Suzie-Q Fears a “Palin Theocracy”


Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In September she warned of a “Palin Theocracy.” Her article was published in the online newsletter CounterPunch, which Out of Bounds Magazine calls “America’s best political newsletter.” A ringing endorsement, maybe, but who reads Out of Bounds? Who even knows about it? I suppose it’s endorsed by CounterPunch as the best magazine of its kind. But I digress.

Suzie-Q is a pro-Obama blog that posted Cohn’s article to give it greater exposure. That’s where I first came across Ms. Cohn’s alarmist piece. (DigitizedRevolution also posted the article.)

Now, I don’t have a personal beef with Suzie-Q or the CounterPunch lads, or even with Marjorie Cohn. But I would like to know what Cohn actually means by “theocracy.” She never says. Her riffs are all about Palin’s religious beliefs, her views on abortion and other social issues, and her candid talk about such things. After yesterday’s Palin interview with James Dobson, Cohn probably has more to add to her list of grievances.

But what do they amount to? Whatever she means by the term, it’s clear that Marjorie Cohn doesn’t like theocracy. Is this because theocracy is incompatible with democracy? I would have thought so. But I can’t find anything in the evidence arrayed against Palin that remotely suggests she’s undemocratic.

On the other hand, if Cohn allows that theocracy, in the sense she has in mind, actually is compatible with democracy, then what precisely is her objection to Palin’s political philosophy?

If Cohn would speak plainly on this matter we might find that she and Sarah Palin agree—that theocracy in the sense so far undefined but envisioned by Marjorie Cohn is a bad thing. Or we might find that Cohn has a very muddled view about the nature of a theocracy, and perhaps even of a democracy.

Ms. Cohn may be president of the National Lawyers Guild. But this doesn’t indemnify her against the peculiar BlogLogic that we’ve explored and exposed in other posts at this blog.

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Ms. Cohn’s article is archived at her own website.

Is Obama Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion?


There is a difference between being pro-choice and being pro-abortion. In other words, “pro-choice” is not just a euphemism for “pro-abortion.” The pro-abortion position is far more extreme than the pro-choice position. I’ll refer you to an argument for that in a moment.

First let’s ask the question: Is presidential candidate Barack Obama pro-choice or pro-abortion? In his public statements he has said he is pro-choice and that no one is pro-abortion. If he didn’t know better, I’d say this is naive. But he does know better, and his own record and future policy plans demonstrate that Barack Obama is pro-abortion. In fact, he is pro-abortion in the extreme. He is pro-actively pro-abortion.

I must confess, I find it difficult to believe that any American has such extreme views and will do everything in his power to make them a matter of enforceable law. But a recent article by Princeton University Professor of Jurisprudence, Robert P. George, makes the case with compelling force. If Professor George is right, then Americans who plan to vote in this election need to consider this carefully before they make their presidential choice. I urge you to read “Obama’s Abortion Extremism” at your earliest opportunity.

Here is the opening paragraph in Professor George’s chilling expose:

Barack Obama is the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States. He is the most extreme pro-abortion member of the United States Senate. Indeed, he is the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress.

Near the end of his piece, Professor George writes:

In perhaps the most telling comment made by any candidate in either party in this election year, Senator Obama, when asked by Rick Warren when a baby gets human rights, replied: “that question is above my pay grade.” It was a profoundly disingenuous answer: For even at a state senator’s pay grade, Obama presumed to answer that question with blind certainty. His unspoken answer then, as now, is chilling: human beings have no rights until infancy – and if they are unwanted survivors of attempted abortions, not even then.

Some reading this post may be thinking . . .

  • ‘Pro-choice’ . . . ‘pro-abortion,’ whatever—it’s just semantics.
  • I’m not a single-issue voter, and Obama’s strengths in other areas trump his weakness on this point.
  • I believe Obama is honest and sincere and has no hidden agendas. The Princeton professor must be the one with a hidden agenda.
  • There may be a handful of Americans who are pro-abortion extremists, and this is abhorrent and disgusting; but there’s no way a United States Senator on the cusp of winning a presidential election could possibly be this extreme.
  • This is the first opportunity to elect a person of color to the highest office in our Republic, and I’m willing to take a chance on Obama because of this unprecedented opportunity.

I assure you, we are not talking semantics here.

I understand the single-issue concern. But there are two things to say in this case. First, Obama’s unprecedented extremism on abortion is so extreme that no good he could possibly achieve as president could compensate for the permanent damage of his pro-abortion policies—not only to the unborn and the newly-born, but to many health-care professionals and women. Second, this is not a single-issue issue at all. If successful, Obama’s plan will constrain fundamental human liberties for many besides the unborn and the newly-born. Obama’s position on abortion is symptomatic of a political philosophy that is a direct threat to democratic freedom.

What about Obama’s honesty? You can’t tell whether a man is honest just by watching him on TV. You have to study his record and cross-examine his claims. Professor George does this in his article. Obama is not going to volunteer to go on television and talk about his position with this professor of jurisprudence. At most, he will make denials, not arguments that deal with the details of his record. Obama’s agenda, whatever it is, is hidden. By that I mean that he has not been candid about things we should like to know about him. If Professor George has an agenda, he at least has been clear in his claims and he has built a mountain of evidence that cannot simply be dismissed.

There is an extreme pro-abortion movement in this country. Leaders in the movement have been working a strategy for decades. They’ve raised millions of dollars. They understand the American democratic process. They have settled for small victories through less extreme advocates of a pro-choice position. They’ve patiently recruited charismatic individuals to their cause and groomed them for leadership of the movement for the next generation. It would be naive to believe anything else. The tectonic plates in this country are shifting. There is no reason why a major party candidate for the presidency could not, with the help of a minority of powerful insiders, sneak past the electorate into office with an agenda to “change the way politics is done in America,” an agenda that will challenge the moral integrity of American citizens and threaten social stability.

Barack Obama is the first black candidate on a major party ticket. Black men and women have every reason to be proud of the many black leaders, in business, in education, in politics, in the military. Every American should be proud of the progress that’s been made to break down racial barriers and ensure equal opportunity for all who share the American dream. I fully expect that we will eventually have a black president, and I welcome that prospect. I would encourage any voter who is eager to see a black person in that high office make that moment count. If Barack Obama is sworn in as President in January, that will be a historic moment, a proud moment for many black men, women and children. Many others besides will be excited and enthusiastic, and rightly so. But what will become of their pride if Obama disappoints and injects into our shared political bloodstream an ideology that threatens our core values as freedom-loving Americans?

Obama’s position on abortion and other fundamental issues has that potential. I predict, given his record, that this will be the effect if he is elected. Our social and political immune system will be tested then. But it is being tested now, as we contemplate the important choice of president in less than two weeks.

No one of us as individuals will ever have the kind of power a President Barack Obama would have to directly and profoundly influence abortion policy in this country. But we do make the decision whether Obama is invested with that kind of power and opportunity as one individual to transform our culture. And the outcome will be our responsibility.

Spinning Joe Biden


The Senator with the foot-shaped mouth fired off a real whopper this time:

Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking. We’re about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America. Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.

Barack Obama’s admirers are dumbfounded—that includes people running his campaign. How do you spin a statement like that? Biden’s remarks were so extensive and emphatic that even a retraction would do nothing to mitigate the unease he has created. Besides “the cynical electorate” already knows what retractions mean.

Media response should be interesting. If Obama really is “their candidate,” it may be gut-wrenching for them to report on this story. And let’s remember what “news reporting” means today—it means editorializing in an effort to influence viewers.

This time, Biden’s comments are not mere trifles. They are sober reminders of what everyone knows. The threat of more terror—the likes of which we may not have seen yet—is a real and present danger. That will still be true no matter who becomes President. But would an Obama presidency intensify the risk? That’s what Biden seemed to be saying. And no one can say it isn’t true, because no one knows that it’s false.

It is easy to see why a McCain presidency could have a different effect on our enemies. And now, consideration of that has suddenly become a factor in this election. Maybe this is the “October surprise” that pundits say could change the numbers that pollsters have been producing.

Foreign policy is back on the table, with only two weeks left in this election season. More specifically, the prospect of a new chain of crises has to be considered. Thus we find ourselves asking two questions:

  1. Is Barack Obama as ready as John McCain to lead our nation should new challenges come?
  2. Is it more likely that new challenges would come during an Obama presidency than during a McCain presidency?

Thanks to Joe Biden, the economy is not the only thing we’ll be thinking about when we vote on November 4th.

“It’s Time for a Black President”


“It’s time for a black President.” You’ve heard it and I’ve heard. But what could possibly be a good argument for this claim?

No, I’m not a racist for asking the question. I believe it will be time for a black President when the best candidate for the office happens to be black; but it won’t be because he or she is black.

So, can somebody explain why being black is a qualifying credential for being President?

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What say you?

Bill O’Reilly Goes Over the Top on the Angry Factor


Bill O’Reilly is “looking out for you.” This, of course, presupposes that he knows two things about you: what you care about—your values, your priorities, that sort of thing—and what’s good for you.

Recently he’s been interviewing (interrogating?) guests about the economic fiasco brought down on us by recent events and the agents behind those events. He now suggests (“suggests” is too mild here) that “the people” are angry. They’re angry at the government and all those CEOs who get paid scandalous amounts of money, because we now have to pay for the bailout we didn’t choose. In fact, “the people” are so angry that the economy is pretty much the only thing that matters to them right now. And “right now” is an election period.

OK. Time for a deep breath. Are people angry? I suppose so. Are they seething with anger? Are they so preoccupied with the state of the economy that anger is their dominant emotion right now? I don’t see signs of that among the people around me. It’s possible, of course, that O’Reilly knows “the people” better than I, though I am one of “the people.” I suspect, however, that O’Reilly’s schtick self-selects for people who fit a certain profile and who may be as angry as O’Reilly says they are.

I like it that O’Reilly pursues his guests with decent follow-up questions and exposes the “spin” for what it is. There isn’t enough of that in the media. I often cringe at the way O’Reilly conducts business on his show, and there are times when I wish he would ask more penetrating questions than he does. That’s right, more penetrating. But I digress.

I don’t presume to speak for “the people.” Speaking only for myself, I acknowledge my frustration with government and with this bailout/rescue idea. I’m not pleased with the way my family has been and will continue to be affected by the screwball decisions that have been made and will continue to be made. But Bill O’Reilly goes too far in representing the level of my frustration. Call it anger if you like, but my feelings about this are not so viscerally combustible that the economy is the only thing I care about in this election. I’m beginning to think it’s a media ploy, oddly endorsed both by Bill O’Reilly and by those he calls “the mainstream media.” I hope I’m not alone in this. I hope our economic woes have not lit such a fire that we are blinded by them and indifferent about other major challenges that we face in this country, other issues of long-term significance. I refer to the conduct of war with our enemies, the character and experience of our leaders, the future composition of the United States Supreme Court, and much else besides.

We’re at a place today where the media are telling us, “It’s the economy stupid.” And when the media are telling us what we’re supposed to think and feel, in that inimitably condescending way of theirs, I get suspicious. I don’t like being told how I feel when it’s not how I feel, and I don’t like being called stupid—especially by the media.

Why Would a University of Chicago Professor Call Obama a Marxist?


Maybe he knows something we don’t. Or maybe he knows something we secretly suspect. A lunch companion of Barack Obama’s reportedly claims that Obama is a Marxist.

Here’s what James Pethokoukis writes today for U.S. News & World Report:

A while back I chatted with a University of Chicago professor who was a frequent lunch companion of Obama’s. This professor said that Obama was as close to a full-out Marxist as anyone who has ever run for president of the United States. Now, I tend to quickly dismiss that kind of talk as way over the top. My working assumption is that Obama is firmly within the mainstream of Democratic politics. But if he is as free with that sort of redistributive philosophy in private as he was on the campaign trail this week, I have no doubt that U of C professor really does figure him as a radical.

Believe it or not, there are people in America who would dearly love to have a Marxist in the White House. Bill Ayres may be one of those people. Almost certainly the Reverend Jeremiah Wright would be delighted, since he is himself an advocate of liberation theology. I’m not a lunch companion of Barack Obama, but I do know something about liberation theology. It is a fundamentally Marxist ideology with a religious veneer. A major goal of leaders in the liberation theology movement is to radicalize people on the lower end of the economic spectrum by causing them to believe that they are oppressed and entitled to redistributed wealth.

Now we can hear in Obama’s own words that he is a redistributivist. He told a now-famous plumber named Joe that he wants to “spread the wealth around.” His plan for doing this is to penalize the success of some people to provide handouts to the less successful, without regard for the work ethic of the parties involved.

I can’t shake the suspicion that Barack Obama’s students days and his years as a budding politician were framed by a radical ideology. This would explain many of the few things we actually know about Obama.

Was Obama Really as Comfortable as He Looked in Last Night’s Debate?


To me, last night’s debate was the third—and, mercifully, the last—in a series of lackluster debates between senators Obama and McCain. But somehow the media have managed today to cull from the regurgitation of campaign sloganeering some rich moments truly worthy of playback. Maybe it wasn’t so lackluster after all.

Could McCain have done better? Pretty much everyone agrees that he missed opportunities. That’s interesting. It means two things. The first is that McCain has a platform of strength that might really resonate with people if he could only launch his case with compelling pizzaz. Second, Obama has opened himself to some pretty withering criticism that McCain has been reluctant to exploit.

Contrast Obama. What opportunities did he pass on last night? Could he have made his policies more compellingly attractive than he did? Could he have put McCain on the defensive? I don’t think so. Obama did what he could, and all that he needed to perhaps.

Once again, Obama “looked presidential.” But did he feel as comfortble as he looked? The question can’t really be answered objectively, except by Obama, and we all know what he would say. But Obama will raise taxes during “the worst economic crises since the Great Depression”; and McCain made that stick. Obama has fraternized professionally with people most of us wouldn’t shake hands with; and McCain reminded everyone that we still don’t know who Obama really is. McCain was unequivocal in his pro-life stance, and missed an opportunity to demonstrate how radically pro-choice Obama really is. But this was not a comfortable topic for Obama. He had to nuance his way out of the spotlight while McCain beamed confidently in the background.

Obama is counting on his lead and the lateness of the hour to carry him to victory. From this point on it’s a matter of damage control. That’s one thing McCain really doesn’t have to worry about. The most seriously debilitating event for his campaign was the egghead announcement by Hank Paulsen that the sky is falling and the whole world is going to go bankrupt. Paulsen’s alarmist tactics and his timing could not have been worse. You have to wonder if he isn’t a liberal democrat himself, given the tone of his message and the nature of his proposed solution—socialize the entire market in America.

The irony is that Obama is specially vulnerable on this point, if the message gets out. He wants bigger government on every flank and surely relishes the opportunity to preside over the socializing of medicine, our economy, education, and who knows what else. But people are ticked off at government right now. It can’t be just the Republicans and the Bush administration they distrust, but the whole lot of them. So bigger government portends more to be angry about as the months and years tick by.

Obama has two other things to be worried about before the election: Nancy Pelosi and Harry Read. It is an undeniable fact that under Obama our government would be on the verge of its most controlling ever. The democrats are pro big-government. Pelosi and Read, party leaders in their respective houses in Congress, and Obama are democrates, and they are among the most liberal democrats. This is a frightening prospect for anyone who wants government to downsize.

The only way that Americans across this country can prevent unchecked government by tax-and-spend democrats is to vote for John McCain. That’s bad news for Barack Obama, and a reason to be uneasy, even if he looks presidential.

Howard Stern on Doug’s Blog?


Yep. I’ve gone over the edge. I’m posting a video of Howard Stern in his radio studio talking to his listeners. There has to be a good reason for this, right?

There is.

Stern sent one of his guys out to the streets of NYC to ask people about their preferences in this year’s presidential election. Stern shares three audio clips of brief interviews with Obama supporters. The interviewer asks who the individual supports, then tricks the person with questions that entail that Obama wants to keep the troops in Iraq, that Obama is pro-life and against stem cell research, and that Sarah Palin is Obama’s running-mate. These people explain in vague terms why they don’t support McCain (e.g., he’s not very intelligent) and then express unqualified support for Obama, even though Sarah Palin is his running-mate, etc.

You’ve got to hear this. If you’re interested, click here for a post yesterday by SusanUnPc. Thanks, Susan!

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Related Link at Doug’s Blog:

Should Everyone Vote?


Answer—yes . . . and no. It depends. Given the way things are right now, the way things have always been, and the way things will always be, not everyone should vote. So I guess the answer really is “no.”

This is political heresy. You don’t hear many politicians saying this. It isn’t politically expedient because it challenges a pervasive myth. It could be political suicide to say that there are citizens who should not vote.

Who should not vote?

  1. People who don’t exist.
  2. People who have taken no initiative to get registered or to understand the issues.
  3. People who vote to protect their own self-interests only.

I know the first claim is controversial, but in order to save space, I won’t try to support it here.

The second claim is motivated by my belief that a vote should be cast in order to promote the common good. A failure to get registered and negligence in seeking to understand the issues are indicators that this responsibility is not taken seriously. And those who register because someone from a particular party urged them to and provided them with on-the-spot opportunities to register are vulnerable to manipulation. In fact, often they are manipulated. Deliberately compelling people, often the poor and uneducated, to register and vote, and to be sure their vote is cast for a certain named candidate, is manipulative; it betrays the condescending, patronizing attitude of those who take to the streets to get more people registered. The cynicism behind their alleged desire to help the poor and uneducated by getting them to vote for a particular candidate is lethal to democracy. It is a powerful indicator that party leaders are not interested in doing right by the poor and uneducated, that they are more interested in keeping their political machine running by exploiting those very people. If the policies of hard-left liberals succeeded and everyone was educated and living above the poverty level, these liberals would be out of business. To stay in business, they’re counting on there always being people who need their advocacy. Many of their policies will ensure that they remain in business.

I would add that, in general, people who do not understand the issues should not vote, even if they have taken pains to sort out what the issues are and what the candidates stand for.

What about the third claim? It implies that those who are low on the economic spectrum should not cast a vote for someone willing to levy taxes on the wealthy simply because it could mean that they will have more money to spend. It means that public educators should not vote for bills and propositions promising additional benefits to them and to public education just because they are educators and so stand to gain personally. These are but two examples. But the possibilities are legion.

Our elected representative have responsibilities to represent all of the people to the best of their ability. The electorate has responsibilities, too. We have a responsibility to act in support of the common good. We need not agree on what issues and candidates best serve the common good. But it should be our sincere pledge and intention to be informed to the fullest degree possible, to vote in deliberate support of the common good rather than pure self-interest, and to stay home on election day if we can’t meet these basic conditions.

What say you?

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Related Posts on Doug’s Blog:

In Defense of Miracles Reviewed


Albert McIlhenny briefly reviews my book In Defense of Miracles here, and gives it a strong recommendation. Thank you, Albert!

Doug’s other posts on the subject of miracles:

Talk about an Abuse of Power


An Alaska ethics probe concluded today that Governor Sarah Palin did abuse her power in the ordeal surrounding the dismissal of state official Walt Monegan. Monegan had refused to fire state trooper, Mike Wooten, who had been married to Palin’s sister until that marriage ended some years ago. Wooten had, Palin alleged, tasered his 10-year-old stepson and threated to kill Palin’s father. This before Monegan’s departure from his job.

Inquiries into Gov. Palin’s possible conduct in the matter had already begun prior to her nomination to be John McCain’s running-mate. There is evidence, however, that the probe was managed by Obama supporters and was speeded up to result in a decision soon enough to have a bearing on the presidential election.

I don’t know the facts, but if this suspicion is true, or even if the suspicion is well-founded without being demonstrably true, then there ought to be a very speedy inquiry into the ethics of the ethics probe and the possibility that those who conducted the probe are themselves guilty of an abuse of power.

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It’s not surprising that Alan Colmes (of Hannity & Colmes) was pleased with this result. He interviewed Dick Morris, who noted that trooper Wooten had made a death threat on Palin’s father and tasered his stepson. Colmes’s response was interesting. He said that Wooten denies making any death threat. Apparently, Colmes had done his homework and knew that this did not apply to the allegation that Wooten had tasered the young boy.

A few weeks ago, during a televised interview, the officer in question acknowledged that he had tasered his 10-year-old stepson. He said he did it because the boy was curious about tasers and asked to be tasered. He agreed in the interview that it was a dumb thing to do.

I mention this because of the example it provides of the deterioration of public discourse. Morris’s statement was a conjunction: Wooten made a death threat against the father-in-law and Wooten tasered the stepson. To defeat this statement, Colmes challenged the second conjunct and ignored the first. In challenging the second conjunct, Colmes offered as evidence Wooten’s denial of the allegation. This is hardly compelling evidence, especially if the first conjunct is true. And the first conjunct is true. The evidence for that is that Wooten confesses to that.

Now, logically, if the second conjunct of Morris’s statement is false, then the entire conjunction is false. But it doesn’t follow that the first conjunt is false. That part of the conjunction is true. And Morris’s comments clearly indicated that he believed its truth is a sufficient condition for Sarah Palin to have fired Monegan if he refused to fire Wooten.

If the trooper had been anyone else than a former brother-in-law, then an ethics probe might never have been started. Who can say? But the grounds for questioning her ethics would certainly have been different, since the findings in the actual probe are tied to the investigators’ judgment that Palin’s behavior was, in some sense, payback. Again, I don’t know the facts, or the evidence that was produced during the probe. But I wouldn’t imagine that Palin’s previous relationship with Wooten would count as sufficient evidence that this was her motive.

What is of interest—because we are in a position to judge based on observation—is the conduct of the press in this matter and the jockeying that will go on among chieftains of the two presidential campaigns. Barack Obama is under closer scrutiny than ever before because of his financial support of ACORN and his relationship with sundry scoundrels. Treatment of the Palin news will be an illuminating test of the objectivity of the “mainstream media.” I make no predictions about what will transpire over the weekend, but if the several prominent news and commentary shows direct more attention to the Palin issue than the Obama probe they themselves should be conducting, it will be very telling.

This Election as a Referendum on the Liberal Media


Voting for John McCain is a referendum on the liberal media. They have made it obvious that they support Barack Obama and will cover for him by not covering him when that’s in his (and hence their) best interests. They are doing what they can to get Obama elected a few weeks from now. This is patronizing and offensive. They presume to know better than voting Americans who should be the leader of this great nation. They filter the news and editorialize without restraint, believing that we must rely on them to get the facts that matter. Since we do rely on them for this, and they have not fulfilled their noble duty, voters can send a powerful message of disapproval to the media by voting for the McCain/Palin ticket. If they do, they will also have a President they actually know something about.

Louis Farrakhan Knows Messiah Obama Better Than You Do


Louis Farrakhan says he wants to keep a low profile in his support for Barack Obama, because he knows this could hurt Obama’s chances of winning the election. Farrakhan is the Honorable Minister of the Nation of Islam, with headquarters in Chicago. Yesterday, WorldNetDaily posted an article titled “Farrakhan on Obama—’The Messiah is Absolutely Speaking,'” where there’s a YouTube video of Farrakhan gushing about Obama.

I have no doubt that Farrakhan knows Barack Obama better than anyone reading this post. What are the implications of that?

If voting Americans sincerely witsh to know who Obama really is, there are two things to do.

First, we need to connect the dots we have and resist the temptation to connect dots we can only imagine. What are the dots we have to navigate so far? Obama’s voted “present” so often as Senator that all we know is that he was in the room and didn’t cast a vote one way or the other on significant issues. We don’t know what he was into or who he palled with as a university and law school student. We’re beginning to learn that his affiliation with Bill Ayres went deeper than he said at first. And we know that he can speak with some eloquence in vague generalities.

It looks like Barack Obama doesn’t want people to know who he really is. His single greatest acomplishment since achieving public prominence has been keeping us all in the dark about his core values and the specific direction he will take this country if elected.

Second, we need to do everything we can to compel the media and others to thoroughly vet Obama’s background immediately. They’ve been asleep at the wheel on this one. Maybe they have vetted him and are afraid to say what they know. Maybe they’ve neglected their responsibility because they fear what they’ll learn. Or maybe they just don’t care. But we should care. And if we don’t know enough about Barack Obama to vote for him responsibly, then we shouldn’t. This is Obama’s Achilles’ Heel.

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Here are a few other posts related to Farrkahn’s enthusiasm for the “Messiah”:

Do You Know Kathleen Parker?


If you do, there’s only one reason for it—Ms. Parker’s “cringe reflex has been exhausted.” That happened on September 26. She must be truly exasperated by at this point in time. But what does Ms. Parker mean?

She means that Sarah Palin, whose selection by John McCain she really tried hard to endorse, just isn’t verbally fluent enough to be Vice President, to say nothing of being President.

I cringe, too. I even wrote a post about it. But how does having a dilapidated cringe reflex explain why Kathleen Parker is now enjoying a few minutes of fawning media attention? To understand that, you have to know something most of us didn’t know and you have to remember something that really isn’t that easy to forget.

What you have to know is that Kathleen Parker is a conservative columnist who writes for The National Review and a woman (duh) who wrote a piece called “Palin Problem—She’s Out of Her League.” You’ll find it here. In this September 26 piece, Ms. Parker, with great reticence, I’m sure, suggested that McCain should dump Palin because of the liability she has become, and get someone more erudite to stand at his side. (Maybe Ms. Parker would like the job. She seems to believe that she knows better than McCain how to pickem’, and that’s got to count for something . . . right?)

Now, here’s what you have to remember. Sarah Palin is incredibly popular among leagues of women voters. These are women who will vote. And many of them were not as likely to vote at all until Sarah Palin came along. That’s got to scare the bajeebers out of the liberal left and the liberal media that bleed allegiance to their cause, especially their version of the feminist cause.

Who doesn’t know that if the liberal media can find a conservative woman journalist who thinks Palin’s got to go, that woman journalist is bound to get her chance to be on TV? It sure looks like the media is hoping to scare up a caucus of Republican Women Against Palin. (Not that Ms. Parker is a Republican; I wouldn’t know.) This ought to get interesting. Will it work? Who can say? I figure it’s got at least a 50% chance of backfiring.

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Thinking about this has led me to wonder about the polls we’ve been hearing about. I would imagine that a legitimate poll would include a significant number of women who are backing Palin, quite apart from that fellow McCain. I think it would be interesting if pollsters asking who voters are more likely to vote for, McCain or Obama, would also ask, “And what do you think of Sarah Palin?” And report the results, of course.

Here’s what I’m thinking. If only a small fraction of the people polled show real enthusiasm for Palin, then a satisfactory cross-section of likely voters has not been included in the poll. And that ruins the value of the poll.

From Drama to Trauma Under Obama?


Flannery O’Connor, one of our great American writers said, “To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life, and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.”

I have two questions:

  • What do Americans expect if Barack Obama becomes our next president?
  • What can Americans expect if Barack Obama becomes our next president?

Obama Headshot

To the first question there are straightforward answers. Just ask the people around you. To the second all we can say is, “We’ll just have to wait and see.” No matter what the answer to number two is, Obama is going to be faced with a serious problem—if he becomes president. He will have to live up to expectations that he has deliberately fostered as a would-be messiah who stands for The Audacity of Hope.

This is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to vote for a messiah. Barack is special. Barack is young. Barack is charming. And you know what else? Barack doesn’t make mistakes. Just ask him.

Ask Barack what mistakes he’s made when voting as a Senator. Ask Barack what mistakes he’s made in his circle of associates. Ask Barack what mistakes he’s made about the war in Iraq. He might confess a peccadillo or two. But copping to anything substantive would be a strain on his memory and his self-understanding.

Of course, you can’t ask him these questions. You don’t have the opportunity. But members of the media, who have the opportunity, don’t ask, either. Do you know why? Because we don’t interrogate a messiah.

We should be wary of messianic promises. And that begins with shedding the sentimental dreams we all have of a utopian society. When we cherish messianic expectations we are vulnerable to messianic promises. But we are bound to be disappointed. The higher our hopes when a candidate is sworn in as the next president, the greater our feeling of defeat when it turns out that he has feet of clay. We’ve always known that about candidates for the presidency—until now.

Barack Obama’s campaign has been dramatic. He beat Hillary Clinton in the primaries when she was the presumptive nominee from the beginning. He was received with acclamation by European citizens. He’s raised astonishing amounts of money from sources that remain a mystery. He is all-knowing, except when he’s asked about his past associations with unrepentant terrorist thugs and a racist, anti-American minister. He’s made a fetish of inexperience, for he has almost no record to speak of, and so nothing to explain.
And the media have been entranced by this great man. Barack owes them big time for keeping alive the drama of Obama. (And he owes a special debt to Keith Olberman, a man of extraordinary objectivity and an icon of our collective wisdom).

If and when we see the man for who he really is—because he will be making very public decisions that affect us all—what will become of the drama that is Obama? That depends on who Barack Obama really is. If we don’t roll the dice and get him elected, we’ll never know. Could we accept such an anticlimax to such drama? Alternatively, could we stomach the trauma that is Obama if he isn’t the messiah we would like for him to be?

Madeleine L’Engle, another novelist, once said, to no one in particular, “Because you’re not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.” That is another option.

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Note: “The Drama of Obama” is part of the title of a book by black activist Wayne Perryman: The Drama of Obama on Racism.

For a book related to this post, see Who Is the Real Barack Obama? For the Rising Generation, By the Rising Generation. The authors, Steve Bierfeldt, Francisco Gonzalez, and Brendan Steinhauser, are young investigators with a message specially written for college and university students whose support the Obama campaign has fought hard to win.

Recent links that dig behind the public persona of Barack Obama:

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