Monthly archives "January 2014"

The Press & Obamacare

There is a story of a man who stopped each morning in front of the local jewelry store.  He would set his watch by the clocks in the window before making his way to the factory at the edge of town.   Finally the proprietor of the store came out one day and asked why he set his watch each morning as he passed by.   The man said, “I work at the factory down the way and part of my job is to blow the whistle to start at 8 A.M. and at 5 P.M. for quitting time.”   To which the jeweler replied, “I set these clocks by your whistle.”

The old line Press, once mainline, is much like this anecdote.   Their clock is set to the Democrat whistle.    Thus, candidate Obama is “The One,” and Tom Brokaw practically weeps at his inauguration.   Radical preacher, Jeremiah Wright, under whom Obama sat for 20 years, is no problem.   Neither is the fact that Senator Obama said on the 08 campaign trail, “We have visited 57 states so far.”   Margaret Carlson says Obama is just so smart we mere mortals cannot understand him.   Most of us outside the Beltway did not know there were 57 states.  Democrat math must be different.

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is considered low rent though she successfully ran our largest state while “The One” runs only his mouth and now a great nation into the ground.   Chris Christie may or may not have known about lane closures, but the old line Press loops the story round the clock.    FOX news commentator and former CBS newsman, Bernie Goldberg, notes that the old line Press runs out of breath covering “Bridge Gate” while still ignoring Benghazi where we lost an ambassador and three other brave Americans.   

Why is this so?    Because President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have told us Al Qaeda is on the run since the death of Osama bin Laden, and the Press cannot spoil this narrative for “The One.”    Besides, Benghazi strikes close to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the old line Press cannot harm her chances to be elected President in 2016.   The Press clock is set to the Democrat whistle.

Let Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas,  make a statement about Uncle Sugar (a southern combination of Sugar Daddy and Uncle Sam) and the paternalistic approach of Democrats to women and the old line Press comes on to attack Huckabee for things he did not even say.   Why?   Because they report to the Democrat whistle.   And Mike Huckabee is a Republican with a big voice.

There are countless other examples from the IRS scandals, Fast & Furious, to the Justice Department going after  James Rosen of FOX News–scandals that are fading as the old line Press has no curiosity about them.   These and other scandals might damage “The One” and the Democrats.

But there is one drag on the President and his Party that even the clock of the old line Press set to the Democrat whistle cannot buoy up.   Obamacare effects everyone including Kirsten Powers, liberal commentator on FOX News who lost her policy which she liked.   Obama apologist and Washington Post columnist, Ruth Marcus, on October 30, 2013 questioned Obama’s “core competence to govern” in light of the disastrous roll out of the plan.

In rather Far Left Oregon, Michael Warren, staff writer for The Weekly Standard, notes that liberal Senator Jeff Merkley is standing by his man Obama and Obamacare even as the plan unravels.  Right now only 33 % of Oregon voters say he deserves reelection.   An attractive mother of four and a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Monica Wehby, may oppose him.   Her ad says, “Keep your doctor, change your senator.”   She says, “Merkley cannot use the usual ‘war on women stuff’ on me.”

Here in CO Senator Mark Udall’s numbers are down and numbers for D.A. Ken Buck, who narrowly lost to Michael Bennet in 2010, are up.   Udall and other Senate Democrats from Oregon to New Hampshire made the same promise as President Obama did about keeping your doctor and your plan.   That is proving untrue and health care touches every American.   Thus the drag on Democrats that even the lap dog media cannot change.

Certainly the Press will try to answer the Democrat whistle and trot out the old lines:  The GOP is extreme;  Republicans have a war on women–noted above; they shut the government down;  they are friends of Wall Street and big banks.   But none of this touches everyone or even most;  health care does.   And the GOP has a line that each of their Senate candidates can trumpet:  “You Senators Udall of CO & Merkley of OR & Landrieu of LA & Pryor of AR & Hagan of NC & Shaheen of NH were the deciding vote.   If only 59 had voted ‘Aye’ we would not be in this health care crisis.   But you were the deciding vote.   You joined the President in lying to us.  And we will remember come November.”

So on this Democrats cannot whistle loud enough for even their lap dog press to come running to make it right.  This anchor weighs heavy on the Left.   May their lies sink them and their clocks all strike twelve.

Eutychus

Leadership & Responsiblity

When America lacks good leadership, as we have since January 20, 2009, and had the same lack from January 20, 1977-January 20, 1981, it is not only our nation that feels it.   The whole world becomes a more dangerous place.   Communism was on the march under Jimmy Carter and Iran stormed our embassy.   Under Ronald Reagan the Evil Empire not only retreated, it collapsed.   We Americans had the good sense not to return the Peanut farmer to a second term.   We did not show the same in November 2012 when we sent “The One” back to the White House. 

Now Iran is near nuclear, Iraq appears to be an Iranian vassal state, Syria feels safe from the wrath of Barack, Saudi Arabia fears Iran and is closer to Israel than Persia (Iran is not Arab but Persian).   And within our borders producers are fewer and takers are multiplying–all with the blessing of the White House.   Rev. Wright is in the news again as a problem for Obama as the President is not socialist enough for this big voice of Liberation Theology.

Another thing happens when a nation suffers under one like “The One;” the more reflective person begins to think about those who practiced leadership well.   Dwight Eisenhower is being given a second look by such writers as Evan Thomas in his work, Ike’s Bluff.   The 34th President was portrayed by the Eastern Establishment as a doddering old fool.   Thomas sees him as an astute politician who knew how to play the game effectively and with resolve.   His smile masked a man who knew how to lead in World War II and the Cold War peace that followed.

We also seek leaders who will take responsibility rather than dodge and blame others.   In the hours before D-Day General Eisenhower drafted a statement to be issued if the invasion failed.  First he wrote:  “Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and the troops have been withdrawn.”   But then he struck the last six words and wrote instead: “. . . .and I have withdrawn the troops.”   By replacing passive tense with the first person pronoun, the General stepped up and took responsibility.   Fortunately the troops were not withdrawn. 

Ike was human and helped set up the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba before John Kennedy took office.  Despite his reservations Kennedy as Commander-in-Chief gave the order in April 1961 less than three months in office.    Did he blame Ike for the disaster?   He did not.  He said, “I gave the order.   I am responsible.”   And Americans supported their new leader as he stood tall.

George Will is not only a brilliant columnist and commentator, he is an avid baseball fan.   He tells the story of a much traveled baseball catcher named Jamie Quirk.  When he played for the Baltimore Orioles they had a young pitching staff.    When the official scorer called a ball that went to the screen a wild pitch, Quirk called it a passed ball.  He said, “A major league catcher has to block the ball.   I am a professional catcher and I did not block it.”

George Will says two things are certain about this illustration.   One is that America would be immeasurably improved if more Americans–teachers, workers, journalists, everyone had Quirk’s exacting standards of craftsmanship and accountability.    The other is that Quirk at age 35 did a manly thing in trying to block blame from reaching a 22 year old pitcher.   Jamie Quirk as a professional catcher was more like Ike and JFK as Presidents in standing up to the challenge.

In contrast I think of a President who, when Waco’s Branch Davidian Cult was burned out with loss of life including children said, “Talk to Attorney General, Janet Reno.  No problem hiding behind a woman.   Another President and his Secretary of State who wishes to be President rather than former First Lady hides behind a video for the disastrous deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.   And the Secretary of State at the time asks, “At this point what difference does it make?”   If the Press was doing its job her campaign would be over before it starts.   Instead they try to cover the seat of her orange pant suit.

For years after he got in office the President took credit for whatever was successful like the Seals getting Osama bin Laden with, “I did it.”     When it was not going so well (which is most of the time) he stands up and says—“It’s Bush’s fault.”   All this is wearing thin and now Obamacare may be his Waterloo.   Here also he blames others with a feeble, “I didn’t know.”   Same excuse for the IRS scandal and he is so outraged he is going to get to the bottom of it.

Mark Twain said,  “A lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is lacing up her boots.”    But C.S. Lewis said, “A little lie is like a little pregnancy–it does not take long before everyone knows.”   The President and his Party have told some mighty big lies and even the old line Press cannot hold back the truth.    And his lies and failures are no longer orphans.   They are finding their paternity.

After the hapless Jimmy Carter there was Ronald Reagan.   After this President and his Party God grant us a leader like Ronald Reagan again.   We know we do not deserve it but we boldly ask again for our nation and the world of nations.   Dear Lord, may it be so.

Eutychus

The Republican Brand

It is rather amusing to watch Bill O’Reilly state with such regularity that he is an Independent.  He is almost obsessed with making sure we know that even if he has to shoe horn it in to the Factor.   Sean Hannity with pride and satisfaction makes sure we are aware he is a Conservative.   He then assures us there is such a Party in New York where he lives.

Most people from the Left no longer own up to being a Liberal (Progressive being the new mantra) but one does hear people say with pride, “Of course I am a Democrat.”   Seldom does someone say with similar pomp that they are a Republican.

There are a number of reasons for this.   It is simply more avant-garde to be a Democrat.  And only the most obtuse (plenty of these in the Democrat Party) does not know that Hollywood is all in for the Left.   Who does not want to be part of that scene if you are young and impressionable–or even not so young?  

The Press falls right in line with the Democrats and, while more evident now, this is not really new.  When Ike defeated Stevenson carrying 40 of the then 48 States and did so both in 1952 and 56, the media dismissed it as “purely personal” and said the Eisenhower smile was his political philosophy.   When Ronald Reagan took 40 of the 50 States in 1980 the media minimized  it as a reaction to Jimmy Carter.   Two days after Reagan took 49 of the 50 States in 1984 The Washington Post had an unintentionally hilarious headline:  “Democrats Challenge President’s Landslide as a Mandate.”

Ronald Reagan won forty times more electoral votes than Mondale but this is dismissed as more proof of The Smile Theory of history.   Sam Donaldson was closer to the truth when he said the day after the 1984 election, “There is good news for Democrats today.   They will never again have to face Ronald Reagan.”

Let a Democrat win and the Press treats it as a new day in America.   Clinton is a “New Democrat.”   Barack Obama is “The One.”   But a Republican is neither hip nor smart.  Who can be fired up for that?  Recall the Bush jokes about his lack of intellect.   He is actually a well educated, well read man.   Yet somehow a Yale educated Bush does not equal a Harvard trained Kennedy.

We see this Leftist tilt in the media right now as the three networks gave seventeen times more coverage to Chris Christie’s Bridge Gate in less than 24 hours than they gave to Obama’s IRS scandal in six months.  Seventeen times more coverage in one day than in six months of the IRS scandal.   Cutting down lanes at a busy part of the New York/New Jersey connection is inexcusable.   The IRS punishing Conservatives for political gain is criminal.   But which gets the play in the Press?

But perhaps there is a practical antidote to all this that is happening right now.   In particular it is called Obamacare and in general it is Liberals in power.   Obamacare will touch everyone outside the Washington Establishment and the people did not want it and do not like it now that it is here.

The face of the 2013 Progressive was Pajama Boy who with a smirk and a hot chocolate tells us to spend the Christmas holidays talking health care and then sign up.   Then the Rapsters show up to tell us in sing song verse how wonderful Obama and his plan are.   Even the National Football League is encouraged to put its imprimatur on Obama’s foolish health plan.

As Charles Krauthammer says, “Health care effects everyone.”   And Obama has been exposed for his lies about keeping our plan, keeping our doctor and paying less.   Even Kirsten Powers, liberal commentator on FOX has expressed her displeasure at losing her plan to Obamacare–a plan she liked.  And beyond that her concern about what Obama has done to the Democrat Brand.   At last we come full circle.   The Democrat Brand is fraying because it is being practiced for all to see and Americans in general do not like what they see and experience. 

Thomas Nast was an 18th Century political cartoonist who created the elephant as the symbol for the Republicans and donkey for the Democrats.   In 1876 the Republican, Rutherford B. Hayes, defeated the Democrat, Samuel Tilden, for President by an Electoral College vote of 185-184 though Tilden won the popular vote by 264,000.   Nast called the Republican win a
Pyrrhic victory.   Pyrrhus was a Greek King who defeated the Romans in a major battle but lost the war as he had no replacement soldiers.  His victory led to his defeat.  The Nast cartoon featured an elephant with bandaged head and trunk and forefoot in a sling with a crutch for support.   The caption was, “Another such victory and I am undone.”


We can hope that Ms. Powers is right and Obama and his minions have damaged the Democrat Brand in a Pyrrhic victory that will be their undoing–a victory where the Donkey can wear the bandages.   Let them have the Washington Establishment, Hollywood, the old line Press, Pajama Boy and the Rappers as long as we can have the people.   Dear Lord, let it be so!

Eutychus

The Merry Heart of Ronald Reagan

When Ike Eisenhower died in 1969 Walter Cronkite interviewed comedian Bob Hope who was a personal friend and had golfed a number of times with the President.   Cronkite asked about Ike and memories Bob might share.   Hope said, “The President had remarkable balance whether it be D-Day, crises of state, or on the links.   He kept a sense of proportion that kept him from being too high or too low.  And he also had a sense of humor which I appreciated.”

When I hear something like this, Proverbs 17:22 comes to mind:  “A merry heart is good medicine.”   Perhaps the leader that best exemplifies this is Ronald Reagan.   Barack Obama reminds me a great deal of Richard Nixon.   Obama, like Nixon, has an enemies list.   At the top are FOX News and Rush Limbaugh who go right on reporting on and poking fun at the President.   In some ways the American Dream is an enemy of Obama who goes on an apology tour on the country that elected him and says of entrepreneurs, “You didn’t build that.”  Rather than humor he treats others with sarcasm.  

We see and hear Nixon’s fear, paranoia, and distrust of the Eastern Establishment.   Like Obama he had few friends and preferred isolation over confrontation of problems and people with whom he disagrees–or even persons who might have helped find solutions.   Both are loners which is not a good place to be in a leadership role.

Ronald Reagan liked to get in the middle of things.  In 1946 Reagan was in a remote part of CA filming a Western.  Between takes he was told there was a phone call for him.  The person at the other end was a Communist who threatened to throw acid in his handsome face and ruin his career if he did not stop bad mouthing the Reds.  Did Reagan cower in fear?  On the contrary, he and another brave actor, Bill Holden, went to a communist rally being led by fellow actor and Communist, Sterling Hayden, and took them on for 45 minutes.   At the end, Hayden said, “Reagan destroyed us.”   Others point to this not well known incident as the beginning of the end of Communists taking over Hollywood.

When running successfully for Governor of CA twenty years later and facing the radicals at Berkeley and other campus settings, he said of the student protestors, “They look like Tarzan, walk like Jane, and smell like Cheetah.”   This cheered the general public and he defeated sitting Governor Pat Brown (Jerry’s dad) by one million votes.  One of his after dinner speeches included these gems:   “I had a nightmare last night that I owned a laundromat in Berkeley.”    He also suggested that if the radicals were so concerned about smog,  “They should stop burning down our schools.”

In his 1970 run for re-election Governor Reagan faced CA Assembly Speaker, Jesse Unruh.   Short of money and issues, Unruh resorted to going to the home of wealthy Reagan supporter, Henry Salvatori and holding a Press Conference on Salvatori’s front lawn.  There was a great deal of press coverage but the stunt backfired when Reagan said in typical cool response, “I can remember a time when the worst thing you had on your lawn was crabgrass,” and then quipped, “But it is nice my opponent makes house calls.”

Pat Brown underestimated Ronald Reagan and tried to warn Jimmy Carter of this mistake when the President faced Governor Reagan in 1980.   Carter did not listen, could not wait to campaign against the simple former actor, and managed to lose 40 states.   Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev fell to this in Iceland in 1987 on the Strategic Defense Initiative better known  as “Star Wars” and two years later the U.S.S.R. sued for peace and was no more.   British leader, Margaret Thatcher, would say, “Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.”  

As Governor and later as President,  Reagan faced the Left with a combination of toughness and humor.   Let us do the same.   Barack Obama is dangerous as he is so radical and does not understand the country or capitalism.   But this also makes him comically incompetent.  When he is on television, I smile and think of his statement during the 2008 campaign that he had visited “57 States”  followed by “so far” implying he would get to the rest before it was over.   At a Memorial Day gathering to honor our military he said, “We are here to honor our fallen, many of whom stand before us today.”   I wonder if this incompetent Commander in Chief knows to this day that fallen means they died in battle.

There is only one Ronald Reagan.   He was a natural leader, tough and powerful, but this was balanced with a sense of humor that served him and all of us well.   Let us learn from him and let GOP leaders of today adopt some of this.   No need to worry about the Left here.   They have no sense of humor–only a mean spirit and sarcasm.   We see this on MSNBC and what they say of Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney and other Republicans.    Part of this is their lack of faith in God or in America.   They are more to be pitied than feared–though they are dangerous.

Let us go forward with the balance Bob Hope saw in Ike and we all saw in Ronald Reagan–toughness balanced by humor.  We can prevail once again.   And why not, for as President Reagan said in his first inaugural address, “We are Americans.”

Eutychus

The Age of Reagan

I asked my wife for Steven F. Hayward’s 2 volume work, The Age of Reagan, for Christmas which I find most compelling history.   She and I met at the U of Colorado, Boulder in 1969 where I was a graduate student in Political Science.   Thanks to KOA radio host, Mike Rosen, and others who urged a conservative voice on campus, Dr. Hayward, is a professor in residence at CU this year.   He has a PhD in American Studies and an outstanding scholar to represent conservative scholarship on a Left leaning to the point of bending campus like Boulder.

His prologue is worth the price of the book.   He quotes George Will who wrote, “Goldwater won the election of 1964.  It just took sixteen years to count the votes.”   Of that 1964 campaign Dr. Hayward says, “It was a victory from which the Democratic Party has never recovered, even to this day.”   It is quite possible that Barack Obama is sowing the same seeds for Democrats today.

I have no memories of FDR but my parents (no fans they) note that the man did exude confidence which helped the nation during the Great Depression and WWII (of which my father is a Marine veteran).    We have lived here in my native CO, in FL, and in my wife’s native state of IL.   In each of these states as I have spoken with individuals who share my interest in history and politics we see the same theme:  “The day Ronald Reagan took over I felt there was someone in charge for the first time in years.   I was truly proud to be an American again.”

The prologue notes this as well as FDR in his 1933 inaugural address and Ronald Reagan in his in 1981 seemed to lift the spirits of the entire nation.   Hayward writes of Reagan, “He was exactly the right man for the moment,” and his “moment transcends his time in office.”    Hence, The Age of Reagan.

My interest in politics goes back to another significant President, Harry Truman, of whom I have very clear memories.  As a movie fan I was also familiar with the actor Ronald Reagan as well as his stint on television’s “Death Valley Days.”   But it was his 1964 speech that introduced millions of us to Ronald Reagan the politician.   To this day I can see this handsome man delivering a national address that was far more effective than any Barry Goldwater was giving.  My grandmother said, “There is the man they should run.”

NFL fans remember “The Catch” from Montana to Clark from the 1981 season and “The Drive” engineered by a young John Elway in 1987 breaking the heart of the Cleveland Browns.   For those who remember Reagan’s address (and even for those who don’t) it is now known simply as “The Speech,” and one needs say no more.   Ronald Reagan had long been a politician as well as an actor but now this became a matter of public consciousness.   Two years later he smashed Pat Brown (who was neither the first nor the last to underestimate Ronald Reagan) to become Governor of California.   And my grandmother and millions of others were right when they said, “There is the man they should run,” as in 1980 he was elected President.

Another prominent figure is introduced by Hayward in this work:  Daniel Patrick Moynihan.   This brilliant and fearless scholar, adviser to Presidents Johnson and Nixon, Ambassador to the United Nations and U.S. Senator from New York, early on saw the tragedy and the flaws of LBJ.   He warned Johnson that the War on Poverty was going to ruin the family, particularly the black family, to the point that the two men parted ways.   

Ronald Reagan saw these same things in liberalism and left the Party for the Republicans which he forged anew.   Moynihan tried to warn the Democrats that they were flirting with disaster and driving the working man away (and Hayward adds, “into the hands of Ronald Reagan”). 
Though Moynihan understood the flaws of liberalism, as did Reagan, he did not leave the Democrats or the idea of activist government. 

Hayward goes so far as to say Pat Moynihan is like a biblical prophet who deserves vindication for his recognizing the flight from realism of the liberals leading to the exhaustion of the Democrat Party of Johnson as an agent of social change.   In 1986 Moynihan wrote:  “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society.  The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”  Dr. Hayward writes this is, “A succinct statement for the theme of this book, and the course of the next generation.”

I have seldom employed this forum to recommend a particular work but without reservation do so for the two volumes,  The Age of Reagan.   So do Michael Barone , William F. Buckley, Jr., Reagan friend and adviser, Ed Meese, and such respected publications as National Review, Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard.

These are trying days for our Republic.  Barack Obama is comically incompetent and radically dangerous both at the same time.   These days are somewhat like those of Jimmy Carter except we had sense to dismiss the hapless peanut farmer after one term.   If you wish to read a work that will renew hope and confidence for a better day pick up The Age of Reagan.   After Carter there was Ronald Reagan.   “Restore us to Yourself, O Lord, that we may return;  renew our days our days as of old.”  (Lamentations 5:21, NIV)

Happy New Year!

Eutychus