Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I don’t think Gov.Palin’s decision to resign had anything -whatsoever- to do with any strategic maneuvering. Given the lessons gleaned from the Perot's failed campaign in 92' (i.e. as much as folks may like you, they dislike 'quitters' more), I fail to see the strategic value of such. Sadly, I don't see this as another case of a mere quitter doing what quitters do. Palin appears to have succumb to circumstances beyond her ability to handle despite any pitbull tenacity she may or may not possess intrinsically. I think she was well on her way to succumbing one way or the other and this way was the best for her family...
Many of us are well aware that she came to office much to the chagrin of powerful political enemies in Alaska (i.e. railing against and exposing corruption), getting the GOP vp only earned a more enemies (and fans but definitely more enemies), and at the end of the day her pockets aren’t nearly deep enough to keep up. I don’t see how it wold be possible for her to remain the Governor Alaskans voted for and loved while continuing to fight off the ethics charges, and not see her family come to total financial ruin. Her and Todd spending 500k of their own money -so far- when they only grossed 166k last year and less before that is clearly untenable. No grand mystery here...
Do I think she’ll run in 2012? I’d like to think that she could, but if she doesn’t make friends with a few billionaires I don’t think she should. She really could end up bankrupt IF she’s not already there…
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Congratulations to President-elect Obama and all his supporters for his victory. As a black man I truly can appreciate the symbolism of the moment. But as an American I look forward to the day when we've grown passed attempting to satisfy our insatiable hunger for the merely symbolic. In the mean time I'll settle for being right about socialist policies.
Some believe that Obama is unbeatable in 2012, but I think its do or die time for Obama and the Democrats right now. They were elected on the premise that they could make things better for all Americans and they have to either get it done, or show some clear signs that things are moving in that direction by 2012 or else. It's very amusing to watch all the scrambling to bring down the much heralded expectations. Even the kool-aid guzzling Obamatrons are in on the act as they clinch their bottoms and cross their fingers, praying for a miracle. And it indeed would be nothing short of miraculous for Obama to pursue the policies he campaigned on and we somehow don't come face to face with the 'unintended', though very predictable, consequences thereof. Nature doesn't work like that though, and the real God instituted the laws of nature. Come to think of it God only performs miracles for the purpose of our turning to Him, and not to the -maybe not-so-cheap (we'll see)- counterfeits...
From here I can see their game plan for 2012. When their policy ‘changes’ fail to get desirable results (to put it mildly), they will attempt to use the FDR strategy of blaming the previous administration. Can they pull it off though? I think it depends on if the GOP continues to neglect representing and defending conservative principles, (i.e. Reagan’s or otherwise). In addition, I think that -much like the good Reverend’s Sharpton and Jackson with the whole Don Imus deal- the liberal MSM has managed to severely overplay their hand even amongst folks who voted for Obama. If I’m right then none of this bodes well for those peddling ideologies which are long on rhetorical flourish but short on substance.
Nevertheless, the GOP can NOT attempt to regroup by merely suiting up with fresh ‘conservative’ soundbites to counteract the Dem’s soundbites and expect to revisit the winning column. They can never win that battle when the media they channel that stuff through is all to happy to expose the vacuous nature of neocon rhetoric, while at the same time uncritically hailing the supposed wisdom of the Dem’s. In fact if anything the last 8 yrs (including the last two elections) should have made absolutely clear that (a)you can NEVER out democrat a democrat, and (b)the liberal MSM hates all things conservative so there is nothing to be gained in trying to pander to them. Pander to the people instead. This country is very much a center-right country despite Hollywood and the MSM. The greatest favor the GOP could do for themselves is to start acting like they know it…
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
When you interview for a job, here is a hint: make sure you know what the job is. Joe Biden failed that test last Thursday. He couldn’t even get right what a vice president does, but the media didn’t notice.
The media is all over itself about how smart and experienced Biden is. Political analyst Charlie Cook is quoted in the Washington Post on Saturday as saying “Biden is clearly so much more knowledgeable, by a factor of about a million.” Saturday Night Live does a skit about Biden being smart, if slimy. Meanwhile, Governor Sarah Palin is treated as being nothing more than a simpleton.
Yet, take Biden’s statement from the debate on the role of the vice president:
"Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.
And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.
The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he's part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive, and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous."
One should be careful when throwing around terms such as “most dangerous” and “bizarre.” But Biden is confusing which part of the Constitution covers the Executive Branch (it is Article II, not Article I). More importantly, the notion that the vice president can preside over the Senate only when there is a tie vote is simply wrong. Nor is it true that the only legislative involvement the vice president has is to break tie votes. The vice president is the president of the Senate, where he interprets the rules and can only be overridden by a vote of 60 senators.
Early vice presidents spent a lot of time in the Senate. Thomas Jefferson even spent his time writing “A Manual of Parliamentary Practice: for the Use of the Senate of the United States.” Modern vice presidents may show up only when they think tie votes will occur, but that is their choice.
This isn’t rocket science. The Constitution on this point is very straightforward: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.”
Instead, it was Palin who got it right. Besides correctly stating that the vice president holds positions in both the executive and legislative branches, she also noted that:
"Of course, we know what a vice president does. And that's not only to preside over the Senate and [I] will take that position very seriously also. I'm thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president if that vice president so chooses to exert it in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are."
But just as the vice president’s job includes more than simply being ready to assume the presidency if the president dies, the Constitution merely states what the vice president’s minimum responsibilities are.
Compare the uproar over Palin’s answer to Charlie Gibson about the “Bush Doctrine,” a doctrine that Gibson clearly didn’t understand and for which there apparently exist at least four different versions. Where is the outrage over Biden not understanding what vice presidents do? For Biden, his inability to correctly say what vice presidents do was surely his “gotcha” moment.
Yet, this mistake during the debate was hardly unique. Biden got a lot of things wrong in the debate that are going unnoticed by the fact-check media. Take just a few:
-- Will McCain's health care proposals raise taxes? Biden says that McCain’s proposal will cost people money. The Tax Foundation finds that could easily be "roughly deficit-neutral over ten years."
-- Under an Obama Administration the middle class will "pay no more than they did under Ronald Reagan"? No, the tax rates will be similar to the higher rates under Clinton.
-- Did "we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country"? No, one year’s worth of spending in Iraq equaled five in Afghanistan.
-- France and the U.S. "kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon"? No, and it wouldn't have made much more sense if he had said "Syria" instead.
-- Is it really “simply not true” that Obama said that he would meet with the leader of countries such as Iran without preconditions? No, Obama said “I would.”
-- Did Obama warn against letting Hamas participate in Palestinian legislative elections in 2005? No.
-- Do “Iraqis have an $80 billion surplus”? No. If oil prices had remained high, it might have reached $50 billion by the end of this year.
-- Finally, an amusing point as evidence that Biden is just one of the people he pointed to, inviting anyone to have a beer with him at "Katie's Restaurant" in Wilmington, Del. Unfortunately, people will have a hard time taking him up on his offer, since the restaurant hasn't had that name for probably 15 years.
Unfortunately, voters who are trying to get an accurate count on whether the candidates are telling the truth can’t rely on the media. FactCheck.org mentions only one of these points, the size of the Iraqi surplus. The Washington Post mentioned Biden’s misstatement on Hamas and Katie’s restaurant. AOL’s coverage of the errors in the vice presidential debate was by far the worst, though that might not be too surprising given that Tommy Christopher, who wrote their news analysis, also blogs on the Obama Web site. None of these checkers mentioned Biden's statements about the role of the vice president.
Compare this to the attacks on Sarah Palin:
-- FactCheck.org criticizes Palin for claiming that McCain’s health care tax credits will be "budget neutral" – they argue that the tax credit will be larger than the new taxes that the program will impose. Fine, but if the people at FactCheck.org believe that is true and that the Tax Foundation is wrong, Biden’s claim about increased taxes is even more inaccurate. But FactCheck.org doesn't even mention Biden’s statement from the debate.
-- From AOL's news analysis piece. “Palin: Said that it is untrue that the U.S. is killing civilians in Afghanistan. According to an analysis by the AP, however, the U.S. is killing more civilians than insurgents are.”
What Palin actually said was: “Now, Barack Obama had said that all we're doing in Afghanistan is air-raiding villages and killing civilians.” Whether one believes the AP estimate or not, the question is whether she was accurately characterizing Obama’s statement of the job that our forces were doing. And Obama said, “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians” (emphasis added).
-- FactCheck.org’s first critique claims that Palin was wrong to claim that troop levels in Iraq are down to their pre-surge levels. They are correct that after the recently announced drawdown, 6,000 more troops will be in Iraq than immediately before the surge. But why not mention that 84 percent of the 38,000 troops in the surge are home or are in the process of coming home?
The media seems to have been covering for Biden for some time. While news stories still talk about Dan Quayle’s spelling mistake 18 years later, there has been almost no news coverage of Biden’s numerous wacky statements. What if Quayle had said something similar to Biden’s recent statement that, "When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'" A neat trick given that Herbert Hoover was president in 1929 and no one was watching television.
It might not fit the simple template for a 36-year veteran of the Senate to not understand what vice presidents do (after all, eight vice presidents have served with him), but Biden knew less about this than the political outsider, Sarah Palin. Given that they are running to be vice president, why didn’t that story dominate the news coverage after the debate?
The article has a lot of interesting articles linked so I suggest you peruse through the original...
Monday, October 13, 2008
The following is a Wall Street Journal article which debunks Obama's tax plan lie. I'll be posting a brief summary of my own opinions of the plan shortly. For now though it's about time someone jump on this! Enjoy...
One of Barack Obama's most potent campaign claims is that he'll cut taxes for no less than 95% of "working families." He's even promising to cut taxes enough that the government's tax share of GDP will be no more than 18.2% -- which is lower than it is today.AP
It's a clever pitch, because it lets him pose as a middle-class tax cutter while disguising that he's also proposing one of the largest tax increases ever on the other 5%. But how does he conjure this miracle, especially since more than a third of all Americans already pay no income taxes at all? There are several sleights of hand, but the most creative is to redefine the meaning of "tax cut."
For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals:
- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay" that phases out at income of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 per couple.
- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.
- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).
- A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.
- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support.
- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.
- A "clean car" tax credit of up to $7,000 on the purchase of certain vehicles.
Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.
The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.
The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare. By redefining such income payments as "tax credits," the Obama campaign also redefines them away as a tax share of GDP. Presto, the federal tax burden looks much smaller than it really is.
The political left defends "refundability" on grounds that these payments help to offset the payroll tax. And that was at least plausible when the only major refundable credit was the earned-income tax credit. Taken together, however, these tax credit payments would exceed payroll levies for most low-income workers.
It is also true that John McCain proposes a refundable tax credit -- his $5,000 to help individuals buy health insurance. We've written before that we prefer a tax deduction for individual health care, rather than a credit. But the big difference with Mr. Obama is that Mr. McCain's proposal replaces the tax subsidy for employer-sponsored health insurance that individuals don't now receive if they buy on their own. It merely changes the nature of the tax subsidy; it doesn't create a new one.
There's another catch: Because Mr. Obama's tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge "marginal" tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. As the nearby chart illustrates, the marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.
Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job. As public policy, this is contradictory. The tax credits are sold in the name of "making work pay," but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you're a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year. One mystery -- among many -- of the McCain campaign is why it has allowed Mr. Obama's 95% illusion to go unanswered.</blockquote>
Saturday, October 11, 2008
The myth of the ingrained stupidity of Bush has been greatly exaggerated over the last 8yrs. Say what you will but should you manage to actually look at the record, you'll see the guy clearly had the presence of mind to anticipate the threat posed by "Fannie and Freddie's" ramped up engagement with sub prime lending -a fact the liberals geniuses wouldn't recognize until it was too late to avert catastrophe, and some amongst them still don't get it (hence the foolish blaming of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act)...
It was back in April of '01 when the Bush Administration, in the FY02 budget, first declared that the size of Fannie and Freddie was "a potential problem," because "financial trouble of a large GSE could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting Federally insured entities and economic activity." Then in a letter to OFHEO in May of '02, the Administration called for the disclosure and corporate governance principles contained in Bush's '10-point plan for corporate responsibility' to apply to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
It was discovered that Fannie had cooked their books in September of '03 after Fannie released the findings of a SEC investigation and concurrently admitted that a review of The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) had discovered 'earnings manipulations' (it was October of of '03 when Fannie disclosed a $1.2 billion 'accounting error').
The Bush administration (in September of '03 still) called for Congress to enact "legislation to create a new Federal agency to regulate and supervise the financial activities of our housing-related government sponsored enterprises". CEA Chairman Greg Mankiw elaborated the Administration proposal further that following November, saying that "legislation to reform GSE regulation should empower the new regulator with sufficient strength and credibility to reduce systemic risk" and the "broad authority to set both risk-based and minimum capital standards" and "receivership powers necessary to wind down the affairs of a troubled GSE".
In the FY05 budget, published in February of '04, the Bush administration again warned of the risks posed by Fannie and Freddie, and called for regulation. The Administration is continuously on the record *consistently* warning about Fannie and Freddie danger to the economy, and *consistently* calling for further regulation all the way up until as recently as June of '08. In July (after it was clear that Fannie and Freddie were failing) Congressional Democrats finally -after over SEVEN YEARS saw fit to heed the call, but it was too late...
Republicans spoke out on Freddie and Fannie as well, which culminated in the -Republican controlled- Senate Banking Committee adopted a regulatory bill for Fannie and Freddie (this was 2005!) which every Democrat on the same committee *unanimously* opposed. When the bill reached floor of the Senate (where McCain spoke out as Obama said nothing) it was the concerted opposition of the Democrats which killed the bill there.
What a bunch 'deregulation whores' Republicans were! I mean when I looked up the facts on this stuff I was steamed by these greedy wind bags who clearly set out to let the markets run wild. Clearly I'm saying this tongue in cheek... To all who've been duped into believing Obama has the better judgment on economic issues I challenge to tell me who exactly it is you think was among those regulation loving Democrats who were doing and saying as much as the administration and Republican about the economic threat from Fannie and Freddie? Who amongst them were saying anything?
If your interested in the other half of the truth then I suggest that you go look at what exactly was the Democrats response to the the Administration's calls for the regulation of Fannie and Freddie. Here I'll help you out...
As far as deregulation goes though, The Glass-Steagall Act only keep depository banks from engaging in investment banking, it never *regulated* Fannie and Freddie. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (or Financial Services Modernization Act) -which was voted in by a count of 90 in the Senate -and signed by Clinton with no protest- did however permit banks to be affiliated with firms that underwrite securities, which thus allowed Bank of America Corp. to acquire Merrill Lynch & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to buy Bear Stearns Cos. Both transactions saved the government the costs of a rescue and spared the market substantial additional turmoil. Beyond that, it had nothing to do with this debacle.
Looking for someone to blame? Well just remember that the central cause of our economic problem stems from the fact that there are too many people defaulting on mortgages they should never been granted to begin with. Collecting interest off of loans is the life's blood of our financial system. If you compromise that for any reason (even with the best of intentions), then the whole system will fail. The very impetus for these folks being able to get these loans was the Democrats misguided 'Robinhood' complex.
If the polls are correct, then it only shows -unfortunately- that we've once again miss the only lesson to be learned from this debacle that will keep us from repeating this error again.
I'm Black and I approve of this message!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Democrats are wrong in claiming that financial services deregulation is to blame for the current financial crisis--if anything, the financial sector has seen increased regulation since the savings and loan collapse in the 1980s. The lax supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Republicans sought to strengthen in 2005, is the true culprit of this financial crisis.
In the debate on September 26, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama argued that the current crisis in the financial markets is the result of Republican deregulation.
The advertising from his campaign has been saying the same thing, and this claim is becoming a fixed element in the talking points of Democratic candidates this year.
The credibility of the charge depends on ignoring several important facts:
-- There has been a great deal of deregulation in our economy over the last 30 years, but none of it has been in the financial sector or has had anything to do with the current crisis. Almost all financial legislation, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Improvement Act of 1991, adopted after the savings and loan collapse in the late 1980s, significantly tightened the regulation of banks.
-- The repeal of portions of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999--often cited by people who know nothing about that law--has no relevance whatsoever to the financial crisis, with one major exception: it permitted banks to be affiliated with firms that underwrite securities, and thus allowed Bank of America Corp. to acquire Merrill Lynch & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to buy Bear Stearns Cos. Both transactions saved the government the costs of a rescue and spared the market substantial additional turmoil.
None of the investment banks that got into financial trouble, specifically Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., were affiliated with commercial banks, and none were affected in any way by the repeal of Glass-Steagall.
It is correct to say that there has been significant deregulation in the U.S. over the last 30 years, most of it under Republican auspices. But this deregulation--in long-distance telephone rates, air fares, securities-brokerage commissions, and trucking, to name just a few sectors of the economy where it occurred--has produced substantial competition and innovation, driving down consumer costs and producing vast improvements and efficiencies in our economy.
The Internet, for example, wouldn't have been economically possible without the deregulation of data-transfer rates. Amazon.com Inc., one of the most popular Internet vendors, wouldn't have been viable without trucking deregulation.
-- Republicans have favored financial regulation where it was necessary, as in the case of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, while the Democrats have opposed it. In 2005, the Senate Banking Committee, then under Republican control, adopted a tough regulatory bill for Fannie and Freddie over the unanimous opposition of committee Democrats. The opposition of the Democrats when the bill reached the full Senate made its enactment impossible.
Barack Obama did nothing; John McCain endorsed the bill in a speech on the Senate floor.
-- The subprime and other junk mortgages that Fannie and Freddie bought--and the market in these mortgages that their buying spawned--are the underlying cause of the financial crisis. These are the mortgages that the Treasury Department is asking for congressional authority to buy. If the Democrats had allowed the Fannie and Freddie reform legislation to become law in 2005, the entire financial crisis might have been avoided.
Policies that center on deregulation are probably hard for the voting public to grasp, and that has allowed Democratic candidates to spread the idea that there is a connection between deregulation and the current crisis. But an Obama victory, based in part on the claim that deregulation has caused the financial crisis, will create a mandate for new regulation where it isn't necessary and will do harm to our economy.
Translation: This was demonstrably -and undeniably- the Democrats fault. If the McCain camp intends to win in a few weeks they'd better stop sitting on their hands and start doing a great deal of finger pointing of their own.
Critics of Senator Barack Obama make a strategic mistake when they talk about his "past associations." That just gives his many defenders in the media an opportunity to counter-attack against "guilt by association."
We all have associations, whether at the office, in our neighborhood or in various recreational activities. Most of us neither know nor care what our associates believe or say about politics.
Associations are very different from alliances. Allies are not just people who happen to be where you are or who happen to be doing the same things you do. You choose allies deliberately for a reason. The kind of allies you choose says something about you.
Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, William Ayers and Antoin Rezko are not just people who happened to be at the same place at the same time as Barack Obama. They are people with whom he chose to ally himself for years, and with some of whom some serious money changed hands.
Some gave political support, and some gave financial support, to Obama's election campaigns, and Obama in turn contributed either his own money or the taxpayers' money to some of them. That is a familiar political alliance— but an alliance is not just an "association" from being at the same place at the same time.
Obama could have allied himself with all sorts of other people. But, time and again, he allied himself with people who openly expressed their hatred of America. No amount of flags on his campaign platforms this election year can change that.
Unfortunately, all that most people know about Barack Obama is his own rhetoric and that of his critics. Moreover, some of his more irresponsible critics have made wild accusations— that he is not an American citizen or that he is a Muslim, for example.
All that such false charges do is discredit Obama's critics in general. Fortunately, there is a documented, factual account of what Barack Obama has actually been doing over the years, as distinguished from what he has been saying during this election campaign, in a new best-selling book.
That book is titled "The Case Against Barack Obama" by David Freddoso. He starts off in the introduction by repudiating those critics of Obama who "have been content merely to slander him— to claim falsely that he refuses to salute the U.S. flag or was sworn into office on a Koran, or that he was born in a foreign country."
This is a serious book with 35 pages of documentation in the back to support the things said in the main text. In other words, if you don't believe what the author says, he lets you know where you can go check it out.
Barack Obama's being the first serious black candidate for President of the United States is what most people consider remarkable but how he got there is at least equally surprising.
The story of Obama's political career is not a pretty story. He won his first political victory by being the only candidate on the ballot— after hiring someone skilled at disqualifying the signers of opposing candidates' petitions, on whatever technicality he could come up with.
Despite his words today about "change" and "cleaning up the mess in Washington," Obama was not on the side of reformers who were trying to change the status quo of corrupt, machine politics in Chicago and clean up the mess there. Obama came out in favor of the Daley machine and against reform candidates.
Senator Obama is running on an image that is directly the opposite of what he has been doing for two decades. His escapes from his past have been as remarkable as the great escapes of Houdini.
Why much of the public and the media have been so mesmerized by the words and the image of Obama, and so little interested in learning about the factual reality, was perhaps best explained by an official of the Democratic Party: "People don't come to Obama for what he's done, they come because of what they hope he can be." David Freddoso's book should be read by those people who want to know what the facts are. But neither this book nor anything else is likely to change the minds of Obama's true believers, who have made up their minds and don't want to be confused by the facts.
A recent Republican campaign ad sarcastically described as Barack Obama's "one accomplishment" his supporting a bill to promote sex education in kindergarten.
During an interview of a Republican spokesman, Tom Brokaw of NBC News replayed that ad and asked if that was something serious to be discussed in a presidential election campaign.
It was a variation on an old theme about getting back to "the real issues," just as Brokaw's question was a variation on an increasingly widespread tendency among journalists to become a squad of Obama avengers, instead of reporters.
Does it matter if Barack Obama is for sex education in kindergarten? It matters more than most things that are called "the real issues."
Seemingly unrelated things can give important insights into someone's outlook and character. For example, after the Cold War was over, it came out that one of the things that caught the attention of Soviet leaders early on was President Ronald Reagan's breaking of the air traffic controllers' strike.
Why were the Soviets concerned about a purely domestic American issue like an air traffic controllers' strike? Why was their attention not confined to "the real issues" between the United States and the Soviet Union?
Because one of the biggest and realest of all issues is the outlook and character of the President of the United States.
It would be hard to imagine any of Ronald Reagan's predecessors over the previous several decades — whether Republicans or Democrats — who would have broken a nationwide strike instead of caving in to the union's demands.
This told the Soviet leaders what Reagan was made of, even before he got up and walked out of the room during negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev. That too let the Soviet leaders know that they were not dealing with Jimmy Carter any more.
There is no more real issue today than "Who is the real Barack Obama behind the image?" What does being in favor of sex education in kindergarten tell us about the outlook and character of this largely unknown man who has suddenly appeared on the national scene to claim the highest office in the land?
It gives us an insight into the huge gulf between Senator Obama's election year image and what he has actually been for and against over the preceding decades. It also shows the huge gulf between his values and those of most other Americans.
Many Americans would consider sex education for kindergartners to be absurd but there is more to it than that.
What is called "sex education," whether for kindergartners or older children, is not education about biology but indoctrination in values that go against the traditional values that children learn in their families and in their communities.
Obviously, the earlier this indoctrination begins, the better its chances of overriding traditional values. The question is not how urgently children in kindergarten need to be taught about sex but how important it is for indoctrinators to get an early start.
The arrogance of third parties, who take it upon themselves to treat other people's children as a captive audience to brainwash with politically correct notions, while taking no responsibility for the consequences to those children or society, is part of the general vision of the left that pervades our education system.
Sex education for kindergartners is just one of many issues on which Barack Obama has lined up consistently on the side of arrogant elitists of the far left. Senator Obama's words often sound very reasonable and moderate, as well as lofty and inspiring. But everything that he has actually done over the years places him unmistakably with the extreme left elitists.
Sadly, many of those who are enchanted by his rhetoric are unlikely to check out the facts. But nothing is a more real or more important issue than whether what a candidate says is the direct opposite of what he has actually been doing for years.
The old phrase, "a man of high ideals but no principles," is one that applies all too painfully to Barack Obama today. His words expressing lofty ideals may appeal to the gullible but his long history of having no principles makes him a danger of the first magnitude in the White House.
What about those "real issues" that Barack Obama's supporters in the media say we should get back to, whenever some new unsavory fact about his past comes out?
Surely education is a real issue, with American school children consistently scoring below those in other countries, and children in minority communities faring worst of all.
What about Senator Obama's position on this real issue? As with other issues, he has talked one way and acted the opposite way.
The education situation in Obama's home base of Chicago is one of the worst in the nation for the children — and one of the best for the unionized teachers.
Fewer than one-third of Chicago's high-school juniors meet the statewide standards on tests. Only 6 percent of the youngsters who enter Chicago high schools become college graduates by the time they are 25 years old.
The problem is not money: Chicago spends more than $10,000 per student.
Chicago teachers are doing well. A beginning teacher, fresh out of college, earns more than the city's median income and that can rise to more than $100,000 over the years.
That's for teaching 6 hours a day, 9 months of the year. Moreover, a teacher's income is dependent on seniority and other such factors — and in no way dependent on whether their students are actually learning anything.
Obama has said eloquent and lofty words about education, as he has about other things — for example, how it is "unacceptable in a country as wealthy as ours" that some children "are not getting a decent shot at life" because of the failing schools.
In a predominantly black suburb of Chicago, where the average teacher's salary is $83,000 and one-fourth of the teachers make more than $100,000, Barack Obama noted that the school day ends at 1:30 PM.
In his book "Dreams from My Father," Obama said candidly that black teachers and administrators "defend the status quo with the same skill and vigor as their white counterparts of two decades before."
It is not a question of Obama's not knowing. He has demonstrated conclusively that he knows what is going on.
But, for all his eloquent words, he has voted consistently for the teachers' unions and the status quo.
"I owe those unions," he has said frankly. "When their leaders call, I do my best to call them back right away. I don't consider this corrupting in any way."
Only other politicians' special interests are called "special interests" by Barack Obama, whose world-class ability to rationalize is his most frightening skill.
Even when he verbally endorses the reform idea of merit pay for teachers, he cleverly re-defines merit so that it will be measured by teachers themselves, rather than by "arbitrary tests." In other words, Obama placates critics of the educational status quo by being for merit pay in words, while making those words meaningless, so as not to offend the teachers' unions.
The failings of teachers are only part of the disaster of inner city public schools. Disruptive and violent students can make it impossible for even the best teachers to educate students.
Administrators are reluctant to impose any serious punishment on those students who make it impossible for other students to learn. Partly this is because liberal judges can make it literally a federal case if more minority students are punished than others.
In other words, if black males are punished more often than Asian American females, that can be enough to get the administrators drawn into a legal labyrinth, costing money and time, even if the punishment is eventually upheld.
When a bill was introduced into the Illinois state legislature that would put more teeth into suspensions of misbehaving students, Barack Obama voted against that bill.
A real reformer would want to crack down on both unruly students and unaccountable teachers. A clever politician would speak eloquently, demand "change" — and then vote for the status quo. Obama talks a great game.
Barack Obama's supporters often try to sidestep questions about his character and judgment by saying that we should stick to what they arbitrarily define as "the real issues." But Senator Obama's record on specific issues is as bad as his record of repeatedly allying himself over the years with people who make no attempt to hide their hatred of America.
Among the so-called "real issues" are earmarks for Senators' pet projects, like the "bridge to nowhere." These are among the most indefensible parts of the inbred Washington political culture, which Obama has so often claimed to be against, as part of his promise of "change" to "clean up the mess in Washington."
Yet Senator Obama not only voted in favor of the bridge to nowhere, he voted against anti-earmark amendments proposed by Senator John McCain.
Obama has had more than two dozen of his own earmarks in the past fiscal year, and he knows the Senate well enough to know that, if he voted against the bridge to nowhere, his own earmarks might get nowhere.
Those earmarks, incidentally, included a million dollars of the taxpayers' money for a facility where his wife works at the University of Chicago. Her salary rose by nearly $200,000 when her husband became a United States Senator — no doubt a shrewd investment by the university that paid off.
When a highly publicized bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007 led Senator Tom Coburn to propose taking money from federal spending on bicycle paths and use it for maintaining and repairing bridges instead, Senator Obama voted against it. The kind of people who vote for him want bike paths.
Moreover, the very idea of taking money from one thing to use for something with a higher priority — something that we all have to do in our own personal lives — is foreign to the liberal big spenders in Washington.
When they want more money for some purpose, they simply raise the tax rates. They don't cut spending somewhere else.
The idea that Barack Obama is somehow different from other liberal-left politicians can only be based on his rhetoric, because his actual track record shows him to differ only in being further left than most liberals and at least as opportunistic.
His talk, however, is another story. The speech that Obama gave at the 2004 Democratic convention — the speech that put him on the national map politically — was one which has been aptly described as a speech that would have been almost equally at home if it had been delivered at the Republican national convention.
In the world of rhetoric — the world in which Obama is supreme — he is a moderate, reasonable man, reaching out to unite people and parties, dedicated to reform, opposed to special interests and a healer of the racial divide.
It is only in the real world of action that Barack Obama is the direct opposite. He has pushed for federal subsidies for ethanol, for example, as other midwestern Senators have, since a lot of corn is grown in the midwest to be turned into ethanol.
He is 100 percent behind the teachers' unions in their fight to preserve their grip on the public schools and exempt their members from being judged by performance instead of seniority — which is to say, he is throwing the students, and especially minority students — to the wolves.
Senator Obama would never call voting for ethanol subsidies a vote for "special interests," any more than he called his total support of the teachers unions a matter of special interests, even though teachers unions are the biggest obstacle to changing the status quo in public schools that have failed American children in general and minority children in particular.
Barack Obama's track record on so-called "real issues" is no better than his track record on issues of character and judgment. The media's track record of conveying the facts to the public is a travesty of their claims about "the public's right to know."
If John McCain had made half as many gaffes as Barack Obama — "all 57 states," for example — they would be picturing him as senile. Meanwhile, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran supplying its terrorist surrogates with nukes does not interest the media nearly as much as scoring "gotchas" against Sarah Palin.