Patterico's Pontifications


The Annenberg Foundation/Obama/FactCheck/Brady Center Connection

Filed under: 2008 Election,Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,General,Scum — Patterico @ 11:11 pm

The other day I savaged a FactCheck piece on Obama and gun rights. I noted that FactCheck elevated Obama’s campaign rhetoric over his record. I couldn’t see how an organization allegedly devoted to “facts” could be so naive.

Xrlq joined in, and had plenty of links to others who also bashed FactCheck.

We now have a possible reason why FactCheck seemed to be in Obama’s pocket. Namely, FactCheck’s sugar daddy is a big donor to the anti-Second Amendment folks at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

FactCheck supposedly exists to look beyond a politician’s claims. Ironically, in its analysis of NRA materials on Barack Obama, these so-called “FactCheckers” use the election year campaign rhetoric of a presidential candidate and a verbal claim by one of the most zealous gun control supporters in Congress to refute facts compiled by NRA’s research of vote records and review of legislative language.

There’s another possible explanation behind FactCheck’s positions. Just last year, FactCheck’s primary funding source, the Annenberg Foundation, also gave $50,000 to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence for “efforts to reduce gun violence by educating the public and by enacting and enforcing regulations governing the gun industry.” Annenberg made a similar grant for $100,000 in 2005. (source)

Regardless of the cause, it’s clear that while FactCheck swoons over a politician’s rhetoric, NRA prefers to look at the more mundane details – like how that politician voted on a bill and what kind of impact that legislation had or may have had on law-abiding gun owners.

As Columbo would say: just one more thing.

The Annenberg Foundation? Doesn’t that sound familiar in the context of Barack Obama? Why, yes it does!

Obama Uses Thuggish Lawyer Tactics to Try to Squelch NRA’s Criticism

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:24 pm

As a staunch advocate of the First Amendment, I have to say that this is one of the scariest things I’ve seen since . . . well, since the last time Democrats used thuggery to try to squelch free speech.

Here’s the rundown. NRA does commercial highlighting Obama’s anti-gun record. Biased “fact-checking” site falsely claims that the NRA is being deceitful. Obama’s lawyer sends thuggish letter to networks threatening to try to get their license pulled.

Dat’s a nice broadcasting license you got dere. Sure would be a shame if anything was ta happen to it.

As Allahpundit once said about a similar situation:

My only question is this: was that letter typed, or did they use letters cut out from magazines?

Let’s face it: this kind of thuggery is standard operating procedure for the left. In 2006, when ABC ran “The Path to 9/11,” Harry Reid & Co. wrote a mafia-style letter threatening ABC’s broadcast license. In 2004, a group of Democrat lawmakers wrote Rupert Murdoch and threatened Fox News’s broadcast license over what they believed was skewed reporting. And the DNC threatened Sinclair Broadcasting’s broadcast license over an anti-Kerry documentary called “Stolen Honor.” Kerry spokesthug Chad Clanton was quoted as saying: “I think they’re going to regret doing this, and they better hope we don’t win.” He hastened to add that it wasn’t a threat.

[UPDATE: Beldar adds that the DNC and the Kerry campaign initially responded to the Swift Vets by threatening TV stations that might dare to air Swift Vet ads — telling them that they should refuse the ads or be held “responsible.”]

As Allahpundit said after the Reid episode:

If the GOP pulled this crap, it’d be top of the f’ng fold tomorrow in the Times. As it should be.

Yes, but we never do pull this crap. It’s always those tolerant Democrats.

“If the conservative members of the GOP derail this deal and there is an economic collapse, no one will care that they were trying to save the taxpayers’ money.”

Filed under: General — WLS @ 10:23 pm

[Posted by WLS]

That’s from an -email to Rich Lowry over at NRO’s Corner. I think it encapsulates the problem exactly.


Oregon State Shocks No. 1 USC

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 9:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Beavers upset the Trojans 27-21.


Bush and his Supporters, the Democrats

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 8:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’ve read and re-read this Politico article about President Bush’s meeting with Congressional leaders today and I was struck by one thing: Obama and the Democrats have become the primary proponents of President Bush’s economic bailout plan.

I don’t know what voters will think of this but it should make it harder for Obama, Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and others to convince voters McCain-Palin will be 4 more years of Bush.


CBS Has Horrible Transcript of Palin Interview

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 6:47 pm

From the CBS News transcript of Palin’s interview with Katie Couric:

Next, Couric asked about the $700 billion government bailout of bad debt – and whether she supports it.

Palin: I’m all about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout.

When I read that passage I thought: Jeez, what a ditz. I’m, like, all about the position America’s in, fer shure!

Except, that’s not what she said. I just watched it, and she said:

I’m ill about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout.

The incorrect phrase has been picked up by a host of morons.

P.S. They also completely leave out a part of her answer, with no ellipsis to note that it’s missing. Here’s how the transcript reads:

Here’s what she actually says:

I’ll bold what’s been left out of the CBS transcript:

Palin: I’m ill about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout. At the same time, we know that inaction is not an option. And as Sen. McCain has said unless this — nearly trillion dollar bailout is what it may end up to be — unless there are amendments in Paulson’s proposal, really I don’t believe that Americans are going to support this and we will not support this. The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They’re not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do. Is he going to do this [mimics holding her finger to the wind] and just see what way the political wind’s blowing? They’re waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these amendments implemented in Paulson’s proposal.

Why did they skip over a whole phrase, about inaction not being an option?

As for Palin’s performance, I agree with Beldar that Couric was throwing gotcha questions at her — and that she didn’t bother to throw similar questions at Joe Biden. But when Couric pressed her, Palin needed to be far stronger than her weak response of “I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to ya.” I’m no politician, but I’d suggest something like this:

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more. . . . I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: Well, Katie, I don’t mean to belabor the point myself, but I just gave you a strong example of John McCain taking decisive action in the right area at the right time. We didn’t need 26 years of more regulation, we just needed it in one sector at a particular point in time. Now, if you had bothered to ask Joe Biden what Barack Obama has done, you wouldn’t get one example. Now, as it happens, John McCain and I don’t believe more government regulation is always the right answer to every problem. But in 2005, when the mortgage industry needed regulating, John McCain was pushing for reform while Barack Obama was building his record as the second biggest recipient of donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the Senate.

That’s what we need. Not “I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to ya.”

Yes, Couric was being unfair. The media is almost always unfair to Republicans. So, Sarah, you have to throw it back in their face without looking like you’re whining.

And learn how fast, because they’re virtually always going to be that way.

Today’s Scorecard Would Have To Show McCain Scoring A Decisive Decision With His Move To DC Yesterday Given The Way It Played Out.

Filed under: General — WLS @ 6:21 pm

Posted by WLS:

We’ve been debating here the wisdom of McCain “suspending” his campaign in order to return to DC to participate in the crafting of the rescue legislation.

While there is a lot of time left for this issue to play itself out in the political arena — and I do not believe McCain did this for political reasons — I think that today’s scorecard must reflect a significant “decision” in McCain’s favor.

First, while Obama was still waffling in public about returning to DC, McCain agreed to the issuing the “Joint Statement” that Obama had suggested earlier yesterday morning.   A more useless waste of paper would be hard to imagine.  Here’s what Obama’s idea produced:

“The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake.

“Now is a time to come together — Democrats and Republicans — in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail.

“This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.”

As we know, Obama ultimately caved in to McCain’s suggestion that they each leave the campaign trail today and return to Washington to participate in the process.  One of the two of them is going to have the responsbility for executing whatever policy is passed, and Obama’s “call me if you need me” response was simply inexplicable.  Maybe he thought it was above his paygrade.

The fact that the Dems quickly began to understand that McCain was going to realize a big net win on this issue was reflected in Barney Frank and Harry Reid trying to throw cold water on McCain’s return, calling it a “photo-op” at the White House after the outlines of the deal looked like they were being reached this morning.  Frank even falsely claimed a deal in principle was at hand, making the summit at the White House unnecessary. 

But, after returning to DC today after first saying he would not, Obama has now decided to remain overnight in DC rather than return to Florida where he was preparing for tomorrow night’s debate.  McCain continues to leave the status of the debate up in the air, while Obama continues to insist that it take place as planned. 

McCain forced Obama to leave the campaign and follow him to DC where McCain appeared to be a player in the process and Obama appeared to be a spectator.  Now Obama will remain in DC along with McCain, and its anybody’s guess who shows up tomorrow in Mississippi. 

McCain can arrive at the last minute and claim the high ground, since Obama has followed him only reluctantly every step of the way.  Obama would have been better served to have simply gone to Washington and postpone the debate as a show of bipartisanship.  Now he simply looks like a “me too” guy, while complaining all the way along.

Done Deal or Not?

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 12:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

House and Senate banking committee leaders have reportedly agreed on the bailout deal but ABC’s Jake Tapper reports House Republicans aren’t on board:

“A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, cautions that House Republicans have not signed on to anything.

Spokesman Kevin Smith said this includes Rep. Spencer Bachus, the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, who spoke to the press after this morning’s negotiation over the Wall Street bailout bill.

After the meeting, Bachus told reporters, “One thing that I’m encouraged by is something that Senator (Jack) Reed and I have worked on for taxpayer protection, [t]o see that the taxpayer and the Treasury is reimbursed for their expenditures. And I think that was an important step that we all took. And we’re committed to the tax money — the taxpayer being protected. There was progress today. And I felt like the discussions were very open. And we’re all committed to a successful and positive conclusion.”

Boehner issued a statement that he was encouraged by the progress and I agree. It’s refreshing to see legislators negotiating compromises that benefit taxpayers.

I only wish Congress would show the same concern and fortitude after the vote is over. Once the deal is done, I fear many of the politicians who approved this bailout will criticize it as a bad decision. It’s part of the new political landscape where politicians try to have their cake and eat it, too.


John McCain: Resetting the Narrative

Filed under: 2008 Election,Current Events,Politics — Karl @ 6:45 am

[Posted by Karl]

Patterico, DRJ and WLS have already debated the wisdom of John McCain’s decision to head to DC to work on the Wall Street rescue/ bailout/ whatever, based primarily on their differing assessments of the political impression each believes the decision creates. 

It might be worth looking at McCain’s decision from a slightly different, more “meta” perspective.  The following analysis is one where the phrase “rightly or wrongly” could be added as a qualifier to almost every point, so mentally add it where appropriate.

Consider the position of the McCain campaign.  In the past week, McCain has been the subject of awful media coverage.  Last week was one of the rare weeks when McCain got more media coverage than Barack Obama — and his poll numbers fell (the opposite relationship had been true previously, for both McCain and Obama).  Much of the coverage was about the Wall Street turmoil, starting with McCain getting dinged in the press for saying that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.”  But there was also a growing media Narrative about McCain’s campaign being dishonest and playing the race card, which led to the campaign attacking the media, which led to the media doubling down on their criticism while ratcheting up complaints about lack of access, criticism that McCain was trying to change the subject from the economy, etc.  This Narrative might have been helping Michele Obama’s kids, but it was not helping John McCain’s campaign.

McCain’s decision to head back to the Senate reset the mediasphere’s Narrative.  Compare Memeorandum at 3:30 PM ET yesterday with 5:00 PM ET.  McCain’s fight with the New York Times, discussions about McCain’s poll standings, criticism of Sarah Palin, etc. all start dropping off the radar, particularly among the Big Media outlets.  Coverage of Obama mostly shifted to his reaction to McCain’s action.  Meanwhile, Pres. Bush called on Obama to attend a meeting in DC today, which he agreed to do (mostly because it is nigh upon an offer one cannot refuse).  Thus, Obama is forced off the campaign trail for a day, into a forum where partisan rhetoric blaming Bush policies or linking McCain to the “old boy’s network” will turn off voters in the mushy middle.  Moreover, Obama’s appearance will create the impression among some that DC is in fact the place to be at this moment in history.

Did McCain make the “correct” decision here?  I don’t pretend to know with any degree of certainty.  Reasonable arguments can be made on both sides (and have been on this blog alone).  However, Camp McCain seems to have concluded that they prefer having everyone debate the question; it is the battlefield Camp McCain has selected.  The campaign forced the media focus to what McCain is doing with respect to this decision.  Whatever criticism the campaign gets for the decision apparently was deemed by the campaign to be an improvement over the volume and tone of the criticism the campaign was getting before the decision.


The Obama-Ayers Connection At The Chicago Annenberg Challenge Comes Into A Little Better Focus — In Spite Of The Efforts Of The Obama Campaign To Obscure It

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — WLS @ 6:44 am

[Posted by WLS]

Two weeks ago today I posted here on the New York Times story that actually mentioned Obama, William Ayers, and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) as part of a longer piece looking into the formulation of Obama’s views on education policy. 

As I noted, it wasn’t until the 22nd paragraph of this article that the name “William Ayers” flowed from the word processor of the New York Times‘s “education” reporter, Sam Dillon.  Even then, it was not much more than a passing reference, which seemed odd given the emerging controversy about efforts made by unknown individuals to block investigation into the documents of the CAC which were being sought from the library of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where they were housed.

Today we know a little more about the background on this New York Times story, and how the Obama campaign was working behind the scenes with this “friendly reporter” to put distance between Obama and Ayers with respect to the CAC.


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