- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Suppressed tape

“Why is the Los Angeles Times sitting on a videotape of the 2003 farewell bash in Chicago at which Barack Obama lavished praise on the guest of honor, Rashid Khalidi — former mouthpiece for master terrorist Yasser Arafat?” Andrew C. McCarthy asks at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“At the time Khalidi, a PLO adviser turned University of Chicago professor, was headed east to Columbia. There he would take over the University’s Middle East-studies program (which he has since maintained as a bubbling cauldron of anti-Semitism) and assume the professorship endowed in honor of Edward Said, another notorious terror apologist,” Mr. McCarthy said.

“The party featured encomiums by many of Khalidi’s allies, colleagues and friends, including Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, and Bill Ayers, the terrorist turned education professor. It was sponsored by the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), which had been founded by Khalidi and his wife, Mona, formerly a top English translator for Arafat’s press agency.

“Is there just a teeny-weenie chance that this was an evening of Israel-bashing Obama would find very difficult to explain? Could it be that the Times, a pillar of the Obamedia, is covering for its guy?

“Gateway Pundit reports that the Times has the videotape but is suppressing it.”

Not a diplomat

Lawrence Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in President Bush‘s first term, has some rather undiplomatic things to say about Sen. John McCain‘s presidential campaign and about conservatives in an interview posted at Foreign Policy magazine’s Web site (www.foreignpolicy.com).

When asked for his take “on the tone of the campaign,” Mr. Wilkerson replied: “I was fully expecting the grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan to arrive from Maryland and endorse McCain. I was becoming frightened that we were returning to 1968, when they assassinated Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. Those were bad times.”

Mr. Wilkerson, who calls himself a Republican, said he was “ecstatic” that Mr. Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president. He also had this to say about Mr. McCain: “One of the most dramatic moments for me was when I was watching McCain on television, and I thought I saw in McCain’s eyes himself, when someone yelled something out, a recognition of, ‘Oh, God, what have I done?’

“This is not McCain; he doesn’t cater to this. But for the first time in his political life, I think he realized that there are some strange people in the Republican tent. My father used to say, ‘Larry, beware of the left, because they will bankrupt you; beware of the right, because they will kill you.’ ”

Those undecideds

“As Election Day draws near, people are wondering if the presidential race will tighten. Will the undecideds swing to McCain, or will Obama continue to maintain his 4 to 11 point lead?” Arnon A. Mishkin writes at www.weeklystandard.com.

“Some point to a ‘Bradley effect’ suggesting that voters are hiding their true feelings from pollsters because of Obama’s race, while others say the Bradley effect either never existed or no longer exists. People who think there is a Bradley effect believe that the substantial majority of undecideds are likely to vote for McCain, enabling him to close some of the gap,” Mr. Mishkin said.

“McCain should win a larger share of undecided voters than Obama, but it has little to do with race.

“With Obama outspending McCain by upwards of 4 to 1, getting enormous traction with newspaper editorial boards, generating the enthusiasm to bring out crowds measured in the tens of thousands, and with Palin treated as more of a punch line than a candidate by the press — it seems likely that if voters are not ready to tell a pollster that they are with Obama, they are unlikely to get there.

“But the phenomenon of undecided voters’ breaking for McCain need not be called the ‘Bradley effect.’ Call it the ‘Bloomberg effect’ — where after $100 million of spending, his mayoral challenger was able to capture essentially all of the 10-point undecided vote. Or call it the ‘Clinton effect’ — where almost all the undecided vote swung away from the popular incumbent and went to Bob Dole. Or call it the ‘Reagan effect’ — where even during the Republican 1980 primaries, voters were apparently reluctant to say they were going to vote for the ‘elderly washed-up actor’ and he got the preponderance of the undecided vote.

“They all amount to essentially the same pattern. Call it ‘the Social Effect.’ Where there is a perception that there is a ‘socially acceptable’ choice, respondents who do not articulate it, are likely not to agree with it. Are they lying? Or just genuinely torn about taking that route or another? I am not going to psychoanalyze what is going on in their heads, but in the end, the pattern tends to be that those undecided voters vote against that ‘socially acceptable’ choice.”

Not so funny

“In 2004, Reason magazine’s cover featured a photo of George W. Bush and John F. Kerry, and explained that the good news was that one of the two would not be president — but that the bad news was that one would,” Glenn Harlan Reynolds writes at www.forbes.com.

“On one level, it was a funny cover, but on another level, not so much. What’s even less funny is the likelihood that the same gag could be recycled at almost any election in the future, including this one,” Mr. Reynolds said.

“I mean no disrespect toward Obama and McCain. But I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who watched the candidates debate and thought, ‘Out of a nation of 300 million, this is the best we can do?’ After all, the infant United States, with a tiny fraction of the population, produced Washington, Jefferson and Adams. Despite our having a (much) larger and better-educated populace today, it’s hard to argue that we’re performing up to that standard now.

“So what’s wrong? Is it that America is producing worse people in general, or is it that our best people aren’t winding up in politics? I’m pretty sure the problem is the latter.

“Looking around America, we seem to have plenty of first-rate people with first-rate talents. They’re running companies, doing scientific research, teaching in universities and volunteering. They just don’t seem to be in national politics.”

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

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