Small town mayor criticism = bitter, cling to guns, religion?

The first Obama campaign response to McCain’s VP announcement of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin didn’t highlight that she was a governor.  Instead, it belittled her as a small town mayor.  This morning, I finally remembered what Barack Obama said to his San Francisco peers about small-town-America.  Is he trying to communicate that Sarah Palin is one of those bitter Americans, so bitter that her reason for clinging to guns and religion is self-explanatory?  My goodness, what if she gets elected, and actually brings her guns to Washington with her?  What if she starts each day on the job as VP with prayer?  Can we afford to have a bitter American as VP who will turn Washington on its head like Palin would?

Maybe I’m way off base.  Hugh Hewitt has written a compelling blog entry at that offers an alternative explanation of the Obama camp’s urge to tear Sarah Palin apart, and I recommend that everyone read it.

Fed up with the left’s charges of “tokenism”

The left cannot escape the mindset of identity politics, despite Obama’s talk of post-racial, post-gender, post-ideological, and post-generational politics.

When they look at Sarah Palin, the only thought that comes to their mind is that she’s a woman.  To the left, if a woman can’t pass muster with Emily’s List, she can’t be taken seriously.  Thus she’s a token.

I have a challenge for the political left:  Name a governor with higher approval ratings than Sarah Palin.

I’m waiting.



Time’s up.

I submit to you that the reason why Sarah Palin’s approval ratings reach up to 80% is because she is superb at doing her job.  Performance on the job is her qualification.

She’s cleaning up the excesses of her corrupt predecessors.  Do you think that fact would leap to the attention of Senator McCain, who was so stung by “Keating 5” that reform has been his mission ever since?  I think so.

She’s vetoed bill after bill after bill to force the legislature to weed the pork out of the budget.  Do you think that fact would leap to the attention of Senator McCain, who has fought earmarks in Washington?  I think so.

She’s appointed Republicans, Democrats, and independents to positions in her administration and gotten more accomplished in 2 years than her gubernatorial predecessor did in 12 years.  Do you think that fact would leap to the attention of Senator McCain, who has railed against gridlock and reached across party lines to get things done?

Among the things she’s gotten done is a natural gas pipeline project that sat on the drawing board for 30 years is finally getting underway.  She’s shown a commitment to finding more energy solutions in an environmentally responsible manner.  Do you think that fact would leap to the attention of Senator McCain, who has campaigned for America’s energy independence?

Let’s be clear: There is no one more qualified to be on a McCain ticket than Sarah Palin.  McCain sees elements of himself in the impressive resume of Sarah Palin.

Choosing the governor who is doing better at her job than any other in America is not tokenism!

And why wouldn’t the best governor be among those ready to be President at a moment’s notice?

The political left is being entirely dishonest about the charges of tokenism, entirely dishonest about the talk of a new, unifying, brand of politics, and entirely dishonest about changing Washington.

The change ticket I believe in is the one that has ACCOMPLISHED change, not the one that only has talk.

Palin’s quality of experience

I was watching On The Record with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Channel when an Alaskan journalist explained that Sarah Palin’s approval ratings as governor were above 80% because she’d accomplished more in less than two years than the previous governor had accomplished in 12 years (spanning 3 full terms).  She’s a “go-getter” who “doesn’t let the dust settle around her.”  Apparently, she has a talent for multi-tasking, which means DOING things, not just talking on a stage with help from a teleprompter.

So for the Obama camp to belittle her accomplishments because she has less than two years experience as governor, with a prior stint as a small town mayor, fails to really capture what she can do for America.  She took on the “good old boys,” but, unlike me, she actually won AND the “good old boys” were within her own party.  She exposed their corruption, and that may partly be why Sen. Ted Stevens is under indictment right now.  Besides policing the corruption, she ramrodded through ethics reforms, got a natural gas pipeline construction project off the ground, and trimmed earmarks out of the state budget through prodigious use of the gubernatorial veto power.  She’s visited Alaska’s National Guard troops while they were deployed in Kuwait and Iraq.  All departments of the state answer to her, and she makes decisions of great consequence many times every day.

Her 2 years equal more than her predecessor’s 12 years.  Let’s not just look at this in a quantitative way.  If we look at it in a qualitative way, you can begin to appreciate why the Republican base is so happy to have her on the ticket, especially the OHIO Republican base, which was demoralized by GOP scandals leading up to the disastrous elections of November 2006.  This woman is not just a McCain gimmick, as the Obama camp so savagely derides her to be.  She represents the solution to a problem that has plagued Ohio and has definitely plagued Washington.  Much has been made of the President’s low approval ratings, but the ratings of Congress are even worse.  Sarah Palin is the dynamic individual that represents the prescription for what ails us.

I don’t know what terrifies the Obama camp more:  the fact that the Republican base is now unifying and getting motivated; or the prospect that if the McCain-Palin ticket is elected, Washington will have its secrets exposed and have to finally clean up their act.  I think there may be a lot of shenanigans Sen. Biden might have some awareness of (since he’s been there for 36 years) that have to be straightened out.

I ran for state representative twice in Ohio’s 56th House District, in 2002 and in 2004.  I had no prior experience holding elective office.  The incumbent I was running against had nearly 30 years of experience in office.  I remember having to debate the issue of experience with the editors of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, who place great importance on experience when weighing endorsement experience.  I explained that qualifications for serving in the legislative branch are different than serving in the executive branch.  I said that experience (and a resume) DOES matter for executive (and judicial) branch offices, but positions on issues should be the main deciding factor for choosing legislative candidates.  Our constitution has checks and balances not just between the three branches of government, but also checks and balances between professionals and amateurs, in order to make sure we have government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Amateurs make the laws in order to make sure that laws are fair for everyone.  It’s ideal to have a cross-section of people representing us in legislatures.  You don’t want legislators to serve in office for too long because you don’t want them to develop an “inside the Beltway” mentality where they become less connected and less sensitive to the will of the people.  But while amateurs make the laws, professionals in the executive branch enforce the laws.  In the judicial branch, their are judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys that are all professionals, but there is still a check and balance by amateurs who form a jury of peers.  Running for state representative has no qualifications other than residing and being registered to vote in the district where you are running. The relative brevity of legislative terms is another demonstration of how legislators were envisioned to be amateurs by the framers of the Constitution.  I told the Chronicle-Telegram editors that I was fully qualified to run for the legislature, and that they were adding unnecessary criteria when making their selection.

I also spoke to the Chronicle-Telegram editors about the poor quality of experience of the incumbent.  With all the quantity of experience, measured in years, that the incumbent had logged, there was a dearth of accomplishments.  I not only talked about the volume (or lack thereof) of legislation produced by the incumbent, I also cited the condition of the 56th District (crime, blight, pollution, poverty, education deficiencies, unemployment, etc.) as evidence that the incumbent had really done very little to advance the cause of the people he represented.  Why not take a chance on a newcomer when there’s a lack of productivity from the incumbent (despite the quantity of experience) and when I’m not running for an executive or a judicial branch office?

The office of U. S. President, however, is an executive branch office.  One needs a resume.  Being that it’s the highest executive branch office in the land, a candidate ought to have experience in a lesser executive role in order to make the case that they are up to the task of tackling the highest office.  John McCain had a command within the U. S. Navy.  Sarah Palin has been a mayor and a governor.  As Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin was at the helm of a state that is larger than many nations, with a GDP greater than that of many nations.  McCain and Palin have both been exemplary.

Senator Obama and Senator Biden have legislative experience.  Legislators are amateurs that represent the people.  Obama and Biden have, in a way, bastardized the legislative capacity in which they serve  by way of becoming professional politicians.   Professional politicians have a place in the executive and judicial branches, but a cross-section of common people, ideally, were to serve for relatively short stints.  Legislators take stands on issues, write legislation accordingly, debate issues, gather support for issues, vote on issues, and serve constituents.  They don’t carry out the law.  They don’t enforce the law.  They don’t administer the law.  Administration requires professional specialized skills.  Legislating requires skills any literate person can perform.  The legislative experience of Obama and Biden, while appearing voluminous, really amount to virtually nothing when measured against the requirements of the executive branch, especially for the highest executive office in the nation–kind of like how cotton candy can occupy a large volume of space, but when you bite into it, there’s really not much of anything there.

So this is a masquerade.  Obama and Biden are masquerading as though they really have the experience necessary to be President.  The reality is that McCain and Palin are the ones who possess the quality of experience capable of suggesting that they are ready to tackle the challenge of the Presidency.

In the end, while Obama and Biden talk a good game of CHANGE, and mock Palin as being more of the same (along with McCain being more of the same), Palin has actually effected CHANGE.  Talking change on the one hand versus accomplishing change on the other . . . I have to conclude that the McCain-Palin ticket is the superior ticket.

Chris Matthews melting down

The struggle to maintain “group think” on MSNBC continues.  The subject for today:  John McCain chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate on the Republican ticket for the U. S. Presidency.

Since the passing of Tim Russert, there has been evident strain within the on-air staff in the NBC news family.  MSNBC has positioned itself as the uber-liberal news network with Fox News as its nemesis.  Especially during the evening lineup, the network is in the tank for Obama.  Moderate, conservative and/or Republican voices are on the chopping block.  Dan Abrams has already had his program axed.  Keith Olbermann ushered Rachel Maddow into the time slot formerly occupied by Abrams.  Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough alternate between conforming to “group think” and asserting diverging views.  Pat Buchanan appears to be next on the chopping block, as Rachel Maddow, the rising star of the network, has already aired her grievances against Pat Buchanan, with Chris Matthews tag-teaming.

Tonight, Chris Matthews was playing more than “Hardball.”  I think he was trying to play “beanball,” trying to hit somebody with his hardest pitches.  He was practically unhinged, acting as if the McCain camp had played a dirty trick on him, and he was out for blood.  Chuck Todd chimed in with charges of “gimmicky” to reinforce the dirty trick notion.  Chris Matthews tried to tie Sarah Palin to Pat Buchanan’s most xenophobic cultural views in an attempt to assassinate both her character and build the case to give Buchanan the pink slip.  Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Rachel Maddow are working hard to demonize Buchanan as much as possible, perhaps hoping to make him look worse than Ayers and Rezko so that tying Palin to Buchanan appears more horrific than the ties between Ayers, Rezko and Obama.

Just like saying there’s no difference whatsoever between McCain and Bush is irresponsibly dishonest, so is equating Palin with Buchanan, and that is exactly the political hatchet job that Matthews was trying to pull off on his “Hardball” program.  Only Andrea Mitchell tried soften the bludgeoning blows that Chris Matthews was trying to land on Palin.

Matthews has also dishonestly overstated Palin’s views on homosexuality and abortion as being cruelly in violation of human rights, since that’s how Matthews was trying to characterize Buchanan.  Matthews is portraying Palin as a devout Buchanan disciple.  Unfortunately, there are no checks and balances at NBC to reign in Matthews excesses.

Olbermann is often seen as the one who really pushes the envelope for the extreme left on the network, but he softens his commentary with humor.  Matthews and Maddow have recently cut out the humor and have unveiled a downright savage demeanor.

Ohio GOP rank-and-file welcome Palin

The Obama camp’s attempts to rip apart John McCain’s VP pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, during the first few hours since McCain’s announcement, have been awkward, to say the least.  I think Obama should call a time-out for all of his surrogates, have a huddle, and decide on a coherent message that doesn’t involve embarrassing themselves.  I feel embarrassed for the Obama campaign.

I have long thought that the way for McCain to win Ohio was to campaign on government reform.  The Republican base in Ohio was truly demoralized as it was given the task of purging tainted GOP officeholders from their offices in the 2006 elections.  I worried that the most challenging task for McCain was to get out the vote when the base was disillusioned with the Republican brand in Ohio.  The rank-and-file Republicans in Ohio needed to believe that some scandal-free crusaders still existed that would battle government corruption on behalf of the people.

This morning, Senator John McCain introduced Governor Palin to an audience of about 11,000 who were gathered on the campus at Wright State University.  The audience was elated.

Palin is the kind of candidate we’ve been waiting for.  McCain’s VP choice signals that he is serious about championing the people in reforming Washington.  McCain has taken the very important first step he needed to take in order to energize the base and get out the vote.

I’ve been grinning from ear-to-ear ever since the announcement was made, despite Democrat attempts to land devastating blows against McCain’s choice.

Barack Obama and surrogates, just chill for a few moments, get your wits together, and think about what you’re going to say before you say it so you can stop embarrassing yourselves.

DNC 4th night

The Democrat National Convention wrapped up with a speech by Barack Obama that was more contentious than anticipated.  While many pundits predicted that surrogates and VP nominee Joe Biden would act as the attack dogs and deliver the red meat, the speeches of said surrogates mostly fell flat.  Much of the mood of unity in the audience during the early going appeared to be bolstered by the musical performances of famous singers.  Barack Obama assumed the role of attack dog, not reaching the lofty heights of his famous keynote speech of four years ago.  Overall, I think the climax of the convention occurred on the 3rd night, with the speech of Bill Clinton.

DNC 3rd night

I won’t elaborate a whole lot.

The convention love fest finally began with the conclusion of the delegate roll call vote, with Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York playing the pivotal role.

The theme of the evening was supposed to be national security, but the early speakers seemed to be stuck on last night’s theme until U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland delivered his speech.  Having said that, Cummings’ speech was lackluster.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton delivered the home run speech.  Really.  His speech included everything Obama could have hoped for, and the delegates, universally, ate it up.  Naturally, I disagree with some of Clinton’s assertions, but the speech, as a device to unify the convention, structure the dialog for the upcoming general election campaign, and bolster morale, Bill Clinton brought the goods, and the resulting elation brought down the house.  For those who deny Bill Clinton has a knack for politics, they just need to see and hear the speech, and they’ll develop an appreciation for just how expert he is.

I’ve never been a fan of the Clintons.  I’m still not.  Even as Bill Clinton was talking about Barack Obama rebuilding our military, a voice in the back of my head was saying “And isn’t Bill Clinton partly responsible for why our military needs to be rebuilt?”

Nevertheless, as I said, Bill Clinton hit it out of the park.  For those who were wondering how Barack Obama could possibly get a double-digit bounce in the polls from his convention, Bill Clinton might have single-handedly garnered that bounce.  Polls in the next few days will reveal how effective Clinton was, but I suspect it was very effective.

The remainder of the speeches of the evening paled by comparison.  That crescendo of emotion that was experienced during the Clinton speech never reached those heights for the remainder of the evening, not even when VP nominee Joe Biden spoke.

There were some tender moments, though, when some former military personnel spoke, and a video montage paid tribute to our veterans.  The thought that passed through my mind is that I hope Code Pink of Berkeley, California, is watching, and that I hope Code Pink will rethink Marine Corps recruitment.  Our nation would not be the greatest nation on earth without our men and women in uniform.

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd doesn’t want Romney on McCain ticket?

After the roll out of Joe Biden, there’s been a chorus of “I can’t believe Obama didn’t pick Hillary!”  Yet, pundits had been pooh-poohing the “Dream” ticket for weeks prior to the selection, saying Hillary wouldn’t be sufficiently compatible with Barack Obama.  Obama was probably relieved to hear the pooh-poohing, as it allowed him to plausibly choose someone else.

Will we hear “I can’t believe McCain didn’t pick Romney” if John McCain picks someone other than the former Massachusetts governor to be his VP?  If McCain wants to hear some pooh-poohing to relieve him from the pressure to choose Romney, it’s certainly out there.  But, just as the “Dream” ticket would have been the biggest juggernaut Obama could have assembled, McCain-Romney may be the biggest juggernaut McCain could assemble.  So, bypassing Romney could be a boo-boo.

The networks like to engage in Veepstakes speculation several times a day.  MSNBC‘s Chuck Todd, during his Veepstakes segment this early afternoon, asked two guests to predict McCain’s VP.  Their prediction?  Both predicted Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, as the “safe,” “do-no-harm” pick.  Chuck Todd wanted more discussion, so he asked who else might be out there?  Both guests agreed that if partisanship were no obstacle, John McCain really, really, really would like to pick Joe Lieberman.

Chuck Todd was not getting the opening he was hoping for.  He had to create his own opening.  So Chuck Todd noted aloud that neither of the guests had rated Romney among the most likely, and then read a Mitt Romney quote from primary season in New Hampshire that predicted Barack Obama would be a formidable opponent for John McCain despite McCain’s resume.  Chuck Todd concluded that Romney would have too much explaining to do if he were McCain’s pick as there’s a lot of video footage from the primaries showing Romney and McCain expressing differing views.

Chuck Todd had to manufacture an excuse to make use of the cherry-picked Romney quote.

Naturally, with this week’s Hillary drama, I thought of how this might be a manipulation by the pundits:  thumbs down on a Romney pick in a hope that McCain will follow suit, then “Gotcha!” if and when McCain picks someone else.

I think Chuck Todd really knows that Romney would be a formidable VP pick that would easily neutralize Biden in a VP debate.

Democrat “Machine” in Lorain is as defiant as ever

The good old boys of Lorain Democrat inner circles are laughing their heads off today. They are laughing because of the impotence of their opponents. They are crowing loudly and shouting “Na-na-na-na-na,” in the most taunting way possible.

When they win a victory, they like to run up the score, and rub their foes’ faces in it.

Here are the 3 stories appearing today in the local newspapers:

First, the Provenza resignation vigil update, as reported in the Lorain Morning Journal:

Lorain Law Director Mark Provenza is back at work, days after being arrested in Lakewood for drunken driving.

Provenza returned Monday. He was on vacation last week when he was arrested.

“My case is pending at this time,” he said yesterday. “I have been advised by my attorney to not say anything about the case. At the conclusion of the case, I will have something to say, but until such time, I’m going to continue to work on behalf of the city of Lorain as the law director.”

Provenza, 52, was pulled over about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 20. Lakewood police said he plowed through the front porch of a house at 2224 Bunts Road. Within minutes, officers spotted him going west on Madison Avenue near Belle Avenue with a flat left front tire.

Since the drunk driving arrest, his fourth since becoming the city’s law director in 2000, some people have called for his resignation.

When asked about that possibility, Provenza referred back to his statement.

Smug defiance, wouldn’t you say? He knows he has the backing of the “Machine,” even if he lacks the support of the public.

Second, State Representative Joe Koziura (D-Lorain) is again unopposed in the November election for the 56th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. The 56th District includes Lorain, Sheffield Lake, Sheffield Township, Amherst Township, a very tiny slice of Amherst, most of Elyria Township, the 5th and 6th Wards (south and west sides) of Elyria, South Amherst, New Russia Township, a very tiny slice of Carlisle Township, and Oberlin. The 56th District, economically speaking, is easily the most distressed of the 3 Ohio House districts that divvy up Lorain County. The Democrats have a virtual lock on the district, yet, for all the years of Democrat representation, the plight of the district continues to worsen. For the good of the 56th District, they ought to try Republican representation to see if they can experience some improvement. Obviously, Democrats who represent the area don’t need to feel compelled to produce much in the way of results, as the voters reward them with landslide victories at every election for doing nothing. By contrast, the swing districts in the county are the bright spots in the county’s economy, as representatives of either party have a strong incentive to deliver in order to have a chance to stay in office.

An excerpt from the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram includes a quote from Mr. Koziura:

“I don’t really worry about whether I’m opposed.”

Koziura, the 62-year-old former mayor of Lorain, has faced opposition in the past, but not since 2004.

How about that? No worries, eh? That 56th District is a real cakewalk for the “Machine” candidate.

The opposition Koziura faced in November 2004? Yours truly, Daniel Jack Williamson, the Buckeye RINO. In subsequent elections, I resided in other Ohio House districts, and I’ve felt sorry for 56th District voters that they had no alternative candidates to choose from on their ballots in 2006 and 2008.

Third, the Lorain Mayor, Tony Krasienko, and Lorain City Council have decided to increase taxes and fees, but some local Republicans sought to move those measures to the ballot for voters to decide upon. In Lorain, no good deed goes unpunished. The Auditor for the city of Lorain, Ron Mantini, found some errors on the petitions, so he’d like to see felony charges brought against the tax referendum petition’s circulators. Here’s another excerpt from the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:

The petitions were circulated to give voters a say on the city’s plans to cut the income tax credit and increase the license plate fees in the city from $5 to $20.

Mantini said each person who circulates a petition must affirm they witnessed each signature. If the same person signed twice, that means either the person wasn’t paying attention or knew that the signer had signed twice, Mantini said.

In either case, it could be a felony, he said.

“I’m not trying to discourage referendums, but people need to understand there are rules and regulations and they need to be followed or there’s consequences,” he said.

After disallowing the duplicate signatures, though, there were still enough valid signatures on the petitions to place the referendum on the ballot. I, myself, have always been careful with petitions I’ve circulated to make sure that I have valid signatures. I use the most recent walk list that I can obtain from the Board of Elections to help me identify who the registered voters are as I go door-to-door. I certainly don’t approve of illegal shenanigans when it comes to petitions, but I’m struck by the selective enforcement of the rules. Most of the time when there are petition irregularities, signatures are invalidated by the Board of Elections, and that could impact whether enough valid signatures were obtained or not. Sometimes, entire pages of petitions are invalidated. I’ve often heard news stories of candidates or issues that failed to make the ballot, but I’ve not often heard of criminal punishment meted out against petition circulators unless signatures were forged. Why pursue felony charges this time, but not in other cases when petition irregularities have invalidated signatures or whole petitions? Perhaps there’s a double standard, but, at the least, it would seem that the Democrat “Machine” in Lorain wants to make an example of these circulators and send a strong signal not to try to thwart the wishes of City Hall.

Today, in view of this trio of news stories, I’d venture to say that Lorain’s Democrat “Machine” prefers not to spell “democracy” with a lower-case “d.”

DNC 2nd night

“Tell me with whom you walk, and I’ll tell you who you are.” –U. S. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-California)

Does that sound like the introduction to a swiftboat commercial tying Obama to Ayers and Rezko? I think Congressman Becerra chose the wrong motto in urging the Democrats to believe in Barack Obama.

The early speeches during the 2nd night of the Democrat National Committee (which I watched mostly on C-Span) lacked the warm fuzzies of the first night. Nearly all the speeches were passionless. Many were delivered with deadpan facial expressions in loud monotones. It’s easy to see why Obama is the nominee based on his ability to give speeches. The rest of the party appears to be nearly devoid of talent in that regard.

The “Bush-McCain” litany against the Republican nominee was the broken record of the evening.

Exceptions to the dreariness noted above plus a few random observations are noted below:

  • Barack Obama predicted that the Republicans would run a campaign based on fear. Today’s Democrat convention speakers consistently invoked fear of faltering economy as a reason to reject McCain and choose Obama. There was little optimism other than the video montage intro to New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
  • For all the VP buzz she was generating, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was singularly uninspiring in her speech.
  • Dennis the Menace should have been given a primetime speech. Rep. Kucinich was an exception to the rule. While others delivered droning, wooden speeches, Kucinich was a passionate, animated cheerleader that really stirred the crowd (even though I disagreed with a significant portion of what he said. It was wasted though, as the very next speaker didn’t carry through with the momentum Kucinich created. The spirit of the crowd quickly dissipated as the convention descended back into numbing boredom.
  • Both Kucinich and Governor Ted Strickland began their speeches with a mention of the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Clinton also remembered Stephanie Tubbs Jones during her speech.
  • The on-air personalities at MSNBC have already lost that euphoric feeling that airing the Olympics provided. The anchors, reporters, and contributors at MSNBC, for the 2nd straight day, were contentious with each other and resentful toward other networks. Joe Scarborough asserted himself a bit more this morning, breaking through the group-think barrier, but his co-workers were becoming disgruntled with him (though not as disgruntled as they were with Pat Buchanan). I can’t imagine the chemistry within the NBC family being this toxic during the days when Tim Russert was still alive. I think his absence has caused the staff to be less cohesive.
  • U.S. Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania pointed out that he is the token pro-life speaker tonight, but that’s all he said on the topic. Perhaps he should have elaborated more, as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have gotten an earful from the Catholic Church over their pro-life stances over the past two days.
  • Gov. Ted Strickland needs to compare notes with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer made Montana sound like utopia, with bipartisanship, economic growth, energy sector growth, improved education, tax cuts, and budget surpluses. Montana is one of the 8 states in the USA that I’ve never visited, so I have no firsthand knowledge of the situation on the ground in Montana. (If you’re wondering, the other states I’ve never visited are Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.)
  • Schweitzer and Kucinich were the cheerleaders of the day.
  • Strickland, Kucinich, and Governor David Paterson of New York delivered the most “red meat” that elicited any sizable audience response. Otherwise, the litany of grievances offered by other speakers against “Bush-McCain” yielded anemic responses.
  • Schweitzer should have been the keynote speaker, not Mark Warner of Virginia. In four more years, if the Democrats nominate a new candidate based on his/her speaking ability as happened this time, the nominee might be Schweitzer.
  • Clinton was the focus of the night, kept the audience involved, included the expected message content, but didn’t hit a home run. The video montage was more inspiring than the speech.
  • Clinton’s zinger of the night was saying it was appropriate for Bush and McCain to hold a convention in the Twin Cities next week because it’s hard to tell those two Republicans apart. Clever, if false.
  • Clinton’s plea for the election of Obama was rooted in partisanship.

DNC 1st night

I just thought I’d offer a few observations of the Democrat National Convention rather than ramble at length like I usually do throughout my blog.

  • A night of the “warm fuzzies” with Sen. Claire McCaskill’s kids, Craig Robinson, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Michelle Obama, and Sen. Ted Kennedy.
  • When the convention is in session, the best network to tune in to is C-Span. Commentators and pundits eat up all the time between the major speeches, so the only way to hear the “minor” speakers is to watch it on C-Span. I was amazed that even PBS and C-Span 2 were overflowing with commentators that drowned out the “minor” speakers. So I intend to continue to watch C-Span when the convention is in session, then flip through the other networks for analysis before and after.
  • As for analysis after the first night, MSNBC was the standard-bearer for group-think. The lone analyst of the Republican persuasion, Pat Buchanan, was hardly tolerated. Rachel Maddow, who gets her own prime-time show in the time slot after Keith Olbermann once these conventions are over, vented her contempt for Pat Buchanan, and Chris Matthews chimed in with his own denunciation of Pat Buchanan. I think nothing would satisfy Rachel more than to see Pat fired from the NBC family. The post-Tim Russert NBC family is straining to remain cohesive across the political spectrum of its regular contributors.
  • For analysis BEFORE the first night, again, I have to wonder about group-think at MSNBC, as Joe Scarborough is morphing into a Scranton Democrat just like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Is he being himself? Or does he feel the necessity of conforming a bit more keenly than Pat Buchanan does?
  • I had to laugh when Caroline Kennedy told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that she would NOT walk him through the VP vetting process, and then laugh again when she lauded CNN for being the best news channel to the delight of all the assembled reporters.
  • Carl Cameron appears to be delighted to be in Denver, for a change of pace, instead of shadowing John McCain, which is his customary Fox News beat. It seems upside-down to see him in a Democrat venue. Meanwhile, it was odd to see Major Garrett away from the convention because his customary Fox News beat is Barack Obama, and Barack was in Davenport, Iowa, and Kansas City, Missouri, today instead of in Denver. It’s too easy to envision Major Garrett at the convention, but that’s not the case, yet.

Provenza resignation vigil

I’ve been checking the local mainstream media (like the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Lorain Morning Journal) daily, specifically to see if Mark Provenza has made the sensible decision to resign as Law Director for the city of Lorain in the wake of his 4th DUI charge.  The latest DUI episode was his most dangerous to date, as his vehicle plowed into a residence and demolished a porch.

As I’d mentioned in a prior post, the Morning Journal has already posted an online editorial calling for Provenza’s resignation.  I’ve waited patiently for a few days for Provenza to come forward of his own volition to resign.  If Provenza hasn’t sobered up enough yet to make the correct decision, then I expect Anthony Giardini, Democrat Party Chair in the city of Lorain, to assist Provenza in making that important decision.

I’m not encouraged that Provenza will do the right thing when I hear that he pleaded not guilty to the most recent DUI charge.  It sounds like he’s still dodging accountability.  I suppose it should be a consolation to hear that his law license could get yanked if he’s convicted of this offense, but that’s not enough to satisfy me.  Mr. Provenza, don’t force the citizens to recall you.  Just step down. Pronto.

I’m also very displeased to hear that Anthony Giardini is not seeking the best interests of the city of Lorain by tendering a request for Provenza to resign.  I’ll wait just a short time longer for the right action to be taken, but if the resignation does not appear to be on the horizon, I’ll have to drop the hammer down.  Mr. Giardini, if the citizens are forced to recall Mr. Provenza, your own influence within Lorain will be seriously eroded.  If, on the other hand, Mr. Provenza steps down quickly, and the matter is efficiently resolved, then you can avoid a showdown with Lorain citizens.

Let’s have that resignation announcement, gentlemen.

Politicians too savvy in pushing MSM’s buttons?

Bill Clinton was once a darling of the mainstream media. He enjoyed enormous popularity in his heyday. As Hillary Clinton took her seat in the United States Senate to represent the state of New York, her star was rising, too. MSM types were forecasting that she would be the person to beat in the 2008 Presidential race.

On the GOP side, John McCain was a darling of the MSM when he ran for President in 2000. Journalists enjoyed the all-access backstage pass afforded them on McCain tour buses. Political pundits may have said McCain’s campaign was down for the count in fall of 2007, but the media still liked him, and editorial endorsements coupled with ample on-screen time may have helped McCain to win the nomination in spite of organizational deficiencies. McCain scored decisive victories in MSM capitals like California and New York, two states that were among those that did not award proportional shares of delegates.

And then there’s Barack Obama. He knew he was going up against the vaunted Clintons. His organization probably sensed that the Clintons felt the MSM would help them score knockout punches early on. Clinton overconfidence could lead them to be sloppy in caucus contests, and could lead the Clintons to not feel the need to organize their campaign in states that had contests late in the election calendar. Smart. Obama’s organization did outhustle the Clintons in the caucus states and Obama did do well in most of the contests that followed on the heels of Super Tuesday. Bill Clinton saw Hillary’s hopes for the nomination souring, and Bill Clinton wasn’t happy about it. He started to turn against the media, putting some blame on them for favoring Obama. In the early going, it probably wasn’t the media’s fault that Hillary was slipping, for her organization hadn’t prepared carefully. But once Bill Clinton turned against the media, the media turned against Bill Clinton.

The MSM found the remainder of the race for the Democrat nomination mesmerizing. John McCain, who had clinched the GOP nomination following Super Tuesday, received little publicity as the Democrats sucked up all the oxygen in the room.

Barack Obama came into his own as the new media darling. The MSM fawned all over him. Reporters begged to interview him (Fox News Channel talk show hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity probably beg the most). The cameras loved capturing him. Those speeches. Those enthralling speeches. Obama packed large venues because of those speeches. Supporters sought his autograph as Obama skyrocketed to celebrity status.

He’s been masterful at culling the media’s support, superseding McCain’s and Clinton’s prior achievements at culling media support. Obama, who’d taken his road tour to nearly every state in the USA, now packed his bags for a world tour. The USA was too confining for his newfound popularity. Zeal for Obama was overflowing the cup, bursting the seams. Europe cried out for Obama, and Obama graciously obliged. The evening news anchors of NBC, ABC, and CBS packed their bags to go with Obama on this storybook tour.

Obama took Europe by storm. All media reports were glowing. Obama’s organization knew its candidate had hit a home run. Though the organization had acknowledged risks at the outset, in the end, the European tour exceeded all expectations.

Attention turned to organizing the convention. The announcement was made that Obama would deliver his acceptance speech in a venue that would seat 75,000 adoring fans. Donors to the Obama campaign could win the chance to meet Barack Obama, superstar, backstage. Did you want to be the first to know who Barack’s VP would be? Sign up to get your text message with the breaking VP news.

Poll margins started to narrow, but Obama hadn’t been stumping in the USA, plus Obama took a much-needed family vacation in Hawaii. Once Obama was back to full-time campaigning, he’d enjoy a bounce in the polls.

Evangelicals had given Bush the margin of victory in 2000 and 2004. McCain was known to have problems shoring up his base, especially among evangelicals. Obama seized upon an opportunity to make inroads with the evangelical base. In his first day back on the campaign trail after the Hawaii vacation, he appeared at Saddleback Church and was very warmly greeted. Unfortunately, McCain would also be appearing at Saddleback Church and would also get air time. That, perhaps, was a big mistake. Perhaps Obama should only have accepted the opportunity to speak at Saddleback if the event was to be an Obama-only event, with no McCain. Returning to the campaign trail full-time did not deliver the expected bounce in the polls.

Tongues kept wagging about McCain’s performance at Saddleback. It seems McCain’s performance eclipsed Obama’s. Time to push media buttons. Drag out the wait for the VP announcement, but mention frequently that the announcement could come at any time. Distract. Distract. Ooh! How many houses do the McCains have? Distract. Distract.

And now the Democrat National Convention. Big smiles as the Obama organization warmly greets the MSM for a weeklong lovefest. “Welcome to my parlor,” said the spider to the fly.

On the eve of the DNC, the polls are tied. Can the MSM hypnotize the public into Obama euphoria? Or will it be too hard for Americans to erase from their memories the brief glimpse of brilliance they saw from McCain at Saddleback Church no matter what the MSM does?

Will the Obama strategy, going forward, involve monopolizing the media?  Keeping the cameras on Obama as much as possible, and not allowing McCain to have more air time than a few sound bites?

And the bigger question: Is the public best served by politicians who know best how to orchestrate the chorus of the MSM? Are we getting the best politicians foisted upon us by the MSM? The politicians featured in the media: Are they really the cream of the crop? Or could substandard politicians gain media prominence via expertise in handling the media?

Is the media laying down on the job? Or are they doing their job? Are they telling us the whole story? Or are they telling us only what they think we want to hear? Or do they want to be the power-brokers that decide what we get the opportunity to know and what we don’t get the opportunity to know?

Our Constitution, in its Bill of Rights, granted freedom of the press. Is our press free? Or is it purchased? Or is it restrained in some respects, manipulated in others?

Do Americans see this Presidential election contest through the lens of the media? Or through their own inner compass?

What do you think?

The first Obama appearance with Biden

I watched the televised speeches of Barack Obama and Joe Biden from the steps of the Old Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, and I’m ready to offer a few remarks about how I viewed the spectacle.

I think this was a “preaching-to-the-choir” moment.  If this is the message that will be echoed again and again until the elections in November, I think it will fail to capture the imaginations and the fervor of those in the middle of the political spectrum.  The opening is still there for McCain to step up to claim the middle with his message.

To be truthful, of all the candidates that had announced for the GOP nomination for president in this election cycle, John McCain was not in my top five.  Furthermore, in four elections (primary and general elections of 2000 and 2004) during which George W. Bush’s name appeared on the ballot, I held my nose and cast a ballot for Bush only once, which was the general election of 2004.  In November 2004, even though there were many minor party candidates on the ballot, Bush was still the least of the evils.  The bottom line is:  I have not been a McCain fan nor have I been a Bush fan.

Though I have been a fan of neither McCain nor Bush, I have never gotten the two confused.  The two are not alike.

The overall message of today’s speeches by Obama and Biden are that McCain and Bush are identical, or at least nearly so.  The attempt to link McCain to Bush has been a trademark of Obama rhetoric from the beginning, and frankly, I don’t think that narrative works.  The polls show Obama and McCain are neck-and-neck while Bush’s approval ratings are low and a generic Democrat ticket is looked upon favorably versus a generic Republican ticket.  I think that’s ample evidence that the electorate does not equate McCain with Bush.

For Obama to stick with the “McCain equals Bush” narrative suggests that either he’s preaching to his own choir and that this rhetoric will fire up his base to drive high turnout or it suggests that he thinks middle-of-the-road voters are really, really stupid and gullible to accept this disingenuous (that’s putting it in the most generous of terms to call it merely disingenuous) narrative (or both).

I think, however, that the disingenuous tenor of the Obama campaign could be its undoing.  Obama says that McCain equals Bush.  Not true.  Obama said he would take public financing.  He didn’t.  Obama said that America wanted a new kind of politics that focused on issues and policies rather than distractions.   Instead, he turned down McCain’s proposal for joint townhall appearances to discuss issues and policies in favor of distractions from substantive matters by embarking on a European photo-op tour.  Obama promised greater transparency and clarity.  Yet, he gave very opaque and/or ambiguous responses at Saddleback Church (and has used the political art of distraction this past week in order to cut short the discussion of his utterances on issues and policies at said forum).  Obama said Hillary Clinton was not only on his short list, but would be on anybody’s short list.  His search committee didn’t even bother with including Clinton in the vetting process.  Obama said all week that his VP announcement would come at any minute, and that the first to know would be those that signed up to receive text messages.  Those who held their breath for the text message that would appear “any moment now” became blue in the face and passed out, and they weren’t the first to know, after all.  Obama says he’s a new kind of politician.  He is not.

Those independent-minded voters who approach the elections with an open mind will not be impressed by a “McCain = Bush” message that’s intended for listeners of the follow-the-herd-mentality.  As events move forward toward election day, it appears that the falsehoods from the Obama camp will only accumulate.  Obama appears to be banking on America’s gullibility.  I’m not that gullible.

Advice for Obama on consulting Biden

With news trickling in that Obama has made the wise choice to fill in the foreign policy resume holes with Senator Joe Biden as VP candidate, I have this to say to Obama about formulating foreign policy:

1) GET OVER YOURSELF! I know you want to portray yourself as a strong leader, but reminding us that you are the one who will call the shots on foreign policy is not a selling point to me.  Your prior utterances have convinced me that you know little of the outside world, know nothing of negotiating from a position of strength, and are even confused about what America’s best interests are in the international community.

2) HEED EVERYTHING BIDEN SAYS ON FOREIGN POLICY! I don’t agree with all of Biden’s foreign policy positions (Biden’s obviously not perfect), but, having said that, I can’t think of any Democrats that I agree with more when it comes to foreign policy than I do with Joe Biden.  If you don’t get over yourself (step one), then you probably will take a cavalier approach to Biden’s advice.  Taking a cavalier approach to Biden with your very limited understanding of foreign affairs will be catastrophic for our nation if you actually become President.  Until you wise up, you’d better be humble and let Biden guide you.

If you get to be President, please don’t screw it up.