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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rush is Right

That's something I haven't said much in the last few years. I especially didn't say it right before the election when Rush told his audience he had a "gut feeling" that McCain would win.

In fact, Rush Limbaugh has never missed the mark so badly in his entire career than during this presidential campaign. He thought he could help Hillary overcome Obama's big lead and he was wrong. He thought that McCain was a new man after selecting Sarah Palin and he was wrong. He thought Republicans could make gains in the House and Senate and he was wrong. He thought attacking Obama's albeit questionable associations endlessly would be enough to stop his momentum and he was wrong.

However, to his credit, Rush seems to have learned. On today's show he admitted (largely free of sarcasm) that attacking President Obama personally "did not work and will not work" in the future."

I think that's smart. We can talk about Barack largely having the media on his side and that may be true. But it's not what makes Obama so Teflon. What does that is having the same qualities that aided Clinton and Reagan before him. Obama is a gifted communicator. He has an ability to speak before a crowd as if speaking directly to that person's heart. And whether you like the message or not, that ability overcomes a lot of other ugliness that could otherwise get in the way (i.e. Monica Lewinsky, Iran Contra, et al.)

Rush went on to say the Republicans best hope is to attack Obama's ideas.

Once again, he's right. We've yet to see those ideas in action so it's hard to fire a shot yet. But kudos to Rush for saying something I've been saying for a very long time. Now if only Sean Hannity could get past his boner for Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, perhaps we could actually talk about trade policy, defending our borders, government spending...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Stay Away From My Radio and My Porn Too!

Recently a friend of mine linked to this blog as a "liberal" site. I got a kick out of that. From one point of view, I totally understand it as I've spent much of the past 4 years bashing Republicans. And I don't regret that at all. In fact, I think I've been vindicated.

However, rather than becoming liberal, I think my own politics are more of what I'd call "reasonable libertarian." In other words, I might not be ready to legalize heroin, but I do think we need to start pursuing policies that minimize the federal government's all-powerful reach over our lives where it has become destructive.

On that note, I got a kick out of this. During today's Sean Hannity radio show, a commercial ran where former Attorney General Edwin Meese promoted a free speech organization dedicated to fighting the "fairness doctrine" that would restrict political speech on radio.

I started laughing. I oppose the fairness doctrine very strongly. But ya know what? I also oppose similar efforts to restrict pornography. I happen to think it's all free speech and no business of the federal government's. Besides I've been known to collect a little of it myself! And guess what? It was former Attorney General Edwin Meese, of all people, who naturally led government efforts in the 1980s to restrict pornography!

Yet again, this type of hypocrisy drives me away from the Republican party. So to those on the left and those on the right, please just let me listen to Sean Hannity while I check out, ok???

Minority Leader Lundgren?

I was happy to hear the news that Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA) will challenge Minority Leader Boehner for that position in the new Congress next January. As candidates like Rep Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) kept bowing out, I found it impossible to believe that Boehner could continue his unchallenged leadership even in the wake of such big losses. I've been a fan of Lundren's over the years and his mentor, former Rep. Bob Dornan (R-CA), remains one of all-time political heroes.

The GOP needs new leadership and Lundgren appears to bring strong credentials conservative to the table. That said, he has been around Washington for a long time and perhaps is not the sort of "new blood" the Republicans seem to need. And then there's this video which shows Rep. Lundren being wined and dined on an all-expenses paid (by lobbyists) 4 day Hawaii vacation through a ridiculous loophole in lobbying reforms.

So, yet again, I really don't know what to think anymore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Future of Social Conservatism?

I made calls for the Huckabee campaign during the GOP primary season here in Florida, which is a good cross-section of the rest of the country in many ways.

Multiple people I spoke with seemed offended by way he tends to mesh his faith and his politics. Two people even told me they could not ever support someone “who thinks that God wants him to be the president.”

For me, these reactions were unfair. How can one possibly separate the values that form their faith entirely from the values that form their politics? It can't be done. Also, if someone were to run for president, wouldn’t it be a thing to pray on first and hope to find God’s guidance?

But I couldn’t get through to them. And I doubt even Huckabee himself could. And I've come to think there are tens of millions of voters (or more) who probably feel the same.

Following the Obama landslide win for president, the experience leads me to think that running on evangelical social conservatism (and I do include Catholicism in here when it places a litmus test of social issues like abortion, ESCR, and gay rights) will not help Republicans win national elections in the future. In fact, it will likely hurt. I think this component of the party can and should remain vibrant, but ideally it will largely be regionally and its effects felt more within particular state campaigns.

Look at California. Proposition 8 did pass and it did so with the help of many black voters. But it also seemingly had ZERO affect on helping Republican social conservatives on the ticket from McCain on down.

So I'm starting to think that now is the time to showcase the GOP’s libertarian streak more than ever, even if that does mean sacrificing the fight for some social causes. Think about the good this could do on economic issues, free enterprise, lowering taxes and spending, protecting gun rights, fighting crime, etc.

And success in these areas may in turn will breed possibilities for social gains in the future.

I’m personally a born again Christian who doesn’t say these things lightly. But I also never particularly liked spitting into the wind. In the 21st century, perception is reality. While not completely embracing the good in that, I also don’t think we can afford to just ignore it. Otherwise, Republicans better get used to “permanent minority” status as they’re conceding 150 electoral votes before elections even start.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Non-Vote

Due to the sudden passing of a close family friend, I was unable to cast a vote in the presidential election. I guess that's only fitting as it ended up serving as my long promised "none of the above" choice after all.

But I made the right prediction.

And, given the choice, I think America made the right call too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Next Wednesday Morning's Headline: Barack Obama Wins

I missed an opportunity to see Barack Obama speak this morning in nearby Sarasota, FL at Ed Smith Stadium, spring training home of the Cincinnati Reds. With the two little kids home with me, it just proved too difficult to get everything ready and make the 75 mile trek before gates opened at 9:00am. And it's too bad. Because I watched the speech on tv and it was well delivered. I would've liked to have felt the energy of that crowd even if I did not agree with it on all issues.

However, there's one thing I would agree on: Barack Obama has quite simply run a damn good campaign. I think 2008 will be one of those "watershed" years and Obama has changed presidential campaigns forever. His steady approach to controversy, dynamic communication to audiences of 1 or 100,000, energizing of formerly jaded voters, slick warming up to the media, and business savvy in fund raising and expenditures will re-define running for president forever.

This does not prove he will automatically be a great president, but having these skills doesn't exactly hurt either. However, I have come to the conclusion that these factors do prove to me that Barack Obama will be elected President of the United States of America next Tuesday.

In summary, I start with the famous 2004 Bush-Kerry red-blue map. Then I'm giving Obama the Western states of Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. I say he also picks up Iowa on the momentum of his primary win there. And finally, on the strength of some powerful campaigning in the final days, I'm giving the traditional GOP states of Florida and Virginia to Barack as well. All this is more than enough to give Obama the victory as long as he can defend the blue states.

As for McCain, with his lackluster campaign and the wave of anti-GOP sentiment, I just don't see him picking up enough of the blue states he needs. I do think he holds on to many of the swing states. I'll say he keeps Ohio, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, and Missouri in the GOP column. New Hampshire seems to like McCain but with a likely Democratic Senate pickup, I can't give him that one. However, based on Obama's poor showing in the PA primary and the "bitter people" comment, I'll say Mac surprisingly wins Pennsylvania. But that many of these red states are even in play indicates what an uphill battle McCain is fighting. And I just don't think he's doing nearly as well as Obama is doing with a strong wind at his back.

Dems will make big gains in Congress, but I say the presidential popular vote is close. Probably 2% points or so for Obama. But the only numbers that matters: Obama/Biden: 297 -- McCain/Palin: 241.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Presidential Vote

At age 31, this will be the 4th presidential election in which I have voted. As I reminisce, I'm even more interested in looking at the manner and nature in which I have voted than for whom the actual votes have been cast.


I voted in Yonkers, New York while a college student at nearby Fordham University. The precinct was in an old city library that had been converted into a senior citizens center. Voter turnout appeared underwhelming and less than enthusiastic. I voted in the late afternoon, in what should have been a busy time. However, my wait was only minutes as the senior citizen poll workers located my voting record.

In this election, I voted in an antiquated "lever-style" machine that offered the privacy of a curtain surrounding me on all sides. Talk about weird! Were the Tammany Hall bosses trying to look over my shoulder or something? Voting through this system in theory seemed easy. But I also think it was easy to cast an errant ballot by pulling the wrong lever. The system provided no peace of mind that my vote was properly cast or would be properly counted.

As to my vote, I was very much an anti-Clinton Republican here. I voted for the Bob Dole - Jack Kemp ticket and harbored delusions of another Republican win coming off the Congressional election of 1994.


In this election I voted in McDonough, Georgia in the gymnasium of Henry County Middle School. For a precinct, this was a bigger facility and had plenty of room to accommodate the process. I was out of work at the time and made voting in the middle of the afternoon the highlight of my day. The overall wait to cast my vote was about 30 minutes, if my memory serves correctly. Poll workers were helpful and enthusiasm in the metro south Atlanta for this election appeared to be high.

This time I cast my vote through the same notorious "punch-card" system that led to hanging chads in Florida. I did find the method of voting to be confusing. I believe I even asked for help to make sure I was lining the punch-card up correctly compared to the actual slate of candidates. I did not enjoy voting in this manner. However, I did feel a greater sense of confidence that my vote was properly cast in the end because of the control over the process I felt.

Though I ardently supported the candidacy of George W. Bush, I cast my vote for the independent candidacy of Patrick J. Buchanan. This was an easy decision. I knew Bush would win Georgia and it felt good to give my vote to someone I greatly respect and have admired as a political mentor throughout the years.


Though I was still a resident of the same county, by this time I had moved to a different town. Living in Hampton, GA, I voted at Hampton Elementary School and this ended up being my worst experience to date. Enthusiasm for the Bush-Kerry election was extremely high as Republican supporters were motivated to vote in full force. This was also a Senate election year in Georgia which helped turnout as well.

My wife and I voted in the late afternoon and experienced a 2 hour wait to cast our votes. Many things made this so unbearable. Firstly, we had our two year old child with us and no accommodations were made for that. As a result, our neighbors in line just had to deal with the cryings of a hungry and confused boy. I felt for them. Secondly, the parking lot was so full, we had a 15 minute walk just to get to the location. Finally, the precinct only had two of the brand new "computer voting machines" and they were placed in the entrance way of the school. Thus the line to get to them snaked around the entire building in a tight elementary school hallway.

That said, I enjoyed voting on these digital touchscreen computers best of all. I only wish this very busy precinct had more than two of them. It was easy to see the candidates, even easier to touch the screen to indicate your selection, and also this form of voting best allows for the reading of wordy state Constitutional amendments that are often on the ballot. As I reviewed all my selections and submitted them, I did feel confident that my vote was in order and would be counted. For the record, I did vote for George W. Bush this time and was happy when he won.


I'm now a resident of Lehigh Acres, FL and my local precinct is inside of the Lehigh Christian Church. This was not completely foreign to me as I voted in 2006 in another church here in Florida as well. As I cast these votes, however, I will admit it feels a little odd to do so inside a church otherwise covered with Christian symbols. I mean, I probably would be somewhat uncomfortable voting inside a Muslim mosque afterall?

However, I don't think this is unconstitutional. I don't even think it's wrong. In many cases churches are the best local venues to keep precincts as small as possible. And that is particularly important to me. We now have 3 young children. As much as I value my vote, I will not go though another 2004 type burden to cast my vote. It's not worth it. More power to you if you think it is. And if my life were different, I might too. But I value my family even above our democracy.

Another issue of concern is that Florida resident will now be voting by filling out "optical-scan" ballots. What a step backwards! Our computers were taken away because seniors couldn't deal with the lack of a piece of paper. This system is only slightly better than the punch cards I used back in 2000. It will definitely slow down the process and lead to longer lines unnecessarily.

I hope that's the lesson of this recount. We need to find a way to streamline voting. I'm a populist. I believe in the importance of voting. But I don't think it's fair to make it so burdensome that people decide it's not worth the trouble. A fair solution would be to go 100% computerized voting in smaller precincts with printouts so people have certainty in their vote. I also do support requiring some form of common-sense identification to prevent fraud. It's 2008. Can't we get our act together already?

As for whom I voting this time around, I still haven't decided. I suppose I'm one of the dreaded 8% undecided in the polls. Given the choices this time around, I'll wear that as a badge of honor!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This Says It All...

Yesterday there were two political rallies held in the critical swing state of New Mexico. In fact, they were only separated by a few miles and a few hours. Here's the breakdown:

John McCain's afternoon rally in Albuquerque on 10/25/08 drew an estimated 7,000 people.

Barack Obama's evening rally in Albuquerque on 10/25/08 drew an estimated 25,000 people.

I will be posting my final electoral map prediction here on Tuesday, one week before the election. But unless something changes in a hurry, I think the above breakdown already says it all.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10 More Days

Has the country ever anticipated an election as we all do this one? Probably. I'm sure the Abe Lincoln / Stephen Douglass or the John Kennedy / Richard Nixon contests stirred up some pretty good interest as well. However, there wasn't the same 24 hours a day news cycle we have in 2008 back in 1860 or even 1960. Indeed, one can still follow the election by talking to neighbors at the town square or reading the newspaper. However, now we can also follow every aspect of the race on the internet, on cable news, on talk radio, even on your cell phone. It's our modern life at its best. But we still haven't figured out a way to make waiting more tolerable!

Friday, October 3, 2008


20. HEATHER NAUERT (FNC) -- Fox really shines in the eye candy department in their use of multi-talented reporters who can both read the news and also file a report from the field or behind a desk. One such lady, Ms. Nauert has been with FNC for the better part of a decade. After "The Big Show" was canceled, her role appeared to be in flux. However, she continues to work steadily on the air with politically themed news and programming. Heather has a definite sophisticated look that is sexy.

19. NICOLE LAPIN (CNN) -- This 24 year old is by far the youngest entry on the list. Apparently she is used on both CNN and HLN, though I really don't see very much of her on the air. If we did see more, rest assured her spot would be way higher! And that's a shame because Nicole literally has movie star good looks.

18. REBECCA GOMEZ (FNC) -- Fox certainly likes to add a little Latina flavor to the usual mix of blondes and I definitely appreciate that. Rebecca Gomez has been on FNC forever in various roles, but is mostly used as a business reporter. She is likely featured prominently on the Fox Business Network as well.

17. CHRISTI PAUL (HLN) -- For so long Headline News was known for non-flashy reporting from such bores as Lynn Russell and Chuck Roberts. And if you stuck around long enough, you'd see the exact same broadcast in a mere 30 minutes. These days they've completely changed their look for the better. It might be slightly harder to get the weather, but at least you get to look at ladies like Christi Paul.

16. JENNA LEE (FNC) -- With the sagging economy, Jenna has increasingly been used in business reports aired on FNC throughout the day. And she is definitely a rising star. I think she also works for the upstart Fox Business Network. Neil Cavuto wisely sees how she fits the Fox News blonde babe image to perfection. Also doesn't the name just role off your tongue so perfectly?

15. MARIA BARTIROMO (CNBC) -- Maria is the famous "Money Honey" who has appeared in many photo shoots for men's magazines like Maxim and FHM. Amazing, the 41 year old has now been a staple on CNBC since 1993. And her reports are still very pleasing to watch. Bartiromo really seems to know her stuff and has always been used extensively by her network.

14. SUSAN HENDRICKS (HLN) -- Much like Christi Paul, Ms. Hendricks is one of the new faces on the new HLN. She anchors a substantial amount of both weekday and weekend programming from the news desk. And I sure wish I had bumped into her eating lunch at the CNN Center during my years in Atlanta. This New Jersey native reminds me a lot of Martha MacCallum. And as you shall soon see, that's a good thing!

13. ERIN BURNETT (CNBC) -- In my opinion, this is the ultimate business babe on CNBC. Through Bartiromo gets more publicity and is also extremely pleasing on the eyes, I really like looking at Erin Burnett during her shows. In typical CNBC style, she's on the air a lot and that's just fine with me.

12. NORAH O'DONNELL (MSNBC) -- One of the few with eye candy left at MSNBC. Norah actually does a decent job on their political coverage. She appears to be a real DC insider with only a slight left bias. On MSNBC that practically makes her the equal of Rush Limbaugh. I like when she interviews the political panel featuring my man Pat Buchanan. Also have to note that she has very pretty, big eyes.

11. AINSLEY EARHARDT (FNC) -- This South Carolina beauty just missed cracking the top ten. She's newer to Fox and handles most of the primetime news updates. I really appreciate seeing her in that role instead of Harris Faulkner or Laurie Dhue. I've also seen her on Sean Hannity's weekend show. What an improvement on Alan Colmes!

10. KYRA PHILLIPS (CNN) -- She's one of my all-time favorites so has to be included on this list, even if Mother Nature has aided her fall in recent years. Kyra has been the afternoon face of CNN for a long time now. One of the cutest things about the 40 year-old Southern Californian is how she feels the journalistic need to get out from behind the desk occasionally to prove she's still a legitimate reporter. For exmaple, Kyra was embedded with US troops during the Iraqi War and is frequently sent by CNN into hurricanes zones. She takes a more casual look for these appearances and I like that sometimes.

I also like when her hair is a little shorter and especially when she wears her glasses. Ms. Phillips made headlines when she accidentally spoke live on-the-air during a bathroom break a few years ago. She used the opportunity to trash her sister-in-law to millions around the world while peeing. Major bonus points for that kind of cattiness!

9. KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (FNC) -- I was shocked to learn that this former prosecutor was once married to San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome. Isn't he gay? Wow! Not surprisingly, the couple didn't last and Guilfoyle is remarried. I suppose Newsome is so solidly metro-sexual that he can use his open-mindedness to score hot chicks. But Kim Guilfoyle? It doesn't make sense. Perhaps her tv conservatism is thus a reaction to the mistake that was bliss with Gavin Newsom?

Regardless, Fox News uses her mostly on the weekends talking legal issues and hosting a show called "The Lineup." Hopefully, she has no ambitions for Geraldo Rivera. That might be the only thing more depressing than Newsome actually! The 39 year-old half Puerto Rican comes across as intelligent and passionate. She almost seems to carry herself with an upper class personality, which is very sexy in her case. And she's got a good body with great legs that she isn't shy about showing off.

8. MARTHA MacCALLUM (FNC) -- Surprisingly, there aren't as many blondes in the top 10 as I would have expected. That must be cable news' preference because it doesn't accurately reflect my own. Perhaps the American audience subconsciously takes a blonde less seriously when they are reading off the Tele-Prompter.

However, Martha MacCallum has always represented her demographic well. I've been a fan of hers since she did mornings on CNBC earlier in the decade. And though she's starting to get a little older, she's still got an awesome figure and (unlike some) she seems to enjoy dressing to flaunt it. Sometimes a guy can just tell. And good for her! Too bad Fox News insists on pairing their female talent with tools like Trace Gallagher.

7. CONTESSA BREWER (MSNBC) -- I couldn't leave MSNBC under-represented. It's a shame they've seem to taken the T&A out of news coverage. This channel once featured a lineup of hotties like Melissa Stark, Chris Jansing, and Amy Robach. Now it focuses more on the likes of Andrea Mitchell. Definitely our loss there!

But I still like Contessa. Her face is a little weird sometimes and I wish she would lose the big, baggy outfits and show some more leg. But the 33 year-old dark brunette from Maine is really good at making all kinds of cute expressions. And I love her voice. At times she appears not to be the brightest bulb either, but it's done in a very attractive way. So that's a positive too. Contessa does MSNBC proud during her daily 5 or 6 hours on the air!

6. CAMPBELL BROWN (CNN) -- I've been a fan of this Louisiana belle since her NBC Today Show days. Her hire is testament to the effort CNN is making to steal the T&A thunder from competitor Fox News. They recently gave her the 8:00pm timeslot right before Larry King, which is basically the kiss of death for one's career (Connie Chung, Aaron Brown, Paula Zahn, et al). Unfortunately for her, it seems when you fail here, you are banished from tv. That's too bad because I'd miss Ms. Brown.

Campbell has an excellent smile and a nice tv glow. I know it's a cliche, but it's actually not always true with these babes -- just check out your local tv nightly news. At the age of 40, Ms. Brown is definitely aging gracefully and even comes across fairly open-minded to me. I was impressed by her recent impassioned pleas to stop treating Sarah Palin in a sexist manner. Yes, I do like that aggressive side sometimes.

5. ERICA HILL (CNN) -- Erica has been a major part of the beautification of Headline News that has occurred in the past few years. For far too long, cable news out of Atlanta on HLN was dominated by deep-voiced dudes like Chuck Roberts. Then Ms. Hill began to appear in the evenings on Headline News and started to capture viewers' attention. CNN then wisely gave her double duty as the news update babe during Anderson Cooper's show. With all the playful banter between the pair on the air, I sure hope Anderson may be playing off camera as well (although internet rumors suggest he may play for the other team).

Erica is one of the younger entries on this list at only 31 years old. She's right in her prime -- especially when she wears her glasses. In 2006 she even made People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People. Sadly, it was recently announced that Erica Hill would be taking a job with the big boys at CBS News.

4. JULIE BANDERAS (FNC) -- Julie might have earned an even higher spot on the list if she were used more often by Fox News. She's appeared on their late night comedy show Red Eye and otherwise works the news desk on the weekends. There she is sadly often book ended by some tool dude. What a waste! If I were running the show, I would put Julie Banderas in the weekday midday spot in place of the dry Jane Skinner.

Julie has an amazing smile, her hair is always flawless, and she literally looks like a model to me. Her Latina flavor (of Colombian descent) is much appreciated on mainstream cable news. One can only watch Telemundo so much -- especially when he doesn't understand Spanish! Ms. Banderas is 33 and would appear to be a rising star at Fox. She just announced that she is engaged. Hopefully she does not let a happy family life get in the way of superficial television news beauty!

3. ROBIN MEADE (HLN) -- There is a subtle break in the list here. The top 3 on my list are simply in a class of their own and merit two pictures each. Coming in third is Robin Meade from Headline News' morning show "Morning Express with Robin Meade." HLN made a VERY wise decision in giving Robin Meade the anchor desk for their morning show -- solo. It makes their network so very watchable, especially in that I no longer care for FNC's "Fox and Friends" and MSNBC's Mika Brzizinski wouldn't crack the top 1000.

Robin Meade is a very pleasant sight to wake up to, even if only on the tv screen. Not surprisingly, this 39 year old beauty was Miss Ohio in 1992 and was a top ten finalist in the Miss America pageant. Earning even more credibility, she was once voted "Sexiest News Anchor" by Playboy Magazine. You can't argue with that folks!

2. KIRAN CHETRY (CNN)-- The CNN family acquits itself well in edging rival Fox News with 5 total babes landing in the top 10. Chetry is the tie-breaker too, as she moved from Fox to CNN in 2007. This was a devastating blow to FNC and a loss right wingers will mourn for some time. Kiran Chetry was seemingly groomed to become a Fox star and take the place of aging morning show host E.D. Hill. But instead that job went to Gretchen Carlson, who would only crack this list were it expanded to a top 100. Spurned by Fox, Ms. Chetry wasted no time in bolting to CNN. She now hosts their morning show "American Morning" with news veteran John Roberts. So far Kiran has literally sparkled in this new role.

Her name and slightly exotic looks come from her partial Nepalese ancestry. Sweet. In 2006 Maxim Magazine ranked her as America's Top Female Sexiest News Anchor. Take that Katie Couric! Chetry is 33 years-old and seemingly loves to dress sharp. Thankfully, she rarely covers up her amazing legs. A nice feature of the CNN show is that she's not stuck behind a news desk constantly. The camera often approaches from all different angles and thus we lucky viewers get to see Kiran Chetry from all different angles!

1. MEGYN KELLY (FNC) -- It was really tough to decide between Megyn Kelly and Kiran Chetry. In terms of looks alone, I might have gone with Chetry. She is a bit younger and has to be given edge in terms of dressing sexy. But for the total package, I'm going to have to make Megyn Kelly the winner. Firstly, I like the quirky spelling of her first name. Totally superficial here, folks. Then you have to admire just how "elegant" that Ms. Kelly looks every single show. Hair, makeup, dress -- Megyn Kelly never has a bad day.

Then there's the figure. She looks kind of petite with not too many curves. However, it suits her figure and her face just perfectly. Kelly may dress slightly more conservative than the others at the top of this list. However, only Megyn Kelly has that little firecracker right-wing personality too that adds so much. Quite simply, she looks like she'd be great in bed -- and I don't mean in terms of watching cable tv news from bed either!

The VP Debate: Analysis from the Right

I thought Sarah Palin did very well at the vice-presidential debate. After her convention speech and performance as governor of Alaska, the mainstream media fell for the trap that she was dumb. Therefore, expectations were low and she totally destroyed them. This kind of reminds me of the dynamic in the Bush-Gore debates.

Palin demonstrated a good balance of showing knowledge on the issues and putting forth her own background. In fairness, Joe Biden did fine too. He's a good speaker afterall. But last night Biden was doing the traditional veep thing - attacking his boss' opponent John McCain, and propping up his boss Barack Obama.

Governor Palin, on the other hand, seemed more about her and her ideas. That was a very pleasant surprise and reinforced in me just how sad it is that the bottom of the GOP ticket is so much stronger than the top.

As to a winner, there was no knockout so yet again the horse you liked coming in to the race is that one you are going to think won it afterward.

On the format, I thought Gwen Ifil did a horrible job. I did not see any indication of bias, but instead she was far too hands on both candidates. Ifil did not encourage any real back-and-forth and left untouched some of the biggest issues of the day. Barely anything was said about health care, nothing was said about abortion, and the economy was yet again relegated to just 1 or 2 generic questions.

I was pretty surprised that Biden didn't screw up Obama's name, ah God love him!!

Finally, as an undecided voter this debate did not help me in finding the will to vote for John McCain. But it does make me feel that win or lose this time - I sure hope Sarah Palin sticks around national politics in the future. Perhaps as indicted Senator Ted Stevens soon-to-be replacement?!?

The VP Debate: Analysis from the Left

You betcha, I watched and I'm am sure glad I did dont'cha know. I admit it. I hoped Sarah Palin would fall on her face last night and I feared that she would totally repair her image in the debate. She did neither. While she managed to speak coherently and in complete sentences, the content of her words was sorely lacking.

I thought Sarah Palin met the very low expectations she had coming into the contest. She was very able in repeating her lines and coming across as an attractive small town beauty queen turned GOP saviour. Those who like her undoubtedly loved the debate last night. However, those of us who were looking for substance continue to be frightened of the prospect of Sarah Palin in the White House. She answered questions she wasn't even asked, ignored the topic of discussion and regurgitated the same old Republican talking points I have been hearing my whole life.

If anyone watching the debate still buys into Republican ideology , they certainly heard it repeated dutifully by the woman from Alaska. But those who see the need for real change in this country probably did not fall for the "cutsie" factor and certainly did not want to consider the prospect of living through more of the same old Bushonomics and foreign policy ideas. Also, how she could gush about Ronald Reagan over and over while trying to ridicule Biden for criticizing our current President was beyond silly.

So, I agree with the majority of the polls that indicate that Americans thought Joe Biden won the debate. Some may once again be fooled by Palin's attractiveness and sunny demeanor, but I think most people are ready to move beyond the superficiality that has defined the modern Republican movement. No more old movies stars or fake cowboys and certainly no "hockey moms". What we need is serious thoughtful people bringing about true reform to this country. Sarah Palin came no where near crossing that critical threshold.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The First Debate

I suppose I'm one of the 19% of the audience at whom these debates are ultimately targeted -- the notorious undecided voter.

The University of Mississippi debate was interesting. In many regards, it got this deabte season off to a good start. I liked the format. Jim Lehrer did a good job and I was impressed at the way he forced the candidates to address each other for a change. Both candidates seemed to perform well and I will give them credit for that.

Nobody bombed, nobody won. In general, I thought this was still one of those debates where the person you supported beforehand is the one you think won it afterward.

However, they didn't perform flawlessly. Both candidates ducked the serious issue of the economy. I expected more out of the debate's first 30 minutes, especially after McCain threatened not to show because economic conditions were so on his mind. And Obama could have and should have done much better here as well.

In a superficial side note, I'm not sure which of the following annoys me more: Barack's habit of stuttering his initial words to buy time so that he may come out with the perfect rehearsed answer or McCain's insistence on using the same dumb joke lines over and over?

Hey John McCain, uh, uh, uh, I was just wondering, were you elected Miss Congeniality of the Senate or Miss Anything for that matter? If so, that knowledge may affect my vote.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

John McCain and College Football

John McCain has not yet sounded better to me than he did in an interview with ESPN reporter Bob Ley for SportsCenter this past weekend.

First of all, McCain granted the sit-down at a NASCAR race at which he attended to pander for votes. He gets immediate kudos for doing that from the gear head in me.

However, in general I haven't hidden my dislike of John McCain and intention not to vote for him. In fact, in this very interview Bob Ley brought up one of my biggest problems with the Republican nominee:

Just 3 years ago, the well-known Las Vegas gambler Senator McCain introduced legislation that would make wagering on college football games illegal.

That's right. McCain is free to regularly drop $20,000 of his wife's money at the craps tables. He's free to attend all the big boxing matches in Vegas that are literally fueled by gambling. However, he wants all legal forms of betting on college football off-limits to averages Joes.

More political hypocrisy, IMHO.

College football is my passion. I enjoy wagering on it. In fact, I even relish merely following the odds, since I seldom put my own meager funds at stake because they are indeed so limited.

But in this interview, when questioned, John McCain adopted the same attitude he has taken on both illegal immigration and offshore drilling. He basically admitted he's heard the voice of the American people and that he was wrong. And now he intends to be on the right side of things.

I've been chided for doing just that so often myself. Call me a waffler, but I think that's pretty cool. McCain explained the issue well in the context of this below-the-radar issue of sports gambling. And unlike many, I never see a problem with admitting a mistake or adapting with the times and thus changing a position. I have done the same thing with the war in Iraq -- several times over!

Granting some historical exceptions, only a fool sticks his head in the sand and refuses to get out of the way of a rising tide. The smarter man joins the rising tide and hopes to lead it in the right direction.

The question is will the tide change McCain or does McCain hope to change the tide?

Prior to this interview, I thought the latter was most likely true. And for now, I think I still do. But this stupid little 5 minute segment made me wonder for the first time if it might the former.

Time will tell. Maybe Fox Sports or CBS Sports could host a presidential debate this year. Do we really need to keep seeing Jim Lehrer? Jill Arrington or Jillian Barberie sound look much better to me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More Palin - Back and Forth

Bid Daddy Jeff:

Concerning Sarah Palin, I disagree strongly with her critics' concerns about her experience. On this I can't help but think about the entry a few months ago called "Mayor of Topeka for President." I like Palin's relative inexperience in government and her different kind of experience as a candidate. In fairness, this is the same quality that I also like in Barack Obama. So I believe this criticism is a losing issue Democrats.

Palin has been a governor. Obama's been a senator. They both care about their country and take the issues of the day seriously. In my humble mind, that's enough. All the experience of the John McCains and Joe Bidens hasn't gotten us anywhere. Let's have new faces please!

While I reject the under-qualified argument, I feel it is fair game to attack Palin on whether or not her positions on issues are right for the job. That's what Democrats should go after. There is no doubt that Sarah Palin is hard right and she has a track record to prove it. Afterall, this is what has energized the Rush Limbaughs of the world.

Therefore, it's obvious to me that this is where Democrats should attack. You can make the case that the general electorate in swing states is not ready to elect openly someone from the hard right. McCain knows this. Democrats should forget experience and instead attack by linking Palin to Bush/Cheney, fundamentalist religion, overturning Roe v. Wade, seeing Iraq as mission from God, etc.

That said, I still think the Dems best chance is to ignore Sarah Palin other doing the above through selective and targeted advertising in swing states. Palin is the bait on the GOP's fishing poles and so far the Dems are taking it. McCain is running! He is the 72 year old DC insider with corruption in his past that even Republicans like me can't stand. Palin is a big distraction and the Obama campaign has been falling for it.

Mark Quincy Adams:

I do tip my hat to the "Mayor of Topeka" post. This may be the wave of the future and you sensed that.

I also think your right as far as Palin being bait that the left is taking.

We disagree on a the rest though. To me, if one thinks as I do, that the VP pick would be a catastrophic President for the nation and the world, as a concerned citizen I cannot help but vocalize that. The Republicans may be setting a trap by nominating her, but I guess I would rather lose an election than lose this country. This country will be lost if "McPalin" wins by the tactics they are currently using.

I like your "Mayor of Topeka" idea in theory. I have always thought, for instance, that police departments should be made up of citizens more or less "drafted" for a year or two so that regular folks would know the streets and the streets would know regular folks. City councils and state governments provide ample opportunity for the "everyman" to have his voice heard. Same with the US Congress, the closer to the people those reps are the better.

But Prez and VP? No way!!! Those positions are uniquely difficult and important. If the presidency of George W. Bush hasn't taught us the dangers of having a simple man with a simple plan in there - I don't know what will. The job is too serious to throw an almost random person up there. It's a very good thought and has applications in many areas of our society, but not in the White House.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Obama and the Surge

I was very pleased that Bill O'Reilly managed to land an interview last week with Barack Obama. I am a big fan of the O'Reilly Factor and Fox News. While I admit Fox News clearly has a slant to the right, I think it well counters the opposing slant to the left found in pretty much all other television news organizations. And I think Bill O'Reilly in particular is a good journalist who puts getting a good story above his own biases.

Such is the case with his Obama interview. We've only seen part of it, as the rest will be aired this week. However, the segment we did get to see dealt with the war in Iraq. It got some press that O'Reilly got Obama to concede that the "surge" has worked better than he expected.

That's a good concession that O'Reilly attained. And it's hard to argue with that statement. However, Bill also tried to get Barack to go a little further and admit he had made a mistake opposing the surge.

This is mostly semantics. Obama would not. However, like Bill O'Reilly himself, I would have given Barack a lot of credit if he took a more clearly-defined position here. The surge has worked. I was against it myself, but I cannot argue with the results that I've seen lately. And shame on the media for not following the story more closely. Our military deserves better.

However, there is no shame in admitting now that we doubted the surge would work 18 months ago. I think Bill O'Reilly is right that the American people would be impressed if Obama said something like, "I may have been wrong on the surge, but I was right on the war, and I'll be right for America when I'm president." I think we still admire such a balance of humility and strength, rather than avoiding the issue with a murky lukewarm stance.

If anything, I think the success of the surge will cause history to view the Bush-led war more critically. SecDef Donald Rumsfeld tried to fight a war with as light of a footprint as possible. The surge proved that the mere addition of 30,000 troops, a new strategy, and a new commander was all it took to achieve victory in Iraq, after it seemed impossible for so long.

What a shame that over 4,000 Americans had to die because the Pentagon could not realize this back in 2003, 2004, 2005, or even 2006. It shouldn't have taken 4 bloody years and hundreds of billions of dollars to learn that lesson.

But it did. Let's all learn it. Move on from Iraq and do a better job in the future.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Country First?

Warning: I'm going to knit-pick for a few minutes. But does anyone else question the overuse of the "Country First" theme of the McCain convention? I realize doing so is borderline un-American in some company, but for me it raises some questions.

Sure, I love America. You love America. And 99% of us love America no matter what end of the political spectrum we reside.

But isn't part of loving America the fact that we don't need to put "country first" like good patriotic robots in order to show our love and appreciation?

Don't we actually look down on other governments in history that have preached that mandate from high?

Let's take a few examples. I know John McCain isn't a former Marine, but doesn't that particular group of patriots refer to "Duty, Honor, Country." The order isn't a coincidence. Are Marines less-than-stellar American because they put "country third?"

And then isn't there an American notion of "God, family, and country"? Doesn't that principled trio put "country third" as well?

Finally, doesn't McCain's Republican party generally favor a picture of America that emphasizes the rights and the responsibilities of the individual? "Country first" seems to invoke a collectivization of sorts with which many of us are not always comfortable.

Should people look to their "country first" to escape from poverty?

Should people look to their "country first" to find a job?

Or to get health insurance, perhaps?

Like I said, we all love America. But let's not use silly catch phrases to escape real substance. John McCain and Barack Obama have different ideas about different issues, but I think they're both good Americans.

We love our country and, when appropriate, we should honor it. But let's never come to do it so blindly or robotically. Let's keep America's story unique in that we value the ideas upon which we're built way more than we value even our country itself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wayne Allyn Root

It's getting pretty close to being sealed that I will be voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr. I've always liked the message voting for a 3rd party candidate sends. I was one of the few who voted for Pat Buchanan back in 2000. This year I just can't get over my distaste for McCain and, though I like Sarah Palin, I cannot forget she is not the one running for president.

But this is what really impresses me about the Barr ticket. I just learned Bob Barr's running mate for vice president is: Wayne Allyn Root.

I don't know if that name means anything to you, but it sure does to me. Not only is he from Mt Vernon, NY nearby my old hometown, not only is he the son of the of the founders of the famed New York State Conservative Party, but Wayne Allyn Root is one of the biggest Las Vegas football/sports handicappers who I have been listening to on radio and tv for years.

An actual Las Vegas gambler is running on a presidential ticket this year! And I don't mean McCain losing money at the craps table either. If something more defined the purpose of the Libertarian Party than to stick it to the federal government and prop up the values of the city of Las Vegas, I've yet to see better than this!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin

My gut reaction is that while McCain's choice of Sarah Palin is a good pick, like most vice-presidential selections, it isn't a game changer. Ironically, most of my praise for Palin comes from the numerous ways I would compare her to Barack Obama.

The Positives:

One of the messages from Obama that I really like is the idea that Washington is broken. Even if liberal, Obama has a solidly "populist" tone that appeals to some conservatives like me. Washington is broken. And the way we're doing things isn't working. He's so right about that.

I also respect Obama because of his outside experience. I actually admire his education, that he found Christ on his own, and that he worked as a community organizer. These are all qualities that appeal to me. So too do I like that he's new to Washington. I admire his quick rise -- good politicians do that, unlike McCain who has acts like he's been waiting all his 72 years to get this chance.

Afterall, I'm the guy who has been arguing for the "Mayor of Topeka" for president. We need outsiders like Obama and yes, Sarah Palin, who know from recent experience what American life is like outside the Beltway.

For all these same reasons, I like Sarah Palin. I like that she's not experienced in the ways of Washington. I like that she had a rapid rise from PTA to City Council to Mayor to Governor to Vice Presidential nominee. I like the image she portrays as a working mom who is proud to show off her family and not act like they're tokens in the background of her life.

Palin is a strong conservative with limited executive experience. I think it's great that she comes from a small state and that just a few years ago she was nobody special. Corny notions like that affirm my idea of the American dream. Furthermore, if Palin actually took on the corrupt interests of Big Oil, I really like that in her. Also I particularly like her strong support of gun rights, oil drilling, and fiscal responsiblity.

The Negatives:

I must concede there are negatives and risks too. John McCain did this to cater to his conservative base. In return, the right has universally praised this selection. However, except for stubborn fools like me, McCain's conservative base was going to vote for him anyway. For two years they have talked tough, but in the end they couldn't wait to jump on the bandwagon. Just as we saw with the Clinton-Obama campaign, this is what believers in the big parties do.

So for this group, Palin does little for him. She gets votes that McCain already had. Now the right can feel a little better about their November vote. True, in the interim she may help raise money from this same now-enthused block. But McCain has accepted public financing so raising money is far less important than getting votes.

Can she get votes? We'll see. My best guess would be no. You see, that's still up to McCain himself. Even though I personally like Palin and would vote for her if the ticket were reversed, she's still just the vice president nominee. Let's remember: she won't be advocating her own record. In both her convention speech and in the veep debate, she'll have to defend McCain's record. Yikes!!

Will Palin get the Hillary voters? I doubt it. Can the same person who so appeals to the Pat Robertson crowd also appeal to the Hillary crowd? I just don't think so. In fact, her ardent opposition to abortion may turn off some who otherwise might have considered the moderate McCain. But if John McCain really wanted this group, perhaps he would have selected a pro-choicer like Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman.

Finally, there are rumors of minor skeletons in her closet. All politicians have them so I'm sure she may too. And since Palin is so unknown (especially as compared to Joe Biden), the press will be out there looking for anything. And if they do find something, it will become a big deal. Also, I think her inexperience makes it more likely she'll put her foot in her mouth. But, in fairness, Joe Biden has plenty of experience and he'll do that too.


Let's face it -- this is the Governor of Alaska. I don't know much about her. You don't know much about her. Nobody knows anything about her, apparently not even John McCain himself as yesterday was only their 2nd meeting ever! We will have to judge how strong of a candidate she makes at the convention, on the trail, and in the veep debate.

So on balance, I like Sarah Palin very much. I think I would vote for HER. But I don't think the pick changes the overall equation very much. It may work. It may not. But more than likely it will be neutral in the final outcome. Because let's remember: John McCain and Barack Obama are still the ones running for president!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lessons From Limbaugh

The other day, in response to the controversial NY Times article, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh said that it served as a learning opportunity for John McCain.

The important question for John McCain today is, is he going to learn the right lesson from this, and what is the lesson? The lesson is liberals are to be defeated. You cannot walk across the aisle with them. You cannot reach across the aisle. ... They are snakes. If the right lesson is not learned from this, then it will have proved to be of no value. link
I know many people think highly of Rush Limbaugh, including my colleague on this blog. However, I have long believed Limbaugh to be a cancer on our society and uniquely responsible for the much of the hatred, partisanship and decline of America. Even looking at this brief statement we see how Limbaugh condemns cooperation and labels fellow Americans in unfair and unwarranted ways. Sadly, this has always been the case with him.

Rush Limbaugh changed America by doing something that tyrants and dictators have long done; dehumanize others and create false enemies. Prior to the rise of Limbaugh and the right wing, people held opinions. I might hold mostly liberal positions while you may have mostly conservative opinions and someone else might mix and match their ideas. With Limbaugh and the right wing it is not opinions that are liberal or conservative - it is people. I am not an American with opinions to be considered, I am a liberal .... and liberals are snakes (one of the kinder things he has called us non-ditto heads over the years).

That division and distinction between types of people is critical to the survival of Rush Limbaugh and the strain of conservatism that has recently taken hold in this country. Through the years any person who disagreed with Limbaugh or the right wing was labeled a "liberal" (again the person is a liberal not just the policies they believe are best for the country). To this day, some on the right still feel the need to test politicians and pundits for "conservative purity" lest some of that bad blood get mixed with the good. After all, they are not merely people who hold conservative opinions, they are a superior type of person - "A Conservative!"

Rush Limbaugh doesn't believe in Reaching Across The Aisle because his mentality can't survive the light of day. There is a reason why Limbaugh does his show alone and never engages in a real debate with those who hold different opinions. Frankly, it's because his logic and arguments don't hold water. This being the case, he long ago chose not so much to debate politics on a policy level but instead on a personal one. It is easy to build up enemies to hate but much more difficult to defend a set of ideas with a record of almost universal failure.

So for Rush to remain a viable force on the radio and in Republican politics he has demonize his opponents and try to generate real hatred between Americans with different opinions. It's really tragic that a man with so many natural communication skills made that choice but in the USA that's his prerogative. But to me it's a sign of ultimate weakness to dismiss cooperation and generate animus between good and sincere people. In my opinion, it takes a real man to Reach Across The Aisle. That's the lesson I've learned. Thanks Rush!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This stuff is great

Political junkies -- enjoy this campaign season. It's been a wild ride and the ride ain't over yet. I'm amazed at how much drama has been packed into the past 6 weeks. I said it before and I'll repeat again: I don't think the powers-that-be will allow for such an unpredictable election cycle again in the future. So I'm making the most of this while we got it.

Today is one of those "note the date" times -- after tonight's 3 Chesapeake primary wins, Senator Barack Obama is officially the frontrunner. I've been predicting a Hillary Clinton presidency for years now. To me it seemed one of those inevitable things you hate but you know is coming no matter what. And somehow my gut still tells me Clinton finds a way to win, even if by dirty tricks and under the table deals. But, all that aside, there is no way Obama cannot be considered the Democratic frontrunner. It's his race to lose right now. And so far he's shown no signs that he will choke on the opportunity.

On the GOP side, even a Huckabee guy like me knows John McCain will be the nominee unless he dies, his health fails, or he experiences a devastating scandal. However, I don't understand the media's obsession with Mike Huckabee giving up. Why? Is there no worth in coming in second place? Is it so wrong to want to give primary voters a choice? I don't understand why any of these candidates drop out, unless they run out of money, of course. Believe me - we're going to have plenty of down time in the campaign this summer as we suffer from burnout after a front-loaded primary season. I hope Huckabee sticks around and makes some noise by winning Texas.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Six Reasons Why John McCain is OK with me

As I write this, Super Tuesday is just hours away. As an Obama supporter, I will naturally be looking to see just how much his recent momentum can push back on the Clinton political machine. Additionally though, I will be looking closely at the Republican results. At this juncture, it looks like John McCain will be the big winner - maybe even enough to lock up the GOP nomination. In the interest of "reaching across the aisle" I will present a list of reasons (in no particular order) why I would be OK with that.

1. He's better than the other GOP candidates. With the exception of Mike Huckabee, John McCain is less crazy, less of an ideologue and has more real life experience than anyone else in the GOP field. Although I disagree with much of what he wants to do - I think he will actually change his policies and ideas if the result are disappointing. How good would that have been in a President that last 8 years?

2. He would be an improvement, as far as Republican Presidents go. I have been around to really see and understand Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush1 and Bush2. I feel John McCain would be so much better than any of those three. First of all, he is not wed to an ideology like Reagan and Bush2 were. He is a conservative for sure, but he does not try to deny reality in order to make his ideas fit. Many times in his career when logic, experience and circumstances called for a diversion from text book conservatism, Mcain has shown a willingness to change paths. That alone would put him head and shoulders above any recent GOP President.

3. He might pick Huckabee for VP. I am one of those folks who like Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee, has been doing very well with a group of voters that give Mccain a bit of trouble. He also has been helping McCain win primaries by syphoning votes away from Mitt Romney. Because of loyalty and the electoral necessity of getting evangelicals to the polls in November, McCain would be smart to choose Mike Huckabee as his #2.

4. Radio talk show hosts hate John McCain. The Rush Limbaugh's of the airwaves have caused so much damage to this country. They have poisoned the minds of so many good people and lowered the political discourse in a way that lead to the disaster of the George W. Bush presidency and the embrace of long discredited policies. If these forces can be neutralized in any way - it can only be a good thing for the United States.

5. He is willing to reach across the aisle. John McCain is hated so much by people who believe that compromise is a weakness. He knows it is not only a sign of strength but an absolute necessity to have a successful democratic government. So, while those who clearly are working for a one-party state oppose him, as a co-founder of this website I have to applaud anyone willing to work with people of different political beliefs.

6. He would probably lose the general election. I think that only Mike Huckabee has a chance of beating the Democrats this year. If McCain chooses Huck as his VP it will help to become more competitive but it probably won't be enough to put him over the top. Looking at it today, I would predict that John McCain would suffer the similar fate of Bob Dole - a beloved war veteran seen as too old by voters to take over the reigns of power. So while I have great respect for the man, as a Democrat his probable loss is appealing. (Got to be honest)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Answer

Last time I wrote about my dilemma. Well, the problem has been solved. I decided not to get caught up in the front-running and stick to my guns. Today I proudly cast my Florida vote in the Republican primary for Mike Huckabee. He probably won't win. The polls indicate it will be a tight race between McCain and Romney. But I don't like either of those guys nearly as much as Huck. So in the end it's an easy choice to stick with the underdog. This fast-paced process is new and now is not the time to bail on a candidate who has done more with less than anyone else in the race on either side.

In a further display of my commitment, I saddled up with Chuck Norris and became a Team Huckabee Ranger. No, the Briscoe family budget sadly does not allow for a financial contribution at this time. But I do have one of those unlimited long-distance phone plans that I put to work for Mike Huckabee. Last week I was given a list of names and phone numbers of registered Republican voters in Brevard and Bay counties here in Florida. Over the weekend I called as many as I could and attempted to win them over.

Ironically, I did this once before. Back in the spring of 2000 prior to the Georgia primary I made calls for then longshot candidate John McCain. My how times have changed! Anyway it was fun to make the calls for Huckabee. I ended up leaving a lot of messages using the pro-life and 2nd amendment scripts as a guide for my words. But I was also able to speak to more than a few folks who seemed to appreciate that a real person was calling -- as opposed to all the recorded messages we've been getting from McCain, Romney, Jack Kemp, Bay Buchanan, Charlie Crist, etc. And then there were plenty of people who basically said (in the words of Bob Grant) "Get off my phone" and that was ok too!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Dilemma

So I think last week's post about race and the Democratic primary might have been just a little ahead of its time. Wow. What a crazy campaign! I continue to hope Barack resists the trap of getting in the mud with the Clintons. The temptation is understandable. But he has to realize that nobody can beat them there. Think about it -- Bill Clinton was impeached and still survived. You have to beat them on issues and character. You will never win with dirty politics.

Now a quick look at the GOP side. McCain has got the momentum and this time it is Florida taking center stage to see who has the edge going into Super Tuesday. Thompson is gone and Huckabee is strangely on life-support. How quickly things change. I have a feeling we will not see this kind of primary system ever again. It must bother the powers-that-be to deal with such uncertaintly.

Anyway here's my dilemma. There are 3 main groups of conservatives these days. There's the social conservatives, the fiscal conservatives, and the security conservatives. Of course many individuals and all the candidates claim an identity within each category. But ultimately, I believe at some point you have a main concern that takes priority. I have long felt mine to be in the social conservative side. That's not to say the others don't matter to me, but even after the disaster of the Bush presidency, I continue to believe our best shot at real leadership will come from within this group. In fact, this may still hold true were a Democrat like Edwards or Obama (who does not run from his faith) to become the president.

So back to the question. The top choices of social conservatives have been (in no particular order): Huckabee, Tancredo, Thompson, Brownback, and Hunter. As of today, they are all gone with the exception of Huckabee who's in real trouble after running out of money. It's not surprising because social cons will always lack the natural fund raising machines that those whom Wall Street favors enjoy (i.e. Romney, Giuliani). And money sure does talk. So I simply don't know what to do with my Florida vote. Strangely enough I am led in the direction of Ron Paul who is anything but a social con. However, unlike the trio of McCain, Giuliani, and Romney, at least I can rest assured that Paul actually believes in the principles on which he campaigns. But I also know voting for Paul is a throw-away vote. Then again, perhaps so too is Huckabee at this point. So I really don't know what to do.

I think I'll watch the Florida debate tomorrow night on MSNBC and deal with it later. Analysts say all guns will be aimed directly at new frontrunner McCain. Should be fun!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Race: Never an easy subject to calculate politically

As someone who rejects both overt bigotry and the more subtle forms including affirmative action, I think it would be truly nice if one's race was irrelevant to an election. However, since race is obviously still a vibrant issue in American culture, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that it has surfaced in the presidential election. But I wish it hadn't.

Obama supporters: be very careful. I understand you were upset by the tone and the use of some words by the Clintons referring to your candidate. Specifically the "fairy tale" description. I really do. But trust me -- you're not going to beat them at this game. In fact, your're falling into a trap.

Race has been deliberately injected into this campaign by the Clintons and it will indeed only help the Clintons. African-Americans, who otherwise might want to support Obama for reasons other than the color of his skin, are reminded of Bill Clinton's strong history of reaching out to the black community. And once again all the status-quo leaders of an important block of the Democratic party are thrust into the forefront and will be on their side (i.e. Bob Johnson, founder of BET). Simultaneously, in a way only the politically brilliant Clinton machine can achieve, a subtle message is sent to blue collar white Democrats who may always feel uneasy about race due to collective guilt for past injustices. And this too will push otherwise potential Obama voters into making the safe and easy choice of sticking with Clinton so that we don't resurrect any old wounds.

I don't know if I'm hitting on something big here or not. Probably not. But yet again -- here's another issue where I can't stand the Clintons but I sure do respect their ability to win. Here's hoping Obama steers clear of the trap and sticks to what he does best. If he stays true to his campaign thus far, he can still win in South Carolina. And that's what really matters now.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Reaching Across the Ballot Box

In an effort to reach across the aisle, I'm going to spend a little time talking about the Democratic field and what I like about it. Sadly, I must begin at the top by stating what I don't like about it: Hillary Clinton.

I'm probably the exact type of Republican voter that Democrats may want to consider as they go through the process of making their primary decisions. I despise the Clintons and will always do so. Back in 1992 Bill proudly said, "If you elect me, you get Hillary." Well, the same is true in reverse order some 16 years later.

I can now look back at the 1990s and admit the Clinton adminstration was far from all bad. In fact, I admire the social moderation and fiscal responsibility that Clinton displayed during his time in office. George W. Bush could definitely take a lesson. I think Bill Clinton became a new president in January 1995 when he had to deal with a Republican Congress. And while it literally almost broke him, in the end it enabled him to leave office with a fairly decent legacy. However, I can never overlook the personal shame he brought upon his office. That Hillary Clinton could do so only reflects poorly on her too, in my opinion.

Now back to the spirit of reaching across the aisle. Aside from Hillary, I have been greatly impressed by the Democratic field. Now only Barack Obama and John Edwards remain. Yet I think each could make a good president. They both bring communication skills and the potential for leadership that the office of the American president has not seen since the days of Ronald Reagan. Almost sounds superficial to ignore the specifics of issues but we all know just how much of politics is compromise. I laugh when I see all these candidates brag about "their plan." As if there has been a Congress in our nation's entire history who wouldn't shred a president's specific plan in a heartbeat in favor of leaving their own pork-friendly imprint upon the final details. The executive's best chance is and has always been effective communication.

I also like the youth, Washington inexperience, legal education, and work experience that Obama and Edwards would bring to the job. In other words, they are both relative DC outsiders when compared to Ms. Clinton. Beyond these two, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden each impressed me in numerous aspects, aside from their ability to run a popular campaign, of course.

If Edwards dropped out of the race now in promise of another shot at the vice-presidency, I think Barack Obama would be a lock for the Democratic nomination. Conversely, if Obama wasn't in the race, I think John Edwards would be the leading contender. But sadly neither scenario if the case. And that's why I think the road is still very tough for Senator Obama. Clinton has the old-school status-quo base firmly on her side. And that's a tough crowd to fight. I saw it on the other side of the aisle in past campaigns such as the one that nominated Bob Dole.

So I go back to my original consideration. Hey Democrats, I voted for my first ever Democratic candidate in 2006 by supporting Florida's incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. That was largely due to the fact that the Republicans nominated a candidate I could not vote for in good conscience. Now this same description also applies for me to about half of the remaining Republican field. Here's hoping the Democrats offer someone like me a legitimate alternative in the fall. I just may be tempted to give that person a shot. Just for kicks, if nothing else. But if it's another Clinton....well, my 2nd ever Democratic vote will just have to wait!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Since politics is really starting to become fun for me once again, I've decided that I need a forum for my thoughts. Even if only read by me or maybe MQA, there is an intrinsic worth in examining the issues and the candidates with word and seeing where one falls within that picture. Iowa and New Hampshire have now spoken. In less than 1 month we'll know the two individuals who will be the choices for our next president. With that said, let us begin.

The Democrats -- The lesson to re-learn from tonight is a familiar one: don't ever count out the Clintons. We should have known the writing was now on the wall for a Hillary victory when reports surfaced last night of Clinton dropping out of the campaign. Please. The Clintons and their familiar and trusted inner circle (James Carville, Lanny Davis, Ann Lewis, etc) don't like losing and, frankly, they simply don't do it much.

I think Hillary's surprise win in the New Hampshire primary means EVERYTHING. Obama had so much momentum beginning about a month ago with the great success of his campaigning with Oprah Winfrey. Almost nothing hadn't gone his way since then. And with Hillary still leading considerably in national polls, momentum was Obama's only ticket to an upset. He needed to use the dominoes of this new primary system where a series of small wins could make possible a large shakeup on Super Tuesday. But this is a real setback. Last spring I wrote that I thought he was essentially running for the ve-ep spot on a Hillary ticket. The past 6 weeks has proved me wrong about his motivations. But in the end, it still may be exactly the way it turns out.

How did the polls get it so wrong in such a small state with a limited voting population? My best guess is the power of the Clintons. They got the vote out. They worked the system. They did what they do best. Otherwise, there's the race theory. Did people talk themselves out of voting for Obama at the last minute to fall back on the status quo of another Clinton? Hope not. But I don't doubt it played at least a tiny factor. Also the presence of John Edwards in the race is killing Obama.

The Republicans -- Conversely, I don't read too much into McCain's victory. I do think it's possible he will emerge as the GOP's nomination. I've thought that all along because I still think the Republican party is self-destructive. The primogeniture theory has always played a part in the GOP's nominating process and it still may do so again. McCain can win in an attrition strategy. He needs the field to stay large and needs candidates to cancel each other out. In other words, he simply needs the most delegates.

Tonight's results pretty much end Fred Thompson's hopes. I look for him to drop out prior to Super Tuesday and immediatley endorse McCain. Romney's money will help him remain competitive, as will Huckabee's natural evangelical base. And Giuliani is still the strongest national GOP candidate. He's playing a dangerous game ignoring these early state contests but a win in Florida could lead to wins in the big states of Super Tuesday. And Ron Paul won't win, but he represents a cause and I'd expect him to continue to draw his 5%-10% of the vote wherever he goes.

After tonight, I concede both races are far from over. But I sure do fear Hillary Clinton FAR more than I did 24 hours ago. And that's a shame. Because she is the one candidate in the bunch I could never support. I greatly respect Obama and Edwards. And each of the GOP contenders have their own positives and negatives. But I still hate the Clintons!

There's nothing brilliant or ground-breaking from me here but I thought it was a good time to put down my thoughts. I think it's safe to narrow the combined field to 7 legitimate candidates. And I'll close with my odds following New Hampshire.

Clinton 3-1, Obama 6-1, Edwards 25-1. (Richardson - eliminated)
Giuliani 4-1, McCain 6-1, Huckabee 10-1, Romney 15-1. (Thompson - eliminated)

Anti - Inevitability?

The Democrats I was really surprised that Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire primary. Seems that voters may have an anti-inevitability thing going on. When Hillary seemed a sure thing - Obama surged. When in the past few days (which may go down in history as temporary "Obamamania") when Barack looked to be rolling toward the nomination, Clinton got a surge of her own. Maybe Democratic voters want to keep the candidates from getting too comfortable in their front runner status?? Fairly or unfairly, Obama was seen to be acting like he had NH in the bag, I think that hurt him with voters who waited to decide until the last minute. Also, I think that jealousy between Iowa and NH was a factor in some voters not choosing Obama. NH wants to be different than Iowa. This could have been their way of showing it. I don't think race played a factor in the difference between the pre-election polls and the result in NH. At any rate - we do have a race here folks and it could be one of the most interesting in years.

The Republicans Same level of excitement now on the GOP side. McCain won NH as expected and now seems to be their front runner. Romney, by placing second again, must win Michigan to remain viable. Mike Huckabee got 11% - about what expected and a very respectable third place. He's still in a very strong position for the upcoming contests and I think he should be considered a co-front runner with McCain. Giuliani barely beat Ron Paul and seems to be placing all his hope on Florida. Personally, I think he is through. Fred Thompson got only 1% - disappointing even by the low expectations he went into NH. Unless he gets a victory before Super Tuesday (2/5) he will probably exit the race he so reluctantly entered in the first place.

Since Jeff is giving odds - I'll try my hand at it too.
Obama 4-1, Clinton 5-1, , Edwards 50-1. Richardson 500-1
Huckabee 5-1, McCain 7-1, Romney 25-1, Giuliani 75-1, Thompson 75-1