- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Waking the echoes

President Obama is having the luck of the Irish. Or not.

Luck: He was invited to speak May 17 at the 164th commencement at the University of Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. Not: The criticism from pro-lifers and Catholics began at Internet speed. With broadband.

The Cardinal Newman Society quickly set up a petition site, Help Stop the Scandal at Our Lady’s University, which gives people contact information for the Rev. John Jenkins, the university’s president, including the phone and fax numbers and his e-mail address. The petition at the site had more than 10,000 signers within 48 hours; the society also officially notified Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind.

“It is an outrage and a scandal that ‘Our Lady’s University,’ one of the premier Catholic universities in the United States, would bestow such an honor on President Obama given his clear support for policies and laws that directly contradict fundamental Catholic teachings on life and marriage,” the society said in an open letter.

Nor was the petition alone. Within hours of Friday’s announcement, at least three open Facebook groups had formed over the visit.

Protest Obama as Notre Dame’s 2009 Commencement Speaker had 330 members Sunday night, with more than 1,200 invitations still outstanding. A smaller group, ND’s own Epic Fail: Oppose Obama as 09 Graduation Speaker sent about 270 invitations, and about 60 alumni and students of Notre Dame and related institutions had joined as of Sunday evening. A pro-Obama group also quickly formed, called We Will Be Honored to Have President Obama at Notre Dame. As of Sunday night, it had about 260 members with another almost 800 invites pending.

Others used the invitation as a source of humor. The Rev. Dwight Longenecker, a Catholic priest, developed a humorous set of rites for the visit.

A mighty oak?

The Connecticut Working Families Partysent a few dozen people in a bus to protest Saturday at the homes of American International Group Inc. executives, to show people how rich Wall Street types live. Steve Gilbert at Sweetness and Light did the tough investigative job of mouse-clicking.

“Just who are Connecticut Working Families? Why a couple of mouse clicks would tell any interested journalist that they were ‘founded’ by none other than ACORN,” he writes at the conservative site, quoting a Connecticut newspaper article.

The New Britain Herald article cited Joe Dinkin, spokesman for CWF’s political party, and read in part, reposted without dispute at the CWF site: “Asked about the party’s joint founder, ACORN, Dinkin said ‘while it’s fair to say that ACORN has a role in Working Families, allegations of voter fraud against ACORN are trumped up — I’m impressed with what a good operation they run.’”

Asked Mr. Gilbert: “The only question is why does ACORN feel the need to hide behind a front group? Certainly we know by now that they are shameless.”

Nor was that the only complaint conservative bloggers had with the AIG protests. Gahrie at his site Grumbles and Groans noted the coverage disparity between this economic protest and the conservative “tea party” protests against the spate of bailouts.

“The only thing more amazing than the rapid spread of this grassroots movement across the country is the complete lack of coverage of it from the [mainstream media]. Literally dozens of articles and reports have been made about 40 people protesting outside the homes of AIG executives yesterday. By most accounts the protesters were heavily outnumbered by the reporters. This protest was all over cable and network news. Where is the coverage of the tea parties?”

Presidential rabbit

“Silly Barack: Battles With Darth Cheney Aren’t for Kids,” Jeff Emanuel of Red State, clearly a boyhood Trix cereal fan, titled a post on President Obama’s “60 Minutes” interview.

In the interview, Mr. Obama rebutted former Vice President Dick Cheney’s criticism of his administration on the terror war, asking, “How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn’t made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment.”

“Really, Mr. Obama? First, I’d appreciate your pointing out the attacks we’ve suffered since 9/11, since we’re ‘no safer’ than we were that day,” Mr. Emanuel says before reminding Mr. Obama “which portion of America is agitating to have these terrorists released, their trials hung, their appeals filed and granted, and the process of their receiving ‘justice’ delayed or indefinitely postponed in any other way possible (here’s a hint: it’s your side of the political spectrum and members of your political party that are doing that, Mr. Obama — not ours, and certainly not Mr. Cheney’s).”

He also warmed to the real philosophical difference between conservatives and liberals in the terror war, “which depends on how you define ‘justice,’” and whether someone in Guantanamo “imprisoned and unable to commit more terrorist attacks” has avoided justice “because they haven’t worked their way up the tribunal system to a final sentencing.”

Mr. Emanuel’s idea of justice for terrorists is “a fiery death on the battlefield, where a significant number of would-be killers of Americans have met their end thanks to the military’s execution of the Bush/Cheney policy of taking the fight to the terrorists. It’s certainly netted more cold terrorist bodies and prevented more killings than a week of negotiating man-hours has done in this conflict.”

Misunderestimating

Picking up on criticism that President Obama is lost without his teleprompter, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is starting a new feature, the Obamateurism of the Day, telling readers at HotAir.com to e-mail him with presidential foul-ups, the quote and the link.

The winner Sunday was a clip that Mr. Morrissey said was particularly telling for Mr. Obama’s face. “It’s not so much what he says as the obvious fact that he got lost on his Teleprompter while saying it. Watch President Obama look nervously left and right trying to find the thread of his remarks, and drop into the Department of Redundancy Department.”

Also available at YouTube.com under the title “Obama gets lost reading his teleprompter — Teleprompter-in-Chief,” the 40-second clip showed Mr. Obama saying the following: “There are those who say that the plans in this budget are too ambitious to enact. To say that, uh; they say that, uh; in the face of challenges, uh, that we face, we should be trying to do less than more.”

In a post titled “Another ‘What if Bush did this?’ moment,” fellow conservative blogger Sister Toldjah asked aloud: “Petty?”

“Not when one considers the incredible amount of flak Bush took from liberal elites (and for that matter, not so elite liberals) over his tendency to stumble over his words … One of the things that drew supporters to Barack Obama was his ability to deliver a flawless, impassioned speech #8230; Without his great oration skills, Obama drops from messiah-like to mere mortal, something clear-thinking conservatives tried to warn others about last year, with (obviously) no success. Which puts us in the joyless position of being able to say ‘Toldjah So.’”

Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com

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