Day: February 23, 2009

President Obama and a “Parliamentary” type Debate

President Obama today took an unusual step.  He held an economic summit, invited members of both parties, economists, media people and other influential citizens and proceeded to take questions for nearly an hour, as if this was a parliamentary system of government, as Great Britain has.

This included comments by John McCain and Eric Cantor and good natured ribbing by Obama of  these and other critics.  No President has ever put himself into such a situation, and it shows his willingness to hear all points of view and keep a good humor in the process.

Obama has already shown that he believes in constant public contact and this idea followed through today has proved to be useful and may be utilized in the future.  This is one of the many reasons why public opinion polls show he remains very high in public opinion one month into his Presidency!

Senator Richard Shelby and Barack Obama’s Citizenship

Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama has made a record of being an obstructionist in his years in the Senate, but now he is wasting our time with statements asserting that Barack Obama may not be a citizen of the United States.

Recently, he declared that he had not seen Barack Obama’s birth certificate, as  if it is a requirement that a senator examine a president’s birth certificate.  This rumor about citizenship was first spread by conservative websites and backed up by an unethical college professor who started a website asserting what Shelby is now advocating.

The fact of Obama’s Honolulu birth is not subject to debate and his birth certificate is available online for those who are interested.  Does not Senator Shelby have better things to do than waste our time spreading gossip  and half truths?  Can’t we expect Shelby to do his job and stop diverting attention away from the real problems this country faces?

As a former Democrat, who switched parties after being elected Senator, Shelby already has a shady image, and it is not improved by his disgraceful assertions designed to undermine our government. I ask Senator Shelby to do the job he was elected to do: to help solve the problems faced by the citizens of Alabama in the present economic mess!

Senator Jim Bunning and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky is the only senator ever to be a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, having a superlative record as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950s and early 1960s.

I remember admiring Bunning,  as a young man who was a baseball fan.  But that is long past.  Senator Bunning, who also served as a Congressman before his Senate tenure, has become a public embarrassment with his outrageous statements on many matters over the years, and there have been signs that he might have mental issues as he is nearing 80 years of age.

Now he is showing a disgraceful lack of class and judgment by declaring that Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who has totally different views of the law and society than conservative Bunning, and recently underwent pancreatic cancer treatment, will be dead within nine months.  While the prognosis for pancreatic cancer is not good, no one should EVER make such a public statement about someone else’s health.  Instead, everyone should pray for the restoration of the health of a Justice highly respected and admired.  Her leaving the Supreme Court would be a sad moment as she has added a lot to the Court’s image and respectability.

It is clear that many Republicans wish that Senator Bunning would retire in 2010, as he is seen as likely to lose his seat to a Democrat as things stand now.   With all due respect for Jim Bunning, the Baseball Hall of Famer, it is certainly time for Senator Bunning to leave the Senate, where he has NOT made a distinguished record in action or statements!