Round-up of the good news of the week.
1. Obama's Lead Continues to Widen. In the US, one is hard-pressed to think of a genuine left-wing national politician, with the exception of a non-politician like Ralph Nader. Liberals don't get elected president in America, or haven't for a while. Jimmy Carter may now seem like a flaming liberal, but when he was president he was considered liberal-centrist. As for Bill Clinton…well, no need to go there. Was L.B.J. the last liberal president? Do I hear Vietnam, anyone?
So when the presidential candidate with the most liberal voting record in the Senate finds himself, a month before election-day, with an average 6-7 point lead in the polls, that's got to be sweet, right?
Poor William Kristol, the pointy-headed, effete Jewish neocon who envies "real Americans" like Sarah Six-Pack-Moose-Hunter-Red-Meat-Eater-Hocky-Mom Palin. Kristol has so far written three or four columns fantasizing how McCain and Palin can still win this thing. In his latest effort, he offers up two suggestions – attack Obama-Biden on ideology and go negative on character. As for ideology,
One shouldn't underestimate the ideological issue, and the potency of the fact that Obama and Biden are orthodox liberals. They're for raising taxes, federally funding abortions, naming activist judges, and losing wars. The American people may think--they do think--the country's on the wrong track, that the Bush administration has made too many mistakes and that the Republican party's no great shakes. But they haven't suddenly become liberals. And they probably aren't crazy about the prospect of a liberal administration governing unchecked, hand in hand with a liberal Congress. During the next four weeks, the McCain-Palin campaign should make this risky prospect vivid.
Uh, excuse me, but it seems to me that McCain and Palin have been shouting from the rooftops that Obama and Biden are "orthodox liberals," and that the "tax-and-spend-wave-the-white-flag" charge has failed abysmally in this election. So why does Kristol think that this strategy will suddenly work? Because he simply can't believe that real Americans are liberals. He's right; they aren't. They aren't conservatives, either. Americans didn't elect George W. because they were conservative, and they won't elect Obama because they have turned liberal. The fact is that most people are not Kristol-style ideologues. Sure, there are a bunch of those on both sides, but you can't get elected only with them. Folks believe that the country is in a mess, and that the Republicans are mostly responsible. They are willing to give the other side the chance to do better. That's what this election is about.
As for the attacks on character, that's hilarious, or should I say, Hillary-esque. Kristol writes:
Character is a legitimate issue. Obama hasn't shown much in the way of leadership or political courage, and he's consorted with dubious figures. It's fair to ask whether Barack Obama is personally trustworthy enough to be president, and the McCain campaign shouldn't be intimidated from going there.
Do I hear Mark Penn? Reprising Ayers, Wright and Co. will work for the McCain Republicans even less than it worked for Hillary Democrats. Man, that is totally old news! If the Republicans have a really good new scandal, that may be different. (Have you heard that Obama and Bin Laden have been spotted together on the same planet?)
Look, the campaign is far from over. But neither is the bad news about the economy. Where I think the Obama campaign has to hit back is over the stupid McCain-Palin claim that victory is in sight in Iraq. Sure, the levels of casualties are down; massive troop deployment does that. But as Peter Galbraith writes in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books,
Less violence, however, is not the same thing as success. The United States did not go to war in Iraq for the purpose of ending violence between contending sectarian forces. Success has to be measured against US objectives. John McCain proclaims his goal to be victory and says we are now winning in Iraq (a victory that will, of course, be lost if his allegedly pro-surrender opponent wins). He considers victory to be an Iraq that is "a democratic ally." George W. Bush has defined victory as a unified, democratic, and stable Iraq. Neither man has explained how he will transform Iraq's ruling theocrats into democrats, diminish Iran's vast influence in Baghdad, or reconcile Kurds and Sunnis to Iraq's new order. Remarkably, neither the Democrats nor the press has challenged them to do so.
(Galbraith's piece is a must-read for those who claim that the surge is working.)
2. New York Sun goes belly up. One of the nastier rightwing Jewish news rags, the New York Sun, folded last week. Barukh Dayyan Emes. Just more proof that God's special providence is at work. Read about it here.
3. Eckstein soaks the rightwing goyim for $824,000 a year. Haaretz reported that Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, received an annual salary of $824,000 last year. Ah, plus ça change…another clever Jew knows how to make money off of the goyim. Can't wait till it hits the blogs and general media.