Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not Like Those Americans!

Conservative Party Leader David Cameron made brief unscheduled remarks to the conference today to comment on the financial situation. Very moderate tone, even statesmanlike. But, twice during the speech he vowed not to be like those Americans with all their partisan wrangling.

There I sat in the audience slumped in my chair with head bowed in shame, an real life example of bad political behavior.


Well, whaddya know? Change is the mantra here, too. Except they have a "plan" for change.

I went to a so-called "fringe" event today where a panel discussed what policies needed to go into a conservative "manifesto" for the next election. Funny how political debates with British accents sound so elevated. Still, the discussion confirmed what we know, which is that the British Conservatives are more like American moderate Republicans. I think our mainstream Republicans would be considered religious kooks over here.

Opus Restaurant

I had a delightful dinner at Opus Restaurant in Birmingham. It was clearly the hot spot for the evening. I was joined by Ben Thornton and Scott Dodsworth from the FH London office. At the next table was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, who gave a firey speech a the convention earlier in the day. He mocked Gordon Brown over his economic policies, which are showing the same signs as the banking collapse in the U.S.

The conversation at our table was lively. We concluded that Western civilization is doomed. Time to learn Mandarin.
Posted by Picasa

At The British Conservative Conference

I'm blogging from inside the Annual British Conservative Conference. Conservatives here are very different from American conservatives. The best evidence is that there are booths for the British Humanist Society and the British Secular Society, both commited to advance the cause of non-religious people in England. Such booths at a Republican meeting in the U.S. would probably invite prayer vigils for the souls of the damned individuals working at them.

In fairness, you wouldn't see such booths at a Democratic meeting either. Here in Europe, the Enlightenment goes on, much to the frustration of Pope Benedict.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 29, 2008

Birmingham, England

I have just arrived in Birmingham, England for the Conservative Party Conference. Here's a shot from my hotel, the Radisson. Guess what? They are going through exactly the same financial crisis we are facing, except that here it's the conservatives attacking labour in the same way Democrats are attacking Republicans in the U.S.

My driver here was a big Labour supporter from Nigeria. He had the convention on the radio and we were listening to a speech by the shadow chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, and was shouting at it. "The Tories are heartless!!" he shouted.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate Reaction

Here's my quick take on the debate Friday night. It's half of a "red and blue" discussion that I've posted on my company web site. I'll post the other "combatant's" comments when I get them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama as Don Corleone

Another reason to love Barack. Asked his favorite movie, he says, "The Godfather." Then proceeds to do a quick imitation of Brando as Vito.

Watch CBS Videos Online

For the record, it wasn't a "caretaker" that came to see the Don, it was an undertaker.

I endorse his other movie picks, as well.

Quote of the Day

Regarding McCain's lies:

Despite having its claim exposed in nearly every media outlet, the McCain campaign continued to assert it anyway, day after day, dozens of times in all. It was as if Bill Clinton had persisted in his claim that he did not have sexual relations with that woman even after the appearance of the semen-stained dress.

Jonathan Chait, New Republic

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lisbon Treaty

This is a little outside the scope of this blog, but I would invite readers to look into events in Europe, specifically Ireland, regarding the Lisbon Treaty. Click here to learn more about it. It's a very consequential treaty that streamline the operations of the European Union. Regular readers of this blog will recall an earlier reference to the treaty from the visit we made to the home of one of the leaders of the "No" coalition.

Ireland's no vote shocked all of Europe and some feared it threatened the future of the EU. I have a good friend, a passionate Irishman, who strongly supports the treaty and was deeply disappointed, and to some degree embarrassed, by the vote.

I offer his pithy status report below:

re Lisbon - they will throw us a few crumbs. Declan and the IRA will declare victory and that they now feel they can support the treaty. We will vote Yes and then get back to being at the centre of Europe again. Just like the economy is now good for Obama, its good here too for Lisbon as we realise we cannot stand alone and that we are no longer as attractive to foreign investors because we are no longer the shining light of Europe - having shot ourselves in the foot ( as the Irish have been inclined to do for hundreds of years )

Kmiec's Account

Here is Douglas Kmiec powerful account of his experience of being denied communion for endorsing Obama. An impressive man. I do not understand how a priest devoted to a Church among whose primary teachings is the virtue of humility can be so arrogant.

Here are his "Catholic" reasons for supporting Obama:

Condemned for announcing to the world that I intended to vote for a man who I thought lived the Beatitudes. A black man; a caring man; a talented man. A man different from my conservative self and yet calling me to find the best of that self. A man who, in so many ways, asks to care for the least advantaged as he seeks the public responsibility to carry with him, as if it was his own burden the plight of the marginalized and unemployed worker, the uninsured, the widowed mother grieving over a son lost in Iraq. Their hurts, far worse than mine. It was wrong to be damned; to be excluded from the grace of the sacrament of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all I could think was the old Tolstoy folk wisdom "God knows the truth, but waits."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I usually like Dan Balz of the Washington Post. He seems like a straight ahead reporter without the ego of people like Dana Milbank. But he has a line in today's paper that is just shocking. In a piece mostly devoted to the problems that McCain confronts in the election he says:

As in the primaries, he has been reduced to basics, and they have served him well over the past two months. His best hope of winning is to make the campaign a test of character.

Has he not been paying attention? Can he still suggest that McCain possesses the superior "character" in this race? With all the deceit and hypocrisy pouring out of the McCain, how can he possibly run on "character?"

Come on!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lies to Date

Here's a nice encapsulation of McCain's lies. Doesn't include the Palin lies, i.e. the Bridge to Nowhere, earmarks, etc. I expect there'll be an updated version. But it's worth watching all the way through.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Way to Beat McCain

I just thought of a way to beat John McCain. Let's start a whispering campaign that he has an illegitimate black child. Can't miss. Would probably win us Mississippi. Kind of sleazy, but why not? I would be will be consistent with the kind of campaign he's running against Barack Obama and it just might work.

Oh wait....That's been done before.....by the people currently running McCain's campaign!

(note that the Globe article cited above was writing by campaign chair, Rick Davis. Wonder how he's getting along with Tucker Eskew?)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Douglas Kmiec - Catholic Obama Supporter

Douglas Kmiec was a familiar legal expert during the Clinton impeachment. He would argue the case in favor of impeachment and, as far as I was concerned, defend the indefensible. I considered him an unprincipled hack who would conjure up sophisticated legal rationales for anything and everything the Republicans chose to do on that and other issues. I frankly didn't know that he was also a prominent Catholic.

Now, I learn he has endorsed Obama and atributes his endorsement to his dedication to Catholic teaching. Of course, that forces me to totally re-evaluate my opinion of him. I now realize he is an honorable scholar.

It's times like these when I have to ask myself, am I the political hack?

Could it be????


Here's his very persuasive answer on the question of abortion in a column by the Times Religion correspondent, Peter Steinfels:

Q. Given those views, why do you support Barack Obama?

A. There is a widespread misconception that overturning Roe is the only way to be pro-life. In fact, overturning Roe simply returns the matter to the states, which in their individual legislative determinations could then be entirely pro-abortion. I doubt that many of our non-legally-trained pro-life friends fully grasp the limited effect of overturning Roe.

Secondly, pundits like to toss about the notion that the future of Roe depends on one vote, the mythical fifth vote to overturn the decision. There are serious problems with this assumption: first, Republicans have failed to achieve reversal in the five previous times they asked the court for it; and second, it is far from certain that only one additional vote is needed to reverse the decision in light of the principles of stare decisis by which a decided case ought not to be disturbed. Only Justices Thomas and Scalia have written and joined dissenting opinions suggesting the appropriateness of overturning Roe.

So given those views, the better question is how could a Catholic not support Barack Obama?

Senator Obama’s articulated concerns with the payment of a living wage, access to health care, stabilizing the market for shelter, special attention to the needs of the disadvantaged and the importance of community are all part of the church’s social justice mission.

Applying this to the issue of abortion, the senator has repeatedly indicated that he is not pro-abortion, that he understands the serious moral question it presents, and, most significantly, that he wants to move us beyond the 35 years of acrimony that have done next to nothing to reduce the unwanted pregnancies that give rise to abortions.

Interestingly, Kmiec has been denied communion by at least one priest for his apostasy. He has become a hero of mine.

Fighting McCain

John McCain loves a good fight. He even loves a bad fight. Is that what we need in the White House? More fighting using other people's blood?

Good column in the Times today by Rachel Kleinfeld. Key quote:

Senator McCain’s temper, renowned in Washington, may occasionally be principled when he is speaking as one of 100 senators, but it’s dangerous in higher office. A man who enjoys fighting as much as John McCain does, who is combative in his personal relations within his own country, that is not a temperament we need in the Oval Office. He wanted Thursday’s speech to be about character — and Americans should pay attention to his. A reckless man is a danger in a volatile world.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I "Heart" Campbell Brown

This is the best interrogation of a McCainiac I've seen on Palin. She's relentless. Josh Marshall called it a "live vivisection"....and it was.


The selection of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP is the most depressing development I've seen in politics in a long, long time. I'm depressed, not as an Obama supporter, but as an American. The fact that this decision by McCain is not seen by every thinking person as a cynical, dangerous and hypocritical move by McCain just makes me very sad. I fear that it is further evidence of our ultimate decline as a country. Democracy reveals both the best and worst in a society. In this time of global crisis, a time that McCain call one of transcendant threat, the fact that the thought of "President Sarah Palin" doesn't terrify every thinking American is deeply, deeply depressing.

I though Richard Cohen got it right:

Probably the most depressing thing about Palin is not her selection but the defense of it. It has produced a parade of GOP spokesmen intent on spiking the needle on a polygraph. Looking right into the camera, they offer statement after statement that they hope the voters will swallow but that history will forget. The sum effect on the diligent news consumer is a feeling of consummate contempt for the intelligence of the American people -- a contempt that will be justified should Palin be the factor that makes McCain a winner in November.

The best example of an outright lie offered by a Republican in defense of Palin is Governor Pawlenty saying on NRP that the fact that she is a woman had nothing to do with her selection.