Obama Can Haz Reelection?

Man, Barack Obama stepped in it with his remarks about how business owners “didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Criticism of the president is a frequent feature on my Facebook feed, but I had never seen anything like this morning.

My friends, fans and acquaintances had caustic comments galore, sure, but the pictorial mockery was the most striking. I’ve included several examples of this mockery below. The only thing I did not see was an anti-Obama lolcat, but the day is young!

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Fact Checking the Fact Checker

The Washington Post‘s Fact Checker Glenn Kessler has responded to my last post in comments. That was rather sporting of him, but I’m still not certain he grasps what his critics are trying to say.

Kessler commented:

Fyi, you misunderstand my role. I fact check statements by politicians. There is more than enough for me to do there. If you have an issue with Washington Post reporting, then go to the Washington Post Ombudsman. That Post article was widely misinterpreted, especially by the Obama campaign. The facts as presented in the article were not in dispute; it was the interpretation.

As regards “racial pioneer,” in my annual note to readers I wrote that I regretted using that phrase, saying it had been a “poor choice of words.” Mollie Hemingway was certainly among the many readers who made that clear to me.

Couple of things:

1) Glad to hear him concede that referring to well known eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger as a “racial pioneer” was a “poor choice of words.”

2) Pretty sure I understand his role. I wrote, “The stated reason Kessler won’t fact check his own paper ‘despite the many pleas of readers to do so’ is that it would be a distraction from the real purpose of his beat, which is ‘checking the rhetoric used by politicians and interest groups.’”

3) I made the case that he ought to have made an exception about the controversy in question. His own paper reported that Mitt Romney’s former financial firm, Bain Capital, had invested heavily in firms that outsourced jobs. The Obama campaign used this to cut attack ads.

4) Kessler writes, “The facts as presented in the article were not in dispute; it was the interpretation,” but the Romney campaign surely disputed the facts and demanded a retraction.

5) In my reading, the Romney camp had a point and I think Kessler quietly concedes that by trying to shift the debate into interpretation. Here is Team Romney’s Powerpoint presentation on the subject.

6) Kessler grants that the points put forward by the Romney campaign are correct, but he explains “The actual article, in fact, does not say that transfers of U.S. jobs took place while Romney ran the private equity firm of Bain Capital.”

7) To which one can only reply “Oh, come on!” The Post report‘s title is “Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas,” and here are the first two graphs:

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Fact Checker Flashback

Glenn Kessler, who writes the Fact Checker blog and column for the Washington Post, has got himself into a bit of a jalapeno. Sean Higgins’s title pretty much sums it up here: “Washington Post Fact Checker: I Don’t Fact Check Our Own Writers.”

The stated reason Kessler won’t fact check his own paper “despite the many pleas of readers to do so” is that it would be a distraction from the real purpose of his beat, which is “checking the rhetoric used by politicians and interest groups.” [Surely it has nothing to do with job security- ed. What is this, Kausfiles circa 2005?]

There are good reasons why Kessler ought to have made an exception here, because the Obama campaign is using the disputed reporting of the Post to bash Romney. But my sense is, most people would let that slide if he actually did a good job with Fact Checker’s core function.

During the Republican primaries, Kessler tried to “fact check” the statements of Herman Cain on Planned Parenthood founder and unapologetic eugenicist Margaret Sanger. He ignored Sanger’s well known comment about pulling up “those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization” and several other prominent statements about racial cleansing through birth control.

Ignoring all of that, Kessler declared Sanger a “racial pioneer” who may, admittedly have had an ever-so-slightly “paternalistic attitude toward African Americans.”

Kessler’s comments spurred Mollie Hemingway to write the single best sentence of spleen-venting media criticism I have ever read: “Dear God, I hope that the Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler isn’t asked to fact check something about American slave owners.”

UPDATE: Kessler responds here. So do I.

Uh, I’ve Got Plans That Night

The latest in the long chain of creepy e-mails from the White House has just showed up in my in-box. It’s from Barack Obama, subject line, “Meet me for dinner.”

Barack Obama

Why I Might End Up Voting for Dad Again

The American Spectator is a run by a non-profit, which means that the publication itself is not allowed to explicitly endorse a candidate or piece of legislation. There is some wiggle room for contributors to do so in its pages, but in practice the editors have decided to ixnay endorsementsway.

In fact, I only know of one explicit endorsement the Spectator ran in the last presidential election cycle, because I wrote it. In the column in question, I told readers that over Presidents’ Day I had finally “sat down and had a good think about where the current crop of candidates fits in the long run of America’s chief executives” and found the results “depressing.”

Sure, I was unhappy that John McCain was the Republican nominee but “seriously,” I asked, “Mitt Romney would have been much better?” I speculated that, were that the case, “A year from now, we’d be fighting over Romneycare instead of [Obamacare].”

The column told readers they would “soon be warned against ‘throwing your vote away’ on some crank third party candidate in general election. Instead, we should figure out which of the two major party candidates will do the least damage, fasten that clothespin, and do our Christian duty.” It cautioned, not so fast, Christian soldiers.

Yes, a third party vote might amount to throwing one’s vote away, but so what? If these were the options the big two parties were offering us (Obama or Hillary vs. McCain or Romney), then perhaps it was best to throw those votes away. So, I endorsed my father.

“Bob Lott for President,” was the unambigious headline. In response to angry reader mail, I even worked up a pretty good cheer/taunt: “Bob Lott! Why Not?”

The piece ran because Dad was not a candidate and had no chance in hell of winning any elective office. Executive editor Wlady Pleszczynski, with his poetic Polish soul, understood that this was not so much an endorsement as an anguished love letter to America. Surely, I was hoping against hope, we can find it in us to do better than this.

And four years later, the candidates are… Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

So I might be voting for Dad again. Over the next few months, I’ll explore the ins and outs of that decision. This will not be an exercise in narcissism or posturing, or at least that is not the intent.

Obviously, the political ground has shifted some since the last presidential contest. A lot of readers had misgivings about our choices in the last go-round and might still be scratching their heads about what to do this time. Maybe in watching a fellow anguished voter puzzle it out, they can get some idea where to go from here.

I Get Letters… From the White House

Two letters from the Obama campaign have made their way into my e-mail inbox today. The first, from President Obama, has the subject line “In the clutch.” The second, from Joe Biden: “Midnight, your time.” Uh guys, you do realize that fund raising letters aren’t supposed to creep people out, right?