Patterico's Pontifications


The Mother Of All Flip-Flops Is Now Upon Us — Just As Predicted

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer — WLS @ 6:05 pm

Posted by WLS:

Obama is now “restating” his plan to exit Iraq — or maybe he isn’t.  He’s now topped John Kerry by being against an immediate withdrawal before he was for it — all in one day.

How do we know its a “flip-flop”? — well, start with the fact that he’s putting it out there in the afternoon before a three day holiday in the middle of the summer.

As reported here in the LAT this afternoon, Obama at a press conference in North Dakota late in the afternoon retreated from his statements earlier in the day which introduced a significant amount of doubt into whether he would follow through on pledges he made earlier in the campaign about withdrawing troops from Iraq.  He’s had two news conferences in one day to address the subject — this guy is not ready for prime time.

Lets walk through a few of his earlier positions and statements:

Here is a WaPo article dated Jan. 31, 2007, about legislation authored by Obama in 2007 — the Iraqi War De-Escalation Act — which would have required the removal of all troops from Iraq by March 31, 2008 — yep, that would have been 3 months ago.  This legislation was written about the same time as the President announced the “Surge” strategy for dealing with increasing violence.

During a Dem debate on September 27 , 2007, Obama made the following statement:

MR. RUSSERT: Good evening, and welcome. We have some big issues to talk about tonight, so let’s start right now.

Senator Obama, I’d like to start with you. General Petraeus in his testimony before Congress, later echoed by President Bush, gave every indication that in January of 2009 when the next president takes office, there will be 100,000 troops in Iraq. You’re the president. What do you do? You said you would end the war. How do you do it in January of 2009?


If there are still large troop presences in when I take office, then the first thing I will do is call together the Joint Chiefs of Staff and initiate a phased redeployment….  military personnel indicate we CAN get one brigade to two brigades out per month. I would IMMEDIATELY BEGIN that process….  The only troops that would remain would be those that have to protect U.S. bases and U.S. civilians, as well as to engage in counterterrorism activities in Iraq.

The important principle, though, is there are not going to be any military solutions to the problem in Iraq. There has to be a political accommodation, and the best way for us to support the troops and to stabilize the situation in Iraq is to begin that phased redeployment…. 

What I can promise is that if there are still troops in Iraq when I take office, which it appears there may be unless we can get some of our Republican colleagues to change their mind and cut off funding without a timetable, if there’s no timetable, then I will drastically reduce our presence there to the mission of protecting our embassy, protecting our civilians and making sure that we’re carrying out counterterrorism activities there.

In January, 2008, he said the following at a debate in Nevada:

OBAMA: I have opposed this war consistently. I have put forward a plan that will get our troops out by the end of 2009. 

My first job as president of the United States is going to be to call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff and say, “You’ve got a new mission,” and that is to responsibly, carefully, but deliberately start to phase out our involvement there and to make sure that we are putting the onus on the Iraqi government to come together and do what they need to do to arrive at peace….

RUSSERT: In September, we were in New Hampshire together, and I asked the three of you if you would pledge to have all troops out of Iraq by the end of your first term.

All three of you said, you will not take that pledge. I’m hearing something much different tonight.

OBAMA: No, no, no. There’s nothing different, Tim…. I think this is important because it was reported as if we were suggesting that we would continue the war until 2013. Your question was, could I guarantee all troops would be out of Iraq. I have been very specific in saying that we will not have permanent bases there. I will end the war as we understand it in combat missions.

But that we are going to have to protect our embassy. We’re going to have to protect our civilians. We’re engaged in humanitarian activity there. We are going to have to have some presence that allows us to strike if Al Qaida is creating bases inside of Iraq.

And now this morning, Obama says the following:

“I’ve always said that I would listen to commanders on the ground,” Obama said at the first news conference. “I’ve always said the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability. That assessment has not changed.”

He added that his timeline was always contingent on keeping the troops safe.

“I said that based on the information that we had received from our commanders that one to two brigades a month COULD be pulled out safely from a logistical perspective,” he said. “And my guiding approach continues to be that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable.”

Later in the afternoon Obama called a second press conference — and blamed McCain:

At his second news conference, Obama blamed Republican John McCain’s campaign for suggesting “we were changing our policy when we haven’t.”

The NYT reports on his two news conferences:

Mr. Obama said at his first news conference that he planned a “thorough assessment” of his Iraq policy when he visits the country later this summer. “I’ve always said that the pace of withdrawal would be dictated by the safety and security of our troops and the need to maintain stability,” he said. “That assessment has not changed. And when I go to Iraq and have a chance to talk to some of the commanders on the ground, I’m sure I’ll have more information and will continue to refine my policies.” 

So the Obama campaign hastily scheduled a second news conference to try to clarify his remarks. “We’re going to try this again,” Mr. Obama said. “Apparently, I wasn’t clear enough this morning on my position with respect to the war in Iraq….”

“Let me be as clear as I can be,” he said. “I intend to end this war. My first day in office I will bring the Joint Chiefs of Staff in, and I will give them a new mission, and that is to end this war — responsibly, deliberately, but decisively. , and again, that pace translates into having our combat troops out in 16 months’ time.”

He added that when he had spoken about possibly refining his policies, he was referring to questions about how big of a residual force should be left behind to train Iraqi forces and conduct counterterrorism operations — not the overall timeline for withdrawal.

The last comment is just a flat lie.

Obviously he was trying to moderate his position withdrawal, and the left-wing exploded in his ear when the first press reports came out.  That forced the second news conference to try and kill the story before it raged out of control.

Lets see how successful he is.

McCain’s Winning Electoral Strategy Flows Through French Experience

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 1:34 pm

Posted by WLS:

With gasoline at $5 a gallon, and a huge chunck of the US economy run by transportation needs that depend on oil, a potential winning  issue for McCain in November may be an full-throated call for the development of nuclear power nationwide to generate electricity.  This is both an economic issue and a national security issue, and McCain should pound Obama with it unrelentingly.

The Democrats have NO ANSWER for current gasoline prices.  Obama is already on record as saying he has no problem with the high prices — presumably due to the environmental benefits — though he would have liked to have seen them go up more gradually.   Well, thanks for that.

Obama has no answer on the topic of nuclear energy — and it is one he has tied himself in knots over simply because of his desire to be all things to all people.  In October of last year — while the underdog to Clinton in the Dem. primary, Obama made his position clear and unequivocal in pandering to the left-wing environmentalists — “I am not a nuclear energy proponent.”

But in May of this year, after becoming the front-runner and likely Dem nominee, Obama began a subtle shift when he said in an appearance on Meet the Press that expansion of nuclear power might be possible if issues of safety and storage are solved: 

“Until we can make certain that nuclear power plants are safe– that they have solved the storage problem, because I’m opposed to Yucca Mountain and just dumping storage in one state in Nevada…and until nuclear industry can show they can provide clean safe energy without enormous subsidies from the U.S. government, I don’t think that’s the best option.”


San Francisco Mayor Cries ‘Uncle’ Regarding Stupidity In Immigration Policy

Filed under: Buffoons,Crime,Deport the Criminals First,Immigration — Justin Levine @ 10:56 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

From the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco will shift course and start turning over juvenile illegal immigrants convicted of felonies to federal authorities for possible deportation, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday as he took the blame for what he conceded was a costly and misguided effort to shield the youths.

Newsom said he hadn’t known until recently that the city was keeping the juvenile offenders from being deported as part of its sanctuary-city policy, but he added that “ignorance is no defense.”

Newsom had said Tuesday that he had no direct authority to order the change, but that did little to dispel a controversy that overshadowed his announcement this week that he was exploring a 2010 run for governor. National media coverage of the mayor in recent days focused not on his political ambitions but on Chronicle revelations that his city was harboring illegal immigrant youths who had been convicted of dealing crack on the streets.

The mayor also revealed some of the costs to San Francisco taxpayers of protecting the offenders from the federal government, something his Juvenile Probation Department had declined to do.

The city has spent $2.3 million just to house illegal immigrants in juvenile hall rather than turning them over to federal authorities since 2005, the year Newsom appointed his juvenile probation director, William Siffermann.

Oh, there’s much more. Read it all.  This is the man who wants to be Governor of California….

Meanwhile, I’d simply recommend a retaliation policy. Upon their release from jail or prison, all cities should promptly dump their violent offenders, drug dealers and homeless in San Francisco until that city becomes unlivable. Maybe that will drive the point home. It might be harsh, but this is war, and San Francisco clearly started it.

Judge: Bush Wrong on Wiretaps

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

The New York Times reports:

A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law.

I haven’t read the opinion, but I think I agree.

What follows is mostly legal gobbledygook. Read on if you’re into that sort of thing.


L.A. Heat Waves to Reach 117 Degrees in 2100?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:44 am

That’s what the computer model says, and you can’t fight the computer models! (Via Hot Air, appropriately enough.)

Justice Kennedy: The Worst Justice

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:41 am

Rich Lowry:

Why did the Founders bother toiling in the summer heat of Philadelphia in 1787 writing a Constitution when they could have relied on the consciences of Supreme Court justices like Anthony Kennedy instead?

Kennedy is the Supreme Court’s most important swing vote and its worst justice. Whatever else you think of them, a Justice Scalia or Ginsburg has a consistent judicial philosophy, while Kennedy expects the nation to bend to his moral whimsy. With apologies to Louis XIV, Kennedy might as well declare “la constitution, c’est moi!”

Lowry’s sentiments find resonance in the statement of Justin Levine yesterday:

Kennedy has proven that he does not have the temperament worthy of the power afforded to those sitting on the nation’s highest court. I say this even though the practical results of his decisions will more often comport with my own views when compared with some other Justices of the Court. But if I had the power to vote one (and only one) Justice off the island, Kennedy would easily be the first choice.

I don’t know if I’d go quite that far — but he’s certainly the justice I respect the least. Kennedy is smug and patronizing; a toady to elite opinion. He is serenely indifferent to the chaos and turmoil his poorly reasoned decisions cause to the legal system. His flowery and meaningless language provides litle guidance to lower courts, which are often thrown into confusion by his obtuse phrases — but no matter. The key is to be quoted in the New York Times, rather than to be understood by the judges who must carry out his diktats.

The ultimate clue to his result-oriented jurisprudence comes in the public reaction to the fact that Kennedy fundamentally misstated the extent of support for the death penalty for child rape. Linda Greenhouse says that Kennedy’s factual mistake related to “a central part of the court’s analysis.” Yet no legal observer believes, even for a moment, that Kennedy will change his mind, simply because a critical pillar of his analysis has been shown to be flawed.

Everybody knows that he decides on the result and reasons backwards from it.

Nobody thinks that the facts actually matter to him.

You want Kennedy to consider changing his vote? Show him that the editors of the New York Times decry his decision. But don’t bother the man with facts going to the essence of his analysis.

Yes, Lowry is right. Even though Kennedy very often gets the result right, he is the nation’s worst justice. He is a model of what a justice should not be: drunk on his own power, yet at the same time, utterly powerless in his groveling to the dictates of elite opinion.

You can despise the results reached by a David Souter or a Stephen Breyer, but at least you can respect them.

I can’t respect Justice Kennedy.

Bush to Close Gitmo?

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 12:06 am

Jan Crawford Greenburg reports that President Bush will soon decide whether to close down Gitmo.

P.S. By the way, now that the Supreme Court is no longer in session, Greenburg will be covering the election. We might actually see some fair-minded election coverage for once.

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