June 28, 2008

Ed Morrissey is flat wrong when he says that Obama contradicted himself about the D.C. gun case.

Here's the video that Morrissey thinks shows a contradiction so obvious that it means Obama doesn't "get YouTube":



Both statements are so long that it's hard to match up all the elements and find what is supposed to be a contradiction. (I always wonder why we find Obama so exciting when his rhetorical method is often to bore us to the point of inattention.)

Morrissey says:
Yesterday’s assertion by Barack Obama that he never said the DC gun ban overturned by the Supreme Court was constitutional or that he supported it became the latest in his flip-flops to be exposed by a simple review of the videotape record.
Let's look at the text. Obama's June 26th statement is:
I believe in the Second Amendment as being an individual right and have said that consistently. I also think that individual right is constrained by the rights of the community to maintain issues [sic] of public safety. I don't think those two principles are contradictory and in fact what I have been saying consistently is what the Supreme Court essentially said today. The D.C. law may have been struck down, but they also affirmed the right for local communities to engage in background checks and other common sense laws that most lawful gun owners would agree with. And so I think that we can move beyond some of the conflicts on this issue, make sure that law-abiding gun owners have their rights respected, and at the same time, make sure that we don't see the kinds of murder and devastation that we've seen on the streets of so many of our cities.
What did Morrissey miss? In the new video Obama never says that that he thought the Supreme Court was right when it said that the D.C. law was unconstitutional. He said he believed the individual rights theory of the Second Amendment. He says that there can be an individual right and, at the same time, "common sense" safety laws. He says this is "essentially" the position the Supreme Court took. So there is a core meaning of the Supreme Court case that he agrees with. Period. Next, he states that "The D.C. law may have been struck down," but he does not say that he agrees with that part of the decision. He does not say that that the majority got the balance right when it decided how forceful the individual right was when balanced against the safety interests of the community.

In the older video, Obama is asked about the D.C. ban, and he states the same idea that reasonable regulations can coexist with respect for gun rights. He's asked about the D.C. law, but he never states that it's constitutional, and in any case, he never mentions the part of the law that the Supreme Court ultimately found unconstitutional. He talked about background checks and illegal guns on the street, not guns kept in the home for self-protection.

In neither video clip does he say whether he thinks there is a Second Amendment right to have a unlocked handgun in the home for self-defense.

There is no contradiction!

YouTube — this thing Morrissey thinks Obama doesn't get — can be used to put up videos along with jabbing, mocking, false assertions about what they say. I think it's Morrissey who doesn't get YouTube because he doesn't realize that bloggers will actually watch those video clips and examine the fit between transcript and your assertions and tell you when you are flat wrong.

ADDED: Let me add that I think it is most likely that Obama does agree with the dissenting opinions in the Supreme Court. Also, I do recognize that in the older video, Obama seems to go along the questioner's statement that the D.C. law is constitutional. But the questioner doesn't specify the part of the law that the Court struck down — that is, the possession of an unlocked handgun in the home — and that Obama goes on to speak positively about the use of guns for protecting your family.

Where Morrissey is most plainly wrong is in saying that the new video shows him saying that the D.C. law was unconstitutional. He does not.

Now, he is being cagey. The interviewer should have had the wits to ask a follow-up: Do you think the Court was right to say there is a Second Amendment right to keep an unlocked handgun in the home? I think he would probably have given a cagey answer even to that, but the fact is that the video shows no attempt to pin him down.

Another follow-up question is: If you are elected President and have the opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, will you nominate someone who interprets the Constitution like Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg, and Breyer, who found no right to keep an unlocked handgun in the home, or someone like Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito, who found such a right? Could someone ask him that?

UPDATE: Allahpundit has this clip showing Obama saying:
Well, you know, what I've consistently said is that I believe that the 2nd Amendment means something, that it is an individual right, and that's what the Supreme Court held. So I agree with that aspect of the opinion. What I've also said is that every individual right can be bound by the interests of the community at large. And the Supreme Court agreed with that as well.

It looks to me that the D.C. handgun ban overshot the runway, that it went beyond constitutional limits. But it doesn't mean that local communities can't, you know, pass background checks, that they can't make sure that they're tracing guns that have been used in crimes to find out where they got them from. So there's still room for us to, I think, have some common-sense gun laws that are also compatible with the 2nd Amendment. And the key is to try to stop using this as a wedge issue and let's figure out an intelligent way where we can stop having kids being murdered on the streets of American cities while making sure that law-abiding gun owners are protected in their rights.
(I'm using the transcript from RCP.) So Obama finally does throw his lot in with the majority — using very mild language. It's not a terrible violation of rights, but just an accidental misjudgment of the line between what government can and can't do — that is, it "looks" as thought the government went too far. If someone asks him, why did he seem to say it was constitutional last winter, I think I know what he'll say. (A lawprof knows lawprofitude.) He'll say that from his perspective at the time it looked as though the government had hit the runway, but it's a difficult line, and with the detailed elaboration provided by the Supreme Court, he understands the perspective that sees the runway as having been overshot. But the important thing is to get beyond this divisive, polarized thinking and recognize that we all agree that public safety and gun rights are both important and that reasonable people can come together and find the right balance, so that we can preserve our valued traditions and overcome the terrible violence that has plagued the streets of our cities.

Allahpundit says:
(Lesser informed voters probably don’t realize he’s flip-flopped at all, a fact he’s surely counting on.) Wouldn’t be the first time a politician’s maneuvered during the general election to claim the center, but of course the Messiah is no ordinary politician according to his apostles. Is any of this doing damage to his aura as the avatar of liberal Hopenchange?
See I think flipflop and Messiah are the wrong words (though I understand why you want those words to stick). Flipflopping is a noisy, jerky motion from one side to the other. But Obama is all about smoothing out all the rough spots, showing how seemingly disparate positions can be reconciled. The reason he can do it is not that he has divine powers or anything like them. He's a law professor. He's doing the law professor thing so plainly that it makes me want to get out my laptop and surf the internet or IM my friends about how bored I am.

79 comments:

Simon said...

Can he get through a question such as this without mentioning that he has taught conlaw, as if that settles anything? Do all conlaw professors share a particular view of the Second Amendment?

Joan said...

Ann, did you read Morrisey's post? Particularly this sentence: He [Obama] nods when asked about the constitutionality of the DC gun ban, and expresses his support for it by saying “Right” when the interviewer asks about it.

The gesture and the brief response aren't in your transcript of his wordy statement, but they clearly support Morrissey's point, IMO.

rhhardin said...

I always wonder why we find Obama so exciting when his rhetorical method is often to bore us to the point of inattention.

We don't find Obama exciting. We find the audience inexplicable morons, and wonder how they manage even to get up in the morning.

downtownlad said...

It's irrelevant. Not sure if you heard, but Obama went to a BLACK church. Therefore he is NOT QUALIFIED to even be President.

I thought this was pretty clear.

Not sure why we're even having an election.

Simon said...

"In the new video Obama never says that that he thought the Supreme Court was right when it said that the D.C. law was unconstitutional ... [and h]e does not say that that the majority got the balance right when it decided how forceful the individual right was when balanced against the safety interests of the community." (emphases changed).

Perhaps Ed thought that Obama's statement presupposed his agreement with the ruling. Where might he have got that idea? Well, one of the better blogs on the internet noted two days ago that "of course, Barack Obama said the Court got the case right," which tends to create that impression.

joeschmo1of3 said...

Sorry, Ann. Now you're discerning Obama's statements for him. This recalls your earlier discussion about "glamour" and "charisma." It seems you are leaning toward the glamour side of things.

Ann Althouse said...

Joan, in the older video, he says "right" when he's told he supports the DC ban -- with no specification about the part of the law that the Supreme Court struck down, and in fact, he goes on to speak positively about guns to protect your family as oppose to illegal guns on the street.

And I don't transcribe the older video at all.

Morrissey's post is a snide and annoying gotcha that is not supported by the video, which he presents as a very obvious contradiction. I'm calling him on that. I don't like it at all.

Pastafarian said...

The first thing out of Obama's mouth in the first (most recent) video is "that's not what I said back in November": He' denying ever having said that the DC gun ban was constitutional.

Then, in the second video, the interviewer quotes Obama and says "but you support the DC handgun ban and you've said that it's constitutional", and Obama nods as he says this.

This isn't a contradiction?

Maybe the term "damned lie" would be better.

The fact that he then proceeds to blather on and fill two minutes with his usual lawerly obfuscation doesn't matter. Either he lied about believing the DC gun ban to be constitutional, or he lied to that earlier interviewer by nodding in agreement. I guess the nod doesn't show up in the transcript; and what he refers to when he says "that's not what I said" isn't clear from the transcript. So just from the transcript, your defense of Obama seems logical.

But it's obvious to anyone who wathces the video, and who's not blinded by a combination of liberal white guilt and an Obama-crush, that he's "triangulating" like a Clinton on every issue that might allow voters to differentiate between the two candidates in any way more substantial than charisma and charm.

I suppose you'll respond with: "That's not what I said in November" is technically a true statement, because he merely nodded in November, rather than actually saying anything.

That would be the lawyerly thing to say. Sort of like asking for the definition of the word "is".

Jim Hu said...

Perhaps contradiction isn't the right term, but Obama has a tendency to say things in the form of "I support X in principle with reasonable qualifications that effectively exclude all instances of X in the real world".

I think that applies to guns and trade. YMMV.

Pastafarian said...

Ann:

He nods and says "right", not only that he supports the law, but that he considers it constitutional -- that's what the interviewer says, and that's what Obama agrees with.

Either he considers it constitutional or not.

Junior Dynamite said...

I don't like "gotchas" either, but you didn't get Morrisey on anything - he's right. Obama is trying to craft his statement so that it applicable either side of the argument, end of story.

Junior Dynamite said...

*so that it is applicable to either side.

Pastafarian said...

And the nut of the issue is this: What sort of SCOTUS nomination will President Obama make? That's the only reason, after all, that anyone cares about what Obama's opinion is on this issue -- not because he's a respected constitutional scholar.

Does anyone doubt that his nominee will be closer to Ginsburg and Souter than it will be to Scalia and Roberts?

That's what really makes his lying attempts to defuse the issues brought up by the last two prominent SCOTUS cases (death penalty for child rapists, and the DC gun ban) really very destructive.

UWS guy said...

but that he considers it constitutional -- that's what the interviewer says, and that's what Obama agrees with.

Either he considers it constitutional or not.


His opinion on constitutionality is, as he is making quite clear, irrelevant as is mine, Prof. Althouse's, yours, and any con-law teacher. He doesn't have the option to consider something constitutional, he is acknowledging reality. SCOTUS says it's unconstitutional ergo, Obama must say it's unconstitutional.

Ed Morrisey may try to make the point that Obama had wished for a different outcome, but that's not the argument he's making.

LarsPorsena said...

I think it shows BOH was for it before he was against it..or maybe against it before he was for it...
you all know what I mean.

P. Rich said...

Althouse said: (I always wonder why we find Obama so exciting when his rhetorical method is often to bore us to the point of inattention.)

What you mean "we", white woman?

And consider that his "oratorical style" may be deliberately intended to ensure no one pays attention to content, or absence thereof. It seems to be effective, at least among those who find delight in subjecting themselves to the endless droning drivel.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"I always wonder why we find Obama so exciting when his rhetorical method is often to bore us to the point of inattention"

We? You got a mouse in your pocket?

Actually the reason is his excessive use of glittering generalities and if you don't really pay any attention to the deeper substance or to be more exact lack of substance in his speeches, then "we" are under the spell of his glamour. Hitler * was pretty good at that tactic also.

* Not making a comparasion of Barack to Hitler, just the speaking technique

Kansas City said...

I like Ann, but her defense of Obama and criticism of Morrissey makes no sense. He obviously said "right" about his position being that the DC law being constitutional, and now he denies that is what he said.

Ann makes the technically correct point that his post decision comment did not state specifically whether he thought the law was constitutional, but he obviously tried to convey that he agreed with the court (or consistent with his ego, the court agreed with him) and he specifically lied in claiming he had not previously said the law was constitutional. Ann's defense of him here is very hard to understand. He can be defended only in the sense that he has artfully deceived the American people.

SteveR said...

As mentioned before, it does not matter what Obama says about the Second Amendment (Heller in particular) or how anyone interprets or misinterprets what he says or his body language.

The only thing, the only thing to know, is he would appoint justices who would have decided it a certain way. Of that there is no doubt and its really the only thing a POTUS can do about the subject one way or another.

Pastafarian said...

Ann said: "Joan, in the older video, he says "right" when he's told he supports the DC ban -- with no specification about the part of the law that the Supreme Court struck down, and in fact, he goes on to speak positively about guns to protect your family as oppose to illegal guns on the street."

So he's told that he has, in the past, stated that the law (which prohibits keeping a weapon in the home) is constitutional, and he nods, affirming this.

But then you state that he "speaks positively" about the right to keep guns in the home, and you seem to think that this positive speaking means that he considers this a constitutional right.

So why did he nod when he was told that he supported the ban and considered it a constitutional law, if he considers it unconstitutional to prevent citizens from keeping a gun in the home?

He's caught in a lie here, either in the more recent video, or in the earlier video.

Maybe you find Morissey's post to be "annoying" because your guy has been caught in a lie.

AllenS said...

Another follow-up question is: If you are elected President will you quit being cagey?"

Because right now, nobody seems to know what you mean.

Pastafarian said...

UWS guy -- Obama doesn't say that the law is NOW unconstitutional. He says: "That's not what I said in November".

Which is a lie. He did agree in November that the law was constitutional. The second (earlier) video shows this clearly.

Ann Althouse said...

Read the update on my post. I'm saying something specific and I stand by it.

Quixotic said...

Obama has stated that he believes in an individual rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and he has also failed - both before and after the Heller decision - to state that the DC gun ban was unconstitutional. This, to me, is conclusive evidence that Obama is being duplicitous, and that he does not actually believe in an individual right to keep and bear arms.

You cannot honestly say:

1) I believe in the right to X.

2) I'm just not sure if a nearly total ban on X is unconstitutional.

Obama also has used quasi-federalism talk about gun control regulation. But federalism-talk is not apt when dealing with a basic constitutional right. It's not up the localities to decide whether to infringe the right to free speech, or the right to be secure from unreasonable search & seizure, or the right to keep and bear arms.

Obama was also on the board on the Joyce Foundation, which was devoted to the strictest form of gun control, and gave out millions and millions to that cause (In 2000, Joyce also co-sponsored a legal conference at the Chicago Kent Law School in which advocates of strictest forms of gun control - including the fraudster Michael Bellesiles - held forth. I was there.)

Gong back to 1996, Obama answered "Yes" in a political questionnaire to the question of whether he favors a ban on the manufacture of handguns (while his handwriting was on the document, he later claimed that the gun part was filled out by an aide.)

Obama has stated that he wants Supreme Court Justices who favor "social justice," which is thinly veiled code for saying he wants Justices to make stuff up.

Obama also voted against Roberts & Alito (Heller majority) and has made statements indicating that he thought the members of the Heller minority were the bee's knees. (Although he may not said "bee's knees." He likely said "cat's pajama's.")

Put it all together, and it doesn't matter whether Hotair found a dead-bang "X and not-X" formal contradiction. The point is that we have a lot of evidence that Obama is not actually in favor of an individual rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, and that as President he would act accordingly in terms of the nomination of Judges & Justices, Justice Department policy, etc.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This is all good. We didn't have to spend more than one hour wondering who the rubes are.

Daryl said...

Althouse is in looooooove.

I'm saying something specific and I stand by it.

She does that sometimes. It's no use trying to change her mind now.

glen said...

"I always wonder why we find Obama so exciting ..."

I'm excited that an Obama presidency might bring about another generation of conservative dominance in government. But I don't think that's what Ann meant.

SteveR said...

Could someone ask him that?

He'll not answer anything that straightforward. He's already been against Roberts and Alito so I think its been answered. Anyone who imagines otherwise is basically willing to give up on the notion of the constitutional right of hand gun ownership in the home in favor of other "rights" (Roe v Wade?).

There is nothing to be decided on the implication of what a vote for Obama means from a judicial standpoint. Its been that way in very presidential election since 1992.

SteveR said...

"every" not "very"

UWS guy said...

I don't think SCOTUS appointments will be a wieldy weapon against obama notwithstanding the recent rulings.

Honestly now, Ruth Ginsburg doesn't come across as some hydra headed harpy that can scare the republican base. Christ, Scalia has a crush on her for petes sake! That mode of attack will fail.

the dreaded Flip-Flop is shaping up to be their weapon of choice. Ed Morrissey is just testing the waters for the RETHUGLICAN ATTACK MACHINE RAWR!

UWS guy said...

also, the word flip-flop shouldn't that imply three (3) changes of position?

If he said one thing in Nov. and says another now...isn't that just a flip of his position? Calling it a flip-flop is like saying his position has changed 360 degrees!

UWS guy said...

flipping and flopping is like going "back and forth"...you know...like McCain on Immigration...

California Reader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kansas City said...

Ann is coming back off the ledge a bit, now acknowledging that Obama has been inconsistent, but she still admires him for the smoothness of his deception. She also still needs to acknowledge that her criticism of Morrissey was unwarranted, and stop clinging to the technicality that Obama's initial statement dodged the issue of specifically whether he thought the DC law was constitutional.

Additionally, I think Obama almost certainly supports the DC gun ban and the dissents in the case, so why do anything that helps him successfully dupe rubes into believing he thinks otherwise.

Pastafarian said...

Condensed UWS Guy: He's not lying, but if he is, the Rethuglicans do it all the time, too. Nyah, nyah, phbtbtbtbt.

Ann --

Apparently, "doing the law professor thing" means stating A; then going back later and stating "what I meant was not-A, if I'd been given more time and information"...when such a reversal is convenient, attempting to morph one's first statement A into some approximation of its negation. First Obama did it, then I see elements of this in your post and additions.

Do law professors ever admit when they were wrong? Do they ever use those actual words -- "I made an error in judgement, I was incorrect"?

I guess we have a couple of examples here that indicate that they don't. When a law prof makes a statement later proven false, or makes two contradictory statements, the fault lies in the listener's inability to discern the hidden layers of meaning, that can only be revealed after fault is found. That's a great characteristic for a would-be President.

Here's the only rational response to Morrisey's piece: Obama might have some sort of semantic wiggle-room to create the impression that he now favors, and has always favored, the individual's right to keep and bear arms, but in attempting to create this impression, he's trying to defraud the voter, because he obviously intends to nominate justices who do not interpret the second amendment in this way. Look at his statements, his record, his position on an anti-gun lobbying group's board.

I think that you actually find this semantic evasiveness of Obama somehow admirable, and that's really odd, since it seemed as though you disliked this quality in the Clintons. Is it more acceptable in a law prof, or in an African American?

reader_iam said...

As I think about this post, I keep returning to what initially jumped to mind, which was something Dale Carpenter wrote in a post the other day over at Volokh:

“…[I]t was actually unanimous on one point: there is an individual right protected by the Second Amendment. The split came over the important question of the scope of the right and whether the D.C. law itself was constitutional, but the underlying individual-right theory prevailed over a collective- or states-right interpretation that would give no single person the ability to challenge any type of arms regulation. Thus, an idea that not so long ago seemed radical and even frivolous to many academics and judges now has the assent of all of the Justices, representing a wide range of views about constitutional law and theory. …”

Carpenter's post.

reader_iam said...

Does that resonate in any way with anyone else?

Tom Crippen said...

My God, the wingnuts have lost Ann. And they don't like it one bit.

Ann Althouse said...

"since it seemed as though you disliked this quality in the Clintons"

Really? Point to something I wrote that shows that. I don't think you'll find it. (But if you find something that you think is it, I may wriggle out of it.)

A better criticism is that this is something that made me reject Kerry:

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2004/09/how-kerry-lost-me.html

The Drill SGT said...

Ed is basicly correct and Ann is wrong on this from the perspective of the average person. Obama previously tried to split the difference and said he was for individual gun rights, but thought an effective ban on gun rights was constitutional. Now he is for gun rights and says its unconstitutional, but localities can try and pass "common sense" restrictions... to make guns impossible to possess/use :)

another "depends on the definition of "is" is, moment by a lawyer pretending to be a constitutional scholar. Ann, admire his weasel lawyer double-speak all you want, but he was on the wrong side of this and is trying to wiggle...

Obama has a 15 year track record of being anti-gun whenever there was a choice to be made. period, end of story.

reader_iam said...

Another thing that keeps jumping to mind: “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.
—Vernon Law

Larry said...

I have been startled several times lately by people saying that they support Obama--people for whom I had had a great deal of respect.

I think I am beginning to understand.

Anything the man says, when subjected to close scrutiny can be said to say anything. (I had thought "nothing", but "anything" is apparently correct.)

rhhardin said...

He'll say that from his perspective at the time it looked as though the government had hit the runway, but it's a difficult line, and with the detailed elaboration provided by the Supreme Court, he understands the perspective that sees the runway as having been overshot.

Landed safely is the opposite of overshot the runway.

You overshoot the runway when you roll off the far end before stopping, but you will have hit it successfully.

You miss the runway if you wind up off it and never were on it.

Anna Quindlen did a similar thing with pushing the envelope (real audio, Sept 21, 2002), figuring it's a postal thing and not a mathematical thing. Guys use guy metaphors to separate the wheat from the goats.

rhhardin said...

Is it time for an original intent analysis of Obama.

rhhardin said...

Wittgenstein, Zettel:

685. A contradiction prevents me from getting to act in the language-game.

686. But suppose the language-game consisted in my continuously being driven from one decision to the contrary one!

687. Contradiction is to be regarded, not as a catastrophe, but as a wall indicating that we can't go on here.

688. I should like to ask, not so much ``What must we do to avoid a contradiction?'' as ``What ought we to do if we have arrived at a contradiction?''

689. Why is a contradiction more to be feared than a tautology?

690. Our motto might be: ``Let us not be bewitched''.

Kansas City said...

Isn't the problem that, regardless of whether you admire Obama's semantical skills like Ann or find them to be deception like me, they sheds no light on (and probably are intended to hide) what he actually would do as president?

In other words, isn't it evidence that he is pretending to be moderate when his actual policies are very liberal?

Sloanasaurus said...

But Obama is all about smoothing out all the rough spots, showing how seemingly disparate positions can be reconciled. The reason he can do it is not that he has divine powers or anything like them.

Obama is all about not having an opinion or at least not one that can be tailored to whatever he wants.

THis post is another example of Althouse's desire to rationalize Obama. What sounds more reasonable that a position of I support rights and I support keeping violence off our streets. Obama makes these kinds of contradictory statements all the time. The problem is that he only states a view but not a policy to address that view. Consequently, he does not have to reveal that his view is contradictory. He will say, I a pro-growth and pro business, but I am also for economic equality and fairness. There is no such policy that would acheive these goals.

Contrast this with Reagan who kept to a specific set of princples. Reagan would argue that growth helps more people in the end than fairness. Reagan would never argue that he supports both.

Obama says stuff like:

I am pro life and also pro choice.

You can believe in the sanctity of life and choice at the same time as long as you don't support any policies regarding the view. However if you don't support any policies than you really believe in nothing. If you do support a policy than you can't believe in both.

So what is the true Obama? Does he believe in nothing?

The truth is that Obama has consistently supported strict gun control laws. Support of such laws means you don't really believe in individual gun rights. So perhaps Althouse is technically correct in that Obama is only pretending to say he does support individual rights to get votes. Ed Morrissey may not disagee with that notion. However, Morrissey is right that Obama has flipped flopped. And it is a big flop indeed. Obam has flipped from being principled to being non-principled. He has flipped from being a new kind of politician to politics as usual. He has flipped from a man of integrity to a man of questionable character.

Is this the flip flop that Althouse was looking for when she voted for him last Feb?

madawaskan said...

Obama is boring.

That's coming from me-a politicalcoholic.

He use to be -
So Fresh and So Clean, Clean

Ann Althouse said...

When did I say I admired his "semantical skills"? I think I said twice that he was boring. All I'm saying is that I understand that kind of talk. Like most people, I prefer clear, straightforwards sentences and I mistrust people who don't use them. But that doesn't mean that everything said simply and clearly is true or that everything said in a complicated way is incoherent. Therefore, I disagreed with Morrissey. And said so clearly.

Richard said...

Let me just sum it up for you Ann: Obama is a devious, flip-flopping son of a bitch. And you are a ditzy blonde enamored with a "rock star."

reader_iam said...

I'm just not getting all this "Althouse is in love" and "Althouse is in the tank" stuff. Lord knows I've picked bones with Althouse on occasion, but please: how can anyone who's consistently read Althouse out of time think she's the sort of person who loves, much less idolizes politicians, of all creatures? Much less be "in the tank" for any particular one on account of "luuuurve"?

Flabbergasting.

dick said...

I guess I just cannot envision how someone can spend years working and supporting the Joyce Foundation which claims that there is no individual right to a gun with the sudden epiphany of finding that the individual does have the right to a gun and not see that this is a flipflop of monumental proportions.

reader_iam said...

over time, not out of time

(Maybe I'm on to something, though ... )

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But Obama is all about smoothing out all the rough spots,

That's what Castor oil is for.

showing how seemingly disparate positions can be reconciled.

How to believe in three conflicting positions before breakfast without having his head explode.

"The reason he can do it is not that he has divine powers or anything like them. He's a law professor. He's doing the law professor thing so plainly that it makes me want to get out my laptop and surf the internet or IM my friends about how bored I am."

Just reading Obama makes me think of the Gary Larson cartoon. The sequel to What dogs hear... Cats hear .......nothing............. My mind wanders and I can't focus on what he is saying because he is basically blathering and rambling. Kind of like my husband sometimes. I bet Michelle feels the same way. Blah blah blah Michelle blah blah blah blah Michelle blah blah blah. I thought Kerry was bad.

madawaskan said...

To boil it all down politicians are products.

They are selling you a brand-so in the end it does boil down to sound bites and slogans-what are the American people buying?

For whatever Obama does and however long Obama spins he can't get away from one simple fact-

Obama is selling a very un-American product.

{Unless Americans have changed...}

And it matters what the simple message is that's sent to the rest of the world.

Nuance is lost.

reader_iam said...

OT:

Hey, Madawaskan, did you know that there was at least one person in these parts who thought you might be a sockpuppet for me?! I was floored (also, I don't do sockpuppetry).

Just curious (not that it's any of my business), but are you male or female?

/OT

Fen said...

Sophist Obama is starting to remind me of the faculty in That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis...

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

But I have to say Morrissey has a very sharp mind. I would not correct him without checking my math a few dozen times first.

/disclaimer: CQs was my Mothership. I still remember feeling both contempt and pity for the Canadians who had to read Captain's Quarters just to find out what was going on in their own country.

Fen said...

reader: I'm just not getting all this "Althouse is in love" and "Althouse is in the tank" stuff. Lord knows I've picked bones with Althouse on occasion, but please: how can anyone who's consistently read Althouse out of time think she's the sort of person who loves, much less idolizes politicians, of all creatures?

Agreed. It might be because people are weary of the Obama cultists, but since they can't mock them directly, they tend to take it out on anyone nearby who appears to be making a defense they would expect from an Obama Acolyte.

Bissage said...

And as it is truly written, it came to pass that Maab, the High Teer of the 10 tribes of Capella IV, did avenge the honor of the Old Order and did preserve Eleen, wife of the fallen Teer Akaar, as he did call out loudly to the Klingon Kras, for all to hear; his life given in forfeit so that the kligat should destroy the Klingon, in his wickedness, bearing the phaser of the Federation from the sky.

And Eleen did bear the masculine issue of Akaar, and did name him Leonard James Akaar; attaining the station of Regent in his infancy that the Federation from the sky should remit things of value in exchange for the rocks of Capella IV, their word being true; their trading just.

Oochie-woochie-coochie-coo.

madawaskan said...

reader_iam-

My computer has crashed trying to respond...

*shocker*

What snorter of pop rocks thought that?

Mortimer Brezny said...

The fact is Obama had no specific opinion on the constitutionality of the D.C. gun ban. He may have presumed it was constitutional based on what he knew. But he stated clearly and consistently for months that he did not read the briefs or pay attention to the oral arguments in the case, so he did not know very much. He gave more than one sit down interview in which he declared his belief in an individual right to keep and bear arms, and in the Senate he voted for a law to prevent state and local government confiscation of firearms in times of natural disaster or public emergency that was passed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Hillary Clinton opposed that bill.

More than simply pontificate, Obama gave specific examples of what kinds of common sense regulations he thinks can pass muster, including background checks and closing the gun-show loophole. That puts him on the same page as John McCain and most Americans, and firmly to the right of Hillary Clinton on gun rights.

There just isn't a flip-flop here, as much as people want to create one. Ann is certainly right that he should be asked more specific questions, such as those concerning what kind of Justice he would appoint. One who voted like Scalia or one who voted like Breyer in Heller? But accusing him of a flip-flop is cheap and lazy. Ask him the tough questions. He may be your President. Get his actual positions on record so you can hold him accountable later.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Sophist Obama is starting to remind me of the faculty in That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis...

Funny, but the same book came into my mind! What I thought of, though, was this from later in the story:

"Wither was slower to notice what was happening. He had never expected the speech to have any meaning as a whole and for a long time the familiar catch-words rolled on in a manner which did not disturb the expectation of his ear. He thought, indeed, that Jules was sailing very near the wind, and that a very small false step would deprive both the speaker and the audience of the power even to pretend that he was saying anything in particular. But as long as that border was not crossed, he rather admired the speech; it was in his own line."

reader_iam said...

There's a gem.

KLDAVIS said...

Law Profs and Politicians are never wrong. Sometimes they just don't have all the facts.

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

I guess Althouse has bought into Obama entirely.

How about his voting record?

Gun Law News

VoteSmart.org

Frankly Althouse I think you've a long hard road trying to make your case.

memomachine said...

Hmmm.

"I am pro life and also pro choice."

Soooooooo.

You believe that women have the ultimate right to murder their children?

"You can believe in the sanctity of life and choice at the same time as long as you don't support any policies regarding the view."

Pure sophistry.

And absolutely no logic involved.

"However if you don't support any policies than you really believe in nothing. If you do support a policy than you can't believe in both."

So you believe in nothing, and yet still believe that an unborn fetus is a human being *and* that the gestating mother has the right to murder her child?

Utter nonsense.

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

@ Tom Crippen

"My God, the wingnuts have lost Ann. And they don't like it one bit."

*shrug* in Althouse is at best an independent and has little to nothing to do with conservatism or conservatives. Personally I visit if another website links to Althouse, but otherwise I don't bother.

If Althouse wants to shift over to Obama worship, I can't say I frankly care. If not, then still not caring very much.

*shrug* how many blogging law professors can you read in one sitting?

SukieTawdry said...

What kind of Justice would Obama appoint?

Why, a Justice with empathy:

We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges.

In other words, the law be damned, the Constitution be damned. We need Supreme Court Justices who are willing to fight for the underdog and will properly concern themselves with social justice, economic equity and the collective good. That's what kind of Justice.

The Drill SGT said...

Mort said... Ask him the tough questions. He may be your President. Get his actual positions on record so you can hold him accountable later

The problem is that the MSM is so in the tank for Obama that nobody is willing to ask him a tough question much less a follow-up. That's why he is dodging a series of Town hall meetings with McCain.

When was Obama's last press conference?

McCain does at least 2-3 a week.

- One for Bloggers
- One for the MSM
- and the back of the campaign bus daily

Mortimer Brezny said...

The problem is that the MSM is so in the tank for Obama that nobody is willing to ask him a tough question much less a follow-up. That's why he is dodging a series of Town hall meetings with McCain.

Oh, please. John McCain's campaign is shit. He needs to fix it. Those town halls are just pleas for free airtime. The MSM is just reporting the truth, McCain has flip-flopped his way into unelectability, and he needs to run away from Bush, fast.

blake said...

flipping and flopping is like going "back and forth"...you know...like McCain on Immigration...

I love how the left-wingers want to paint McCain as a flip-flopper while the right-wingers just wish he would do a little flip-flopping.

Immigration--he's still 100% pro-amnesty. Probably the biggest lie of his recent career was saying that he'd "build the damn wall" if that's what people want.

He's budged a bit on offshore drilling, I suppose, but comparing ANWR to the Grand Canyon doesn't speak of much there.

To his credit, he's stayed solid on Iraq.

blake said...

I think the outrage here is that whether or not he technically contradicted himself or said something that might be a flip-flop if you parse it just so, his actual position is clear: He's pro-gun-control, and he's too smart to actually say that (and the media too mesmerized to push him on it).

It's also clear that it matters hardly at all in terms of what he'd actually do as President.

Seriously, nobody who actually cares about the 2nd amendment is gong to be fooled by this.

rightwingprof said...

The problem here is that, as I've said before, law profs are academics, and they are out of touch with reality. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are, to Ann, and any other academic, nothing more than interesting little toys to play with on an abstract level. Therefore, one may spin even the most straightforward reality -- such as Obama's voting record -- and come out with the nonsense she posted.

You know, but what if this? and what if that? and what if he meant this when he said that because that's possible? and what if they meant to put a comma here? or what if there is no reality at all, just our individual perceptions? and what if everything is a social construct?

Yada yada yada. And people ask me why I ran screaming away from the university.

Kansas City said...

I don't think Ann is in the tank or in love, because she is too smart and independent, e.g., switching from voting for Gore to voting for Bush. My guess is that she, like me and most people, like Obama when we listen to him and it is just a matter of when the facts and realities push a smart person to decide he should not be president. Liking Obama caused Ann to vote for him in the primary in the hope that he would change his views, which seems a little extreme but after all, the alternative was Hillary.

On the Morrisey issue, Ann was just wrong and, like most people, has a hard timme admitting it. Obama's later statement (quoted by Ann, to her credit) shows Morrisey's reading of the situation was correct. Ann is now left to somewhat incoherently argue her defense: "I prefer clear, straightforwards sentences and I mistrust people who don't use them. But that doesn't mean that everything said simply and clearly is true or that everything said in a complicated way is incoherent. Therefore, I disagreed with Morrissey."

Richard said...

Kansas City wrote: "I don't think Ann is in the tank or in love, because she is too smart and independent, e.g., switching from voting for Gore to voting for Bush."

And you think that makes her smart? Just how ditzy did she have to be to vote for Gore in the first place?

Face it, KC. Ann is a ditzy blonde. Her blondness goes down to the roots of her hair and right into the core of her brain. She is Plato's Form of The Blonde.

reader_iam said...

Ann's a redhead, the fact that she chooses to have blonde hair notwithstanding. You can look it up (as if it's not obvious).

Kansas City said...

I don't think it has anything to do with hair color and I don't think Ann is ditzy. Perhaps tempermental, but otherwise smart, cool and interesting.