Patterico's Pontifications

8/7/2008

Obama’s “Strategery” (Updated x2)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Denis Keohane at The American Thinker explains why Obama’s strategic decisions may jeopardize his Democratic nomination:

“It looks like Obama’s belief in his inevitability may have led him into a blunder, making it easier for Hillary supporters to prevent a nomination on the first ballot. After that point, anything goes, as all super delegates and many pledged delegates are free to vote their preferences.

After accepting the party’s decision last June to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida but with half votes, only days ago Obama said he wanted the delegates to have full votes

Obviously, he said this believing he has won the nomination and that pandering to voters in critical general election states is of more importance.

If the party goes along with Obama’s request, it reduces the number of super delegates who would need to sit out the first ballot for Obama to be denied the nomination, opening the way for Clinton! Ouch!

This is proof that the man should not be negotiating with Ahmadinejad. If he cannot think strategically and recognize his vulnerability to a last minute ambush at the convention, he would be eaten alive in big league world affairs.”

Of course, Obama doesn’t need to worry about Ahmadinejad yet. He has his hands full dealing with Hillary.

UPDATE 1: NBC/MSNBC says the Obama campaign, “in an effort to quiet talk of the Obama-Clinton drama,” offered Bill Clinton a speaking role at the Democratic Convention before the vice presidential running mate speaks. Clinton has reportedly accepted the speaking offer.

That quiets this brouhaha down for now but if the VP isn’t Hillary, he or she won’t get much media attention the next day. Is that a good thing or a bad thing for Obama?

UPDATE 2: ABC’s Jake Tapper notes that Hillary still describes Obama as “her opponent.” She apparently also said that putting her name in nomination and having a roll call vote is “obvious” — although she said she would not win. Finally, Tapper reports that the Obama campaign is reluctant to have a roll call vote because it would highlight “the narrowness of his victory.”

— DRJ

Hamdan Sentenced to 5-1/2 Years

Filed under: Law,Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 1:42 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP describes the jury’s sentence of Bin Laden driver Salim Hamdan as “stunningly lenient:”

“Salim Hamdan’s sentence of 5 1/2 years, including five years and a month already served at Guantanamo Bay, fell far short of the 30 years to life that prosecutors wanted. It now goes for mandatory review to a Pentagon official who can shorten the sentence but not extend it.”

Hamdan could be eligible for release in as little as 5 months:

“It remains unclear what will happen to Hamdan once his sentence is served, since the U.S. military has said it won’t release anyone who still represents a threat. The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said Hamdan would likely be eligible for the same administrative review process as other prisoners.

Hamdan thanked the jurors for the sentence and repeated his apology for having served bin Laden.

“I would like to apologize one more time to all the members and I would like to thank you for what you have done for me,” Hamdan told the panel of six U.S. military officers, hand-picked by the Pentagon for the first U.S. war crimes trial in a half century.”

I guess this proves how close-minded those hand-picked Pentagon juries can be. (Yes, I know. It’s sarcasm. I don’t often do that but it seems appropriate here.)

The AP closed with this exchange between the judge and Hamdan:

“I hope the day comes that you return to your wife and daughters and your country, and you’re able to be a provider, a father, and a husband in the best sense of all those terms,” the judge told Hamdan.

Hamdan, dressed in a charcoal sports coat and white robe, responded: “God willing.”

Mercy, in every sense of the word.

— DRJ

McCain’s Campaign Strategy

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’ve read several articles and blogs criticizing McCain’s campaign strategy but I like his recent strategy. McCain has run ads that show he will criticize Obama and ads that focus on his values. Now he airs an internet ad entitled “Praising McCain” that shows prominent Democrats and Obama praising McCain:

“John McCain is a maverick — just ask Democrats,” a caption reads in the broadcast, which came a day after Obama dismissed McCain’s “maverick” credentials by casting him as a tired retread of President George W. Bush.

The Republican’s spot features old footage of prominent Obama supporters, including senators John Kerry and Joseph Biden, praising McCain as an honorable politician who is unafraid to reach across party lines.

It even includes a snippet from Obama himself, in January 2007, lauding a Senate bill co-sponsored by McCain on greenhouse gas emissions.”

The ad ends with a clip of Hillary Clinton:

“But the real sting comes with the final guest speaker — Clinton, shown making a biting remark about Obama at the bitter height of their primary battle for the Democratic nomination in March this year.

“I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience he will bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002,” she says in the ad, referring to Obama’s stand against the Iraq war.”

This ad could give the media more openings to ask Obama and his campaign staff questions about their shaky relationship with Hillary and to drive a deeper wedge between Obama and Hillary as the Democratic convention nears. It’s almost enough to make me wonder if the Clintons and the McCain campaign are [independently but in effect] tag-teaming Obama:

“The “Praising McCain” ad was released as Clinton prepared to hold a web chat with supporters Thursday, amid a clamor from her diehard backers for her name to be put forward on the nominating ballot at the convention in Denver.

Clinton herself appears to be backing the idea as a way of officially recording the nearly 18 million primary votes she won and, she says, to let the party purge itself of any lingering anti-Obama discontent.”

Surely not.

— DRJ

The President and Batman

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

CNN’s Political Ticker previews an article from tomorrow’s Entertainment Weekly that reveals the candidates’ favorite superhero. It turns out they both like Batman (Obama likes Batman and Spiderman) but for very different reasons:

“He does justice sometimes against insurmountable odds,” McCain said of the comic book hero. “And he doesn’t make his good works known to a lot of people.”

For his part, Obama told the magazine he would like to be Batman and Spider Man because “they have some inner turmoil.”

“They get knocked around a little bit,” observed Obama.”

These strike me as characteristic generational responses — McCain is outward-focused and concerned about doing the right thing, while Obama is introspective and concerned about the vagaries and meaning of life.

Or not. Maybe I’m overanalyzing it.

In any event, EW should have asked whether McCain and Obama prefer Adam West’s Batman or the more modern portrayals by actors like George Clooney, Michael Keaton, and Christian Bale. Now that would be revealing.

The Political Ticker link also includes McCain’s pick for his favorite TV or movie President. The follow-up question is interesting.

— DRJ

Sanai’s Litigation Strategy Continues

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 10:41 am

Cyrus Sanai’s litigation strategy continues apace. He has written yet another article for a media outlet (this time the L.A. Weekly) that touts his litigation claims without disclosing his ongoing litigation.

As regular readers will recall, Sanai is embarked upon a grand legal strategy to reverse rulings in his parents’ divorce in Washington state. He has proclaimed that his litigation strategy includes seeking discipline for Alex Kozinski. On this site and others, Sanai said that revealing the contents of Judge Kozinski’s website/server was merely one element in a three-step litigation strategy related to his parents’ divorce.

One wonders if we’re now seeing Step Two.

It appears that part of Sanai’s strategy includes writing articles that advance pet arguments identical to those being made in his litigation:

  • Sanai claims that there is corruption in Western state courts (including, not coincidentally, the court that decided his parents’ divorce);
  • Sanai says that the Ninth Circuit has the power to issue injunctions to put a stop to that corruption (and, not coincidentally, he has asked for the federal courts to issue just such an injunction); and
  • Sanai says that the Ninth Circuit has failed to issue such injunctions because of a disturbing pattern of deciding cases by unpublished disposition (which, not coincidentally, happened when he requested such an injunction).

Sanai’s dispute with Judge Kozinski began when Sanai wrote a newspaper article advancing these positions, without disclosing that the subject of his article related to Sanai’s ongoing litigation. Judge Kozinski wrote an article noting Sanai’s lack of disclosure. Kozinski also argued that Sanai had misstated the holdings of several court decisions.

Now, Sanai has written an article for the L.A. Weekly that advances these same positions. Sanai was purportedly assigned by the Weekly to cover the Ninth Circuit’s Judicial Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho. But as the article goes on, Sanai’s coverage of the conference becomes little more than window dressing for his discussion of his legal arguments — arguments which are not disclosed as central to Sanai’s litigation (which is not even mentioned).

What relevance do these arguments have to the conference? Why, Sanai says, the relevance is that they weren’t even discussed!

Nevada’s “pay for play” judiciary was well documented in the Los Angeles Times’ “Juice for Justice” series two years ago. In Arizona, the state’s own watchdog has documented instances in which elected judges use their judicial powers to favor friends or settle scores. In Washington state, the courts have been accused of appointing the employees of private litigants as special masters or judicial referees to decide cases involving those very litigants.

This is precisely what Sanai claims happened in his parents’ divorce case — which took place, not coincidentally, in Washington state.

Federal courts have the power to enjoin or enter declaratory judgments against such lower-court misbehavior. But the 9th Circuit typically disposes of these cases through unpublished decisions with no oral argument — another example of its isolation and lack of engagement. Yet this potentially hot topic somehow failed to come up in Sun Valley last week.

The topic is “hot” primarily to Sanai. With unerring precision, these two paragraphs track the legal argument Sanai has been trying to advance in court for the last several years.

And, like before, he has failed to disclose that fact.

I generally like the L.A. Weekly, but the paper got played here. This article is an advertisement for Sanai’s legal claims, and the fact that he was pursuing those claims should have been disclosed.

If Judge Kozinski weren’t effectively muzzled by the ongoing investigation, he might have pointed this out — likely in a far more entertaining and readable fashion than I have done here.

P.S. Any comments that could even arguably be read as a threat to anyone — whether professional, physical, or otherwise — will be cheerfully deleted. Offenders may be banned.

US-Iraqis Negotiate Timetable for Withdrawal

Filed under: War — DRJ @ 10:12 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP reports two Iraqi sources claim the US and Iraq are negotiating a timetable for withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq by 2010 and all troops within three years after that. The negotiations are part of the broader talks on the US-Iraqi security agreement.

The stumbling block in the negotiations is reported to be the US requirement that American troops be given immunity.

I think President Bush wants to tie the hands of his successor as much as possible when it comes to decisions about Iraq, especially given the likelihood of a Democratic Congress and President. Al-Maliki knows this. I hope US negotiators don’t leave immunity on the table in a rush to finalize the timetable for withdrawal.

— DRJ


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