Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bill Clinton admits Obama doesn't have a clue

Speaking yesterday in Florida, the former president explained the process Obama went through in responding to the country's financial crisis:
First he took a little heat for not saying much. I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers – he talked to my economic advisers, he called Hillary. He called me. He called Warren Buffet. He called all those people, you know why? Because he knew it was complicated and before he said anything he wanted to understand.
Obama didn't understand the issues, so he called Bill and Hillary Clinton? Wow. And the Democrats thought they were getting rid of the Clintons...

Choosing between drowning two children or 100

That's the hypothetical comparison that Randy Alcorn uses to explain why he will vote for John McCain:
Suppose in the town you live in, there’s a lake where, for the last thirty-five years, children have been taken by parents to be drowned. Say that every day 100 children are brought to this lake.

As a town citizen, you are presented with two candidates for mayor. (You can vote for a third party, but clearly one of these two candidates will be elected.) One candidate publicly states that he believes the right thing is that the children not be brought to that lake. They should be allowed to live, except the one or two conceived by rape. By longstanding town law the 100 daily drownings are all legal, and the mayor can’t change the law. However, this mayoral candidate has publicly stated that the law should be changed, and he hopes to appoint judges who help that happen, so that 98 or 99 of the 100 children would live rather than die.

Now, the deaths of those one or two children conceived by rape should rightly disturb you. And if until now zero children had been killed at the lake, it would be evil to vote for a man willing for one or two to be legally drowned. But for thirty-five years, 100 children have been killed there each day. This man is trying to move the town in the right direction, even though he has stopped just short of a 100% reversal. No additional children will be killed if his position were in place, because those one or two children would have been killed anyway under existing law. But 98 or 99 a day would be rescued from the death they will face if his position isn’t put in place.

The other mayoral candidate believes that not one of those 100 children chosen for drowning by their parents should be rescued. He believes that the doctors holding them under the water should be allowed to do this. He is prochoice about the drowning of children. In the last twenty years there have been some limited prolife measures voted in by townspeople that have made it more difficult to drown children, saving some lives. But this candidate has promised to sign a bill that would remove all those restrictions. He would invalidate the requirement that doctors explain to parents what it means to drown a child. He would invalidate the law that requires grandparents to be notified if their children are going to drown their grandchildren.

In fact, this man has said of his own daughters, “If they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.” He would support their right to hire a doctor to drown their babies, his grandchildren, in the lake. And he promises the town’s legal drowning organization, which makes considerable money by drowning children, that he will only appoint town judges who are in favor of the legalized-child-drowning laws.

Now here is our moral dilemma. Our next mayor will either be the 98%-don’t-drown-the-children candidate OR the 100%-drown-all-children-whose-parents-don’t-want-them candidate.

We could write in someone who has no chance of winning. It would be a protest vote, showing we don’t totally agree with either candidate. However, if others who believe all babies deserve to live do this same thing, the result will be that the 98% prolife candidate can’t win, and the 0% prolife candidate will be our mayor.

If you vote for the candidate in favor of saving 98 babies, it could be argued that you would be voting for the lesser of evils, since killing one or two children is evil. But after all these years of child-killing, you see the opportunity—if the 98% prolife mayor takes office and makes those prolife court appointments, countless future children’s lives could be saved. It’s not certain, but it’s a real possibility. And what is certain is this: if the candidate in favor of legalized child-killing wins the election, due to his agreement to remove any of the town’s existing child-killing restrictions, more children will die who wouldn’t have if the other candidate takes office.
Just in case it's not obvious: John McCain will work to save 98 children from being drowned (i.e. aborted), his exceptions being when the child is conceived as a result of rape or incest, or when the mother's life is in danger. (Yes, that's right -- rape, incest or life-threatening conditions make up about 2 percent of "drownings.")

Barack Obama will ensure that the parents of those 98 children (as well as those of two neighbors) are allowed to plunge their children beneath the surface of the lake in order to extinguish their short lives. Without exception.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Banned by Bogdanski

For whatever reason, Portland blogger Jack Bogdanski has decided that he will delete any comment I make on his site.

On a previous post around the time Sarah Palin was introduced, he deleted my comment about abortion and said he did so because he wasn't sure if what I wrote was accurate (it was, but I don't think that's really the issue here). I'd argue that 1) If it's not accurate, it would be better to let his army of lefties show where I'm wrong; and 2) I somehow doubt he holds the same standard for his friends on the left.

But that's fine -- it's his site and he can do what he wants with it.

However, the point I made on yesterday's post was that John McCain is hardly unique among presidential candidates making stump-speech gaffes. Take this video, for instance:

To Jack, if he notices my link to his site: I enjoy your writing, and I'm sorry you're not willing to allow viewpoints that vary from your own.

To my friends on the right -- please don't take this as an opportunity to bash Jack. We don't need to stoop to that level, no matter what the other side may say.

Lord, let me see You as more than a Bic lighter

I meant to link to this prayer from Tony Woodlief, but got caught up in the day's to-do list. Which is yet more evidence that I need to pray this prayer multiple times a day.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us – sinners all.

We confess that you are rarely what we most desire, though your desire for us led you to a cross atop Golgotha. We want cleaner homes, better clothes, spouses more attentive to our needs. We want children who will sit still in church, and hymns that suit our tastes. We want our pastors to speak to our needs, rather than lead us in worshipping you. We want the driver in front of us to go faster, and the one behind us to slow down. We want jobs we enjoy, and family who won’t ask us for money.

Sometimes we want more righteousness, or more personal purity, or a better prayer life. We seek religious virtue, Lord, but we do not seek your Cross. We are afraid of what you will ask of us should we seek that Cross, and so we make you smaller and tamer. We make you an intellectual puzzle, or an emotional experience. You are an all-consuming Fire, and we have turned you into a Bic lighter.

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

Forgive us that we approach your Holy Word like we already understand you.

Forgive us that we pray when it’s convenient, that we talk too much and listen too little.

Forgive us when we seek the company of those who please us, rather than those who need us.

Forgive us that we have sullied your name by attaching it to political ideologies and national pride.

Forgive us when we hold ourselves above our brothers and sisters because they are Baptists, or Catholics, or Orthodox; because they plan to vote for Obama; because their children are in public schools; because they do trick-or-treat or they don’t trick-or-treat or because they only pass out those butterscotch candies that nobody really likes.

Forgive us that we see unrighteousness everywhere but in our own mirrors.

Oh Lord, we are a country founded in rebellion, and we have fallen into grave sin. We have made greed a virtue. We have borrowed until there is no grain left in the storehouse, and now we throw the costs onto our children and grandchildren. We have cultivated a hyper-sexualized culture. We allow our children to reach their teens without knowing how to behave like men and women. We have sanctioned the murder of millions of unborn children.

Amidst all this, we have the gall to proclaim this God’s most favored nation. We boast, oh Lord, when we should tremble.

If you, oh Lord, would count our iniquities against us, who could stand? We are shot through with sin, as a nation, a city, a church, as individuals. But you are faithful where we are faithless, and you have promised that when we confess, and repent, and lay hold of your Cross, that you will cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

So we praise you, Lord. Thine, oh Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and the earth is Thine. Thine, oh Lord, is the kingdom, and Thou art exalted above all.

We praise you and we beg your mercy, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Obama thought of the day

Assuming President-elect Obama serves his entire first term, he will have been president of the United States longer than he has held any steady job.

(HT: Mark Steyn, repeating the observation of David Warren)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bill Ayers' organization wanted to kill 25 million Americans

You know Bill Ayers? He's the one who has been buddies with Barack Obama for more than a decade. Oh, President-elect Obama has denied it, but there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Anyway, Ayers was the leader of an organization called Weather Underground that, it's recently been revealed, wanted to murder 25 million Americans because they were unrepentent capitalists.

Twenty-five million Americans. That's like setting off simultaneous nuclear bombs in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, and Portland.

That's the judgment you're getting in your new president.



Bill Sizemore is a liability

If there's any question about whether Bill Sizemore has a continuing and effective role in the Oregon initiative process, that question should be put to rest by the kerfuffle between the Oregon Education Association and the folks supporting Measure 65 on the November ballot.

According to the Oregonian's Steve Duin, the OEA sent a mailer to its members urging them to vote against eight ballot measures (including Measure 65) on the ballot because they're sponsored by "Bad Penny Bill." Never mind that Sizemore is only the chief sponsor of five measures (58, 59, 60, 63 and 64).

Measure 65 is the Open Primaries bill sponsored by former Oregon secretaries of state Phil Keisling and Norma Paulus, and when they found out that the OEA listed their measure as a Sizemore creation, they went into damage control overdrive.

"Linking us to Sizemore is blatantly false, cynical and offensive," Keisling said. "I can't believe OEA's political bosses are so afraid of losing power that they would knowingly lie and mislead their own members."

He added, "Don't tell me this isn't intentional and designed to denigrate. It's as intentional a deception as anything I've seen in 20 years."

Those comments from Keisling should tell you everything you need to know about Sizemore and his ability to effect change in the state's political process. From the position of the M65 supporters, Sizemore's name is such poison in Oregon politics that they had to nip this in the bud. Immediately.

And we know the position of the OEA -- there's not an ad that comes out from them that doesn't show an unhappy, shady Bill Sizemore and trumpet his name as the malevolent force causing the OEA to spend millions more of its member dues to fight off this assault. If you don't think the OEA has polling data showing that evoking Sizemore's name causes an immediate and significant drop in favorability, think again.

Yes, Sizemore has had a few victories, and he's forced the legislature to deal with issues it would rather have ignored. But really, has the legislature's attempt at appeasement in, say, the Measure 37 re-write resulted in anything positive for center-right Oregonians?

And his attempts at targeting the union crowd have backfired. Badly. Yes, he's forced the unions to spend tens of millions of their dollars to defeat him, but big whoop. That's like taking a cookie from a toddler, but leaving the full cookie jar open nearby -- there's plenty more where that came from. He's also been credited with bringing out enough union voters to elect Bill Bradbury for secretary of state. And we see how well that's worked out, especially in the redistricting process.

When we see how badly Keisling and Paulus want to distance themselves from Bill Sizemore, it's clear that Sizemore is a liability to his own causes. At just 57 years old, Sizemore still has many more productive years ahead of him. They should be in something other than politics.



Thursday, October 23, 2008

She shoots, she scores

I've been following the race in House District 26 with detached interest, as I don't live that far from the district, and the revelations of Matt Wingard's child abuse accusations have kept it in the news.

After those revelations, I fully expected the Democrats to ride the issue to victory. Then I saw their ad, which revealed the depths to which the Dems would dumpster-dive to win a seat.

And finally, today at Northwest Republican, I saw a letter from Wingard's ex-wife responding to the Dems' ad. (The letter is on the home page of Wingard's website. Surprisingly enough, I can't find the Dems' ad on the website of Wingard's opponent, Jessica Adamson; that, combined with Adamson's decision to stand behind the ad, should tell you a lot about the Dems' attack machine and Adamson's role in it.)

I thought the Dems' ad was devastating, if slimy, but this letter is devastating in its own right. Like Coyote, I won't retype the whole thing, but this is the part that made me think, "Ouch, that's gotta hurt Adamson":
Democrat Jessica Adamson cynically claims that "as a mother.." she believes that she can use my son to politically smear his father. By using my son as a political tool Mrs. Adamson proves she has a morally flawed view of motherhood that, I believe, disqualifies her for any public office.
And the conclusion:
This has been a horrible situation for my family caused by political operatives who do not care about our family or yours. Please do not reward Jessica Adamson for what has been the nastiest campaign I have ever seen.
...caused by political operatives who do not care about our family or yours. Including, the letter says, an Oregonian reporter.

The Dems are banking on the idea that Wingard's bad decision six years ago will leave a mark on Wingard's son and on Wingard's political future. This letter from the mother of Wingard's son makes it apparent that the mark may be on Jessica Adamson and her sleazy Democratic colleagues.

We'll find out in 12 days.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I was wrong

A year and a half ago, Gordon Smith decided that we should pull our troops out of Iraq by the end of the summer.

When he cast that vote, I wrote that I could no longer support him as a United States Senator, and that he would not receive my vote in the 2008 election.

That was stupid, and I was wrong. Call me a squish, or inconsistent, or hypocritical, or whatever label you want, but I'm changing my mind. I will vote for Gordon Smith in the 2008 election. I may disagree with Gordon Smith on some things, but he is more conservative than not, and his opponent will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.

Actually, I'm not changing my mind so much as I'm reverting to my usual philosophy, which is one of pragmatism.

Politics is never a game in which someone is always right or always wrong (although some are more right than others), and you certainly don't get such black-and-white choices on the ballot. You (or at least I) vote for the person who is closest to my position and has a chance to win.

This is why I voted for Ron Saxton instead of Mary Starrett, because Ron Saxton could get a plurality of the vote and Mary Starrett could not. And it also means I voted for Ron Saxton instead of not voting, because that would give another advantage to Ted Kulongoski, who I definitely did not support.

It means I will vote for John McCain instead of Chuck Baldwin or Bob Barr, because John McCain can get a plurality of the vote. And it also means I will vote for John McCain instead of not voting, because that gives another advantage to Barack Obama, who I definitely do not support.

And it means I will vote for Gordon Smith instead of Dave Brownlow, because Gordon Smith can get a plurality of the vote. And it also means I will vote for Gordon Smith instead of not voting, because that gives another advantage to Jeff Merkley, who I definitely do not support.

Above, I said that I disagree with Gordon Smith on some things, and I will continue to communicate those disagreements with him. On his decision to pull our troops out of Iraq, I told him that if he went through with that vote, I could not support his re-election. Now that I'm changing that decision, I acknowledge the downside -- that any similar future threat will not mean much.

But I also have to ask: how often would Jeff Merkley and I agree, and how likely would he be to change his mind when I disagreed with him? If I agree with Gordon Smith 80 percent of the time and with Jeff Merkley 20 percent of the time, which is better?

As Ronald Reagan is said to have uttered, "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor." That applies to Gordon Smith.

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Waiting for Mr. Wu

Two years ago, U.S. Rep. David Wu came to my front door with the woman who is now my state senator to ask for my vote.

Even though it was in the middle of a Duck football game, I gave them credit for making the effort, even though I had no intention of supporting either. But among the arguments they made in their favor, Mr. Wu advocated in favor of a Democrat-led Congress because it wasn't healthy for the nation to have the legislative and executive branches controlled by the same party.

Fast forward to 2008. The Democrats control Congress, and will likely have bigger majorities in both chambers. Their candidate for president appears likely to win the White House.

In order to avoid a situation where the Democrats control both branches, I look forward to hearing that Mr. Wu is going to vote for John McCain.

Think it will happen?

Me neither.



Friday, October 10, 2008

Local blogger's questions on Obama

I was perusing my Site Meter this morning and came across a new blog: Man of Depravity. It's a mix of politics and faith, which always attracts my attention.

But what really got my attention was today's post talking about negative campaigning, and asking specifically about Barack Obama's association with Bill Ayers. Tyler wrote:

Here are a couple of my questions on this story:

  • Why did McCain wait this long to push this story? Why didn’t Clinton push it?
  • If Ayers is truly a threat and makes Obama a dangerous candidate, how is he still a US citizen not in jail and also working as a professor at a state college?

(These questions aren’t to minimize the importance of the story. They aren’t even to say that I’m not troubled by any connection Obama might have with this man. I know my questions make me sound liberal…I’m just trying to read between the lines of why this is or isn’t a big deal. They are questions not statements.)

It was a good reminder to me that there are plenty of people out there who don't follow politics like I do, and they can be reached with the truth. I hope I was truthful (though I acknowledge relying on others to report truthfully) when I answered with the following:
Why did McCain wait? A great question. I don't fully understand that either, but I think part of it is the press corps' reluctance to dig into the story, so the facts are still coming out.

Why is Ayers not in jail? Because the federal investigation was botched and the case thrown out. In response, what did Ayers say about himself? "Guilty as hell. Free as a bird. America is a great country."

Why is he a professor at a state college? Have you been on the campus of a state college anytime in the last 30 years?

The red flag in this case is that this is one of several Obama associations that are questionable.

Yes, Obama was 8 years old when Ayers bombed the Capitol and planned (but failed) to detonate a nail-filled bomb at an Army base social.

But Obama was 34 years old when Obama launched his political career in a social gathering in Ayers' home. And he was 37 years old when Ayers and his wife said they didn't do enough bombing. And Obama's story keeps changing. I met him in his living room (would you host a political event in your living room with someone you didn't know?). I met him at a lunch meeting about school reform. He was just a guy who lived in my neighborhood.

Obama was 42 years old when Tony Rezko (who was on Obama's campaign finance committee and under federal investigation at the time) held a lavish fund raiser at the Rezko mansion for Obama. That was followed a year later by an agreement between Rezko's wife and the Obamas to purchase their current house at $1.65 million, which was $300,000 below market value. (Rezko has been convicted of extortion, bribery, money laundering and mail fraud; his sentencing has been postponed until -- surprise -- after the election.)

Obama was about 36 years old when he used his position on a charitable foundation to steer money to the Arab American Action Network, a group that holds the establishment of Israel as an illegitimate catastrophe and whose leader supports Palestinian terror attacks on Israeli military targets.

Obama was about 27 years old when (as he acknowledges in his book, Dreams From My Father) he heard controversial statements from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Wright's pulpit. He was 43 when he said he went to Wright's church "every Sunday." Twenty years later, he claims not to have heard such statements from Wright until they were brought to his attention by the press. And only then did he distance himself from Wright's church.

How do these associations reflect on Obama as president? There's no way to know that. But it's fair, I think, to ask whether Obama's choice of associates is a hint of the types of people and perspectives that will find their way into a presidential inner circle.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Obama's low bar: appearing plausible

From Rich Lowry's recap of the debate:
Obama, meanwhile, just has to appear plausible and he did. In fact, he's a kind of genius at appearing plausible. If the Nobel committee had a prize for appearing plausible, he'd win it every time. He carries himself with confidence, he never appears flustered, and he has mastered his material. If he's losing these debates on points (as I think he is), it doesn't matter. Every day the race drifts in the same direction it is now is a day he's closer to becoming president.
Which is essentially what I said last night. Never mind capability. Never mind judgment. Never mind experience. Barack Obama will be the next president because he simply has to appear plausible, and he's done that. The press will take care of the rest.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Liveblogging the second presidential debate: Obama wins

I was going to do a recap of each question, but this debate wasn't worth it.

John McCain is supposedly the King of the Town Hall Format, and I don't think he did badly, but Barack Obama's personal warmth made him equal to the task. As in the first debate, Obama did what he had to do: make it sound like he knows the issues, obscure the places where McCain tried to paint him into a liberal corner, and come across as a nice man. And he did.

And because of that, he won. Oh, McCain had his moments, and Obama had his slips, but McCain needed more than he showed.

In a few places along the way, McCain tried to use humor, and it mostly failed. For instance, the first words out of McCain's mouth were, "Good to be with you, Sen. Obama, at a town hall meeting." McCain supporters may know Obama ignored McCain's call for multiple town hall meetings during the campaign, so they may see that as a jibe at Obama. The rest of America missed it, or couldn't care less.

McCain tried to tie Obama to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as trumpeting his reformer creds (and somewhat effectively, I thought) but it doesn't matter what McCain says -- Obama just denies it, and the average undecided American has no idea who to believe.

McCain's strongest answer came when Tom Brokaw asked which of three issues (health care, energy and entitlement reform) would get the candidates' first attention. Obama said energy would be first, followed by health care and entitlements. McCain said we could do all three, and added, "We can attack health care and energy at the same time. I won't tell a person without health insurance, 'Sorry you have to wait.' "

Obama likes to talk about going through the budget "line by line," but seems to forget that the president doesn't have a line-item veto.

On the issue of national sacrifice, Obama outshone his opponent. McCain got distracted by earmarks, while Obama talked about leadership. Noting George Bush's call for Americans to shop after Sept. 11, he said, "That wasn't the call to service people were looking for. Americans are hungry for leadership that will tackle problems in and out of government." Now granted, he then went on to a laundry list, but I thought it was an effective slam at Bush (and by extension, McCain). Obama also did well to talk about setting the right example at the government level, and utilized his class warfare schtick to good effect as he talked about asking a school teacher to sacrifice while CEOs get tax breaks. BS, but effective.

Ooh, a commission to study Medicare. Big whoop.

McCain tried hard to highlight his work across party lines, bringing up the names of liberals like Russ Feingold and Diane Feinstein

McCain got some good shots in regarding Obama's intention to fine people who don't insure their employees or their children (and Obama, miraculously, agreed!), but Obama scored points by playing the sympathy card when his dying mother had to "argue" with insurers over her cancer.

McCain broke down into his campaign speeches for most of the foreign policy section, and lost several opportunities by rambling a bit.

*Obama's big slip: "If we could have intervened effectively in the holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in?" Um, Sen. Obama, we did intervene effectively. It was called World War II. Maybe you could ask Tom Brokaw about it. He wrote a book about it.

McCain's strongest foreign policy answer (even though he never really answered the original question) was on Israel. He said flat-out that we wouldn't wait for UN approval to send troops and that "at the end of the day, we can never allow a second holocaust to take place." Obama danced around the issue. No, we couldn't give the UN a veto (over our plans, I assumed he meant), but we'll talk Iran to death. If I was Israel, I know who I'd want in the White House.

The last question was silly, but the candidates' answers sillier. Obama used humor to his advantage, but McCain took advantage of his position as holder of the last word to show more emotion in 60 seconds than he had in the previous 89 minutes.

* Quote updated to reflect the transcript

Friday, October 03, 2008

The media and its selective gotcha moments

Why do conservatives feel there's a media double-standard regarding John McCain and Sarah Palin compared to anyone on the Democratic ticket? In an interview with CNN's John Roberts, Hugh Hewitt lays it out as well as I've heard:

I especially liked how he turned the tables on Roberts regarding Palin's sources of information, and it was clear to me that Roberts knew he got thumped and wanted to move on as quickly as possible.

Also telling was Hewitt's comparison of Joe Biden's gaffes to any similar statement by Palin. In this case, it was Biden's statement that President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to the American people via television at the beginning of the Great Depression, a statement that was factually untrue because (1) FDR wasn't president until 1932; and (2) Television wasn't available for such a format until the mid-1930s.

CNN's Roberts defended his network by saying that CNN mentioned that gaffe, but Hewitt responded:
John, it's not about mention. It's about the emphasis and the repetition. If Sarah Palin had said that FDR spoke on television as president in 1929, do you doubt for a moment, honestly, that it would have led every newspaper in America and would have dominated every media broadcast for three days?
And you know the answer to that rhetorical question.