Friday, May 02, 2008

Karl's Weekend Reading

As you would expect, we have plenty of links and quotes on Rev. Wright below. We've narrowed our opinion on the matter to one of two possibilities: Either Obama was misled for 20 years by someone he rightly assumed he could trust. We're guilty of similar mistakes. Or, Obama is an idiot. We honestly put the odds at 50-50 and hope, in the event he is elected in November, that it is the former. Some more important links first, then the Wright stuff:

James Taranto at the WSJ Best of the Web nails the AP on the voter ID ruling this week. We need more of this!

Accountability Journalism
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 6-3 vote, upheld Indiana's requirement that voters present photo identification before casting ballots. Yesterday the Associated Press published a dispatch titled "Advocates: Voter ID Ruling May Disenfranchise US Voters."

It ran 15 paragraphs, required two reporters (Deborah Hastings got the byline; David Lieb "contributed"), and was totally one-sided, offering not a single argument in favor of voter ID requirements. It's possible that the AP did another dispatch titled "Advocates: Voter ID Ruling Helps Prevent Fraud," or some such, but we couldn't find it in a Factiva search.

WSJ's Wednesday editorial, Obama Gains, addressed Obama's two ignorant claims about capital gains taxes: 1) Most stocks are in 401k accounts and therefore will not be impacted by a CG tax increase, and 2) only the wealthy pay CG taxes. Really?

It is true that withdrawals from 401(k)s are taxed at ordinary income rates. That does not mean that the stock holdings in tax-deferred mutual funds are somehow fenced off from rising and falling values in the market. If investors see an increase in capital gains taxes in the offing, even to 20% from 15%, many will cash out before the new rate goes into effect. Unless Senator Obama can guarantee that the economy will be in a strong growth spurt when he imposes a higher capital gains tax rate, it's likely that share prices will fall, causing a decline in the value of the 401(k)s held by average Americans.
Indeed, Mr. Obama should reconsider his belief that capital gains are mostly the province of the wealthy. Millions of middle-class Americans do in fact realize investment gains annually. In 2005, according to IRS data, 47% of all tax returns reporting capital gains were from households with incomes below $50,000, and 79% came from households with incomes below $100,000.

Victor Davis Hanson reviews the good and the bad about the War on Terror in his article, The Half-Won, Half-Lost War. This particular 'bad' piece stood out, which reminds us that we're not going to get this level of analysis watching CNN...

In all our major wars — except the present one — Americans have won through a combination of military prowess, correctly identifying the enemy and economic savvy. In the Civil War, the South was blockaded and starved of its cotton revenues, an effort that proved every bit as important as Gettysburg and Sherman's "March to the Sea." Germany was blockaded in both World Wars and cut off from precious metals, oil and food. The Soviet economy collapsed before its military could. Only in this war has our own profligacy empowered our enemies.

And now the responses to Rev. Wright, as brief as possible.

Larry Elder,

Here's the "victicrat" mindset: Kids having difficulty performing well on standardized tests? Blame "cultural bias." Get pulled over by a cop? DWB -- driving while black. A disproportionate number of blacks in prison? A racist criminal justice system that "targets" blacks for prosecution and imprisonment. Katrina? As Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., put it, "ethnic cleansing by inaction." Difficulty qualifying for a loan? Blame banks' devious plan to prevent blacks from getting "access to capital." Pay more for car insurance because you live in a high-crime neighborhood? Why, illegal "redlining," of course. High inner-city dropout rate? Bad teachers, unequal funding, racist teachers -- yada, blah, etc.

Charles Krauthammer,

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."

Michelle Malkin,

It was just this March, in his Philadelphia racial reconciliation speech, that Obama was urging us not to dismiss Wright as a "crank or a demagogue" and protesting that he could "no more disown him than I can disown the black community."

Now, realizing how gravely his self-serving association with Wright has wounded his campaign, Obama himself has attempted to do both those things -- and expects the American public to believe him when he weakly and belatedly asserts that "when I say I find [Wright's] statements appalling, I mean it."

Dan Henninger, WSJ

Even as they watched Barack win, pundits and reporters were agog that a one-term, black-American senator from Illinois could have such an effect. This pickup-team coalition of idealists and pols, led by a virtual Luke Skywalker, was on the brink of pushing the Clinton empire over the cliff. It made the Clintons crazy.

This week we learned the limit of a dream in American politics. At Barack Obama's darkest hour, not one prominent ally came forward to support him. Everyone abandoned Everyman.

James Taranto, WSJ

Jeremiah Wright* may be a kook, but he has Barack Obama's number. The two men, who once either were intimates or barely knew each other, are now engaged in a kerfuffle about, among other things, whether they were intimates, as Wright asserts, or barely knew each other, as Obama claims. Wright says that Obama is playing politics in distancing himself from Wright, while Obama is offended by the notion that he would play politics. After all, he's a different kind of politician!
Obama listened to his gut and did what it told him to do. If the uncommitted superdelegates happened to be saying the same thing, why, that was just a happy coincidence.

And last, the sarcastic wit and clarity from Commie Obama Rally Cap owner, Ann Coulter.

Whew! I'm certainly glad to hear the "snippets" from Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons "in context."
In his speech to the National Press Club on Monday, for example, Wright described America as a country of "segregation, Jim Crow, lynching and the separate-but-equal fantasy." Then he ran outside to feed more quarters into the meter where his time machine was parked.
He said this is a country that "cuts food stamps and spends billions fighting in an unjust war in Iraq," neglecting to add that before you can cut the food stamp program, you must have a country that has a food stamp program.
He clarified his Sept. 16, 2001, sermon, in which he said that on 9/11 "America's chickens are coming home to roost" by saying: "You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you." I'm glad to get the full context on that because I had thought he was talking about chicken farming.
Why did Rev. Wright's supporters think it would be helpful to hear longer versions of the "snippets"?

No further questions, Your Honor!