Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's 2009 Fireworks From Sydney

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Democrats Politicize TSA and Homeland Security

Today all across tv land, the topic of national security has incorporated the woeful braying of Democrats claiming the subject of terrorism has been 'politicized'. How funny is that? After the behavior exhibited by them throughout the previous administration's efforts - successful, I might add - to keep us safe at home, Democrats have absolutely no room for criticism here.

A favorite target is Senator Jim DeMint who has placed a hold on the nomination of Erroll Southers to become the next TSA director. Useful idiots like Rep Bennie Thompson, D-MS, chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, said, "If TSA is to become the kind of nimble, responsive organization the American people deserve in times like this, it will need a Senate-confirmed administrator" on Monday. What Thompson doesn't mention with equal indignation is that President Obama didn't bother to send up Southers' name for the position until September and despite the bandwagon jumping of Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate committee members only voted the nomination out of committee the middle of last month. If it was so important to those concerned Democrats, wouldn't it have been wiser to take care of this nomination instead of the corrupt wheeling and dealing in back rooms over the so-called health care reform bill?

Also missing from the indignant Democrats is the fact that Senator DeMint placed the hold on the Southers nomination due to the fact that the nominee refuses to acknowledge whether or not he would implement collective bargaining for the TSA screeners and baggage handlers. In a payback to the support sought and given to Barack Obama as a presidential candidate from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). TSA employees are allowed to join that union as well as the National Treasury Employee Union but these unions are not allowed to do any bargaining for the TSA employees. It is a potential addition of 50,000 new members to the union and that is a whole lot of new union dues money. Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano - who thinks the system worked just fine in the lastest bungled terror attack - is reported to be looking into the legal authority to allow such a move.

Note to Democrats: the loyal opposition is just that. By opposing policies and nominations, the minority is doing its job. Democrats were fond of doing all they could to obstruct former President Bush's nominations and policies. That is the political system.

If national homeland security was such an important subject for the majority, why did they allow Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to reward the firefighters union and supporting a proven failed program by subtracting $4.5 million from aviation security appropriations. The Dodd amendment was put to a Senate vote and approved. This $4.5 million, ironically, was to go specifically "to screening operations and the amount for explosives detection systems", according to Mark Hemingway in Commentary for The Examiner. The firefighters union threw their support to Dodd in Iowa as he campaigned for President last year in the Democratic primary. More union paybacks. Wasn't the Obama administration supposed to end business as usual in Washington, D.C.?

The nomination of Erroll Southers deserves to be stopped until he answers the question - does he intend to implement collective bargaining for TSA employees? Does he want TSA employees to become just another branch of ineffective, dulled performance workers? If the TSA is to remain flexible and responsive, a strongly unionized TSA workforce is the last thing needed. Every decision would have to be approved by union bosses. In an emergency where policy and techniques need to be changed immediately for the safety of the flying public, this would be the most irresponsible of all.

So, stuff the indignant outrage towards Republican obstruction, Democrats. It's the pot calling the kettle black. And, stop with the references to how the country came together after 9/11/01 in politics. It lasted a few days and then the likes of Hillary Clinton were holding up newspaper headlines "What did Bush know and when did he know it?"on the floor of the Senate and dead Ted Kennedy proclaiming our nation mustn't agree to military retaliation. The then loyal opposition was only too eager to encourage claims that the Bush administration had information that was ignored and the attacks could have been stopped. Also, how dare President Bush be in Crawford Texas in August as these alleged smoking gun memos were received.

It's just all a bit much.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Terrorism Threats Not Deterred

As was made mention in the 2008 presidential campaign, our inexperienced President has indeed been tested in his responses to threats on the homeland. So far the response by the administration in the White House has been a failure. They continue to draw a stark contrast to the last administration because it is a winning political strategy for Barack Obama. Until lately. Now even his more ardent supporters are confused as to why he seems to be removed for the reality of the terrorist threats from just his first year in office.

In 2009 alone there have been repeated plots uncovered and some stopped before they became successful attacks. The Obama administration has fallen back on the standard pap of liberal thought - that terrorists are to be treated as criminals, not enemy combatants. We hear words like "alleged" used in reference to the latest terrorist taken into custody. He tried to bring down a jetliner with more than two hundred passengers aboard as it made its way to Detroit. His pants were on fire, he put up no resistance to restraint and he confessed to authorities, yet Obama makes reference to the "alleged" terrorist. And that was only after three days of silence from the president on the Christmas day attack.

The Director of Homeland Security renamed the war on terror to "man made disasters" as the new administration swept into office on a wave of naive belief of international kumbiya. If we just rename the problem, then no one will be insulted that we are aware of incoming threats. If we reach out and bow to murderous thugs who rule oil rich empires and poor countries on other continents, then they will love us. If we just prove this new president is not George W. Bush, then a re-birth of goodwill will be generated by those who hate us. On the Sunday talk shows, she said the security system in place in airports worked. Janet Napolitano said people did their job. No. It was a Dutch man that sprung into action. Security measures at airports failed. After a bit of sanity returned to the secretary, she amended her statement on Monday morning talk shows. She said her statement was taken out of context. It wasn't, of course, but at least she made the attempt to set the record straight.

Janet Napolitano should be fired. She was appointed to the position as political payback for early support of the Obama campaign - she being governor of Arizona at the time - and as the top politician of a border state she didn't exactly have a stellar record of controlling her border with Mexico.

President Barack Obama is indeed being tested. He is in way over his head. Not only is he determined to go back to the days of pre-9/11 thought in national security but he is hellbent to stubbornly deny his failures. He is briefed about the attempted attack on the jetliner on Christmas day, for instance, and he goes to the golf course. No statement to concerned citizens. No angry response to those intent on killing us. Barack's cool. He plays golf.

President George W. Bush decided to stop his regular golf games early on in his presidency. As a nation at war and other developing domestic problems, he thought golfing would present the appearance of an uncaring, not in touch leader. He was right.

What was the very first Executive Order issued by President Obama as he took office? He demanded the closing of Gitmo by year's end. Great play of this was made in the press and Obama proudly proclaimed himself not George W. Bush. Now that the actual closing process has proven to be unattainable any time in the near future, we are told that closing deadline will not be met. Turns out it is just not as simple as signing an Executive Order. If Obama was a man with any executive experience, he would have known that and saved himself from failure by not making the pledge in the first place.

A radicalized Muslim goes into a recruiting center in Arkansas and kills innocent Americans. Several plots are stopped before they are carried out thanks to intelligence gathering. A radicalized Muslim psychiatrist and member of the U.S. Army goes on base and kills thirteen fellow service members, plus a civilian security officer. He wounds many more. The first response from the Obama administration? We must not jump to conclusions. We must appreciate diversity in military. We must not criticize that red flags were raised about this man but not acted upon.

All of this political correctness will kill us. You'll remember Obama had no problem "jumping to conclusions" when the incident was one involving a friend from Harvard and the Cambridge police department. He was quick out of the box to call the police officers out on their handling of a call about a perceived burglary in a residential neighborhood.

Obama is not taken seriously as Commander in Chief. He shows no passion for what is his first and most important job requirement - to keep Americans safe at home. He continues to describe these terrorists as "isolated". They are not. They are trained and supplied by terror organizations abroad. They do not act alone. The problem spans the globe. Denial doesn't wish the problem away.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a president admired by Barack Obama, responded to Nazi saboteurs who landed off Long Island during World War II by capturing them and after arresting them, tried them in a military tribunal. In secret. Then they were executed. No announcement for the general public. No debate on sentencing. They were not treated as common criminals. FDR did what was necessary.

We need kind of leadership today.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why the Silence on Iranian Protests?

Sunday, December 27 was the day of Ashura in Iran. This is a day of mourning marking the death of Imam Hussain. Imam Hussain was martyred by Caliph Yazid and this is the basis of the Islamic Republic's fighting against what Iran views as global arrogance.

According to an article in Time online, during the protests in the streets of Tehran the crowds shouted, "This month is a month of blood. Yazid will fall!" Those fighting for freedom against the repression of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei now equate him with Yazid.

The crowds of protesters on Revolution Street in Tehran swell into the hundreds of thousands, yet our president, the leader of the free world, remains silent. Why is it so difficult for President Obama to express support for those dying for freedom in Iran? Why has he turned his back on an uprising of hope for a better future for those under the thumb of Islamic totalitarianism?

Reports coming out of Iran claim that five were killed yesterday from gunshots fired into the crowd by police. Teargas was fired as well. One woman was run over by a car and many of the opposition were arrested. Opposition leader Mousavi's nephew is one of the dead. many of the senior aides to Mousavi have been arrested.

Our president craves the camera, to be sure. We are subjected to daily photo ops and snippets of continued campaign style speeches as he sells his agenda to the American public. Why is he a shrinking violet when it comes to embracing the concept that oppressed people exposed to Western ideas are willing to die for freedom?

The Iranian people's protests are a sign of hope for the country's future. Earlier in the year a young woman, an innocent victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, was brutally and deliberately shot to death by thugs of the regime and this was caught on camera. The video flew around the world sparking compassion from all. Her name was Neda and she is a symbol of the sacrifice of those fighting for the freedom of the Iranian people today.

In past administrations, our presidents have been enthusiastic and consistent about supporting freedom for the oppressed around the globe. Today, however, we have a president who is known to speak to foreign audiences and apologize for past mistakes made by the United States - at least perceived mistakes by the far left and their blame America agenda. President Obama campaigned on wishing to speak one on one with Iranian leaders without conditions, on declaring that by offering up such meetings the brutal thugs would love us. That by extending a hand in friendship the dictators would magically transform into peace loving lambs.

Our president is dangerously naive and stubborn in his world views. During the presidential campaign candidate Obama was late to stand up and support Georgia as it was threatened by Russia. As president, Obama denied the Dalai Lama a one on one visit before his trip overseas to China, not wanting to offend the China leader. This is precedent setting in reverse. This is not the way forward for the world's leader in carrying the torch of freedom. Obama has been silent for a year now on the continued growth of the Iranian street's pursuit of freedom.

It is past time for the President of the United States to give the Iranians the platform they deserve. It is past time for ending the kid glove treatment of brutal dictators. It is past time for the execution of a kumbiya foreign policy.

Speak up, Mr. President. The people of Iran are waiting.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Airline Disaster Averted By Dutch Citizen, Not Security

"The system worked," Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said on the Sunday morning talk shows. The fact is, Secretary Napolitano, the system did not work. What did work was an alert Dutch citizen on board the incoming flight to Detroit who leaped over rows of seats and restrained the terrorist as he sat with his trousers on fire.

There are reports that President Obama was not notified for three hours after the incoming flight was first recognized as a problem. Then, after the initial briefing which lasted several minutes, he went out and played golf. Imagine if that scenario occurred with President G.W. Bush. Remember the nasty criticism he received for his imagined slow response to the news of the attacks of 9/11/01? According to the far left of the political aisle, Bush should have immediately jumped up and jetted back to Washington, D.C. Never mind that the group of very young children to whom he was reading would have been needlessly freaked out. Granted, the events of 9/11/01 were far more extreme but the passes given to this current president are daily and obvious.

The 23 year old Nigerian responsible for the botched terror attack on the Delta/Northwest Airlines flight into Detroit is yet another young Muslim male that destroys the stereotype that the guilt-ridden liberals in America would have you believe fit the pattern for those who plot to kill us. Like the 9/11/01 Muslim terrorists and others who have been thwarted since, as well as the attack on Fort Hood recently, the terrorists are well educated, from affluent families, and have chosen to take the beliefs of a violent arm of Islamic religious views. Guilt-ridden liberals would have you believe it is poor, uneducated Muslim young men without hope for the future that plot to kill us. They would have you believe it is simply young Muslim men without a bright future in need of hugs from the West - in other words, it is the standard pap from the left that it is our own fault that they hate us.

Then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama promotes this world view. Days after the attacks of 9/11/01, he gave a speech in Illinois that said as much. He insisted we just need to provide outreach to the Muslim world and they would realize we aren't really so bad after all. This train of naive thought is equivalent to burying our heads in the sand. By refusing to accept the flaring fact that there is a sect within the Islamic religious community that wishes to destroy Westerners and revert back to a past of Islamic dominance, is to squelch our ability to destroy them first.

This young man is the son of a wealthy, connected, respected Nigerian - a former economics minister of Nigeria and newly retired chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria. The 70 year old man is still on several boards of Nigeria's biggest firms, according to an article in The Independent in London. The son lived and went to university in London. The family townhome in London is worth several million dollars. The son is described by a former classmate as only showing up for classes and doing the bare minimum to attain his degree - a degree in mechanical engineering.

Thanks to Jasper Schuringa, a resident of Amsterdam en route to Miami for Christmas, the terror plot was foiled. Mr. Schuringa is the hero who leaped into action after hearing the initial 'pop' from the explosive device. He sustained burns to his hand in the process. As quoted in The Independent article: "I basically reacted directly...when you hear a pop on the plane, you are awake. I just jumped. I didn't think, I just went over there and tried to save the plane...and we did." Hundreds of families are grateful to him this holiday season.

Abdulmutallab was a test to international security measures for air travel. The system failed. He left Lagos, Nigeria with a ticket purchased on December 16 with cash. He had only one carry-on bag. His story was that he was going to spend two weeks in Detroit so that was suspicious. The flight went to Amsterdam. This is a common flight. My own husband has traveled to Nigeria for business and has taken the flight many times. Amsterdam is known for good security measures but this has been disputed by others in light of this story.

Fortunately for everyone involved, this wannabe terrorist was not so bright. He failed in the execution of his attack. He claims to be a member of al-Qaida. It is thought that he is a recent visitor to Yemen. His own father turned his son's name over to authorities out of concern of this son's radicalization. He was on one list of potential terrorists but not on the no-fly list. He was in possession of a multi-use visa and allowed to travel to the U.S. None of this adds up.

Profiling works. It is time to be honest in this struggle and wake up to the fact that we are at war with those who wish to kill us. The Obama administration made much over changing the term 'war on terror' to some inane description of 'man made catastrophes'. The world watches and terrorists laugh at us. Ignoring the danger doesn't stop it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jimmy Carter Still Hates the Jews

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the karma moments in life. As we approach the end of 2009 it is astonishing to a majority of Americans that our President is the same guy those of us not voting for him said he would be in office. Gullible voters, desperate for a change of political party in the White House, went to the voting booths and voted for a Chicago far left liberal. Obama ran as a moderate, a bi-partisan kind of guy, a transparency in government advocate, a man of the people. All bunk, of course, but sometimes we Americans have to learn a lesson the hard way.

Think back to the election that brought about the presidency of Jimmy Carter. A governor of the State of Georgia, I lived in that state under his reign. Granted, I am a Republican, a fiscal conservative, but I was blown away that the voters across our country believed his marketing - Southern democrat, family guy, Navy veteran, governor of the State of Georgia. All of that disguised the fact he was completely unqualified to lead the nation.

Jimmy Carter does not have a good history with Jews. He quite honestly despises Jews. He made it known that if he was re-elected for a second term as president, he intended to inflict some kind of revenge on Jews, a constituency he thought had betrayed him. "The Jews will pay" was the general gist of his remark overheard by those around him. As he flushed our country down the toilet, Americans began to awaken and did not reward him with another term as president. He did, however, broker the first Israeli-Arab peace treaty at Camp David for which he deserves credit. He was, after all, trying to salvage some sort of legacy that would be positive.

In 2006, Carter wrote "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" and Jews were rightfully outraged. Carter was a friend of Arafat and was asked to be a godfather to his child. He visited Arafat and his wife Sula often. He is an apologist for Hamas.

Now, this is where karma comes into the picture - Carter's grandson Jason Carter, is running for a seat in the Georgia State Senate. The district in northeast Atlanta is home to a vocal Jewish population, as reported recently. Grandpa Jimmy offered an apology to Jews recently in the form of a prayer offering - an Al Het. It is a prayer said on Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. He wanted to apologize for any words or deeds that might have angered the Jewish community.

Wednesday, the Associated Press reported on this newly humbled Carter. He sent the open letter to a wire service for Jewish newspapers.

Jason Carter claims Grandpa Jimmy's open letter has nothing to do with his campaign. He did however call it "a great step towards reconciliation."

Yeah, probably just a big ole coincidence.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

To All My Liberal-Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wish.

To My Conservative-Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Representative Griffith Becomes a Republican

One congressman from the fifth district in Alabama yesterday announced his decision to switch from the Democratic party to Republican. Applause, applause and the chairman of the Republican party welcomed him into the fold with open arms.

Some more far right leaning conservatives question if a hearty welcome is deserved. Some are pointing to the party switches of others in previous political seasons. The most recent example of a party switch for brazen political expediency would be the Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Spector. Originally a Democrat, as he entered national politics he ran as a Republican. Now, realizing his Senate career may be winding down after decades in the office, he has gone back to the Democrats. He faces a tough re-election campaign and it is obvious that he felt he would have a stronger showing as a Democrat. Whatever.

Under the Bush administration's tenure, an early convert to the other side of the political aisle made the balance of power in the Senate shift from Republican control to the Democrats and that was much more significant at the time than the defection of Spector. When the Republican senator from Vermont, Jim Jeffords, left the Republican party he was not doing so for an easier re-election bid. He was doing it out of a temper tantrum. It was well known at the time that Jeffords felt left out of negotiating and financial allotments during the debate of the No Child Left Behind Act and so, in order to embarrass President Bush and hurt his fellow Republicans, he went to the other side. They made great hay of this action, naturally, and the Democrats were put into the majority in the Senate. Jeffords tried his best to make it all look as though his personal ethics and political beliefs had been sullied by his own party and thus, time to make a switch. No one actually believed him, though, and that was his final term in the Senate. Good riddance.

So, what conclusion should be drawn from the switch made yesterday by Rep. Parker Griffith of the fifth district in Alabama? Probably not too much time should be spent on this. Yes, of course, Chairman Steele correctly welcomed Griffith into the party. Why not? A political party is not a private club. Regardless of any other political spin going on in Washington, this defection was a smack to Speaker of the House Pelosi and her leadership of that body. More important to Griffith's decision process, though, was probably the realization that the Democratic party is not doing so well in the minds of the American voter. Those who call themselves 'Republican' may still number in a low minority but those who call themselves 'conservative' are on the rise. Which party do the conservatives most identify with on election day?

The current dominance of the liberal left in power in Washington, D.C. is forcing voters to focus on which direction our nation should move forward. Should we continue on with the spending orgy and embrace the far left in their pursuit of a permanent majority or should our fellow countrymen say, wait. Not so fast. Our current path is not at all a healthy one for our future. Americans thought we needed 'change' yet this current agenda pursued in the chambers of power is not exactly what most had in mind. The realities of the left's agenda has been a slap in the fact to most paying attention.

The Tea Party movement has focused attention to the perils of fiscally irresponsible leadership. A sleeping giant has awoken after a long slumber. The last time this happened, Republicans were able to take the majority in both houses of Congress for the first time in more than 40 years. While 2010 will most likely not be so dramatic, it will be the beginning of the path back for Republican leadership. The demise of the Republican party was greatly exaggerated after the election of President Obama in November 2008. Obama won the election with a strong percentage of winning votes, to be sure. It wasn't, however, a landslide. It can be argued that his election was due to being at the right place in the right time. More than anything else, his election can be credited to the falling economic atmosphere at the time. Democrats took the victory to mean it was time to finally push an all out liberal spending agenda that they have been dreaming about for decades.

Now is the time for Republicans to stress the differences in political philosophy. Now is the time to stop and take the time to grow a strong bench - a strong field of candidates for future elections from the local level up to the top national elections. Now is the time to encourage and train future candidates at the grassroots level. Now is the time to keep the pressure on elected officials - to remind them that we are watching and expect them to live our philosophy as they vote. Now is the time to continue to grow the party with outreach to all communities that embrace strong conservative fiscal values and national security issues. Embrace those who believe in personal freedom and value strong communities in which to raise a family.

Now is the time to get involved, beginning at the local level. At the very least, vote in every election. Read about the issues and go vote. Let your voice be heard. Join a group of like minded individuals for conversation and motivation.

Let us remember the term used by former President Reagan - happy warriors. We are happy warriors. The public is waiting for us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cash for Cloture In An Early Morning Vote

The Cash for Cloture program initiated by President Obama and carried out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid produced a victory in the early morning hour of 1:10 AM EST, Monday December 21, 2009. The bare minimum of 60 aye votes has now moved the Reid Amendment - the Manager's Amendment - toward the nationalization of America's health care system. All Democrats voted aye; all Republicans voted no.

Never before in the history of the United States Senate has legislation that will have such a sweeping effect on every citizen been brought into reconciliation on a pure party line vote. There is no more "we inherited" or "George W. Bush did this and that" as an excuse. There is certainly no longer the pretense of a moderate Democrat in the Senate. All Democrats have now been bought off by their own leadership and taken the bait of not daring to stand for their constituents and against the vastly unpopular agenda of President Obama. The bullying tactics out of the West Wing and the guilt rendering threats that a no vote on Obamacare would sink the Obama presidency have worked.

Bogus charges flew in the final hours of debate on the Senate floor, carried live on C-SPAN, unlike most of the negoiations of the bill as was promised by President Obama. A particularly insincere charge was levied by Reid that it was the fault of the Republican opposition that the vote was taking place at such an odd hour, in the middle of night. By particularly insincere, I mean Reid flat out lied.

The reason the vote was taken at 1:00 in the morning was because Reid is under a manufactured deadline to get the bill out of the Senate by the Christmas recess. By doing so, the bill will move to reconcilation with the House bill passed last month and then it can all be wrapped up in a bow and presented to President Obama to sign just before his very first State of the Union address to the nation in January. It is all so very convenient to Obama's re-election bid in 2012.

As Mary Landrieu of Louisiana pointed out on a Sunday morning interview, Senator Tom Coburn did, in fact, slow the pace down by exercising his right to request the reading of the Manager's Amendment. This exercise in smoke and mirrors to change up some of the original bill submitted is more than 300 pages in length. It is where, for instance, the State of Nebraska is no longer responsible for the expense of Medicaid payments at the state level, thanks to the final holdout on the Democratic side, the Senator from Nebraska Ben Nelson. His fake claims of solely being determined that federal funds are not used for abortion fell away when the final negoiations for his aye vote were revealed. And, Mary Landrieu already had her share of press for the $300 million she proudly bragged of selling out for her vote in the affirmative, for her state.

The vote in the early hours of the morning was due to manuvering around the Senate rules and the timeline is set by the Senate Majority Leader, not the minority. Reid brought about this vote at its time in order to keep his own timeline as the Senate prepares to dismiss for Christmas. He has scheduled the final vote - after the technical votes are taken Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - for Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas America!

The vote was taken at 1:00 AM so that the timeline would allow the votes to be taken before everyone went home for Christmas. It is as simple as that. The dirty little secret is that without finishing up before the recess, it would have been even more difficult to get the 60 votes needed when the Senate re-convened in January. Unwilling to jeopardize the Obama timeline for re-election in 2012, the Democrats put party over country with such irresponsible legislation that affects 1/6 of our national economy while still leaving about 20 million uninsured and raising taxes and insurance premiums on everyone.

This is reform?

No. This is a blatant power grab by Democrats from Obama down to Reid and Pelosi for a huge new entitlement program that they believe will establish a permanent Democrat majority in Congress. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "with a couple of cheap deals and a rushed vote at one o'clock in the morning" the debate would end, something few would have imagined.

1:10 AM, December 21, 2009. We'll remember. 2010 is almost here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Common Sense Republicans

Within the Republican party several descriptive catch phrases have emerged. As Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota begins to launch a potential presidential bid, we are reminded that he coined the term "Sam's Club Republicans", in his efforts to bring in potential voters from the blue collar working class. As hard as it may be to understand, certainly by those of us searching for common sense logic from political leaders, there has been criticism from the more conservative right for this approach. These critics haven't yet had the light bulb moment in the logic that more voters on your side of an argument is a good thing, a winning strategy, not a bad thing.

As the issue of health care/insurance reform took center stage in recent months, a new term has come to the forefront. "Whole Foods Republicans" are alive and well and working hard to keep our party viable and relevant. John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, is a libertarian and wrote an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal last August. Conservatives embraced his common sense approach to health care reform and liberals were appalled, even angry. Liberals - for whom we are to believe are so open-minded and accepting of free speech - actually called for boycotts of Whole Foods stores.

Mackey nicely summed up what many of us believe as far as common sense and fiscal philosophy merge into political ideology. Far right ideologues mock people for a more progressive leaning lifestyle - recycling, clothing choices, consumer choice, while the far left ideologues also demand conformity in thought from their perspective. For instance, the very man hailed for his common sense approach to health care benefits, Mr. Mackey, is founder of a grocery store mocked by the far right as a store frequented by liberals. It is a wacky criticism, to be sure, but that is the problem with hard ideology, there is no room for common sense.

Wear Birkenstocks? You are mocked by the likes of Rush Limbaugh as a hippie - the very worst slur imaginable to some. Believe men and women are equal partners in life? You must be a femi-Nazi. Recycle? Support breaking our dependence on foreign oil? Think all religions are to be respected and not prominent in public schools? All of these ideas can be used as fodder in tirades from the far right. It's all about the social issues for some in the party and that is a destructive path.

Environmental issues are put into the liberal column. It is as though liberals think conservatives don't want clean air and water. Do they not realize we all breathe the same air and use the same water? Why isn't environmental purist Ed Begley, Jr. held up as a leader and center stage in the path forward instead of a charlatan like Al Gore? Begley has lived the philosophy for decades now in his personal life, unlike Gore who holds dear living large and makes up the bogus practice of buying carbon credits to offset his gluttony of natural resources. Not to mention Gore has been handsomely rewarded financially for his act.

Whole Foods Republicans are, according to Michael Petrilli, a Hoover Institution Fellow, "independent-minded voters who embrace a progressive lifestyle but not progressive politics. These highly-educated individuals appreciate diversity and would never tell racist or homophobic jokes; they like living in walkable urban environments; they believe in environmental stewardship, community service and a spirit of inclusion. And, yes, many shop at Whole Foods, which has become a symbol of progressive affluence but is also a good example of the free enterprise system at work." Nothing wrong with any of that, if you ask me.

The dirty little secret is that this last election, the one won by Barack Obama who is a Whole Foods shopper if we are to believe his campaign stump speech in Iowa that included arugula though Iowa has no Whole Foods stores, brought about a majority of higher educated voters casting votes for the Democrats for the first time since the 1970's. For the last several decades, those with college degrees voted Republican in greater numbers than Democrat.

Whatever the trendy term of the day is, Republicans have a history of advancing civil rights legislation, clean air legislation, educational opportunities for all students, and a freer world. It is silly to assume a woman wearing a pair of Birkenstocks must be a card carrying liberal. It is not productive to criticize Republicans who are a bit more libertarian in social issues than others in the party. Fiscal conservatism is the key to a strong Republican party.

I wear Birkenstocks almost every day. They are good for my feet, it's as simple as that. I recycled before recycling was cool and worked for it to be available to my community as curbside pick-up, just like ordinary trash pick-up over 20 years ago. I remember the first Earth Day in the early 1970's when we thought the earth was suffering from an approaching Ice Age, not global warming. I have a college education with a major in Political Science. I'm a Baby Boomer and amused at those coming behind me who think we are selfish and not Republican enough. I believe in a strong national defense and in the exceptionalism of the United States. My husband works in the oil drilling industry and I support all avenues to energy independence, including expanding offshore oil drilling and natural gas production.

I shop everywhere.

We are at a fork in the road, we Republicans. Either we embrace the tide of independent voters disillusioned with a Democratic dominance in Washington, D.C. and welcome those who are with us in fiscal conservatism as they begin to support Republican candidates again or we allow a minority on the ardent far right to use social issues to divide us. The finger pointing and name calling from within will destroy us.

Let's embrace our inner Happy Warrior. Let the Democrats be the voices of exclusion.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Perot Supports Hutchison for Governor

The bid accepted by the Army from a company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is being re-evaluated in light of practical considerations. Sometimes the lowest bid is not the most responsible option. In this case, BAE Systems in Sealy, Texas has held the contract for making medium tactical vehicles for the Army for seventeen years. The contract is to be worth $2.8 billion.

GAO awarded the contract this time to a different company - one that bid 30% lower but didn't take into consideration if the winner could start from scratch in this production and still come in at the lower price. Thanks to the work of Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, fighting to keep the 3,000 jobs in Sealy, GAO and the Army are now to make a revised decision soon. All indications point to the contract being awarded to BAE again.

It should be noted that Navistar also put in a competitive bid and has protested the Army's award, too.

Using a carrot and stick approach, the Texas senators said that a nomination for a new Army acquisition chief would be held up if the Army didn't reconsider their bid award. Malcolm Ross O'Neill was nominated December 3 by President Obama for that position.

Also along the lines of military support recognition, on December 15, an op-ed written by Ross Perot ran in the Dallas Morning News. Perot points to his work with Senator Hutchison for military veterans. In particular, Perot points out working with her on issues for veterans of Operation Desert shield and Desert storm. She directed $15 million toward research resulting in the VA's Gulf War Research Committee which researches causes and treatment of Gulf War Syndrome.

She has been actively supporting the changes that have been made to the Dallas VA medical center which meet needs for mental health issues. And she authored legislation which resulted in the national Military Family Association awarding her the "Legislator of the Year" for passing the survivor benefits for families of servicemen and women killed during significant years of active duty, but less than 20years needed for full military retirement.

Another point that Perot made is that Senator Hutchison stopped the practice of the government collecting VA debts from survivors of military killed in action. Plus, she ended the policy that deducted the amount of payments for medical disabilities from retirement pay earned by those disabled veterans with 20 or more years of service.

She fought for retired military to have access to TRICARE health care benefits for life and expanded benefits for veterans for college education in the new GI Bill.

Senator Hutchison continues to prove she is a strong supporter and friend of our military members and their families.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Houston GOP Leaders Weren't Listening In Mayor's Race

The biggest losers in the recent Houston mayoral race were the well-known Republicans who lent their names and support to the losing candidate. Behind the mask of being the 'business community', they decided that a liberal lawyer/lobbyist who has reaped the benefits of city contracts through his law firm and as a former insider at City Hall would be a better mayor than the woman running against him. These Republicans didn't just allow their names to be placed on fliers and ads, they also made taped robo-calls for their candidate. They had the blind arrogance to bill themselves as 'conservatives'. There was no history of conservative action from their candidate.

So, instead of looking like wise leaders, encouraging their fellow conservatives to make a sound fiscal choice for Houston, they come away from this last election looking as the useful idiots they were. This is what happens when a political race is used for a social agenda.

Perhaps these Republicans were scared of the winning candidate. Perhaps a smart, savvy, motivated, organized mother of three was too much for them to handle. Perhaps these Republicans were simply playing to the lowest base - that of those willing to demonize a person simply for the person's choice of lifetime partner. How very sad.

The ironic part is that the losing campaign was the one making sexual agendas the issue, not the lesbian running for office. She made it clear each time she was asked that issues related to lifestyle were not her concern at this time. If, at a time in the future, issues came to the forefront she would put any decision to a vote of the taxpayers. Isn't that a perfectly acceptable mind set for conservatives? Let the taxpayer/voter decide.

It is apparent that much work is still needed to make clear to those seeking political leadership that growing a political party is the path to success, not shrinking it. Where is the common sense? The voters in Houston certainly didn't side with those using worn out social issues as a way to gin up support. It was very reminiscent of the 2004 presidential race when candidate John Kerry made a point of stating that Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbian - something well known at the time but not publicly acknowledged by her family during political campaigns. It is a personal matter, after all. Kerry deliberately did that to turn the religious right against the Bush/Cheney ticket. He figured the religious right were small minded and not capable of voting for anything but a single social issue.

As we approach a new year, let us resolve to just grow up. If the Republicans who felt the need to so publicly support a liberal lawyer/lobbyist to lead the City of Houston had just taken the time to listen to the other candidate, they would have heard a candidate that sounds mostly just like them. She grew up in a Republican household, she said at one forum, and she learned a strong work ethic from her father and mother. She began working as a teenager and went on to graduate from Rice University. She had city leadership experience from two terms as a city council member and then as city controller. She ran a well-organized and enthusiastic campaign which captured the imagination of a segment of our population who weren't sure if their city was ready to cast the most logical vote.

The election for mayor of Houston is supposed to be 'non-partisan'. Candidates don't run as representing a certain political party, they run as the best candidate to lead the city.

Republicans have to focus on fiscal conservatism, especially as we continue to deal with a national recession. A candidate's sexual orientation, not used as the sole campaign issue, should be left as the person's private life. Live and let live - as long as the taxpayer is not expected to pay the bill.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Winning Season for the New Orleans Saints

It's a terrific year to be a New Orleans Saints football fan. For the first time in their history, the Saints are not only winning, but they are winning big. Today the Saints are 13-0 and I couldn't be happier for them and the city.

The Saints were not my team of preference growing up in Shreveport. I was raised a Dallas Cowboy fan. I grew up with much respect for coach Tom Landry and for quarterback Roger Staubach. When the New Orleans team began, in 1967, I was twelve years old. I was a budding fan, wanting to believe our state had a winning team.

Year after year, despite the skills of good guy Archie Manning as quarterback and fellow native of Mississippi, the Saints lost. For twenty years, not one winning season was produced. Certainly no chance to play in the Super Bowl. Two play-off years, though, did keep the fans believing.

The City of New Orleans is full of dreamers. It is the city time forgot. It is a city of magic and parades, of carnivals and poverty, of music and despair, of old world culture and new world gauche, of world acclaimed food and a hunger for more. The city is my favorite one forever.

This is the football season that does my heart good. After all these years, after years of 'maybe this year' hoping that this would be the one, it is the year of the Saints. After coming back from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the realization of the importance of the team to the recovery of the city, the Saints have earned their place in the hearts of their fans.

We believe.

Who Dat? The New Orleans Saints, that's who. Laissez les bon temps rouler.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Harris County Republican Party Accounting Debacle

As has been noticed by some recently, something odd is going on in bookkeeping at Harris County Republican Party (HCRP) headquarters. Today brings an article by Texas Watchdog and gives some specific examples of negligent practice deserving of investigation.

HCRP treasurer, "Josh Flynn, referred Texas Watchdog to those who made the contributions that the GOP failed to report. 'I can't speak for anything that is not reported,' Flynn said. "We report what we got, and as far as what others report, you'd have to talk to them."

Mention of the need for a complete, independent audit of the books was made during a forum held for the HCRP chairman candidates in September. Candidate Ed Hubbard raised the issue and now that the story has legs from outside sources, he says he told us so -

The forum was held by the Republican Women's club of which I am a member and will be installed as President in January. We are planning another chairman forum before the election in March and it will again include all of the declared candidates. Currently, the incumbent Jared Woodfill is running against Ed Hubbard, Paul Simpson and Don Large.

Paul Simpson has released a press statement and it can be seen here:

Something is amiss on Richmond Avenue at HCRP headquarters. We deserve answers from an independent audit. Soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Barack Does Oslo

Is President Obama using speech writers from the days of former President George W. Bush? Did anyone notice Obama used the word 'evil' in his Nobel Peace Prize speech today in Oslo? Check this article out:

There is a bit of irony in the fact that Obama accepts the prize just days away from his speech announcing an escalation in the number of troops going to Afghanistan. Those on the left ask how a 'war President' can accept an award given for work toward world peace. Those on the left ask that question because they do not know any better. It is a sign of utter ignorance towards the workings of national defense and the military.

The real problem with Obama's speech is that it is hard for many to believe his sincerity. It is hard for many Americans to believe in his sincerity in speaking of respect for the military or for America's role in protecting the world. It is hard for many Americans to think it is anything other than posturing from the perpetual candidate.

Obama was absolutely correct in acknowledging that he didn't truly deserve this recognition. That is obvious even to the most gullible of his supporters. As Byron York wrote in The Examiner, Obama has done nothing to deserve the recognition.

It is embarrassing. It is embarrassing for Obama to justify this recognition while touting his executive order to close GITMO, and for blathering on about declaring that 'torture' is not to be used on war prisoners, and the like. He is out of his league when talking to the world about war and peace.

There was a bit of amusing comeuppance for the Norwegians - according to published reports in European newspapers, Obama has insulted the committee by taking a pass on participating in gatherings traditionally associated with the acceptance of the Peace Prize. He declined the invitation to the traditional luncheon for recipients, too.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Why Is Harry Reid The Senate's Democrat Leader?

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, 'slow down, stop everything, let's start over.' If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right," Reid said Monday. "When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said 'slow down, it's too early, things aren't bad enough.' "

He continued: "When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn't quite right.
"When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today."
"There is little to say about the substance of this, other than to observe that he forgot to mention the Holocaust. But as a matter of form, Reid's statement is so bad as to be interesting."

That was from The Wall Street Journal online this morning.

Reid conveniently re-writes history as he speaks hatefully of Republican opposition. It was the Democrats that filibustered civil rights legislation - notably Robert Byrd with his own 16 hour filibuster. It was Republican support that moved the legislation through. This is a sign of desperation for Reid. President Obama is desperate to get health care/insurance reform passed and it doesn't really matter that this is the "worst bill ever written", as it has been labeled. They believe that anything is better than nothing and they know that if it is not accomplished before the end of the year, then the chances of legislation passing diminishes. The American people do not want this bill to pass but the Democrats are too heavily invested in their own grab for power to do the right thing and make the legislation worth passing.

From The Hill blog late this afternoon:

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) late Tuesday made an extraordinary effort to save the Democratic health care reform bill from an anti-abortion amendment which could have derailed it."

"Reid, who is pro-life and facing a difficult re-election contest next year, delivered a lengthy, emotional floor speech arguing against an amendment by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) which would have prohibited public money from funding abortions. At the end of the speech, however, Reid abruptly sat down, leaving Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to make a motion to table, or set aside, the amendment. The Senate began voting on the amendment at 5:10 p.m."

"Most obviously, someone who lashes out in such a clumsy and vicious way is not someone who feels confident that he will prevail. It's hard to imagine what Reid could be hoping to accomplish, other than perhaps rallying the Democratic left with a little partisan hate speech."

Senator Reid is one nasty hombre. And, he is a coward. He has a habit of saying inappropriate statements on the Senate floor. He said in March 2006 that the war in Iraq was lost. He regularly belittles Republican opposition to Obama policy legislation. Odd, since he was the driving force behind constant opposition to former President Bush, usually simply to deny him any legislative success at all. Yet, now when the shoe is on the other foot, he doesn't handle the situation well.

Reid calls for unity, to not let differences in opinions drive the parties apart. That is amusing when one reviews his own actions. He is a small man of unworthy character. He is in a tough re-election battle in Nevada. We can only hope he loses his seat and certainly that he loses control of the Senate.

Reid is desperate. It shows. He cracks under pressure and doesn't care who he blames for his failure. He has been in politics for far too long and made far too much financial gain to be swayed by ordinary people. We can hope that a change is made in Nevada. Soon.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Annise Parker for Houston Mayor

Tomorrow, Tuesday December 8, is the last day of early voting in the run-off races in Houston. Today I voted and was in and out in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately, that indicates a very light turn-out. I encourage everyone to get out and vote on December 12, if not to early vote.

My vote was cast for Annise Parker for Mayor of Houston. Annise Parker is the fiscal conservative in this run-off and that is my top priority in a candidate. She is concerned with the problem of flooding in the city and she is endorsed by the Houston Chronicle, along with professional law enforcement organizations. Her opponent is not willing to make tough decisions about the Houston Police Department and change up the department for the better. Her opponent is a long time city insider and there is a long history of personal financial benefit for his actions. He supports the use of tax dollars in building more stadiums and sports arenas in a time of economic difficulty. His work experience is as a lawyer/lobbyist.

Annise Parker is a woman of her word and listens to those with questions or comments. There is not a aura of arrogance nor is there condescension in her attitude as she answers questions.

My vote for City Controller went to M.K. Khan. Mr. Khan is a conservative with a calm, measured approach to city finances. He has extensive business experience.

This election may not be glamorous or exciting but it is important. Houston is the nation's fourth largest city and our leadership is important, both on a local and on a national level.

Go vote.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Personal Politics and Max Baucus

The latest in politics/power/sex gossip fodder comes in the revelation that Montana's senior Senator, Max Baucus, put in the name of his girlfriend, Melodee Hanes, for consideration for a U.S. Attorney appointment. He withdrew her name earlier this year. In September, President Obama nominated Michael Cotter, a Helena attorney for the job.

The story come to surface on and was the buzz on cable television yesterday. "She was recommended for the position because of a very close and personal relationship with Max Baucus and she withdrew because of a very close and personal relationship with Max Baucus," Thomas Bennett, Hanes' ex-husband, told Main Justice. Bennett and Hanes divorced in December 2008."

Turns out the couple decided to live together in Washington, D.C. and that trumped the U.S. Attorney appointment. She is now acting Deputy Administrator for Policy in the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Hanes is the former state director for Senator Baucus in Montana. The gossipy part comes in when the couple became romantically involved. The beginning is uncertain to some guests at Baucus' son's wedding in June 2008, the dancing by the couple indicated a closer than professional relationship. Baucus and his second wife announced their divorce in April. They were married for 26 years. Both called the divorce amicable. Hanes is also now divorced. An update to the Main Justice site reports Hanes and her ex-husband were divorced in December 2008 and that the Bucus/Hanes relationship began in the summer of 2008.

The point missed is that the scandal should not be the sexual part of the affair. It is the blatant corruption of Max Baucus. Baucus is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and at the center of the legislation for health care reform. He nominated his girlfriend for a U.S. Attorney seat. He advanced the name of his girlfriend and used the elected position he himself holds as recommendation. Human beings are not perfect. The personal relationship is not the damaging aspect. The cronyism on display and the assumption of entitlement by elected officials with too many years in Washington, D.C. is the issue.

Baucus has made a career out of his Senate office. This is the problem with those who are elected and stay forever. Our founding fathers never meant for political office to be a lifetime career.

Voters in Montana - are you listening?

Friday, December 04, 2009

The White House Jobs Summit

As the newest unemployment numbers are reported today, this from a press release: "The unemployment rate, which had risen to 10.2% in October, declined to 10.0% in November. This decline primarily reflects an increase in the number employed, as measured by the household survey. Despite the welcome decline, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high. This underscores the need for the responsible actions to jump start private-sector job creation that the President highlighted at yesterday’s Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth at the White House." - WH Economic Adviser Christine Romer

Any drop in unemployment numbers is welcome. However, one month's slight trend in smaller numbers does not equal much cheering. Will next month show a correction in the other direction? Did the shorter work week by federal employees due to the Thanksgiving weekend cause lower numbers reported? If offices weren't open, new claims could not be filed.

Yesterday, at the White House, President Obama held a "Jobs Summit". The invited participants is a list chock full of liberal economists, union leaders, liberal business CEO's, and other special interests on the left side of the aisle. Not invited include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Was that simply small minded payback from the administration to a segment of the business world not in favor of the Obamacare legislation currently in the works?

It was, to be honest, a liberal echo chamber of Obama supporters. Appropriate enough, if you are of the opinion that these summits are little more than photo ops and feel good cheerleading sessions.

So, why was this summit called in the first place? Simply speaking, it is because the Obama administration is slowly acknowledging that it is high unemployment and the uncertainty of those employed that weighs heaviest on the minds of voters. As the President spends more and more political capital on his insistence that the dreadful legislation known as health care/health insurance reform be passed this year, despite plummeting numbers of those in favor of the legislation, the President would now like the voter to believe he has been championing job creation all along.

Ridiculous to those staying current on the agenda of this President and his administration, anyone with a television or reading a news report knows that this president has been a tunnel-visioned johnny one-note on health care/health insurance reform since his inauguration. The problem is, however, with the implementation of his economic recovery policies, the economy is not at all what was predicted by his liberal economic team. Now, with the elections of 2010 on the horizon, the polling does not bode well for Democrats or for incumbents. With Democrats in such large majorities in Congress, this is bringing about much angst among the polling and pundit class.

Even the liberal polling operation of Democracy Corps, the outfit run by James Carville and Stanley Greenberg, recent polls conducted have been squelched, due to unfavorable findings toward Democrats. They find voters angry and blaming those in charge. Reasonable enough. The economy is first and foremost the issue on the average voter's mind. The number of people polled on the question of whether or not the country is heading in the right direction continues to show bad news for Obama and Democrats. Today the number is 58% responding that the direction is in the wrong column. The latest Democracy Corps poll shows 64% list jobs as the most important problem facing our country - twice the number over concern about the deficit or the cost of health care currently in the country. While there is still plenty of blame to be put on the previous administration, in the minds of voters, this president is being held more accountable and that will continue as he is in office longer.

What was the first on the agenda of this new administration? They chose to ram through legislation on the stimulus spending - hugely unpopular by at least half of the population of voters and then the House passed cap and tax legislation on global climate change. Then, the House passed their version of health care/health insurance reform which is more draconian than the Senate version now being debated. None of this is favorable to the business climate for job creation.

Higher taxes and government mandates on benefits offered by employers is a recipe for job loss. Pending legislation on 'card check' - the act of bullying employees into joining unions - is a job killer.

While President Obama now states his recognition that it is the private sector that creates jobs with government providing favorable conditions, he has acted otherwise. When his own Senior Economic Advisor Christine Romer came on board, she did a complete 180 degree turn in her previous history of economic thought. One wonders if she has any regrets of selling out for a White House position. She did no favor to her country.

President Obama called a jobs summit only after becoming fully aware of the falling numbers for him in the polls. That is the only conclusion reasonably acceptable. The summit was hastily put together and key conservative/business friendly voices were not invited to participate. Candidate Obama promised to listen to all voices when making policy. He benefits, and the country moves forward, if he would only keep that promise.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Obama Goes to West Point

President Obama delivered his latest strategy for the war in Afghanistan before an audience of cadets and officers at West Point last night. Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Clinton were also in attendance. The audience was polite and respectful. Frankly, they looked bored and one cadet was caught on camera falling asleep.

Candidate Obama called the war in Afghanistan the "war of necessity" and a war that must not be lost. He also pledged to send more troops and resources to the fight in Afghanistan while on the campaign trail. His far left supporters have conveniently blocked that part of history from their vehemently anti-war narrative.

There are those on the far left that choose to label Americans as either hawks or doves. Those labels are out of step with the times but they remain. Going back to the war in Vietnam and the anti-war demonstrations of that era, a generation of Americans feel perfectly comfortable with showing open disdain for the military personnel and operations of our nation. This president falls into that category, too. You may remember he was a willing participant in the campaign to label General Petraeus as "General Betrayus" as former President Bush implemented the surge in Iraq, which has brought victory in Iraq. Candidate Obama wore as a badge of honor that he was anti-war in Iraq.

General Petraeus was in the audience last night at West Point, too. He was in full uniform, a chest full of medals and ribbons on display. Karma.

The first and foremost obligation of the President of the United States is to perform his/her duties as Commander-in-Chief. The oath of office as the new president is sworn in states this clearly. The pledge to protect and defend this country is the first of the oath of office, not the end as an afterthought thrown in for good measure. Like it or not, President Obama is a war president.

The war in Afghanistan, however, is not Obama's war. It is America's war. It is NATO's war. It is the war on terror. It is the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as they train enemies of the free world in camps there. Our country was attacked by those in allegiance with an evil man in that part of the world. Nations around the world came together and showed solidarity with us in our answer to the attack.

Just as it was wrong for the braying population to label Iraq as "Bush's war", it is also wrong to label the war in Afghanistan as "Obama's war". He is the Commander-in-Chief and it falls to him to conduct the way forward. All Americans are called upon to stand together in the best interests of our national security. Do Republicans agree with all of Obama's decisions in waging war? No. Do Democrats support Republican concerns? Not much. That is the politics of war. This president is more politician than statesman or leader and that is a pity. Not once in the transcript of his speech last night at West Point does the word "victory" appear.

Our all-volunteer military presents the very best of our nation to the world. They are brave and courageous in the fight and compassionate to the civilians caught up in the battlefields. They deserve the best from us and the respect of a grateful nation.

Words are important.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hotze Endorsement In Houston Mayoral Race Draws Fire

A recent public endorsement for the Gene Locke for Mayor campaign has brought about some delicate fence straddling. The endorsement bringing local buzz is that of Dr. Steven Hotze and his group, Conservative Republicans of Texas.

Gene Locke, Houston attorney, is running against Annise Parker, current City Controller, in a runoff for Mayor of Houston. There is very little difference in policy statements from these two candidates, generally speaking. Hotze mailed out literature over the past weekend in the form of a voter's guide with his organization's endorsements in the run-off elections. Besides the mayoral race, there is also a run-off for City Controller, and city council races.

This endorsement causes problems for Locke, in particular, because of his opponent, Annise Parker. I continue to fail to understand why some Republicans in the city of Houston rally around Gene Locke. It would appear for only one reason - Annise Parker is a lesbian. She was the first openly gay candidate to win a city council race in the city of Houston and she has gone on to be City Controller. Hotze's endorsement literature specifically notes that all seven of his endorsements are for the candidate NOT "endorsed by gay lesbian political action committee."

This turns my stomach.

Local Republican business groups have thrown support behind Locke all along. That was bad enough, especially when a conservative was in the race. Publicly endorsing a liberal Democrat over a conservative Republican in the race for mayor in the primary election was unacceptable to me and others working within the party to strengthen the Republican party in Harris County. We know that Houston would elect a Democrat as mayor but that did not stop us from supporting a Republican in the primary election.

Let's remember who Gene Locke is - an attorney who has extensive ties with City Hall through contracts and contacts. He was city attorney in a previous administration and is credited with the affirmative action policy in place. His law firm has benefited mightily from city contracts. Political activists from the Obama campaign came into the city to lend a hand to Locke and guide his campaign, according to local reports. Locke is reported to have sought the endorsement of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, too.

According to a Houston Chronicle article, Kris Banks, president of the GLBT Political Caucus, said, "He came to us seeking our endorsements, saying he thinks same-sex couples should have legal recognition and the city should have domestic partnerships. I cannot believe he has not repudiated this piece yet. It's very disappointing and makes us question his ability to treat all Houstonians with respect."

Locke sought the support of Hotze, too. He met with him prior to the November 3 election, according to the same article, and said he would refrain from "divisive campaigning and asked his supporters to follow his lead". "I am not going to go into issues of race, issues of sexuality", said Locke.

Writing and implementing the city of Houston's affirmative action policy goes into the issue of race and city employment. As for issues of sexuality, Parker states she supports "the ordinance for city employees and supports gay marriage, not just civil unions. But she said a citywide anti-discrimination law and requirements for contractors are "not on my agenda at this time", as stated in the Houston Chronicle article.

Parker is a woman of her word. That is a key factor in my support for her. This goes back to a forum sponsored by three Republican women's clubs before the November election. Locke, Peter Brown and Parker all agreed to be a part of the panel of candidates. At the last moment Locke and Brown did not show. Parker kept her word and participated. She was warmly received because she was open and honest in her answers. She spoke with all who wanted a word with her after the panel. She brought up the fact that she was raised by Republican parents and has her strong work ethic thanks to them.

Peter Brown personally called the President of our club to apologize for not participating, though he did pawn off his excuse to miscommunication with his staff. Locke only apologized two weeks ago at another gathering of Republican women as he was seeking support and touting Republican business community support. It is also to be noted that Locke and Brown decided not to participate in all the forums previously agreed to after activists from the Obama team came into the city and began helping Locke.

A candidate only has his or her word. Character is about trust and personal ethics. If a candidate is breaking his word before he is even in office, how is he to be trusted in office?

Parker has a strong business background, having been in the oil and gas industry for 20 years and has proven to be a fiscal conservative as City of Houston Controller. Her choices in her personal life have not altered her core belief in watching over tax dollars.

The Hotze endorsement was sparked out of a hateful agenda. This agenda reduces a person solely on another's beliefs. In this case, we are to believe Hotze is a "good" Christian, a member of the Christian right wing of the Republican party. It would appear that the local Republican business community has fallen for the trap. That is a pity.

Houston is our nation's fourth largest city. We are diverse and welcoming. Our city benefits from all of our people working together, not driving us apart in the name of religion. An organization with the name "Conservative Republicans of Texas" doesn't deserve the support of other Republicans as long as the number one issue is a religious social issue - that of the pro-life community.

On the web site of Hotze's organization, there is a test to take to determine if the visitor is a "conservative Republican". The first question is "Are you pro-life?" Next, "Are you pro-family?" Followed by, "Are you a supporter of Free Market and Free Enterprise economics?", "Do you believe the U.S. should secure our borders?" and "Do you support lower taxes and less regulation?". For many of us in the Republican party, this is the wrong order of priorities. Fiscal conservatism trumps social issues.

Gene Locke is not the best choice for Republican support. It appears the reason for this support is based on a social issue and that is wrong. Perhaps those "conservative Republicans" more concerned about criticizing another for a very personal decision, in the name of political philosophy, would better serve our city in another capacity. Perhaps the time that such narrowly focused and polarizing endorsements has come and gone.

Also noted in the Houston Chronicle article is the fact that the Hotze endorsement was not sought or welcomed by some on the receiving end. City Council candidates Stephen Costello and Jack Christie both said they did not welcome the endorsement and the others endorsed thanked Hotze for the endorsement but said they disagreed with some of his views. Costello said he specifically asked otherwise. One City Council candidate, Brenda Stardig, could not be reached for comment.