Why kiss the Pope?

April 16, 2008

Months of planning have led to this moment — Wednesday’s official arrival ceremony for Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to the United States in his three years as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Plans for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States have been in the works for months.

“The White House staff, across the board, we are all very excited,” said White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, calling the visit “wonderful, historic.”

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush, who greeted the pope Tuesday on his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, will welcome the pontiff in an elaborate ceremony Wednesday morning on the South Lawn of the White House.

The rest of the story can be found at CNN.COM – Politic

The above picture says it all to me.

What is the obsession with a man who has come to represent a closed-mindedness that most Christians would agree Jesus would never have agreed with?

I saw Nancy Pelosi, a pro-choice Democrat, kiss the hand of the Pope on CNN today. They are polar opposites. Pelosi does not directly or indirectly support child abuse or pedophilia, the Pope does. Pelosi supports the right of a woman to choose, the Pope does not. Yet, she kissed his hand. How about a handshake? Why worship someone who claims to be opposed to idol-worship? Why a big ceremony for the Pope when the money for that ceremony could have paid for a health procedure for a sick child or therapy for a victim of child abuse at the hands of a Catholic Priest?

Can you say, “Statistcally Impossible”?

April 16, 2008

In the aftermath of the controversy that erupted over Senator Obama’s remarks at a San Francisco fundraiser, members of the Republican establishment – and the Clinton campaign – have seen a possible opening. In the previous two election cycles, the GOP saw much of their success grow out of defining Al Gore and John Kerry as out-of-touch elitists, incapable of empathizing with average Americans. Gore assisted in the characterization, often presenting himself as a condescending lecturer; Kerry, too, was happy to oblige on a number of occasions, either by referring to Lambeau Field as Lambert Field, by ordering Swiss cheese on a Philly Cheesteak, or by windsurfing in his downtime.

As a result, when Senator Obama used a poor word choice in describing small town voters, the GOP and thed Clinton campaign shook the dust from the old Gore/Kerry playbook and began their assault. Hillary Clinton was quick to suggest that Obama had been divisive and elitist. She even chose to criticize Obama by comparing him to Kerry and Gore, an ill-advised mistake given Gore’s position as the most prominent of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates.

McCain and the RNC also ramped up their attacks, giving the appearance that they expect to brand Obama with the same iron that bested his predecessors.

But there are substantial differences between Obama’s candidacy and those of Gore and Kerry, differences that the GOP may ignore at their peril.

First, and perhaps most importantly, Gore and Kerry both secured the nomination because it was, at least in some sense, their turn. Gore had served dutifully as vice president and heir-apparent, while Kerry was the last of his entering Senate class yet to attempt a presidential bid. Their ascension to the nomination was as much the product of patience and timing as it was the result of political skill.

Obama’s rise could not have been more different. A relatively unknown Senator with only two years in Washington, Barack Obama has become the near-presumptive nominee of his party by sheer will and persuasion. His success has been the direct result of connecting with voters, of getting in touch with their concerns and aspirations. Were he actually out of touch, his candidacy would have ended soon after Iowa, in the chorus of withdrawals that included Biden, Richardson, and Dodd.

The “elitist” line of attack worked with Gore and Kerry because they found it confounding, never fully able to forcefully respond. But unlike Gore and Kerry, Obama has shown himself to be exceptionally skilled at attacking from a defensive position. Each time he has been confronted with a potential controversy, he has used the opportunity to swing at his opponent while further validating the rationale for his candidacy. Early in the campaign, Hillary Clinton attacked Obama for what she described as an irresponsible and naïve willingness to meet with America’s enemies. Rather than cower – as Gore or Kerry might have been expected to – Obama responded in kind, aggressively criticizing Clinton for her flawed way of thinking and for her support of the Iraq War. When Reverend Wright’s comments presented a would-be firestorm, Obama used the opportunity to speak about race in America in a way that no public figure has since Martin Luther King, Jr. A recent Los Angeles Times poll actually suggests that Obama had a net positive gain as a result of the Wright controversy. Twenty four percent of Pennsylvanians said “his handling of the issue made them think more highly of him,” while only fifteen percent thought less.

When the “bitterness” controversy arose, it provided Obama with yet another opportunity to gain advantage on defense, one he exercised with impressive swiftness and precision. Having mocked the utter silliness of the Clinton campaign’s response to his comments, Obama cast Clinton as the out of touch candidate, both in her perception of those suffering economic hardship and in her understanding of the new kind of politics Democrats expect.

Unlike Gore and Kerry, when attacked, Obama can respond.

There is, of course, another reason why attacking Obama as an out-of-touch elitist would be a misguided strategy for the GOP. Obama knows what it is like to be black in America. He knows what it means to be poor in America. He knows what it means to struggle without succeeding, to be underestimated or written off. Al Gore may have been raised in a Washington hotel by a Tennessee Senator. John Kerry may have spent his formative years in elite private schools and living richly in France. But Barack Obama was raised by a single mother in a third world country, and has spent his adulthood on the Southside of Chicago. He and his predecessors are simply nothing alike.

Having little with which to come after Obama, there are many, including Karl Rove, who believe they have found hope’s Achilles’ heel. But recycling the same Gore/Kerry playbook would be an enormous mistake, one that clearly underestimates the quality of the opposition. In this political climate, with this many Americans frustrated and hungry for change, John McCain can ill-afford a debate about who’s more out of touch.

Hillary Clinton = Knight Rider

April 16, 2008

Advertising Age gives Clinton some pointers on her latest ad:

Hillary, you’re in a fight for your political life and you’re going to feature some whiney-sounding people on the street. “Wanh-wanh-wanh, Barack hurt my feelings!” Just as Americans don’t want to be painted as bitter losers, they don’t want to be painted as helpless victims. You should have gone with barely-controlled outrage.

Brought to you by: http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish

Having read Andrew Sullivan’s above post, it occured to me that a Clinton Administration is like David Hasselhoff and Knight Rider making a come back. No matter how hard you try, no matter who replaces David Hasselhoff, no matter how the network repackages the show, it is still always be a failure in its comeback attempts. Cheesey effects are a not magical potion to get rid of terrible writing and dated causes, nor are Republican-like tactics winning her even enough popularity to ever even run for Toilet Commisioner of New York. Knight Rider 2000 was an embarassment. Do not be Knight Rider, Hillary. Bow out gracefully.