Month: September 2008

The Economic Crisis and the Future

I am totally amazed at the response of the House of Representatives in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Instead of responding with a sense of nationalism and shared sacrifice to this crisis which will affect all Americans, but particularly the middle class and the poor, instead we see partisan politics rearing its ugly head.  Blame can be shared for sure.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi conducted herself very inappropriately in politicizing a crucial moment when unity was essential.  But at the same time, it was the House Republicans, overly right wing and free market oriented, who ultimately caused the defeat of the so called bailout bill.

Understand, I am on principle opposed to a bailout of those greedy Wall Streeters who without any concern misled and manipulated investors, and promoted sub prime mortgages and lobbied for deregulation.  But remember also that it was the GOP talking points since 1994 and, really, going back to the Ronald Reagan administration, that glorified deregulation and less intervention in the economy at large.  These people glorified laissez faire, forgetting the hard lessons learned from the Calvin Coolidge-Herbert Hoover era which caused the Great Depression.  It was Franklin D Roosevelt and the New Deal who came to the rescue of the average American who suffered through the decade long Depression which had no effect on the elite wealthy.  Modern American conservatism is a reprisal of what already had been proven corrupt and disastrous but was put into new packaging and sold to unsuspecting, poorly educated Americans.

The reality is that IF nothing is done to deal with the economic crisis we face,  the real losers will be the average Americans who will lose their homes as many have already; will also no longer be able to pay basic expenses as many will lose their jobs; will also discover that they cannot get paychecks on time because of the ongoing freeze of credit;  will also lose their retirement and pension plans because of the losses on the stock market; will be unable to cope with everyday life, causing a rapidly growing health crisis in America;  will lead to a surge in crime by desperate people who will in many cases have never engaged in such activities before; and cause a world wide economic depression which will undermine our national security and any stability that might exist between nations.

In other words, after seven years of supposedly improving our national security, the Bush Administration legacy will be a less secure, more divided, nation with a nightmare facing the next President.    In these circumstances, IF we elect John McCain with a Democratic Congress (which assuredly will occur as the GOP will be blamed rightfully as having greater responsibility for this economic crisis), then stalemate and gridlock will result and nothing will happen, which will greatly worsen the nation over the next few years.  Only the election of Barack Obama and Joe Biden with a STRONG majority of Democrats in the Congress will allow us to enter a new PROGRESSIVE ERA as we did at the turn of the 20th century after the disastrous Gilded Age period of American history.  REGULATION is the essential reaction to this disastrous period we have been through since the 1980s, with the chickens having finally come home to roost.  I see Barack Obama and Joe Biden as leading a NEW DEAL series of changes in a new PROGRESSIVE ERA.  We have waited too long for such a transforming event and the time has come for its fruition.  This is NOT a time to sit on the sidelines; it is a time for everyone to vote; and for action on this economic crisis.  The future of the nation is at stake!

The First Presidential Debate–Obama vs McCain

The first Presidential debate of the 2008 election season is over, and it gives Barack Obama a clear edge as the race enters its last 39 days!

Barack Obama had to prove that he was a legitimate candidate for Commander in Chief.  He had to show that he had a world vision for the future of American foreign policy.  He had to demonstrate that he was a serious nominee, despite charges of inexperience, to take on the many challenges that the next President will face in the coming four to eight years. 

Without a doubt, he scored a victory and showed he had the toughness and ability to meet the challenges this nation faces, the greatest crisis we have encountered since Franklin D Roosevelt took the oath of office in 1933.  He confronted Senator McCain, fixed his eyes on him as he spoke in refutation, and yet at the same time showed the proper respect for a senator who was really the best Republican running in the year 2000, who SHOULD have been the nominee of the Republican Party that year.  The problem is this is not 2000, but 2008, and time has passed Senator McCain by .   He seemed to be a vision of past times, when what we need is a vision of future times.  He failed to look at Obama directly, and seemed almost aloof, as if Obama did not deserve the same respect that Obama has always expressed for McCain’s  service and sacrifice for this country. 

The purpose of a presidential election is not to award the Presidency to a person based on past performance or honors, but on WHO is best equipped to deal with future challenges, who has the most agile mind and the most even tempered and stable personality to deal with the many unexpected events that will most certainly occur and challenge the mettle of the occupant of the Oval Office.  Based on that sober reality, Obama deserves to win and most certainly will gain in future polls.

Then, the upcoming debate on Thursday, October 2, between Senator Joe Biden and Governor Sarah Palin will most certainly add to Obama’s advantage in the public opinion polls and in the election itself.  Is there ANYONE out there who will claim that Palin will either win the debate or make such a good impression that it will give McCain the edge?  Isn’t it clear to EVERYONE that in his first major decision, Senator McCain has shown VERY POOR judgment?  After next Thursday, we will see a growing advantage in the polls for Obama, with McCain’s only hope of winning being if somehow he can score a clearcut victory over Obama in their second and third debates.  Even if that were to happen, the tides of history seem to me to be running against Senator McCain in the sense that Barack Obama represents the new 21st century in his thinking, while McCain represents the past 20th century in his perceptions and outlook.  History moves on and history is being made as we watch and observe!

Nightmare Scenario

The Katy Couric interview with Governor Sarah Palin demonstrates that Ms. Palin, who could be a heartbeat away from the Presidency after January 20, if we were so unfortunate as to elect Senator John McCain President of the United States on November 4, is totally inarticulate and makes one see her possible accession to the Vice Presidency as a nightmare scenario. 

I have stated earlier on this blog that we have had Vice Presidents in the past who were scary and incompetent, specifically Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon and Dan Quayle under George H W Bush.  We were fortunate that Richard Nixon and George H W Bush remained healthy and alive while in office, and Agnew’s own corruption eliminated his chance to succeed Nixon, and Quayle, when he tried for the Presidency in 1996 was a total flop as no one in the Republican party could possibly imagine him as a potential President. 

But even they were better by comparison with Sarah Palin, who has not yet made an intelligent, coherent statement in her few public interviews or comments with the news media.  And really, to call Charles Gibson and Katy Couric challenging interviewers is hard to justify.  They produce softballs, not hardballs, and Sarah Palin, even with such kind, gentle interviewers seemingly cannot produce an intelligent, complex statement or judgment.  We cannot tolerate such incompetence, lack of knowledge, and intelligence in a person just a heartbeat away in theory from the American Presidency in a time of great problems and challenges.

The VP debate next Thursday between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden hopefully will clinch the issue of incompetence and mediocrity offered by Palin and will continue the decline in public opinion of John McCain, who has shown terrible judgment in picking a woman who is basically an insult to womanhood, that this is the best woman that could be selected when there were numerous, much better qualified women who could have strengthened the McCain candidacy and given all of us a more peaceful sleep every night as we await the judgment of the American people on November 4.

The Effects of the Wall Street Meltdown on the Presidential Election

The presidential race has been fundamentally transformed by the news of the Wall Street meltdown still in process as I write.  The outrageous, petty, deceptive  strategy of the McCain campaign, along with the Sarah Palin phenomenon, has now been overcome by the reality that the economy, under the control of a Republican President over the past eight years and a Republican Congress for most of the twelve years from 1994 to 2006 has put us at present into an economic crisis unmatched since the Great Depression and President Herbert Hoover.  When McCain claimed earlier today that the economy was fundamentally sound, one could hear reverberations of Herbert Hoover statements in 1932 when running for reelection against Governor Franklin D Roosevelt.  The Republican love affair with big business in the 1920s took away the Republican majority in voter registration that had existed since the time of Abraham Lincoln, and now the present economic crisis threatens to make the Republican party a basket case in Congress and send the party into the wilderness as it has not been since the disastrous defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964.  People vote their pocket book, and right or wrong, they blame the party in power for economic hard times.  So the Democratic party, with 50 days to go, can now see the ball returning to their court.

However, it is essential that both Barack Obama and Joe Biden perform well in their scheduled debates from September 26 to October 15.  They both have to show a command of the facts but NOT act overly intellectual and cerebral and therefore lose their audience.  If they seem too professorial, that will be a detriment to the campaign, as supposedly most voters don’t want a President or Vice President who appears to be too much above the average American, but rather want to feel they could have a beer with the candidate and see him or her on their level.  It is amazing that with the emphasis on education as the way to get ahead, and with more people having more years of education than ever before, that for some strange reason, being too smart and knowledgeable is seen as detrimental to a candidate’s chances of being elected President or Vice President.  So my advice to Barack and Joe is prepare but act humble and avoid any image of being cocky and all knowing.

 What a sad commentary on leadership in America that this is the reality of American politics. We would rather have a  "hockey mom"  and a President (George W Bush) who have something in common–neither can pronounce the word "nuclear" correctly, but rather both say "nucular".  Wouldn’t one have thought that those preparing Sarah Palin would have made certain  that she would learn to pronunce the word Bush has so mispronounced in a correct way?  Oh well, so much for striving for excellence! LOL  Mediocrity reigns supreme and is promoted as a virtue.  So much for the idea of American greatness.  But the possibility of restoration of American greatness DOES present itself in 50 days if only this nation is so fortunate!

Sarah Palin Exposed

So  now we have observed Sarah Palin in her first extended interview by Charles Gibson, the ABC news anchor this past Thursday and Friday.  What has been observed is indeed troubling when one considers that the Governor of Alaska would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency should Senator John McCain win the election this fall and fail to survive his term in office.

It is obvious that Sarah Palin has no clue as to the issues of international relations and has the wrong views on domestic issues.  She tries to tell us that she knows Russia because there are locations in Alaska where you can see the Far Eastern part of Russia in the distance, as if you see a building a distance from you and you would know what is going on in that building by that fact alone, an idea which is of course preposterous. 

Sarah Palin seemed stunned when asked about the Bush Doctrine, which the supporters argue is something most people in the country would not know.  That may be true, but Sarah Palin is not just any American.  She is potentially a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, and we do not want just "any ill informed American" being in that position.  The thought of a person so close to power NOT knowing the policies of the president in office that will be succeeded by her possibly at any time is truly frightening.

How can anyone realistically believe that Sarah Palin will be able to hold her own in a debate on foreign policy with Senator Joe Biden, an acknowledged expert and specialist  in foreign policy?  I know that conservatives will claim that she did "better" than one would expect and will probably accuse Biden of body language and attitude that makes him look sexist.  But even a crash course in foreign policy is NOT going to make Sarah a person we can believe in and trust in foreign policy.  In the dangerous world we live in, we cannot afford ourselves the luxury of a woman who seems very ordinary in her insights and intelligence to be our potential Commander in Chief.  This is no Hillary Clinton, no Olympia Snowe, no Kay Bailey Hutchison, no Condoleezza Rice!

Meanwhile, regarding domestic issues, no evidence has yet emerged that Sarah Palin has any ideas on how to revive our economy, instead only talking about cutting taxes and cutting spending.  That is NOT going to solve the numerous economic problems we now face, regarded by serious observers as the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.  And Ms. Palin tries to claim she is not one for "earmarks", when indeed the record shows she is one of the most active users of this tactic despite the small population of what Fred Thompson calls the "largest:" state in America LOL    Meanwhile, although she denied judging abortion rights activists, gay rights activists, and said she did not believe in censorship and creationism being taught, the evidence shows otherwise–that indeed she WOULD want to impose her views on the nation if she had the chance.  And of course, she is suing the Interior Department of President Bush to prevent protection of the Polar Bear as an endangered species, considering oil and gas drilling as more important.  Teddy Roosevelt must be turning over in his grave, a President who protected the American bison as an endangered species and would certainly be appalled at Governor Palin’s lack of environmental concern.

Sarah Palin seems like a nice lady who one might want to meet over lunch, but that does not qualify her to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, and although many say we vote for the President, not the Vice President, we must not forget that nine times out of 33 elected Presidents, we have had the Vice President succeed to the White House.  With that high a percentage, and no such succession since 1974, the longest period without such an event since the first President died in office in 1841, we MUST recognize that the odds are catching up and we MIGHT have that tragic scenario occur in a time of great danger to this nation internationally and internally.

Therefore, we NEED Senator Joe Biden of Delaware to be our next Vice President, and with him and President Barack Obama, we will have the good fortune of having a team the most committed to civil liberties in the history of the Republic, as both have been Constitutional Law professors and have a record of true vigilance about our Bill of Rights.  We must reverse a lot of the damage done by Bush and Cheney, and that will NOT happen under McCain and Palin. It is urgent to bring the change that Obama and Biden represent!

The State That Might Decide the Election–Georgia

The state of Georgia could be the one which decides the Presidential Election of 2008.  It could be as important as Florida was in 2000 and Ohio in 2004.

This is due to the fact that Barack Obama has gained support in Georgia to the point that it has been speculated that he can win the state.  Georgia is seen as weak in the support of the GOP.  Additionally, there are two former Georgia House members who are now running on third party lines, which could affect the result.  One is former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, who is best remembered for pushing the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and also for being condemnatory of President Bush for his abuse of civil liberties in the War on Terror.  Running as the Libertarian party candidate for President makes Barr potentially a threat to Senator John McCain’s chances to hold on to a state which went Republican both times for Bush.  Also on the ballot is former Democratic Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who is best remembered for her two stints in Congress, and twice being kicked out of office by the voters of her district over her outrageous statements and actions, including slapping a Capitol Hill police officer who asked to see her ID card, an action which made one wonder about her stability.  The Green Party has nominated her for President, and while she will almost certainly have less of an effect on the election, and if anything would likely have more impact on Obama’s vote total, just the fact that she is a a former Georgian in the House over a period of years, could have some role in the final election results in the state. 

It would be ironic if two Georgians running on third party lines actually decided the election, so this is certainly something to be noted and observed carefully over the next two months.  Let’s just say the 15 electoral votes of Georgia are in play and cannot be taken for granted by either side, and it certainly does complicate the struggle of John McCain as he attempts to maintain the Bush coalition of states of 2000 and 2004.

The Reality About Sarah Palin

It is now a week since Sarah Palin became a household name and she has been described as a "Rock Star" by the Republican Party.

This is insulting to the American public, and this past week has been a tremendous embarrassment in so many ways.  What we have learned about the "Pit Bull" is that she is a right wing extremist who wants to censor library book shelves, believes in creationism as science, wants to mandate that a woman who has been raped MUST have the child, is a fanatic gun advocate as a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, believes there should be no sex education in schools and only abstinence should be taught, has promoted earmarks in her role as past mayor of a small town and the small population state of Alaska  but now is the big advocate of no more earmarks, allied herself with Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska but now has abandoned her friendship out of her own personal ambition, supported the Bridge to Nowhere but then changed her mind and turned against it, used her office as Mayor and then Governor to clean house and put her allies in to promote so called Good Government which sounds more like the old style spoils system, interfered to try to fire her former brother in law and make it impossible therefore for him to pay alimony to her sister which is now being investigated by the state legislature, and prodding the young jerk Levi Johnston to marry her pregnant daughter or else a statutory rape charge would have been brought against him as their escapade embarrassed the fundamentalist Christian values that Ms. Palin continues to promote although her whole career is one of incompetence and hypocrisy. To top it off, her fisherman husband is a member of the Alaska Independence Party and Sarah Palin spoke twice as Governor before the group, giving it legitimacy.  She also supported Pat Buchanan when he ran as an independent in 2000, although she denied it and Buchanan contradicted her on her denial. Supporting Buchanan has to make you wonder about the character and judgment of a woman who could, if bad luck occurs, become our 45th President if John McCain wins in November and does not survive his time in office.

Sarah Palin makes one long for the "good old days"  of  Spiro Agnew and Dan Quayle, who despite their incompetence and mediocrity, look like geniuses as compared to this woman who can best be described as a "Snowbilly’, a term coined by a former student of mine who contributes to my blog as I contribute to his.  :)  I have been shocked that so called intelligent people, particularly some women, including some I know, are ready and willing to back John McCain because of Sarah Palin,  as a replacement for Hillary Clinton.  This is preposterous, as Sarah Palin is the ultimate ANTI HILLARY!  The only thing in common is certain body parts, but not including the brilliant mind of Hillary Clinton.  Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas, once in a VP debate in 1988, declared that Senator Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, and I can say with certainty that Governor Sarah Palin IS NO Hillary Clinton. 

The first indications are that a majority of women see Sarah Palin for what she is, but the men seem to favor her, at least in the  polls taken so far.  Could it be that so many men simply are incorrigible and judge even political women by their looks and bodies rather than the content of their character and the level of their intellect?  Why is it that there is no desire early on by the McCain campaign to allow Sarah Palin to face a serious questioning about her views, her knowledge, and her contradictions by the national press and by cable television interviews, and instead prefer that she just make speeches written for her using a teleprompter and utilizing her charm and sarcasm?  Don’t the American people have the right to learn the facts, the truth, about a woman who MIGHT become President suddenly at any time if we are unlucky enough to have her as Vice President of the United States?

My prediction is that once Sarah Palin is fully vetted as she must be, even if delayed for a while, that she will fade very quickly from the scene and after Election Day will go down as trivia in history as much as Geraldine Ferraro or Jack Kemp, losing VP candidates from the past.  The American people deserve better than an Alaskan "Snowbilly" as a heartbeat away from the Presidency.  They have an alternative: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, who will bring distinction and stature to that office and help to bring it back from the disgrace brought to that office by Dick Cheney.  And if by some horrible tragedy, Biden should some day succeed Barack Obama, we would be in very good hands.  Meanwhile, we will be able to sleep peacefully knowing we are safe should some terrible event occur.  No candidate for President should EVER again play Russian Roulette with our future.  If a Presidential candidate cannot pick a responsible choice for Vice President, that should eliminate him as a winning candidate, as he has demonstrated poor judgment and showed a lack of wisdom and character.