Archive for November, 2009

Mike Huckabee’s Willie Horton?

I like Mike Huckabee. Last year, I found him to be the most personable, charming and authentic of the field of Republican presidential candidates. But I never took him seriously as a presidential contender.
And if the conservative blogosphere is any indication, he is a less serious contender now, with what Michelle Malkin and others are dubbing his “Willie Horton” moment. As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee commuted the prison sentence of the man wanted in connections with the the deaths of four Lakewood, Washington police officers.
Says ultra-conservative blogger Malkin:

The man being sought by police was granted clemency by former GOP Arkansas Mike Huckabee despite his violent history and vehement protestations from prosecutors and victims’ family members.

He was most recently in jail for alleged second-degree rape of a child.

This isn’t Huckabee’s first Horton moment, as I’ll remind you in a moment.

The ugly political ads write themselves.

Continue reading Mike Huckabee’s Willie Horton? »

GOP: Too many “leaders,” too few ideas

The Republican Party now has just one animating principle to which all of its members adhere: Obama is the anti-Christ. Nothing else pulls the party together. And, unfortunately for the GOP, that’s not enough to win elections.

Even the love affair with Sarah Palin isn’t as strong as the hype suggests; just 18 percent of Republicans view her as best reflecting the party’s core values. According to The Washington Post,

Republicans and GOP-leaning independents are overwhelmingly negative about Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly, with nearly all dissatisfied with the administration’s policies and almost half saying they are “angry” about them. About three-quarters have a more basic complaint, saying Obama does not stand for “traditional American values.” More than eight in 10 say there is no chance they would support his reelection.

But for all the talk among Republican elected officials about a nascent comeback after gubernatorial victories in Virginia and New Jersey …

Continue reading GOP: Too many “leaders,” too few ideas »

Will Secret Service fire any agents over Salahis?

Hope you had a pleasant — and restful — Thanksgiving holiday. Hope Congress and the Obama administration did, too, since they start this week with an agenda chock-full of important tasks: Afghanistan, health care, climate change and Copenhagen, etc.

Of course, the story that has dominated official Washington over the last week is the intriguing tale of the social-climbing, gate-crashing, celebrity-seeking Salahis, who managed to get into a very exclusive state dinner last week without an invitation. It’s fun to focus on another American couple so obsessed with their fifteen minutes of fame.

But it goes without saying that there’s a deadly serious element to this story. The couple managed to get into the receiving line to shake hands with the president; if they had intended to kill Obama, he’d be dead already.

The Secret Service has tended to be a bit defensive about its ability to protect the nation’s first black president; last month, I posted an item about a government …

Continue reading Will Secret Service fire any agents over Salahis? »

I’m thankful for…

The phone rang at 4 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2008. An adoption agency in Indiana was calling to tell me a birth mother wanted to talk to me and inquiring about whether to give her my telephone number.

The young woman called a couple of hours later.

She told me her name was K., and she had chosen me from a pile of scrapbooks of prospective adoptive families.

She wanted me to adopt her baby.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“I’m sure,” she said.

I was certainly pleased to hear her decision, but I refused to count on it.

I had heard too many stories about broken promises and broken hearts.

I knew of prospective adoptive moms who had decorated a nursery and bought baby clothes, only to have a birth mother change her mind.

I wasn’t ready to make an emotional commitment.

The next day, I left for Denver to cover the Democratic National Convention.

I didn’t think much about the call while I was away, but as soon as I returned, I called K.

She was still certain that she wanted me to …

Continue reading I’m thankful for… »

Gone turkey hunting

Gentle Readers:

I’m taking a much-needed week of vacation, so I’ll talk to you next week. Have a great Thanksgiving and remember: No running with scissors.

Continue reading Gone turkey hunting »

Let women keep their abortion coverage

Success in any long-running campaign breeds complacency; first euphoria, then relief, later forgetfulness. Whether the campaign for universal suffrage or the crusade to curb childhood disease through immunizations, success leads to historical amnesia.

That’s certainly true of the decades-long battle for reproductive rights, another chapter in women’s never-ending struggle to achieve full personhood. Because the U.S. Supreme Court granted women the right to control their own reproduction in a 1973 ruling, Roe v Wade, forty-something Americans have no first-hand knowledge of back alley abortions. It’s likely they haven’t even heard second-hand stories of women who died from infections caused by coat-hanger terminations.

That helps explain why advocates for reproductive rights weren’t prepared for an all-out battle just to allow women to retain their health insurance coverage. It also helps explain why pro-choice Democrats found themselves outmaneuvered by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak …

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Democrats need a job-creation bill

It seems that Democrats are finally beginning to understand that a crippling recession will threaten their chances in next year’s mid-term elections. But they haven’t figured out an effective response, yet.
Instead, according to Politico, they’re turning their wrath on Obama and his Cabinet.

The wave of Democratic grief had been building privately for months, but Hill Democrats had held back on publicly criticizing the Obama presidency. But now Democrats who see that their economic agenda seems to be flailing and fear getting wiped out in the 2010 congressional elections are going public with a burst of criticism, and much of it has poured out in the past 48 hours.
It’s coming from some of the most liberal supporters of the president, like John Conyers, who said Thursday on the Bill Press radio show that Obama was “bowing down” to the right.
“I’m getting tired of saving Obama’s can in the White House,” Conyers said. “I mean, he only won by five votes in the House, and …

Continue reading Democrats need a job-creation bill »

Recreation for wingnuts

I’ve always believed that those prone to cause mischief should be distracted with recreational activities that keep them from causing harm. So I’m a firm believer in Midnight Basketball, toddlers’ play groups and the Bohemian Grove gathering for rich guys.

Given that, I can’t help but applaud the creation of a new online game for paranoid, Tri-Lateral-Commission-fearing, Obama-stole-the-election-believing wingnuts. It will give them something to do rather than clean their weapons for the next townhall meeting.

It’s January 2011. The GOP is about to assume control of both houses of Congress—having been voted in by a public deeply suspicious of Democrats after President Barack Obama conducted clandestine talks with President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada. But two days before the new conservative majority is to be sworn in, Obama announces that this Congress will not be seated, that the United States (a creation of “racists and …

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They were wrong about Medicare, too

Nicholas Kristof has a great column today on the critics of health care reform and how their criticisms about the dire consequences — socialism! government takeover! — are wrong. How does he know? It’s all been said before. Read his column or just go straight to an audio tape of Ronald Reagan blasting the proposed  Medicare plan in 1961.

Reagan was wrong, too.

If you don’t (oppose it), this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one day as Normal Thomas said we will wake to find that we have socialism, and if you don’t do this and I don’t do this, one of these days we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.

Medicare is now so popular that no politician dares talk about trying to change it. That …

Continue reading They were wrong about Medicare, too »

Health care foes fear up-or-down vote?

It’s time for the Senate to hold a straight-up vote on its health care bill. The Congressional Budget Office has come back with its estimate, which puts the total cost at $849 billion, meeting President Obama’s requirement that the legislation not “add one dime” to the deficit.

It would ensure up to 94 percent of Americans. It would prevent insurance companies  from barring people because of pre-existing conditions. It’s not a perfect bill but it’s a step in the right direction.

The Senate measure is similar in scope to legislation the House approved earlier this month. It would require most people to buy insurance, and if their employers did not offer affordable coverage, they would be able to shop for policies on new state-based “exchanges” that would function as marketplaces for individual coverage. Insurance companies would have to abide by broad new rules that would ban practices such as denying coverage based on preexisting conditions.

But the bills diverge on other key …

Continue reading Health care foes fear up-or-down vote? »