Bill Ayers’ Barbecue and Other Things That Won’t Decide the Election

Republicans apparently think that re-running the 2008 campaign, just more efficiently or more ruthlessly, will work this time. Here's why it won't.

The Breitbart gang is getting some traction with a story titled “THE VETTING – SENATOR BARACK OBAMA ATTENDED BILL AYERS BARBECUE, JULY 4, 2005.” I haven’t and don’t plan to read it because, unless they’ve completely botched the headline, there’s no news here. Short of revelations that he killed some people or such at the barbecue, it just doesn’t matter.

A significant number of Republicans apparently think that re-running the 2008 campaign, just more efficiently or more ruthlessly, will work this time. After all, Obama was an untested politician–a mere “community organizer”–with ties to some unsavory people in Chicago. Why, he might be a secret Muslim. His middle name is the same as that dictator guy from Iraq and his last name is easy to confuse with the name of a certain terrorist. And, wasn’t he born in Kenya? Surely, we couldn’t trust him to be president?!

As viscerally as some people still feel those concerns, there’s a not insignificant difference this go-round: Barack Hussein Obama has is his fourth year as President of the United States.  That. Changes. Everything.

While I think it’s silly to claim that the man wasn’t “vetted” during the long, grueling 2008 campaign, he sure as hell has by now. We know what kind of president he’ll be because, well, he’s been president for three years and counting. We know his domestic agenda. We know his foreign policy agenda. We know what kind of staffers he’ll surround himself with. Hell, we know what kind of mustard he likes on his hamburgers.

The number of people who will vote in November, are undecided at this juncture between Obama and Romney, and are going to base their decision on barbecues that took place in 2005 is vanishingly small. Might I suggest, then, an alternative strategy? One possibility would be to discuss Obama’s record as President of the United States, point to unpopular policies he’s championed, point to problems he has ignored, point to failures, and that sort of thing.

To chose one historical case study, there was an election 20 years ago in which a president who had as recently as eighteen months before the election won a war and had popularity ratings in the 90s was defeated by a state governor whose public perception was so shaky that he was at one point third in the national polls behind some crazy guy. Said governor defeated said president, fairly handily, on a platform characterized by the flippant phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

While analogies are never perfect–the candidates and circumstances are different–something along those lines has the advantage of having worked. By contrast, I can not offhand think of a single time a sitting president was unseated based on questions about the sort of people he hung out with before becoming president, his activities as a college student, or the provenance of his birth certificate.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2012, Politics 101, US Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. “I haven’t and don’t plan to read it because, unless they’ve completely botched the headline, there’s no news here. Short of revelations that he killed some people or such at the barbecue, it just doesn’t matter.”

    I read your headline and the above paragraph then I stopped. Respectfully, you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    It does matter, sir. Not just in present circumstances, but in future ones.

  2. Chad S says:

    It also helped that the challenger 20 years ago had a 3rd party candidate on the incumbent’s ideological side who took 18 million votes.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Chad S: But Perot effectively endorsed Clinton when he initially pulled out of the race. And exit polls show Perot pulled equally from those whose second choice was Bush and Clinton.

  4. Phillip says:

    Does anyone remember the indignation George H.W. Bush came out with when there were stories circulating about his extramarital affair? Clinton’s basic response was ‘didn’t like it happening to me either’ and it didn’t have much traction prior to the election of ’92. After that election, it seems as though there is no detail too minor in a politician’s life for an enemy to make hay with. “Obama only ate burgers and no pork!!!! PROOF POSITIVE MUSLIM!!!!” Or some silly nonsense.

  5. Herb says:

    @LadyLiberty1885: “Respectfully, you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

    What is the problem then exactly? A liberal in the White House?

    That’s not a problem. That’s an election result. If it’s a result you find untenable, may I offer some advice? Bring your A game.

    Not this Z-list juvenile nonsense about William Ayers.

  6. Hey Norm says:

    After years of complaining about taxes they are confronted with historically low taxes.
    After years of complaining about spending they are confronted with spending levels as low as any since the Korean draw-down.
    After years of Socialism charges they are confronted with shrinking Government.
    After years of Birtherism they are confronted with a Birth Certificate.

    Their really isn’t much left for the Breitbarts of the world.
    would I kinda feel bad for them…if they weren’t all such bald-faced liars.

  7. Mikey says:

    The Obama campaign has to love all this “vetting” crap. Every minute someone spends talking about Bill Ayers’ barbecue is a minute they aren’t talking about an issue that actually matters in June of 2012.

  8. mattb says:

    Again, this entire vetting things get’s @LadyLiberty1885’s and other Con’s panties in a wad for a simple reason: it’s not that Obama wasn’t vetted that bugs them. That’s just the cover. It’s that they didn’t like the public at large’s response to the vetting: “It doesn’t bother us.”

    They can’t understand it.

    And they can’t understand it for all the reasons that many liberals couldn’t understand why people didn’t care about GWB’s drunk driving or the inconsistencies in his military service. Or why people don’t seem to care about Romney’s bullying.

    But rather than admitting that people don’t care, they insist (despite the significant evidence to the contrary — even from Conservative leaning academics who have studied the issue) that Obama wasn’t properly vetted.

    Since this election is as much about identity as politics, it of course makes sense to them that doubling down is the right thing to do. And if Obama wins again — well, clearly despite the best efforts of Breitbart and others (like Fox News starting to produce opposition commercials), it was because Obama wasn’t properly vetted.

  9. JKB says:

    True this wouldn’t be a story if the Obama campaign hadn’t always claimed Ayers was just some guy in Obama’s neighborhood that he had little interaction with. But let’s look at reality shall we. Here and elsewhere, there are plenty of opportunities to discuss Obama’s record but it gets few bits and only on occasion. Let one of these “vetting” stories come out and the bits fly like fur in a cat fight.

    So does the Right go along with plodding stories which will be greeted as “Dude, we know, we lived it” or do they chip at the base of clay, make some blog waves and create a plausible excuse of deception for voting Obama in 2008? And you know what happens when you make waves, you get erosion, the foundation undermined, then sometimes, suddenly, collapse.

    I do agree the Romney campaign should steer clear of this “vetting” unless one of the bites swells up into a sore spot.

    And no, Obama wasn’t vetted in 2008 or no one, including OTB, would even comment on these stories.

  10. Chad S says:

    @James Joyner: You can believe what you want to, Perot actually took 19.7 million votes, and took more votes then Bubba’s margin of victory in just about every single state that Clinton won. In a lot of them, Perot got significantly more then Bubba’s margin of victory, like Michigan where he pulled 19% and Bubba won by 7%. Its hard to claim that he didn’t cost Papa Bush the election.

    As for the exit polling: I don’t buy that with confederate money. If they were just anti-bush voters, they would have voted for Clinton, especially since Perot flamed out so badly(and didn’t endorse or imply an endorsement) and Perot ran on a MUCH different platform then Bubba did.

    Also, in 1980, John Anderson potentially cost Carter 160-190 electoral votes. In 3 of the last 4 pres elections where a challenge won had a 3rd party candidate draining votes from the incumbent(1932 being the 4th).

  11. MBunge says:

    @JKB: “create a plausible excuse of deception for voting Obama in 2008”

    As I’ve mentioned before, conservative monomania has reached the point where it’s not enough to win today. All previous defeats must also be invalidated.

    Mike

  12. Kylopod says:

    >and took more votes then Bubba’s margin of victory in just about every single state that Clinton won

    But there’s no evidence that he took more votes from Bush than from Clinton, and all the available evidence (which comes from several sources, not just exit polls) suggests that he didn’t.

    For a thorough debunking of the Perot-as-spoiler myth, go to the following link:

    http://www.salon.com/2011/04/04/third_party_myth_easterbrook/singleton/

  13. Kylopod says:

    Kornacki’s link to his earlier, more thorough, article on the Perot phenomenon seems to be dead, but here it is:

    http://www.salon.com/2010/04/02/dan_quayle_still_blaming_perot_for_clinton/

  14. For some insane reason, I read the story. It is based on a blog post (and a sarcastic one, at that) from 2005 that itself was based on second hand information. In short: a then-grad student at a party next door said that someone told him that they saw Obama over the fence, but despite keeping an eye out for him after that, no one saw him after that.

    That people take Breitbart seriously as a news site honestly makes me sad.

  15. JKB says:

    @MBunge:

    Perhaps, but I was thinking more of those who voted for Obama in 2008. There were lots of claims that people were very psychically tied up in their vote for the first black president. People are also loath to admit a mistake, such as voting for the wrong candidate. Therefore, to ease the mental gymnastics of 2008 Obama voters not voting for him in 2012, it is best to give them rational reason cover, i.e, “if only they had known…” Even if this “vetting” information was commonly known by those opposed to Obama in 2008, there were a lot of citizens who were so vested in the historic first, a black president, they wouldn’t let such information through their filters in 2008. Now, with a bit of time on the reality roller coaster, some will be more receptive.

  16. PGlenn says:

    Mr. Joyner, it does matter that Obama is a first-class liar. Of course, politicians in general are an especially dishonest lot – it goes with the territory to a certain extent – but Obama is on the far end of the political dishonesty spectrum.

    And, yes, Oabama’s lies and the lies of his administration are relevant to policy: running guns to the Mexican cartels and then lying about it is a policy; using ObamaCare as an indirect means of setting in motion factors intended to lead to a single-payer HC system is a policy; etc.

    If he’d tell truth about his policies, we’d ease up on Ayers and barbecues. As you say, they wouldn’t matter then.

  17. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s funny or scary, or both, is that a material percentage of Breitbart’s addled audience believes this nonsense is of critical import. Seriously, they actually believe that. Yikes. For Team Romney, though, the saving grace is that as irrelevant as Ayers is to this election so too is Breitbart itself. Main Street wouldn’t know Breitbart from Bart Simpson.

  18. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That people take Breitbart seriously as a news site honestly makes me sad.

    Historically speaking, it’s definitely a style of journalism that’s fundamentally American (though was a lot less common for most of the latter half of the 20th century).

    Before I get worked up about people taking Breitbart seriously as a news site, I’d be far more concerned about Fox News and the recent “unauthorized” airing (though the hosts gleefully introduced it, and the “rouge” producer is keeping his job) of a 4 minute anti-Obama “documentary” (no political advocacy commercial here folks):

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303640104577437061876013318.html

  19. mattb says:

    @JKB: Funny, I feel the same way about Republicans who continue to claim that Sarah Palin was not just “qualified” to be Vice President, but was the “best qualified” candidate that McCain could have choosen.

    Or all the Republicans who still cling to the idea that Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann and others were highly qualified people would would have made excellent candidates (not to mention that they were better qualified to be president than, say, Huntsman).

    Thanks for providing more proof of exactly what I wrote in my earlier post.

  20. Hey Norm says:

    @ PGlenn…

    “…And, yes, Oabama’s lies and the lies of his administration are relevant to policy: running guns to the Mexican cartels and then lying about it is a policy; using ObamaCare as an indirect means of setting in motion factors intended to lead to a single-payer HC system is a policy; etc…”

    It amuses me that you tell lies in order to tatoo Obama with the label of liar.
    Pot, meet Kettle.

  21. James Joyner says:

    @PGlenn: What is it that you think he’s lying about? He’s been president for three-plus years. You think we don’t know what his policies are? That he’s got some secret plan to become a Communist the minute he’s re-elected.

    As to the lies about the past, let me be clear. At this point, I wouldn’t care if we found definitive proof of all of the below:

    1. He was the president of the Young Socialist Muslims Who Hate America while at Columbia.
    2. He was Jeremiah Wright’s deacon and ghost wrote his God Damn America speech.
    3. He was a member of the Weather Underground.
    4. He was the real voice of Milli Vanilli.

    Finding out that all of those were true wouldn’t make me any less likely to vote for him. Granted, I’m unlikely to vote for him NOW. But, regardless of who he was as a young man, I have a very good idea of who he is now–which is a bright, decent, patriotic guy who wants to make the country a better place to live and happens to disagree with me on some key aspects of the definition of “better.”

  22. @James Joyner:

    Well put.

    Although I must say, that Milli Vanilli thing would be hard to get over if it were true.

  23. Brian says:

    Be fair – Milli Vanilli’s “Blame It on the Rain” wasn’t too bad. If Obama sang that, I could live.

    Prove to me he’s behind Lady Gaga, tho, and I’ll vote Romn…I’ll vote Romne…I’ll vote Rom…

    Crud, can’t even type it in joking.

  24. Hey Norm says:

    HE WAS THE REAL VOICE OF MILLI VANILLI???
    I thought Milli Vanilli was from Germany, not Kenya.

  25. mattb says:

    @James Joyner:

    Good God man…

    Do you enjoy dangling the political equivalent of a Cat Toy in front of a certain demographic of your readership?

  26. Hey Norm says:

    “.

    ..happens to disagree with me on some key aspects of the definition of “better.” “

    I’d love to read about how Romney is going to satisfy those “key aspects”.

  27. Franklin says:

    @Chad S: So your stance is as follows:

    I’ll believe what I want to believe, and any actual evidence (for example exit polls) is irrelevant. And despite the extreme unlikelihood that every single vote for Perot came directly from Bush, that’s precisely what I think.

    @James Joyner: But who’s bob Perot? 🙂

  28. James Joyner says:

    @Hey Norm: This is easily the closest presidential contest in my lifetime for me, in that the Republican isn’t particularly appealing and the Democrat isn’t particularly awful. If any of the non-Mormon Republican contenders had won, I’d be endorsing Obama. There are some aspects of the Obama agenda that I prefer to the Romney agenda.

    Still, at the end of the day, given that I find neither man crazy, evil, or incompetent, I’m inclined to vote for the one who wants to regulate my life and tax me the least. I’d also prefer Romney’s judicial picks to Obama’s.

  29. Nikki says:

    I’m inclined to vote for the one who wants to regulate my life and tax me the least.

    Isn’t that funny? I’m inclined to vote for the one who I believe will do the most to help the least among us.

    Different strokes.

  30. mattb says:

    @James Joyner:

    This is easily the closest presidential contest in my lifetime for me. […] Still, at the end of the day, given that I find neither man crazy, evil, or incompetent, I’m inclined to vote for the one who wants to regulate my life and tax me the least.

    That about sums it up. Seems like the first time since 1996 we’ve seen this (maybe 2000).

    I’d also prefer Romney’s judicial picks to Obama’s.

    Really. I think that’s one of the biggest reasons to vote against Romney. Because of his need to keep the base happy, I really worry about his long term judicial pics — especially for the at least one and possibly up to three Supreme Court nominee’s.

    My biggest concern about Romney is his willingness to disappoint his party’s base (something we know, after four years, that Obama has no problem doing for the sake of pragmatism).

  31. MBunge says:

    @JKB: “there were a lot of citizens who were so vested in the historic first, a black president, they wouldn’t let such information through their filters in 2008.”

    1. People knew pretty much all this stuff in 2008. It had nothing to do with filters. They simply didn’t think it was a big deal and yelling it at them in ever greater volume and frequency is probably not going to change that.

    2. I would imagine that voters in 2008 were less wrapped up in the black President thing than the fact that they hated Bush II and John McCain looked like he had no clue whatsoever about the economic crisis that was exploding just before the election. There’s a surprising amount of denial of how close the race was until things really went to hell in September and October and McCain looked so out of it in response.

    Mike

  32. mantis says:

    These are the same idiots who find passages from President Obama’s book, published in 1995, and start waving them around as bombshell examples of how he “wasn’t vetted!!!!11!!!111!”

    Yes, an autobiography published 12 years before he ran for president, millions of copies of which have sold, that was discussed extensively during the 2008 campaign, is full of secrets that were ignored by everyone until the Breitards learned how to read.

  33. Hey Norm says:

    @ James…
    So you are already paying historically low taxes and you want to pay even less? I’m not sure about your bracket but a close look at Romney’s policies has most of us paying more, not less.
    I would prefer Obama’s SCOTUS picks…the danger that a Robert’s court poses with more right wing partisan’s is frightful. Imagine Citizen’s United with no pretense of restraint.
    But the big on for me…and frankly I’m suprised you of all people didn’t mention foreign policy…which I think Obama wins…especially given Romney’s choices of Neo-Cons and Bush re-treads for advisors, and his mindless saber rattling.

  34. @James Joyner:

    If any of the non-Mormon Republican contenders had won, I’d be endorsing Obama.

    What was wrong with Gary Johnson?

  35. Herb says:

    @James Joyner:

    4. He was the real voice of Milli Vanilli.

    Ha! That was hilarious.

    I’d also prefer Romney’s judicial picks to Obama’s.

    This I’m curious about. Judicial picks are important, no doubt, but what about foreign policy? It’s not that I worry Romney would be getting advice from a bunch of clowns. I worry he’d take it.

  36. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    What was wrong with Gary Johnson?

    He was never a contender.

  37. DRS says:

    Here’s my thing with Romney – let him, just once at least, stand up to someone or for something that might cost him some votes. It’s an overworked cliche but he needs a “Sister Souljah” moment. For the love of *bleep*, he’s pandering to Donald *bleeping* TRUMP!!!!

    I mean, come on! At some point in the next 5 months he’s got to get off his knees. And no, big-chesting about how he’s gonna beat down those mad mullahs in Tehran doesn’t count.

  38. @mantis:

    Neither was Huntsman. James statement wasn’t about who had a chance to win, it’s about who he would have voted for if they had somehow won.

  39. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    James statement wasn’t about who had a chance to win, it’s about who he would have voted for if they had somehow won.

    No, he said “contender:”

    If any of the non-Mormon Republican contenders had won, I’d be endorsing Obama.

    Johnson wasn’t a contender (sadly).

  40. James Joyner says:

    @Stormy Dragon: @mantis: From what I saw of Johnson, I liked him. But he didn’t even qualify for the debates–a low threshold given that Huntsman did.

  41. James Joyner says:

    @Hey Norm: @Herb: I think they’re a wash on foreign policy–which is the first presidential election in my voting life (post-1980) where that’s been the case. Both are too interventionist for my tastes, albeit for different reasons.

    On SCOTUS picks, I think Citizens United was the right reading of the 1st Amendment even though I’m not sure it’s good public policy.

  42. al-Ameda says:

    So much for the Republican claim that they will campaign on “real issues”?

    More like, anything to divert us from the fact that Mitt Romney is the most inauthentic major national candidate in the post war era, and is a complete phony.

  43. Chad S says:

    @Franklin: No, my stance is to believe empirical evidence. James can believe what he wants to, I can’t find any proof that the perot voters were split due to exit polls(there’s mentions of it, no hard polling data).

  44. PGlenn says:

    Mr. Joyner, you’re right, we know what have been the main currents of Obama’s policies over the last 3.5 years, but I’m not sure the public has much appreciation for the finer points of policy; and, more pertinent to this discussion, some policies aren’t fully exposed to the public. To understand the “policy” of Fast and Furious is primarily an investigatory process, which probably requires considerable media and political pressure before the walls really begin lifting. The Watergate break-in was a product of certain policy approaches, but what did the public know of the matter in October 1972?

    That’s partly why Obama’s lies, fabrications, and denials from the last campaign – which was only four years ago, mind you – are still important to the policies of his administration past, present, and future. Policy is not simply confined to analyzing ethics-free analysis of options and then selecting from competing menu choices; it is intimately connected to questions of integrity, secrecy, honor, and so forth.

    Also, Obama can very well be a “bright” guy, pursuing his conception of what is “patriotic” and likely to “make the country a better place to live” and yet also believe that he must certain compromises and calculations to ensure that his (and his side’s) superior intentions, policy vision, and social solutions will be realized. After all, the alternative is granny getting kicked off the cliff and children starving in the streets, and blah blah blah.

  45. mantis says:

    @PGlenn:

    we know what have been the main currents of Obama’s policies over the last 3.5 years, but I’m not sure the public has much appreciation for the finer points of policy;

    Translation: We know Republicans are idiots, so we need to make our arguments on grounds they can understand (e.g. Obummer’s a Terrist!).

  46. Hey Norm says:

    Watergate = Fast and Furious?
    hahahahahaha…that’s friggin’ hilarious.
    If people actually believe this, it’s no wonder the nation is so polarized…but the dicotomy is not Democrat/Republican…it’s Sane/Insane.

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    So, it turns out that 2008 was a game-changer in more ways than one. From now on, when an incumbent president is running for election, it’s only fair to look at their record from the instant they took office — for everything else, they get a clean slate.

    Pity that rule wasn’t in place in 2004, when forged Texas Air National Guard documents reportedly from 30 years ago damn near changed the whole campaign.

    Here’s the core point: for about a decade, Obama was very close personally, politically, and professionally to an unrepentant domestic terrorist who was involved in the deaths of many people, and plotted the deaths of many, many more. And this is yet more evidence of just how close those ties ran, and how long they lasted.

    Imagine, if just for a minute, that Rick Perry had been that close to a former leader of the Sons of the Confederacy. Don’t even think of saying it wouldn’t be the biggest thing on the news cycle for weeks on end, until he withdrew his candidacy.

    But it seems that Obama has a fondness for disreputable people — if not outright scum. Putting aside Ayers and Wright, setting aside convicted felons Blagojevich and Rezko, two of his biggest bundlers right now are Bill Maher and Jon Corzine.

  48. @James Joyner:

    The problem was that inclusion in the debates was based on achieving a certain percentage in polls where Gary Johnson wasn’t presented as an option. So he had something of a chicken and the egg problem.

  49. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Watergate = Fast and Furious?
    hahahahahaha…that’s friggin’ hilarious.

    You’re right, it is hilarious.

    Nobody died at Watergate.

    Fast and Furious has a body count well into the hundreds. Including at least one American cop.

  50. Scott O. says:

    @Chad S: Kylopod posted a link earlier. Would you consider reading it and, if you disagree with the conclusion, explain why?

    http://www.salon.com/2010/04/02/dan_quayle_still_blaming_perot_for_clinton/singleton/

  51. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Obama was very close personally, politically, and professionally to an unrepentant domestic terrorist who was involved in the deaths of many people, and plotted the deaths of many, many more.

    No he wasn’t.

    And this is yet more evidence of just how close those ties ran, and how long they lasted.

    No it isn’t.

    Jenos is proof positive that the Republican Party has nothing but fantasies to run on. He actually thinks Bill Ayers is the way to win this election. They live in their own little universe that neither fact nor logic can penetrate.

    Guess what, Jenos? The rest of America lives in reality. You have to win the election there, not in your fantasy world. Good luck.

  52. Hey Norm says:

    And Jenos appears…just in time to solidify the Sane/Insane dicotomy.
    Wright and Rezko and Ayers, oh my.

    The most important thing to know about Fast and Furious?
    http://wallpapers.iphoneworld.ca/thumbs/jordana_brewster_22_iphone-t2.jpg

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mantis: Get real, twit. No, I don’t think Bill Ayers is the way to win the election.

    But the length and depth of their association is indisputable, despite your utterly factless denials.

    Are you saying Ayers and Obama didn’t work together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge? That Obama didn’t help steer Challenge money to Ayers and his cronies? That Obama wasn’t a guest at Ayers’ home numerous times?

    And that Obama’s story about his relationship with Ayers didn’t “evolve” each time new revelations came out?

    Ayers was part of a terrorist group that killed people, and is utterly unrepentant about it.

    And Obama didn’t have any problems with that until Ayers became a political liability.

  54. Hey Norm says:

    @ Mantis…
    You cannot have a discussion with Jenos as he is a proven liar, and lacks the integrity to admit it when called on it.
    So best to just ridicule him…sociopaths dig the attention…and move on…

  55. Chad S says:

    @Scott O.: There’s no real analysis there. He’s premising his article on Clinton’s poll bounce after Perot drops out. Okay, if the bounce stayed that high for the rest of the campaign(which it didn’t), then he’s right. However, it didn’t and the bounce was essentially gone within a few weeks, which-if we’re going to divine voting behavior from this-suggests that the perot voters were slowly becoming bush voters. In 1992, there were 18 states that Clinton won where the Perot’s votes were more then double Clinton’s margin of victory(including a lot of traditionally republican states like Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, etc). Bush wins 55/60% of the Perot vote, he wins those states and probably wins the election. I would even say that Bubba doesn’t win any southern states without Perot taking votes from Bush.

  56. @Hey Norm:

    You cannot have a discussion with Jenos as he is a proven liar, and lacks the integrity to admit it when called on it.
    So best to just ridicule him…sociopaths dig the attention…and move on…

    AUGH, the irony hurts.

  57. Hey Norm says:

    Stormy…
    Show me where I have lied about anything.
    Otherwise, STFU.

  58. @Hey Norm:

    Oh, I don’t think you have lied. I don’t think Jenos has lied either. You just both possess a superhuman capacity to believe the ridiculous.

  59. JKB says:

    @MBunge:

    By your hypothesis, all these “vetting” issues are already factored into the election and therefore will have no impact.

    if so, why comment on the item? Why fear Brietbart.com bringing them up?

    Theoretically, the May jobs numbers were known for the most part but the stock market sure took run for its money when the news was openly discussed.

    For all the desire among academics for a policy election, people vote their hopes, their dreams, their self interest and their fears. What was once ho hum can at the right moment be a bank run. I think the effort churned up over these “nothings” is a subconscious realization that sometimes, nothing or nobody can decide an election and leave the “professionals” with egg on their face.

  60. Hey Norm says:

    Actually I have proven Jenos to be a liar before.
    So basically it’s ironical to you that I don’t believe what you believe.
    OK…just as long as I know the charge is completely baseless.

  61. Rob in CT says:

    when forged Texas Air National Guard documents reportedly from 30 years ago damn near changed the whole campaign

    You believe this?

    Please. Bush was in trouble because of Iraq, not because of people claiming he dogged it in the National Guard. I doubt the Nat Guard thing had much impact at all.

    this is yet more evidence of just how close those ties ran, and how long they lasted.

    Evidence!

    I’ll just repost Steven’s take:

    For some insane reason, I read the story. It is based on a blog post (and a sarcastic one, at that) from 2005 that itself was based on second hand information. In short: a then-grad student at a party next door said that someone told him that they saw Obama over the fence, but despite keeping an eye out for him after that, no one saw him after that.

    That people take Breitbart seriously as a news site honestly makes me sad.

  62. grumpy realist says:

    If Romney wins, I will seriously start looking into the possibilities of emigrating. Not because I think Romney will be an absolute disaster, but that we’re probably going to be cutting back on funding for science and technology in a big way. Add to that what’s probably going to happen to Medicare and Social Security and I’m not looking at a very hospitable location (“we’ll support all of you over 55. For anyone under 55, eff off and die.”)

    I’d rather take my brains and my money to a country that will appreciate them and be able to use them.

  63. Hey Norm says:

    @ Grumpy…
    I’m hoping I get to 55 before they are able to eliminate Medicare as we know it.
    I’ll be 54 in November…can they do it in a year? Maybe if Republicans take the Senate and change the filibuster rules…which would be ironical after they ued the filibuster more than any other time in history.

  64. jan says:

    I agree with the title of this thread that, “Bill Ayers’ Barbecue and Other Things Won’t Decide the Election.”

    This is not to say that Obama’s prior left wing associations won’t provide a continuing backdrop as to his life path. It’s just a stark truth, highly documented, that Obama has been surrounded by leftist influences for most of his life — childhood mentor (Marshall Davis), parents, friends, associates (Ayers and wife), religious mentor (Wright). This personal resume rumbled around in his ’08 presidential run. However, McCain made the decision that he wouldn’t emphasize these relationships, and so it remained more of a negative appendage of the last election rather than a screeching banner crawling across the sky.

    The ’12 election, though, will not profit by going backwards to highlight, or further vet, Obama’s prior radical connections. Instead, the President now has a record to run on (something that was absent to thin before), and that’s what should be used, put under a microscope, to see whether or not he deserves a second term. I think this is the route the Romney people have decided to take, as there is more than enough to hold Obama accountable in the past 3 1/2 years of his presidency.

  65. mattb says:

    @PGlenn:

    Also, Obama can very well be a “bright” guy, pursuing his conception of what is “patriotic” and likely to “make the country a better place to live” and yet also believe that he must certain compromises and calculations to ensure that his (and his side’s) superior intentions, policy vision, and social solutions will be realized. After all, the alternative is granny getting kicked off the cliff and children starving in the streets, and blah blah blah.

    Or to revisit the Bush administration post 9/11 “the alternative is a mushroom cloud over an American City.”

    Sorry, but you can’t claim a moral high ground on this issue in the wake of the Invasion of Iraq and the rather flexible approach that the early Bush Administration (with Neo-Cons ascendent post 9/11) took to presenting evidence to justify that invasion.

    And if we’re taking about campaign promises given up in the service of “his side’s superior intentions” I think you need to first revisit George W. Bush’s promise of a lack of intervention on the campaign trail. I seem to remember something about “no nation building” kicked around in 2000.

    I realize that health care reform is a scary issue, but let’s not forget the HUGE impact on diplomacy, budgets, and our military (both in equipment and blood) that the invasion and occupation of Iraq* had.

    * – Note that I’m specifically restricting this to Iraq. I have little doubt that, even under a President Gore, we would have avoided getting mired in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 (which, yes, probably still would have happened under Gore’s watch).

  66. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Pity that rule wasn’t in place in 2004, when forged Texas Air National Guard documents reportedly from 30 years ago damn near changed the whole campaign.

    But the thing was, even if that had been the case, it probably would not have effected that election. Again, that’s my point about partisan’s latching onto “vetting” — they rarely like the outcome and always think that a given piece of evidence is the smoking gun that will make everyone see what is “Oh so clear to them.”

    Beyond that, it’s the usual victimhood of the party out of power (and typically even the party in power). God, I can’t imagine what your posts are going to sound like if Obama does win the election Jenos.

    Oh wait, I can imagine — basically it will be the start of a four year, continued call to impeach Obama. On what exactly… well, that really doesn’t matter. Let’s say Fast and Furious.

  67. mantis says:

    But the length and depth of their association is indisputable

    It depends on what is being claimed. 99% of wingnut claims that you believe are horseshit.

    But yes, Obama knows Ayers. So do a lot of people who work in education in Chicago. Both of them worked in education here in Chicago before Obama was elected to the state senate. Obama was a child at the time of Ayers’ involvement in the Weather Underground, and Ayers got involved in education many years later and has been ever since. Ayers father was vice president of the Chicago School Board and his brother was executive director of Leadership for Quality Education. A large number of people worked on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, none of whom had any association with terrorists (except Bill Ayers, who makes everyone a terrorist!!!!111!!!). The challenge was founded by Walter Annenberg, ambassador to the UK under Nixon and friend of Ronald Reagan. Do you think Annenberg was a terrorist money man?

    Hell, I worked down the hall from Ayers at UIC for a time. I spoke with him several times, and attended the same colloquia. Does the “length and depth of our association” make me a terrorist too?

    Anyway, the point is most of the shit you shovel is quite disputable, but facts have no effect on you.

    That Obama didn’t help steer Challenge money to Ayers and his cronies?

    The money went to networks of schools. So it’s true if by “cronies” you mean schools in Chicago, and by “steer” you mean “sat on the board of directors.”

    And that Obama’s story about his relationship with Ayers didn’t “evolve” each time new revelations came out?

    Not really. He’s a guy in the neighborhood who worked in education. Your attempts to make it more than that have been rather retarded, but once again, you live in a reality-free bubble.

    And that Obama’s story about his relationship with Ayers didn’t “evolve” each time new revelations came out?

    Besides Reagan’s friend Annenberg, here are some other terrorist-supporters, according to Jenos:

    The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Polk Bros. Foundation, the Chicago Community Trust, the Spencer Foundation, the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund of New York, the McDougal Family Foundation, the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, the Prince Charitable Trusts, the Woods Fund of Chicago, IBM, Bank of America, Chicago State University, Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, the Erikson Institute, Governors State University, National-Louis University, Northeastern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, the University of Chicago, Chicago Academy of Sciences, the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Kohl Children’s Museum, and many more!

  68. mattb says:

    @JKB:

    if so, why comment on the item? Why fear Brietbart.com bringing them up?

    What James “fears” … wait he never said fears… is the continued drift of the party he’s most ideoloically aligned with towards the shrill/lunatic right.

    What James is rightfully concerned about is that while such efforts whip up the Jenos’s of the base, they ultimately may hurt Romney’s chances with independents.

    I laid it out in one of my first posts. The people who think that this is a good strategy, that further vetting needs to go on, and that further vetting and an muscular campaign is the right way to win, are the same people who believe that Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann would make better presidents than anyone on the democratic side (and better presidents than Obama).

    This entire vetting thing is another example of the present disarray of the Republican party — turning away from the values of thoughtful and traditional conservatism to easy and dumb partisanship. This is the whirlwind that Limbuagh and others began to sow in the 1980’s. And any honest Republican will admit that it’s ultimately bad for the party and bad for the country.

  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    an unrepentant domestic terrorist

    That’s one way to describe Ayers, but it’s not the only way. Link:

    Like hundreds of other highly regarded education experts who share their research and ideas on how to improve education, Dr. Ayers has been invited to speak occasionally at our university, as well as many others like the University of Tennessee, University of North Carolina, University of Florida, Indiana University, University of Missouri, and the University of North Dakota, among many others.

    That’s because of his 20 years of expertise in reforming urban public education, reaching inner-city youth, and celebrating the role of teachers in improving society. He has a national and international reputation related to dealing effectively with disenfranchised children, youth, and their families, and has written extensively on many issues related to the need to ensure equity and access for children and families in poverty, for those with disabilities, and for those whose minority status often increases the likelihood of the presence of discriminatory practices.

    His occasional lectures here have always been focused solely on education, his professional expertise area. He has never been invited to our campus to espouse any political beliefs nor to discuss any of his past behaviors in support of those beliefs.

    As a major research university, the University of South Carolina is dedicated to preparing the best and brightest students to assume careers that will ultimately produce benefits for the greater good. As part of that dedication, we often solicit the expertise of those whose professional experiences and scholarship align with the educational needs of our students. In addition, our University, like all great universities, must serve as a place where the free exchange of ideas is not just encouraged but guaranteed.

    As with any guest speaker, the University paid his travel expenses and a small stipend. The vast majority of the funds used were provided from private donor accounts designated for professional development and exchange of ideas among speakers and students and faculty. Total state funds used were $2,656, which covered 8 lectures over a 13-year period.

    The ex officio Chairman of the Board of the University of South Carolina is the GOP governor (now Haley, formerly Sanford). According to modern GOP standards of guilt by association, Haley and Sanford are obliged to explain why they’ve been palling around with terrorists.

  70. Scott O. says:

    @Chad S: Obviously I’m not going to change your mind about this. I’ll just point out that I think your claim that Clinton’s lead in the polls was short lived or temporary during Perot’s absence from the campaign isn’t supported by the evidence. Perot dropped out in mid July, here’s a poll from September .

  71. mantis says:

    @jan:

    It’s just a stark truth, highly documented, that Obama has been surrounded by leftist influences for most of his life

    The Wingnut Fantasy History of B. Hussein Obama does not actually count as the “stark truth,” nimrod.

    Also, to wingnuts, Benjamin Franklin is a leftist influence. Everything to the left of Mussolini is a communist to you morons. The sky and the trees have leftist influences. Only wingnuts raised in Skinner boxes don’t.

  72. mattb says:

    @jan:

    This is not to say that Obama’s prior left wing associations won’t provide a continuing backdrop as to his life path. It’s just a stark truth, highly documented, that Obama has been surrounded by leftist influences for most of his life — childhood mentor (Marshall Davis), parents, friends, associates (Ayers and wife), religious mentor (Wright). This personal resume rumbled around in his ’08 presidential run. However, McCain made the decision that he wouldn’t emphasize these relationships, and so it remained more of a negative appendage of the last election rather than a screeching banner crawling across the sky.

    Ok… seriously, beyond health care, can you point to any actual example’s of how Obama’s radical left wing socialist upbringing ties into his current policies.

    Further, if Obama’s was the left wing radical that you imagine, why didn’t he go for the far more progressive health care solution of a single payer system (which would be far more in keeping with leftist/socialist European states).

    Seriously Jan, you have the talking point down. We know Obama’s a crypto-muslim-social-libreal-facist-communist… how about actually making the rubber hit the road and find where that’s expressed in his policies.

    Because on countless issues, I think a pretty strong argument can be made that Obama has largely disappointed his followers who thought he was the second coming of LBJ or FDR. Hence the reason, as James has pointed out, that he and Romney are surprising close on a lot of policy issues.

  73. mantis says:

    @mattb:

    Ok… seriously, beyond health care, can you point to any actual example’s of how Obama’s radical left wing socialist upbringing ties into his current policies.

    Indeed. They want to go back to 2008 and rehash the investigations of every person Obama has ever shook hands with, claiming this proves he’s an evil socialist, all the while ignoring that his record in office is nowhere near socialist, and has been quite moderate and even conservative in many areas.

    The best example they have is the bailout of the auto industry that started with Bush. They claim this is evidence of Obama’s leftist leanings, ignoring the fact that when communists seize the means of production, they don’t give them back. We don’t own the car companies anymore. The government saved them, and many, many jobs along with them, and then sold the shares. Wingnuts would have you believe this action destroyed capitalism forever, and Mitt Romney would have rather let the auto industry fail and millions of jobs go down the toilet. And they want to be in charge of things? FSM help us.

  74. Chad S says:

    @Scott O.: I guess you didn’t read the article you posted the link for:

    Throughout October, Clinton maintained a steady, commanding advantage over Bush. Three presidential debates were held that month. In the first, Perot stole the show and earned a measurable polling bounce — from single digits back to double-digits. In the second, Bush was excoriated for glancing at his watch, feeding the impression that he was insufficiently energized and engaged as president; his poll numbers ebbed. In the third, Bush fared better, and by the end of October, he’d pared Clinton’s lead back to the mid- to high- single-digits.

  75. @Hey Norm:

    Actually I have proven Jenos to be a liar before.

    No, you’ve proven him wrong before. To prove him a liar requires showing he’s said something he knew to be wrong at the time. Which is my point: I think Jenos truly believes Obama was a secret militant in the 60s and 70s. Just like I think you truly believe federal spending is currently less than it was in the 1950s. You’re both so partisan that you’ll believe almost any narrative as long as it helps your teams.

  76. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Just like I think you truly believe federal spending is currently less than it was in the 1950s.

    Per capita spending in real dollars is lower than it has been since the 1950s. But I suppose that doesn’t count and I’m just “believing the ridiculous.”

  77. Scott O. says:

    @Chad S:

    by the end of October, he’d pared Clinton’s lead back to the mid- to high- single-digits.

    And in the end Clinton’s win was in the mid single digits. He won by 5%. Bush got 38%, which is about the same as he had been polling in September when Perot wasn’t running. Seems to me that you would have a hard time trying to prove that 2/3rds of the Perot voters would have voted for Bush based on all the data we have.

  78. mattb says:

    @mantis: Unless I’m reading something wrong, the article is reporting something different than what you think its reporting (I’m assuming you’re talking about the second one on the page).

    That chart looks at percentage change in year-over-year spending changes (mapped over time).

    So the post stimulus drop from what was spent in 2010 to 2012 was the sharpest year-over-year percentage spending drop since the draw down of Korea. That isn’t the same thing as saying that “Real government spending per capita” is lower than it was in the 1950’s.

  79. Hey Norm says:

    @ Stormy…
    No…Jenos has been proven a liar…fabricating quotes, statistics, etc.
    Someone said; “We are entitled to our own opinions. We are not entitled to our own facts.”

  80. al-Ameda says:

    @mattb:

    Oh wait, I can imagine — basically it will be the start of a four year, continued call to impeach Obama. On what exactly… well, that really doesn’t matter. Let’s say Fast and Furious.

    Exactly. Republicans have not recognized the legitimacy of the last 2 elected Democratic Party presidents – Clinton and Obama. So I would anticipate that as soon as Obama is inaugurated the Republican House will bring forward articles of impeachment. they’ve got the votes, and really that’s all they need. We could probably expect a Clintonian outcome – that is, the Senate will not convict.

  81. mantis says:

    @mattb:

    You’re right. I stand corrected. What a dope.

    Stormy, I guess I am prone to believing ridiculous things. Forget I said anything. 😉

  82. mattb says:

    @Hey Norm:

    Jenos has been proven a liar…fabricating quotes, statistics, etc.

    I know that he’s linked to material that’s been proven false. I’m pretty sure he’s incorrectly summarized what links said.

    But if you have any examples of him making up stuff out of whole cloth, I’d be interested in seeing them. (And since turn about fair play, Jenos if you have examples of Norm making stuff up out of whole cloth, please share).

    Generally speaking, I tend to agree with @Stormy Dragon’s assessment — you both tend to be passionate partisans and that passion allows you to sometimes paper over the weaknesses in your respective arguments (or ignore facts that weaken your position).

  83. mattb says:

    @mantis: No worries. I think you mainly proved Stormy’s point — that we tend to read stuff in ways that at least initially re-enforce our beliefs. I know I do.

    And since commenting tends to happen fast, it’s easy to misread a chart or article.

    The challenge is to remember that we typically forgive the people who we agree with when they do it (assuming that it was accidental) and accuse those we disagree with of lying when they do it (assuming it was intentional).

    Now if you keep misreading after you’ve been clearly corrected… that’s something else entirely.

  84. @mantis:

    “The increase in government spending is the lowest it’s been since the 50s” is not even close to “Government spending is the lowest it’s been since the 50s”. As I said, that’s a Jenos-worthy twisting of the statistics.

  85. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I know. mattb pointed out my error.

    Upon reflection, I don’t know why I believed that in the first place, as it does seem ludicrous. as mattb said, my reaction does lend support to your overall point about people’s tendencies to believe things that support their established POV. I’m usually more careful than that about it, and I do find my error a bit ironic in this situation.

  86. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: Stormy…
    Show me where I have lied about anything.
    Otherwise, STFU.

    Challenge accepted, lying liar.

    No matter how hard you try to spin it, no matter how you lie and obfuscate and mangle it, Dick Cheney NEVER “turned his back on his daughter.” And you couldn’t own up to it.

  87. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mantis: Stormy, I guess I am prone to believing ridiculous things. Forget I said anything. 😉

    You’re supposed to believe six ridiculous things before breakfast. After breakfast, though, you’re supposed to be a bit more responsible.

    So… late breakfast today?

  88. Hey Norm says:

    Yes…we all know the Bush/Cheney administration didn’t support a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage.
    Oh…wait…er…never mind.

  89. @Herb:
    “What is the problem then exactly? A liberal in the White House?

    That’s not a problem. That’s an election result. If it’s a result you find untenable, may I offer some advice? Bring your A game.

    Not this Z-list juvenile nonsense about William Ayers.”

    I don’t think Ayers victims think it is nonsense or juvenile.
    The problem is media (of all kinds) blowing off something like this and that is a big deal whether you like to think so or not. Mr. Joyner admittedly not even bothering to read said piece is the juvenile bit.

    Thank you for the inserted assumptions though. Might I suggest you get an A game to begin with.

  90. @Tsar Nicholas:
    So it is unimportant to you that your President is pals with domestic terrorists?
    Ah, well then. Yes, we’re all silly then aren’t we!

  91. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Hey Norm: If that was what you’d said, you’d be telling the truth. But you just had to say “(y)et Cheney turned his back on his daughter.”

    Countless statements from both parties saying that there was never a single bit of disruption in their close relationship, but you keep insisting on that. Is it because you can’t imagine anyone else actually not obsessing over partisan politics at every single opportunity, you’re too stupid to understand that most people actually can, or you just make up crap to fit your agenda?

    Or, I suppose, it could be some combination of all three…

  92. @mattb:
    My panties are unwadded, thanks for caring.

    What bugs me is that if he had been vetted in the first place, the man most likely would not have be in the Oval today. The media covered his rear end and still is. Now when people are actually digging on him, their dismissed as you just demonstrated.

  93. MBunge says:

    @LadyLiberty1885: “What bugs me is that if he had been vetted in the first place”

    What new information is being presented today that wasn’t in the media 4 years ago?

    Mike

  94. anjin-san says:

    your President is pals with domestic terrorists?

    This was idiotic when Palin trotted it out almost four years ago. Today? I am not sure that utterly pathetic is a strong enough description.

    I don’t remember any of these folks getting upset when Reagan honored Menachem Begin.

  95. Hey Norm says:

    Compared to Jenos…I’ve never been more embarrassed or ashamed.
    Time to leave.
    Adios.

  96. mattb says:

    Ok… ummm, sorry about the inadvertent thread highjack… Though for the horrified onlookers, I think that it pretty much continues to prove Stormy’s Points.

  97. al-Ameda says:

    Okay, I think we can all agree, Bill Ayers and the Birther stuff will definitely be an important part of the ambient noise of the campaign season, however there is not a single vote that will be changed with respect to any of that stuff.

  98. al-Ameda says:

    @LadyLiberty1885:

    What bugs me is that if he had been vetted in the first place

    LOL! The idea that Obama had not (or has not) been vetted is preposterous.

    The fact is, conservatives have not considered the last 2 elected Democratic presidents to be legitimate, period.

  99. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: You’re right. We should focus on the truly essential matters. Matters like:

    Mitt Romney’s dog

    Mitt Romney’s creepy spooky cult of a religious faith

    Mitt Romney’s behavior one day as a high school senior

    Ann Romney’s expensive hobby

    Mitt Romney’s house with an elevator for his cars

    Mitt Romney doesn’t trash Donald Trump

    Mitt Romney didn’t drop everything and immediately denounce a woman who said something mean about Obama while at a Romney event

    …did I miss anything?

  100. mattb says:

    @LadyLiberty1885:

    What bugs me is that if he had been vetted in the first place, the man most likely would not have be in the Oval today. The media covered his rear end and still is.

    Again, your issue is not that he wasn’t vetted. It was that you didn’t like the result — that the vast majority of the country didn’t care.

    Repeating the phrase he wasn’t vetted doesn’t make it true however. It just seems to make you feel a bit better (that you’re right and that if only people saw what you saw Obama wouldn’t have been elected).

    As far as the idea he wasn’t vetted — that’s false on its face. And there are more than a few studies to demonstrate that.

    Perhaps the most important on to counter your accusition was overseen by Conservative leaning Media Scholar

    MEDIA BASH BARACK (NOT A TYPO)
    Study Finds Obama Faring Worse On TV News Than McCain

    “Since the primaries ended, on-air evaluations of Barack Obama have been 72% negative (vs. 28% positive). That’s worse than John McCain’s coverage, which has been 57% negative (vs. 43% positive) during the same time period.”

    http://www.cmpa.com/media_room_press_2.htm

    This finding coincided with the height of the Reverend Wright controversy. So the news did get out there. People heard it. And they decided — unlike you — that it didn’t matter.

    If fact, how do you explain that all of the “surprise footage” released in these vetting attempts was released years ago?

    BTW, before you suggest that the media is “still in the bag” for Obama, I’d suggest looking at this recent study that demonstrates that Obama has received significantly more negative coverage over the last year that Romney ( themonkeycage.org/blog/2012/05/31/romney-obama-and-media-bias/ )

    The point is, scream about vetting all you want. But that won’t make it true. And though it might make you feel better, it doesn’t make you look saner.

    I suggest saving your energy for when it comes time to spend the next four years calling for Impeachment procedures.

  101. mattb says:

    Here’s another example about how the media never “vetted” Obama:

    Last week—as Wright re-emerged into full public view to speak to PBS’ Bill Moyers, the NAACP and the National Press Club—the controversy he generated made more news than both Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Clinton was a significant or dominant factor in 41% of the campaign stories and McCain registered in 14% of them. Meanwhile the relationship between Wright and his former parishioner Obama accounted for 42% of the week’s campaign coverage. Obama, who moved to decisively denounce Wright last week, was the significant or dominant newsmaker in 69% of the stories, according to PEJ’s News Coverage Index for April 28-May 4.

    http://www.journalism.org/node/10928

    BTW, I forgot to add the name of the media scholar I mentioned in the last post: Dr. S. Robert Lichter, head of George Mason’s Center for Media and Public Affairs. Look him up, he’s no liberal or FoO by a long shot. But he is a good and thorough scholar.

  102. Kylopod says:

    @Chad S:

    >Bush wins 55/60% of the Perot vote, he wins those states and probably wins the election.

    Where did you get that 55/60% stat from? You’re just assuming it, without one iota of proof. Kornacki’s article gives several independent lines of evidence suggesting that not only did Perot take about an equal amount of votes from both Bush and Clinton, but that a substantial percentage of Perot voters would otherwise not have voted at all–so that even if he did take more votes from Bush than from Clinton, it would still probably be only a minority of his support. You dismiss all the evidence as proving nothing, then in the next breath you make up some imaginary stat about the percentage of Perot voters who favored Bush over Clinton.

    Kornacki is correct to call this “the myth that will not die”; the lengths to which people on both sides of the political divide go to cling to this myth is simply bizarre.

  103. @mattb:

    Someone please mark this day down, as the momment I was finally right on the internet!

  104. CB says:

    Wow, did this thread ever take some left turns. not bad, not bad.

  105. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    The fact is, conservatives have not considered the last 2 elected Democratic presidents to be legitimate, period.

    Romney’s dog? Whatever.

  106. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    okay, let’s check it out

    Mitt Romney’s dog > certainly not taken seriously, and there are no Birther equivalents on the Democratic side

    Mitt Romney’s creepy spooky cult of a religious faith > perhaps a factor on both sides, but it’s the GOP that has all those evangelical Christian skeptics

    Mitt Romney’s behavior one day as a high school senior > might be a factor, not enough to change minds, and there are no Birther equivalents on the Democratic side

    Ann Romney’s expensive hobby > Definitely not taken seriously, although it point out that Ann has had to make do on a $21M household budget, again no Birther equivalents on the Democratic side

    Mitt Romney’s house with an elevator for his cars > again, changes no minds, and reinforces the common man touch Mitt has, also no Birther equivalents on the Democratic side

    Mitt Romney doesn’t trash Donald Trump > this does matter, Trump The Birther deserves all the opprobrium he gets, why Mitt is afraid of Trump is beyond me. Also, no Birther equivalents on the Democratic side

    Mitt Romney didn’t drop everything and immediately denounce a woman who said something mean about Obama while at a Romney event

    to be fair, that’s normal political theater, and it shows that Mitt is shallow, but again, there is no Birther equivalents on the Democratic side

  107. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t remember any of these folks getting upset when Reagan honored Menachem Begin.

    Likewise regarding McCain’s friendship with Gordon “go for a head shot” Liddy.

  108. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Remember, in juke’s world, wannabe right-wing domestic terrorists bad; left-wing, actual domestic terrorists good.

    Or maybe it’s the fondness for bombs by Ayers and Kimberlin that make the difference…

  109. jukeboxgrad says:

    left-wing, actual domestic terrorists good.

    Of course. That’s why I said this recently: “there is no doubt whatsoever that Kimberlin is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath.” (At the moment, the comments area on that page is broken, but hopefully it will get fixed.)

    Thanks for this latest example of you inventing your own facts.

  110. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: That’s a nice quote. Too bad I can’t see the original, and see how you Dowdified it here. I’ll wager a nickel that the full quote was something along the lines of “there is no doubt whatsoever that Kimberlin is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath. However, he is entitled to his full legal rights, including the presumption of innocence, and it’s entirely possible that he’s just what he claims — the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy. After all, the people he’s accused of are right-wingers, and therefore capable of everything — even arranging their own SWATting and other forms of criminal harassment.”

    Just going by your comments in that other thread, where you Dowdified a quote from Patterico to accuse him of vigilantism.

    With you, left-wing domestic terrorists get every benefit of the doubt, even if you have to do yoga poses with reality; right-wing victims of the terrorists are assumed to be lying and guilty, no matter the contortions you have to beat reality into.

    No wonder you defend Kimberlin. You are two of a kind. You aren’t interested in actual discussion, you want to shut up those who disagree with you. You fixate on the slightest imprecision (the kind of things that happen in normal discourse) and immediately twist it into the most damning interpretation, while ignoring such casualness from those on your side.

    I have to wonder at what point you’ll get bored with your verbal games and start emulating Kimberlin’s tactics yourself.

  111. jukeboxgrad says:

    I’ll wager a nickel that the full quote was something along the lines of

    The full paragraph I wrote was this:

    There is no doubt whatsoever that Kimberlin is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath. The problem is that most of the people currently attacking him also have a history of serious credibility problems, and they are intent on using Kimberlin to broadly attack the left. That’s why it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to untangle this mess. As I explained here. This is a classic boy-who-cried-wolf situation.

    And it’s not my fault that that page is broken and you can’t see the comments. Complain to the management.

    Just going by your comments in that other thread, where you Dowdified a quote from Patterico to accuse him of vigilantism.

    That thread is here, and as usual what you said I did isn’t what I did.

  112. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: Hey, just how is it that you can repost your entire comments, but no one else can see them? Do you keep copies of all your comments on your own system, just in case you ever need to refer back to them?

    And assuming that your quoting of yourself is accurate, you’re making my argument for me.

    The problem is that most of the people currently attacking him also have a history of serious credibility problems, and they are intent on using Kimberlin to broadly attack the left.

    “most of the people currently attacking (Kimberlin)…” are simply reposting public information: he’s a convicted domestic terrorist with a lengthy criminal history, including a conviction for perjury. Wouldn’t that give him “serious credibility problems?” And you also omit that Kimberlin’s “attackers” (“victims” would be a more honest word) have been calling on the left to excise him from their ranks. Instead, he’s quite firmly ensconced in the institutional left, including hefty funding from many leftist activists.

    I think I’ve finally figured you out, sport. You’re not interested in “discussion” at all. You treat your opponents like you’re an attorney and you’re questioning hostile witnesses.

    Well, screw you, pal. This isn’t a court, no one is under any legal obligation to answer your questions, and I’ll bet another nickel that you’re not a lawyer — you just play like one on the internets.

  113. jukeboxgrad says:

    Hey, just how is it that you can repost your entire comments, but no one else can see them?

    It’s really not that complicated. I do all my writing in a text editor (BBedit). Then I paste the comment into the browser. There are many reasons why this works much better than typing into a browser window.

    After I post the comment, I don’t erase it from the BBedit window. There’s no reason to do so. I just Save, scroll down, and write some more. There are many benefits of working this way. One of them is that I can always find anything I’ve ever written, even if I’m not connected to the internet, and even if some blog where I posted a comment is no longer in business.

    “most of the people currently attacking (Kimberlin)…” are simply reposting public information

    No, they’re not just doing that. They’re asserting that Kimberlin SWATted Frey, even though this claim is based on the work of a charlatan. And they’re also claiming that Kimberlin works for Obama, which is another clue that the GOP base runs on mass hysteria.

  114. jukeboxgrad says:

    Thanks to the miracle of google cache, you can see that page of comments which is currently not available directly via VC. Click here, and then search for the word “untangle.”

    Pages in google cache don’t always stay there, so don’t be surprised if this doesn’t work at some point in the future. But it works now.

  115. pylon says:

    …did I miss anything?

    Yes:

    Romney’s failure to create jobs in Mass.

    Romney’s vulture fund background.

    Romney’s unmitigated fabrications about past positions, Obama’s record, and his own background (it’s one helluva long list).

    Oh, and on all of the “non-issues” you listed, the problem was never what happened in the past – it was Romney’s present reaction and explanation. The latter says a lot about the man.

  116. mantis says:

    Now Jenos is accusing us all of being terrorists. You have truly won the war of ideas, my good man! Kudos to you.

  117. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mantis: You’re more of a terrierist — very much like a small, yapping dog. Sorry to rain on your aspirations.

  118. Jenos Idanian says:

    @jukeboxgrad: That’s a hell of a filter you have. You don’t address the actual things I said, but on what I didn’t say.

    From what I’ve seen, they say that they believe Kimberlin — convicted bomber and perjurer — was behind the SWATting. And they lay out quite a bit of circumstantial evidence. However, the details of his convictions for bombing and perjury are a matter of public record, as is the wrongful-death finding against him for one of his victims.

    But if you wanna stick up for the convicted bomber and perjurer, that’s certainly your right. Just don’t expect to be taken seriously when you whine about G. Gordon Liddy, who — to the best of anyone’s knowledge — never actually carried out any of his threats.

  119. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Nice ponytail, dipshit. Aren’t you missing a failed sci-fi writers club meeting?

  120. Jenos Idanian says:

    @mantis: To be perfectly honest, I have absolutely no idea where that icon image came from. I once had a 3″ ponytail, over 20 years ago, and it looked stupid. I’d get rid of the picture, but I have no idea how it got there in the first place.

    And you’re right, it’s an incredibly dorky and stupid-looking picture. You got any idea how I can get rid of it?

  121. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Change the email address in the OTB “Speak Your Mind” comment window and the image should go away.

  122. James Joyner says:

    @Jenos Idanian: @Rufus T. Firefly: It’s fed by a site called Gravitar.com. At some point, you must have signed up for an account and associated that account with your email address. So, yes, either log in there and update the picture–which will change it across the web for postings using that email account–or use a different email.

  123. Jenos Idanian says:

    Thanks for the advice, folks. I listed a different e-mail; let’s see if that works.

    And I have a response to juke in moderation — can someone liberate that, please?

    (Yes, I’m feeling needy today. Must be something I ate.)

  124. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    OK, a third e-mail… will it be the same picture?

    Maybe someone else has the same pseudonym. Let me try altering that, too…

    Update: Hey, it worked!

  125. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: OK, my earlier comment isn’t being freed, so I’ll try to sum it up briefly: your talk about Kimberling being “attacked” is based on his own claims. Which means you’re giving credibility to a convicted perjurer, as well as a convicted terrorist.

    Oh, and Kimberlin recently testified under oath that he was not aware he was known as “the Speedway Bomber.”

    One final point — the “attacks against Kimberlin” came BEFORE the SWATting of Patterico, so there goes your theory that Patterico attacked Kimberlin over the SWATting.

  126. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    OK, that’s two comments hung up. Let me see if I can sneak past it this time:

    juke, you’re basing your “Brett was attacked” pretty much entirely on the word of a guy who was convicted of being a domestic terrorist and lying under oath.

    And you say the others have credibility issues?

  127. jukeboxgrad says:

    Where did I say “Brett was attacked?”

  128. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: You quoted yourself, counselor.

    There is no doubt whatsoever that Kimberlin is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath. The problem is that most of the people currently attacking him also have a history of serious credibility problems, and they are intent on using Kimberlin to broadly attack the left.

    Forgive the lack of a link, but you want us all to trust that you actually said that. So I did.

    If you don’t think Brett was attacked, perhaps you should find a source with fewer credibility issues than… well, yourself.

  129. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: These filters are seriously annoying me.

    You said it right here, dumbass at 07:15

    There is no doubt whatsoever that Kimberlin is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath. The problem is that most of the people currently attacking him also have a history of serious credibility problems, and they are intent on using Kimberlin to broadly attack the left.

    Two attacks, no waiting.

  130. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: These filters are seriously annoying me.

    You said it right here, counselor, at 07:15

    There is no doubt whatsoever that K________ is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath. The problem is that most of the people currently attacking him also have a history of serious credibility problems, and they are intent on using K_______ to broadly attack the left.

    Two attacks, no waiting.

  131. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: @jukeboxgrad: These filters are getting on my nerves.

    Anyway, you said it right here. 7:15 this morning.

    Two attacks, no waiting.

  132. Jenos Idanian #13 says:
  133. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Right here. At 7:15 today. Scroll up and read your own words.

  134. jukeboxgrad says:

    OK, now I know what you’re talking about. Next time don’t put quote marks around words that no one used other than you. You do this a lot.

    you’re basing your “Brett was attacked” pretty much entirely on the word of a guy who was convicted of being a domestic terrorist and lying under oath

    No, nothing I said was based on Kimberlin’s word.

  135. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: You said Brett was attacked. Based on his words alone. Own it.

  136. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Oh, to hell with this. I’ve lost about a dozen comments to the filters.

  137. jukeboxgrad says:

    You said Brett was attacked. Based on his words alone.

    My statement that Kimberlin is being attacked has nothing whatsoever to do with his words. Not even slightly. It has to do with the words of the people attacking him. Example. Let me know if you think describing someone as a terrorist is not an attack.

    You’re usually thick, but not this thick. I have no idea what about this you’re finding hard to understand.

    By the way, your comments that were filtered still ended up in my email. And they are completely incoherent, as usual.

  138. mattb says:

    OK… WTF —

    I’ve paired down my last two attempts at posting to this thread and removed all the links and/or last names that might trigger the filter and stuff is still getting caught.

  139. mattb says:

    That last one went through… so was one of the following words an issue:

    Wikipedia
    Terrorist
    Pundit
    Jenos
    jukeboxgrad
    Right Wing
    Brett

  140. mattb says:

    Guess not… How about:

    Brett K.
    filter
    a-hole

  141. mattb says:

    Hmm…

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Let me know if you think describing someone as a terrorist is not an attack.

    I suspect that Jenos sees calling Brett K. a terrorist is more a statement of fact than an attack.

  142. mattb says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Let me know if you think describing someone as a terrorist is not an attack.

    I suspect that Jenos sees calling Brett K. a terrorist is more a statement of fact than an attack.

    The problem is that most of the people currently attacking him also have a history of serious credibility problems, and they are intent on using [Brett K] to broadly attack the left.

    As I understand the situation, Brett K. is being accused by a variety of writers as being behind the swatting of a number of Right Wing Pundits. So Jenos can argue that “attack” probably isn’t the right word to use at the beginning of the comment.

    However the broader point is still true that those same writers are using their *accusations* of Brett K. to broadly *attack* liberals in general.

    (btw: For those not familiar with Brett K. check out his wikipedia page. I’m pretty sure that anyone and everyone should agree that he’s an unmitigated a-hole and more than likely a socio-path)

  143. mattb says:

    James/Doug/Steven/Dodd (and the rest of powers that be)

    Don’t ask me why, but it looks like the “reply” feature (or rather its construction of URLs) is triggering the spam filter on this thread (and I’m guessing elsewhere on the site).

  144. jukeboxgrad says:

    I suspect that Jenos sees calling Brett K. a terrorist is more a statement of fact than an attack.

    We’re getting into semantics now but a true statement, if it’s negative, is still an attack. The truth or falsity of the statement is the difference between a fair attack and an unfair attack, but either way it’s an attack. ‘Attack’ (in this context) means ‘criticize.’

    If I make a speech about Saddam Hussein, the evil dictator, that speech is an attack. The truth of the claim doesn’t make it a non-attack.

    As I understand the situation, Brett K. is being accused by a variety of writers as being behind the swatting of a number of Right Wing Pundits. So Jenos can argue that “attack” probably isn’t the right word to use at the beginning of the comment.

    “Accused by a variety of writers” is an ‘attack,’ by definition, without regard to the truth or falsity of the accusation.

  145. mattb says:

    @mattb: test

  146. mattb says:

    sigh… not again.

    @James Joyner: test

  147. mattb says:

    One more test…
    @Jenos Idanian:

  148. mattb says:

    Ok… so Jukebox, you is nowz teh spam.

    Blog generated replies to you (and apparently only you) triggers the spam filter.

    Clearly you’ve gotten way too popular.

  149. jukeboxgrad says:

    Clearly you’ve gotten way too popular.

    Too bad my mother didn’t live to see this moment.

  150. jukeboxgrad says:

    Blog generated replies

    FWIW, I never use that feature.

  151. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    OK, I’m dumping the reply feature here, and see if what I was trying to say comes through:

    juke, in your comment on the Kimberlin dustups, you specifically cited the “credibility” of those on one side as justification for doubting their words. Yet you did not mention how Kimberlin has far, far worse “credibility” issues — being a convicted bomber and perjurer. To bring up “credibility” on one side and not address how the other is far, far worse is gross dishonesty.

    And that “attack” cited on 5/25 — that was before Patterico was SWATted, so it can hardly count as SWAT-related. Unless you’re alleging that it was at least part of the motive behind the SWATting.

    Yes, I think it’s fair to call Kimberlin a sociopath. I’d even go so far as to say a violent sociopath, based on his criminal record. And I think it’s also fair to call him “fairly well-established in the Democratic party apparatus” through his non-profits.

    And finally, I think it’s most fair to point out that Kimberlin’s first victim was Seth Allen, a noted liberal blogger. That’s how Aaron Worthing got into the situation — Allen pointed out what a swine Kimberlin was, and Worthing offered him some free advice. That was Kimberlin’s gateway into going after right-wingers — one of them reached out to an attacked liberal.

    Speaking strictly for myself, I’m willing to give a pass to anyone who steps away from Kimberlin now. But there is so much public information out about him now that anyone who continues to defend him in any way, shape, or form is, in my eyes, an accessory to his acts.

    This only has to be a “left or right” issue as long as people insist on primarily characterizing Kimberlin as a leftist, and not primarily as a dangerous sociopath.

    And that includes challenging the “credibility” of those fighting him without noting that Kimberlin himself, as a convicted bomber and perjurer, has far greater credibility issues.

  152. jukeboxgrad says:

    Yet you did not mention how Kimberlin has far, far worse “credibility” issues

    Wrong. I did mention it. Also, so what? This is the same argument that came up regarding torture. It went like this: ‘it’s OK that we torture, because some other torturers are worse.’

    To bring up “credibility” on one side and not address how the other is far, far worse is gross dishonesty.

    Here’s what is “gross dishonesty:” you pretending that I did not already say that “Kimberlin is a highly accomplished liar and a dangerous sociopath.”

    And that “attack” cited on 5/25 — that was before Patterico was SWATted

    Wrong. Frey says he was SWATted on 7/1/11. Here’s an idea: try getting your facts straight.

    I think it’s also fair to call him “fairly well-established in the Democratic party apparatus”

    That’s because you like to make statements that are divorced from reality.

    anyone who continues to defend him in any way, shape, or form is, in my eyes, an accessory to his acts

    You need to learn something about rights, such as the right to not be falsely accused of a crime. Even criminals have that right.

  153. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    There’s a huge difference between “highly accomplished liar” and “convicted perjurer.” The latter means proven in court.

    Kimberlin’s lies in the Walker hearing are being quite thoroughly documented at Patterico’s site. He denies knowing he was called “the Speedway bomber,” that he maintains any kind of online presence (even though his own job description specifically say he does), that Aaron Walker published Kimberlin’s home address, and so on.

    And Kimberlin’s organizations, Justice Through Music Project and Velvet Revolution, have collected literally millions from Democratic backers over the past few years.

    As far as Kimberlin entitled to his rights… care to cite examples of others whose rights you’ve taken such strong stances for? I’ll believe William Ayers, but I’d like other examples.

    I’m reminded of Molly Ivins’ observation that Pat Buchanan has no sympathy for accused criminals… unless they’re accused Nazi war criminals. Your principles seem… somewhat selective.

  154. jukeboxgrad says:

    And Kimberlin’s organizations, Justice Through Music Project and Velvet Revolution, have collected literally millions from Democratic backers over the past few years.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as those organizations are using that money in a responsible way, and no one has shown otherwise.

    Your principles seem… somewhat selective.

    I think mass hysteria is an interesting subject, and I think the GOP’s use of mass hysteria is an interesting subject. That’s why Frey’s dishonest attempt to instigate mass hysteria is getting my attention. If you think that means I’m “selective,” too bad.

  155. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: So… just what do you mean by “Frey’s dishonest attempt to instigate mass hysteria?” Are you saying he wasn’t SWATted, that he engineered it himself, or he doesn’t have pretty good reason to believe Kimberlin was behind it?

    Kimberlin’s shown he’s not above trying to kill to get what he wants. He wants Frey and others to stop talking about his criminal past. For them to be worried about their physical safety is common sense.

  156. jukeboxgrad says:

    Are you saying he wasn’t SWATted

    I don’t know whether or not he was actually SWATted. Here are some questions I’ve raised about that. Maybe you have some answers:

    Is anyone aware of any source other than Frey making statements about what happened on 7/1/11? A journalist, or a witness, or a law enforcement agency? Is there any record of that incident, outside of Frey’s statements (and the recording)?

    Same question regarding the other SWATting incidents that are being discussed.

    Also, does anyone know how Frey obtained the recording of the call? Could any crime victim obtain such a recording?

    Also, does anyone know if Frey ever mentioned this incident to his readers prior to 5/25/12? Or if he ever explained why he waited 11 months to mention the incident?

    Also, Frey said the police response time was 19 minutes. According to google maps, the distance is 6.5 miles and the driving time is 15 minutes. It was after midnight on a Friday, so there probably wasn’t much traffic. Given the nominal urgency of the situation, wouldn’t we expect the police to achieve an average speed of better than 21 mph?

    or he doesn’t have pretty good reason to believe Kimberlin was behind it?

    The major reason he has presented is an analysis by a charlatan.

    He wants Frey and others to stop talking about his criminal past.

    I have seen no evidence to support this claim. I think Kimberlin wants “Frey and others to stop” accusing him of committing crimes currently, since there is no evidence to support that accusation.

    For them to be worried about their physical safety is common sense.

    What they want to worry about is their own business, and they have the right to do that. What they don’t have the right to do is instigate mass hysteria based on highly questionable evidence.

  157. mattb says:

    @jukeboxgra: test