Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dumb Mistake

My thanks to Jared for pointing out my mistake about sons of candidates in Iraq. It turns out that contrary to what I wrote, Senator Biden, like Governor Palin, does indeed have a son headed to Iraq later this year.

My apologies to the Senator and to our readers for the error. It was a dumb mistake.

Nevertheless, the main point is still valid. Both GOP candidates have children serving in the war zone so the criticism levelled at politicians, usually Republicans, that they have no personal stake in their decisions to use force, won't work against McCain and Palin.


Irena Sendler

Last October we wrote about Irena Sendler. It has come to my attention that Mrs. Sendler passed away last May. I missed the notice of her passing, but I'm not surprised at that. She wasn't the sort of woman whose life and death would attract much notice. She was not, after all, a celebrity. She wasn't young or beautiful as the world sees beauty. She wasn't rich as the world counts riches. There was no glamour or scandal associated with her life, like there was with Princess Di. Nothing about her was the sort of thing that would cause Americans, infatuated as we are with athletes, Hollywood stars and rap artists, to mourn her passing.

She did, though, possess extraordinary amounts of both courage and compassion, and her story is amazing.

Irena Sendler (March 2007)

I urge you to go to the New York Times' article on her to learn why her's was a life the whole world should honor and her death one that the whole world should mourn.

Then, after you've read about her, consider this: She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize last year, but didn't win it. The committee which decides who should be honored with the award concluded that the most deserving recipient was Al Gore who did a slide show on global warming.

I wonder if Mr. Gore ever thought that maybe the right thing to do would have been to decline the award and insist it be given instead to Irena Sendler. I'm sure he was ashamed to accept the prize which manifestly belonged to someone like Mrs. Sendler.


New Politics

Why is Barack Obama so reluctant to let reporters access to the records of his public life? John Fund at the Wall Street Journal urges reporters to refuse to be dissuaded by the stonewalling that has greeted their attempts to find out a little more about who Barack Obama really is:

Chasing the rest of Mr. Obama's paper trail is often an exercise in frustration. Mr. Obama says his state senate records "could have been thrown out" and he didn't keep a schedule in office. No one appears to have kept a copy of his application for the Illinois Bar. He has released only a single page of medical records, versus 1,000 pages for John McCain.

Then there's the house that Mr. Obama bought in 2005 in cooperation with Tony Rezko, his friend and campaign fund-raiser -- a move the candidate concedes was "boneheaded." Rezko was convicted in June of 16 counts of corruption. (Mr. Obama was not implicated in Rezko's crimes.)

Rezko's trial raised a host of questions. Was Mr. Obama able to save $300,000 on the asking price of his house because Rezko's wife paid full price for the adjoining lot? How did Mrs. Rezko make a $125,000 down payment and obtain a $500,000 mortgage when financial records shown at the Rezko trial indicate she had a salary of only $37,000 and assets of $35,000? Records show her husband also had few assets at the time.

Last April, the London Times revealed that Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born billionaire living in London, had loaned Mr. Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before the day the sale of the house and lot closed in June 2005. Mr. Auchi's office notes he was a business partner of Rezko but says he had "no involvement in or knowledge of" the property sale. But in April 2004 he did attend a dinner party in his honor at Rezko's Chicago home. Mr. Obama also attended, and according to one guest, toasted Mr. Auchi. Later that year, Mr. Auchi came under criminal investigation as part of a U.S. probe of the corrupt issuance of cell-phone licenses in Iraq.

In May 2004, the Pentagon's inspector general's office cited "significant and credible evidence" of involvement by Mr. Auchi's companies in the Oil for Food scandal, and in illicit smuggling of weapons to Saddam Hussein's regime. Because of the criminal probe, Mr. Auchi's travel visa to the U.S. was revoked in August 2004, even as Mr. Auchi denied all the allegations. According to prosecutors, in November 2005 Rezko was able to get two government officials from Illinois to appeal to the State Department to get the visa restored. Asked if anyone in his office was involved in such an appeal, Mr. Obama told the Chicago Sun-Times last March, "not that I know of." FOIA requests to the State Department for any documents haven't been responded to for months.

After long delays, Mr. Obama sat with the editorial boards of the Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune in March to answer their questions about his connection to Rezko. He had no recollection of ever meeting Mr. Auchi. He also said he didn't understand a lot about house buying, and gave vague answers to other questions. Since then, he has avoided any further discussion of the Rezko matter.

Is this what the "New Politics" looks like?


The Torricelli Gambit

Jim Geraghty at National Review Online makes a tongue-in-cheek prediction:

One month from now, the Palin pick has proven a bonanza for the McCain campaign. A large chunk of Hillary's 18 million voters have been won over. Conservatives are unified and energized, and the previously-undiscovered "Maxim magazine vote" is suddenly giving McCain large margins among young males.

Joe Biden will disappear from the campaign trail, and we will later learn it was to see a doctor. A previously-undiscovered, vaguely ominous health issue will be discovered, and Biden will sadly announce that he cannot continue as Obama's running mate. With a sudden need for a new one, Obama will turn... to Hillary Clinton.

Call it the Torricelli gambit.

This is a reference to incumbent New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Torricelli who fell under an ethical cloud just before the election in 2002. With his poll numbers dropping off the chart he was pressured by the party to drop out of the race so Frank Lautenberg could be appointed to run in his place. Lautenberg won.

Maybe Geraghty's idea is not so tongue-in-cheek.