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Fox News vs. Obama for Next 4 Years?

By Justin Gardner

Watch Megyn Kelly go off on Obama press secretary Bill Burton.

It's pretty stunning.



Is it me or she yelling almost the ENTIRE time.

Also, do the folks over at Fox really believe that their news is fair and balanced?

One thing's for sure...Fox News will be VERY popular the next four years. An Obama presidency is the best thing that could have happened to them.

Justin blogs daily at Donklephant.com

Jeffrey Goldberg's Relativist Extremism

By Donald Douglas

Jeffrey Goldberg provides an excellent example of the contrast between those who take seriously the threat to the West from global Islamic terrorism and those who discount the danger in favor of a moral-relativist strategic epistemology.

At issue for Goldberg is the alleged cabal of Jewish extremists behind the political documentary movie, "Obssession: Radical Islam's War Against the West":

If you read Goldberg's essay, he lays out not so much a criticism of the movie itself, but of the temerity of the movie's backers and cast to adopt an attitude of Western exceptionalism.

Goldberg's project is to focus on the background of the film's producers as Likud-backing totalitarians, and then to throw out the red-herring of Nazi Germany's industrial-scale extermination:

The tragedy of "Obsession" is not that it is wrong; the tragedy is that it takes a serious issue, and a serious threat - that of Islamism - and makes it into a cartoon. Its central argument is that the "Islamofascism" of today is not only the equivalent of Nazism, but worse than Nazism. This is quite a thing for a Jewish organization to argue. One of the featured speakers in "Obsession" is a self-described "former PLO terrorist" named Walid Shoebat, who argues on film that a "secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islamofascism is today."
With the exception of Stalin's murder of tens of millions in the Soviet Union, there's never been anything like the industrial killing of Hitler's Reich. And what the Soviets made up in pure scale is not matched in Hitler's program a racial eliminationism.

But for Goldberg to lay it out as he does is really a ploy to cut off discussion of the genuine existential danger that radical Islam poses to the West.

The point for Goldberg really isn't to debate the legitimate threat of global jihad to the survival of the Western democracies, but to preempt criticism of Barack Obama:

The film is meant to suggest that Obama will provide aid and comfort to Islamism, or is an Islamist himself. There is not one shred of proof on this planet that Barack Obama is anything other than an Israel-supporting Christian. Yes, he went to party with Rashid Khalidi. So did I. Does that make me a member of Hezbollah?

I actually have another idea for a film: I would call it "Obsession" as well, but it would be about the poor souls who believe that Obama is a radical Muslim, that Israel has a right to expel Arabs from its lands, and that America should declare war on all of Islam.
Actually, this is not what the film says at all.

The opening credits declare that the film is not directed at the great majority of Muslims worldwide who are peaceful and abhor terrorism. Viewers can judge for themselves if folks like Carolyn Glick are extremists, but to take such a narrowly partisan view of an issue of great importance, to dismiss it with the same cartoonishness that he decries, shows Goldberg as no more than a blind partisan hack intent to demonize his alleged demonizers, and to dismiss as conspiracy the deep, underlying sympathy that Barack Obama holds for those who have long committed themselves to the destruction of the United States.

Donald blogs at American Power

How Will Obama Govern?

By Jon Keller

For undecided-but-sane voters (e.g. those uninterested in guilt-by-association smears, endorsements from self-serving pols, and other campaign ephemera), that's among the key lingering issues about the frontrunner as voting day approaches. It's a question McCain tried to push in the final debate last week, by challenging Obama to name issues where he has stood up to the majority view of his party and it's special-interest lobbies. And those of us who think charter schools - a grassroots experiment in what public schools can achieve when freed from the onerous rules and ham-handed resistance to reform of teacher unions - offer hope of positive change and real opportunity for underpriveleged kids and their families were thrilled to hear Obama cite them as Exhibit A.

"I support charter schools and pay for performance for teachers. Doesn't make me popular with the teachers union. I support clean coal technology. Doesn't make me popular with environmentalists. So I've got a history of reaching across the aisle," said Obama. A bit later, he returned to the subject, noting that he and McCain agree on expanding the reach of charters: "I doubled the number of charter schools in Illinois despite some reservations from teachers unions. I think it's important to foster competition inside the public schools."

Great news! Bill and Hillary Clinton were also charter school advocates going back to their Arkansas days, but it's especially gratifying to hear the Democratic nominee on national TV in the campaign's waning days wear his bold support of charters as a badge of honor.

But this being the harvest season for spin, I decided to double-check Obama's claim about the Illinois charter bill, actually an expansion of charters in Chicago, home to scores of wretched conventional public school .

Here is the summary of what happened from the Illinois legislature's web site. As you can see, while the bill does indeed double the number of charters allowable under law in large Illinois cities, it places strict caps on the total number of charters allowed instead of allowing parental demand to define the supply, and bars for-profit entities from the chance to run charters, a setup that has resulted in quality educational opportunities for students elsewhere around the country. And Obama did not "reach across the aisle" to pass this bill; its chief sponsors (a month before Obama signed on) were a roll call of the Democratic leadership in the Illinois Senate, including the senate president and two of the assistant majority leaders.

There's certainly nothing wrong with what Obama did here. Given the teacher-union establishment's avowed intent to strangle charters in their cribs whenever possible, any support for them is welcome, however half-baked. But if this is really Obama's prime evidence of how he'll stand tall against party orthodoxy, it's disappointing, to say the least.

Jon Keller blogs regularly for WBZ-TV Boston at Keller @ Large

We Done All Lost Our Minds!

By Mark Thompson

Last night, I mentioned to my wife that I thought nationalizatin of the banking industry, at least in the near term, was "highly unlikely." I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

What most disturbs me about this is that, after the last 8 years of warrantless wiretapping and various other abuses of government power through proxy corporations and private enterprises (Blackwater, anyone?), it is many liberals and progressives most loudly supportive of this move (notably, I do not at this moment believe Obama has expressed support for it, and I have noticed several prominent lefty bloggers who appear openly skeptical of it).

Liberals/Progressives ought to rethink their support of nationalizing the banking industry. If we are talking only short-term nationalization, then so be it, as long as there is a clear date by which government dumps its ownership (not that I support even short-term nationalization; I just don't think it would be completely disastrous). But if we are talking about something more long-term, then this creates a severe potential for true corporatism/fascism.

To demonstrate, I simply point out how the warrantless wiretapping program began - the administration approached the phone companies about instituting the program. Those who agreed to do so were rewarded; those who didn't, not so much. Now imagine the danger created when government decides which businesses do and do not get credit, which is so often a necessary requirement for business growth and survival, both large and small. Isn't it rather easy to imagine large corporations getting loans conditioned on their willingness to go along with the ruling administration's "Policy X"? Nationalization of the banking industry, in this sense, allows the ruling administration to do an end run around the Constitution by getting corporations and business to "voluntarily" do things on behalf of the government that the government would otherwise be prohibited from doing itself.

At a minimum, long term nationalization of the banking industry creates a situation that is rife for corruption. Take a look at some of what occurred in South (yes, South) Korea in the 1980s, where, IIRC, only one of the 30 largest corporations refused to play along with the ruling party's demands (for bribes, kickbacks, and IIRC compliance with party policy preferences). That one corporation suddenly found, amongst other things, that it was no longer able to obtain credit.

Perhaps a President Obama would be rather benevolent in his use of these powers afforded by nationalization, and maybe he would try to ensure that his underlings were in fact fair and neutral in making determinations on the issuance of credit. Problem is that: 1. there is no guarantee he will win, 2. we have no idea who will be in power 4 or 8 years from now, and 3. even the most benevolent of leaders will be tempted to use this tremendous power as a way of serving his concept of the "greater good" under the view that the ends justify the means.

Indeed, point 3 is precisely what has been the problem the last 8 years. While I think the Bushies have dramatically overstated the threats we face to national security, I also don't doubt that they believe those threats are real and severe. And therein lies the rub - because they view the "greater good" of national security as so important, however honestly, almost anything done in service of that "greater good" can be justified.

Admittedly, the details of the takeover plan have not been announced yet, and it does not appear that the government will be taking a controlling interest in the banks (as the Fed did with AIG). If the details contain a plan to divest the government of whatever interest it takes in the banks over a period of time (and that plan is complied with) and it does not exercise control over day-to-day decisions on issuance of credit, then perhaps there is not much to worry about. But if the details are otherwise....well, Switzerland is looking better by the day.

Mark blogs regularly at Publius Endures

McCain's Bailout Blunder

By Andrea Tantaros

John McCain botched the biggest issue of this election cycle and passed up the most important way to differentiate himself from Barack Obama: the financial crisis.

First, suspending his campaign was strange. Heading back to Washington wasn't a bad idea, but if you're going to supposedly return to a town burdened by gridlock to help solve a crisis you still need a cogent message. The message should have been THIS BILL STINKS.  McCain didn't have one. All we saw was footage of him sitting silent at a White House meeting. And if he had an opinion on the bailout, we certainly didn't hear it. 

Then there was the notion McCain wouldn't debate unless a bill was passed.  That, too, seemed odd. Why wouldn't he want to address the nation with his opponent in front of millions of Americans? McCain has always been on the right side of this mess. In 2005 he called for a tough, independent regulator for Freddie and Fannie and he could have made the case on a national stage for proper regulation and personal responsibility. Unfortunately, the only pre-debate dialogue perpetuated on the cable news channels and in print was whether McCain was going to actually show up in Mississippi. Not fruitful, if you ask me.
When he did show up Senator McCain and Senator Obama were prodded by moderator Jim Lehrer on the rescue bill and current state of the U.S. economy. Neither one would address it head on, a giant blunder. Obama isn't known for his cajones. His shtick is ducking tough issues and taking the easy road as not to expend political capital and offend voters.  McCain is known for just the opposite. And at time when the country was looking for a hero like McCain to reassure them and display leadership and hope he did not.

Last week when it was time for a vote in the Senate John McCain folded and voted for the bill even though he had an opportunity to differentiate himself from Obama, congressional Democrats and his Achilles heel, President Bush, and be on the side of the American people by voting against this measure. The bill was also laden with what some called pork, but what were actually tax credits for such ridiculous things as wool research and wooden arrows for children. McCain has fundamentally been opposed to special interest legislation and this was his chance to show it and showcase that he is opposed to government spending. 
Voting against the bailout would have been risky, but worth it.  We don't even know if this bill will work.  Yesterday the market still looked bleak. What we do know is Americans are angry about it. They know government is the reason we're this mess.  We shouldn't give them more control or our tax payer dollars.  McCain could have stood out, and stood up, for the principles and people he is running to represent that echo this sentiment.  McCain appears to be puffing off the same pipe as the rest of them.

The Obama camp is now calling McCain a "big spender." McCain is a lot of things, but a big spender he is not.  But ever since he voted for the bailout he IS a big spender, so the label works. A pretty tough blow to the maverick just four weeks out. 

Tonight McCain needs to address the financial crisis and the economy head on while he toots his own horn on being right in 2005 on Freddie and Fannie.  He needs to debunk this highly propagated Democratic urban legend that deregulation is bad and call for proper regulation and responsibility going forward.  Channeling Reagan is essential: offer a clear, inspiration vision, and then draw contrasts with whatever and whoever disagrees.  The Mac needs to shoot holes through the misleading proposals of Barack Obama and explain why his Santa Claus like list of promises to the American people is a bunch of baloney.  He needs to reveal the most liberal candidates we've seen since Carter. Obama is the political equivalent of a new iPod - exceptionally well marketed and sold in cool packaging, entertaining, but empty.  Or in Obama's case just filled with some really bad tunes. Reveal it.
 
Finally, lose the grimace, McCain. And please give Obama some eye contact this time. You reminded us of a fuming father who would speak to you but not look at you when you're in trouble (I know the face well). I think you lost women, swing voters and Independents because of your mug in the last debate.
 
History is not on your side, but the facts are. Use them.

Andrea Tantaros is a Republican political commentator, media consultant and columnist. Her writing can be found at www.andretantaros.com.

To Attack or Not to Attack

By Greg Bobrinskoy

This is the dilemma facing John McCain heading into tonight's town hall debate. Should John McCain, sliding quickly in the polls, go after Obama with questions about his background and personal associations - questions the McCain campaign has made clear it plans to raise for the remainder of the race. Should McCain follow Palin's lead and unload an Ayers/Rev. Wright/machine-politics missile at Obama in the hope of raising fear and unease about a candidate much of the public still knows little about.

The problem with such an attack, described well today by John Dickerson at Slate, is that McCain runs the risk of being criticized by an audience member (during the audience's question-answer segment) for going negative and not focusing on 'real' issues. Such was the circumstance for George H.W. Bush in the 1992 town hall debate. As Dickerson puts it, "You don't want Joe Six Pack calling you out."

The McCain camp has to assume that tonight's audience members have not been living in a box for the last few days. They know of the McCain camp's new strategy to go negative - and perhaps there's an Obama-leaning member of the crowd who wouldn't mind humiliating McCain with a devastating zinger. Such an attack from a 'Regular Joe' in the audience, rather than an 'elitist' reporter, would be a disaster. Furthermore, David Axelrod announced today that should McCain unleash a personal attack, Obama will be ready with a counter punch.

But perhaps this dilemma for McCain has been oversimplified by the media. There is a third route McCain can take tonight. If we assume it is too risky to attack Obama on Ayers, Wright, etc., and we assume the McCain campaign is not dumb enough to play this debate straight-laced with simple policy answers to Tom Brokaw's questions, then McCain is left with the possibility of combining these two strategies together.

McCain should be on the attack from the get-go on every policy question he receives, pounding Obama relentlessly. With each question, McCain can time and time again bring up a specific scenario in which he himself worked across the aisle to get something done. The attack will be the tricky part.

The McCain campaign seems to believe that their sole challenge is to attack and change the subject from the economy. But what McCain also needs to drastically improve is the cohesion of his attacks. As James Carville noted this morning on Good Morning America, attacks from McCain and the rest of the campaign have been flying out from all different directions. Obama is either too liberal, too inexperienced, has relations with despicable people, or lacked good judgment on the surge, etc. There simply hasn't been a core theme with which these attacks can be unified into a core case against Obama.

If McCain is to be effective tonight he will pick one overlying theme with which to hit Obama. For example, experience. With each question McCain answers he needs to show why his experience will make him the better president and why Obama's lack of experience would make his Presidency a disaster.

Steve Schmidt has not received the amount of credit he deserves for turning around what was only a few months ago an abysmally dysfunctional campaign. But Schmidt has not solved the message problem. While David Brooks and other conservatives have argued that McCain lacks a unifying economic and policy message as well, McCain needs to use a core attack message unrelated to the personal attacks of late. Voters need to leave the debate with a specific reason for uneasiness about an Obama Presidency lingering in their minds.

If Obama comes away the clear victor tonight, this race is likely over.

Greg Bobrinskoy is an Associate Editor at RealClearPolitics

Lazarus in Lipstick

By Andrea Tantaros

Sarah Palin won the debate because she exceeded expectations and connected with the American people on a personal level, but neither candidate crushed the other. I'm also not convinced either one reached out to sway the valuable undecided voter. Governor Palin breathed life into the McCain campaign and rectified public opinion about her competency, which was crucial.

Republicans, heave a sigh of relief.

Palin's strengths: Using Biden's own words about Obama and McCain against him. Brilliant. She was able to relate to a majority of Americans, and her body language was authentic, warm and direct. Like Obama, she spoke directly to the American people and came off much more likeable than her opponent. Unlike Hillary she has the gift of appearing shrewd without being shrill.

Palin's weakness: Failing to tell Americans the real deal on the housing crisis. Republicans are tiptoeing around this issue in order to avoid being called politically incorrect. It was a missed opportunity to go after the Democrats and their insistence to protect Freddie and Fannie and their belief that every man, woman, child, dog and goldfish should own their own home even if they cannot afford it.

Best line (with regard to the fiscal crisis) "Never again."

Biden's strength: He's polished (as anyone would be after spending the last three decades in the Senate). There is no question his handle on foreign policy is exceptional. He's smooth and a much better liar than Palin. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

Biden's weakness: He is completely divorced from honesty. Either he knows he's lying and doesn't care or he isn't aware and is just plain ill informed. His body language was off-putting. Like McCain, he appeared angry and contemptuous. That phony smile is nauseating. Senator: watch a tape of Palin and Obama for pointers.

Worst line: "listen folks." That's what I call nuclear condescension.

Palin and McCain seem to relish in the underdog role and have the ability to deliver when the stakes are sky high. Though many cast doubt, I've called Palin McCain's secret weapon since the day he selected her. After tonight, should she be underestimated? Never again.

Andrea Tantaros is a Republican political commentator, media consultant and columnist. Her columns can be found at www.andreatantaros.com.

Sarah: Speak Plainly, Carry a Big Stick

By Andrea Tantaros

It's game time for Biden and Palin. Though it's been a rough couple of weeks for the Governor of Alaska, prompted by visceral attacks from the left and pockets of bias from the often slanted media, she's still standing. Tonight is a big test.

Biden, on the other hand, hasn't made much news, though he should have. For every head scratch invoking comment the left has accused Palin of making, Biden has made his own. From his comments about Roosevelt being on television before the boob tube was invented, to his false gunfire hallucination, Biden's foot has been lodged in his jaw quite a few times; it's just not getting coverage.

As pollsters and pundits try and spin this evening's outcome, there is no question that Biden has more experience than Palin, though no real executive experience. The senator is lacking, however, in common sense. He's been on the wrong side of most issues since the start of his long career. An agent of change he is not. And relatable to most voters? Not quite. The Pennsylvania coal country shtick isn't fooling this Pennsylvania girl.  At the debate, Biden's most difficult hurdle will be using restraint not to act like an arrogant blowhard.

Palin, on the other hand,  has many hurdles to surmount. Governor, here's your to do list: 

Your plain talk is a strength. Embrace it.  The McCain campaign often suffers from message constipation.  As of late you've been a victim of this ailment, but it's not your modus operandi. Get back to what you do best: telling it like it is.  Obama might be comfortable pushing bull and spouting hot air, but you are not.  Make sure to can the baffling beltway jargon that McCain incessantly uses: earmarks, pork, DOD, etc.

Get Biden comfortable. The more relaxed you can get Joe Biden on that stage, the more he lies, babbles, reverts to old school politics, and let's be frank, says really, really dumb stuff.

Keep off defense.   Assail the top of the Obama ticket on his crushing tax plan, his gargantuan spending proposals that would ruin our already shaky economy and his nonsensical foreign affairs positions. Highlight his failure to lead in the Illinois Senate, the US Senate, and now, as a candidate for President. Obama's motto has always been: "when the going gets tough, the tough vote present." Expose it.

Mobilize your echo chamber.  If you say something unscholarly, have your campaign and their surrogates armed and ready to stop the bleeding. Liberals are better organized this time around and are ready to assault you en masse. You need your own army of staunch defenders willing to fight and explain that, like most Americans, you are more comfortable speaking to a local rotary club than to the Harvard alumni association.

Run against Washington. You are the only one on either ticket who can believably embrace the true political outsider mantra. Tie Washington to Obama/Biden and promote yourself as unscathed by the corruption and circus of Capitol Hill.  There is no better time to be out of the loop. By loop, I mean the beltway. Tout it.

Motivate by reason, persuade through emotion. The Palin family has been through tough times. Your husband has been out of a job. You've had difficulty affording healthcare and paying bills. Use your story to inspire.  Bring difficult questions back to a personal level. Give this nation the pep talk only a mom can give.

Be yourself.  Inject humor and charm. Be pithy and to the point. Never let them see you sweat. I understand you've been surrounded by some of the dullest, most defensive staffers on the planet. Ignore their tired talking points and blaze your own message trail.
I watched some footage from your debates in Alaska. You were a confident, capable candidate. I hope that woman shows up tonight. Carpe Diem, sister.

Andrea Tantaros is a Republican political commentator, media consultant and columnist. Her columns can be found at www.andreatantaros.com.