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The Dem-MSM Whiff and the GOP Opportunity

Thursday, August 28, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Hours and hours of coverage, but the stories most likely to impact the result in November have barely if at all registered on the MSM screens this week.

The television audience has been large, but execs should not be patting themselves on the back. Interest –pro-and-con– is high, so the curiosity of the country is engaged. Did any of the nets use the opportunity to improve their standing with the public?

MSNBC revealed itself to be a carnival of dysfunction, and as Scott Johnson notes, it looks like the nutters are winning control of the castle, small though it might be. (HT: RobinsonandLong.com).

The others did the standard thing, the same as I had observed in LA in 2000, and Boston and New York in 2004 –constantly change the guest line-up and talk about the same things. Fox has Hume and the best regulars, so it wins the gold in the Pundits Roundtable competition. But the practice of endless commentary in Denver has hurt Obama because the chatter from a thousand heads has been about personality, and mostly about the Clintons’. Carville noted this on Monday night, and it hasn’t improved. The litany of cliches pouring out of Bill and Joe last night didn’t do a thing to bring along anyone who wasn’t already sold on Obama. Obama may pull it off tonight, but he’s hemmed in by being obliged to be a surge-denier and an tire gauge prophet, and his Greco-Roman triumphalism is not designed to win over the folks just beginning to pay attention. (“Who does this guy think he is,” is going to be the most telling reaction.)

If the Republicans are smart next week, they will talk endlessly about victory, energy, and character. The GOP has the luxury of an extremely well-known candidate in McCain, and of no psycho-drama of the deposed first couple plotting for a return in 2012. If its speakers set up the ball every night, all of the talking heads will have to talk about what they talk about –which should be victory and energy, along with Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

The networks ignored the two huge stories swirling around Denver –the unfolding developments around the Ayers-Obama relationship and the unprecedented rebuke of Nancy Pelosi by the American Roman Catholic Church leadership. MSM was watching Hillary so closely that they couldn’t see the shape of the campaign ahead being deeply impacted by these two key stories. Like John Kerry’s “Christmas Eve in Cambodia” drama of last summer, the MSM will be amazed and surprised as these stories grow and become hugely important to millions of voters in the fall.

The Obama hard-core know, though, and have done their thuggish best to shut down the one while ignoring the other and pleading with Nancy Pelosi to please shut-up about her (and their) abortion radicalism. Neither effort is working.

Chicago rules” have never been on so obvious a display as with the attempt to silence Stanley Kurtz (but see, for example, Jonah’s e-mail from a reader –another HT to RobinsonandLong.com.) The impact of “Obama’s action wire” is only to increase attention on Kurtz and his findings. As Volokh contributor Jim Lindgren notes, the Obama people are denouncing Kurtz much more than they have ever denounced the unrepentant terrorist Ayers. Andrew McCarthy, a keen judge of character, notes that “the Obama campaign is giving us a frightening glimpse of how unfit they are to wield power.” The panicked Obama campaign first blundered into a response ad that raised the awareness of everyone not employed by MSM and then started targeting television stations and demanding investigations from the Department of Justice. Now they are attempting to intimidate critics. Long after the DNC has left Denver, this story line –and the inquiry into the Obama-Ayers friendship– will continue.

As will the conversation about Nancy Pelosi’s huge blunder when she attempted to deceive a national audience on Meet the Press about the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion. When she did that she single-handedly triggered the most significant series of statements on the sanctity of human life from senior Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops as has ever occurred. The MSM ignored this unprecedented outpouring of scorn on a major American political figure, but Catholics didn’t. Pelosi has launched dozens of letters from bishops and thousands of sermons and blog posts, each one of them certain to draw attention to Obama’s extremism on abortion, including his support for partial birth abortion and his vote against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. New York’s Cardinal Egan was particularly blunt:

What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.


This may be above Obama’s pay grade, but an outraged and energized Catholic leadership will not let the Mass-attending faithful be deceived by fast-talking pols who want to pas themselves off as “ardent, practicing Catholics” while distorting crystal clear Church teaching.

CNN can chose to ignore the abortion issue, just as it ignored the controversy four years ago over whether Kerry had ever been to Cambodia. MSNBC can ignore Ayers (though it is much more likely to hire him as a co-host with Keith in order to bring some moderation to the set). The nets cannot suffocate an issue.

Every day tens of millions of wired voters consult thousands of outlets. The biggest of them –Rush– can launch a story in five minutes. The newest of them, RobinsonandLong.com, can grow exponentially in a few days as it combines credibility with thoroughness. The thousands of others work away at influencing a handful or thousands who in turn move the opinion needles across the country. Because of this new information network, it has been a very bad week for Obama. If the GOP gets its message down –the victory in Iraq has been costly but is hugely significant, the war goes on, and we can have the energy we need if we look for it– its week in the sun beginning Friday morning in Dayton can be as good as Obama’s was lousy.



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“Business dealings of Biden family could be problematic for him.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From the Los Angeles Times:

When Joe Biden’s brother and son wanted to buy a hedge fund company two years ago, they turned for financing to a law firm that had lobbied the Delaware senator’s office on an important piece of business in Congress — and in fact had recently benefited from his vote. The firm promised James and Hunter Biden that it would invest $2 million, and quickly delivered half of it.

That deal eventually fell through and the money was returned. But it highlighted the close ties that Joe Biden and his family have developed with SimmonsCooper, an Illinois law firm that specializes in asbestos litigation — a multimillion-dollar line of business that was under threat in Congress.
In addition to providing financing for the hedge fund deal, SimmonsCooper picked the law firm of another of Biden’s sons, Beau, to work with it on dozens of asbestos cases in Delaware. “It was only natural that we worked with my friend Beau Biden and his firm,” said Jeffrey Cooper, former managing partner of SimmonsCooper.

There’s lots more. Read the whole thing. Did Obama’s team blow the vetting, or just assume that the MSM had done it during the primaries?

If McCain’s veep is a good debater, expect this story to make its way into the showdown between the veep nominees.

Obama’s Growing Messiah Complex

Wednesday, August 27, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Charles Krauthammer on the Barackopolis going up in the Denver stadium (HT: RobinsonandLong.com):

The Berlin folly — in English.

The Superbowl Halftime Show — without the game.

What’s the finish? Maybe Obama’s got Zhang Yimou to do the hidden-rope trick, and have him lifted, Beijing-style, to the heavens when he’s done. Will he reappear three days later at the Bird’s Nest?

Or maybe he’ll just do a Napoleon and coronate himself. By the time Napoleon made himself emperor, he had won the Battles of Lodi, of Arcole, of Rivoli, of the Pyramids and of Marengo. And had promugulated the Napoleonic Code. He had yet to write a single autobiography.

And from Great Britain’s Telegraph this story on Obama’s non-bounce:

Barack Obama was due to arrive in Denver on Wednesday to claim the Democratic nomination amid fears that his party is split and he is being eclipsed by Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Opinion polls show that Mr Obama has received little or no “bounce” from the start of his convention or his picking Senator Joe Biden to be his running mate. The Gallup daily tracking poll had Mr Obama up by one percentage point on Monday but Mr McCain ahead by two on Tuesday.

More On Obama’s Friend and Colleague, Unrepentant Terrorist Bill Ayers

Wednesday, August 27, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From National Review:

Obama apologists dismiss all this as “guilt by association” based on a single joint appearance. But it was far from the only one.

In fact, by 1997 Obama and Ayers were collaborators on a far more significant level. They sat together for several years on the board of the Woods Fund, a left-wing Chicago charitable organization. There, they doled out tens of thousands of dollars to such beneficiaries as the Trinity Church (where Obama was a longtime member and where another Obama mentor, Jeremiah Wright, preached a radical, anti-American brand of Black Liberation Theology) and the Arab American Action Network (co-founded by Rashid Khalidi, a Yasser Arafat apologist who has supported attacks against Israel and now directs Columbia University’s notorious Middle East Institute, founded by Edward Said).

Even more intriguing, in 1995 Ayers won a $49.2 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation -matched two-to-one by public and private contributions -to promote “reform” in the Chicago school system. He quickly brought in Obama, then all of 33 and bereft of any executive experience, to chair the board. With Ayers directing the project’s operational arm and Obama overseeing its financial affairs until 1999, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in public education.

Until this week, moreover, the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Ayers works, was blocking access to the project’s files (examination of which was being sought by frequent National Review contributor Stanley Kurtz), until finally relenting under public pressure. Less than three months from Election Day, analysis of the records from Barack Obama’s only significant executive experience is just beginning.

The mainstream media has been derelict on the Obama/Ayers relationship. Perhaps now, finally, it will get the scrutiny it deserves.

The key point here: Obama’s only executive experience ever was working for Bill Ayers.

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