Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jack's still around...

Well, I never did get to Ruth Ann, but now I have a little time and some desire to say something about Jack Kelly column today. I’m probably motivated by a desire to steal the thunder of 2PJ’s, but I shan’t bring in links from Huffington Post or Daily Kos (because I almost never read them).

So Jack Kelly commits a couple of mistakes, in my opinion, in today’s column. First, he cites a poll of Obama supporters as proof that liberals don’ know as much as they think they do. The poll was conducted by the Zogby organization, but commissioned by a “conservative documentary maker” John Ziegler. I don’t know anything about John Ziegler, I’ll et others poke any holes to be found there. But I do wonder if Mr. Ziegler gave Zogby at least the subject matter if not the form of the questions to ask the 512 Obama supporters. There were the obvious questions, such as who had the pregnant teenage daughter and who spent $150,000 on their wardrobe as well as a gothcha question – who can see Russia from their house (correct answer, Tina Fey lampooning Sarah Palin, and I didn’t catch this one as read the column).

But there was also questions like what percentage of Obama supporters knew that Obama started his political career in the home of two former Weather Underground members, what percentage knew that Biden had to end a previous Presidential run because he plagiarized a speech, a question about who controls both the House and Senate, a question about how Obama won his first election by getting all his opponents removed from the ballot, a question about the 57 states remark by Obama, and a question about how Obama said his energy policy would bankrupt the energy industry.

I’m not going to bother with the quotes taken out of context (the 57 states that was apparently supposed to be a joke, the energy policy issue part of a much larger, complex discussion), the first election thing is ambiguous at best (and no one ever said he wasn’t a smart politician). The question of who controls the House and Senate is interesting because I have often said in comments on other blogs that the record number of blocked votes for cloture and the record number of holds put on legislation means that the Republicans have been much worse about holding up legislation than the Democrats ever were in the previous six years. Just for the record, sixty democratic votes in the Senate scares me almost as much, but the Republicans have simply turned into this obstructionist force, and even bad change might be preferable here. But anyway the upshot is that the Obama supporters did not know about the “insidious” past of their candidate (although now we do, and we can’t say Jack didn’t warn us). But Jack doesn’t exactly blame the Obama supporters, they were ignorant dupes of the main stream media, in the pocket for Obama. I guess his message is that they could be easily led sheep by the truth telling conservative media as well as the liberal liars. Then if polled they would know the out of context and unfair conservative talking points (not that Jack characterizes it quite that way).

The second thing I want to say about this column is … who cares? We have to accept the wishes of the American people in elections. I know, you’re going to say that liberals called for Bush and Cheney to be impeached and removed from office. Sure, but that is inherently a political process, you have to have proof (which some liberal thought did exist), you have to convince both the House and the Senate, and if you remove just Bush you have President Cheney. Of course, Kelly starts off his column with an excerpt from an email where a (critical) reader suggests that the mass support that the republicans do have comes from “lower middle class voters, many of whom are poorly educated and inarticulate” and it later characterizes the base by saying “as a mass movement it reflects stupidity and ignorance”. So you can see why Kelly was interested in talking about how smart he thinks Obama’s supporters are. But I will say that now that the election is over, what is going to be important is how smart Obama and his staff will be. Now, lots of conservative commenters want to say that Obama coasted through school, that teachers and professors gave his good grades because of affirmative action. I doubt that very much, but regardless of what I or they think, we are about to see how smart Obama is. Either he will do things that will help get us out of our economic mess, and address more long term issues of infrastructure, or he won’t. I think that he is bound to bet some things right, and some wrong, no matter what, but the mix will be the interesting thing.

Obama is going to let some supporters down, and the conservatives will seize on those people as examples of Obama’s failures (some have already branded Obama a failure for appointing Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State, pending Senate approval). It hardly, matters, by April 20th we will have some record to look at, and then it will make sense whether to be hopeful or disappointed. At that point, Mr. Zogby’s poll and Mr. Kelly’s sour grapes will be entirely meaningless.


Matt H said...

I don't even read the Kelly column anymore. I can't stand it.

EdHeath said...

I can see why, Matt. On the other hand, it does give me something to write about.