From tonight’s “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file:
Earl Pomeroy is not the first Democrat to distance himself from President Obama as the midterms near. But Mr. Pomeroy, the only congressman from North Dakota, just may be the first Democrat to actually embrace George W. Bush in a campaign ad, as he did on Monday.
The 30-second spot opens with an image of Mr. Bush at a bill signing, as a narrator explains: “When George Bush proposed a Medicare prescription drug plan, Earl Pomeroy voted yes, putting seniors before party.” (He was one of just 16 Democrats who voted for the bill when it passed in 2003; most in his party thought it did not go far enough.)
Here’s the ad:
ABC News’ The Note blog points out that this isn’t the first time Pomeroy has referenced Bush in a campaign ad, but I suspect it’s his first one this campaign season:
To be sure, Pomeroy sits in one of the most Republican states in the country. McCain carried North Dakota with 53 percent of the vote. And, his campaign notes that this ad was in response to an earlier ad by the GOP that attacked him for voting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi 97 percent of the time. Moreover, this isn’t the first time Pomeroy has boasted about his Republican bonafides or his support of President Bush in advertising. However, given that Pomeroy took 62 percent here in 2006 and 2008, it’s amazing just how quickly his fortunes have turned.
—– Continuing, the Associated Press reports that our Gaffetastic Vice President told the Democrat base something most of us have been trying to tell them for years:
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Campaigning for Democratic candidates in New Hampshire, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday the party’s base should “stop whining.”
Biden attended a fundraiser for Rep. Paul Hodes, who is running for the Senate; Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who is seeking re-election to a third term; and the state Democratic Party. He said Democrats can win both races if they draw clear distinctions between themselves and their Republican opponents, and he urged Democrats to “remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This president has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises.”
The event was hosted by yogurt manufacturer Stonyfield Farm, whose president, Gary Hirshberg, is a longtime Democratic activist and fundraiser.
Speaking to voters at a Manchester home earlier in the day, Biden said the “Pledge to America” House Republicans are promoting would do nothing but increase the national debt and eliminate government services critical to the nation’s health and prosperity.
Republicans last week unveiled their plan to cut taxes and spending, repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law and end his stimulus program if the GOP retakes the House in November. Biden criticized its lack of specifics and offered his opinion on what would happen if the plan was implemented.
“If they did everything the pledge calls for, it will add a trillion dollars to the debt and that would require them under their program to eliminate every program in the government from the FBI to highways and a whole bunch of other things to meet the goals they state,” he said.
Hmm. Sounds to me like Joe Biden needs to stop his “whining,” too.
Famously outspoken Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson over the weekend released an attack ad against his Republican opponent Daniel Webster, comparing Webster’s votes on women’s issues to the Taliban. The ad ends with a narrator calling him “Taliban Dan Webster.”
“Religious fanatics try to take away our freedom, in Afghanistan, in Iran and right here in Central Florida,” a female narrator says in the ad.
The ad features a short clip of Webster saying, “Wives, submit yourself to your own husband.” It also repeatedly shows Webster saying, “She should submit to me.” The clips were reportedly taken from a speech Webster gave at a conference of the nonprofit Christian group the Institute for Basic Life Principles.
The Orlando Sentinel fleshes out the specific accusations the ad makes against Webster. For instance, the charge that Webster “voted to deny abused women health care” reportedly refers to his vote against legislation that would have stopped insurance companies from calling domestic violence a pre-existing condition.
Webster this morning told local television station WOFL that he has not seen the ad — and he managed to ridicule the ad’s premise in his response.
“My wife asked me not to watch the ad, and I submitted to her,” he said.
While he has not watched the ad, Webster said his remarks shown in the ad are surely taken out of context. “I certainly don’t talk in three or four-word statements,” he said.
As Reason’s Michael C. Moynihan points out, Grayson has also tried to label Webster “unpatriotic” by falsely accusing him of being a “draft dodger.” Not only that, but Moynihan also notes that comparing Republicans to the Taliban is becoming quite the fashionable, “edgy” thing to do amongst Democrats who just a couple of years ago would scream bloody murder if they thought their patriotism in any way was being questioned.
TPM also calls the quote “damning,” which may be true only if one has never actually read the Bible and this particular passage in context. In both Ephesians and Colossians, the text does call for women to submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord — and also for husbands to “love their wives” (Colossians), and to do so “as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy” (Ephesians). In other words, wives submit to their husbands, and husbands sacrifice themselves for their wives and children. It’s a passage intended on underscoring the necessity of both spouses to act in sacrificial ways to each other for marriages to become a sacrament, as well as to succeed in the normal, prosaic manner.
Far from showing Webster as some sort of Wahhabist, this ad exposes Grayson as completely ignorant of this particular, well-debated section of the New Testament and a bit of a bigot regarding Christianity, as well as an empty suit completely unable to offer anything other than ad hominem namecalling as an argument for his re-election.
Update: Oh, and let’s not forget the faux-Arabic font on the graphic, too, which adds to the overall offensiveness of the spot.
Not that the left seems to care. In fact, if a popular liberal site like TPM is embracing the ad, that’s a pretty sure bet that most others will follow suit – if they haven’t already.
BTW, this isn’t the first time the left has tried to morally equate Republicans with the Taliban. In July 2001, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said of Bush: “He has selected nominees from the Taliban wing of American politics, appeased the wretched appetites of the extreme right wing and chosen Cabinet officials whose devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection.” In January of this year, Bond again compared Republicans to the Taliban by saying that Obama had “energized” the “Taliban wing” of the GOP.
Yet we’re the outrageous ones …
There’s an interesting article at the Terror Finance Blog about the increase in the use of kidnapping to raise funds for jihadist groups, specifically Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), bin Laden’s North African franchise:
Kidnapping-for-ransom is considered by many experts as an “alternative source of terrorism financing.” But the recent abduction of five French nationals in Niger by the Al Qaeda’s Islamic Maghreb terrorist group (AQIM) highlights a worrisome regional trend that emerged in 2003, when AQIM first launched a major hostage taking campaign targeting foreign tourists.
Since then, AQIM has developed a growing criminal industry that sustains itself through huge ransoms they extort and drug trafficking.
It is estimated that the kidnap-for-ransom business in the Sahel region alone, put at least $65 million in the coffers of AQIM since 2005. More than 90% of the group’s funding derives from this single financial source. The rest comes from drug trafficking and donations.
The kidnapping business is so good, that hostage taking in the Sahel region had risen 150% between 2008 and 2009. The average ransom for the release of a Western hostage is $6.5 million.
Since 2008, AQIM raised more than $25 million from ransom for foreign nationals in the Sahel region. This makes AQIM richer than “Al Qaeda Central”, whose annual income was recently estimated by U.S. officials to be between $5 million to $10 million.
The article then goes on to talk about efforts to criminalize the payment of ransom, though I suspect that would be an exercise in futility when governments themselves can pay ransom via back-channels. Italy infamously paid ransom to Iraqi terrorists to recover journalist Giuliana Sgrena in 2005, while France has been rumored to have criticized Spain for paying ransom to AQIM. (Though Paris now denies this.)
But the real problem here (aside from paying kidnappers at all) is that this money is then used by AQIM (and al Qaeda, which surely gets a cut) to finance not only further kidnappings, but terrorist operations in North Africa, Europe, and around the world. Operations that get our people killed. In effect, governments and corporations are financing the hijackers and suicide bombers sent against us. And you can bet some of this money is going to research into easy means of mass destruction, such as poison gas.
Harsh and heartless as it would be to do so, the only way to stop these kidnappings is to refuse to pay any ransom; rather than treating the terrorist kidnappers are criminals, they should be hunted down and killed. And yes, that is in full recognition of the possible consequences.
If, instead, we keep paying, we’re only giving them the rope they’ll use to hang us.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Think we’d have to wait for all potential Republican Senate wins in November to become official in January at the swearing in ceremony? Think again. The Wall Street Journal reports on a little known but tantalizing tidbit of information concerning how the Democrat majority in the Senate could shake out immediately after the fall elections:
At least three Senate victors could be seated immediately after the November elections, raising the possibility that Democrats could see their majority cut for the end of the year as Congress deals with several key pieces of legislation.
Lawmakers are typically seated in January. But deaths, a resignation and a series of Democrats taking jobs in the Obama administration forced six states to fill Senate vacancies through appointment since 2008, including those created by the president and vice president.
Terms for three of those appointed senators—from Illinois, West Virginia and Delaware—expire after elections Nov. 2.
State laws require replacements to be seated immediately, and Republicans are seen as having a shot at winning in Illinois and West Virginia. The GOP candidate in Delaware, tea-party-backed Christine O’Donnell, is trailing Democratic nominee Chris Coons by double digits in recent polls.
In Colorado, where the election is considered a toss-up, Republicans also intend to push for a speedy appointment.
The possibility of early seating has created a window for candidates such as Republican John Raese in West Virginia, who tells voters he could stop a last-ditch spending effort in the lame-duck session—the period between the election and installation of a new Congress. Mr. Raese is running for Senate against the state’s Democratic governor, Joe Manchin.
“John is certainly going to Washington to oppose legislation,” said Mr. Raese’s campaign manager, Jim Dornan. Mr. Dornan said Mr. Raese would try to help pass legislation in the next Congress.
Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican congressman running for President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois, has created a separate website for the issue, saveusfromthelameduck.com. He mentions it “pretty much everywhere he goes,” his spokeswoman said.
Polls show him ahead of his Democratic opponent, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
“I would become the 42nd Republican senator, with the opportunity to put the breaks on any lame-duck overreach,” Mr. Kirk said in a video on his website. Democrats are currently expected to lose about six to eight Senate seats.
The Senate’s 41 Republicans can already block legislation at will, as Democrats need 60 votes to stop a filibuster. Pending business for the lame-duck session includes spending bills, the Dec. 31 expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the expected recommendations from Mr. Obama’s debt commission, which reports in early December. Representatives for Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t comment on a lame-duck agenda.
If all three Republican candidates win in states that allow for immediate seating, Democrats would struggle to pass anything that would trigger a GOP filibuster. The party would need to wrangle as many as four Republican votes to proceed.
That would not be outside the realm of possibility, considering that some of those like Kirk who, if they win and are seated immediately as required by law, could become another Senate GOP moderate and side with Democrats on occasion but the wins would definitely make it much harder than it is now with the current Senate make-up. Not only that, but at least in the short term (the lame duck session) I would think that even a newly-elected moderate GOP Senator would want to demonstrate that he or she understands that the reason why they won is because voters have turned against the big government liberalism of President Obama and the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate – and as a result would side accordingly with the GOP, which is what Senator Scott Brown did on the health care “reform” issue shortly after being elected in MA.
In any event, November looks to be a promising month for anyone (conservatives, moderates, independents) fed up with the words, actions, and legislation coming from the majority party in Washington, DC. I have a good feeling about the GOP winning the House this year. The Senate is another matter, but at the very least – as the WSJ noted – cutting hard into the left’s majority in the Senate will make their attempts at passing far left legislation that much harder, pretty much guaranteeing the left is going to have many more uphill battles over the next two years as it is forced to try and use an any-means-necessary approach to getting legislation passed (as we saw with ObamaCare). And if the sentiment in 2012 is anything like it is now – and I suspect it will be – not only will we see control of the Senate return to the GOP (in addition to maintaining the House majority I think we will already have), but there’s a strong likelihood that the WH will, at last, no longer be controlled by a Socialist-in-Training. Our biggest worries at that point will be to watch closely to make sure that the Republican-controlled Congress and the Republican in the WH don’t screw up the opportunities we had and lost when we had the chance back during 2000-2006.