“What I think is fair to say about Fox — and certainly it’s the way we view it — is that it really is more a wing of the Republican Party,” said Anita Dunn, White House communications director, on CNN. “They take their talking points, put them on the air; take their opposition research, put them on the air. And that’s fine. But let’s not pretend they’re a news network the way CNN is.”

via White House Escalates War of Words With Fox News – Political News – FOXNews.com.

This entire article is worth reading, but the above quote kind of speaks for itself, don’t you think?

Anita Dunn cries, “They aren’t being nice to my boss!”  Or at least, that’s what it should sound like.

Here are a few quotes from David Gergen,

The press always has the last barrel of ink.

Tony Blankley,

Going after a news organization, in my experience, is always a loser

and Nia Malika Henderson.

Obama’s only been a boon to their ratings and I don’t understand how this kind of escalation of rhetoric and kind of taking them on, one on one, would do anything other than escalate their ratings even more

But, if you trust the analysis of the Pew Research Center, here is the real story (emphasis mine):

a study by the Pew Research Center showed that 40 percent of Fox News stories on Obama in the last six weeks of the campaign were negative. Similarly, 40 percent of Fox News’ stories on Obama’s Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain, were negative.

On CNN, by contrast, there was a 22-point disparity in the percentage of negative stories on Obama (39 percent) and McCain (61 percent). The disparity was even greater at MSNBC, according to Pew, where just 14 percent of Obama stories were negative, compared to a whopping 73 percent of McCain stories — a spread of 59 points.

I’m partisan and I’ll admit it, so I would prefer to see positive stories about my team and negative stories about the other team.  However, as a reporting organization it’s their job to cover all the stories and I (grudgingly) accept that.  If you’re going to pride your organization on “fair and balance” it seems like (according to this study) Fox News has done an admirable job.  I wish the same could be said of the other (so-called) news organizations.

Pink Elephant

This strikes me as an accurate representation of the GOP of the past couple of years.

First, when wound up the elephant plays the Brahms Lullaby melody.  Appropriate for those Republican members of congress who had been lulled into largess while sitting in the halls of power.

Second, this elephant is pink.  Now, I don’t have anything wrong with the color pink but traditionally speaking pink implies a feminine character.  Today’s GOP has definitely been emasculated (or feminized).

Third, notice that the head and the body are no longer attached.  Yeah, the (proverbial) head started coming unglued some time after the 2000 election of George W. Bush, but in the campaign leading up the 2008 election, the head actually fell off.  The conservative element of the party (the head, I believe) failed to successfully lead the party and as a result was torn asunder in the nomination of John McCain.  The remainder of the body (the heart, the legs, the *ahem* bottom) were left to wander aimlessly in search of validation from the mainstream media.

The analogy ends there (unless there are phoenix-like elephants of which I am unaware).  Draw your own conclusions, this is just a simple bit of analysis using my children’s stuffed pink elephant.

This morning I was driving between Lebanon, NH and Hartford, VT and I was trying to find something worth listening to on the radio.  I’m not sophisticated enough to have Sirius or XM, so I’m stuck with the regular AM/FM varieties.  Anyway, I turned to NPR.  I usually would not waste much time listening to this stuff, but there really wasn’t anything else.  The interviewer was interviewing some one who was talking about another some one.  To the best of my memory and limited listening time, let’s see if I can identify the players.

Interviewer: Some wide-eyed, self-described journalist

Interviewee: Some author/editor who had an intimate knowledge of the subject of the interview

The Subject: Some left-wing, communist sympathizing author who apparently was able to find out what Americans were really thinking.

So, no more than 1 minute into my listening enjoyment the interviewee makes a comment that goes something like:

Our Subject noted how people really feel about race and he even heard from some people who thought that they too may be harboring some deep seeded racism that they had not yet acknowledged.  This was evident in this year’s presidential election when McCain and Palin resorted to racist attacks in their campaign.

I laughed out loud, incredulously.  What racist attacks?  I confess to being a republican/conservative hack, but I don’t recall anything that was even remotely racist coming out of either of their mouths.  The next part boggled my mind.  What happened next?  Well, nothing.  The interviewer continued on with his interview of the interviewee without so much as a pause to clarify how McCain and Palin had been racist in their campaign.

Media bias.  Ha!  Some “journalists” are so entrenched in their utopian ideals that they don’t even notice when they are betraying the truth they purport to be reporting.

Who ever yells the loudest or has the best sound bite smear wins in the politics of personality.

I will try and make this my last post about personality in politics.

It has been my experience that when talking about politics, people tend to raise their voices.  Why?  Here are some of my thoughts on why this happens:

  • It makes you sound more confident about your position.
  • It makes you sound like you are more of an authority on the matter.
  • It makes you sound passionate.
  • It’s a relatively polite way of saying (without really saying) your debating opponent is wrong and that you are right.
  • It is an effort to intimidate your debating opponent.

Well, take your pick.  Either way, it is more about style than substance.  Living in a predominantly liberal state I have the distinct pleasure of seeing Obama signs and bumper stickers everywhere.  When I happen to bring up anything remotely political, I get one of two responses.  The first is a sheepish answer that indicates I don’t really want to talk about it.  The second is generally a very self-assured liberal answer that seems to indicate, I’m voting for Obama, aren’t you?

I don’t mind disagreeing with people (although it has taken me a long time to get to that point), but I do mind not being able to disagree in a manner that allows a reasonable conversation.  Because I am what I consider to be a conservative Republican, I can only write about this from my perspective, but I am sure that much of what I have to say is observed from the liberal Democrats point of view as well.

I have found that whenever I enter a discussion about politics with an Obama supporter (who is likely a left-leaning individual), it invariably starts and ends with discussing the personalities of the two candidates.  I find myself trying to acknowledge what they are saying in order to prove that I am listening to what they are saying while I try to steer the discussion to something of more substance.  Unfortunately, that is not where we spend most time in discussion.  A typical conversation might go like this:

MW: What do you think about Obama’s foreign policy positions?

Conversational Partner: I think he wants to improve America’s standing in the world.

MW: Ok. What about the possibility of him meeting with the president of Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela without precondition?

CP: He didn’t really mean it.  And besides, if we talk to them, then we can reach agreements on how to get along better.

MW: But he said it, and hasn’t really changed his official position.  Won’t that validate the types of regimes that are dangerous to our national security?

CP: John McCain is too old to be president, we’ll end up having Sarah Palin as president and she doesn’t have any experience.

MW: (Quizzical look on my face as I try to understand where the conversation went and how to pick it up again.)  Huh?

Some of the problem is that conversations don’t seem to have the luxury of time.  Time to flesh out the details of positions and ideas.  Instead, we try to communicate in sound bites regurgitating the latest from our favorite news provider or commentator.  That’s too bad because people are worth talking to, not shouting at.  It’s one of the features of our country that make us a great nation that hasn’t devolved into bloody confrontations every time there is a national election.

Well, enough of my time and thoughts have been printed here.

MW

Okay, so I didn’t watch the whole debate again (family always seems to interfere with national politics, for shame), but I still want to throw out my two cents about what I did see.

I came in at the end of the “attacking” that was being done.  It’s unfortunate that McCain seemed uncomfortable with his attacks because what he had to say has substance and I think a significant bearing on what kind of policies Obama would attempt if elected president.  I hope that his discomfort didn’t detract too much from what he was highlighting about Obama’s political “training”.  If nothing else, however, it may have brought some things to the national stage that may never have made the light of day because of a media blackout on all things detrimental to the Obama campaign.  (An anecodotal example: when talking with people about the election and listening to various details about Todd Palin and abuse of his wife’s office, I asked if they had heard about ACORN’s woes with the feds.  Surprisingly, they had not heard of their problems, nor had they even heard of ACORN.  I know my conversational partner watches CNN and CBS for informational updates, and this is a good example of the aforementioned media blackout.)

I haven’t declared “winners” from these debates in the past because they aren’t really debates and it has been my perception that neither candidate is really saying much of anything.  However, based on what I saw of the debate last night, I will try and make a case for McCain being the winner.  At the very least, I think McCain may have done more for himself last night than Obama did for his campaign.

Beside from looking (and sounding) a little awkward next to the silver-tongued Senator from Illinois, McCain was clearly pointing to most of the problems that we face as being a result of Democratic-type initiatives (i.e. big government).  If nothing else, his answers to some of the questions, especially the Roe v. Wade quetion, were more genuine than Sen. Obama’s.  McCain tried, only partly successfully, to point out Obama’s double speak and expose Sen. Obama’s most left-leaning positions.  I say partially successful, because again, McCain just seemed uncomfortable being aggressive with his opponent and that may have played poorly with undecided voters.

I don’t have time now to delve into the specifics of the portion of the debate that I saw last night, but I will finish with this…what happened to the oratorical skills of Obama during is closing remarks?  He seemed completely flustered.  Did anyone else notice that, or am I just projecting something on to what actually happened?  McCain stumbled a bit in his closing remarks, but no one (or almost no one) expects him to be a grand orator.  Obama, on the other hand, seemed ill-prepared to make his closing remarks.

Well, it should be an interesting three weeks.

MW

PS And now, I want to try out the new polling feature!

The Democrats have a distinct advantage when an election is boiled down to which personality is more electable (especially on a national stage).  Not because Democrats are inherently more like able (not really knowing the candidates on a personal level, I don’t dare even speculate).  No, because for the Democrats its all about personality.  Without going into an in depth study (because postulating on politics is a hobby, not a profession for me), a case in point would be this year’s Democratic primary battle between Clinton and Obama.

Hillary Clinton was a personality darling because she was a trailblazer for women in politics and other high-profile careers.  It helped (mostly) that her husband was the President of the United States.  Enter Barack Obama.  Now, here is some one who is a minority race in America.  He is affable, articulate, and new to the national political stage (a change in politics-as-usual in Washington is something that Democrats often say they want without ever being able to deliver because in their version of politics necessarily involves seniority – eerily similar to teachers’ contracts in the country’s public schools).  This Obama guy could deliver us from our own malaise, not to mention he has many (if not all) of the characteristics of a victim that we fight so hard to elevate in our cause.  Sorry, Hillary, you’re just not what the cult of personality ordered for the Democratic Party.

Fast forward to the last few weeks before the election.  Obama (with the aide of his many popular personality allies) continues to chip away at McCain’s personality as unsuitable for the presidency.  His tactic is not unsuccessful, but nor is it particularly honest.  By using the measure of personality as a qualification for being president, there are number of outstanding citizens that we know in our own neighborhoods that would beat both of the men running for president.  By focusing on Obama’s personality the Democrats have invited the current attacks on his associations with Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and others.  The good news for Obama is that the Democrats are very well-equipped to distract the public from those personality flaws. 

McCain, and any Republican, faces an uphill battle any time they enter into a contest for a national position.  A Republican candidate actually has to be perfect, while a Democratic candidate only has to be like able.

MW

So, both campaigns are playing the ‘guilt-by-association’ card with their opponent.  McCain’s tack is a little more obvious: Obama hangs out with unrepentant terrorists and America haters.  Obama’s is a little more subtle: McCain hangs out with the well-to-do and those unsympathetic to the poor and downtrodden.  Thanks to the campaigns of both candidates we find ourselves, once again, considering who do I like rather than whose candidacy has the best ideas for governance.

Now, that being said, it isn’t unimportant who the candidates ally themesleves with.  Depending on the depth of that relationship an association can play an important role in shaping the candidate’s thinking on many issues that would play out in the White House if elected.  It makes sense for McCain to tie Obama to Ayers and others because it may give voters some insight into how Obama thinks.  How a candidate thinks should be important to consider when voting for the President of the United States.  For Obama, his attack on McCain may not be quite as effective.  It makes sense for Obama to alienate voters from some one who can’t identify with their station in life, but it doesn’t necessarily give the voter any insight into how the candidate thinks.

Either way, personality politics is relatively useless in determining what kind of governing a candidate will execute once in office.  I am not the most informed voter out there, but neither am I ignorant of the race for president and some of the various subtexts accompanying the major stories.  I don’t pretend to know the details of how each candidate would govern, but here is my (simplified) summary:

Obama: centralized planning by the government

McCain: free-market approach by the government

It would be refreshing if we could discuss the differences between those two approaches to governance rather than who is cooler or braver.

MW