Wednesday, 05 November 2008
JEFF JACOBY ON YESTERDAY'S ELECTION
As per usual, Jeff Jacoby has given us an excellent column. This one is
on the Presidential election:
EVEN ON THE RIGHT
November 5, 2008
To be a conservative in Massachusetts is to know
disappointment, never more so than on Election Day, when candidates and causes
of the right rarely stand a chance. Waiting in line at my Brookline polling
place yesterday, I was under no illusion that my vote would change the outcome:
Barney Frank would be re-elected to the US House, John Kerry would go back to
the Senate, and Massachusetts would vote decisively for Barack Obama. To say
nothing of the rest of the nation poised to elect the most lopsidedly liberal
government in years.
But why succumb to gloom? Even for a red voter
in the bluest of states, Election 2008 has its consolations:
The Clintons really wont be going back
to the White House.
We havent seen the last of Sarah Palin, who
demonstrated genuine star power as she withstood with aplomb and good humor a
vicious assault from the left.
Government financing of political campaigns, always a
dreadful idea, is dead. Yes, Obama
egregiously broke his solemn promise to accept public financing and its
attendant spending limits. But having witnessed Obamas astonishing financial
blowout -- he raised well over $600 million, crushing his rival in the money war
and therefore in advertising and field organization -- no future candidate will
agree to be shackled by those limits.
A turn in the wilderness will do Republicans
good. During the GOPs years in power, the one-time party of fiscal sobriety and
limited government turned into a gang of reckless spenders and government
aggrandizers. If a few years in exile can lead Republicans back to their
conservative, Reaganite roots, yesterdays losses will not have been in
But the most lustrous silver lining of all, even
for disappointed Republicans, is the racial one. As a politician and
policymaker, Obama distresses me; his extreme liberalism is decidedly not what
the nation needs in its president. But as a symbol -- a son of Africa elected to
lead a majority-white nation that once enslaved Africans and treated their
descendants with great cruelty -- Obamas rise makes me proud of my country. The
anthem of the Civil Rights Movement was "We
Shall Overcome." Impossible as it might
have seemed scant decades ago, we have.
I especially like that last point, which my wife and I spoke about just this
morning. I may not like Barack Obama and I may not trust him or his
political views. But I very much like the fact that he, as a Black man,
was able to win a national election.
How many countries in the world could a parallel situation have occurred
in? Not many.
OBAMA'S FIRST APPOINTMENT?
Is Rahm Emmanuel going to be Barack Obama's chief of staff?
If so, it took less than 24 hours to end any pretense that Mr. Obama is
going to be a uniter or conciliatory. Emmanuel is as hardline,
take-no-prisoners a partisan as there is in Washington.
Steve Gilbert of www.sweetness-light.com gives us the
November 5th, 2008
From the elated DNC minions at the Politico:
Obama plans to name Emanuel chief of staff
Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen Jim Vandehei, Mike
Wed Nov 5, 2008
In his first major move as president-elect,
Barack Obama has asked Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), a tough-minded tactician
with West Wing experience, to serve as his White House chief of staff,
Democratic sources tell Politico.
Emanuel has said to friends that he wants and
will take the job, but it was not a done deal as of early this morning. Obama
plans to move swiftly with his transition announcement and could name Emanuel
this week, the sources said. He then plans rapid-fire announcements on his
economic and national security teams.
If Emanuel a member of the House Democratic
leadership with ambitions to one day to be House speaker were to turn it
down, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) would likely get the nod, the sources
Some Democrats have warned that Emanuels
take-no-prisoners style could hurt Obama. But the president-elect wants to
move fast to push his legislative agenda through the Democratic-controlled
Congress and Emanuel knows the Hill and power politics as well as anyone in
Obama wants a bad cop, so he can be good cop 90
percent of the time, an adviser said.
Emanuel, who at 49 is two years older than
Obama, is the Democratic Caucus chairman, the fourth-highest-ranking member of
the House Democratic leadership.
Emanuel was known for his hard-nosed tactics as
a senior adviser to President Bill Clinton. After leaving the White House, he
returned to Chicago as an investment bank managing director.
Friends of both men say that Obama likes
Emanuel, and that Emanuel would be totally loyal. And Obama respects Emanuels
knowledge of Washington, including the legislative process, and his reputation
for getting things done
In his personal views, hes a
centrist, and despite a combative political style, he has good
relations with many congressional Republicans, such as Rep. Adam Putnam
As we have previously noted, Mr. Emanuel is one of
the most rabid partisan politicians in the history of this country.
From a hagiographic piece in Rolling
[T]he night after Clinton was elected, Emanuel
was so angry at the presidents enemies that he stood up at a celebratory
dinner with colleagues from the campaign, grabbed a steak knife and began
rattling off a list of betrayers, shouting Dead! . . . Dead! . . . Dead! and
plunging the knife into the table after every name. When he was done, the
table looked like a lunar landscape, one campaign veteran recalls. It was
like something out of The Godfather. But thats Rahm for
So much for the fantasy that Mr. Obama will govern
from the center.
Oh, and lest we forget, Mr. Emanuel was on the
board of Freddie Mac when it was bringing
about our current financial crisis.
But never mind such petty
What did you expect? Gandhi? This is Barack Obama, who has never shown
one iota of centrism or openness to the other side of the aisle.
I can't wait to see who else he picks for his "uniter"
UPDATE: In case you have any lingering doubt
about Mr. Emanuel's style, here is (equally vicious hatchetman) Paul Begala's
assessment of him from a 2006 article in Forbes Magazine:
a "cross between a hemorrhoid and a
BUSH'S RAW DEAL
Great thanks to Jeffrey Scott Shapiro for writing the following piece for
today's Wall Street Journal (and a little immodest pleasure in noting that
I've commented on this a number of times over the past year):
The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace
What must our enemies be
Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in
support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant
after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless
disrespect many Americans have shown the president.
According to recent Gallup polls, the president's
average approval rating is below 30% -- down from his 90% approval in the wake
of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing
abandonment from the right.
This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to
work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the
president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and
said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make
this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to
earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."
Those bipartisan efforts have been met with
crushing resistance from both political parties.
The president's original Supreme Court choice of
Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito
angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated
traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged
liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face
It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is
blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously
disappointing the right.
Yet it should seem obvious that many of our
country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to
office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so
divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on
some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving
Like the president said in his 2004 victory
speech, "We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And
when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of
To be sure, Mr. Bush is not
completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the good company of former
Democratic President Harry S. Truman, whose own approval rating sank to 22%
shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman's low numbers, a 2005 Wall
Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president
Just as Americans have gained perspective on how
challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country
will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and
how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the
September 11 attacks.
The treatment President Bush has received from
this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him
have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and
resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never
lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue
leading our nation during a very difficult time.
Our failure to stand by the one person who
continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to
the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful
display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr.
Bush has left the White House.
Mr. Shapiro is an investigative reporter
and lawyer who previously interned with John F. Kerry's legal team during the
presidential election in 2004.
Excellent. So well said.
And notice that biographical note at the bottom of the piece. It's not
like Shapiro is a Bush acolyte, he is anything but. It's just
that he, as do I, feels President Bush got the ultimate raw deal from some very
opportunistic, vicious opponents --- and a media that has given up any pretense
Will George Bush rise up in popularity years after his presidency? No
one knows. But don't bet against it.
Posted without comment: You decide if it is real or satire:
Obama Declines GOP Request to
Posted By Scott Ott On
November 5, 2008 @ 8:44 am
President-elect Barack Obama today politely
declined a request from the Republican National Committee to redistribute the
votes from yesterdays Congressional contests in order to spread the power
Its not that we want to punish your success, wrote RNC chairman Mike Duncan. We just want to make
sure that everybody who is behind you has a chance for success too. Our attitude
is that if the elections good for folks from the bottom up, its gonna be good
for everybody when you spread the power around, its good for
In a brief written reply to the GOP, Mr. Obama
said, Our Democrat candidates worked hard for those votes, and it would be a
gross injustice to take what they earned by the sweat of their brows and to give
it to others who, for whatever reason, did not succeed.
The electoral process, wrote Mr. Obama, allows
a person from any background to work hard, to build a strong organization, to
raise investment capital and to take the personal risk that is the necessary
precursor to any successful venture. When they do that well, and they win, the
benefits ripple outward to many others.
The 44th president of the United States added, If you redistribute their
hard-earned votes to those less capable, to those who played it safe or who
turned in a half-hearted performance, then you remove incentive from the system.
In the end, when you aim for equality of outcomes in a particular arena, you
inevitably wind up with mediocrity, because men of excellence and ambition will
go elsewhere to satisfy their longing for dignity, self-sacrifice and
THE OBAMA ERA
Barack Obama has won a very convincing victory over John McCain and will be
the 44th President of the United States.
Congratulations to him.
Why did Mr. McCain lose? He lost because he could not overcome:
-the country's supersedingly bad feeling towards President Bush, whom he
could not separate himself from;
-the superior campaigning skills of Barack Obama;
-the torrent of abusive reporting on his running mate - whose lack of
experience in DC made her a very easy target;
-the perception that our horrible financial meltdown was somehow the fault
-his own awful campaign decisions, which included not attacking Mr. Obama's
association with jeremiah wright or his steadfast opposition to BAIPA (the
Born Alive Infant Protection Act);
-a media determined to elect his opponent.
That's a lot to overcome. I wonder if anyone could have done it.
But, regardless, this is now officially history. We have a President-designate (not President-elect,
until the electoral college votes), and it is Barack Obama. Back to the
Senate for Mr. McCain and back to Alaska for Ms. Palin --- unless she becomes
a senator too***.
Overall this was a bleak election for Republicans. But the one silver
lining in their dark cloud is that, as bad as it was, they averted an even worse
There was an outside chance that Democrats could have wound up with 60
senators and up to 260-275 house members. Unless there are a couple
of unexpected changes at the very end of things, Democrats actually wind up with 54
senators and 248 house members.
From these levels, Republicans can lick their wounds and dream of taking the
senate and at least closing things up a good deal in the house in 2010.
But, for now, the Obama era has
I did not vote for Mr.
Obama> I was (and remain) scared by his agenda - especially while aided and abetted
by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. But I do not know how he will perform,
so I can hope against hope that things will be better than I expect.
And I certainly do hope they will be. I wish for Mr. Obama to prove me
The better he does, the better off we all are.
*** Despite being convicted last month on 7 felony counts of corruption, Ted
Stevens appears to have eked out a victory over his Democratic opponent.
There is speculation that he will resign the seat and Ms. Palin, who as Governor
replaces him, will do so with herself. We'll