What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 24, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

Jack Kelly attacks Senator Obama this week.

He begins with something having little to do with Obama himself:

Texas state Sen. Kirk Watson had an embarrassing moment the night the candidate he is supporting for president won the Wisconsin primary. MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked him to name a legislative accomplishment of Sen. Barack Obama.

"I'm not going to be able to do that tonight," Mr. Watson replied.

And then uses that embarrassing episode (see it here) to imply that because state Senator Watson couldn't do it that night, no one would be able to do it. Check out what State Senator Watson himself had to say about the evening:

So . . . That really happened.

On Tuesday night, after an important and historic victory in the Wisconsin Presidential Primary by Senator Barack Obama, I appeared on the MSNBC post-election program. “Hardball” host Chris Matthews (who is, it turns out, as ferocious as they say), began grilling me on Senator Obama’s legislative record.

And my mind went blank. I expected to be asked about the primary that night, or the big one coming up in Texas on March 4, or just about anything else in the news. When the subject changed so emphatically, I reached for information that millions of my fellow Obama supporters could recite by heart, and I couldn’t summon it.

My most unfortunate gaffe is not, in any way, a comment on Senator Obama, his substantial record, or the great opportunity we all share to elect him President of the United States.

Had I not lost my mind, here are the accomplishments I would have mentioned:

  • Senator Obama’s fight for universal children’s health care in Illinois.
  • His success bringing Republicans and Democrats together (a huge selling point for me in general) on bills such as the one in Illinois requiring police interrogations and confessions to be videotaped.
  • His leadership on ethics reform in Washington (the bill that lobbyists and special interests are complaining about right now has his name on it).
  • His bill to make the federal budget far more transparent and accessible to Americans via the Internet – we could use that openness in Texas.
  • And his vital work with Republicans to lock down nuclear weapons around the world.
So it's not as if there's nothing there, only that Watson's brain burped and couldn't bring any of it to the surface.

Nice spin, Jack. You almost got away with it. Almost.

My guess is that Watson won't be speaking out for Senator Obama anytime soon.

Kelly then goes on to reference a few reliable voices to (of course) objectively assess Senator Obama. First, David From of the National Review. Here's what Kelly says:

Or any other night. Barack Obama, noted National Review's David Frum, has the thinnest resume of any candidate for president since William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Then 36 (the youngest man ever nominated for president), Bryan had been a congressman for only six undistinguished years when he electrified the Democratic convention with his "Cross of Gold" speech.

Bryan got creamed in the general election, which suggests there is a limit to how high a populist with little on his resume besides a charismatic personality and a silver tongue can rise.

And here's what Frum had to say:

Like Obama , Bryan was a charismatic young political (just 36 at the time of his first presidential run!) with a thin political record. Yet on the strength of one legendary speech at a Democratic national convention, he was clutched to heart by the party's left wing and made the repository of its grandest hopes on a whole range of so-called progressive causes.

Bryan stands - or should stand - in American political history as an object lesson in the dangers of choosing politicians without records of accomplishment on the basis of fine phrases alone. If Obama loses in 2008 - or (at least as possible) wins, and then goes on to fail as president - I wonder if many Democrats will not be haunted by the warning that Hillary Clinton gave earlier in this cycle: There is a big difference between making speeches and making change. Deval Patrick and Barack Obama jointly deny it. Bryan's career suggests that the former first lady will likely be proved right.

I'm just surprised to see anyone on the right writing that Senator Hillary Clinton "will likely to be proved right." Small matter.

The next reference to objectively asses Senator Obama is Tom Buffenbarger, the president of a union endorsing Senator Clinton.

He then quotes Senator McCain and implies that Obama's current edge has more to do with his opponent's missteps than with his own campaign:

"Don't be deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change that promises no more than a holiday from history," said Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee.

Eloquent but empty calls for change seem to be working well enough for Mr. Obama in the battle for the Democratic nomination. But that may be due more to the weaknesses of Hillary Clinton than to his strengths.

Talk about objective assessments!

The curious thing about the column is the ending:

If Mr. Obama is ultimately to be the Democratic nominee, it could be just as well for Republicans to have the race settled early. As long as Barack and Hillary battle, journalists can focus on horse race trivia. But if Mrs. Clinton folds her tent and slinks away, journalists will have little to write about except Mr. Obama's thin resume and left-wing voting record.

"I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing trust fund babies crowding in to hear (Mr. Obama) speak," Mr. Buffenbarger said. "This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine."

It's nice to see Jack Kelly admitting the Republican attack machine exists. Think about it: Jack's inclusion of the line in the column only makes sense if Jack himself believes that it's true.



Sherry said...

i'm reading a book called, "anything for a vote"
(dirty tricks, cheap shots, and october surprises in u.s. presidential campaigns)

seems there's always been and i guess, sadly there always will be distortions and all out lies from ALL sides.this book starts out at g. washington and goes up to present day.

nothing new under the sun.

makes me wonder.

Anonymous said...

John K. says: Duh, now what would really be a revelation is for a left wing kook to admit they also have an attack machine. LOL LOL And Obama will be President before that happens.

"Fair and Balanced" Dave said...

"I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing trust fund babies crowding in to hear (Mr. Obama) speak," Mr. Buffenbarger said. "This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine."

Mr Buffenbarger should be ashamed of himself for parroting lines from a 2004 Club For Growth ad. Especially given the [Country] Club For Growth's rapid anti-union positions.

"Fair and Balanced" Dave said...

i'm reading a book called, "anything for a vote"
(dirty tricks, cheap shots, and october surprises in u.s. presidential campaigns)


If you haven't already read it, I highly recommend John Dean's excellent book Conservatives Without Conscience

Sherry said...

i've been wanting to get that book but haven't as yet.