- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2008

Weighing risks

“A recent Associated Press story cites several prominent black conservatives as being ‘conflicted’ about voting for Barack Obama for president,” Peter Kirsanow writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“While each of the conservatives acknowledges ideological differences with Obama, the prospect of a black president makes it, in the words of radio-talk-show host Armstrong Williams, ‘hard to vote against [Obama] in November.’ The article quotes only one person, however, who will actually support Obama the self-described moderate John McWhorter,” said Mr. Kirsanow, who is black and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“The rest of the interviewees (with the exception of Michael Steele, who says he’ll do everything in his power to defeat Obama) are undecided, expressing sentiments similar to Williams: ‘I can honestly say that I have no idea who I am going to pull that lever for in November. And to me, that’s incredible.’

“Incredible indeed. For even if one acknowledges that in this historic election it’s perfectly understandable that racial pride may have a profound influence, the fact that any conservative, regardless of ancestry, would vote for Obama demonstrates an impressive tolerance for risk.”

2 ignoramuses

Barack Obama and John McCain are busy demonstrating that in close elections during tough economic times, candidates for president can be economically illiterate and irresponsibly populist,” Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“In Raleigh, N.C., last week, Sen. Obama promised, ‘I’ll make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and we’ll use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills.’

“Set aside for a minute that Jimmy Carter passed a ‘windfall profits tax’ to devastating effect, putting American oil companies at a competitive disadvantage to foreign competitors, virtually ending domestic energy exploration, and making the U.S. more dependent on foreign sources of oil and gas,” Mr. Rove said.

“Instead ask this: Why should we stop with oil companies? They make about 8.3 cents in gross profit per dollar of sales. Why doesn’t Mr. Obama slap a windfall profits tax on sectors of the economy that have fatter margins? Electronics make 14.5 cents per dollar and computer equipment makers take in 13.7 cents per dollar, according to the Census Bureau. Microsoft’s margin is 27.5 cents per dollar of sales. Call out Mr. Obama’s Windfall Profits Police!”

Mr. Rove went on to note that while Mr. McCain opposes a windfall profits tax, “he can be as hostile to profits as Mr. Obama. ‘[W]e should look at any incentives that we are giving,’ Mr. McCain said in May, even as he talked up a gas tax ‘holiday’ that would give drivers incentives to burn more gasoline.”

Always proud

Cindy McCain on Thursday again took a jab at her rival for first lady, Michelle Obama, reminding her audience in a rare TV interview of Mrs. Obama’s remark about her husband’s candidacy that “for the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country.”

Mrs. McCain, wife of Republican hopeful Sen. John McCain, said in an interview with ABC News that while “everyone has their own experience,” she found Mrs. Obama’s remark inexplicable.

“I don’t know why she said what she said. All I know is that I have always been proud of my country,” Mrs. McCain told ABC from Vietnam, where she was touring to promote her charitable work. Mrs. McCain, who generally keeps a low profile, already had said in a campaign appearance that “I always have been and will always be extremely proud of my country.”

NAFTA flop

“Republican John McCain is a most militantly pro-free trade presidential candidate. That fact, alone, should guarantee his defeat in Ohio and other industrial states where his strategists entertain hopes of surfing a ‘Reagan Democrat’ crossover of working-class Democratic voters to the GOP column this fall,” John Nichols writes in a blog at www.thenation.com.

“All that is required is that Barack Obama campaign as a critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other deals that have battered workers, farmers, communities and the environment in the U.S. and abroad,” Mr. Nichols said.

“Unfortunately, Democrat Barack Obama, who sent so many smart signals on trade issues when he was competing with Hillary Clinton for his party’s presidential nomination, appears to now be backtracking toward the insider territory occupied by McCain. “Obama’s interview with Fortune magazine headlined ‘Obama: NAFTA Not So Bad After All’ is the best news the McCain camp has received since Mike Huckabee folded his run for the Republican nomination.”

Loss in Ohio

“Inundated with stories in the past few weeks about the end of the Clinton campaign and the rise of Obama-mania, the press missed the development that is likely to have the strongest impact on the election: Barack Obama lost his best vice-president option when Ohio governor Ted Strickland removed himself from consideration for the No. 2 spot,” Steven Stark writes in the Boston Phoenix.

“The importance of vice-president selections is always overrated. But in Obama’s case, it will have more importance than usual, since voters will use this first ‘presidential’ decision to size up his approach to governing. And in a close election, the selection could prove critical,” Mr. Stark said.

“There’s talk among Democrats that Obama needs to pick someone as new and fresh as he is to preserve the ‘brand,’ but the truth is that there’s more than enough glitz at the top of the ticket. What Obama needs is a reassuring figure who won’t get him in trouble, and who hopefully can bring him a key state.

“That’s why Strickland made the most sense. There are no perfect choices, but Strickland, 67, came close. The GOP has never won the presidency without carrying the Buckeye State, and as the popular governor of Ohio, Strickland could have gone a long way toward putting it in the Democratic column.”


“ABC’s ‘World News’ and the ‘NBC Nightly News’ gave plenty of time to left-wing environmentalists and Democrats opposed to President Bush‘s call to open up oil drilling off the shores of the continental U.S., but unlike the ‘CBS Evening News’ the two newscasts provided equal time to supporters and experts who predicted it would lower gas prices,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“CBS reporter Bill Whitaker began with pro and con soundbites, but his story quickly deteriorated into a brief against the proposal with opponents and those saying it would do nothing to lower prices getting twice as many soundbites (4) as supporters (2),” Mr. Baker said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com

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