Patterico's Pontifications


Obama on the Issues: Guns

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama is trying to win the votes of rural gun enthusiasts in Pennsylvania:

“Barack Obama did not hunt or fish as a child. He lives in a big city. And as an Illinois state legislator and a U.S. senator, he consistently backed gun control legislation.

But he is nevertheless making a play for pro-gun voters in rural Pennsylvania.

By highlighting his background in constitutional law and downplaying his voting record, Obama is engaging in a quiet but targeted drive to win over an important constituency that on the surface might seem hostile to his views.”

Obama’s approach is to emphasize that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to gun ownership while downplaying his history of votes in favor of gun control:

“Obama has long backed gun-control measures, including a ban on semiautomatic weapons and concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month. He has declined to take a stance on the legality of the handgun prohibition in Washington, D.C., which the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing, although Obama has voiced support for the right of state and local governments to regulate guns.

In the Senate, he and Clinton broke on one vote, in July 2006. Siding with gun-rights advocates, Obama voted to prohibit the confiscation of firearms during an emergency or natural disaster. Clinton was one of 16 senators to oppose the amendment.

A two-page white paper on Obama’s website doesn’t mention his voting record.

Instead, he introduces himself as a former constitutional law professor who “believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he greatly respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms.”

“He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting,” the paper states. “He also believes that the right is subject to reasonable and common sense regulation.”

The NRA and others describe Obama’s approach as trying to walk a “Third Way” tightrope:

“Obama’s approach is similar to one advocated by Third Way, which issued a seven-step blueprint in 2006 to close the “gun gap” with Republicans. In a memo on its website, the group urges progressives to avoid silence on gun issues, and instead “redefine the issue in a way that appeals to gun owning voters.”

Among the key steps, according to Third Way: “Own the Second Amendment” and “Take Your Message Directly to Gun Owners — Don’t Let Your Opponent Define You.”

The National Rifle Association posted an article on its website in February warning members against buying into Obama and Clinton, who were using the “scripted rhetorical tricks in the Third Way playbook to the letter.”

Obama has reportedly gained support in rural areas but some Pennsylvanians aren’t buying it:

“Melody Zullinger, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs who received the Obama campaign e-mail on his gun record, said Obama sounds like he is “speaking out of both sides of his mouth.”

“I was at one of our county meetings last night and I mentioned this to [federation members],” Zullinger said Friday of the Obama outreach. “Everyone basically blew it off and weren’t buying it.”

No voter agrees with every candidate on every issue and not every voter will consider gun control a litmus test issue. However, Obama has consistently supported gun control so I don’t see how a voter who opposes gun control can support him.

Sometimes it seems that Obama is a stealth candidate on almost every issue.


Final Four Tip-Off (Updated)

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 11:04 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

We’re just hours away from tip-off in the battle of the No. 1 seeds. Time to make your picks:

6:07 PM EST – UCLA-Memphis.

8:47 PM EST – Kansas-UNC.

UPDATE 1: Memphis won the first game 78-63.

UPDATE 2: Kansas beat North Carolina 84-66.


The Good Things (Updated)

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 10:35 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

America is a land of abundance and generosity, but that doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking.

Example 1 – Michelle Malkin’s posts on the Absolut Reconquista Ad or those who want to take from America on a grand scale:

“The[advertising] company advocates overturning borders that get in the way of imagining new maps of North America that help Mexico create a larger share of the continent.”

Example 2 – The El Paso Times quotes a new citizen who is anxious to vote so she can change America, including make health care more affordable.

It seems to me the best way to change things is to do it yourself and not expect others to do it for you.

UPDATE 4/6/2008: The Absolut vodka company has apologized, although it sounds like Absolut is only sorry that Americans didn’t understand its ad:

“Absolut said the ad was designed for a Mexican audience and intended to recall “a time which the population of Mexico might feel was more ideal.”

“As a global company, we recognize that people in different parts of the world may lend different perspectives or interpret our ads in a different way than was intended in that market, and for that we apologize.”
“In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues,” Absolut said in a statement left on its consumer inquiry phone line.”


Revolution in Cuba: Private Land Ownership

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 10:15 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Cuba may be moving toward private ownership of land:

“In a country where almost everyone works for the communist state, dairy farmer Jesus Diaz is his own boss. He likes it that way—and so does the government. Living on a plot of land just big enough to graze four dairy cows, Diaz produces enough milk to sell about four quarts a day to the state.

This is independent production on a tiny scale, but it has proved so efficient that Cuba has decided on a major expansion of its program to distribute underused and fallow farmland to private farmers and cooperatives.

It’s a way for the land to end up in the hands of those who want to produce. I see it as a very good thing,” said Diaz, 45. He received his land and cows from the state in 1996, and now hopes to get access to more property.

The government is preparing for a “massive distribution of land,” Orlando Lugo, president of Cuba’s national farming association, said last week. Private farmers have begun receiving land for the cash crops of coffee and tobacco, and will soon be able to lease state land for other crops.

The idea is to revolutionize farming, one tiny plot at a time.”

The reporter offers a clever little nod to “revolution” but I suspect Cubans are more like Americans than revolutionary Communists. They want to work for themselves and their families:

“While attention has focused on President Raul Castro’s crowd-pleasing moves to allow any Cuban who can afford it to buy a cell phone or stay in a luxury hotel, farmland distribution has been less noticed and is potentially much more important for easing chronic food shortages.

The bet is that independent farmers will do better on their own than toiling for state-run agricultural enterprises, which suffer from red tape, bad planning and lack of funding.

“The authorities, they leave you alone and let you produce,” said Aristides Ramon de Machado, who got permission to plant bananas, papaya and guava in a lot by his home in Boca Ciega, east of Havana.

De Machado only grows enough for his family to eat and is prohibited from selling any surplus. But he said entrusting larger private farmers with more land will encourage them to increase production. “Seeing the fruits of your own labor gives you pleasure in ways that working for someone else does not,” he said.”

Welcome to capitalism, Sr. De Machado.


Ohio Hospital Challenges Hillary Clinton’s Heartless Health Care Story

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:34 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The New York Times reports more bad news for the Clinton campaign:

“Over the last five weeks, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York has featured in her campaign stump speeches the story of a health care horror: an uninsured pregnant woman who lost her baby and died herself after being denied care by an Ohio hospital because she could not come up with a $100 fee.

The woman, Trina Bachtel, did die last August, two weeks after her baby boy was stillborn at O’Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens, Ohio. But hospital administrators said Friday that Ms. Bachtel was under the care of an obstetrics practice affiliated with the hospital, that she was never refused treatment and that she was, in fact, insured.

“We implore the Clinton campaign to immediately desist from repeating this story,” said Rick Castrop, chief executive officer of the O’Bleness Health System.”

I don’t think reporters would have waited 5 weeks to track down and report this story if it had been McCain. In any event, the New York Times puts another nail in Hillary’s *Presidential hopes* coffin.


Joe Biden’s Agenda (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,War — DRJ @ 8:45 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

With the Petraeus-Crocker reports on the status of Iraq scheduled for next week, Senator Joe Biden has announced the surge in Iraq is a failure:

“A leading Democrat on Saturday declared last year’s troop buildup in Iraq a failure.

Sen. Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the military push didn’t succeed because U.S. troops remain committed there in large numbers and political reconciliation has not been achieved.

“The purpose of the surge was to bring violence in Iraq down so that its leaders could come together politically,” said Biden, D-Del., in this week’s Democratic radio address. “Violence has come down, but the Iraqis have not come together.”

He later added, “There is little evidence the Iraqis will settle their differences peacefully any time soon.”

I think Biden has heard the suggestions that Obama should pick a Vice President with age and gravitas to balance out his ticket, and this is Biden’s effort to put his name in contention for the VP slot. He has the age.

UPDATE: The Politico reports that Biden and Congress have already seen the classified version of Petraeus’ report:

“The stuff that was positive, they emphasized. The negative, they stated, but deemphasized,” says Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe BIDEN.”

It’s good to consider all sides of an issue but, by emphasizing the negative immediately prior to the Petraeus report, I don’t think that was part of Biden’s agenda I think Biden is more concerned with his personal agenda than with fixing Iraq.

[* Edited for the reason noted in the comments — DRJ]


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