Time Mag Finds ‘Lifelong Republican’ For Obama in Omaha

-By Warner Todd Huston

Here we go again with another ridiculous MSM report of a so-called “lifelong Republican” who is slobbering all over himself for a Democrat presidential candidate, this time Barack Obama. And, also, here we go again as an MSM story tries to puff up a small handful of purportedly turncoat Republicans into gargantuan proportions — the veritable mole-hill into a mountain story. This week’s Republicans-gone-Dem story (for the MSM seems to have these weekly anymore) we are treated to Time Magazine’s breathless report of ship-jumpers in Nebraska.

Dave Filipi, a 48-year-old family doctor, made his way to the back room of McKenna’s Blues Bar near the University of Nebraska’s Omaha campus. Nervously smoothing his suit, he lingered in the doorway. “To be honest, I’m a Republican,” Filipi sheepishly said as two dozen curious faces swinging around toward him.

“Trust me, you’re not the only one here,” Solomon Kleinsmith, the head of the group “Nebraskans for Obama” and himself a lifelong Republican, replied with a chuckle. “Come, sit down.”

A campaign donor search of Mr. Filipi shows no financial activity thus far reported. That doesn’t make the lie to his claim of being a Republican, but it does say he wasn’t so active as to have donated his money. For a Doctor, that says a lot. There is also no donor activity for Mr. Kleinsmith, but his Barack Obama group page shows a photo of quite a young man, he can’t be even into his thirties, so it’s a bit hard to take the “lifelong” claim too seriously. At his age how much time could he really have vested in that “lifelong” Republican claim, anyway? The average person rarely pays much attention to politics before their thirties, for instance.

But, so far, Time has given us two people to justify their headline of “Obama’s Red State Appeal.” What else do they have?

Political organizing for Democrats in red states like Nebraska can often feel a bit like leading AA meetings. But that hasn’t deterred more than 300 Nebraskans from forming a dozen groups for Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and they aren’t the only ones.

OK now we are given the number of 300 Republicans who have “crossed party lines” to support Obama.

Let’s see what the numbers show us, shall we? The number of total registered voters in Nebraska is 1,140,741, out of a population of 1,768,331 (must not be too many kids in Nebraska!). Of that total we have 578,916 Republicans, 371,037 Democrats and 184,119 classified as nonpartisan.

So what percentage is 300 of the 578,916 Republicans? Seems to me we have a number that puts these ship-jumpers at way under 1%. In fact it is around .0519% That ain’t a lot in my book, despite that Time is wont to say…

It seems a lot of Republicans took to heart Obama’s statement in his rousing speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention

Um, no, Time. Not “a lot.” Not a lot at all.

Then Time gives us this gem:

At Obama events in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia, a good 20% of audiences routinely raise their hands when emcees ask for Republicans in the crowd.

20%? Yeeeaaaah, riiiight.

Here is the another silly part, of so much silliness, of the Time story:

“I’m not seeing any pretty clear matches for me in the Republican crop,” said Filipi, a lifelong Republican who founded “Nebraskans for Obama” on the Internet.

OK, either Time writer Jay Newton-Small (what self-respecting man has a hyphenated name?) is Internet illeterate, or he is trying to make Mr. Filipi’s Internet venture sound bigger than it is. Because the “Nebraskans for Obama” thing that Mr. Filipi supposedly “founded” is just another group page on the Obama website. So, far from “founding” anything, Mr. Filipi just opened an easily created page within Barack Obama’s campaign website. Mr. Newton-Small’s description makes Filipi’s web effort seem herculean in contrast to what it really is.

Of course, the other worn out horse that Jay Newton-Small beats is the claim that a long time Chicago Republican activist has so prominently jumped ship for Obama.

Even some former Bush supporters and advisers are Obama converts. Three former major fundraisers for the President have given money to Obama. One of them, James Canning, a Chicago financier, is openly supporting Obama after he grew tired of what he calls the GOP’s “Neanderthal positions on things like stem cell research and global warming.”

First of all, the donor Time is talking about is JOHN Canning, not “James.” And, John Canning has given a hefty sum to quite a few Democrats in his day. A donor search of his donations shows Democrat Melissa Bean, Richard Durbin, Rahm Emanuel and the Democratic Congressional Committee among others as finding themsleves on the receiving end of Mr. Canning’s Republican support. That makes him not so staunchly supportive of the GOP as Time might want to make it seem.

Still, the main detraction from this ridiculous story is in the numbers. Like I said, .0519% is NOT a lot of Nebraskans switching parties to vote Obama. It isn’t “a lot” as Time claims it to be.

This report reminds me of the old tale of the reporter in New York who couldn’t understand how Nixon won in such a landslide. When asked why not, she said it was because she never met anyone who voted for the man. Did she know any Republicans? No, but that didn’t stop her from being confused by her anecdotal evidence, just the same.

As they say, anecdotal evidence… isn’t. And, from what I see here, Jay Newton-Small has a lot of… well… isn’tness in his little tale. It’s a nice try to stampede Republicans to the man with one of the most leftist voting records in the Senate, though (“…according to a National Journal analysis. Obama’s score of 84.3% in the Journal’s ratings formula, tops even that of Representative Dennis Kucinich…”). Time should get high marks for spin, here.

Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, townhall.com, men’snewsdaily.com and americandaily.com among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

Copyright Publius Forum 2001