Archive for April, 2009

Obama and Chavez

Barack Obama offers a lesson for Republicans.  Small affronts and missteps are seen as evidence of inexperience.  Large affronts and missteps are the policy of change.

His willingness to cozy up to Venezuelan leftist Hugo Chavez, schmoozing at the Summit of the Americas, while accepting a book from Chavez explaining how Europe and the U.S. had messed it up in Latin America.  The little revolutionary, thus, elevated himself not just to equal, but to instructor to pupil Obama.

That’s an opening Obama provided by suggesting abroad that the pre-Obama America has gotten it all wrong and that he’s the change they want.  It’s an approach, a new foreign policy, that levels the players and invites the likes of  Chavez, the Castro brothers, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-Il and others down to active terrorists to test him.

Accepting a book –”The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent,” by Eduardo Galeana –  may seem inconsequential. But it’s an …

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More may consider run for governor

As political bombshells go, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s announcement this week that health problems force him to abandon a race for governor where he is the presumed front-runner is right up there with former Lt. Gov. Garland Byrd’s.

And, as with the apparent heart attack that took Byrd out of a 1962 governor’s race at the age of 38, the political world is thrown into a tizzy of debate, wonder and speculation. Byrd’s withdrawal was at first denied and was later followed by speculation that he might be an independent candidate for his old office.

Cagle’s decision to withdraw from the governor’s race but to remain in the lieutenant governor’s race has politicos and pundits scratching their heads. But no matter. That will sort itself out, too.

Interestingly for Byrd, the decision to leave a governor’s race that was ultimately won by Augusta State Sen. Carl Sanders over former Gov. Marvin Griffin, was the end of his career in elective office. He was defeated by Bo Callaway for …

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‘Bravo’ for Marines, ‘boo’ for dainty cars

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

  • Congratulations to DeKalb School Superintendent Crawford Lewis and his board for starting the DeKalb Marine Corps Institute come August. To those who resist it on any basis other than the usual neighborhood NIMBY-ism, shame on you.
  • I’m a believer, yes, that a touchy-feely foreign policy built on empty phrases will defang adversaries of the sort who put a young Afghan couple before a firing squad for falling in love and trying to elope.
  • When enforcement fails, throw in the towel. Mexico’s Congress debates legalizing marijuana for personal use. That’s what the U.S. will do with illegal immigration and states did with gambling. Decriminalize anything you can’t, or won’t, control — and maybe make a little money off it, too.
  • Spring enrollment at UGA reaches a record, almost 33,000. Smart. Who’d want to leave college and start looking for work in this economy?
  • MARTA bus flips in DeKalb. Though it was empty of passengers, 643 …

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The Tea Parties mattered

Certainly Fox News and other promoters were there and Wednesday night’s Tea Party at the State Capitol had a hint of self-promotion.  But that said, the Tax Day protest was an important coming-together of frustrated Americans who see their government spinning out of control.

With some irony, President Barack Obama chose the day to call for simplification of the tax code.  If the sentiment of this crowd was to be gauged correctly, simplification as framed by this President would be to include just one question and one directive on the 1040s:   1.  How much did you earn in 2008?  2. Keep a sum equal to the maximum weekly unemployment stipend in your state for food, shelter and incidentals and send the rest to Washington for redistribution.

This was an important coming together in the same way that the refusal by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for the $787 billion “stimulus” legislation was important.  It marked the point that fiscal conservatives and …

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It’s Tax Day. Protest.

At more than 20 locations around the state, including one tonight at the Georgia State Capitol, protesters fed up with wasteful federal spending and the tax burden that will result from it,  are taking to the streets — a very uncharacteristic act by conservatives.  We work, individually and in small groups, to effect change.  We don’t don message tee-shirts and march, unless it’s to raise money for worthy causes.

Georgia’s primary protest, starting at 7 p.m.  tonight at the State Capitol, features talk show hosts Neal Boortz and Sean Hannity.  The protets are all around the state, though, and continue at least through Saturday, with a rally in Ellijay with tax-cutting and small-business champion Joe McCutchen and BBQ king Oscar Poole leading the way. 

As an example of how widespread the grass-roots protests have become, look just at today’s schedule of events in the 10th Congressional District, which stretches from Athens to Augusta.  At 11 a.m., there’s a protest at Veterans …

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Republicans must skirt drama, keep eyes on office prize

Barring scandal, Georgia’s next governor will be Republican. It’s not a lock. A Democrat who can ignite the Barack Obama passion while steering to the right in the November election has a chance.

Republicans, too, could blow it with a series of legislative stupidities, but that’s not likely to happen. Yes, they didn’t give the business community and metro Atlanta government leaders the 1-cent sales tax option that they want, though they may next year. By now, however, transportation fixes fall to the next governor.

And should. To fix traffic congestion, eight years is no time at all.  The 1-cent sales tax, for all the hoopla, doesn’t buy much relief — and far less if it’s wasted .

Of the six Republicans, there’s no clear front-runner. Advantage should go to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle by virtue of office. He did improve his standing this session by avoiding the very public squabbles with House Speaker Glenn Richardson. Both helped themselves by calling attention to themselves as …

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On piracy, U.S. shows the way

America’s military demonstrates once again that when its given a clear mission and freed of political indecision, it performs admirably. 

The whole world needed to see the Easter Sunday rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips, whose ship the U. S.-flagged Maersk Alabama was boarded Wednesday by Somali pirates.  Navy Seal commandos killed three of the four pirates holding Captain Phillips during a nighttime move to end the threat they posed to him.

It was the best possible outcome.  Somali pirates hold about 230 foreign sailors and about a dozen ships.  Congratulations go first to the commandos, whose training and skill in taking out the pirates in choppy seas ended the five-day standoff that had nothing otherwise but bad possible outcomes.  The commander of the USS Bainbridge, Frank Castellano, likewise had the judgment and the training and instinct to give the command to fire.  And, of course, President Barack Obama deserves credit for allowing the military to do its job.

The …

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Rural voters may sway race for governor

The candidate most likely to be elected governor next year is the one who can carry rural Georgia.

Odds favor the Republican. No surprise. Georgia is a red state.

Barack Obama made it close. Excluding Jimmy Carter who carried Georgia twice, Obama got a higher percentage here (47 percent) than any other Democratic presidential candidate has since 1964.

Obama carried 34 of Georgia’s 159 counties, but only one – Athens-Clarke County – where blacks comprise less than 30 percent of registered voters. The star-alignment for Obama was unique.

It’s inconceivable that any other candidate could come close to repeating the Obama effect. A Democrat who can’t turn out a phenomenal percentage of the black vote in the general election probably shouldn’t plunk down the qualifying fee to run for one of the top two statewide offices on the ballot in 2010, governor and U.S. senator. And yet one who runs too far left to get it is dog food in the general election in November.

Latest of the …

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Obama’s bow, America’s eating woes

Thinking Right’s weekend free-for-all. Pick a topic:

  • Never thought I’d see this day: An American president bowing down to a foreign monarch, as Barack Obama did before Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. The White House denies it was a bow. Check it out on YouTube.
  • The news is filled with stories identifying some advocacy group as “fearing” that children will die, or some such, if any spending is cut anywhere. So here’s a clip-and-save headline. Just fill it in: “Advocates fear budget cuts will (blank).” Choices: a) destroy life as we know it. b) cost lives. c) put life at risk. d) force the cancellation of coffee service.
  • It may be a little windy, but the fishing ought to be good at the base of the proposed windmills that President Obama is pushing along the Atlantic coastline, including Georgia. Birds flying into them feed the fish below. Best potential for windmills is off the coast of Delaware, Massachusetts and other Northeastern states. There, U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy loves the …

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U.S. flagged ship. So what?

No respect. 

Even Somali pirates no longer fear the might of what was just months ago the world’s greatest super-power. In that bygone era, sea piracy directed against a vessel flying the American flag would have been unthinkable by the sane.  Why?  The evidence of 9/11 was before them.  Attack America and risk winding up in a deep dark cave or on the gallows.

There’s no doubt this Administration’s being tested. North Korea did it with a missile launch that provoked President Barack Obama to, well, nothing.  He spoke some of those empty words and phrases for which he’s become known, but no potential adversary could have been rattled by that. Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez yanked his chain by offering the Russians an island on which to base strategic bombers.  Joe Biden, for once, may have been right in his declaration that the new President would be tested within six months.

There’s no giant conspiracy here that runs from the Samoli pirates to world capitals.  It is, instead, an …

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