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Here Come De Judge, Part II

Earlier today, I talked about Barack Obama's judgment -- and where it fails when it comes to judging the character of those who he chooses to associate with. I alluded to his other alleged strength -- bringing about a "new politics" -- but didn't really go into it.

Time to correct that error.

Senator Obama hails from Chicago, considered by many as one of the most politically corrupt places in the country. (Although Louisiana might give it a run for its money.) From this, Obama has sprung to national prominence, espousing an end to the "old" and "divisive" ways and a new, hopey, changeful way of doing politics.

So, how well has he done with that?

I'm a bit too lazy to do the required research, but that's OK. I don't have to. Dafydd ab Hugh of Big Lizards already did a superb job a couple of months ago.

While Dafydd's piece deserves your full attention, I'll sum it up: during Obama's first race for the state Senate, his supporters went into the Secretary of State's office and challenged signature after signature, petition after petition, of his opponents until every single other Democrat running in his race was disqualified. Obama ended up running unchallenged in the primary, and in that particular district, winning the Democratic primary was pretty much the same as winning the general.

Then, when Obama chose to jump to the US Senate, all of a sudden the press grew greatly interested in the sealed divorce records of his Democratic rival for the primary. When the records were unsealed and all sorts of embarrassing details were released to the public, the guy withdrew and Obama won handily.

Then, in the general election, by some astonishing coincidence, the press decided to do the very same thing to his Republican rival, one Jack Ryan. I wrote about that a couple of times as it happened, without ever mentioning (or even noticing) that Ryan's opponent was an up-and-coming Barack Obama. Ryan withdrew from the race, leaving Illinois Republicans to import Alan Keyes to run against him -- no real challenge there.

So, that's the "new politics" Obama represents -- not winning at the ballot box, but using lawyers and the press to get his opponents kicked out of the race and taking the election in a cakewalk. While I think it's certainly an innovation over more traditional forms of Chicago-style corruption (such as getting the dead to vote early and often), I think it's actually pretty much in the spirit of things there.

And since it's worked so well in the past, why wouldn't it work on a national level? Well, we very well might be seeing it tried out against John McCain.

The strategy has two elements: either get your opponent kicked off the ballot, or embarrass him enough to quit.

Well, let's see. Several newspapers backing Obama have been pushing the "question" of whether John McCain meets the Constitutional criteria to serve as president. In the fine tradition of the 2000 Gore campaign to disqualify military absentee ballots in Florida, the idea here is to deprive United States servicemembers of fundamental rights of citizens as a consequence of their service.

When John McCain was born, his father (another John McCain) was serving in the United States Navy, assigned to the Panama Canal Zone. (Senator McCain's father and grandfather, all Johns, both rose to the rank of admiral over their careers.) So, as a reward for McCain II's willingness to serve his nation wherever it chose to send him, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others think they should strip his son of the full measure of his citizenship and deny him the right to run for president.

The message here, if they succeed, will stretch far beyond November. They will be telling every single American service member "you don't make enough sacrifices already. From now on, you better scurry home to have your children, or you can count on them being second-class citizens for the rest of their lives."

Then there's the other aspect: if you can't get the courts to clear your way, dig up enough slime to humiliate the guy off the ticket.

To fill that breach, here comes Marty Parrish. Mr. Parrish has a rather fascinating background -- Baptist minister (albeit currently not employed as such), former Joe Biden campaign staffer, and Obama supporter who got into a McCain town hall meeting to spring his little ambush. Note how he first faked his question, starting off with a general policy matter, before going for the groin punch:

This question goes to mental health and mental health care. Previously, I've been married to a woman that was verbally abusive to me. Is it true that you called your wife a cunt?

This was in a room with women and children -- stay classy, Reverend. Further, as John Gibson noted, the allegation comes from a book by Democratic strategist Cliff Schechter, and links Schechter to George Soros through several connections.

McCain handled the question quite well -- no flash of the "McCain temper" that he was trying to provoke, just some dismissiveness and a touch of class:

Now, now. You don't want to... Um, you know that's the great thing about town hall meetings, sir, but we really don't, there's people here who don't respect that kind of language. So I'll move on to the next questioner in the back.

I'm going to go out on a limb and make a prediction: there will be more attempts to provoke McCain's anger in public, more attempts to embarrass and humiliate him in public, more and more vile language and accusations in an attempt to "reveal the real McCain," between now and November.

For all his talk about the "new politics," this all reeks of updates of the same old dirty politics that we've had for far, far too long. The phrase "lipstick on a pig" comes to mind.

Maybe Obama will step up, denounce these tactics, and urge his supporters to not use them any more.

But I'm not really full of hope and change that that will happen any time soon.


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Comments (34)

JT, right on the money, aga... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, right on the money, again. The left hates the military AND conservatives so we have a twofer full of hate. Obama is an empty suit and Hillary slept her way to the top. McCain is the only one of the candidates that have earned any respect. I am not a huge McCain fan, but he does have the leadership skills and the independence skills you need once in a while. ww

JT right off the mark, agai... (Below threshold)
JFO:

JT right off the mark, again. Please give us the facts re your allegation that the NY Times "thinks" he should be disqualified from the presidency. Do you have an editorial position about that? Do you have something other than the article I found from google? Did you just take a right wing talking point and run with it?

You do know, well you probably wouldn't, that the NY Times endorsed him in the primaries?

Is there some vast NY Times conspiracy to endorse him ala Puff Limbaugh, have him win the nomination and then have him disqualified? Some of the regulars here might believe that but I'd be surprised if an "independent" like you would.

Show me I'm wrong would you. Give us the specifics about this statement of fact you made.


Jay Tea, every politician h... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Jay Tea, every politician has a "style" of dirty tricks. We've seen the Clinton style - that Hillary and Bill share, getting warmed up again. You've done a good job of illustrating the Obama style of dirty tricks.

I'd heard that they'd pulled the trick of getting divorce files opened up for Ryan, but I'd not heard that that was actually the second time Obama had pulled that trick.

JFO, <a href="http://www.ny... (Below threshold)

JFO, ask and ye shall receive.

And here's the Washington Post, jumping on it nine weeks later, just to keep it fresh.

J.

That's the article I read w... (Below threshold)
JFO:

That's the article I read which is, of course, a piece of reporting. Where do you find something that states the NY Times "thinks" - that's the operative word you used J - that he should be disqualified.

You're the one who said The Times thinks he should be stripped of the full measure of his citizenship. As I thought, your "independent" thinking slipped here into a sloppy copy from a link to an article which is a piece of reporting with the result to fit your "independent" thinking, i.e. the NY Times (and anything liberal) is bad.

How do you fit your conclusion to the fact that the Times endorsed him. I notice you didn't answer that question. I wonder why.

As much as it pains me, I h... (Below threshold)
Eric:

As much as it pains me, I have to side with JFO over Jay Tea here. Jay first you say this "Well, let's see. Several newspapers backing Obama have been pushing the "question" of whether John McCain meets the Constitutional criteria to serve as president."

Then you say "the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others think they should strip his son of the full measure of his citizenship and deny him the right to run for president. "

The first problem is that the NY Times endorsed Hillary and McCain not Obama, so I wouldn't call the NY Times as strictly speaking backing Obama. The second bigger issue is that after reading the two articles you linked Jay, I didn't see where the newspaper was taking a particular stand on the issue other than to report that the question has been raised. Where do you see the newspapers specifically thinking McCain should be stripped of his citizenship?

You mean the same NYT that ... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

You mean the same NYT that published ex-disguntled employee's suspicion of a possible maybe McCain affair.

I'm with Eric and JFO and h... (Below threshold)

I'm with Eric and JFO and have to respectfully disagree with Jay. Neither the NYT or WPO took a stand on the issue. An editorial by either paper, or one of its columnists would be another matter. I've googled the topic also, and found nothing.

Bill

If McCain isn't legally qua... (Below threshold)
picknitter:

If McCain isn't legally qualified because of where he was born, don't hate on Obama's people for pointing it out: hate on the GOP, who controlled the House, Senate, and Executive branch more than long enough to ram through an amendment to this silly legislation. They didn't. Now Obama's people (assuming it's even them--any evidence?) want to exploit a loophole, as any good politician would do, and you're blaming them for the possibility that McCain might be excluded from the ticket? Wha?!

I had no idea McCain was or... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I had no idea McCain was orn in Panama until the MSM reported it. In what context did they report it in? The only one they could. Is he eligible to be president. Come on guys, JT took a cheap shot with the article but the essence still stands. ww

Picknitter,Please ... (Below threshold)
Howcome:

Picknitter,

Please let the Obama camp run with this story. I would love to see Obamas chances explode even more if they tried to do this.

puhleeeze...the NY Times (e... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

puhleeeze...the NY Times (et al) brought the issue up as part of the general "throw it all the wall and see if it sticks" strategy.

there is ZERO chance this could actually be used to stop McCain becoming President...and Obama would be (more of) a fool to openly pursue it. Pushing it from the shadows, however, is very much his style.

the New York Times ... t... (Below threshold)
Brian:

the New York Times ... think they should strip his son of the full measure of his citizenship

Just to throw more cold water on Jay's fantastical invention of the NYT's position, in that article they do explicitly say this:

Mr. McCain's citizenship was established by statutes covering the offspring of Americans abroad and laws specific to the Canal Zone

Stating that his citizenship is "established" can hardly be interpreted as thinking he should be "stripped" of it.

I wouldn't say he took a ch... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I wouldn't say he took a cheap shot, I'd say, in thinking of this post, the phrase lipstick on a pig comes to mind. Wonder where I got that idea?

At first I agreed with JFO,... (Below threshold)

At first I agreed with JFO, but then I realized, no, this is the usual NY Times slimy tactic, trotting out the old "questions have been raised" litany to smuggle in an agenda under the pretense of impartiality.

The citizenship question is patently absurd, yet the article treats it a legitimate issue that could derail McCain's campaign.

Compare this with the Times' treatment of the Swift Boat vets, which was a legitimate issue and did derail Kerry's campaign. The way the Times covered the story, it was always "the discredited Swift Boat vets" and never "questions have been raised" about John Kerry. Faced with an issue it clearly did not like, the Times editors attempted to strangle the baby in the crib. Here, they're obviously trying as hard as they can to keep it alive and kicking.

Those, of course, are the s... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Those, of course, are the same editors who endorsed McCain. Sheeesh.

Hmm... perhaps I should wri... (Below threshold)

Hmm... perhaps I should write a piece every day saying that despite the constant rumors, there is no evidence that Barack Hussein Obama is or ever was a Muslim. Each time I'd write a whole new piece, taking a new angle or citing some new point or just rearranging the same stuff every day, always emphasizing that he is NOT a Muslim.

I'd do that, but I like to think I have more principles than the Times and the Post.

J.

If you had principles you'd... (Below threshold)
JFO:

If you had principles you'd own your poor piece of writing. I frequently disagree with you point of view but I don't think I've ever seen you write something as sloppy and wrong as this nonsense. Yet your not willing to own what is obvious. Too bad.

I'd still like an answer (2nd request) to how your point meshes with the Times endorsement. Give it a try, remembering that you said the Times "thinks" he should be disqualified.

JFO, I "own" every single p... (Below threshold)

JFO, I "own" every single piece I've ever written. I've never denied one, never deleted one, never blamed someone else for my articles.

It's my OPINION -- based on long observation and precedent -- that the New York Times would like to see McCain kicked off the ballot, on some tenuous questionable legality. That Obama, their chosen candidate, has benefited from such tactics in the past allows me to draw a parallel between those incidents and this current recurring theme -- that McCain, due to the circumstances of his birth, might not be entitled to all the benefits of American citizenship and not eligible to run for or serve as president.

I own that, I stand by that, and I believe I have laid out enough evidence to make it at least plausible, if not likely.

I also note that you are latching solely on to the one point you find easiest to attack -- that this is groundwork for a legal challenge to McCain's eligibility to run for president -- and ignoring the rest of my points, namely how the travails McCain is facing parallel quite nicely the difficulties Obama's previous opponents have suffered when they challenged his election.

Could it be that you hope that if you keep picking at this one point, over and over, you can discredit the entire piece? Or, at least, get folks to not notice that there is a lot more to the article than the Times and the Post bringing up McCain's birth in Panama?

And while I'm at it, why the hell didn't this come up when McCain ran in 2000?

J.

Its long been JFO's tactic ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Its long been JFO's tactic of non sequitur and distraction.

So now, you say the Times w... (Below threshold)
JFO:

So now, you say the Times wants to favor Obama, after they endorsed Clinton. Wow, your hatred of the Times is leaking out all over the place. They want to do in the 2 people they endorsed according to you.

As for the gist of you article. I'm sorry the whole thing falls with your presumptive conclusion about the Times. You can call it an opinion all you want, but that's not what you wrote.

JT, As a Chicagoan I... (Below threshold)

JT,
As a Chicagoan I can say, right on the money other than some minor details. His 1996 opponent (the signatures) was a long time liberal favorite and a woman who had announced that she would retire and then decided to run again. In 2000 he lost a US Congresional primary race against former Black Panther Bobby Rush, interestingly Rush was considered wounded just a year after he unsuccessfully challenged Mayor Daley for his office in City Hall. In his 2004 Senate primary Obama's most serious opponent was Blair Hull, Hull started and later sold an extremely successful Chicago stock options trading firm and had been a local philanthropist (both charitable and political) for some time. Mr. Hull did indeed go through the indignity of having his divorce files made public, during the campaign Hull's ex-wife and children stumped with him to dispel what his ex later said were statements said in the heat of protracted divorce proceedings. The local media never gave Hull a break over the issue and he lost to Obama. Obama's general election opponent was a former Goldman Sachs partner (JD and MBA from Harvard) who quit Goldman to teach in an inner-city, minority school, Jack Ryan could've been a formidable opponent but he needed to take on the local political mob and he never did that. During the LA court case in which the Tribune Corp.'s LA Times and the LA ABC affiliate KABC sued to make the divorce records public I was told the basics of what was in those files by some local Democrats, well before the public release. The local press also ripped into the Ryan campaign for, get this, video taping Obama's public appearances. Was all of that just good luck for Obama? Not here in Chicago. Who sent Obama?

Those, of course, ... (Below threshold)
Those, of course, are the same editors who endorsed McCain. Sheesh

So, given the choice between Obama and McCain, or Hillary! and McCain, the NY Times editors would choose McCain??

Yeah, right.


Sooooo, it's apparently the... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Sooooo, it's apparently the view of some of the righties (Oregon Muse amongst them) and the lone "independent" that the NY times has concocted a scenario that, after endorsing McCain and Clinton, they are now set on a course to destroy them both. I have a 5 yo grandson who would pause when told that and yell: SAY WHAT?

The conclusion therefore is that the NY Times is so nefarious that they have figured out a way to sway the voters by endorsing candidates and then undermining these same candidates. Or in Jays theory there is an attempt to sway some court somewhere somehow someway to cast McCain out as unqualified - maybe even to export him to some place like Mexico or I guess Panama.

I would said liberal derangement syndrome has broken out amongst the faithful and the lone "independent." Indeed, though the theory is that the editors of the Times are crazy, the truth is that some folks other than the editors are in need of some help.

Those, of course, are th... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Those, of course, are the same editors who endorsed McCain. Sheesh
So, given the choice between Obama and McCain, or Hillary! and McCain, the NY Times editors would choose McCain??

Yeah, right.

Heh. Of course, through all these years how many times has he been referred to as the 'maverick republican'. The MSM has always given him good press because he could reliably be counted on to kick conservatives and fellow Republicans in the teeth.

The MSM will always love him while he is running against other Republicans. When he runs against Dems, not so much.


"The MSM will always lov... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"The MSM will always love him while he is running against other Republicans. When he runs against Dems, not so much."

Thank you. You took the words right out of my mouth.

And JFO, you don't have to continue to put the word independent in scare quotes. We are all well aware of your scorn for Jay Tea's claim of being an Independent. It's painfully obvious that by your standards anyone who has any conservative notions couldn't possibly be independent. Hard to say how someone like yourself, who consistently leans left to further left, could be of a mind to judge him clearly and without bias.

By your standard, if I believe in some of the Ten Commandments, yet claim to be agnostic, then the word agnostic, when applied to me, should also be in quotes.

I'll just say this in respo... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I'll just say this in response Oyster. When Jay Tea does display something other than a conservative (not even from the far right which is his usual bent) then I shall stop showing my scorn for his claim.

Apparently JFO is ignorant ... (Below threshold)

Apparently JFO is ignorant of my endorsing two Democrats in 2004 (NH Governor and US Senate), squishily pro=choice position on abortion, and long-standing support of gay rights and gay marriage.

Or, perhaps, my disdain for "conservative heroes" like Oliver North, Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Bill O'Reilly.

Of course, that's just a small subset. The collected list of "things JFO is ignorant about" would fill volumes.

J.

There's hope for you yet!!<... (Below threshold)
JFO:

There's hope for you yet!!

You've demonstrated your kinda sorta little bona fides and I shall henceforth and forthwith toss the label away. Not happily but I gave my word to Oyster.

I give JFO's commitment a w... (Below threshold)

I give JFO's commitment a week and a half. And that's being generous.

J.

I'm a man of my word sir. T... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I'm a man of my word sir. That label of you will never pass my lips again.
Shall we make a wager?

I have better things to do ... (Below threshold)

I have better things to do than watch you, JFO. That would just be trading one of your distractions for another.

J.

So all bluster and no guts ... (Below threshold)
JFO:

So all bluster and no guts eh? No surprise that.

"There is hope for you yet!... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"There is hope for you yet!!" is simply JFO-speak for: "When your leftward bent is sufficient enough for my standards, I'll declare you've demonstrated enough bona fides to be determined independent".

The NYT may not "think" McCain should be disqualified. It could come back to bite a future Dem candidate in the arse. But I think they'd love to see him put through the ringer fighting it in the courts and distracted from his campaign or his job should he win the election. The third to the last paragraph sounded too much like a call to arms.




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