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« October 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

November 30, 2007

Media Backlash on Hillary Building?

One of the biggest problems for Hillary and her handlers is that she has to be controlled on the campaign trail. If left to her own devices, responding to random questions from the media, she quickly gets off message - her liberal activist soul exposed. If it were just for the content of her answers, that would be fine during the leftward lurch she needs in order to win the Democrat nomination. But even with that, Hillary's biggest problem is herself - in candid moments she comes of as angry and petty, in addition to clinging helplessly to her (and her husband's) habit of answering every question with the answer they think the questioner wants, regardless of how she might of answered the same question moments before.

The solution for Hillary is to keep her away from the media, more so than any other Presidential candidate currently on the trail, according to this article, The Candidate's 'Catch Me if You Can' by the Washington Post's (and CNN's) Howard Kurtz. It's an interesting read, and leads me to believe that the mainstream media is soon going to be demanding more media access from Hillary in trade for continued positive media coverage. And I'm not sure if Hillary can risk that.

Access by reporters to Hillary on a regular and candid basis will inevitably result in an occasional slip by the candidate. Just picture her husband's problems this week in telling an audience that he was against the Iraq War from the beginning - a lie so egregious that even his allies in the media had to respond and correct him. Like Bill's, one of Hillary's slips will be so bad that the reporters will have no choice other than reporting it. Hillary will respond as she usually does, by killing (figuratively or literally - you decide) the messenger. And that, no doubt, will result in an even bigger blow-back from some members in the press.

And then the veneer slowly will slip off...

Hillary - Machiavelli's "The Princess"

If Niccolo Machiavelli was a contemporary author, his seminal work would be based on the life of Hillary Clinton and titled "The Princess". As a prime example we only have to look at her performances during the last Democrat and Republican Presidential Primary Debates. Not content with planting questioners only at the Dem events, she now plants them (with an assist from CNN) at Republican events.

Michelle Malkin has the goods on the Democrat plants at CNN's YouTube Republican debate two days ago. So far, the number of Democrat and liberal activists chosen by CNN to ask Republican candidates for President questions is approaching double digits. The problem is not Democrats asking Republicans questions - I think that the GOP candidates are perfectly capable of answering them. The issue is that the reason for the separate debates is the same reason why there are separate primaries. Each debate is supposedly designed for the separate and distinct constituencies of the parties, be it the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, questioning the persons that they one day will support as their party's candidate in the general election. There are other types of debates, of course, such as the GOP being invited to the debates sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. But in those cases, candidates and the audience have long been forewarned that they are entering "enemy" territory, so to speak, and will be tendered contentious and often combative lines of questioning. In the so-called 'YouTube" debates, that's wasn't the way the events were promoted or intended.

In fact, the way that CNN has handled the debates that they've hosted so far is an embarrassment and an abomination. They seeded the Democrat debates with liberal activists championing the candidates causes - most often benefiting Hillary Clinton. CNN seeded the Republican debate with more liberal activists asking questions related to liberal causes as opposed to issues that GOP members themselves are interested in. Oddly, the beneficiary of that was also most often Hillary Clinton.

Well, there's a reason why CNN is known as the "Clinton News Network"...

November 29, 2007

Contrary to Media Reports, Economy Growing at an Impressive Rate

Economic and political pundits are saying that we're plunging into a recession. Democrats and their media minions are saying that we are already in a recession. However, while the increase in the price of oil and the sub-prime housing correction (which was inevitable and predicted) is hurting, real facts show that the economy is chugging along at a very strong rate, even more so that previously thought. According to numbers just released from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the nation's GDP over the second and third quarters of fiscal year 2007 have been revised upwards substantially:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 4.9 percent in the third quarter of 2007, according to preliminary estimates released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the second quarter, real GDP increased 3.8 percent.

The GDP estimates released today are based on more complete source data than were available for the advance estimates issued last month.  In the advance estimates, the increase in real GDP was 3.9 percent (see "Revisions" on page 3).

Third quarter 4.9% GDP growth is extremely strong. And it's important to note that the term floated about these days by the Democrats and their brethren in ideology, "recession", has a very distinct definition - two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. The last two quarters reported had positive economic growth of 3.8% (second quarter) and 4.9% (third quarter).  This must disappoint the Democrats, greatly...

November 28, 2007

What Democrat President Cut Taxes During Wartime?

In answer to Bill Clinton's statement that aside from President Bush, no other President has been 'irresponsible' enough to cut taxes during wartime, I'm afraid that he's lying again. Clinton's hero, JFK, did just that during the Vietnam War - a war that he was escalating prior to introducing his tax reform plan.

Kennedy proposed his massive income tax cuts in 1962. The Vietnam War ran from 1959 - 1975. JFK got the United States into the conflict by supplying military equipment and advisors to South Vietnam in 1961.

JFK's income tax cuts were eventually passed after his death as the Revenue Tax Act of 1964. So you could say that two Democrat Presidents worked hard to cut taxes during wartime - JFK and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson.

Here's a YouTube clip of JFK's speech to the country from 1962 on his rational for the tax cuts:

Why Are Bad Generals Always Democrats?

Democrats continue to hope that Americans in general, and voters specifically, are poorly-read idiots. This past weekend, the Dems had retired Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez give the Democratic Weekly Address. In it, he called for troops to return to the United States quickly, regardless of the situation on the ground.

One problem with Sanchez's credibility, however. He was the commanding General in Iraq during the time the situation there went to hell. Quoting Dick Gephardt, one could say that he was a "miserable failure". He neglected to take the actions necessary to crush the blossoming insurgency in Iraq in 2003-2004. Sanchez didn't develop an effective counterattack to thwart al Qaida's growing presence in Iraq during that time. And he was the commanding General during the Abu Ghraib scandal. While that particular incident was totally blown out of proportion by the Democrats in order for them to score domestic political points against the Bush Administration, I do recall that Sanchez was the target of some of their ire. Odd that after he retired and aligned himself with the Democrats, he's now one of their heroes.

What's more, in another piece by James Taranto in yesterday's Best of the Web, we find out that Sanchez appears to have been one of those Generals who should never have been given such a major wartime command governing Iraq in the first place. Taranto offers up for our perusal a quote from a book written by Tom Ricks, "Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq". As you can tell from the title, Ricks is a military affairs journalist that I consider to be allied with the Democrats, and certainly is no friend of the Administration.

Even so, the methodical Sanchez often appeared overwhelmed by the situation,     with little grasp of the strategic problems he faced. The opinion of many     of his peers was that he was a fine battalion commander who never should have     commanded a division, let alone a corps or a nationwide occupation mission.     "He was in over his head," said Lt. Col. Christopher Holshek, who     served in Iraq in 2003. "He was a fulfillment of the Peter Principle." . . .  

"It was my view after seeing him that Rick Sanchez was exactly in the     wrong place," said Richard Armitage. . . . "And when you     look in retrospect, a lot has improved since Rick went out. . . .     I came away from my first meeting with him saying that this guy didn't get     it."

Democrats choose the oddest bedfellows...

The Saudis and Their Handshakes

After I finished my post yesterday on what should be the focus of the Annapolis Conference, I saw that prior to attending the summit, the Saudi Foreign Minister told news outlets that he would not shake hands with any Israeli. Later yesterday, James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com's Best of the Web observed:

Now of course handshakes are not always sincere. As Reuters notes, Yasser Arafat   shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin in 1993; and in the process he made fools of   Rabin, Bill Clinton and the Norwegian Nobel Committee. So in a way Faisal's   snub is refreshingly honest. At least he is not making a pretense of amity only   to betray it later.

What is more, a refusal to shake someone's hand is a sign of weakness. Contrary   to Faisal's protestation, it is a sort of theater--a show that one is unable   to rise above one's own grudge to observe ordinary social niceties. The Saudis   have no legitimate grievance against Israel (the Palestinian problem notwithstanding);   their hostility toward the Jewish state is based in a combination of religious   hatred and envy.

Pretty accurate description of the Saudis, I'd say...

November 27, 2007

To the Tax Raising Dems, Rich is $97,000 a year

Via Instapundit and TaxProf Blog, an interesting insight from the Washington Post (That's Rich -- but Maybe Not for Someone Else) on who the tax-raising Democrats consider to be rich. Apparently, anyone that make $97,000 a year is fair game for higher taxes. Although the subject of the article is statements made recently on Social Security by Democrat Presidential candidates in a recent debate, Charlie Rangel's plan to revise the tax code (which landed with a sickening thud even in Democrat circles two weeks ago) place the wealthiest members of our society for income tax purposes (i.e. those that should pay for everyone else) at $85,000 plus. But I digress - from the WaPo article:

Who's rich? Who's middle class? How can you tell the difference? By the "upper class," do we mean the yacht-club set, the ascot-wearing folks with the Thurston Howell III lockjaw diction and the monogrammed jodhpurs? Or does the upper class include all those harried, two-income suburban families who somehow burn through 200 grand a year and fret about orthodontic bills?

Class, always an awkward topic in the United States, made a rare cameo appearance at a recent candidates debate in Las Vegas. The two front-running Democratic presidential contenders, Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), sparred over tax policy and quickly got entangled in the question of whether someone making more than $97,000 a year is middle class or upper class. That's upper class, Obama said. Not necessarily, suggested Clinton.

"Not necessarily" is hardly a comforting retort from Hillary. For the record, I think the upper limit for Social Security withholding taxes  should be raised - but only after the Social Security program is reformed, allowing voluntary investment of a portion of their withholding into investment funds. And, if someone pays more into Social Security, then their SS retirement benefits would be higher as well. But that's not what the Democrats are thinking about. As the elections get closer, it's going to become more and more apparent that the Democrats' objective will be to penalize people who strive for success. And I'll do my part to help point that out.

More on Hillary's Methods

There's just too much good stuff in Dick Morris' column that I linked to in the previous post to go unmentioned. It has to do with specific examples on how Hillary attacks opponents, and I'm going to quote it in full. It should scare the heck out of every sane person out there:

How will they do it?

Their favored method of getting out negative material about their foes is to hire private investigators to dig up dirt, which they then release through feeds to friendly journalists.

Consider the Lewinsky scandal. When Linda Tripp got to be a danger, the Clinton people released her Pentagon personnel file to Jane Mayer (then a reporter for The New Yorker). A federal judge later reprimanded two Clinton operatives for this violation, and the government had to pay Tripp more than $600,000 - but the damage was still done.
Meanwhile, Clinton staffer (and Hillary favorite) Sidney Blumenthal peddled the line that Monica was a stalker to journalist Christopher Hitchens. And White House operatives told ABC News' Linda Douglas of incoming House Speaker Bob Livingstone's infidelity scandal before it was made public.

In the '92 presidential campaign, the Clintons openly disclosed their use of private detectives to dig up ammunition on women who had accused the presidential candidate of having affairs with them, disclosing that they paid detective Richard Palladino over $100,000 in campaign funds. But, of late, they avoid such embarrassing disclosures by hiding their detective bills in their legal expenses.

Just a reminder - the Left, those who claim to be the defenders of privacy, virtue, and fair play - are entirely supportive of these tactics. I wonder if they would hold up under similar scrutiny, or if they would be the first to scream foul?

Will the Real Hillary Please Stand Up!

The real Hillary Clinton is about to show herself, and it isn't going to be pretty - according to one-time Clinton confidant Dick Morris in HOW HILLARY WILL GO NEGATIVE. He should know, as Morris helped oversee and refine the delivery of various Clinton messages during husband Bill's reign (aka the Clinton Attack Machine).

The Clintons' political MO has always had a good dose of negative campaigning, especially when the going gets rough. There's no reason to assume that they will alter their game plan now.

I remember Bill's race for re-election as Arkansas governor back in 1990, when he found himself falling behind Hal McCrae, his unknown Democratic primary opponent. After Clinton's 10 years as governor, McCrae's attacks - featuring Daliesque stretched-out clocks tolling the time for him to go - were hitting home. Hillary decided to attend McCrae's next press conference and engage him in a public, impromptu debate about his attacks on her husband. She gave as good as she got - and her foray marked the start of a four-week campaign of negative ads that brought McCrae down.

This might help her in the Democratic Presidential primary, but it will also go a long way to reinforce all of Hillary's negatives to the general electoral public. More importantly, once she starts, she won't be able to stop. And that's fine by me.

The Annapolis Summit: A Solution That Won't be Discussed

The starting point for discussions at the Annapolis Summit should be the following question put to Syria and Saudi Arabia: how are you going to dismantle and destroy the terrorist networks of Hamas, Hezbolah, and al Qaeda? Only after significant demonstrable progress on that issue has been made will a viable and permanent Palestinian state be formed. As the chances of anyone in the State Department being that direct and brave are slim, I have little hope for anything positive coming out of these meetings in Maryland. It's simply another case of busy work for diplomats - nothing more, nothing less.

But this does give us an opportunity to review the record of the Palestinians with whom we appear to be in bed with. And it's not pretty - the Arabs have for decades promoted a dysfunctional Palestinian society that starts out by teaching its young that Jews and Christians are apes and pigs, and that suicide bombing designed to kill as many civilians as possible is not only OK, but is the preferred method of conduct in dealing with the West. David Meir-Levi has an excellent overview of the Palestinians and their atrocities over at FrontPageMagazine.com, Palestinians: Aggressors, Not Victims. Read and learn, because you certainly won't see any of this reported in today's mainstream media or taught in today's schools.

The solution? Twofold - taking place concurrently. First, kill the terrorist leaders and their inevitable replacements. This is a war, not a game. Second, change the fundamentals of the education and media segments of the Palestinians. What's happened is that the Palestinian people have been taught for over two generations terrible, terrible lies. Start changing that teaching now. For many Palestinian adults, it will be too little too late, but the children can be taught to be better. Eventually, the bigots (for that is what education in Palestine really is, an introduction to bigotry and murder) will die off, and a new generation will take over.

But in the meantime, the core terrorists - members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda - must be told to lay down their arms permanently, or be hunted down and killed. The hard-core proponents won't stand down, of course, and should therefore be eliminated post haste. But the fringe members might be swayed to become part of the solution, rather than stay part of the problem.

Unless all of this is agreed upon by all of the parties at Annapolis, any other talk about territory or anything else is essentially meaningless.

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