Friday, February 29, 2008

Is The Same Old Pandering Much Of A Change?

There is a Hillary Clinton campaign ad playing on television here in Texas, and only in Texas if the reporting is correct, that speaks to the lack of experience of Senator Obama as far as national security is concerned. The ad shows young children sleeping peacefully in their bedrooms with parents checking in on them, as parents do. The voiceover poses the question, to whom you would feel more confident answering the middle of the night telephone call with an emergency situation in the world.

It is an effective ad, to be sure. Obama hit back right away, and his response centered around his anti war in Iraq position. It is what he always goes to when other arguments against Hillary don't apply. It's a bit of a farce he perpetuates, though, as he was a senator in the Illinois state legislature, therefore, had no vote on the permission for President Bush to use force. You, as a voter, aren't suppose to think of that. You are suppose to think Obama is a man of outstanding instincts and intelligence, so much more knowledgeable than those actually voting on the issue in D.C. who had been briefed on it all before the vote.

Obama says politicians should stop using the events of 9/11 as 'fear' tactics, for votes. A staffer of his today even said that the phone at the White House doesn't ring at 3 AM. Yeah, there's a voice for Obama to listen to. Apparently the staffer is a bit green, as the candidate, and doesn't realize the President can be and is called anywhere around the clock with situations to handle.

For Obama, the red phone moment is the Iraq vote in the Senate. He thinks that was a decision made from an emergency phone call, I guess. Some smart staffer should remind him that what he wants to criticize is the Bush Doctrine, the strike of a pre-emptive attack.

Obama is all about Afghanistan. So, my question is how much support does he think he would garner to encourage a neighbor like Canada, a loyal fighting partner in Afghanistan, to remain in the fight as he is bloviating about yanking the NAFTA agreement right out from under them? As he blatantly panders to Ohio voters, as does Hillary, and says such insane pledges like he'll re-negotiate the agreement, what does he think Canada and Mexico hear? Sure, he would not have the authority to do such a thing. He knows it, or he should know it and that makes it all the worse. I thought the agent of change wasn't like all the other pandering politicians out there?

And, apparently there is a bit of a truth issue from the Obama camp. Today it was confirmed, the story that broke yesterday, that a top staff member for the Obama campaign called Canada's ambassador and gave him a heads-up before the debate this week. He wanted to reassure Mr. Wilson that Obama's huffing and puffing about NAFTA were not to be taken to heart. It was just for the campaign, don't you know.

The staffer has been identified as Austan Goolsbee, a senior economic adviser. He said his piece to the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago, according to today's article in American Thinker.
The campaign for the agent of change is now reigning Goolsbee in and having him refuse to talk about the conversation and directing any questions to campaign headquarters.


Funny. In the speeches here in Texas, NAFTA isn't treated quite the same. In Texas, NAFTA is succeeding, as it is in most of the states involved. Not Ohio, true, but Ohio's economic failures are due to such high corporate tax rates and no business incentives competitive with other states. All of those factors have been in play since the 1970's. The economy in Texas is chugging right along, thank you. Sorry, Barack.

Maybe Obama should 'change' some of the nonsense he spouts. Pandering to Ohio or not.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Maureen Dowd Reads My Blog

I participated in early voting this morning. There are lots of polling places all over the city and crowds are good this time around. The place I went is a community center and I was able to get in and out in about 20 minutes, which was great considering how long our ballot is with all the judges and local elections going on around here.

My husband has chosen to be a strategic voter this primary season, as McCain has the race wrapped up. I say voting is a very personal matter and everyone must decide which path to take.

And the NYT article questioning McCain's eligibility to be President since he was born while his father was serving in Panama? Consider the source is all I'm saying. This question was answered long ago and the newsrag knows it. More of their dirt being flung. They are probably beginning to do a bit of an early panic as the polls now mostly show McCain beating Obama in the general election. I'm feeling better and better.

Imagine my surprise this morning as I was turning to the op-ed section of the Houston Chronicle while waiting for the caffeine to kick in from my coffee and I see Maureen Dowd reads my blog. What? Well, I see she is comparing Hillary's debate performance to Sybil, just like my post yesterday did. How bizarre. I don't mind that she stole my idea. A little credit would have been nice, though.

William F. Buckley died yesterday morning while sitting at his desk. What a man. The father of the modern conservative movement, he was a man of strong opinions and character. I loved his upper crust New England accent. I loved his brilliant mind. I loved his passion for politics and for his country.

I have been priviledged to have many awesome experiences in my life. One evening I still look back on fondly is the dinner and speaking engagement I attended with my husband back in the early 1990's. We lived in Lafayette, Louisiana and we were members of the City Club of Lafayette. It was a private club, mostly dining with facilities available for fundraising events. The club did a yearly calendar of speaker dinners. A terrific one included Mr. Buckley as the dinner speaker. He was his usual entertaining, brilliant self. He was quite charming and welcoming of questions after his speech. For me it was all worth it to be able to shake his hand at the cocktail reception before the dinner and speech. What a thrill.

May he rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hillary is Sybil

If there was any doubt in your mind as to whom Hillary Clinton is, well, I may have the answer. She's Sybil. Multiple personalities galore, all on view last night during the Democratic candidates debate. It was hard to keep up with which personality would pop out next.

The outcome? Stick a fork in her. She's done. She was aggressive right out of the box then she was whining. She complained about the injustice she imagined over being asked to answer the questions in the debate first. What? Don't you want the first shot at a question if you are forging your own path and showing thoughtful leadership? Do you want to be in the position of having to agree with your opponent's answer, especially since these two candidates have very little that they don't agree on? Then she mocked his treatment by the press, which I agree with her on, but still. It looked petty and it fell flat with the audience. She got into a parsing of words over 'reject' and 'denounce' with Obama concerning the endorsement by Farrakhan. It was a waste of time.

I think we are witnessing the end of the Clinton grip on the Democratic party. They both have been masterful in convincing the party loyals that they are the smartest people on earth, the only ones who can win elections and lead the party. They installed their big money guy, McAullife, as the head of the national party organization and Clinton was re-elected for his second term. We can see all along the plan has been for Hillary to take the baton and win Bill's third and then fourth terms, establishing a legacy for him after all this time.

The unpreparedness of Hillary's campaign to see past Super Tuesday is mindboggling. Isn't that a favorite criticism of hers towards President Bush? That his administration doesn't plan properly for everything? She was so convinced that she was the inevitable nominee that when she didn't have it all wrapped up right away, her campaign looked incompetent.

A major area I don't understand why she doesn't challenge Obama is his claim he will bring everyone together and have bipartisan leadership as President. There is absolutely no history of his voting record in the U.S. Senate on any substantive issue that he is interested in working with the other side of the aisle. She can show the opposite. Even more telling of Obama's true nature is the fact, for example, of his telling John McCain that he would support legislation by McCain and then at the eleventh hour changing his mind and introducing poison pill amendments. One major slap to McCain, the actual Senator that does work with both sides to get legislation done, was on the issue of judges. Obama was to be on board with the Gang of 14's recommendations then at the last minute pulled away from them. And, he didn't think the judicial issue was a big enough issue for him to join with the Senators involved. If he is President, how do you think Obama will feel if the Republicans chose to behave as he and his fellow Democrats have towards President Bush's nominees? Obama votes against Bush's nominees each and every time. Bipartisan?

Hillary Clinton is done. The interesting development now among polls and voters responding to reporters is the uncertainity about Obama. Yes, there is enthusiasm in rally events. When questioned, however, those supporting Obama cannot refer to his positions that they specifically support. It's all the 'change' word and how charismatic he is with audiences. Polling shows McCain beats Hillary in the general election. Polling now shows Obama beats McCain by 4 points, according to the CBS/NYT latest numbers. This is within the margin of error. As time goes on and it is a two man race, both Senators, the clear divide will be shown. It's going to be a real race between two distinct platforms. The Republican will be shown, for a change of pace, to be the common sense choice, the ability to lead with both sides of the aisle following, not just empty platitudes.

And on foreign policy? I know the Democrats don't enjoy the focus on the problems of the world, it's all about us here at home as if the world doesn't play into us here at home. But Obama was winging it last night, especially on the Russia/Putin successor question and it showed. You have to give Hillary her due on being a policy wonk and she knew the guy's name. Doesn't matter that she couldn't pronounce it off the top of her head. It was a gotcha moment by Russett and she was better than Obama. McCain must have been smiling.

This election season just keeps getting better. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Michelle's Musings

Michelle Obama, 'the closer', was in town yesterday, speaking for an hour to University of Houston students about how wonderful she and her husband are for the country. "When he got out of law school, he could have been a clerk on the Supreme Court or worked with a Fortune 500 company. He could have made millions. Instead he became a constitutional rights scholar with a small civil rights law firm. Why? Because to whom much is given, much is expected." That is a quote from her review in the Houston Chronicle today, a newspaper that has endorsed Obama on their editorial page.

Funny, she doesn't bring up the money she rakes in for her high powered position in the hospital system in Chicago or the six figures she brings home for corporate board memberships. And, Barack's Senatorial salary is considerably higher than the average wage earner's, too. Combined, they are inching toward half a million a year.

She and her husband almost have their student loans paid off, she said. She credits the money he's made off his two best selling books for that accomplishment.

She hit her standard remark, too. "We are facing a deficit of empathy. Some say that is simple or naive. Well let me tell you something. Our greatest challenge is that we have a mutual obligation to one another and we have to understand that. We have lost sight of that because we haven't had leadership that has asked us to sacrifice and compromise for one another."

Let me tell you something, Michelle, my belle. The greatest empathy a citizen can have is to allow fellow citizens the ability to take care of themselves. Barack's big government programs and giveaways, afforded on the backs of middle class workers, or in the lingo of the far left, 'the rich' is socialism. The rich will end up looking like the average $50,000 per year wage earner. Big government socialism brought about the demise of an entire generation or two, best illustrated by the 'victims' of Hurricane Katrina. Leadership is raising people up with more than feel good slogans and challenging them to accept personal responsibility. That responsibility includes getting up every day and getting an education, working at your job, taking care of your own children, all the everyday hard stuff.

And, Michelle? President Bush was the first president to put in place private/public sector partnerships for those willing to serve their communities. Not to mention his father, the elder Bush, was leading the charge of his Thousand Points of Light program. And, Laura Bush doing public service announcements through the years encouraging college students to become teachers and serve in overseas missions. And there's the faith based merges the president has encouraged while far left liberals like yourself and your husband had a fit that the president dared mentioned faith in the Oval Office.

And, no, ending the war in Iraq will not fund the new programs and giveaways. That is being paid for with borrowed money to begin with. There are no unclaimed funds laying around to be passed about.

As a 44 year old woman leading a charmed life, she wants you to think that "it is easy to be led by fear. I say we have a war that we are in now because of fear. Our leadership manipulated that fear. Fear cuts you off from each other, from our family and country. It cuts us off from other cultures and nations. And we pass that on to the next generation."

Well, the leading by fear charge is getting a bit dated. Promoting isolationism, surrendering military options in the face of danger, and acting as though it's all for the children is ignorant. It is the same far left thinking that allowed the build up throughout the 1990's when all was treated with indictments and turning the other cheek. Obama is using Jimma Carter's former Secretary of State as a foreign policy guru. Did you just raise an eyebrow? He recently sent him to Syria on his behalf. How do you think the soldiers in Iraq feel about that? I say feel because Michelle is fond of saying, don't think, just feel, to her audiences.

Don't think. Just chant. And believe.

Oh, yeah. And open your wallet.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Did Hell Freeze Over?

A parent from my son's high school, Kevin Mazeika, has been named head coach for the men's gymnastic team in the Summer Olympics Games in Beijing. There's a little trivia for you.

Are you noticing a bit of the drunken bliss over the Obama candidacy turning into a bit of a cerebral hangover? I'm noticing even the dino media types starting to mention some of the swooning and fainting is getting creepy. And today brings the story that Louis Farrakhan is endorsing Obama saying, "This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better." Wow. The hope of the entire world? And a slap at America at the same time. Double points.

I watched the Sunday morning chat shows to take the pulse of the pundits in D.C. Tim Russett's show produced the added bonus of the Ralph Nader announcement that he, too, will run for President. Come on in, Ralph, the water's just fine.

I see that the shows on the alphabet networks still think that having a panel of journalists yakking that include a ratio of 4 or 5 to 1, liberal to conservative, is a balanced show.

On the Stephanopoulos show, George actually called Obama a 'reflexive liberal'. Wonder if he is still employed. With the media so heavily, blatantly in the tank for the new messiah, Barack Hussein Obama, it was a bit of an eyebrow raising phrase. A panel member, Cokie Roberts, made some interesting points that were agreed upon by the rest of the yakkers. She was speaking to the liberal women who are voicing their discontent that Hillary is floundering. And, she was questioning if the youngsters so ga-ga over Obama will maintain interest and turn out to vote, as they are traditionally the least reliable voters.

Stephanopoulous said, "he comes off as someone that is a little aloof, not someone that really cares about people in his bones. And secondly, that he will be accused of being a reflexive liberal despite all this talk about him being a bipartisan healer." I refer you to the article by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters.

The worm may be turning here. Even Ron Brownstein of the L.A. Times said, "Among kind of a blue-collar America where experience counts more, where national security may count somewhat more in a traditional way that Republicans kind of play it, you, you can imagine an opportunity for John McCain to win in particular a lot of the white, waitress moms that Bush won in 2004 around security issues who have not voted for Obama in this campaign. And, that is, you could see, for example, an Obama who could be a very strong candidate in Virginia, a Colorado, an affluent state, but have a lot of trouble in some of these interior states that are economically troubled." Stephanopoulos then added: "The Reagan Democrats who have gone to Clinton go back to McCain."

I checked the weather channel to see if there were any reports that hell had frozen over.

And this from those two sages, Neil Young and David Crosby: Crosby said that there should be a law that persons who "can't pronounce the world 'nuclear' shouldn't have control over nuclear weapons." Young piped up and said he disagreed. "A lot of people have problems pronouncing words and spelling things correctly. It doesn't mean that they're not intelligent. You've got to give the guy credit. Do I agree with him? No. Do I think he's stupid? No. Do I think he's a leader. Yes." That, too, from NewsBusters.

So, dino rocker Crosby thinks free speech is ok only for some, and that would be only those with whom he agrees politically? How liberal of him.

I'm monitoring the weather channel a bit longer. Just in case.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Real Food

I'm reading a book, In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan. The sub-title is An Eater's Manifesto. We're all eaters and this book's author caught my attention last weekend on Book TV as I was checking C-SPAN. The best aspect of the book? He offers no set answers to the problems of our state of nutrition, in our way of eating food.

Michael Pollen is a published author of 4 other books, this being his current bestseller. He contributes to The New York Times Magazine and he is a professor of journalism at Berkeley. He's a smart guy without the attitude.

His motto is eat food, not too much, mostly plants. This doesn't mean he is a vegetarian though. He just recommends small portions of meat, more as a side dish instead of the main course. He also doesn't advocate the no dairy nonsense either. He professes that dairy fat is different than animal meat fat and acceptable in our diets. This was interesting to me as a personal point. When newly married, I stopped using margarine instead of butter at the urging of my husband. He claimed that dairy fat is better for our bodies than manufactured fat in margarine. I was abiding by the thoughts of the day that dairy fat was making us fat and margarine was a healthier choice.

Pollan traces back our national obesity problem to the days of George McGovern's rule in the Senate. In 1977, McGovern was the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. He held hearings on the rise in rates of chronic diseases being linked to diet - heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes - and the committee's mandate, established in 1968, was to eliminate malnutrition and working to establish food assistance programs.

Two days of hearings produced dietary guidelines from the Senator's staff. The staff, however, was not made up of scientists or doctors, of course, but of lawyers and journalists. The American Heart Association embraced a 'lipid hypothesis', as Pollan labeled it, which recommended a diet in lower saturated fat and cholesterol from animal products. After a few weeks of the McGovern committee recommending less red meat and dairy product consumption, he had to backtrack to recommend chosing meat poultry and fish that reduce saturated fat intake. Why? Because the cattle ranchers in South Dakota, McGovern's constituents demanded the compromise. Yes. Politics affects every aspect of our lives, it is a fact.

So began the new 'nutritionism', as Pollan calls the new justification for processed foods. Margarine was the first synthetic food to come into the average household's diet. Polyunsaturated fats and then vitamins were added to margarine by a method that takes vegetable oil solid at room temperature and blasts it with hydrogen. The result? Trans fat. Oops.

So, margarine makes the consumer fatter and unhealthier than butter, as it turns out.

Pollan delves into other foods and the cause and effect of tampering with production before it lands in the grocery store. He advises you pass up buying products labeled healthier than others, due to added vitamins, minerals or supplements. Case in point? Breakfast cereal labeled 'whole grain' now so that you don't feel so guilty buying it. And the low fat items? Loaded with sodium instead.

His recommendations are common sense and things we can all do. I've made it a practice to buy locally whenever possible since my cooking days began. Made sense to me to support local and state products, your neighbors. And, they are earth friendly solutions, if that is your greatest concern. Plus, many times it is the more economical solution, too, which appeals to me as the cook. Buy locally grown products whenever possible. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Incorporate whole grains into our diets. Less processed and refined sugar, wheat, grains. He doesn't recommend eliminating anything completely that orginated from previous generations of Americans. He recommends you think about if your grandmother or great grandmother would recognize the food. If so, it's probably ok. Yogurt in a tube for on the go eating? Boxed cold cereal labeled 'whole grain'? Pudding in a tub? No. Not so much.

I'm almost at the end of a course of stong antibotics that I've been taking to cure enflamed glands on the right side of my neck. These past few months have also brought out the sinus problems that are the bain of my existance. So maybe I'm more acutely looking at nutrition. And, I have a physican who believes in holistic healing and dietary changes along with traditional medicine. She's Indian and is always telling me to stop dairy product intake when my sinuses bother me.

As I mentioned, Pollan doesn't try to tell the reader what to eat. He simply tells the story of how we became a nation hooked on processed foods and our continued escalation into unhealthiness. Who knew low fat diets were making us fat?

Common sense. It's a good thing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain in the Middle

The scandal du jour involves John McCain and the headlines of the New York Times. Last night, for the online version of the newsrag, the story broke. The New York Times seems to be in some kind of battle with The New Republic and writer Gabe Sherman's just today released online on their website. On The New Republic's site Sherman writes of the NYT's reluctance to run with the alleged scandal. So far, the only reasoning for the publication of the story right now is to jump out in front of the story in The New Republic. Duck, John McCain. Incoming.

Problem is, there is no story here. Just move along. I read it for myself and the critics are correct. All hat, no cattle as is said in Texas. The headline is tempting enough, true, but both McCain and the pretty blonde lobbyist deny any personal relationship, other than professionally as she lobbys him within the realm of the world of telecommunication. Yes, she is a lobbyist. No, there doesn't seem to be any affair going on here.

Bob Bennett, Democratic hot shot lawyer in D.C. and brother of Bill Bennett, is McCain's lawyer. They have known of this story for several months. The NYT sent over questions to be answered several times and all were completely and fully answered, according to Bennett. It is interesting to me that it is Bob Bennett defending McCain now. He was the legal counsel involved in the Keating Five investigation, back in the 1980's and brought up in the newspaper article for good measure. Bennett recommended that McCain be absolved of any wrongdoing in that financial scandal. Bennett's report to the committee stated that McCain did no wrongdoing. Another American hero, former astronaut John Glenn, was not so clean. But, the Dems were in charge then and Glenn stayed.

McCain hired Bennett to fend off any baseless accusations coming his way, as happened to him in the first run for president, in 2000, which is when this behavior is alleged to have happened. Not today, eight years ago. There is only innuendo and anonymous sources in the article. Some accusers are described as 'disgruntled' former campaign workers from the 2000 campaign.

At the press conference this morning from Toledo, Ohio, McCain and Cindy McCain both voiced their disappointment with the New York Times for running the piece. McCain's campaign people and Bennett met with NYT editors six weeks ago and provided copies of letters written by McCain back then showing no favoritism to the lobbyist. There is no smoking gun showing any favoritism for her anywhere. McCain is known on Capitol Hill for being an elected official who is above and beyond others for personal integrity and ethics in making political decisions and votes. You may not agree with his votes or his legislative acts, but he is true to himself. And he is true to his wife and children.

"At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust." This is a man who has given 54 years of service to his country. The last 24 years have been in D.C. At the age of 17 he signed on for military service. We all know his POW story. He is a true hero.

While the Republicans were in charge of the Senate, McCain served as chair of the Commerce Committee. It is the largest committee in the Senate in terms of its overall jurisdiction. He is to be commended for staying true to himself and to ethical behavior when so many fall short.

Yes, the woman is a lobbyist. Lobbyists are a fact of life in politics, whether it is at the local, state or federal level. McCain speaks to everyone. Speaking to lobbyists does not guarantee corruption. Every single member of Congress, yes, even the sainted Obama, deal with lobbyists. McCain works will both sides of the aisle on issues, for which he is often criticized by this own party members. He knows how to legislate without selling himself out. I think that is a trait to be celebrated.

In today's cynical atmosphere in D.C., where everything is done along party lines for the benefit of the party in power, it seems to me that John McCain is sorely needed in a leadership role.

This is why qualified, good people won't run for office anymore. Who needs this?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

An Agenda Driven Press Still Rules

In The Wall Street Journal, entitled "Press Corps Quagmire", William McGurn writes of the observations he made of the press and pundits who cover the White House beat. A former journalist, he served as speechwriter for President Bush. For him it was 'the other side of the notepad'.

McGurn focuses on three issues and how the press covered them. For all three, the president took a stand. In each case, the press and pundits spoke of his decision as stupid and of his stubbornness. And, in each case, the results are in and the president has been proven correct in his decisions. Any credit? No, of course not. It's an election year and the press is mid-swoon for change.

First, the tax cuts. After signing into law many tax cuts, families have lower tax rates, child credit has doubled, and the marriage penalty has been reduced. Small businesses have been helped (the very backbone of our economy), and the death tax is gasping for air. Remember the baying of the wolves in the press at the time? It's all about the 'rich', they said. The deficit will be shot to hell, and the economy will not recover from the end of the Clinton era recession. After the economy did start to come back to normal, then all of a sudden it was a 'jobless recovery."

What bunk. We've experienced, under President Bush, the longest period of consecutive job growth in our nation's history. This economic growth has provided record tax revenues and the deficit is being cut at unexpectedly rapid rates. And the crap about the rich being the beneficiaries, at the expense of the regular guy in Peoria? Regular guy will be guaranteed an increase of about $1,800 in taxes if the Democrats have their way and allow the cuts to sunset. As far as I know, all segments of society have children and benefit from those tax breaks. And, a farmer or small business owner who doesn't at all consider themselves 'rich' will not be happy that their loved ones will be stuck with estate taxes on the family farm or business. The value of a farm or business on paper is often completely different to cash in the bank.

And, last night, Obama did the usual liberal class bating. He said President Bush and his administration have a 'failed economic policies' history. That's not change. That's standard, classic liberal script.

And the next point is on stem cells. Remember the debate on embryonic stem cell research and federal funding for it? Private sector research continues and more power to them. But with federal dollars, the president was not in favor of using those dollars on embryonic stem cell research. Adult stem cell research? No problem. Turns out the president was correct. Through further research, now there is scientific proof that adult skin cells can be reprogramed to act like embryonic stem cells. So much for the gnashing of teeth and the bashing of the president's belief system. To hear the Dems speak in the 2004 election, the president himself was personally holding back the very scientific breakthroughs that would have people rising out of wheelchairs across the country and walking again. And, Claire McCaskill, D-MO, running for the Senate, used Michael J. Fox as her shill to push that agenda for her campaign.

And, finally, Iraq. Time and again, the arguments have been hashed out. The planning was not good after the fall of Baghdad, in record time by our magnificent military, and stuff happens. Now, the surge is working very well and yet, the Dems continue to paint every day as another failed day in Iraq. Obama is campaigning on the moot point that he was against the war in 2003. He didn't have a vote on it. And, still campaigning, he claimed just last night in Houston's Toyota Center, that he'll end the war in Iraq in 2009. When pressed on this promise, his top national security advisor, Susan Rice, formerly of the Bill Clinton administration, said this is only a 'goal'. Well, that's everyone's goal. Where's the change in that? And, why is the guy campaigning on a change agenda and new style of politics making promises he knows he won't keep? Susan Rice said Obama would listen to the military leaders on the ground. Sound familar?

The press is only now admitting to success in Iraq. It's an election year, you know.

Then there was a little interview with Bob Geldof in the Washington Times's Fishwrap section. Geldof was in Rwanda and hanging with the White House travel pool on Air Force One en route to Ghana. He was expressing anger towards the press for the lack of coverage of Bush's work to fight disease and poverty in Africa, sending billions of dollars there from America and through support at the U.N. "Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, Has done more than any other president so far." "This is the triumph of American policy really, It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion." "You guys didn't pay attention." That's an understatement.

So, as I watched the Space Shuttle Atlantis land this morning at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, I was struck as I always am at the magnificence of our country's abilities to pursue space development. Maybe someone should clue Michelle Obama into it all. I sure want her to be 'really' proud of her country.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Words, Words, Words

Sometimes it is not much of a surprise when a woman opens her mouth and you hear from her own words the voice of ignorance. Case in point? Sharon Stone. She's an actress and aging globetrotting beauty. She's not a policy wonk. She seems to think it is a role she can play, however, from reading an account of her latest performance on "I feel at great pain when the spotlight is on the death of 4,000 American soldiers, while 600,000 Iraqi deaths are ignored," she said. "War is not a movie, it is a tragedy of dead bodies, victims, the disabled, orphans, widows and the displaced." Thanks for clearing that up, Sharon.

To whom did Stone spout her thoughts? Al Hayat, a pan-Arab newspaper. She spoke in English and her remarks were translated and published in Arabic. Nifty. No English translation of the transcript was available. Wonder if it was mentioned anywhere that the 600,000 number Stone tossed in as fact has been completely debunked? Nah. Keep all the drama in there.

And, then yesterday, among all the stories of Barack Obama's plagiarism of speeches from his pal Governor Patrick, of Massachuetts, comes yet another foot in mouth moment for his 'closer' wife, Michelle. Michelle Obama has, from the beginning of the campaign, served as her husband's lightening rod. She gives speeches and the press slobbers over her. She is so honest. She is so real. She's a corporate lawyer, in a high position at a Chicago hospital system. She sits on corporate boards, one in particular recently in the news for dubious contract dealings from which she receives a six figure compensation.

So, this smart political wife begins her husband's campaign stating he takes his life in his hands when he simply goes to the gas station to fill the family car, as a black man in America. Then she stated there would not be another run for president if Obama didn't have victory this time, that this is it. Then she tsk-tsked Americans as not being very philanthropic. A few days ago she said: "We have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation." That quote from And yesterday, that this is the first time in her adult life that she is proud of America, because of the response her husband is getting from voters.

Michelle Obama is 44 years old. She has been an adult over 20 years and this is the first time she is proud of her country? Really?

This selective turning a deaf ear to Michelle Obama's less than uniting remarks reinforce the thoughts expressed by Howard Kurtz recently on his Sunday morning show on CNN, "Reliable Sources". Kurtz criticized the print and television news coverage of what is said of the presidential candidates of both parties. He was uncharactaristically frank in his speech. On Obama:

"Barack Obama gave a major speech this week in which he proposed a $210 billion plan to create construction and environmental jobs, and also to create a national infastructure investment bank." No mention of this on the networks. A fleeting mention on cable. A little bit more on newspapers." He contrasts this to Hillary Clinton's talk of going after oil company profits and her idea to create a $50 billion energy fund.

"...isn't this a tremendous default by the media to say, well, you know, these candidates, not a huge difference between them, so basically we're going to check out on the issues?"

Chip Reid on the panel said, "And it's more than that. It's not just the difference between Barack and Hillary. You can say, oh, they're so minimal, we barely need to cover them. There are differences between Barack... Between Barack and Barack. He has shifted his positions recently. That economic speech that he gave recently is a good deal more populist and anti-trade than he has been in the past. And it is our obligation to get out there and report on it."

So, to this sampling of the media today, it's all about the neck and neck race, not the actual positions of the candidates. It's all about the personalities, the swooning fans, the no-there-there. Simple slogans for simple voters.

Michelle Obama's free pass will subside as her husband moves closer to the nomination. Theresa Heinz-Kerry's did. What is now considered so honest, so refreshing will soon appear as the remarks they are - divisive, shallow and arrogant. A bit of tact and grace goes a long way.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Henry Waxman is Ugly

I watched the television coverage of the House hearings and testimony of Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee before the committee chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA. The most fascinating aspect of the session was the split that occurred along partisan lines in the questioning of the two. It was just wierd.

The Republican members of the House oversight committee were favorable to Clemens and the Democrats were favorable to McNamee. A baseball hero vs a trainer/admitted liar and drug pusher. Interesting. Rep. Chris Shays, R-CT, called McNamee a 'drug dealer', and Rep. Dan Burton, R-IN called him a 'liar', several times. Then Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-MD made a point of reminding Clemens he was under oath before he answered Cummings questions, in a very bullying way.

Rep. Waxman is a slimy guy. He is not only physically ugly, he is ugly on the inside, too. His reputation on Capitol Hill is one of vindictive behavior towards anyone who doesn't follow his demands. Recently I read an article on titled The Waxman Method that summarized the case of Howard Krongard.

A successful man, Howard Krongard decided after working four decades in the private sector to accept a job at the State Department in 2005, as a way of doing public service for his country. He accepted the job of State's Inspector General and it is an 'independent' role. Krongard didn't realize that political hacks like Waxman think IGs are working for them.

Last July, Krongard was called to testify before Waxman's House oversight committee. His testimony was about a non-scandal involving "allegedly poor treatment of foreign workers at the construction site of the new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Mr. Krongard said he had inspected and found no evidence of human trafficking or human-rights violations. That's not what Mr. Waxman wanted to hear. In his opening statement, the California partisan insisted that State's approach to the inquiry was evidence of a "full bunker mentality."

So, the games began. It was time to get Krongard. Suddenly whistleblowers came forward, accusing him of being 'too cozy' with State Department officials, tht he didn't pick up counterfeit computers in Afghanistan and even of being a "high-handed boss." Those complaining were conveniently not under oath and no evidence was provided to back up their trashing of Mr. Krongard.

The Democrats complained that Krongard involved himself in the audit of Stae Department books. What happened was that he 'argued that the auditors should get extra time to complete their work--a position supported both by the Office of Management and Budget and Government Accountability Office."

Specific charges against Mr. Krongard were examined and refuted in a report by the Republicans on the committee. Krongard claimed he was not a big political donor, never met President Bush, and had only been to the White House as a tourist, not an invited guest. This wasn't prudent information for Waxman. He continued smears on Mr. Krongard, that he maintained 'partisan political ties' and that he halted investigations, censored reports and didn't cooperate with law enforcement agencies.

None of these charges were true, but that didn't matter to Waxman. He wanted to send a message to all the Inspector Generals in government. The message? They answer to Waxman. He wants political scandals in the executive branch and he wants witnesses for prosecution whether the facts are there or not. Mr. Krongards's mistake? Telling the truth.

You may remember that when the Dems took over in Congress after the 2006 elections, Waxman was quoted as saying there would be investigation after investigation into the workings of the administration. He said it with much glee and thought it would make him seem quite important. Maybe it does in his circles. For the rest of us, it makes him seem like a small, petty man.

Political hacks running on purely partisan politics are ugly people. Waxman leads the pack.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Plot Twists

Last Saturday night, my guys and I went to a local playhouse production of "The Turn of the Screw." My son's AP English class recently read the book and I enjoyed his thoughts on contrasts between the book and the play's adaptation. It's a suspense filled story and the twist of the plot towards the end is clever.

A twist of plot makes for good pondering sometimes. Let's look at the issues today concerning national security and how it all plays out in the current election cycle. Yesterday the Senate passed a bill on warrantless wiretapping as it pertains to our national security needs while fighting the IslamoFascists and the war on terror. It was a very successful vote for the administration and their desire to continue on with the policy in place, while allowing telecom companies that cooperated with the government's requests for cooperation after 9/11 to be free from retroactive liability claims. Less than one third of the Senate voted to hold the companies liable in a court of law. Who was a part of that third? Barack Obama.

Hillary Clinton was absent. John McCain voted in favor of the bill.

Senator Obama, the uniter not the divider, continues on his quest for the MoveOn vote. This says a bit about what his foreign policy might be, should he be elected President. All we have heard from him, spoken above all the swooning at his pretty speeches, is that it is Bush and Cheney's war and he was against it in the first place and he calls for an immediate end to the war. OK. So, he goes into defeatist mode by labeling the war as such. He had no vote on the war, in the first place, as he wasn't in the Senate but still in Illinois at the time, and he admits in some interviews that immediate withdrawal is impossible in Iraq. And, now he is saying that he would hold private Americans and their companies liable if they cooperate with the American government's wiretap surveillance.

The bill goes back to the House for a vote now. Speaker Pelosi will be all for the defeat of it, as she is with our defeat in Iraq, but she will have 21 'Blue Dog Democrats' to contend with on the vote. They have written a letter to her voicing support for the Senate bill. Sunday, Pelosi told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the war in Iraq has been a failure, and the surge has been a failure. Not once, but twice she repeated that the surge has "not produced the desired effect." That from The Politico. And, we remember that Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate, said the war is lost last April. But, they support the troops.

The screw turned, though. The surge is quite successful, thank you. The troops did not lose any battles in Iraq, as a matter of fact they won in record time. Saddam was disposed of and is now dead. His two sons, being groomed to follow the father, are now dead. And according to TimesOnline, "Al-Qaeda leaders admit, 'We are in crisis. There is panic and fear.' " Their own leaders in Iraq confess a total collapse.

Frankly, it does not matter if Obama was for or against the war in Iraq before the war began. He didn't have a vote on it. I didn't feel we were prepared to go to war in Iraq, either, but I didn't have a vote. All of that proves nothing. The difference is that I knew Saddam had to be removed, as was our national policy put into effect by Bill Clinton, and I want success in the war on IslamoFascism. Obama continues to prove he doesn't understand the concept. Last night in his speech to supporters in Wisconsin, he referred to the cherry picked quote of John McCain that the U.S. will be in Iraq for the next 100 years. And he used this that "John McCain should not be given 4 years in the White House." What McCain was saying in that answer to a question was that the U.S. will have a presence there after the troops come home. It will be like South Korea or Germany or Bosnia or any of the other countries where support troops are left behind. Does Obama not agree with that? Will the unifying Barack Obama understand when his answers are cherry picked in the future?

And the Obamacan support the media and the candidate want you to believe is out there - Republicans supporting Obama? Now, that's a fairy tale. He and McCain will battle over the support of Independents, that is true. But, not for Republicans. He is the most liberal Senator in D.C.

John McCain and his campaign managers should immediately begin the inclusion of the vote yesterday in the Senate, and how Senator Obama cast his vote, in upcoming stump speeches and commercials. Obama continues to say the Bush administration uses 9/11 as a scare tactic to get votes. Obama must be held accountable for his own scare tactics, however prettily delivered. Republicans will.

Yes, we can.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Good Man Remembered

Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) died Monday morning at the age of 80. He bravely fought a battle against esophageal cancer and recently announced he would not be seeking re-election after 14 terms in Congress.

From The Hill comes a quote released upon announcing his retirement in January,"It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress."

Known as a human rights activist, he founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1984.

I know it bucks popular thought from the left side of the aisle, but Republicans are concerned with human rights, too. We are the party that decided the passing of legislation on civil rights here in our country, the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act. We believe a basic human right is the right to live in freedom. I admired Rep. Lantos for his steadfast support on the war on terror and for his bravery of going into countries to visit them after the U.S. left. "In 2004, he was among a small group of lawmakers to visit Libya, the first visit to that country by members of Congress since the 1960's, according to the Almanac of American Politics. In recent years he worked tirelessly to secure funding or people displaced by the fighting in Sudan," according to The Hill.

His childhood sweetheart, Annette, also is a Holocaust survivor. She volunteered on his Congressional Human Right Caucus. Together they have two daughters, 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Lantos was chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was an excellent choice for the position. Though a Democrat, Lantos understood the ways of the world in general. He was a strong supporter of the war on terror and the Bush Doctrine. He got it. He reached across the aisle and tirelessly worked for the oppressed, for the folks trapped in dictatorships, under the thumb of a despot. He referred to himself as an American 'by choice.'

He will be buried in the Congressional Cemetary Wednesday. A memorial service will be held on Capitol Hill Thursday.

And, in stark contrast with today's Democratic race to the nomination for Presidential candidate, the two candidates are in a race for a defeat in Iraq. An interesting moment happened right here in Houston as the Obama office opened. A local news station reporter was covering the opening and interviewing the local office staff. What was that flag caught in the camera's view on the wall? It was the Communist Cuba flag with the face of Che Guevara. There's your support for human rights, courtesy of the far left. I know that Obama doesn't wear the American flag on his lapel but is this the message he wants his Houston office to send?

Representative Tom Lantos would not approve.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Special One of Five

Have you ever heard of Leon Fleisher? Me, either. Fleisher was one of the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors. From NewsBusters comes this article: Months Later, WaPo Features Artist Upset Over Visiting White House. Although the Honors evening occurred back on December 2, preceded by a White House reception the afternoon of the ceremony, a piece was run in the Washington Post Saturday written by Fleisher feigning displeasure at "a profound irony" of being honored by a President blamed for his own mental derangement. He wanted the award, of course, so he had to justify the appearance he made to receive the applause.

Fleisher is a pianist, conductor and teacher, according to my Google search. He is described as legendary as a keyboard artist and was tragically afflicted with a rare neurological disease at an early age, resulting in the loss of the use of his right hand. He was born in 1928, so he is certainly old enough to have far more social graces than apparently he does.

Poor guy. That President Bush, who initiated an illegal war, tortures prisoners, won't accept embryonic stem cell research on the taxpayer's dime, and don't forget he is personally destroying the environment, expected him to follow traditional protocol and attend the reception. Oh no, you mean Fleisher had to be in the same room with the embodiment of evil? What would that do to his cool kid cred with his fellow artists?

The solution? He decided to be grown up enough to attend the reception at the White House, along with the other honorees: Brian Wilson, Steve Martin, Diana Ross and Martin Scorsese, none known for conservative thoughts yet not feeling the need to be jackasses in print, and he wore a peace symbol around his neck and a purple ribbon on his lapel. Wow. How bold.

What a stupid old man. Mr. old man liberal, unable to just say thank you and take the honor, was so insecure in life that he had to make the BDS 'statement' to the press. He is horrified, horrified I tell you, by many of the President's policies. It was a 'dilemma' for him. Oh, the anguish. And, the fact that the Washington Post published it so far after the event also shows it's never too late to slap the President.

Even if it is a purely gratuitous slap. Feel all better now, Fleisher? Artists like you are murdered in other places in the world. How's that for irony?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Thompson and Bolton Speak

"This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republicans should close ranks behind John McCain," Thompson said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.

That is Fred Thompson's statement released yesterday and reported by the Washington Post.

Sam Stein reports from the CPAC convention on John Bolton's speech before the group on Friday. "Revealing information that he said had never before been made public, Bolton discussed how McCain secretly tried to shepherd his nomination to the United Nations - a nomination that was held up in the Congress over Bolton's controversial anti-UN statements and policies."

"He was very active behind the scenes," said Bolton who was ultimately sent to the UN via a presidential recess appointment. "He thought I was the type of ambassador that ought to represent the United States at the United Naitons.", Bolton said.

Stein continued, "Even prior to the speech the possiblility of a Bolton cabinet position was being batted around. The introductory speaker, Ken Timmerman, referred to the former UN Ambassador as both a "warrior of light, " and "our next Secretary of State."

Bolton, when asked about serving as part of a McCain administration said, "I really don't think about that and really shouldn't think about that. The first thing we need to do is win the election."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Who's Divided Now?

So, with tomorrow bringing more votes in caucuses and primaries, will Hillary shed a convenient tear or two for the cameras? Will she lose her voice with a coughing fit to stop the interview when a TV reporter asks what the role will be for her husband in her administration?

Will Senator Obama continue to campaign in New Orleans, stating that the Federal government must save New Orleans when New Orleans has told us time and time again that its citizens are not willing to get the job done? Will he notice that Mayor Nagin was re-elected and the city is still not much further along than it was last year, or the year before? Instead of blustery speech about levees capable of Level 5 storms, how about encouraging the city's Levee Board to finally re-group and try a little corruption-free decision making for a change of pace? Or is it only noticed that G.W. Bush appointed cronies to do tough jobs? How about encouraging some local responsibility to build the future of the city. Why doesn't he understand that generations of government dependency brought about all the misery in the first place? Billions of dollars have been allotted at the Federal level. Governor Blanco and Nagin were not up to the task. Let's hope Governor Jindal will have the support he needs. That would be real change.

Looks like Obama and Clinton may be debating in my city in the near future. For the first time in a long time, the Texas primary will matter. On the Democrat side anyway. It will be interesting to watch how Clinton handles herself from now until one of them becomes the clear leader.

I think this whole election cycle has been nothing but interesting. Intense, aggrevating, silly, and just plain fun for some with a passion for politics. It's not boring. Both parties are experiencing change, the buzzword of the cycle, and both parties will mature. That kind of change is good.

The talking heads and press would have you believe that the Republican party is imploding and will never recover. Nonsense. Some egos will have to have some time to deflate a bit and then most within the party will unite and vote for the candidate. Those that stay home or vote for the other party out of spite? So be it. The party has spoken with votes and no one segment is dominant this time. That's a good thing. The past path brought us to a big defeat in 2006. We are still recovering from that wave of losses. This time around, many Republicans are not opting to run for re-election and there is little hope of anything but a Democratically controlled Congress for the forseeable future. I would like a Republican in the Oval Office that is a true fiscal conservative and will deny the spending nonsense that was our dimise, especially as we have a war or two going on overseas.

Romney, Giuliani, Thompson and all the rest will be campaigning for Republicans this election season. They will be expecting the same from the regular folks.

There is lots of time between now and November. Let the Democrats continue their very clear divide and then have to work out coming together at convention. Reagan Democrats, necessary for the former president's victory, just may even come back this time around.

It's not boring.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's Over, Now What?

The race is over. The Republican presidential nomination is set. Mitt Romney is bowing out of the race. He did his best. He's a good man. I have nothing to complain about towards him as a candidate. He's not going to be our nominee. He is doing the right thing for the Republican party.

So, now what?

My decision is an easy one. I'll be voting in the Texas primary in March and McCain will have my vote. I'm a Republican. This is my party. Party loyalty is a good thing.

The Republican party is at a crossroads. The question is do you, as a conservative voter, want your agenda to remain viable or do you want to be in the wilderness? It's your choice. And, yes, it is as basic as that.

Hugh Hewitt, a solid Romney supporter, even the author of a book about Romney, wrote an interesting piece for yesterday. His message was to list seven reasons voters should support the GOP's nominee. Like everyone else, he sees the writing on the wall. His seven reasons to support the nominee? Six Supreme Court justices are over the age of 68. The seventh reason? The war in Iraq.

"Folks who want to take their ball and go home have to realize that even three SCOTUS appointments could revolutionize the way elections are handled in this country in a stroke, mandating the submission of redistricting lines to court scrutiny for 'fairness'," wrote Hewitt.

And, Daniel Henninger in today's wrote, "There are murmurs of heading into the political wilderness. Sit this one out. Rather than sell the party's soul to John McCain, let Hillary have it, or Barack. Go into opposition for four years while the party gets its head together and comes up with an authentic conservative candidate. If this sourness takes hold at the margin, say among GOP anti-immigrant voters, it might happen. The wilderness is a good place to find yourself, if you're a prophet. There are reasons, though, why a principled political retreat won't make conservative prospects better. The point of a principled retreat would be to rediscover coherence amid doctrinal confusion. The exact opposite is likely to happen."

Let me explain. By numbers, the Republican party is a minority party. There are simply more Democrats than Republicans. For more than 40 years the Republican party was the minority party. When the Republican revolution swept into D.C. in 1994, the party took the leadership of both houses of Congress. It was all unchartered waters. Heady stuff. And, the presidency of Clinton was not allowed to run anywhere the polls showed that day. Republicans demanded and got welfare reform, and yes, a balanced budget. I know that Clinton likes to take credit for both of those moves, as he has no legacy to fall back on, but without a Republican majority neither of these two things would have happened.

So, now, with a Democrat controlled House and Senate, and with no real possibility of any change on that front, the Republican party must rally behind the McCain candidacy. We are a two party country. The differences between party philosophies are stark. Republican retention of the White House is the way to stay viable as a party.

The conservative movement within my party came into being with the Republican revolution. I'm speaking about today's conservatives. Today's conservatives would not be backing Ronald Reagan in the race. The folks that rallied around the 'conservative' candidates, Romney and Thompson, were the ones who have a past of not supporting Reagan in his runs for president. The party was suffering growing pains with the Reagan/GHW Bush race, too. Remember? Remember GHW Bush mocking Reagan's economic policy as voo-doo economics? I do. Reagan won out and they made peace. Reagan even put Bush on his ticket.

Conservatives like to say they are conservatives, not that they are Republicans. In the South, the conservative party was the old Democrat party. The Republican party was virtually non-existant when I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi. My parents had to register as Democrats to vote. Think about that. It was with the help of Republicans that the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Act passed. Southern Dems voted against it - including Al Gore, Sr and William Fullbright, the mentor of Bill Clinton. Times change.

The Republican party is now a big tent party. I know the other side likes to say otherwise, but what is this very election cycle proving? The Democrats are now the party of identity politics. Republicans are united with some basic principles. Up until the 90's, after the success of Reagan's two terms, social conservatism was not a big part of the Republican agenda. Republicans were referred to as the 'daddy party', with the core beliefs of national security, fiscal responsibility, and judicial prudence. Democrats were the party of the nanny state. They ushered in the huge social programs paid for by the taxpayer. This was the Democrats way of winning elections. They used the strategy of keeping voters dependent and beholden to their politicians. Times are different now.

So, what are you going to do? If your top priorities are national security, fiscal responsibility and judicial prudence, you will stand with 'real' Republicans and support John McCain. Hold your nose if you have to, its doable. We are a nation at war. Will you show your support for the troops by allowing the war in Iraq to go down in defeat? Do you want the Bush tax cuts, which have kept this economy going since 9/11, to remain permanent? Do you want judges, especially on the Supreme Court, that read and use the Constitution, not whatever the political philosophy du jour happens to be? Then you support John McCain.

"The idea of a concession on national security by conservatives is especially troubling. After six years of blood and treasure, and with the counterinsurgency working, to consciously turn over Iraq to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama...words fail", said Henninger.

For several decades now, social conservatives have been successful in moving their agenda forward. The Republican party has grown with them. That is what parties do. Successful parties, anyway. Republicans have used God, guns and gays for votes just as Democrats have used social programs and entitlements.

These are dangerous times for our country. The grown ups have to be in charge. I know McCain is not an ideal candidate. I have found myself swearing at him for some of his votes, too. There is no such thing as perfect in life or in mortal humans. McCain has a temper, some are saying. Really? So? Who doesn't? Who was the last mild mannered politican you can remember? Don't say Reagan. Remember his flash of anger when he demanded to be heard in a debate, saying he paid for the microphone? I hope you expect no less of a President.

McCain is putting together a strong team of advisors. He is supported by Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada as to the judges issue. He is supported by Phil Gramm and Jack Kemp as to the economics policy issues. He has the support of Rudy Giuliani.

By leaving the race today, Mitt Romney is supporting his Republican party. Romney was not the candidate of choice for any of the 'conservatives' until the field dwindled. If the social issues were the most important issues, to most Republicans, the other candidates would have risen to the top. What was wrong with Duncan Hunter? Tancredo? I don't think Thompson really wanted the job but why wasn't he successful? And, none of them were down the line perfect, either.

Are you going to do the right thing for Republicans? Our candidate can begin a strong national campaign, way ahead of the Democrats, who will likely go all the way to their convention this summer. Republicans look at the world as happy warriors. Republicans look at the glass as half full.

Do you?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Land Down Under

I've been tagged by blogger pal, Ottavio, who writes a fine blog American Interests from his home in Melbourne, Australia. So, here goes:

123 Meme

Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages), open the book to page 123, find the fifth sentence, post the next three sentences and tag five people.

"To the consternation even of some formerly devoted admirers, this included Pol Pot, who had slaughtered one-third or more of his own people in setting up a Communist regime in Cambodia. As a result of all this, Chomsky, too, like Buchanan, was increasingly relegated to the margins and largely forgotten. After 9/11, however, and unlike Buchanan, Chomsky found a newly receptive audience and one bigger than ever."

That is from World War IV, written by Norman Podhoretz. The chapter was about isolationism both on the right and the left sides of the political landscape.

Blogger Ottavio posted on his country's former Prime Minister, John Howard, recently. He passed on the information that Howard was selected to receive the Irving Kristol Award for 2008 from the American Enterprise Institute in D.C. Howard will receive the award at the annual dinner on March 5, 2008.

I am a huge fan of Mr. Howard. He has been a steadfast friend to the U.S., especially in the war on terrorism. According to the AEI press release, "When asked by an interviewer about the Iraq war, he said, "I am not going to be part of a policy which leaves the job unfinished and leaves behind to one or two other countries the responsibility of completing the job; that is not the Australian way of doing things."

"Howard's parents chose "Winston" as his middle name in honor of Winston Churchill. Howard's political defeat in 2007 after a long and successful service was reminiscent of the great British leader's defeat after World War II. Like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan before him, Howard has a strong commitment to the Anglosphere alliance."

Mr. Howard is deserving of this recognition. I'd like for the news to be more widely distributed.

I won't tag anyone. I may not even have 5 readers left that I haven't ticked off with my recent election opinions. C'est la vie.

Today would have been Ronald Reagan's 97th birthday. He would have cheered Mr. Howard on, too. He must be looking down on his Republican party these days, shaking his head in disbelief of all the nonsense.

Me, too.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008


How proud must Archie Manning be this morning? Two professional football quarterback sons, back to back Super Bowl wins. Doesn't get any better than that. I only watched the very end and what a fun time to tune in it was. Thirty-five seconds to go in the game and Eli's team scored the winning touchdown. It was too good.

I love it when the good guys win. It's a matter of personal taste.

Today a bit of parent-child history will be made. My son, now an 18 year old Senior in high school, will be registering to vote. It's the last day deadline to register to vote in the Texas primary on March 4, but I'm fighting the urge to lecture him about waiting until the last minute to meet deadlines. It's a Mom thing. And, I am very good at the lecturing, if I do say so myself. My son will vouch for that.

The important thing is that he registers. I have taken this child with me to vote since his birth. I wanted him to know that voting is a sacred obligation of each of us. Our freedom depends on it and many brave men and women have died to preserve that obligation.

He is my child. He loves politics and debating opinions. I will proudly cancel his vote in November.

I cherish that he is his own person. I expect no less of him. He is smart, educated and opinionated. I have no doubt that given the opportunity, he'll be an Obama voter. This is completely normal for an 18 year old. He's a liberal thinker and of the opinion that his mother is a bit out to lunch. To put it politely.

A difference in my husband and me is our thinking as younger people. He is of the age, like Hillary Clinton, that he was a student for Goldwater campaigner. Politically he has always been a bit more conservative than me. Not necessarily in life decisions, but in political thought. My son is more like me in that at a younger age I was more open to the 'other side'. I remember as a high school student, a bit younger than my son now, how taken I was with Robert Kennedy as he ran for President. He was young and full of energy and challenged young people to get active. Young people interested in politics love that talk. So, much to the aggravation of my staunchly Republican parents, I had a campaign poster touting RFK just as others my age did. I was too young to vote and then he was assassinated. My first presidential vote went to Gerald Ford. I have never voted for a Democrat for President and after the events of 9/11 and the party of defeat establishing itself in the Democrat party, I never will.

It is interesting, the parallel that my son and I will share. RFK and Obama, both capable of inspiring audiences with flowery speeches, little content. Very Oprah. Neither had any real legislative success to brag about. RFK was simply there as the brother of a former president, one who made his brother Attorney General and sparked legislation to prohibit nepotism in administrations. RFK, running to entice black voters, was responsible for wiretapping Martin Luther King, Jr. Obama brings forth another part of the electorate. Obama appeals to upscale white voters and references buying arugula at Whole Foods, while blasting WalMart, one of the nation's biggest employers of ordinary, lower skilled workers and Joe Blow shoppers. RFK was arrogant in private and not prone to compromise. Obama does not work with the other side of the aisle. Yet both spoke about uniting the country.

My son is not so interested in Hillary. He did, though, like Giuliani and thinks McCain is a good candidate. Hillary is more conventional about working with Republicans to get legislation passed, as she did with Newt Gingrich during her first administration. They worked together to pass legislation related to health care, adoption and foster care for children. If the White House has a Democrat in the Oval Office and Democrat control of Congress, there will be no change, at least as far as a unified American people is concerned. All the flowery speeches in the world will not bring the country together.

It's good to see young voters excited about voting. I hope it will increase traditional voting numbers among the age groups. Our voting population is pathetically lazy.

That change is good. The stars in the eyes, no substance candidates? Not so much.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


As the frontrunners emerge, the endorsements are flying. Each news cycle brings newly announced supporters into the public discussion. Some are quite interesting. Endorsements may not make a whole lot of difference in the success of a campaign but they can bring attention to a candidate. And, they can validate voters not quite secure in a choice.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney is the favored candidate by those most vocal in claiming the 'conservative' mantel. I think the race is between Romney and McCain at this point so I'll focus on them. McCain is more of an old school kind of Republican, pre-religious right arrogance, and came into office supporting and working closely with Ronald Reagan. Reagan, today, would not be acceptable to 'conservatives' so it is no surprise that McCain is reaping the wrath of indignation for his pushing ahead of Romney in the polls.

By the end of vote tallying Tuesday night, or early Wednesday morning, the Republican party will probably have a candidate likely to be nominated at the summer convention. I will not be a part of that decision, as Texas votes March 4, so my state may not make or break a campaign. I was a Rudy supporter so my first choice is out anyway. Tuesday's results will also tell if Texas is a deal breaker. We have 140 delegates on the Republican side. For the Dems the number is 228. If Texas is important this time, it will be the first election since the primary system began. Interesting.

I have not made up my mind, completely, for whom I'll cast my vote. I don't worry about either frontrunner as the Republican candidate. Both are far better than either of their Dem counterparts. The next president will most likely appoint 3 Supreme Court judges. That alone should make every voter in the Republican party and Independents, too, rise from couches across the country and head for voting sites. Clinton gave us Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Hillary made that choice. Something to think about. Both Republican front runners have pledged to appoint judges in the model of Roberts and Alito, as President Bush did. Romney doesn't have a record to check on a federal level. McCain has voted for every Republican nominee since he's been in office.

The judge issue is very important to me. We are a nation of laws and judicial activism under the previous Clinton administration, during those dreamy 1990's as the Dems would have you remember the decade, flourished.

McCain is criticized by 'conservatives' for participating in the Gang of 14, the group of Senators, 7 Republicans and 7 Democrats who came together to resolve the log jam of judicial confirmations to the federal courts, yet I would argue that time has proven that to be an unfair criticism. Richard Baehr wrote in American Thinker in an article dated January 30, 2008 that "to put it plainly, the critics of the deal are flat out wrong. Conservatives should thank John McCain and the other Senators who were part of the Gang of 14 for getting three Appeals Courts nominees who had been held up, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, and Pricilla Owen, approved quickly and Brett Kavanaugh approved a bit later, and for Samuel Alito making it onto the Supreme Court without a filibuster blocking his way. And they should thank John McCain for preserving for the Republican Party the use of the filibuster on judicial nominations that might be made by a Democratic President beginning in 2009 or later."

Let's hop into the wayback machine for a bit. Remember why 'conservatives' were so bent out of shape about the success of the Gang of 14? It was because the Republicans were in control of both the House and the Senate and had been since 1994, except for brief back and forths in the Senate. The arrogance of 'conservatives' brought about the change in leadership in 2006. Republican leadership couldn't see into the future to a time when the Dems would win elections and the balance of power would change. Senate leadership and foot soldiers in the Republican party felt no obligation to work with the other side of the aisle. Granted, the Dems were hell bent to oppose anyone just for the excercise of doing so, on a level never done before, but with Republicans so rigid, neither party sought the high ground and the people out in flyover country saw that nothing was accomplished in D.C. So, the nominations went nowhere.

The Gang of 14 insured that successful 'yes' vote on cloture during the Alito debating process and he was confirmed without filibuster. As Baehr points out, this also probably insured Roberts nomination as filibuster free.

With the current atmosphere, the liklihood of Democrats maintaining control of both Houses of Congress and now also the White House, Republicans will most likely also see the Republican number of Senate seats shrink. The Dems have a history of using political payback as the action of choice these past two Bush terms. Had Republicans used the nuclear option during the confirmation process earlier, there is no doubt that this would be our fate with them in charge. Neither Clinton nor Obama have any history of working with the opposition party. There is no reason to believe either will in the future.

The 'change' both speak about and the need to bring the country together? That is the real fairy tale. Neither are unifiers.

So, I would suggest that those so quick to claim McCain is no 'conservative' because he has honed an ability to work with the other party are short sighted and arrogant in thought. George Bush, both the elder and junior, knew going into the White House that the art of politics is all about striking common ground. The first major legislation of the current Bush? No Child Left Behind. That legislation was successful because Teddy Kennedy was so closely involved. At the time, Dems were in control of the Senate. It was a realistic necessity. Whether you support the legislation or not, the fact is that today black and Hispanic students are testing at record high levels. Holding teachers and school administrators accountable is a good thing.

Romney made many compromises as governor of arguably the most liberal state in the union. While Thompson was in the race, Romney was bashed as a RINO. McCain has always been pro-life, Romney not. McCain has not voted for tax increases. Ever. Romney has. Yes, McCain voted against the tax breaks early in the Bush administrations. He links them to spending cuts. He also acknowledges that the tax cuts have kept our economy strong, post 9/11. And, both McCain and Romney are for making the tax cuts permanent.

There has been no stonger advocate for spending cuts and fiscal responsibility in the Senate than McCain. Now he has the endorsement from Tom Coburn, R-OK, a leading watchdog on spending and a very 'conservative' Republican.

Nancy Reagan and Michael Reagan are privately endorsing McCain. Neither will do so publicly as a matter of decorum. You remember decorum, don't you?

Ted Olson, Jack Kemp, and Steve Forbes endorse McCain. So does Rudy. As does Rick Perry, Texas governor, protege of George W. Bush.

Radio talk show hosts are endorsing Romney. Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are on daily bash fests against McCain. Laura and Sean have publicly endorsed Romney. I think that is a mistake. It'll be hard for them to tell celebrities now to just shut up and sing or act when they have publicly endorsed a specific candidate themselves. In the primaries. The endorsements tarnish thoughts.

Liz Cheney, former Senator Rick Santorum, and others have recently endorsed Romney. This is what the primaries are about. Go and vote for whomever you most support. This who's the real conservative nonsense has to stop. All are Republicans. All are better than the Dem alternative if you believe in Republican principles. Fiscal responsibility, less government intervention in our lives, cutting taxes, placing judges on the bench who use the rule of law and not personal agendas. Those are Republican principles.

We've had an abundance of decent candidates this election cycle. Winning is the goal. To think otherwise is simply naive.

Friday, February 01, 2008

On Debates and Records

Neither the Republican nor Democrat debates this week were memorable. In the Republican debate, McCain and Romney acted like street fighters against each other, knowing the nomination is now between the two of them. It did nothing to advance any dignity or substance into the discussion. Huckabee whined that he wasn't getting enough time and R. Paul almost looked the most dignified by not whining and simply answering the questions asked of him. The moderator was Anderson Cooper who clearly lacks any concept of anything Republican.

The Democrat debate was one I only clicked on a couple of times to get the flavor of it. Clinton and Obama decided to have a love fest and act all warm and fuzzy towards each other. No one buys it but Democrat politicians have never had much respect for the voters, thinking them to be stupid sheep. Don't worry your pretty little head, they'll take care of you. The Hollywood celebs were seated in the front rows while the California politicians, like the hard working, respectable Jane Harmon were stuck up in the balcony. Quite telling of the Dems and where the priorities are as a party. They are way too interested in being the cool kids.

There was no mention of the war on IslamoFascism in the Dem debate.

The debate sights were telling, too. The Republican debate was hosted by the Reagan Library, in the Air Force One Pavilion with the aircraft in the background. Very Presidential. The Dems were at the Kodak Theatre. I noticed Kelsey Grammar in the audience for the Republicans. I saw Rob Reiner at the Dem debate. I still watch reruns of 'Frasier'. Just sayin'.

The Dems had Wolf Blitzer and the more senior writers for the Politico and LA Times. No surprise. Why send the seasoned, mature media folk to the Republicans when they are so easily mocked and dismissed?

The latest annual polling results from the National Journal are out. A bi-partisan publication, these ratings, according to results of 267 votes used as a measure of the liberalism or conservatism of a politican, have been produced for 27 years now. It is important to remember the measurement is used on results produced from votes taken when the candidates were both voting, in the case of Clinton and Obama.

As will not surprise those doing their homework, Obama has the most liberal voting record with a rating of 95.5% in 2007. He is the most liberal senator in office. Hilary is ranked at number 16, with a rating of 82.8%. By contrast, in 2006, She was ranked 32nd and Obama was 10th. It is also not surprising that candidates would lurch left or right in the lead up to primaries.

Is it change if you vote for your party and its legislation 95.5% of the time? Are you someone who offers a new tone?

Out of the 267 votes used as a measure, where both voted, they only differed 10 times. "The policy differences between Clinton and Obama are so slight they are almost non-existent to the average voter," said Richared Lau, a Rutgers University political scientist.

An analysis of the individual votes shows, according to a Clinton campaign advisor, "Her voting record as a whole shows she takes a comprehensive, balanced approach toward policy. Senator Clinton looks at the broader picture. She tries to see the challenges from not only the blue-collar worker's face, but also the white-collar worker's, not only Wall Street but also Main Street, and from that tries to put together a policy that's best for America as a whole."

The first political commercials are being run here in Texas. So far I've seen Huckabee's ad emphasising his promise to abolish the IRS. There is an ad being run that is paid for by a group not known to me which morphs McCain from Hillary. So, the tone is set.

I'm going with the wisdom that when the results of Super Duper Tuesday (could we have a more stupid name?) are in, the Republican nominee will probably be known. The results for the Dems, I think, are still a bit more up in the air. It will be a great time for those of us who live for this.