Archive for the ‘President Obama’ Category

Why I Don’t Care About the 2010 Elections

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Ancillary Adams makes an important observation – this week’s big Republican win hurts a lot less than prior defeats, like the 2004 Bush victory.  He attributes the difference to the fact that he can at least understand where the populace is coming from this time around – the economy DOES suck and the insanely high expectations raised by Obama’s historic election have not been clearly exceeded (though, as this coarsely-named site shows, he’s quietly accomplished quite a bit).

First term midterms + bad economy = whupping for the party in power.  It’s easy, understandable math and the fact that the sane Americans kept the Senate and that Palin, Angle and O’Donnell were harshly rebuked, too, makes it all easier to accept.

It kind of felt like my dog wasn’t in this fight, the way it has been in most elections.  Statewide, the clubby democratic insiders decided that Robin Carnahan should be our nominee, and they made darned sure she wouldn’t face a real primary.  They screwed up again, and they have themselves to blame for Senator Blunt.  Robin Carnahan was a tepid campaigner and a vote that hurt to cast.

It seems that they looked at Claire McCaskill, the most disappointing Missouri Senator ever, and one of the most disloyal Democrats to hold office, and decided that Robin Carnahan would win in 2010 if she ran like Claire McCaskill in 2006.  So she pledged to deprive Missourians of locally important funding in the form of earmarks and behaved like she would rather muck out a horse stall than set foot in Kansas City.  Maybe their strategy caused some farmer in mid-Missouri to hesitate for a fraction of a micro-second before voting for Blunt, but it caused good democrats like me to shut our wallets and go through the mere motions of supporting her.

Unless Claire McCaskill gets a strong Democratic challenger in 2012, Missouri will be represented by two Republican Senators after she gets defeated.  I hope our party leaders saw what happened to Carnahan as a preview of what will happen to McCaskill.

Other races were similarly non-inspirational, though in a more positive manner.  Jason Kander crushed Jeff Roe and Sally Miller 70-30, and I knew he would.  Indeed, if it hadn’t been for Jeff Roe’s counterproductive and hateful tactics, Sally Miller could have presented a stronger challenge – Jeff Roe helped activate Jason’s true-believers to work on his campaign, and he marginalized Sally Miller as a nasty, uninformed loser.  Even the Republicans I talked to voted for Jason because of Roe/Miller’s plainly bogus attack on Jason’s role in ethics legislation.  (She didn’t really have a chance anyhow, because Jason has met and talked with everyone in his district, and he is simply an excellent State Representative, but Jeff Roe’s involvement transformed Sally Miller from a respectable defeated opponent into a slimy pariah who was willing to do absolutely anything to win, and still failed to be competitive.)

Similarly, Jolie Justus was an obvious hands-down winner, and the Republicans couldn’t even find someone to run against her.  She defeated a Libertarian by a 76-24 margin.  Jolie is wonderful, but it was hard to get very emotionally involved with a race that had no doubt.

Jacob Turk provided no challenge to my Congressman, and the fact that Republicans are excited that he managed to slip into a single-digit margin of defeat in the most favorable political climate they could ever dream about – well, folks, that just makes me smile.  Keep on running, Jacob, and keep on sending him money, Republicans!

I’m still a proud Democrat, and I still believe that the pro-people policies of the Democrats are better for our country than the pro-millionaire policies of the Republicans.  I still believe that Obama will be one of the greatest presidents ever.  I still believe.

I will be there in 2012, loud and strong, supporting a Democrat (a real one, this time) for the Senate, and getting Obama re-elected.  I think that the next two years will provide a stage where the Republicans can show how anti-American people they truly are, and I anticipate a melt-down between the rednecks and the millionaires.  I’m (slightly) hopeful that our idiot Democratic leaders will realize that Missouri voters will support a strong populist Democratic voice, but never a slickly-marketed inauthentic creation of consultants.

It was tough to care about 2010, and I’m not going to get weepy about what happened.  But I will care in 2012.  Passionately.

Stephanopoulos Makes a Fool of Himself

Friday, April 9th, 2010

George Stephanopoulos is not a fool – but he can’t help behaving like one sometimes. In this exchange, President Obama demonstrates that not every dog must be wagged by the tail end of our national intellect.

STEPHANOPOULOS:I want to get to some of those broader issues [of nuclear proliferation]. Because you’re also facing criticism on that. Sarah Palin, taking aim at your decision to restrict the use of nuclear weapons. Your pledge not to strike nations, non-nuclear nations, who abide by the nonproliferation treaty. Here’s what she said. She said, “It’s unbelievable, no other administration would do it.” And then she likened it to kids on the playground. She said you’re like a kid who says, “Punch me in the face, and I’m not going to retaliate.” Your response?

OBAMA: I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin’s not much of an expert on nuclear issues.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But the string of criticism has been out there among other Republicans as well. They think you’re restricting use of nuclear weapons too much.

OBAMA: And what I would say to them is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I’m probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But not concerned about her criticisms?

OBAMA: No.

Bravo, President Obama. Bravo.

Beer, Olympics, Harper and Obama

Monday, March 1st, 2010

It turns out that Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had more than national pride riding on yesterday’s excellent Olympic Gold Medal hockey game. If the United States had won, Harper would have owed Obama a case of Yuengling beer. As it turns out, Obama owes Harper a case of Molson.

Molson? Yuengling?

Neither is what any beer snob would describe as the best offering of their respective countries. And, while Yuengling carries a certain cache because of the brewery’s age and restricted distribution, Molson is as common as tap water in Canada, and is a subsidiary of the multinational Molson Coors.

Did Obama really yearn for a case of Yuengling? Did Harper feel extra passion about the game because of his chances at a case of Molson?

But, while I quibble about the choices, Obama does deserve some credit for relying on beer in matters of peripheral national urgency, as he did with the multi-branded “Beer Summit” after a Harvard professor had a run-in with a police officer.

Not every beer needs to be a great beer, and beer snobbery is less important than simple enjoyment. I hope Harper gets his case of beer, and enjoys it with some friends. I hope Obama goes ahead and gets himself some Yuengling, if that’s what he’s got a hankering for.

(Yesterday’s hockey game was a really great game. Checking on both sides of the ice, hustling after every puck, a last-minute tie and overtime. Plus, as much as I wanted the US to win, in my heart of hearts, I don’t begrudge Canada a victory in hockey.)

3 Big Differences Between Reid and Lott

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

The Republicans have suddenly discovered their previously undetectable racial sensitivity, and are calling for Harry Reid to resign as Majority Leader of the Senate because of some awkward language Reid used to describe his enthusiasm for Barack Obama’s candidacy. They are equating Reid’s stated enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy to former Senator Trent Lott’s stated enthusiasm for segregation. Sadly, some soft-minded liberals are joining them in claiming that Obama and those of us too smart to fall for this false equivalency are hypocrites.

There is a difference between Reid and Lott, and what Reid and Lott said, that distinguishes the cases for anyone who is neither intellectually dishonest nor intellectually stunted. In fact, there are three big differences, and I’ll point them out for those who think that all unfortunate mentions of race are equivalent, and justification for a political death penalty.

1. What They Said: Let’s look at what Harry Reid said, in his enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy. He made the accurate observation that Obama’s skin is relatively light, and said that he speaks “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.” It uses a ’50s era term for African-American, it (inaccurately?) implies that America might face more difficulty in supporting a darker-skinned candidate, and it implies that the pattern of speech employed by a segment of African-Americans is a broader “Negro dialect”. One might just as fairly express joy that a Missouri politician speaks with no inbred hillbilly dialect.

Distasteful, I agree, and not the sort of thing I like to see from a Democrat.

Trent Lott, on the other hand, said that he was proud to have voted for Strom Thurmond when he ran as a segregationist and opposed anti-lynching legislation, and that “if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.” Do I need to map out the differences? While Reid was speaking enthusiastically about electing a black president, Lott was speaking enthusiastically about segregation and wishing that we could go back to the pre-civil rights South and lynching. To find a distinction between the two does not demonstrate hypocrisy, it demonstrates an understanding of the difference between a little insensitivity and a deep resentment of uppity blacks causing problems.

2. Who They Are: As President Obama points out, Harry Reid has worked with him and other Senators on socially progressive causes to help the underprivileged for years. He’s got some credibility on racial issues. He’s built up a store of good will that he can draw upon in assuring his friends that he is sincere in his remorse and forward in his thinking.

Trent Lott was a product of the Republican racist “Southern Strategy” to win the votes of those who believed exactly what Lott said to Thurmond – we’d be better off with segregation and lynching. Lott was an enthusiastic supporter of the Klan-like CCC, and sought to regain citizenship for Jefferson Davis. He voted against extending the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. He voted against the Martin Luther King holiday. Suffice it to say, Lott had not built up a store of good will on racial issues.

3. Reid Has Been Forgiven: It is amusing to see all the pundits (especially the white ones, and certainly including me) and right wing politicians trying to tell everyone else how to think about a verbal exchange between two men who have already put it behind them. The RIGHTeous indignation on behalf of someone who has announced himself satisfied with an apology is enough to make one think that they are more interested in political opportunism than concern about Obama’s tender feelings.

Folks, this thing is not about hypocrisy, for the simple reason that it is not hypocritical to distinguish between a thoughtless remark supporting a black presidency and a career spent yearning for the good old days of segregation and lynching. The intellectually corrupt Republicans and the fuzzy-thinking liberals who are attempting to equate the two are acting as though Lott’s only flaw was one awful remark, and that Reid’s remark is equivalent to a career.

Shoe Bomber vs. Underwear Bomber – A Study in Republican Effectiveness

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Republican scoundrels are spinning the thwarted terrorist attempt on Christmas Day into a reason to attack President Obama, and the media are repeating the frothing opportunism as if it is legitimate discussion. It’s an all-too-familiar pattern of attack and repeat, at a level that leaves thoughtful persons shaking their heads at the breathtaking hypocrisy of it all.

Honestly, it never ever occurred to me to accuse Bush of weakness or failure when the shoe-bomber attempt presented almost exactly the same opportunity to those of us on the left. Foolishly, I viewed the attempted terrorist attack as an attempted terrorist attack, instead of as a welcome cudgel with which to bash our nation’s President.

Commenting on a post by Politico noting the wildly different Republican reaction to the two wildly similar situations, John Aravosis of AMERICAblog does a great job of explaining the difference:

I suspect a few things are going on here. First, the shoe bomber incident was three months after September 11. We were all still shell-shocked. Rather than being afraid to criticize the president, I think we were all so scared, the thought didn’t even cross our minds (and the same thing applied to the media, which was also tempered following 9/11). Second, Democrats aren’t as good at political PR as Republicans are. Republicans are always looking for an opportunity to take advantage of a situation, a crisis. Democrats tend to be more principled. And finally, Republicans are better at shutting down criticism. If Democrats had tried to speak out, the GOP would have accused us of being un-American, and the Democrats would freak.

Neck of State

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

A friend forwarded this link to me – a website devoted to the analysis of Obama’s neckwear. As a sartorially-challenged person, I have to admire the President for managing to wear a tie more than once without staining it . . .

Obama Less Ethical than Rizzo?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

While the rest of the country has been celebrating the election and inauguration of President Obama, Jackson Countians are stuck with the troubling realization that President Obama is less ethical than the sterling characters who rule the Jackson County Legislature. On his first day in office, President Obama suffered the ethical lapse of imposing new ethics standards and making them apply to himself, and enforceable by an entity that is part of the federal budget. Close observers weren’t caught off guard, though, in that he committed the same gaffe in the Senate, when he joined in the push to increase transparency and ban lobbyist gifts, again with federal enforcement.

According to the ethical whiz kids at the Jackson County Courthouse, federal ethical oversight is unethical. Just as the Untouchables argue that they cannot be investigated by a group that is part of their budget (ignoring the Sheriff’s department, the Prosecutor’s Office and the County Courts), the same logic would demand that we ban local oversight of our federal government, as well. Perhaps we can get the government of Canada or Mexico to oversee our ethics, if local oversight is too corrupting for the sensitive souls on the legislature. Or perhaps the U.N. should step in and take control.

Does that sound right to you? It’s the exact same argument that our Jackson County legislators are trying to make.

Somehow, I have more faith in President Obama than in our Untouchables.