Friday, April 25, 2008

Karl's Weekend Reading

The big news this week was the Pennsylvania Primary. Obama's 10-point loss, despite spending nearly 3-to-1 over Hillary, and his embarrassing performance in the debate will keep the Dem in-fighting going for another month or more. Here are the four best quotes regarding Obama from this week's readings:

Lawrence Kudlow, from his article, Why Not Blame Obama?

But here's the deal: During the debate, Obama bungled his answers on tax policy, big time. Period. End of sentence. End of story. To my liberal friends in the media, all I can say is: Get over it. Your guy has a very poor grasp of basic economic principles.

First off, you don't raise taxes during a recession. That's a no-brainer. Second, doubling the capital-gains tax rate will affect Americans up and down the income ladder, not just rich hedge-fund managers. In addition, capital-gains tax cuts are self-financing, and they stimulate jobs and the economy. You want to raise budget revenues and spark economic growth? Cut the cap-gains tax rate. That's what history shows.

The Wall Street Journal's Steve Moore points out that in 2005, almost half of all tax returns reporting capital gains came from households with incomes under $50,000, while more than three-quarters came from households earning less than $100,000.

Karl Rove, from his opinion piece in the WSJ, Is Obama Ready for Prime Time?

Mr. Obama has not been a leader on big causes in Congress. He has been manifestly unwilling to expend his political capital on urgent issues. He has been only an observer, watching the action from a distance, thinking wry and sardonic and cynical thoughts to himself about his colleagues, mildly amused at their to-ing and fro-ing. He has held his energy and talent in reserve for the more important task of advancing his own political career, which means running for president.

But something happened along the way. Voters saw in the Philadelphia debate the responses of a vitamin-deficient Stevenson act-a-like. And in the closing days of the Pennsylvania primary, they saw him alternate between whining about his treatment by Mrs. Clinton and the press, and attacking Sen. John McCain by exaggerating and twisting his words. No one likes a whiner, and his old-style attacks undermine his appeals for postpartisanship.

Too hot in the kitchen! That is our take on Obama's refusal to debate in North Carolina.

From James Taranto's Best of the Web posting from Tuesday, The Obama Quarantine, where he comments on Obama's lack of debate backbone:

Of course, after last week's debate--which turned out to be highly informative--Obama has got to be wishing he had stopped at 20. Given that he seems to have the nomination nearly locked up anyway, it makes tactical sense for him to run out the clock and stay far away from anyone who may ask him a tough question.

But does it make strategic sense? It strikes us that Obama may be setting a trap for himself. Consider the experience of John Kerry in 2004: He won nomination easily, with the media largely buying into his "war hero" story and not asking tough questions. One notable exception was ABC's Charlie Gibson, who almost exactly four years ago confronted Kerry about his shifty behavior vis-à-vis his medals.

Once Kerry was past the convention, the questions that should have been asked much earlier began coming out. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ended up doing the media's job for them. If Obama succeeds in avoiding the tough questions now, someone will end up asking them in the fall. Will he be prepared?

And Charles Krauthammer comments on Obama's strongest supporters, the media, in his article The "Distractions"of Obama's Character:

In the now-famous Pennsylvania debate, Obama had extreme difficulty answering questions about these associations and attitudes. The difficulty is understandable. Some of the contradictions are inexplicable. How does one explain campaigning throughout 2007 on a platform of transcending racial divisions, while in that same year contributing $26,000 to a church whose pastor incites race hatred?

What is Obama to do? Dismiss all such questions about his associations and attitudes as "distractions." And then count on his acolytes in the media to wage jihad against those who have the temerity to raise these questions. As if the character and beliefs of a man who would be president are less important than the "issues." As if some political indecency was committed when Obama was prevented from going through his 21st -- and likely last -- primary debate without being asked about Wright or Ayers or the tribal habits of gun-toting God-loving Pennsylvanians.