Patterico's Pontifications


Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:07 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This is an open thread for comments on Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention. Click here for the full Monday schedule.

Day 1 has been broken down into segments. Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean opened the Convention and took care of business matters in the pre-7PM segment. It seems President Jimmy Carter was relegated to an honorary video without any/extensive live remarks.

However, in the coveted 7-9PM segment, I count 17 speakers or videos including:

Senator Edward M. Kennedy Tribute by Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg
(Daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy)

The Honorable Claire McCaskill, US Senator, Missouri

Video – Michelle Obama Package

Introduction to the Michelle Obama Package – Craig Robinson
(Older brother of Michelle Obama)

Remarks – Michelle Obama
(Wife of Presidential Candidate Barack Obama)”

The “Michelle Obama Package“? I assume this is a reference to her segment but did they really need to phrase it like that in the official schedule?

UPDATE: CBS posted a “sneak peek” of one paragraph of Michelle Obama’s speech. Unlike Michelle Malkin’s version, this one is apparently for real [emphasis supplied]:

“Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation. Because we want our children – and all children in this nation – to know that the only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

“[T]hat your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do …”
Except when it comes to public campaign financing, FISA, DC handgun, off-shore drilling, …


Bill Ayers’ Friends

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Beldar could never vote for someone who calls Bill Ayers a friend:

“[Bill] Ayers was a twisted dollop of evil scum in the 1960s and 1970s, and he’s still evil scum. It is absolutely inconceivable to me that someone who might become the president of the United States could call such a man ‘friend.'”

I agree, and I sincerely hope it’s not just Texans like us who feel that way.


What The Fixation on Houses Says About Obama’s Campaign

Filed under: General — WLS @ 3:55 pm

[Posted by WLS]

What does it say about the Obama campaign that at the height of its press attention this week they are chosing to focus their energy on McCain’s clumsy throw-off line about the number of “houses” owned by him and his wife.  I put “houses” in quotes, because I think the question from the Politico reporter was how many “properties” they own, and actual reporting makes clear that a least a couple of the “houses”/”properties” are investment properties and not residences used with any regularity by the McCains.

What does it say? 

First, it suggests they were completely devoid of a substantive issue with which to take McCain on with, and this comment has been a godsend in what must have been a panicked war room last week.

Second, it says that they knew attacks based on Rezko were coming in the fall, they knew the attacks were going to hurt, and by going on the attack first on an issue that opens the door they will hope that the public ignores the BOTH as basic campaign tit-for-tat kind of stuff.  I think that’s really at the heart of their aggressive use of this issue.


Obama Asks DOJ to Investigate Critical Political Ad (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election,Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law — DRJ @ 3:23 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports Barack Obama has requested the Justice Department to begin a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project, its officers and directors, and its anonymous donors, presumably including its financier Harold Simmons (who was also a donor to the Swift Boat Vets), for airing negative ads about him:

“Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads.

Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project,” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads.
The ad focuses on Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, a Hyde Park acquaintance at whose home Obama attended a gathering early in his political career. Ayers is a complicated figure: professor and adviser to the mayor of Chicago despite not having repented his past as a domestic terrorist with the Weather Underground.

“How much do your really know about Barack Obama? What does he really believe?” asks the ad, which also uses imagery from the Al-Qaeda terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

“Why would Barack Obama be friends with someone who bombed the Capitol and is proud of it?” asks the ad’s narrator.”

CNN, Fox News, and at least one local channel have refused to air the ad after receiving pressure from the Obama campaign.

As the Instapundit says, they said there would be efforts to quash speech after George W. Bush was elected President. They were right.

UPDATE 8/26/2008: Counsel for the American Issues Project has issued a firm response to the Obama campaign’s request for an investigation. (H/T Rick Ballard.)


Now We’re Seeing Some Interesting Things About Biden’s Family That Heretofore Were Probably Only Important to the Voters of Delaware — I Wonder If the Rest of the Country Will Be So Disinterested

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:55 pm

[Posted by WLS]

It was prominently mentioned over the weekend by many talking bobble-heads — especially those at MSNBC — that Biden’s family presents a compelling life-story.  Prominently mentioned was that his son Beau, the current Attorney General for Delaware, is set to be deployed to Iraq later this year with his National Guard unit.

Jim Geraghty over at National Review thinks is quite fair that if Biden wants to claim the rights of a proud father in spotlighting one son, he can’t look for the shadows to hide his other son.  All lawyers should have some curiosity about how an attorney just a little more than one year out of law school rose to the level of “senior vice president” at one of the largest credit card companies in the country, MBNA.  From the NYTimes:

In late 1996, the company hired the younger of Mr. Biden’s two sons, Robert Hunter Biden, known as Hunter, who had just graduated from Yale Law School, as a lawyer. The company promoted Mr. Biden to senior vice president by early 1998.

But apparently he didn’t stay with MBNA very long.  Also from the story:

And after the younger Mr. Biden worked at the Commerce Department on electronic commerce issues from 1998 to 2001, MBNA hired him back on a monthly consulting contract to advise it on such issues, aides said.

So he was promoted to Senior VP in early 1998, but sometime later that year he went to work at the Clinton Commerce Dept, where he stayed until Bush was elected in 2001.

He then left and became a “Founding Partner” in Oldacker, Biden & Blair.  Here is their website:  obblaw.

The NYTimes story states that Hunter Biden was once described by an MBNA official as being on a $100,000 a year retainer for MBNA since leaving the Clinton Commerce Dept. and “founding” his own law firm — 5 years out of law school.

Did I mention that Joe Biden was one of the few Dem. Senators to support the Bankruptcy reform bill that made it more difficult for consumers to discharge their credit card debts through bankruptcy?


The First Draft of the Sandra Tsing Loh Book Review

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 2:34 pm

[I found this in a dumpster somewhere near Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles. It appears to be a first draft of the L.A. Times book review of the Sandra Tsing Loh book “Mother on Fire.”

Thanks to the commenters from this post, from whom I stole several of these jokes. And apologies to Iowahawk for stealing and mangling his “found first draft” device.]

A Review of Sandra Tsing Loh’s Latest Book

By Cooze N. Sarpenter

In her latest book, cunning linguist and master debater Sandra Tsing Loh thinks outside the box and explores cracks in the facade of the school system. Her probing analysis, while quite tongue-in-cheek, reminds one of the work of Boris Torakhokov or Peter B. Dragon.

Reading “Mother on Fire,” you can almost hear Loh speaking the words out loud, deftly filleting school officials with the surgical precision of a Benihana chef. Yes, Ms. Loh certainly is talented at delivering her own special brand of fillet show to a satisfied audience. With this book, Ms. Loh shows that she possesses more than superior oral skills, as she takes her skilled tongue to a new and different audience.

I don’t want to be too hard on Loh, but her book really peters out in the end. A professional investigator can sometimes help penetrate such a bureaucracy as the school system. However, Ms. Loh clearly lacks access to the services of a private dick, and it shows.

Gallup Polling Interesting

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:31 pm

[Posted by WLS]

Gallup’s tracking poll, a rolling 3 day average of about 850 voters per day, has the race tied 45-45.  This is the same result as yesterday. 

What is interesting, however, is that today’s poll includes two days of polling after Biden was named to the VP slot.  The rolling totals for Wed-Fri, the last 3 days before Biden was named, had Obama +2 — 46-44. 

That difference is statistically insignificant.  But this isn’t — on August 12, Obama was up 48-42.  So, over the past 13 days Obama has moved -4, while McCain has gone +3. 

Now he has gotten no bounce out of Biden, and the convention begins in disarray. 

Where will he be on Friday?  Surely he will get some bounce out of the convention, but how high will it be and how long will it last?

UPDATE:  I was trying to figure out what event took place in the time-frame that Obama’s numbers dropped from 48.  I had it in my head that it was the Saddleback forum, but I knew that took place on the following Saturday, after his numbers were declining. 

It just dawned on me what it was — Russia invaded Georgia on August 8.  That fact on the ground didn’t really take hold in the US for a couple days, not until pictures of the fighting as well as the belligerent attitude of the Russian government started to emerge.  Since then Obama has fallen and McCain has risen.

And Obama tapped Biden.


Explain How This Does Not Reflect Outright Fear Of The Convention Spinning Out of Control:

Filed under: General — WLS @ 1:09 pm

[Posted by WLS]

The AP is reporting that the Obama and Clinton campaigns have been discussing a plan that would cut off the roll call of the individual state delegations, and proceed to a call for Unanimous Consent in favor of Obama in order to demonstrate party unity.   One idea is for Hillary to announce the votes of the NY delegation — or after those are announced — and then Hillary will call for Obama’s nomination by acclamation. 

I’m not sure how she can agree to that after stating publicly earlier that she herself would vote for Obama, but for the rest of her delegates it was a personal decision that each would make.  If she goes through on this idea in the AP story, she could be seen as cutting off the votes of her supporters — maybe driving more of them into the McCain camp.

This strikes me as a particularly bad idea.  Obama’s camp should simply come to grips with the fact that he won by a very narrow margin, and the rollcall of the delegates is going to reflect that.  He should take comfort in the fact that most of the superdelegates broke for him.  He should also work as hard as possible to recruit Clinton delegates to vote for him.  But then he should let them vote.

The few minutes of unease when Clinton will remain close in the delegate count will pass and be forgotten after he gives his speech Thurs night.  But all this handwringing over having a traditional rollcall only serves to make him look weaker still — this time to Dems.


The Dem Convention is a Target Rich Environment For Reporters Looking for a Story about Disgruntled Clintonians.

Filed under: General — WLS @ 12:55 pm

[Posted by WLS]

You’ve got to love this kind of stuff — from Mark Halperin’s blog over at Time:

The following is a joint statement from Maggie Williams, Senior Advisor to Senator Clinton and David Axelrod, Senior Strategist to Senator Obama in response to the false story that appeared last night online on
“We understand that some in the news media are more interested in reporting the rumor of controversy than the fact of unity. The fact is that our teams are working closely to ensure a successful convention and will continue to do so. Senator and President Clinton fully support the Obama/Biden ticket and look forward to addressing the convention and the nation on the urgency of victory this Fall. Anyone saying anything else doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Period.”

Didn’t Howard Wolfson work for Clinton’s campaign as the Chief Spokesman?  Apparently, based on his own writing over at the new republic, he didn’t get the memo:

There is still work to do on the Bill Clinton front. He feels like the Obama campaign ran against and systematically dismissed his administration’s accomplishments. And he feels like he was painted as a racist during the primary process.

I’m running out of popcorn already and the convention hasn’t even started.  I’ll have to make a quick run to Costco to buy one of those 36-pack boxes of Orville Redenbacher.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T at the Democratic Convention

Filed under: 2008 Election,Politics — DRJ @ 12:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Lynn Sweet reports that Barack Obama’s campaign team plans to “smother diehard Clinton backers with respect” in the early days of the Democratic National Convention, but someone forgot to send the memo to Obama’s mentor and retiring Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones:

“A black Hillary Clinton delegate on Sunday accused state Senate President Emil Jones of calling her an “Uncle Tom.”

Jones — Barack Obama’s political mentor — denied using the racially loaded slur against Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb, but two aldermen who said they witnessed the Saturday night exchange back up Cobb’s account.”

The details of the conversation are halfway down at this link. My favorite part is when Cobb said Jones and 35,000 other Obama supporters at Springfield Saturday “drank the Kool-Aid.” Shortly after that is when Cobb said Jones called her an Uncle Tom.

Jones “emphatically” denied making the statement but one of the aldermen present, Freddrenna Lyle, later said “Emil, that’s bad even for you.” Another claimed Jones’ statement was made in jest. However, Cobb got in a parting shot when she responded that Jones was the ‘Uncle Tom’ because his close relationship with Mayor Daley and Gov. Blagojevich.

Cobb’s incident illustrates the reported rifts between Obama and Clinton partisans:

Cobb has been a high-profile Clinton supporter, and she said she is still paying the price in the African-American community.

“If people are still making digs at the Hillary Clinton people because we supported her, that is not going to bring us on board. It makes us feel as though we’re outsiders, and we’re Democrats,” Cobb said. “The litmus test for being black is [seen as] supporting Barack.”

Cobb said she saw Clinton supporters walking into an Illinois delegation meeting at the Marlowe Restaurant on Sunday and being handed Obama buttons, only to put the buttons in their pockets. That prompted the greeters to say, “You can tell the Hillary Clinton people, they never take the buttons.”

Barack Obama campaigned on the theme of unifying America and healing our partisan divisions. Now it looks like he’ll be fortunate to heal the divisions in his own Party.


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