Friday, 21 March 2008


Ken Berwitz

I have been writing this blog for well over a year, and I'm pretty sure this is the first time I am quoting pat buchanan.

Pat buchanan is extremely distasteful to me.  I consider him an anti-Semite (so did William F. Buckley, who bounced him from National Review because of it over 30 years ago).  I am certain he looks at darker skinned people - not just of African ancestry - as inferior.  He sometimes makes my skin crawl.

I suspect that the reason buchanan is just about the only right of center guest on keith olbermann's show, is because olbermann senses buchanan is so offensive that his presence there "proves" something about non-leftward commentators to his audience.  If so, olbermann probably has a point.

That said, however, some of what buchanan says has great truth to it.  So I see him in the same way as I see Ann Coulter - a horribly flawed person with exceptional writing and analytical talent.

Today buchanan has an article at about the race speech Barack Obama delivered this past Tuesday.  I am going to excerpt parts of it below.  You can just click on the above web site and find it if you want to read the entire piece - its condescending tone toward Black people included.

Here are the parts that resonate with me:

How would he pull it off? I wondered.

How would Barack explain to his press groupies why he sat silent in a pew for 20 years as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright delivered racist rants against white America for our maligning of Fidel and Gadhafi, and inventing AIDS to infect and kill black people?

How would he justify not walking out as Wright spewed his venom about "the U.S. of KKK America," and howled, "God damn America!"

My hunch was right. Barack would turn the tables.

Yes, Barack agreed, Wright's statements were "controversial," and "divisive," and "racially charged," reflecting a "distorted view of America."

But we must understand the man in full and the black experience out of which the Rev. Wright came: 350 years of slavery and segregation.

Barack then listed black grievances and informed us what white America must do to close the racial divide and heal the country.

The "white community," said Barack, must start "acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds. ..."

And what deeds must we perform to heal ourselves and our country?

The "white community" must invest more money in black schools and communities, enforce civil rights laws, ensure fairness in the criminal justice system and provide this generation of blacks with "ladders of opportunity" that were "unavailable" to Barack's and the Rev. Wright's generations.

What is wrong with Barack's prognosis and Barack's cure?

Only this. It is the same old con, the same old shakedown that black hustlers have been running since the Kerner Commission blamed the riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and a hundred other cities on, as Nixon put it, "everybody but the rioters themselves."

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

... no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the '60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Barack talks about new "ladders of opportunity" for blacks.

Let him go to Altoona and Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for "deserving" white kids.

As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

Let me again mention that you can read the entire article by clicking on the link I've provided (though I'd just as soon you didn't, because buchanan's tone and several of the things he said will detract from the important message these excerpts convey).

The message, in simplest terms, is that if you get through the high-end rhetoric and excellent delivery, what Barack Obama is demanding of us is what I call "AAR":  Affirmative Action Racism.

AAR means that while White people are - correctly - held to account for words and actions that are racist, Black people are supposed to be given a free pass on them.  Yes, they are wrong, but Whites are supposed to "understand", because Black people are aggrieved and oppressed and.....well, you get the idea.

Put in rawest terms, AAR means that if a White man screams "You're a Black bastard" at a Black man he is a racist.  But if a Black man screams "You're a White bastard" at a White man he is to be understood and sympathized with. 

Personally, I support several forms of affirmative action (i.e. as a tie-breaker between two equally qualified applicants for a job, as a means of creating get-up-to-speed programs for Blacks in areas where they have traditionally been kept out of the work force, etc.)  But I very much do NOT support affirmative action as a race quota (i.e. we need 100 Blacks, and it doesn't matter whether they're capable or qualified). 

My belief is that you can never redress or solve racism by creating more of it.  Yet, most AA seems to exist with precisely that idea in mind.

It's bad enough that we have AA under these circumstances.  But do we really have to compound the problem by extending affirmative action to racism too?  Is a Black person's racism really better than a White person's?

Barack Obama may not have intended to raise the issue of Affirmative Action Racism when he made his speech - in truth, all he intended to do was divert our attention from the fact that he willingly spent almost 20 years listening to his "spiritual mentor" vomit out hate-filled, racist filth without it being any problem to him. 

But Mr. Obama's speech, however unintentionally, did raise the issue of AAR.  And that's good news.  Because it is long past time that we started dealing with it.


Ken Berwitz

Every time I hear the name of Chris Mouthews'***  little-watched show, Hardball, I laugh.  Hardball for who?  For the people he doesn't like? 

It sure as $&#^)#@# isn't hardball for Barack Obama.  Every time Mouthews mentions his name it sounds like he's hoping Obama will dump Michelle and start picking out furniture with him. 

Here is a very good take on this, from Mark Finkelstein at

Matthews on Obama: 'I Loved the Speech, He Gets To Me'

By Mark Finkelstein | March 21, 2008 - 09:22 ET

It wasn't quite a "thrill up up my leg" moment, but Chris Matthews clearly hasn't gotten over his love affair with the candidacy of Barack Obama. It was a discussion of NM Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama on today's Morning Joe that inspired an outpouring of emotion in which among other things Matthews acknowledged Obama "gets to me."
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I think [Richardson's] a gutsy guy, his own man, and I think it's a powerful endorsement. It certainly would have been powerful if it had gone the other way to Senator Clinton. I think it'll be a prized endorsement for Senator Obama, especially coming from a, he also comes from an interesting background. He always says, he says, you know, I've got a, what does he say? I've got an English name, I've got a Mexican mother, and I look like an Indian. I mean, he's, he's always had an interesting --

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That's fabulous.

MATTHEWS: -- way of describing his own background. And then you have Barack Obama with his interesting background. I think it's an interesting sort of "many faces of Benneton" moment for the country. It's always good when this happens, obviously.

BRZEZINSKI: That's a great way of putting it.

MATTHEWS: Well, I'm very positive about the whole thing, and I loved the speech by Barack Obama. I get emotional when I watch these, I mean, he gets to me. I think his statement as an American is extraordinary, it's powerful, and it's so necessary. And I do think it's a Rohrshach test for Americans. It's not a race test. It's a test about sensibility. And some of us are amazingly taken by that kind of message and others are not. It's just, it's in our DNA I suppose. Some people are cold to it. They don't like it. People like Charles Krauthammer today, people like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity--people I get along with. But they just have a different sensibility, they have a different reaction to Barack Obama then I do. They just do.
Among the questions Krauthammer poses to Obama in that column of today to which Matthews alluded is this one:
Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?
Why indeed? Guess that puts me in that cold Krauthammer camp.

As you can see, Mouthews' "hardball" persona is a very selective one.

But, then again, this is MSNBC.  The home of keith olbermann and Dan Abrams.  What would you expect?


*** Yes, I know his name is Chris Matthews.  But I use Mouthews instead, because of how often he will not shut up long enough to let anyone else get a word in.  Nobody loves the sound of his own voice more than Chris Mouthews.


Ken Berwitz

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both assure you that they will be the one to take on Wall Street and make things right.

Well, I just watched a bit of The Situation Room on CNN.  And it reports that the Center for Responsive Politics compiled how much each candidate is getting from financial sources during the current presidential campaign.  Here is what CRP found:

Hillary Clinton:   $6,200,000

Barack Obama:  $6,000,000

John McCain:    $2.500,000

Ok, a little common sense here:  Which candidate do YOU think is most likely to take on Wall Street.

Yep, exactly.


Ken Berwitz

If you are wondering why so many Republicans and conservatives are antsy about John McCain, and so many moderates and independents are intrigued by him, maybe his stand on illegal immigration will give you some insight.

Here is an article from the Washington Post, almost three years old, that will explain it all:

Immigration Measure Introduced
By Darryl Fears
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 13, 2005; A08

A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress yesterday seeks to revise the current immigration system by allowing millions of illegal immigrants in the United States to apply to be temporary guest workers and permit residents of other countries to seek the same status if they can prove that a job is waiting for them.

The new visa program proposed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) would allow immigrant workers to leave and enter the United States as they please over the three-year life of the temporary visa.

McCain said current immigration policy is "unacceptable," in part because it forces Mexican nationals and others illegally seeking to enter the United States to rely on human smugglers or risk their lives crossing the desert alone. In addition, he said, porous borders are "leaving Americans vulnerable" to terrorism.

The bill almost certainly faces a fight from Republicans who recently rejected amnesty proposals and this week helped win passage of the Real ID Act, which makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to obtain federally recognized identification.

Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), a leading proponent of removing illegal immigrants, said the legislation is another form of amnesty. "There might be a little more lipstick on this pig than there was before," he said, "but it is most certainly the same old pig. Time and time again, history has shown us that amnesty actually increases illegal immigration."

Under the bill, millions of illegal workers and immigrants who want jobs in the United States could eventually gain citizenship. Illegal workers in the United States would pay $1,000 each to apply for H-5B visas that would require them to work for six years before seeking permanent residency. Foreign nationals would pay $500 each and would have to prove that an employer has a job waiting for them. Both would be required to pass a battery of police background and medical checks.

After working for three years, foreign national visa-holders could ask for three-year extensions and, in the meantime, apply for green cards. If the illegal immigrants continue working, pay an additional $1,000, study English and break no laws for six years, they could qualify for permanent residency. Ultimately, that could lead to full citizenship. In the meantime, visa-holders could leave and enter the United States legally.

McCain said he asked the Bush administration to embrace the proposal. The senator said he did not get a firm answer, but was told that the bill is "in accord with the president's principles."

In January, Bush called for a better program for illegal workers, saying that the United States "values immigration, and depends on immigration," and should enact immigration laws "that . . . make us proud."

Judy Golub, senior director of advocacy and public affairs for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said her organization favors the bill. "It'll create an enforceable system," Golub said. "Right now, we don't have an enforceable system. Not only is it not working, but we can't afford it."

Rosemary Jenks, director of government affairs for Numbers USA, which advocates reducing the illegal-immigrant population, said her group "would support an exit amnesty, like a tax amnesty, that would allow illegal immigrants to leave and not apply a ban on future reentry."

Jenks said the government should force employers to verify that workers are legal or face charges themselves. McCain, Kennedy and other supporters said those measures have not worked.

As you can see, the right hated this proposal because they felt it was "amnesty".  And also, I'm sure, because they suspected that enforcement would be impossible.  And, as an extra added attraction, what right winger wants to agree to anything with Ted Kennedy's name on it?

But the left - AND a lot of the center - liked it because it seemed to be a realistic way of dealing with the huge immigration problem we already have, that no fence can do a thing about (because they are on this side of the fence already).

I am very strongly against illegal immigration.  But I looked at this legislation then (and look at it now) as the closest thing to a solution we can find - given that almost no solution is going to be without significant problems.

It is stands like this by John McCain that can make him President.  Because it demonstrates that, despite his long-time record as a conservative - he can go off the reservation when he thinks there is a reason for it. 

Independents love people like this.  So do many moderates in both parties.  And they have a point.


Ken Berwitz

How badly are Democrats split this year?

Based on the following poll, conducted among voters in the key state of Pennsylvania by Franklin & Marshall College, the answer is very, very badly.

Here is Cybercast News Service's analysis of the data.  The bold print is mine:

Poll: Divisive Dem Contest Could Boost McCain
By Fred Lucas Staff Writer
March 21, 2008

( - The lengthy Democratic primary contest bodes well for Republican chances of holding the White House, a new poll suggests.

As Democratic Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Clinton of New York slug it out for the nomination, many of their supporters -- at least in Pennsylvania, site of the next major primary -- aren't committed to the party's ticket in November, according to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Among Obama supporters, 20 percent said they would vote for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, if Clinton beats their candidate for the nomination. Among Clinton supporters, 19 percent said they would support McCain in November if Obama is the Democratic nominee.
(See poll)

The significant number of potential defectors underscores how divisive the Democratic primary has been.

Democrats won Pennsylvania in the 2000 and 2004 presidential races, but it was a competitive state in both election cycles. McCain, meanwhile, has touted his appeal to swing voters.

"Pennsylvania is a must-win state for a Democratic presidential nominee," Nathan Gonzalez, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, told Cybercast News Service. "If there is a significant weakness for a Democrat in Pennsylvania, it could indicate a weakness in Ohio or other key states."

Even a few months ago, the presidential race looked like a major uphill climb for any Republican candidate. But
recent polls suggest a toss-up between McCain and either Democratic candidate.

Obama and Clinton both have many negatives, which doesn't make the Pennsylvania poll too surprising, said Doris Graber, a political science professor at the University of Illinois.

"Obama is very liberal, more liberal than we've seen on the campaign trail. Also, there is still racism out there," Graber told Cybercast News Service. "Hillary, we've known all along, has strong supporters. But there are also a lot of people who would never vote for her. There is some antipathy from the Clinton years. Some wouldn't vote for her because she's a woman."

Graber believes it is "almost a certainty" that the Obama-Clinton battle will be decided at the Democratic National Convention, which could drive a wedge through the party.

"Democratic voters could be persuaded not to vote for a candidate with vulnerabilities," she continued. "A vote for McCain wouldn't be that difficult. He does appeal to the middle."

However, Gonzales cautioned not to read too much into a single poll, or discount the desire of Democratic voters to move beyond the George W. Bush years, of which McCain has become the heir.

"This is a very personal and competitive Democratic primary," he said. "Clinton and Obama supporters have trouble seeing themselves with the other now. A healing period will have to happen."

First off, let's not make more of this than it is.  We are looking at one poll, which was conducted among voters in one state, and the data may well mean nothing at all.

That said, however, it is undeniable that there is a major schism between Clinton and Obama supporters that is tearing the Democratic Party into pieces.  And it is equally undeniable that if this battle continues until the convention and is decided by super-delegates (i.e. not by primary voters) the schism between Clinton and Obama supporters will be even greater.  It may well be irreconcilable.

And this problem is made even worse by the fact that John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, has a history of attracting Democratic voters.

Just months ago, it seemed as though Republicans were in dire trouble for the 2008 Presidential race.  Not anymore.

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