Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Obama: Unscripted and Unprepared

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/13/obama-unscripted-and-unprepared/

By Ani

Every day, Barack Obama reminds me a little more of George Bush. I can’t help it. The similarities are too striking to ignore: His love for vacations at the worst possible time. And he, like King George, purports to be a ‘Uniter.’ Well, let’s test this claim.

How would you characterize a man who:

has played the race card to great effect repeatedly and with impunity throughout his campaign, and gotten the mainstream press and the Democratic elite to gamely play along;

has insulted or ignored anyone who didn’t vote for him;

is too politically shortsighted to realize that by nixing a roll call for Hillary and not placing her name in nomination, he is probably costing himself the election, further alienating her voters.

Forgive me, but he doesn’t sound very unifying.

More telling are Senator Obama’s unscripted moments – very Bush-like. I know Senator Obama reads a teleprompter well, and perhaps imitates the cadence of Rev. Martin Luther King. But the message underneath rings hollow.

In moments of crisis, and the leader of the free world will encounter many, there may not be time for 20 scriptwriters to pull him together if he himself cannot exhibit the proper leadership to guide this nation. He will not have a long weekend as he did in creating his “scintillating speech on race” to distract from the debacle that was Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Jonah Goldberg’s op-ed in the LA Times yesterday, Obama Without His Script, was a welcome surprise, considering the source – a newspaper that, with rare exception, has given the newbie Illinois Senator glowing coverage. The subtitle…

Judging by his reaction to the Georgia-Russia crisis, Obama’s make-believe presidency isn’t ready for prime time…

…makes it look as though, at least for this columnist, the bloom is off the rose. Mr. Goldberg’s recent columns hit both Obama and McCain pretty evenly, but for the LA Times even to print this, wow! Senator Obama must have made a boo boo:

The Obama campaign has for months pursued the odd strategy of having the junior senator from Illinois act as if he were already kinda-sorta president of the United States. In June, it tried sticking a quasi-presidential seal on his lectern. Then in July, he conducted what seemed like official state visits with foreign leaders and delivered something like a “prenaugural” address in Berlin, inviting comparisons to JFK and Reagan.

If the would-be president can seem plausibly presidential, voting for him might not seem like such a crapshoot. It all makes sense, even if it fosters an air of presumptuousness.

The invasion of Georgia elicited a wan written communique instead of the sort of exciting rhetoric we’ve come to expect from his make-believe presidency. But he did make it in front of the cameras the next day for a rally celebrating his vacation in Hawaii. He promised “to go body surfing at some undisclosed location.”

During Obama’s make-believe presidency, we’ve heard about bold action, about the courage to talk to dictators. When faced with a real “3 a.m. moment,” Obama – who boasts about 200 foreign policy advisors, broken into 10 subgroups – proclaims, “I’m going to get some shave ice.”

Indeed, President Bush’s jaunt to the Olympics as a “sports fan” should also have been cut short the moment tanks started rolling over a country he’d proclaimed a “beacon of liberty” during his visit there in 2005. By Monday, both Bush and Obama were playing catch-up to Sen. John McCain, who seemed to have grasped the gravity from the get-go…

Putting Bush and Obama in the same sandbox and well behind McCain’s much touted handling of the 3 A.M. moment is not the kind of press Obama wants at this point.

But, for once, in the press, the assessment is honest. This country doesn’t need any more versions of someone caught flatfooted reading “My Pet Goat” instead of standing up and taking appropriate action to get on top of the situation.

Referring to Obama’s statement on the crisis, Steve Huntley, in yesterday’s Chicago Sun Times made the point:

It took first-term Sen. Barack Obama three tries to get it right. Headed for a vacation in Hawaii, the presumed Democratic candidate for commander in chief issued an even-handed statement, urging restraint by both sides. Later Friday, he again called for mutual restraint but blamed Russia for the fighting. The next day his language finally caught up with toughness of McCain’s.

Making matters worse, Obama’s staff focused on a McCain aide who had served as a lobbyist for Georgia, charging it showed McCain was “ensconced in a lobbyist culture.” Obama’s campaign came off as injecting petty partisan politics into an international crisis. This was not a serious response on behalf [of] a man who aspires to be the leader of the Free World. After all, what’s so bad about representing a small former Soviet republic struggling to remake itself as a Western-style democracy?

The comparison between the two candidates served to emphasize the strength McCain’s experience would bring to the White House in a dangerous world.

Obama’s favored approach to international issues, diplomatic talks, failed to stop Russia’s invasion. Vladimir Putin, a KGB bull in the former Soviet Union, wants to restore Russia as the supreme power of Eurasia…

However the world’s newest war ends, America’s leadership must recognize and respond to the underlying dynamic of Russia’s resurgent aggressive instincts — the power bestowed on Moscow by its oil and gas riches.

I am not endorsing Senator McCain. I think by now, everyone knows who my candidate is. Hillary exhibited great foresight about this crisis. But Senator Obama is making newbie mistakes all over the place. These are schoolyard games – harping about lobbyists at a time like this? There are far larger issues at stake here.

Mr. Goldberg of the Times further observes:

[Obama] has been playacting at being presidential in order to convince voters that we live in a “new moment” with “new challenges” – and that he is the president we need for this new era.

This moment calls for more than playacting, yet Obama looks lost without a presidential script. Events in the Caucasus – and, for that matter, in Beijing – suggest that the times aren’t so new after all. Two powerful antidemocratic foes are once again flexing their muscles at a moment when America seems weak and distracted.

That is not a new challenge but a very old one. Perhaps this is not a time for a novice spouting grand rhetoric about a new page in history, but for someone who’s actually read the pages of some old, but still relevant, books. Perhaps this is not the time for playacting.

Perhaps it is not the time for body surfing?

Obama presents grave cause for worry. He may actually be na├»ve enough to think that he can just “delegate” the yucky stuff and someone else is going to do the actual clean up.

I have witnessed many of his supporters recite a similar mantra – “He’ll surround himself with great people. Congress does everything anyway. He has really good judgment.” This is the President they want? A figurehead to make a “speech” and leave the rest of the work to the grown ups? This Democratic Congress isn’t doing very well – and after the behavior I have witnessed these past seven months, these are not the people I want ‘running the show.’

Aside from choosing David Axelrod (better known as Axel-Rove) as his slash and burn campaign manager, what were his good decisions exactly? I reference here my earlier assessment of why I cannot support him and his prior ‘boneheaded’ actions. This is another way he reminds me of Bush. Every time I think I have looked into the nadir, Obama does something else to earn my mistrust. I have actually started to get numb and lose track.

His shocking reversal on FISA, for example, from a supposedly dearly held belief in the sanctity of the fourth amendment betrays an arrogant “well, too bad, where else are you gonna go” attitude, taking advantage of and even diminishing the value of his most fervent supporters. Tiresome as it may be, I will remind people once again that Senator Clinton voted correctly on FISA. What happened to the filibuster Senator Obama promised us?

No off-shore oil drilling, anyone? Another one of his campaign promises. To quote Senator Obama, “Words, just words.”

But Senator Obama would be gratified to know a number of those original supporters are still making excuses for him. I would imagine it is getting both exhausting and frustrating for them.

Further, his plan to ‘accept’ the nomination at Invesco Field before an audience of 75,000 smacks simultaneously of hubris and bullying – just squash the competition, the detractors, the protesters with a wall of noise and size.

This is reminiscent of George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” declaration where, to quote General Wes Clark, Bush “pranced around on the deck of that aircraft carrier.”

I was a lifelong Democrat until two months ago. I certainly hoped we’d have a better choice at this point than to be force fed a man so arrogant and inexperienced; someone who is more interested in image management than rolling up his sleeves to do the work required to deal with the world that is – not the world he wishes could be. Perhaps he really believes that he alone can ‘heal our planet.’ Unfortunately, this is grandiose to the point of being delusional.

Leaders in other countries will not be so easily hypnotized just because our American press has been. Putin, for example, may not get a ‘tingle up his leg’ as Chris Matthews has.

Surely it has occurred to the Party elite that if Democrats cannot win the election in this ‘no-lose year,’ with the Republican brand damaged as it is, the Democratic Party will be over. Not that that would be a bad thing in its current state.

More and more, I remember Hillary’s claim to be ‘ready on day one.’ I believe she is. And we’re going to need somebody who is.

Delusions are not required. Solutions are.

Hillary's Growing Shadow

Original Link: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/hillarys_growing_shadow.html

By Victor Davis Hanson

Barack Obama and John McCain are running neck and neck.

Impossible?

It would seem so. Republican President Bush still has less than a 30 percent approval rating. Headlines blare that unemployment and inflation are up -- even if we aren't, technically, in a recession. Gas is around $4 a gallon. Housing prices have nosedived. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has been indicted -- another in a line of congressional Republicans caught in financial or sexual scandal.

Meanwhile, the GOP's presumptive candidate, John McCain, is 71 years old. The Republican base thinks he's lackluster and too liberal.

So, everyone is puzzled why the Democratic candidate isn't at least 10 points ahead. It seems the more Americans get used to Barack Obama, the less they want him as president -- and the more Democrats will soon regret not nominating Hillary Clinton.

First, Obama was billed as a post-racial healer. His half-African ancestry, exotic background and soothing rhetoric were supposed to have been novel and to have reassured the public he was no race-monger like Al Sharpton. On the other hand, his 20-year career in the cauldron of Chicago racial politics also guaranteed to his liberal base that he wasn't just a moderate Colin Powell, either.

Yet within weeks of the first primary, the outraged Clintons were accusing Obama of playing "the race card" -- and vice-versa. Blacks soon were voting heavily against Hillary Clinton. In turn, Hillary, the elite Ivy League progressive, turned into a blue-denim working gal -- and won nearly all the final big-state Democratic primaries on the strength of working-class whites.

Americans also learned to their regret how exactly a Hawaiian-born Barack Obama -- raised, in part, by his white grandparents and without African-American heritage -- had managed to win credibility in what would become his legislative district in Chicago. That discovery of racial chauvinism wasn't hard once his former associate, his pastor for over 20 years, the racist Rev. Jeremiah Wright, spewed his venom.

Obama himself didn't help things as he taught the nation that his dutiful grandmother was at times a small-minded bigot -- no different from a "typical white person." And in an impromptu riff, Obama ridiculed small-town working-class Pennsylvanians' supposed racial insularity.

The primary season ended with a narrow Obama victory -- and a wounded, but supposedly wiser, Democratic candidate.

Not quite. Without evidence, he unwisely has claimed his opponents ("they") will play the race card against poor him. In contrast, on the hot-button issue of racial reparations, he recently played to cheering minority audiences by cryptically suggesting that the government must "not just . . . offer words, but offer deeds." He later clarified that he didn't mean cash grants, but his initial words were awfully vague.

Second, many are beginning to notice how a Saint Obama talks down to them. We American yokels can't speak French or Spanish. We eat too much. Our cars are too big, our houses either overheated or overcooled. And we don't even put enough air in our car tires. In contrast, a lean, hip Obama promises to still the rising seas and cool down the planet, assuring adoring Germans that he is a citizen of the world.

Third, Obama knows that all doctrinaire liberals must tack rightward in the general election. But due to his inexperience, he's doing it in far clumsier fashion than any triangulating candidate in memory. Do we know -- does Obama even know? -- what he really feels about drilling off our coasts, tapping the strategic petroleum reserve, NAFTA, faith-based initiatives, campaign financing, the FISA surveillance laws, town-hall debates with McCain, Iran, the surge, timetables for Iraq pullouts, gun control or capital punishment?

Fourth, Obama is proving as inept an extemporaneous speaker as he is gifted with the Teleprompter. Like most rookie senators, in news conferences and interviews, he stumbles and then makes serial gaffes -- from the insignificant, like getting the number of states wrong, to the downright worrisome, such as calling for a shadow civilian aid bureaucracy to be funded like the Pentagon (which would mean $500 billion per annum).

If the polls are right, a public tired of Republicans is beginning to think an increasingly bothersome Obama would be no better -- and maybe a lot worse. It is one thing to suggest to voters that they should shed their prejudices, eat less and be more cosmopolitan. But it is quite another when the sermonizer himself too easily evokes race, weekly changes his mind and often sounds like he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.

In a tough year like this, Democrats could probably have defeated Republican John McCain with a flawed, but seasoned candidate like Hillary Clinton. But long-suffering liberals convinced their party to go with a messiah rather than a dependable nominee -- and thereby they probably will get neither.

Bought and Paid For! By Nancy Pelosi

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/13/bought-and-paid-for-by-nancy-pelosi/

By Dr. Lynette Long

As Americans sat glued to their television sets watching the most hotly contested presidential primary in American history, pundits counted pledged delegates won in caucuses and primaries and discussed the highly prized superdelegates’ endorsements. Eventually it would be these superdelegates, Democratic officials, governors, and members of congress, who would determine the nominee, since neither contestant won enough pledged delegates in the 52 primary contests.

What the pundits forgot to tell the American public was that these superdelegates were doing some counting of their own. They weren’t counting how many of their constituents had voted for Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, but rather how much money was being put into their war chests by the Obama campaign and the Democratic hierarchy. This money, moved from one candidate to another via PAC’s, would determine their endorsements and ultimately the nomination.

Since 1987, Nancy Pelosi has represented California’s eighth district– including most of San Francisco. An Italian American, Pelosi was raised on politics. Her father was a Congressman from Maryland and the Mayor of Baltimore. Pelosi was elected as Democratic Speaker of the House 2002. Pelosi shattered the glass ceiling in the House of Representatives when she was elected the first female speaker in 2007. A shrewd politician, Madame Speaker exercises a lot of influence over the members of congress. She determines Committee assignments and in conjunction with the DNC and Howard Dean decides how much money and support the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gives to each member of congress in their bid for re-election.

In addition, Pelosi also contributes money directly to the congressional campaigns of certain candidates through her Political Action Committee “PAC to the FUTURE.” Her PAC receives money from other PAC’s such as Service Employees International Union $10,000, American Bankers Assn $10,000, Sheet Metal Workers Union $10,000, International Association of Fire Fighters, $10,000, and Goldman Sachs 10,000. It also receives money from individuals.

In the 2008 election cycle, the Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org) reports that Nancy Pelosi’s PAC received 585,400 and contributed more than $445,000 of this to 59 congressional candidates. PAC to the FUTURE gave money to 38 incumbents and 21 challengers.

Of the 435 members in the house, Pelosi gave money to 8.5% of them. Of the members who received money from Pelosi, 71% were men; only 29% were women. Only eleven percent of the female members of congress received support from Pelosi’s PAC. It’s disappointing that a female speaker did not symbolically make some contribution to all Democratic women in the house.

But even more important than the gender implications of Pelosi’s behavior was her impact on the Presidential election.

Publicly Madame Speaker did not endorse either Obama or Clinton in the Democratic Primary, but was she was anything but neutral.

Pelosi gave money to the campaigns of thirty-eight members of congress, twenty-eight of these endorsed Obama; ten endorsed Clinton. Pelosi contributed to the campaigns of Obama endorsers almost three to one. Pelosi not only gave to a greater number of Obama supporters, she collectively gave them more money.

Pelosi gave $250,000 to the campaigns of superdelegates that endorsed Obama and only $80,000 to the campaigns of superdelegates that endorsed Clinton. Money talks, and Pelosi and her PAC spoke volumes….in shorthand. She may not have publicly endorsed a candidate, but the members of the House of Representatives knew she supported Obama.

Of the thirty-eight Members of Congress Pelosi gave money to, sixteen went against the grain for Obama. This means, their state voted for Hillary, their district voted for Hillary, yet they endorsed Obama. Why? Follow the money.


By endorsing Obama, all of these Members of Congress went against the will of their constituents, twice, at the state level and at the district level. Only two members who received money from Pelosi’s PAC went against the grain and endorsed Hillary.

Is sixteen against the grain for Hillary and two against the grain for Obama a coincidence?

Pelosi’s contributions to the campaigns of state representatives followed a similar pattern. Sixty-three percent of the state representatives to whom Pelosi gave money, endorsed Obama in a state won by Clinton.

Ten thousand dollars, PAC to the FUTURE’s typical contribution, doesn’t seem like a lot of money but besides getting money from PAC TO THE FUTURE, most of these members got contributions from other PACs.

These contributions were most likely orchestrated by Pelosi and company since the overlap is too startling. Congressman James Clyburn from South Carolina has BRIDGE PAC. BRIDGE PAC gave money to all but two of these same members of congress. Steny Hoyer from Maryland has AMERIPAC. AMERIPAC gave money to almost every single one of these same members of congress. Typical donations from both of these PAC’S were $10,000.

And then there is the NATIONAL LEADERSHIP PAC and the NEW DEMOCRAT COALITION, and of course there is the HOPE FUND owned by Barack Obama. All of these PACs donated an average of $10,000 to most of their campaigns. These young representatives got a lot of pressure to endorse Obama no matter which way their district or state voted. The voices of their constituents were irrelevant.

It seems Obama was just posing as a Washington outsider. But in reality—all the real Washington insiders Pelosi, Dean, Kennedy, Clyburn, Hoyer, and Kerry were on his team all along. Pelosi’s Pac might be named PAC to the Future, but it took direct action to purposely undermine the first significant female candidate for the presidency in history. In so doing, she pushed women back decades.

ACTION: Call Pelosi’s office at 415-556-4862 and let her know how you feel. Let’s not just call her biased against women; let’s call her finished.

FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY, BEFORE IT DISAPPEARS.

Monsoon Season in Colorado: Stormy Weather Ahead

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/13/monsoon-season-in-colorado-stormy-weather-ahead/

By medusa

What’s going to happen in Denver during the Democratic Convention? Well, lots of out-of-towners are going to suffer from altitude sickness. And while it’s likely to hit 100 degrees with an average humidity of 12%, it’s also monsoon season, so the Pray for Rain brigade may luck out:

Thunderstorms are common in summer afternoons, specifically during the late summer monsoon season.

Recreate 68 has announced its lineup. It appears to be a training ground for protesters/ rock concert. The lineup is an alphabet soup of the marginalized, those mad-at-everybody, the unwashed dread lock-wearing, drum-circling, white, upper-class boys. Picture the crowd outside the gates of a Dead concert, alongside some with loud political agendas. While Ward Churchill will speak, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party report that are listed by mistake:

Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate for President, and Rosa Clemente, Green Party candidate for Vice President are NOT participating in any Recreate ‘68 activities.

And inside the Pepsi Center you’ll find a convention designed as a “Town Hall” meeting with a series of themes. Clearly this allows the party to control for content and against spontaneity. ABC is sending Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer to Denver but oddly enough, al-Jazeera English will be located in Golden, CO, the home of Coors Brewery. If you’re anything like me, you don’t give a rat’s patooti about the presumptuous nominee’s pick for VP. In fact, the only thing I’m interested in is what impact Hillary and her supporters will have on the convention and the nomination process. According to CNN, delegates, super and otherwise, can vote for whomever they want:

Clinton can still win votes from delegates at the Democratic National Convention even if her name is not placed in nomination. Delegates are free to vote for anyone they want to at the convention.

Knowing how popular Hillary remains, and how devoted and disgruntled her supporters are, it’s not surprising that the Atlantic and other Obama-media outlets are once again dissing her, her campaign and of course, her supporters. The sexists insults continue (women are infamous for being indecisive, so why not say that Hillary couldn’t make decisions.) While Josh Green trots out emails and memos that demonstrate the “catty” behavior in Clinton’s campaign, Dowd uses the opposite end of the spectrum in her sexists putdowns: Hillary is “orchestrating” the events of the convention. In fact, if you read Dowd’s Op-Ed while ignoring her uncontrollable nastiness and jealousy toward all things Clinton, her portrayal of Hillary (and Bill) contradict all the Hillary-blaming in Green’s CDS Opus. For example, Dowd writes:

While Obama was spending three hours watching “The Dark Knight” five time zones away, and going to a fund-raiser featuring “Aloha attire” and Hawaiian pupus, Hillary was busy planning her convention.

Wow, if this is true, rock-on Hillary! The corrupt forces of Pelosi, Brazile, Dean et al, stole the election from Democracy, disenfranchising Michigan, Florida and 18 million voters, and Obama’s supporters want Hillary (and Bill) to:

“get in the box” or get lost if they can’t show more loyalty, rather than giving them back-to-back, prime-time speaking gigs at the convention on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Not only is Hillary not getting in the box (whatever that means), according to Dowd:

Hillary’s orchestrating a play within the play in Denver. Just as Hamlet used the device to show that his stepfather murdered his father, Hillary will try to show the Democrats they chose the wrong savior.

Yes, Dowd wrote “savior.” Wonder why that word came to mind? And while Dowd spins this as negatively as her one-track rhetorical skills allows her to, for many of us, what Hillary is doing is creating a moment of Real Democracy. The voices, desires, concerns, fears and objections, etc, of Dems who don’t want Obama will be heard. Dowd continues her sexism by calling Hillary’s female followers “gals” but even with Dowd’s green-eyed prose, this makes me proud:

{Hillary} said she thought it would be good for party unity if her gals felt “that their voices are heard.” But that’s disingenuous. Hillary was the one who raised the roll-call idea at the end of May with Democrats, who were urging her to face the math. She said she wanted it for Chelsea, oblivious to how such a vote would dim Obama’s star turn. Ever since she stepped aside in June, she’s been telling people privately that there might have to be “a catharsis” at the convention, signaling she wants a Clinton crescendo.

Clearly Dowd thinks the convention is just a pro forma performance to crown His Majesty; the paternalism in this statement is stunning:

Obama also allowed Hillary supporters to insert an absurd statement into the platform suggesting that media sexism spurred her loss and that “demeaning portrayals of women … dampen the dreams of our daughters.”

Of course, the Democratic Party has created this myth that Obama is the choice of the party. Sacha Millstone, who did valuable volunteer work for Hillary’s campaign and is a delegate for Hillary, is being brow-beaten by Party Officials:

The Colorado Democratic Party would like Boulder delegate Sacha Millstone, who is devoted to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, to give up her spot as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

Apparently, the CDP wants strict party loyalty to extend to speech:

Party officials said Monday that they won’t insist Millstone resign. But in an e-mail last week, Billy Compton, state political director of the Colorado Democratic Party, ordered Millstone into his office to explain disparaging comments she made about Barack Obama.

Sounding frighteningly undemocratic, Millstone receive this message:

“You are hereby directed to come in to the party Headquarters and explain your comments and why you should remain a national delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention in light of these comments,” the letter said.

A lesser person may have caved after receiving a letter like this, but Millstone hired a lawyer. She writes:

“Isn’t there a right to free speech? Isn’t this right in line with our time-honored tradition with the Dems?” she said. “These intimidation tactics have a chilling effect on people feeling comfortable speaking up.”

What’s happening in Denver? Much more than a convention paying homage to The One selected by a corrupted Democratic Party. What’s going on here affects you and I much more than we know.

State Democratic Party chair Pat Waak, who said it would be nice to have a united delegation when 50,000 conventioneers arrive in Colorado, called the Millstone matter “moot.” “We’re getting too near the convention, and she’s refused to come in,” Waak said. Any effort to intimidate Clinton supporters won’t work, at least not on at-large Clinton delegate Sonya Jaquez Lewis, who lives in unincorporated Boulder County. “It makes me angry,” Jaquez Lewis said. “It makes me want to now really be even louder about issues and concerns that before I was willing to look the other way.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama on Georgia — Simply Lost

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/12/obama-on-georgia-%e2%80%94-simply-lost/

By Charles Lemos

Let’s see if I got this right, Obama is calling for:

1) United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning Russia. Problem: Russia is a Permanent Member of the United Nations with Security Council and thus has veto power over any resolution. Sure you can have a debate at the Security Council, actually there already have been, but it isn’t going to go anywhere. Obama does not seem to understand how international politics is played. While Obama talks, Russian tanks have severed Georgia in two. Gori has fallen and Russia seems to have set its sights on the capital, Tbilisi.

2) Replacing Russian peace-keeping troops in South Ossetia with a multi-national force. Problem: Russia is a Permanent Member of the United Nations with Security Council and thus has veto power over any UN peace-keeping force. And does Senator Obama really think that Russia is going to allow a United Nations peace-keeping force made up of foreign troops, albiet under UN command, on its southern flank? Proposing non-starters is a waste of time. Try being realistic.

3) Condemning Russian actions in the court of world public opinion. Problem: Does Russia care what the world thinks at this point? Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with US President Bush in Beijing the day the crisis erupted. President Bush issued stern warnings to both sides. Putin then flew off to North Ossetia to direct the Russian campaign. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is off to Moscow tomorrow. The Russians have already stated that the French peace proposals are DOA (dead on arrival).

4) Sending an objective and neutral International Mediator to the region. Problem: There’s nothing to mediate at this point. I wrote earlier that Russia will accept a cease-fire when Russia achieved its war aims. I was mistaken to believe those war aims were limited to ousting Georgian forces from South Ossetia but it is now increasingly clear that Russia aims to take control of Georgia. Georgia is an imperfect democracy but it is a democracy. It won’t be one much longer. A puppet government is on its way and I expect right now that President Mikhail Saakashvili will form a government in exile. What is there to mediate? And between whom? Russia will redraw the borders in the Caucusus because it can. We are powerless. I wrote earlier that we lost this round, let’s not lose the next. The next one is the Ukraine and Moldova.

Obama’s assertion that Russia has escalated this war beyond South Ossetia, while factual, misses the whole point. This war is not about South Ossetia. South Ossetia may have been the casus belli but this splendid little war for Russia is a message to the United States, to Europe and to NATO that Russia is a player. Call it a greeting card from a resurgent Russia.

The West made many mistakes. We pushed for Kosovar independence and recognized a state that has no business being a state. When Brazil and India note that they would only recognize Kosovo when Serbia did, that was the right path to take. Furthermore, the Bush Administration pushed for missile defence systems in the Czech Republic and Poland to protect Europe from an Iranian attack. I am not sure how putting such a shield in Poland protects Europe from Iran. No matter the intent, the Russians clearly felt that these were directed at them. With the prospects of Georgia and the Ukraine becoming NATO members, Russia was clearly unhappy at that. Georgia is paying the price of Western mistakes plus its own miscalculations. Much is yet unclear how this war was orchestrated but it does seem that Russia goaded Georgia into an armed intrusion into South Ossetia. It was a trap. The West now faces tough choices.

Obama’s calls seem more of his kumbaya oh lord kumbaya rhetoric that simply shows how out of touch the very junior Senator from Illinois is. The joke is that when Obama found out that Georgia had been attacked, he asked if Atlanta was okay. The corollary is that when McCain found out, he promised to send to General Sherman.

Georgia is lost. Let’s not lose the Ukraine. Putin has run circles around Bush, can you imagine Obama? At least with McCain, he has been sounding the alarm for a decade. Experience does count. So does realism and Obama on Georgia shows a fatal flaw. He is divorced from reality.

Hillary Still Trumps Obama on Leadership

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/12/hillary-still-trumps-obama-on-leadership/

By Ani

As we have been hearing frightening reports of Russia’s actions against South Ossenia and beyond in Georgia, you might be interested to read this statement issued by Senator Hillary Clinton on Georgia and Ukraine on April 18, 2008:

I am deeply disturbed by the latest Russian actions regarding Georgia, and Russia’s broader policies towards its neighbors.

Several weeks ago I called on NATO to extend a Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine at the Bucharest Summit. I emphasized that this move would be a litmus test for the success of President Bush’s leadership of the trans-Atlantic community. My support for MAP was based on the need to send a positive signal to Tbilisi and Kyiv to encourage them to stay on track with their positive reforms as well as to send a signal of our concern to Moscow about the future security of these countries.

I deeply regret President Bush’s inability to convince our NATO allies to take this action. This is the first time in memory a U.S. President has traveled to a NATO summit and failed to achieve his publicly proclaimed goals.

Now the Russian government has taken advantage of the lack of unity coming out of the Bucharest Summit to further ratchet up the pressure on young democracies on its borders. Moscow’s actions this week to strengthen ties with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia undermine the territorial integrity of the state of Georgia and are clearly designed to destabilize the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Georgia is a small democratic state in a turbulent region. It must not be allowed to be undermined. Two weeks ago President Bush sat with President Putin in Sochi just a few kilometers away from the Georgian border. He prided himself on his close working relationship with Vladimir Putin. President Bush should call on the Russian leadership to immediately rescind these steps.

I also call on President Bush to immediately send a senior representative to Tbilisi to show our support for the government of Georgia. The United States should raise this matter in the United Nations Security Council, in a special 26+1 session of NATO’s North Atlantic Council (NAC), and in the NATO-Russia Council. Russia needs to hear a unified message from the United States and our European partners about our shared commitment to Georgia’s security and territorial integrity.

These are not the only Russian moves that I have found troubling. Senior Russian officials have engaged in a pressure campaign to prevent Ukraine from seeking deeper ties with NATO. President Putin even raised the prospect of retargeting nuclear missiles against Ukraine.

I am not advocating, nor do I envisage, a return to a new Cold War with Russia, which I believe ought to remain in the G-8, where the United States and its allies can together address our growing list of concerns with Moscow. But the current Administration’ s mishandling of Russian relations has contributed to Moscow’s belief that it can do as it pleases. America and its allies can and must do better.

Since Hillary is no longer ‘in the race,’ not wishing to upstage Senator Obama, I believe, she did not issue any further statement over the weekend, although clearly she has a deep understanding of this crisis and our role here. As reported previously, Senator McCain was also touted as a having a 3 A.M. moment on this issue.

In stark contrast, here was the ‘Statement from Senator Obama, on the Grave Situation in Georgia’ on his way to his Hawaiian vacation on August 8th:

“I strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in Georgia, and urge an immediate end to armed conflict. Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war. Georgia’s territorial integrity must be respected. All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis.”

I will point out that upon checking Senator Obama’s website just now, he has issued two subsequent statements after the one above, one that came on August 9th and one on the 11th — each of which, respectively, was longer and more detailed than the last and perhaps, more reflective of copying Senator McCain’s homework on the subject.

Hey, take a mulligan, Senator Obama – keep floating those statements till one clicks with the appropriate gravitas.

As you can see, Hillary required no such tutoring, but exhibited a very clear, detailed grasp of the crisis, well before it reached the boiling point, when she urged President Bush to act.

Here is the opening phrase of yesterday’s missive from Senator Obama:

The situation in Georgia continues to deteriorate because of the escalation of Russia’s use of military force. I have spoken to President Saakashvili, and conveyed my deep regret over the loss of life, and the suffering of the people of Georgia.

Why Obama would be calling President Saakashvili, I have no idea. Who is he? He is not yet the official Democratic nominee, never mind that he is not the President. A mere technicality, I suppose.

Between Senators Clinton and Obama, it is eminently clear who has a far stronger grasp of foreign policy issues and certainly on the economy, she is hands and feet above a man who does not even understand what a capital gains tax is – nor could he explain it when he was questioned by Charles Gibson during the ABC debate before the Pennsylvania primary.

Who is the DNC planning on coronating, er, nominating, again?

The San Francisco Chronicle’s top story, that Clinton Supporters are pushing to get her name into nomination, reports how diligently the Obama camp is working to block such a thing from happening:

“It’s a simple thing to do, and it’s the biggest sign of party unity,” said Laura Spanjian, a San Francisco-based Clinton delegate, who also supports the move.”

Clay Dougherty, another San Francisco delegate for Clinton, says that “if the situation were reversed, the Obama people would feel the same.”

Let’s imagine if the situation were reversed. Since Obama has asked that the FL and MI delegates be seated in full now, the magic number has reverted to the correct 2210. He does not possess that number. If Hillary did not have enough pledged delegates to seal the nomination — or super delegates for that matter, imagine if Hillary tried to prevent a roll call that would honor Barack’s historic candidacy. There would be hell to pay. And she would be paying it daily. Such behavior on her part would not be tolerated.

“For the first time in a generation, it’s been a close election … and this was such a unique situation,” he said, in which both the first major African American presidential candidate competed with the first major female presidential candidate. “We need to honor both candidates,” he said.

And many Democrats suggest that the move to accommodate her supporters may be politically smart…

[Texas Delegate Garry] Mauro insisted that since it was such a closely contested election, he is mystified as to why the Obama campaign is resisting and even balking at a roll call vote, according to some reports.

“Are these folks so new to politics, are they so arrogant that they think he’s different from every other nominee we’ve ever had?” he asks.

I guess I don’t need to answer Garry’s question.

Serrano Sewell even stated, in an attempt to assuage any worry on the part of the Obama camp, there is no connection between Hillary’s delegates and PUMA:

“We’re not trying to drag Obama down,” he said. “We’re Democrats. We’re precinct captains. We’re fundraisers. We’re the kind of Democrats Obama will need to win in November.”

Similar to Senator Obama’s lack of detailed understanding of foreign policy, so, too, his arrogance and political shortsightedness is clearly in evidence in preventing a roll call vote for Senator Clinton. Or shall I say, his fear is showing.

Again, this is not indicative of good leadership, of putting the country or the Party’s interests before his own.

A true leader would not wish to treat 18,000,000 voters and 1918 delegates disrespectfully. If, as Michelle Obama says, he is going to ‘heal our broken souls,’ how does he intend to do that by throwing millions under the bus in another show of pettiness, bullying and arrogance?

Regarding the current acts of Russian aggression, a true leader, as he claims to be, looking to demonstrate his readiness for the toughest job in the world, might stop to do his homework before realizing that the first “essay” he handed in was rather flimsy.

I know I am not wrong in wanting the truly qualified candidate to be our nominee. The one who needs no tutoring. Certainly, Hillary Clinton would know better than to do what Senator Obama did yesterday: indicate he would be announcing his pick for Vice President via text message. Some traditions do need to be adhered to. The world is watching.

Senator Obama’s action do not indicate respect – either for his V.P. choice, or for us.

That is not healing.

That does not indicate political knowledge, maturity or gravitas.

Lastly, that is certainly not good leadership.

Crotchety Jack Cafferty Calls The Denver Group “Humorless”?

Original Link: http://noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/12/jack-cafferty-calls-denver-group-humorless/

By SusanUnPC

Cough. Jack, you old grouch. During the primaries, you might as well have had “I overlook no opportunity to undermine Hillary” stamped on your forehead. Here’s the crabby curmudgeon’s latest attack:

Some Hillary Clinton supporters want to make sure that the upcoming Democratic Convention doesn’t turn into a “coronation” of Barack Obama.

A humorless organization called “The Denver Group” ran an ad in a Capitol Hill newspaper demanding that Hillary’s name be placed in nomination at the convention and demanding that speeches be allowed in support of her nomination. They’re just full of demands. [HOW UNAMERICAN OF THE DENVER GROUP! Why, THEY’RE NO BETTER THAN THOSE GEORGIANS WITH ALL THEIR DEMANDS! FOR DEMOCRACY, NO LESS! HOW UNREASONABLE IS THAT?!?!?!? DEMANDING DEMOCRACY! SUCH RENEGADES!]

And if they don’t get their way they are threatening a revolt. The ad says, “Will Howard Dean and the DNC turn the Democratic Party into the Boston Tea Party?” More demands. They demand a roll call vote on her nomination… presumably after those speeches they are demanding. This despite the fact that she lost and dropped out of the race months ago. …

PHOTO CAPTION: Bitter old women complaining about undemocratic behavior. Ludmila Bigayeva-Kinkadze, an ethnic Ossetian woman married to a Georgian man, condemns the Russian-Georgian conflict at a rally near Vladikavkaz, the main city of North Ossetia, Russia, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2008. The rally was a response to threats received by ethnic Georgians in the ethnically mixed village of Verkhnyaya Balta outside Vladikavkaz. (Via Yahoo News — AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Check out The Denver Group’s latest ad, run in Roll Call.

Special thanks to Just Say No Deal for alerting us to this story.