By John Ruberry

While “the betters” on the Sunday talk shows were praising John McCain, who died from brain cancer Saturday, Mrs. Marathon Pundit turned to me and asked, “Why isn’t anyone talking about the number of houses he owned?”

The TV talking heads weren’t.

In his laudatory statement about the Arizona senator’s passing, of course Barack Obama didn’t bring up the houses. But in 2008, when a Politico reporter asked the Arizona senator how many houses he owned, and in a awkward manner, McCain replied that he didn’t know. He suggested that the reporter check with his staff.

Watch Obama–the pertinent section begins at 1:38–mock McCain for being an out-of-touch elitist over the houses gaffe.

The correct number was eight, if you include the homes owned by McCain’s wife.

Obama’s campaign used the McCain houses remark in television ad. Which, in one of the McCain campaign’s better moments, led a spokesperson to retort, “Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?”

Obama still owns that mansion, purchased with guidance from Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko. And he now owns a second mansion, this one with–wait for it–a wall, in Washington.

McCain was tortured by his North Vietnamese jailers during his five years as a prisoner of war. Those injuries made it very difficult for him to type and use a computer. Which led the Obama campaign to run this sneering ad against McCain:

CNN didn’t begin its piling-on against prominent Republicans with the rise of Donald Trump, its Jeanne Moos sardonically reported on the McCain computer kerfuffle during the ’08 campaign.

When asked a town hall in 2008 about a George W. Bush statement that American troops might be serving in Iraq for 50 years, McCain musingly replied that they could there for “maybe 100.”

Let’s add some context here. Over seven decades after the defeat of the Axis powers there still are American troops stationed in Germany, Italy, and Japan. Only extremists from both sides of the political aisle are calling for their removal.

Obama pounced on McCain for the 100-years remark. “Instead of offering an exit strategy for Iraq” Obama said a month later, “he’s offering us a 100-year occupation.”

A lie.

McCain never spoke of an “occupation.” Obama pulled out our troops from Iraq in late 2011 and bragged about it in during his reelection campaign. Three years later ISIS seized nearly one-third of Iraq. Then Obama dispatched combat troops to Iraq again. About 5,000 of them remain.

Obama, as he is about so many other things, was wrong about Iraq.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Screwtape: It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons, we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to having a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false,” but as “academic” or “practical,” “outworn” or “contemporary,” “conventional” or “ruthless.” Jargon, not argument, is your best ally

CS Lewis, the Screwtape letters, Letter #1

It’s not often that I disagree with Ace of Spades who is one of the brightest bloggers in the barn but when I saw this piece at his site concerning Donald Trump’s claim titled:

The Ego Has Landed: Why Trump Damaged Himself Tonight

my thought was that Ace is not only wrong, but spectacularly wrong.

This is not to say Ace’s reasoning is off, it’s actually very good and is post is worth reading in full.

Trump specifically and completely contradicted a belief that 75-80% of Republicans have about Bush — that he was a fundamentally decent man, perhaps overwhelmed by a very difficult period, who made an erroneous decision based on incomplete information — and instead offered a new belief, that Bush deliberately lied about Iraq’s WMD’s, a position that 75-80% of Republicans have long not only rejected but have been actively hostile towards.

With no better reason to adopt this new claim other than that Donald Trump said it.

I doubt very much people will be willing to make this leap with Trump. Gathering political support is all about getting a buy-in of belief at a price that people are willing to pay (usually, a low price– that’s why politicians strain to parrot back to you things you already believe).

I think Trump, who has been a past-master at getting people to buy-in to a very low-cost premise — “Let’s Make America Great Again” — just made a very high cost premise central to buying into him.

and his closing line is devastating:

With just a few poorly chosen angry words, Trump declared a lot of allegiance to the enemy tribe, and essentially said “I’m not like you.”

Unfortunately Ace is missing or overlooking two things in his argument.

#1 Donald Trump primary draw isn’t to the avg primary voter.

This is an argument I’ve been making since day one when I declared his announcement speech a Triumph at a time when most others considered it a joke not knowing that the joke was on them. Trump’s target audience is not the GOP faithful niche, the larger people who follow politics niche or the people who watch the cable news niche or even the larger people who watch nightly news niche.

His group is the larger, people who watch Donald Trump on TV niche and said niche consists of plenty of people who either share said belief about Bush or having heard the left’s background “Bush lied people died” BS will not question it.

The people who pay attention have always been outnumbered by those who do not and if even a fraction of said people turn out they will overwhelm the folks Ace of Spades is referring to.

#2 It doesn’t take into account human nature

The ability to admit one is wrong is one of the most difficult things in the world to do (why do you think the sacrament of confession is generally done behind a screen) but it’s even harder to admit someone who you have been hitting or arguing with on the said subject is right.  This is human nature and has been true since the first days of the written word.

If admitting one is wrong is hard in private, how much harder is it for a person to make such an admission in an age of instant communication when there are dozens of people reinforcing the wrong idea on social media from Twitter to facebook and more important when those same people are ready to tear a person apart for daring the stray from the reservation?

To come out and say:  “This is wrong” in such a situation requires a thick skin and actual courage.

I suspect that given the number of years past since the invasion of Iraq and the general disdain for the GOP establishment that Jeb Bush represents, many people who might otherwise object to Trump’s errors concerning WMD and attacks on GW Bush find an excuse to rationalize it, explain it away as “Trump being Trump” and let themselves be persuaded that this is simply a blip, one of those contradictions in belief that Screwtape told us about that is just not worth getting fired up about, particularly not in public.

Particularly if it means being on the losing side.

The fight against human nature is one that humanity has fought forever but the truth is winning that fight is the exception, rather than the rule and it will take more than one rant from a series of rants to overcome it.

It’s possible that I”m wrong here but given what we’ve seen over the last six months I see no reason to believe that I am.

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I saw a tweet from David Axelrod that made me laugh

and not just because it prompted this excellent counter

I smiled for several reasons, first the spectacle of Jeb Bush jumping through hoops trying to say things in the way that the MSM wants him to is quite amusing when you have the establishment of the party & media that had been so determined to crown him the heir apparent.

Even funnier has been the media’s attempt to crown a teenage girl who was maybe 4 when we went into Iraq and was 11 when Barack Obama as the greatest expert on war in the middle east since Lawrence entered Arabia

But the 2nd thing that makes me smile   Is the answer is so simple, that Jeb should be ashamed that he did not think of it.

Let me remind those in the media and the masterminds suggesting candidates denounce our efforts in Iraq that  the war in Iraq was won before Barack Obama decided he wished to lose it. The power and success ISIS in Iraq is completely on him.

I was in favor of the Iraq war & still think George Bush did the right thing, but David Axelrod has a point.  If I knew that Barack Obama was going to give our victory away to ISIS & Iran leaving the Iraqis out and causing our sacrifices of blood & treasure to mean nothing  to dry I wouldn’t have invaded either.

That is such an obvious answer that Jeb Bush  & the rest of the GOP should be ashamed for not saying it and putting the secretary of state at the time on the spot to defend the policy of Barack Obama.

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In between the HHS story, the SNL 40th anniversary the Beheadings in Libya & the attacks in Copenhagen you might have missed this little tidbit from the times:

The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.

Chemical Weapons of mass destruction?  Can’t be we all know that they don’t exist and never did right?

Not long after Operation Avarice had secured its 400th rocket, in 2006, American troops were exposed several times to other chemical weapons. Many of these veterans said that they had not been warned by their units about the risks posed by the chemical weapons and that their medical care and follow-up were substandard, in part because military doctors seemed unaware that chemical munitions remained in Iraq.

In some cases, victims of exposure said, officers forbade them to discuss what had occurred. The Pentagon now says hundreds of other veterans reported on health-screening forms that they believed they too had been exposed during the war.

This can’t be, the media has been telling us for years that Bush lied about all this stuff.

The most interesting piece of news in the story?  This:

Neither the C.I.A. nor the soldiers persuaded the man to reveal his source of supply, the officials said. “They were pushing to see where did it originate from, was there a mother lode?” General Zahner said.

The implications here are nasty.  After all if there is one guy selling Iraqi chemical weapons there have to be a dozen more.  Furthermore as anyone who has seen how gun buyback programs work how likely is it that the least valuable and marketable weapons are the one being sold to the a buyer who will take anything they can get?

Closing thought:   Remember this one:

Meanwhile, the second battle of Fallujah was raging in Anbar province. In the southeastern corner of the city, American forces came across a “house with a chemical lab … substances found are similar to ones (in lesser quantities located a previous chemical lab.” The following day, there’s a call in another part of the city for explosive experts to dispose of a “chemical cache.”

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

That from the Wikileaks revelation of 2010.  As I said at the time:

This kind of stuff has been reported and ignored for years, now that it is being reported by the darlings of the left as Wikileaks, I wonder what will be said?

In fact nothing was said. Rick Moran nailed it at the time:

Don’t expect any apologies from the rest of the world or even any acknowledgment that they were wrong. The narrative is set and nothing will change it.

And if you think this NYT piece will change the narrative, you’re smoking something.

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CanadaBy John Ruberry

For over five years President Obama has been dithering in regards to building the Keystone XL pipeline, which if constructed, will bring petroleum from the oil sands in western Canada to America’s heartland.

Over in Iraq, Obama is utilizing token measures in an attempt to slow the terror group ISIS and to give some relief to the religious minorities being attacked by the Islamo-fascists.

For the time being, ISIS seems content in selling oil, earning $3 million per day. But the jiadists appear to crazed enough to destroy oil fields, which would–duh!–drive up the price of oil.

Which is why America needs to lessen its dependence on oil from the Middle East.

There is much at home Obama can do. Rather than bow to his environmentalist donors, the president can expedite the approval of drilling and fracking on federally-owned land and open up more of our continental shelf to oil exploration. Obama can also alter the tone of his administration, which is decidedly anti-fossil fuel.

We don’t know if the president took an economics course at Occidental or Columbia because he hasn’t released his college transcripts, but the macroeconomic equation is simple. More petroleum in the marketplace means cheaper oil.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

More drilling and fracking in American means more jobs. Building the Keystone XL pipeline also means more good-paying jobs.

The Obama recovery is dominated by low-paying, low-skilled, and part-time positions.

Obama has to ask himself if  he will be burdened by leftist ideology for the remaining two-and-a-half years of his presidency–or will he be a leader?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.