July 17, 2008 [LINK / comment]
Obama targets Virginia (?)
Barack Obama's campaign announced that they will open up 20 additional local offices across the Commonwealth of Virginia, in a bold bid to take the battle to "enemy territory." One of those offices will be in Harrisonburg, just a ways up I-81 from here. Since LBJ won Virginia in 1964, no Democrat has won [in Virginia]. See the Washington Post, which quoted Delegate Chris Saxman as saying that those extra offices would be a "tremendous waste of money" for Obama. That's probably the case, since Obama has only a slim chance of winning Virginia, but it depends what the objective is.
It seems to me that this campaign push in Virginia is intended to put John McCain on the defensive, forcing him to spend precious resources to shore up his own base of support. It's not likely to work, however. The one consistent theme with Obama is style over substance, image over reality. As Saxman said, it's probably just a publicity stunt to create the impression of a nationwide bandwagon. Most Virginians are pretty sensible people, however, immune from [Obama's kind of] glitzy showmanship. On the other hand, this reminds me of Mark Warner's expensive campaign to appeal to hunters and rural folks when he ran for governor in 2001. They even composed a catchy bluegrass tune -- as if Warner had roots in the hill country! That was one slick campaign, and it worked. The real test of how broad Obama's appeal in Virginia is will be whether he shows up at one of the NASCAR races in the state: either Bristol (Aug. 23), Richmond (Sept. 6), or Martinsville (Oct. 19). That would be huge.
Charlottesville experienced a rush of "Obama-mania" when Barack himself came to town last year, and given the announcement that he will give his convention acceptance speech at Denver's Invesco Field ("at Mile High"), I wonder if they plan on a similar event this fall at Scott Stadium. Much more likely would be John Paul Jones Arena.
Now the wet-behind-the-ears Illinois senator is heading for the Middle East on a "fact-finding mission," which as John McCain pointed out is rather odd, since Obama has already made up his mind on the facts. Let's watch to see whether Obama goes to any parts to Iraq that would have been off-limits for security reasons two years ago, and then see how he explains the improved conditions. Who knows, maybe he'll "change his tune" on the surge, as he has on other issues!
A false impeachment rumor is making the rounds in the blogosphere thanks to a thinly-veiled piece of satire by lefty blogger Cheryl Biren. She quoted Rep. Bob Goodlatte and six other Republican House members who voted to impeach President Clinton in 1998 for having lied under oath, but without any context, leading one to think -- erroneously -- that those were recent statements referring to President Bush. NOT! Only at the end of the blog piece was this explained. Very funny. If anyone could point to a case in which President Bush told a deliberate lie under oath or in a similar solemn circumstance, it might be appropriate to make that comparison, but not otherwise. Hat tip to David Rexrode for this alert.
From my own personal experience (that linked blog post is exactly one year old!), disinformation spread by bloggers is a very grave offense in my book.
Grace under fire
During his speech welcoming 72 new American citizens at Monticello on July 4, President Bush displayed real poise (often defined as "grace under fire") as he was repeatedly interrupted by obnoxious, profane hecklers. It was even worse than was reported in the newspapers, causing embarrassment for those who arranged the special event. Watch for yourself at youtube.com; hat tip to Patrick Carne.