Saturday, January 31, 2009
Kudos to the Republicans in the House of Representatives and eleven principled Democrats. They voted against the bill, though it passed due to the Democrat majority in the House.
Now the bill is being argued in the Senate. Yesterday Senator John Cornyn, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, hosted a blogger conference call. I was honored to be invited by his office and called in.
The stimulus/spending bill was the focus of the conversation. In a previously released statement, Senator Cornyn said, "As a strong advocate for open government, I am disappointed the economic rescue plan lacks the real kind of government transparency President Obama has promised. For starters, this plan was crafted largely behind closed doors without bipartisan input or support. Further, while the bill creates an 'Accountability and Transparency Board,' the non-partisanship necessary to make a board like this effective is missing."
"I was hopeful that my colleagues and I could work together in a bipartisan fashion to institute and promote real solutions to revive the economy, but sadly that is not the case. With a deficit projected to hit $1.2 trillion, this is not time to throw another trillion dollars into the air and hope for the best."
Targeting specific Senate seats to go from the Democrat column into the Republican column, Senator Cornyn has released an ad in Nevada called "Trillion" which highlights Harry Reid's support of bailouts. Also, a web site has been launched - www.ReidistributeWealth.com.
This blogger conference call was the first of a series Senator Cornyn plans to host. It is part of a new form of outreach from the National Senatorial Republican Committee. John Nau, a successful business man from Houston, has been tapped as national fundraising chair for the committee. A chief of technology officer will soon be hired.
"I hope there is minimal to none Republican support" in the Senate for the stimulus/spending bill. He mentioned that even with the charade of bipartisanship, exhibited in the cocktail parties and meetings at the White House with leaders of both parties, there has been no input allowed from Republicans. For Democrats on Capitol Hill to appoint themselves the ones chosen to pick winners and losers in our economic recovery is just wrong.
Republicans are well served with Senator Cornyn in true leadership mode.
Friday, January 30, 2009
This is of Pelosi's own doing. She demanded Republicans support her bill, written by the most liberal, free spenders in the House, while not allowing Republican input. That is no way to get votes. She allowed forty years worth of social engineering dreams and every pet project imaginable to be written into the bill and claim it was all for job creation. Even on the level of small business tax cuts she was dishonest. She planned to rush it on through while insisting the economy could not wait another minute.
What Pelosi didn't plan for was the fact that Americans are leery of more big government intrusion into the lives of regular taxpayers and resent more debt piled onto the backs of future generations without any hope of future rescinding of programs down the road. Once a government program is in place, it is almost impossible for it to be cut. The Obama administration is to be ruled by 'czars' put into place to overrule traditional cabinet positions. The 'energy czar' and the 'health care czar' are two examples. It will be interesting to watch these big egos interact.
Continuing on with the talking point that the Republicans were simply playing politics with the House vote on the stimulus/spending bill, just as it is always done in Washington, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs insisted that "old habits die hard in this town." The Republicans finally found their collective backbones and voted as Republicans. To professionals like Gibbs, this is playing politics. Voting on values of your political party is not partisan. It is remaining true to your party convictions. Some Democrats crossed over and voted their conscience, too. Are they lesser Democrats for that?
Robert Gibbs has much to learn. Watching his daily press briefings with the White House press corps, it is obvious he is in over his head. Even with the adoring press corps, for whom Obama walks on water, Gibbs is showing the strain of accountability. By stating that the Republicans would be targeted by special interest groups and the White House in commercials in their districts for not support the stimulus/spending bill is nothing short of petty, low ball, Clinton era retaliation tactics. What's next? Will the FBI files and IRS returns now be used against members of Congress as the Clintons did? What kind of change is this?
Gibbs speaks for someone elected on establishing a new tone in Washington. He should remember that himself. President Bush came in with the same agenda of changing the tone in Washington. This is only a new goal for those with short attention spans. Unfortunately, that describes most voters. Obama has a window of goodwill, Bush never did.
There is a list of six or so Republicans being targeted on the Senate side by groups like MoveOn and unions, like the Service Employee International Union. Senators Gregg, Snowe, Collins, Murkowski, and Grassley are on the list. Commercials will be run in their states to pressure them to vote in favor of the bill in the Senate. "Tell Senator ..... to support the Obama plan for jobs, not the failed policies of the past," the announcer says. The bill is not a job creator and the 'failed' policies of the past produced 52 consecutive months of job growth and creation in this country. After the financial devastation of 9/11, that is a true legacy of the Bush administration. It has been good to hear today that most Republicans are firmly on board to vote down the bill. I hope they all will.
The new administration would be better served to call off the attack dogs still consumed with Bush derangement syndrome and realize that angry doom and gloom messages don't sell ideas to voters. Counting on nervous everyday people to support the spending schemes in the bill has fallen short.
Robert Gibbs should watch old press conferences when Dana Perino or Tony Snow conducted them. He stands to learn much.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
President Obama is the first president to put his director of political affairs in an office in the West Wing. Past presidents have refrained from this temptation. The job description of the director of political affairs? According to Rove, former holder of this position, "coordinates the president's involvement with his party and other campaign related activities."
Stories have run about the tone of the Obama site, change.gov, being continued as a campaign vehicle.
Normally, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building houses most of the White House staff, due to space restrictions in the White House. The offices are small and now some will be even smaller in the Obama White House. Rove points out that Obama's political affairs director is occupying the office traditionally given to the head of presidential personnel.
The signal from the Obama administration? Politics reign supreme. President Obama can talk all he wants of a new tone, new cooperation in working with all sides of the political aisle, but his kind of change seems just more of business as usual.
In a bow to the Clinton era, besides hiring all the staffers and cabinet members from those glory days, President Obama does not feel obliged to keep a professional code of dress in the Oval Office. President Clinton was reported to show up in work out clothes or shorts and polo shirts, and now we see the first photo of Obama in the room in shirt sleeves and also in a meeting with Biden - also in shirt sleeves and others dressed the same. There is something to be said for the dignity of the office.
When justifying the more casual approach to dress, senior adviser David Axelrod is quoted in The New York Times as saying, "He's from Hawaii, O.K.? He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there." Seems the man who said on the campaign trail that we can't continue to run our thermostats at 72 degrees now cranks it up in the taxpayer funded White House. Is that the change he brings?
Roaming the hall one day, Obama stopped by Robert Gibbs' office to find him with his feet up on the desk. The tone has been set.
When proclamations are made by a new administration - they will be the 'most' of anything, whether it is the most ethical, most diverse, most transparent - we usually find the claim to fall far short. The Democrats are most prone to such boasts. For candidate Obama, he promised to be the most transparent and the administration that would not employ lobbyists.
The first bill has now been signed by President Obama. According to the Sunlight Foundation, the bill was not posted on the White House web site and open for comments as promised. It was done so after Obama signed it. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act did not fulfill the new standard reflected in a blog post from the White House: "One significant addition to WhiteHouse.gov reflects a campaign promise from the President: we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it." This was a promise about the transparency issue.
And, as far as the lobbyist pledge goes, we know that was never meant to be kept. Well, anyone willing to think about the claim realized that to lob the term 'lobbyist' out there, as though red meat to the gullible potential voter, was strictly campaign mode rhetoric. The term has unpleasant connotations as far as the connection of paying for access goes but a lobbyist is an advocate. Any advocate for any cause is technically a lobbyist. To lobby is to bring a case for your cause to someone in a position to help. In Washington, D.C. in particular, tens of thousands of professionals are considered lobbyists.
Now that President Obama has brought lobbyists on board, we are told that some exceptions must be made in order to hire the most qualified. According to Robert Gibbs, the President's press secretary, the "toughest policy" will have to be bent a bit. That is where the silliness of the whole proclamation process shows. Of course exceptions are made. If you have to say you will be 'the most' of anything, the reason is because you will not. Remember John Kerry proclaiming what a hero he was during his service in the Vietnam War? Same thing. If you have to shout to the world, it is because you fall short.
President Obama has much to learn. We'll have to hope for more humble rhetoric and change some of the nonsense.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Senator Cornyn is head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The mission in this position is to get Republicans elected to the Senate. Now his creditials as a 'true' conservative are being called into question. I would argue that this kind of sniping is why Republicans are now in the political wilderness.
Rich Galen, a Republican political strategist, said, "The statesmanlike and judicial demeanor is really good cover for a very crafty and smart political guy...and that's the kind of guy that is needed." Senator Cornyn is a former Texas Supreme Court justice.
"The public is less tolerant of sort of the harshness and angry tone they've seen out of Washington," Cornyn said. "I think it is entirely appropriate to talk about differences in a civil and dignified way...and then let's let the people decide."
Cornyn slowed to a halt the Senate vote on the confirmation of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State until he was satisifed that she would be more transparent with the dealings of her husband, the former president, and foreign monies donated to his presidential library. This was a perfectly legitimate concern and rightfully pursued by Senator Cornyn. In the end, he was personally assured by Clinton that she would abide by stronger guidelines of transparency and that all the other members of the Obama administration should, too. Cornyn was satifified with her agreement and voted for her appointment.
The far side of the Republican spectrum applauded Senator Cornyn as he challenged Hillary Clinton. Cornyn challenged Geithner, too, and when satisifed with the man's answers, decided to vote in favor of his appointment, too.
Senator Cornyn has successfully fought to prevent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats in the Senate from seating Al Franken until all the legal tools available to Senator Norm Coleman are used, as is his right under Minnesota election law.
Senator Cornyn took on Harry Reid via a news release for inviting lobbyists to an inaugural brunch. "Spokesman Brian Walsh said in the statement that in orfer for Obama to change the culture in Washington he'd first have to change Reid." That from the Houston Chronicle. Harry Reid has sons who are very successful Washington lobbyists. Cornyn cited "so pervasive are the ties among Reid, members of his family and Nevada's leading industries and institutions that it's difficult to find a significant filed in which such a relationship does not exist." That was part of an article in 2003 about Reid and lobbying activities by members of his family.
"I didn't come to the Senate to be a wall flower and the only tools you really have available in the Senate are your voice and your vote," Cornyn said.
Senator Cornyn has vowed to continue with a more aggressive approach to running the National Republican Senatorial Committee. This approach is needed and welcomed by Republicans across the country as we rebuild the party, from the local level up. Cornyn has targeted Harry Reid in his reelection bid in 2010. Reid is not too popular with the folks back home these days and it is a good opportunity to restore Nevada back to the Republican column.
Last week, according to an article in The Hill, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) demanded that a U.S. Ariways flight leave earlier than scheduled so that Schumer could make a vote in Washington. Cornyn blasted Schumer for such an arrogant demand. "Anyone who has flown on an airplane, particularly in our post-9/11 security world, has experienced delays and frustrations," said Walsh, the committee's spokesman. "But unlike Sen. Schumer, who apparently waved around his Senate pin at La Guardia on Sunday, regular working-class Americans have to just accept it." That from The Hill article.
Now, Cornyn is blocking the vote on Eric Holder to be Attorney General.
Thank you, Senator Susan Collins, for making an important point for me. For years now I have been trying to stop fellow Republicans from using the term "RINO" against others in the party not falling in line 100% in shared thought. It is a standard attack from the most conservative of our party. The very people who hold President Reagan in the highest of esteem violate his number one rule in politics - do not speak ill of fellow Republicans. Our party must grow. To expect everyone who share the basic tenets of the Republican party to hold the same opinion on every policy or vote decision is nonsensical at best. Reagan said we are a big tent party. The very ones most critical of more moderate or liberal members of the Republican party - the ones most often accused of being 'country club Republicans' - are in fact the most exclusionary of the party.
We continue to be a center-right country. President Obama won a clear majority but his mandate was lessened by the 48% of voters who pulled the lever for John McCain. It was not a blowout at the polls, as the Democrats had hoped. This is a perfect opportunity to allow our party to regroup. In order to regroup, we must be inviting to all who wish to contribute to the Republican party. Welcome them with joy.
Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from the state of Maine, is frequently called a RINO. She voted against Geithner by saying, "I can't vote for a tax cheat for Treasury secretary." Sounds very Republican to me. Her fellow Senator from Maine, Republican Olympia Snowe, voted in favor of Geithner. Just like in Texas - one Republican voted yes, one Republican voted no. Are either state any less in the Republican column?
Especially in the northeastern section of our country, Republican candidates are needed to challenge the growing Democrat majority in Congress. It is important to acknowledge there is room for everyone. All voices make a contribution.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
It is difficult for Republicans to take seriously the statements of any new bipartisan efforts from the majority party in Washington, or from the President, while some of the other talk goes on, especially behind closed doors.
There are reports written about the less than tactful response of the new president to the loyal opposition on the policies - and politics - written into the stimulus package. "I won" was his response to the concerns voiced by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). The statement is true enough, just not very helpful if you are truly asking for the opinions of others. Of course, he will set the agenda and the demands of legislation. Elections have consequences. To the winner, the power.
Speaker of the House Pelosi was on a Sunday morning chat show claiming that Republicans were not being shut out of the amendment process. Her claim is contrary to what even the mainstream media is reporting.
The good news for Republicans is that Rep. John Boehner and Senator John Cornyn are taking up the gauntlet and pursuing the interests of the other half of the country. Senator McCain stated that he will not support the stimulus package as it is currently being forwarded.
The best news I've heard from Republicans is that the leadership will not repeat the mistakes of the former Democrat minority - they will present alternatives to legislation they oppose. Simply being the party of 'no' is not a winner. No one benefits from that. And, the American voters certainly are fed up with that approach - note the historically low poll numbers of the Congress since the Democrats took it back in 2006.
The new president is just now seeing a bit of a strain in the sickening sweet coverage he has enjoyed since that speech in 2004, at the Democrat convention, when he burst onto the national scene. The press that covered him on the campaign trail put aside the fact that candidate Obama was not particularly forthcoming with them, while blasting the then current administration for 'secretism' and other Watergate invoking adjectives. He was the recipient of some questioning of the decision to be sworn in a second time by Justice Roberts without the White House press corps present or even told of the fact until after the event. Then, only the photo from the White House photographer was offered as acknowledgement of the event.
President Obama made what he thought was a grand gesture by going to the White House press room and greeting his minions. When asked about the secrecy of the second swearing in, he brushed aside the questions and said if the press corps people insisted on asking him questions, then he wouldn't pop in for visits. Think about that. What is the job of the press corp in the mind of the new president? Continued campaigning, working behind the scenes to present the best possible light on him? Hang out and do fist bumps with him and his staff?
"See this is what happens. I can't end up visiting with you guys and shaking hands if I'm going to get grilled every time I come down here."
Better get that dog soon, President Obama.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Beginning with the not-so-memorable address at his inauguration, President Obama expressed "not a sentence or thought that hit you in the chest and entered your head not to leave." That according to Peggy Noonan, former presidential speechwriter. She sited this from the speech: "In the words of the Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things." She continued, "This was a call for a new nobility that puts aside 'petty grievances and false promises' that have marked the oral culture of our modern political life. He seemed to be saying that the old, pointless partisanship of the past does not fit the current moment."
In other words, he'd like to be treated better than President Bush was treated. And, immediately the nasty tone of the new White House Website was noted as the continued attacks of the former administration show other motives than 'change' or 'hope' of a new tone in Washington.
While the address hearkened back to the days of the Great Depression in order to make an expansion of government programs more palatable to Americans, many are awaking to the realization that history has shown these programs to be a hindrance to a weak economy. The government budget office has come out with the numbers of the proposed second 'stimulus' package now being pushed through Congress. The numbers don't add up to the lofty rhetoric. Only 10% will be used this year. And, it is not much of a new job creator, either. Small business tax breaks would be more efficient and successful than the pork,say,of all the cultural arts dollars proposed.
His speech was less than magnanimous. The swipes at the Bush administration were clear, after he thanked President Bush for his service to the country. This is something previous presidents strived to avoid. The reason is that it makes the orator look small. If Obama expects mature behavior from others, he has to walk the walk, too. The campaign is over. He has to make the transition into leading now.
Obama's speech was watched by millions on television. Ronald Reagan's was watched by more. Something to remember. Almost half of the voting public didn't vote for President Obama. His window of opportunity to create goodwill among his dissenters is closing.
As he fulfilled a campaign promise to close Gitmo immediately, a promise also made by John McCain, he showed little leadership by making the goal for closure 'a year' and offering no solutions to transferring the prisoners or how they will face trials. He left open a loophole of the alleged torture policy, while pretending otherwise. He has come to the realization that he needs all the tools put into place by the Bush administration, but he is not willing to be truthful with the public yet on that fact.
Juan Williams, NPR and Fox News talking head, wrote an interesting piece for The Wall Street Journal. He hopes to make the point that Obama must be judged as others who have held the office were judged. He states that Obama must be judged on performance. Williams offers the hope that a black president is able to receive criticism or praise while not being treated as a 'fragile flower'. Opposing Obama and his policies doesn't make the critic a racist. The campaign is over.
"There is a dangerous trap being set here. The same media people invested in boosting a black man to the White House as a matter of history have set very high expectations for him. When he disappoints, as presidents and other human beings inevitably do, the backlash may be extreme." With the death of journalism exhibited in the 2008 campaign season, I don't foresee the media adulation on the wane. With so much personally invested in their candidate, Obama, the press will continue to handle him with much leeway.
President Bush was gracious throughout the eight years in office. He was treated with a level of hate and vengeance unlike any other president in recent history. He graciously watched the inauguration activity on Air Force One and set the tone of discretion heard on board. His former staffers and friends are only now coming forward to voice disappointment in the tone of the nasty shots taken during the inauguration address. Candidate Obama ran on a theme of bridging partisan divide. He claimed to be insulted when he was called 'just another politician' by those closest to him. That window of opportunity is closing. Time to walk the walk.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
"They lived every day as if there would be another 9/11." That said by Rahm Emmanuel on Meet the Press. "They have done their job keeping us safe at home." Unlike the transition then incoming President Bush and his appointees experienced in 2001, the incoming President Obama will benefit from the generosity and maturity of the Bush administration by so thoroughly being brought current through the transition period. The transition is said to be the smoothest and most thorough in recent times. It is the way President Bush expected his people to act. Leadership starts from the top.
So, while the deranged left continues to do stunts like throw shoes at a picture of President Bush on the Mall and to boo him at the inauguration as well as sing an insult to him as this chopper leaves for the last time, the new President comes into office with none of that.
Republicans continue to show restraint and some level of dignity. Most of us say we wish Obama the best and we hope he is successful in his endeavors to put our country back on course. Already he is validating the legacy of George W. Bush by keeping in place some of his people and he's realized by now that lots of policy he criticized to rouse his crowds on the campaign trail will now be kept in place. Not only have the Bush administration's pursuit of foreign policy been vetted as legal by our courts, they have a proven track record of keeping our country safe for the last eight years. And, that, is the single job description of the President of the United States - to keep the country and her people safe.
The deranged left have done nothing but damage to our country for the past eight years solely for political ideology and we will not soon forget that. Maybe now the new First Lady will "really" be proud of her country. Maybe she will mature into the job, too. She has huge shoes to fill after the stellar performance in office by Laura Bush.
Obama thinks strategy - evident by well-timed outreach to Republicans. He allowed the far left to think he was one of them and the center to think he was also with them. He continues to act as though he is all things to all people. His record in elected office contains a majority of liberal leaning votes.
Let's not forget the ruckus over the cost of the last Bush inauguration. The deranged left so hoped to deny him his day of celebration, after winning re-election quite handily, and now the cost of this inauguration is almost triple that of the last one. No problem. It's only really like the Great Depression when the rhetoric calls for it and a new government program is needed to botch things up.
Laura Bush designed a new, yellow rug for the Oval Office. Yellow was the color chosen to represent optimism (hope) and rays of sunshine (possibilities). Hope and change are not new ideas. The outgoing president came into office with the same goals of changing up Washington D.C. by bringing together both parties to work for common goals to the betterment America. The incoming president comes in with a high level of support, from both sides, which is something the outgoing president never received.
There is no shadow inauguration going on today. There are no loud protests of the new president. For that matter, there was no group like the Congressional Black Caucus who rose on the day Congress verified the electoral votes and tried to deny him his newly elected office - as they did to the outgoing president.
We acknowledge the significance of the first bi-racial president of our country. The constant references to Abe Lincoln, a Republican legend, is obnoxious. Obama is no more in line to be a Lincoln then he is to be JFK or FDR. It is the worst kind of rewrite of history. Lincoln suspended habius corpus, you know. FDR's big government programs prolonged the Great Depression and JFK was far from stellar as a president, though one with a tragic ending. This is not Camelot anymore than it ever truly existed back then.
So, good luck to President Obama. He will need it. We'll all need it, too.
Thank you, President Bush. Well done and a class act to the bitter end.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Obama has nowhere to go but down and it is of his own making.
By continuing with the display of hubris that would link him with Abraham Lincoln, for whatever reason,over and over again, he displays the very character trait that those who didn't vote for him liked the least. The arrogance that would lead an elected official with only a year and a half into his term as a freshman U.S. Senator into the race for leader of the free world is not a trait that will serve him well. It is his task to mature in his new office and lead with the humility required.
I would recommend that Obama take a page from the book of George W. Bush, and even his father. Both show the dignity in humility. Even Obama is quoted as mentioning that he believes the President to be a 'good man' and made the best decisions he could in difficult circumstances. Of course he says this after he has bashed the man at every turn for the past two years, even mocking him in print, in his second book on his own life.
President Bush got through his farewell address to the nation without tearing up. He is known for his emotion in touching times. That is a good quality as it shows a person's humanness. Obama is known to be the opposite - the young voters think he is cool, older voters notice the thin skin and coldness in his emotional reserve. There again, he has room to grow in office.
President Bush holds the record in several areas of positive legacy making arenas. Until the recent tough patch, he held the longest uninterrupted job growth in history. For 52 months, jobs were created. Then, due to the legislation demanded by the Democrats, going back to the Carter days and reinforced by President Clinton, the economy collapsed. President Bush warned of the impending disaster in the real estate market, for example, a full 3 years ago, but he was ignored. Just as Congress refused to step in with the impeding collapse of the tech bubble at the end of the Clinton years which brought recession to the incoming Bush administration, the Obama administration will face their own challenges from this current administration. Obama will continue to fully blame President Bush, as though a President solely controls the economy, just as Obama's successor will blame him for the challenges he faces. Whomever is in office at the time of distress will suffer the blame for it all. That is the news cycle.
History will show President Bush as a war president. Not of his own making, only eight months into service, our nation suffered the attacks of September 11, 2001. The world changed forever. There would be no more ignoring the mounting threats, as the Clinton administration did throughout the 1990's - the whole peace and prosperity legacy they tried to advance - and decisions were made by the President and those around him. The courts have time and time again sided with the President that his administration did nothing illegal in keeping our country safe. The Democrats, those so strident that we must all come together behind this new president after nothing but hate for the President and Republicans the past eight years, are now talking of pursuing criminal investigations of the administration's actions.
This President and his administration have done more for the poor of the world than any other. Even entertainers like Bono and Bob Geldof have publicly bestowed good words for these decisions. The people of Africa, in particular, are the beneficiaries of the generosity of America.
This President and his administration have done more for the development and research of HIV/AIDS drugs than any other. Both domestically and abroad, what is known as medical diplomacy has been implemented and will reap rewards in future generations towards our country.
This President pushed hard for tax breaks for American families. With almost no support form Democrats, he was successful. It was labeled by the Democrats as tax breaks for the rich. What they didn't say is that Democrats consider anyone making over $40,000 per year as rich. The tax cuts helped middle and lower income people most with tax breaks raised for dependent children, etc. When the tax cuts expire in 2010 and the Obama administration doesn't renew them, if he doesn't get rid of them before that, the average American family will face an additional $1600 per year in taxes. Maybe that isn't any big bother to the swells in Washington, but to those just squeaking by and supporting growing families, it is a very big deal.
President Bush didn't exploit his family for personal political gain. Obama could learn something here. By even publishing the 'letter to my daughters', he makes a publicity stunt out of something that should have been private if he was sincere in the gesture. Just as his family was on every magazine cover imaginable over the course of the campaign, the press were told his family is off limits. His wife was on the campaign trail, exposing herself to critics and the press was told she was off limits. You cannot have it both ways. Obama would do well to take a page from President Bush and former President Clinton - say that your children are off limits and mean it.
President Bush had no idea what would present itself as the issues of the day when he was inaugurated in 2001. This incoming president is the same. I hope he will grow into the job. I hope that for the sake of us all.
The farewell speech had not been fully delivered before the hateful left and some from the right began criticism. The left has been so destructive to our country over the past eight years that now, as they demand that all come together under the new president's watch, it will be interesting to see what they do to help that attitude along.
And, Republicans who note this President's mistakes, and there have been many as in all administrations, would do well to remember the advice of the president so often held in high regard - Ronald Reagan. He said Republicans must not speak ill of other Republicans. He was a team builder, not an imploder. The nasty left enjoys holding quotes of our own against our party. Let's remember that.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
May I call you Sarah? I think you would be ok with that. First I would like to thank you for your role in the 2008 presidential campaign. You brought an instant infusion of enthusiasm to our party's candidate's campaign. For that alone, I am grateful.
I want you to know that I was a strong supporter of your pick as VP candidate. Several months before you were chosen, I recommended that John McCain pick you as his running mate on this very blog. You had everything going for you - a fresh face; a strong woman not afraid to make reforms and question authority; a closely knit family and support system of friends; and executive experience in political office. Most importantly, you are an expert in the area of energy policy.
While I think you were terribly mishandled by the campaign - first with the cocoon around you and then throwing you out there to the wolves and wolverines - the time has come to give you a bit of advice. Here it is - stop doing interviews. Just stop.
I don't know if you have a press secretary or not but if you do, please fire that person. Whomever is booking your interviews or encouraging you to get out there and give the interviews is seriously missing the boat.
Sarah, we know you were treated disgracefully during your brief time in the spotlight. You are a conservative, successful Republican woman with an 80% approval rating so you were red meat to the media. They saw nothing wrong in the fact that hordes of reporters were dispatched to Alaska to forge through trash cans and interview anyone who would talk, including the friends of your children. They saw nothing wrong with ridiculing the experience you possess in political office, though none of the other three running had any executive experience. You were ridiculed because you attended more than one college and none of them were in the Ivy League. Never mind that Joe Biden, your opponent, was caught cheating in college and lied about his scholarships and his class standing. That's just Joe, don't ya know.
The lowest, of course, was the firestorm of lies about the baby you gave birth to just four months before hitting the campaign trail. I was barely able to speak in complete sentences as the mother of a four month old, what with the sleep deprivation and the lack of physical stamina, and there you were criss crossing the country like the marathon runner you are. And, giving speeches to huge crowds to boot.
All of the insults are well documented. Here is why I suggest you stop giving interviews - you sound like a whiner. Republicans don't like whiners. That's for Democrats. And, Republicans like those claiming to be a victim even less. That, too, is what Democrats trade on in politics. You have given some interviews and now it is time to let it go.
May I suggest you throw yourself back into being an excellent governor for your state of Alaska? Go ahead and write a book. You'll make plenty of money to care for your precious baby Trig in his later life and also some college fund money for your other kids. You'll be fine.
Study up on national and international issues, other than energy policy. You have proven to be a quick study and disarmingly charming. A positive attitude will always win out over the negative. Believe me, after four years of Joe Biden, the voter's choice of him will be a head scratcher by more than just Republicans.
Just step back, Sarah. Your points have been made. You have defended your children and your name. We have heard from you. Do not allow the media to continue to exploit your open nature. Stop feeding the trolls.
I wish you the very best, Sarah. I hope you'll be in political life for some time ahead. You bring much to the table.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
A side note about Liz. Do you like cocoa, especially on these cold winter nights? Do you prefer to support small business entrepreneurs? Liz is a wife and mom to two young children and a former channel editor at Blog Nosh, an e-zine I contribute to now and then. She has gotten quite busy in her business venture - Spicy Cocoa. I can speak from personal experience, it is some tasty stuff. My husband and son helped me try the Spicy cocoa as well as the Sinful cocoa. Both very yummy. Spicy cocoa is warm in your mouth but not too fiery. It is stronger on the back of your throat, not all over, as you drink. The Sinful cocoa is spiced with cinnamon and delectable. You can find her product on her blog. Give yourself a treat and check it out.
The meme asks 'what makes you happy?'. Here's what I've come up with today:
1. My husband and my son.
2. The gift of decent physical health.
3. My obsession with all things political.
4. Reading. Everything from political philosophy, history, fictional sagas, cookbooks and biographies. Especially biographies. Especially biographies of historical figures.
5. Our dog and cat.
6. The realization that simple is better and less is more.
7. Discovery in the writer in me.
8. My friends and acquaintances.
9. The Internet and social networking. It's a small world out there.
10. I want for very little. I am a blessed woman and grateful.
Want to play? Feel free to do so, either in your own post or in my comment section.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
President Bush appointed Sutton to his position. Sutton, for whatever reason, decided to make the prosecution of these two men his personal mission. He used 18 U.S.C.924(c) as the statute for sentencing. It is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in jail for anyone who fires a gun while "during and in relation to any crime of violence." Sutton overreached. If the mandatory 10 years had not come into play, the agents would have served the required prison time for the offenses with which they were charged.
From a letter sent to President Bush by Senator John Cornyn and Senator Dianne Feinstein: "For starters, prosecutors hid from the jury the full criminal character of the drug smuggler, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, who was also the government's key witness. The jury was kept form hearing one of the most critical pieces of information regarding the case - that Aldrete-Davila was running drugs at the time of his altercation with the border agents. Nor did the jury hear that after he was granted immunity to testify against the agents, Aldrete-Divila breached his agreement and continued to smuggle drugs into this country. Finally, the jury was told neither that Aldrete-Divila's friends had organized a "hunting party" to shoot border agents in revenge for his injuries, nor that Aldrete-Davila had refused to help law enforcement identify and stop these vigilantes. Instead of hearing this evidence, the jury was told by the prosecutor in closing statements that Aldrete-Davila had run from the border agents simply because he wanted to go home. Several jurors have since ome forward to state that if they had been told about the excluded evidence, they would have changed their verdict."
Ramos and Compean are both far from home, from their families who are not able to visit but infrequently. Both had stellar work records. Both have wives and children and large extended families.
Senators Cornyn and Feinstein wrote to President Bush - two letters so far - urging commutation of their sentences. While both Senators understand that law enforcement officers are not above the law, the same goes for prosecutorial overreach.
Our country needs hard working men and women like Ramos and Compean to pursue careers serving in the Border Patrol. It is time they were both released. They do not deserve 10 more years locked away due to shady deals by Johnny Sutton.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Barbour, Governor of Mississippi, is a master in political turnaround. He was Chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1993 after President George H.W. Bush was soundly beaten at the polls by Bill Clinton. Clinton, the last Democrat president, beat Bush worse than Obama beat McCain, by the way. Bush only received 38% of that vote. McCain received 47% to Obama's 53%.
Barbour has been a successful governor, a role model on how to build a state back from natural disaster. Too bad the New Orleans powerful have not used his expertise on what does and doesn't work to rebuild. "..in Mississippi the reconstruction and relief efforts were a case study in government professionalism and, as he puts it, "harnessing the power of the private sector in a time of crisis." "I am a small government, rational regulation, low tax, free market capitalist."
After admitting the party's failures - "Corruption, out-of-control spending, enormous increase of the national debt under a supposedly conservative administration, no vetoes of spending bills that Ronald Reagan would have hit with a hatchet"- "his view is that Republicans need to elect a lot more moderates from the Northeast to regain operating majorities."
I hear the thuds now of those proclaiming to be so pure in the Republican party - those who proudly boast of being conservative before Republican, hitting the floor in full out faints.
Those who adhere to a strongly conservative bent in politics are not the entire party. They are not, any more than moderates or liberal Republicans are the majority of the party. I have listened to several speakers recently, ranging from those on the national stage and on the state level, who have hammered home one point - a political party does not grow without opening up and including all who wish to join. A shrinking party does not win elections. And the goal in politics is to win elections. Blunt but true. If your party doesn't control the agenda, your agenda is not pursued. It's not rocket science.
"There's a temptation after a loss like this, he continues, "to purify our party by running off the people that aren't with us 100% of the time, or the people who aren't social conservatives, or the people who aren't' this or the people who aren't that." "This is a time for the party to be figuring out how to multiply. Politics is about addition and multiplication, not division and subtraction."
"He fumes that efforts to evict moderate Republicans in primaries is counterproductive."
Working with the other side of the aisle is not selling out. Listening to all sides of an argument is not selling out. The counsel of many is better than the counsel of a few. The Republican party has to attract more young voters and learn to raise money to compete with the other party. Small donors are the backbone of a party.
"The best people to do that , he insists, are the governors." "Republican solutions are gong to flow from the states, not from Washington," Most party activists are now coming around to that thought. Party activists are connecting on the Internet, as well as going back to stronger support of local politics. And, state politics are important, too. Governors control appointments,redistricting plans, the whole party agenda on a larger scale.
While listening to my own Republican women's group speaker today, a State Rep and a conservative Republican, I was struck that he gets it. He said we must strive to accept all who wish to join our cause - to be joyful about fellow members whether we agree with each issue or not. It brought to mind the 6 million evangelicals who stayed home instead of voting this past election. Why didn't they support the Republican candidate? The Republican party is the conservative party. John McCain is a conservative. He is socially conservative and fiscally conservative. Instead, he was punished for trying to get major legislation through while working with the other party. By not agreeing with McCain on these issues, while big issues, they decided to allow the Democrats to be successful. There is no way the Democrat party is conservative, so they cut off their noses to spite their faces. Very childish behavior and certainly not productive. The most strident of each party must be nurtured to be more open minded; that disagreements are productive.
The Republican party has a growing minority population that must be encouraged. For the first time, two black candidates are running for party chair. Both are good men with solid experience. I am supporting Michael Steele. The chair of the Texas Republican party is running as co-chair with Ken Blackwell. I don't begrudge her that choice. We are still in the same party and have the same basic goals.
The Hispanic population is the fastest growing. They share socially conservative views with Republicans. We cannot allow them to be wooed by Democrats.
History has been re-written and taught through two generations now that the Republican party offers nothing for blacks. That is just so ridiculous, it is sad. The very president the incoming president refers to was a Republican, credited with ending slavery in our country. It is time to tell our nation's story as it happened. It is time to take politics out of the classroom.
There is much work to be done. Everyone is welcome and all are encouraged to work for the shaping of the issues of the day.
Open minds, listening ears, joyful spirits are powerful tools.
The President-elect will host a dinner for John McCain the night before the inauguration. It is billed as a "Bipartisan Dinner" and Colin Powell and Joe Biden will also be honored at their own such dinners.
No, I do not trust the incoming president and his administration. The history is there for me to read. However, we must wish him success in leading our country. We all have a stake in his success.
That is not selling out.
That is patriotic.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
The ceremony began with a 21 gun salute.
Doro Bush Koch is the sponsor of the carrier, the last Nimitz class carrier for the last WWII veteran to serve as U.S. President. With the command, "Man our ship and bring her to life", the crowd of 20,000 watched as the first ever crew on the carrier ran to place and the carrier's bells and whistles, as they were called, sounded. A diamond formation of Hornets did a flyover and a surprise for the former president, a pass over by a Venture bomber - the one he flew as an 18 year old volunteer.
The best part? Secretary Bob Gates getting revenge on Doonesbury cartoonist Trudeau for the scum that he is - he told a story of the time when Trudeau was going thru the President Skippy phase and that to parody the insulting comics of the President, Gates, Brent Scowcroft and others waited one day for the President to leave the Oval Office and took a photo of them in animated conversations with the empty chair. Then they presented it to President Bush in a frame and autographed with inscription. Bush took it a step further and barged into the White House press room and demanded to know from the reporters about this conspiracy going on. Secretary Gates was very entertaining.
Gates was quite strong on his respect and friendship with the Bushes and the "decent and modest public servant I know." He spoke of times when the former president would attend gatherings and shake hands with members of the military as they came back from duty - and of how Bush frequently had to go through the line a bit quickly so as to get through it without breaking down with his trademark emotion. Gates referred to him as a "man of feeling."
Current President Bush lightened the speeches up a bit by opening with a question, "What do you give a guy who has everything he needs? You give him an aircraft carrier." He referred to his father as an example that "truest strength can come from the gentlest soul." It brought to mind the vicious Time or Newsweek cover that declared on the cover that then President Bush was a wimp. The word in bold large type.
From age 18, when he was old enough to volunteer for military service until present day, former President Bush continues to serve his country. It is safe to say his shoes have not been filled, as of present time, by anyone since. His greatest strength? Personal humility.
He continues to inspire.
Friday, January 09, 2009
Either way, this non-issue would only be a temporary move for the Obama family. They will uproot to move into the White House on the inauguration day, so it is just semantics. And, another healthy dose of ego from the Obama camp to make the request in the first place.
John Howard is to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor, along with Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Howard and Blair have been steadfast allies on the global war on terrorism and Uribe has made great strides in his country against drug lords and the drug trade.
A fitting recognition for all three leaders.
In 2005, John Howard received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, presented in Sydney. President Bush gave a speech praising Howard via video link. Howard is the first Australian to receive the award.
In 2008, Howard was given the Irving Kristol Award by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Also, in late 2008, Howard received the
Winston S. Churchill Medal of Freedom in Los Angeles.
To read of the nastiness from the left, though certainly not unusual these past eight years,it all seems petty and myopic. Recognizing foreign leaders with national awards would seem to be a gracious way of strengthening friendships between nations. Isn't that such a concern of the doom and gloom crowd and their insistence that the U.S. is so hated around the globe?
I hope the Howard family enjoys their stay.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Last night I was watching Katty Kay anchor the early evening broadcast. After the report on the Israeli battle against Hamas, I realized that the time is now for journalists to do the most stringent of re-writing history and the Bush administration. Hurry, Bush has less than two weeks left in office.
Speaking with the reporter after the story of the day's timeline in Gaza was aired, Kay said to the reporter, "Well, maybe president-elect Obama will consider the middle east peace process as a top priority. We know President Bush didn't." That's not a direct quote but it's what the woman said.
What blatant lying or just plain ignorance of the truth. Bush was the first president to call for a separate Palestinian state. Bush strongly pushed for the Jews to leave Gaza in 2005. He was the first U.S. President to call for a Palestinian state. He developed the Road Map to Peace and Secretary Rice made the area a frequent destination.
He was the first U.S. President to call for a separate Palestinian state.
While Hillary Clinton went to the region with Bill and kissed the cheek of Sula Arafat, causing a national eruption of heartburn back at home, even Bill's hyperactive last minute summit to save his presidential legacy failed. And, that was with Israel making the major concessions. As usual.
President Bush as continued with the established policy of U.S. support of Israel. This drives the left crazy. It's Israel's fault that the Palestinians launch daily rockets and grenades into their country. It's Israel's fault that suicide bombers sneak into Israel and blow themselves and innocent women and children in schools, wedding receptions and pizza joints.
It's the Palestinians fault that they continue to allow leaders to take all the money and not build a country with it. They are still a rock throwing, uneducated, brainwashed people. That is not Israel's fault.
Even anti-Bush professors like Juan Cole from the University of Michigan are beginning to acknowledge good news stories long neglected by the media in this country. Good news stories that are only possible thanks to the foreign policy decisions of the Bush administration. Good news stories that even include the fact that Syria secretly negotiates with Israel, which didn't happen before the current administration came into power.
The re-writing of history for the benefit of the Bush deranged will soon end. Facts have a way of winning out over political posturing. Katty will have a different tune to purr later in her life.
India was a black American shorthair. She grew up with the Bush twins and Barbara is credited with naming her after the Texas Rangers baseball star, Ruben "El Indio" Sierra. President Bush was one of the team's owners at the time. The cat also went by the names "Kitty" and "Willie". She wasn't a publicity hog like Barney, with his Barney Cam. She preferred to sleep under a bed.
Her favorite room, according to the White House Web site was the White House library. Her favorite food was tuna-flavored kitty treats.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
It is reported that Obama suggested that he and Bush meet in January for another private meeting, like the one Bush invited him to at the White House after the election. Bush agreed and decided to include the others, too. So, Bush accepts Obama's suggestion and expands on it. Unlike the contrast of Obama's self-interests at work - when he first went to the Senate and Bush invited him along with other Senators to the White House. Bush quietly gave Obama a bit of advice on the workings of Washington. Obama decided to include the exchange in his last book and ridicule the gesture. Class - you either have it or you don't.
The lunch was attended by President Bush, Obama and former presidents Bush, Clinton and Carter. With all the bad blood between Carter and the Bush presidents, it is a testament to the generosity of the current president that he was invited. Carter is a disgrace - both as the worst president in my lifetime and as a former president traveling the world while slandering the current president. If he were a citizen of most other countries in the world - especially the ones where he was most vocally opposed to Bush - he'd be in a jail in the middle of nowhere.
The Hill's Sam Youngman passes along this quote from the meeting: "One message that I have and I think we all share is that we want you to succeed." This president continues to show grace when none is given to him. It is a testament to his soul. He won't have to be torn from the Oval Office as Clinton was - one departing ceremony after another to stretch it all out. This president's ego doesn't depend on political trappings. He has a life and will go back to it in Texas when his term ends.
Character is not easy to come by in Washington.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
So, to Leon Panetta, if Obama doesn't throw you under his very special bus and he allows your name to go forward as CIA director, good luck to him. When he was first announced, I thought he was further verification that the Obama administration has no intention of taking the methods of the war on terrorism seriously and using them to keep us safe. The far left, Obama's base support, demanded he choose someone completely removed from anything that could be construed as support of the Bush administration's very successful methods of waging homeland protection. The Supreme Court continues to rule in favor of the administration and with the upcoming closing of Camp Gitmo, not to mention no other country will take these cast-offs, Panetta will need all the support he can get.
The fun part? The far left who makes such ignorant demands, by way of temper tantrums with their faux intellectual bent, has conveniently forgotten that it was during the time Panetta was in the Clinton administration - as Chief of Staff- that the nifty rendition executive order was signed. Clinton was down with the idea of Egypt doing the 'intense questioning' and it was so tidy to do it out of the spotlight here at home.
Not to mention all the missed opportunities where bin Laden was all but handed to Clinton on a silver platter. That administration thought it was easier to concentrate on the cronies on Wall Street, like Bob Rubin, to continue making millions instead of protecting the lives of American citizens at home and abroad.
Some experts in the intelligence community, like Michael Ledeen, who headed up the bin Laden unit during the Clinton days, thinks it's a decent choice. He points to Panetta's Army experience - rah roh, don't tell Code Pink - and that Panetta is a good manager. He is a political choice so he'll have Obama's back, which is more than the current bunch have for President Bush. A large segment of CIA are so rooted in their own little careers that they'll steamroll the President to stay relevant. Never mind what this does to our national security.
Will Dennis Blair, the designated Director of National Intelligence, also fall into line on the politically correct demands of the Code Pink crowd? How about the demands that the Bush administration be investigated for 'war crimes' and abuse of the Constitution for national security? If so, will they also investigate Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Jay Rockefeller, and all the others who were in on the top secret briefings since 2002? None of them demanded funding for any policy process be discontinued, which would have stopped any program. At re-election time they may have suddenly found moral indignation at the whole protecting the country thing, but during regular work hours there was no big objections to any of it.
From The Wall Street Journal: "If Mr.Panetta doesn't want to go down as another Frank Church or (Carter-era CIA Director) Stansfield Turner, he'll tell his fellow Democrats to drop their "torture" vendetta against intelligence officials who were acting in good faith and with the full knowledge of key Members of Congress."
We are a nation conducting two wars overseas. A CIA Director with no intelligence experience but a concentration in policy management may work. If he's up to the challenge. If he's not just another politician.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Burris intends to appear at the door of the Senate to be allowed on the floor to be sworn in as the Junior Senator from Illinois. His loudest cheerleader is Bobby Rush, former Black Panther, now longtime member of the House of Representatives from the south side of Chicago.
Reid claims some backing from legal precedent in his decision not to seat Burris. In 1969, Adam Clayton Powell was re-elected to his Congressional seat but was under a cloud of corruption accusations. House Democrats refused to seat him. Powell sued and prevailed. The Supreme Court ruled "that Congress had acted unconstitutionally in denying him his seat. Congress could have expelled Powell with a two-thirds vote, as stipulated in the Constitution, but it couldn't deny him the seat in the first instance." That from The Wall Street Journal.
So, the power the Senate would have is to seat Burris then to unseat him with a vote. Reid is a lawyer, a self-described "old trial lawyer", so you'd think he'd be familiar with what he is claiming. But, no one ever said the guy is smart. Just as when he declared the war in Iraq as lost on the Senate floor last April. He has no credibility.
Rep. Bobby Rush entered the fray last week and threw the race card for good measure. He taunted the Senate leadership by saying that they would not want to be responsible for not seating a black man in a seat abandoned by another black man. And, there would be no blacks in the Senate if that happened.
Burris argues that he is not under any suspicions of corrupt activity and should not be denied the seat in the Senate just because the Illinois governor appointed him. He has a point. It should also be noted that though Gov. Blago was arrested and hauled off to jail, now out on bond, he hasn't been indicted or impeached. He's still the sitting governor and his Illinois legislature hasn't acted to stop him from appointing a replacement.
There is no avenue for sympathy here for the Senate Democrats. Or for the Democrats in Illinois. A special election was rightly called for when Obama was elected to the presidency and even Obama called for a special election. Then all hell broke loose with the governor and the real possibility of a Republican being elected as Senator was apparent. Next it was deemed just too expensive of an option to have a special election. So, this is where they are and karma kicks them in the butt.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and he is supporting Roland Burris. Cornyn notes that Reid called Gov. Blago and is trying to deny the people of Illinois their second senator as a voice. The Chicago Sun-Times printed a story that Reid demanded Gov. Blago not appoint Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Danny Davis, or recently retired Illinois State Senate ldr Emil Jones - an Obama mentor - to the job. All black men, these three, and Reid recommended two white women instead. One, Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq war veteran and the other, Lisa Morale the current Illinois Attorney General and daughter of the Illinois House leader. So, if Reid was a Republican do you think all of that would have been an issue? The headlines would have been screaming that Reid is a racist. Reid claimed the three black politicians would not be elected when the term expires in 2010 and wants to keep the seat in Democrat hands.
"The people of Illinois deserve a simple explanation from Senator Reid: Why does he believe these three Illinois officeholders are 'unelectable' to the U.S. Senate?" Cornyn added. That from Politico.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Known for her sage advice about household tips to newspaper readers across the country, Heloise also is known within military circles for her support of military families and promoting military family readiness. Friday, Heloise was thanked by the Army's Golden Knights parachute team with a tandem jump over San Antonio, her hometown. She went up about 13,000 feet and jumped with Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott.
"She's ridden in a tank at Camp Lejeune, flown in a T-38 at Randolph AFB and pulled a respectable 7.8 Gs with the Navy's famed Blue Angels. Now, Heloise has racked up another thrilling escapade."
Her mother, before beginning the original newspaper column about 50 years ago, was organizing a support group for military wives. She also consoled military widows. Her daughter, whose real name is Ponce Cruse Evans, took over the column upon the death of her mother and also continued on with her mother's service to military families and the issue of family readiness.
Heloise, the daughter, is proud of her father, who was a lieutenant colonel and took her to work at the Pentagon on weekends. As a child she lived at Hickam AFB in Hawaii and her father was a pilot during the Cold War. Frequently he would go on TDY - temporary duty. She relates her personal stories today to gatherings of military families. She tells stories of being brave, of putting on a brave front so that her father didn't see her cry or become angry when he was called upon to leave the family and go on duty.
She said she'd jump again, but only with the Golden Knights. "I'm not a thrill-seeker, " She said. "These guys are the best of the best at what they do."
So is she.