Tag Archives: Chuck Hagel

The Jury Is Still Out, But It’s Not Looking Too Bi-Partisan Just Yet!

26 Nov

Soooooo…. When I started writing about politics on this here blog, I made the case that our current mess has a lot to with both major parties.  I stand by that.  And I stand by my statements where I’ve argued that being locked in partisan struggles and a blue versus red mentality has keep us from achieving much of anything on the most important issues facing us over the last 20 or so years.

Throughout the primaries and much of the general election campaign, I did my best to stay neutral looking for which candidate would be most in line with my views.  And, hopefully, most inclined to reach across the aisle to work with his or her opponents on ways to move us all forward.  In the end both Barack Obama and John McCain talked the talk.  I ended up supporting Barack Obama earlier than I thought I would simply because of John McCain’s horrendous decision on a running mate.  Ultimately, I’m satisfied that America (and me) made the right choice.

That said, my personal plan is to stay skeptical.  Let’s see (and hope) what President Elect Obama can deliver on.  I wish him well, but will not hesitate to criticize him when I disagree with his decisions and policies.

So let’s start right now!

Bi-Partisanship.  It’s a big word.  Lots of syllables.  It’s an even tougher concept to deliver on in DC.  And so far, Obama is not delivering.  I know it’s early, but I was expecting bigger things on this issue.  Where’s Lugar or Hagel?  Not in the Obama Administration.  So far, I think the only Republicans are Robert Gates staying on as Defense Secretary and a retired Marine general who barely admits to being a GOPer who’s in line for the gig as national security adviser.  Neither of those two situations makes me feel that Obama is up to much out of the ordinary.  Seems like the same old same old so far.  After all many administrations have had a person or two from the other side in their ranks.

Bi-partisanship of course is more than about who is in your cabinet.  Despite the Democratic majorities in the House & Senate, Obama may best demonstrate his new way of doing things by actually working with congressional Republicans where possible.

When it gets right down to it, the question is will Obama decide to rule from the center-Left or simply the left?  Given his political capital and the collapse of the GOP, Barack Obama can do either.  My suggestion and hope is that he will decide on ruling from the center-left as a uniter so that America can actually move forward on solving some of our greatest challenges.

America and Americans still can achieve great things.  Here’s hoping Barack Obama will prove to be the kind of leader who can bring out that greatness.  Naming a few more Republicans to his administration would be a good first step…

WTF?? What’s Up Barack Obama’s VP Sleeve?!

22 Aug

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So big news broke yesterday that Barack Obama has made up his mind on his VP choice.  The rumors are that he’s going to campaign with the lucky guy or gal on Saturday.  And… he’s supposed to announce his big pick via text message to those who bothered to sign up for it some time before then.   For the record, I’m not on his text message send list.

When Obama was asked the follow up question about who he actually picked, he refused to answer keeping the collective nation on the proverbial edge of our seat.

The big question is why?  Why taunt us, Senator Obama?  Why let it get out you’ve made your pick if you’re not ready to spill it?  Why not just go ahead and tell us?  We’ve been waiting a while to hear after all.

And really is it going to be such a big surprise?  Are you really going to pull a Hillary Clinton out of your hat?  Or even more shocking someone like an Al Gore?

Not bloody likely from what I hear.  The common wisdom is that it will likely be Joe Biden and if not him then Tim Kaine or Evan Bayh or maybe the female governor of Kansas whose name I’m too lazy to google this early in the AM.

So, we know who all the most likely players are.  Can’t we just get this over with?  I think by being coy and making us wait it out that Barack Obama risks coming off as self-important and in love with his own celebrity.  That’s not exactly a good image for him at the moment his opponent is busy accusing him of just exactly that.

If Obama is going to make us wait, then by all means it better be worth waiting for.  To make it really worth the wait, he ought to go with a real big surprise like a Clinton, Gore or a GOP type like Chuck Hagel.  Failing that, I think we’re all going to be wondering why the big wait to announce someone like Joe Biden.

If he does go the expected route with his pick, there’s still a way he can make the wait worth it.  A stunt with a big reveal!  After all, Democrats are often accused of being in bed with Hollywood.  I say exploit that connection!

Let’s say the pick is Joe Biden.  The Obama Campaign should arrange for him to sky dive into Saturday’s campaign event to join Barack Obama on the stump.  The parachute could read Obama/Biden ’08 or perhaps “McCain Sucks” if they want to get really aggressive.  Better yet, the parachute could be on fire!!

The text message would be released just as Biden’s feet touch the ground and he pulls off his goggles to show his face.  It would be awesome and unconventional to say the least.  A little over the top?  Yes, but watercooler?  Absolutely.  It’d have everyone talking and spread across the Internet virally so fast it would make John McCain’s head spin.

Then and only then would the waiting make sense and be truly worth it.

As Tom Petty often sings “the waiting is the hardest part”.  Make it worth it, Senator Obama!

The Company The Candidates Keep Tells All! (AKA Phil Gramm is a Jacka##!)

12 Jul

Here I am that mythical undecided voter.  I could go for Obama.  I could go for McCain.

The company they keep is going to mean a lot to me and I think to people like me.

Whose circle helped them more this week in the eyes of this undecided voter?

Let’s take a look!

On the Obama side, Jim Webb removed himself from VP consideration and John Edwards announced he’d be willing.  Both announcements got a lot of play but didn’t mean that much to me.  Jim Webb, though clearly a potential help to the Obama campaign with his vet status and his appeal to Southern voters, meant little to me as neither of those assets was a positive or a negative for me personally as a voter. 

As for Edwards, I’m an Edwards fan, but the political geek in me hopes he doesn’t get picked.  This is because I never think it’s a good idea to try to sell last year’s model to people looking for something new.

The most interesting peace of Obama related news this week I think is that Republican Chuck Hagel will be accompanying him on his trip to Iraq.  Hmmmmm….  Wonder if this means Obama is seriously thinking about picking a GOP guy as his VP? 

It would certainly signal change.  Hagel has more Senate experience than his potential running mate and is a Viet Nam Vet.  But, mostly he’s a Republican.  That’s the key thing for me.  If Obama is serious about working together with the opposition party than what better way to signal it than by going with someone like Hagel?  I like that idea and I think a lot of other Americans would too.

Now let’s check out John McCain’s circle.  The biggest news this week was negative and it came from negative guy Phil Gramm.  Look, I’ve always liked John McCain, but I’m someone who has mostly voted for Democrats.  9/11 really changed me in terms of trying harder than ever to be open to people from both parties.  So, this year I really may vote for my first Republican presidential candidate.  I’m there for the plucking (so to speak).

That said, now I’m struggling with Phil Gramm’s association with John McCain.  Apparently, he’s his economics adviser and he thinks the rest of us ordinary folks are whining too much.  He also said this week that he thinks America is on the decline, which he called a “mental recession”.

Well, Phil, you’re not helping the GOP or John McCain in my independent voter eyes.  Who’s fault is it that America is in a “mental recession” if we are?  Hasn’t the GOP been at the White House for eight years?  Haven’t Republicans controlled the Presidency and both houses of Congress for much of my adult life (and for the record I’m a VERY sexy 40-something….)?  My point is the GOP has been large and in charge for a long time.

Gramm is now saying he wasn’t talking about us ordinary citizens, but rather leaders in Washington, which by the way, he was up until recently.  If Gramm truly was aiming his criticisms at the leaders in DC then you know what?  I agree with him.

I do think that America has suffered because we’ve had terrible leadership on BOTH sides of the aisle.  We are locked into gridlock and need to break out.  Still, Gramm is part of the more dominant party over the past few decades and so I can’t shake the feeling that the GOP has been significantly more responsible for getting us to this place of “mental recession”.

Even worse, I DON’T believe Phil Gramm.  I do believe he’s out of touch with America.  I do believe he’s in lock step with a GOP that largely hasn’t cared much about the average American.

The GOP has been too busy making sure that people earning over 250K get tax breaks.

Whether his intention or not, Phil Gramm’s words didn’t help John McCain at all this week.  They simply reminded me why I tend to vote for Democrats.

I’m still keeping my mind open to voting for McCain so in fairness to him I do need to post his response, which was really good here:

PS – For this week at least, in my eyes… ADVANTAGE: OBAMA