Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Battle for Pa

August 19, 2008

By my account, Pennsylvania is in play. I don’t agree with Slate, which puts the state in its “safe Dem” category.

“The chairman of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, James Burn Jr., a former supporter of Mrs. Clinton, is on the front lines of building up support for Mr. Obama in Pittsburgh and its surrounding communities.

‘Some of the folks who were with Hillary came right over. Others, it took a little while. Still a few, we need to work on,’ he said, adding that he tells the former backers of the New York senator ‘whatever you’re mad about, get rid of it.’

Mr. Burn said that his job would be made easier if Mr. Obama made himself a more visible presence in Western Pennsylvania. ‘Senator Obama has to come out to the West,’ Mr. Burn said. ‘He needs to be out here more. We hope to see more of him.’

Speeches to prominent Catholic groups, such as the Knights of Columbus, would help solidify the backing of undecided voters and rebut tough allegations sure to come in the fall. Mr. Burn explained that such visibility would help voters ‘believe what they hear from him and not what someone’s saying.’ Mr. Obama was in the state to host an economic forum at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University in June.”

Read more in my New York Sun column here.

The Bush-Israel Contretemps

May 16, 2008

The blogosphere and prominent Democrats are going crazy in the aftermath of President Bush’s remarks to the Israeli Knesset.

The meme here is that Bush was trying to make political points in Israel by likening Democrats to the appeasers of the Hitler Era. I have a few comments.

1. At this point in his lame duck presidency Bush poisons everything he touches. Notwithstanding the merits or lack thereof of his comments, his brand is so low, the president only hurts the cause he was purportedly helping — support for Israel. At this point, Bush should be winding things down and preparing to ride off into the sunset, not making comments easily construed as political attacks.

2. Having said that, an argument can be made that Bush was saying exactly what he believes. After all, a common refrain from Bush’s critics he is that he is too resistant to negotiations to solve problems and too quick to select the military option. But within the context of that critique, it would be wrong to somehow suggest at the same time that Bush doesn’t truly believe what he is saying. I thought that’s a big reason people don’t like him.

3. Observing the vitriol of Keith Olbermann last night, a heavy-handed performance which prompted me to change the channel, I couldn’t help but wonder where Olbermann’s anger was at the actual acts of terrorism that emanate from Hamas-controlled Gaza and into Israel, which, it should be remembered, withdrew from the coastal plain unilaterally in 2005.

4. Finally, why is it completely verboten to discuss the possibly existential threats Israel faces today from Iran? We can quarrel over the extent of danger posed by Iran and the true intentions of the Iranian regime. But there are certain facts on the record. Ahmadinejad has, after all, vowed “to wipe Israel off the map.” It is probably true that the position of Iran’s presidency does not hold exclusive authority in that country, and debates do exist about Iran’s progress at constructing a nuclear weapon. On the merits, too, it’s never a good idea for a sitting U.S. president to launch a political attack, particularly in a foreign land. At the same time, it suggests something pernicious about our culture when a ham-handed political attack from a president on his way out engenders more anger than a maniac’s promise to destroy another sovereign, democratic state.

Blogging from the ‘Burgh: PA Primary Coverage

April 18, 2008

I will be in Pittsburgh through the crucial Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday. Bill Clinton is addressing a crowd in Moon Township while Barack Obama is crossing the state by train trip starting in Erie, PA. 

I love the idea of Obama making an old-fashioned whistle-stop tour of the state. In large rural areas, trains, very often, are the best way to hit a number of out of the way communities.

As far as the air war goes, I can report that Obama has blanketed television with ads, most of them featuring Senator Robert Casey.