What Fresh Hell Is This?

May 25, 2008

Jack Kelly Sunday

It's Sunday. It's an election season. So if you're wondering whether our friend Jack Kelly can be expected to spin, manipulate and smear the leading Democratic candidate, the answer drops with a resounding wet thud of a yes.

He gets musical in this week's column. In doing so, he unloads (the way a cow unloads) a few steaming piles of, well you know.

He begins:
What should be the theme song for Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign?

Some think it should be Carly Simon's 1972 smash hit, "You're So Vain," (I bet you think this speech is about you).

Most of us have a higher opinion of ourselves than objective circumstances warrant. But in few of us is the gap between how we view ourselves and reality as wide as it is with Mr. Obama.
Aside from the obvious (and, sorry to say, juvenile) cheap shot of calling a politician vain, I'm not sure where Jack is heading here, quoting as he does one of the masterpieces of late 20th century pop-culture.

Perhaps the intended irony of the song is lost on Jack. You see, the subject of the song is chided for being "so vain" for probably thinking the song is about him - and yet, as we all know, it is about him.

Next, Jack goes into Senator Obama's bio:
Barack Obama is a bright, handsome, personable guy who gives a good speech (when he's working from a prepared text). But he's never actually done much of anything. The biggest tic on his resume to date is that he was president of the Harvard Law Review. That's impressive, but not exactly the stuff of Churchill, Roosevelt or Reagan, guys who could turn a phrase, too. Mr. Obama's self regard is such that he already has written two autobiographical books.
Let's get a little more reality into this paragraph. Jack says Obama's "never done actually much of anything." Let's see, what did Jack leave out? That's right. Senator Obama was a State Senator in Illinois for 6 years after being a community activist in Chicago. Jack also leaves out that Senator Obama was the first African American to be president of the Harvard Law Review and that he graduated magna cum laude.

Says so right here.

So yea, that's not much of anything. Let me ask a question: what was dubya before 2000? He was a failure at business and Governor of Texas (where the Governorship has extremely limited powers) for just over one term. At least his father was Vice-President, head of the CIA, ambassador to China, head of the RNC, and a member of Congress.

Jack then takes the expected Jeremiah Wright swipe at Obama:
Little seems to annoy Mr. Obama more than when others do not hold him in as high esteem as he holds himself. Mr. Obama apparently was dozing in the pews when his pastor said America is no better than al-Qaida, and that our government created the AIDs virus to exterminate blacks. But his ears perked up when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright implied that he had been insincere in describing their relationship:

"That's a show of disrespect to me," Mr. Obama said.

Actually, no. Jack stepped in it big time with this one. Here's the full paragraph from which Jack creatively snipped:
But at a certain point, if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally, and then he questions whether or not you believe it in front of the National Press Club, then that's enough. That's -- that's a show of disrespect to me. It's a -- it is also, I think, an insult to what we've been trying to do in this campaign. [emphasis added.]
Take a look. It wasn't about how Wright was describing the relationship but about how Wright was accusing Obama of not being sincere about his fundamental beliefs.

Doesn't anyone check Jack Kelly over there on the Boulevard of the Allies? At least to make sure he's in the correct ballpark? It's not that difficult. All you have to do is to ask, "did he really say that?" and if the answer is "No, not really" then you can't say he said what you said he said.

Jack follows with this:
A focus on himself and a hypersensitivity to perceived slights may explain why Mr. Obama thought President Bush was speaking about him when the president denounced appeasement in a speech to the Israeli parliament May 15.
There's a reason why Senator Obama might have thought dubya was speaking about him. The White House said so:
President Bush launched a sharp but veiled attack Thursday on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats, suggesting they favor "appeasement" of terrorists in the same way some Western leaders appeased Hitler in the run-up to World War II.

The president did not name Obama or any other Democrat, but White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party. Former President Jimmy Carter has called for talks with Hamas. [emphasis added.]

Before denying it, as Jack writes:
"I understand when you are running for office sometimes you think the world revolves around you," responded White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "That is not always true, and it is not true in this case."
So the White House is lying or the White House is lying. Big surprise.

Then Jack writes:
Mr. Obama's prolonged response to the Knesset speech -- one of the largest unforced errors I've seen in politics -- suggests another candidate for campaign theme song, Sam Cooke's 1960 ditty, "Wonderful World." The opening lyric is: "Don't know much about history."

In arguing to reporters that face-to-face meetings with America's enemies without preconditions isn't appeasement, Mr. Obama claimed President Kennedy's summit meeting with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna helped defuse the Cuban missile crisis.

The Vienna summit took place in June of 1961, the Cuban missile crisis in October of 1962.

Again when we go see what Senator Obama really said, we can see the full extent of Jack Kelly's spin. Here's what Obama really said:
This whole notion of not talking to people, it didn't hold in the '60s, it didn't hold in the '70s, it didn't hold in the '80s, it didn't hold in the '90s against much more powerful adversaries, much more dangerous adversaries. I mean, when Kennedy met with Khrushchev, we were on the brink of nuclear war. When Nixon met with Mao, that was with the knowledge that Mao had exterminated millions of people.
Tell me, please someone tell me, where Senator Obama mentioned the Cuban missile crisis? Does anyone (anyone rational, that is) believe that we weren't on the brink of nuclear war a year and a half before the Cuban missile crisis?

Again, doesn't anyone actually read Jack's column before they're published? It would be a whole lot less embarrassing for him if they checked his "facts" before they oozed - pasty manure like - out into the public.


Anonymous said...

John K. says: I dont' get it. To which most of the liberals in here will say duhhh. What has Jack Kelly said that was false? What has Obama done or what has he offerred to the Country? By the way, he does not speak well when off his prepared speech. That seemed to bother you with Bush but not with Obama. Strange. Anyway, to think this guy is aligned with Maxine Waters, she of the we will nationalize the oil industry if you don't cooperate with the left fame, is scary.

Chad said...

Okay, David. As a rational person, I'll bite.

We were not, by any stretch of the imagination, on the brink of nuclear war a year and a half before the Cuban Missile Crisis. To suggest that we were takes alarmism -- much less historical revisionism -- to considerable and unfortunate heights.

Kennedy and Khrushchev, as any amateur historian will tell you, were both posturing and hoping to earn some more credibility in the eyes of the watching world; they discussed plenty of contentious topics -- Laos, Vietnam, Berlin, nuclear disarmament and proliferation -- and it's certainly reasonable to say that the Cold War got a little colder and harder as a result of that summit. But posturing and threatening over points of long-time disagreement hardly put the country on the brink of nuclear war.

If we were on the brink then, a full year after the U-2 incident had not pushed us there, then how, exactly, did we get there? And where the hell were we during those 14 days in October of 1962? In the brink? Under the brink? Hanging by a thread past the brink and just over the precipice?

You rightly call Jack Kelly on a lot of rhetorical silliness, and you always do good work in pointing out how he trumps up his claims and his charges in ways that deflate his whole argument. But you lose at least some small part of your credibility when -- as here, with a statement that withstands neither critical nor historical scrutiny -- you do the same to refute him.

dayvoe said...

Chad, Chad, my old friend:

Even you must know that phrases like "on the brink" are, by nature, subjective. One man's "on the brink" is another man's "time leading up to an 'on the brink.'"

And just because things got "on the brinkier" in October of '62 doesn't mean that things weren't "on the brink" before that.

The Pirates sucked last year with a record of 68-94 but they really sucked in 2001 with a record of 62-100. Does that mean they didn't suck in 2007?

The revisionism is in saying that things weren't dangerous back then until we were "on the brink" that October.

I should point out that the folks over at the Doomsday clock also seemed to have thought that something bad was going on then. The clock was set at 5 minutes to midnight in 1960 and wasn't changed until 1963 (to a less "brinkier" 7 minutes to midnight) when the USA and USSR signed a partial test ban treaty.

No change in 1962 for the Cuban Missle Crisis.

Considering the fact that "Red Alert" (the book Dr Strangelove was based on) was written well before 1962 has to be evidence that SOMEONE back then thought the world was on the brink before Cuba. The book "Fail Safe" was actually published in October, 1962. What does that mean? It means it was written before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Someone else had to think the world was on the brink pre-October of '62.


EdHeath said...

The Berlin Wall was started some time before the Cuban Missile Crisis. I believe the Bay of Pigs fiasco took place before the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both those incidents were pretty close to shooting wars, and might have set off a chain reaction of escalating violence. Kennedy went ahead after being elected and started build a thousand minuteman missiles, which did little to reduce tensions. So, from what I read, the Vienna Summit did not achieve much, in fact it probably increased tensions, although not dramatically. It’s probably not Mr Obama’s best example for positive results when leaders meet face to face. But the backdrop was several crises’ that had already occurred. I do personally believe the Cuban Missile Crisis was much worse, and nothing that bad would occur until 1973 and Nixon’s showdown with the Soviets over Israel.

Anonymous said...

Kennedy did so bad, in fact, at Vienna that it emboldened the Soviets. They looked at him, rightly at that moment, as a man out of his element. This led them to believe he would not react to missiles in Cuba.

A man out of his moment, aiming to obliterate 200+ years of US foreign policy practices and statute, by prostrating before enemies of the US...yup, that Obama sure has a clue.