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October 18, 2008

Multiple choice options regarding Obama's "spread the wealth" comment

Donald B. Hawthorne

John Podhoretz:

Is Obama’s "spread the wealth around" remark to Joe the Plumber the 2008 version of:
a) "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe"?

b) "I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, before I came here, to ask her what the most important issue was. She said the control of nuclear arms"?

c) "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did"?

d) "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it"?

e) Eh, no big deal.

Here's a big difference: President Ford, President Carter, Walter Mondale, and John Kerry did not respond like this to criticism of their revealing comments:

Welcome to the "thugocracy": the Obama camp wants to Department of Justice to investigate not voter registration fraud, but people talking about voting fraud–including the GOP ticket. If you don’t believe it, read the bizarre letter sent by the Obama campaign’s lawyer. This one follows on the heels of another letter asking the DOJ to "investigate" the 527 independent group which ran one of the first Bill Ayers ads.

The McCain camp is naturally not pleased and put out a statement which reads in part:

Today’s outrageous letter to Attorney General Mukasey and Special Prosecutor Dannehy at the Justice Department asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Senator McCain and Governor Palin’s public statements about ACORN’s record of fraudulent voter registrations (including in this week’s Presidential debate) is absurd. It is a typical time-worn Washington attempt to criminalize political differences. For someone who promises ‘change,’ it is certainly only more of the same.

The letter’s request that the Department of Justice investigate 'recent partisan Republican activities throughout the country' is almost a parody of the Obama campaign’s attempt to intimidate their political opponents. In case Sen. Obama’s lawyer did not notice, we are in the midst of a political campaign, not a coronation, and the alleged criminal activity he calls ‘recent partisan Republican activities’ are what the rest of us call campaign speeches and debates. All of this is unfortunately reminiscent of the Obama campaign’s recent creation of a 'truth squad' of Missouri prosecutors and sheriffs to 'target' people who criticize Sen. Obama.

And if you are wondering where civil liberties groups and the mainstream media are, you have to understand: the First Amendment ranks considerably lower than getting The One elected. On his way out the door, Attorney General Mukasey might perform one last bit of public service and give a series of lectures on the centrality of free speech, the sanctity of free and fair elections, and the utter inappropriateness of using the power of the state to silence your opponents.

And, as we start to bear an uncanny resemblance to a banana republic — complete with a cult of The Leader, roaming thugs in support of the same, and fraud-tainted voting – you’ll know that we really are experiencing "change." Whether this is a passing spasm of election exuberance or a frightful look at the future remains to be seen.

More on thuggish behavior by the Obama campaign here and here. All of which reminds me of Richard Nixon.


In response to the NYTimes hit piece on Cindy McCain, her lawyer responds:

...It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama’s drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father. Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here.

I suggest to you that none of these subjects on either side are worthy of the energy and resources of The New York Times. They are cruel hit pieces designed to injure people that only the worst rag would investigate and publish. I know you and your colleagues are always preaching about raising the level of civil discourse in our political campaigns. I think taking some your own medicine is in order here...

Jennifer Rubin adds these thoughts on what the media is not looking into:

...If MSM wants to be treated as impartial arbiter, a "watchdog" and not a lapdog of one candidate, its members should consider some behavior modification.

Demand not just medical records but earmark records from Joe Biden. Ask Barack Obama why he served on the Woods Fund with Bill Ayers for years and if he specifically approved grants to ACORN and a host of leftwing groups. Do a 3000-word piece on Obama’s earmarks and ties to corrupt Chicago officials to counterbalance the dozens of 3000-word pieces going after the other side (e.g. "Palin annoys Wasilla librarian" and "Cindy McCain was addicted to pain killers").

Even more shocking, not a single one of the networks news outlet or mainstream national newspaper has looked at Obama’s unprecedented attempt to use the Justice Department to chill speech. In all the pieces on "temperament" no one has reminded voters that the last president to try to employ law enforcement officials — as Obama did in Missouri — to go after opponents exercising First Amendment rights was Richard Nixon, not exactly the model of presidential temperament...

More on Obama and the presidential temperament issue here:

With the sudden emphasis on temperament in election coverage, you’d think that Americans are going to the polls on November 4 to pick the White House dog. Focus on this farcical dimension is due to the fact that the MSM is madly in love with Barack Obama, but have run out of reasons to say exactly why.

They used to cite his objection to the Iraq War, but the U.S. is now winning, and a troop withdrawal plan has been negotiated without his input. They used to talk about his plan to tax the "rich" and relieve the poor, but with the market meltdown, raising anyone’s taxes sounds petrifying–plus Joe the Plumber brought out Obama’s socialist side on this issue and the press would rather try to discredit Joe. They used to praise his eagerness to re-establish America’s standing in the world, but in the nearly two years he’s been preparing his penance, America’s image has gotten a boost from its military achievement, the rise of the Right in Europe, the need for an ally against Russian aggression, and the call for leadership on the global financial crisis. They used to rave about his willingness to upset the status quo, but with his tacking to the center on a dozen different issues, that’s out the window. His outsider status? Sarah Palin swooped into the election from outside of the continental United States, while Obama is now running with a career D.C. benchwarmer.

They could never tout his experience.

So what’s left? This amorphous, quasi-mythical thing everyone’s decided to call temperament. And Obama’s, we’re told, is just right for the job: Measured, unflappable, and patient. And how far are legitimate media outlets willing to go to push the temperament line? Far enough to make Nancy Gibbs declare, in her contribution to Time, that "[t]he presidency is less an office than a performance."

In other words, the MSM is now telling us this isn’t really Election 2008, but a spin-off of the West Wing, and we therefore should be superficial in choosing the leader of the free world. The problem is: when the world outside the borders of the television screen erupts, Obama is caught out like an Emmy-winner having a cue-card malfunction. After Russia invaded Georgia, Obama improvised some line about both sides needing to cease hostilities. It was only after John McCain identified the aggressor and where the U.S. interest lay in the conflict that Obama felt comfortable following suit. But while he was calm and collected, he said absolutely nothing about the potential start of the second cold war.

Here–after the most hyped-up, over-analyzed media-circus of an election in American history–is the distillation of the final pitch for the Democratic nominee: Vote Obama, he’s cool.

How cool indeed: Obama wants to redistribute your wealth in the spirit of "fairness" and chill your free speech, like Nixon tried, when you dare to challenge him by asking why.







Posted by: rock-a-fello at October 18, 2008 4:40 PM

Here's a question, rock-a-fello: Since July, you've commented using 12 different names. If I were to ban you, would that count as one or as a dozen?

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 18, 2008 6:34 PM

Hey jerkafello-
I've been banned by Lucky Sperm Jerzyk and fairy dust Alex Moore 5 times.

Posted by: Mike at October 18, 2008 6:54 PM

I thought the Obama supporters have the election in the bag.Why bother messing with conservative blogs?Are they nervous that Obama may be overplaying his hand?The man has less humility than Dean Esserman.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 18, 2008 6:58 PM

Regarding "spreading the wealth," I'm still curious: is it the principle or the mechanism you object to? Do you oppose progressive taxation? Or refundable tax credits?

Posted by: mrh at October 18, 2008 7:57 PM

Accusations of thuggish behavior by football, we call that winging a Hail Mary.

Posted by: rhody at October 18, 2008 9:22 PM


I recently read a piece about the growing trend of people who are buying homes (this was before the credit crisis) in neighborhoods comprised of politically like-minded individuals. People wanting only to be surrounded by the voices of agreement are finding their worlds shrunk to certain publications, radio and cable tv shows, and internet blogs that reinforce their existing political views. They are never challenged.
Is it possible that some of us who actually live and work in Rhode Island feel compelled to speak up to the lies and untruths that are routinely peddled here. I cannot ignore the presence in R.I. of Republican conservatives and the detrimental effect it has on the place I live.

Posted by: Phil at October 19, 2008 9:10 AM

Phil-you don't send in the same comment 12 times as a form of "jamming" that I've noticed.
I regularly post comments on left wing blogs RIF and PDD and sometimes the Phoenix blog,which is left-leaning on many issues.
I don't engage in "troll"tactics-I use my real name,say what's on my mind,and put on the Kevlar.I also post on Kmareka,which is decidedly liberal,but the responses there are not abusive,because Kiersten and Nancy have a lot more class than some of the people at RIF and PDD. I can't be bothered to lie.I can be wrong,but who the f**k is anyone on these blogs that I have to lie to them?
I know that I have said nothing I can't back up except for purely opinion statements which I've noticed you have plenty of.And this is not necessarily a Republican site.I'm not a member of any party.
Some of my friends are voting for Obama.I have no intention of changing my relationship with any of them.I told them why I think they're wrong and left it at that.
I just saw Colin Powell endorse Obama.I wanted Powell to run in 1996 and I'd vote for him today.But I think he is overly optimistic about Obama's ability to handle the job and ignoring some of Obama's extreme positions.Did I lose respect for Powell?No.It's based on his past accomplishments and I don't agree with ANYONE 100%.I've been married for 38 years and my wife and I are not on the same page on a number of issues,but we get along okay.
You say you're a quahogger?If so,you work damn hard for your income-do you want to share it with someone who thumbs their nose at work?I can't understand that.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 19, 2008 10:21 AM

I feel truly fortunate every day I go to work on Narragansett Bay. I would choose no other job. The largest burden for most of the shellfishermen I know is their monthly health insurance premium along with the stagnant price of shellfish. National health care reform is one of the issuses that needs to be addressed if we wish to keep people like me fishing for food. Also we have just witnessed the collapse of the financial system thanks to those who have reaped much more than their share of compensation. I don't see anything wrong with adjusting the tax burden in this country to favor lower earners and not the highest earners. Trickle down economics have not worked for most of us and it certainly has not helped people afford health care. The so called financial rescue plan recognizes the ability of average U.S. citizens to work our way out of this mess so call it socialism if you must but why can't we get national health care for all of these citizens.

Posted by: Phil at October 19, 2008 9:21 PM

Phil-I live on a modest income as aretiree supplemented by a VA disability benefit(which I'd much rather not have to get)and starting next month,Social Security,extremely reduced due to my fed pension(do f**kin legislators get theirs reduced?)and my wife works part time and gets a tiny pension from her former job.I have people in my family who need some help-they come first in my book-screw someone who lays up all day and expects something for it.I am glad you enjoy your work.I kind of liked mine,but I saw stuff on a daily basis that made me turn against the idea of handing out support too freely.I would go into houses where everybody was home in the middle of the day and they had every toy,lots of gold jewelry,nice cars,and FOOD STAMPS.WTF.I know legit working poor people who "don't qualify".My wife and I give to good causes that help people,but we choose where.I am sick of being lectured to by limousine liberals who live in lily-white enclaves or child legislators who never had to support anyone.I don't mind it from a quahogger,even if I may not agree with him.
Those people I described were largely drug dealers,but the point is they were getting assistance!

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 19, 2008 10:55 PM

Why is it that you don't spend nearly as much ink on the capitalist welfare kings and queens as you do on those you say have their hands out. It's true, they may have their hands out, but you seem to give a free pass to those who have their hands in your pocket as long as you think that they are capitalists. Those people wrecked this economy, not the few sitting around as you described. Spend a few words on the AIG, Lehman Brothers execs with golden parachutes and you might catch the ear of this writer.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 20, 2008 12:30 PM

I don't carry water for these overpaid CEO's and their retinue who don't even produce a product like the robber barons of old such as Frick and Carnegie.At least those old codgers endowed their communities with libraries,parks,schools,and museums which are still in use.
I am concerned for people like doctors and inventors and scientists,or people who build a business that MAKES something and employees people.
Why should they get hosed for making over $250,000 a year?
A doctor can put in 9 or 10 years or even more in some specialties such as neurosurgery before they are in independent practice.I don't begrudge them what they make.If you really need them,they're worth every penny thay earn ,assuming they do their job competently.
As far as the Enron and AIG boys go,they can rot in hell for all I care.
I do not support corporate welfare.Never did.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 20, 2008 3:25 PM