Tag Archives: politics

On the confirmation hearings

Two quotes have come out of the hearings that I really appreciate:

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “If I had been elected as a senator from South Carolina [in 1955], I would be amazed if I would have had the courage [to support the Brown v. Board of Education ruling].”

I think this is an amazing thing to say.  All at once he shows self-realization of his own personal and political limitations, and the great foresight and courage of the Supreme Court to make the ruling, let alone to just stand by it.  I give him serious props for being so forthright.

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Sonia Sotomayor (when repeatedly questioned about her personal stances on hot-button issues like gun rights and same-sex marriage):  “Would you want a judge or nominee who came in here and said, ‘I agree with you, this is unconstitutional,’ before I had a case before me?  I don’t think that’s a justice I can be.”

You go, Sonia.  You go with your awesome, wise Latina self.  I totally heart you.

Casting call

I’m giddy with anticipation.

All the coverage around who Barack Obama may or may not pick for the dozens of positions he needs to fill just has me fidgety.  I tend to be a bit of a political watcher, and I find all this stuff pretty interesting anyway.  It’s been eight years since all this happened with Bush 43, and it was pretty interesting to watch then.  Now, that I’m pretty psyched that ‘my guy’ won, and that he’d already picked the guy I REALLY liked for VP, I’m just super interested to see who he taps for his key positions.  It’s not so much because I’m a political junkie, because I wouldn’t label my level of interest “junkie” level.  I think it’s more because Obama/Biden, and the Secretaries, and the Attorney General, and other key folks will take frequent turns in the spotlight on CNN.com and I’m just interested to see who it will be I’ll be reading about for the next four-to-eight years.  Sort of like a casting call for an unprecedented political TV drama… only the plot lines affect my life on a daily basis.

I really have no point in writing this.  Just that I’m keenly watching it, and it’s fun.

OK, I need to stop babbling.  The problem is, I accidentally left the keys in the ignition of my minivan earlier, in the battery-on position…. yeah, duh, I know.  Then I went to pick Lane up from preschool and, ta da!  Car wouldn’t start.  In-laws weren’t home, friends next door weren’t home, and didn’t have the numbers in my cell phone of anyone else I felt comfortable calling on short notice to beg for help.  So I resorted to the double jogging stroller.  We live about a mile away from Lane’s preschool and I’ve made the trip bipedally before, many time actually.  It’s the only exercise I have gotten lately.  But I didn’t expect to do it today, when it is very cold and windy, and I didn’t expect to have to do it as fast as I had to do it.  But I bundled Jake up to the gills in his snowsuit and a blanket, and off we went.  And I did the 1.2 miles it takes to get from door to door in about 12 minutes, which is by far a personal record for the trek… and pushing 30 pounds in the jogging stroller and in the bitter cold besides.  And for kicks, I jogged some of it on the way home, too.  The funny thing was, when I tried to start the van when we got home, to show Lane how it was broken, the damned thing started right up.  So, it’s running in the driveway, and I’m still feeling short of breath.  Good times.

An open letter from Colin Powell to the Republican party

Dear Sirs and a Madam or two:

There are many in the party who have expressed shock, outrage, disappointment, and feelings of betrayal over my decision to break with Party lines and endorse Senator Barack Obama.  Well, let me tell you, I can sympathize!

You see, a number of years ago, I was given some information and a vial of fake anthrax and asked to plead a case for war in front of the U.N.  I was somewhat dubious, but I was assured that the information and intelligence upon which I was making our plea was solid, and that this was a just and necessary war.  It turned out, you all were full of crap.  Years of war have proven that our primary reason for starting that trillion-dollar mess was based on unsubstantiated intelligence from questionable sources, and nary a weapon of mass destruction has been found.  Oh I know, some of you are claiming all the WMDs hauled ass into Syria, but you’re full of it.  We’ve got dozens of high-tech spy satellites with their eyes trained on that region; if any sort of mass shipment of weapons happened we would have seen it.

You used me.  You used my name and my good reputation in the world to make your case, and it blew up in all our faces.  To say I felt betrayed, disappointed, shocked and outraged is putting it mildly.  I wanted to drop a bus on you frigging people, since you so symbolically dropped one on me, on my good reputation, and on my honor as a soldier and a man.  I was a shining example of nonpartisanship, of leadership, of integrity.  Nearly overnight you made me into another worthless Bush lackey.  Not only that, but I had a pretty good shot at becoming the first black president.  And as a Republican!  It wasn’t something I actively aspired to, but I’ve dedicated my life to service to my country, and had the calls for me to run been compelling and resounding, I would have.  I would have run with honor and sincerity and honesty and I probably would have won, because I’m pretty moderate and cool and the American people frigging loved me.  Now people on the left lump me in as just another chump in the administration, and people on the right… well, some of you have just gone stark raving mad, and while you may like me I really don’t want to have much to do with you.

However, it would be unfair to say I endorsed Barack Obama out of spite.  I hope you know me enough to know that I’m bigger than that.  I mean, let’s just take a look at the guy — he’s got charm, and charisma, and brains, and if I were a woman I would be madly in love with him.  Heck, even as a guy I have a bit of a man-crush on the dude.  He’s a light in the fog these days in a country craving some leadership and calm in a storm of woes.  And it’s not like the guy the Republican party nominated makes me quiver with excitement.  Sure, I like him, the way you like that crazy uncle that mumbles conspiracy theories at Christmas dinner and tells off your grandpa for being a pinko commie who never understood him.

And of course there are the people who are already saying I’m backing him because he’s a brother.  Come on.  I’m the same color as George W. for chrissake, and Obama ain’t much darker.  But if there’s one thing about his outward appearance that sways me, it’s his ears.  I know they look pretty dorky but you know what?  He uses them for more than holding up a frigging cowboy hat.  He listens.  He seeks knowledge and advice and wisdom, and wants you to tell him what he doesn’t know.  That’s a drink of water in the desert, man, especially after so many years of the administration not giving a damn about what I might have to say, and then the American public mostly despising me for helping make the case for war.  Not only is this guy smart enough to take advice, but he’s so awesome and transformational that maybe he can help me regain at least a little of the respect and credibility I lost because of you.

It is certainly fair to say you didn’t exactly make it hard for me to choose which horse I wanted to back.  You eviscerated all the party loyalty I had when you threw my reputation under a bus to further your pet project in Iraq.  So, I may have sounded my own political death knell, but it was frigging worth it, you assholes.

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OK, so maybe Gen. Powell didn’t really write that.  But it’s certainly fun for me to imagine him thinking it.

The real Mavericks, God bless ’em

Dontcha know, I just came across this really funny article from the New York Times. I’m pretty sure I knew the term “maverick” came from a real person, but had no idea the Maverick family is such a bunch of staunch liberals. I just wanna give a wink and a shout-out to ’em.

I paraphrase here… but the real Mavericks, active in politics as they have been, have a history of advocation of civil liberties, accusations of Communism thrown at them, and anti-war stances. And their thoughts on McCain wanting to call himself a “Maverick”? Terrellita Maverick says McCain “is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase.”

You betcha.

Watch it on PBS!

We’ve got the debate on, and I’m so psyched that McCain decided to show up!

We discovered during the Democratic and Republican conventions that we really so much more enjoyed the coverage on PBS.  I don’t know why we’d never thought to tune into PBS for this stuff before now.  But it’s so much more enjoyable.  The reporters aren’t too obnoxious, the coverage is balanced, and the lack of sensationalism is refreshing.

Off to watch!

Multitasking: It’s kind of a big deal

It looks like John McCain is bailing out of the first presidential primary tomorrow. I find this really disappointing; I LOVE presidential debates.

His reasoning is the economic crisis and all the work that needs to be done on his part to see the country through this hard time. Noble on the surface, but is it, really? He sits on a couple relevant committees and subcommittees in the Senate, but it’s not like they’re twiddling their thumbs waiting for him to gallop in on his noble steed to save the day. The way I see it, the main thing he needs to do is vote on stuff. He’s not in a position to be crafting the terms of the bailout packages or anything like that. Is he? Maybe I’m wrong about that.

McCain just seems to me to be pretty poor at multitasking. He makes a point of only scheduling one campaign stop a day. And now, he can’t take the time to prepare for a debate because of this current ‘crisis’? (I’m a bit dubious of the word ‘crisis’ as applied to the current situation. Oh, it’s not good, I agree wholeheartedly. And granted I don’t understand and am making no attempt to understand the nuanced effect that these government takeovers could have on the market as a whole. But I just don’t see how McCain playing hooky from the debate tomorrow is suddenly going to make rainbows and daisies out of the current situation.) Regardless, I see the presidential debates as like the pinnacle of the election process, the most important steps. Does McCain really want to be president? Or does he want to pretend to act Presidential by hiding in D.C.? It would be really impressive that if he’s going to do something to save us all from this corporate greed, that he could accomplish it AND show up to the debate to tell us all about it. I’d hate to see him have to try to handle two important things at once as president. “Sorry, Iran, you’re just going to have to wait a minute even though you’ve just rolled a nuclear weapon into your main square — we just got hit with a giant earthquake here. Can I pencil you in for next Tuesday? Will that work for you, crazy Iranian people? Swell. Thanks!”

The truth is, I really think he’s using AIG as the dog who ate his homework. We’ve spent the last few weeks watching Sarah Palin being kept under tight wraps from all first-hand media scrutiny (except of course for Charlie Gibson nailing her, that was funny — and damn, how annoying was it the way she said “Charlie”?). I’m not even going to get started on how pot-calling-kettle-black sexist that is of the McCain camp. Can’t they trust this woman to stand her own ground and handle the tough questions, even if it’s to issue her own personal “no comment”s? But now, John McCain is just throwing himself into the media black hole. In his first chance to face off with Obama on national TV, he’s bailing?? That seems so weird. And it’s not like I’m salivating because I think Obama is going to trounce him in the debates; I think McCain is probably going to prove to be a more effective debater than Obama in many respects. Mostly, because he’s a sound bite sort of guy and the American populace doesn’t seem capable of absorbing much more than neatly-packaged sound bites. But since the debates might very well be his forte, why bail? Why not use the forum to share your thoughts on the economy and other matters with the American people? It just smells like a three-day-old fish to me.

Or, maybe he’s just at a point in the campaign where he’s feeling like he’s not quite confident enough to quit his day job. 🙂

More president crap – part 11

Honestly I’m growing weary of this.  Not of the project in general, but making my way through every single president.  I am eager to do my analysis.  I’ve always been more of a fan of compiling results vs. the data collection process.  So, I shall soldier on, but I may be a little less verbose for these last few presidents.  I’m still going to do all the reading that I’ve been doing, but I am not sure I have the energy to type as much of my thought process out.

#36 — Lyndon B. Johnson.  LBJ made his career in Congress.  First he was a Representative, then a Senator.  I’m inclined, however, to give him credit for executive experience because for eight years, he was either the Minority Leader or Majority Leader in the Senate.  Hmmm.  You know, I’m guessing Sarah Palin wouldn’t consider Nancy Pelosi to have ‘executive experience’ because even though she’s leading the Senate, she’s still ‘just’ a legislator.  So we’ll say LBJ doesn’t have executive experience.  Now was he a good president?  Again, I’m torn.  From everything I’ve read about him, he was a complete dick.  I heard a story once where he had to relieve himself while outside with his Secret Service agents, so he walked over and started pissing on one of their legs.  The agent said, “Mr. President, you’re urinating on me” and LBJ replied, “I know I am.”   Nice!   Then there’s also the whole issue of the Vietnam War and the 58,000  American soldiers who died in the conflict, not to mention the countless Vietnamese, estimated to be in the millions.  On the other side of the coin, though, he did some phenomenal things domestically, many a continuation and building upon FDR’s New Deal programs through LBJ’s “Great Society” initiatives.  My knee-jerk reaction is to say he wasn’t a good president because of the Vietnam War, but further contemplation has my respect for his domestic accomplishments dominating.  So… EE: no; Good: yes.

#37 – Richard Nixon.  Nixon’s political experience was, like Johnson, garnered mostly in Congress.  Nixon is another of those conundrum presidents.  His domestic and foreign policies and accomplishments were consistently pretty awesome.  But then there’s that whole crazy paranoid Watergate stuff.  My inclination is to say as a president he was pretty great, but as a man he was pretty messed up… so that he accomplished all he did in spite of his own personal faults is more astounding.  So, I’m going to say…. EE: no; good: yes.

#38 – Gerald Ford.  Ford’s political career was again mostly in Congress.  Notably, he was a member of the Warren Commission that investigated the Kennedy assassination.  Ford was viewed as a decent, noble man that brought honor back to the White House after the Watergate scandal.  Beyond that, however, his presidency was mediocre.  He flip-flopped on a number of major issues, and he had a hard time coming up with any solution at all to other issues, such as the country’s economic downturn.  So… EE: no; Good: no.

#39 – Jimmy Carter.  Carter was the governor of Georgia (the state, not The Republic Of) before becoming president.  He also ran his family’s peanut business for a time and was quite successful.  Carter was nearly iconic in his ability to help negotiate peace between other countries (a role emulated by every president since) but in most other areas, his presidency was lacking.  He has had an exemplary and distinguished post-presidency and has since won the Nobel Peace Prize, but his presidency in and of itself was mostly a bust.  So… EE: yes; Good: no.

#40 – Ronald Reagan.  Reagan was governor of California before becoming president.  He also served as president of the Screen Actors Guild.  I don’t personally agree with a lot of Reagan’s politics and stances, but there’s no denying he was a charismatic leader who was well-loved and maintained good relationships with a number of world leaders, as well as helping to bring about the end of the Cold War.  His presidency was tainted with a few issues, such as the Iran-Contra affair and his “Reaganomics” ballooning the national debt, overall I think we can say he was a pretty decent president.  So… EE: yes; Good: yes.

#41 – George H. W. Bush.  Bush 41 started his own oil company.  He served as the US Ambassador to the UN, and Director of the CIA.  I’ll give him executive experience credit for these items off his resume, but overall his experiences in both domestic and foreign affair roles may make him one of the most qualified presidents ever elected.  I think overall his presidency was a success.  He had moderate success with policies domestically, and resoundingly great successes in foreign affairs.  I think he mostly failed to gain reelection because of breaking his “no new taxes” promise and then running a lackluster reelection campaign.  So… EE: yes; Good: yes.

#42:  Bill Clinton.  Clinton spent nearly 12 years as the governor of Arkansas.  Clinton’s a rough one for me.  I really, really like him.  I think he’s a righteous dude.  But I’m really undecided right now.  He had some great successes under his watch — a strong economy, federal budget surpluses, achievements in economic globalization, interceding in the Balkans, and intervening in the potential currency collapses in Mexico and Asia.  But then there’s the stuff he didn’t do… health care, intervening in the Rwandan genocide, and the pesky question of whether or not he had sexual relations with that woman and all the hoopla and baggage and general disgrace that came with impeachment, in addition to the question of what he could have accomplished but didn’t while he was busy dealing with the impeachment proceedings.  I’m inclined to give him the thumbs up… after all, I gave Nixon props.  So… EE: yes; Good: yes.

#43 – George W. Bush.  Bush 43 was governor of Texas, and before that founded and served as chairman of an oil company, and was also a managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.  I know there are people that love him, but there is no way in hell I’m saying GWB has been a good president.  I think the Iraq war was completely unfounded, I completely disagree with the Bush Doctrine of preemptive striking a country who we think might try to get us first, and I am appalled by the erosion of freedoms we as a people have faced under his watch.  I applaud his intentions with No Child Left Behind but fault him for failing to properly fund it.  And, seriously, I just don’t see him as a very smart man.  So… EE: yes; good: no.

WHEW!!!  All done!  Now, on to compiling the results and seeing what we’ve got here.  Here comes the fun part.  Yay!!