Tag Archive | "Barack Obama"

Mitt Romney, Our 45th President?

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Did the demeanor of the two Presidential candidates in last night’s third and final debate provide a signal as to how the individual candidates and their campaign brain trusts view the current status of the race?  To this observer, the answer is a resounding “yes!”

 

In most debates, the candidate trying to gain ground with the electorate is the aggressor.  In the first debate this year, that individual was Mitt Romney whose campaign, at the time, was languishing as reflected by weak poll numbers and diminished fundraising success.  Romney’s decisive victory over a seemingly detached, disinterested Obama in that first debate fueled a turnaround that dramatically altered the electoral landscape in a way unaffected by the President’s better performance in the second debate.

 

Last night, in the third and final debate of this Presidential campaign, Barack Obama came out swinging.  With “foreign policy” as its subject matter, the debate provided the President the opportunity to display the detailed insider knowledge that only a resident of the Oval Office can accumulate.  Romney, as has been the case with every challenger to an incumbent President, clearly did not and could not have the same level of subject matter expertise as someone who has been intimately involved for the past four years.

 

Yet, Romney faired reasonably well.  He agreed with the President often, with contrasts expressed in terms of degree or timing of a particular action or initiative.  The President, on the other hand, was not content to simply state his Administration’s achievements or explanations of purported failures.  Uncharacteristic of most participants that I have witnessed in Presidential debates past, Obama used each answer as an opportunity to attack either Romney’s stated position or Romney himself for purportedly changing his position on an issue.

 

And, it was this behavior on the part of the candidates that I found telling about last night’s debate.  It appeared to me that the Romney team had made the conscious decision that their candidate should avoid confrontation as much as possible and provide safe answers that would not be a source of significant concern to the general electorate.  The Obama team, however, seems to have decided that this was the moment for the President to “come out swinging” and “knock out” his opponent.

 

Pardon the sports analogy, but I’ll continue in the same vein.  In short, the President appeared to have tossed up a “Hail Mary” in a desperate attempt to retain his job while his challenger appeared to be “running out the clock.”

 

It is often said that “actions speak louder than words.”  The actions of the candidates in last night’s debate indicate to this observer that the internal polling done by the campaigns of the respective candidates shows that Mitt Romney has a more significant lead with two weeks until Election Day than the retrospective polls broadcast to the general public would suggest.  In fact, my suspicion is that trend analysis indicates that Romney might be pulling away and that this election might be a Romney landslide, similar to the Reagan landslide in 1980.

 

Did Obama score enough points to convince voters that they should stay the course with him despite global turmoil and a dismal economic record?  Did Romney appear “Presidential,” a commander who can keep America safe from foreign and domestic threats?  We’ll have our answer on Election Day; or perhaps, a day, week, or month later.  Yet, at this point in time, I’d caution those with heart conditions not to be shocked should Romney win handily.

 

 

The Ubiquitousness of Change

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“Change has come to America.”

(President-Elect Barack Obama – Election Night, November 4, 2008)


In an election that will surely be deemed by future chroniclers as historic, Americans – just two years ago – selected Barack Obama to become their 44th President and first President to come from a racial minority.  Employing slogans including “Change You Can Believe In” and “Yes We Can,” Obama and the Democrat Party won a broad and decisive victory that confirmed the American public’s desire for change.  And, in the intervening 22-plus months since assuming the mantle of power, the Obama Administration and the Democrat majorities in both houses of Congress have instituted sweeping changes in areas from economics to military policy to healthcare.


In an election held just 24 hours ago that some are already dubbing as “historic,” a broad coalition of Americans from sea to shining sea again demonstrated their almost insatiable appetite for change; this time, a change from the changes instituted by Democrats and the Obama Administration.  Change, you see, can travel in multiple and often surprising directions.


And, while the political pundits analyze the results and pontificate on their significance ad nauseum, suffice it to say that change is and never has been a stranger to America or, for that matter, life.  Change does not need to be ushered in like theater-goers.  It is woven into the fabric of our collective national experience and our own personal lives.  It is a constant in a world that oft times seems chaotic.


Everyday, each of us ages – our bodies changing in subtle, often imperceptible ways.  We learn knew things and think new thoughts.  We initiate or cultivate relationships, affirm commitments, execute contracts, secure or lose employment, start and run businesses, invent new products, marry, divorce, and change in thousands of other ways.  Each year, we witness the splendor of autumn, barrenness of winter, and nature’s rebirth in the spring.  We mourn the passing of friends, family members, and acquaintances and joyously welcome new arrivals, for the newborn are truly representatives of change.  Embedded in their largely untapped potential is the hope that they will overcome the obstacles and seize upon the possibilities that have eluded us in our own lives.


Of course, change may be beneficial, neutral, or harmful and frequently lies outside our individual comfort zones.  Yet, it is a force that neither can nor will be stayed no matter how much we resist it.  Faced with the inevitable, one has limited choices – continue the futility of resistance, delude oneself into the belief that nothing has changed, or identify the beneficial aspects of change and embrace them.


With deference to the opinion expressed by our then President-Elect, change did not arrive in America in November 2008 or, for that matter, with the results of yesterday’s elections.  It always was and will be.  For those with the courage to accept it, it opens new possibilities and liberates us from outmoded thinking and behavior.  On the wings of change is born a new day carrying with it the hope that we can better our best, achieve new heights, and lay to rest old fears and prejudices.  At this time and in this moment, as at all times and in all moments past and future, we have the opportunity to build a better world.  Can we do it?  If we embrace change and open ourselves to the possibilities, our answer will be a resounding “Yes, We Can.” 

ObamaCare

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After more than a year of hot debate, National Healthcare became the law of the land with the stroke of the Presidential pen.  With it, however, America has become a more deeply divided nation.


With the historic inauguration of President Barack H. Obama, “change” came to America.  Gaining both the Presidency and overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, the Democrats became well positioned to institute the liberal/progressive agenda that their core constituency has long awaited, with national healthcare as its crowning jewel.


Despite public opinion polls demonstrating popular disapproval of the legislation, the national healthcare reform bill swept through the House of Representatives with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi leading the charge.  Amidst the cheers and accolades of the bill’s supporters, the President felt vindicated having achieved his bid to become the first President to legislate national healthcare reform.


Despite Republican attempts to derail the bill, its passage has created a rift in our government with trouble in River City.  Vowing to repeal should the balance of power shift as a result of the 2010 mid-term elections, the Republicans are currently employing various tactics to force the bill back to the House for a revote.


Increasing numbers of Americans, after witnessing the power struggle in Washington, are wondering if the path that the Democrats have chosen is the right path for America.  Many questions are unanswered and the lack of transparency in the language has not been addressed.  All we know is a number of people in the country who do not have healthcare will ultimately be required to secure coverage or face a penalty issued by the IRS (Income Removal Service).


The ultimate question, however, is how burdensome taxes will become to pay for this legislation.  With a struggling economy and high unemployment, on whom will the burden fall?  Sources indicate that the heaviest tax burden would fall upon the wealthy.  But, who defines the word wealthy and how is it defined?  


Another thing of which we are certain is that some people will be exempted from the mandate.  Included among this latter group are illegal aliens, prisoners, the present Administration, and the good ole boys in the social club we call the U.S. Congress.


However there is a bright side to this, as it is estimated that the IRS will have to employ a minimum of 10,000 new agents to do the job.  The primary requirement for employment will be that those selected will have to be ruthless, because some of them may be chasing their relatives.


This bill is highly complex with a good portion of the mandates not taking place until 2013.  Some aspects of the new law, however, will take effect immediately.  According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi “pre-existing conditions and being a woman” happen with the stroke of Obama’s pen.  And, now that the bill has passed, the Speaker announced, “now we will know what exactly what we voted for.”


To summarize the passage of this historic piece of legislation, the losers are the wealthy and the big winners are the illegal aliens and the prisoners who will get free healthcare, because they are not citizens or subject to the mandate to purchase coverage.


If you think we have problems with our borders now, wait till the rest of the world hears the good news. We may have to change the sign on the Statue of Liberty to:


“Give me your tired, your poor, and your sick (with or without pre-existing conditions),

Your huddled masses, yearning to get free healthcare…” 

The Biggest Winners and Losers of 2009

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”  As was the period depicted in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, 2009 was a time of tremendous highs and precipitous lows.  The year witnessed the inauguration of the first U.S. President of African-American ancestry and the nomination and confirmation of our first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.  Yet, rising unemployment belied the reports of an economy rebounding from the brink of collapse, and investigative reporting revealed the extent to which Federal bailout funds were misspent.

 

So, who were the biggest winners and losers of 2009?  What follows is my own personal assessment.  If you have thoughts on the subject, feel free to share them by commenting below.

 

The Winners

 

The year began on an upbeat note as Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger guided his disabled Airbus A320 into the Hudson River in a crash-less landing that saved all 155 onboard and was dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson.” 

Captain Sully Sullenberger

 The professionalism of Captain Sullenberger, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and consummate pilot with more than 40 years experience, makes him one of 2009’s biggest winners.

 

Days after the “Miracle on the Hudson,” Barack Obama was sworn in as our 44th President and the first African-American to hold the Office.  Obama, however, was a winner in more than politics.

Barack Obama

Shortly after his inauguration, it was announced that he had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  In October, it became official as he became the 21st American to win that distinction.  Despite sagging poll numbers as the year comes to a conclusion, one has to number our President as a winner in 2009.

 

Following Barack Obama’s inauguration, Hillary Clinton was sworn in as the 67th Secretary of State in U.S. history.  If you believe the rumors of the time, Hillary’s selection to head the State Department by our President-Elect was made under duress. 

 Hillary Clinton

Nonetheless, Hillary has proven to be a very capable diplomat and an effective representative for our government among foreign heads of state and other leaders.  Kudos to Mrs. Clinton as a winner in 2009.

 

In June of this year, after many delays, television broadcasting completed its transition to digital signals.  For the many millions of households still using older televisions capable of interpreting only analog signals, that meant that they now needed a box to decode the signal.

Television Providers

And so, 2009 was a fantastic year for cable, satellite, and other providers of television programming.

 

2009 also turned into a good year for former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  In early July, she announced that she was resigning her post as Governor of Alaska and shortly thereafter, commenced a nationwide tour promoting her book, “Going Rogue,” that debuted atop the New York Times Best Sellers List in November.

Sarah Palin

Palin has been enthusiastically received by large throngs at tour events.  The book’s sales and media frenzy surrounding the tour are indicative of her popularity and bode well for her possible Presidential aspirations in 2012.  And so, Sarah Palin has made it among my short list of winners for 2009.

 

The Losers

 

It seems that every year is a bad year for Congress and 2009 was no exception.  The American public today holds Congress – both the House of Representatives and the Senate – in slightly lower esteem than it holds used car salesmen.

Congress

The bailout bill (or more euphemistically, stimulus package), the debate over healthcare, and the general rancor and divisiveness of its proceedings has citizens across the political spectrum from progressives to neo-conservatives questioning the motives and ethics of Congressional actions.  And, as the leaders of the majority party in both Houses, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have become the poster-children for political ineptness (although I personally think Harry did a better job than Nancy).  In any event, Congress is on my short list of losers for 2009.

 

And, if Congress is a loser, guess who is not far behind?  That’s right:  the American people.  Rising taxes and fees, shrinking resources, high unemployment, reduced government services, expanding debt, and fewer opportunities to get ahead all blended together in a cacophony that overwhelmed any happy tunes that most average Americans might have been singing.

American People

Like Congress, the American people may be losers for years to come as inflation, rising interest rates, and a plethora of other potential problems await us as the other shoe dropping as a result of our bailout spending spree.

 

As our economic woes continued in 2009, it is only fitting to include Bernie Madoff as one of the year’s most significant losers.  Madoff, former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, admitted to operating a Ponzi scheme dubbed “the largest investment fraud in Wall Street history.”  The scam accounted for about $36 billion, of which about half or $18 billion (with a “b”) is “missing.” 

Bernie Madoff

On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal offenses, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan, and making false filings with the SEC.  Sentenced to 150 years in federal prison, Madoff has traded his opulent Manhattan lifestyle for a bright orange jumpsuit, a cell, and three squares courtesy of the American taxpayer.

 

Madoff is not the only of 2009’s losers whose liberty has been curtailed.  Acclaimed film director Roman Polanski may finally be extradited to the United States to face sentencing for a three-decade old child sex crime from which sentencing he fled following his conviction in 1978.  A dual-citizen of France and Poland, Polanski has hidden behind France’s denial of American extradition requests since that time.

Roman Polanski

In September 2009, however, he was arrested in Switzerland as he attempted to enter that country to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Zurich Film Festival.  He has been placed under house arrest at his luxurious ski chalet in Gstaad as Swiss authorities process his extradition to the United States.

 

Sexual indiscretions, rather than crimes, were the Achilles’ heel of 2009’s biggest loser, Tiger Woods.  Woods’ extramarital affairs with upwards of 14 different women surpassed chatter about the Holidays at water coolers, diners, and gatherings across America and the world.

Tiger Woods

Arguably the greatest golfer in the history of the sport, Woods has lost his wife, Elin Nordegren who battered him with a golf club, and is now bleeding money in the form of sponsors bailing on the once-revered athlete.  AT&T, Accenture, and Gillette have all dropped Woods or pulled advertising featuring him.  And, it has been reported that companies sponsoring Woods have lost a total of $12 billion in share value since the news of Woods’ affairs has been made public.  Who ever said that love was “free?”

Red Dawn

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Red Dawn

With America’s ever-growing problems of the economy, healthcare, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one has to wonder about the leadership that is coming out of the Oval Office.

 

The primary duty of an American President is to uphold the Constitution of the United States, serve the people of his nation, and protect his country from enemies at home and abroad.  To uphold these principles, the person who holds the highest office in the land should also possess the critical traits of integrity and humility. Webster defines integrity as honesty and sincerity, and humility as being humble.  A President of integrity would honor his promises.  A President who is humble would remember the people he has sworn to protect; the people who elected him to office.

 

In the race to achieve the Presidency, Mr. Obama spoke of change; in fact, he beat that word like a dead horse.  He promised to change government, to make it more transparent and rid Washington of lobbyists paid to corrupt our officials with bribery.  He also spoke of solidarity when addressing national problems by stating his reign would not serve blue states or red states, but the United States.

 

Approaching the first anniversary of his inauguration, Barack Hussein Obama’s campaign speeches appear to have been only rhetoric. Transparency is nonexistent.  Lobbyists and tax cheats have been offered prominent posts in his Cabinet.  Integrity has been transformed into half-truths and humility into arrogance.

 

By apologizing to the Muslim world and stating that the United States is really a Muslim country, one has to question his approach to solving problems at home or abroad.  Mr. Obama seems more concerned about the treatment and fate of the Gitmo detainees than he does the men and women who are defending our country.  During his bid for the Presidency, he professed to be a Christian for twenty years; public opinion would have gone the other way had he said he was a Muslim.  I guess the truth of that statement is, “If you act like a Christian and talk like a Christian, then you’re a Christian.”

 

With his party (Democratic) in control of both houses and un-elected Czars in his Cabinet, he wields super powers in changing the ideological structure of our nation. 

 

In the motion picture The Searchers, Ethan Edwards (played by John Wayne) explains the difference between Comanches and Nawyecka Comanches to his adopted nephew Martin Pauly (portrayed by Jeffrey Hunter).  Edwards says, “It’s like a fellow who says he’s going this way but goes that way.”   Does this approach sound familiar to Mr. Obama’s?

 

With all the media hype focused upon the crossroads upon which our nation now sits, the average hard-working American is completely overwhelmed in deciding which choices to make to restore sanity to our way of life. The two-party system has failed the American people.  What can the average cutizen do to recapture the Constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  One would say, use the power of the vote to rid our society of legislators who would sell us up the river to the highest bidder when deciding the fate of the American people.   But, how do we select a candidate who will uphold the Constitution and serve the people?  The answer to this question may lie found in the Gospel of Saint Mathew Chapter 7, Verses 15-18:

 

7-15:  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

7-16:  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

7:17:  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

7:18:  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

 

Interpreting Biblical scripture when considering possble candidates for political office, I offer the following well-considered advice:

 

  1. Do your homework. Investigate their voting records as well as their personal lives, to the best of your ability.  Honest candidates can stand the scrutiny.
  2. Integrity and humility should factor high in their character make-up.
  3. Don’t let party line influence your choices.
  4. Vote on Election Day and say a prayer for our country, ending in “God Bless America.”

 

The fate of our Republic is in your hands.  Your future choices will determine whether we retain a Constitutional government or one that continues to serve only those in power.

British Monarchy vs. U.S. Presidency

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1 Queen = 12 Presidents!!!

 

In an economic downturn, one wonders whether our Founding Fathers made the right choice in breaking away from England.  During the reign of England’s current Queen Elizabeth, we in the United States have had 12 U.S. Presidents!  Yes, that’s 16 elections, 12 inaugurations, and 11 pensions while our neighbors across the pond have had but 1 coronation.  Hmm!

 

Harry S. Truman with Queen Elizabeth

The haberdasher from Missouri looks a little uncomfortable in the presence of Royalty.

Queen with Truman

 

 

Dwight Eisenhower with Queen Elizabeth

Dwight compliments the Queen on her dazzling smile.

Queen with Eisenhower

 

 

John F. Kennedy with Queen

JFK appears a little preoccupied.  Maybe, he was expecting a call from Marilyn Monroe.

Queen with Kennedy

 

Lyndon Baines Johnson without Queen but with Dog with Floppy Ears

Apparently, LBJ had no photo ops with the Queen; however, he did take a photo with a dog named “Queen” (I made that up).

Queen Not Present - LBJ

 

 

Richard Nixon with Queen Elizabeth

Dick explains to Queen, “I’m not a crook.”

Queen with Nixon

 

 

Gerald Ford with Queen Elizabeth

What this bust shot does not show is the fact that the Queen is smiling through the pain of Gerry – noted for his clumsiness – stepping on her toes.

Queen with Ford

 

 

Jimmy Carter with Queen Elizabeth

Check out the smiles (or should I say grimaces).  These two clearly do not like each other.

Queen with Carter

 

 

Ronald Reagan with Queen Elizabeth

The Queen has just told a dilly, and the Gipper is either having a hearty laugh or yawning.

Queen with Reagan

 

 

George Bush with Queen Elizabeth

If you’re thinking that these two look like stiffs, you’re right!  This picture is actually of two mannequins.

Queen with George Bush

Bill Clinton with Queen Elizabeth

Clinton’s “cat that ate the canary” grin is because he had just been introduced to the Queen’s chubby intern.

Queen with Bill Clinton

 

 

George W. Bush with Queen Elizabeth

“Dubyah” is regaling the Queen on the bliss of rounding up cattle at the ranch in Crawford.

Queen with George W. Bush

 

 

Barack Obama with Queen Elizabeth

Now it’s the Queen’s turn to appear uncomfortable in the presence of our first African-American President (unless, of course, you count Bill Clinton).

Queen with Obama

 

 

Queen

Just thought I’d throw this picture in.

Queen

 

 

Thank you to Small Town Girl for the idea for this article.

Corzine, Christie, or Daggett?

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Corzine Christie Daggett

 

In an election with national repercussions, New Jerseyans will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a Governor.  Many view the New Jersey race, along with the Virginia gubernatorial election and a Congressional election in New York state, as a referendum on the year-old Obama presidency and Democrat control over Congress.

 

As a not-quite impartial observer, I, as I am sure many of the State’s residents, have been amused by the nature and tone of the campaigns.  If you watch and accept as true his commercials, incumbent Democrat Governor Jon Corzine has done a fabulous job over the past four years – reducing property taxes, protecting the environment, improving access to healthcare, bolstering education, fighting unemployment, and leading an affirmative response to the recent economic downturn that has saved the State from disaster.  Of course, if you believe the ads of his Republican challenger, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, Corzine’s term of office has been a total disaster and Christie has the answers and expertise to solve the State’s problems.  Then, there is independent challenger Chris Daggett.  A former Regional Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under Republican Governor Kean, Daggett represents somewhat of a wildcard in the campaign.  His candidacy could potentially benefit Governor Corzine by siphoning votes from his challenger, Chris Christie, and has led some critics to assert that that is precisely his motive in the race.

 

As the campaign has unfolded, the mudslinging has intensified, including apparent attacks by the Corzine campaign on Christie’s weight (yes, Chris – if not yet married – could have been the bachelor on More to Love).  It seems that candidates will do or say anything to get elected; only to renege on campaign promises once elected.

 

In this vein, I have collected and below present some advertisements by the candidates.  Unfortunately, independent Chris Daggett’s campaign had fewer resources, making his advertisements harder to find.  Yet, I feel that the ads below are a fair sampling of what the candidates were saying about themselves and each other.  I will attempt to caption them according to their content.

 

The following ad is a Corzine commercial targeting one of his core constituencies – liberal women concerned about women’s health issues and the right to choose:

 

 

 

The next ad is an anti-Corzine message distributed by the Christie campaign, appealing to his more conservative Republican base:

 

 

The next ad is a Corzine attack ad:

 

 

Our next advertisement is a Christie attack ad amateurishly mimicking Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone:

 

 

The next ad impugns challenger Christie by implying that he is fat:

 

 

The following example is a form of testimonial in which former Governor Tom Kean praises and endorses Republican candidate Christie using the famous “perfect together” expression that Kean had use in various state promotional advertisements:

 

 

Finally, this last ad is independent Daggett’s. It uses footage from a gubernatorial debate to suggest that he (Daggett) is, in fact, the favorite of both of his rivals:

 

 

I hope that you have enjoyed these ads and that they have enhanced your confusion as to whom you will support in tomorrow’s election. Whomever you are supporting, be sure to vote!

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