- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meet and greet

Sen. Barack Obama probably doesn’t want you to “Meet Barack Obama.”

A new Web site went up last week, meetbarackobama.com, but it isn’t very complimentary of the Illinois senator, featuring prominent pictures of disgraced financier Tony Rezko, counting the seconds since Mr. Obama visited Iraq (it’s been almost 900 days), and inviting readers to vote on the question “What do you believe to be Barack Obama’s greatest weakness as a presidential candidate?”

Maybe it has something to do with this fine print at the bottom of the site: “Paid for by the Republican National Committee.”

Strong turnout

“2000 on steroids.”

That’s how Andrew Sullivan characterized an analysis by his Atlantic colleague Marc Ambinder on the effect of increased turnout and enthusiasm among youth and minorities for Sen. Barack Obama.

They might enable Mr. Obama to run up even-more lopsided victories in the “blue states,” but neither enough to capture most of the “red states” nor targeted in the right groups to have much effect in the swing states.

Result, according to Mr. Ambinder: “Barack Obama receives millions more votes than John McCain, but, because of the distribution of votes in the Electoral College, McCain would become the president,” adding that strategists for both candidates “are chewing over [this] hypothetical scenario.”

“Here’s the thought experiment that gives rise to the scenario. As my colleague Ron Brownstein has pointed out, of the 29 states that President Bush won twice, Sen. Kerry received less than 43% of the vote in 21 of them. … in major deep-blue states, Barack Obama will, if current trends hold, shatter turnout records.

“John McCain will win a state like Mississippi, but it will certainly be by a much narrower margin [than] George W. Bush held over John Kerry. Think of a state like Georgia, where Obama will turn out potentially 100,000 more black voters than John Kerry, or a state like Indiana, where Kerry received only four out of every ten votes.”

Neither Mr. Sullivan nor Mr. Ambinder considers the scenario likely, but the latter goes on to say, that unlike in 2000 “the public would most likely not stand down,” asking himself “can the two-party system sustain another disparity? Will the grand feature of our democracy — not its fairness but its ability to perpetuate itself without violence — withstand the pressure?”

‘40 percent’

Sen. Barack Obama might get 40 percent of the evangelical vote in November, according to a former Jerry Falwell chief of staff and chief of evangelical outreach for Mitt Romney.

In an interview with the BeliefNet blog God-O-Meter, Mark DeMoss says he will vote for Sen. John McCain for president, but feels no particular enthusiasm for him and suspects many of his fellow evangelicals think the same way.

“You’re seeing some movement among evangelicals as the term [evangelical] has become more pejorative. There’s a reaction among some evangelicals to swing out to the left in an effort to prove that evangelicals are really not that right wing,” Mr. DeMoss told interviewer Dan Gilgoff.

“If one third of white evangelicals voted for Bill Clinton the second time … I would not be surprised if that many or more voted for Barack Obama in this election,” he said. “There’s some concern that maybe Republicans haven’t done that well. And there’s this fascination with Barack Obama. So I will not be surprised if he gets one-third of the evangelical vote. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 40 percent.”

The Huffington Post was crowing, touting its pickup of the interview with the headline “Religious Right Figure Gets Chills.”

Like Geraldo

The worst-kept secret on the Internet is a rumor, started by a blogger who backs Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, that a videotape exists of potential first lady Michelle Obama ranting against “whitey” and making jaw-droppingly racist statements.

Powerful stuff, if true — but top conservative bloggers aren’t buying it. Michelle Malkin said she would have nothing to say until an actual video was produced and asked her readers not to pester her for comment.

“Larry Johnson, the main source of the rumors, is not, not, not to be trusted. Moreover: The story keeps changing,” Mrs. Malkin wrote. “First, the rumor-mongers claimed, the ‘bombshell’ would be released on Monday. Then it was yesterday. Now, it’s tomorrow. So, where’s the stupid tape? Maybe The Spitter should check Al Capone’s vault again.”

The conservative blog Sweetness and Light noted that previous Johnson “scoops” have included that Karl Rove would be indicted over the Valerie Plame leak.

Jim Geraghty of National Review’s “Campaign Spot” blog, who already had punched holes in the ever-shifting details of the rumor noted that “it sounds exactly like something out of a cliched political thriller novel. Specifically, Stephen Frey’s ‘The Power Broker,’” and noted a number of similar details and plot points.

“This unimaginable coincidence, coupled with Larry Johnson’s unnecessarily profane and unresponsive answer to David Weigel [at Reason’s “Hit and Run” blog when he asked about contradictions in the description of what’s on the tape, ought to drive a stake into the heart of this rumor,” Mr. Geraghty wrote.

But conservative skepticism wasn’t enough. The candidate himself spoke to the rumors, and mainstream political sites reported that. Here’s Ben Smith at Politico:

“‘We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails, and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,’ Obama said to the McClatchy reporter during a press conference aboard his campaign plane. ‘That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.’ Asked whether he knew it not to be true, Obama said he had answered the question.”

Red upgrade

The popular conservative site Red State has made the leap to next-generation Web, and a new site address to go with it: https://beta. redstate.com/.

The “3.0 Version” was running well Saturday evening, and a comment-solicit thread had more than 140 responses. The old address still works, and the site owners say it will continue on as an archive.

Contact Victor Morton at [email protected]



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