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The case against Obama is best made in his own words

For all the media attention given to Obama's speeches, there isn't alot of "there" there. The following is an excerpt from my column at Townhall on the subject:

It would be hard to make a better case against a Barack Obama presidency than the one Obama has made in his own words. The most memorable thing about Obama's speeches is not generally what he says, but rather how large and enthusiastic the audiences are. If voters pay attention only to the symbolism and get caught up in the excitement of the Obamessiah and his throngs of fainting disciples, he stands a good chance of winning in November. If voters pay attention instead to the things Obama is saying, the case against an Obama presidency will be clear...

According to the following statement from an Obama speech earlier this summer, it appears pretty much everyone who isn't Obama is a lesser being: "...I am absolutely certain that 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 when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment -- this was the time -- when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals." If Obama is able to slow the rise of the oceans then ending poverty and securing peace should be a cakewalk. I suppose he will only be able to accomplish such feats if elected President though.

John McCain pulled even, and in some cases ahead, of Obama in many polls and projections this week. Media coverage of the upcoming Democratic convention will likely bump Obama back up in the polls, but if voters pay close attention to what he actually says, this race is going to remain close.


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Comments (24)

When you get past the Hope ... (Below threshold)

When you get past the Hope and Change, the Changeful Hope and the Hopeful Change, it's really the Same Old/Same Old of more government programs, more taxes, more regulations, more bureaucracy, etc. Despite his youth and promises to somehow be different, there is absolutely nothing new in his message that the Democrats haven't been selling for the past 40+ years.

With all of those special p... (Below threshold)

With all of those special powers, he just had to be able to end the gang problem, crime, and corruption in Chicago right, RIGHT?

Also, how come he doesnt like and/or trust blacks? As soon as he made a few bucks,(legally or illegally), it seems he couldnt move away from blacks and into a white neighborhood quickly enough.

Hell, I have been saying th... (Below threshold)
Linoge Author Profile Page:

Hell, I have been saying this for months now (granted, not online, so I guess it does not count these days ;) ). There is no doubt about it - Obama is an outstanding orator. But the problem is that his orations are semantically null - there is simply nothing there. Furthermore, he is so content-free that he can literally come down on opposing sides of the same issue, and somehow manage not to paint himself into a corner. Well, if controlling the world's weather does not count, oration skills of that caliber might count as god-like capabilities...

"The case against Obama is ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"The case against Obama is best made in his own words"

"That's above my pay grade"

Why does he want to take a ... (Below threshold)

Why does he want to take a step backward and be the last best hope? We're already the first best hope. Hillary had it wrong. The question isn't who do want to answer the phone at 3 AM. It's "who's gonna call?" The answer: just about everybody.

"but if voters pay close... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"but if voters pay close attention to what he actually says, this race is going to remain close"

"B-b-b-but, they said all that soaring empty rhetoric was going to unite the American people", said one typical cluess Obama supporter. "My legs don't even tingle any more"

Reminds me of the Kennedy N... (Below threshold)

Reminds me of the Kennedy Nixon debate in '60. Those who heard it on radio thought that Nixon wiped the floor with Kennedy. Those who saw it on TV thought Kennedy won. Then the Chicago machine delivered for Kennedy and Nixon had more class than Gore in 2000.

I suspect that there will be a lot of disappointed democrats as they see the Obama phenomenon crumble as a center-right country looks at his word, limited experience and far left view of the world.

"Uhhhh........ummmmmmm........ (Below threshold)

"Uhhhh........ummmmmmm........well........you know......(voice pitch increases).....ummmmm......you see......uhhhhh"

I suspect that there wil... (Below threshold)

I suspect that there will be a lot of disappointed democrats as they see the Obama phenomenon crumble as a center-right country looks at his word, limited experience and far left view of the world.

I have two questions.

What's your basis for saying America is center right?

What's your basis for saying Senator Obama is far left?

Parthenon, you'll learn to ... (Below threshold)

Parthenon, you'll learn to know better than to ask someone to substantiate their wild generalizations with data in this place.

McCain knows "how to win wa... (Below threshold)

McCain knows "how to win wars." I guess he has some super powers too. Oh, maybe he wouldn't do it all by himself? I don't know. It is so easy to hear what you want to hear.

Parthenon, you'll learn ... (Below threshold)

Parthenon, you'll learn to know better than to ask someone to substantiate their wild generalizations with data in this place.

Yet I am nothing if not optimistic!

Seems to me some people don... (Below threshold)

Seems to me some people don't know the difference between the word "we" and the word "I".

McCain knows "how to win... (Below threshold)

McCain knows "how to win wars." I guess he has some super powers too.

Not super powers... magic powers.

"Uhhhh........ummmmmmm..... (Below threshold)

"Uhhhh........ummmmmmm........well........you know......(voice pitch increases).....ummmmm......you see......uhhhhh"

This is a thread about Obama. Why are you quoting McCain?

Parth: "What's your basi... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Parth: "What's your basis for saying America is center right?"

Rather than bother googling up polls or statistics which can be manipulated to show whatever you want them to, I'll answer your question with a couple of my own:

1. Why does every Democrat Presidential candidate (for at lest the last 35 years or so) have to "redefine" his positions from those he took to win the primary to those he claims to have when running in the general election?

2. Why did it take Howard Deans "Blue Dog" strategy (i.e. Democrats running on a mostly Republican platform) to retake the House and Senate in 2006?

Now, your second question isn't even worth a comment.

@Mr. Bunyan (Paul? P?)... (Below threshold)

@Mr. Bunyan (Paul? P?)

First of all, the word is Democrat-IC, sir. Understandable and common typo, like 'teh.' Anyway, onto the meat of the matter...

1) The Republican candidates have historically done this as well. All candidates play to the outside for their primary battles and tilt toward the center to try to win over the independents in the general.

2) Because liberals are a much greater concentration of the vote in their easily held districts than are conservatives. Just to use two examples, Nancy Pelosi reguarly wins her reelection bids with over 80% of the vote; John Boehner won with about 64%.

And what's wrong with my other question?

Mr. Bunyan (seriously, how ... (Below threshold)

Mr. Bunyan (seriously, how do people address you on the intertubes? PB? Bunyan?), forgot one thing that added to point. No. 2. Pelosi's Republican opponent gets about 11% of the vote; Boehner's Democratic opponent got 36%. The liberals/Democrats are more concentrated than conservatives/Republicans.

Parth,Bunyan or PB... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


Bunyan or PB is fine with me, no need to be formal here. (I think blog etiquette is whatever you want is fine as long as it's recognizable and not derogatory.)

1)I didn't ask about "moving to the center" I asked about "redefining" themselves. I can't dispute your point about Republicans moving to the center, but in the case of the Republicans it's more a matter of them changing the focus of their campaigns from issues that concern the far right in the primaries to issues that concern the middle in the general. The Democrats on the other hand have to take entirely different positions on same issues. That's a BIG difference.

And yes, John McCain is a notable exception to that but on the issues for which he changed his positions, he has gone further to the right so my point still stands with regards to your original question.

The worst thing about McCain's shifting positions to the right, BTW, is that it takes the whole "flip flopper" issue out of this election. Well that's worst for me, not for you as Republicans have generally been the only ones who have used it effectively against Democrats in the past.

Also the Republicans can give straight, simple honest answers, while the Democrats must nuance. In that respect McCain has been consistent while Obama could give straight (well somewhat straighter anyway) answers in the primaries, but now revealing is true beliefs and opinions is "above his pay grade".

2) Sorry but I disagree with that also. For every far left district vs. moderate district where an R won matchup you could give me, I could give you a far right vs. moderate district where a D won. No, this is what happened. (And I'll bet that as soon as you open that link you'll feel a massive ad hominem coming on, but there is nothing factually incorrect in that article and I agree with the opinion based conclusions so argue on that level or sorry, you loose.)

As for an answer to your second original question, how about this: Res ipsa loquitur.

Do you really, seriously need me to expound on that? Seriously?

Finally, I'm sorry, but that wasn't a typo. I know it's against the rules, but I just can't type the "ic" until that party starts behaving that way.

PB, I actually agree with y... (Below threshold)

PB, I actually agree with you that America is centre-right, but mostly on social issues. Voters worldwide don't generally get that deeply into the nitty gritty of policy (why would you?) and so tend to vote based on fairly uncomplex issues. Bush won in 2004 because he was going to fight moral decay, cut taxes and get tough with terrorists. So I'm not sure that attributing a policy position to a massive country is that accurate. What I will say is that American voters do vote well to the right of most other voters in the world.

For what it's worth, this is my two cents on Parthenon's points:

1. All candidates change policy positions now and again. This is down to individuals rather than parties.

2. Parthenon is right. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, the most Republican district is Utah's 1st with a rating of R+26. There are 33 districts with a rating of D+26 or higher. Gore won the popular vote in 2000, but only carried 201 congressional districts. There are currently over 60 Democrats in seats that Bush carried, compared to only a handful of Republicans in seats that Kerry won.

As for the specifics of the Coulter article, she's right that the Democrats did run moderate candidates for Republican leaning seats, but really, given that most of the vulnerable Republicans were in conservative districts, what else were they going to do? No, I don't see any issue with the Republican party trying to tie them to the unpopular Congress. As for Tester, he ran as a populist, not a moderate. In the debate with Conrad Burns, he said of the Patriot Act: "I'm not talking about weakening it, I'm talking about repealing it." I don't see how riding round Montana on a pickup truck makes him a phony. Before entering politics, he was a farmer.

For another perspective on the whole "Democrats needed to pretend to be Republicans to win" meme, read here

As for Obama, yeah, he's a liberal. Unless I missed him advocating a worker's revolution, he's not a Marxist.

Oh, and another thing. The ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and another thing. The whole "ic" business: Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a small-d "democrat" still be "democratic"? I'm sure you're going to continue referring to it as the "Democrat Party" anyway, but in my opinion, doing so is roughly on the same level as a trial lawyer who attempts to get under a witness's skin by deliberately mispronouncing his name during cross-examination. By all means keep doing it, but please don't pretend it's anything more than a partisan dig.

I had an English teacher em... (Below threshold)

I had an English teacher email me saying there was a rule that said the word "Democratic" was the only one acceptable because the word was being used as an adjective to modify nouns like "party" and "candidate." She argued that you could not use the word "Democrat" as an adjective because "Democrat" is a noun. I emailed back and asked if that meant I could no longer refer to my daughter's ballet teacher as such or if she needed to be a ballet"ic" teacher? Or if I could no longer refer to my senator as a "North Carolina Senator" or a "state senator?" Or if I had to refer to my college professors as collegiate professors from now on? How about my kitchen table or my flower garden or the vegetable soup I ate for lunch? What about Woman Marines? And so on... I never did hear back from her on that. I am just glad the woman isn't teaching my kids.

What I don't understand is why terms like "Democrat Party" or "Democrat legislator" get under Democrats' skin so much. It sounds a heck of a lot better than some of the adjectives I could think of. There is a big difference between a "democratic election" and a "Democrat election." It may be used as a dig my some (or even most) but in my mind it is just clearer and more specific than using the "big" or "little" D's. I use both and usually don't think much about it either way until I read a comment like the one above. Sometimes it sounds more natural to me to say Democrat and sometimes more natural to say Democratic.

It doesn't really get under... (Below threshold)

It doesn't really get under my skin, Lorie. I just think that intentionally mispronouncing someone's name is childish and petty, and only a couple of steps above idiots on DU and Kos who talk about "reTHUGligans". I take your point on "college teacher", "ballet teacher" and "state senator", but language is an inconsistent thing. If you use them interchangably for no reason other than one or the other sounds right at that time, I respect that. Here in Australia, Obama is frequently referred to in the local press as the "Democrat candidate". The fact is, "Democrat Party" is still incorrect, in the same way that using "it's" as the possessive of "it" (eg: "it went it's own way") is incorrect. The fact that it's widely done doesn't change that.

What really does raise my ire is people like P Bunyan who intentionally use "Democrat Party" as a way to demonstrate its supposed undemocratic nature, when, in this case at least anyway, it is a partisan slur, and a pretty tacky one at that. Hence the indignation.

MikeW,You said: </... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


You said:

A) "Parthenon is right. According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index..."

But you also said:

B) "I actually agree with you that America is centre-right.."

If B is true, how can A-- evidence that B is not true-- be right? Makes no sence to me.

I could make another agruement against conclusions draen from those statistics, but I won't bother since you agree that Parth's conclusion was not right anyway.

I didn't pay enough attention to Tester's campaign to really comment about his truck driving, but I wonder if the voters in Montana really realized they were getting someone that far left?

As for the artcle you linked to, there were some interesting anecdotes, but as a whole it was a strawman argument. No one made the claim that all 435 Democratics who ran for the House in '06 were gun totin, bible thumin, pro-lifers. Still, I can't help but wonder how many of those North Carolina voters who voted for Shuler were fully aware that in doing so, they were handing to reins of power to Nancy Pelosi?






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