Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Obama Bubble Burst

I remember in my youth, my next door neighbor managed to grow an outrageously gigantic pumpkin. He had been trying for years, and finally - with the proper mix of soil, night protection, and various types of animal feces - he succeeded in growing a pumpkin rivaling the size of a half-ton truck. So massive was this pumpkin that were there any pagans in my small French Acadian neighborhood, they would have stripped naked and danced around the gigantic gourd in the moonlight. Now, he wasn't the type to take his prized overgrown squash on the road and enter it in the local fair to win the coveted blue ribbon - his ambitions lay on the most hallowed of tooth decaying festivals, Halloween.

The pumpkin reached it's full fruition in late September, so it was with some puzzlement that my family saw him sawing a massive hole in the top of the pumpkin and shoveling its guts out before October had even arrived. As the week pressed on, he sawed and chiseled at the thing until he had managed to carve an imposing looking Jack-O-Lantern. He put it on his front yard and lit it with all sorts of mega wattage lights that could have provided sufficient illumination for a Rolling Stones concert. He lit it for a few days, and people drove by and oohed and aahed, but then he abruptly pulled the plug on Mr. Pumpkin until the big night. Unfortunately, by Halloween, when he lit the thing, it looked the melting face of that guy at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The left eye had rotted away into the nose portion, and the mouth was barely discernible. It looked like a massive tumor was on display on his front lawn. Those who waited with smaller, less imposing pumpkins stole the show. All my neighbor could do was lock himself in his house, drown himself in peach schnapps, and wonder how such a wondrous pumpkin could have turned into such a disaster.

Enter Barack Obama, the disfigured pumpkin on the front lawn, who tonight is facing the beginning of a convention with a highly divided party and a populous who are starting to see the veneer rust off his shiny exterior. As we go to print, Obama's once comfortable lead has disintegrated into a dead heat with McCain, each sharing 37% of the vote. His choice of Joe Biden as a running mate is a tacit admission that he a naif when it comes to foreign policy, and that he desperately needs to shore up the "new democratic" wing of the party that he hopes Biden will be able to capture for him. Senator Biden is also a self-aggrandizing ego-maniac who risks going off message on the campaign trail, creating new messes for Team Obama to sweep up after.

So far this strategy has been disastrous. In a conference call this morning, the Obama camp was unsuccessful at dispelling rumours swirling in the press that Clinton supporters are almost coming to blows with the Obama people over how much time and autonomy Bill and Hillary will be given at the convention. Clinton supporters are protesting outside the convention center in Denver, and delegates are speaking openly to the press that they are still going to cast their vote for Hillary. Convention organizers are quietly speaking to reporters about their fears of a "nightmare scenario" that would entail renegade Hillary supporters causing trouble, and Bill going off message and embarrassing Obama.

...and the tale of the rotting Pumpkin gets even more interesting. At a non-televised test poll, conducted by Frank Luntz among Democrats and undecideds, when asked to describe Obama, they used words like "scary”, “new”, “terrifying”, “unknown”, “inexperienced”, “unaffordable” , and even “apocalypse” - when card carrying Democrats use a word more fitting to describe a Mad Max movie, you know you're in trouble. When these same people where asked to use words that best described what they thought of McCain, they said things like “dependable”, “strong”, “patriot”, “veteran”, “experienced”, “honest”, “older”, and “integrity”.

The McCain camp took full advantage of the situation and released a litany of ads showing a former Hillary supporter who has never voted Republican before throwing away her "Hillary 08" sign, and proudly displaying her new "McCain '08" sign. All of this is mixed with clips of Hillary Clinton taken from the campaign trail describing what a disaster it would be to vote for Obama. Hillary later took a moment to disassociate herself from the ads, but it was half-hearted at best.

And then, there is the litany of shady characters and friends of Obama.

1 - Tony Rezko - Tony Rezko is a former real estate broker and political fund raiser. In 2003 Rezko helped raise $14 Million for Obama's senate campaign. In 2005 Rezko helped Obama to secure a $1.5 million house, a suspicious $300,000 below the market value. In 2008, Rezko was found guilty of 16 charges of using his influence to demand kickbacks from companies wanting to do business in the state. Rezko was a close associate of Senator Obama, which means the Senator is either extremely corrupt, or extremely naive - either answer screams that he is unfit to serve as President.

2- Bill Ayers - Bill Ayers is someone Obama has claimed as a friend and mentor, and coincidentally, is one of his next door neighbors. Ayers was the co-founder of the violent terrorist group "The Weatherman", responsible for a litany of atrocities in the 1960's including the bombings of of the Capitol building in 1971, the Pentagon in 1972, and the New York City Police Headquarters in 1970. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Ayers admitted that a bomb destined for a nearby military base accidentally exploded, killing 3 of the group's members. In 2001 he claimed he regretted that he did not inflict more damage on the Pentagon the day he bombed it. No wonder Obama says he is willing to meet with any leader from a terrorist nation. He has lots of practice at home.

3 - The Reverend Jeremiah Wright - Here is another one of Obama's former friends and mentors, and was the Senator's Pastor for close to two decades. Reverend Wright likes to rant on about the evils of Israel, jump up and down like a crazed Eddie Murphy character screaming "God Damn America", and - like Adolf Hitler - is a proponent of Eugenics, believing the brains of white and black people work differently. Obama continued to defend the Reverend, claiming the quotes had been taken out of context, until Wright appeared at a National Press Club event where he clearly asserted that these where indeed his core beliefs for the last 20 years, and it would have been impossible for Obama not to have known that as a regular parishioner. If my priest began to preach that raccoons were messengers from God, and that deceased pets from his childhood came to visit him at night with advice from the Big Guy, I would be out of the door quicker than you can say; "That guy is nuttier that squirrel shit".

4- Obama's Own Massive Ego - There's little doubt left in my mind that once inspirational junior Senator from Illinois developed a Messianic complex somewhere along the campaign trail. On June 3rd Obama sent pundits into fits of bowel loosening laughter when he proclaimed;

"...generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal...This was the moment - this was the time..."

Quite the fella this Obama guy. Jonah Goldberg retorted;

"The Barack Obama I know is going to make the ocean levels sink -- cats and dogs are going to sleep together...Obama's workers are not supposed to talk about the issues, they're supposed to talk about how they...'came to Obama' -- like how some people say they came to Jesus"

Obama is in trouble. The Senator road the waves of his celebrity appeal, but the cracks are starting to show, and people are asking if the "change" Obama keeps talking about is just more of the same old re-hashed expensive Jimmy Carter liberalism. The so-called "Skinny kid with the funny name" is starting to resemble the giant rotting pumpkin that once adorned my neighbor's lawn. Those who had sufficient alcohol and Gravol to endure day one of the Democratic convention last night got a bizarrely sedated snooze fest. The only highlight was watching creepy looking old ladies wearing so much make up I wondered if they were drag queens from the San Fransisco delegation, weeping over Michelle Obama's tough times on the South Side.

Anyway, there it is. The much awaited Obama piece. To be fair to Obama fans, I've included an Obama quote that will lift your spirits;

"The world will not help, the people must help themselves. Its own strength is the source of life. That strength the Almighty has given us to use; that in it and through it, we may wage the battle of our life. The others in the past years have not had the blessing of the Almighty - of Him who in the last resort, whatever man may do, holds in His hands the final decision. Lord God, let us never hesitate or play the coward"

Did that inspire you? Oh wait, that wasn't a quote from Obama. That was a quote from Adolf Hitler.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Watergate Whiners

Scientists claim addictive behaviors are caused by deficiencies in the pleasure centers of the brain. Though my sub-par marks in high school chemistry have forever branded me really bad science guy, I can cautiously assume that folks much wiser than I have determined that deficiencies in the pleasure centers (stop giggling) differ from your garden variety cases of clinical depression. This means, after careful analysis by really bad science guy, that there is a certain cause and effect to the phenomenon known as the addictive personality. Clinically depressed Bob just can't motivate himself to get out of bed and plant some roses. Addictive personality Bill has no problems planting the roses, but feels it just isn't the same without a pint of vodka and a bottle of Vicodin. Fair enough.

...And so, the 34th anniversary coverage of Watergate began (If you're wondering where I'm going with this, that makes two of us).

34 years ago, a politician lied. No kidding, this actually happened. A member of this elite group of morally unflappable guardians of civic virtue actually stood in front of the naive, doe-eyed masses and said something that wasn't exactly the truth. Apparently, if very important pundits with really great teeth are to be believed, this was the darkest day in American History; 57% of Americans agree, though only 14% admit to actually knowing anything about it. It's a very dark and important day because those who made their careers on it say so. Without the myth of Watergate, there would be no bubble gum news outfits like CNN, no Geraldo Rivieras, no 60 Minutes, and certainly no sitcoms about spunky female reporters who stick it to the patriarchy.

Watergate anniversaries are always difficult times to remain sober for anyone who doesn't eat things off the floors of public washrooms. Watergate is the most overblown scandal since Bob Dole popped Viagra to celebrate his 70th birthday. The media suffers from an acute case of addictive punditry. Not content to lie in bed in a state of lethargic contemplation, they want to party until last call, or until it's time to put Bob Woodward back into cryogenic stasis. The pleasure center of their collective brain is malfunctioning, and only hour-long documentaries about the day we lost our innocence will cure them.

To buy into the traditional media version of Watergate, one must first suspend all rational thought and believe two rather astounding assertions:

1) Before Watergate, Americans trusted their Government and its institutions.

Please. This must be the only day in history where the media forgets the 60's ever happened. Remember the 60's? You know, hippies, massive protests, taking it to the streets, don't trust anyone over 30? A movement that was sparked by mass disenfranchisement with government? The Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in American history, was a direct result of vehement dissatisfaction over the policies of the Lincoln Administration. Mistrust in government was a staple of American culture long before Nixon famously waved the V-sign from the open door of Air Force One. From Hollywood's flirtation with communism to the divisive fight for racial equality in the 60's, Americans have never been fond of Government.

2) Watergate was the gravest abuse of power in American history.

I wonder how much media attention will be given this month to the 64th anniversary of the day FDR completed the unlawful round up and detainment 120,000 Japanese-American citizens from the Pacific Coast? How about when Bobby Kennedy, the Patron Saint of American civil rights, bugged the offices of Martin Luther King Jr. (Ironically, this also required a group of fellows to break into an office in the dead of night)?

Despite the litany of allegations damning Nixon, only one small piece of evidence ties Nixon to the Watergate cover-up - a recording of Nixon brainstorming with Chief-of-Staff H. R. Haldeman in the wake of the arrest of the Watergate burglars. In the scratchy recording, Nixon advises Haldeman to have Deputy CIA Director Vernon Walters call FBI Director Pat Gray and request: ''We wish, for the good of the country, (that you) don't look any further into this case."

For all the talk of extortion, bribery, and strong-arm FBI tactics, that one statement is the evidentiary extent of Nixon's culpability.

Yet, on go the Watergate anniversary festivities, set to the endless drum beat of somber editorials dripping with inane metaphors. Nixon is hardly history's worst villain, though Watergate will forever be the epitaph of his legacy. He was a pensive bureaucrat, with a penchant for big government solutions at the slightest hint of a problem. He was plagued by insecurity, despite his astonishing intellect, and the role of president hung ill on his shoulders. He is fondly remembered by his staff for his graciousness and warmth. He knew the name of every cook and chauffeur, and was generous with his time and money to their families. He was a consummate author, penning over 2 dozen books and hundreds of articles in his lifetime. Every president from Reagan to Clinton sought out his advice in the midst of their most dire foreign policy crises.

But what does it matter? Every August 9th is Nixon bashing day. I'm staying home from the party - call me in the morning.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Rush X 20

Most conservatives in their mid-thirties (yeah, that's me) cut their teeth on Rush Limbaugh. Despite the ever present National Review standing athwart history, and the Reagan years still fresh in mind, the left continued to have a stranglehold on the language and nuances on the overall public discussion. Not that lively discussion wasn't readily available to political junkies and policy wonks on shows like Crossfire and William F Buckley's much missed Firing Line. Outside these circles however, the words and ideas of what it meant to be a conservative, and the means to articulate and define your beliefs in public discourse, were largely missing. Democrats had the same old talking points that had remained unchanged since the party was hijacked by the extreme left in the mid-60's, and conservatives often fired back with the same tired old lines about their adversaries being "pinko-hippies", or resorted to religious come-backs that only served to re-enforce existing stereotypes, be it fair or not.

Then 20 years ago, a plump, cigar chomping man who was completely unapologetic about his conservatism arrived on the scene. It started with the radio show, then a short lived TV show, and then, of course, the book that changed everything...The Way Things Ought To Be. The book was revolutionary in the sense that it challenged all the iron clad assertions of the left in language that was accessible to anyone without being dumbed down. The book provided ammunition for the long suffering conservative middle class who had lacked the language and time to fight the good fight on the verbal front. The book was an immediate #1 best seller, and tore down the left's sacred cows of environmentalism, animal rights, socialism, and political correctness. Suddenly smug liberals spouting on about the ever looming environmental crisis if we didn't mend our gluttonous Western ways were smacked in the face with the question;

"Really? Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines spewed forth more than a thousand times the amount of ozone-depleting chemicals in one eruption than all the fluorocarbons manufactured by wicked, diabolical and insensitive corporations in history.... Mankind can't possibly equal the output of even one eruption from Pinatubo, much less 4 billion years' worth of them, so how can we destroy ozone?"

As William F Buckley wrote, it was "...a jolt of champagne!", and liberals were absolutely apoplectic. President Bill Clinton threw a famous temper tantrum over Limbaugh's almost daily beratement of him, and Congress even went so far as to try to muzzle him by passing an ominous sounding bill called the "fairness doctrine". All failed, and for almost 2 decades the left has tried to emulate Limbaugh's success, but have never even come close.

As a young conservative, I knew in my heart my cherished beliefs were right, but with the steady wave of liberal messages cunningly slithering their way into popular culture, it was easy to begin to assume that things like environmentalism were just readily accepted facts, instead of scare mongering being pandered about by agenda-driven special interests groups. Rush tore the roof off the liberal hen house, and things were never the same again.

I have to admit that I haven't listened to Rush in years, though I do read the occasional transcripts from his show. Limbaugh provided me with the foundation to move on to a meatier, more intellectual style of conservatism. I moved on to James Bowman, read National Review with a renewed vigour, discovered Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg, and gained an assurance about my ideals and beliefs that grew in the fertile soil of Rush Limbaugh's radio show and books.

Congratulations on 20 years of excellence in broadcasting, Rush. You changed things forever, and may you continue to do so for another 20 years.