Patterico's Pontifications


For whom the bellwether tolls

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:41 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The White House take that tomorrow’s trifecta of elections (in Virginia, New Jersey and NY-23) does not portend much for the future is spin, but it is not a complete fiction.

After all, New York and New Jersey are two of the most Obama-friendly states in the Union. Democrat wins in NY-23 and New Jersey may not say much more than that. Indeed, if Democrats win there by narrow margins, it may say that, a year after Obama won the presidency, it takes nasty three-way contests for Democrats to win in Obama-friendly territory.

The hope on the left is that NY-23 is a bellwether of intra-GOP warfare, or of the party being seized by “extremists”. However, most such fights will happen within primaries, which allows more time for unification. And few of those will feature “Republican” candidates as liberal as Dede Scozzafava.

The establishment media may try to paint Jon Corzine’s comeback as the result of “hitching himself to Obama,” but anyone who has followed the race knows that the only hitching involved was hiring Joel Benenson from Camp Obama to spend about $20 million on ads viciously and personally attacking Chris Christie.

The real bellwether election is Virginia. In 2008, Virginia was considered a bellwether — a red state that was trending blue in recent cycles, electing Gov. Tim Kaine and Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner. Barack Obama won in Virginia by 52.62% to 46.33% –about the same margin as he did nationwide. And yet, barring a massive failing by every polling outfit in the race, the GOP’s Bob McDonnell will likely defeat Creigh Deeds in the governor’s race, and the GOP will likely pick up seats in the state assembly.

The left has already started their spin that the Virginia election is not about Obama. But if Obama is not on the ballot in Virginia figuratively (as well as literally), that will be of little solace to Dems running in 2010 — when Obama will also not be on the ballot. Indeed, when you read Camp Obama’s anonymous dumping on Deeds, you find this:

A senior administration official said Deeds badly erred on several fronts, including not doing a better job of coordinating with the White House. “I understood in the beginning why there was some reluctance to run all around the state with Barack Obama,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the race. “You don’t do that in Virginia. But when you consider the African American turnout that they need, and then when you consider as well they’ve got a huge problem with surge voters, younger voters, we were just a natural for them.”

In other words, the idea of Deeds hitching himself to Obama only started looking like a strategy after Deeds started looking like a disaster that could be averted only by campaigning on the notion that Deeds was Obama. That is fairly insulting to the voters of Virginia, who undoubtedly can tell the difference between the two men.

Granted, if Christie and Hoffman pull off wins, it will mean that the bell is tolling louder and carrying further than anyone would have dreamed a year ago. But Virginia is enough to confirm what Democracy Corps already discovered in their polling of swing districts — the reelect and issue numbers for Democrats are steadily eroding where it counts.


White House Guest List

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 10:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Several commenters have mentioned visitors listed on the recently released White House guest list or, as the White House describes it, “Transparency like you’ve never seen it before.”

There are some interesting names, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, lobbyists, banking and business CEOs, government officials, famous names like Bill Gates and George Soros, and the most frequent visitor, SEIU chief Andy Stern. There also seem to be a few — Bill Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, and Angela Davis — who have the same names but aren’t the people some might guess.

The Washington Times reports the Obama Administration, like its predecessors, is not above exchanging access for money but there’s no word on what Americans really want to know: Who have the Obamas invited to stay overnight at the White House?


Just Another Lawful, Messy Election

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 10:00 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today President Obama congratulated Afghan President Hamid Karzai on his lawful, messy election:

“I congratulated him on his election for a second term as president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” Mr. Obama told reporters as he sat in the Oval Office next to the prime minister of Sweden. “You know, although the process was messy, I’m pleased to say that the final outcome was determined in accordance with Afghan law.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs added he has “no reason to believe” the Karzai government is not legitimate.

In other news, the Library of Congress released the August 2009 report by the Directorate of Legal Research addressing the “legal basis under the Honduran Constitution for President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales’s removal from office.” Here’s the report’s conclusion:

“Available sources indicate that the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zelaya in a manner that was judged by the Honduran authorities from both branches of the government to be in accordance with the Honduran legal system.

However, removal of President Zelaya from the country by the military is in direct violation of the Article 102 of the Constitution, and apparently this action is currently under investigation by the Honduran authorities.”

Sounds lawful but messy, doesn’t it?


L.A. Times in Spanish?

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 8:57 pm

This photo spread, with captions in Spanish, was teased on the front page of the paper’s Web site a couple of hours ago, but I missed getting the screen shot. Here’s an example:

L.A. Times Spanish

You can access the entire photo spread here.

What do you think of this — running Spanish-language content on the paper’s Web site? Some will say it’s a necessary appeal to a growing demographic. Others will bemoan this as a reflection of the Balkanization caused by a failure to insist on a common language and culture. I’m interested in your thoughts.

UPDATE 11-3-09: Here’s a screengrab from this morning, from the front page of the Times Web site:

Ana Story

As DRJ notes in comments, the irony is that Ana, the subject of the story, learned English to become a citizen of this country.

UPDATE x2: Commenter roy does a search and finds several examples of Spanish-language articles on the site.

Yet Another Story About Violent Reporters

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:39 pm

It’s all part of that “new professionalism” we keep hearing about (via Malkin):

It’s come to this: The Washington Post Style section, for years known as “the sandbox” because it was a playground for sometimes immature writers, has turned into a boxing ring because one of the editors was revolted by a story that came across his desk on deadline.

Details are sketchy, but numerous witnesses report that veteran feature editor Henry Allen punched out feature writer Manuel Roig-Franzia on Friday.

An isolated incident? Hardly. Like lightning strikes, these incidents of criminal behavior by journalists are all too commonplace — as iowahawk reminded us last month in a critical (albeit recycled) piece about violence in our newsrooms:

A Denver newspaper columnist is arrested for stalking a story subject. In Cincinnati, a television reporter is arrested on charges of child molestation. A North Carolina newspaper reporter is arrested for harassing a local woman. A drunken Chicago Sun-Times columnist and editorial board member is arrested for wife beating. A Baltimore newspaper editor is arrested for threatening neighbors with a shotgun. In Florida, one TV reporter is arrested for DUI, while another is charged with carrying a gun into a high school. A Philadelphia news anchorwoman goes on a violent drunken rampage, assaulting a police officer. In England, a newspaper columnist is arrested for killing her elderly aunt.

Unrelated incidents, or mounting evidence of that America’s newsrooms have become a breeding ground for murderous, drunk, gun-wielding child molesters?

The pattern is undeniable.

Virginia, NY, and NJ Election Eve Polls

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The most recent NY 23 Congressional race polls show the race leaning 41-36 for Hoffman, although the LA Times’ Andrew Malcolm notes undecideds have doubled to 1-in-5. And while the Virginia Governor’s race looks like a Republican landslide, it’s anyone’s call in the New Jersey race between Democratic Governor Jon Corzine and his Republican challenger Chris Christie.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the New Jersey race is ultimately decided by the Thin Party vs the Fat Party voters?


He’s Back

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 7:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Jeremiah Wright is back and he’s still wrong:

“A new video of Jeremiah Wright has surfaced, showing Barack Obama’s pastor of 20 years praising Marxism and discussing his ties to communists in El Salvador and Nicaragua and the Libyan government. Equally important, Wright is being introduced in the video by Robert W. McChesney, co-founder of Free Press, an organization which has come under scrutiny for its links to the Obama Administration and dedication to the transformation and control of the private media in the U.S.”

Here’s the video from September 2009:

Wright: “Thank you to the founders of this magazine. Thank you. Thank you for fulfilling the invaluable purpose that you had in mind to offer a forum for commentary and analysis from a specifically socialist perspective. *** You state up front that your starting point is “no-nonsense Marxism” but you dispel all the negative images we have been programmed to conjure up with just the mention of that word Socialism or Marxism.”

Wright also described America as the “land of the greed and the home of the slave.”


Shorter Michael Hiltzik

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:38 pm

Congress should repeal the antitrust exemption for health insurers, as more competition is crucial.

Also, I wish we had a single-payer system.

Sarah Palin vs Joe Biden, Reloaded

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 2:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Red meat for Sarah Palin lovers and haters. Appearing at a (reportedly sparsely attended) NY 23 rally for Democrat Bill Owens, VP Joe Biden brought up … Sarah Palin:

“The fact of the matter is, Sarah Palin thinks the answer to energy is ‘drill, baby, drill,’ ” said Biden. “It’s a lot more complicated, Sarah!”

Sarah Palin responded on her Facebook page:

“As the vice president knows, I have always advocated an all-of-the-above approach to American energy independence. Among other things, my alternative energy goal for Alaska sits at 50 percent because Alaska reached more than 20 percent during my term in office. The Obama-Biden administration, on the other hand, recently announced a renewable goal of only 25 percent. However, domestic drilling should remain a top priority in order to meet America’s consumption and security needs.

The vice president’s extreme opposition to domestic energy development goes all the way back to 1973 when he opposed the Alaska pipeline bill. As Ann Coulter pointed out, “Biden cast one of only five votes against the pipeline that has produced more than 15 billion barrels of oil, supplied nearly 20 percent of this nation’s oil, created tens of thousands of jobs, added hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and reduced money transfers to the nation’s enemies by about the same amount.”

This nonsensical opposition to American domestic energy development continues to this day. Apparently the Obama-Biden administration only approves of offshore drilling in Brazil, where it will provide security and jobs for Brazilians. This election is about American security and American jobs.

There’s one way to tell Vice President Biden that we’re tired of folks in Washington distorting our message and hampering our nation’s progress: Hoffman, Baby, Hoffman!”

Quick response by Palin.


Status Report on McCain-Feingold Limits on Advocacy Group Spending

Filed under: Law,Politics — DRJ @ 2:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

McCain-Feingold imposed restrictions on spending in federal elections by non-profit advocacy groups (also known as 527 corporations). Subsequently, the abortion rights group EMILY’s List successfully sued the Federal Election Commission challenging those limits. ScotusBlog described the procedural status of the case and its potential impact on 527 political spending:

“With the FEC passing up a plea for the Circuit Court to reconsider, some groups that support strict curbs on 527 corporations are urging Solicitor General Kagan either to make that request, or to go on to the Supreme Court with an appeal (see a press release available at this site from Democracy 21, one of those groups). There is no doubt that Kagan could take the case to the Supreme Court now; legal analysts are not sure she has the option of seeking en banc review, or whether that was a choice left to the FEC.

If she does neither, then the new restrictions are gone. As a result, non-profit 527s will be able to spend unlimited amounts of “soft money” — that is, money raised outside the donation limits of federal law — to attack or support federal candidates or parties, can spend freely on voter drives, and can solicit unrestricted amounts from donors. And, as one judge on the Circuit Court (Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown) noted, “Congress can do nothing about any of this.” That is because the majority of the Circuit Court panel based its ruling on the Constitution — subject to change only by amendment of the basic charter.”

Solicitor General Elena Kagan decided the government does not have authority to request an en banc rehearing, although the Circuit Court can itself opt for en banc review. The government has 90 days from September 18 (or by my count until December 17) to file a Supreme Court appeal.


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