A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The inspiration for this blog. . .

. . .Lucianne Goldberg is quoted in todays "Fresh Intelligence" section at Radaronline.com today, regarding the hatchet job performed on John McCain by the New York Times. Contained in the article is a tidbit I hadn't considered before:
"The scenario racing around is that this was all Mitt Romney's doing," Goldberg says. "His people were trying to get this out there a few months ago. The conspiracy theorists point out that he never said he was ending his campaign—just suspending it, because he knew this was coming. He wanted a way back in if McCain had to drop out."

She clearly points out that this is part of the latest "conspiracy theory", so there's no reason to jump to conclusions as to whether or not the Romney campaign is responsible. However, if that were to turn out to be the case, I can't say I would be particularly shocked. The man was surrounded by a cadre of arm-twisters and kneecappers.

Back to business-as-usual. . .

. . .politics as it is practiced by Democrat operatives with the servile assistance of the Washington Post. It seems that, finding no traction in the salacious duplicity of the New York Times story, the house organs of the Democrats have decided to take a different tack by ginning up the same old convoluted malarky that they tried without success to tar John McCain with during his last run for the White House.

At least the Washington Post had the unimpeachable godliness to use named sources in their piece of malevolent hackery: (1)Gloria Tristani, FCC Commissioner, 11/3/1997 - 9/7/2001 -- Democrat, New Mexico and (2) William Kennard, FCC Chairman - 11/3/1997 - 1/19/2001 -- Democrat, California.

Source: FCC.gov

UPDATE: A quick search of the Opensecrets.org reveals interesting insights into the political leanings of the two FCC commissioners.

William Kennard

Gloria Tristani

Friday, February 22, 2008

Another brief respite. . .

. . .from politics to share another favorite song.

Gentle On My Mind

Glen Campbell & John Hartford

It's knowin' that your door is always open
And your path is free to walk
That makes me tend to leave my sleepin' bag
Rolled up and stashed behind your couch
And it's knowin' I'm not shackled
By forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

It's not clingin' to the rocks and ivy
Planted on their columns now that bind me
Or something that somebody said because
They thought we fit together walkin'
It's just knowing that the world
Will not be cursing or forgiving
When I walk along some railroad track and find
That you're movin' on the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
And for hours you're just gentle on my mind

Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines
And the junkyards and the highways come between us
And some other woman's cryin' to her mother
'cause she turned and I was gone
I still might run in silence
Tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me till I'm blind
But not to where I cannot see
You walkin' on the back roads
By the rivers flowin' gentle on my mind

I dip my cup of soup back from a gurglin' cracklin' cauldron
In some train yard
My beard a rustlin' coal pile
And a dirty hat pulled low across my face
Through cupped hands 'round a tin can
I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you're waitin' from the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
Ever smilin', ever gentle on my mind

I'm really struggling. . .

. . .to come up with a good analogy for Barack Obama. Some have tried to draw one between him and Joe Biden and his past plagiarism in campaign speeches, but I can't really go that far. I think it falls short because, in Biden's case, he lifted passages that would tend to make him appear to be a much more dynamic speaker than he really is, complete with big ideas and everything. The parts that Obama cribbed from Deval Patrick were fairly standard oratory that he probably could have done better himself, but simply used them because they seemed to apply so well to the criticisms he was taking from the Clinton camp.

I thought Milli Vanilli was the more apt comparison, given the lip syncing scandal that eventually led to their being essentially forced to return the Grammy Awards they received under false pretenses by claiming credit for singing that had been performed by studio artists on their record. But, this doesn't seem quite applicable, either. Much of Obama's appeal is, in fact, in his performance and delivery -- and there seems little doubt that he is perfectly capable of giving a good peformance, regardless of the actual content of his speeches.

Now, though, I think I've finally stumbled upon the proper parallel.

Obama has the ability to generate immense enthusiasm in an audience while saying, for all its exciting appeal, absolutely nothing of substance. His technique seems to be to whip listeners into a sort of rapturous frenzy for the purpose of creating a desire to hear something more meaningful and substantive, but leaving that work to the headliner.

Indeed, Barack Obama is the hype man for the DNC. Here's a good example of what a hype man does, courtesy of Dave Chappelle as Li'l Jon.

While I was out drinking. . .

. . .green tea and sharing rice cakes with friends last night, there was a debate between Hillary and Obama, from what I gather. Not knowing about it until it was over is a bit of a guilty pleasure, I must confess. Still, it means I missed a very important point of contrast between both Democrat candidates and John McCain. And, for that, I'm duly chastened.

But, thankfully, the folks over at The Corner were keeping an eye on things in my absence.

It seems that Sen. Obama related an anecdote that was passed along to him regarding our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a supposed lack of ammunition for the Afghanistan campaign as a result of our thinly-spread military personnel and resources. It turns out that the anecdote was a flagrant misrepresentation of reality, and credentialed readers of The Corner were quick to point it out.

While military service in and of itself shouldn't be considered an absolute requirement for holding the White House, it does seem to be perfectly reasonable to ask that candidates have some semblance of knowledge as to how our military works. Of course, if you ask the typical member of the Obama or Clinton (i.e., MoveOn.org) base how the military works, you'll get an answer similar to John Kerry's Genghis Kahn soliloquy, flush with dismemberments and charred remains and bullet-riddled puppies. So, those folks won't be too disturbed by the Obama obloquy.

But, broader electorate holds our nation's military personnel in high esteem, and they won't be too keen on the idea of putting a man at the top of the chain of command who doesn't seem to have the foggiest notion of either the facts on the ground, or the ways in which our armed forces are deployed in wartime. And this is wartime.

The fact that Hillary Clinton mustered no objection to his characterization in a time when she desperately needs to draw a favorable contrast between herself and her surging opponent seems to confirm that she has no more knowledge of these crucial aspects of position of Commander in Chief than does her opponent. This should be alarming to anyone who concerned about America's presence in Afghanistan, Iraq, and everywhere else in the Middle East, regardless of whether or not they're supportive of the overall mission. People of good conscience, no matter where they stand on the struggle against Islamic fundamentalist terrorists, have no interest in seeing America suffer the ignominy of withdrawal under the leadership of a person to whom military culture is as foreign as that of our enemies.

As the campaign for the presidency continues, it will become more and more evident to the average voter that the desire to withdraw our troops from the conflict in which they're currently engaged is informed as much by ignorance as it is the basic, hidebound left-liberal opposition to the projection of American power abroad, without regard to its legitimacy. When Barack Obama backpedaled on his vow to begin an immediate withdrawal of troops upon taking the oath of office -- citing the right as Commander in Chief to assess the situation -- the implication was that he would only begin the withdrawal if he judged it to be a prudent action given the specifics of the situation at hand.

But, last night, both candidates exhibited, either by commission or omission, a gross ignorance of military matters that would seem to prohibit any kind of sound judgment on the deployment of military personnel or the use of military force. This is a problem that John McCain does not have, and it will likely be the deciding factor in November.

Taking a short break. . .

. . .from politics, Lucianne.com posted a link to a YouTube video of Tom T. Hall extolling the virtues of the simple things in life, "Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine". Hall has been a favorite of mine since I was a small child. I can remember listening to him on the old in-dash 8-track player and singing along to "Sneaky Snake" and "I Like Beer" in my dad's car whenever the family would load up and head out to visit our relatives on the other side of town.

I wrote an email to Lucianne to thank her for posting the video, and told her about my favorite Tom T. Hall song from you childhood. "Old Dogs. . ." is a great song, of course, and is one of Hall's signature songs. But, for my money, it simply does not get better than "The Cowboy and the Poet", which is almost a rebuttal of the song Lucianne posted. I mentioned the song in my email to Lucianne, and she was kind enough to respond by sending me a link to a YouTube video of Hall performing my favorite. Here it is:

The Cowboy and The Poet

He was an old-time cowboy, don't you understand
His eyes were sharp as razor blades his face was leather tan
His toes were pointed inward from a-hangin' on a horse
He was an old philosopher, of course

He was so thin I swear you could have used him for a whip
He had to drink a beer to keep his britches on his hips
I knew I had to ask him about the mysteries of life
He spit between his boots and he replied

"It's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money"

He smiled and all his teeth were covered with tobacco stains
He said, "It don't do men no good to pray for peace and rain.
Peace and rain is just a way to say prosperity,
And buffalo chips is all it means to me."

I told him I was a poet, I was lookin' for the truth
I do not care for horses, whiskey, women or the loot
I said I was a writer, my soul was all on fire he looked at me an' he said, "you are a liar."
"It's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money"

Well, I was disillusioned, if I say the least
I grabbed him by the collar and I jerked him to his feet
There was something cold and shiny layin' by my head
So I started to believe the things he said

Well, my poet days are over and I'm back to being me
As I enjoy the peace and comfort of reality
If my boy ever asks me what it is that I have learned
Think that I will readily affirm

"It's faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money"

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I don't quite understand. . .

. . .the "I-told-you-so's" being directed toward McCain and his supporters in the wake of the New York Times ambuscade, but I suspect it comes from the desire to self-validate on behalf of his most vocal critics. Well, actually, I guess I do understand it.

But, it strikes me as a bit wrong-headed to take a triumphalist posture on the matter, given the fact that I can't think of a single person who has supported McCain over the last few months who has ever pointed to media friendliness as a rationale for supporting his candidacy. In fact, from my own perspective, media coverage was going to be a liability to dealt with all along -- knowing full-well that the establishment liberal media would eventually turn on him just as they would any Republican, and fully expecting strong resistance from the establishment conservative media.

Truth is, the liberal media hasn't surprised this supporter in the least, while the conservative media has proven to be a bit more intractable and vehement in its opposition to his nomination than I had initially expected. However, I had the sense all along that it would be a hit piece by one of the Democrats' house organs that would eventually serve to unite Republicans.

Whatever the rationale for the end zone dance, it's largely offered in good faith, I suspect, and shouldn't be an obstacle to the goal of unity. Time spent on quibbling over who said what all along is time wasted during a period of great opportunity -- one where the Democrats are busily working out scenarios that could potentially hamstring whichever candidate comes out on top in the nomination process.

Of course, it's silly to think that this will bring all Republicans into the fold. The fact is, there are some who are absolutely wedded to their opposition of McCain as the GOP candidate, and those who have said things that simply will not allow them to cast aside their differences unless something as momentous as a nuclear attack on the Homeland should occur. This is the Hiroo Onoda wing of the GOP I mentioned in an earlier post, and will prove to be largely inconsequential in the long run.

Their minds won't be changed, and any attempt to placate them will surely prove to be an obstacle on the course to ultimate victory. And, there's no point in stopping an entire wagon train and circling to fend off a few ragtag holdouts from the breakaway peashooter infantry.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Striking a blow for unity. . .

. . .the New York Times has reverted to tradition in tarring a Republican presidential candidate. And, of course, the master of dirtbaggery, Keith Olbermann, (who is never shot from the waist down because he's built like a Hershey's Kiss), is happy to peddle the story with all the breathlessness of a high school freshman peeping through a hole in the girls' shower wall.

The idiots should have waited until the Rezko case was over with.

Sometimes politics has to. . .

. . .be put aside in the name of justice. Today is one of those days. I urge any reader out there to visit this web site and give a little thought to the fact that Bill could easily be you, me, or any other freedom-loving American. Please pass the link along to your friends and family. Because, when one American is persecuted in such a way, we are all persecuted.

Special thanks to Mark Hurst, proprietor of the Good Experience newsletter, to which I'm a subscriber. You can subscribe by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

ABBA is no way. . .

. . .to fire up an audience, so John McCain is better off not using their stuff at his rallies, anyway. While I have nothing in particular against the Swedish icons, there are much better options.

Just in case someone from the McCain camp (or who has access to someone who is) should happen upon this blog, I have a suggestion: "I Love it Loud", by Kiss.

I think Gene Simmons would be quite OK with it. He's an Israeli-born hawk who is very supportive of the war against Islamic terrorists.

Christopher Buckley and his framed cartoon. . .

. . .capture the essence of the grousing over John McCain among conservative hardliners. At this point, you just have to dismiss what remains of the howling discontent as grandiloquent silliness. Buckley addresses one of the more knuckleheaded notions of the cockeyed right nicely, here:
Some of the anti-McCain shrieks on the right have averred that it would be preferable to let a Clinton (Hillary, technically) or an Obama have the presidency, so that the post-George W. Bush (“compassionate conservative,” small or large C not mattering much at this point) mess will land on Democratic laps and not ours.

This is an odd and sour banner to unfurl. It’s hard to imagine Ronald Reagan, or for that matter other conservative icons (Churchill, Margaret Thatcher), pounding the podium and announcing: “O.K., here’s the plan — we’ll tank this one and then look like heroes four years from now. Let us march!”

Unfortunately, the folks who would benefit most from his instruction are either deaf to reason, or too busy counting their confederate money in their Y2K bunkers to see what's staring them straight in the face.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal. . .

. . .Bill McGurn, former speechwriter to President Bush, shows how the Washington press corps has consistently "misunderestimated" the president, and how, when the facts eventually bear him out, how they simper on to the next story which will remove any doubt that they were correct about him all along. Of course, this isn't exactly breaking news to anyone who holds any respect for the man. Those of us who admire him for his perseverance have done so resigned to the notion that history will be a more equitable arbiter than the current pack of pecksniffs charged with issuing the verdict on his days in office.

Still, near the end of the column, there's an important piece of wisdom which the President imparted to his speechwriters early in McGurn's tenure that ought to be remembered by all conservatives as we hash out our differences during this election cycle:
During one of my first meetings in the Oval Office, the president told me and my fellow speechwriters that we must always be mindful of how his words would sound to the enemy -- and how they would sound to the young Marine risking his life against that enemy in some dusty town in Afghanistan or Iraq.

President Bush hasn't always been right. But he's been right on the things that matter most, and he's been willing to take the heat. I, for one, admire him for it.

As things currently stand, we have a choice between a man who will carry that legacy forward, and two people who would take all that has been accomplished to the benefit of America and conservatism in the last eight years, throw it on a heap of kindling, and reduce it to a smoking pile of ash and embers.

So, as we debate the direction of America and conservatism over the next several months, and the consequences of the choice we face in either falling in behind the man that voters have chosen as our leader, or sending a convoluted mishmash of messages denoting a litany of disaffections, it seems to be very much worth considering, as McGurn was reminded by the President, how those messages "will sound to the enemy, as well as the young Marine risking is life against that enemy in some dusty town in Afghanistan or Iraq."

So, maybe it wasn't. . .

. . ."plagiarism" per se.

But, maybe a little like lip syncing? Are Deval and Barack the new Rob and Fab?

Monday, February 18, 2008

I can't help but wonder. . .

. . .just what it is that McCain's critics want in response to their criticisms. As best I can tell, it seems to be nothing less than utter obsequiousness. Whatever it is, it certainly doesn't include any kind of disagreement.

For example, when the folks who demand to be catered to start complaining about McCain-Feingold, you are definitely not allowed to point out that they had no problem with a certain other candidate's heresies in the same area, even though those heresies were more brazen. That would be divisive.

The same apparently goes for the issues I mentioned in my earlier post -- tax cuts and class warfare rhetoric. If you deign to mention a certain other candidate's weaknesses in those areas. . .why, that's just petty and small. Obviously, it's McCain's duty to genuflect before the gatekeepers. To ask those gatekeepers to reexamine their own positions and how they line up with conservative orthodoxy is nothing short of blasphemy.

I've been a conservative all my adult life. My views have always placed me in the libertarian right quadrant of the political spectrum. I don't know exactly what changed along the way, but it certainly wasn't my views. Politically, I'm still right where I was when I started this blog. But, one thing I do know is that it wasn't until very recently that I ever felt as if the conservative press had become a self-appointed Stasi, demanding to see my papers at every turn.

Huckabee ain't right. . .

. . .about much, but he managed to stumble upon the truth where barbecue is concerned. Paul Burka disagrees. Paul Burka is a left-wing commie pinko and out of his mind.

Look, if you want to grill some beef ribs or brisket, that's fine. Just don't pretend that, by throwing some sauce on it and letting it sit in smoke for a little while, you're cooking barbecue. You're not.

If you want real barbecue, the way the Good Lord intended, you can go to Shemwell's in Cairo, IL, or you can go to any number of places in Kentucky. My personal favorite is Backwoods BBQ, in Paducah, which serves the best pork ribs known to man.

H/T -- Jonathan Martin @ Politico.

Hannity needs to listen. . .

. . .to Jack Kemp. He has ceaselessly complained about McCain's vote against the Bush tax cuts, completely ignoring the fact that he actually voted for the final budget resolution that included the tax cuts, along with a cap on discretionary spending. It was only after the spending cap was eliminated that McCain began his protest.

So, what does Hannity focus on after that? Well, of course it was the class warfare rhetoric that McCain employed in his opposition to the final budget, calling it too tilted toward the rich. Yet, Hannity conveniently ignores the fact that not only did President Bush use similar rhetoric in his first run for the White House when he decried "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor," he was running interference in the process for a man who once labeled Steve Forbes's flat tax proposal a "tax cut for fat cats".

If some conservatives were really concerned about trying to draw John McCain to the right, rather than trying to kneecap him heading into the general election in order to extract their pound of flesh, it seems to me they would have railed against some of the other candidates as much as they did McCain.

On top of all this, we have Kathryn Jean Lopez over at The Corner imploring Bush 41 to "Be a Uniter!" and stop using words like "absurd". It's awfully hard to take these pleas seriously when you've got folks like Hannity out there doing their damnedest to see to it that there's no unity.

Just words, or not. . .

. . .it strikes me that Hillary has done a smart thing by bringing up the matter of Obama's supposed plagiarism. After all, Obama's key draw is that he is an inspirational orator. If Clinton can do something to poke even the tiniest of holes in that narrative, it seems to me that she's helping herself.

Of course, the Clinton campaign is being a little too breathless with its rhetoric by using the term "plagiarism". But, it's not so much an overreach as to be a "wild exaggeration" that risks creating any kind of backlash. And, anything that changes the discussion from "orator of historic significance" to "crib-sheet-using pretender" is bound to work in her favor.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I've been meaning to link. . .

. . .to McCain Blogette, but have been so caught up in the politics of the campaign that I just haven't found a good time to do it. It's the collaborative effort of our future president's daughter, Meghan McCain, along with Heather Brand and Shannon Bae. To be honest, I didn't realize any of these people existed until I jumped on the McCain bandwagon, back in mid-December.

It's a pretty refreshing blog that tends to center on the day-to-day grind of the campaign trail. There's no horserace analysis or trash-talking of other campaigns. Rather, it's a kind of online journal that typifies the medium in its infancy -- albeit, a much more well-produced rendition.

Best of all, there's lots of candid photos. Here's my sentimental favorite:

For some reason, I can't look at that picture without thinking of all the awful metal videos I loved when I was a teenager. Except, instead of a BlackBerry or iPod (I can't tell what she's holding), it would have been a Sony Walkman, or some other technological relic. (Cue "Love Song", by Tesla.)

Investor's Business Daily. . .

. . .ran an editorial on February 15 that should give any recalcitrant conservative a nudge toward John McCain. As a bastion of free trade, IBD trains a keen eye toward developments in Latin America, and is rightfully alarmed at the rise in radical left sentiment there.

The editorial notes the very different attitudes engendered by Obama and McCain among radical leftist reactionaries in our hemisphere, and sums the situation up thusly:
Show us a candidate's friends, and we'll show who he is. Obama has vowed as president to kaffeeklatsch with America's enemies, no strings attached, and strongmen everywhere are planning to take advantage. McCain, by contrast, has proved he'll stand up for democracy and the U.S.

One of these men is more representative of America's long-held values. As messianic campaign rallies cloud the scene, let's hope voters will notice which one.

It has always been up to conservatives to stand against communist tyranny. We certainly can't count on our ever-leftward-lurching Democratic Congress to do so, much less with a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton occupying the White House.

But, in John McCain, we have a man whose anti-communist, pro-democracy credentials are unquestioned and unrivaled. To spend the next eight months wallowing the funk that seems to pervade the segments of the right that would normally be the vanguard against the communist resurgence in Latin America and elsewhere in the world seems to be the most self-destructive urge imaginable.

Given the opportunities we have created in Iraq, and the challenges we face within our own hemisphere, now is not the time to walk out on freedom.

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