Scene above: Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
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OCTOBER 22, 2014
QUOTE OF THE DAY – THIS SAYS IT ALL – AT 10:21 A.M. ET: From Ed Rogers at WaPo:
Yesterday, on Al Sharpton’s radio show, President Obama said that even though the most vulnerable Democratic candidates have actively avoided campaigning with him, “The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress. So this isn’t about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me…I tell them…you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.”
The headache this quote has caused Democrats has been widely reported, but also take note of how Obama-esque this quote is. In five sentences he uses “I,” “my” and “me” a total of six times. The Democrats and the mainstream media certainly can’t blame Republicans for making this election about Obama.
Anyway, the president, who is fully aware that Democratic candidates like Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mark Begich in Alaska and Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky – to name a few – have been running from him, can’t suppress his instinct to let voters know that they are all loyal followers of his. While the incumbent Democrats – most of whom have voted with him almost all the time, try to claim their independence, the president is actually the one calling them out and telling the truth. Democrats are going to have a hard time hiding behind their phony images for much longer, because President Obama has made it clear that most every Democrat running for office in 2014 will be pretty much in lockstep with the liberal Democratic leadership.
It is one thing for a president to have bad poll numbers six years into his term and be a drag on the ticket. It is another thing for a president to crush the messaging of the candidates in his party and be unable to hide his own vanity. Democratic candidates don’t want President Obama to campaign for them and now they don’t want him giving any interviews either. The Democratic candidates are running, but President Obama won’t let them hide.
COMMENT: That nails it. We've commented before on Obama's ego. Dwight Eisenhower once said that he got to where he got by controlling his own ego. Obama is incapable of that discipline. In fact, lack of discipline has been a major, personal flaw in the way he runs things.
Obama will even torpedo his own party to protect his love for himself. Imagine what he'll do in the last two years of his presidency.
SHAHEEN WOBBLY? – AT 9:40 A.M. ET: Conventional wisdom has it that incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire will narrowly defeat former Republican Senator Scott Brown a week from Tuesday. But Brown, who has been hit with a vicious media campaign, appears to be rallying. Will it be enough? Can't say, of course. But, as Lincoln said of Grant, the man fights. From Breitbart:
CONCORD, New Hampshire — Former Sen. Scott Brown opened up the economic battlefield on immigration here Tuesday night with a little help from NBC’s Meet The Press host Chuck Todd.
“When you’re looking at that bill, what it also does is it immediately gives an opportunity for the president to authorize upwards of 11 million people to get jobs,” Brown said when talking about the Senate-passed “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. “I want to fight for jobs for New Hampshire. Here’s another thing about immigration. I voted to secure the border on two occasions. I voted to send troops to the border. We need to absolutely secure the border. The president through his executive order what he’s proposing to do is actively expand the definition of refugee to somebody who’s here [illegally] to work.”
Brown’s answer on this came after Shaheen dodged a question from Todd, the debate’s moderator, on the economic effects of a massive increase in immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
“Is there any part of this Senate bill, and I know it’s a compromise and compromises mean you’re not going to like some things, but specifically on the idea of H1B visas when they come in, do you think it is pro-American worker enough or not pro-American worker enough when it comes to importing guest workers into the country?” Todd asked Shaheen.
Shaheen completely avoided the question, instead opting to tout the “Gang of Eight" bill’s GOP support.
COMMENT: The immigration issue is critical in New Hampshire, which has a number of workers who will be displaced by a liberalized immigration policy. I'd love to see Brown win this one. Shaheen is a potted plant for Obama, and needs to retire.
PRETTY MUCH WHAT WE'D THOUGHT – AT 9:21 A.M. ET: Liberals fancy themselves as tolerant and oh, so, so broad-minded. A new survey says the opposite, which is what we see every day. From Andrew Malcolm at IBD:
How do you stack up in a national sampling of political news consumers -- your sources, habits and friends?
A fascinating, major new survey by the Pew Research Journalism Project is examining political polarization in the United States of 2014. The report comes just two weeks before a crucial midterm election that will be widely read as a six-year verdict on Barack Obama's performance and agenda, whatever that is today.
Here are just some of the project's numerous intriguing findings:
* Conservatives tend to flock around one major news source for their news of government and politics -- Fox News -- perhaps because the list of known conservative media consists of Fox News and Fox News. Also Fox News.
* Liberals draw information from a wider variety of media and express far more trust in more major media than do conservatives. Perhaps because there are more liberal-oriented media to trust.
* Liberals are much less tolerant than conservatives of political opinions differing from their own, especially on social media, more consistently choosing to Unfriend, Block, Mute or sever friendships with those whose politics they disagree with.
COMMENT: Read the whole thing. It's fascinating, if sometimes depressing. The childlike behavior of liberals is constantly seen. They reflect what they've created, an immature society.
Some of the choices in the survey are odd – such as the prestige given to the BBC, which is at best a second-rate news organization. I guess that if you sound good, people think you are good. Never buy that argument.
FERGUSON SHOWDOWN – AT 8:52 A.M. ET: There seems to be controlled leakage from the grand jury probing the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, which touched off weeks of protest, some of it violent. Pundits speculate that the leaks are designed to inform the citizenry bit by bit that there won't be an indictment of the officer involved, thus trying to reduce shock and anger after an official announcement. From the New York Daily News:
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson's account of the confrontation in which Michael Brown was fatally shot has reportedly been leaked, with an independent medical examiner's report backing up his version of events.
Brown had marijuana in his system and was shot at close range in the hand, backing up claims by a police officer that that there was a violent struggle between the Ferguson, Mo. teen and the cop, an independent medical examiner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The report supports Wilson's account, given after he shot and killed the 18-year-old on Aug. 9. Witnesses claimed the teen was surrendering when the cop fired. Police maintained Wilson only used his gun after Brown tried to take it – a life-and-death fight inside a police SUV.
A source familiar with Wilson’s version of events, as told to investigators, said the "incredibly strong" teen punched Wilson and then pressed the barrel of the cop’s gun against the officer’s hip and fought for control of the trigger, the Post-Dispatch said.
Once Wilson finally had the gun, he fired. But Brown’s hand blocked the mechanism, according to the St. Louis newspaper.
COMMENT: Brown's side is trying to argue that the battle inside the police car is irrelevant, that only the shooting of Brown outside the car, moments later, counts. But any reasonable grand jury will take into account Wilson's state of mind after being attacked by Brown, who tried to seize Wilson's gun.
If there's no indictment, you may be sure Eric Holder's Justice Department will try to intervene, and make it into a civil rights case.
SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:55 P.M. ET:
COTTON UP IN ARKANSAS – From Powerline, about the Arkansas Senate race: A new poll, this one by Talk Business and Politics/Hendrix College, puts Tom Cotton’s lead over Mark Pryor at 48-41. The survey included more than 2,000 likely voters and was taken after the last week’s Cotton-Pryor debate (as I understand it, there will be no more debates between the two). The margin of error is plus or minus 2.2 percent." This is a must-win for Republicans. Cotton will be a new GOP star.
CHANGES – From The Politico: "Eli Lake and Josh Rogin, two of The Daily Beast's top national security and foreign policy reporters, are leaving the company, Daily Beast Executive Editor Noah Shachtman announced in a memo to staff on Monday. The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reports the two are likely joining Bloomberg View." Lake and Rogin are two of the journalists whose work I check very often. They are among the best. I hope they continue to rise.
INCREDIBLE – Eyes are on the crucial North Carolina Senate race between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis. Hagan has been leading throughout the campaign, but the race has been tightening. Tonight, incredibly, Hagan failed to show up for a scheduled TV debate. This cannot help her. With only 13 days to go before the vote, this can turn out to be the most exciting finish this year.
SCARY – From Fox: "The FBI says it is investigating the possibility that three American teenage girls were attempting to join the Islamic State in Syria when they were detained in Germany. A law enforcement source told Fox News Tuesday that the girls are home in Colorado after they were tracked down in Frankfurt. The three girls are all under the age of 18 and are not expected to face charges. Two of the girls are of Somali descent and one is of Sudanese descent, according to the source. ABC News reported that a law enforcement official said the girls were planning to travel to Syria to join militant groups. The official told ABC News the teenagers planned 'to fulfill what they believe is some vision that has been put out on a slick media campaign.'" Given the state of our schools, this probably guarantees their admission to the Ivy League.
WHAT THE ELECTION IS ABOUT – AT 9:04 A.M. ET: And, ultimately, what all elections are about in the Western world. From Britain's Telegraph:
British Islamist terrorists plotted to kill police officers or soldiers, possibly in a drive-by shooting on London streets, it was alleged.
Four British men were said to have sworn allegiance to the terrorist group Islamic State – also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
They had allegedly obtained a handgun with a silencer to carry out the shootings. The plot was believed to include the use of a moped.
The men had images of two police officers and two police community support officers and had conducted “hostile reconnaissance” of a police station and a Territorial Army barracks in the capital, Scotland Yard said.
They were accused of planning to follow a fatwa by a senior Isil terrorist who called for followers to kill “disbelievers” in their home countries.
Details of the alleged plot emerged on Friday as the four men were charged with terrorist offences. A fifth man was charged with firearms offences linked to the plot. They were arrested as part of a series of raids across west and central London earlier this month. Only last week, police chiefs issued an unprecedented alert to officers to be extra vigilant for their own safety because of the heightened terror threat.
COMMENT: The law of averages is not with us. Sooner or later, someone is going to get through with a spectacular attack. Americans, though, seem to have awakened recently, in time for the election. Polls show their concern over terrorism has risen dramatically. We hope that's reflected in the vote.
THE UNCONTROLLED EGO – AT 8:54 A.M. ET: The president of the United States appears to be politically delusional. From the Weekly Standard:
President Obama discussed the election and how "all" the Democrats running away from him "have supported my agenda" in an interview with Al Sharpton earlier today:
"Well, look, here's the bottom line," said Obama, "We've got a tough map. A lot of the states that are contested this time are states that I didn't win. And so some of the candidates there, you know, it is difficult for them to have me in the state because the Republicans will use that to try to fan Republican turn-out. The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress. They are on the right side of minimum wage. They are on the right side of fair pay. They are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure. They're on the right side of early childhood education.
"So, this isn't about my feelings being hurt. These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. And I tell them, I said, you know what, you do what you need to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn up."
COMMENT: For the president just to be seen with Sharpton is an embarrassment. And his cynical statement, suggesting that some Democratic candidates are lying about their true beliefs just to get elected – which is true – won't help those candidates. In the end, it's always about Barack.
CAN BROWN DO IT? – AT 8:41 A.M. ET: It's been tough for Scott Brown in his race for a Senate seat from New Hampshire. His negative numbers are high, in part because he's seen by some as a carpetbagger from neighboring Massachusetts, where he'd been defeated for re-election to the Senate by Elizabeth Warren. His opponent, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, is relatively popular. But Brown is close. From the Boston Herald:
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen clings to a tenuous 3-point lead over GOP challenger Scott Brown but falls short of the magic 50 percent mark, despite an attack ad bombardment that has left Brown's public image reeling, an exclusive new Suffolk University-Boston Herald poll reveals.
With just a little more than two weeks before Election Day, the Democratic incumbent leads Brown by a 49-46 percent margin among 500 likely New Hampshire voters in a race that could tilt the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.
The margin is hardly comforting to Democrats since it shows Shaheen's support has remained stagnant over the last few months. In the last Suffolk-Herald poll in June, Shaheen held the exact same level of support - 49 percent - among likely voters.
Brown's support has increased by 7 points since June. But Brown's favorability has taken a major hit in the rough election campaign, with 48 percent of likely voters viewing him negatively. He needs a late surge to catch up, because most voters have already made up their minds, according to David Paleologos, director of Suffolk University's Political Research Center.
COMMENT: Again, turnout is the key...and a little luck. This may turn out to be a heartbreaker.
TWO WEEKS – AT 8:28 AM. ET: The election is two weeks from today. What are the early indications? From The New York Times:
Early voting is underway in Nevada, and the numbers look bad for Democrats. Republicans and Democrats have voted in nearly equal numbers in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, where Democrats have a 13-point registration advantage. Only 10,000 voters have turned out, compared with 17,000 who turned out on the first day of 2010.
Nevada isn’t alone. The early voting numbers, a possible indicator of overall turnout, also look bad for Democrats in Ohio.
Fortunately for Democrats, Nevada doesn’t really matter. Neither does Ohio. There isn’t a Senate race in Nevada or Ohio, and the states’ Republican governors are expected to cruise to re-election.
So why am I bringing up the gloomy numbers for Democrats in irrelevant contests for them? Because they highlight the challenge of interpreting early voting data elsewhere.
Very few of this year’s competitive contests had close races in 2010. Colorado and Florida are notable exceptions, but Iowa, North Carolina and Georgia didn’t have especially competitive statewide contests four years ago.
That’s made it difficult to interpret the early voting numbers in these states. Democrats have emphasized that they’re turning out voters who didn’t participate in 2010. But the better question, and one that’s harder to know, is whether the new voters talked up by Democrats are people who would have participated in 2010 if the states had been competitive. If that’s it, I don’t see how it’s amazing news for Democrats.
The conventional wisdom is that Democrats need to outdo their mobilization efforts of four years ago, when they lost competitive contests in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. If that’s right, then Democrats don’t just need voters who didn’t participate in 2010; they need people who wouldn’t have participated in a hypothetically competitive race in 2010.
COMMENT: In other words, there are some good signs, but they're not definitive. Most indications we have is that the GOP stands a pretty good chance of taking the Senate, but that it's far from a sure thing. That's been the case through most of this race. Turnout, the ground game, will determine everything.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
- Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
of The New York Times.
"Political correctness does not legislate tolerance; it only organizes hatred. "
- Jacques Barzun
"Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain."
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