Saturday, December 19, 2009

McCain Gives Weekly GOP Address on Health Care

Senators McCain and Durbin Debate Health Care

An excellent debate to watch. At moment 7:04 an exchange that explains why health care reform has been so confusing. No one knows what is in the compromise bill. Senator Durbin, "I'm in the dark almost as much as he [Senator McCain] is."

Also at 15:56 Senator McCain addresses the sticking point of many people who would like to see a health reform bill, simply "The Math doesn't work."

McCain and Durbin Debate Health Care - No One Knows What is in the Bill

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

McCain Petion Against Government Controlled Health Care

From sponsored email...
Taxpayers simply cannot afford this government takeover of our health care system and this is our opportunity to put an end to it.

That's why I urge you to add your name to this petition showing your opposition to government-run health care.

We still have an opportunity to stop the Democrats' public option from becoming law, but I need to know you stand with us in opposition to a government takeover of health care - so, please sign this petition immediately.

The wasteful spending ways of Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress must be put to an end. Americans are angry and I share your frustration with our current leadership in Washington.

In less than one year, Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress have increased our nation's spending by more than 80%. Our national debt has reached $9 trillion and will only go higher if the President signs a health care bill with provisions for a government-run option. Last month, unemployment surpassed 10%, the highest rate in over 20 years

Recent polls show clearly that Americans are against the health care takeover by Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress. And these same polls show that Americans understand and are infuriated by policies that are mortgaging our children's and grandchildren's future. It must be stopped. We must act now to show our continued opposition to the direction the Democratic leadership is taking our country.

McCain Health Care Petition Against Government Run Health Care.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Washington Painting the Walls When the Roof Is Leaking

As unemployment hit 10.2% last week the House in a special Saturday session of Congress passed health care bill that is costly and unpopular. In a great example of politicians being out of touch, Congress has decided that health care reform takes precedence over the economy and jobs even when poll after poll (including the exit polls taken during last weeks special elections) show that jobs and the economy is at the top of almost everybody's list of important issues.

The House health care bill is extremely costly and attempts to pay for itself through massive MediCare cuts. There are tax hikes on small business that can't help but have a negative effect on job creation. This bill will likely add greatly to our already staggering federal deficit, again not helpful for long-term economic recovery. Finally, it is a 2000 page bill that does little to reduce the cost of health care, one of the primary reasons that health care reform was needed in the first place. Congress has put the country on notice that they're priorities are not those of the American people.

Washington Painting the Walls When the Roof Is Leaking


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

McCain and Clinton Will Surely Be Cracking Out Their Violins

Well crack out the violins the White House doesn't like Fox News. The first two to pull out their bows are sure to be Senator McCain and Secretary Clinton, who will likely also be playing in the percussion section as they simultaneously bang their heads against the wall. Both have repeatedly noted the media's incredible Obama love-fest during the election. Secretary Clinton even stated that Fox News treated her most fairly of any network at that time.

President Obama has received the most favorable media coverage of any politician in my lifetime, and likely of all time. Yet that does not appear to be good enough for the Obama White House. Apparently all news network must feature personalities who fawn over the President's good looks and eloquence. If your station is not packed with people whose legs tingle when the President talks then clearly you are not a legitimate news organization. Robert Gibbs today cited Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity as proof that Fox is not truly a news network. Now I'd rather poke myself in the eye then watch the Glenn Beck show, but isn't he really just Kieth Olbermann in conservative clothing? Yet no admonishment from the White House for MSNBC being fully in the Obama tank? Isn't good journalism what happens when those in power are questioned and challenged? Clearly at this point in history Fox News, while obviously filled with conservative programming, is far more likely to ask a probing question of the White House than an organization like the New York Times whose reporter literally asked the president at a press conference what he was most enchanted by as president (seriously they asked him about being enchanted).

Now as for Sean Hannity, he has been full of tough but legitimate questions for candidate and President Obama. ACORN who was given a pass by other media sources was researched by the Hannity show. President Obama's personal and public associations are frequently questioned by Sean Hannity. He is a self-ascribed conservative, and that apparently not acceptable, particularly if thy have a lot of questions. Most candidates go through a series of tough questions when they are vetted, but candidate Obama was able to avoid this scrutiny because the media's school-girl crush on him. The White House's criticism of Fox News really isn't about Fox News, it's about the administration's incredibly thin skin. This adminstration wasn't tested by the media during the election and therefore is completely unprepared to handle even the mildest of criticism from prominent conservative comentators. As Senator McCain has repeatedly stated 'this aint beanbag,' and maybe this president and administration just don't have the stomach or the backbone for politics.

From Politico Fox 'not really news,' says Axelrod
"It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view.”

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Fox "is not a news organization so much as it has a perspective."

"It’s not so much a conflict with Fox News," Emanuel told John King. "I suppose the way to look at it and the way … the president looks at it, we look at it is: It’s not a news organization so much as it has a perspective. And that’s a different take. And more importantly, is not have the CNNs and the others in the world basically be led in following Fox, as if what they’re trying to do is a legitimate news organization …

Crack Out Your Violins The White House Doesn’t Like Fox News

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Health Care Reform Problems are Major

Senator Orrin Hatch held a blogger call last Friday where he explained the numerous problems with the Democrats health care reform plans. It should be noted that Senator Hatch has a history of working across the aisle on health care issues. He definitely wants health care reform, but believes the current attempts at reform are fatally flawed.

The most glaring problem with health reform plans is the cost. Only the Baucus plan attempts to be budget neutral and it does so by raiding Medicare, Hatch described the plan to cut Medicare by 4.4 trillion as, "a joke". It also appears that Congress may try to address the problem of doctors' Medicare compensation outside the scope current health care reform plans. This issue, commonly referred to as the 'doctor fix,' will cost a significant amount of money, therefore labeling it as something other than 'health care reform' is a way of adding the cost to the deficit while masking the true cost of health care reform.

Senator Hatch also noted that the head of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) Doug Elmendorf has proven himself as a honest and reputable person. He explained that one of his major concerns about reform plans is that the CBO has stated that they have no idea what effect reforms will have on the cost of health care and the cost of health insurance premiums. Senator Hatch, like Senator McConnell, also stated that the Democrats should make good on their campaign promise of transparency and at minimum should have the CBO grade any congressional plan and post their online 72 hours prior to a vote as promised last election by President Obama.

It should be noted that their are currently several different health reform plans that have come out of committee. The Baucus plan from the finance committee is the only one that can make any claim that it is budget neutral. It reaches budget neutrality through huge cuts to Medicare, and increased taxes on things like medical devices. However the other plans, one out of the Senate HELP committee lead by Senator Dodd, and those from House committees are nowhere near budget neutral as promised by the President. Now these plans are being merged together behind closed doors in a decidedly un-transparent manner. What the final bill will look like is still a bit of a guess, but considering how poor the committee bills are that the final bill will be based upon, Senator Hatch's assessment that the best hope for real health care reform is to defeat the current plans and make the Democrats start over and truly attempt a bipartisan bill appears to be right on point.

Orrin Hatch Details Serious Flaws with Dems Health Care Reform Plans

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Cancer Awareness Hits Social Media Sites #beatcancer

Tip for the day... Anyone who uses Facebook or Twitter include the hash tag #beatcancer in your posts to raise money for cancer related charities. Each Tweet or Facebook post raises $.01, the goal being that the more it is spread through people's networks, the more people re-tweet and re-post, the potential for money raised rises exponentially. Cool way to raise money for a good cause, and interesting social media experiment to see how effective the big 2 social media sites can be in both spreading a message and generating fund-raising dollars.

For more info from Mashable... Social Media Campaign to Beat Cancer

#BeatCancer Social Media Cancer Fundraiser #BeatCancer

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dressing Up Your Doctors

President Obama has attempted to sell his health plan to the American people on two previous occasions by by standing in front of a large group of supportive nurses. Yet this failed to do the trick so this time President Obama invited two doctors from each state in the union to the White House to show people out there that there really are professionals that support the President's health care reforms. This time would be serious, this time they'd have their doctor's outfits on. One poor doctor who showed up without his white coat looked sadly out of place, but never fear the Obama administration is here with a spare coat at the ready. Don't want a doctor to lose all his super powers with no white coat, and besides who wants to wreck a pretty picture of 100 properly attired doctors with the President of the United States.

This photo op was such a powerful image that the administration looked for other ways to visually convince Americans to support other Obama administration proposals.

In fact they held one doctor over and convinced another familiar face to help sell the President's second stimulus plan...

This was such a success that later that same day came the announcement the the Justice Department would be addressing the concerns of illegal aliens...

Then came President Obama's surprise announcement of the appointment of his two new green job czars...

Finally President Obama, under advisement from his most recent appointments, decided green aliens would receive a government stimulus check if they cashed in their used space ship for a newer more fuel efficient model...

Obama - How to Sell a Plan

Friday, October 2, 2009

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Health Reform Still Not Bending the Cost Curve

Health care reform is yet to substantively deal with 'gorilla in the room' - Cost. This is one of the fundamental reason why health care reform is needed. Yet no plan truly deals with this problem adequately. With the federal deficit shooting upwards and the country in the middle of a recession this only makes the need to deal with cost that much more pointed, but it does not seem to be a legislative priority.

Mort Kondracke of Roll Call explains in his article Will Reform Cut Health Care Costs? Don't Bet on It that the health care reform plans have no enforceable cost reducing measures. Cost cutting measures that are attempted rely on insurance companies, drug companies, and other health groups to keep their word and cut costs. This is at best a gamble, and not a very good one at that.
There's reason to fear that, even with reform, the nation's total outlays for health care - currently 17 percent of gross domestic product - will continue to soar, and so will federal health spending and insurance premiums.

The Obama White House promised reform would "bend the curve" of health spending - now growing 3 percent a year faster than the economy - but bills pending in Congress contain no guaranteed cost-containment measures such as a global budget, or national lid, on health spending.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, total U.S. health spending is scheduled to rise to 20 percent of the GDP by 2018, 25 percent by 2025 and 38 percent by 2050.

In May, health care stakeholder groups, including hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, drug companies and device makers, promised President Barack Obama they'd institute measures shaving 1.5 percent per year from the current 7 percent growth rate of health spending, saving $2 trillion over 10 years.

But as the journal Health Affairs observed in an issue brief in August, "these agreements are not enforceable" and, indeed, House "reform" legislation would free doctors from any reductions in Medicare reimbursements.

It's no wonder the American Medical Association supports the House bill, H.R. 3200. The Senate Finance Committee bill gives doctors just a one-year break from scheduled fee reductions, but past patterns are that Congress annually saves doctors from any cut.

Another group promising cuts - and now supporting Obamacare - is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Its contribution to controlling health care costs? Just $80 billion over 10 years - out of total U.S. pharmaceutical outlays of $3.3 trillion.

And, as Fortune magazine pointed out, part of PhRMA's cuts are designed to get more Medicare recipients to use brand-name drugs when generics actually would be cheaper.

According to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Susan Dentzer, "bending the curve" of health cost growth depends upon "a lot of floating magic asterisks" in the Senate legislation, including the transformation of several pilot projects into actual policies that alter health spending patterns.

No Good News On Health Care Costs

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Health Care Numbers Dropping

Rasmussen Reports polling shows, Health Care Reform - Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low. The most likely health reform plan at this time is the Baucus plan, yet what health care reform means is still largely unknown as numerous amendments to this bill are under review including whether a public option will be part of the bill. Many basic factors regarding cost and effectiveness have not been fully addressed, and a new CBO report states that Medicare benefits will likely be cut eventually even though supporters of the bill have stated the opposite. The Rasmussen poll and accompanying article is an interesting read as it shows how the American people are viewing health reform and its effects.
Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% are opposed to the plan.

If the plan passes, 24% of voters say the quality of care will get better, and 55% say it will get worse. In August, the numbers were 23% better and 50% worse.

Fifty-four percent (54%) say passage of the plan will make the cost of health care go up while 23% say it will make costs go down. In August, 52% thought the plan would lead to higher costs, and just 17% thought it would achieve the stated goal of lowering costs.

While many credit or blame the town hall protests for building opposition to the plan, it appears they were simply a reflection of public opinion rather than a creator of it. This sense is confirmed by the fact that Obama’s approval ratings fell more in June and July before stabilizing in August.

One thing that did change during the month of August is that public perception of the protesters improved. Most voters came to believe that the purpose of the town hall meetings was for members of Congress to listen rather than speak. That’s partly because just 22% believe Congress has a good understanding of the legislation.

While some Democrats have charged that opposition to the president’s plan is based upon racism, just 12% of voters agree.

Voters overwhelmingly believe that every American should be able to buy the same health insurance plan that Congress has. Most favor limits on jury awards for medical malpractice claims and think that tort reform will significantly reduce the cost of health care. Forty-eight percent (48%) want a prohibition on abortion in any government subsidized program while 13% want a mandate requiring abortion coverage.

Support For Obama Health Care Reform Continues to Drop
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White House Selling Health Care Reform

According to the New York Times, the White House is implementing a big health care push, and wil be pulling out all the stops to get its reform agenda passed...

Taking Health Care Courtship Up Another Notch
After months of cutting deals and stroking drug makers, hospitals and doctors, the president’s aides are laying the groundwork for a final round of Congressional arm-twisting, with Mr. Obama increasingly in a hands-on role.

As the Finance Committee wrestles with the bill, which could form the backbone of an eventual Obama plan, the lobbying effort is already bearing fruit. One Democrat who consults frequently with the White House said that a main goal of the administration has been to prevent any Democrat from publicly declaring opposition to the measure. So far, the only one who has, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, has scaled back his criticism after a private Oval Office session with the president.

Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, runs the campaign out of his West Wing office. A former congressman, he knows how to count votes. (It was Mr. Emanuel, for instance, who suggested Mr. Orszag reach out to Ms. Collins.) Aides say he does not host a regular health care meeting, but rather summons his team several times a day, typically with e-mail messages ordering colleagues to drop everything and show up right that minute.

Mr. Emanuel oversees two working groups: a policy group, run by Nancy-Ann DeParle, the head of the White House Office of Health Reform, and a political group, run by Jim Messina, the deputy chief of staff. They are deeply engaged in what Chris Jennings, who advised President Bill Clinton on health policy, calls “intelligence seeking” — trying to learn who has problems with the legislation, what those problems are and what it will take to win each member’s vote.

“We are at the concern-addressing stage,” said Dan Pfeiffer, Mr. Obama’s deputy communications director, adding, “This is a political and policy challenge of epic proportions, and it takes a lot of effort and attention to achieve it.”

Everyone who has relationships on Capitol Hill is expected to pitch in. Mr. Messina, a former chief of staff to Senator Max Baucus of Montana, the Finance Committee chairman, is the link to the finance panel. Phil Schiliro, the head of legislative affairs, spent years working for Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is an architect of the House bill. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who served for 36 years in the Senate, has been making calls to former colleagues, especially those on the Finance Committee.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, and Gary Locke, the commerce secretary, have also been working the phones. Their notes are passed on to Mr. Schiliro’s shop, which catalogs them for future use. The cabinet secretaries have also been doing interviews with select regional news outlets to shore up wavering Democrats in districts where Republicans are attacking Mr. Obama’s plans.

And the president has been holding more private meetings, aides say, with Democrats like Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington, who said she received an invitation to the Oval Office on a recent Friday, when she had hoped to spend the morning at home. She said she told the president the legislation would have to do more to rein in Medicare spending. “He was, like, ‘I’m all for this,’ ” Ms. Cantwell said.

“He is leaving no stone unturned,” said Senator Mary L. Landrieu, the Louisiana Democrat and Finance Committee member, who received an unsolicited call from Ms. Sebelius last week. She said they spent 20 minutes going over what she perceived as flaws in the bill.

The White House is carefully monitoring what senators say. When Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut independent, said on a Sunday morning talk show that health legislation should be delayed until the economy improves, his chief of staff got a telephone call from a worried-sounding Louisa Terrell, the White House legislative liaison assigned to monitor his office.

“She said, ‘Does he want to speak to Sebelius, does he want Peter Orszag?’ ” the senator said. He said it was not necessary. But last Friday, while Mr. Lieberman was at home preparing for Rosh Hashana, Mr. Locke, the commerce secretary, called. “He wanted to lobby me on health care,” Mr. Lieberman said.

At least one White House official, Ms. DeParle, has gone so far as to make a house call. When Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, expressed misgivings about how expanding Medicaid would affect California’s budget, Ms. DeParle gathered some charts and dropped in on a Saturday. They spent nearly three hours talking over coffee in Ms. Feinstein’s den.

White House Planning Full Court Press On Health Care

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dems Vote Not To Post Health Care Bill Online

For the second time this year the Democrats have voted against transparency and by voting against posting a bill online 72 hours before it the vote. Transparency was a huge theme in the last election, this administration claimed it would be the most transparent in history, and while this vote is not President Obama fault, it shows that the Democrats, as a whole, are not living up to the promises of last election. Posting bills online prior to a vote was specifically mentioned during the 2008 race, and now that it is no longer politically convenient, transparency has been thrown overboard.

Democrats’ Second Vote Against Transparency

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pelosi Pushes Health Care Bill

Health Care legislation is still on a fast-forward track, at least in the House. This creates a dilemma for Democrats as two very different bills are underway in the House and Senate. Neither have any support from Republicans, and the measures such as the public option and surtax that are likely to be included in the House bill probably will not be accepted in the Senate. The Democrats have full control of the both chambers of Congress, yet are deeply divided on core elements of health care reform creating an odd circumstance where there is a big rush on a bill that has yet to find any consensus.

From the Hill Pelosi wants House to pass healthcare bill ‘within weeks’
Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to make final decisions this week on the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor, but some centrists in the lower chamber want her to hold off until the Senate Finance Committee acts.

Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) push to decide issues like how to pay for the bill and the shape of the “public option” means that this week will be crucial for healthcare in both chambers.

It also makes it more likely that the House bill will include an income surtax on the wealthy and a public option more to the liking of liberals in her caucus.

“That’s where the caucus is,” said a Democratic leadership aide.

During an event in Philadelphia on Monday, Pelosi said the House will pass a healthcare reform bill “within weeks.”

The Speaker last week publicly reaffirmed her support for the surtax and the public option. In a leadership meeting last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) spoke up strongly in favor of the surtax, though he and Pelosi have disagreed on its parameters.

Pelosi Still Rushing Health Care Bill

Monday, September 21, 2009

John McCain Health Care Petition

From, Senator McCain has started a petition protesting the Obama Health Care plan...

I am very troubled by the potential cost of the President's outlined plans. I know that you are very concerned with the national debt and a projected $9 trillion deficit. The prospective cost of the President's plan could reach $2 trillion, and frankly, our country simply cannot afford this price tag.

I will not support heath care reform that adds to the out-of-control spending spree the Democrats in Congress have gone on this year. And I ask you to join me in rejecting the addition of $2 trillion of debt by signing this petition right away.

John McCain Health Care Petition

ACORN in Trouble

More trouble for ACORN as th Department of Justice looks into whether they have granted ACORN any money over the years as grant recipents are bound to uphold the law.

From Fox News Justice Department Inspector General Launches Internal ACORN Probe

The Justice Department's inspector general has agreed to investigate whether ACORN has applied for or received any DOJ grant money, in the wake of bipartisan criticism of the community activist group's operation.

And seven other inspectors general are being asked by two congressional members to take a look at their funding mechanisms.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Monday praising the Justice Department inspector general's decision to look into whether ACORN sought or received any grant money or whether the department conducted any reviews of ACORN's use of such money.

The inspector general agreed to probe the matter at Smith's request.

"As the primary federal law enforcement agency, the Justice Department has a responsibility to ensure that no organization receiving federal funds ignores our nation's laws," he said. "I am pleased that Inspector General (Glenn) Fine has agreed to investigate whether the Justice Department provided federal funds to ACORN through its grant program."

Monday, September 14, 2009

ACORN Cracked

The Census Bureau has terminated its relationship with ACORN after tapes were released that showed staffers aiding a couple in the human trafficking of underage girls from El Salvador in order to establish a prostitution ring.

From Fox News Census Bureau Severs Ties With ACORN

The Census Director has sent a letter to the National Headquarters of ACORN notifying the group that the Census Bureau is severing all ties with the community organizing group for all work having to do with the 2010 census.

"Over the last several months, through ongoing communication with our regional offices, it is clear that ACORN's affiliation with the 2010 Census promotion has caused sufficient concern in the general public, has indeed become a distraction from our mission, and may even become a discouragement to public cooperation, negatively impacting 2010 Census efforts," read a letter from Census Director Robert M. Groves to the president of ACORN.

"Unfortunately, we no longer have confidence that our national partnership agreement is being effectively managed through your many local offices. For the reasons stated, we therefore have decided to terminate the partnership," the letter said.

The news follows the firing Friday of two more ACORN employees after new hidden-camera footage showed workers for the group advising a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute how to subvert the law.

Kudos to the Census Department for Dumping ACORN

Monday, August 31, 2009

Internal Stress in Iran

Tensions Remain in Iranian Government

While street protests in Iran have been squashed, it appears from reports from the BBC that those protests have lead to significant tension and strain with in the Iranian government.

BBC - Fight resumes over Iran cabinet
Iranian MPs have resumed a heated debate on the nominees for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's new cabinet.

The Majlis holds a confidence vote on Wednesday, but correspondents say the president is struggling to win backing in the predominantly conservative body.

The latest objections by MPs have been levelled at his choice for education minister, one of three women nominees.

Iran is mired in political turmoil after Mr Ahmadinejad's re-election, which triggered huge street protests.

Iranian press reports described the exchanges between Mr Ahmadinejad and leading conservatives on the first day of the debate on Sunday as unprecedented.

Mr Ahmadinejad defended his government as the "cleanest" possible. He rejected accusations that he had simply chosen ministers who would be obedient "yes-men".

Conservatives and reformers alike accused him of nominating unqualified people without consulting MPs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Learning from Reagan and Kennedy

The tributes to Senator Edward Kennedy pour in as the country starts to realize how many people's lives the Senator touched. Some of the most moving memories come from people like Senator Orin Hatch, a Republican who collaborated on several bills with Ted Kennedy. Hatch recalls how Kennedy could go to the floor Senate, give a blistering opposition speech, then come over and give him a hug. Senator Kennedy not only was a highly accomplished legislator, he represents a fading tradition in American politics. He's a person who had the ability to hold a decisive view point yet work with and befriend people that held opposing positions. Senator Kennedy was never mistaken for a conservative, but was willing to work with conservatives to get things done.

Today many politicians seem reluctant to work across party lines, as if it was a sign of weakness. Yet here is an example of a man that accomplished as much as any Senator in recent history, held a self-ascribed liberal point of view, and was beloved by people on both sides of the aisle.

President Reagan had a similar ability. No one mistook President Reagan for a liberal, but he too could make a tough partisan speech then go out for a drink with Speaker Tip O'Niell, a died in the wool liberal. It is a trait that is too rare in politics these days.

This is also a trait that is quickly forgotten by many partisans. Reagan has become an icon of the right, but many seem to forget that he didn't hate those on the left. The Kennedy family is iconic for those on the left, hopefuly it won't be forgotten that Senator Kennedy similarly didn't hate those on the right. It is not an inconsequential trait, as these two men were respected and trusted by members of both parties. When Kennedy and Reagan are held up as the ideal for their party they should be remembered for all their traits not just the ones that are convenient for partisan politics.

This iconic status, that certain important public figures take on, ignores an individual's humanity. These people aren't saints, they have flaws like all people do. In some ways this makes them even more exceptional, as they have overcome things that often limit other people. The issue isn't with the short-comings of public figures, it is the flaw in how they are remembered. They are framed as either saint or sinner, depending on ones own personal views, and this does not do any person justice.

The Kennedy's are an excellent example our idealized yet over simplified public memory. Ted Kennedy, it could be argued, has been the most politically effective Kennedy, but the tragic death of his brothers has turned them into icons reaching an exaulted untouchable status. Like their bother, they were human beings with positive and negative attributes, who accomplished remarkable things yet did not live perfect lives. The reason it is important to remeber that great people have flaws is not to denigrate their memory, but it is important to show what is possible for 'regular people.' Also, it is important to understand that their are no infallable 'perfect people.' Politicians that are viewed as perfect are either in a system that requires absolute loyalty, or they are being put in a virtually unwinnable situation where the public is almost guaranteed to be disappointed. Much can be learned from prominent public figures, yet the lesson is muted if they are transformed into 'all good' or 'all bad' caricatures for party politics, or for posterity.

What is the Lesson of Figures Like Kennedy and Reagan?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Federal Deficit Numbers Soar

As previously reported the Federal Deficit is Soaring with estimates for this year being between $1.6 trillion or $1.8 trillion. Now the projected deficit for the next 10 years is up $2 trillion. There are so many disturbing elements to this ever expanding deficit, not least of which is how the U.S. economy will recover with this level government debt. As the deficit shoots upwards so does the risk of inflation, making recovery increasingly more difficult. Not to mention that China owns so much of our debt that at this point they're practically a part owner of this country. The government seriously needs to reexamine its priorities and reign in its spending or this country will find itself in a world of hurt.

Major Garrett reports New 10-year Federal Deficit: $9 Trillion, Up from $7 Trillion
The Obama Office of Management and Budget tells Fox the federal deficit over the next decade is projected to be $2 trillion higher than previous estimates.
The new 10-year aggregate federal deficit is $9 trillion.

An official said the prolonged recession and the ensuing decline in federal revenue prompted a recalibration of the deficit numbers.

The numbers also reflect a projection that post-recession economic growth may not be as robust as after previous recessions, the official said.

An Unsustainable Federal Deficit

Friday, August 21, 2009

John Mackey Under Fire

Whole Foods is facing a boycott because its CEO John Mackey wrote an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal opposing government run health care. Mackey's thoughtful article gave eight ideas for health care reform, and is not anywhere near what most rationale people consider provocative or radical. On the contrary, he is one of few public figures to put together a clear, concise, well-reasoned approach to health care reform. For his trouble he's being boycotted by those on the far left who can not accept that not everyone shares their point of view. The WSJ article is definitely worth a read for anyone interested in health care reform...

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare - Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.

The following excerpt Food Fight Over Health Care, from a transcript of On the Record with Greta Vansusteren, also illustrates that Mackey is good person who does right by his employees, and is absurdly being targeted for vocalizing his opinion on health care reform. Hopefully those who see the injustice in this will counter the boycott by stopping by a Whole Foods store and picking up some groceries.

BRIAN SULLIVAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: The irony of this story, Greta, is that if John Mackey, who is the CEO of Whole Food who has been running the company, started the company in Austin Texas about 30 years ago, if he had positioned what he positioned in "The Journal" when we were not considering health care, this would have been considered radical reform. He said here are eight ideas as a successful CEO that I have, including tort reform, allowing insurers cross state lines, self-directed ideas. And yet he is vilified by some of the more liberal followers out there of the president's plan. They are, as you said, waging war against Whole Foods, 18,000 on Facebook in a boycott. There is Web page set up. And they are calling him, get this, Greta, a right-wing zealot. VAN SUSTEREN: This CEO of Whole Foods, in 2007, he said he had enough money to live comfortably, so in 2007 he cut his salary down to $1 a year, and he donated all of the proceeds from his stock option to charity. This does not sound like a guy who wants to stick it to the poor when it comes to health care. He had a different idea, and that was what was in the "Wall Street Journal." SULLIVAN: He is a self-described libertarian. And I do not know if that was angered some people. Not only was he taking $1, but he pushed this through, Greta, a $100,000 need-based fund for Whole Foods workers. They offer domestic partners same sex benefits at Whole Foods. Heretofore this has been considered a relatively progressive company. Now he comes out and says the government-run plan is not the way to go. And he is absolutely being slaughtered on the left side of the blogosphere.

A Misguided Boycott Of Whole Foods

Thursday, July 30, 2009

McCain Book Available at Amazon

My latest book, An Independent Call, is now available at An Indpendent Call - From New Hampshire On recounts the experience of a wary Independent slowly being won over by the McCain campaign during the primary process, and eventually becoming a campaign volunteer and credentialed blogger. This book relates stories of political craziness from the primaries through the general election, shedding light on the opportunities and experiences provided to those who volunteer. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is, "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign...attention to detail is brilliant." --Maureen Barrows

-Katherine Morrison

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Iranian Student Protester Killed - Mother, "I Won't Be Silenced"

A 19 year old, Sohrab Arabi, disappeared more than 3 weeks ago after he participated in post election protests in Iran. His mother was told he was being held in Evin prison, and she routinely visited the prison trying to find information about her son. Sohrab was dead, reportedly killed as a result of torture. At Sohrab Arabi's funeral his mother called out the cowards who murdered him and proclaimed, "I won't be Silenced."


Mother Of 19 Year Old Sohrab Arabi At Son’s Funeral – “I won’t be Silenced”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Free Iran Recap - Freedom Via Internet

Since the election in Iran on the 12th of June, information about the protests and brutal government crackdowns has flowed in via the internet, particularly social media sites, and specifically Twitter. Twitter was the first place to provide information about the protests as the media largely missed the story in the beginning. Now the flow of information out of Iran has slowed due to massive arrests and violent government oppression. Along with the slowing of information, the main stream media's attention has been diverted. Yet this remains a topic that deserves continued public attention. People are fighting for their freedom under unimaginable conditions.

Here is a recap of some of the videos, stories, and information that has come out of Iran along with the role technology has played...

Total Oppression Versus Open Communication in Iran
In an early show of force students were beaten in their dorm rooms, and their rooms were trashed, computers and the like destroyed. Angered by the brutal beat downs, many professors at Tehran University protested by resigning. Hospital workers who treated the students, also disgusted by the government’s brutality, went on strike the following day to protest the students’ treatment.

Foreign media was banned, journalists have been jailed. Due to the crackdown, citizen journalism virtually the only way the story is getting to the rest of the world.

Iranian government claims that death of Neda was staged by the opposition. They prevent any form of public mourning for both Neda and the many others killed in the protests.

Soccer Team Members who wore green armbands during a game are permanently banned from the sport.

British representatives expelled from the country.

Special courts established for trying arrested protesters.

Mass show of force and violent suppression of peaceful protests continue.

Videos: The first video shows the death of Neda a young Iranian woman who has come to symbolize the Free Iran movement. She was shot while simply watching the protests, and reportedly died by her father's side. Be warned that the first two videos are very graphic and disturbing. The third video, while somewhat less graphic, but is also quite disturbing.

*VERY GRAPHIC* Young Lady Dies on Streets of Iran

*Very Graphic* Video of Iran Protests and Man Badly Beaten

Shooting of Iranian Students Caught on Camera

Massive Show of Force on Streets of Iran

Video of voter fraud in Iranian Election

June 20 Iran Protesters Face Off with Police

Crowds During June 20th Protests

Riot Police Attack Protesters in Iran

Video Showing Scope of Iranian Protests

This Week's Articles:

This week a violent beat down of protesters was under reported as the flow of information slows. CNN and the AP both had reports on this brutality...

AP Reports Iran Security Forces Again Beat Down the Opposition Protesters

Distraught woman describes the brutality to CNN, Reports of Brutal Crackdown In Iran

Article's Prior to the June 20th Protests

Concern About Khamenei’s Statements

Arrests and Protests Continue in Iran

American’s Practical Support of A Free Iran

Articles About the Role of the Internet in post-Election Iran

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism
One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, ‘Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.’ Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Following Iran Elections on Twitter – A Lesson in Freedom and Technology
Google Farsi - English Traslator: Google launches Farsi - English translator Thursday night/Friday morning. A hugely helpful tool that aids communication, and understanding of news directly from Iran.

Cable and Network News relying on Twitter: Saturday the 20th, with a government imposed blackout of foreign media CNN and others have to rely on citizen journalists along with Twitter and other social media sites to gather news. Protests are scheduled even though Ayatola Khamenei has made statements that suggest a possibly violent crackdown on protesters. Reports of tear gas used and armed police barricades used to disperse crowds.

Students Shot on Camera: A tweet linked to this video of Iranian students being shot

A graphic YouTube video of a woman's death (Neda) becomes a symbol of the movement. Trending topic on Twitter is #Neda as references to the video, and her life show how moved people were by her tragic death.

Mousavi Facebook post:
Through a post on Facebook it has been reported that Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he is "ready for martyrdom."

Embassies Take Wounded Iranians: Word spreads quickly on June 20th that many European embassies are taking care of wounded Iranians. These embassies along with their address/directions were also diseminated through Twitter. The safety of the hospitals is in question, and the Canadian embassy is pressured (via use of Twitter) to open its embassy too, yet embassy remained closed on Saturday.

Iran Elections and the Internet
An interesting subplot to the Iranian elections is that the internet is providing people more information than major news networks...Dear CNN, Please Check Twitter for News About Iran

Since writing about the Twitter Effect in Iran, and the role of the Internet as a whole, I have also been interviewed on radio and TV. For more info on appearances, please visit the Broad Side of the Barn.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter, Iran, and Cracking the Totalitarian Model

One of my first thoughts on seeing Twitter being used by Iranians following their elections was, 'Imagine if they had Twitter during Tienanmen Square.' Totalitarian regimes historically thrive, in large measure, by controlling the media and modes of communication. Would be protesters become isolated. Government propaganda simply spins any protest or event into something that reflects well on the regime in power.

Yet now there is Twitter, other social networks, and the internet at large. It's wise for Tweeters and others to understand that the deck is still stacked against those protesting the election. The Iranian government still controls the media, and in a textbook totalitarian move they have banned foreign press. While members of the Twitter community have set up proxy servers for people in Iran to use, the government has shut down known internet connections, which means that in all likelihood a large majority of Iranians are only hearing the official government version of events.

Yet protests continue and news spreads in large part due to Twitter and the internet. This is not something past totalitarian regimes have had to deal with. There are enough Iranians using Twitter (or other forms of communication) to organize that protests continue. The government has not been able to implement complete control. Hopefully those watching, participating, and following #iranelection on Twitter recognize that there is a definite possibility that this ends very badly as totalitarian regimes are also brutal. The reality is that what results from this is wholly a guess, but it changes the playing field and gives voice to those who previously had none. Person to person communication tools change the dynamic shifting, at least some of the power to the people, and puts a crack in structure of totalitarianism.


ter copy

Twitter Changing the Playing Field In Iran and For Totalitarianism

Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama Criticizes Health Tax Now Supports It

As a staunch McCain supporter I'm over the defeat; that is except when the Obama administration attempts to use parts of the McCain platform that they previously criticized. When the Obama administration followed the McCain plan in their Iraq and Afghanistan I was relieved. They weren't as reckless as their campaign statements made them appear. Also, I have to give them a gamesmanship points (even if they lose honesty points) for completely sticking it to the far left without making them angry. Yet the annoyance started when Obama used the McCain rhetoric about the economy without including all that pesky fiscal discipline. The statements post stimulus about strong economic fundamentals were practically verbatim what Senator McCain said during the election. Now health care is on the table and so is taxing employer based health insurance. Remember Obama campaign ads revolved around the idea that this was a terrible plan for Senator McCain to propose. Now it apparently is not such a bad idea. What makes it worse is that in the McCain plan there was a $5000 tax credit that would have off-set the tax. There will be no tax credit with the Democrat's plan, so any tax assessed is coming right out of your pocket. I'll get over the annoyance, but if the Obama administration keeps adapting McCain ideas the least they could do is adopt his fiscal discipline (and math skills) too.

Obama Using McCain Ideas

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Palin Letterman Feud Starting

While the Palin Letterman feud heats up, lets look at why David Letterman's bad joke appears to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

1. Letterman likely jumped on the Palins' last nerve when he made a crude joke at their daughter's expense. Governor Palin hasn't just been criticized, she and her her family have been attacked in a particularly hateful way, and at some point that has to wear thin particularly when ones children are targetted.

2. The Palin's reaction conqsequently was a little overreaching. It seems unlikely that Letterman was referring to the Palin's 14 year old daughter as the Palins thought. Circumstances pointed to the fourteen year old, but Letterman accurately pointed out that he doesn't have a history of making crude remarks referencing children. However, making vulgar remarks about any of the candidates/politician's kids is inexcusable, they didn't choose the public life and should be left alone (and 18 is still pretty young). The Palin's anger is completely justified and understandable.

3. Lots of people are fed up with jokes about female politicians always going 'there.' This can be seen in the HillBuzz blog (a Clinton supporters blog) requesting a boycott of Letterman sponsors. The lead in to the joke about the Palin girl was a crack about Palin looking like a "slutty stewardess." Like Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin has been the brunt of jokes and criticism that directly critique her appearance and sexuality. As hated as Bush and Cheney were in the last eight years, no one criticized their appearance or made explicit comments and jokes about them the way they have about Clinton and Palin. Again Letterman stomped on a raw nerve.

4. Some will be angry at the remark, others will be angry at anything referencing Governor Palin. Therefor this is is going to be big. Palin supporters can be quite intense (and oddly similar to the fervent Obama supporters). They're not likely to let it go, and the left's kooky raging Palin hatred means they won't let it go either.

So there you have it, we're in for a broohaha. Letterman's apology was weak because he was starky towards the Palins, and didn't recognize the fact that all of their kids should be off-limits particularly when making off-color jokes. Michael Steele has addressed the Palin Letterman matter by saying,
"Letterman's joke about Sarah and Todd Palin's daughter was thoughtless and tacky," Steele said in a statement to The Hill. "I saw his explanation for the joke, but sometimes the easiest thing to do is simply say 'I'm sorry.'"

"When Letterman starts making tasteless jokes about kids, it's time to turn the channel,"

Senator McCain defended the Palins saying,
"I don't understand why Letterman would say that about a young woman," McCain said during a telephone interview on Thursday. "They (the Palins) deserve some kind of protection from being the butt of late-night hosts."

As Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune sums up the situation in his article Palin is Right About Letterman by stating...
It's hard to see what Bristol has done to deserve the ridicule. It's not her fault her mother is a national political figure. Dealing with her situation is hard enough without being under a media spotlight.

Instead of acting as though he's the victim of someone else's misunderstanding, as he did last night, Letterman ought to simply admit he blew it, big time, and personally apologize to the Palins and his viewers.

He also should to keep in mind that if you're going to ridicule someone's sex life, you might pick on someone your own size. And make very sure you have the right person.

CBS's Feedback Form
Palin Letterman Politics

Monday, June 8, 2009

Health Care Costs

The Wall Street Journal is calling the Obama administration on its claims that its health care program will save money in the long-run. While Congressional Democrats work on drafting a health care bill (which includes taxing employer health insurance something highly criticized by the Democrats when presented in Senator McCain's health care plan) the Obama administration is starting to promote the plan. Yet they are doing so with some highly questionable numbers...

Excerpt from Obama's Health Cost Illusion
The main White House argument for health-care reform goes something like this: If we spend now on a hugely expensive new insurance program for the middle class, we can save later by reducing overall U.S. health spending. This "tastes great, less filling" theory could stand some scrutiny, not least because it is being used to rush through the greatest social spending program in American history.

What if this particular theory turns out to be a political illusion? What if the speculative cost savings never report for duty, while the federal balance sheet is still swamped with new social obligations that will be impossible to repeal? The only possible outcome will be the nationalization of U.S. health markets, which will mean that almost all care will be rationed by politics.

* * *
Since Medicare was created in 1965, U.S. health spending has risen about 2.7% faster than the economy and on current trend would hit 20% of GDP within a decade. Every public or private attempt to arrest this climb has failed: wage and price controls in the 1970s, the insurance industry's "voluntary effort" in the '80s, managed care in the '90s.

Now the White House -- especially budget chief Peter Orszag -- claims there is new cause for hope. The magic key is the dramatic variations in per patient health spending among U.S. regions. Often there is no relationship between spending and the quality of care, according to a vast body of academic research, most of it coming out of Dartmouth College. If the highest spending areas could be sanded down to the lowest spending areas, about 30% in "waste," or $700 billion each year, would be saved. More than enough to pay for ObamaCare. Or so the theory goes.

Obama Health Care

Friday, June 5, 2009

Senator Brownback on Gitmo

Senator Brownback talked to bloggers today laying out the problems with closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. The most pressing of these problems is what to do with the detainees. Senator Brownback explains that one commonly overlooked risk of bringing prisoners to U.S. prisons is that the surrounding prison communities may be subject to violent acts by groups making political statements about the prisoners' detention. He also explains that the Geneva Convention says that prisoners of war will not be held along with a general prison population. Senator Brownback lays out numerous reasons why closing Guantanamo is poorly thought out, and is decisively lacking a realistic and safe plan. The propsal also lacks support both in Congress and among the American people. A new Gallup poll shows that by a 2 to 1 margin Americans Oppose Closing Gitmo and Moving Prisoners to U.S.

This call is worth listening to as one may be surprised at the number of solid reasons the Senator gives for opposing the Obama adminstration's call to close Guantanamo.
Blogger Call with Senator Brownback
Brownback Talks Guantanamo and Foreign Policy « Purple People Vote

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Republican Health Care Alternative

On a blogger call today Senator Coburn and Representatives Nunes and Ryan discussed their alternative health care plan entitled 'Patients' Choice Act.' Representative Nunes noted that the Obama administration has yet to release any of the details of the plan that it is already starting to promote. Summaries of the Patients' Choice Act as well as additional information are given on Representative Ryan's website.

“The Patients’ Choice Act of 2009,” transforms health care in America by strengthening the relationship between the patient and the doctor; using choice and competition rather than rationing and restrictions to contain costs; and ensuring universal, affordable health care for all Americans. “The Patients’ Choice Act” promotes innovative, State-based solutions, along with fundamental reforms in the tax code, to give every American, regardless of employment status, age, or health condition, the ability and the resources to purchase health insurance. The comprehensive legislation includes concrete prevention and transparency initiatives, long overdue reforms to Medicare and Medicaid, investments in wellness programs and health IT, and more.

Republican Health Care Alternative, Patients' Choice Act

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama Adminstration Creates New Report to Make Numbers Fit

The Obama administration is having some difficulty with the economic projections they used to sell the stimulus bill, so they've decided to rewrite their projections. The administration projected that the unemployment rate would peak at 8%, it is now at 8.9%. This would lead many reasonable people to think that that the stimulus package has not yet been successful at creating jobs. Hence the Obama administration has written a new economic report. USA Today article White House defends 3.5M job forecast states...
The new report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers offers more details about the projected impact of the $787 billion stimulus package, which Obama signed into law in February. The figure of 3.5 million jobs saved or created, the report says, is the difference between the projected number of jobs during the last three months of 2010 with the stimulus and the projected number of jobs without if there had been no stimulus plan.

The report also offers a new measure of the stimulus law's economic effects: 6.8 million additional job-years between the signing of the legislation and the end of 2012. A job-year represents one job held for one year.

Christina Romer, Obama's top economic adviser, said the administration's goal has been to come up with realistic estimates, not to manipulate the numbers for political purposes. "Accuracy has always been the main thing, not the political back-and-forth," Romer said in an interview Saturday.

Beyond the Obama administration need for 'new math', the AP's article STIMULUS WATCH: Early road aid leaves out neediest reports that areas hardest hit by the economic downturn are receiving less stimulus aid that lesser affected regions.
Counties suffering the most from job losses stand to receive the least help from President Barack Obama's plan to spend billions of stimulus dollars on roads and bridges, an Associated Press analysis has found.

Although the intent of the money is to put people back to work, AP's review of more than 5,500 planned transportation projects nationwide reveals that states are planning to spend the stimulus in communities where jobless rates are already lower...

...The early trend seen in the AP analysis runs counter to expectations raised by Obama, that road and infrastructure money from the historic $787 billion stimulus plan would create jobs in areas most devastated by layoffs and plant closings. Transportation money, he said, would mean paychecks for "folks looking for work" and "folks who want to work."

The budget deficit is expected to exceed $1,800,000,000,000 this year, and there has been no sign by this administration that they see huge deficits as a problem. This leaves many wondering how massive inflation will be avoided, and wondering how much number shuffling will be needed in order to make this gratuitous government spending look wise.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

McCain and Graham on Guantanamo Detainees

Senators Graham and McCain laid out a set of guidelines for handling Guantanamo detainees. They start their article by noting the need to move forward instead of looking back, as there are pressing concerns to addressed.
The country must move on from debates about the past, because pressing questions about U.S. detention policy in the war on terror requires us to make difficult choices -- and to make them soon.

In January, the president announced via executive order that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay will close within a year. The announcement was easy -- but it left unanswered the hardest questions about detainee policy for the future.

How do we prosecute detainees suspected of committing war crimes now that military commissions have been suspended? How should we handle those detainees who cannot be tried, but who are too dangerous to release? Where will we house them? How should we deal with detainees who, if released, would return to the fight against us? How do we deal with the prisoners held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where some detainees captured outside Afghanistan are being held?

There are no easy answers. As senators who have struggled with these issues for years, we believe some basic principles can help us find a common path forward...

The full article is worth a read and consideration should be given to the fact that these two Senators are experts in this area. Senator Graham is a JAG, and both Senators championed the surge strategy that eventually lead to success in Iraq. Both were critical in drafting and passing the Military Commissions Act which set forth procedures for trying detainees. Senator McCain has also been a particularly vocal critic of torture and the use of waterboarding. These two senators have given consistent thoughtful and useful guidance on issues related to foreign policy and military conflict, and again set forth an important set of guidelines for the handling of Guantanamo detainees.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Political Wit and Humor


Couldn't resist passing along these graphics/headlines. Savage Politics is obviously addressing the government's bone-headed move to fly over NYC and the Statue of Liberty. Liberal Rapture pokes fun at President Obama's image among die-hard supporters as savior. A hat-tip both; smart and funny.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Free Us Now Radio Featured Guest, Author Katherine Morrison

Featured Radio Presentation

Monday Night May 4th soROARity
Katherine J. Morrison
"Author of An Independent Call"

Free Us Now guest, Katherine Morrison wrote a book about the 2008 presidential election. The book entitled An Independent Call, chronicles the journey of an Independent New Hampshirite from wary observer of town hall meetings to eventual McCain supporter and volunteer. It is an amusing look at the events of a campaign. From meeting candidates from both sides of the aisle, to becoming a blogger for McCain, to being chewed out on campaign phone calls, to receiving press credentials for the Republican National Convention, this account relates the experience of being a participant at the lowest level politics from an outsider's perspective. A mix of good humor and political opinion from the middle.

Rockingham NH County Commissioner, Maureen Barrows, recommends An Independent Call stating that it is- "A must read for anyone interested in the day to day life of a volunteer in a political campaign-attention to detail is brilliant."
No radio needed The Free Us Now Radio show is online - If your computer is down no problem call on the phone and hear the entire show right on the phone- Please come! Monday 10 PM eastern/ Bring your questions.
Call-in 347 539-5420.

Event: Free Us Now Radio Show
Host: BettyJean Kling
Start Time: Monday, at 10:00pm
End Time: Monday, at 11:30pm
Call-in:  347 539-5420

Jack Kemp Tribute

ESPN posted a very nice article in tribute to Jack Kemp who passed away yesterday of cancer. The article does an excellent job of describing Kemp's personality and life, and is definitely worth a read. Also, Kemp's own open letter to his grandchildren after the 2008 presidential election shows why Mr. Kemp will missed by so many.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Launching The Unrepentant McCain Supporter AKA 'The Unrepentant McCain Supporter' is a forward looking blog created by a self-ascribed McCain supporter/volunteer. This blog will focus on current topics from the perspective of an independent voter. The title of the blog is a 'tongue in cheek' nod to all the backward looking punditry that dissects (or vents) about the campaign of a defeated candidate.

Arlen Specter Switches Parties

Wow, this is fascinating... The Washington Post Reports Alen Specter is Switching Parties.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat and announced today that he will run in 2010 as a Democrat, according to a statement he released this morning.

Specter's decision would give Democrats a 60 seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate assuming Democrat Al Franken is eventually sworn in as the next Senator from Minnesota. (Former Sen. Norm Coleman is appealing Franken's victory in the state Supreme Court.)

"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."

He added: "Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

Hog Wild over the Swine Flu

It seems that as a country we love medical dramas. Not just the hour long tv dramas, but the dramatic 'next plague' media stories that pop up every couple years. There was the bird flu, e coli outbreaks, triple E, and one of the earliest panic starters West Nile Virus. Certainly for anyone contracting an ailment of this sort this is a serious matter, but can't the media do a little math from time to time and make a better judgment about what is panic worthy. Some of these health concerns may simply warrant a basic alert, and not the 24-7 coverage they usually receive. I know surgical masks and airport warning signs make for great tv, but isn't this shtick getting old?

McCain Again Correct on Torture

As an unrepentant McCain Supporter I find myself again in complete agreement with Senator McCain. One can believe that past actions were wrong, and that a criminal probe is inappropriate and potentially harmful.

Obama Bipartisanship at 100 Days

The AP article 'Obama Bipartisanship Push Has Mixed Success' does a decent job at summarizing the attempts at bipartisanship in the first 100 days of the Obama presidency. This was a hallmark of the Obama campaign a deserves scrutiny as it was a large part of what supporters claimed made, then candidate Obama, such an agent of change.

So as an unrepentant McCain supporter, in my view there are three categories to focus on - foreign policy, economic policy, and practical politics.

In foreign policy, right off the bat he wins big points for keeping Robert Gates on as Secretary of Defense. Robert Gates has proven that he is a pro, and while he doesn't appear to be someone who seeks accolades, he is someone who deserves them. Also a positive, his policy on Iraq and Afghanistan seem quite reasonable. Overall he's appointed competent and not wildly political representatives to foreign policy positions, and one has to respect that. On the negative side, meeting with Hugo Chavez along with that goofy book exchange was not impressive. The rhetoric in Europe about America being arrogant could be problematic and appeared rather partisan. Yet he did win the election, and neither event is a real departure from what he campaigned on.

A hot topic right now is how to handle the 'enhanced interrogation/torture' issue. While the Obama administration has fumbled this issue a bit, in the end they score big points in taking a forward looking stance. This is said as someone who believes that the U.S. should not torture, and should hold the Geneva Convention's definition of torture as the standard. The problems with investigations, along with the threat of prosecutions, are numerous. A huge one is that this has the potential to damage the CIA and its operatives. This is a vital institution, and its members do an important and often thankless job. Degrading their capabilities and membership in what is likely to be a highly partisan, endless series of hearings is not good for the CIA or the country. If the Obama adminstration chose to go after the Bush administration on this issue they would have betrayed their campaign manta of 'change.' It appears they are standing up to the left, and therefor their grade for for foreign policy bipartisanship is A-.

Economic Policy: Unfortunately, there has been virtually no attempt to be bipartisan on economic issues. Granted the Obama administration was likely handicapped by the leadership of their own party like Nancy Pelosi, who said about the stimulus bill, "We won the election, we wrote the bill." Comments from Harry Reid that he doesn't work for President Obama likely have made attempts at bipartisanship more difficult. Yet one particularly disappointing moment from President Obama was when he gave a highly partisan speech to Democrats about the stimulus bill. If President Obama had made more of an effort to be bipartisan on fiscal matters the Tea Party protests would likely have not been nearly as successful as they were. There is a growing concern from regular Americans that there is simply too much government spending, and too much government involvement in business an economic matters. The Obama administrations best defense to this is that President Bush started many of these policies. That's true but the buck stops at Obama now, and his spending is eclipsing the previous administration (who didn't do much to champion fiscal conservatism) by a long shot. The Obama administrations economic bipartisanship grade, D.

Finally, how well is the Obama administration doing in general at being bipartisan? One positive, they didn't hang Senator Lieberman out to dry for supporting Senator McCain as some feared might happen. A negative, as mentioned in the AP article, in a very partisan move they stirred the pot by announcing that Rush Limbaugh was the head of the Republican party. They appeared to enjoy the turmoil it created amongst prominent Republicans and kept the Limbaugh banter going for quite some time. They may have scored political points off of this, but they also revealed themselves players of what was often reviled in the campaign as 'old school politics.' President Obama has kept bipartisanship on the table as a goal, but the actions don't quite fit the rhetoric and he hasn't shown leadership in this area. Yet again noting that he is likely receiving pressure from members of his own party to be more partisan there is still hope for a more bipartisan tact in the White House and in Washington. His grade for general bipartisanship C.

There is room for improvement, but he should be given credit for not being either wrecklessly partisan, particularly on foreign policy, or succumbing to the desires of some in his party to become angry and backward looking. There is quite some concern about how far left economic policies will go, and that Republicans have been excluded from the process. Yet all hope is not lost. President Obama is very popular, and if he chooses, he still has the opportunity to be a bipartisan president. The ball is in his court.