30 October 2008

The (background) check's in the mail...

I'm disgusted by the hyperpartisan actions of Helen Jones-Kelley, the director of Ohio's Job and Family Services office. For those just climbing out from under a rock, Jones-Kelley authorized a series of previously undisclosed extensive background checks on the newest campaign celebrity, Joe the Plumber. Coincidentally, she is a registered Democrat and Obama contributor.

"Helen Jones-Kelley, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, disclosed yesterday that computer inquiries on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher were not restricted to a child-support system. The agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes." (Columbus Dispatch, 10/29/2008)

Jones-Kelley claims that it's her job to perform such detailed background checks on anyone in her state who publicly claims to have significant resources.

"Given our understanding that Mr. Wurzelbacher had publicly indicated that he had the means to purchase a substantial business enterprise, ODJFS, consistent with past departmental practice, checked confidential databases," she wrote...

Ultimately she decided that the checks were "well-meaning," but misinterpreted amid the heated final weeks of a presidential election. Apparently she has mastered the art of understatement. Jones-Kelley indicated that the results remained confidential, though it stretches the bounds of credibility to suggest that they would have stayed confidential had anything of note turned up.

Please note, I'm not suggesting (yet) that The O's campaign had anything to do with Jones-Kelley's actions. However, the degree of separation isn't sufficient to make me feel comfortable about her claims that her actions were "well meaning but misinterpreted." As with the Palin effigy, The O had a chance to come out and deliver a strong statement against politics as usual (purportedly one of the cornerstones of his campaign), but came up just a bit short.

Not so fast, my friends...

I understand and appreciate that the Republican base is getting excited because the polls are starting to show closure between McCain and The O. Not to rain all over the parade, but popular vote doesn't mean diddly squat. To paraphrase the resounding theme from the '92 election, it's the electoral college, stupid.

I haven't done the EC math, but I suspect it's possible that either candidate could pull a significant majority of the popular vote (along the lines of 51-49 or even 52-48) and still lose because they didn't win the right states to hit 270 electoral votes. I'm no grizzled campaign veteran, but I can't say I've spent a whole lot of time getting worked up over the latest poll that shows The O up by 8, or 10, or 13 points. Number one, we don't know the pollster's processes (weighting, sample size and distribution, etc.) well enough to put significant faith in the results. Number two, the expansion and contraction happens too frequently as candidates gain and lose momentum during the course of a 10- or 12-week campaign (particularly from things you could never see coming, a la Joe the Plumber). Finally, it's unrealistic to expect that a major party candidate would pull less than 46-48% of the popular vote; polls that show a candidate at 40-44% are simply out of touch with reality.

In the end, the only poll that matters is the EC vote, and we won't know that until Tuesday night at the earliest. So take what encouragement you need to from the tightening polls, but understand that under our system, popular vote doesn't mean anything to the bottom line.

29 October 2008

All the news that's fit to withhold?

The L.A. Times admits to having a videotape that might portray The O in a negative light to many who are unfamiliar with his politics as they pertain to Israel. Since the time that this fact achieved public prominence earlier this week, they have refused to release the tape, and McCain has wasted untold amounts of breath attempting to publicly shame them into doing so. It's a strategy that won't work for numerous reasons, not the least of which is that the Times claims that its reporter made an agreement with the source that provided the videotape and background for the article based on the tape back in April that he would not release the videotape. Whether such an agreement was/is in place is irrelevant; the burden of proof would be on the accuser to show that such an agreement wasn't in place.

Much as it pains me to admit it, the agreement's a pretty solid journalistic reason for the Times not to release the tape. If I were McCain, and inclined to waste my breath pining for things that won't come to pass, I'd be calling on The O instead to encourage the source to allow the tape to be released. That is, unless The O is aware of something on the tape that We the People might not understand or overlook.

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Better yet, maybe McCain could call on The O to condemn the Halloween display in which Gov. Palin is hung in effigy, since the vast majority of women's groups aren't going to defend her given how irrelevant she makes them. Mama was right, as always: Shameless is as shameless does. (BTW, I'm aware that there are now effigies of Obama being hung in other parts of the country due to the unwillingness of authorities to classify the Palin effigy as a hate crime. Doing the same thing as an idiot and simply changing the face still makes you an idiot.)

But I have promises to keep...

Unless you're The O. While it may be too little, too late, at least someone in the MSM (outside of FOX News) has decided to call him on his failure to keep the promise he made regarding accepting and working within the limits of public financing for his Presidential campaign. Campbell Brown at CNN delivered this commentary during her show last night -- spot on, but in the end, probably inconsequential.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to the CNN site to stare at the lovely (and brave) Ms. Brown some more.

28 October 2008

Marx My Words

How much more corroborating evidence do We the People need to see to accept that The O is a Marxist-Socialist, despite his protestations otherwise? Forget the "spread the wealth around" comment that made an instant celebrity out of Joe the Plumber. Forget the discovery of the 2001 interview with Chicago Public Radio in which The O laments that the civil rights movement didn't sufficiently utilize the courts to achieve redistributive change. Forget even the association with Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, both card-carrying Marxists. Those are merely the manifestations of the underlying disease, one that he seemingly brags about in recounting his undergraduate days in the first of his memoirs, "Dreams from My Father":

"To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists."

Not exactly a Who's Who of conservatism, for sure. But what does it say about this person that he was so conscious of how he was perceived by others whose opinion of him was significant to him that he was compelled to choose his friends "carefully?" Even more telling, the conglomeration whose good opinion he sought were the most radical, way-beyond-liberal folks he could find. This tells me that The O isn't merely dabbling in some form of Marxism-Socialism now, as a child or young adult might experiment with different styles or personalities or affiliations; instead, this extreme radicalism is a strongly internalized worldview that he has cultivated for most, if not all, of his life.

At what point are We the People going to rise up against the Obamatrons and other assorted sheeple and say, "Enough is enough! You're not fit to lead this country!" For all of our sakes, it had better be soon.

The most unkindest cut of all...

...is a cut that's not really a cut. In this excellent analysis of what The O has (and hasn't) said about tax cuts, Ned Barnett at AmericanThinker.com posits that The O's plan, if enacted, actually provides for four tax increases for We the People who have the poor fortune to earn less than $250K per year (otherwise known as the Arbitrary Richness Threshold, or ART). At the risk of oversimplifying Barnett's work (as a small business owner, he brings a unique and relevant perspective to the issue), here are the four tax increases he identifies:

The O has:

1. Promised to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. He parses his words carefully and explains that allowing the tax cuts to expire isn't the same as a tax increase, irrespective of the fact that the tax rates to which we would revert are higher. I'm not sure my wallet and my bank account are sophisticated enough to appreciate the difference between the two; all I know is that, at my family's income level, we will pay an additional $3,000+ in taxes, and we don't make anywhere the ART.

2. Proposed lifting the current cap on Social Security payroll taxes, which currently limits the tax to 12.4% on the first $94,700 of an unmarried individual's earnings. Half of this tax is paid by employers and half by employees. As employers' costs in this area increase, they will react by either (a) reducing payroll, or (b) passing the cost along to consumers.

3. Proposed increasing the capital gains tax from 15% to 20%, a full 1/3 increase. He continues to pitch this increase as a tax on the "fat cats," but the reality is that many people who earn less than $250K have personal portfolios that are subject to capital gains taxes. Obviously, there are no capital gains taxes on 401k accounts, IRAs, or pension plans, but woe to those who dare to sell stock from their own personal portfolio: The O's plan does not consider -- or care -- whether you make more or less than the ART.

4. Promised to raise taxes on businesses. As with the proposed increase in payroll taxes, businesses will not realize these increased taxes without passing the cost along to consumers in one form or another. Increasing the cost of doing business is, in essence, a de facto tax increase that will be realized by We the People.

The O has promised that he won't actively raise taxes on the bottom 95% of earners (many of whom don't pay any taxes to begin with), but the reality is that his plan passively raises taxes on 100% of taxpayers. Even in this brave new postmodern world, words still mean something. Just ask Bush pere: We read his lips, too.

27 October 2008

October Surprise?

This 2001 video of an interview with Chicago Public Radio appears to confirm my worst suspicions about The O and his intent with MY money. Is it the October Surprise we've been waiting for? Maybe, but what isn't surprising is that the MSM have almost universally chosen to ignore it.

At this point, I'm not sure what The O will have to do to get people to recognize his far-left socialist views for what they are. I'm seriously considering sending Joe Biden a t-shirt that says, "I'm with Socialist" and has the arrow pointing to The O. I actually think Biden is sufficiently detached from reality to wear the thing. It's worth a shot, anyway.

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Here's a partial transcript (emphasis added), for those of you who don't want to go to YouTube to watch the video:

"...If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that. ..."

26 October 2008

Early! (and Often, if you can manage it...)

"How many people have early voted?" Obama said, eliciting cheers from people bundled up in fleece. "That's what I'm talking about. No point in waiting in lines if you don't have to. You know who you're going to vote for."

Allow me to translate:

"Please, please, please go ahead and cast your ballot for me now, because I'm deathly afraid that some of the bad stuff I've been hiding won't stay hidden until election day. I want you to vote for me now, so you can't undo it later or change your mind."

03 October 2008

A visit to Mr. Webster...

Pondering in my spare time this afternoon how the Democrats, Bush, and Paulson managed to get the "lipstick on the pig" of the bailout bill, my mind wandered to a phrase I first heard in business school some 20 years ago. While it's not a phrase I use every day, I still find it useful in many circumstances. After considering the matter, I thought it apropos to revisit today.

Main Entry: due diligence (n.)

1 : the care that a reasonable person exercises under the circumstances to avoid harm to other persons or their property 2 : research and analysis of a company or organization done in preparation for a business transaction (as a corporate merger or purchase of securities)


Example: Congress failed to exercise due diligence in passing the recent bailout bill.

As I noted to a colleague this afternoon when the subject turned to the bailout (she's a flaming lib, while I'm not so much), while I think this bill is a huge stinker in general, my biggest issue is that they passed the bill without exercising the same basic investigatory standard that even the most rudimentary businesspeople use: Get the facts, assess the pros and cons, and get some expert help when you need it. Instead, Congresspersons became instant economists, capable of understanding all sides of this complex issue (heck, they couldn't even come to consensus on who was at fault) and the effects of their actions both on the underlying issue itself and on the world's financial markets. In their rush to show that they were Doing Something, they couldn't be bothered to slow down a bit and listen to those with some expertise who might have counseled them just to Do Nothing For A While; after all, Doing Nothing doesn't sell, while Doing Something is a proven winner, even if it's the Wrong Thing.

01 October 2008

What I'd say if I were smarter...

This is what I'd blog if I were smarter. As I read it, I found myself nodding along and thinking, "That's it, precisely!" It hits all the high notes on my concerns about McCain, as well as my general frustration that he and his fellow Republicans seem content to stay "above the fray," as it were, and consistently refuse to place blame where blame is due. (Credit: americanthinker.com)

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October 01, 2008
Time for McCain to Name Names

By C. Edmund Wright

There is but one issue in the 2008 election. The economy. Or more to the point, the economic meltdown. Whoever wins this debate will win the election. Or perhaps more accurately, whoever loses this debate will lose the election. Period.

It is important to understand this for anyone trying not to lose this upcoming election. That would ostensibly include Arizona Senator John McCain. And it may not be as simple as what side of the Paulson Plan debate you are on. The housing-mortgage virus is eating up billions of dollars of wealth daily and this tends to irritate those who are losing the wealth. That would now include everyone in the country who owns any stock, mutual fund shares or real estate. In other words, a large share of voters. (Note: This doesn't include me, though I understand the writer's logic. I'd prefer that McCain oppose the bailout, but I'm picking my battles here.)

When folks are this angry, there is hell to pay and "hell to pay" includes figuring out who to blame. For all of McCain's wanting to stay "above the fray" and his too-clever-by-half comment that now is not the time to assign blame, he is not hearing the public. It is indeed time to assign blame. With this kind of financial destruction on the part of most American families, someone is going to get blamed. You can count on it.

Let me repeat. Someone will get blamed. You will either enter that debate or you will lose that debate. Period.

And short of properly assigning blame to the liberal policies and politicians who are responsible for this mess, the blame will automatically fall to the current Presidential administration and by extension, his party. Right or wrong, that's how our politics play out. McCain simply has no choice now. He will start doing what he claims he loves to do related to government corruption -- naming names -- or he will be thrown on the ash heap of electoral shame alongside Bob Dole, George H. W. Bush and so on.

The good news for McCain, should he decide to grasp it, is that the party against which he is (supposed to be) running can easily be pegged with the lion's share of the blame regarding our economic meltdown. There is no doubt that liberal policies on energy and housing have combined to put the country in this situation, and only unwinding these policies will lead the nation out of this problem. Naming names properly will name a whole lot of folks with "D" beside their names.

Congress, of course, is now led by the very people who put us into this mess to begin with. If McCain thinks he can thread the needle in a bi-partisan fashion here, he is sadly mistaken. If he does not point out the facts, then his party will take the blame for and he will not win the election. It cannot happen. As far as he has run from President Bush, he will never get as far away from Bush as Obama can.

Bush has actually been on the right side of the energy production debate and the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac regulation debate all along. The President has been a feckless advocate of the correct positions on these issues to be sure, but at least one can legitimately claim that the administration was intellectually correct on Fannie, Freddie and oil.

McCain himself eloquently and correctly pointed out problems with Fannie and Freddie back in 2005 and 2006, only to have the reforms he wanted defeated by Democrats in Congress. President Bush was with McCain on these issues. Obama meanwhile, garnering more Fannie Mae contributions in two years than all other senators not named Chris Dodd in the last nine, has been on the wrong side of these issues. This is a slam dunk waiting for McCain simply to take advantage of it.

Recently he has been out rambling on about government spending, CEO pay and earmarks. Yawn. None of this is pertinent unless you point out that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were Democrat earmarks and that the worst CEO pay abuse in recent memory is Franklin Raines' incentive compensation from Fannie triggered by fraudulent accounting. McCain did not bother to point any of that out of course. We must not "assign blame."

The simple fact is this: if the Democrats do not get their deserved blame for this economic situation, Republicans will experience a bloodbath on Election Day. The way our elections work, it is up to McCain to make that happen. The fact that he seems not to understand it is why many conservatives loathed the idea of a McCain nomination to begin with.

It can be argued that if McCain will not assign blame, he will not win the White House. He says he wants to lead. That sometimes mean calling out friends and colleagues in the opposition.

We soon will see whether McCain has it in him to put his country ahead of his instinct to reach across the aisle. If he does not show this ability, he will never occupy the Oval Office.

30 September 2008

RINO on the loose...

WHY does Lindsay Graham continue to say stupid things??? Here's the latest, regarding the bailout bill:

"I have never been more disappointed in the Congress than I am today. I hope every member of the House of Representatives -- Republican and Democrat -- who voted against this legislation will work in the next twenty-four hours to improve the bill. Now is the time to put the national interest above the self interest."

For the life of me, I thought he ran as a conservative Republican six years ago. Apparently I was mistaken, or else he's working off of a very different definition of conservatism than I do. I understand that politics is sometimes about finding common ground through compromise in order to serve the greater good, but Graham appears to be a man literally compelled to compromise, particularly on what we conservatives see as mission-critical issues (e.g., amnesty).

Note to Sen. Graham: In this case, the national interest is best served by opposing the bailout, not by allowing Treasury Secretary Paulson and his staff of wild-guessers to throw out a number to which we all must ascribe in order to ensure that those who actively drove the market to the point it is at today don't suffer from their greed and short-sightedness. Interestingly enough, I would say that the national interest also serves my long-term self-interest to avoid leaving my children and their children (and their children) a huge heap of debt because we couldn't live within our means as a nation.

I'm no economist, but the market generally corrects itself, given sufficient time, because Adam Smith's "invisible hand" sees to it. Will there be loss, pain, and suffering while that happens? Most assuredly, and it may even be worse than we can imagine right now. But I am dead certain that government interference will cause more pain and suffering in the long run, because it is the government that got us into this mess to begin with. (Think Carter and the CRA...and then Clinton and the strongarming of our banking system to make loans to unqualified borrowers, and let your imagination go from there as you envision how Big Government will "fix it" for us.)

As for me, I can't envision pulling the lever for Graham again, until he either (a) learns to be true to his election-year espousal of conservatism, or (b) comes clean and calls himself what he is...a centrist who talks a good game about being conservative but has no intention of delivering on that claim. At least then I'll know he's being straight with us about who he is, and I can decide for myself what I can live with.

Somewhere, Pigs are Flying...

To my shock and pleasant surprise, someone at CNN gets it (at least on the bailout issue).

So why do I, a middle class homeowner with a 401(k) and much more to lose than gain if the market goes belly-up, oppose the bailout? Here's why. We stand at the most significant crossroads of my adult life, both with the bailout issue and the upcoming election, and the decisions that We the People make in the next two months will in every conceivable way dictate the quality of our lives for the foreseeable future. With a wife and two young children in tow, and retirement not even looming on the horizon yet, I'm going to hitch my wagon to the "no Marxism" star.

29 September 2008

An open message to Rep. Henry Brown

Note: While researching HR 3997 (the bailout bill), I discovered that my Congressman, Rep. Henry Brown, voted for the bill. This is a copy of a message I sent to Rep. Brown tonight through his re-election campaign website, www.henrybrownforcongress.com.
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Dear Rep. Brown:

Shame on you, sir, for voting "Aye" on HR 3997, otherwise known as "the bailout bill." Knowing what we do about the genesis of the problems that have brought us to the point of a potential economic crisis, I cannot believe that you, as a conservative Republican, can justify your support for this horrible bill. HR 3997 has absolutely no redeeming qualities, and the American people deserve better than to be handed a bill that will extend significant economic consequences several generations into the future as our thanks for taking individual responsibility for our own finances. Your support is especially egregious when one considers that the number attached to the bailout -- over $700 million -- was admittedly pulled from thin air to serve as a large number that drew attention to the issue. Sir, your constituents deserve better leadership on this extremely important issue than you have shown with your vote today.

I have been a supporter of yours for many years, but I am incredibly disappointed that you chose to support this reprehensible piece of legislation that has no business even being considered in the halls of the United States Congress. Rest assured that I will reconsider my support for your re-election efforts this year, and will encourage my friends, colleagues, and associates to form their own opinions regarding your support of HR 3997.

If you can shed any light on your reasons for voting "Aye" on this bill, please do so. While it is unlikely that I will agree with your reasons, I would prefer to know your mind on the matter than to ascribe my own motives to your actions.

A disappointed constituent,

Michael Lisle

Hoisted on their own petard...

House Democrats, led by the indefatigably partisan Nancy Pelosi and her right-hand man, Steny Hoyer, poisoned their own well just before today's momentous vote regarding the $730 billion bailout package. By all accounts, the votes were in place to secure bipartisan support for the bailout, until Nasty Nancy decided to rub Republicans' faces in it by addressing the House and saying, "When was the last time someone asked you for $700 billion? It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies — policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision and no discipline in the system." Appropriately disgusted by her partisanship, enough of the House Republicans who had agreed to cast their vote for it decided not to.

A few things jump out at me that I feel need to be addressed. First, too many in Congress would rather be effective partisans than effective legislators. This is true of both parties, but it seems particularly true of the current Democratic leadership. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have never seen an issue that they couldn't inject with some unnecessary partisanship (see John McCain's recent decision to suspend his campaign in an attempt to bring leadership to the bailout bill), and today's vote is a perfect example. One would think that, with public approval for Congress at all-time lows, both would make a more concerted effort to act in ways that actually engender public support for the institution. Instead, they seem more determined than ever to prove that they couldn't care less about, much less relate to, the needs of most of us.

Second, if this particular bill was really the answer (it wasn't), then why did the Democrats even need Republican votes? The Dems outnumber the Reps 235-199 in the House. Hardly a veto-proof majority, but more than enough to ensure passage of this bill. Even if every Republican had voted against this bill, the Democrats could still have passed the bill if they so desired. The reality is that the Dems wanted bipartisanship on this bill so that if (when) it failed, they would have others on whom to blame the failure. That's the M.O. for the party of jackasses (the symbol, although there are other accurate interpretations...): Ensure enough "coverage" with Republican votes that a level of plausible deniability is maintained, and you can dissemble, divert attention, and generally fool most of the people most of the time. Then you can say, presumably with a straight face, things such as:
  • "Because somebody hurt [Republicans'] feelings they decide to punish the country. ... I mean, that's hardly plausible." -- Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA
  • "We delivered on our side of the bargain." -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, congratulating Democrats on getting 60% of their caucus to vote for the bill.
  • "We did our part. As I said on the floor, this is a bipartisan responsibility and we think (Democrats) met our responsibility." -- Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-MD
  • Interestingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Chris "Countrywide" Dodd (D-CT) either weren't able to find a camera or didn't say anything worth reporting.
(Think otherwise? I'd refer you to the recent brouhaha over the mortgage crisis itself, the roots of which are found in the Community Reinvestment Act signed originally by Carter and expanded significantly by Clinton in the name of increasing home ownership; a noble goal to be sure, except when you consider that those to whom the "right" of home ownership was to be extended lacked the means to repay the loans that lending institutions were forced at figurative gunpoint to make.)

Third, and I have to absolutely belly laugh at this, I hope The O is enjoying the feeling of the egg on his face. After insisting on Face the Nation yesterday that McCain deserved absolutely no credit for the bill, and that the key provisions were really those that he'd been whispering in Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's ear for the past two weeks, his own party could (would?) not deliver it for him. To McCain's credit, he took the high road on the issue of credit; in truth, I can't blame him, as I wouldn't want to be associated with it either.

Finally, I am incredibly disappointed with President Bush's lack of leadership on this issue. I suppose it's possible that he was offering McCain some political coverage on this hot potato issue, but I don't think so. I think, at long last, that he is just that out of touch with average Americans. He's earned the benefit of the doubt, so I'm not questioning that he thinks he's doing what's best, but in this case I disagree with him on the cure for the ill and find myself wishing that someone besides Paulson had his ear on this issue.

In the end, how much does this particular vote matter? I think it's the most important vote Congress has taken in my lifetime, because of the far-reaching effects of the bill. It is a seminal moment in American history, and I tried tonight to help my soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter understand just why it was so important. The lesson I learned from that effort is one that Pelosi, Reid, and their cronies have already learned and count on as gospel: Most folks don't have enough interest to pay attention for long.

10 September 2008

Mark My Words

I've heard The O speak before, several times. He does exceptionally well with the TelePrompter, not so much in the unscripted format. In spite of that, I believe that he's a reasonably smart man who becomes uncomfortable thinking on his feet. (Some would suggest it's because he's a paper-thin candidate who doesn't really have his own positions on issues, and is uncomfortable establishing a position until he's consulted the polls, but that's only speculation.)

So why does he keep lifting quotes from others without attributing those words until he's called on it? There was a tempest in a teacup earlier in the campaign, before the nominees were settled, when he borrowed Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's "Just Words" comments. Now it appears he's done it again, albeit from a less reputable source.

And the hits just keep on comin'...

Is the DNC deliberately sabotaging The O's campaign, or are the wounds self-inflicted? There have been too many dumb things said by the loony left to recap here, but the latest -- and one of the most egregious and offensive -- came today courtesy of Carol Fowler, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. In an interview reported on Jonathan Martin's blog on Politico, Fowler describes Republican VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin's "primary qualification seems to be that she hasn’t had an abortion.”

What an utterly stupid thing to say. It is devoid of any semblance of intellectual honesty, and I am embarrassed that it was uttered by someone who lives in the same state as me. There is no redeeming quality about that statement, and there can be no other interpretation than that Ms. Fowler is a hyperpartisan attack troop serving at the pleasure of The O's campaign. Of course, it was followed by the almost immediate pseudo-apology that characterizes most such comments, which suggests that the comment was misunderstood or misinterpreted, or that the speaker said what she was trying to say in the wrong way. (For the record, Fowler went with, "I clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue." Riiiiight. Odd that the statement doesn't mention those people...only Palin.)

That seems to be the M.O. on both sides of the aisle, to the detriment of We the People. The campaigns send low-level staffers or surrogates into the arena to make the ridiculous, over-the-top statement that the candidates can then repudiate, giving them at least temporary access to a piece of the moral high ground. In this instance, all I can picture is Obama as my 7-year-old son any time I catch him doing something he shouldn't, with a forced look of innocence on his face, saying, "It wasn't me. It was her."

Maybe it's Maybelline?

Much to-do about The O's ill-conceived "lipstick on a pig" comment yesterday. About nothing? I'm not so sure. The obvious connection is to Republican VP nominee Gov. Sarah Palin's line in her speech at the RNC differentiating hockey moms from pit bulls by their lipstick. Just reading the line without context (including the crowd reaction) doesn't tell much; however, if you watch the video of the comment, it's clear in my mind that he was trying to besmirch Palin in a plausibly deniable way. What galls me about the resulting brouhaha was that The O actually accused the McCain campaign of playing "the gender card," as if he and his supporters have been playing the entire campaign above board. It's presidential politics, I know, and I suppose that hoping someone in the game has any shame is too much to expect.

Interestingly, The O continues to engage Palin rather than McCain. His campaign rehashes the same tired lines about McCain, but the frequency with which the Democratic presidential nominee seems to speak directly to/about the Republican VP nominee says a lot to me about where his head is these days. Besides the difficulties in generating intelligible communication sans teleprompter, there seems to be a palpable, if unquantifiable, difference in The O and the way he carries himself. Something to watch in the days and weeks ahead...

07 September 2008

The Obama Rules

Get into an unscripted moment and make a boneheaded answer that you wish later you could undo? Well, if you're The O, you can. Just find a friendly face in the MSM (not too difficult, given their proclivity to genuflect at the drop of a hat), arrange a visit, and plant the question that allows The O to "re-address" the question with a better-thought-out, more nuanced answer. Never mind that We the People expect our leaders to have sufficiently thought-through positions BEFORE they ask for our vote; that's irrelevant. What's important is that, once the numbers show that WTP didn't like an answer, The O is given a mulligan.

Apparently, establishing clear positions on issues and then being able to think on his feet is above The O's pay grade...

05 September 2008

Bumper Snickers...


What all the best-dressed cars, SUVs, and minivans will be wearing this fall. Want one? Go here, browse the catalog, and select the category "political" to find it. You can order them in batches up to 40, and the more you order, the cheaper they get. They make the perfect gift for family, friends, and Reagan Democrats. Happy shopping!

United Statesmanship

Ever wonder why there aren't more real statesmen? I mean people on both sides of the aisle who are willing to put "Country First," as so many of the signs waving around the Xcel Center proclaimed last night, and party allegiances second. Because the current power structure won't stand for it. Every decision is calculated based on accumulation of power and punishment of those who refuse to toe the party line. Sadly, THAT condition DOES cross the aisle -- fomented by the ever-growing fringes that say disagreement is disloyalty and empowered/enabled by party leadership that can't see beyond its own narrow self-interests. It should go without saying, but We the People deserve better.

04 September 2008

The Bill of No Rights

This was originally the work of Lewis Napper. The original version can be read here. What follows is my own adaptation of an adaptation of the original.

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We, the sensible People of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid any more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, envy-gnawed, guilt-ridden, self-loathing, delusional liberals and other bed-wetters.

We hold this Truth to be self-evident: that the Sorry State of the Public Schools, in combination with the Decline of Social Mores and the Advancement of Aggressive and Pernicious Self-Aggrandizement, has caused many people to be deluded, so that many Things, obvious to Persons of Good Sense, need to be explicitly spelled out.

ARTICLE I
You do not have the right to free food, housing, a new car, big-screen color TV, or any other form of wealth. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing professional couch potatoes who strive to produce nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes. If you seek the Good Things in Life through honest labor, no one will applaud you more loudly than we, but no one is guaranteeing anything.

ARTICLE II
You do not have the right to free health care. From the looks of public housing and public education, we have little faith in the state's ability to deliver cost-effective quality health care, anyway.

ARTICLE III

You do not have the right to stop something merely because it offends you. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone, not just you. You may leave the room, change the channel, express a different opinion, et cetera, but the world is full of idiots, and probably always will be. Likewise, you do not have the right to government funding of your cultural tastes, even if the rest of us are so philistine as to not share them.

ARTICLE IV
You do not have the right to escape the consequences of your own stupidity. If you stick a screwdriver into your eye, learn to be more careful, and do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all of your relatives independently wealthy. If you catch a fatal illness because you are too stupid to control your libido, don't expect the rest of us to shuck out a zillion dollars to find a cure for it. If you attempt to protest something by blocking a thoroughfare with your body, and somebody runs over you, don't come crying to us; we believe that such people should be run over.

ARTICLE V
You do not have the right to escape the consequences of your own inadequacy. The world has many people who are smarter than you, richer than you, better-looking than you, or more athletic than you, and we see no need for them to apologize for it, or become dumber, poorer, uglier, or clumsier, just to suit your neurotic jealousy. Get over it. Likewise, just because you are incompetent at running a commercial enterprise, do not expect Uncle Sam to help you retain your undeserved place in the market with loans, subsidies, price supports, anti-trust prosecutors, or other socialist paraphernalia.

ARTICLE VI
You do not have the right to physically harm other people, even if some now-dead ancestors of theirs imposed slavery and oppression on some now-dead ancestors of yours. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim or kill someone, don't be surprised when the rest of us gang up on you and make you into lasagna.

You do not have the right to the possessions of others, even if some now-dead ancestors of theirs imposed slavery and oppression on some now-dead ancestors of yours. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don't be surprised when the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won't have the right to a big-screen color TV or a life of leisure.

Furthermore, you do not have the right to go unpunished for something you did, merely because some inconsequential legal error was made during your prosecution. But if it makes you feel any better, we'll throw the miscreant official in jail.

ARTICLE VII
You do not have the right to make our children risk their lives in foreign wars to soothe your aching conscience. We hate oppressive governments, and if you actually go over there and do some of the fighting yourself, you might find one of us fighting alongside you. However, we do not enjoy parenting the entire world and do not want to spend so much of our time battling each and every little tyrant with a military uniform and a funny hat. Besides, the tactic we would prefer–which was last employed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki–would probably wound your sensibilities even more than the atrocities you presently decry.

ARTICLE VIII
You do not have the right to a paycheck of any particular size, or any paycheck at all. We expect you to obtain the skills necessary for honest labor, and we expect you to seek honest labor, but we also recognize that our businessmen need not hire or retain people whose presence in the work place is not to the employer's benefit. Likewise, you do not have the right to raises, pleasant working conditions, or to force your employer to keep your position vacant so that you still have a job when the strike is over.

ARTICLE IX
You do not have the right to order other people's lives or property to suit your whims. Specifically, if they wish to cut down a tree they own, kill a spotted owl on their property, or not let you into their club, too bad. Likewise, you do not have the right to impose your crackpot economical, environmental, political or religious ideas on the rest of us.

ARTICLE X
You do not have the right to happiness. Being a human being means that you have the right to pursue happiness, which is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an overabundance of idiotic laws created by those around you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.

Enough Already!

Let me be clear: I was not thrilled that John McCain won the Republican nomination for President. At least not until I heard Sarah Palin speak last night, and I became convinced that she could be an effective balance to his moderate tendencies. As I watch the convention coverage, though, I am beside myself with anger at the seemingly constant disruptions of the proceedings (particularly during Palin's address last night, and continuing through McCain's address, which we're now about 15 minutes into) by the utter lunatic fringe left of the Democratic party. Do these judgment-challenged folks seriously think that they're helping their cause by acting out in such a public fashion?

See, that's my basic observation about Democrats, particularly those out on the fringes: All's well when they're getting what they want and the world is turning generally in the direction they think it ought to...but woe to anyone who dares to tell them that they can't have something they want, or that they're wrong! Suddenly they become churlish and childish, acting out and throwing tantrums like spoiled children. Their actions at the RNC over the past few days are living proof. They have no respect for the institutions of society or for others, and they appear at times to be unable to control their rage; the instability of most of them is shocking. Yet so much of the MSM continues to perpetuate the myth that these folks are square in the middle of the mainstream. I have to trust that most Americans see them for what they are -- pathetic, attention-seeking nut cases, "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing," to quote the Bard -- and will not be influenced by their incessant screeching when it comes time to cast their votes.

Beyond the Palin

Like many, I have been sickened by the reprehensible MSM display, coordinated by their puppetmasters on the Loony Left, to smear and savage Alaska Governor (and newly minted Republican VP nominee) Sarah Palin and her family, almost from the moment that Sen. McCain announced her as his running mate last Friday. The woman has been "vetted" (and I use that term loosely, because the intent behind this vile campaign isn't to assess her ability to be VP; it's to place an anvil around her neck that will sink the Republican campaign with it) more thoroughly in six days than The O has been in the nearly two years he's been running for president.

If the MSM were truly interested in doing their jobs, they'd flock en masse to the south side of Chicago to investigate The O's connections with Tony Rezko, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (Think public schools are bad now? Just wait until The O "fixes" them.), and Dr. William Ayers of Weather Underground notoriety, just to name a few. Unfortunately for We the People, and for the republic we love, there is zero interest among the MSM in poking around in any of The O's closets for skeletons or other objects of interest; besides, it's doubtful that he keeps his good copy of The Marxist's Guide to Becoming President there.

Instead, we get the hot and heavy Palin-bashing from all quarters (stream of consciousness moment: if you support anything that Jann Wenner is involved in, such as Rolling Stone magazine, US Weekly, or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, please cease and desist immediately), and we see the lefties contorting themselves into all sorts of knots in their apoplectic fits because they were badly outmaneuvered in the VP selection process. What's funny to me is that it ultimately stems from the fact that their candidate, the fella that they finally recognized needed a handler (and no, they couldn't find anyone other than Joe "I'll get to the White House one way or another" Biden willing to take that task on), pales in comparison even to the Republican party's VP nominee in terms of REAL, RELEVANT EXPERIENCE.

Fortunately, because he has the overwhelming support of the MSM, The O can appear to stay above the fray. Never mind that he's made criticism of himself, his family, his policies, and pretty much anything else that he pleases, verboten. Now he can prove his magnanimity by insisting that all families should be off limits. Feel free to faint, or to simply kneel and kiss the ring.

Great articles about the double standard here (American Thinker) and here (the very liberal Susan Estrich).

Oh BTW...Gov. Palin knocked it out of the park tonight at the RNC. Easily the best, most real speech I've seen in a presidential beauty contest in many years. If you only read the transcripts or the articles that summarize the more salient points, you'll never get the tone and the intelligence that underlies the words, much less the hilarious biting digs against The O. I can't believe the speech was written by someone who just met her last week.

20 August 2008

R.I.P.

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) passed away after suffering an aneurysm while driving last night. I can't say I saw eye to eye with her on most issues, but I have a fundamental respect for anyone who is willing to enter and stay in public service in this day and age.

This story, like so many about people who die suddenly, reminds me that I need to spend more time hugging my kids and loving my wife, and less time with the stuff that's not nearly so important in the grand scheme of things. Think I'm going to sneak in and give the kids an extra kiss on the forehead...

16 August 2008

Welcome, Race Fans!

For all of the rumblings from prominent and not-so-prominent Democrats about the racial issues that others have regarding The O (a/k/a "Skinny") and the fall elections, DNC chair Howard Dean has made abundantly clear where he stands on the Republicans. In an interview with NPR on Friday, he said the following as he was commenting about diversity in the Democratic Party:

“Our party has been a no-majority party for a long time. The fact is that the Democratic Party is made up of lots of different people. If you look at folks of color, even women, they’re more successful in the Democratic Party than they are in the white — excuse me — in the Republican Party.”

Noticeably, the MSM has been silent regarding Dean's comments. No cries of racism, because in their minds it's sufficiently true, even if there are sufficient exceptions to disprove it. No condemnation of a poorly thought-out comment that deserves universal castigation, either. The only folks offering comments in this first full news cycle after the comment are those who were offended, and they don't count, anyway.

10 August 2008

I'm Baaaaaaaaaack

So the world didn't stop spinning just because I took some time off...apparently these guys didn't get my memo. Pretty inconsiderate if you ask me, which they didn't. Neither did Zogby, Rasmussen, Gallup, Ipsos, realclearpolitics, or anyone else. Oh well, time to get back in the saddle and start pumping out more gushers of insight. Stay tuned...

30 July 2008

Premature Inauguration Syndrome?

As promised in an earlier post, I'm finally getting around to Obama's recent European jaunt. The title of this post is a phrase borrowed from a James Lewis posting over at The American Thinker, and it seems to fit the entire tone of Obama's campaign. It may be possible that a previous presidential candidate has done all of the little things that Obama's done to demonstrate his hubris -- the faux Presidential seal, complete with its own Latin motto; the seat on his campaign aircraft marked "President"; the attempts to dictate how all things Obama may be portrayed -- but if they did, they had the good sense to keep it to themselves and their inner circle of advisors.

Positive thinking is one thing, and it's certainly true that no one ever ran for the Presidency because of an ego deficiency. The Obamessiah (not original, but a strikingly accurate descriptor of how the man is portrayed and perceived by his diehard supporters) and his team have appropriated the power of positive thinking and taken it to a level from which it appears that Obama has already been elected. This jives well with the New Age entitlement mentality philosophy that says we begin to achieve our goals and acquire those things that we truly want when we act as though we have already achieved and acquired them. What it doesn't square with is the reality with which most of us live day-to-day: goals and things are real, and we must work hard and play by the rules to achieve and acquire them.

This hubris recently climaxed with The O's triumphant European tour, a jet-setting adventure that saw The O attempt at every opportunity to recast himself away from a freshman U.S. Senator with a painfully thin resume and a paucity of real, earned experience into The President of the World. He conscripted European monuments as backdrops for his inspiring oratory (which, coincidentally enough, borrowed imagery and text from his political polar opposite, Ronald Reagan, on at least one occasion). He arranged free concerts to ensure that the resulting photo ops portrayed adoring "fans" who hung on his every word. He even went so far as to stage a personal moment resulting in the "discovery" of a prayer (more like a task list for God jotted on hotel stationery) that he had placed in the Western Wall. You can find a copy of the note here, along with more detail on how it was discovered. (Interesting side note: Both sources that originally indicated they received the note in advance from The O's camp are now backtracking from that claim, although they're not giving another explanation other than the one offered by Camp O.)

Give the man credit: He's working like the dickens to make a mountain out of his molehill. It can't be easy jetting all around Europe trying to convince those folks, as well as the swing voters back across the pond, that there's more to The O than meets the eye, but he's willing to do it, as long as the MSM cameras follow and the taxpayers foot part of the bill. Thankfully, he's willing to put his foot down and protect himself by refusing to go where the cameras won't follow.

In the end, he may find that some folks tire of the barrage and decide they're willing to get on the bus with him. Hopefully, for them, it's not the one he threw his grandmother under.

Banned in East L.A. ...

Yeah, I know I mixed two parody songs in the title of this blog. So sue me. Better yet, send me to L.A. to open up a fast-food restaurant. Oops, wait...you can't. The city has voted to place a moratorium of up to one year on new fast-food restaurants. Apparently they've decided that folks aren't doing enough to manage their own diets and that it's time for a government intervention. During that year, the city will do its best to attract healthier restaurants. (What part of "free market" don't they understand? Hmm...)

What's next? Forced exercise and government-subsidized gym memberships? Re-education camps to help people overcome their love of fast-food and fried stuff? God save us all from government that decides it knows better than we do what's best for us and is willing to legislate us into compliance.

Hog wild...

What's wrong with the world today? This. Seriously, some folks just need to get a life.

29 July 2008

Poll position

Here's an interesting site for political junkies and those like me who are just a little bit afraid that either candidate will win the election. (I keep clicking on the map, but I'm not finding a viable alternative...)

Ted's less-than-excellent adventure...

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been indicted on seven criminal charges related to false reporting of hundreds of thousands in renovations to his Alaska resort home. This is America, so everyone is innocent until proven guilty. If he's innocent, more power to him. If he's proven guilty, though, I hope he takes a long walk off the Bridge to Nowhere.

"Sorry"...apparently NOT the hardest word to say

Well, the House of Representatives has gone and done it. On this historic day, the House took it upon itself to pass a non-binding resolution apologizing on behalf of We the People to blacks for slavery and Jim Crow laws. Never mind that no one living today was alive when slavery was the law of the land; that's entirely beside the point. The point is that this is an issue that scores points with a huge chunk of the voting populace -- though I imagine it doesn't play nearly as well in "flyover America" as it does in the epicenters of culture and thought -- and darn it, it looks good on election-year resumes. Thus we witness the creation of the elusive win-win situation.

While our new collective conscience stopped short of addressing the tricky issue of reparations for blacks for "the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow," they did find the time to commit the House to rectifying -- in as unspecific a way as possible -- "the lingering consequences of the misdeeds committed against African-Americans under slavery and Jim Crow."

Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not for one second attempting to justify slavery or Jim Crow laws. Both represent behaviors and patterns of thought that I find reprehensible. I can't even begin to conceive the small-mindedness of the individuals responsible for enacting and enforcing Jim Crow laws. I also can't imagine the economic system that was balanced on the back of slave labor, or the individuals of all races who perpetuated and exploited that system. That being said, apologizing for our history still rubs me the wrong way, and folks are welcome to take issue with that as they may.

CYNIC ALERT! CYNIC ALERT! CONTINUE READING AT YOUR OWN RISK!

While I'm busy dashing off thank-you notes to the nimrods who took it upon themselves to issue an apology for me that I would not have made for myself, I can't help noticing two things:

1. The representative who introduced the bill, freshman Rep. Steve Cohen, is a white man who represents a majority black district in Tennessee and is engaged in a nasty re-election fight against a black man affiliated with the former holder of the House seat Cohen now occupies. Cohen introduced the bill at the beginning of his first term in Congress, back in January 2007; I'm sure it's just coincidence that the resolution comes up now, one week prior to his primary run-off.

2. The resolution was approved by a voice vote, rather than an actual recorded vote. While the voice vote is the customary procedure for non-controversial issues, it's difficult for me to imagine that the membership imagined this issue and this vote as anything but controversial. Seems the system worked to protect those members whose vote on this issue might demand some "coverage" by allowing them to vote one way and claim a vote in the other direction.

28 July 2008

Finally...

...someone has captured my sentiments about the Obama campaign. Guess I'll have to keep reading until I find something that approximates my feelings toward McCain.

The sounds of silence...

Sad story about John Edwards that I've been following with some interest since it broke on Friday. Political differences aside, his wife's brave fight against cancer was and is compelling to me. I hope, for her sake and the sake of their children, that the story isn't true in its portrayal of Edwards' relationship with Rielle Hunter and the child that ostensibly came from that relationship.

What initially bugged me most about the whole thing was the absolute silence with which the MSM greeted the story. With the exception of FOX News, which actually did some journalism-type work and interviewed the hotel security guard, the only play the story got was in the blogosphere itself. We can all speculate on the reasons why the MSM ignored the story, but last time I checked, it still took speculation and fifty cents to get me a copy of the local paper.

To my great surprise, however, I've come to (for me) a surprise conclusion: It doesn't matter. I have tried to whip myself into a righteous froth about it and have come to the conclusion that in the end, regardless of how public a figure someone is and how news-worthy even his or her respiration might be, this story is simply none of my business. If true, it is -- and should be -- a matter for Edwards to deal with within his family. I'm not implying that FOX was wrong to report on it, or ascribing altruistic motives to the MSM for ignoring it. I'm simply saying that it's not my concern and I'm not going to spend any more of my life dwelling on it.

Truth be told, it would be easy to sit here in the comfort of my relatively anonymous glass house and throw stones, because there are all sorts of icky trails to follow and none of them lead to a good place. My faith tells me I shouldn't do that. Indeed, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees when they were about to stone an adulterous woman by saying, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Well...that ain't me. I'm more of a "There but for the grace of God go I..." kind of guy.

24 July 2008

I think I love you...

...so what am I so afraid of?

If you're the mainstream media, and the object of your affection is presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, the answer is, "I'm afraid you won't get elected President." To that end, the MSM arranged an unprecedented love-in with Obama during his first trip to the Middle East. (More on the trip itself in a soon-to-be-written post.) Even the ├╝ber-liberal Susan Estrich acknowledges as much in her weekly "Blue Streak" column, saying that political reporters are "fawning all over Barack Obama like entertainment reporters covering a movie star." She is correct in her assertion that the glowing media attention alone doesn't mean he will cruise to victory in November, and that he'd better get himself prepared to answer the really tough questions that will come from somewhere, even if not from the MSM. While I am less convinced than she that they will eventually turn on him, I know in my heart of hearts that We the People deserve a better effort than the media is currently giving us.

Of particular note is the man-crush that Chris Matthews of MSNBC seems to have developed on Obama. His quasi-campaign ad on Leno's show the other night was actually embarrassing. I'm stunned that a member of the Fourth Estate, theoretically impartial (at least in the performance of the duties for which he is paid by his employer), could say that we should "think like our kids" and vote for Obama basically because he is a person of color. I could go off on a rant about that, but I think that Betsy Newmark has done a better job of it than I ever could.

While I don't have any great affection for Sen. Juan McAmnesty John McCain, I sympathize for the position in which he finds himself. If he doesn't acknowledge the disproportionate media coverage his opponent is receiving, he risks losing the battle before it even begins. If he complains, he risks coming across as a grumpy old man (which he may very well be, but that's irrelevant to this specific issue). It's a lose-lose for McCain, which it would appear is exactly the way the MSM would have it.

19 July 2008

Once upon a time...

...it was considered bad form for Congressional leaders to make specific personal criticisms of a sitting President. If for no other reason than respect for the office (regardless of how one might feel about its occupant), it simply wasn't done. Please note that this is a distinct issue from criticizing a sitting President's policies or positions. Indeed, as Theodore Roosevelt noted, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

It is another thing entirely -- not treasonous, but absolutely inexcusable regardless of the reasons -- to make personal criticisms of the nature that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made regarding President Bush this past Thursday. In an interview with CNN, Pelosi said, "God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States -- a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject." The context for this comment was the President's observation (accurate, as best I can tell) that Congress had failed to perform its most fundamental task, passing government spending bills.

Setting aside the condescending nature of such a comment, which I find almost as objectionable as the content, it's simply not the type of thing that a Member of Congress should say, regardless of rank, party affiliation, or personal opinions. It adds nothing of value to the public discourse and makes no contribution to the solving of our common problems. Instead, it is a petulant response that seeks to diminish President Bush rather than offer a rebuttal to his observation. Call me crazy, but my response to criticism is to offer evidence that the criticizer is mistaken, if such evidence is available; failing that, I have to face the possibility that he or she might be correct. But unless I'm ten years old, "Oh yeah, well you're worse!" just isn't an option.

I
'll save for other blog entries my questions and concerns with the elements of Pelosi's criticism -- the economy, the war, energy, etc. -- because I believe that these are issues that deserve fuller attention in their own right. There are tough questions that must be asked regarding how the President and Congress will work together on behalf of We the People to solve them.

I
n the end, Pelosi's criticism is disingenuous at best, because the reality is that the President has much less opportunity than Congress to impact these issues. (That's separation of powers at work, for those of you scoring at home.) At worst, her remarks are a remarkably amateurish hatchet job that represents the worst of the hyperpartisanship that runs rampant in today's world.

Why blog?

Good question! Lord knows there are enough people zipping around cyberspace with blogs about anything and everything. Any more, though, when I finish reading the newspaper or watching the evening news (yes, some people still do that!), I find myself absolutely disgusted with the lack of leadership coming from both my state capital and Washington, DC. It's as though no one has the courage of real convictions anymore.

There are exceptions, of course, and I'll try to highlight them here. The real purpose of this blog, though, is to shine a spotlight on those in positions of leadership and authority who refuse to actually lead, and instead are content to enjoy the trappings of power and position while rendering no real service to those who have elected them. I'll also be recognizing those who make meaningful contributions to the hyperpartisanship and negativity that seems to guide public discourse these days, as well as those who complain without offering solutions. I'm open to feedback and always willing to listen to those who disagree with my opinions and observations, as long as the dialogue remains respectful and we can disagree agreeably.

As we get closer to the fall elections, I'll definitely be offering my thoughts on the candidates, the issues, and the mainstream media, which is definitely not your father's MSM any longer. I'll also provide links to articles and other blogs that I feel are insightful and would encourage you to connect me with others that you think hit the nail on the head.

So what do you say? Let's get to know each other...