinos 58-39 Hill, Asians 71-25 Hill. Academics huge for Obama, and public employees union members too--thus Obama carried most state capitols. Youth for Barack, elderly for Hill. Upscale voters for Obama, poorer ones for Hill, reflecting her appeal to what Barone terms Jacksonian voters: fighters who admire a fighter, and despise anyone who attacks their family or country (as Obama's former--and present--pastor did). These divisions could lead many of the losing candidate's group to stay home, or, for Jacksonians, to vote for Big Mac.
NRO's Jonah Goldberg doubts the tribal war will cause many Democrats neuralgic about GOP foreign policy to stay home, but sees Hill's attacks on Obama inoculating Big Mac from charges of racism or vast right-wing conspiracies, as Big Mac need go no further in criticizing Obama than Hill has already gone.