Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Finally! A Poll I Can Dispute!

Reuters reports on a New York Times/CBS News poll released today showing that Americans are "sharply divided by race." The numbers:
In the survey, 83 percent of blacks had a favorable opinion of Obama, compared with 31 percent of white voters.
Which of course means that we in the other 69 percent of the white populace must be bigots. It's apparently the only explanation.

According to NYT/CBS, anyway.

Taken at face value, those numbers certainly seem to be polarizing. Gee, 83 percent of blacks like Obama. Only 31 percent of whites. But let's see why, exactly, the other 69 percent aren't falling all over themselves to paint Obama in glowing terms.

Let's start with his stance on the war in Iraq. The man wants to end it. Fine, I have no problem with that. I'd like it to end as well. Where we differ is in his projecting to the entire world that he will begin troop withdrawals "immediately" ("within days of taking office" I believe he said) and has committed to an actual timetable. While that looks like great news on the Ending Violence front, it's actually just a neat little statement that if Al Qaeda digs a deep enough hole to hide in for the next 24 months or so, they can emerge triumphantly and pick right up where they left off. I find this kind of broadcasting to be incredibly irresponsible and that, by itself, is reason enough for me to have an "unfavorable" opinion of Mr. Obama. Trying to make his anti-surge sentiments suddenly disappear from his web site does not, by the way, help.

I've mentioned his lack of experience. Several years of local state politics and three as a junior senator do NOT automatically qualify a man to serve as President of the United States. His insistence on relying upon extreme leftist policies (not to mention the extremists that helped shape his political philosophies over the decades) means that he won't even try to find a centrist position on any of the domestic issues that are important to me. The man does not have my back, and I expect he never will based on his many teleprompted speeches and rallies. One more notch in the "unfavorable" column, I'm afraid.

Although he has spoken recently about extending the stimulus package (Bush prefers a "wait and see" approach), he hasn't really shown any interest in pursuing policies that would truly stimulate the economy and allow us to wean ourselves off of foreign oil in a controlled manner. Instead we can look forward to either continuing high prices in energy costs, or efforts to nationalize our oil companies under an Obama administration. Big mistake. Still "unfavorable."

There are other issues of course. His likelihood of choosing liberal members of the Supreme Court is a serious concern. We need justices who will stick to constitutional limits rather than bench legislation. Just look at the train wreck that is the California Supreme Court. We just don't need that at a federal level.

Somewhere at the bottom of this list is the word "race." It is undeniable that the man is black (even if only partly so). But the color of his skin is not troublesome. It is instead his allegiance to the same party that brings us the biggest race-baiting demagogues this country has ever seen: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Two of the most cynical, dangerous men we will ever know. Even then, the color of their skin is not truly the issue. Any fool can foam at the mouth over racial issues as we've seen in an Obama colleague-cum-political-roadkill by the name of Michael Pfleger. So is it Obama's color that I find reprehensible? No. Just his philosophies and his denial of the culture of victimhood that has intensified since the days of Martin Luther King, Jr.

So there in a nutshell is why I am not included in those 31 percent who have a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama.

I can't speak for everyone else. But, really, do I have to?

Tasteless AND Offensive

I've been looking at this cover of "The New Yorker" all flamin' day. It's typical political porn: this is the kind of stuff that campaigns dream will come their way so they have someone to demonize and take the heat off whatever legitimate criticisms may be coming their way. While McCain tries to point out Obama's obvious lack of terrorism smarts (huge) and distance himself from Obama's position on immigration reform (not do-able, I'm afraid), this kind of pointed political satire just feeds an already frenzied bottom-dwelling class of voter. Reaction from the left, particularly Obama's campaign, is swift:
"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

"But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree," he said in a statement.
Well, yes and no. Do I find it "tasteless and offensive?" Sure. It's an obvious hit piece; designed to evoke an emotional response from both sides of the political spectrum. Do I think it reflects badly on Obama?

Nope. Not even close.

Look, if tasteless and offensive were ever considered true political barometers, Clinton the First would never have made it to the Oval Office in the first place. We knew he was a womanizing shark before he ever took office. Tasteless and offensive in a single package. What a deal!

Also, if tasteless and offensive were truly worthy of contempt, then people like Ted Rall would have been arrested and waterboarded years ago.

It doesn't really help that McCain's campaign jumped on the bandwagon, either:
"We completely agree with the Obama campaign that it is tasteless and offensive," spokesman Tucker Bounds said.
Oh, for heaven's sake. Is that as original as the campaign machine gets? If this is really that important, let's go after "The New Yorker" and take them down. (Rhetorically, of course. The press, for reasons that are still unclear, appear to be even more sacred than a black politician trying to reach the highest political office in the nation.)

But of course they won't. Enough, I guess, to state that it was "tasteless and offensive" and then hope to heaven the furor dies down before the MSM hits their stride.

As a conservative — no, scratch that... — as a right-wing conservative, what I find truly offensive about the artwork is that it's supposed to be an over-the-top representation of how we right-wingers truly feel about Obama and his missus.


Yes, of course there are those pond-scum in the Republican camp who froth at the mouth over Obama's alleged Muslim allegiances (unproven), his America-hating wife (slight overreaction), and his political naivete (dead on).

So if this cover is meant to portray them, fine. I'm on board with that. But to project this attitude on the rest of us who try to take a far more reasonable assessment of this upstart is truly insulting.

I will state here that there are remarkable aspects of Obama's campaign from a historical perspective. He is black, and is considered the first such candidate to have more than a decent chance of winning the election in November. Historically this is proof that we as a nation have risen above our blood-soaked past and catapulted a man who would have been a slave 160 years ago into the national spotlight. It might be said that this is a true vindication of Lincoln's proclamation.

He is also evidence of the American dream. His story is one of success from many different angles, even if one doesn't completely agree with what constitutes "success."

But there my admiration for the man ends. Politically he still represents positions that I find completely untenable as a would-be President of the United States. His desire to broadcast to our enemies that if they hunker down for just a few more months they will be left to their own devices is truly alarming. His naivete with respect to international politics is also a hugely negative point to consider. And, just because he's a dyed-in-the-wool (LATE NIGHT POSTING ALERT: "dyed" in the wool, NOT "died" in the wool. I'm not trying to send any subliminal messages here!) liberal, his positions on such things as same-sex marriage and the judicial are anaethma. (I can't really complain as much about his immigration policies simply because McCain isn't all that different. I sigh a lot when I think about this one.)

Thus I find it to be a slap in my face that this "New Yorker" cover is meant to represent me. I don't accept that perception. As a satirical piece I think it bombed completely. No one (except, perhaps, the Kos sycophants) seems to be laughing, if indeed they were really meant to.

Speaking of laughing, Drudge also points to this piece which wonders why no one is allowed to laugh at Obama. Because this is such a "historical" candidacy, I suppose, folks are handling Obama with the proverbial kid gloves:
When [Jon] Stewart on "The Daily Show" recently tried to joke about Obama changing his position on campaign financing, for instance, he met with such obvious resistance from the audience, he said, "You know, you're allowed to laugh at him." Stewart said in a telephone interview on Monday, "People have a tendency to react as far as their ideology allows them."
The man is black, which means, apparently, hands off. I'm guessing this is the bottom line, even though the article doesn't come right out and say that. So we have to check our senses of humor at the door whenever Obama enters the room. McCain, being white and old, is fair game.

Well, I, too, am white and (getting) old. So come and get me, "New Yorker." I'll have my lawyer look into age discrimination as hate speech. Why not try a cover about that?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Parental Rights Amendment

Mrs. Woody sent me an item that's making the email rounds. It's a proposed constitutional amendment "relating to parental rights." It was introduced into the House on June 26, and contains the following intriguing language:
`Article --

`Section 1. The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.

`Section 2. Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

`Section 3. No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.'.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan introduced it, and Section 1 is spot-on. You'll not get any disagreement from any homeschooling parent that this has always been one of our most fundamental rights. Truth is, the very fact that we need to make this a constitutional amendment at all is a very telling indictment of just how ludicrous our interfering governments — federal and local — have become.

Section 2, however, bothers me. Rather than leave it where it was in Section 1, the lawyers just couldn't resist keeping that little loophole in there. So long as the feds or the states fail to demonstrate that their interests are of the "highest order," then no problem. But how on earth do they define "highest order?" I know how I define it, and I hardly think I'm on the same wavelength as a bunch of legal parasites in expensive clothing.

I can pretty much guarantee that, were this amendment to actually be ratified (and it has a loooooooong way to go before that happens) the Democrats of California would expend every effort to demonstrate exactly how the "problem" of homeschooling is an issue of the "highest order." You could probably measure how long it would take them to file the first court challenges with a stop-watch. I would prefer (silly me) to have that section redacted completely. Or, failing that, some language that speaks to only allowing the government to intervene where clear and demonstrable danger to the children exists. Even this language would be frought with potential misinterpretation, so a much smarter person than I am would have to craft that section.

It really is a nice gesture, but I won't be holding my breath. It's only just been introduced. It has to fight its way through both a Pelosi House and a Reid Senate before it can even be sent to the various states for consideration. If history is any teacher, this thing will die in committee long before it makes it to our state legislatures.