July 21, 2011

Ronald Reagan for President?

The other day I answered the phone to hear a recorded voice telling me Dick Morris had an important message for conservatives like me. I stayed on the line and listened to the former Clinton advisor-turned-hater babbling about his new book, about the scourge of the socialist Obama presidency, and about how loyal Conservatives like me can get involved in driving POTUS out of the White House in 2012. 

Now, if you know anything about me, you know I don't typically identify as a Conservative, much less a loyal one.  I was even more confused when a woman came on the phone and advised me she was in Washington DC and was calling local Conservatives with a one-question survey. I think her GPS needs some work.  

But the fun really began with the survey.  The question was "Which of the current Conservative leaders is the one you think is best suited to lead our party" and help save the world, secure our future -- you get the drift. I was kind of surprised that she didn't give me any names, especially since I'm not a loyal local Conservative and am not really up on all of them.  I laughed and asked who the choices were.  She replied "Well, here are some of the answers we're getting in the survey: Michele Bachmann, Chris Christie, Ronald Reagan, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain. ..." and named a few others I don't remember; she may even have mentioned Rush Limbaugh.

Excited that I had such great options, I responded emphatically "Ronald Reagan!" The woman answered, with a chuckle, "Yes, he seems to be a popular choice."  

A dead man is a popular choice to lead the Conservatives forward in their mission to take back America?  Really?  A dead man?  

I pointed out that it seemed that a dead man (even a dead former president) being a top mention as a 'leader' of the Conservative movement said either quite a bit about their message, quite a bit about loyal local Conservatives, or both. Mostly I think it says a lot about the state of affairs in America today. 

Either we're so cynical that we'll say anything (like me), or we really long for days gone by (Clinton, Bush I, Reagan but not a lot of Bush II), or political cold callers have a wicked sense of humor. I'm not sure which, but I'm hoping it's the latter.

After our discussion about bad choices on both the left and the right, the woman advised that Dick Morris was going to be paying for full page ads in local papers and was looking for Conservatives like me to have our names included in the ad as supporters, and would I be interested?  After letting her know she was talking to a life-long registered Democrat, we had one more laugh and wished each other a nice day.

A dead man?  Really?

July 12, 2011

McConnell's debt 'plan'

When is a plan not a plan?  When it comes from Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).  His idea, a 'plan B' for solving our debt problem, offers zero compromise and zero leadership. 

Here's how the plan works:
  • Both houses of Congress must pass (and Obama must sign) a bill allowing the debt ceiling to be raised on an installment basis.  Then Obama immediately requests a $700B increase in the debt ceiling and must submit a list of spending cuts equal to the increase.  This is to get us past the August 2nd deadline. 
  • If Congress chooses to pass a ‘resolution of disapproval’ it goes to Obama for signature. He vetoes the resolution, and it goes back to Congress to override the veto. The Republicans don’t muster the 2/3 majority needed to override the veto, and so the debt ceiling increases take place.  Or, if Congress doesn’t do the disapproval resolution, the increase takes place automatically. 
  • Then he has to ask for $900B this fall, and then another $900B in June of next year. If this were a shampoo bottle, the label would read 'Lather, rinse, repeat.'  
So, what does this do for the Republicans?  Well, they get to vote against raising the debt ceiling six times (three resolutions plus three veto votes) between now and the next election. They get to force the President to outline spending cuts equal to $2.5 trillion.  They get to completely ignore the spending cuts they demand the President give them. And they prevent the president from putting any revenue increases on the table to help alleviate the debt (the Plan does not incorporate revenue increases). 

What does this do for the Democrats? It forces them to take 100% of the responsibility for defining  spending cuts and for raising the debt ceiling, or for failing to do so. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? 

Can you tell this came from the Senator who declared “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president” ?

July 11, 2011

Boehner's Job Creators

When I listen to John Boehner these days, I’m reminded of a dinner table conversation from when I was a kid. 

My brothers and I, at times, were not always interested in eating everything that my mother had cooked for dinner.  Don't get me wrong, Mom was a good cook, but sometimes what she made was not anything that got us excited.  When we were fidgeting at the table, pushing food around our plates but not eating anything, it was customary for my Dad to say something to the effect of “there’s lots of starving children in (India, or China, or some other country) who would love a nice hot meal like this.”  Well, one day, after hearing Dad’s standard comment for the umpteenth time, my brother fired back with “Name one!”  

Needless to say, my other brother and I were aghast, but Mom and Dad both fought with all their might to keep from laughing out loud. I remember Dad holding his napkin in front of his face, his shoulders shaking silently as he tried to regain control.  And that’s the position I find myself in listening to Boehner.  Here’s a sample from his press conference today:  
The president and I agree that the current levels of spending, including entitlement spending, are unsustainable. The president and I do not agree on his view that government needs more revenues through higher taxes on job creators.

He went on to say this:
“I agree with the president that the national debt limit must be raised, and I’m glad that he made the case for it today. But the American people will not accept – and the House cannot pass – a bill that raises taxes on job creators.”

Seriously, Mr. Speaker?  The American people will not accept a bill that raises taxes on these mysterious job creators that are so important that you feel the need to protect them in any deal to solve the debt crisis?

All I can say is, name one!

July 2, 2011

Sidebar: DSK, others behaving badly

Rumor has it that Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a notorious womanizer, even if in his most celebrated incident it turns out he’s guilty only of marital infidelity and extreme stupidity.  A number of reports came to light when he was arrested for the hotel maid incident suggesting that he had been aggressive towards women for years, but that didn't seem to have any impact on his success. 

We don't need to import bad boys; we have our own share of prominent and equally stupid men, including John Edwards, he of the sex-tape-with-pregnant-girlfriend fiasco which occurred while he was running for president.  Edwards was recently indicted for allegedly using campaign contributions to cover up his affair. 

And of course we have 'Governator' Arnold Schwarzenegger, who admitted that he had fathered a child with a member of the household staff. Generally I think he would have gotten away with being a serial groper, as alleged during his successful campaign for governor of California, and could have easily withstood the negative publicity about the extramarital homemaking had he not been married to Maria Shriver, of the Kennedy clan.  

Shriver filed for divorce on Friday. Unlike some of the other wives of scandalously behaving men, such as Eliot 'Client #9' Spitzer or former President Bill Clinton, Shriver made the decision to stand for herself, her family and her dignity instead of standing by her man.  Or, likely, she’s been standing by her man all these years when many others might have left a long time ago, but the teenager out of wedlock was too much.  

Last we have Anthony Weiner, rising star of the liberal left, who gives great speeches and also great photo.  Weiner, married to a top aide of Hillary Clinton, can’t control himself with a camera or a keyboard, and resigned from his Congressional seat.  His situation, some think, would have been surmountable had he not lied about the pictures.  But lie he did, to the press, the public and his colleagues, and that was more than they could bear. Governor Cuomo has decided that the special election to replace him will take place in September, on New York’s primary day.

One can only hope that, some day, men in high places will master the fine art of keeping their whatever wherever it belongs.

July 1, 2011

Lessons from the DSK case

Getty Images
We sit here now, watching as the sexual assault case against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn falls apart, as his life has fallen apart since that infamous night at the luxury New York Sofitel.  From the time this came to light, since he was removed from his plane moments before takeoff, the perp walk, the suicide watch at Rikers, and then finally the house arrest with private police to the tune of  $250,000 per month (on top of the $6 million bail), this case has been larger than life. 

Widely presumed to be a strong contender for the French preisdency, and one of the most powerful men in the world, it seemed odd that DSK could be brought down by a hotel maid. It now seems possible (if not likely) that charges will be dropped, either because the woman is lying or because her credibility overall is so suspect that the case won’t be able to go forward.  

The hotel maid apparently lied on her application to come to America, including about having been gang raped. She apparently lied about some financial issues, including multiple cell phones and numerous deposits into several differnt bank accounts in her name. And she was taped in a conversation with a prison inmate discussing Strauss-Kahn’s wealth. More importantly, she apparently lied about her actions the night of the alleged assault.  

This one might have been doomed to fail from the very beginning. Too famous a perp, too glitzy a hotel, too eager a DA, too crazy a story to beleive.  But one thing is certain. We cannot let the outcome in this case mean anything more than just this case.

Victims of sexual assault deserve their day in court, and having a less than stellar background does not mean that a woman can't be assaulted. Likewise, people charged with crimes are innocent until proven guilty, even when they're larger than life characters. Regarding perp walks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said "The real sad thing is if somebody is accused, does the perp walk, and turns out not to have been guilty. And then society really should look in the mirror and say we should be more careful the next time."

We need to be sure we learn all of the appropriate lessons from this one.