Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

I'm proud of Barack. There's no other way to put it; it does sound a little condescending. But this man's confounded the right wing with his balanced approach and effort to include just about every kind of philosophy in his cabinet.

After the countdown to the election, the countdown to the inauguration seems much more tolerable. And kudos to President Bush (I never thought I'd write that sentence) for the graceful way he's handled the transition.

The difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration is clear in one fundamental aspect. Bush was insecure about being President; he overrelied on Cheney and was afraid of dissension in policy discussions. Obama, on the other hand, seems to welcome it. His team of rivals has included everyone except poor Chris Dodd.

And some in the right wing seem unable to fathom that they've lost. They talk about going into the wilderness as a transformative experience instead of a place where they've been banished.

Well, it is good to be in power again. And one thing a politician told me many years ago, "It doesn't matter what the other side says if you've got the votes."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Parade of Obama's Nominees

As President-elect Obama marches his new nominees forward in a series of press conferences, one can't help but feel impressed. In addition to the audacity of nominating Senator Clinton, the President-elect has demonstrated superb judgement of character and qualifications. He is unafraid of admitting his lack of knowledge in many fields and has shown a propensity to reach out for those who may be wiser than he. How does this compare with President Bush who filled FEMA with political hacks and demanded strict allegiance to neo-conservative values?

It's good to have the adults in charge again. It seems like January 20th can't come soon enough. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, but I was too young to remember the Camelot of the Kennedy days, and this must have been what it was like. It's amazing how much Bush and the Republicans did to mess up this country and our image in the world in just eight short years, but justice did finally come, even if it was justice delayed.

It will be a long time before the American people are willing to trust the Republicans again. I hope they enjoy their time in the wilderness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hillary! A Worthy Secretary of State

It's nice to know the adults are back in charge. To have a President with the inner security and confidence to open us his cabinet to political opponents. A President who doesn't have to declare "I'm the decider."

The riveting story of the appointment of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State appears to have concluded as a greaet success story. Hillary has transcended past aspersions declared in the heat of the primaries, and all the more power to her for it.

And she'll be a great Secretary of State, too. People have been asking whether she will be able to subordinate her views and carry out President Obama's policy. They forget she used to be a lawyer whose main job was to represent the best wishes of her clients.

Take that Rush Limbaugh and all you other plotting conservatives. In an attempt to play a spoiler in the internal Democratic primaries, Rush, and others like him, including Laura Ingram, pushed Republicans to go to the polls (in states that allow cross-registration, often on the day of the election) and cast a vote for Hillary to prolong the Democratic contest and Democratic divisions.

But the plotters and manipulators had their own deceitfulness boomerang against them. By lengthening the race, they helped Barack Obama start campaign organizations in almost all 50 states, and it was that experience on the ground that helped him to win.

In addition, by strenghtening Hillary's hand, they made her a stronger force with almost 18 million voters, and it was that strength that Barack considered as one element in appointing her.

So, now, thanks to your own deceit, and, of course, Hillary's inherent skills, you not only have the most liberal Senator in the country running the place, but the dreaded Clintons back in the game, too.

And my thoughts can be summarized in one sentence, "Thank God, for the sake of our country."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A New Dawn with Barack

It's rather disgusting to think that there are some segments of American society who are not celebrating Senator Obama's victory, who don't realize what it means to our image abroad, who are consumed with their petty jealousies or the need to fit into their social circles.

Yes, only in America could something like this happen, but for some it is an occasion of misplaced mourning or even the opportunity to stock up on their firearms in fear of the future.

Who are these groups? There are members of the "religious right," the most extreme, out-of-touch people, living in their own bubble of hatred, hatred totally antithetical to everything Jesus represents. In more affluent areas, they have no sympathy for the suffering caused by the Bush administration, for Katrina and even worse, the systematic promotion of the rich at the expense of all other classes in our great land.

There are also groups misled by the Joe the Plumber campaign, who hold on to their overflowing wallets and pocket books with desperation and hoarding, who are afraid of contributing a little more to the land that has given them so many opportunities.

Perhaps, most pitiful, there are also groups misled by Republican politicians, by the sophistry of Sarah Palin, et. al., who don't realize these charlatans are just playing one group against another in a divisive campaign where nobody really wins, except the candidates themselves and their high-rolling contributors.

As for me, I look forward to a new dawn in America, a new time of hope. Not to say that all the problems will be fixed immediately, but, at least, we will be making progress, moving in the right direction again. Maybe, just maybe, President-elect Obama will make an impact on these poor misled souls, and when they see the value of an intelligent President, not just someone whom you would like to have a beer with, a "Joe Sixpack," they will come around and re-discover the generosity inherent in this land, the reason why this country's heart moves in a more liberal direction in the long run, despite deleterious intervals where we have been misled by powerful interests beholden to noone but themselves, and the perpetuation of their own power.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Victory: Anecdotes About Obama's Election

Victory! After 2000 and 2004, I forgot what it felt like. The exultation, the renewed hope for our country. And this time, of course, it was extra special.

-- To see tears streaming down Jesse Jackson's face.

-- I passed the stewards of our housing complex on my walk the next morning (they happen to be black) and just started clapping. They shook my hand and beamed at me.

-- Passing a black woman on the street, still so happy, I started clapping again. She exclaimed, "Obama," as we went our separate ways.

-- Today, passing a girl with a beautiful Golden Retriever, I said, "What a beautiful dog. Obama should choose a dog like that." She laughed.

-- A close friend whom I tried to convince (she ended up voting for the other side) sent me an email saying she was impressed when Obama said he was everyone's President now, not just for the people who voted for him.

-- Bill Maher, in his late night comedy show, said he was even proud of the country, and that it's nice to see the adults in charge again.

-- I emailed a Democratic friend about the wave of joy sweeping our land.

I know there are difficult issues now to be solved, but I have faith in the ability of our President-elect to address them in a competent, intelligent manner.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

October surprise, GOTV

Well,it looks like we've avoided an October surprise this election. Not for want of trying, however. All of sudden, we're bombing Pakistan like crazy. The reason why: to catch Osama bin Laden before the election and boost McCain.

However, you can't just turn an effort like this off and on, then expect to succeed. Maybe, if Bush had caught Osama bin Laden before now, the results might have been different.

Anyway, the last few days of an election, any election, are all about GOTV -- get out the vote. Maybe, the Republicans are beginning to rue their efforts to make fun of Barack Obama because he was a community organizer. Community organizers know how to get out the vote!

Anyway, like all Democrats, I'm just a little nervous. We've been within inches of the brass ring before only to have it snatched out of our hands. I'll be happy on Wednesday after Barack has been elected, and the image of this nation makes a big turn for the better.

Let's all get out and vote with our own families first. My Dad is in his 80s, but I'm driving him to the polls!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

McCain tactics, Jeremiah Wright and Shakespeare

Look for the Republicans to pull out the last stop in their disgraceful campaign next week: a full court press on the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

Even if the (air quotes) "McCain campaign" refuses to raise the topic in a last shred of decency, surrogates will do the dirty work for them.


Because it is the Republicans who are more interested in winning the election than the good of the country. Despite all their lofty rhetoric, they are the ones who are the real traitors.

It makes a mockery of John McCain's slogan, "Country First."

The real tragedy here is not so different from Shakespeare's MacBeth, the ultimate story about someone who would do anything (or say anything) to accede to the throne. Like MacBeth, a decent man who was unfortunately misled, McCain was once a decent man, too. He had the gumption to protest the Bush tax cuts for the rich and to prevent the "nuclear option" in the Supreme Court confirmation process in the U.S. Senate.

But, as they say, bad company corrupts good morals. McCain's fatal error occurred when he hired Rove's accolytes to take over his campaign's tactics. All he really had to do was to be who he was, and the election would have been close (and it may still be). But if McCain loses, and it's looking increasingly that way, he will rue the day he signed on to the Republican right-wing attack machine.