Another Conservative For Obama

Wick Allison, a former publisher of The National Review, has endorsed Barack Obama. He might be incorrect on the definition of liberalism, but at least he realizes which candidate would have a more realistic approach to dealing with today’s problems:

THE MORE I LISTEN TO AND READ ABOUT “the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate,” the more I like him. Barack Obama strikes a chord with me like no political figure since Ronald Reagan. To explain why, I need to explain why I am a conservative and what it means to me.

In 1964, at the age of 16, I organized the Dallas County Youth for Goldwater. My senior thesis at the University of Texas was on the conservative intellectual revival in America. Twenty years later, I was invited by William F. Buckley Jr. to join the board of National Review. I later became its publisher.

Conservatism to me is less a political philosophy than a stance, a recognition of the fallibility of man and of man’s institutions. Conservatives respect the past not for its antiquity but because it represents, as G.K. Chesterton said, the democracy of the dead; it gives the benefit of the doubt to customs and laws tried and tested in the crucible of time. Conservatives are skeptical of abstract theories and utopian schemes, doubtful that government is wiser than its citizens, and always ready to test any political program against actual results.

Liberalism always seemed to me to be a system of “oughts.” We ought to do this or that because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of whether it works or not. It is a doctrine based on intentions, not results, on feeling good rather than doing good.

But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.

Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world “safe for democracy.” It is John McCain who says America’s job is to “defeat evil,” a theological expansion of the nation’s mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.

This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.

Barack Obama is not my ideal candidate for president. (In fact, I made the maximum donation to John McCain during the primaries, when there was still hope he might come to his senses.) But I now see that Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

Most important, Obama will be a realist. I doubt he will taunt Russia, as McCain has, at the very moment when our national interest requires it as an ally. The crucial distinction in my mind is that, unlike John McCain, I am convinced he will not impulsively take us into another war unless American national interests are directly threatened.

“Every great cause,” Eric Hoffer wrote, “begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” As a cause, conservatism may be dead. But as a stance, as a way of making judgments in a complex and difficult world, I believe it is very much alive in the instincts and predispositions of a liberal named Barack Obama.

Palin Proposes Legislation Which Obama Already Had Passed

During her acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Sarah Palin accused Obama of not having written any major legislation. It was obvious at the time that she had no idea of Obama’s actual legislative accomplishments. She showed it again today when she talked about one proposal without realizing that Obama had already passed the same legislation. CNN reports:

Sarah Palin likes to tell voters around the country about how she “put the government checkbook online” in Alaska. On Thursday, Palin suggested she would take that same proposal to Washington.

“We’re going to do a few new things also,” she said at a rally in Cedar Rapids. “For instance, as Alaska’s governor, I put the government’s checkbook online so that people can see where their money’s going. We’ll bring that kind of transparency, that responsibility, and accountability back. We’re going to bring that back to D.C.”

There’s just one problem with proposing to put the federal checkbook online – somebody’s already done it. His name is Barack Obama.

In 2006 and 2007, Obama teamed up with Republican Sen. Tom Coburn to pass the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, also known as “Google for Government.” The act created a free, searchable web site – USASpending.gov — that discloses to the public all federal grants, contracts, loans and insurance payments.

In June of this year, Obama and Coburn introduced new Senate legislation to expand the information available online to include details on earmarks, competitive bidding, criminal activities, audit disputes and other government information.

Joe Klein Exposes John McCain’s Lying Game

One remarkable aspect about the coverage of all the lies coming from John McCain is that many in the media are outright calling them lies. Joe Klein, one of many columnists who has changed his mind about McCain this year, writes:

Politics has always been lousy with blather and chicanery. But there are rules and traditions too. In the early weeks of the general-election campaign, a consensus has grown in the political community — a consensus that ranges from practitioners like Karl Rove to commentators like, well, me — that John McCain has allowed his campaign to slip the normal bounds of political propriety. The situation has gotten so intense that we in the media have slipped our normal rules as well. Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy … or, as the Associated Press put it, “McCain’s claims skirt facts.” But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. You might well ask, What has McCain done to deserve this? What unwritten rules did he break? Are his transgressions of degree or of kind?

Almost every politician stretches the truth. We journalists try to point out the exaggerations and criticize them, then let the voters decide. When McCain says, for example, that Barack Obama favors a government-run health-care system, he’s not telling the truth — Obama wants a market-based system subsidized by the government — but McCain’s untruth illuminates a general policy direction, which is sketchy but sort of within the bounds. (Obama’s plan would increase government regulation of the drug and insurance industries.) Obama has done this sort of thing too. In July, he accused McCain of supporting the foreign buyout of an American company that could lead to the loss of about 8,000 jobs in Wilmington, Ohio. McCain did support the deal, but the job loss comes many years later and was not anticipated at the time. That, however, is where the moral equivalency between these two campaigns ends.

After further discussion of many of the lies McCain has told, Klein hits the key point in writing, “The McCain camp has decided that its candidate can’t win honorably, on the issues, so it has resorted to transparent and phony diversions.” He later concludes:

The good news is that the vile times may be ending. The coming debates will decide this race, and it isn’t easy to tell lies when your opponent is standing right next to you. The Wall Street collapse demands a more sober campaign as well. But these dreadful weeks should not be forgotten. John McCain has raised serious questions about whether he has the character to lead the nation. He has defaced his beloved military code of honor. He has run a dirty campaign.

I’m not certain that McCain is really being more dishonest than Bush and Cheney, but the response to such lies from McCain is probably worse because of his previous reputation as a straight talker. Journalists, including Joe Klein, who helped spread that myth now realize they had been conned, and are not very happy about it.

There He Goes Again: Factcheck Catches McCain Lying About Obama’s Tax Plan

John McCain seems to believe that he can keep repeating the same lies and there won’t be any political consequences. He has a new ad out repeating the same lies as he has told in the past about Obama’s tax policies, leading Factcheck.org to put out a report entitled There He Goes Again. Their summary states:

The McCain-Palin campaign has released a new ad that once again distorts Obama’s tax plans.

  • The ad claims Obama will raise taxes on electricity. He hasn’t proposed any such tax. Obama does support a cap-and-trade policy that would raise the costs of electricity, but so does McCain.
  • It falsely claims he would tax home heating oil. Actually, Obama proposed a rebate of up to $1,000 per family to defray increased heating oil costs, funded by what he calls a windfall profits tax on oil companies.
  • The ad claims that Obama will tax “life savings.” In fact, he would increase capital gains and dividends taxes only for couples earning more than $250,000 per year, or singles making $200,000. For the rest, taxes on investments would remain unchanged.

The McCain campaign argues in its documentation for this ad that, whatever Obama says he would do, he will eventually be forced to break his promise and raise taxes more broadly to pay for his promised spending programs. That’s an opinion they are certainly entitled to express, and to argue for. But their ad doesn’t do that. Instead, it simply presents the McCain camp’s opinion as a fact, and it fails to alert viewers that its claims are based on what the campaign thinks might happen in the future.

There is more information in the body. Taking up the last point, it is true that Obama’s campaign promises don’t totally add up and he will have to scale them back, increase taxes, or (as he states he plans) engage in deficit spending. This is probably true of all politicians as campaigns lead them to promise more than they can really afford. The problem here for McCain is that his tax policies fail even worse at adding up as his promised tax cuts would increase the deficit more than Obama’s spending plans. Factcheck points out:

It’s certainly true that Obama’s proposed spending is lower than his projected revenues, and Obama has made no secret of the fact that his plan will not result in balanced budgets for the next four years. According to the Tax Policy Center, without spending cuts elsewhere, Obama’s proposals could lead to between $3.6 trillion and $5.9 trillion in new debt over 10 years. The McCain-Palin campaign is certainly entitled to argue that that level of debt is unsustainable and that Obama would therefore have to raise taxes.

That, however, is a dangerous argument. The same Tax Policy Center analysis shows that McCain’s proposals would raise the debt by between $5.1 trillion and $7.4 trillion over 10 years. And while McCain has promised to balance the budget by 2013, the Tax Policy Center notes that doing so would require a 25 percent reduction in federal spending. Few economists outside the McCain-Palin campaign think that is a feasible goal. So, by the ad’s logic, Obama could just as easily claim that McCain supports a massive tax increase.

As the article points out, McCain has been exaggerating the impact of an increase in capital gains taxes under Obama. Many conservatives have accused Obama of doing this to “redistribute the wealth” as they try to portray him as some type of socialist, ignoring the free-market philosophy of his economic advisers from The University of Chicago. While Obama would increase the top capital gains tax for couples making over $250,000, he would increase it to a top rate of 20%, which is significantly less than it was under Ronald Reagan. By their logic, Ronald Reagan would be the socialist, not Obama.

Rejected Idea: “Sluts For Obama”

Lindsay Lohan’s father has attacked Obama as his campaign has rejected the idea of having Lindsay represent Obama. Fox News reports:

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, LiLo wanted to promote Obama but was turned away by his camp due to her wild ways. Now daddy Michael Lohan is biting back.

“For Barack Obama to condemn my daughter for past indiscretions when he admitted to the exact same himself is indicative of what kind of president he would be,” Michael Lohan told Pop Tarts via e-mail on Wednesday night.

“His visions of a positive future for this country should be representative of a positive future for people as well. It is looking beyond the difficult times and letting go of the past,” Michael said. “Obviously, Obama can do this for himself and not others, when in fact a good president should have hope for all.”

Obama has admitted to the exact same past indiscretions? He has admitted to some experimentation with drugs when younger, but this hardly approached Lindsay Lohan levels. Besides, I’ve never seen a picture of Obama out in public displaying a lack of underware.

Sluts for Obama? They are right for rejecting this offer. This is Barack Obama’s party now–not Bill Clinton’s or John Edwards’.

The Pain in Spain Comes Mainly From McCain

We have had John McCain joking about bombing Iran and Sarah Palin taking a light view of going to war with Russia. Now McCain appears ready to turn Spain, a NATO ally, into an enemy.

The controversy began last night with Josh Marshall having several posts about a Spanish-language interview. In the interview it was initially not clear whether McCain knew who Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero was as he appeared to be referring to him in a manner similar to anti-American leaders of countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. The Washington Post reports that McCain’s campaign has since clarified the issue, stating that the comments about McCain not wanting to speak with Zapatero were intentional.

It sounds like John McCain would continue the cowboy diplomacy of George Bush which has isolated the United States from much of the world and take it to new extremes. That’s another reason why we cannot risk having John McCain in the White House.

Back, At Least For Now

The blog has been up and down at various times for the last day. It appears the hosting company is having some problems they are working on, and hopefully things are now resolved.

During the last outage I posted a few of the recent posts here. You can also check there if we should go down again.

Hannity/Palin Interview Transcript Generator

In case you missed Sean Hannity’s interview with Sarah Palin, you haven’t missed much. You can generate a close approximation of the transcript of the interview using this simple generator:

Step 1) Sean Hannity states typical right wing talking point (fill in yourself).

Step 2) Hannity says, “Don’t you agree Sarah.”

Step 3) Palin agrees, repeats same talking point

Step 4) Repeat Step 1

Of course since this is Palin throw in a few random lies. Andrew Sullivan gives an example of one, with follow up here.

Posted in Sarah Palin. Tags: . 7 Comments »

Palin’s Honesty Questioned by Both Factcheckers and Conservative Columnist

Everyone seems to be attacking John McCain for not adequately vetting Sarah Palin. Maybe we misjudged him on this one. Considering how McCain’s campaign is now based upon lying, and repeating the same lies once caught, maybe he knew what he was doing in picking Palin. Today The Washington Post’s fact checker gave Palin Four Pinocchios for lying about Alaska’s role in providing energy. What is remarkable about this is that this occurred after these lies were already exposed by Factcheck.org. Their report concludes:

After nonpartisan Factcheck.org pointed out Palin’s error in her interview with Gibson, the governor revised her statement somewhat, limiting it to oil and gas. But data compiled by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) contradict her claim that she oversees “nearly 20 percent” of oil and gas production in the country. According to authoritative EIA data, Alaska accounted for 7.4 percent of total U.S. oil and gas production in 2005.

It is not even correct for Palin to claim that her state is responsible for “nearly 20 percent” of U.S. oil production. Oil production has fallen sharply in Alaska during her governorship. The state’s share of total U.S. oil production fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 13 percent this year, according to the EIA.

The McCain-Palin campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation.

THE PINOCCHIO TEST

The Republican vice presidential nominee continues to peddle bogus statistics three days after the original error was pointed out by independent fact-checkers.

There are also people in Alaska who are getting fed up with Palin’s dishonesty. The Anchorage Daily News has an op-ed entitled No one is above the truth, even Palin. Republican Don Fagan writes:

You really can’t experience the full effect of Monday’s news conference featuring Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton unless you hear it for yourself. Stapleton passionately attacked former Commissioner of Public Safety Walt Monegan. Her rhetoric was plain, desperate, and obvious. Her tone, pure shrill…

The governor has given so many different reasons for firing Monegan I’ve lost count. From the “we need new direction” and “new energy” to “he wasn’t hiring enough cops,” to “he wasn’t doing enough about alcohol in the bush” to “he lobbied for budget increases” to the latest version, which is a doozy; Monegan displayed “egregious rogue behavior.”

The governor also originally said that neither she, Todd nor anyone from her administration pressured Monegan regarding Trooper Wooten. Palin then was forced to admit there was serial contact once the Frank Bailey tape surfaced. But she insisted she was just learning of it. But e-mails have surfaced detailing Palin complaining to Monegan about Wooten.

The governor also originally said an investigation was needed and promised to cooperate. Then she instructed her employees not to talk to the investigator and has herself refused to be interviewed. Palin can’t constantly change her story and expect us to believe her each time she does…

I want McCain and Palin to win too. But with Palin’s refusal to cooperate with the independent investigator and her transparent delay tactics, Americans deserve to know what Palin is trying to hide before we vote her a heartbeat away from the leader of the free world.

My fellow conservatives, remember how frustrating it was when Bill Clinton committed perjury and liberals looked the other way.

As conservatives, we are no better unless we demand full disclosure from our governor when it comes to Troopergate.

No politician is so popular and charismatic that they should be above accountability and telling the truth. Not even Sarah Palin.

I want McCain and Palin to win too. But with Palin’s refusal to cooperate with the independent investigator and her transparent delay tactics, Americans deserve to know what Palin is trying to hide before we vote her a heartbeat away from the leader of the free world…

As conservatives, we are no better unless we demand full disclosure from our governor when it comes to Troopergate.

No politician is so popular and charismatic that they should be above accountability and telling the truth. Not even Sarah Palin.

It is good to see a conservative demand honesty here.