Friday, 18 July 2008


Ken Berwitz

Here is what I said about Phil Gramm on July 11:

I have to admit a certain fascination with a supposed campaign asset who metastasizes right in front of my eyes.  And that is precisely what Phil Gramm did, with his imbecilic comment that is guaranteed to give Democrats campaign nourishment as long as he is associated with Mr. McCain.

John McCain said the right words about this.  But that's not enough.  Gramm has to be dumped, and fast.  I don't care how long the two of them have been friends.

After telling people that the economic downturn is in their minds, so stop whining about it?  Gramm hurts McCain every time they are seen together or mentioned in the same breath.

This being politics, the fact that Gramm's departure was 100% necessary did not mean he actually was leaving.  However, as you can see by the following CBS News report, that is what he apparently has been forced to do:

Top McCain Adviser, Phil Gramm, Leaves Campaign

NEW YORK (CBS) ― Phil Gramm, a top adviser to presidential candidate John McCain, is resigning from the role as campaign co-chairman after his comments that the United States had become a "nation of whiners" who constantly complain about the state of the economy.

The former U.S. senator from Texas and past presidential candidate made the remarks earlier this month. McCain immediately distanced himself from the comments, but they have been criticized constantly as McCain tries to show he can help steer the country past its current financial troubles.

Gramm had also suggested that the country was facing a "mental recession" instead of real economic problems. Gramm said in a statement late Friday that he is stepping down as a co-chair of the campaign to "end this distraction."

According to John McCain's Web site, Gramm released a statement saying:

"It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country. That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain's ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country's problems, it hurts the country. To end this distraction and get on with the real debate, I hereby step down as Co-Chair of the McCain Campaign and join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters."

Phil Gramm had to go.  And now he's gone - at least visibly.  (I have a feeling he is about as gone as the manager who is tossed out of a game but stands one step away from the dugout, where the umpire can't see him, and manages anyway).

Let's also note the timing of this announcement - Friday evening - which was clearly designed to make it as anonymous as possible. 

Now Mr. McCain can only hope that Gramm's departure ends the damage he caused with his unbelievably ill-conceived remarks.

We'll see.


Ken Berwitz

In the past several months John McCain has traveled to Iraq and to South America. To do so, he gave up precious days that could have been used to campaign for the presidency.

There is a valid argument that travel of this type IS part of a presidential campaign because it creates the aura of a candidate with foreign policy experience.  But in Mr. McCain's case, pretty much everyone knows he already has it (which is why the attempts of a few shameless Democrats to downplay Mr. McCain's credentials failed so miserably and were quickly dropped). 

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has virtually no foreign policy experience at all.  He is so weak in this area that, for a few days earlier this year, he actually tried to sell the fact that he spent four years as a pre-teen in Indonesia as a counterbalance to Mr. McCain's background.  He dropped this pathetic nonsense when he realized that it was flying like a lead balloon.

So now Mr. Obama is off to Iraq.  That is supposed to make us think he is presidential on the world stage.  And who is coming with him?  The same media entourage that came with John McCain? 

In one of the most blatant demonstrations of media bias you will ever see, every one of the network news anchors - Brian Williams, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric - will be joining Mr. Obama on his tour. 

Not one of them got their rumps off the anchor chair in their studio for John McCain.  But for Saint Barack?  They're singing backup on his tour.

Here is how Investors Business Daily talked about it in yesterday's editorial.  The disgrace is media's...the bold print is mine:

Anchors Away!

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Journalism: Barack Obama is headed overseas, with the three network anchors trailing behind him like groupies ga-ga over a rock star. And they say that media bias is just a myth.

Obama will begin his travels Friday with a visit to Europe and continue on to the Middle East. These are not normal campaign stops for a man running for president. But Obama is no common man at least as the media see him.

They have uncritically anointed him a savior and are eager to be in his presence as he makes his "historic" trip. NBC News anchor Brian Williams, ABC anchor Charles Gibson and CBS anchor Katie Couric will be on hand, and they'll scratch and claw each other to get that exclusive interview.

Obama's arrogance playing president and planning to speak in front of Berlin's symbolic Brandenburg Gate is unseemly enough. But the media fawning is a disgrace. Other than those reporters assigned to John McCain, do they even know that Obama's opponent in the fall has made not one, but three trips overseas since March?

Not only did the anchors pass on those tours, their respective networks "provided little if any coverage of any of them," according to an analysis by the Media Research Center. When McCain was in Europe and the Middle East for a week in March, the networks that will immortalize Obama's triumphant tour carried only four full stories on the trip.

"CBS did not even send a correspondent along" and offered "only one report consisting of only 31 words" over 10 seconds for "the entire week Sen. McCain was abroad," the MRC reports.

The media, which seem endlessly interested when Obama downs a hot dog or picks up a basketball, and which feel a collective tingle in their legs whenever he speaks, couldn't even limit their description of the junior senator's haircut to 31 words.

Network chiefs say they need to be with Obama on this trip to record how he performs on the world stage. That's plausible. We'll believe it, though, only if Obama commits a gaffe and the press actually does more than gloss over it.

The liberal national media are free to put all their resources into Obama coverage, encourage Americans to vote for him and ignore McCain entirely. Our Constitution gives them the liberty to do just that. What rankles us is the facade of objectivity they put up. All we're asking for is some honesty.

I end most commentaries about our media with the following sentence, which so obviously applies here as well:

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


Ken Berwitz

It's not easy being Nancy Pelosi

There she is, the Speaker Of The House with a solid majority to work with.  And in two years she has gotten nothing done.   From what I've read, even Democrats are whisperiing about what a loser she is.

And they can't easily get rid of her either.  Why?  Because since the Democratic party seems to classify every human being as part of larger group instead of as an individual, removing Pelosi would be seen as removing a woman, not a person.  And the Democrat-supporting groups in this country that feed on class and gender warfare will go bananas over it.

Ms. Pelosi, despite her abject failure as Speaker, is an intelligent woman who knows how poorly she has done and has, no doubt, heard about the things people are saying. 

So in the absence of improving her performance (which she seems incapable of doing) Ms. Pelosi is lashing out.  At who?  Why President Bush, of course.  The great panacea for trying to hid Democratic failure. 

Here is a small section of the Associated Press article which details her, trenchant comments:

 WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush has been a "total failure" in everything from the economy to the war to energy policy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday. In an interview on CNN, the California Democrat was asked to respond to video of the president criticizing the Democratic-led Congress for heading into the final 26 days of the legislative session without having passed a single government spending bill.

Pelosi shot back in unusually personal terms.

"You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi replied. She then tsk-tsked Bush for "challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again."

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino defended Bush.

"What the president said is a fact - this is the longest a Congress has gone in 20 years without passing a single spending bill, so it's clear that the speaker is feeling some frustration at their inability to do so."

How pathetic is that?  Pelosi has overseen a Democratic majority in the house for two years.  Yet, when you take into account votes on war allocation, FISA, etc. etc. etc., she has watched President Bush, the man she hates, pass more significant legislation in that body than what she has on her agenda.

So all Pelosi has left is this whining, bitter, screed.

Simply stated, Nancy Pelosi has been a failure, bordering on a disaster, for her party.  Democrats would do well to replace her and the sooner the better.  But they're not going to. 

Two years ago it would have been hard to fathom Ms. Pelosi as a Republican asset.  But it's not so hard now.  Not at all.

free The problem is the media aren't going to blame her or the dems, they are going to blame Bush and R's. we need some new laws that hold the media responsible for there actions, they shouldn't be allowed to flat out lie. (07/18/08)


Ken Berwitz

Charles Krauthammer has written a superb column (no surprise there) about the sky-high ego of Barack Obama, whose latest foray into self-importance involves intending to make what amounts to a stump speech at Germany's Brandenburg gate.

Here it is, without further comment from me -- because, as you will see, it doesn't need any

The Audacity of Vanity

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, July 18, 2008; A17

Barack Obama wants to speak at the Brandenburg Gate. He figures it would be a nice backdrop. The supporting cast -- a cheering audience and a few fainting frauleins -- would be a picturesque way to bolster his foreign policy credentials.

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?

Does Obama not see the incongruity? It's as if a German pol took a campaign trip to America and demanded the Statue of Liberty as a venue for a campaign speech. (The Germans have now gently nudged Obama into looking at other venues.)

Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

Obama is a three-year senator without a single important legislative achievement to his name, a former Illinois state senator who voted "present" nearly 130 times. As president of the Harvard Law Review, as law professor and as legislator, has he ever produced a single notable piece of scholarship? Written a single memorable article? His most memorable work is a biography of his favorite subject: himself.

It is a subject upon which he can dilate effortlessly. In his victory speech upon winning the nomination, Obama declared it a great turning point in history -- "generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment" -- when, among other wonders, "the rise of the oceans began to slow." As Hudson Institute economist Irwin Stelzer noted in his London Daily Telegraph column, "Moses made the waters recede, but he had help." Obama apparently works alone.

Obama may think he's King Canute, but the good king ordered the tides to halt precisely to refute sycophantic aides who suggested that he had such power. Obama has no such modesty.

After all, in the words of his own slogan, "we are the ones we've been waiting for," which, translating the royal "we," means: " I am the one we've been waiting for." Amazingly, he had a quasi-presidential seal with its own Latin inscription affixed to his lectern, until general ridicule -- it was pointed out that he was not yet president -- induced him to take it down.

He lectures us that instead of worrying about immigrants learning English, "you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish" -- a language Obama does not speak. He further admonishes us on how "embarrassing" it is that Europeans are multilingual but "we go over to Europe, and all we can say is 'merci beaucoup.' " Obama speaks no French.

His fluent English does, however, feature many such admonitions, instructions and improvements. His wife assures us that President Obama will be a stern taskmaster: "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism . . . that you come out of your isolation. . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed."

For the first few months of the campaign, the question about Obama was: Who is he? The question now is: Who does he think he is?

We are getting to know. Redeemer of our uninvolved, uninformed lives. Lord of the seas. And more. As he said on victory night, his rise marks the moment when "our planet began to heal." As I recall -- I'm no expert on this -- Jesus practiced his healing just on the sick. Obama operates on a larger canvas.


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