Saturday, December 29, 2012

Just Like Cars

The Newtown tragedy has renewed the debate over gun control. It is an old debate. It is like a dormant volcano that sits quietly until the next eruption only to fall silent again.

Old cliches are recycled as deep thinking. Apples and oranges are compared and no progress in any direction is made. Perhaps, that is the objective. Create so much confusion and fear until paralysis sets in.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is This The Price of Freedom?

Reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has run the full spectrum. Some of it predictable (e.g. the usual rhetoric from both sides of the gun control debate). Some of it just downright insensitive and idiotic (e.g. Governor Huckabee suggesting that God allows the murder of children because of the Supreme Court decision ending school prayer). Some of it paranoid (e.g. suggestions that it was a conspiracy so that the United Nations can take guns away).

But one reaction stood out. During a local report about the tragedy,  a man being interviewed said that "unfortunately, it was the price of freedom". The indiscriminate killing of 20 kids ages 6 and 7 is the price of freedom in our country? Their little bodies riddled with bullets is the price of freedom?

Monday, November 19, 2012

For Start, Get The Losers Off The Stage

I am a fan of British politics. Ever since I started watching Prime Minister Question Time on C-Span, I have longed for something similar in the United States. Imagine. A president having to answer questions about his policies and actions on a weekly basis instead of the current system of  press conferences scheduled at the convenience of the White House resident.

A girl can only dream.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's Arithmetic, Stupid

Former President Bill Clinton speaks to delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on September 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
When Bill Clinton announced he was running for president on October 3, 1991, George H.W. Bush was enjoying an approval rating of 65% according to Gallup. At the time, it seemed highly unlikely that a governor of a small state who bombed his national debut as keynote speaker at the 1988 Democrat convention could beat such a popular incumbent. But he did. Following the election, Clinton's political strategists James Carville explained the campaign's strategy with one (now famous) sentence: "It's the economy, stupid".

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

And The October Surprise Is...Chris Christie

Chris Christie on ABC talking to George Stephanopoulos.

It has become an American electoral tradition. The October surprise. The term was coined in 1972 when on the eve of the presidential election the Nixon White House announced that "peace is at hand" in Vietnam.

George H.W. Bush blamed his loss to Bill Clinton on an October surprise. Four days before the 1992 election, Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh announced the indictment of Caspar Weinberger over the Iran-Contra affair. In 2000, George W. Bush seemed to be cruising to an easy victory over Al Gore when his 1976 DUI arrest hit the headlines.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Mitt

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

Earlier in the day of the final presidential debate, a blimp displaying the slogan "America Needs Romney" crash landed in Davie, Florida. How appropriate! I cannot think of a better metaphor for what happened to Mitt Romney than a crashing bag of hot air. I could actually hear the air seeping out as Romney just kept getting smaller and smaller as the 90 minutes worn on.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Joe Biden To The Rescue

One thing is absolutely clear from the last night's vice presidential debate: time for Jim Lehrer to retire.

What a difference does a moderator make! Martha Raddatz was splendid. She did not let the Romney backers intimidate her. The Breitbart crowd is no match for a war correspondent like Ms. Raddatz. Unlike Lehrer, she kept control. Her follow-up questions were on point and tough. As a result, the debate was informative, fast moving. A real service to voters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why I Support Gary Johnson - Part Two

Yesterday, Mitt Romney continued his speed walk to the center that started last week. Moderate Mitt is making a comeback.

During the presidential debate, Romney revealed that there was some fine print attached to his big bold tax plan to cut marginal rates by 20% across the board.  The print said that no tax cuts will happen if they increase the deficit (read that as no tax cuts).

Mitt 10.0 still vows to repeal Obamacare. However, he now pledges to keep all the popular parts of the bill like covering pre-existing conditions. Just give him a couple of more days and he will be buying Sandra Fluke's birth control.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Obama's Long Game

If Obama's team is shocked about anything it is probably the reaction by their supporters to the first debate. Talk about an overreaction! What hurt Obama was the overwrought, hysterical reviews by Democrat commentators. That's what the polls are reflecting.

It was not a great night for Obama but it was not a disaster. He didn't make any major gaffes. The only part of the debate where Obama was truly awful was the closing statement. He looked down or away instead of engaging the viewing audience. Yes, he needs to get his energy level up for the next debate. But the last thing he needs to do is to try to pin Romney down. That would be playing Mitt's game.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Reaction To The First Presidential Debate

(Michael Reynolds-Pool/AP Photo)

I guess it all comes down to expectations. Clearly Ed Schultz and Chris Matthews expected President Obama to nail Governor Romney to the wall over the 47% tape (BTW guys, that's what political ads are for). So they are despondent tonight. Romney was on the attack all night. Instead, Obama was his usual calm, cool self.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Support Gary Johnson

Recently, I was having a discussion about the Iraq War with a Facebook friend. After a little back and forth, she remarked that I was very hawkish for a Gary Johnson supporter. And she was right. I am a hawk. So why am I putting my talons away and supporting Gary Johnson? Very simple. He is the most qualified candidate on the ballot this November.

Gary Johnson has more executive experience than President Obama and Governor Romney. He was a successful two term governor of New Mexico. He reduced the size of government through better management. Left a $1 billion surplus without raising taxes. He has a better job creation record than either Romney or Obama. In terms of record, Gary Johnson is the best man running.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Abandoning The Freedom Agenda

Cris Bouroncle/AFP -- Getty Images
For decades, Republicans were known as the "daddy party" and the Democrats as the "mommy party". The Republicans earned the "daddy" label by being perceived as stronger on national security and defense. However, recent polling shows the public's perception may be changing.

Two factors account for the shift in public opinion. The first is Obama's record on fighting terrorism. Osama bin Ladin is dead. Also, Obama has been much more aggressive than Bush as far as using of drones.

The other factor is the GOP's foolish decision to walk away from the Freedom Agenda. Worse. Not only has the GOP walked away from the Freedom Agenda. Now they seem to be openly cheering for the Arab Spring to fail just so they can criticize the Obama administration.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hosni Mubarak Was Not A Friend Or Ally

The beatification by right wing pundits of the Mubarak regime is just about complete.
On Sean Hannity's cable show Ann Coulter declared that a time machine is needed to undo the Arab Spring. Sitting next to her, Hannity nodded approvingly. Yes, the same Hannity who during the Bush administration was cheerleading the Freedom Agenda. I know. I used to listen to his radio show on a regular basis.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Thoughts On The Democrat Convention

Alex Wong/Getty Images
No balloon drop at the Democrat convention. President Obama's speech was scheduled to be delivered outdoors. Democrats said the speech was moved indoors because of potential thunderstorms. The Right blogosphere claims that the speech was moved because Obama could not fill the stadium. Whatever the reason, I think it worked out for the better for the Democrats.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

God, Jerusalem: Unforced Error By The Democrats

The Democrat convention was humming along nicely. Serving red meat to fire up the base during the afternoon hours when the independent voters are more likely to be working than watching political conventions. Then packing the prime time hour with powerful speeches geared towards wooing the undecided.

Just as the pundits were busy congratulating the convention planners, Democrats decided to hand the Republicans a talking point. They adopted a platform that omitted any mention of God and Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The Republican Jewish Coalition couldn't be happier. Obama stabbing Israel in the back is their favorite talking point. Romney immediately pounced on this development as evidence that he was right that Obama had "thrown Israel under the bus."

Can't blame them. This is politics. When your opponent hands you a knife, you do not put it in your pocket for safekeeping.

To their credit the Democrats quickly realized the mistake and proceeded to reinsert the language. However, this produced the following embarrassing moment:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Race, Gender And The Empty Chair

I have been thinking about writing this piece for quite sometime. Discussing anything related to discrimination, race is always very difficult. It can quickly degenerate into name calling and unfounded charges of racism.

Despite electing the first African American to the highest office in the land - if not the world - the issue of race still remains just below the surface and retains its explosive quality.

And frankly, I do not see this changing anytime soon especially in light of the fact that both parties gain electoral advantages by using race.

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Thoughts On The GOP Convention

Image by Win McNamee / Getty Images

In business Mitt Romney has a reputation for competence. His calling card is being able to assemble to best team to tackle problems, perform tasks. Apparently, the tasks do not include selecting a team to produce a successful convention.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

Romney makes it three. That is, this is the third time in recent history that the GOP managed to nominate a candidate for president that did not inspire the party activists. Dole. McCain. Romney. And each time the GOP tried to remedy the situation via the vice presidential pick.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Romney Team Is No Match For Axelrod

If anyone has any doubts that Mitt will have a difficult time defeating Obama, just look at how the Romney team has been handling (scratch that) MISHANDLING the tax return issue.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Obamacare Ruling: No Victory For Conservatives

It will take a while for me to recover from the disappointment I feel regarding the Supreme Court decision on the so called "Obamacare" law. Had Italy not won its semi-final match in the European Championship, I would be suicidal. (Kidding!).

And what will make the recovery period even longer, is watching conservatives trying to spin the ruling as a positive for those who believe in a limited federal government.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chief Justice Roberts for Secretary of State

If Chief Justice Roberts ever tires of being on the Supreme Court, he can always transfer to the State Department. His diplomatic skills are superb.

Obamacare presented a very difficult situation for the Chief Justice. After all, the bill has been gradually implemented during the last two years. Overturning it would have caused disruption and a lot of confusion.

At the same time, upholding Obamacare would greatly upset conservatives who - just minutes before the ruling was released - heartily applauded anytime a Republican candidate pledged to nominate justices “just like Roberts”.

The only way out of this thorny situation was to uphold the law and at same time appease conservatives by giving them a moral victory. And he achieved just that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just Because You Declare Victory, It Doesn't Mean You Won

She is a piece of work. Jan Brewer, that is.

On Monday, the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of Arizona's immigration law was released. Brewer immediately claimed victory even  though the bill was basically gutted.

I suspect that Brewer would have declared victory even if the Court had struck down all the provisions. She seems impervious to facts. Remember the headless bodies? And the non-existent increase in crime?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Legal Immigrant Speaks Out

Few issues stir people's emotions like illegal immigration. The emotions were in full display this past week as people reacted to the Obama administration's decision to grant deferred action to certain DREAMERS.

As I was reading people's reactions on my Facebook newsfeed, I came across this question: "Why would anyone bother to follow immigration laws?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The People's White House

Chuck Todd has a commercial running on MSNBC where he is driving a car talking about his responsibility to use his "unique" access to politicians for the "greater good". He says that his job is to hold elected officials accountable; to bring up issues Americans care about.. lofty sentiments indeed.

And Todd is spot on regarding the responsibility of the media. As Thomas Jefferson said,
“The press is the best instrument for enlightening the mind of man, and improving him as a rational, moral and social being”

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Un, Dos, Tres... Un Pasito Pa' Adelante TX GOP

(translation: one, two, three... one step forward TX GOP). That's my take on the Texas GOP platform when it comes to the issue of immigration.

The Texas Republican party has taken a step forward by including a proposal for a guest worker program in its party platform.

The details are sketchy at this point. And some elements of the proposal do not make much sense. For example, the platform says that temporary workers must "complete an American civic class". Why is it necessary for someone who comes here - let's say - to work in construction to know about the three branches of government? And how many US born workers would be able to pass such a test?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's Juneteenth For Texas Gay Republicans!

On June 19, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War was over and slaves were free. Please note that this was two and a half years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation became official on January 1, 1863. The date June 19th was coined "Juneteenth" and annual celebrations marking the end of slavery in the United States began in Texas but later spread to other states.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Common Sense Prevailed in Wisconsin

Photo By Scott Olson/Getty Images
Whether or not the failure to recall of Governor Scott Walker portends what will happen in November is anybody's guess. One thing is true. Both the Romney and Obama camps stayed clear of Wisconsin. Obama sent a tweet... (how brave!/sarc).  Not sure where Romney was, even though now he is trying to spin the result in his favor. But that is to be expected.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The 1.5% Difference

(Photo courtesy NBC/Meet the Press)

The 2012 general election is in full swing. How can you tell? By the hysterical rhetoric coming out of both the Republican and Democrat camps.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What If Chief Justice Roberts Is Right...

The consensus seems to be that U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had another bad day before the Supreme Court. This time was over the constitutionality of Arizona SB1070. Or at least parts of the law.

Supporters of the Arizona law have focused on this quote by Chief Justice Roberts: "It seems to me that the federal government just doesn't want to know who is here illegally or not" as if it was some sort of revelation. Here is  the dirty little secret... illegal immigration brings in money into the federal coffers while enforcement is a cost.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

No Heart ... And Frankly No Brain

Recently a few articles have been published noting that Mitt Romney enjoys little support among Latino voters. A Fox News Poll  found that against Barack Obama, only 14% of Latinos would vote for Romney. Or approximately half of the support that John McCain enjoyed in 2008 which was 31%. And well below the 44% George W. Bush received in 2004. But these numbers should not surprise anyone. At least not anyone who has closely followed the Romney campaign this year.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Country Last

My jaw dropped when I watched this interview. It's a good thing I wasn't sipping hot coffee as I usually do while watching Morning Joe.

Monday, March 12, 2012

First Amendment Follies

It seems like this latest controversy just will not die. I mean the birth-control-mandate-Limbaugh-Fluke controversy. I had planned not to comment on this story. But since just about everybody else has done so, I might as well throw in my two cents.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why Not A Culture Warrior?

Rick Santorum by Gage Skidmore
It took a little longer than I thought. But - as the prospect of Mitt Romney losing Michigan seems more real - the GOP establishment is finally launching its attack on Rick Santorum.

During that last few days, columns by conservative pundits have appeared basically making the case that Rick Santorum is just too extreme in his social views to be viable in the general election.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

GOP's Missed Opportunity

Last night Jon Huntsman appeared on Jay Leno. As I watched the interview, I could not help think that the GOP missed an opportunity to nominate someone with the experience, temperament and policy vision to be a great president. And, as I have said many times, what the Republican party needs more than ever is a successful turn at the wheel or it may face a long period in the political wilderness.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

So Now Ann Coulter Is Worried About Winning Independent Voters?

As Mitt Romney's poll numbers continue to drop, Ann Coulter is becoming more and more hysterical. During a recent rant, Coulter said that the GOP needs to get independent voters. Really? Ann Coulter - The Queen of Indie-Repelling Rhetoric - is worried about independent voters. Really? I mean, really?

Monday, January 23, 2012

It Was A Bad Night For Paper Tigers

Well that was a thumping! A week ago Mitt Romney was inevitable. He had a double digit lead over his opponents in South Carolina. He was two for two. He was the one with the money and the national organization we were told ad nauseam. The pressure was on for all candidates to get out of the race and join in the coronation.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Democrats Are Not Grinning, They Are Panicking

The reaction was swift and strong. An exasperated Rudy Giuliani asked "What the hell are you doing Newt?" The Wall Street Journal declared that "Mr Romney's GOP opponents are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line" on Bain. And proceeded to lecture its readers about the benefits of creative destruction.

Strangely, the Wall Street Journal did have much to say about the wonders of creative destruction at the time they were pushing TARP on taxpayers. It seem that creative destruction is only good when blue collar workers lose their jobs. Yet a terrible idea when the jobs of wealthy bankers are at stake. But I digress.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Democrats Set The Trap, GOP Walks Right In

It seemed odd that out of nowhere Occupy Wall Street showed up outside New York Stock Exchange.

Unlike the Tea Party that sprung up shortly after the much hated TARP and the Stimulus bill, OWS was not immediately preceded by any controversial event.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mitt's "Tough" Decisions

On my second cup of coffee this morning digesting my daily diet of political shows. Let me share a few instant observations.

First, the attacks on Romney's record at Bain are hurting him. If that weren't true, Nikki Haley would not be delivering a lecture on capitalism and why sometimes jobs are eliminated.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is Beating Obama The Only Thing That Matters?

From time to time the Romney campaign lets the truth slip. One such time happened during a debate when Mitt said that "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals" working on his property. Thereby suggesting that if he weren't running for office, the legal status of workers would not matter. And now we have this very revealing statement from one of Romney's surrogates:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Karma Is A Bitch

Mitt Romney's campaign is doing its best to convince everyone in the Republican party that the nomination contest is over. Romney is the nominee. Everyone should come together and support him against Barack Obama.

But the reality is that 1,144 delegates are needed to win the Republican nomination. After Iowa, Romney has 13 and Rick Santorum has 12. Actually, they both have zero since the delegates chosen in Iowa are not bound by the results of the caucuses. The delegate count race will start on Tuesday with the New Hampshire primary.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In Politics You Do Not Turn The Other Cheek

The Iowa results are in and there is no doubt that negative campaigning works. It is also clear that voters say things they do not mean.

Whenever asked, voters are quick to decry negative ads. They claim to want to hear about solutions. Newt Gingrich took the voters at their word and paid a heavy price.