Editor’s note: This blog article was authored by James Williamson, one of the younger brothers of yours truly. James grew up in Ohio, but he currently resides in Nevada, so he has a bird’s eye view of perhaps the most talked about U.S. Senate race in the nation. It’s such a high profile Senate race that President Obama was in Las Vegas on Friday night (10/22/2010), so James went to the Harry Reid rally, even though he doesn’t support Reid, just to see the President (who he doesn’t support, either). The title of this article is referencing his attendance at that rally. Like much of the rest of the electorate, James is highly energized about issues of national politics, so much so, that these days he wants to blog (more often than I do) to get a few things off his chest.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
It’s not every day the President of the United States comes into town. In fact, it’s such an unusual event that even I succumbed to curiosity. OK, so my wife was the one that wanted to go . . . but since I had never been able to say that I had seen a sitting President (or any President for that matter) in person, I went along. I will confess that at first I wanted to shout “vote for Sharron Angle,” but I restrained myself and I’m glad I did . . not worth taking the chance of being pummeled . . .
On this occasion, the President was in town to rally support for the endangered Senate majority leader. (I may add that this was my first time seeing a Senator in person, as well.) Interestingly enough, I found that if you didn’t get caught up in the shouts and chanting it was really difficult to tell who exactly he was talking about.
President Obama said he wanted to break away from old style politics: A Washington without partisan bickering, politics where the candidate with the most money and cynicism doesn’t always win. He called for the parties to work together in a bipartisan way for the good of the people. Who were you talking to Mr. President? Look in the mirror when you make such statements.
Another interesting statement was that neither he nor Harry Reid was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Then he lauded Reid for being a common man saying that he had humble beginnings and remembers what it is like to have to work for a living and struggle to make ends meet. Who are you trying to fool? I never went to a private school while growing up (OK, I technically went to a private college, but BYU tuition was less than Ohio State for me), nor was I privileged enough to have an Ivy League education. As for Reid, yes, he may remember what it is like to be a common man, but that’s just it: he has to remember. I’ll bet he has to think about it a long time to remember, though, because that is now ancient history . . .
Obama also decried campaign smear ads by Republicans and fear mongering ads by groups that aren’t even affiliated with the candidate, groups with funny names that have donors that can’t be identified. Funny, when my brother (none other than the Buckeye RINO) was here helping me move in, he saw such an ad campaigning against Sharron Angle . . . It was in Spanish, but he noted that the endorsement by Reid was missing (“I’m Harry Reid, and I approved this message”). I have since heard that ad and many others attacking Sharon Angle that don’t have Harry Reid’s endorsement at the end. Most of them use very negative pathos suggesting that Angle is not only radical but dangerous based on sound bites from some of the things that she has said that don’t sound very good on the surface but aren’t really all that scary. (Remember that Angle is a novice. Reid has had lots of practice speaking in public about sensitive issues, Angle has not.) I live here in Las Vegas, NV now and I can say that I have heard more of this type of attack ads directed at Angle than I have directed at Reid… Who are you talking to Mr. President?
When the rhetoric turned to bragging about accomplishments, Obama and Reid both touted their health care reform. Obama claimed that health care reform is making health care more affordable for consumers. Oh really? Then why am I faced with a 100% increase in the health insurance premium portion that I pay, plus why is the company I work for paying an additional 25% for 2011? To be fair, the dollar amounts are roughly equal, because the company I work for pays a much larger portion of the premium than I do, but combining them both represents roughly a 30% increase. So how is a 30% increase more affordable? Have we changed the rules of mathematics? If so, could you explain to me the new rules so I can understand them too?
Obama said that we should move forward and not backwards, that we needed new thinking. So when Reid bragged that the high speed rail line to California and the I-15 corridor work would bring thousands of jobs to the area in response to the economic downturn, was that a fresh idea? Is that new thought? Wait a minute, I seem to remember another time when we had a major economic fallout and the government started a mega-project in southern Nevada . . . Oh, yes! The great depression and the Hoover Dam . . . Original thinking there, Mr. Obama and Mr. Reid. Glad you are here to come up with all these new ideas. So what happens if it doesn’t improve the unemployment in Nevada? Will you then say “It would have been worse if we hadn’t”, or will you blame the Republicans for ruining it?
Well if you want some really new ideas Mr. President, some radical ones, I have a few. How about agreeing to allow use of our national parks by the native Americans as part of restoring trust after years of abuse and land grabs? How about returning power to the states by eliminating federal agencies and programs that are better handled on a local level, like education and welfare? If you are so anti-imperial, how about starting right here at home? In order to compete in the world economy, why not negotiate with the rest of the Americas to adopt the US dollar the way the European Union has? (This has already worked well in Ecuador.) Why not take it one step further and open the door to allow the states of Mexico to join our Union? Maybe then we could keep illegal immigration at bay once conditions inside the country improve and they are no longer drawn northward. (Of course you would have to cut off federal entitlement programs for that to work.) Maybe then we could get the gang wars under control if we could send in our military instead of theirs. Maybe then we could keep our retirees, that flee southward trying to keep themselves financially afloat, so that they retire inside the boundaries of the expanded US? That’s radical thinking. This is something no politician is even talking about, a new idea. Re-creating the New Deal under a different name is not a new idea.
After another year, and after we are ready for the next campaign, we’ll check in, Mr. President, and see if you are having any luck with that original thought. If you haven’t by then, we can help you out . . .