Day: January 6, 2013

Pending Nomination Of Chuck Hagel As Pentagon Head A Good Move In Many Ways!

The pending nomination of former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department is a good move in many ways.

It demonstrates that Barack Obama will not allow criticism and opposition to stand in the way of which person he wants to head the Pentagon.

It shows that Obama has faith in Hagel, a man of strong opinions, sometimes controversial, to clean up defense waste in the Pentagon.

It shows that Obama is willing to put into that office a man who is not a knee jerk “hawk”, and would prefer to avoid armed conflict if at all possible, such as with Iran.

It shows that Obama will not let John McCain and other “hawks” and neoconservatives promote an agenda of constant war, and the extension of our commitment to Afghanistan.

It shows that Obama is willing to back a man who simply made it clear that while we will always defend Israel, we will not allow any pressure group such as AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) to wield undue influence on American foreign policy.

Hagel is a man of his own mind, but also loyal to Obama, who he backed against his own party’s choice of McCain in 2008, and will be a good team player with Senator John Kerry, the choice for Secretary of State.

And both men, Vietnam veterans, with Hagel wounded, truly understand and appreciate the effects of war, and will work together in a smart and effective way to promote a foreign and defense policy that fits the second decade of the 21st century!

Yes, there will be opposition, including those who are upset at past anti gay comments by Hagel, but he has grown on the issue and will enforce the changes that have been made on this matter in the military, and the President is entitled to who he wants in his cabinet, and after a battle, which is nothing new for Obama, he will gain Hagel as his Defense Secretary, and the country will be better off for it!

Finally, recognize that many former military and naval leaders, and former Secretaries of State and Secretaries of Defense, and National Security Advisers under earlier Republican and Democratic Presidents, back Hagel, so let the politics of the Senate play themselves out, but at the end, we will have Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, another Republican in the Pentagon, as Robert Gates was in the first two years of the Barack Obama Presidency!

Bipartisanship Of The Past: Why Not Now?

When one looks at American history in previous recent decades, one sees so much evidence of bipartisanship between Republicans and Democrats, and one wonders why that is not possible now in the interests of the nation!

Witness the following examples:

1962–John F. Kennedy calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for help and counsel during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1963–Lyndon B. Johnson becomes President after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and calls upon Dwight D. Eisenhower for advice in a moment of crisis.

1964–President Lyndon B. Johnson calls upon Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois to help push through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

1983—President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Thomas “Tip” O’Neill work together on Social Security reform and get it passed.

1990s—Democratic Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia works with Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana on arms control legislation, lessening the dangers of nuclear war after the end of the Cold War.

2000s—Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona works with Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin on passage of campaign finance reform legislation.

2001—Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts works with President George W. Bush on education reform.

Instead of publicly calling for the move to make Barack Obama a one term President, as Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky enunciated in 2009, or Speaker of the House John Boehner to use foul language against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and to say he refuses to have any more private meetings with President Barack Obama, what we need is mutual respect, and willingness to cooperate!

And this includes the idea that both Republicans and Democrats need to “cross the aisle”, and stop vilifying each other as the “devil”, as this prevents doing what is good for the American people!

The country is sick of the partisan wrangling and the lack of respect and dignity displayed, and is calling for Congress to act like adults and to work cooperatively with the President, who always has an open minded attitude toward discussion and compromise within reason!

The Moronic Debate Over Presidential “Vacation” Time

Here we go again! Another reason to attack President Barack Obama is to claim he is taking “vacation” time, when there are so many issues to deal with.

The facts are that Obama has taken far less vacation time than most Presidents, even though he has issues to deal with on a regular basis that match those of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, without a doubt the third greatest crisis period in American history after the Civil War and the Great Depression and World War II!

Obama has taken a total of 84 days in four years for “vacation”, in his home state of Hawaii.

George W. Bush took 250 days off in his first two and a half years, and spent more time at his home in Crawford, Texas than he often did in the White House.

Ronald Reagan spent an inordinate amount of time at his ranch in California during his eight years.

George H. W. Bush spent a lot of time at his home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

John F. Kennedy spent a lot of time at his home in Hyannisport, Massachusetts, or in Palm Beach, Florida.

Harry Truman spent a lot of time at his home in Independence, Missouri.

Dwight D. Eisenhower spent a lot time playing golf on regular vacations.

Franklin D. Roosevelt spent a lot of time at his Hyde Park, New York home, or in Warm Springs, Georgia during his twelve plus years Presidency.

The same goes for Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton.

But NONE of them got as much attacked for “vacation” time as Obama has suffered, even though he has spent far less time away from the White House!

But the point is that the critics fail to recognize, or choose NOT to recognize, that in reality, the President of the United States is NEVER on “vacation”, as the burdens of the office go with him wherever he is, and communications are always readily available!

Being President is a 24 hour a day, 168 hours a week, 52 weeks a year enterprise!

Meanwhile, the Congress only meets in formal session about 125 days a year, and takes long breaks during the year around holidays. And the conservative talk show hosts who criticize Obama have inordinate amounts of free time when they do not work.

So it is really outrageous that those who have far less responsibility, burdens, and stress, have the gall to attack a President who has worked harder on a regular basis than any President of recent times.

But as always, Obama ignores the ridiculous criticism, and we should all salute him for his recognition of the need to get away from DC and clear his mind, within the limits that is possible!