Thursday, January 31, 2008

Splish Splash

Attorney General Michael Mukasey appeared before the Senate Judicial Committee yesterday. The Chairman of the Committee, Patrick Leahy, D-VT, who was kicked off the Senate Intelligence Committee a few years back for leaking national security secrets to the press for his personal political points, and Senator Ted Kennedy, D-MA, an expert on his own personal brand of waterboarding, were leading the defeatist Dem chorus that the Bush administration is guilty of promoting policies of torture within the intelligence community.

"If Senate Democrats thought Attorney General Michael Mukasey was someone they could push around to score political points, yesterday they discovered their error. The new AG stood his ground on the legal war on terror, despite five hours of grandstanding over an interrogation technique that the CIA doesn't even practice anymore." That opening paragraph from an article in "The CIA has acknowledged waterboarding only three of the hardest al Qaeda suspects, which is the kind of difficult decision that U.S. officials had to make in the wake of 9/11. They didn't do so out of some vengeful bloodlust but to protect the country from future attack and with the backing of a Justice Department legal opinion at the time."

"If Democrats really want to end waterboarding forever, they have the power to ban it outright." If the Dems did that, they might later look soft on terrorists in the aftermath of a future attack. For them to actually put into motion any opinions they want the public to think they truly hold, that would mean acting. Does anyone think an intelligence leaker and a man so devoid of personal morality that he would leave a young woman staffer to drown after a car accident over a bridge truly care about 'torture' issues? No. It's all about huffing and puffing with tones of indignanent outrage on the war on terror. The war on terror, by the way, is just something the evil Bush administration cooked up anyway. The Bush administration just wants to scare everyone.

"Chairman Patrick Leahy and Senator Edward Kennedy insisted that Mukasey provide them with a determination as to whether waterboarding qualifies legally as torture. Mukasey refused, stating that it would not "be appropriate for me to pass definitive judgement on the technique's legality." "It is not within the powers of an attorney general to say what is or isn't legal, as they seem to think, any more than Supreme Court justices or other judges have powers to enact new law, as liberal Democrats also believe. But that didn't keep the wisecracks from flying." That from IBD today. "Chairman Leahy complained to Mukasey: "I think failure to say something probably puts some of our people in more danger than not" - an apparent reference to the legal vulnerability of CIA interrogators who may have taken part in the practice." Did leaking intelligence information to the press put our people in danger, Chairman Leahy?

And then from Senator Jeff Sessions, R-AL, "I think it's been an embarrassment to our nation from a lot of these hearings when we've suggested wide-scale abuse. That is not true."

Leahy and Kennedy have both come out and endorsed Senator Obama for the Democrat presidential candidate nomination. Both men think that the suspected terrorists at Guantanamo should be treated as common criminals, complete with every advantage of any American citizen within the legal system. These aren't Americans, though. And, they are not common criminals. Kennedy made a comparison using a bank robbery scenario. This indicates Kennedy's level of seriousness.

The Gitmo lawyers have issued a statement of their support for Senator Obama's run for President, too. More than 80 of them state: "We are at a critical point in the presidential campaign, and as lawyers who have been deeply involved in the Guantanamo litigation to preserve the important right to habeas corpus, we are writing to urge you to support Senator Obama". The open letter was dated Monday.

The Gitmo lawyers include partners from major U.S. law firms as well as small town lawyers.
These smart, educated people know full well that "the traditional right to file writs of habeas corpus" as referred to in the open letter, has nothing to do with 'traditional' at all. This is unprecedented territory. Terrorists captured on the battleground and those turned over to us by allies have been the receipient of no such 'tradition'.

Perhaps we should just release all the prisoners. Never mind that many that have been released have ended up back on the battlefield to kill American soldiers. Never mind that many still in custody are there because their own countries refuse to take them back.

These are the supporters of Senator Obama. Leahy, Kennedy, and the Gitmo lawyers. Those determined to bring us back to the pre 9/11 mentality. Those determined to treat suspected terrorists with warrants for arrest and trials in our country's federal court houses. Those involved in the thinking that brought us the attacks of 9/11.

Still clueless after all these years.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Three Stories Loosely Bound

Three books came to mind yesterday as I did some daily reading. They are somewhat related in subject matter.

The first was an obituary of a 93 year old woman from Yoakum, Texas. She was well known in Republican women circles as a driving force in the establishment of the Republican party in Texas, certainly here in the Houston area. She had a big life.

Marjorie Meyer Arsht was born in Yoakum Texas to parents determined to encourage their daughter to taken advantage of all available educational opportunities. She graduated from Rice Institute, now Rice University, Phi Beta Kappa at the age of 18. She studied at The Sorbonne, she earned a Masters of Art in French from Columbia University at the age of 20. And, then at the age of 84, in 1996, she enrolled in continuing education studies through Rice University's Advanced Novel Writing Program. She then wrote and published her memoir at the age of 90, "All the Way from Yoakum: The Personal Journey of a Political Insider." I read and enjoyed her story. I was lucky to attend one of her book signings and meet her. I also wrote a book review for an Internet magazine, for which I sometimes contribute, on it. She was quite a woman.

She was Jewish, born at a time when Jewish families in her part of the state were scarce. She was a past president of her Temple Beth Israel's Sisterhood and she also served as the national spokeswoman for the American Council of Judaism. She was a teacher, a licensed real estate agent, President of the Arsht Company, which was an energy development company started by her husband. Just a slice of her accomplishments.

In today's, a commentary is published that was written by Judea Pearl, father of Danny Pearl. Danny Pearl, you will remember, was the Wall Street Journal reporter and bureau chief in Pakistan who was murdered, beheaded, by al Qaeda. This week is the sixth anniversary of that tragic, unthinkable, act of IslamoFaciscts. Pearl did not deny that he was a Jew and he bravely tracked down stories in the region of terrorism. "The shocking element in Danny's murder was that he was killed, not for what he wrote or planned to write, but for what he represented - America, modernity, openness, pluralism, curiosity, dialogue, fairness, objectivity, freedom of inquiry, truth and respect for all people. In short, each and every one of us was targeted in Karachi in January of 2002."

"It was through Danny's face that people came to grasp the depth of cruelty and inhumanity into which this planet of ours has been allowed to sink in the past two decades. His murder proved that 9/11 was not an isolated event, and helped resurrect the age-old ideas of right and wrong, good and evil. Moral relativism died with Daniel Pearl in January 2002."

He wrote of the current state of journalism, the press and the media, as they no longer simply gather information and report. Today's journalism is agenda-driven and deliberately polarizing. He reminded the reader of CNN's own admission that in 2003, they concealed information about the Iraqi regime in order to keep open their office in Baghdad.

" distinguish true from false journalism, just choose any newspaper or TV channel and ask yourself when was the last time it ran a picture of a child, a grandmother or any empathy-evoking scene from the "other side"of a conflict. I propose this simple test as the "Daniel Pearl standard of responsible journalism." "Anyone who reads Danny's stories today, and examines the way he reported the human story behind the news, would agree that adopting the proposed standard fro the profession would be a fitting tribute to his legacy."

Danny Pearl's widow, Mariane, wrote and published A Mighty Heart, their story.

And last. A little news blurb I read in the American Thinker by Clarice Feldman. "Laurie Mylroie critiques the 60 Minutes interview with Saddam's interrogator Piro, reminds the memory challenged of facts which contradict Saddam's self-serving explanation of what happened to Iraq's WMDs and concludes: Ronald Kessler also interviewed Piro, and Kessler's latest book, The Terrorist Watch, includes three important points absent from the 60 Minutes interview. First, "Saddam was very smart -- a lot smarter than we gave him credit for in the West," Piro told Kessler. Second, "after Desert Storm, Saddam considered himself to be a war with the United States," Piro explained. Finally, Saddam's foremost concern was his legacy. Before OIF began, Saddam was offered a comfortable exile in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam told Piro, "he cared more about what people would think of him in five hundred or a thousand years than they did that day."

A little agenda driving by 60 Minutes perhaps?

"These observations knock down two views embraced by Middle East experts after the 1991 war that helped buttress Bill Clinton's do-nothing policy toward Iraq. Taken together, Piro's three observations suggest that sometime in the future, when Operation Iraqi Freedom is no longer a political football, Americans will likely learn that Saddam was indeed a major threat and that he was not idle in the 12 years between the end of the 1991 war and the start of the second war."

Laurie Mylroie was a foreign policy advisor to Bill Clinton and left her position when she realized Clinton was not serious about foreign policy or national security. She wrote an interesting book, largely ignored by the media because Clinton was in office and he was their guy.

History will look favorably at Ms. Mylroie and President Bush, both.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Applause, Applause

"Let us show the people Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time." From the beginning of the House chambers filling up with politicians and then the filing in of the higher ups, the tone of the audience said otherwise. Those leading the charge for change - Hillary and Barack - proving it is no more than election time nonsense meant for the potential voter to swallow. Hillary didn't even bother to clap as the President entered the chamber. Her no class gesture was much more indicative of the opposite side of the aisle.

With 52 straight months of economic growth charted, a record for all those pining for the 'peace and prosperity' of the Clinton years, the President presented some ideas for economic stimulus to head off any further slowing of the economy. As could be predicted, the only applause from the Democrats came for the actual handout to taxpayers and those who haven't paid taxes, too. It's hardly a rebate if you have never paid into it in the first place. But, let's not dwell on semantics. It's only money.

The President made an amusing suggestion to the Democrats so determined to not let the Bush tax cuts remain in place - if they would like to pay more taxes, the IRS would gladly accept personal checks or money orders. They don't seem to care that 116 million Americans are facing a tax increase of $1800.00, on average, if they do nothing. Wonder if those Bush Deranged folks who were trying to blame President Bush for Congress's neglect of mending the AMT and the hold up on tax refunds will piece this together. I doubt it.

Mr. change candidate, Obama, was sitting with his new best friend, Teddy Kennedy, known as a true agent of change. Stuck in the 60's, government has to run your life from cradle to grave, still thinks there was a Camelot, and a brain addled from alcohol abuse, Teddy Kennedy. There's some real change for you. Just not the kind most people would want. Hillary stuck out her hand to shake Teddy's hand and Obama turned away. Change. Working with everyone.

Did consumer choice not government control in health insurance and health care warrant applause from Obama and his party? No. Socialists want government controlled health care.

Did Kennedy and Obama clap for the extension and expansion of No Child Left Behind? No. The agents of change don't acknowledge that black and Hispanic students are testing at all time highs. Kennedy considered No Child Left Behind his baby, you may remember. That was then. This is his new best friend's election year now.

President Bush wants free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea passed.

President Bush intends to double the amount of border guards.

An additional 2200 Marines are being deployed to Afghanistan.

"We will deliver justice to our enemies." Applause all around. "We are spreading the hope of freedom." Not so much love from the left. Defeatists don't really want to knock themselves out too much.

The left side of the aisle couldn't be bothered to clap for the success of the surge in Iraq. That would mean they were wrong. But, they support the troops.

20,000 troops are already in process of coming home and will not be replaced. Applause. The Bush administration has increased funding for veterans 95% during his terms in office. Applause. More standing applause when he promised the troops "a solemn pledge you will have all you need to protect our nation." Then he brought up funding the troops and only half stood. The defeatists have an odd way of showing support for the troops. All talk and show. No action.

The Democrats didn't like the fact that the President demands a 50% reduction in earmarks. And, they didn't like to hear about FISA renewal. They don't want to offer exemption from liability to telecommunication companies who cooperated with the government post-9/11. The defeatists have a strange definition of change.

"Ladies and gentlemen, some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Qaeda is on the run in Iraq and this enemy will be defeated."

Drats. Harry Reid promised failure.

I think someone forgot to give the memo to the President. You know, the memo that explained what a lame duck he is. That he isn't relevant anymore. Someone forgot to remind the Congress that their polling numbers are still at an all time low. Still lower than the President's, who will be remembered quite differently in history than them.

Change? Higher taxes, more government involvement in our lives, stick our heads in the sand, reward trial lawyers and Wall Street, tie the hands of the intelligence agencies, don't reform Social Security for the next generation, just talk, talk, talk. Doesn't sound like change to me.


Monday, January 28, 2008

A Peek Behind the Scene

Recently my guys and I went to a Black Box production of a Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead". The play is described as 'Pythonesque' as it is an existentialist tragicomedy. The play is about the 'misadventures and musings of these two minor characters from William Shakespeare's Hamlet who happen to be childhood friends of the prince", from the director's description. The play is a behind the scene look, if you will, into those around the character, Hamlet.

Last night I watched a behind the scene look into the daily life of President Bush. In Bret Baier's 'George W. Bush: Fighting to the Finish' on Fox News, the viewer saw the President in the White House, on Air Force One, at the ranch in Crawford, and in the private residence in the White House.

He and Laura Bush were able to speak about the conservation program they are implementing on the ranch. It is a prairie restoration project, bringing back the native grasses to the Texas prairie. It goes back to how the prairie was a century ago when it was settled. The grasses are good for the cattle, for grazing, and for the birds, too. I know that those on the other side of the political aisle like to paint Republicans as the party of those not concerned with the environment. It was never true, of course, but leaders in the public spotlight are able to prove otherwise, too.

The President and Mrs. Bush also spoke about the projects going forward in Africa to combat malaria and AIDS. I know that there are those who are critics of this kind of foreign aid. The Bushes are able spokespeople, speaking to the benefit of foreign aid. A strong, healthy work force makes a nation successful. If citizens are able to work and take care of themselves and their families, they are not so susceptible to signing on to terrorism.

President Bush said the freedom agenda is "the calling of our time."

The program showed the speech writers putting together the State of the Union address. Tonight the president will give that speech, his last State of the Union address. The Bush twin daughters will be sitting with Laura Bush in the audience. When President Bush was inaugurated, they were beginning college. Now they are both educated, accomplished young women with lives of their own.

And, today brought the news of a U.S. Embassy worker's murder in his home in Pakistan. The freedom agenda. The calling of our time.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Music. Less Talk Radio.

I turned off the radio today and it won't be back on for a while. My mornings of talk radio enjoyment have ceased. Except for one. The one still in good favor is Bill Bennett. Dr. Bennett, a true Reagan Republican, is a happy warrior. He doesn't denigrate or doesn't believe the Republican party will benefit from being punished for its current state.

Conservative talk radio has taken a nasty turn. We are eating our own and it is not a good plan of action. What happened to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment - Thou shall not speak ill of fellow Republican? Please note - Reagan said Republican, not conservative. Ah, there's the rub in my party today. For all those bound and determined to channel Reagan in today's political arena, I think a bit of reflection is due.

My party, the Republican party, was founded on basic principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurship. We are a conservative party by definition. The Republican party has pandered to social conservatives for several election cycles now and we are paying the price. As long as the Republican candidate was pro-life and wore his religion on his sleeve, all was well. Case in point? President George W. Bush. He has destroyed my party.

It is a sad time for my party. I voted for President Bush, twice, and voted for him as my state's governor before that. I knew who he was and that he worked well with both sides of the political aisle in Austin. The lt. governor was a democrat and they had a mutual admiration society going between them.

Here's what happened - President Bush went to Washington, D.C. and wanted to work with everybody. He teamed up with Teddy Kennedy to push education reform. Doesn't get more liberal than that. He worked with the likes of Tom Daschle to push through a new medicare prescription program. On November 20, 2001 he named the Dept of Justice's main building after Robert F. Kennedy, on the day of what would have been his 76th birthday, to commemorate RFK's days as Attorney General. He continues to try even today to work with the left. He is only rewarded with contempt from them but he tried.

After the attacks of 9/11/2001 and the need to go offensive in the war on radical Islam, all kinds of craziness has developed in this country. It is fashionable to call the President and his administration every name in the book, whether on our own soil or foreign soil, major newspapers feel emboldened to publish national security secrets, enemy combatants are held in a prison with all the creature comforts plus more. Even the International Red Cross has to admit there is no brutal treatment of prisoners. Socialists like George Soros have spent millions of dollars to keep the President out of office and failed. Now he will begin running tv ads berating the Republican party next week and continue on until election time to help the opposition party in November.

George Bush, like Harry S. Truman, is not polling favorably with the American public. So be it. He has made mistakes. He betrayed the party with his immigration reform debacle and the conservatives will not move forward, though they won the issue with the battle cry being led by talk radio last summer. I didn't agree with the administration's plan either. Senator John McCain, now running for the presidential nomination, was a force behind the legislation in the Senate. The conservatives are determined to punish McCain now.

This is not to plead McCain's case. He has sponsored other legislation I didn't agree with and he has to answer for that, too. I was against McCain/Feingold/Thompson at the time. That is another bone of contention within the party. Yet, the fact that Thompson was an original sponsor of the bill didn't matter much to social conservatives pinning the label of 'true Conservative' on Fred's lapel. It is all McCain's cross to bear.

Here's where we are now. Like Peggy Noonan and her new column in today's, I think the race is now between McCain and Romney. Both good men. Both honorable. Both solid Republicans. There are some differences and it will be coming down to who can win in November against Hillary. That is the realism of the race now.

So, compare the two. From my viewpoint here are some contrasts I see: McCain came into elected office during the Reagan revolution. Romney didn't support either of Reagan's runs. McCain has always been pro-life, the holy grail for social conservatives, and Romney is a convert to the issue. McCain is a military veteran and American hero. Romney is not a veteran, with his strength being in economics. Both are in longtime marriages with many children. Both pledge to nominate conservative judges to the bench. Both have gotten the message about illegal immigration and pledge to build the fence and enforce current laws first.

I don't think either would harm the Republican party. That fact infuriates the ideologues in the Republican party. You see, I am a moderate. There are those in the Republican party that consider themselves a conservative first, then a Republican. Bless their hearts. I'm a lifelong Republican, born into a Republican household in the Deep South in the middle of the 1950's. That was almost unheard of at the time. When my parents moved to southern Mississippi in 1950 and registered to vote, they were told they had to register as Democrats to vote. There was no state Republican party of note. So, I don't take kindly to those so short sighted or politically ignorant as to get on their high horse and say that the Republican party must be purged of moderates or RINO's, their favorite name to sling. This was my party long before it was the party of the 'religious right' voters.

Being a single issue voter, whether it is the life issue, the immigration issue, or the Jesus issue, does not move our country forward. Talk radio is angry that McCain has gathered steam in the race and could get the nomination. McCain was wrong on immigration reform and on McCain/Feingold/Thompson. We all get it. He gets it. He has admitted that campaign finance reform has brought results he didn't intend, he admits he was wrong on the illegal immigration issue, and he states he voted against the Bush tax cuts because they didn't include spending cuts. He is in favor of renewing the tax cuts and making them permanent.

President Bush will go down in history with a legacy of beginning the war on extremist Islam. That will be historically significant. It will be his legacy and that is good. The rest of his two terms have been spotty at best. His tax cuts have kept our economy strong, even today when the defeatists would have you believe we are in recession. The chairman of the Federal Reserve said he didn't think we would reach a recession, but that didn't matter. We have had consistent quarters of growth each year, a record, yet you would think we are approaching the Great Depression. We are at war. We have deficits. That's how it goes.

Not voting is not an option. I studied civics as a school girl. It's a shame that class is no longer taught. Our children are poorer for it. My father was a veteran of the Korean War. My husband of the Vietnam War. Too much blood has been spilled to not vote. And I won't waste it outside my party. Being a party person is honorable.

Politics is about winning. If your party is not in power, your agenda is not on the table. It is as simple as that. I don't want a socialist nation. I don't want further attacks on our soil. I want as much of our money as possible to go into our bank account. I want judges on the bench that know how to read the Constitution and not put their own agendas into law. This isn't rocket science.

More music. Less talk radio.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Barack Dons a Cup

Welcome to the real world, Senator Obama. Those of us who know the competing team you battle for your party's nomination have been pondering when you would finally wake up and face the fact that your rival is a take no prisoners kind of woman. Today I learn of your new weapon, a truth team to the rescue. I have one question for you.

What took you so long?

I know you feel as though you are competing against two Clintons for the nomination and the truth is, you are. Did you forget the entire decade of the 1990's so quickly? Did you forget that when Bill was under scrutiny from voters or the press that Hillary went out there and put the spotlight on herself? She was the one out there saying wacky statements for press coverage. You remember, she's no stand by your man kind of woman, she could have stayed home and just baked cookies and had teas, there's a vast right wing conspiracy out there. Don't you?

Now it is Bill's turn. He promised the wife a presidency after her senate term and by God, he's going to deliver. It's a big part of his legacy, you know. It is his only hope of relevancy in the years to come. He'll have to be taken off the stage kicking and screaming. And pointing a bony finger in your face.

Hillary is counting on you remaining a gentleman and not treating her as an equal. Then she'll get all offended that she's being picked on by the boys. Edwards is just background noise at this point, so it's up to you now. Man up. Put on the cup. They play for keeps.

It's not going to be pretty.

The Clintons are of the opinion that if they repeat statements over and over, the statements become facts. That is why they lie and get away with it. The media in this country anointed Bill as President and continues to be his biggest fan club. They love the guy and think he is all things to all people. Even when he was caught on tape dozing off as he was enthroned on stage for a speech by Martin Luther King, III, the press turns their collective heads. He was crowned the first black president. The press never bothered to look into what would merit that title for a white bubba from Arkansas, but, never mind any of that. Bill Clinton's mentor was Senator Fullbright, a segregationist, old school style. Never mind.

Now you are horning in on the black vote. How dare you. All the surrogates are sent out to make nasty hit and run remarks about you. Andrew Cuomo says you shuck and jive, Bob Kerry uses your middle name, Hussein, in a speech several times, on and on it goes.

Team Clinton was out in full force, blasting the fact that casino workers could caucus on site at their places of business. Until Hillary won, then the issue faded.

Hillary feigns innocence. When Bill is out there going all red faced and ugly, well, what's a girl to do? The question is, if she can't stop him on the campaign trail, how will he be controlled in the White House again? She has no intention to reigning him in. He's following the game plan.

Judicial Watch, a watchdog group in D.C. has succeeded in getting some of the internal papers from the Clinton Presidential Library released to the public. The previously secretive documents from Hillary's National Taskforce on Health Care Reform should be read immediately by you and your team. They speak to Hillary's penchant for meetings uninhibited by sunlight. Even Senator Jay Rockefeller, D-W.VA, contributes a memo with a call to action for a "classic opposition research" team to attack critics of her health care reform plan. "Rockefeller also suggested news organizations are anxious and willing to receive guidance (from the Clinton administration) on how to time and shape the (news) coverage." That from an opinion piece written by Cal Thomas for So, Rockefeller serves as a form of verification of what conservatives have said for years. The press and media outlets in this country support the left side of the aisle and their agenda.

The memos also acknowledge that the reform plan pushed by Hillary and her people has little chance of success for the country. Didn't matter. It was to be forced on the American people because Hillary knows what is good for you. The memo of Feb. 5, 1993 from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux outlines a plan to develop an "interest group data base" detailing whether or not organizations supported us in the election." "The database would also track personal information about interest group leaders, such as their home phone numbers, addresses, biographies, analysis of credibility in the media, and known relationships with Congress people."
How Nixonian. As Cal Thomas points out, Hillary and the likes of liberals (socialists) like Rockefeller were willing to destroy people who dared to oppose their public policy is telling.

She's the same Hillary today.

If you want this nomination, Senator Obama, the flowery speeches and inspiring slogans aren't going to be enough. Get out there and fight. Tell the truth team to fan out and set your record straight.

What took you so long?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Leaving the Stage

Two more candidates have left the stage: Duncan Hunter and Fred Thompson. Neither much of a surprise exit.

Both issued statements. Duncan Hunter, who could have called himself the 'true' conservative if he was so inclined, which he wasn't, showed dignity throughout the process. With little money and national recognition he had little chance to break out in such a crowded field. He never went negative against his fellow Republicans, whether you call it a comparison ad or just plain negative. It's all about tone. He has gone back to his Congressional seat and will press on for more border security - he's actually written law and accomplished it in his area of San Diego, and back to his expert guidance on national defense.

"The best way to maintain a new era of peace is for the U.S. to remain strong. Over the coming year I will endeavor to help craft a defense bill that meets the new security challenges." Peace through strength. Very Reagan.

His son is serving in Iraq, after also serving in Afghanistan. They have a proud Marine tradition in that family, mulitgenerational. "The failure of our campaign to gain traction is mine and mine alone. But we have driven the issues of national security , the border fence, the emergence of China and the need to reverse bad trade policy. Because of that , this campaign has been very worthwhile, and for the Hunter family, a lot of fun."

He won the straw poll in Texas last Fall.

Fred Thompson bowed out today with his own statement. Like Hunter, he hasn't spoken of any endorsement of another candidate. Maybe he'll endorse McCain, as he did in 2000, one of only a handful of elected politicians in Congress at the time to do so.

One week from today, the Florida primary will be telling the tale of Rudy Giuliani. And probably the tale of Huckabee, too. Huckabee is wearing thin with voters. His buddy Chuck Norris isn't helping him any more than Bill is helping Hillary, with the nasty remarks. Norris flat out claimed McCain is too old for the presidency. Considering Chuck is well into his 60's himself, only a few years younger than McCain, that was rather tacky. His young blonde wife thought it was clever, though. I'll take Jon Voight's endorsement of Giuliani any day.

Still interesting out there.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Statement of Support

While everyone is channeling Martin Luther King, Jr. today, I found another black minister of note in the news. The Reverend Kirbyjon Caldwell, the senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church here in Houston. You may be familiar with him from the two inaugurations of the current President Bush, as he was the minister called upon to give the benedictions at both. He is a longtime spiritual advisor to George W. Bush. He is currently in the news, at least locally, for throwing his support to Barack Obama.

Caldwell said he personally called the president to let him know. He said, "Bush was OK with it". And that his decision would not affect their relationship.

I was curious as to why Caldwell supports Obama. Was it the racial component? Hard to tell. Perhaps, though. He said he contacted the Obama campaign and will be making appearances on Obama's behalf. He said he made his decision because of the senator's "character, confidence and courage." He said Obama is electable. He said Obama "would do a wonderful job to bring people together to pursue a common vision we all have." The same is said of John McCain. All of those comments. Interesting.

Obama is on the complete opposite of the curve, politically, from anyone on the Republican side. He is more to the left of Hillary, too. He is struggling a bit now to find his footing and attack Bill Clinton as he does him. The former President is a no class human being, as he always has been, and the very thought of not having a third term in the White House has unhinged him. The Clintons tried to divide the vote of the blacks and Hispanics in the unions in Nevada and ended up succeeding for Hillary. He has developed a pattern of waiting until the eve of a primary or caucus and going all red-faced and accusatory of anyone questioning Hillary's chances in the contest. And then she wins. It happened in Michigan and in Nevada. She was uncontested in Michigan but still considers it a win. So, South Carolina will be interesting next Saturday. After that contest it is getting difficult to imagine Obama winning many more contests against the Clinton machine.

I don't understand the continued love affair with the Clintons. What was their legacy? Well, there was don't ask, don't tell for the military that now Hillary says she'd repeal. There was the tech stock bubble that led to a recession as Bush took office, there were continued attacks on our military and civilians in embassies and on military bases and a carrier. He refused bin Laden several times and tried to combat an increasing threat of attack by issuing indictments. His abhorrent personal behavior brought the country through impeachment. No, not the sex, it was the lying to a federal grand jury. Bill Clinton has no legacy. The vail of peace and prosperity of the 1990's his shills continue to push was lifted years ago. But, hey, he had a great time.

Bill Clinton was proclaimed the first black president some time ago. Now he is in the awkward spot of publicly criticizing a black presidential candidate. And, it makes the little lady look like she needs Bill to fight her fights.

Careful. Hillary will have to fake another few misty eye moments as she goes about attacking her opponent. How dare his supporters not realize how much they need her.

It's for the children.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Of Gender and Race

You know, if Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican presidential nomination, he'll be the first American of Italian descent to achieve such an honor. Any mention of that anywhere? No? Do you know why? I think it is the fact that America is a country built on immigrants and names are really not any big deal.

In a piece written by Christopher Hitchens today in the Wall Street Journal, "The Perils of Identity Politics", he brings up the point about Rudy. His logic rings true. I'm a Giuliani supporter and it didn't dawn on me that I could be supporting a ground breaking candidate. The fact that no one makes that distinction validates our nation's ethnic diversity. So why the big deal about the first woman and the first black candidates?

Hitchens includes a quote from Madeleine Albright. She states there is "a special place in hell for women who don't help each other." Really? If every woman voter does not vote for Hillary, then those women have a reservation in the ultimate hot spot? How last century of Maddie. This is yet another example of why the feminist movement died. The old dinos out front are clueless. Women are not all alike any more than men are or white people are or black people are or any number of convenient slots used to generalize for the speaker's own purposes.

Are Republican women expected to vote for Hillary, to support a woman? Get real. Plenty of Democrat women don't even want to support Hillary and that's why Albright made the comment in the first place, I would venture to guess. Plus, as Hitchens notes, what about Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama. Are they deserving of support?

Chris Matthews, talking heads show host viewed by a dozen or so people, had to issue a lengthy apology to appease Media Matters after stating a fact about Hillary the night before. He said that she would not be running for President if it were not for the fact that she was married to a cheating husband. It's the deal they struck. Who in their right mind argues that fact? He simply stepped up and said it to an audience. Media Matter, by the way, is a watchdog group that monitors media shows and Hillary brags that she was a founder of the organization. Ok. No conflict there.

Barack Obama runs on the contention that he is the first viable black candidate. He tones it down a good bit but those around him don't. Particularly his wife, Michelle. Remember when he was first announcing his run for the nomination and she said as a black man Barack takes his life in his hands every time he goes to a gas station to fill up the family auto? He has secret service protection as extra protection. He is hardly an average black American.

Both Obamas are enjoying a successful lifestyle and benefiting from opportunities afforded them. For Barack, affirmative action helped him get into Harvard. He rose through the opportunity and did well. She has a big time job in Chicago and sat on the board of directors of a national food distribution company, for which she was compensated in the six figure range. Barack is the child of a Kenyan man and a white American woman. That is not the genetic makeup of someone reaping compensation for the sins of slavery in America. Kenya is east Africa. The majority of American slaves came from west Africa.

The real problem for the Democrats is that they are the party of pitting one group of people against another. Black voters have been taken for granted by the Dems for decades now. And rightly so. Why not as long as black voters buy into the nonsense that the politics of the left are a better fit than the politics of the right? I would remind them that if it were not for Republican politicians voting for the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Act, there would not be a black vote. Far more Republicans voted 'yea' to those two acts then Democrats. Just a little historical fact to ponder.

Hillary is the candidate of the past. She is bitter and angry. She is hanging on to the failed politics of the 60's and refuses to evolve. Obama is a happy warrior. He has a connection with his audience and inspires them. He's fresh.

Neither are an agent for the change we hear of incessantly. Hillary wants to go back to the 90's and Obama is a far left partisan. Neither include national security as a big part of their platform. They connect a big government solution to every perceived social ill.

That is why I wouldn't consider supporting either of them. Not the race or gender issue. It's all about the policy and forward looking solutions.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

There Is No True Conservative Out There

Today I must just come out and say it and then I can move on. For all the fawning for poor dead Ronald Reagan, a true hero to the Republican party and to the world for putting the final nails in the coffin of the Cold War and the Soviet Union, there is no more Ronald Reagan. There is no gentle way to make that point.

That was then. This is now.

If Ronald Reagan was running for the nomination for the presidency today do you think he would be the front runner? I'm not so sure. He was divorced and in his second marriage, he had children who openly voiced disgust with his political views, he was remarried to a woman who devoted her life to taking care of him, he was a former democrat and union man, plus he was a rather laid back type of personality. He knew the art of compromise.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery. The Republicans running for the nomination today all claim to be most like Reagan, to have worked with Reagan, to admire Reagan.

In this race we now have former Senator Fred Thompson claiming to be the one 'true' conservative running for the nomination. He is likened to Reagan. He's a laid back, slow talking kind of guy. Problem is, it's a bit of a mirage. He is not any more the 'true' conservative than any of the others. Plus, he violates the advice most attributed to Reagan - do not speak ill of a fellow Republican.

I say this not to attack Thompson, just to bring a bit of reality to the table. He seems to be a good enough person. He's as human as any. He's living the American dream, coming from humble beginnings, a father at 17 years of age, graduated from college, graduated from law school, worked all along and has known success.

There is no 'true' conservative in this race and I don't think there is such a person. Period. Since the days of Reagan my party has been hijacked by the religious right and then that constituency was used as the base of the party for election vote getting purposes. Just as the Democrat party has been hijacked by the far left now, the Kos Kids and Moveon. They, too, will reap what they sow.

Our chickens have come home to roost, so to speak. We are paying the price now in my party. My bone of contention with Thompson is that he no longer admits sponsorship in the McCain/Feingold legislation, something he proudly claimed was McCain/Feingold/Thompson up until he became a presidential candidate. I finally got around to doing a bit of research on it as those supporting Fred deny the existence of such a claim. Since I distinctly remember seeing Fred on tv on this subject, I knew it to be true. So, I dug.

On January 21, 1997, in the 105th Congress, in the heading of the text of S.25, Fred Thompson's name appears with all the other sponsors of the campaign finance reform legislation bill. Then in the June 23, 2007 article in the Washington Times, no liberal newspaper, the heading reads "How conservative is Fred Thompson?" Here's what I got out of that article:

There are three standard ideological gauges for rating a politician's level of conservatism. First is the American Conservative Union (ACU), which many consider the holy grail of rating guides. If you were to compare Thompson to Bill Frist, the other senator from Tennessee, elected to the Senate in the same year, 1994, then Thompson would be considered the more 'liberal' of the two. "During the eight years they represented Tennessee together, Mr. Frist compiled an ACU rating of 89.3 percent, making Mr. Thompson "the liberal senator from the Volunteer state." Moreover, during Mr. Thompson's last two years in the Senate (2001-2002), his ACU ratings (84 and 89) were well below Mr. Frist's (100 and 100). Just as Mr. Thompson was departing, Mr. Frist became Senate majority leader, where he maintained his ACU lifetime (87.8 percent) edge over his former colleague."

The second gauge for conservatives is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's annual Senate vote rating. "For the 1995-2002 period, Mr. Frist compiled an average Chamber rating of 97.5 percent, more than 10 points higher than Mr. Thompson's 86.9 lifetime Chamber rating."

The third ideological gauge is the National Journal. "NJ's annual scorecard selects scores of Senate votes and divides them among social, economic and foreign-policy themes." "During his eight-year Senate career, Mr. Thompson displayed a relatively more conservative record on foreign-policy issues than on economic and social issues. Specifically, in the foreign-policy area for four of those years, Mr. Thompson voted identically with an average of 20 other (presumably Republican) senators, placing him at the top of the conservative continuum. On economic issues, during three of his last four years, NJ determined that Mr. Thompson was "more liberal" than 37 percent of his Senate colleagues in 1999, 35 percent in 2001 and 34 percent in 2002. On social issues, Mr. Thompson joined 21 colleagues in 2001 and 38 other senators in 2002 in compiling the most conservative voting record each of those two years. However, NJ reported that his voting record on social issues was "more liberal" than that of 26 percent of his colleagues in 1995, 28 percent in 1998 and 38 percent in both 1996 and 2000."

And to the important issue, as far as 'conservatives' are concerned: "Probably Mr. Thompson's most serious and most repeated transgression against conservative orthodoxy was his habitual embrace of the various renditions of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance "reform" legislation, which he not infrequently characterized as "McCain-Feingold-Thompson." In fact, although the Politico reported June 13 that Mr. Thompson's spokesman claimed the former senator had a 100 percent voting record from the National Right to Life (NRTL) organization, NRTL's Web site reports that Mr. Thompson received scores of 87 percent (1997-1998), 78 percent (1999-2000) and 33 percent (2001-2002). Every wrong vote involved McCain-Feingold-Thompson."

George Will described Mr. Thompson's fascination with campaign-finance "reform" as follows: "Although Thompson presents himself as a strict constitutionalist and an advocate of limited government, he voted for, and still supports, the McCain-Feingold law, which empowers the government to regulate the quantity, content and timing of speech about government." The articles continues, "Interestingly, Mr. Frist compiled 100 percent ratings from NRTL for each of those three periods."

None of this makes Thompson an undesirable candidate. What does make him undesirable, for me as a voter in the Republican party primary in my state, is his slogan. The 'true' conservative is not accurate. Sounds good, true. Huckabee says he'll be the 'Christian' president. That also is offensive. We don't need either form of 'conservative' arrogance.

This time around, we in the Republican party have a smorgasbord of candidates from which to choose. Romney has now won 2 out of 4 contests. The uncertainty is exciting for political junkies like me. A brokered convention? Too delicious to even think about right now.

All of the candidates, except Rudy, are pro-life. That's the conservative's litmus test, as it has been for several election cycles now. All claim to want to end earmark abuse. McCain is the only one to have never asked for or gotten an earmark for his state. Senator Tom Coburn, a champion of ending earmark abuse in the Senate, came out today with his endorsement of McCain. Romney is from outside Washington, D.C. Huckabee is socially conservative, still preaching in churches for votes, but is a nightmare on fiscal and national security issues. You get the point.

Turns out they are all just human after all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Change the Menu

All is not lost for this year's session of Congress. Yes, I know the only legislation put thru that can be touted by the Dems is the minimum wage increase, which affects a whopping 2% of the general population. Grandma Mimi still dreaming of a total nanny state, it's for the children you know, has revamped the menu in the delis, grills and salad bars of the U.S. House of Representatives, according to The Politico.

Grandma Mimi thinks she can save the universe, her goal of goals, by upgrading the menu selections and installing 'ecotainers' to replace coffee cups. Napkins are dispensed one at a time and biodegradable is the word of the day.

The more upscale selections of food are more pricey to the staffers and other workers, but hey, stop complaining. You're saving the planet. Funny how higher prices always follow these choices. Note to self: check into pricing stock on these suppliers. Why should Al Gore and RFK,Jr get rich alone? Pears with Stilton cheese and watercress. Cumin-scented leg of lamb with almond couscous. Yellow tomatoes, purple Peruvian potatoes, free-range chicken, cage-free shell eggs, and on and on.

Vending machines sell Wolfgang Puck coffee in choices of Vive la Creme Caramel and Tropic of Chocolate.

Recycling stations are different shapes and sort garbage between compostable and landfill waste.

When questioned about the new vendor of yogurt, Stonyfield Farm, the Republicans were immediately pooh poohed. Stonyfield Farm CEO, Gary Hirshberg is a big time Democrat party player. Probably just a coincidence. Note to self: check stock prices on Stonyfield Farm.

And to fill you with the we-are-the-world spirit, names in foreign languages have been added to the ambiance. "The taco bar is the "Taqueria." The grill is "A la Pancha." The salad bar has expanded to "Salad/Antipasti." How sophisticated.

The Politico reporter tested the new compostable straw in the hot coffee. The straw became pliable and drooped but it didn't entirely disintegrate. The house official overseeing the cafeteria said he tells people "Sip your coffee like a normal human being. "We're trying to save the planet here."

So, instead of important legislation, your nation's leadership is focusing on the really important stuff. Thanks, Speaker Pelosi. Another proud moment for womanhood. Never mind supporting the troops or continuing tax breaks for ordinary families.

Let's eat.

Monday, January 14, 2008

On Morality and Character

I saw a bit of Hillary's performance on Russett's show yesterday morning. She wasn't exactly thrilled with his line of questioning from the incorporation of the cackle laugh when Russett brought up the time of the Lewinsky scandal and from her insistence that she be given more time to answer her Iraq vote questions. And, that she tried to claim victory for the Dems with the surge was just too yummy. I can't believe her eyes are blue.

I read an interesting article in the American Thinker by Bruce Walker, entitled "A Moral Challenge for the Democrats". The author uncovers his thoughts on the differences between Hillary and Obama. He writes that the difference isn't political policy but ethics and character.

Walker goes back to a different time in politics, a step into the wayback machine, and reminds the reader of Mike Mansfield, a Dem Majority Leader of the Senate. He was far left for his time but yet he was a good man and his character was strong, his ethics not in doubt. He was a decent person. Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, and those of that political era were completely wrong on political theory and policy, from a conservative's view, but the country didn't suffer because of their personal ideology. Political discourse marched on but the divide between the parties didn't split and paralyze the country.

The Republicans removed Nixon from office when it was discovered he was a crook. The Democrats, under the guidance of today's Democrat leadership, hung on to Bill Clinton and rallied around him. They actually defended his indefensible lying to a grand jury and to the American people. They felt obliged to come out and support the man, as many of his cabinet members did, solely to remain in power. The establishment of the Dem party continue to back Bill and Hillary even though it is hard to imagine a married political couple more amoral and corrupt. It's solely about power.

"The mere fact that the wife of an impeached president is seriously contending for the presidency is a low water mark in ethical standards in the history of our nation. What makes this more troubling is that Obama gives Democrats virtually everything, ideologically, that they could hope for. He is left of Hillary on almost every issue. His politics should delight all the Left, which is nearly all Democrat. And Obama appears highly electable. So why is Hillary even in this race?"

"It is not how Hillary wins that matters to these Democrats. It is what she will do when she is in power. We already have seen the last few years have the abuse of prosecutorial power can lead to the most contemptible justice (ask Scooter Libby). We have seen how Bill Clinton simply ignored Congress by legislating through executive orders. And, of course, we have all seen how the Clintons both lie almost pathologically."

"The question for the Democrat Party is a question of national trust. If Democrats wish to nominate a very liberal, apparently honest, quite electable black man, then they have in Obama all that they could hope for in a candidate. If the Democrats do not care about political philosophy and do not care about being trusted by the rest of America, then they can nominate Hillary Clinton. It is a moral challenge for our nation's oldest political party."

I think both Hillary and Obama would be devastatingly tragic for our nation, especially on the foreign policy front. And the tax and spend self righteousness is scary for those of us who know the tax cuts of the current administration brought back our economy from the 9/11 attacks and the recession the former Clinton presidency left for his successor. The fact that Hillary goes on national television talk shows and bashes "big oil", "big pharma" and other corporations and then is exposed for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from them for her political campaigns is telling. Hillary says she wants more transparency in government, that the Bush administration has been the most secretive in history. Pardon me as I collect myself. And, she wants the cronyism out of the next administration, her administration. From the start of Bill's time in the White House, she brought along all their peeps, from TravelGate on throughout their time there. It is all ridiculous.

Neither Hillary or Obama are my candidates of choice. I want much better for the direction of this country. Neither will heal the divide, as they both claim they will. Neither has a record of any such thing. For example, if Obama wanted to truly try a bi-partisan approach in the Senate he would have joined with the Gang of 14 to work on judicial nominations. He didn't and went the easy route of appeasing the far left, as his record repeats each and every time.

If the choice is between the two, however, Obama is the pick. He is dangerously wrong on his politics but I don't doubt his level of sincerity. I think he truly believes what he is selling.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Did You Read About This?

Where are the big, bold type headlines on the 'aggravated' DWI arrest of Sidney Blumenthal? Why wasn't it front page news, above the fold? Last Monday morning in the early hour of 12:30 a.m., on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Blumenthal was pulled over in his rented car after being followed for a mile and a half by Sgt. Mike Masella, one of the arresting officers.

Who is Sidney Blumenthal? He is a long time Clinton crony. He's known both Clintons since their college days. Blumenthal is an unpaid senior adviser to Hillary's campaign now.

Blumenthal was clocked at a speed of 70 mph in a 30 mph zone. More than twice the legal limit. Because of the excessive speed, the adjective of 'aggravated' was added to his charge. He told the arresting officers that he was returning to his hotel from a restaurant in Manchester. He was asked if he was a part of one of the campaigns and he replied yes, with the Clinton campaign. He refused a Breathalyzer and failed a field sobriety test. He was handcuffed, booked, and fingerprinted. He was held for four hours, standard operating procedure in New Hampshire. He posted bail and was released. Arraignment is later this month.

He retained a New Hampshire lawyer.

The attorney calls it nothing more than a traffic violation.

Blumenthal is the Clinton hack made famous in the early 1990's for going after critics of Bill Clinton. He was viciously effective against a group of Arkansas state troopers who were talking about Bill's adulterous behavior. Blumenthal wrote articles in the The New Yorker stating the troopers were guilty themselves of attempted fraud, marital infidelity and drunken driving.

Today Blumenthal is a journalist and author. He is a senior fellow for the New York University Center on Law and Security. Ironic title, no? The Clintons are known for neither being true stewards of the rule of law or the security of our country.

If the senior political advisor to a Republican candidate's campaign with a name like, say, Karl Rove was attached to the story, what do you think would have been the press coverage?

Would it just be a traffic violation?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Debate Notes

The Republican Debate on Fox News last night from Myrtle Beach, S.C. went along fine. A very nice touch was the chorale group singing the National Anthem before the debate began. The audience stood and placed their hands on their hearts while singing along. Barack Obama - take note.

From left to right were: Thompson, Romney, McCain, Huckabee, Giuliani, and Paul.

Can we have a Republican debate without saying the name "Reagan" every other answer?

We are Republicans, we look forward. Unlike the Dems supporting Hillary and pining for the good old 1990's, we are happy warriors with optimism about the future. And, unlike Obama, our candidates have actual written out plans for what they think needs to be done, not just feel good Oprah-speak.

On the question of a potential recession, Huckabee made reference to cutting marginal tax rates first and then pushing for the Fair Tax. McCain said he wants to make the tax cuts Bush made, permanent. And, he wants to cut spending. Thompson faltered on his first answer by trying to throw a barb Rudy's way about the similarity of tax plans between the two. Thompson's is a two part plan, Rudy's is a three part plan. Rudy's is considered the best alternative by the financial community, from what I've read. I'm no expert on tax codes.

Thompson was able to speak about entitlement programs and the need to reform them. He spoke to his Social Security reform plan, the only candidate on either side to publish a plan to save it.

Then, Thompson woke up and came on strong. He went up against the Huckster on his lack of knowledge of foreign policy and his liberal social policy records in Arkansas. It was good. Huckabee is fighting McCain for first place in the S.C. polls now so Thompson had to go after him. McCain won S.C. in 2000 so he is formidable there. Thompson admits he has to place 'strong' in S.C. (read first or second place) to stay viable.

Giuliani was able to remind the audience he was Associate Attorney General in the Reagan administration. He needs to remind voters of his entire career, which reaches into the government as well as private sector, as it is rich with applicable experience. He has a risky 50 state strategy to win the nomination, patterning it after Reagan, so Florida will tell his tale.

Why Ron Paul was allowed to debate but not Duncan Hunter is a mystery to me. Paul gets some ranking in polls but never double digit. He is a nasty, ignorant, racist man. He snarls and his voice is whiny. He accused the others of wanting to rush into war with Iran after the dangerously aggressive action of the power boats recently and the other candidates got their shots in. As did Brit Hume.

The focus group after the debate said Thompson was the winner but most felt it is too late for him to catch a wave of support. That was a bit surprising as I was under the impression that the Fred people were making a big push in South Carolina for him.

The focus group named Ron Paul the loser.

So true.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

Republican candidates debate tonight on Fox News. I'll watch but don't expect much. What can really be said at this stage of the game with them? The debate description is just wrong. There is no debate. There are soundbites and glib shots at each other.

Bill Richardson dropped out. Big deal. He's not one who will be missed. He has a lot of government experience but is still clueless as to what this country needs, especially in foreign policy. Like Obama, he thinks we just need to talk to everyone and it'll all be hugs and kisses. Now he'll be free to work on the VP appointment he's been pining for.

I think the administration he was last associated with proved that to be a fatally flawed notion.

John Kerry is endorsing Obama. Was anyone laying awake at night wondering who Kerry liked? Most of his speech was all about himself, as usual. Does Obama really want endorsements from dinosaurs like Kerry who represent entrenched old Washington when he is all about the word of the month, change?

McCain is up in the polls in South Carolina over Huckabee, who was ahead in the polls before New Hampshire. I hope it continues. Huckabee needs to be stopped. Ron Paul will be allowed into the debate tonight. That always brings a little entertainment into the evening.

If Huckabee is so popular with the homeschoolers, why was he endorsed by the NEA? He is the first Republican they have ever endorsed. They endorsed him along with Clinton as a two party endorsement move this time around. Maybe the evangelicals will wake up and realize the country bumpkin minister is not as he seems to them. There was an interesting few sentences I read quoting his sister that he didn't want to remain a pastor because he knew politics would be more lucrative. Maybe this explains the number of ethical investigations surrounding him.

Fred and Geri Thompson are all over Fox today. I find the whining of the Fred supporters and Fred himself concerning the alleged lack of support of the network to his candidacy puzzling. I see him on the channel all the time, plus he is a frequent guest on Hannity's radio show. The both of them were on the radio with Hannity this afternoon. Fred hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire with campaign energy so maybe he should look at this own schedule choices.

NBC's reporters have admitted their enthusiasm for Obama and how hard it is to be objective in covering his campaign. Ya think? Chris Matthews and Brian Williams, have all but sworn him in already. On CNN's Reliable Sources show I heard a 'reporter' from one of the weekly news magazines say Obama will be the next president. He stated it as though it is fact. There have only been two voting opportunities so far with two states. That guy proclaimed Obama the national winner before New Hampshire voted. But, I'm sure his reporting will be impartial of any candidate. Yeah.

The Wall Street Journal had an editorial about the Lancet's study of the Iraq war casualties. Remember they published the findings three weeks before the 2006 elections? The Lancet is a British medical journal. They claimed the deaths in Iraq were above 650,000 since the invasion.

This number was roundly denied by the Pentagon and the administration but the far left loons and those suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome continue to quote the number as though it is absolute fact. The truth is out now and hmmm, not any press coverage on it. What a surprise.

The study was funded by whom? George Soros' Open Society Institute. What a surprise. Two of the co-authors were Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins University, who openly told reporters that they opposed the war from the start and sent the report to Lancet "on the condition that it be published before the election." Roberts opposed removing Saddam from power and he ran for the Dem nomination for N.Y.'s 24th Congressional District in 2006. So, no axe to grind there.

All of this is in the current issue of National Journal, with Neil Monro and Carl Cannon reporting. They also say the Lancet Editor Richard Horton "agreed to rush the study into print, with an expedited peer review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data." More junk scientific data. Who are they working for now, Al Gore?

And, finally, they show the key person involved in data collection was Iraqi researcher Riyadh Lafta. He failed to follow customary scientific practices of making data available for inspection by other researchers, known as peer review. Oh yeah, he was an official in Saddam's ministry of health, too, as Saddam was trying to end the international sanctions. He is credited with writing articles exaggerating deaths from cancer and other diseases caused by spent uranium shells from the Gulf War.

Just what the history books need. More revisionism.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Comeback Candidates

This is what political junkies live for, this political year. So far we have been treated to two big contests and both have been jaw dropping, pundit discrediting, newsworthy events.

It doesn't get any better than this for us.

For the first time in decades, we have an election season for the highest office in the land with no incumbent. We have record numbers of new voters registering to participate. We have exit polls showing one set of results and daily polling results showing another. We have a theme of 'change' being tossed about as though it is a new thought. We have, on both sides of the aisle, a veteran politician with the knowledge of how to win a national election going up against a novice with little meat on his bones. It's not going to be pretty.

So, what happened? McCain won handily and can relish his victory in New Hampshire. Romney is badly damaged, having come in second in Iowa and NH after spending millions, but won the Wyoming caucus Saturday. If he doesn't win Michigan next, his home state, with a legacy of being the son of a popular governor of that state, well, it's hard to come up with a winning strategy for him. He does, however, have a large personal wealth that can keep him going as long as he chooses to compete. Huckabee was dramatically behind McCain and Romney so he has to count on a good showing in South Carolina to remain in strong contention, especially in raising money.

Frankly, it did my heart good to see the McCain victory. The man is a warrior. The far right is having heartburn over it but that's the way it played out. Here's what I think, after pondering how he is treated by the conservative base: sometimes experience wins out. McCain has given the party's base plenty to criticize, that's a given, but he has made amends on much of it as time as passed. He admits the Bush tax cuts worked, which he opposed because spending cuts weren't included, he admits the McCain/Feingold legislation for campaign finance reform have brought unwanted consequences, he was right on his views on Iraq and the execution of the war, and he was right to be a part of the Gang of 14 especially now that Republicans are in the minority. He admits he had the message wrong on illegal immigration and that we must secure the borders before anything else. He has always been pro-life, if that is your issue. He doesn't ask for or support earmarks for his state. He has always doggedly pursued spending cuts and pork spending reduction.

I don't know what else he can do to convince voters. I would also like to remind you that if Thompson is your man, Fred was the third main sponsor of McCain/Feingold and until he began running for President frequently referred to the legislation as McCain/Feingold/Thompson. Proudly. He also has a history with a law firm that does lobbying work for Planned Parenthood. I just find his tag as the "true" conservative odd. No one in this race is pure.

The talk of a brokered convention for the Republicans is interesting.

Hillary can claim the Comeback Girl title now, as her husband claimed the Comeback Kid title back in the day. I told you that teary jag was a fine bit of theatre, didn't I? She even admitted this morning that it 'probably' helped her. Ya think? The women voters rallied around her and pushed her 3 points ahead of Obama in the end.

There was no way Hillary was going to drop out after one loss in Iowa. She is in it to the bitter end and will end up the candidate by convention time. It will be a hard pill to swallow for about half of the party and that will make for an interesting convention this summer. Rest assured that Hillary intends to cry all the way through the rest of the big contests and it'll work out just fine for her. She is even giving interviews on Fox News now. As is Obama, by the way. That is a true change in strategy. Obama never has been a guest on Fox yet now probably realizes he needs the independents and democrats that watch the channel. Sooner or later it was bound to dawn on the politicians boycotting Fox that it's not just a conservative network, an extension of the Republican National Committee. That's just petty, shallow thought from CNN and their sour grapes at how they have tanked in the polls. The Fox polling results proved to be the most accurate of the other network predictions.

Hillary even changed her strategy on who to have surrounding her while she did her speech thanking supporters last night. Remember in Iowa and how her stage looked like the wax museum with all the old Clinton administration people? There was Maddie Albright, Wes Clark, and Bill Clinton flanking her on either side. So much for change there. Last night it was all young people. Bill and Chelsea came up and embraced her but then they left the stage. She got the message.

The old war room is back. Not that it ever left. It'll just be a bit more out in the open now. Carville and Begala are back. Acknowledged or not. It's amusing how they claim not, yet were on the conference call discussing the shakeup needed in the campaign strategy. That would be advising, wouldn't it? And, Maddie Albright has a new book to hawk while supporting Hillary out there. It is a letter to the president-elect giving her wisdom on foreign policy. I assume it is a fast read.

I hope Obama is prepared to play hardball. If Hillary has already gone back to his kindergarten days to slime him and has made choice an issue against him using his record in Illinois, with how he voted 'present' on abortion rights legislation to secure the woman vote in NH, you can believe that is just a taste of what is to come.

I continue to believe I can vote for any of the Republican candidates without hesitation, except Ron Paul, of course. I prefer a couple more than others but everyone is entitled to my opinion. We have an open field from which to choose. It's invigorating. We have no Reagan but I would argue that Reagan is not needed this time around. The world has changed drastically since those days. Reagan was a successful leader with quiet diplomacy. Trust but verify. Peace through strength. The times now call for a more strident pro-offensive strategy in foreign policy.

On the other side, Hillary is the most palatable for foreign policy. The others are proud to be defeatists. The far left blogosphere will be having a hissy fit soon if it looks as though Hillary will run away with the primaries as time goes on. Hillary is only a defeatist if the polling calls for it.

No change there.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Two Moments in the Press

Two events yesterday brought out emotions from the participants for public consumption. I've pondered both and come to some conclusions.

The first is the Hillary moment. She was campaigning in Portsmith, NH and was asked by a woman, Marianne Pernold Young, a freelance photographer according to the ABC News blog, "My question is very personal, how do you do it?" A wind up and pitch. Sorry, I didn't buy the performance. Her eyes were misty and her voice broke a bit but there were no waterworks going on there. No need for her to even use a hankie to dab at her eyes and compose herself. She spoke about how hard it is for her, having been given all these opportunities available in this country and now wants the country to not go 'backwards'. Then she launched into her usual I'm qualified and the others aren't lines.

See, this was all about her. She's upset the voters aren't going along with her plan to rule the world. I'm sure she is all choked up at the prospect of not having an inauguration of her own. She's remained married to a philandering, impeached, spotlight hogging husband all these years and she sold her soul for her own presidency long ago. It's been called the Clinton's 20 year plan. Him first, then her. All these years we've been told she's the smartest woman on the planet. She's tough. She's a fighter.

Then, when the early votes started going to someone else, she choked. She's upset for herself, not for the country. If it's all about the country not going backwards, after these years of the Bush presidency, then what's the problem if Obama is elected? He's more liberal than her. Liberal policies and defeatist attitudes with terror nations won't be a concern. There will be plenty of that. So, if the Dems control the Congress and the White House, like in the good old days, she should be happy about that alone, if it's not all about her. If she just has the best interests of the country in mind.

Don't you remember Bill Clinton coming out of Ron Brown's funeral, one of his cabinet members who was killed in a plane crash on a field trip to Africa, and how he went from coming out of the church service slapping backs and laughing it up with people, then seeing the cameras, went into sad, lip biting mode? This is how the Clintons live. What looks good? It's always about them. This morning the buzz is, did the Hillary emotional moment bring more voters to her? The press buys right into it, just as they planned.

If Hillary had not shown any other emotion than anger during her days in the public eyes, then she would have been given the benefit of the doubt. Yes, she's tired, stressed out and not taking good care of herself. That's a campaign. The Clinton bubble is bursting before our eyes, much sooner than any of us would have predicted. That's the surprise. Not that Hillary is a human being, albeit an unlikeable one, but that the public seems to maybe finally have had enough of them. Even Bill's appearances are said to be drawing small crowds and people leaving early due to non-interest.

For Hillary's people to say she should be cut some slack is ridiculous. You cannot claim to be tough and just as strong as the guys and then go all girly. She's not a girly woman. You can't play victim when things get tough. You can't claim to be so experienced and stand on your own yet mention that your husband, the former president, will have a strong role in your administration. You have to do it on your own.

Remember back when Pat Schroeder ran for president in the 1980's and she dropped out when she didn't gain any traction? She cried at that press conference but no one doubted her sincerity. Remember when Ed Muskie cried in NH when he ran? No one doubted his sincerity. He was ridiculed, yes, but no one doubted his emotions on display. No one doubts the sincerity of either Bush Sr or George W when they get choked up. Hillary got her wish to be in the big leagues and now she has to act like it. You can't look down your nose at women who have higher education under their belts and yet chose to stay home and raise their own children, maybe even bake a few cookies along the way, then have women realize you've done nothing but ride on the back of your own husband. She was under the delusion that women would automatically vote for her, since she's a woman. Her top advisor even said Republican women would vote for her. I'll have what he's having.

I'm waiting for the day we have a woman in the White House, as President. Just not this woman.

The second event yesterday was a press conference with Roger Clemens, the baseball star and native of Houston. He lives here. I think he has been treated badly by the press and pundits over his name appearing in the Mitchell Report on steroids in baseball. I don't know the man personally but I do know how he lives here. I know where he sends his sons to school - the two older graduated from a public high school here and the younger two go to a private school I checked out for my own son when he was their ages before choosing another private school for him - and they are a stand up family here. Lots of time devoted to their family life and to charity work in the community. None of their kids - there are 4 boys - are in trouble in the press. There has never been any scandal concerning Roger or Debbie, his wife. Roger got a lot of static when he left the Astros and went back to NYC but I could understand his pursuit of financial gain at the end of his career.

So, when his name was mentioned many times in the Mitchell Report, it was quite a surprise locally. Those still angered by his departure from the Astros were quick to believe it and say so to the local press. I was skeptical. Then when he had the press conference yesterday and was able to play a part of a conversation taped over the phone with the trainer who made the claims of injecting Roger Clemens with the steroids, well, it showed the guy did it as a quid pro quo. He was being threatened with jail himself.

I don't think highly of George Mitchell to begin with. I think he thinks way too highly of himself to begin with. I'm sure there was great pressure for the staff doing interviews to get a big name to splash in the headlines.

Guilty until proven innocent for Clemens. It's too bad he has to pursue this now. He'll be testifying before Congress. And, doesn't Congress have something a bit more pressing to do than get star players to testify about steroids? Is that what we pay them for?

Two moments in the press. One real. One not so much.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Forum/Debate? You Decide

Republican Presidential Forum on Fox News in Manchester, N.H. included the top five contenders. Giuliani, Thompson, Huckabee, Romney and McCain, from left to right on your television screen. Chris Wallace was the moderator.

Again, Huckabee and McCain did a bit of tag team confrontation on Romney in response to his negative ads against them playing in the state. Romney calls them record comparison ads. Considering how close together the candidates were sitting in the room, it had to be somewhat uncomfortable to get almost literally in the face of the opponent on your left or right. Talk about invading personal space.

McCain pointed out that in his 24 years in Congress, he has never asked for or received an earmark, pork spending, for his state. He reminded the viewers that he stopped the Pentagon deal for a new piece of equipment that would have cost an unnecessary $2 billion dollars. And, he said he stands firm on his usual view of tax cuts only in tandem with spending cuts.

Romney and Huckabee had a testy back and forth about tax increases each brought about in their respective states while governor. Huckabee refused to admit the extent to which he raised taxes in Arkansas. At one point in an exchange with Romney, Huckabee went completely wimpy and told Romney that he would only respond to Chris Wallace, the moderator, and not to him asking questions. Then Chris Wallace asked him the same question Romney was trying to get Huckabee to answer. The question concerned illegal immigrants and their children. Huckabee was all about Arkansas being a sanctuary state and giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses and their children college educations on the taxpayer's dime.

Thompson said he is the only candidate with a plan to save Social Security. He would index it to inflation not wages as it is now, reducing the cost of living increases at the time of retirement.

Huckabee still advocates the Fair Tax system.

Giuliani touted overhauling the welfare system in NYC and tied it to a work program. There were 670,000 fewer on welfare benefits when he left office.

McCain said he received the message from the American people last summer over illegal immigration and pending legislation. He said the first priority is sealing the border, then a temporary worker program and immediately deporting the 2 million people that Homeland Security Sec. Chertoff said must be deported as they are violent convicted criminals.

Towards the end of the forum, Chris Wallace asked McCain the age question. On Inauguration Day, he will be 72 years old and Wallace asked him if he thought that was a negative. Huckabee piped up and said, wait a minute, you don't want to go there, I've met his mother. McCain's mother is 95 years old and as alert and spry as a woman 20 years younger. Quite an inspiration, that one.

After the forum, a focus group was polled for thoughts. All of the participants were registered Republicans in NH and were still undecided. Their clear winner was Romney. Most thought Huckabee lost because he was waffling on the more difficult questions from the start of the forum. They thought Thompson seemed the weakest. Most thought Obama would be the Democrat nominee and that Romney could win if the election was between the two of them.

Tonight at midnight the voting begins in the NH primary. Midnight. Those would be some motivated voters. To get out in the cold at that hour to vote, well, I think I'd wait a bit later into the morning. More power to them.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Debate Night at Saint Anselm College

Two Debates, Two Parties, One Night. That's the banner for tonight's ABC sponsored debates at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. Charlie Gibson moderated the Republican debate, asking questions for the first 45 minutes and then Scot Spradling, Political Director at WMUR-TV asked questions during the last of the time.

The Republican candidates invited to participate were John McCain, Fred Thompson, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Rudy Giuliani. They were all seated at desk type of sitting furniture and it made Thompson, a tall and broad shouldered man, look all scrunched up.

The only noticeable difference in this debate is that the candidates were more willing to go after each other, somewhat more personally. Charlie Gibson did a decent job, only inserting his editorial comments on Republican policies a couple of times. Not so bad for a network guy. Once, asking how the government can provide health care to all its citizens when we are spending billions on the war in Iraq. And, then when he attacked oil producing companies for big profits over the past few years. He didn't much appreciate it when Fred Thompson said, no, the government shouldn't be in the position of taking away fair market profits. What did the government do when oil was at record low prices and profits were small? Would Gibson support taking the profits from ABC News and its parent company?

It was good that Gibson asked about Homeland Security and illegal immigration. You'll remember that Nurse Ratchet from the last debate in Iowa took those two topics off the table right away. She thought those stupid Republicans had to talk about global climate change.

Ron Paul is still yammering about how it's all our own fault for radical Islamists and the threat they pose to our country.

Charlie Gibson lead a kumbaya moment at the end of the debate as the Republicans stood for audience applause and the Dems were coming onto the stage. He said they should all take that moment in time to greet each other. It was all phony crap, sure, and I'm way to cynical to enjoy such forced nonsense, but whatever.

I see now that the Dems have begun. They all still talk as though Bush is running again. None of them are worth my time.

Tomorrow night is another Republican debate, hosted by Fox News. The Dems won't have one since they are boycotting Fox. Proving once again unworthy of support. How will they rise to do the peoples business, keep our country safe, if they can't handle answering questions on Fox? They did in 2004, working with the Black Caucus in the House. The difference this time? They dance to the far left, the moveon socialists and the liberal bloggers pulling the strings in Congress.

So tonight the Republican candidates ended pretty much in a draw. No harm, no foul.

Friday, January 04, 2008

On to New Hampshire

The Iowa Caucus is over and it is on to New Hampshire. Last night's big winners were Mike Huckabee and Barak Obama. Both won handsomely. In Iowa, it's not about competence this year, it's about change. Both winning candidates won on their ability of connecting with their audiences and I suppose that's fine for Iowa. It's not, however, fine for the rest of the country.

Obama and his supporters can celebrate a black American winning the Iowa caucus. That is of historical note. Unlike previous black candidates and their wins in primaries, Obama did it in a state that is 95% white with no large urban minority votes.

Neither big winner has the foreign policy experience necessary in today's dangerous world. Huckabee knows nothing. He likes to joke he doesn't know much about Pakistan but he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. Yeah, that's not funny.

Obama panders to the far left on foreign policy and I think that is where he really falls on his views of the world. On Pakistan, not long ago he thought it would be a good idea to air bomb them for cooperation in looking for bin Laden. Yikes.

Neither are a true agent for change. In the U.S. Senate, Obama votes each and every time with the most liberal members. He has never reached out to work with the other side. He's a sweet talker, sure, but it is his actions that matter.

Huckabee, while being an aw shucks kind of talker, is Clinton lite. He followed right along the Clinton path in Arkansas and kept on many of the Clinton people from that administration when he came to power. So, instead of governing as a conservative in Arkansas, he raised taxes, was under several ethics investigations and reprimanded 5 times, and left office as the Clintons left the White House - enriching themselves out of a sense of entitlement with gifts from supporters.

It was a good night for McCain. He tied Thompson for third place and that is saying something since he didn't put much effort into Iowa, knowing he'd not be the winner there. He now will ride a wave into New Hampshire where he is in strong competition to win.

It was not a great night for Thompson. Yesterday there was much talk that he would drop out if he didn't have a strong showing at least in third place. That didn't happen. He was virtually tied with McCain. Thompson isn't raising money easily. We'll see how long he competes.

It was a bad night for Hillary. Seems the people didn't really much like her. Even those voting for her simply due to her gender weren't so enthusiastic. She continues to be the media darling. They all know she'll ultimately be the candidate and they don't want to irritate her and Bill. I think a bit of her recent gaffes caught up with her, though most weren't given much play in the MSM. Her gaffe on Pakistan went unnoticed except for some sharp bloggers, like Hillary told Wolf Blitzer that 'If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow." Problem is she seems to not understand that he wasn't running. He's already been re-elected. This upcoming election is a Parliamentary election. Oops.

She also said, "I think it will be very difficult to have a real election. You know, Nawaz Sharif has said he's not going to compete." Well, she doesn't know he's a convicted felon and therefore ineligible to run. Oops.

Her Smartness is not always so smart. Channeling the voice of Walter Mondale, she pumped up her final appearances by telling her audiences that not just the country would be watching Iowa and the results of the caucus, but the 'world will be watching.' I guess the world watched her, the candidate running on her inevitability, lose big.

Hillary can't seem to get a strong message going. She's adopted the change message to compete with Obama but if she is claiming 35 years of experience on the back of her husband, then the whole change thing looks silly. She is the same she's always been. She embraces a socialist form of big government and feels entitled to rule. She claims foreign policy experience but has none. She attended meetings as First Lady, sure, and traveled extensively on the dollar of the taxpayer, as is her habit, but even the trip to Bosnia touted as a dangerous trip and she's so brave to go didn't exactly pan out for her when the facts came out. She was on a joy trip with Chelsea and Sheryl Crow and Sinbad. Just like her other trips. Chelsea was 15 at the time. How dangerous would the trip have been to take her teenager with her, especially when the Clintons were known as protective parents?

So much for Hillary to the rescue.

On to New Hampshire.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year, 2008

New Year. Fresh Starts. A new calendar to fill.

Yesterday, as I was doing a little grocery shopping for the rest of the extended weekend, I came across the first display of King Cakes I've seen for the season. Mardi Gras is rushing in this new year as the other holidays did last year. I admit, my Starbucks Christmas Blend and King Cake this morning were the shot of decadence I needed to get moving.

The black eyed peas are cooking and coleslaw chilling. We have a fresh Artesan baked loaf of bread and a bottle of white wine chilling. Life is good, y'all.

The mother in law called this morning. The guys left a message on her machine last night wishing her a Happy New Year. Turns out she was at a friend's card party enjoying a bit of champagne until 2:30 this morning. Did I mention she's 85 years old? Yeah. I'm hoping some of her fountain of youth rubs off on me by osmosis. She was returning the call and then called again. She forgot to tell us to get the current issue of Time Magazine. Why? Turns out on of her relatives is in article.

I continue my boycott of Time, so I went online. They'll get no money from me.

The relative is Claude Kicklighter, the Pentagon's inspector general. He's investigating the case of all the missing weapons from the U.S. military, 190,000 is the number bandied about, and the article mentions Kicklighter has "privately told lawmakers that the Defense Criminal Investigative Service has launched a probe into whether U.S. military and civilian contractors intercepted up to 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles and 80,000 pistols intended for Iraqi security forces in 2004 and '04 t sell on the Iraqi black market. A Pentagon official declined comment."
Yeah, sounds like a worthy investigation to me.

So, there's that . I have been married to the husband almost 25 years, with our anniversary coming in July, and it is not unusual to read stories with names of relatives included. Usually the names are from either the mother in law or someone on her side of the family. We just hope the articles are of the favorable kind. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

The rest of the day will consist of me reading and glancing at chick flicks on the tv as background noise. And checking on the black eyed peas.

Life is good, y'all.