Archive for the ‘Democrats’ Category

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Obama’s Lame Claim About McCain’s Money

Obama says McCain is “fueled” by money from lobbyists and PACs, but those sources account for less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s money.
Summary
Obama announced he would become the first presidential candidate since 1972 to rely totally on private donations for his general election campaign, opting out of the system of public financing and spending limits that was put in place after the Watergate scandal.

One reason, he said, is that “John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.”

We find that to be a large exaggeration and a lame excuse. In fact, donations from PACs and lobbyists make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s total receipts, and they account for only about 1.1 percent of the RNC’s receipts.

Analysis
Sen. Barack Obama declared June 19 that he would not accept public funds for his general election campaign and would instead finance it entirely with private donations. Or, as he put it, with money from “the American people.” He thus will not be bound by the spending limits that would have come with taxpayer money, and he will be legally free to spend as much as he can manage to raise.
A Lame Excuse


However, the first of the two reasons he gave for his decision doesn’t square very well with the facts. In a video recording sent to supporters, Obama said:

Obama: We face opponents who’ve become masters at gaming this broken system. John McCain’s campaign and the Republican National Committee are fueled by contributions from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs.

To say that either the McCain campaign or the RNC are “fueled” by money from lobbyists and PACs is an overstatement, to say the least. Such funds make up less than 1.7 percent of McCain’s presidential campaign receipts and 1.1 percent of the RNC’s income.

McCain – As of the end of April, the McCain campaign had reported receiving $655,576 from lobbyists, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That is less than seven-tenths of 1 percent of his total receipts of $96,654,783.
His campaign also took in $960,990 from PACs, amounting to just under 1 percent of total receipts. The two sources combined make up less than 1.7 percent of his total.

RNC – The Republican National Committee has raised $143,298,225, of which only $135,000 has been come from lobbyists, according to the CRP. That’s less than one-tenth of 1 percent. It also took in about 1 percent of its receipts from PACs, CRP said. Taken together, that’s about 1.1 percent from PACs and lobbyists.

Obama’s Advantage


It’s not our place to comment on the wisdom or propriety of Obama’s financial strategy, except to note that it is perfectly legal and also that McCain and Obama both refused to accept public funds or spending limits during the primary campaign.

We also note that Obama’s decision –  whatever may have motivated it – is likely to give him a big financial advantage over McCain in the weeks just before the November election. This is a reversal of the historic pattern, in which Republican candidates have nearly always been able to out-raise their Democratic rivals. Had Obama accepted public funds, as McCain is expected to do, both candidates would have been limited to spending $84.1 million, all of it from taxpayers. But Obama has shown the potential for raising and spending much more.

The Obama campaign already has raised $265 million through the end of April, more than two-and-a-half times as much as McCain has taken in. Figures for May are due out soon. The Obama campaign said on May 6 that it had surpassed 1.5 million individual donors, and it probably has many more than that by now. All of those primary donors are legally free to make new contributions to finance Obama’s general election campaign, which officially commences after he becomes certified as the Democratic party’s nominee at the convention at the end of August.

Footnotes


The lobbyist figures we give here could stand some minor refinement. The totals might be reduced somewhat if the CRP used Obama’s rather narrow definition of “lobbyist.” Obama makes a point of refusing money from those who are currently registered to lobby at the federal level. The CRP has a broader definition, counting money from anyone working at a lobbying firm, registered or not, state or federal, and their families as well. By CRP’s definition Obama himself has taken in $161,927 from lobbyists.

On the other hand, CRP does not count registered lobbyists who work in-house for corporations, industry groups and unions, but classifies them with their industries. Adding those in-house lobbyists to the total could increase the amounts somewhat. But adding donations from in-house lobbyists and subtracting donations from those who don’t meet Obama’s strict definition would not be likely to change the total by much, and certainly not by enough to justify Obama’s claim that McCain and the RNC are “fueled” by such donations.

Also, for what it’s worth, the Democratic National Committee has historically been far more reliant on PAC and lobbyist money than the RNC. In 2004, PACs provided about 10 percent of the DNC’s total fundraising and only about 1 percent of the RNC’s total, according to the CRP. Obama, after he sewed up enough delegates to win the party’s nomination, sent word to the DNC to stop accepting PAC and lobbyist donations.

-by Brooks Jackson

Sources

Barack Obama’s first (of I am assuming many) ad’s for the General Election has been released… and already there is lying…

Have a read and check it for yourselves

Fact Check

 As always, comments are open for your opinion


That Line in Obama’s First General Election Ad

 

When I saw Obama’s first ad, referring to “extended health care for wounded troops who had been neglected,” and the fine print pointing to a bill, I wondered whether Obama was taking credit for voting in favor of some bill that passed with 90 votes or so.

Sean Hackbarth wondered the same thing, and noticed that “With a little research at Thomas.gov you find P.L. 110-181 is the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. Obama wasn’t present for that vote.”

Hackbarth notes that McCain wasn’t present either, and authorization bills usually pass by wide margins. A poster at Daily Kos attempted to defend Obama, but towards the end of the post, notes that Obama offered two amendments that dealt with medical and mental health assessments and a temporary moratorium on discharges for personality disorders… but neither amendment was considered for a vote. A section of the bill calling for inspector general reports on inspections of military health facilities, and requiring the reports to be posted on the Internet, was included in the bill, and that language did come from legislation Obama sponsored.

Of course, calling for inspector general reports isn’t quite the same as “extended health care for wounded troops.

 

This I find to be an interesting article.  If you care to agree or not the comments are open.


 

Mascot Politics: an ugly reality

Years ago, when Jack Greenberg left the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to become a professor at Columbia University, he announced that he was going to make it a point to hire a black secretary at Columbia.

This would of course make whomever he hired be seen as a token black, rather than as someone selected on the basis of competence.

This reminded me of the first time I went to Milton Friedman’s office when I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago back in 1960, and I noticed that he had a black secretary. This was four years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and there was no such thing as affirmative action.

It so happened that Milton Friedman had another black secretary decades later, at the Hoover Institution — and she was respected as one of the best secretaries around.

When I mentioned to someone at the Hoover Institution that I was having a hard time finding a secretary who could handle a tough job in my absence, I was told that I needed someone like Milton Friedman’s secretary — and that there were not many like her.

At no time in all these years did I hear Milton Friedman say, either publicly or privately, that he had a black secretary.

William F. Buckley’s wife once mentioned in passing, at dinner in her home, that she had been involved for years in working with a school in Harlem. But I never heard her or Bill Buckley ever say that publicly.

Nor do conservatives who were in the civil-rights marches in the south, back when that was dangerous, make that a big deal.

For people on the Left, however, blacks are trophies or mascots, and must therefore be put on display. Nowhere is that more true than in politics.

The problem with being a mascot is that you are a symbol of someone else’s significance or virtue. The actual well-being of a mascot is not the point.

Liberals all across the country have not hesitated to destroy black neighborhoods in the name of “urban renewal,” often replacing working-class neighborhoods with upscale homes and pricey businesses — neither of which the former residents can afford.

In academia, lower admissions standards for black students is about having them as a visible presence, even if mismatching them with the particular college or university produces high dropout rates.

The black students who don’t make it are replaced by others, and when many of them don’t make it, there are still more others.

The point is to have black faces on campus, as mascots symbolizing what great people there are running the college or university.

Many, if not most, of the black students who do not make it at big-name, high-pressure institutions are perfectly qualified to succeed at the normal range of colleges and universities.

Most white students would also punch out if admitted to schools for which they don’t have the same qualifications as the other students. But nobody needs white mascots.

Various empirical studies have indicated that blacks succeed best at institutions where there is little or no difference between their qualifications and the qualifications of the other students around them.

This is not rocket science, but it is amazing how much effort and cleverness have gone into denying the obvious.

A study by Professor Richard Sander of the UCLA law school suggests that there may be fewer black lawyers as a result of “affirmative action” admissions to law schools that are a mismatch for the individuals admitted.

Leaping to the defense of black criminals is another common practice among liberals who need black mascots. Most of the crimes committed by black criminals are committed against other blacks. But, again, the actual well-being of mascots is not the point.

Politicians who use blacks as mascots do not hesitate to throw blacks to the wolves for the benefit of the teachers’ unions, the green zealots whose restrictions make housing unaffordable, or people who keep low-price stores like Wal-Mart out of their cities.

Using human beings as mascots is not idealism. It is self-aggrandizement that is ugly in both its concept and its consequences.

For now I am just goin to post the link to this article. It is very informative on the politics of Chicago and Washington.  Its a long read but a good one.

Over the next few days I’ll be copying the actual text for posterity.

 

Curtain Time For Barack

>http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23799921-20261,00.html

 

June 03, 2008

The Washington Post editorialises on the continuing good news from Iraq that goes unreported in the US

THERE’S been a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks, which is odd because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war.

While Washington’s attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi Government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighbourhood of Sadr City, routing the Shi’ite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran.

At the same time, Iraqi and US forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qa’ida. So many of its leaders have been captured or killed that US ambassador Ryan Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists had “never been closer to defeat than they are now”.

Iraq passed a turning point last (northern autumn) when the US counter-insurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shi’ites. Now another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi Government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained “special groups” that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. It is, of course, too early to celebrate: though in disarray, the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the US and Iraqi elections.

Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow US commanders to make some welcome adjustments and it ought to mandate an already overdue rethinking by the “this war is lost” caucus in Washington, including senator Barack Obama.

Andrew Kohut, in The New York Times, on how the war in Iraq may play out in the US presidential election:

SURPRISINGLY, a late April Pew survey found voters thinking that John McCain could do a better job than Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in handling the war, by a 50per cent to 38 per cent margin in Obama’s case and a 49 per cent to 43 per cent margin in Clinton’s case.

A late May poll found a much closer division of opinion between McCain and Obama, 46 per cent to 43 per cent, but not one that favoured the Illinois Democrat.

It’s noteworthy that these responses came from a public that largely thinks the war was a mistake (57 per cent to 37 per cent in the April survey), a view that is a cornerstone of the Obama campaign.

This suggests that the high regard for McCain on the issue is predicated on looking forward at how he might handle the war in the future than at his past record of support.

No doubt McCain’s high standing over his likeliest November candidate has a great deal to do with the higher level of confidence thatvoters have in him over Obama on national security. The April survey found voters picking McCain over Obama as better able to defend the country against future terrorist attacks, by a huge 63 per cent to 26per cent margin.

Meanwhile, on US ABC television news:

“WE’VE seen this movie before,” Obama said at a town hall in Rapid City, South Dakota. “A leader who pursues the wrong course, who is unwilling to change course, who ignores the evidence. Now, just like George Bush, John McCain is refusing to admit that he’s made a mistake.”

Obama explained to the crowd of 2700 that McCain had said on Friday that the US had drawn down to pre-surge troop levels in Iraq.

“John McCain was wrong, and he was wrong on the most important question that any commander-in-chief faces,” Obama said.

“We have not drawn down to pre-surge levels. We have about 20,000 more troops in Iraq today than we had before the surge. Even after we finish rotating more troops out later this summer we’ll still have thousands more of Americans in Iraq than we had before the surge. Those are the facts.

“Now, we all misspeak sometimes. I’ve done it myself. So, on such a basic, factual error, you’d think that John McCain would just say, ‘Oh, I misspoke, I made a mistake’, and then move on. But he couldn’t do that. Instead, he dug in,” Obama said, and connected it to President George W. Bush’s handling of the Iraq war. “We all know this President refused to admit that he made a mistake. That’s the leadership that we’ve had enough of over the last eight years.”

 

Democrats and Our Enemies

By JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
May 21, 2008; Page A19

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom.”

This worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam. In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party. Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor – a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and “inordinate fear of communism” represented the real threat to world peace.

It argued that the Soviets and their allies were our enemies not because they were inspired by a totalitarian ideology fundamentally hostile to our way of life, or because they nursed ambitions of global conquest. Rather, the Soviets were our enemy because we had provoked them, because we threatened them, and because we failed to sit down and accord them the respect they deserved. In other words, the Cold War was mostly America’s fault.

Of course that leftward lurch by the Democrats did not go unchallenged. Democratic Cold Warriors like Scoop Jackson fought against the tide. But despite their principled efforts, the Democratic Party through the 1970s and 1980s became prisoner to a foreign policy philosophy that was, in most respects, the antithesis of what Democrats had stood for under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy.

Then, beginning in the 1980s, a new effort began on the part of some of us in the Democratic Party to reverse these developments, and reclaim our party’s lost tradition of principle and strength in the world. Our band of so-called New Democrats was successful sooner than we imagined possible when, in 1992, Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected. In the Balkans, for example, as President Clinton and his advisers slowly but surely came to recognize that American intervention, and only American intervention, could stop Slobodan Milosevic and his campaign of ethnic slaughter, Democratic attitudes about the use of military force in pursuit of our values and our security began to change.

This happy development continued into the 2000 campaign, when the Democratic candidate – Vice President Gore – championed a freedom-focused foreign policy, confident of America’s moral responsibilities in the world, and unafraid to use our military power. He pledged to increase the defense budget by $50 billion more than his Republican opponent – and, to the dismay of the Democratic left, made sure that the party’s platform endorsed a national missile defense.

By contrast, in 2000, Gov. George W. Bush promised a “humble foreign policy” and criticized our peacekeeping operations in the Balkans.

Today, less than a decade later, the parties have completely switched positions. The reversal began, like so much else in our time, on September 11, 2001. The attack on America by Islamist terrorists shook President Bush from the foreign policy course he was on. He saw September 11 for what it was: a direct ideological and military attack on us and our way of life. If the Democratic Party had stayed where it was in 2000, America could have confronted the terrorists with unity and strength in the years after 9/11.

Instead a debate soon began within the Democratic Party about how to respond to Mr. Bush. I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own, because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders made. When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves. By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party’s left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign.

In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it.

John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America’s friends and America’s enemies.

There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments. Yet what Mr. Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot.

If a president ever embraced our worst enemies in this way, he would strengthen them and undermine our most steadfast allies.

A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned “no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies.” This is a lesson that today’s Democratic Party leaders need to relearn.

Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut. This article is adapted from a speech he gave May 18 at a dinner hosted by Commentary magazine.