Friday, November 30, 2012

The Shoe Is On The Other Foot

In spite of the seriousness of the situation…this is actually pretty entertaining.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithener went to the Hill yesterday and delivered the president’s tax and spending proposal to Republican leadership.  The proposal includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $400 billion in spending cuts and $50 billion in new stimulus spending.
To say that Republicans are less than enthused by president’s proposal would be an understatement.  In fact they are apoplectic.  The only thing infuriating them more than the proposal is the president leaving Washington today to take his case to the people instead of closeting himself in negotiations with them. 
Elections have consequences and the Republicans cannot get their head around the fact that the president won.  After four years of being obstructed by Republicans at every turn, President Obama is using his newly elected status to his advantage.  He is negotiating from a position of strength.  The president might choose to quote his predecessor, George W. Bush (remember him...Republicans are trying to forget…) who once famously said: “I earned political capital in this election…and now I’m going to spend it.”
Republicans are boxed in a corner.  If they cave in to the president’s demand for tax increases for the wealthy they risk a Tea Party/Grover Norquist led primary challenge come next election.  If they stand firm on their “no new taxes” pledge they risk taking the country over the impending fiscal cliff.  And polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans will blame Republicans if the country takes that plunge.
This election brought us so much political brinksmanship and kabuki theatre that it often became difficult to understand where certain candidates stood on the issues at any given time.  But one thing was very clear throughout this campaign; the president consistently said he wanted the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more.  The voters agreed.  So it should come as no surprise that the president intends to raise taxes on top earners while maintaining the status quo for the middle class.
Republicans like to point out that they won the House and that they were sent to Washington by their local districts to hold the line on government spending.  That may be true.  But while Republicans in the House may have carried their local districts by overwhelming margins, the fact is their party lost the in the national election; and in this country the will of a majority of ALL the people rules.
Republicans need to calm down.  This is the president’s opening offer.  Make a counter offer! 
Or after four years of just saying “no” have Republicans simply forgotten how to negotiate.      



Thursday, November 29, 2012

There Was An Election On November 6th...

Republicans seem to have missed the fact that there was an election on November the 6th
…and they lost. 
The president defeated his Republican challenger in the popular vote 51%-47%.  The president won 332 electoral votes.  In election parlance that is referred to as a “beat down.” 
Democrats also picked up seats in the Senate including the nationally publicized race in Massachusetts where Elizabeth Warren soundly defeated Republican incumbent Scott Brown. 
Yes, the voters did return control of the House to Republicans.  But Democratic House candidates drew 400,000 more votes than their Republican opponents.
The president won among African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, women, LGBT, as well as the “youth” vote.  The only demographic that went for Romney was white males.  
Any way you slice it, this election was a clear sign that voters approved of the president and his policies.
Immediately after the election a majority of Republicans responded with claims of understanding and introspection.  They claimed to understand the changing demographics.  They claimed to understand that they needed to reach out to African-Americans, Hispanics, women and other minorities that they had ignored in the past.  They promised to be more tolerant, more inclusive, more willing to compromise and more accommodating to the will of the country.
As the majority party in the House, the Republican Caucus has the privilege of appointing the new committee chairs for the upcoming congressional session.  The Caucus just announced those appointments…nineteen in total…
…NINETEEN WHITE MALES…not a black, brown, yellow, red or female face in the bunch.
So much for reaching out to minorities!
On another subject…Republicans and Democrats both agree that the Bush Tax Cuts should be continued for those making under $250,000.  The president has said that since both parties agree on this aspect of budgetary reform they should sign a bill extending those tax cuts immediately and work out the other more controversial components afterward.
 The bill would freeze taxes for 98% of Americans including 97% of the small businesses that Republicans are always so concerned about.  And since the agreement would come at the beginning of the holiday season, it would encourage spending and spur the economy at a time most critical for merchants and small businesses.
Freeze taxes for 98% of Americans.  Freeze taxes for 97% of small businesses.  Help merchants and other small businesses at the most critical time of their year.  Spur economic growth.
Sounds like a win, win!
Not for Republicans!
Republicans refuse to give in on this measure…even though they agree that it is a good idea…even though they agree that it will help the all important small businesses…even though they agree it will help spur economic growth…though they agree it will help the country…even though signing the bill is EXACTLY what voters want them to do.  They refuse to sign the bill unless they get something in return.  As John Boehner told the president; “Nothing comes without a price.”
So much for being more willing to compromise!
Someone needs to tell the Republicans that there was an election on November 6th
…and they lost.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Questions Than Answers

John McCain’s obsession with Susan Rice continues.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice met with Republican Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte and McCain’s mini me, Lindsay Graham yesterday in an attempt to clarify her remarks concerning the attack on the Benghazi consulate.
The meeting failed to soothe McCain’s concerns.  In fact McCain said the meeting generated more questions than answers. 
Rice appeared on the Sunday talk shows five days after the attack and stated that according to intelligence reports the attacks were a spontaneous event resulting from the release of a YouTube video depicting the prophet Mohammed as a philanderer.  Rice stressed that the investigation was ongoing  
McCain has trouble believing that a spontaneous protest involves the use of RPGs and automatic weapons.  His concerns are valid.  But his obsession with Rice is boarding on creepy.
Rice was repeating the unclassified talking points provided to her by the intelligence community; a fact verified by the CIA.  McCain has labeled Rice as “unfit” for following those talking points even though there was conflicting evidence at the time that the protest was anything but “spontaneous.”  Had she strayed from those talking points and provided what at the time was classified information; she would have been labeled as “unfit” as well.  Damned if you do…damned if you don’t.
McCain’s focus should be on what happened that night in Benghazi…not a bunch of interviews on the Sunday talk shows.  He should be harassing the CIA and the State Department…not the Ambassador to the UN.
There are those who believe that this is personal. There are those who believe that McCain's is still bitter about his 2008 loss to Obama.  They see this witch hunt as nothing more than McCain’s attempt to embarrass the president by attacking one of his closest friends.
There are those who believe that this is political.  Susan Rice is considered to be at the top of the president's list of candidates to take over Hillary Clinton's position as Secratary of State.  Mass. Democratic Senator John Kerry is also high on that list.  If McCain can discredit Rice it would pave the way for Kerry.  Kerry's senate seat would have to be filled....and the very popular  Republican, Scott Brown is waiting in the wings. 
There are also those who believe that this is about race.  The president’s appointments that are “of color” have had a particularly difficult time navigating through McCain and Graham’s due diligence.
We have no idea what McCain’s motivation really is.  But we are certain that his obsession with Rice’s interviews is misplaced.
Four Americans died that night.  McCain should be trying to find the responsible parties and implement procedures to make certain that this tragedy never happens again.
His endless attacks on the UN Ambassador bring his motivation into serious question.             

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This is what happens when you shoot your mouth off for political gain.
UN Ambassador Susan Rice will meet with her critics today to finally put to rest “what she said and why she said it” regarding the attack on the Benghazi consulate. 
You may recall that Ambassador Rice went on the Sunday talk shows five days after the assault on the Benghazi consulate.  She stated that based on then current intelligence the attacks appeared to have been a simultaneous event ignited by protests over a YouTube video which portrayed the prophet Mohammed as a philanderer.  She stressed that the investigation was ongoing.
Senator John McCain and his political hangers-on savaged the Ambassador over her comments.  McCain said that it was clear that the attack was the handiwork of terrorists intent on harming US interests on the anniversary of 9/11.  McCain accused the Ambassador of intentionally obstructing the truth for political purposes.  He said that he would do everything in his power to block her anticipated nomination for Secretary of State as she was clearly “unqualified” to hold the prestigious cabinet office.
We now know that Ambassador Rice was simply repeating the intelligence talking points provide by the CIA.  We now know that Ambassador Rice had absolutely nothing to do with the raid on the consulate, the level of security in place at the time of the attack or the rejection of any requests for additional security at the consulate.
We now know that McCain was simply trying to embarrass the administration in the middle of a heated election.  We now know that McCain’s ire should have been more appropriately leveled at the individuals responsible for embassy operations and security…Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then CIA Director David Patraeus.  We now know that McCain fully understood the political fallout from attacking these administration icons so he chose instead to pick on the low hanging fruit…anticipated Secretary of State nominee, Susan Rice. 
We now know that in the aftermath of the Republican election beat down McCain’s political shenanigans are coming back to haunt him and his party.
Ambassador Rice is the one who requested today’s meeting with McCain and his Senate Armed Services Committee buddies.  She wants to publically set the record straight, unveil McCain’s blatant political opportunism and in the process expose the good senator for the grumpy old curmudgeon that he really is.
What a ridiculous waste of time.
Amabassador Rice will in all likelihood be nominated for the position of Secretary of State.  There are a host of questions about Iran, Syria, Egypt, China…we could go on and on…that should be asked of the supposed nominee.  Instead McCain and his cronies will narrow their focus on Benghazi and grill the Amabassador on matters over which she has no responsibility; all with the intent of embarrassing the administration and saving face over a political scheme gone bad.            

Monday, November 26, 2012

Elections Have Consequences

“I don’t think millionaires and billionaires are going to suddenly stop working hard and making money if we raise their taxes.”
“Raising taxes is not going to harm millionaires and billionaires.”
“I will violate the pledge (to Grover Nordquist) for the good of the country.”
“It is fair to ask my party to put revenue on the table”
“During my 30 years on Wall Street, taxes on unearned income have bounced up and down with regularity, and I’ve never detected any change in the appetite for hard work and accumulating wealth on the part of myself or any of my fellow capitalists.”
You would expect to hear comments like these coming from Democrats.  But these statements were made by Republican congressional leaders.
Lawmakers return to the hill this week facing the daunting task of avoiding the proverbial “FISCAL CLIFF.” But unlike in the weeks and months prior to the election; Republicans seem to be softening their stance on tax increases. 
The president campaigned on reducing the debt through a balanced approach that includes spending cuts and increases in revenue.  The president wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1%.  The voters agreed.
Elections have consequences.  Based on the quotations noted above, Republicans seem get it.
Let’s hope so.  Because the “CLIFF” is very real…and the country can ill afford another four years of Washington gridlock.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It would be easy to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  But that would seem superficial given all the suffering in this world.  Hunger, poverty, homelessness, unrest in the Middle East, and the destruction of Hurricane Sandy…we could go on and on.
But we believe that no matter our circumstances each and every one of us has something to be thankful for…something to hang on to no matter how difficult things might seem. 
It might be something as small as the grip of an infant upon our finger or a warm smile from a total stranger.  Or it might be something as momentous as news that cancer is in remission.  There is always something that keeps us going…something to be thankful for.
So let us give thanks for that “something”… that wonderful “something” that brightens our lives and helps us through the day.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!    

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Grumpy Old Men

This is just sooooooo stupid on so many levels.
Ninety- seven Republican Congressmen have written a letter to the President urging him NOT to nominate UN Ambassador Susan Rice for the position of Secretary of State on the grounds that she is “unfit” to serve in the cabinet.  They are led in this effort by Senator John McCain, who is turning more and more into a bitter old curmudgeon with each passing day.
The Republican’s problem with Ambassador Rice stems from her appearance on the Sunday morning news shows five days after the raid on the Benghazi consulate.  Ms. Rice stated at the time that according to the most current intelligence reports, the raid appeared to be a spontaneous event spurred on by global protests of a YouTube video depicting the Prophet Mohammed in a less than flattering light.  She stressed that the investigation was ongoing. 
We found out later that the intelligence community and the White House believed from the very beginning that the raid was an act of terrorism.  At some point a decision was made to remove that fact from the talking points that the Ambassador referenced in her interviews.  Whether the rationale was political or a matter of national security is still unclear at this time. What is clear is that she did not deviate from the talking points provided to her in preparation for those interviews.
Regardless of the motivation, Republicans are calling upon the president to refrain from nominating Ambassador Rice to any cabinet post  based solely on the details she provided during those interviews. Republicans believe that the Ambassador was part of a cover up designed to deflect criticism about the source of the attacks, the lack of protection at the consulate and the unpreparedness of the intelligence community.  They believe that her participation in this cover up makes her “unfit” to hold a cabinet position.
This is not about policy; it’s about politics…and bad politics at that.
And this is personal.
John McCain is a grumpy old man who is still bitter over his beat down by the President four years ago.  He is also a Senator who is struggling to remain relevant on the political stage.  Over the past four years Senator McCain has taken it upon himself to savage the president’s foreign policy at every turn. He has been proven wrong each and every time.  This attack is just more of the same.
Senator McCain has also borne a grudge against the Ambassador.  Sources say that he took then citizen Rice’s attacks during the 2008 presidential campaign personally.  Is it mere coincidence that McCain has chosen Rice to be the easy target of his venom? 
We think not…and here is why.
The questions that McCain is raising are valid.  Given the violent circumstances in Libya; why didn’t the intelligence community know about the attack in advance and why was the Benghazi consulate left unprotected?  But his angst should be focused on the intelligence community and the State Department. They are the ones responsible for ferreting out our enemies and securing our consulates… not the ambassador to the UN. 
If McCain is determined to place blame, the Director of the CIA, David Petraeus would be a viable target.  Perhaps he could question the Director of National Security, James Clapper. Or he might consider calling into question the integrity of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  Now THAT would be interesting!
McCain did none of the above.  Instead he chose to publically condemn Rice who had nothing to do with Benghazi and whose only fault was in relaying the information as instructed by her betters.  Had she deviated from those talking points, McCain’s criticism would be valid.  Then she would be ‘unfit.”
As we said…this attack is personal.
It is also really, really bad politics.
The Republican Party was just thoroughly trashed in the election.  African-Americans, women and young people came out in overwhelming numbers to re-elect the president. 
Now that same electorate bears witness to McCain and 97 old white men pillaring a young, accomplished African-American woman for doing her job.  BRILLIIANT!!!
Take this one step further…
Let’s say the President chooses to nominate Ambassador Rice for Secretary of State.  The Democrat led Senate is charged with confirming such appointments.  The only way the Republicans can stop the appointment is by way of a filibuster.   Republicans have shown no reluctance here, having chosen to filibuster the president’s legislative efforts 112 times this year alone…a record 360 times since 2007.  Again, just imagine the optics.  The only thing worse would be if Republicans were to don white sheets.
We can only imagine that the President and the Democrats are grinning from ear to ear.
In closing we ask you to consider these random thoughts…
How does Senator McCain justify his criticism of Susan Rice…who had nothing to do with Benghazi, after he stood in defense of Condolezza Rice… who had everything to do with national security at the time of the 911 attacks and the subsequent war in Iraq?
If the attack on Susan Rice isn’t personal…than how else do you explain Republicans marginalizing her decades of distinguished public service over one factually incorrect statement?  If we were to declare “unfit” every House and Senate member that made a factually incorrect statement there wouldn’t be anybody left to govern.
And finally, how many of those 97 Republicans called on then Secretary of State, Colin Powell to step down after he provided US citizens, the Congress, the UN and the world with extensive false information about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
Just asking…      

Friday, November 16, 2012

Talk Is Cheap!

It is really quite fascinating to watch as Republican leaders distance themselves from Mitt Romney’s take on why the president won re-election.
In a recent conference call Mr. Romney told financial his well healed supporters that the president was able to win because the president and his campaign gave “extraordinary financial gifts to African-Americans (free health care), Hispanics (amnesty) and young voters (free contraceptives).”
Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, Haley Barber and a host of others have denounced Romney’s comments as divisive and un-helpful to the future of the party.  They have called for their party to reach out to all Americans and to become the party of the 100%...not just the 53% that pay taxes.
This sudden transformation to a kinder, gentler more populist party is astonishing given the partisan rancor that many of them were spewing just a few short days ago.  The flip flopping in their rhetoric and tone is reminiscent of tactic so blatantly used by their candidate for president.
“Therein lies the rub!”
It’s one thing to sound conciliatory, reasonable and populist after having your butt soundly kicked. It’s quite another to actually believe what you are saying.
You have to believe in your core that the black man standing in the unemployment line is just as American as the millionaire industrialist.  You have to believe that the struggling Hispanic laborer is just as deserving of a good job and financial security for his family as the local entrepreneur. 
Compassion is not just something you say…it’s something you feel.
Can Republicans successfully and honestly navigate this path from the party of the few to the party of the many?
We’ll see!
The proof for us will be not in what they say but how they govern.
They can start by passing a bi-partisan bill that extends the Bush tax cuts for all Americans making under $250,000.  The president believes this is the way to go. So do Congressional Democrats and many Congressional Republicans. 
So get it done!  Give 98% of Americans the security of knowing that their taxes won’t go up right after the holidays.  It will be good for the economy.  It will be good for small businesses.  It will be good for Wall Street.  And it will be good for morale.  If Republicans really want to show that they mean what they say…that they are turning away from the divisiveness and rancor of the Tea Party toward the big tent party of inclusion…then get it done.
Talk is cheap!  We see better than we hear!  Better to see once than hear a 100 times!
Get the point?     

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stupid People Tricks

-“IT IS ALIVE” Any hopes that Mitt Romney would go quietly into that good night were dashed when the Governor decided to explain how he lost the election.  In a conference call with his well healed donors Romney stated that the reason he lost was because the president and his campaign, offered “extraordinary financial gifts” to African-Americans (free health care), Hispanics (amnesty) and young voters (free contraceptives).
Nothing repairs a defeated party’s image like blaming the voters while doubling down on the divisive rhetoric that brought you that ignominious defeat.
Is there any doubt now that the “real” Mitt Romney is the guy we saw in that “47%” video clip?
-“GET YOUR OWN HOUSE(S) IN ORDER” Paul Ryan offered his own take on why the Romney/Ryan ticket lost the election.  He said it was because of the large turnout in “urban areas.”  We think he means black/Hispanic/poor when he says “urban” but we don’t want to put words in his mouth. 
The Romney/Ryan ticket lost in very white New Hampshire and equally white Wisconsin.  Romney /Ryan lost in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.  Romney/Ryan lost in every town where Romney owns a home. 
If you want to be president you have to respect the views of all Americans…not just the white ones.
-“ROI” the National Rifle Association has historically been considered a very powerful political force.  Given the popularity of firearms in this country; if you believe in the second amendment then you want the NRA’s endorsement.  The NRA has historically been very effective in helping their candidates win election.
This year…not so much!
The NRA spent $11.8 million in support of their chosen slate of candidates.  Only 1% were elected; a 0.82% return on investment.
But you know who was really effective in backing winning candidates? 
Planned Parenthood!
Planned Parenthood’s return on investment in the elections was 98.59%.  PP won virtually everything they touched.  They were particularly effective in the nine key swing states which effectively won the election for the president.
Republicans said that all women cared about were jobs and the economy.  They might want to give those pesky women’s issues another look.
-“LIVING IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE” We just noted how important women’s issues were in the elections.  And since there are some smart people in the Republican Party we just assumed that the Republican led state legislatures would take that nugget of information to heart as they returned to the task of governing.
Apparently the memo didn’t reach the Ohio state legislature.
Their first order of business upon returning to work …proposed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and criminalize abortion.
-“RETURNING TO WATERGATE”  Senator John McCain and his sucker fish Minnie Me Lindsey Graham are proposing “Watergate style” hearings to look into the Benghazi affair.  McCain and Graham also took the opportunity to harshly criticize UN Ambassador Susan Rice for her statements on the Sunday talk shows in the days following the raid on the US consulate.  They said that they would block any effort to name her Hillary Clinton’s replacement as Secretary of State. They referred to Ms. Rice as unqualified and untrustworthy.
In her appearance on the Sunday talk shows Ms. Rice merely repeated the intelligence briefs that were provided to her by the CIA…briefs that were signed off by the CIA Director and long time Republican hero, David Patraeus.
Senators McCain and Graham might want to consider their own actions in the run up to the Iraq war.  How they supported a war that took thousands of American lives based on the faulty intelligence briefs offered by the CIA.  They might want to talk to Colin Powell to refresh their memory.
And while they are mulling that little bit of history…maybe we should consider Watergate style hearings into the part they played in beating the war drums based on a lie. 
We could have a chat with “W” and Dick and Rummie as well.    


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Entertainment Tonight!"

We have been asked by more than a few folks why we have not commented on the David Patraeus affair.
We have elected to stay away from this story because frankly the only thing more tragic than the story itself is the “Entertainment Tonight” like spotlight provided by the media.
This is a family tragedy between General Patraeus and his wife.  We don’t know all the details…and we don’t want to know.  But it would not surprise us to learn that that the damage to this relationship was caused at least in part by too much time away from home owing to the rigors of war.
There is more to war than victory and defeat…the loss of life and the damage to limbs and psyche.  There is a cost borne by those left behind as well.  Relationships don’t win medals of valor for overcoming months and even years of neglect.  But they suffer just the same.
We have not written about this affair because for us it is a private matter.  Yes, even if one of the parties is a decorated war hero and Director of the CIA.  Generals are people too…and they succumb to same human flaws as the grunts they command.  That is not to offer any excuse or pardon for the general’s behavior.  That is his for his wife to give, not us.
The war in Afghanistan has been going on for over a decade.  Men and women are still dying over there.  Yet the media barely gives it notice.  That is until the former commander gets caught in a salacious affair.  Suddenly the story dominates the news cycle.  Not the plight of the foot soldier in his third, fourth or fifth deployment; but the general who allowed his power and libido to overcome his common sense.
Later today the president will give his first news conference since winning a historic election.  The economy is struggling, millions are out of work and the fiscal cliff looms large. 
So let us ask you…how much time do you think will be spent discussing these important issues?
Will the discussion be about important events that will shape our future?
Or will we be watching another segment of Entertainment Tonight?

A Silver Lining Within The Ashes Of Defeat

“Stop insulting the intelligence of the voters…we’ve got to stop being the stupid party…We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street Bailouts, big corporate loopholes big anything…We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
                                                                                               Republican Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal

“Republicans should not kid themselves.  They lost 25 of 33 Senate seats, and Republicans gained back the two states that were easy to gain back, and no other new states at the presidential level…Republicans lost control of the national House, they kept control of the House because of redistricting and Democratic voters are more concentrated in some districts, it was a bad year and the youth vote is very worrisome at 60-40…It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.  It really won’t, I don’t think.  I don’t really understand why Republicans don’t take Obama’s offer.”
                                         Influential Conservative Editor of the “Weekly Standard,” William Kristol

“When people look at Republicans they see loons and wackos.”
                                                                    Senior Strategist to the McCain Campaign, Steve Schmidt

As we watch Republicans sift through the debris of their most recent electoral beat down; we have observed what may just be a Republican reality check.  The quotes listed above are just a small sample of comments made by moderate Republicans in the wake of last Tuesday’s election.  These are words that no one dared to speak prior to the election for fear of reprisal form the Tea Party base.  Such heresy would label one a traitor and result in a Tea Party backed primary challenge come next election.  But now as the dust clears and the extent of the damage to the party becomes evident moderates are boldly speaking out.  They understand that if the Republican Party wants to avoid irrelevance it has to find a way to work with Democrats to get things done.
Certainly there are still those in the Party that have vowed to continue with their intransigent ways.  Ryan, McConnell and Boehner have publically stated their belief that the voters returned control of the House to Republicans as a mandate for a job well done.  Perhaps this is just a preliminary “fiscal cliff” negotiating ploy; for if Republicans really believe this they are whistling past the grave yard. 
This past campaign may have provided some flip flops and inconsistencies on the part of both candidates.  But one issue was abundantly clear…the president wanted to raise taxes on the wealthy and Governor Romney did not.  The president won.  The Democrats picked up more seats in the Senate.  And even though Republicans maintained control of the House the exit polls made it very, very clear that the voters approved raising taxes on the rich by an overwhelming margin.  If there is any mandate here it lies in the hands of the president.
This is all very clear to moderate reasonable Republicans.  Fortunately, for their party and the country, they are speaking out.  Perhaps if they continue to call for compromise on the part of their radical members a grand bargain can be reached.
Republicans have a choice.  They can listen to the voices of their moderate members and return to being a viable party with a principled conservative message.  Or they can continue to listen to the Limbaugh’s, Trump’s , Nordiquist’s, birthers, racists, homophobes, obstructionist and other loons and wackos that brought them this ignominious defea,; and become a marginal player in today’s politics.
There is a silver lining to be found within the ashes of this defeat.  Let’s hope the Republican’s are observant enough to see it.                    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

If Not Now...When?

There are a lot of people who would have us believe that the approaching fiscal cliff is much ado about nothing.  They argue that it is more of a “FISCAL SLOPE” or a “FISCAL CURB.”  They tell us that it will take months before the looming tax hikes and spending cuts have any real affect on the economy.  They believe that all the hand wringing is uncalled for as Congress and the White House would still have months to work out a deal.
There is a theory going around that Democrats would like nothing better than to have the 1/1/2013 deadline pass without a deal in hand.  The belief is that it will make the Democrats appear stronger for having stuck to their principles in the face of economic Armageddon.
There are others who believe that Republicans would like nothing better than to have the 1/1/2013 deadline pass without a deal in hand.  They believe that once the deadline passes and taxes go up the Republicans will have an even stronger case for tax cuts.
While these theories about delays and strategy may be good for politics they are very bad for the country.
We have just completed a grueling eighteen month election process during which the American people made it abundantly clear that they want the gridlock in Washington to cease.  Democrat, Republican, gay, straight, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, man or woman…they all want Washington to come together to get things done.  They remember the debt ceiling crisis and how partisan politics served to bludgeon our economy and lower our credit rating.  They remember the lost jobs and lost houses while Washington did nothing.  They have no interest in a repeat performance.
The 1/1/2013 deadline may be technically artificial; but psychologically it is etched in stone. 
This country cannot afford another partisan fiasco.  If Washington fails to reach a compromise by January 1st the market will take on significant losses.  The business community’s uncertainty will grow.  More jobs will be lost and 43 months of job growth will end.  The unemployment numbers will rise.  And it will cost even more for the country to borrow money as our credit rating will be staring at another downgrade. 
Perhaps most important of all…the American psyche will take a dramatic hit.  Because mere weeks after an important election Washington will be telling the American people:  “your voice doesn’t matter.”  Never underestimate the economic effects of consumer confidence.
A deal must be made…and the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the President.
The president has just won an election of historical significance.  In the past century only four US Presidents have won 50% of the vote twice: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan, and Obama.  In spite of a sluggish economy and high unemployment the people have chosen President Obama to lead them down the path toward recovery.  They are not looking for a community organizer.  They are looking for a leader.
President Obama knows what the hard road to recovery looks like.  He knows that it involves tax increases and a revised tax code.  He knows that it includes the significant reformation of “entitlement programs.”  He knows that we need to increase our investments in energy, education, innovation and infrastructure while reducing or eliminating ineffective government programs.
He knows what needs to be done.  So do the American people.
We encourage the President to go BIG!  Take your case directly to the American people.  Spell out the hard choices.  Don’t wait for deadlines and lengthy partisan negotiations.  Lay out the details.  The people know what is required.  They can take it.  LEAD!
A president is never more popular than the first few weeks after an election.  We encourage the president to use this fleeting time to get big things done.
For if not now, when. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Are They Really Serious?

If you follow politics you know that “THE FISCAL CLIFF” has dominated the past several news cycles.
Well, that is until the biographer of the head of the CIA sent some anonomous threatening emails to a woman who was a friend of the head of the CIA which caused the woman friend of the head of the CIA to call a friend of hers who was an agent for the FBI who as a favor looked into the threatening emails sent to the friend of the head of the CIA which revealed that the head of the CIA was having an affair with the biographer of the head of the CIA which led to the FBI’s investigating as to whether the biographer of the head of the CIA had access to the head of the CIA’s computer which housed sensitive documents relating to national security all of which led to the resignation of the head of the CIA and some very pissed off members of the CIA, Congress and the White House who did not know that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the activities of the head of the CIA.
But that’s another story…
“THE FISCAL CLIFF” while not near as fun as the whole CIA/affair/resignation thing is a lot more important to the country.
For the uninitiated, “THE FISCAL CLIFF” is a combination of across the board tax increases and massive spending cuts that are set to go into effect on 1/1/2013.  “THE FISCAL CLIFF” tax increases and spending cuts were agreed to by both Democrats and Republicans as an incentive to force the bi-partisan SUPER Committee to reach a grand bargain on resolving the nation’s debt and deficit problems.  The Super Committee failed to come to a consensus; hence the “THE FISCAL CLIFF.” 
It has been said by numerous sources that if “THE FISCAL CLIFF” measures are allowed to go into effect they will take the country into a recession.  That may or may not be true as “THE FISCAL CLIFF” is more like a gradual “FISCAL SLOPE.”  Nevertheless, everyone in Washington is running around with their hair on fire over the impending doom. 
We find the hysteria over “THE FISCAL CLIFF” laughable.  Because in spite of their high minded rhetoric regarding the travesty of leaving “a mountain the debt to our future generations” neither congress nor the White House has lifted a finger to do anything about fact quite the opposite.   
Please allow a brief history lesson.
You will recall that in 2009 the Republicans, led by the Tea Party were screaming at the top of their lungs about the runaway spending enacted by the President and the Democrat led Congress.  Auto bailouts, stimulus, Obamacare were just a few of the components that raised the debt and deficit.  Democrats argued that the increase in spending was necessary to pull the country away from…get ready for it…”THE FISCAL CLIFF.”  But they vowed to accept a balanced approach to fiscal responsibility once the economy righted itself.
The voters bought into the Tea Party theory and in 2010 wrestled control of Congress from the Democrats.  Democrats got their butts whipped.  The Republican’s stunning victory led them to believe that they had a mandate to slash government spending to the bone.
Less than six weeks later the fiscally conservative Republicans along with the equally reckless White House reached an agreement to EXTEND the Bush tax cuts for two more years…without paying for them…thereby ADDING $800 billion dollars to the nation’s debt.
Now fast forward to 2012.
Republicans continue to call for spending cuts.  Democrats agree but want a balance approach that includes increased revenues (taxes) as well.
Does it not strike you as odd that the self imposed, automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that both sides are now frantically trying to avoid…are the very same ones that they say we need to enact in order to fix the economy?
So you have to ask yourself; are these folks really serious about fixing the economy?
And aren't you tired of reading "THE FISCAL CLIFF?"

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why would anybody...

Looking back one last time at the election; we just have to ask…
Why would anybody give Karl Rove another nickel to peddle political influence?  Rove’s Super Pacs spent $100 million on campaign ads and robo calls.  The number of winning candidates supported by Rove’s operations…0. 
Why would anybody believe that the National Chamber of Commerce carries any political influence?  The number of winning candidates supported by the NCOC…1.
Why would anybody with money to burn waste it on trying to buy an election?  The Koch brothers and their related groups spent over $400 million trying to elect Mitt Romney.  Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million.  Their efforts resulted in an Obama blowout.  Romney couldn’t even win in the states he owns homes.
Why would anybody watch FOXNEWS?  This organization is locked in such an alternate universe that they have no concept of reality.  Their reporting was consistently wrong on the facts and their opinions lacked any semblance of the “Fair and Balanced” approach they claim to follow.  Dick Morris, their political prognosticator spent most of the campaign claiming that the polls were “cooked.”  On election night, Morris predicted Romney would win by 10 points and carry 300+ electoral votes.  It turns out that the only thing cooked was Morris’ brain.
Why would anybody put any stock in the Rasmussen Poll.  Throughout the campaign it was so consistently weighted toward the right that it lost any semblance credibility.
Why would anybody ever doubt the king of the data geeks…Nate Silver?  According to Wikipedia, Silver is a “statistician, sabermetrician, psephologist and writer.”  We don’t know what most of that means.  What we do know that on election eve Silver predicted that Obama had a 90+% chance of winning.  He correctly predicted the outcome in 50 out of 50 states.  He also predicted the outcome in 100% of the senate races.  This was no fluke!  In 2008 he predicted an Obama victory, the outcome in 49 out of 50 states and 100% of the senate races.  All hail Nate Silver!
Why would anybody believe, as Rush Limbaugh opines, that “conservatism lost on election night?”  Conservatism didn’t lose.  Conservatism is a valid political philosophy that embraces small government and a balanced approach to spending.  There are plenty of strong, rational clear minded individuals who believe in this approach to governing.  But that philosophy is not what was defeated last Tuesday night.  Bigotry, racism, homophobia, hatred, fear mongering and the marginalization of women went down to defeat in this election.  And as long as the Republican Party allows Limbaugh and other radicals to associate their party with these heinous attributes, the party will continue down its path toward irrelevance.     

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Morning After!

Post election analysis is often a boring slog through faceless demographics and turnout numbers.  Hopefully you will find this a little more interesting.
This was supposed to be a close election.  For months the pollsters and pundits had called it a tossup.
It turned out to be a blowout…an electoral shellacking. 
As we write this the president has 303 electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206.  Florida is still too close to call but the numbers lean heavily toward Obama.  That’s 29 additional electoral votes in the president’s column.  332 electoral votes!    
Prior to the election most of the conversation centered on the all important nine swing states.  Romney managed to win only one…North Carolina.
Back home we call the president’s victory an ass whippin’.
So what happened?
What happened is the Republican Party failed to recognize that there is a new majority in this country…and it ain’t white men.  It’s black, Hispanic, Asian, gay and female.  And while jobs and the economy are important to this new majority, so is immigration reform, equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, and same sex marriage.  If Republicans want their party to be a viable alternative they had better start courting this new majority.  If they don’t they will continue their slide to irrelevance.
Republicans also failed to realize that the country is just fine with a large activist government; as long as it addresses their needs.  Sure, they are concerned about the debt and deficit.  But they are unwilling to stand by and watch austerity be borne on the backs of the neediest while the rich go merrily on their way.
Finally, Republicans failed to understand that there is a price to pay for lying to the American people.  Republicans thought that Romney was actually getting away with his shape shifting.  Maybe it was Romney’s blatant lie about the auto bailout, or his refusal to retract the Jeep ads even after being called out by Jeep’s management that proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Truth and character do matter.
So how will Republicans react in the aftermath of this electoral flogging?  Can we expect a Republican Party more willing to reach across the aisle?  The task of doing the people’s business begins anew; and the “Fiscal Cliff” debate looms large.
If the post election statements released by Republican leadership are any indication; obstruction and intransigence are alive and well.
Speaker Boehner, upon learning that Republicans would maintain their control of the House, issued a statement that cast a pall over any kumbaya moment.  Boehner made it clear that any thought of increasing taxes to reduce the deficit was a non-starter.
Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, having failed to keep his promise: “to make Obama a one term president” made it clear that nothing had changed.  He said that the people had given the president a second chance to get it right.  He said that by returning the House majority to the Republicans the voters had made it clear that they expected the president to be more amenable to Republican leadership. 
For some reason McConnell failed to mention that the voters kicked three of his party’s senators to the curb in favor of Democratic replacements.
The president goes into the "Fiscal Cliff" debate riding the wave of a huge victory…his pockets stuffed full of political capital.  Will he be able to spend some of that capital to get things done?  The American people want the president to lead…and they want both parties to compromise.
We’ll soon see if the Republicans got the message.
One thing is certain. There is going to be an all out civil war within the Republican Party.  The Republican Party had the opportunity to take down a vulnerable president.   They had the opportunity to gain control of the Senate.  Cash cows poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their till. 
But instead of courting the new majority the party chose to bow to the crazy talk emanating from the radical right.  Their flawed candidate waffled like a reed blowing in the wind.  The results are devastating. 

The party is in free fall.  The finger pointing has already started.  Chris Christie, Hurricane Sandy, Romney's flawed candidacy culprits all.  The bigger picture missed.  History destined to repeat itself.

The cash cows are not happy.



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obama Wins!

Barak Obama has been elected to a second term as President of the United States. 
At 11:12PM the State of Ohio awarded the President its 18 electoral votes giving him four more than the 270 needed for election.
Much will be written about how the president won and what his re-election means for the future of the country.
We’ll analyze all that later.
For now let us celebrate that racism, bigotry, obstructionism and big money were defeated.  Let us celebrate that women, gays, lesbians, minorities, the sick, the poor and the elderly will not be left behind. 
Let us celebrate that the “WE” once again proved stronger than the “I.”

It Is Up To you!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Eve!

It’s almost over! 
Thank God!
Today is Election Eve.  After over a year of primaries, conventions, debates, gaffs, lies and over $2 billion in attack ads the campaign for President of the United States is finally drawing to a close.
The candidates will spend this last day in key swing states; delivering their message…making their case.
Then, tomorrow it will be up to you to decide who will hold the most powerful office in the world.
Tomorrow’s election offers voters a very clear choice.  We believe that the choice is obvious.
We believe that this president deserves a second term.
Why?  All you have to do is look back at the massive Grand Canyon like hole we were in when Barak Obama was sworn in as President.
This is a president who came into office facing enormous challenges.  The country was in a deep recession and in danger of falling into the worst depression since the early 30’s.  The banking industry was going into default.  The housing market was crashing.  The auto industry, one of the last visages of American manufacturing, was about to liquidate.  The country was hemorrhaging jobs at the alarming rate of 750,000 per month.  Unemployment was over 10%.  The GDP was spiraling downward at a rate of 10% per year.  The DOW was at 6500 and dropping steadily.  And, lest we forget, the country was fighting two costly wars and Osama bin Laden was residing comfortably in Pakistan.
Today, the economy is no longer in a recession. The GDP is growing at 2% per year.  The banking industry is stabilized and the housing starts are picking up again.  The auto industry is booming and we have added 500,000 new manufacturing jobs.  Corporate profits are at record highs and the DOW has doubled to 13,200.  Unemployment is under 8% and the economy has generated 42 straight months of steady job growth.  The war in Iraq is over and the path toward withdrawing from Afghanistan is set.  And Osama bin Laden will no longer wage his war of hate against the American people.  All, because of the strong leadership exhibited by this president.   
There are also the social issues to be considered. 
Today, gays and lesbians can serve in the military openly without fear of reprisal.  Gay couples can now legally marry.  Women can demand equal pay for equal work.  And a woman’s right to choose is still the law of the land.
Mitt Romney offers a very different view.  At least we think he does.  But he has changed his views so many times it is hard to tell.
What we do know is that he believes in far lower tax rates.  We do know that he would pay for these tax cuts by eliminating deductions and cancelling programs that are vitally important to the majority of Americans. That’s it!  That’s his plan.  We don’t know anything else because he won’t share the details with us until after we elect him to office.
So all we do know that Mitt Romney believes that the way to cure America’s ills is to go back to the same Bush policies that put us in this mess in the first place. 
Is the current state of the country good enough?  Absolutely not!  Is there still more to do?  Most definitely!  But given the massive, Grand Canyon size hole the country was in when this president took office; we believe that he has done a remarkable job.
Whatever your politics…whether you agree with us or not…please vote.  Don’t let those who would harass, intimidate or use other measures to keep you from the ballot box, win.  Because if you don't vote...they win.