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WorldWatch
First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card September 7, 2008

Barack Obama, Spinmeister

So on Wednesday, the local Democratic Party newspaper, the Greensboro News & Record, put on its front page, above the fold, an "analysis" piece whose message was that there was less to President Bush's announced troop withdrawals than met the eye.

There was no way that it was news; its purpose was to try to paint the success of the surge, and the resulting ability to shorten tours of duty in Iraq and move more troops to Afghanistan, as a failure, or at least to throw a little mud on the success.

The word "analysis" was supposed to take the curse off a front-page editorial. But "analysis" in relatively small type does not convey to most readers what the piece really was: pure opinion.

It would be different if they ever ran such an "analysis" that was not anti-Bush.

But let's face it. It has been a terrible week for Democrats. Obama's rock-star tour of Europe and his choice of one of the biggest establishment creeps in the Senate as his running mate did nothing to boost his numbers -- no significant convention bounce for him.

Meanwhile, McCain's running mate choice gave him a huge boost, as did the obvious success of the surge, highlighted by President Bush's announcement of troop stand-downs and shifts.

The pro-Democratic media in our country -- all of it except Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and talk radio (which is why the Democrats want to shut down conservative talk radio but leave all the liberal media alone) -- has been reduced to comparing Palin's inexperience with Obama's.

"Obama is less inexperienced than Palin," their message is; editorials in Newsweek called Palin "unqualified" as if that were a fact.

They seem not to realize that when they have to compare their presidential candidate with the opposing vice-presidential candidate, they have already lost.

But the news media's desperation doesn't really compare to Obama's. His response to President Bush's announcement was disingenuous, to say the least.

He cannot admit that the troop surge worked. Why? Because that surge was John McCain's idea, not even President Bush's. Bush gets full points for instituting it and supporting Petraeus and the troops in making it work. But McCain was the maverick -- the guy who called, not for defeat, but for change that would lead to victory.

Bush made the change McCain asked for, and the victory came.

But Obama's response was to say, in effect, "Bush is finally doing what I called for a year ago."

No sir, Mr. Obama. What you called for a year ago was to begin a brigade-a-month withdrawal from Iraq right then. With no surge. When Al Qaeda dominated in several regions and Shi'ite warlords in others. When many tribal leaders were still ambivalent or supportive of the enemy.

If we had done what Mr. Obama called for, when he called for it, our troop withdrawals would have been seen -- correctly -- as defeat. Al Qaeda would have trumpeted their victory; their funding would have increased, as would the number of volunteers coming to fight with them to kill more Americans and butcher their way to rule in Iraq.

Osama bin Laden would have been completely vindicated in his claim that if you kill a few Americans, they give up and go away. He would be, thanks to Obama's plan, well on the way to achieving his goal of being Caliph, if not Mahdi, of the Islamic world.

Instead, President Bush -- correctly -- did the opposite of Obama's declare-defeat-and-go-home plan. He followed McCain's strategy of strength. Neighborhoods were cleared of Al Qaeda terrorists and then were held, giving the people there the security they craved.

This show of real strength and determination was something the tribal leaders understood -- they got off the fence and took action against the terrorists who had been ruining the lives of the people wherever they had control. Corrupt and inept as it is (you know, like probable bribe-takers Ted Stevens and Hillary Clinton), the democratically chosen Iraqi government was given real strength. The Iraqi military was also vastly heartened -- the enemy was on the run.

After all these changes, after the casualty rate dropped radically, after the Iraqi military was able to take over more of the security duties in their own country, then President Bush was able to bring back some of the surge forces and shorten the tours of duty in Iraq.

Is Obama really so stupid that he believes that Bush is merely doing what Obama called for a year ago?

Of course he's not stupid. He's lying. He's pretending that there's no difference between his position then and Bush's (and McCain's) achievement now. He thinks that the American people are so dumb that they will take his obviously-false claims at face value.

Obama's plan allowed no possibility of American victory. Now that we're achieving that victory because his plan was ignored, he wants to claim credit for thinking it up? For being prescient? Puh-lease. That's way beyond spin, folks.

If the situation were reversed, if it was the Republican candidate falsely claiming that the present troop withdrawals were what he called for a year ago, that "analysis" essay on the front page of the News & Record would have been a sharp exposure of the dishonesty of such a claim.

But since the only daily paper in Greensboro is a partisan rag, they can get away with attacking the President for not telling the whole story (though in fact the President told the whole story), while ignoring the offensive falsehood of the opposing party's candidate's claim.

Meanwhile, the rest of the mainstream media are coming out with a similar double-standard. Sarah Palin is called "unqualified" when she has far more executive experience than Obama -- more, in fact, than McCain.

Not foreign policy experience. Not Washington political mill experience. But she has actually governed something.

Obama ludicrously claimed that running his campaign for the past year is somehow comparable to governing a state. What a laugh! In the campaign, everybody serves at the candidate's pleasure. In the executive branch, most of the employees are under civil service regulations and can't be fired.

If Obama doesn't understand the difference, he really is unqualified to be President, because he clearly doesn't have a clue.

It's like when Dan Marriott was running for Congress in Utah. He was asked by a reporter what committees he wants to serve on in Congress, and he answered famously that he didn't care, because committees never did any real work. Thus making it plain that he hadn't even studied the legislative branch of the U.S. government, since all the work of Congress is done in committees.

If Obama really thinks that running a campaign, where you can fire anybody, and only people who totally believe in your cause even apply for a job, is like governing a state, where there is an entrenched bureaucracy and an old-boy network determined to keep you from accomplishing anything -- boy, is he in for a few surprises if he actually wins this thing.

Alaska isn't a big state, but its politicians were at least as corrupt as North Carolina's state government, where a Republican was openly finagled into betraying his party to keep the Democrats in control of the House. Sarah Palin came into office and even though the corruption was in her own party, she took it on and made a good start at rooting it out.

Where and when has Obama taken anybody on in his own party? Where is his vote that flew in the face of his party's discipline, like many of McCain's? Obama liked to claim that McCain voted with President Bush ninety percent of the time. But that means McCain voted against a President from his own party ten percent of the time.

Meanwhile, Obama has voted with the extreme left of his party, right in line with the party leadership, one hundred percent of the time.

That ten percent of McCain's votes that went against his party is actually a remarkable record of independence. One that Obama has never even attempted.

Yet the media don't hold Obama's feet to the fire. He makes these outrageously false or misleading claims, and only the openly partisan conservative media -- talk radio, blogs, and the Rhino Times -- even seem to notice the self-serving falsity of the claims.

Welcome to American politics.

An editorial in the News & Record mocked McCain for running against the establishment when the Republicans have "run Washington" for most of the past seven years.

What a laugh! The overwhelming majority of the entrenched can't-be-fired establishment in Washington is of the Left. Almost all of the media are of the Left. When Republicans hold high office in Washington, they're treated like a thin layer of invaders who will soon be driven out.

Then comes the report from an "independent" commission condemning Bush for not doing enough to block the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists.

The report essentially says that all these years without a foreign terrorist incident in the U.S. were in spite of the Bush administration's incompetence. The report could not have been more biased and partisan. But the writer of the story in the News & Record used the words "independent report" without quotation marks, asserting it as a fact that the report was not partisan, when in fact it obviously was.

The fact is that the single most effective tool the government has had in fighting foreign terrorism is precisely the tapping-without-warrant of phone calls between noncitizens that the Democrats -- and the leftist media -- have so savagely and absurdly attacked, as if Americans should be willing to die to protect the nonexistent constitutional rights of noncitizens.

And here's another huge reason why terrorism has not returned to our shores during these years since 9/11: The war in Iraq.

If we had invaded only Afghanistan, then Al Qaeda could claim to be martyrs, who bravely attacked the Great Satan and now were paying the penalty, along with the brave Taliban who supported them.

But when we invaded terrorist sponsoring, WMD-using Iraq -- an Arab country and a major player in the Middle East -- Al Qaeda's situation changed completely.

Here was America, goaded into action by Al Qaeda, attacking and toppling a vicious dictator in the heart of the Arab world.

As I wrote at the time, this was exactly the way to make Al Qaeda hated by Muslims in the Middle East. "Look what you brought down on us by attacking America!"

Admittedly, I think Iraq was not the target we should have struck. (Terrorist-haven Iranian-puppet Syria was the right target, and Hamas and Hezbollah would not be thriving now if we had done so; and since Saddam Hussein would certainly have entered such a war on Syria's side, we would have ended up toppling him anyway, and without Syria's vicious terrorist government as a conduit for Iranian money, arms, and malevolence, the occupation of both countries would have been far less complicated.)

But it almost didn't matter which major terrorist sponsor we took on. Whoever it was, Al Qaeda had no choice but to commit itself to attacking American troops in order to drive us out.

Guerrillas and terrorists thrive on not attacking the enemy's forces head on. It's simply too dangerous. Yet Al Qaeda had no choice but to do it -- along with filmed beheadings of Americans and other kidnaped foreigners -- because their prophet, Osama bin Laden, had told them that if you killed Americans gruesomely and abused their bodies, as happened in Somalia, the Americans would give up and go away.

But that only worked under a pusillanimous Democratic president. It did not work with Bush -- or with McCain -- who understood that strength and courage and determination were the only way to stop terrorists.

It wasn't America in a quagmire in Iraq. It was Al Qaeda.

And the more the Iraqi people saw of Al Qaeda, the more they hated the terrorists. They came to see them for the fanatical murderous fascists that they are. Al Qaeda taught the Iraqi people to be grateful for Americans. They saw the difference between civilized soldiers and barbarians.

Obama wanted to surrender to those barbarians and bring our troops home. But then, flush with victory, do you think Al Qaeda would have left us alone? They attacked Americans on our own soil when we were not attacking them anywhere! When they thought they had us on the run, do you think they would have magnanimously declared peace? Or would they instead have flooded the world with more terrorism, convinced that their method had worked?

Of course, now that they have essentially lost in Iraq, how can they save face? Only by mounting new attacks against Western targets -- preferably on American soil.

Previously, they went for the big showy attack. But that is far harder to bring off today. They may be reduced to multiple attacks by lone suicide bombers or gunmen in fast food restaurants, shopping malls, or schools. That is precisely the kind of attack that truly can't be prevented. America is a nation of soft targets.

So we may very well see new terrorist attacks here on our soil before the election.

At the same time, Al Qaeda may have lost so much credibility worldwide because of the failure of Osama's predictions about American behavior that there are too few volunteers to bring off suicide attacks here.

I don't think so, though. Remember that the South's most devastating terror attack -- the assassination of Abraham Lincoln -- took place after the South was defeated.

We are, at this moment, in our position of maximum vulnerability.

And if there is an attack on American soil before the election, what will Barack Obama say? If his current statements are any indication, then after a few pieties about how deplorable it all is and how our enemies are to be condemned, he will proceed to blame President Bush for (incredibly enough) not doing enough to prevent such attacks -- even though Obama's own party has been savage in attacking President Bush for doing too much!

Obama will claim that these new terrorist attacks are proof of the failure of Bush's policies, even though Obama has never offered even a hint of what he would do to protect American soil that Bush is not already doing.

Obama's great plan to deal with terrorists is to meet with them without preconditions -- or at least that was his plan until he and his advisers saw that it sounded to most Americans as idiotic as it was, at which point Obama started claiming that he never said any such thing, even though we all saw him say it.

Obama is the typical cynical politician, putting negative spin on everything his opponent does and denying his own past statements and actions. If Obama were a Republican, he would quickly learn that any such hypocrisy would be nailed by the media and harped on endlessly.

But because the mainstream media are relentlessly partisan on Obama's behalf, he is always surprised and shocked when his deceptions and stupidities are exposed. How dare those nasty conservative talk radio hosts and bloggers interfere with his coronation! Can't they see that Obama is the one anointed by the leftist media establishment?

Here's the problem, Mr. Obama. Back when you were still saying nothing, you looked very promising to people like me, who thought of you as what you claimed to be -- a great conciliator.

But since Hillary took the gloves off and bloodied you at the end of the primary season, you have been forced to take firm positions on issues and to defend yourself against criticism -- you have been forced to let us see who you are.

And who are you?

When you are caught saying something stupid or wrong, you simply deny saying it and accuse those who quote you of taking your words out of context or misrepresenting you. You claim you "always" held the positions you recently switched to.

You claim to be a conciliator, bringing people together, even though you have the most uncompromisingly radical voting record in the Senate and you have openly sneered at people who don't support your radical leftist program.

And when you are flat wrong, as you were on Iraq and the surge, and your opponent was right, you don't have the grace to say, "Congratulations, President Bush and Senator McCain on this great achievement that has saved American lives and brought us victory."

Instead you are churlish and deceptive, claiming that they followed your program only "too late," which is the opposite of the truth -- and you know it.

If we wanted to elect a man who yearns for America's defeat and can never admit to making a mistake, we could have elected John Kerry four years ago.

A lot of us really wanted to elect you as America's first African-American president.

But there are things more important to our future than mere tokenism. You should only be our President if you are the best person for the job, and you clearly are not.

We don't need a president who hasn't the courage to admit that his previous policy failed and openly change his mind -- the way President Bush did when he determined to change strategy and execute the surge.

We saw your true colors when you sneered at white middle-class voters who cling to guns and religion because they're bitter, as if an entire class of "those people" can be analyzed and dismissed in a sentence.

McCain was not my choice for President at the beginning of the campaign a couple of years ago, Mr. Obama. You were. I rooted for you. I voted for you as recently as the North Carolina primary.

Obviously, I have changed my mind. Why?

I learned a little more about McCain. I learned a lot more about you.


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