Monthly Archives: February 2012

Michigan, Arizona – Sigh.

Reprinted from

All over big cities across this great nation of ours Establishment Republicans (ERs) are breathing again because Mitt Romney won both Michigan and Arizona. And Michigan.

Establishment Democrats (EDs – I know, I know) had been breaking out the kazoos and confetti to celebrate running against Rick Santorum in the Fall had he won in Michigan.

There was some serious (a Mary Matalin-ism) projectile sweat from the ERs through yesterday afternoon that Rick Santorum might actually win Michigan, one of Romney’s many home states. What would they do?

Santorum? Anti-Satan Santorum? Anti-Contraception Santorum? Pro-Theocracy Santorum? Senator Santorum who lost his seat by 134 percentage points? THAT Santorum was going to be the GOP nominee?

omg. OMG. O*M*G! Continue reading

Presidential Primary Crossroads

Reprinted from

We haven’t had any election activity since February 7 when Rick Santorum led the pack in the popular votes in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado.

That led to a Perry-like, Cain-like, Gingrich-like spike in the polls for Rick Santorum who, in the ensuing three weeks, built a double-digit lead ahead of Mitt Romney in the Gallup national tracking poll, a double-digit lead in some of the polls in Michigan, and closed the gap to low single digits against Romney in Arizona.

That, in turn, led to 37 billion words being written about the possibility of a brokered convention largely because there was nothing else to write about.

Then came the debate in Arizona last week and, although I didn’t think Santorum stunk out the place, I did think he was below par. Everyone else apparently thought he stunk out the joint because since that debate five days ago Santorum’s leads in the Gallup poll has completely disappeared – in Sunday afternoon’s report Romney was leading 31-29. Gingrich and Paul are battling for third at 15 percent to 11 percent respectively. Continue reading

Chamber of Commerce Republican

Reprinted from

I consider myself a Chamber of Commerce Republican.

By that I mean I generally support where the Chamber of Commerce is coming from when it comes to the functioning of the free market system. And my politics tends to reflect that worldview.

According to the Chamber’s own website, it all started: “The idea of a national institution to represent the unified interests of U.S. business first took shape when President William Howard Taft, in a message to Congress on December 7, 1911, addressed the need for a “central organization in touch with associations and chambers of commerce throughout the country and able to keep purely American interests in a closer touch with different phases of commercial affairs.” Four months later, on April 22, 1912, President Taft’s vision became a reality when a group of 700 delegates from various commercial and trade organizations came together to create a unified body of business interest that today is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

The Chamber of Commerce is a pragmatic institution. Continue reading

Sad Demise of Jeremy Lin

New York City, NY

The New York Knicks announced today that its star player, Jeremy Lin, was leaving the team. It wouldn’t provide details on the reasons, but New Four five has discovered that Lin had grown disillusioned with his role with the team and his wider impact on the world.

“It really is tragic,” one insider put it. “This guy could have brought us to the promised land again, but he just went crazy. It’s Linsanity!”

According to several reports, it wasn’t drugs or narcotics that started Lin’s downfall. It was the desire of his parents that  he go to Medical School and become a doctor.

“Hasn’t this guy ever heard of Doctor J? He was a doctor. A doctor? Doesn’t this guy realize that being a doctor just doesn’t pay under Obamacare?”, said one disgruntled Knicks fan. Continue reading

President’s Day

Reprinted from

My brother was born on February 22.  That’s why I know that February 22nd is actually George Washington’s birthday.

When I was growing up, we used to get both Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (February 12th) and President’s Day off.  I seem to remember that for a while we kept the President’s holiday on my brother’s birthday, but my memory might be a little hazy.

In typical Congressional fashion, we now celebrate Presidents Day on no one’s birthday in particular. Sometimes, it falls on Washington’s Birthday, but usually not. It is always the third Monday in February. There is some disagreement, actually, if the third Monday in February is done in honor of George Washington or in honor of all of the Presidents.

If we were to have a month to celebrate the most Presidents, it would be October. There were six Presidents born in October, and only four in February. The six born in October include some pretty good ones, like Dwight Eisenhower, John Adams and Teddy Roosevelt. But February had better trump cards, including Reagan with Lincoln and Washington (and don’t forget William Henry Harrison). Continue reading

John Glenn’s Uplifting Trip in Space

Reprinted from

Fifty years ago, Marine Col. John Glenn lifted off (NASA never used the phrase “blast off”) from a Cape Canaveral launching pad and America was in the space business.

Glenn’s was the fourth American flight into space. Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom road Redstone rockets just under 120,000 miles above the Earth’s surface in what were called “sub-orbital” flights.

Enos, a chimpanzee, flew in the first American spacecraft with a living mammal into orbit when he went around the Earth twice on November 29, 1961. Enos survived the flight, but died less than a year later of dysentery which did nothing to ease the minds of engineers, physicians and astronauts about the hazards of space flight.

I am old enough to remember the early days of spaceflight. I can remember, and I still get chills every time I hear, the voice of fellow Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter saying, as the count reached zero, “Godspeed, John Glenn.” Continue reading

UN Finger-Wagging No Foreign Policy

Reprinted from

The General Assembly of the United Nations took the boldest of steps yesterday by adopting a resolution condemning the government of Syria’s on-going assault on its citizens. It was the equivalent of an international finger-wagging.

The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming vote of 137 in favor to 12 against with 17 abstentions. The 12 countries that voted against the resolution were: Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Ecuador, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The resolution itself contained no penalty clause. In fact, the LA Times’ reporting of the activity said it best: “Though the resolution has no force, it was seen as an important symbol of where the world stands on Syria.” Continue reading

US Issues: Iran, Nigeria, Global Energy, Security

Reprinted from

Like most people I have gotten so caught up in the rising and falling of GOP Presidential candidates’ fortunes that I more-or-less forgot about President Obama and what else is going on in the world.

What else is going on is that gasoline prices are on the rise.

Some people are following the so-called “Doc Fix” issue – that is to forestall a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to physicians. More people understand an extension of unemployment benefits. A lot of people would recognize whether or not payroll taxes (to pay for Social Security and Medicare) were being withheld from their paycheck. Continue reading

Contraception Issue Abuse of Executive Power

Reprinted from

The White House announced its new rules on requiring employers that provide health insurance to provide contraceptive services with no additional cost to their employees.

I understand this is broadly interpreting the rule, but I am not going to discuss the policy, religious, moral, or any other aspect of the rule itself.

It apparently only came as a surprise to the White House when conservatives and Catholics (among others) rose up in vocal opposition on the grounds that charities run by religious organizations – like hospitals – would have to provide a specific insurance benefit which is contrary to their religions tenets.

Others have debated the pros and cons of that in other venues and I won’t get into that again here.

The White House hurriedly announced a “compromise” which is an odd construct in that like Republicans in the House and Senate during the writing of the underlying health care legislation, only Democrats were involved. Continue reading

Final Death of Nasserism

Reprinted from

Gamal Abdel Nasser died in 1970, but Nasserism, the philosophy he founded, will finally die out in 2012.

Nasser, a charismatic and forceful President of Egypt, was the first Arab leader to meld militarism with socialism to create a new kind of modern governance in the Arab world.

Nasser’s exploits were legendary. Overthrowing the Egyptian monarchy. Creating the United Arab Republic. Seizing the Suez Canal. Attacking and losing to Israel.

He died of a heart attack, not by assassination. His successor, Anwar Sadat was not so lucky. After Sadat concluded a peace treaty with Israel, he was assassinated. Sadat’s successor, Hosni Mubarak, will probably be executed sometime this year (just a guess). Continue reading

Realistic Honesty

Reprinted from

Mitt Romney will address CPAC later today.

For those who don’t know, CPAC is an annual meeting of young and old conservatives. The young guys are usually college students or recent graduates who are looking for honest work and are passionate about their conservative beliefs.   The old guys are folks who have made their living at conservative politics and use CPAC to confirm their worth or to sell their wares.

Ever since George Bush left the White House, CPAC has endorsed Ron Paul to be the standard bearer for the party. So that gives you a sense of CPAC’s grounding reality.

Romney is addressing CPAC because if he didn’t, it would have been a big story about how he has dissed conservatives once again. That’s not a great story for the former Massachusetts governor, so he is going to preach to a choir that usually sings a different song from the one he is preaching. Continue reading

When Will We See The End?

Reprinted from

In the 1965 film “The Agony and the Ecstasy” Michelangelo (played by Charlton Heston) is taking his sweet time painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Pope Julius II (played by Rex Harrison) loses his patience and asks, “When will you make an end?”

To which Michelangelo responds, “When I am finished.”

That’s pretty much the status of the GOP primary campaign. Washington-based reporters (now faced with no election activity until February 28 when Arizona and Michigan have their primaries) are expending a great deal of energy asking each other “When will they make an end?”

It is useful to remember that in 2008 Barack Obama didn’t sew up the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton until June. JUNE!

Continue reading

It’s Not Just the Economy

Reprinted from The Hill

“It’s the economy, stupid.” That was the battle cry from Bill Clinton’s crack campaign team in the months leading up to the 1992 election.

And the conventional wisdom continues to be that Americans vote their pocketbooks when deciding whom to support in presidential elections. But it would be a mistake to conclude that only economic factors play in to how voters will decide this election.

The unemployment rate is at 8.3 percent, on the high end of the historical average, which should be bad for Barack Obama. But it is trending the right way, which is usually a good sign for the incumbent.

Mitt Romney, the likely Republican standard-bearer, has run his whole campaign on the argument that he can run the economy better than Obama because he has deep experience as a CEO. But CEOs are about as popular as the Congress, so that theory might be a bit flawed.

Here are some other factors that will play an outsized role in this campaign. Continue reading

Counting Delegates, Watching Candidates

Reprinted from

There were election events last night in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado.

Missouri was a primary, but it was a state-wide beauty contest. No delegates were at stake. I’m not certain why the state of Missouri thought it might be a good idea to have what was essentially a spring training election costing millions of dollars, but there you are.

Rick Santorum won the Missouri contest. Gingrich wasn’t organized enough to even get on the Missouri ballot. Colorado and Minnesota had caucuses – and we know how well those have gone so far – but there are 36 delegates in play in Colorado and 40 in Minnesota.

When the day began the delegate count was:
Mitt Romney – 100 , Newt Gingrich – 35 , Ron Paul – 15 , Rick Santorum – 11

A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to claim the nomination, so we have a way to go.

If I had been advising Romney (which I am not) I would have said, “Let’s let Santorum win Missouri. There are no delegates at stake, but he gets the bragging rights and can claim two wins in the first seven states. That means Gingrich has to deal with Santorum before he can deal with us. Thus, losing to Santorum in Missouri is a win.” Continue reading

Occupy Wall Street Romantic?


“Tim McFallon, stood chatting with a shivering blonde, gallantly offering her his warm pea coat. “Let’s swap,” she purred as she discarded her own coat to reveal a long stretch of taut midriff underneath what could be loosely be described as a sweater.”’

A scene from Days of Our Lives or a Harlequin romance novel?


It’s a scene from the Washington Post’s romanticized view of Occupy Wall Street which appeared on Page 1 last month. The Occupy movement is far from fanciful.

The movement has cost hard-pressed cities across the country millions of dollars that could have gone to feeding the hungry, preventing the layoff of teachers and firefighters, caring for the uninsured or repairing dilapidated roads and bridges.

The Washington Examiner reported last year that the DC Occupy movement was costing taxpayers $22,000 a day. That comes to $3.4 million since October. And that’s just DC, where according to the police union, crime has gone up in the city because police are being diverted from neighborhoods to the Occupy tent town. Continue reading

Nevada Shows Caucus Process Cracked

Reprinted from

The Nevada GOP couldn’t get the votes counted. By halftime of the Superbowl was reporting that a full day after the caucuses only 83 percent of the precincts had been recorded.

The Iowa GOP chairman resigned in disgrace after it took nearly two weeks to decide that Rick Santorum, not Mitt Romney had been the winner there. By that time, whatever minor momentum Santorum had gained by “losing” by only eight votes on caucus night had long dissipated and he was but a footnote in the South Carolina story.

The results from Nevada as of 7:50 pm Eastern time last night were:
Mitt Romney – (13,442) 48%
Newt Gingrich – (6,043) 22%
Ron Paul – ( 5,239) 19%
Rick Santorum – (2,952) 11%

I kiddingly Tweeted, after Iowa announced its final ruling, that international observers would be called in to oversee the Iowa caucuses in 2016. Continue reading

Race For The Cure?

Reprinted from

“Come on John.  You are coming with me.”

The raspy voice belonged to Corinne Michel, the wife of House Minority Leader Robert Michel, and probably one of the nicest people I have ever met.

Mrs. Michel, an avid smoker, had a wry sense of humor and very level head. The mother of four grown (and successful kids) and the wife of one of the most powerful men in Washington, Corinne could spot bullshit from a mile away.

I think she was getting a kick out of taking me out of the Capitol building and bringing me to my first (and so far in my life my only) visit to the Vice President’s residence.

I wasn’t exactly clear why we were going, but it had something to do with a woman from Peoria who died of breast cancer. We arrived at the residence, and I walked into a nicely appointed room filled with very imposing and somewhat intimidating group of professional women. Continue reading

Trumped in Vegas

Reprinted from

Once again, Donald Trump trumped the rest of the world and made a grand opera out of an otherwise modestly interesting situation.

You may be aware that the Republican party of Nevada is holding its precinct caucuses tomorrow to choose delegates to the GOP national convention in Tampa in August.

There is not the frenzy that attended the Iowa caucuses because there have already been four election events in this GOP primary cycle even though Iowans not only got it wrong on election night, but lost the results of eight precincts and so when they got around to declaring the actual winner to be Rick Santorum (17 years after the event) the Iowa caucuses had no meaning. Continue reading

Newt Must Trade Hope for a Miracle

Reprinted from U.S. News

As the primary contest goes on to Nevada, one has to wonder what former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s campaign must do to stop former Gov. Mitt Romney’s momentum after his overwhelming victory in Florida. If the Gingrich campaign has an effective fundraising plan, solid organizational structures in Super Tuesday states, and reconfigures his message to appeal to voters, then he should remain in the race. However, if he simply chooses to remain in the race because he wants to needle the Romney campaign until the convention, most GOP voters will not have the stomach for it. Romney allies took Gingrich down in Iowa and Gingrich returned the favor in South Carolina. Both waged an extremely negative campaign in Florida and Romney won. Continue reading