P = pgh

Shifting Perspectives

We watched with great interest the Crown[ed] Prince’s speech in South Dakota today. Perhaps it is time to concede and refer to him as Obama.

We will address only two items we are familiar with in his technically masterful presentation: (a) Imperial City lobbyists; and (b) McCain. Both go the heart of his viability as a candidate and then as successful president.

Obama offers the hoary bromide that D.C. is broken. A safe if unremarkable observation. So is the exclamation that lobbyists for this interest group or that group will not write legislation when he is president. Sadly for him, he will not be the legislative branch unless he mounts a coup d’etat beyond even Addington’s most feverish imaginations. He can offer drafts and urge consideration. He can veto legislation. He will never write it.

The reason lobbyists work is not because they control and infest the Executive Branch — although their blatant penetration and appointment under this regime is astonishing even to a hardened cynic. How many Under Secretaries of this or that came from a trade organization? Or an industry directly affected? That phenomenon and its impact on our economy, integrity of governance and society remains a far more important book to come than current gossip from a former underling.

A major reason lobbyists are effective is that they provide the legislative branch three vital things: (x) money; (y) technical expertise; and (z) intelligence. Until Obama can find a way to eliminate the costs of permanent campaigns, lobbyists will have access to the legislative process. Will it be as blatant (and punitive) going forward as we saw under the ‘Hammer’? Unlikely. But it will still be there.

Secondly, what Obama’s speeches fail to recognize is that American society is far more complex than it was even 20 years ago. Hill staff, even committee professional staff, can only cover so much and focus on so many items of interest. Much of the staff are well meaning, earnest and ambitious 20-30 somethings. Industry and interest groups often provide much needed (even if self serving) expertise to the staff. The range is from helping shape hearing witnesses to provide good opportunities for bosses to get on TV to drafting actual legislation. This the Stiftung knows first hand, having done both. The latter even at 2:30 AM in an empty, cold Rayburn House Office Building committee hearing room. (The legislation went through conference to Warlord signature).

Finally, lobbyists are often vital to staff and members to let them know what their colleagues are saying and doing. Imagine high school (the old saying, etc.) and then multiply by ten. Obama, by a declaration or even executive order, can not change any of this. Even the Democratic majority won’t matter much if their self interest is concerned. Remember how helpful Democrats and George Mitchell were to Clinton’s first term (and vice versa).

Exhortation alone will leave this unchanged. Can Obama curtail reach into the Executive Branch? It would be hard not to, given how much has been given away. Even so, in the end, ‘Team Obama’ will have to deal with “the lobbyists” directly or via proxy. Unless Obama can find a way to break the triangle on the Hill noted above. One concern we have is that “change” is what propelled Carter into the White House. Lofty unfulfilled expectations can lead to backlash and even reactionary consequences. Obama and the country would be better served if he toned down or emphasized more emphatically than he does the difficulties that lie ahead. The old ‘if people are with you on take off’ thing.

We think he and his advisors either drastically misunderstand the turgidity and lethality of the Imperial City’s ‘permanent government’ or (more disturbing) understand it and market an alternative. As it stands now, we still believe he is about to stick his hand into a disposal with someone else controlling the on off switch.


As for McCain what can we say that has not already been said here? This is not the man we knew and admired. Ambition is not a pretty sight.

We ran into recently one of the above mentioned Deputy Assistant Sidewise Secretaries For X Affairs under this regime. And yes, this person came directly out of a major trade organization into the position. And yes, this person loathed McCain. With a vehement, fiery intensity normally reserved for Al Gore, Global Warming and resistance to immediate drilling in Anwar. The same sentiment remains throughout our VRWC network. All of them actually look forward to a McCain defeat. They hope to see his career end with national failure. A nose despite the face thing. There also remains some strategic calculation. As mentioned here earlier, an Obama or even better HRC election would generate untold millions in fundraising opportunities for their fungus-like network of 501(c)(3) organizations. And when on the ‘outs’, guess where they will be parked?

For all of the above we are still heartened. While not thrilled by his lack of experience and the hollow cant of ‘change’, the Stiftung obviously embraces any departure from the Warlord’s ruinous tenure. The McCain of old would have offered this plus competence. McCain Mk. Deux is too shameless a panderer. The election remains the ChangeLord’s to lose. A more pressing question is, ‘Can he govern?’


  1. DrLeoStrauss says

    Hi all:

    Apologize for the temporary absence. Wreckers in control of the alleged Global Warming conspiracy used an alleged aberration in weather to kill electrical power in the Imperial City. Do you want to smash deviationism? Do you want to step on the necks of the Warlord-Kerry-Dean-Cheney-Kucinich saboteurs?

    Arise D.C. people! And Storm burst forth!

  2. A Random Quote says

    “Interesting images today. Barack Obama, Mark Warner in southwest Virginia. This is real redneck, sort of, bordering on Appalachia country. This is not the Northern Virginia, you know, sort of high-tech corridor. And these are voters that he would not logically be, you know, gravitating to. This is the beginning of a pivot.”
    ~Andrea Mitchell
    MSNBC 6-5-08
    (keep digging)

  3. A Random Quote says

    “Colin Powell did not know he was lying, but he was.”
    ~Richard Clarke
    (Offering partian indulgence
    in wake of SSCI Phase ll report
    on Bush Admin Iraq war lies)

  4. Anon says

    Lieberman is a pretty impressive politician, so it’s still a wonder why/how he let Cheney destroy him in the 2000 debate – He passed so mant opportunities to stick it to Cheney – Maybe he wanted to lose. Subconsciously.

  5. Anon says

    Lieberman = Obama blessing in disguise


    The crux of Joe’s comments are inconsistent with his accepting Obama’s help in his Senate challange from Lamont.

    Also – Iran was so obviously strengthened by Bush (and Lieberman) – that by Joe fixating on this, ruins his larger critique

    Obama was always politically vulnerable on Israel and Iran – but Lieberman and McCain have blown it by ham handedly wheeling out the least persuasive arguments againt Obama at at the worst timing.

  6. Comment says

    Ok – we think we get it w/ Alinsky. We were very puzzled by Tweety saying Obama “worked with” Alinsky because we knew Alinsky dies in the early 70s when Obama was barely out of his infancy. Basically, Obama worked for an office in Chicago that employed someone who has knowns Alinsky.

    It’s sort of a tenuous link – mostly mytho-poetic.

    But Tweety is trying recycle his now forgotten authentic revulsion of HRC actually working with Alinsky and writing about him – then sort of fusing this, in his stupid mind, with Ribicoff and whatever foul mouth rants he heard at his own kitchen table back during his own draft dodging youth.

  7. Comment says

    Tweety is off his meds this morning ranting about his faux-populism. He keeps saying Obama worked with Saul Alinsky. WTF is he talking about? Is mixing up those old stories on The Corner about HRC’s secret senior thesis?

    Tweety gets paid millions. He should do his homework.

    Then, he lashed out at Abe Ribicoff as a snob? That was odd.

    Comment generally doesn’t like that “off his meds” phrase – But how else to put it? For the record, we know people who knew Ribicoff well and thought very highly of him. Maybe Tweety was having a flashback to his own angry youth when some of his angry siblings cheered as Daley spewed venom at Robicoff from the convention floor in Chicago.

    Yeah – Tweety is making some accidental associative link in his own mind.

  8. Comment says

    “…but I’m speaking only for myself …”
    (Lanny Davis}

    Comment admires Lanny Davis, but we hope he drops this cutout schtick soon

  9. Comment says

    re McCain’s speech – We first heard goblets of it early in the afternoon and we were worried because we thought he was getting ready to exploit some serious Obama vulnerabilities.

    Oh – then we breathed relief when we heard his turgid and boring delivery. He was angry and defensive even when in valedictory mode. Thanks be to God, from our POV, that McCain will probably blow this.

    Obama’s speech was Ok – but we’ve heard it many times. HRC needs some love.

  10. Comment says

    Bureaucracy? That’s what Mailer said was the reason he could not finish Harlot’s Ghost. It was a long journer for him from hatred to paranoia to respect to pity. Cheers to Larry!

  11. DrLeoStrauss says

    Our take on Johnson and his 10 and 3/4 minutes of ‘fame’ needs no further elaboration here. On the whole we actually do agree with Luttwak on that one. The issue transcends raw talent of an individual but the overall ethos of an organization. An organization now that is without doubt and almost beyond redemption (should almost be removed?) a turgid, boring, solipsistic bureaucracy.

  12. Anon says

    Larry Johnson – Second rate E. Howard Hunt wannabee:

    Note – a winger blogger friend of ours was stupified when he found out there was a link between his beloved ‘whitey’ rumor and a defender of his Joe Wilson, his previous focus of hate, fear, and loathing.

    On a general note – we’ve always found Johnson to be unimpressive and indicative of some problems the Agency has/had. A while ago – a few years ago – we heard him say some very stupid things about Greece and Greek people. Then a few years ago we were reading his blog and his co-bloggers had to warn him that much of what he was writing on a particular post could be (mis)interpretated as anti semitic by people of good will. Stunning ignorance and lack of basic manners.

    re Luttwak – One of Luttwak’s columns in the recent past said the Agency had too many officers from cow colleges and Mormons etc. It was a callous comment and wrong headed in many ways – Many Ivy’s are stupid and there is plenty of talented and brilliant people who are uncredentialed and technically provincial. But Luttwak was probably trying to describe someone like Larry Johnson.
    Could Johnson ever pull off a black propaganda piece like Luttwak? Doubtful.

  13. Comment says

    McCain is at his worst when angry and indignant – He is at his best when he is having fun, mocking Romney, winking at it ALL.

    If Obama can ask and answer affirmatively, “would McCain find this outrageous and out of line/” Then he is doing the right thing. Salter should be feeling PO’d and indignent. Constant pressure to force a foul.

    If Obama is asked about his now ex church, he shoud say, “I” debate why I left my congregation when McCain is willing to debate why he left his (episcopal) Church.”

    McCain does not enjoy discussing his religion.

  14. Anon says

    This probably does not matter – because Bush will ultimately do what is in his own best interest – but Lord Black has been dismissive Bush as President in his jail columns.

    Black is a fantastic lecturer. It would be a dream-prison to have him in with Nixon

  15. DrLeoStrauss says

    re Bill Clinton, don’t expect a post about the Vanity Fair item here. It was pretty much a gossip piece as Carville noted, using mostly unnamed sources. And if someone is upset that Clinton can live vicariously through Bing and Brand, it says perhaps more about them than about Clinton imo. There are other reasons to peruse the Vanity Fair issue.

  16. DrLeoStrauss says

    re McCain victory over Changelord provoking a double backlash that might in fact reinvigorate both parties, it is possible. For the Republicans it would simply reinforce the “go to the base” and use wedge politics strategy — Rove on steroids. McCainism/deviationism and moderation in any form would be blamed. Just like the base knew that if Giuliani won, the party they knew would be gone forever.

    If the Dems can not win this election, then they should fold up the tent and find other work. A defeat this Fall and their usual supine behavior on the Hill will only undermine whatever credibility they have among their stitched together interest group coalitions.

    A failed McCain presidency might truly offer Change. Of a type no one can anticipate, likely control or even wish for. That’s why you’re right that Obama would be wise to keep provoking McCain into anger and retrenchment. “Get off my lawn you kids” indeed.

    It seems to us sometimes that no one outside the Israelis, Hezb, a few academics in the U.S. and Americans with personal ties to the region can or even want to keep track of the Hezb/Israeli situation. Time after time we’ve run into members of the smart set who nod and agree with some outrageous comment because they don’t want to admit they always skip those stories in the WaPo and NYT and in their heart of hearts think it is a quagmire and couldn’t care less.

    Agree too that Denny Hastert is the last person Black would want to use as a liaison. Heck, even Chris DeMuth from AEI might have more cachet. But you’re right, Black hase better resources than a mediocre Speaker and hand puppet for ‘The Hammer’.

  17. Anon says

    Professor Lord Black – These lectures would be interesting to hear:

    The pardon strategy outlined in the above link sounds bad – Hastert could find himself in legal trouble any day for the next few years. Plus, he’s not that bright and whether or not he could convince Bush is hard to measure – Bush does what is good for Bush.

    That list of 100 notables for Black is also bad news – Many of the people on the list are problematic.

    Far better for Black to wait for his appeal – If he loses, then get Tony Blair and Thatcher to lobby on his behalf. Maybe Celia Sandys and/or some prominent Israelis

  18. Comment says

    Guess it doesn’t matter what one gives away if one is completelt certain they have the nomination. But are they? Hmm. This reminds us of the Godfather – we recall Mario Puzo saying that the producers negotiated away using the term “mafia” in the movie when they met with the Columbo influenced group that planning to protest the upcomming film. They had never intended to use the word anyway – they negotiated away something superfluous, like Perle (supposedly) using the spectre of a possible (unlikely) missle defense deployment to get the Sovs to give up actual missles.

  19. Comment says

    re McCain as catalyst for a health backlash – This idea sounds more intriguing than it probably would be in reality.

    NB – Just heard Donna Brazille say that they (Obama people) had the votes for a 50/50 delegate swap in Michigen but that they decided to throw a bone of conciliation to HRC and Ickies. If that’s true, that was a mistake.

  20. Tbilisi says

    i.e. I feel that a McCain victory/regime might be the rock bottom both parties need before detox can begin, even if it means that we will have to chain ourselves to our puke-filled bed and watch babies crawl around on the ceiling in the interim.

    But then again, this is a big risk as recovery does not necessarily follow rock bottom.

  21. Tbilisi says

    Doctor et al,

    RE a failed ChangeLord backlash:

    Is it wishful thinking to envision a McCain victory producing a similar but positive backlash against the crapulosity of both parties? In other words, could a deep reform movement be brought about by the concurrent failure of another anti-Enlightenment Republican government plus the final humiliation of the scared and narcissistic Democratic establishment? I would like to believe that such obvious failures from both parties simultaneously would lead to the rise of true alternatives within each.


  22. Comment says

    Just to note typo above – Meant to say RIP to W. Odom. It’s possible McCain will be able to admit Odom was correct about Iraq in twenty years or so.

  23. Comment says

    McCain is just too battle proud to admit mistakes and tack accordingly. This is his big flaw – It’s a bigger problem for him than Bush because Bush often changes course without admitting it. But McCain usually hardens and worsens his views.
    Recall he was against Reagan going into the Leb quagmire in 82, but now voices regret at Reagan’s wise cutting and running.
    McCain probably can;t admit cutting and running is sometimes wise way to limit losses.(Btw – RIP Gen. W. Odem)
    He’s just not equipped to think that way – so there’s real danger he’ll take face-saving (his) too far,
    We think he has an even chance of winning, VRWC doubts aside.
    But did you notice when Obama ridiculed the Iranian and Cuban and Venezuealan threat as “tiny” compared to the USSR, McCain just blew his stack and could only denounce. He was mentally and psychologically un-equipped to reply to Obama’s obviously true but politically risky words.
    Obama should press this – keep trying to draw McCain into one of his steamy replies where his red face matches poorly with his stilted reading of Mark Salter’s portentious words.
    Byw – Salter probably wrote than indignant reply to Obama when Obama attack McCain on the Webb bill. Pressing McCain as being weak on vets is a double winner.

  24. Comment says

    We just tuned on FOX and we just had to change the station. McCain was getting ready to speak at AIPAC and we just knew it was gonna be an awful speech.

    But one thing immediately stood out – McCain just mentioned the recent Hezb conflict in Lebanon. As a matter of course McCain says this was the worst violence since the Lebanese Civil War. In fact, there was more internal violence last year in the refugee camps against Sunni militant groups linked to Qaeda.

    Leb is like vortex memory hole – where wars disappear out of thin ear – even ones in recent memory. Incidentally, the Bush administration recently applauded the appeasement of Hezb during the negotations in Qatar.

    Does Mccain know this? Probably not –

    Obama is wise to attack McCain along all these lines – McCain gets angry and indigent and steams “how dare you!” in his own mind.

    But the truth is – McCain really does not know what he is talking about. He is too easily confused by the different groups. A while ago McCain seemed to indicate that he thought the Druse were Christian. The media never pressed him on his so it was unclear where he was going.

    We suspect he’d flop on a op quiz if Tweety ever had the guts to quiz him the way he quized his fellow blowhard Kevin Ryan.

  25. Comment says

    It would be inappropriate for Obama to allude to Savimbi’s alleged cannibalism, but it would be a great thing for some warm-up speaker to bring up in connection with McCain’s connection to lobbyists.

    The most important thing would be to attribute all accusations about cannibalism to David Brooks, since he alluded to it once on the Newshour. Blaming Brooks would be fun.

    Let’s see – McCain and Charlie Black have Chinese take out with Savimbi, in the jungle – Charlie Black orders Pork dumplings, in honor of Congress – McCain orders General Tso
    s chicken, and Savimbi orders General Tso himself.

  26. Dr Leo Strauss says

    “Charlie Black is the geisha girl for the New World Order.”

    He also declared that “Deng Tsao Ping is a chain smoking communist dwarf”.

    Always good TV, especially with the hatchet thing.

  27. Comment says

    ” … what Obama’s speeches fail to recognize is …”

    Fair enough – But we see Obama’s speeches as things he says to be elected. That’s not to say he (or other pols) are lying or being disingenuous. He has to be vague and ethereal – signaling a change of direction without being pinned down too much.

    He was refreshingly ruthless with Ruthless Hillary and that was a positive sign. There were people withing Obama’s team that wanted to cave to Hillary on Fl and Mich a while back.

    Look – Bill Clinton was kneecapped early on in his Presidency. Some lessons learned. Some forgotten.

    We shall see.

    We like McCain and we lament his views – He could have been great if he was as wise as he is determined.

    Charlie Black – what did Buchanan call him? The Geisha Girl for Savimbi’s Cannibal party or something like that?

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