Friday, June 26, 2009

The Infidelity Train Rolls On

Man, we must be headed for some sort of infidelity record in the political arena. We have had two major players go down in the past few weeks, each in their own agonizing manner. Gone are the days of illicit meet ups at a hotel, now we have international intrigue, with Governors jetting off to to other countries just to cheat. It is an exciting time to be a scandal watcher in politics.

First was a senator from Nevada, John Ensign, who while being a staunch proponent of "Family Values" and belonging the the Christian Promise Keepers Organization, somehow found time to cheat on his wife. This was an individual who called on everyone to impeach president Clinton for doing the exact same thing he has just admitted to doing. Just to make sure he did not appear partisan in his crusade against adulterers, he was one of the strongest critics of former Senator Larry Craig, the infamous bathroom bandit, calling on him to resign. In fact here is a quote Mr. Ensign gave regarding the incident: “I wouldn’t put myself, hopefully, in that kind of position, but if I was in a position like that, that’s what I would do (resign).” Of course...he is not resigning, but instead is going ahead as a Senator, because the "people's work" must be done.

Just a few days ago, the Governor of South Carolina, Mr. Mark Staford, suddenly reappeared after hiking the Appalachian, oh yeah, he was in Argentina with his lover. Whoops....don't know how that one would ever get out. If only he has not gone to another country for 5 days, he might have kept his secret. He is another one who voted for Clinton's impeachment, but cannot seem to muscle up the guts to resign. Seems righteous morality standards only apply to the OTHER guy.

What I find absolutely appalling is these two's unwillingness to live up to the standards they so readily applied to everyone else. It is easy to sit in your high chair and call on everyone else to resign, suddenly it you and it is a different story. The hypocrisy is amazing.

I know some of you, rightfully so, will point out that I only used Republican references here. You are correct, but that is only because of the fact that both these stories are the most recent. The last high profile Democrat to go down in flames due was Eliot Spitzer.....and HE RESIGNED! I did write a short entry about him, with a great quote...find that here. I think ANYONE who commits adultery should resign from public life. If you cannot keep your marriage vows, how are you supposed to keep your vows to the public.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lost in the Wilderness

A new poll by USA Today/Gallup finds that the majority of respondents, when asked to name a person who speaks for the Republican party, could not. They could not pick a person who leads roughly half the countries population in their political views. So, that begs the question, of the 48% who were able to name names, who came in first place? Maybe Sarah Palin, Michael Steele or Bobby Jindal? Nope, number one, with 13% of respondents votes was Rush Limbaugh. Second place on the list goes to our esteemed ex Vice-President Dick Cheney. The top 5 are all old white guys with McCain, Gingrich and Bush rounding out the top 5. As one conservative activist from the article mentioned "We cannot be the party of balding white guys and hope to win anything."

I look at the political scene right now for the Republicans, and I see a whole lot of old, and a whole lot of the next big thing, but not anyone right here right now. They truly are lost in the wilderness. Now many of my friends are conservative (much to my chagrin), and they should not lose heart. I know in the past I have talked about the "Death Knell of the Conservative Movement," but I know that American politics works like a finely tuned pendulum, and conservatives will one day again have their moment in the sun. Hopefully, it will be a new kind of conservativism, one not so focused on gays and abortion, and one more focused on the historical roots of the movement. Here are three things conservatives can focus on to help swing the pendulum back in their favor.

1. Coming off the drunken sailor spending of the Bush/Obama days, fiscal restraint can be a rallying point for the conservative movement. Push a indefinite law for balanced budgets, with exclusions for time of war or economic crisis. Tell people it is going to be hard, but BE SERIOUS about doing this. Realize that you will HAVE to cut some military spending to do this. You cannot just cut medicaid and call it good. Along with this comes serious reforms of social security and medicare. I swear that whoever grasps this issue and wrestles it to the ground will earn serious votes from Americans for years.

2. Tax cuts do not equate an economic policy (don't worry, I would turn around and tell Democrats that unmitigated spending does not equal an economic policy). We need someone to tackle the long term economic conundrum. Propose long standing reforms to both the tax code (simpler,lower,fairer) and to spending (no earmarks, see remarks above). Also, and this is critical, advocate for ENFORCEABLE free trade. Right now it does no good to allow every country access to our markets when we are not allowed the same in kind. I am NOT advocating trade restrictions be used, just that barriers to free trade and currency manipulations be ended under the threat of returning the favor.

3. Steal the energy independence issue back from the left. Honestly, the Drill Baby Drill thing made you guys look pretty shortsighted. Push an effective agenda including price floor for gasoline, efficiency, development of alternative energy sources and most importantly, nuclear energy. By looking long term, and not pushing an agenda that seems to line right up with oil companies wishes, you can take this issue back from the left. The focus is not cuddly environmentalism, but rather serious national security concerns. The fight over energy/water resources IS the most important area of concern for the future.

Good Luck.....your going to need it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The General Gets Demoted

General Motors, or as some people are calling to nowadays...Government Motors has declared bankruptcy. My new favorite nickname is Major Motors, as the company is literally being demoted. I do not mean for this post to talk about the politics involved in GM declaring bankruptcy, but more the human toll on my home state and the entire country.

Few people completely understand how BIG of a deal this is, literally. The General is so large, so much a part of every part of the economy, that it's bankruptcy is going to have ramifications far beyond it's headquarters here in Detroit. Just in the bankruptcy filing alone GM has detailed 20,000 jobs being cut, and is cutting 2000 dealerships, resulting in about 100,000 job losses there. Lets try to put that in perspective. Cities with equivalent populations include: Ann Arbor, MI, Albuquerque, NM, Stamford, CN and Abilene, TX. It is as if someone came into one of those towns and told everyone that they would no longer have a job. More fun statistics -- 43% of GM's factory jobs in Michigan are being eliminated, 650,000 retirees have no idea what the future will hold for their pensions, the city of Pontiac will lose 20% of its General Fund when Pontiac Assembly closes.

All of this, of course, has very human ramifications; it is not just numbers on a page. A local radio show put together a great example of how these decisions are affecting everyday people by creating a 100ft banner using pictures of people affected by the auto industry. Check out some pictures here as they took it to Washington, DC. So for the time being, the result will be: more unemployment, more crime, more abandoned industrial infrastructure, less American's making things American's buy. I think we will look back on this day in either one of two ways. First, we could look back at this as the jump start the Detroit region, and the country needed to head in a different direction, creating an industrial policy that reclaims America's manufacturing supremacy. This path leads to more jobs, more technical innovation, and of course to a greener transportation system. Secondly, we could look back and say this is the day American manufacturing died. We will make and innovate here no more. We will rely on foreign concerns to engineer and develop what we drive, and if we are lucky enough, they will let us put the cars together when the exchange rate is right.

I personally pray for the first path, and I especially pray for the families of all who are affected by this bankruptcy. This will not be an easy road, but we are a resilient people. Time to volunteer at a local soup kitchen, give a little more to the food bank, and above all, give a helping hand to your neighbor, because chances are someone you know is going to be affected by this.