Patterico's Pontifications


Another Clinton Backer Announces for McCain

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 9:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Miguel D. Lausell — a Democratic activist and fund-raiser, Harvard Law graduate, and Puerto Rican businessman who backed Hillary Clinton — announced today he supports John McCain for President. In announcing his endorsement, Lausell noted that while he does not agree with all McCain’s policies, he supports McCain as “a sound person and a man with a track record.”

This announcement follows the endorsement of McCain earlier this week by another prominent Clinton supporter, Lynn Forester de Rothschild. The linked article also notes that “other former Clinton backers may be declaring for Sen. McCain in the days ahead.”

This may be part of an organized effort by the Clintons to park Hillary’s supporters and their money in the McCain camp for the duration of this election. Meanwhile, Hillary can stay in the good graces of the Democratic Party by publicly supporting and campaigning for Obama.

In a related story, Ben Smith’s Politico blog records Hillary Clinton issued her most extensive comments to date on Sarah Palin:

“I think that a lot of people were excited to see the Republicans have a woman on their ticket. We had a woman vice presidential candidate in 1984; the Republicans have one this year. I think that is something to be excited about because it is a change. But that’s not reason enough to vote for the McCain-Palin ticket,” she said, according to a transcript from NY1 News.

Clinton also cautioned the media not to cover women candidates in a different manner than male candidates.

This can’t be the “attack” on Palin that the Obama campaign hoped for from Hillary Clinton, but I doubt they are surprised she is lukewarm in her support. Perhaps the Obama campaign will send Kathleen Sebelius out again.


Why This Morning’s L.A. Times Story on the “Road to Nowhere” Was So Irresponsible

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:42 pm

There’s a lot of good discussion in the comments to my post this morning about the L.A. Times‘s irresponsible story about Sarah Palin’s alleged “Road to Nowhere.” The comments are an interesting read, with varying viewpoints and links, all of which I commend to you.

Some of you argued that Sarah Palin’s defense — that the road may lead to improved ferry service or lower-cost bridges — is clearly bogus, and therefore it’s okay for the paper to bury that defense in paragraph 31 of a 33-paragraph story.

Your comments regarding the viability of the bridge are interesting, and merit further analysis.

Too bad the L.A. Times didn’t bother, since that was the central question in the story.

Let me quote former L.A. Times reporter Roy Rivenburg, who left this comment:

As a former L.A. Times journalist and as a reader, I have a hard time understanding why Palin’s side was buried near the end of the story.

Once the basic accusation is laid out, the obvious question is: “How does Palin justify the road?” But we don’t find out until the third to last paragraph. And even then, we’re not given enough info to judge whether her defense is valid. e.g., We see a map that shows an existing ferry line, but we aren’t told whether that line could be expanded. If it can, then one of Palin’s arguments for the road is clearly bogus.

I agree with journalist Rip Rense’s comment that this is a legitimate news story, but I disagree that Palin’s explanation is “incidental.” It’s actually central to the story and should’ve been dissected at length.

This is the point. You folks are arguing the merits of the road in a vacuum, because the paper didn’t give you any facts about the central question: does Palin’s defense have merit or not? Instead, the paper simply assumes away the defense throughout virtually the entire story, and mentions it almost as an afterthought, at almost the very end of the piece.

This is completely irresponsible journalism, regardless of the merits of Palin’s defense.

One other point from the comments:

This Gravina Access Highway project, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation, was contracted out at a cost of $25.7 miilion on December 1, 2006.

Palin took office on December 4, 2006.

In other words, the road was contracted out before Sarah Palin became Governor. She would have to breach a contract to kill the road project.

Why wasn’t that mentioned in the story?

Obama’s Caution on Domestic Issues Contradicts his Attitude Overseas (Updated: Maybe Not)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama met with his core economic advisers today in Florida and then announced he would refrain from offering his plan until Washington has time to formulate a bipartisan solution:

“Obama said the immediate need is to get the capital markets working properly again so the economy can continue to hum. But he resisted offering a detailed blueprint, saying he wanted to let officials at the Treasury Department, the Fed, and in Congress work on a bipartisan solution.”

Astonishing. Obama declines to talk about domestic issues to avoid interfering with Washington’s solution but he has no problem directly addressing America’s foreign affairs with Iraqi leaders, thereby violating the golden rule of American politics:

“By trying to second-guess the present administration in its negotiations with Iraq, Obama ignored a golden rule of American politics. I first learned about that rule from Senator Edward Kennedy more than 30 years ago. During a visit to Tehran, Kennedy received a few Iranian reporters for a poolside chat. The big question at the time was negotiations between Washington and Tehran about massive arms contracts. When we asked Kennedy what he thought of those negotiations, his answer was simple: He would not comment on negotiations between his government and a foreign power, especially when abroad. That, he said, was one of the golden rules of American politics.

A few years later, I spent a day with Ronald Reagan during his visit to Iran. I asked what he thought of the strategic arms limitation talks between the U.S. and the USSR. He echoed Kennedy’s golden rule: He would not comment on his government’s negotiations with a foreign power, especially when abroad.

A couple of years ago, I ran into that golden rule again. At a meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton in Washington, I asked what she thought of the Bush administration’s negotiations with the Iraqis concerning security cooperation. She said she would not second-guess the president and would wait for the outcome of the negotiations. In a statesmanlike manner, Senator Clinton reminded me of the golden rule—one that is common to all mature democracies where the opposition is loyal and constitutional.

Today, Senator Obama is the leader of a loyal opposition in the United States, not the chief of an insurrection or a revolutionary uprising. What we are witnessing in the U.S. is an election, not an insurrection or a coronation, even less a regime change.

Obama should not have discussed the government-to-government negotiations with the Iraqis. That he did, surprised the Iraqis no end. Raising the issue with them, especially the way he did, meant that he was telling them that he did not trust his own government. The Iraqis could not be blamed for wondering why they should trust a government that is not trusted by the leader of its own loyal opposition. (There was also no point in raising the matter, because Obama did not know the content of the negotiations.)”

Reticent at home, outspoken abroad. Obama proves again he is a citizen of the world.

UPDATE: ABC’s Jake Tapper reports Bush Administration officials and Senators Reed and Hagel support Obama’s denials regarding the Iraqi story. Allahpundit at Hot Air tries to untangle the conflicting stories.


The Power of the Jump™: Sarah Palin’s “Road to Nowhere” Actually Might Be a Road to a Ferry

Filed under: 2008 Election,Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:41 am

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

Memo to those people in the media who keep trying to tell us that they are just trying to tell us the facts: You guys want to know why we don’t trust you? It’s because of stories like the one I’m about to describe.

A front-page story in our beloved Bible of fact, the Los Angeles Times, reveals the shocking news:

Wow. She supported a “road to nowhere.” Why would a Governor spend $26 million on a “road to the nonexistent bridge”? I can conceive of no rational explanation.

Except for the completely exculpatory and eminently reasonable explanation offered on Page A23 — namely, the road might connect to a much-needed ferry service.

Turn with me — won’t you? — allllll the way back to Page A23. That’s the burial ground for inconvenient facts that must be published out of “fairness” — but that the editors really don’t want you to see.

Read past the allegations of deception. Past the descriptions of the project as a “dead-end road.” Past the descriptions of the letter-writing campaign begging Palin to stop this pointless insanity.

Keeeeeep reading. Make your way down to the 31st paragraph of this 33-paragraph story. There it is!

State officials said alternatives to the $398-million bridge could include improved ferry service or less costly bridges that would link to the Gravina road. “Gov. Palin understood that a more cost-efficient, sensible solution could still be implemented” in place of the original bridge plan, said Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Palin’s campaign.

I remember the original debate on the bridge to nowhere. The argument was that, because the island has so few residents, the cost of the bridge wasn’t justified. Yes, the residents should have an alternative to the bridge, so that they didn’t have to get on an airplane just to get to the mainland. But it didn’t have to be a bridge; an expanded ferry service would do.

But even a ferry service requires a road, so you can get to it. That’s what this is.

It’s not necessarily a road to nowhere. It’s not necessarily a dead-end road. Palin isn’t necessarily being deceptive. And you can learn all these facts — if you turn to Page A23 and read down to the 31st paragraph.

Of course, if you don’t bother getting your fingers dirty, you’ll be left with the false impression that Palin wasted money on a pointless multi-million dollar project. And that’s precisely what the editors want you to think.

So, media types, keep pushing the line that you’re doing a fair job. Keep telling us you’re not out to do a hatchet job on Sarah Palin.

It’s just another lie you’re telling us.

Why does John McCain have it harder in this election? Simple.

Barack Obama has only to fight John McCain.

John McCain has to fight Barack Obama and a wholly deceptive media that is in Barack Obama’s pocket.

UPDATE: Some of you argue in the comments that Sarah Palin’s defense — that the road may lead to improved ferry service or lower-cost bridges — is clearly bogus, and therefore it’s okay for the paper to bury that defense in paragraph 31 of a 33-paragraph story. I explain why this story is still irresponsible in this post — with the aid of a former L.A. Times reporter who agrees with me.

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