Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

I think a lot of conservatives' otherwise puzzling support for Barack Obama's presidential campaign can be explained for the most part by those conservatives' opposition to the Iraq war. See, e.g., Andrew Sullivan and Doug Kmiec. So I'll offer them a long bet: If Obama wins and pulls all US combat troops out of Iraq by the end of June 2010, they win. If Obama wins and there’s 50,000 or more US combat troops in Iraq at the end of December 2010, I win. Anything in the middle and bet's off. Deal?


The press is focused on where all that [Bill and Hillary Clinton] money ($109 million) came from. Fair enough. But where did it all go? This seems like a genuine mystery. It's not as if the Clinton's live especially lavishly, or own huge estates. It's not like Bill has to pay for all his hotels and travel. The Clintons only gave about $44 million to the IRS and to charities (including their own). Where's the rest of it? If it's all invested, what is it invested in? Green companies pursuing sustainable growth and living wages? Or hedge funds seeking the highest returns? And assuming it's invested, what are they going to do with it later?


In a close race, [William] Kristol comforts his fellow conservatives, that "dash of Harvard disease" could be the difference.

Comparing Obama, a once-in-a-lifetime political talent, to the clueless Carter and lead-footed Dukakis, is grasping at straws and expecting an electorate, panicky about the economy and worn out by the war, to find McCain's version of Bush Lite irresistible borders on the delusional.

Between now and November, Democrats have hard work to do to assure retaking the White House, but overcoming Obama's Harvardness is not high on the list. After all, the voters didn't hold George W. Bush's Yale background against him, and he proved that a President's college education is no measure of how he will do in office.


The wounds inflicted on Barack Obama by the hateful speech of his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, are serious and profound. Why else would ministers gather at Obama's church in Chicago—Trinity United Church of Christ—to hold a news conference demanding a 'sacred' national dialogue on race?

"Sacred?" Or "scared?"


John McCain has two advantages over Barack Obama. Whereas Barack has only one spiritual advisor, John has three, two of whom say nuttier things than Jeremiah Wright, Barrack Obama’s pastor ever thought of and one of whom is dead. The three of them are, however, supporting a Republican and thus, based on the silence from the right, one can only conclude their comments need no explanation. That may be because their sort of nuttiness is indigenous to a party whose biggest present to the United States in the 21st Century is George W. Bush.


The persistent weakness of American liberalism is its fixation with rights and procedures at any cost to efficiency and common sense. Democrats' reluctance to push Clinton out of the race is the perfect expression of that delicate sensibility.


A few days ago, Obama again told reporters that he'd like to give Al Gore a "major role" in his administration—something climate-related. Yes, Obama's angling for an endorsement, etc. etc. but I wonder . . . Every so often, like at last December's NPR debate, Obama sends off signals that he wants to make energy and climate change the centerpiece of his domestic-policy agenda if he gets elected. By contrast, it seems likely that Clinton would make health care her top priority. I'm sifting through tea leaves here, but that's my best guess.


Historian Sean Wilentz:

These arguments [that Obama is winning] might be compelling if Obama's leads were not so reliant on certain eccentricities in the current Democratic nominating process, as well as on some blatantly anti-democratic maneuvers by the Obama campaign.

Basketball Analyst Sean Wilentz:

Well, look, it's true that by most objective metrics Kansas beat North Carolina. But, the Jayhawks' lead was only made possible by certain eccentricities in college basketball scoring. For instance, shots from a sufficient distance back are awarded three points rather than two. This seems unfair. The teams should never have agreed beforehand that these shots would count for three points. Thus, if you take all the threes that Kansas hit and make them all two, then it's a much different story.


I spent the last few days at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago Illinois. . . . One of the book publishers had a couple of dishes of Hershey’s Kisses by their display, one marked “Clinton” and the other marked “Obama”. The Obama one was consistently emptier than the Clinton one.


Cartoon by Gary Varvel/Indianapolis Star

No comments: