WHAT A WAY TO RUN A RAILROAD – In spite of all the carping over CNBC’s handling of the last Republican debate the RNC is continuing with its questionable strategy of allowing the media to determine which candidates are worthy of a coveted podium spot on stage. Make the cut and you have the opportunity to make your case to 15-20 million people. Miss the cut and you are one step removed from a political funeral.
Next Tuesday’s GOP debate will be hosted by the Fox Business News network. Yesterday FBN announced the results of its arbitrary analysis of the heretofore secretive and arbitrary polls used to determine which arbitrary candidates they deem arbitrarily worthy to appear on stage.
For some arbitrary reason FBN decided to ignore the results of the highly acclaimed CBS News/New York Times poll and replaced it with the not so highly acclaimed Investor’s Business News Daily/TIPP poll. The network also changed the arbitrary criteria used to qualify for the prime time debate. Candidates now had to score an arbitrary 2.5% or higher in an average of the four most recent national polls to quality.
As a result only 8 candidates will appear on the prime time stage instead of the previous 10. Governor Chris Christie and former Governor Mike Huckabee will no longer be sparring in the prime time event; having been demoted to the undercard. Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore were arbitrarily deemed unworthy of even an appearance on the undercard.
I disagree politically with almost everything Lindsey Graham stands for. But Senator Graham is the only Republican candidate to have served in the military. He is the only Republican candidate that can contribute decades of experienced service on the Armed Services Committee to the discussion. Our country is conducting military operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen. I believe Graham’s contribution to this debate will be sorely missed.
Polls are important. But a candidate's standing in an arbitrary poll should not be the only thing one should consider when selecting a nominee for the presidency.
THANK GOD FOR GEORGE H. W. BUSH – History has been very kind to George H. W. Bush. Think what you like about his politics; there can be no denying that he is one of the most highly respected individuals to ever hold the office of president. His strength of character is above reproach.
It must have been hard for Bush 41 to listen to the endless stream of disparaging commentary leveled against his son, our nation’s 43rd president. It would be hard for any father resist the urge to lash out in his son’s defense. But true to his character Bush the elder kept his thoughts to himself.
In a new biography to be released next week: “Destiny and Power: the American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” Pulitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham gets the elder statesman to reveal his inner most thoughts on his son’s presidency and those who gave him counsel.
For the most part the elder Bush agreed with his son’s policies. However it is clear that Bush 41 deeply regrets the “hawkish” nature of his son’s administration and he fault’s his son’s use of inflammatory “Axis of evil” rhetoric for fanning the flames. “Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem.”
The elder statesman saved his harshest criticism for his son’s primary advisors: former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former Vice President, Dick Cheney.
In the book the elder statesman refers to Rumsfeld as: “an arrogant fellow…I think he served the president badly…There is a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks…he’s more kick ass and take names…I think that he paid a price for that.”
Bush 41 was equally hard on Cheney; who served as his Secretary of Defense: ‘He just became very hard line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with. Just iron ass…knuckling under to the real hard charging guys wo want to fight about everything…use force to get our way in the Middle East…he had his own empire and marched to his own drummer…The big mistake that was made was letting Cheney bring in kind of his own state department…But it’s not Cheney’s fault…It’s the president’s fault…The buck stops there.”
I have long believed that the Bush 43 administration was unduly influenced by the hawkish leanings of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. A war footing brought on by the embarrassment of being at the helm on 9/11 and a palpable fear that it could happen again. A thirst for revenge so blinding that it led to the worst foreign policy decision in our country’s history. Many, including the former Vice President, would have us re-write that history. Not Bush 41.
“It’s the president’s fault.” He said. “The buck stops there.”