Monthly Archives: February 2008

Quote Of The Day: Sending Shivers Down My Spine Edition

Michelle Obama at UCLA:

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.


You have to stay at the seat at the table of democracy with a man like Barack Obama not just on Tuesday but in a year from now, in four years from now, in eights years from now, you will have to be engaged.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

H/T: The Crossed Pond

Are Americans Tired Of Individual Liberty ?

David Strom asks the question at Town Hall:

Liberty has always been a tougher sell than many of us assume. We all want the freedom to do as we like, but few of us are as committed to allowing others to act contrary to our notion of right and wrong. Majorities have always sought and often found ways to impose their views upon minorities. The most vocal minorities have often been successful in imposing their will on the majority, at least for a time.

So there is nothing new about threats to Individual liberty being a daily part of our lives. What is new is that the institutional barriers to regulating our daily lives have effectively broken down. It took a Constitutional Amendment to pass prohibition of alcohol (and repeal it). Who today expects a Constitutional fight over smoking, obesity, trans-fats, or any of the myriad personal issues now under the purview of government control?

America was founded on the belief that government power should be strictly limited, because the alternative to limited power was unlimited power. The framers of the Constitution were rightly concerned that without strict institutional barriers to the expansion of government powers there would eventually be no barriers at all. Power, in any form, longs to be absolute.

Unfortunately, the concept of limited government is becoming an anachronism in today’s America.

As Strom points out, the history of America over the past year has been replete with increases in the size and scope of government, but it’s happened in a way that will make dismantling Leviathan difficult:

Americans have made a bargain with the devil. Dispensing with the idea of limited government in realm of benefits has meant dispensing with the idea of any limits to government power at all. Once we accept the notion that government should ensure that our pursuit of happiness succeeds, we have accepted the notion that government has the right to define what a happy life should look like.

We can call this trend the encroachment of the “nanny state,” which it is, or the spread of “liberal fascism,” which it also is. But it is also the inevitable result of Americans’ increasing desire to have government guarantee that more and more aspects of our lives turn out all right.

Which is why there’s really only one way to tackle the state:

Limiting government power requires limiting the benefits that government can bestow upon us, and right now that seems a bridge too far for some Americans.

The question is, absent a crisis that brings the whole system crashing down around itself (and, for many reasons I don’t think waiting for an Atlas Shrugged-type collapse makes sense), how do we convince the American people that the state is not their friend ?

H/T: Virginia Virtucon

Open Thread: Is Obama Really JFK v2.0?

There have been more than a few comparisons between Barack Obama and JFK, many of them originating in the Kennedy family. JFK, of course, is one of the most-loved American presidents, but when you look at the record, you find yourself wondering exactly what he accomplished. JFK was known for many things, and for diffusing the Cuban Missile Crisis, he deserves some credit, but his presidency was largely ineffective. Whether that was due to it being cut short when he was assassinated is debatable, but you can’t really debate the fact that he didn’t accomplish much until then.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the parallels between JFK and Barack Obama, and this comment really gave me impetus to post:

What needs to happen is educated and experienced people, people with expertise in all the relevant areas need to get on board so we get some solid brainpower behind this bus of excitement. Someone who was president of Harvard Law review is exactly the sort of person we want driving a brain train towards a smarter government.

From what I’ve seen of Obama, he’s a very smart individual. And when you listen to his rhetoric, he does remind one of JFK*. Obama’s full of high-minded speeches and high-minded ideals, and is the sort that can inspire people regardless of his ability to back it up. JFK was the same, and he really inspired the generation of the time. He was clearly seen as the fresh face who had the new “big ideas” and the wonderful charisma. When you look at JFK’s cabinet, he was nowhere short of brain power in his government. And yet we still had the Bay of Pigs and the big run-up towards Vietnam. At the same time, we had a basically ineffectual Presidency that didn’t really get anything done. All the charisma and the smarts in the world didn’t actually lead to positive results.

Obama could quite easily scour the university ranks and get an average IQ in his cabinet well above MENSA qualification. But will something like that actually work? While I have no desire to see Obama get anything done, will his administration largely bumble through the process of leadership simple due to the fact that he’s a thinker, not a doer?

In general, though, this is a question for you history buffs. Where do you see similarities between Obama and JFK, both for good or for ill?
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The Cult Of Barack Obama

The Obamagasm phenomenon apparently knows no bounds:

BALTIMORE — Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings has held elected office for more than a quarter-century, so he’s seen his fair share of politicians come and go.

But apparently he’s never seen one quite like Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

“This is not a campaign for president of the United States, this is a movement to change the world,” he said as he introduced Obama last week in Baltimore.

“You do not get 13,000 people in this auditorium with a campaign.”

True, perhaps, but at some point it becomes necessary to ask why this is happening, and what it means for our political system.

But Cummings is mild in his praise compared to some people:

“He walks into a room and you want to follow him somewhere, anywhere,” George Clooney told talk show host Charlie Rose.

“I’ll do whatever he says to do,” actress Halle Berry said to the Philadelphia Daily News. “I’ll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear.”

Really Halle ? You’d do anything he asked you to ? I don’t use Nazi analogies often or lightly, but that is precisely the kind of thing that people thought about Adolf Hitler during his rise to power. It’s the reason that people went to Guyana with Jim Jones. It’s the reason they burned to death with David Koresh. And, it’s the reason they continue to give tons of money to religious hucksters.

I don’t take back my decision to vote for Barack Obama in Virginia’s primary; in the end, it was a vote directed more against Hillary Clinton and what kind of America she would create than it was a vote for him anyway. However, I’ve got to admit to having serious misgivings about the cult of personality that has arisen around Barack Obama.

It truly seems like people aren’t thinking, or don’t even care to think about what he might do as President because they’ve fallen in love with his slogans and they seem to believe, as Michelle Obama said last week, that only he can “save our souls.”

I addressed that issue yesterday and the words ring even truer in light of stuff like this:

Barack Obama isn’t going to “save our souls.” No President can save our souls, assuming we even have them. No one man is essential to the future of our nation, but listening to what Michelle Obama, and other Obama supporters say, one gets the clear implication that they believe that Barack Obama is some sort of political savior.

It’s the same sort of attitude I’ve noticed from some Ron Paul supporters, who have said in comments and on the Internet that freedom and America are doomed if Ron Paul is not elected President.

Assertions like this are not only wrong, they’re dangerous. Once you start putting that much faith in a political leader that is a flawed human being just like the rest of us, it really does become the cult of personality that some people have started talking about in connection with Barack Obama.

Whenever I hear any American saying that they’d “do anything” a politician says, like Halle Berry does (and I think she accurately reflects what many other Obama supporters believe), it scares me to death. Leaders like that are not good for America, and they’re not good for liberty.

Wisconsin/Hawaii/Washington Primary Postmortem And Wednesday Open Thread

With the last major primaries before March 4th behind us, the race on both sides is looking clearer and clearer.


As James Joyner notes, this is the easy one. As expected, John McCain won handily in Wisconsin and Washington and, more importantly, he has cut significantly into Mike Huckabee’s core support areas.

As of now, according to RealClearPolitics, here’s how the delegates seem to pan out:

  1. John McCain — 960 delegates
  2. Mike Huckabee — 245 delegates
  3. Ron Paul — 14 delegates

This doesn’t include any of Mitt Romney’s 273 delegates, which are likely to go for McCain at the convention. But he’s not going to need them. Right now, McCain only needs 231 delegates to clinch the nomination and he’ll get those by the time we’re done talking about Texas and Ohio in March. The Republican race is for, all intents and purposes, over. Ron Paul is down in TX-14 concentrating on his Congressional re-election, and Mike Huckabee just needs to get the heck out of the race:

Huckabee should have graciously withdrawn one week ago, when he was unable to capitalize on his Super Tuesday wins. That he was still in the race last Monday is understandable, that he remained on Wednesday, questionable.

If he keeps on in the next round of primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont, he simply looks obdurate. More than that, collared with four more contested losses, he risks negating all the good he’s done himself as a national figure in this year’s election process. It takes only one loss too many for a candidate to become Stassenized, a candidate so obsessed with running that they become irrelevant, the worst fate that can befall a politician.

The funny thing is that, even if he drops out now, Mike Huckabee has damaged himself, perhaps fatally, for the future by not taking the high road like Mitt Romney did.


Things are murkier on the Democratic side, but it’s still pretty clear that Barack Obama is now perhaps two weeks away from being the inevitable Democratic nominee for President.

Here’s the RCP delegate count:

  1. Barack Obama — 1,354 total delegates (1,185 pledged delegates, 169 superdelegates)
  2. Hillary Clinton — 1,263 total delegates (1,024 pledged delegates, 239 superdelegates)

Clinton continues to lead in most polls in Texas and Ohio, but those leads are slipping and they’re likely to slip some more now that Obama has one ten primaries in a row and shown that he can win the votes of groups that Clinton counted on as hers.

As Mark Daniels notes, there’s really only one way this can play out:

[O]nly a collective decision on the part of the Democrats’ superdelegates to ignore the verdicts of primary and caucus voters this election season, the political equivalent of drinking Jonestown Cool-aid, would result in a Clinton nomination. In order for the superdelegates to go for Clinton in a big way and deny Obama the nomination he’s earning, she will have to roll up massive majorities here in Ohio and in Texas in two weeks. Unless Obama self-destructs, that won’t happen.

Obama has a decent chance of winning Ohio and, given how Texas allocates delegates, Hillary could win that state and still not walk away with a big margin of delegates. It’s starting to look inevitable, which tells me that the Clinton’s are going to get desperate, and we’re going to see them go negative in a way that makes South Carolina seem like a church social.

It won’t work. Hillary’s toast.

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