July 26th, 2008

Obama’s vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself

I wonder whether Obama’s triumphal world tour isn’t going to backfire on him at home.

If you read between the lines, it’s possible to come to the conclusion that the McCain campaign isn’t really comatose—or that it’s comatose like a fox (lousy metaphor, I know). McCain may be giving the Obama campaign just enough rope to hang itself with the force of its overwhelming ambition.

How do lines like Obama’s “People of Berlin, people of the world, this is our moment. This is our time” play in the real or the proverbial Peoria? As communication professor Linda Hobgood says:

To get that crowd size and those backdrops … it does give you pause. Who is he appealing to who is not going to vote for him already? Which voters will come over to him by virtue of this moment, by virtue of this speech situation? To tell you the truth, I can’t come up with too many.

Neither can I. And he might even lose some, if this commenter is at all typical:

I actually am beginning to think that McCain’s campaign may be playing this just right. I get the sense that Obama’s european tour will actually do 2 things – (1) cause McCain’s base to rally and (2) cause a backlash amongst the vast middle.

For example, I have never been a huge fan of McCain’s and have been toying with the idea of not voting. I certainly never thought I would ever donate a red cent to his campaign.

I was so disgusted by Obama’s speech in Berlin and the arrogance and implicit anti-americanism of it, not to mention the extreme leftism implied in everything he said, and of course the media’s ridiculous campaigning on Obama’s behalf, that I actually went to McCain’s web-site today and donated $100. I also signed up to (potentially) do some volunteer work.

If I am even remotely representative of conservatives, McCain’s base just became enthusiastic – not necessarily for McCain, but for defeating Obama.

Also, the “water-cooler” talk I have been hearing from wishy-centrists is that they are put off by Obama’s European tour and the media’s fawning over him.

So, I would not be surprised if at the end of this campaign people are pointing fingers at this European trip as the moment when Obama lost the presidency.

When John McCain suggested Obama might want to take a look for himself at Iraq and what’s been going on there in the last couple of years, no doubt he imagined that it would be a typical fact-finding visit rather than the initial leg of a worldwide campaign tour: photo-ops with the troops, rather than addresses to adoring crowds of 200,000 in Germany. McCain can be forgiven for not having foreseen that Obama would take his bait “with vigor” (and then some)—to use a Kennedyesque phrase, but with hindsight Obama’s reaction comes as no surprise. He seems unable to resist the temptation to showboat to the world, and the idea that prematurely claiming the mantle of the Presidency without earning it could be the sort of “audacity” that people in this country would find offputting is one that Obama apparently never entertained.

But egomaniacs can be like that.

One of Obama’s most salient characteristics has been an extremely impatient ambition. He has rarely stayed long in any one job before beginning to set his sights on the next—the Illinois Senate being the sole exception, and it’s not really a good example because he did try a run for US Congress after one term, only staying in the Illinois Senate for a second go-round because that bid failed (his only political defeat to date).

Obama’s “citizen of the world” rhetoric would go over well if he were running for President of the EU (or, to be technical, of the European Commission), or for Secretary General of the UN. But he’s not—at least, not yet. Of course there remains the distinct possibility that Obama is planning his post-Presidential career before he’s even elected President, which would be in line with his previous job moves, always one step ahead of himself.

Otherwise, I’m not so sure it’s wise. To many US voters—and not all of them dyed-in-the-wool conservatives, either—Obama’s remarks and demeanor strike a warning note that the McCain campaign has attempted to exploit with contrasts to McCain’s “country first” message. One doesn’t have to be an isolationist to think that Obama focuses too much on what Europe and the world may think of us, and to be worried that his emphasis is wrong—especially for a man who has barely made any sort of mark on the world stage other than a series of photo-ops.

[NOTE: If you're not familiar with the origin of the title quote, it's here.]

[ADDENDUM: Susan Estrich seems to get the idea. And here's another comment of interest.]

46 Responses to “Obama’s vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself”

  1. Tim P Says:

    Neo,

    This whole attempt at making Obama appear to be some sort of international statesman strikes me as yet another act in the vast Obama Campaigm/MSM conspiracy to convince the American public that his presidency is inevitable.

    This along with trying to strangle McCain by giving him little and mostly negative coverage will, in their minds;
    a) convince those who are on the fence, that he really is the only choice
    b) keep many who do not like Obama, but are not enthusiastic about McCain either, from voting

    I hope that you are right and this backfires. This man is an empty suit. The Brittany Spears of national politics. All celebrity hype with no accomplishment.

    Come to think of it, to get an enthusiastic crowd of that size, the Annointed One would have to go to Europe because what he is trying to sell to us is progressive trans-nationalism, which has already been bought in Europe. And nothing makes the miserable happier than dragging others down to their level.

  2. harry McHitlerburtonstein the COnservative Extremist Says:

    I have this mental image of a “progressive” world traveler being hauled off to a dank dark prison in Syria: “You can’t do this to me! Im a citizen of the world!!”

    As far as neo’s wishful musing that “the Maverick” may just be “comatose like a fox”, that dude must be pretty crafty indeed, cause he’s got me completely fooled. He seems a bit more livelier than Bob Dole.

    I, for one, would not lay all my hopes on Obama’s campaign falling apart on its own.

  3. David L. Says:

    While I share Neo’s hope that Obama’s obvious hubris will bring electoral nemesis upon him, we’ve got to realize it hasn’t happened yet. Even his snub to the wounded troops of Landstuhl and clumsy attempt to lay blame for this on the military has not yet brought voter repudiation. Rather, Obama received small “bounces” in the daily tracking polls and now leads McCain by 5-6 points in both the Rasmussen and Gallup daily polls.

    To misquote, Obama is following a strategy of “seem what you wish to be,” and part of the whole “inevitability” meme is to make it appear unwise, even dangerous, to refuse the Presidency to someone who is already being treated as if he were President. The strategy of paying out rope to Obama will have to be replaced by active campaigning in the relatively near future, lest those who are properly doubtful about Obama’s fitness for office grow dispirited.

  4. Fred Says:

    “comatose like a fox (lousy metaphor, I know)”

    It’s not a lousy metaphor!

    It’s a lousy simile!

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Not so fast, Fred!

    This is the way I learned it:

    However, some describe similes as simply a specific type of metaphor (see Joseph Kelly’s The Seagull Reader (2005), pages 377-379). Most dictionary definitions of both metaphor and simile support the classification of similes as a type of metaphor, and historically it appears the two terms were used essentially as synonyms.

  6. Jimmy J. Says:

    Obama managed to educate his future underlings as to what kind of boss he’ll be. I’m referring, of course, to our military men and women. The number one job of the POTUS is as C-in-C of the Armed Forces. His visits to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany, managed to diss those who will be leading if elected. The feedback from the troops is limited because of their legal obligation to not get involved in open politics. Some, however, are speaking out. See here: http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/07/more-witness-em.html#comments

    Then there’s the failure to visit wounded soldiers. My guess is had it been W or McCain, they both would have visited those wounded warriors justbecause that is what they do. Any member of government should take any opportunity to visit and thank these people for their sacrifices. It is the right thing to do.

    Obama does not seem to understand that the job he is running for is C-in-C of the Armed Forces. The least he could do is try to get to know his future employees.

  7. Terrye Says:

    It is hard to blame McCain for the fact that the media just ignores him. We have seen this before. It is as if they have forgotten who George Bush even is.

  8. Sergey Says:

    This collective psychosis smacks Germany 1936. That is strange, because if USA economy is sick, it is nowhere close to real wreck.

  9. Vince P Says:

    Sergey Says:

    July 26th, 2008 at 3:15 pm
    This collective psychosis smacks Germany 1936. That is strange, because if USA economy is sick, it is nowhere close to real wreck.

    Give Congress a little more time, they are working on it.

  10. Maquis Says:

    “To get that crowd size…”

    It helps to have two rock concerts there immediately prior. Too bad that part’s not being reported.

  11. SteveH Says:

    The Obama team obviously doesn’t have a person on board to remind them somethings not quite right with a more successful nation being asked to emulate and follow a less successful nation.

    I for one and glad they don’t get it.

  12. a Says:

    “This whole attempt at making Obama appear to be some sort of international statesman strikes me as yet another act in the vast Obama Campaigm/MSM conspiracy to convince the American public that his presidency is inevitable.”

    Yes. It’s called a “campaign”.

  13. expat Says:

    Merkel has given a vigrous no to BO’s request for more troops and aid in Afghanistan. This is interesting because Germany has apparently enlarged its rules of engagement for Afhanistan and is watiing for parliamentary approval of 1,000 more troops. It is also trying to finesse approval for German-manned recon planes that are part of the NATO troops. These things are strongly opposed by many who will try to unseat her next year. I suspect she is as unhappy over BO’s togh guy stance on this as she was over the Brandeburg Gate photo op BO was willing to give her rivals. Merkel is also trying to get more robust involvement in patrolling Somalia’s coast by making this activity part of an EU mandate.

    For all those who are wowed by BÖ’s popularity in Europe and the turnout for his speech, a major study was released on Friday about students’ knowledge of GDR history. High numbers (especially in Berlin and neighboring Brandenburg) thought that the Stasi was OK, that Adenauer and Willy Brandt were GDR politicians and that the Berlin Wall was built by either West Germay or the allies. It makes you wonder how many in that huge audience saw BO’s many wall references as mea culpas.

    All of the papers seem disgusted by the curriculum that permits such ignorance of recent history. So while our education system is not good, we can’t look to Germany as a place of total enlightenment.

  14. expat Says:

    Sorry for all the typos, but I think you can understand what I was rtying to say.

  15. ~Paules Says:

    I contnue to see in leftist comment threads the statement “when Obama becomes president,” but I rarely see the same statement beginning with “if.” The same people seem to think that attitude trumps reason and logic in debate. Their writing displays numerous errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. They are the pseudo-educated youth of this country. I can understand the arrogance because I know the coddled, spoiled, and entitled voice of youth. I’m a high school teacher; I deal with it everyday.

    Susan Estrich (she with a voice made for print media) is the voice of maturity in this debate. The adults within Obama’s campaign organization should listen to her, but I doubt this is the case. Maturity seems to be in short supply. Arrogance and lack of caution carry an intrinsic propensity to crash and burn. All it takes is the right (or wrong) combination of circumstances. This is the Obama destiny; the only question is when.

    The Obama campaign began with his “Yes, we can” video. I was awed when I first saw it. Powerful stuff. Except that I didn’t recognize, could not identify, even one celebrity in the clip. It wasn’t directed at my demographic group, but it certainly rallied the idealistic and the young. Except that Obama is no idealist. He’s a user. My adult cynicism innoculated me against the virus, but the young have not suffered the hard knocks that might offer some immunity. They are thoroughly infected. Well, I was the same way in my youth. I cast my first presidential vote for Carter.

    The problem for Obama is that he’s swallowed his own hype. Of course, he’s so deep in the tank for himself that he doesn’t recognize it. He believes in his own invincibility. It’s hubris grown so large that it has become a tumor. The man is diseased. His brain no longer functions in the realm of rational calculation. He suffers now from self-induced dementia. Well, there’s another runner in this race and her name is Nemesis.

    I have, despite my cynicism, a great belief in the common sense of average Americans. We tend to be a nation of somnabulists until it comes to crunch time. The dream candidate will be repudiated when America finally wakes up. Obama’s ship is destined for the rocks. Hopefully, we’ll see it on election day, and not during his presidency.

    God save the republic!

  16. Vince P Says:

    It’s always been a farcical notion of Democrats and the Left that Europe has all these thousands of troops that they’re just dying to contribute to NATO effort in Afghanistan EXCEPT for the fact that they’re upset with Bush and so they’re withholding.

    And upon the election of a multilateralist Democrat pussy President, that Luxemborg troops will be occupying Falujah.

  17. Perfected democrat Says:

    “I have, despite my cynicism, a great belief in the common sense of average Americans.”

    I completed jury duty yesterday, the 5th or 6th time I’ve been called, the third time seated on a jury for trial (the second time it was “plea bargained” as the trial was about to start, so this was the second time of which I’ve had to sit thru deliberations on a jury. It is the second time I’ve witnessed an incredible lapse of “common sense” on a jury, but this time, it was a case concerning incredible life and death gravity (gang banger wielding a glock, where it was only a small miracle that a policeman and/or victims weren’t shot), and by about half the jury, very typical Americans in that microcosm. I was struck by how similar many of the comments and the “thinking” was similar in flavor to the democrats style these days; Ignoring the most straight-forward, important, and obvious facts and context of events, while engaging in vague speculation, otherwise, which in this case, could only be aimed at exonerating a very dangerous criminal; Obviously confusing notions of “benefit of the doubt” with reasonable doubt, obfuscating the clear evidence and testimony in the process of “maybe” this or that… It took several hours (could have been much worse actually) to convince half the jury to admit to what was in reality very clear evidence, and straight forward legal instructions from the court concerning the deliberations. My point here is that in this coming election way too many people are dealing from a very shallow perspective, largely uninformed and disinterested in reality, and it’s going to take a very active and agressive campaign to “beat” some common sense into many average voters, and even then the hard-core left from top to bottom are only concerned about winning the election, the consequences aren’t at all real to this group that essentially think as the left-wing is notorious for, as feel-good, mass demonstration participants, garden variety simpletons…

  18. Vince P Says:

    Paules: I dont know how old you are. i’m assuming you’re young’ish. You may apprecaite this transcript of a call Rush Limbaugh took on his radio show:

    BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

    RUSH: This is Chelsea. Chelsea, thank you for waiting. I’m glad you called. You are on the EIB Network.

    CALLER: Thank you for taking my call. First of all, I want to say thank you so much for taking this slot out because without your show I wouldn’t have been who I am today. I want to, if I may, talk a little bit. I’m 19 years old. I started off at the beginning of the year as an Obama supporter unfortunately and I voted for him in the primaries. I’m registered independent. And I realized the more I spoke about and repeated what he was saying, the more people hated me, and it’s interesting because it is in California and we’re so liberal out here. But I just started sounding really ignorant and I —

    RUSH: Give me an example, Chelsea. What would you say in repeating Obama that — and who, what people? Your peers? Your friends?

    CALLER: Well, my parents. And my dad, he’s an Obama supporter and we don’t talk politics anymore because now I’m a McCain supporter.

    RUSH: Amazing.

    CALLER: And I’m thoroughly convinced that if Obama becomes president we’re pretty much doomed. And my question to you throughout all this — and hopefully you can answer at the end — is what can I do? I would do anything to gain support for McCain. Like, I fear a little bit about all the hype that Obama has been getting and all the media and all that. But then it’s starting to sound and look like — and forgive me because I am young — but Britney Spears and her whole tragedy of just being in the spotlight and being so put out there. And the more she was, the more insane she became and —

    RUSH: See, I think you’re on to something. I’m really grateful to have your perception of this as a 19-year-old because you’re imbued in the very pop culture that the Obama campaign’s trying to reach. You’re in that demographic.

    CALLER: It’s sickening.

    RUSH: So this is looking like the Britney Spears show to you minus the meltdowns.

    CALLER: Yes. I mean, going to other countries trying to be all sweet and just sounding retarded. Everything he’s saying just sounds bland and he’s basically saying nothing. I was actually watching The Verdict last night and I saw the little snippet of what they — was that his entire speech that was on, the little, like, maybe five minutes that he spoke to everyone in Germany? Or was it actually longer than that?

    RUSH: No, it was 27 minutes.

    CALLER: Oh, okay. Well, he basically said nothing, and I was very disappointed. I mean, I’m not disappointed. It’s more expected now. He sounds like, when I hear him on the radio or when you guys play snippets, it’s just annoying. It’s just the most annoying voice I’ve ever heard and it seems like he’s trying to be Martin Luther King or something.

    RUSH: Wait a second, wait a second. I’ve got to understand a timeline here because —

    CALLER: Okay.

    RUSH: Because you’re 19. And back at the turn of the century, at the beginning of the year you were all gung-ho for this guy and you’ve done more than a 180. You have a visceral dislike. What happened?

    CALLER: Well, I was actually at Gay Pride in Long Beach and I met someone on the street from Chicago who’s a conservative and he was not there for Pride obviously. But he was speaking to me and that’s when I started repeating the things, we started talking politics because I’m a political science major and he is, but he’s much older. And I was saying change every second and how we need something new, we need something fresh.

    RUSH: We need to change things so Obama won’t leave us unchanged, things like that. Like the past is so yesterday.

    CALLER: Yes, exactly. And he questioned everything I said and he —

    RUSH: Okay. So wait a minute now, Chelsea. I’m trying to get a mental picture here.

    CALLER: Okay.

    RUSH: You are at a Gay Pride event in Long Beach.

    CALLER: Yes.

    RUSH: How much older is he than you?

    CALLER: He’s, I think, four years older than me.

    RUSH: Ancient. You’re 19; he’s 23.

    CALLER: He was visiting from Chicago and he was lost.

    RUSH: That was the next question. You said he had no pride, meaning he’s accidentally at the Gay Pride event where you were.

    CALLER: Yes. And he was like so lost and I’m into talking to people. I would talk to anyone and I would cheer and do whatever if it’s about truth. If it’s not, then I obviously question myself. And that’s what’s happening.

    RUSH: So this answers my first question. It was a 23-year-old conservative from Chicago who started throwing your words and praise for Obama back at you and you realized how stupid you sounded.

    CALLER: Exactly. I’m not that person. I, like you, value honesty, I value integrity and so what I did was, as an Obama supporter at that point, I wanted to go — he was holding a photo shoot/public thing where you could come and he would answer some questions, probably two from the audience and hundreds from reporters, and I wasn’t allowed in because I wasn’t Asian, African-American or white over 52.

    RUSH: Yeah, I heard about those, I heard about the way they were stacking the audience. They do that. Every campaign does that. Time is running out. I need to ask you a question. You asked me earlier a moment ago what you could do to support McCain because you are really worried about your future if Obama wins.

    CALLER: Oh, yeah. I will move out of the country.

    RUSH: No, no, no. No, don’t do that.

    CALLER: Okay.

    RUSH: We’re going to need people like you to reverse some of this. This is dead serious stuff. Is there anything about McCain you like?

    CALLER: I love him. First of all, he’s admirable, I’m so glad I said that word right. I mean, the things that he’s been through and the fact, I mean, he said it himself, he would rather win — and he’s got a lot wrath for this — but he would rather win a war than win an election. He cares about people. And I saw when Obama was talking about, he was trying to explain that comment that McCain made about him not caring about his daughters and his family. And I don’t think he cares about the country. I think he is all about the glamour and the glitz. And once he becomes president and he’s sitting in that office, he is not going to know what to do. He’s going to be so confused.

    RUSH: Well, he doesn’t know what to do now. Somebody’s running this campaign. Somebody’s writing his speeches, putting words in his mouth. He’s wandering around aimlessly now as The Messiah. Look, Chelsea, this has been fabulous. I wish I had more time but I’m stuck here in the constraints of time with our program.

    CALLER: I mean, I can write you an e-mail, right?

    RUSH: Yeah, you can, absolutely. ElRushbo@EIBnet.com.

    CALLER: I will do it.

    RUSH: All right. I look forward to seeing it.

    CALLER: Okay. Thank you so much.

    RUSH: You bet. Thank you. I was believing everything I was hearing until the last 30 seconds and then I got to go.

    BREAK TRANSCRIPT

    RUSH: A very interesting observation from 19-year-old Chelsea in Hollywood. She’s watching this Obama show, the disciples and The Messiah, she says, “I feel like I’m watching Britney Spears.” What does she mean by that? Not that Obama’s Britney Spears but that it’s just a spectator event. It’s media just forcing things on people. I got a couple of e-mails from people, “Rush, why is Sarkozy going out of his way to be nice and greet Obama?” Very simple. The media circus. He’s a politician. Stagecraft. He will gladly get all this attention and accept all this attention that the worldwide media is focusing on him, what, with Obama in town. Doesn’t mean anything. Refuse to see him, he can’t do that. So it all makes sense. None of this is anything to worry about, ladies and gentlemen.

    END TRANSCRIPT

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_072508/content/01125116.member.html

  19. Vince P Says:

    Perfected democrat: I had to do jury duty once.

    Nothing destroyed my confidence in the court system then being a jury. It was a stupid car accident case.. but all fact and logic.. right out the window.

    I was appaled and sickened.

  20. Perfected democrat Says:

    Vince, the dims can’t complain anymore, GW seems to be largely capitulating on way too much these days. When you survey the Israeli political scene, it is almost surreal under the circumstances. The left here, there, and in europe, has absolutely sold out common sense and responsibility. With 40,000 rockets/missiles now compiled by the hezbos, the scene is being set for an immense tragedy there, and everywhere else, in the not too distant future.

  21. ~Paules Says:

    Vince P,

    You assume I am young (or “youngish” as you put it)? You need to apply yourself to a little close reading before you comment. I stated explicitly that my first vote was for Carter. Do the math. If you read with care, you might detect a writer who is very careful about word choice. Pithy prose packs punch. Wasted words go wanting. The combination of insight and alliteration appeals to writers. Neo understands. She crafts her essays with care. I want to date her so we can wine about E.B. White and William Strunk. Yeah, the pun is fully intended.

    Vince, I respect your opinions. Apparently, I also respect the opinions of average Americans more than you do. Average attitudes distill over time into something we call a republic. Think about it. A republic can only exist when voters are engaged enough to make an informed choice. Yes, I understand that stupidity abounds. But we are 230 years into the experiment and it hasn’t failed yet. God save the republic.

    I’ll put my neck on the line to prove my point. If Neo is single (I am), she’ll take a date in Santa Fe with an unknown gentleman. Assuming, of course, that we can both find the time. Bets? Anyone?

  22. strcpy Says:

    I’ve said for a while now that Obama can not win the election, McCain can only loose it. Neither side seems to realize this at all.

    We see what Obama does as he tries to win the presidency and it is … pitiful. Even his supporters are going through some really strange mental gyrations to make him sound good. You can not look at *anything* he says as what he says, you have to “interpret” it based on the current mood and what reality ends up being. That and apparently being tired excuses things like 57 states and 8 to 10 years as president (as bad as Bush’s gaffes are those are worse).

    McCain is doing exactly what he needs to too loose the election. I guess it could be worse, he could be ranting at people on top of this (while I think his reputation as a bad temper is exaggerated it *is* there). Many of us do not like him as a politician, I sure do not (however, as an individual I have nothing but respect for what he has done and endured, I just don’t like his politics).

    Were Obama smart he would be mostly silent. We see his campaign staff trying their dangest to do that – after all that is what won them the primaries against the Inevitability. Obama sees the goal and is now wanting it, he is trying to win it and if he tries that hard enough McCain will have to loose hard. Had we a decent candidate in the R side of the equation Obama would dead in the water.

    McCain isn’t remotely “”comatose like a fox”, it’s just that Obama is a weasel and a comatose fox tends to win over a weasel all else being equal (and I do not remotely think McCain’s age plays into him doing the comatose thing – he would have run the same campaign if he was 30 years younger).

  23. Tim P Says:

    a quotes my earlier comment and adds his riposte,

    “This whole attempt at making Obama appear to be some sort of international statesman strikes me as yet another act in the vast Obama Campaigm/MSM conspiracy to convince the American public that his presidency is inevitable.”

    Yes. It’s called a “campaign”.

    a, I feel sorry for you if you think that the vast majority of the mainstream media in this country being totally in the tank for one candidate constitutes a campaign. If you think lying by omission and deliberate deception on their part for this candidate is what a campaign is all about you are deluded. If you think that the MSM’s ignoring inconvenient facts while magnifying favorable or false ones is a campaign, you must have cut your political teeth in communist East Germany.

    Nobody, said or is saying that political campaigns won’t distort the truth, stretch the facts and do everything possible to advance their candidate. Manipulating the media has been a given since there’s been a media to manipulate.

    What I and I suspect others find repugnant is when the media that professes to be ‘objective’ in reality acts as this candidate’s publicity arm and works in concert with the campaign to manipulate public opinion. All the while professing their ‘objectivity.’ That does not constitute a campaign. It’s simply dishonest.

    It’s especially repugnant when it’s coupled with the idolatry that is being displayed by his supporters towards this empty suit. I suspect that it’s being cultivated so that his complete lack of any substantial achievement and extreme leftist positions will maybe go unnoticed. P.T. Barnum was right, there is a sucker born every minute.

  24. John Spragge Says:

    As Michael Douglas said in The American President, in the qualifications for the office of President of the United States, character comes first. So it makes sense that you would analyse the character of your two applicants for the job. But character comes out in the most important ways when a candidates or office holders have the strength to ask the public to join them in sacrifice, in giving something up for the country.

    George Bush never showed that kind of character; after 9/11, he rushed through a big tax cut and told the American people to go shopping, apparently having nothing to offer but Visa, Mastercard, Discovery, and American Express. The subsequent seven years have seen a long list of squandered opportunities and fiscal imprudence.

    So if you want to enquire into the character of the candidates,ask who has stood up and told their listeners news they do not wish to hear. Who has called for renewed commitment and service from the American people to one another and to the world? Whose fiscal plan comes closer to balancing the federal budget?

  25. Fresh Bilge » European Election Says:

    [...] persuade ordinary voters to ratify their choice. No wonder the young and inexperienced candidate grows giddy with adulation. So he speaks openly of world citizenship as a transcendent obligation. John Bolton is horrified. [...]

  26. SteveH Says:

    I’m not sure which comes first; a coddled citizenry or an ignorant citizenry. I know this. You look at the people dependant on govt, from deadbeat on undeserved disability to the tenured professor, and you’ll find ignorance and stupidity abounds.

    As someone once said…Govt can’t do anything for you without doing something to you.

  27. Tim P Says:

    John Spragge said, “George Bush never showed that kind of character; after 9/11, he rushed through a big tax cut and told the American people to go shopping, apparently having nothing to offer but Visa, Mastercard, Discovery, and American Express. The subsequent seven years have seen a long list of squandered opportunities and fiscal imprudence.”

    John,
    Since you obviously suffer from BDS (Bush derangement syndrome), let me refresh your memory.

    1. The tax cut was in the works before 9/11. It was in response to the burst dot/com bubble that happened under Clinton’s term. It was an effort to stimulate the economy and stave off further and deeper problems. History shows that it worked.

    2. As for having “nothing to offer”, I have some quotes below that President Bush gave in his speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation shortly after 9/11.

    “Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

    They want to overthrow existing governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East. They want to drive Christians and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.

    These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us, because we stand in their way.

    We are not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They are the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions — by abandoning every value except the will to power — they follow in the path of fascism, and Nazism, and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way, to where it ends: in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies…

    This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

    Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.”

    It would seem that in retrospect, when not looking through the curdled filter of Bush hatred that Bush was pretty accurate in his characterization of our enemy and their aims. If you read the last paragraph it seems that he did offer leadership in the face of disaster.

    When the history of this time is written, after passions have cooled, President Bush will be seen in a far more favorable light and his opposition will be seen, as the decadent, shortsighted, morally bankrupt fools that they are.

    Bush’s administration isn’t perfect, far from it. But he got the big picture right and provided real leadership in desperate hours. Contrast that to the democrats who have used this war for partisan political gain and tried and are still trying to loose it for this country. I shudder to think what our response would have been and the condition of the world would be if someone like Brittany Obama Spears had been in command.

  28. Tom Says:

    Unlike neo, I fear McCain and his campaigners are comatose. But that may be because they know the game is stacked against them (and us). I’m pretty certain that, due to his blackness, his outlandish but well-spoken vacuity, and his investiture by the progressive media and academe, Obamessiah will be our next Pres. Demographically, what’s going to save us from that? The Hispanic vote?

    And once he’s elected, with a Congressional supermajority, the damage to the Republic will be irreversible. The totalitarian Left will see to that.

    Obama probably sees a better-looking Hugo Chavez in the mirror.

  29. Gray Says:

    Paules lives in Santa Fe with an opinion like this?:

    Except that Obama is no idealist. He’s a user. My adult cynicism innoculated me against the virus, but the young have not suffered the hard knocks that might offer some immunity. They are thoroughly infected.

    I was just in Santa Fe yesterday and I think the “Obama” stickers on expensive cars now actually outnumber the “No War” stickers.

    Some of the ‘young’ he refers to up there are in their 6th decade.

    I observed yesterday that Santa Fe is apparently the terminal destination of ever old “Crazy Cat Lady”, except that most of them have ‘multiply chemical sensitivity and allergies and can’t be around cats.

    I’ll bet he doesn’t get invited to many dinner parties up there….

  30. david foster Says:

    Sergey–”This collective psychosis smacks Germany 1936. That is strange, because if USA economy is sick, it is nowhere close to real wreck”…I’ve had the same thought. The current problems with the US economy don’t begin to approach the Great Depression here or the Great Inflation in Germany.

    I think much of the present rage and irrationality is based on factors other than economics–indeed, many of the extreme thinkers are themselves financially pretty well off. The problem is that if the economy gets considerably worse, many people who are basically sane will want to give extremist politicians a try, reasoning “Well, it might be better and it can’t be worse.”

    They are wrong about the “can’t be worse” part.

  31. physicsguy Says:

    SteveH said,
    “..from deadbeat on undeserved disability to the tenured professor, and you’ll find ignorance and stupidity abounds.”

    Not trying to show a thin skin here, but be careful of overgeneralizations as I am one of those tenured professors.

    And yes, many of my colleagues in the humanities and social sciences, while not stupid, certainly exhibit a lack of rational reasoning and a woeful knowledge of what really goes on with people outside of academia.

    That being said, there are a minority of us professors who are fighting against the non-rationality of the current academy and are trying for a return to the more tradional Liberal Education. check out what’s going on at

    http://www.nas.org

    The irony is that what was the traditional liberal education is now considered to be reactionary, racist and sexist by the majority. It’s no wonder teh speech writers for BHO get so many facts wrong: they come directly out of that system.

  32. Adrian Stanley Says:

    Sorry if anyone has already posted this but it does sum up the media’s Obamania:

    http://www.order-order.com/2008/07/he-ventured-forth-to-bring-light-to.html

  33. jon baker Says:

    Somehow, I still can not think of McCain as being “country first” given his relationship with Juan Herndez: “I want Mexicans to think Mexico first…to the seventh generation…”

  34. jon baker Says:

    Here is alink about Juan Hernandez from Malkin’s website: http://michellemalkin.com/2008/01/25/john-mccains-open-borders-outreach-director-the-next-dhs-secretary/

  35. jon baker Says:

    My comment above may have not been exactly dead on, but the link to the Nightline clip has been broken on Michelle Malkins site. I do remember watching a clip of Hernandez from either Nightline or CNN when he specifically said he wanted Mexicans in the US to think Mexico first for generations. That man above all is the reason I cannot vote for Macamnesty. Any one who will associte with traitors, whether or not he himself is a war hero , is a traitor. Hernandez is himself one of those “citizens of the world” in that he carries dual US/ Mexican citizenship. I suspect there are many loyal, law abiding Americans who are waiting to see what will happen after this next election- if the invasion from Mexico will be stopped by legal means.
    Where I live we are now in that transitional point of the cultural invasion where we seeing the shift from bilingual advertisements to Spanish only advertisements. Banks are now making buisiness loans that are available to hispanics only! They openly advertize these loans in the paper! Twice this has been advertised in our local paper in the last year. Whites, blacks, asians need not apply. Yet we are the racists? “Everything for La Rasa, for those outside of La Rasa, nothing”

  36. armchair pessimist Says:

    Joy to the World and McAmnesty both make me puke. In November, out of sheer frustration, I will cast a symbolic vote for V. Putin because he at least gets the concept of putting one’s country first.

  37. Kathy Says:

    “If I am even remotely representative of conservatives, McCain’s base just became enthusiastic – not necessarily for McCain, but for defeating Obama.”

    Count me as definitely being enthusiastic to defeat Obama!

  38. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    “McCain may be giving the Obama campaign just enough rope to hang itself with the force of its overwhelming ambition.”

    Fascinating take, but I’m thinking you might just be right. Obama may well self-destruct. I saw an article today on National Review comparing him to Tom Dewey (1944 and ‘48). Dewey was also egocentric who couldn’t take criticism and had no sense of humor – just like Obama.

    The previous comment by Kathy is a case in point. McCain might know that alone he’ll have trouble firing up conservatives (to put it mildly), but if they/we hear enough Obama that’ll do it on its own.

  39. John Spragge Says:

    Tim P.:

    Since you seem to recognise neither irony nor historical allusion, I’ll try to make it more explicit:

    1) I alluded to Churchill’s famous line: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. Bush, by contrast, offered Visa, Mastercard, Discovery, and American Express.

    2) If President Bush intended to wage war, surely it makes sense to set priorities, and in war, ensuring you keep your promises to your troops, allies, and the citizens of the countries you occupy has to come before tax cuts. President Bush did none of these (witness Secretary Rumsfeld’s infamous “army you have” remark). Instead, President Bush put the whole issue of paying for his wars off onto future generations, borrowing the necessary money, much of it from foreigners.

    3) Attempting to refer to political disagreement in medical terms does a serious mischief to democratic discourse. No such things as “bush derangement syndrome” exists. Opponents of President Bush (and for that matter Senator Obama) deserve to have their points scrutinized on the merits. In the case of President Bush, he has presided over a considerable increase in the United States debt, a significant decline in the value of your currency, and two military and political campaigns, in which, despite the enormous advantages enjoyed by the United States, the outcome remains in serious doubt. On the evidence to date, I suggest that history will judge President Bush as, at best, a mediocre and uninspired president.

  40. Tim P Says:

    J. Spragge,

    C’mon, you weren’t trying to be ironic and that wasn’t a historical allusion. You were trying to be glib & disparaging and mimic Churchill’s line.
    You got caught in your own bullshit.

    So tell us, what priorities did bush fail to set?
    Overthrowing the Taliban government of Afghanistan?
    Liberating Iraq?
    Having Libya give up on WMD?
    Seriously damaging Al Qaida?
    Preventing another attack on US soil?
    Preventing a major US & worldwide economic meltdown in the immediate aftermath of 9/11?
    C’mon, name those priorities for us.

    What promises did he break?
    You make a lot of broad statements with absolutely nothing to back them up.

    Then you say in your reply to me that ,”Opponents of President Bush (and for that matter Senator Obama) deserve to have their points scrutinized on the merits.”
    Is that what you did in your original post?

    As for Bush derangement syndrome, it does exist. You exemplify it well.

  41. John Spragge Says:

    Tom:
    Leaving aside the portion of your posts that amount to ad hominem drivel:

    1) The Bush Administration failed to provide equipment such as armoured humvees to US Army personnel in Iraq in a timely manner.
    2) The Bush Administration fialed to secure Iraq, leaving the field open for chaos, looting, and the growth of an insurgency. And before you ask, yes, if you undertake to conquer another nation and build a democracy in place of a dictatorship, you do undertake to provide security and to plan for, and deal with, an insurgency. You also promise to provide effective reconstruction services. The Bush Administration made those promises, implicitly and explicitly, and instead delivered four years of misery and chaos. That Iraq might make it anyway does not change this fact.

    The world did experience a momentary downturn, an then the economy recovered. It bears noting, however, that the US economy remains, in strictly conservative terms, fundamentally unsound in that you have consumed more than you have produced for over thirty years, and the Bush Administration policies, if anything, merely made things worse.

    I’ll give you the other accomplishments. I certainly don’t claim that Bush has managed to spend four years in office without ever doing anything right. I simply claim that when you balance his accomplishments against his failures, history will record him as, at best, a mediocre president.

  42. Tim P Says:

    J. Spragge,

    Is that all you have? The phony up-armored press generated humvee faux-scandal. Press planted questions?
    Here’s some actual information from back then
    armored Humvee

    Failed to secure Iraq? Do you read the news? It’slooking so secure even the NYT has to admit it. You see, in war, things aren’t secured in a day and we’re talking a whole country here.

    Did they make mistakes? Sure. There are mistakes in every war. Kasserine Pass, Bull Run, McArthur’s over extension towards tha Yalu in ’50 come to mind off the top of my head.
    Yes, we were initially unprepared for the insurgency, but they adapted and overcame. Recall a little thing called the ‘surge’? You know, what the democrats said was a lost cause.

    Besides, those same democrats who decried the supposed lack of armor were the same hypocrites who voted against funding for additional armor. Can’t have it both ways no matter how much you want to.

    In your first post, you decried Bush for offering VISA Mastercard instead of leadership. The main point you were trying to make being his lack of character. I refuted that in my reply to you and now you move the goal posts by saying how the US economy has been fundamentally unsound for the last 30 years. You keep trying to wriggle away from your own words.

    Unfortunately, any facts that don’t conform to your view seem to be ad hominem drivel. If it’s drivel you want, look no further than your own posts.

    You still have no facts, just blind hatred of this president.

  43. John Spragge Says:

    President Bush never made any significant demands of his core constituency. He never asked them to do anything more demanding than shop. Poor and middle income people who joined the military to pay for their educations got hauled back into the military through stop-loss programs (and that did happen; a friend of mine nearly got caught in it). Iraqis died in large numbers, again in a war that the administration promised would amount to a cakewalk, another part of the pattern of refusing to admit that war involves some level of sacrifice, and sticking those least able to rally effective opposition with the bill.

    And yes, your personal comments,your claims about the way I or anyone else supposedly feel about President Bush, amount to nothing more than drivel.

  44. Tim P Says:

    Your responses get weaker and weaker.
    Soon I suspect that you’ll just engage in name calling and profanity. Let’s just stop before it gets to that.

    It’s safe to say at this point that you don’t know what you’re talking about and that you’ve proven it rather well here in your comments. I won’t bother to go into detail at this point.

  45. John Spragge Says:

    I strongly suspect you have no other details to go into, at least none that support your case, so I’ll make this really easy. I’ll give you three alternatives; accomplish either one and I’ll admit you have a point, or that at least you’ve got a consistent opinion.

    a) Provide an example of George Bush asking his core constituency to make any kind of serious sacrifice. Just one example.

    b) Explain that asking your constituents to make sacrifices doesn’t show character in a politician, and explain why Churchill’s famous blood, toil, tears and sweat did not truly show character.

    c) Explain why the stakes in this conflict don’t warrant a sacrifice.

    By the way, you can look up a very large number of posts by me, and you will find few if any instances of name-calling or profanity. And I regularly deal with people who make you look like an amateur at the business of annoying behaviour. So don’t worry; I won’t singe your delicate eyes with anything worse than facts and logic.

  46. Amused Cynic » Blog Archive » One more simple, desultory Obama-blast before I go…. Says:

    [...] also encourage you to keep tabs on Neo-neocon, who is really on a roll with her posts from 7/25-7/26, now that she’s fallen off the wagon [...]

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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