August 14, 2008

Camille Paglia has an "increasing sense of forboding" about the election.

She supports Barack Obama, and she remembers the "ruthless whittling down of John Kerry" in 2004. She's not just critical of Obama's opponents, she's critical of Obama. Here's one of a few things she says:
A major gaffe this summer has been that, in trying to act more casual and folksy to appeal to working-class white voters, Obama has resorted to a cringe-making use of inner-city black intonations and jokey phrasings -- exactly the wrong tactic.
Here's the clip she offers for us to hear the "inner-city black intonations and jokey phrasings":



Wow. I don't get it. To me, he sounds just exactly like Barack Obama — not some "inner-city black" generality. Paglia goes on:
One of the major doubts those very voters have about him is to what extent he is an agent for the 1960s black power radicalism espoused by his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It does seem to be the case that Obama, raised in multicultural and tourist-oriented Hawaii, lacks direct experience of any working-class enclave aside from the black one. But so what? In remaking her campaign at the end, Hillary Clinton mimicked the metallic accent of her father's coal-country Scranton origins. Yet nothing in her inexorable climb toward multimillionaire status has ever indicated that Hillary prefers jawing with the humble proles to her favorite company of glitzy celebs, fast-track power players, and slippery, brainiac lawyers.
That's all she says on the point. So the idea is, if you want to appeal to white, working-class voters, you should adopt the right phony accent — a white one?

This is good though:
... Obama's tire gauge mini-crusade was a mortifying misfire with those same voters -- a shiny little gadget specializing in the literally lightweight issue of air versus the greasy, brawny push for massive, phallic drilling into the seabed of mother earth. Symbols matter!
Ooh! Look at Barack's tiny penis:

65 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Use a tire gauge. Wear a sweater. Swap out light bulbs.

Many americans don't want to hear such things. I'd say the set of voters who don't want to hear that and the set of voters who are undecided overlap very much. The set of voters for whom that kind of message resonates are probably already decided on Obama.

The two political ads I saw last night -- one for Obama (the same one, twice, the one with wind turbines in it) and the McCain one that slams the present Government (of which McCain is a part, but I guess we're not supposed to remember that) -- were very interchangeable. I think either candidate could have run either ad.

AllenS said...

If you use air (blow on it) on the top of the tire guage, then the bottom will come shooting out. How far? Depends on the amount of air pressure you use.

Ron said...

greasy, brawny push for massive, phallic drilling
Well, it's nice to finally understand why they call it "crude" oil! Props to Camille!

Ron said...

...and if she held her eyes back like the Spanish baseketball team and used a fakey accent to speak of ""increasing sense of forboding" about the erection," she could get off both a racial and a sexual slur! She must be off today, normally she doesn't miss a twofer like that!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Many Americans are willing to hear about tire gauges from Car and Driver, sweaters from Vogue, and light bulbs from Good Housekeeping-- but are not interested in hearing about them from Presidential candidates.

Spread Eagle said...

Wow. I don't get it. To me, he sounds just exactly like Barack Obama — not some "inner-city black" generality.

She said it exactly: inner-city black intonations and jokey phrasings. I've noticed it too. Not as ham-handedly as Hillary, but just as surely, Obama does sometimes slide into black-speak, mainly in the cadence and a touch of the dialect. Hawaiians don't talk like that, so he acquired it for effect. Which makes it phoney.

ricpic said...

Barak's weenie is skinny, but l-o-o-o-n-g.

Simon said...

I'm skeptical from her very first line: "When in tarnation will those blasted presidential debates arrive?" Aw, that's so cute. Paglia thinks that Obama's going to do debates, plural, with McCain. Doubt it.

Richard Fagin said...

"a shiny little gadget specializing in the literally lightweight issue of air versus the greasy, brawny push for massive, phallic drilling into the seabed of mother earth"

Jeezuzhchristalmighty. Only someone who's never been near a drilling rig, much less an offshore one, could come up with something like that.

People who actually know something about offshore drilling, like having actually worked on a rig or two, take it all in stride, kind of like the ones on Ice Road Truckers and Dirty Jobs do with their own work. They would think statements like Ms. Paglia's are a bit over the top. Get yourself covered from head to toe with drilling mud and hydraulic fluid and you won't think there's much "phallic" about offshore drilling. After 12 hours on the rig floor, you're too damn dirty and tired to even think in those terms.

Having said all that, there was a time when most Americans admired the "mighty machines of industry" (from a Mobil ad in the 1950s). Some of us still do, as well as the people that design them, build them and run them.

John said...

Once you get pigeonholed as something in the public conscience it is almost impossible to get out of the hole regardless of whether it is deserved. Gerald Ford stumbled walking down an airplane ramp and he was a klutz. The fact that he was a two way all-American football player at Michigan and probably the most athletic president in history didn't matter. Dan Quail was stupid, law degree be damned. Michael Dukakis gets photographed in a tank and he is a doofus. It is not often fair and not often accurate but impressions matter.

Obama walked right into pigeon holing himself as an out of touch Ivy League elitst in the primaries. He did it with the famous "cling to their guns and religion remark". He did it with his speech in Philadelphia justifying Jeremiah Wright and calling his white grandmother a racist. His creepy, upper class, Obama is the chosen one white supporters do it for him every day.

In some ways it is funny to hear Paglia whine about working class white people not supporting him after he insulted them with the "guns and religion" remark. If a white politician had said that inner city blacks are angry and cling to their crack pipes and gang memberships instead of voting in their interests, I doubt anyone would be puzzled why that candidate wasn't getting any black support.

Middle Class Guy said...

"Look at Barack's tiny penis:"



And at the end of the day it is really all about dick.

Verso said...

Dishonest Ann said: "...she's not just critical of Obama's opponents, she's critical of Obama."

And that's the only reason you would bother blogging about it. If she was just critical of the Swiftboaters and hatemongers you adore and promote, you'd either fisk her, or ignore her. But if she has something critical to say of Obama, then by all means, you'll blog it.

BTW, are you still pretending to be neutral? Still pretending to be something besides a rabid right-winger?

John said...

Ann,

Judging by Verso's comment, you shouldn't poke the Obamabots. They get angry.

Richard Dolan said...

Like Ann, I don't get Paglia's argument about O's accent. While it's obvious that symbols matter, the big oil derrick vs teeny-weeny tire gauge shtick is just performance art for its own sake. It may be amusing to play with the symbols, but it just doesn't have any resonance. Too silly.

There's been a lot of blogging here about energy issues in the last week or two. I suppose that reflects the fact that, unlike the phallic symbolism, the energy issue is having a lot of resonance this cycle. But the energy issue brings out a lot of silliness too beyond Paglia's play on symbols.

For example, MM starts off with: "Use a tire gauge. Wear a sweater. Swap out light bulbs." I suppose that qualifies as the energy policy equivalent of midnight basketball and school uniforms: at once both small bore and trivial, and so obvious that the intended audience is doing it or the equivalent anyway.

So, MM, what demographic do you imagine underinflates tires, shuns sweaters and delights in using inefficient bulbs (or other appliances for that matter)? Hint: it's not likely to be the over-40, socially conservative, working/middle class crowd that will decide the election and is the presumptive target of these ads. That demographic is responsible, cost-conscious and generally careful, and don't need Team O to give them lectures about common sense. Of course, lectures are what Team O -- at least, the university-based community that is a big part of it -- is all about.

So who might be the players that, as MM says, "don't want to hear" the inflated tires/wear a sweater/use efficient appliances message? I suggest that, rather than all the condescending silliness underlying MM's analysis of the rock-solid worthies who pay the bills and make this society run, you look instead to Team O's youth army and high-earning professionals, for starters. (You'll probably find a lot of SUVs in the driveways of the latter crowd while you're at it, expecially if you start chez Gore or Kerry.)

But it's not merely MM's bizarro worldview of the American electorate that makes his analysis unconvincing. The basic meme -- tires/sweaters/bulbs -- is a way of pretending that there is no problem requiring a real solution, just wasteful habits to cure. And, since there is no real problem, we don't have to consider making real choices of the sort that might require sacrificing real symbolic values. That, in the end, is what the ANWR and off-shore drilling stuff is all about. It's the idea of ANWR and the outer continental shelf far off shore -- both of them places that most people will never see -- that has become entwined with quasi-religious values: Nature Undisturbed as the vestal virgin, and rapacious Man as, well, himself. In short, a Manichean worldview of good vs. evil, and economics be damned. Even the smallest imposition on Mother Earth, even the slightest slip in letting the welfare of living, breathing people take precedence over those symbolic and quasi-religious values, must be resisted.

That might be a far more inviting target for analysis, but I won't be holding my breath to see whether Team O pursues it, just as I don't expect ever to see a sensible energy policy from Team O. Instead, we'll hear a lot more of the tires/sweaters/bulbs stuff. It's true that those suggestions have an element of common sense to them. But it's just ridiculous to offer such stuff as having anything to do with a credible energy policy.

Zach said...

What I want to know is, when do we see Act II?

So far, we've seen Act I, where the surprising candidate comes out of nowhere to arrive on the national stage with a message of hope and change -- those are even the actual words he used. But when do we get Act II, where the newcomer shows a surprising flair for policy and wins the grudging respect of the old guard?

People talk about Kennedy as inexperienced, but he put together a major labor reform bill before running for president. He had a second act to play off the sex appeal.

Bob said...

Ann Althouse: Symbols matter!Ooh! Look at Barack's tiny penis!

And so it's time for a couple of dick-related jokes:

While on vacation in Jamaica, a man's girlfriend Wendy broke up with him, leaving him for a Rastafarian. While walking down a nude beach later during the vacation, the man spied a Rasta with WENDY tattooed on his penis. The man ran over to the Rasta and said, "You're the Rasta who stole my Wendy away! You have her name tattooed on your penis! I'll kill you!" The Rasta said, "Calm down, mahn, it's true it looks like I have WENDY tattooed on my penis, but actually when I'm excited it says WELCOME TO JAMAICA! HAVE A NICE DAY!

A man took his attractive wife to the doctor. Wondering why the examination was taking so long, the man poked his head into the examining room, where he saw the doctor with his pants down around his ankles, pumping away at the moaning wife for all he was worth. "I'm taking her temperature," he told the man. "I'll be right with you." The man pulled a switchblade out of his pocket and opened it, and told the doctor, "Ok, Doc, but when you pull that thing out, it better have numbers on it."

Trevor Jackson said...

Simon says, "Paglia thinks that Obama's going to do debates, plural, with McCain. Doubt it."

What are you talking about? Are you using a different definition of debate or did you just miss this announcement?

John said...

Kennedy also radically reduced the top tax brackets and ran to the right of Nixon on the cold war. But that was before Vietnam and the failure of the welfare state. The Democratic Party actually believed in things back then besides handouts to interest groups.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Michael Dukakis gets photographed in a tank and he is a doofus.

Michael Dukakis is a doofus. The tank photo merely emphasized the fact.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I've noticed that Obama seems to give his speeches, like the one in the clip, as if he were a stand up comedian. Smirking and laughing and delivering the punch line so he wait for the crowd to laugh. He is always so sure that he will be a hit that when the occasional laugh line falls flat Obama seems to be flustered and loses his cadence.

I don't see what's so funny. We aren't electing a Comedian in Chief. This is serious business and to continually joke around, adopt fake accents in an attempt to bring himself down to the "common people's" level is insulting. When he is talking to a heavily black crowd, his accent is much more 'ethnic'. When talking to typical white people he talks like the clip shown. I bet when he was talking to the uppity white San Francisco liberals he took yet another tone.

He thinks we are fools. He may be surprised to find out that the majority of people can sense a phony a mile away.

Brian O'Connell said...

I'm with Spread Eagle on this. I hear it from Obama occasionally and it feels a little weird.

The thing about that black preacher cadence is that it's always phony. Those preachers don't talk like that around the breakfast table, for instance. But for most of them (and the likes of Sharpton and Jackson), it's a long-standing tradition, so they're authentically phony. With Obama, it seems too studied and a bit out of place. He's inauthentically phony.

But many whites on the left don't seem to recognize that. And for them, black authenticity is as cool as Whole Foods.

AJ Lynch said...

The silence was deafening when Obama first used the "inflate your tires advice".

Even the devoted followers in the audience knew he was full of soup.

Roger J. said...

I suspect there will be debates (plural) because Obama does not do well in something like a town hall forum--McCain does those all the time. Given the lousy moderating ability of anchors, a presidential debate is a step below a prepared speech. All Obama (and McCain) need to do is memorize their policy talking points and steer their answer to those talking point. Its the best forum for Obama, thus debates.

As to an Obama announcement about debates? Wasnt it Obama who pledged to use public financing of his campaign at first? I don't have a lot of confidence in an Obama campaign promise.

Trevor Jackson said...

Roger J, the debates have been agreed upon, set, announced, even who's moderating them. Two debates, a town hall, and a veep debate. Click the link in my comment upthread.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
" Simon says, 'Paglia thinks that Obama's going to do debates, plural, with McCain. Doubt it.' What are you talking about? Are you using a different definition of debate or did you just miss this announcement?"

Obama also said he was going to take public funding. He changed his mind because it was his interest, and his supporters found ways - ways that were profoundly silly and intellectually dishonest in a self-deceiving sense - to rationalize it. He'll welsh on the debates when McCain destroys him at the first one, and his supporters will rationalize that, too.

Obama has precisely one talent: hypnotism. I say this because he has a formidable reputation as an orator that is utterly refuted and belied by actually listening to his oratory. In any situation where that talent can't be used - a debate, for example, where he can't control the script, as Clinton supporters will gleefully remember - he founders.

Dark Helmet warned that evil will always win, because good is dumb. But who ended up on his ass? Obama will fail in debates and thus withdraw because good people may be dumb people, but dumb is immune to hypnotism, and smart people realize that they're being sucked in. That leaves Obama's core constituency: people who desperately want to like him. He thinks that's enough, and from that belief, it follows that he believes he can pull out of the debates unscathed. Again: doubt it.

P. Rich said...

Zach said: What I want to know is, when do we see Act II?

There isn't an Act II. There was barely an Act I, and it's being replayed on late-night TV in Madison and Berkeley.

Captain Zero has been living up to the label for a while now, and that isn't going to change. There is no magical twin in the green room, ready to come out and amaze us all. We've already see all there is, and it's pretty pathetic. Even his supporters, in the complete absence of substance, are more in the mode of defending their obviously fatuous preference rather than anything he has provided that's worthy of defending.

Middle Class Guy said...

Verso said...
Dishonest Ann said…


My, my, aren’t we the angry little squib this morning.



Dust Bunny Queen said...
I don't see what's so funny. We aren't electing a Comedian in Chief…


Says who? We did that twice, remember? His name was Bill Clinton.

Palladian said...

"Judging by Verso's comment, you shouldn't poke the Obamabots. They get angry."

Judging by their ill-tempered, uptight prickliness, some of them need a good poking.

MadisonMan said...

Richard, thank you for the lecture.

Trevor Jackson said...

Simon, if you can't see the difference between "public financing" and a campaign that's truly publicly financed (2 million donors!), I think you're the one who's being "intellectually dishonest." But you have your view of what went down and I have mine.

And you can doubt the debate schedule all you want, but when they a) go off as planned and b) don't result in your predicted disaster for Obama, I'm going to come looking for an "I stand corrected" from you. On the very ridiculous and outside chance, Obama does try to change the debate schedule, I'll promise right now not to volunteer any more of my time or money to Obama's campaign.

Your Spaceballs nod is duly noted and appreciated, though.

knox said...

Use a tire gauge. Wear a sweater. Swap out light bulbs.

The agency where I used to work had an electric co-op as a client. They told us that really the only way you could have a big impact on your energy usage was a big investment like new windows, or getting ALL new, energy-efficient appliances. They basically said that all the little "tips" like compact fluorescents would only save the average customer less than a dollar a month. I think that people know this on a very basic, common-sense level.

I have young children and can only turn my thermostat down so far. And they check my tire pressure when I get an oil change.

You're right, I "don't want to hear such things" from Obama.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"Simon, if you can't see the difference between "public financing" and a campaign that's truly publicly financed (2 million donors!)..."

That would be one of the afore-mentioned profoundly silly and intellectually dishonest rationalizations by an Obama supporter of the indefensible. Trevor, I'm sure you believe this now. I'm not saying that you're consciously trying to hoodwink anyone; you've hoodwinked yourself. And I understand the imperative to defend your candidate's decisions, no matter how craven they may be. In a few years, though, I promise you that you're going to look back on this ridiculous rationalization and - internally - cringe. Because then you'll see it through the eyes of those of us who Obama hasn't taken in.

Trevor Jackson said...

Another prediction based on faulty premises, Simon. Like I said, you see it your way, I see it mine. If you think that McCain is running a more honorable campaign by using the old rules of a broken and corrupt system, then we're not going to agree.

Spare me your pop psych analysis, though. I don't pretend to know how you rationalize things I disagree with and I'd appreciate it if you'd show me the same respect.

Trooper York said...

We only move the car from one side of the street to the other because of alternate side parking rules. Last week we got a flat and had to call triple A to change it. The guy tells me the spare was the "wrong" side tire or something and I had to move the tires around or something. What's up with that?

And if I had my tire gauge I might have known that the tire was leaking. Maybe Bo is on to something.

Nah.

Jill said...

I have to say I definitely picked up a little Bill Cosby in that accent.

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"Like I said, you see it your way, I see it mine. If you think that McCain is running a more honorable campaign by using the old rules of a broken and corrupt system, then we're not going to agree."

McCain is running a more honorable campaign by using the old rules of a broken corrupt system that Obama endorsed and enthused about right up until the moment that he realized he could make more money by opting out of it.

Defending Obama on this point isn't simply a different point of view, a matter on which reasonable people can disagree; it requires one to be taken in by an utterly facile lie, and unfortunately, even some otherwise very intelligent people have been duly caught up in this web. The problem isn't that Obama rejected the public financing system, it was (to coin a phrase) that he was for it before he was against it. He was for the corrupt, broken old rules when he thought that being for them helped him; he changed his mind not because he saw the light and realized the shortcomings of the system as a general matter but because he realized that being against them now helped him. There's no defense, none - none that has been advanced, none that I can imagine being be advanced - that has even a scintilla of credibility. It was a craven act of dishonesty, and it is really more than one ought to have to bear to see good people - people I like, people I respect - defending it.

Donna B. said...

Obama was definitely using an accent. Droppin g's like crazy. It didn't sound so much inner-city black to me as it did just plain southern.

If he thinks he can win the south by mockin the way we talk, he's pretty far off course.

Trevor Jackson said...

There's one basic premise we're not going to agree on, Simon, so I'm not sure why I should bother. But that premise is this: Obama never definitively pledged to accept public financing.

You will call that tortured logic and dishonest. I call that, at worst, preserving and then capitalizing on wiggle room that's allowing him to actually run a publicly financed campaign. McCain cried about it because there's no way he could match those fund-raising dollars. But you can bet that if he had the same donor base, he'd be flouting a near-pledge just like he flouted FEC rules by borrowing against a promise to take and then not accept public financing for his primary campaign.

BJK said...

Isn't that article (minus the vacuous Madonna part) a lengthy way of saying:

"We're losing. Why are we losing?"

Fen said...

Camille Paglia... remembers the "ruthless whittling down of John Kerry" in 2004.

He falsely accused us of war crimes in testimony to Congress. Did you think we forgot? Did you think there would be no consequence?

Fen said...

Judging by Verso's comment, you shouldn't poke the Obamabots. They get angry.

Judging by their ill-tempered, uptight prickliness, some of them need a good poking.

And these are the ones we've all been waiting for? You learn alot about a man's character by those that follow him - Wright, Ayers, Verso, etc.

Chip Ahoy said...

Obamabot. Ha ha ha. That's funny.

A partisan voter given over completely for a candidate will not accept a trace of criticism for that candidate from an individual claiming to be supportive. If you're a supporter and if you've made a choice, you must must be completely 100 % of supportive. If you're not, then you're automatically dishonest. That's why he's validated calling the hostess dishonestNow get in line!

}}} BLAM {{{

* head explodes*

* mushroom cloud *

Buford Gooch said...

The Trevor Jackson/Simon postings have been entertaining. I've never seen someone so politely made a complete fool of.

My hat (if I waas actually wearing one) is off to you Simon. You were truly amazing.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Last night when I read Paglia and her 'Symbols matter!' I heard Althouse saying it.

Is it too late for dinner with Camille?

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"There's one basic premise we're not going to agree on, Simon, so I'm not sure why I should bother. But that premise is this: Obama never definitively pledged to accept public financing. You will call that tortured logic and dishonest...." (Link omitted.)

You're right: it's tortured logic and dishonest, another plum (if very common) example of profoundly silly and intellectually dishonest rationalizations by an Obama supporter for the indefensible actions of their messiah. Even the Washington Post couldn't swallow that one and both Factcheck and myself at SF have demolished the factual predicate. Claiming that Obama never specifically, explicitly, unambiguously and in as many words promised that he would absolutely accept public financing is a weasel way around the broken promise because Obama never says anything to that kind of standard. Thus, if the standard you advance were taken seriously, Obama could never be held to account for anything he says.

That's particularly fatal to your case here. Remember how this exchange got started? We were talking about the debates. I claimed that there wouldn't be debates plural, and that Obama's supporters would rationalize this away. You said that there would be because the schedule was announced. Well, Trevor, Obama never definitively pledged to do the debates to the standard you seem to think we would need to say that he broke his promises on public funding. He has never specifically, explicitly, unambiguously and in as many words promised to do the debates, which by your theory preserves ample wiggle room for his supporters to rationalize his forthcoming refusal to do so. How neatly self-contained: you won't even have to invent a new way to rationalize it.

Doesn't the stunning convenience of this - they way that it makes it seem as though the whole world just happens to align itself perfectly to your needs if your theory is correct - give you any pause?

Trevor Jackson said...

What FactCheck.org doesn't address is the fact that John McCain is exerting no pressure on 527 groups to avoid running the smear ads and negative attacks he'll get to later disavow. Obviously, legally, he can't have formal connection, but we've seen those back connections between "independent" groups and campaigns in previous elections. That's not the kind of campaign Obama is running. How is McCain's campaign holding truer to the principle behind public financing?

Obama has pressured groups like MoveOn to not step on his message or create smear ads that he would have to waste time and attention disavowing. Could they run them anyway? Sure, but they've respected the request and are putting their efforts in more positive directions like GOTV operations.

Once it became clear that McCain was not going to stop smear ads, Obama wasn't faced with much of a choice if he was going to be able to respond effectively.

FactCheck is only focusing on one aspect of Obama's argument. That narrow of a view leads to their judgment. I respect FactCheck but they're not infallible. (They certainly got wrong the fact that McCain did accept public financing in order to get a loan for his struggling primary campaign. Once he got the nomination he weaseled out so he wouldn't have to face spending limits for the rest of the summer.)

As for the relevance of any of this to the debate schedule, let me just repeat that if Obama tries to back out of a single debate, I promise to accept your premise that Obama's word is never to be trusted. There will be no attempt to rationalize a decision like that on my part. No wiggle room for me on this. Happy now?

Chris Wren said...

Paglia's so entrenched in white urbane sensibilities she doesn't even register on Stuff White People Like's radar. Obama could give a speech about Star Trek: The Next Generation and she'd accuse him talking all funky.

John Stodder said...

If Obama weasels out of the debates, he will offer a high-minded reason for doing so, and people like Trevor will applaud him. Something like, "I have called upon John McCain to denounce the scurrilous advertising of (some 527 group), and while he has agreed the ads are scurrilous, he has the power to stop them and he has not used it. Therefore..." Or, "Standing on the same stage with a man who would deny basic rights to women sends the wrong message to the world."

Or perhaps I should put that proposition in the form of a question. Trevor and other Obama fans. If Obama backs out of the debates, will you criticize him or defend him?

Simon said...

Trevor Jackson said...
"What FactCheck.org doesn't address is the fact that John McCain is exerting no pressure on 527 groups to avoid running the smear ads and negative attacks he'll get to later disavow. Obviously, legally, he can't have formal connection, but we've seen those back connections between 'independent' groups and campaigns in previous elections. That's not the kind of campaign Obama is running. How is McCain's campaign holding truer to the principle behind public financing?"

I hope everyone's paying attention, Trevor's giving us the "greatest hits" tour of Obama broken promise rationalization today. ;) Line 'em up. This one combines the "oh poor me" excuse ("those damn dirty Republicans made us do it" - the political equivalent of "she made me do it your honor, you shoulda seen what she was wearing") with sheer economic illiteracy. As I explained here, "[o]f course we will see less 'outside' advertising on the left than the right this year. Obama guaranteed that by opting out of the public finance system." The total resources that could be allocated in support of McCain are higher than the total resources that he can legally accept by being in the public finance system, so those resources must necessarily be spent externally, whereas Obama can accept unlimited contributions, allowing the most efficient allocation of those resources without the retraints on McCain.

"As for the relevance of any of this to the debate schedule, let me just repeat that if Obama tries to back out of a single debate, I promise to accept your premise that Obama's word is never to be trusted. There will be no attempt to rationalize a decision like that on my part. No wiggle room for me on this. Happy now?"

We'll see. :) But I have a feeling that one way or another, there's a lot more rationalizing to be done by Obama supporters before this election cycle is done.

Simon said...

John, to be fair, Trevor's already answered that question.

John Stodder said...

Obama has pressured groups like MoveOn to not step on his message or create smear ads that he would have to waste time and attention disavowing.

I've looked and can't find a single reference to this "pressure" Obama supposedly exerted. Can you help point us to this? I want evidence of more than high-minded sentiment. I want to see something where Obama uses leverage to get a result.

What FactCheck.org doesn't address is the fact that John McCain is exerting no pressure on 527 groups to avoid running the smear ads and negative attacks he'll get to later disavow.

Huh? So Obama's rationalization is based on something McCain hasn't yet done in response to something that hasn't happened yet? Wow. You can justify anything with that logic.

Obviously, legally, he can't have formal connection, but we've seen those back connections between "independent" groups and campaigns in previous elections.

There are obviously funding connections, but in terms of messages, timing and other coordination, the liability is too high. If you've ever known any experienced campaign operatives, you'd know they avoid putting themselves into this kind of a jackpot.

That's not the kind of campaign Obama is running. How is McCain's campaign holding truer to the principle behind public financing?

Too much Kool-Ade, bad for the brain. There will be 527 ads from the left. They've already announced their plans. There will also probably be 527 ads from the right. There were 527 ads in prior elections, and no candidates used that as an excuse to back out of the public financing limits until Obama.

He did it because he wanted the money his huge donor base will give him. That's it. His pretext for breaking his promise on this was just that, a pretext. Anytime a candidate uses wiggle room, the point is to blur the lines between a lie and the truth.

John Stodder said...

Simon, our notes crossed in cyberspace.

However, please note that Trevor has defined it down to one debate. Obama can back out of the other two, and the VP debate, and apparently that would be okay.

Trevor Jackson said...

Simon, now I recall, we have been through this before. The difference is not in who spends the money, but what that money is spent on. Outside groups are freer to run nastier ads without bearing the stamp of the candidate. Obama says he's not running those and doesn't want outside groups running them either.

John said, "I've looked and can't find a single reference to this "pressure" Obama supposedly exerted. Can you help point us to this?"

John, I won't do your research for you. Obama told Media Matters (I'd incorrectly said MoveOn upthread, apologies) to shutter its 527 and direct its fund-raising toward his campaign to centralize the message.

John also said, "So Obama's rationalization is based on something McCain hasn't yet done in response to something that hasn't happened yet?"

It has happened, though admittedly it wasn't a 527. Before his decision to forego public financing, the North Carolina Republican party ran an attack ad that McCain either a) was too weak to get pulled despite his protestations or b) didn't want pulled. Either way, Obama could see what was headed his direction.

Trevor Jackson said...

"Trevor has defined it down to one debate."

Jesus. Really? This is how you want to play it, John? I said "if he tries to back out of a single debate" meaning that if he tries to get out of EVEN ONE debate, then I'll accept Simon's premise. Sorry to be unclear.

I definitively, unequivocally, and for all times forever and ever amen, hereby affirm that I meant ANY debate, not ONLY one.

Mortimer Brezny said...

There is nothing wrong with this clip of Obama. And the notion that Obama's penis is smaller than John McCain's is ridiculous if we're resorting to juvenile caricatures and racial stereotypes.

Trevor Jackson said...

Credit where it's due, it looks like the FEC is set to side with McCain that he didn't break the rules by promising to take and then opting out of public financing in the primary.

Still looks pretty shady to me. Bu that's the side of the fence I sit on.

Trevor Jackson said...

One more thing before I pack up my toys and leave the sandbox, this article by James Fallows in the Atlantic on the primary debates is lengthy but relevant and interesting. Obama has no need to dodge the debates with McCain.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What FactCheck.org doesn't address is the fact that John McCain is exerting no pressure on 527 groups to avoid running the smear ads and negative attacks he'll get to later disavow. Obviously, legally, he can't have formal connection

Wow! Imagine that John McCain is abiding by the campaign laws by not having any connection with or influence over 527 groups. That sneaky bastard!

As to the so called debates. The dog and pony shows we have now with media talking heads laughingly moderating resembles a true debate as much as a paper mache banana resembles the real thing. What we have now are loaded questions from partisan hacks and the candidates respond with canned talking points and memorized speeches. There is no debating.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

John, I won't do your research for you. Obama told Media Matters (I'd incorrectly said MoveOn upthread, apologies) to shutter its 527 and direct its fund-raising toward his campaign to centralize the message.

See....this explains why Trevor doesn't understand the concept of debate. If you bring up a point or make a statement in a debate, you need to be able to back your points up with facts.

It isn't incumbent on the other side to run out and do research on a flaming nugget you dropped into the debate. Although a really good debate team will have already been prepared for your flaming nugget and have rebuttal ready. (Debate team captian in college. Fun times. Arguing and getting graded on it.)

Fen said...

Well, Simon certainly has made me revisit my definition of patience. And here I thought I had gotten that down. Nice bit of swordwork, boss.

blake said...

So, MM, what demographic do you imagine underinflates tires, shuns sweaters and delights in using inefficient bulbs (or other appliances for that matter)?

Me. I love it. I consider it my birthright!

I've been hearing all my life about how America uses 25% of all the world's energy (or some other crap, misleading statistic) and I say we keep it up.

If China and India start stepping up, then we need to use that much more. Burn lights all the time. Set your A/C to 58 and your heaters to 90. I don't care if you're uncomfortable: You have a responsibility as a patriotic American to keep us #1!

John Stodder said...

It has happened, though admittedly it wasn't a 527. Before his decision to forego public financing, the North Carolina Republican party ran an attack ad that McCain either a) was too weak to get pulled despite his protestations or b) didn't want pulled. Either way, Obama could see what was headed his direction.

Yeah, you left the impression it was a 527 ad in the presidential campaign, when in fact it was a state party ad regarding that state's gubernatorial campaign. It's laughable to call McCain "too weak" to get it withdrawn. Yes, he was too weak if by that you mean he doesn't have the authority to command every state Republican party, every county chapter, etc. etc. From that, you surmise he was lying, and actually liked the ad and wanted to keep it going. You probably forgot that not only did he attack the ad--which played off the Rev. Wright controversy-- but he was attacked by other Republicans including Rush Limbaugh for having taken a stand against that ad.

You've already made it clear, though, that being called on such insignificant details annoys you.

If it was me (and I'm not even a Republican), I'd order up plenty of ads about Rev. Wright. Totally fair game. Hillary should've gone there. The fact that Obama took his children week after week to listen to this hate-mongering conspiracy theorist is flat-out disturbing. But I'm sure you have a good, Obama-approved explanation for that, too.

Cedarford said...

Brian O'Connell - The thing about that black preacher cadence is that it's always phony. Those preachers don't talk like that around the breakfast table, for instance. But for most of them (and the likes of Sharpton and Jackson), it's a long-standing tradition, so they're authentically phony. With Obama, it seems too studied and a bit out of place. He's inauthentically phony.

But many whites on the left don't seem to recognize that. And for them, black authenticity is as cool as Whole Foods.


Brian makes a very good point. Black politicians aping MLK's "black preacher-speak" are as phony as white politicians like Gary Hart, John Kerry, Ed Markey, Joe Biden - who at times in their careers deliberately affected JFK speaking and gesture mannerisms. Even coached and reviewed on his practice to give a JFK laugh (Gary Hart.

Liberal whites are ignorant of the fact that real black preachers don't talk that way outside the pulpit or, with the race-baiting hucksters like Jesse Jackson and Sharpton, away from TV cameras.

Liberal whites are also damaged because they are brought up and indoctrinated in school to have uncritical admiration for Saint Martin Luther King (school lessons all set on ignoring his considerable downside) - and uncritical admiration for other blacks who they are told are more accomplished and have higher moral authority than standout historical white figures of the same eras. Especially the Civil Rights "Gods". Plus well-meaning historical revisionism declaring that the Tuskagee Airmen were the greatest flyers ever, Harriet Tubman of more consequence than General Sherman, and the Japanese-Americans of the 442nd Reservist Division the greatest fighters of WWII.

Now, once young people emerge from that indoctrination, many realize that the real world is different than the one they were pedagoguely coached to believe in. The remnants are the liberals, who seek a reality they can believe in, rather than the reality that is.

Thus, when Obama orates in the voice of a black preacher, affluent young white liberals instantly assign high moral authority, being right, and being a Great Man, even a new Black Messiah to him. That is how they were taught.

They did the same thing when Jesse ran, until his grievance politics wearied everyone. But in the beginning, when Rev Jackson was in full preacher-speak, white guilt-tripping mode, he had a considerable pack of deleriously happy wealthy young Jews and WASPs hanging on his every word.

With Obama, Chicago reporters and others familiar with him say he spoke normally in speeches and didn't ape Rev Wright or Jesse until around 1998.

Middle Class Guy said...

The remnants are the liberals, who seek a reality they can believe in, rather than the reality that is.


Cedarford, that is one of the most intelligent things I have ever seen you post here.


As to Jesse, he not only had Whites eating out of the palm of his hand, he was boinking quite a few White women. They say that a room in Adlai Stevensons home in Libertyville, Illinois was called the Jackson Bedroom.

Adlai always had aspirations of being President.

PatCA said...

Camille,
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.