Even conservative Washington Post columnist and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer has trouble swallowing the latest Republican talking points, shoveled out at this week's Republican convention. In his column today, Mr. Krauthammer points out the glaring hole in the McCain campaign strategy, saying, "The problem is the inherent oddity of the incumbent party running on change. Here were Republicans -- the party that controlled the White House for eight years and both houses of Congress for five -- wildly cheering the promise to take on Washington. I don't mean to be impolite, but who's controlled Washington this decade?"
I keep waiting for a Democrat -- heck, maybe even Senator Obama -- to point out the lies that flooded the convention center in St. Paul. When Sarah Palin was applauded for saying that she said "no thanks to that bridge to nowhere" which had been championed by Senator Stevens, she lied. She stood side by side with Senator Stevens fighting for that bridge and justifying the wasteful spending that it represented. Indeed, Alaska received over $200 million for that project and has never returned a dime of that money, even though its governor said "no thanks."
Paul Krugman summed it up most effectively when he labeled the Republican approach to this campaign "The Resentment Strategy," pointing out that Republicans are attempting to depict Democrats as elitists "who think they're better than you." Republicans, who have spent the last eight years doing everything they can to eliminate the middle class, believe they can win the votes of the broken -- and broke -- by painting Democrats as snobs. Are Democrats really going to stand idle while Republicans grab their working class clothes and pretend to put them on? Is there actually a person of any ethnicity who watched the Republican convention, saw the endless multitudes of white faces, and still believes that the Republican party cares about anyone but white, wealthy Americans? If you are one of those people, get some therapy or get an education because either you hate yourself or you're not educated enough to reach a reasonable conclusion.
While it's refreshing and odd to have a Fox News commentator step out of line as Mr. Krauthammer did, I'm sure his next column will be more like David Brooks's column yesterday in The New York Times wherein he marveled at McCain's impressive and bold choice of Sarah Palin and complimented McCain by saying he had the "heart of an insurgent." Apparently, in the new Republican world where millionaire Mitt Romney can attack the "Eastern elites" and anti-abortion crusader Sarah Palin can applaud her daughter's "choice," it is now a compliment to have the "heart of an insurgent," the very thing the Republican party has spent eight years killing, maiming, and holding up on a stick as a reason to ignore the Constitution.
Let's be clear. It is absolute fair to question the intellectual capacity of anyone who was rooting for Hillary Clinton to get the Democratic nomination who isn't now voting for Barack Obama. Senator Obama shares Senator Clinton's policy goals and moral values. If you're a Hillary fan and you're still on the fence, even after her speech at the Democratic National Convention, then John McCain is hoping you're as dumb as he thinks you are. And that's why he's chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Feeling cheated by Barack Obama's ability to run a better, more effective campaign than Hillary Clinton? Well, now you can vote for a woman on the Republican ticket. Ignore the core values that made you vote for Hillary Clinton in the first place. Don't worry about a woman's right to choose or protecting the environment or ending the Iraq War, just vote for any woman at all.
By selecting Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Senator John McCain is admitting that he knows what the rest of know: that those die-hard Hillary voters who say they won't vote for Senator Obama have lost their minds. The scary thing is that McCain may have figured out a way to take advantage of them.
Barack Obama speaks eloquently of his concerns for our soldiers in Afghanistan, never failing to point out that the war in Afghanistan would be going better if the bulk of our troops and resources weren't diverted to Iraq. Remember, the Iraq War is the war he opposed when he wasn't yet a member of the United States Senate. Mr. Obama likes to talk about what he would have done before he was a member of the senate and what he will do if he becomes president. Right now, though, Barack Obama is not only a member of the United States Senate, he's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For the past year, he's been chairman of the Subcommittee on European Affairs which oversees the role of NATO in places like, oh, Afghanistan and even Iraq. What an opportunity for Senator Obama to take action!
In the past year, though, Senator Obama hasn't taken action. He hasn't convened a single meeting of his committee. He defends his lack of involvement by saying that he is in the midst of a presidential campaign. Is that an acceptable reason to ignore his responsibilities as a senator? In 2007, the year during which Senator Obama could have been more involved in talks with NATO regarding Afghanistan, "U.S. military deaths, suicide bombings and opium production [in Afghanistan] hit record highs," according to an article by the Associated Press in Army Times. While Senator Obama campaigned and complained about our flawed strategy in Afghanistan, 110 United States troops died in 2007. If NATO's role in Afghanistan were expanded, perhaps the American troops would not have been in harm's way. Unfortunately, though, the man who has the power to encourage NATO to do more in Afghanistan is too busy telling his fans that "words matter."
This week, Senator Obama said, "It's true that speeches don't solve all problems, but what is also true -- if we cannot inspire the country to believe again, it doesn't matter how many policies and plans we have."
I beg to differ. This country is full of people who believe in its leaders, so much so that often people are inspired to vote against their own self interests. Our current president is a great example of a leader who inspired people to believe in him. Once they elected him, though, his policies and plans failed them. In 2000 and again in 2004, lower and middle class Americans who would suffer economically at the hands of Bush policy decisions voted for him anyway because they believed in his rhetoric.
Of course, President Bush is a lousy orator, but the catchy phrases are the things that grab the voters' attention. When Senator Obama talks about inspiring the country "to believe again," I want to ask him to be more specific. And when he says that, without that belief, "it doesn't matter how many policies and plans we have," he's just wrong. Government is about making policy and then creating and implementing the plans to carry out that policy.
Robert J. Samuelson of The Washington Post said today of Barack Obama, "The trouble, at least for me, is the huge deceptive gap between his captivating oratory and his actual views....If you examine [Obama's] agenda, it is completely ordinary, highly partisan, not candid, and mostly unresponsive to many pressing national problems."
America needs policies that work and the plans to implement them. Belief will follow. When the Iraq War draws down, unemployment shrinks, health insurance becomes available to all of us equally, wages increase, and the mortgage crisis abates, belief will follow. Can we have just one election where we cast our votes based on what is real?
Sorry to burst the bubble of the Obama-philes out there. Sorry to throw cold water on those of you yearning for another Kennedy moment. But Senator Obama is not transformational, not transcendent, and not on a par with the great leaders of our time. He's just a man. Of course, he is highly educated and a gifted speaker, even when he says nothing, but if he were transformational and not just another power-hungry politician, he would have said something about Kenya by now.
Right now, Kenya teeters on the brink of a possible mass genocide. Already, over 1,000 people have died. The UN and other agencies have expressed an absolute sense of urgency that, in order to prevent total chaos, the world must act NOW. Meanwhile, Senator Obama, who has the attention of the entire world and relatives in Kenya, remains SILENT. Why? His background is supposed to be part of his appeal; yet, he seems to be afraid to remind us that he cares about Kenya. Worse still, neither Clinton could raise the issue now without being accused of dirty politics. I’m not suggesting that Senator Obama should make Kenya a central theme of his campaign, but he could add a sentence or two to his stump speech in that foreign policy section where he takes a moment to pronounce Pakistan like a Pakistani. He won’t, though, because he’s just another politician, not some transformational, Kennedy-esque, transcendent man.
Who says we can’t discuss Barack Obama’s past drug use just because he already divulged it in a book? Is that the rule? His drug history doesn’t include a description of not inhaling or a tortured reference to current FBI applicant criteria, so we aren’t allowed to bring it up, make quips about it, implicitly refer to it? Again, it seems necessary to point out that Senator Obama is not god. He has made mistakes. He is a little unusual in that he admits to them…freely…in a book. The poor guy probably thought that there was still an investigative reporter out there who might uncover his past drug use, so he just set it right there in black and white for all of us to read. I’m sure he realizes now that the reporters would never have investigated anything and that they just report what they’re told when they’re not protecting him from those who would actually dare to discuss the facts he set forth in his own book.
On Sunday, Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, was speaking at a Hillary Clinton rally and said, “To me, as an African-American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood — and I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in the book — when they have been involved.”
This innocuous reference was called a “personal, divisive attack on Barack Obama” by South Carolina State Representative I.S. Leevy Johnson. It set off enough cries of indignation from Senator Obama’s supporters that Mr. Johnson felt compelled to clarify his remarks, saying – less than candidly – that he was referring to Senator Obama’s work in the community.
Once again, though, the real point has been lost amidst a media-driven frenzy. No real issues are being discussed as representatives from both campaigns use media time to discuss this non-event. It shouldn’t make the news if someone decides to refer to Senator Obama’s past drug use. Frankly, I would think that only a drug addict would care if people kept referring to a past dalliance with drugs.
I have a revelation for some of you out there: Barack Obama is not God. And since he is not God, I think it’s unfair that he is running a campaign which asks us to vote for him based totally on faith, rather than on tangible ideas. In his campaign style, Senator Obama bears a remarkable resemblance to our current president, who also campaigned by making popular, catchy statements but had no experience or plan to back them up. How different is Senator Obama’s United States speech from the Bush “I’m a Uniter” speech?
Senator Obama said in his Iowa victory speech, “You have done what the cynics said we couldn’t do.” He likes people to believe that his is a grassroots campaign, driven by the little people. The truth is, though, that he is a masterful campaigner who has generated huge amounts of campaign funds and that he outspent every Democratic candidate in Iowa to ensure victory in a place where 200,000 votes nearly doubled the previous voter turnout record. Why? So he could make that speech about how the will of the little people can trump the cynics and, in turn, a wave of optimism and hope would carry him to the White House. How cynical of him.
In his victory speech, Senator Obama said, “The time has come for a president who will be honest about the choices and challenges we face…who won’t just tell you what you want to hear.” Challenges? Democrats tend to agree on the challenges we face. Choices? The only choice Senator Obama has told us about is the one where we choose him. What exactly is he talking about? Are we really a nation of people who will fall for his empty rhetoric? No, we are not a collection of blue states or red states, as Senator Obama likes to say, just a collection of moronic states, once again choosing image over substance when it comes to the most important job in the world.
Senator Hillary Clinton won the debate in New Hampshire this past Saturday night and cast aside the doubts she previously generated with her wrong-headed vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. She gave specific examples of what she had accomplished in the past when Senator John Edwards and Senator Obama could not. She has demonstrated again and again that she is prepared to lead this country in a new direction, to repair the damage that Mr. Bush has done to our reputation around the world, to end the war in Iraq, and to implement the universal health care that she would have liked to have provided all of us 15 years ago. She is clearly the best choice for the Democratic nomination; yet, pundits drive the dialog in a direction that makes it sound as though she’s fighting for her political life in New Hampshire.
Senator Edwards’s populist message and his fight for the middle class have deeply moved me in the past, but he failed miserably in the debate on Saturday night. He relied on his stump speech to answer questions, and when asked to name one accomplishment during his senate years, he named the Patient Bill of Rights. Senator Clinton pointed out that the Patient Bill of Rights, while a worthy goal, had never become law because it failed to pass both houses, demonstrating Mr. Edwards’s inability to get even one thing done during his six years in the senate. I thought it was a fatal moment for Mr. Edwards’s campaign and certainly marked the end of my support for him.
One of Senator Obama’s beautifully spoken phrases is, “We are one nation, we are one people, and our time for change has come.” I hope he’s right. I hope we shall vote with our minds instead of our guts this time. Maybe we can learn from that election where people voted for the alcoholic with whom they’d most like to share a beer, and we can vote, instead, for the most experienced, most accomplished person who happens to be married to one of the smartest men of our time.
Parents, raise your children well because that mediocre, irresponsible, intellectually inert child of yours could be the president of the United States one day, and then where will that leave the rest of us?
Teach your sons and daughters to finish one game before beginning another. Make your children clean up the messes they make. When they are wrong, teach them to take responsibility for their mistakes. When they play games, don't let them make their own rules. If a big, scary bully is bothering them, don't let them beat up the annoying little girl who lives near the bully. If they are feeble minded, don’t help them gain admission to a university that would otherwise never have them.
Harvard and Yale, stop the legacy madness. Undeserved credentials from a respected institution are proof of academia’s shameful role as enabler. Imagine if Harvard had conferred a medical degree on George W. Bush instead of a business degree. Maybe the legacy fondlers at Harvard are shrieking, “We would never do that! We only gave him a business degree!” Ask yourself, Harvard, could President Bush have done more harm as a physician? And Yale, stop smiling as Harvard gets the brunt of this because President Bush’s first collegiate-level enabler was Yale. After all, if Yale had thrown out Mr. Bush, he would only be vice president today.
Alcoholics Anonymous, recognize that some people are more harmful when they are sober. Close those doors to your meetings, and only admit those people whose sobriety would benefit society as a whole. Note: Don't pattern your admission policies after any Ivy League institutions.
Churches, don't make it so easy for people to find Christ. If you let them look a little longer, maybe they'll learn the right answer to "What would Jesus do?".
Children, don't listen to Mom and Dad if they're Republicans.