I Forgive George Bush

Politics

Have you seen this link?  The web site is ForgiveGeorge.com.  I saw the link and thought I’d go there for a laugh, but the tag line got me.  It’s a very minimalist site, only a line crawling across the screen – “Giving up all hope for a better past”.  For those of you with a great memory for comedians (or a search engine), you might know this as a Lily Tomlin quote, but for me this hits home.  I’ve spoken with a lot of people who long for a better past.  What if … Gore had won Florida … 911 never happened … we’d rejected a second Bush term?  But there’s no changing that.  It’s done and we need to move on.  The right is not immune to this either.  I’ve met many a Republican who see red at the mention of Bill Clinton a decade after Monica.  Maybe they can move on with me.  It’s not that the President is asking for my forgiveness.  He’s said history will vindicate his choices.  I believe this is the greatest of his sins – looking back upon the devastation of the last eight years with pride – but that’s done as well.  So welcome 2009.  Welcome to the new President, the new Congress, the New Year.  I forgive George Bush.

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What We Can Learn from the 1979 Bailout

Economy, Politics, US Economy, US Politics

Almost thirty years ago, an automotive CEO appeared before Congress to ask for help.  His company was failing due to poor management decisions, run away gas prices and an overall economic slowdown.  If only he could get enough money to stay in business, his company’s next generation of small, fuel efficient cars would hit the market and lead to the company’s success.  His company employed 40,000 US workers and laying them off would be a disaster at a time when the economy was already struggling.  He’d even work for a dollar a year.  Sound familiar?

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Christmas Bonuses for the Successful Courtesy of Social Security

Economy, US Economy, US Politics

CEO’s see the benefit so early they never even notice it.  For the very successful, the key date may have been in May or June.  But for most very successful Americans, when the cool weather rolls in and the Christmas music starts, they have another reason to celebrate: their pay increases.  Their employers haven’t decided to be extra generous in November or December, but their pay will step up by over 6% for a few weeks or months.  The more you make, the longer your pay increases.  Why does this happen?  They exceed the Federal Insurance Corporation of America (Social Security) tax threshold.

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Early Voting, Coastal Carolina Style

Politics, US Elections, US Politics
Approaching the New Hanover County Senior Center

Approaching the New Hanover County Senior Center

Visit Wilmington, North Carolina in the fall and you’ll never leave.  Saturday, November 1 was a bright, crisp day with temperatures climbing into the mid-70’s under a clear blue sky.  It was also the last day for early voting.  I stopped by the New Hanover Senior Center to check out the action and I was amazed.  The line snaked through the grounds and staffers and volunteers were telling newcomers to expect a three hour wait.  I waved to three guys carrying “Vote for Jesus” signs as I was coming in.  A woman with a McCain bumper sticker on her chest was handing out handbills.  Cars were winding in and out of the crowds looking for parking and staffers were reading instructions to voters waiting to get in the building.

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Why Not Wright?

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

McCain has five days to make up six points in the polls.  He needs a game changer and there is no big event coming, no opportunity to exploit.  So why not go with Reverend Wright?  It’s something some on the Right have been demanding for several weeks now.  Reverend Wright and his you-tube sermons should be a better source of Obama bashing than the often repeated Ayers attacks.  The Ayers charge was always questionable and easily debunked, but Wright and Obama actually had a close and well documented relationship. So why hasn’t McCain or the RNC or some political action group charged in?  My take is that there are three key reasons why the McCain campaign is not going there.

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Educating the Next Generation of voters

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics
Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll

Obama Wins Scholastic News Election Poll

I never paid much attention to it before, but with four children in school it’s hard to miss: Presidential elections are when we train the next generation to vote.  My children are all about the election.  They’re bringing home worksheets on the parties, discussing the candidates with their classmates and holding mock elections.  They’re asking lots of questions and they are looking to me for answers at the dinner table.  They watch all those advertisements on TV in the evenings.  “Is that true?”  “Why would he say something like that?”  I’ve debated tax policy with my high schooler and he’s debated it with his friends.  When I ordered my Obama yard sign, they anxiously waited for it to come in.  “Is it here yet?”  “The election is coming!”  When it arrived, everyone went to plant it in the yard.  My kindergartener proudly placed an Obama magnet on my wife’s car.  (No bumper stickers allowed there.)  Last night, the yard sign was stolen from my quiet suburban yard after being there less than a week while my neighbors’ McCain signs sat unmolested.  How do I explain that?  Time to get out the poster boards and crayons because my children want to be involved in this election and our yard is going to have a sign!

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Fun with Newspaper Endorsements

Media / journalism, Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics
Electoral Map if Newspapers Voted

Electoral Map if Newspapers Voted

Just about everyone discounts the value of newspaper endorsements for Presidential candidates.  The candidates get so much new coverage and scutiny that no one needs a push at the eleventh hour to help them decide how to vote.  Still, endorsements get a lot of coverage if only because they infuriate one group and allow another to bask in the glow of righteousness knowing their paper sees their wisdom.  The good folks at Editor and Publisher have been keeping a running tally of the endorsements this year and while they might not provide a lot of insight into the election, they are great fun to look at. 

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Obama and the Supreme Court

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

One of the talking points my friends on the right (real friends, not the McCain usage) bring up is concern over who Obama will appoint to the Supreme Court.  Obama made the following comments on his Supreme Court criteria

I would not appoint somebody who doesn’t believe in the right to privacy. But you’re right, Wolf, I taught constitutional law for 10 years, and I — when you look at what makes a great Supreme Court justice, it’s not just the particular issue and how they rule, but it’s their conception of the court. And part of the role of the court is that it is going to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process, the outsider, the minority, those who are vulnerable, those who don’t have a lot of clout.

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Rush and the Tale of Two Endorsements

Politics, Presidential Elections, US Elections, US Politics

Everyone’s favorite powerful, influential member of the media” has had two opportunities to comment this election season about perceived turncoats, people who after years of supporting candidates of their own parties suddenly flipped this election cycle.  Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Colin Powell are all over the Internet by now, but in case you missed them, Rush said

If Powell had endorsed McCain, you know what would have happened?  Donna Brazile and the other black elites in the Democrat Party would never have forgiven him.  This was all about Powell and race.  It was nothing about the nation and its welfare.  He said it’s not about race, and I said, “Okay. Show me all of the inexperienced white liberals you’ve endorsed. If it’s not about race.

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An Open Letter to McCain Backers

Uncategorized

Dear McCain backer;

You’ve told us you don’t trust Senator Obama. You don’t trust his name or his pastor or his associations. He might even be a terrorist. The American public needs to know the truth about Senator Obama!

Sanity check time. I’m sure no one will change your mind on this, but at this point, do you really believe that no one has really looked into Obama’s background? Do you think the Clintons really didn’t bother to turn over every stone? The McCain’s team has been less than thorough? That every press outlet and every blogger looking for a score has not sifted his background with a fine toothed comb? When McCain says the American people need to understand Obama’s relationship with Ayers, do you think he has not read the dozens of reports done by every sort of organization detailing that association in the finest detail possible?

When people started to ask Guilliani hard questions, he would say “911” and it would all pass. McCain supporters say “POW”. Obama has no such magic word. Everyone just digs and digs and digs. I’m sure you will say it’s the liberal MSM, but in your heart, you know that every conservative outlet in the world has been striving for all they’re worth to pin something real on Obama and there is nothing there. You keep asking the American people for a little more patience, one more investigation, just a little more time to dig up something. Patience is gone. There’s nothing there. If you think McCain is proposing better policies for the US than Obama, then please vote for him, but declaring that Obama has some deep, dark secret that you can find if you just look a little harder is just silly.

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Republicans in Margaritaville

Politics, US culture, US Politics

I love Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville.”  Not for the tune though that’s fine, it’s always been about the lyrics for me.  I enjoy hearing the evolution of the singer’s viewpoint, the self examination, the final conclusion.  Reading Republican commenators these days is like listening to the “Margaritaville” applied to real life.

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Demagogues Rising

Culture, Economy, Politics, US culture, US Economy, US Elections, US Politics

American writer and satirist H. L. Mencken wrote “The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.” Patricia Roberts-Miller in her book “Democracy, Demagoguery, and Critical Rhetoric” defined demagoguery as “polarizing propaganda that motivates members of an ingroup to hate and scapegoat some outgroup(s), largely by promising certainty, stability, and what Erich Fromm famously called ‘an escape from freedom’.” Hilter was a infamous demagogue, blaming the woes of a post WWI Germany on the Jews. Joe McCarthy looked for Communists around every corner. Today, the American financial system is in its worse crisis since the Great Depression, Americans are facing uncertainty in employment, prices are rising and savings are falling. The time is right for the rise of the Demagogues.

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