The Dead Hooker in the Trunk

During John Kerry’s rise from has-been to Democratic nominee, I and my friend Aaron developed the “in the Trunk” measure of political invincibility. “Kerry will win the nomination, unless they find a boyscout in his trunk.” Then “Kerry will win the nomination, unless they find a dead boyscout in his trunk.” The last stage, that he will win the nomination unless the media finds a dead hooker in his trunk, occurred on Super Tuesday.

Obama’s wins in the Potomac Primary made him just as inevitable as Kerry was on his Super Tuesday. But then the media opened Obama’s trunk.

The reason I bring this up is that tonight I unsubscribed from a friend (and regular tdaxp commentator’s) Google Reader “shared items” feed. My friend had a penchant for sharing snarky if empty posts, but a particularly absurd one on Rev. Wright made me conclude that reading the feed was too wasteful from a time perspective. The particular shared item argument characterized criticism of Rev Wright as criticism of the idea that America can make mistakes, and that these mistakes can have negative consequences. That Rev Wright is racist (Jesus was killed by the whites!) and anti-American (God damn America!) is either ignored, or else believing that bad actions can have negative consequences is labeled as “anti-American,” and being white is used as a synonym of being racist.

It is interesting to see a campaign in meltdown. It’s interesting to a circle-the-wagons routine in action, especially at a time as interesting for this. I wonder if Woodward felt this horrified wonder when he wrote State of Denial.

It’s not over for Obama by any means. Rev. Wright to Obama may well be what the Potamic Primary is for Clinton — merely a grave wound that will haunt him through the summer.

I wonder if he will be that lucky.

Weekly Standard Rediscovers Leviathan and SysAdmin

Very cool, and very hopeful:

The Weekly Standard
The answer is the two-force solution. End the procurement holiday. Give the Air Force the Raptors that they need and the Navy their 330 fighting ships. Let the Navy and Air Force rediscover their Cold War roots as the powerful strategic aegis against the Russian Bear and Chinese Dragon, while the Army and Marines fight the skirmishes across the globe. Winning a war is only half of the Armed Forces’ mission, the other half is preventing one.

Of course, two forces (one COIN and one “Shock and Awe”) is an old idea. Still, very good that even traditional supporters of Cold War sized force are realizing that you can’t fight COIN as a “lesser included” of traditional war.

Obama Underwater?

Turns out joining a Hate Group is bad politics, once you get beyond Chicago’s South Side:

Rasmussen Reportsâ„¢: The most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a presidential election.
McCain has gained ground against both Democrats in recent days as stories about Obama’s former Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have been widely discussed(see recent daily results). Wright is viewed favorably by just 8% of American voters and 73% consider his comments racially divisive.

The dialogue about Wright’s controversial comments appears to have had at least a short-term impact on public perceptions of Barack Obama. The Illinois Senator is viewed favorably today by just 47% of voters nationwide. That’s down five points since last Thursday (see recent daily results). The number with an unfavorable view of Obama has risen from 44% on Thursday to 50% today. Among White voters, Obama is now viewed favorably by 43% and unfavorably by 54%.

Looked at from a slightly longer perspective, Obama’s overall favorable ratings peaked at 56% on February 21, shortly after he won the Wisconsin Primary. At that point, Clinton began raising questions about Obama as part of the campaign that ultimately enabled her to win the Texas and Ohio Primaries. Since then, Obama’s net favorability ratings have fallen seventeen points (from plus 14 points on February 21 to minus 3 points today).

Relatedly, Red State and Hot Air link to a good analysis of Obama’s tactical history of race-baiting:


Embarrasing China

Internal dissent:

The Weekly Standard
Tomorrow Beijing will put on trial one of its most ardent human rights campaigners. Hu Jia, 34, faces charges of “inciting subversion of state power.” Evidence to be used against him includes articles he posted on an overseas Chinese-language website and statements he made during interviews with foreign journalists.

For his work as an activist, Hu, a devout Buddhist, has been called “modern China’s conscience.” He called attention to the plight of AIDS orphans whose parents were victims of a scandal involving tainted blood at public blood banks. In June 2004, he was detained for attempting to lay a wreath on Tiananmen Square to honor the victims of the 1989 crackdown on democracy demonstrators.

In February 2006, Hu was abducted by agents of the Beijing public security bureau, driven with a hood over his head to a rural location, and held captive for 41 days. Although suffering from hepatitis-B, Hu was denied medication while his kidnappers interrogated him concerning a hunger strike he had joined to protest police brutality in China.

Upon his release, Hu was kept under house arrest until February 2007. During this time, his wife was tailed by security agents wherever she went. In May 2007, Hu and his wife were both put under house arrest for “endangering state security.” A video diary titled “Prisoners in Freedom City” depicting their life under surveillance

Tibetan Riots:

While the evil deeds in these stories are bad, the feedback they generate for Beijing is good. It’s important that the Beijing Olympics not be boycotted, but it’s also imported that the Chinese citizens who use the Olympics to magnify their voices be heard. The solution for China will ultimately be further liberalization, a more harmonious society that spreads opportunity.

That goodness for the Beijing Olympics, and the embarrassment its helping to generate.