Patterico's Pontifications


Stunningly Charismatic and Honorable Presidential Candidate Prepares to Discard His Pledge to Accept Public Financing Like a Three-Week Old Big Mac Found Stuck to the Carpet Underneath the Car Seat

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General,Scum — Patterico @ 9:47 pm

Can we discard our clear pledges when they become inconvenient?


According to a Washington Post editorial from today:

Mr. Obama’s campaign now claims that his earlier promise was not to stay within the public financing system if his opponent agreed to do the same, as Mr. McCain has done, but merely to pursue such an agreement.


I’m thinking of a word to describe that position. The word I am thinking of rhymes with: “coarse chit.”

Namely, “horseshit.”

At pages 4-5 of this questionnaire are the question and Obama’s answer:

If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?

OBAMA: Yes. I have been a long-time advocate for public financing of campaigns combined with free television and radio time as a way to reduce the influence of moneyed special interests. I introduced public financing legislation in the Illinois State Senate, and am the only 2008 candidate to have sponsored Senator Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to reform the presidential public financing system. In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election. My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election. My proposal followed announcements by some presidential candidates that they would forgo public financing so they could raise unlimited funds in the general election. The Federal Election Commission ruled the proposal legal, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has already pledged to accept this fundraising pledge. If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.

Once again:

If you are nominated for President in 2008 and your major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign, will you participate in the presidential public financing system?


“Yes.” Not “Yes, but” or “Yes, with a caveat” or “We’ll have to wait and see.” The answer is “yes.” Period. Full stop.

Well, we have ourselves another Bill Clinton. I guess it depends on what the meaning of “yes” is.

In February, I told you that Obama will go back on his public financing pledge. I said:

He made a promise and he’ll break it.

. . . .

But surely McCain will get some political mileage out of it? Hah! From Big Media? McCain pointing this out will be portrayed as whining, evidence of his weakness and inability to compete on the fundraising front.

I see it all laid out before me like a movie I’m watching right now.

Apparently the L.A. Times is determined to enhance my reputation as a seer, because a recent article bears out my prognostication to the nth degree:

Barack Obama brings many distinctive traits to the 2008 presidential campaign, but one is especially rare for a Democratic candidate: He has an unusual ability to raise lots of money, which he will be able to spend earlier in the election season than his predecessors.

. . . .

Obama is such a strong fundraiser that he is expected to skip the system of federal election funding — freeing him from the timing rules and spending caps that come with it. That will give the Illinois senator the ability to air television spots and organize field staff long before the traditional Labor Day start of general-election campaigning. . . . . Obama has raised three times more than McCain — $265 million to McCain’s $90 million.

The American Thinker sagely describes this article as “an apologia for Obama’s soon-to-be-broken promise.” I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Notably, as the article extols Obama’s upcoming and inevitable decision to forego public financing, there is nary a mention of Obama’s pledge. Instead, the article exults that “having the money available now means at the very least that Democrats would be better positioned this year to respond to the kind of Swift boat attacks that damaged Kerry during his cash-starved weeks.”

We all know what they mean by “Swift boat attacks.”

When Obama finally does officially wad up his pledge and throws it in the crapper, will the L.A. Times even mention that it ever happened?

Not necessarily. And you can bet that if they do, they’ll quote that “aggressively pursue” language as if it’s the only thing Obama said.

If the L.A. Times tells readers that Obama actually made a clear pledge, I will parade naked down Broadway at high noon the following day for an hour.

You have my solemn word on that. And I will aggressively pursue an agreement with myself to ensure that it actually happens.

Some Interesting Details in Rasmussen’s Latest Polling Showing Obama’s Bounce

Filed under: General — WLS @ 6:22 pm

Posted by WLS:

Rasmussens’ latest poll today shows that Obama has opened an 8 point lead over McCain now that the Dem nominating contest is over.  A bounce of this sort was widely predicted, and seems to have materialized.

But, the overall number at 8% (48-40) is pretty close to where Bush and Kerry were at this same time in 2004.  When “leaners’ for each are included, the numbers are 50-44. 

Here’s a lengthy quote from TPM on the Gallup poll out in mid-June 2004:

The new Gallup poll is chock full of interesting data. Perhaps the most interesting finding is this: For the first time in this poll, a majority of Americans (54 percent to 44 percent) now say that US made a mistake sending troops to Iraq. Less than three weeks ago, the public was still saying, by 58-41, that sending troops was not a mistake.

Note that these data were collected before the wave of violence that was unleashed Thursday in Iraq.

Another turnaround is on whether the war with Iraq has made the US safer from terrorism. Just 37 percent now say the war has made us safer, compared to 55 percent who say it has not; when Gallup last asked this question in mid-December it was 56-33 the other way.

The poll also finds a majority (51-46) saying it was not worth going to war with Iraq, pretty much where this measure has been since late May.

Bush’s overall approval rating, compared to Gallup’s last measurement three weeks ago, is down a point to 48 percent…. 

Despite Bush’s improved economy rating in the Gallup poll, voters still favor Kerry over Bush (53-40) on which candidate can better handle the economy. That Kerry advantage is essentially unchanged since early May.

On the situation in Iraq, Kerry and Bush are nearly tied (47-46 in Bush’s favor), a slightly improvement for Kerry over his 3 point deficit in early May. This tie is notable, of course, because sentiment is now so strikingly negative about the Iraq war. Perhaps Kerry’s failure to gain an advantage reflects the public’s view, captured in other polls, that Kerry does not have a clear plan himself for dealing with the Iraq situation.

Another interesting finding is that, while Bush has a modest lead (51-43) over Kerry in terms of who the public trusts more to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief, the public expresses an identical degree of confidence in the ability of Bush and Kerry to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief (61 percent in each case).

In terms of favorability ratings, it seems significant that Kerry’s net favorability rating (favorable minus unfavorable) is now substantially higher than Bush’s. Kerry is +23 on this measure (58 percent favorable/35 percent unfavorable), up from +17 in Gallup’s last measurement in April. In contrast, Bush is just +8 (53/45), down from +14 in April. These data are consistent with the recent New York Times story that suggested the GOP’s frontal assault on Kerry has not had much success creating an unfavorable image of him.

Turning to the horse race, as ever we must, Kerry leads Bush by 4 points (49-45) among registered voters (RVs). That approximates Gallup’s early June result when Kerry led 49-44….

Looking further at this match-up, Gallup shows Bush ahead by 8 points in the solid red states (won by Bush by 5 points or more in 2000), but Kerry ahead by 14 in the solid blue states (won by Gore by more than 5 points) and ahead by 9 in the purple states (decided by less than 5 points in 2000). And Kerry is carrying independents nationwide by 10 points and moderates by 24 points.

Pretty good news for Mr. Kerry

And we know how that turned out. 

Now, today’s Rasmussen poll has some interesting internal numbers, but none more important this this:

Since January, the number of voters that identify Obama as a “liberal” has risen from 47% in December to 67% now.

In other words, Obama was politically undefined to more than 1/2 the population until the Dem primary contests got underway.  Now that he has been defined, 40% of those that didn’t see him as a liberal before the primary season now see him as such. 

Kerry’ liberal’s “identification” only shifted from 37% to 45% over a comparable period in 2004, and it was only up to 53% by the election.

And the GOP campaign against Obama hasn’t even begun.

“Liberal” has been a dirty word in politics for better than 3 decades.  Before I can be convinced that it has changed, I’ll have to see proof of it myself — like a liberal winning a contested election in a decidedly un-liberal country.

H/T — 

L.A. to Commence Obscenity Prosecution

Filed under: General,Kozinski — Patterico @ 12:10 am

There are a lot of fascinating details in this L.A. Times story about an upcoming obscenity trial in Los Angeles federal court.

When you start reading the story, it sounds titillating: “an otherwise stately federal courtroom in downtown Los Angeles will be converted into a makeshift movie theater this week, screening a series of graphic — many would say vulgar — sexual fetish videos.” One is tempted to reach for the easy jokes about how this is the one trial where jurors wouldn’t try to get out of jury duty.

But as you read on, you realize that this stuff is not your normal porn:

For jurors to determine whether Isaacs’ work is obscene, they will have to view hours of hard-core pornography so degrading that in one film, an actress cries throughout, prosecutors said in court papers.

. . . .

[The filmmaker/defendant] predicted that many jurors would not be able to stomach viewing the movies, some of which feature acts of bestiality and defecation.

“It’s going to be a circus,” he said of the upcoming trial. “I think I’d freak out if I had to watch six hours of the stuff.”

Yeah, I think I’d be trying to avoid that trial after all.

The defendant is a filmmaker named Ira Isaacs. But he’s not just the filmmaker:

The portly defendant, who sports a pony tail and goatee, produced and starred in one of the videos.

Funny, I never would have pictured a producer of hard-core porn as a portly guy with a pony tail.

Anyway, it appears he may have caught a lucky break:

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday. Presiding over the trial will be Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kozinski was assigned the case as part of a rotation in which he and other appeals court judges occasionally oversee criminal trials in addition to deciding appeals.

As the article notes, Kozinski is a well-known libertarian and staunch advocate of free speech. He is unlikely to be particularly sympathetic to the Government’s case.

Isaacs’s work sounds depraved. But I continue to believe that prosecutions like this are a waste of time. In a world where we have terrorism and floods of illegal immigrants, it hardly seems a priority to prosecute smut peddlers, as long as they’re not harming anyone — no matter how sick their material might otherwise be.

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