Archive for the ‘president’ tag
Mitt Romney seems to be resolute in his delusion about the election and why he really lost.
This week during a conference call with some big-money supporters, he threw plenty of blame around, most of it involving charges that Barack Obama offered various “gifts” for certain segments of voters, like women, blacks and Hispanics.
According to this New York Times article:
“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”
This statement is contemptible for numerous reasons.
First, rather than Obama’s policies being viewed through a lens of necessity and obligation to move civil rights ever forward in order to actually help people — rather than, you know, merely giving lip service to the idea that you care about average Americans — Romney casts Obama as some kind of political profiteer, and indeed the whole election as just one big sales pitch. This approach not only dehumanizes politics; it dehumanizes and trivializes the candidates as well as the voters.
Romney’s statement above also happens to be a wild misrepresentation of what really happened. Obama didn’t just focus on civil rights and immigration during the debates and speeches leading up to the election, and Romney didn’t have anything new to offer on jobs, foreign policy or military strategy. Regarding employment, he said that he would create 12 million jobs in four years, true. But Moody’s Analytics has estimated that 12 million jobs will be created through 2016 regardless of who is president. Job creation estimates are based on policies that have already been implemented. This was Romney’s only substantive claim about job growth.
Further, during the final debate, other than the obligatory Republican call to expand the military, we couldn’t really tell how Romney was any different than Obama on foreign policy and the military. According to this Reuters article:
Monday night’s foreign policy debate between the Republican presidential nominee and the Democratic president was striking for the frequency with which Romney aligned himself with Obama’s strategies rather than distancing himself from them.
So, what was this “strategy” Romney was talking about that was focused on the big issues? On most of the big issues other than health care, he more closely aligned or even agreed with Obama’s policies.
I don’t make a practice of watching a lot of MSNBC because I think that would make me no better than FOX News viewers who tune in every day to have their own views confirmed, but Al Sharpton (He should not be a TV host for many reasons) did have an interesting segment tonight in which he featured a previously unreleased audio recording of Lee Atwater outlining what he thought should be the more modern GOP strategy for taking advantage of white bigotry in the early 1980s. Here is one of the more offensive parts:
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
Romney, Bill O’Reilly, Paul Ryan and others within the GOP have essentially used this strategy to cater to the uneducated, white vote in the South and other rural parts of the nation. While they can’t say anything approaching the offensiveness of “nigger” anymore, they can play on the same white fears that they have for the better part of a century. It’s a hideous but effective strategy.
This lengthy and detailed article takes a look at the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policy since taking office.
It’s a noteworthy read because it reveals what some of Obama’s campaign speeches in 2008 did not, namely that
… he has found that war is a messy business, and his actions show that pursuing an enemy unbound by rules has required moral, legal and practical trade-offs that his speeches did not envision.
and on terror operations in Yemen, Obama:
… who had rejected the Bush-era concept of a global war on terrorism and had promised to narrow the American focus to Al Qaeda’s core, suddenly found himself directing strikes in another complicated Muslim
It also shows a Democratic president who has used a stronger — much stronger — military strategy than many thought he would.
Here is a telling graphic:
A resignation letter from a Reginald Scott Braithwaite, the supposed “Director of Software Development,” has made the rounds all over the Internet this week, including Reddit and Facebook, and many other sites I’m sure. People have apparently been posting it to these sites thinking that it is a serious resignation letter addressing what the author deems as bad hiring practices, including digging into potential employees’ personal information on Facebook. But it’s just satire.
Read here for more information.
Interestingly, the letter title now reads, “I hereby (fictionally) resign” to allay any confusion. Earlier today (April 3), the word “fictionally” was not there.
I know I’m being a little dated here, but I wanted to briefly address this Sarah Palin/Paul Revere business. For anyone unfamiliar with the story, here’s the incriminating video:
Here, Palin indicates, while on a stop in Boston no less, that Paul Revere rode through town to
warn the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding through town (bizarre change in pitch) to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free.
She later defended her comments on FOX News (appropriately, the only news channel to which she will grant interviews) with this retort to critics:
I know my American history … part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there, that, ‘Hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual private militia that we have.’ He did warn the British.”
Sure. She knows her history. After more than one nudging by Glenn Beck (Glenn Beck no less!), she couldn’t name one of the Founding Fathers outside of George Washington and said that all of them were her favorite (I doubt she would have agreed much with Thomas Jefferson). She also gave the same ludicrously broad answer (“All of them”) when Katie Couric, again more than once, asked her to name just one newspaper or magazine that she regularly consulted. Further, she couldn’t name one Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade with which she disagreed:
Back to Revere, here is a letter written by the rider himself to Jeremy Belknap. In it, Revere tells of how he was trying evade the British while warning the colonists of their movements. Conspicuously absent from the letter is any mention of him ringing bells or firing shots to warn the households, as per Palin’s account. He was part of a committee with
the purpose of watching the Movements of the British Soldiers, and gaining every intelegence of the movements of the Tories. We held our meetings at the Green-Dragon Tavern. We were so carefull that our meetings should be kept Secret; that every time we met, every person swore upon the Bible, that they would not discover any of our transactions …
Later in the letter, he recalled how he narrowly escaped some British soldiers but was eventually captured. He then told the British how 500 Americans were on the way after he had warned the colonists of British actions. This L.A. Times article asks whether this is what Palin meant:
So was Revere warning the British that he had warned the Colonists? Is that what the prospective presidential candidate meant? Was Revere serving notice (at gunpoint)?
But Palin was clearing talking about Revere’s ride in the above quote from the FOX News interview (“part of his ride was to warn the British”), not whatever Revere said after being captured. Some Palin supporters have went so far as to erroneously modify Paul Revere’s Wikipedia entry to more closely reflect Palin’s cartoon-like account. Palin’s followers will seemingly do anything to make sure their star stays above board intellectually. But it’s really too late for that. She has disgraced herself repeatedly, and I hope that a majority of Americans understand the kind intellectual absentee that she is if she becomes an official candidate for president.
Sorry friends, loved ones and other readers: if the following happens, I’m taking the first bus and/or RAV4 to Toronto:
CPAC Convention, Washington — Former Vice President Dick Cheney made a surprise appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, rallying a crowd already optimistic about their chances for success in the 2010 midterm elections.
“I think the developments we’ve seen over the last several months are enormously encouraging,” Cheney told the audience of conservatives, pointing to Republican victories in recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
“I think 2010 is going to be a phenomenal year, and I think Barack Obama is a one-term president,” he added, to huge cheers.
The audience, who had come to the conference to network and see both established and up-and-coming stars of the Republican Party, went wild when the former vice president came on stage. One young man started screaming, “Oh my f*%#@ing God!” A few people tried to start a chant of “run, Dick, run!,” though it did not catch on.
“A welcome like that is almost enough to make me want to run for office,” Cheney said. But before anyone could get any ideas, he assured the crowd he would not be running. … — CBS News Political Hotseat
As a frequent browser of The Atlantic magazine’s Web site, today I happened across James Fallows’ blog. Fallows is a well-known, heralded writer and reporter for the print edition, and like most everyone else who takes up the pen, he’s hit the blogosphere.
In a recent post, he highlighted a tool for assessing which words were used more frequently in presidential inaugural addresses. The site does most of the work for us, and lists each president’s speech straight from Washington to Obama, but it would be an interesting study for someone to perform an indepth analysis of the 44 addresses and the word choice down through the generations. Perhaps someone already has. Anyway, the tool behind this idea is something called Wordle, which gives us a visual representation of the most oft-uttered words of any text. The words used the most are bigger, while the least-used words appear smallest in the computer-generated model. To have some fun, go here and enter or cut and paste some text. You can hit the “Randomize” button for different appearances or use the “Layout” and “Color” options to change them yourself. Going back to the previous idea about inaugural addresses, here is Washington’s quite brief address visualized,
and here is Obama’s, rendered in the same font and style for comparison:
Also, here are a few of my own posts, rendered in different styles. The following creations are rather “tame” versions, all on a white background, but some other designs are more intriguing. Here are three of mine. They link to the original post:
After dancing until after midnight with wife, Michelle during an inaugural ball, Barack Obama arrived for work at 8:35 a.m. Wednesday and undertook these actions:
- Read a customary good luck note from former President George W. Bush, which was introduced thusly: For #44 to #43;
- Attended a prayer service
- Had aides circulate a note calling for the closing of Gitmo within a year. In the meantime, stop all war crime trials;
- Held a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and military officials on the latest from Afghanistan and Iraq. According to The Associated Press, “Obama asked the Pentagon to do whatever additional planning necessary to ‘execute a responsible military drawdown from Iraq;’”
- Made calls to leaders in the Middle East, including Israeli, Palestinian, Jordian and Egyptian leaders;
- Imposed a pay freeze to aides who make $100,000 or more;
- Within hours of being sworn in, his administration, “… froze last-minute Bush administration regulations before they could take effect. Among them was an Interior Department proposal to remove gray wolves from Endangered Species protections in much of the northern Rocky Mountains, and a Labor Department recommendation that would allow companies that manage employee retirement plans to market investment products to plan participants; and
- “Obama and his wife also played host and hostess for a select 200 at an open house.”Enjoy yourself, roam around,” a smiling Obama told one guest.
“Don’t break anything.” — The Associated Press
Bush greets 2 Marines, gives them kisses
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush stopped on the White House South Lawn to pose for a photograph with two Marines who served in Iraq — and planted a kiss on the head of each.
After climbing down from his Marine One helicopter, Bush walked toward the White House, then stopped and approached the Marines, one of whom was in a wheelchair. The president greeted Lance Cpl. Patrick Pittman Jr., of Savannah, Ga., and Lance Cpl. Marc Olson, of Coal City, Ill.
Bush directed aides to turn Pittman’s wheelchair around. Instead, Pittman stood next to the president for the photograph. They were joined by Olson’s mother, Pinky Kloski.
Bush had a few words for the two Marines as they stood on either side, then kissed each on the top of the head.
Kloski said the two were injured while serving in Ramadi.
Earlier in the day, the president had traveled to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to speak about the military and strategy during his tenure as commander in chief. — The Associated Press
Democratic pundits and WordPressers may have a field day with this picture, but I think it’s quite extraordinary. When was the last time an American president actually kissed a soldier, or anyone, as a sign of deep gratitude and compassion? Say what you will: Bush is trying to salve his bruised legacy of sending thousands into harm’s way and death to fight a war that shouldn’t have been waged or authorized. He, by a level of dishonesty, got us into the current mess in the Middle East and will leave it to the next president to lick the wounds and repair our tattered PR with the rest of the world. He’s simply making a last push, a final claim to his legacy.
But discard the conjecture for a second. What male in American society kisses another male, unless, perhaps they are related, as in a father to son, or homosexual? I may hug my closest, lifelong male friend, but kissing them goes a step too far, and we both know it. While it may be commonplace in other European or Asian societies, it is not commonplace here, and to take it a step further would be taboo. For Bush to kiss a veteran as in this picture speaks to something else.
Many would disagree with me (Many, in fact, think he’s one of those most heartless presidents we have ever had.), but I think, a) he is aware that he has made mistakes, b) that he is human (and this pretty well assumes that he will make mistakes) and c) that he is sincere on many levels. I think he sincerely loves his country, loves freedom and is truly grateful for the service of the men and women he has sent into battle. I think he mourns (and probably holds a level of guilt) for those who have suffered death or physical maladies on his watch. And this kiss finds its impetus here. Again, believe what you will, that he isn’t the smartest cracker in the cabinet, that he is actually a terrorist himself or even that’s he’s calculatingly headstrong on policies that have proved to be errant, but at the core, for all his miscomings, I think he’s sincere, and I think that is evident in this photo.
When I first heard that John McCain had picked Sarah Palin for the VP spot, I, like many, thought, “Who??”
When the initial shock wore off, I figure it’s probably the smartest thing politically that he could have done. I think it’s wily and down-right ruthless, but smart nonetheless. For all McCain’s talk about Obama’s lack of experience, and for him to up and pick a veep that is , not only decades his junior, but three year’s Obama’s junior and with less experience than Obama … well that’s plain hypocritical.
But it’s blatantly clear why McCain made the choice. A) Palin has a stronger conservative track record on the social issues that the evangelical base can rally around, while McCain slides more toward the center on certain issues and has, to some extent, made evangelicals a bit wary of throwing their vote into his hat. B) Palin is a woman and an attractive one at that (I didn’t know McCain was looking to one-up Cindy.) Regardless, Palin, for sure, will sway some women toward a McCain vote simply because of her gender. Since many were hanging their hopes on Hillary Clinton, McCain, at the least, gives woman who may not be too keep on Obama, an alternative.
Now, a word about Joe Biden. In many ways, Obama’s pick was for much the same reasons. Obama needed an experienced, white guy for counterbalance.
To say the McCain’s own VP pick was “brilliant,” however, as some have posited might be taking it too far. It was a smart move, no doubt, but not brilliant. I’m sure it has some staunch Republicans wondering about McCain’s decision-making and pure desire to do what is best for the party and the country. In my mind, the choice has nothing to do with who might be best suited for the job — even though that’s obviously the message McCain will tout. It has everything to do with simply trying to sway enough people his way. This decision was about votes, and if that’s not painfully clear to everyone keeping track of this election, including Palin herself, pull your head out of the sand.
Today, upon hearing of the story about the fellow in Florida who was charged with threatening Barack Obama with a death threat, I figured this was a guy likely reacting to Obama’s largely Martin Luther King Jr.-esque message of hope and unity. True, Obama’s message, as laid out in his speech on race in Philadelphia earlier this summer:
was not one that some want to hear. MLK, of course, brought a message that was radically different than what many in the population of the time wanted to hear. And he was assassinated for it. I have often listened in awe at Obama’s speeches, erstwhile worrying that he could have the potential, if elected, to suffer the same fate. But Obama must know this. He must know that, to say the things he has said, he is treading in dangerous waters. The truth is, while many people embrace his message, MLK’s message and other trailblazers, some do not. Some are still mired in racism that is entrenched generations deep and will never accept the kind of world MLK, John Lennon, Obama and others envisioned. And that’s tragic. Just as tragic is that the MLKs of the world, the Lennons and Obamas of the world can’t speak out as powerfully as they do without putting their lives on the line. True, we have come a long way socially in this country. But we haven’t come far enough.
Now, back to this joker, Raymond Hunter Geisel. At first, I thought he was one of those who could not accept the humanitarian message of Obama and others, but apparently, at least according to the CNN article, he’s an equal-opportunity potential assassin, possibly targeting, not just Obama, but Bush.
Agents say that classmates of Geisel reported that, between July 25-28, Geisel used a racial slur toward Obama and said “if he gets elected, I’ll assassinate him myself.”
A classmate said that, one day after class, she also heard Geisel say “that he hated George W. Bush and that he wanted to put a bullet in the president’s head.”
So, there you have it. I’m not sure what to make of this guy. Far from some violently, social commentator, it appears he’s just crazy — or full of hate, take your pick.