Tag Archives: election

Who would Reagan endorse?

Every Republican candidate has referenced President Reagan at some point.  All want to be seen as being the most like their icon.  After watching most of the debates, as you know, there have been many.  If Reagan were here today, he would endorse (drum roll, please): Jon Huntsman.

While his level headed and non-rabid demeanor has made many paint him as a liberal, he is not.  He is pro-life.  He has a 100 percent approval rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  He worked for President Obama, sure, but he has also worked for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  He served two terms as governor of Utah. Those are not liberal bonafides.  You don’t have to take my word for it — and I am a liberal so you shouldn’t (it’s all about perspective, you know).  But Haley Barbour knows a thing or two about politics and conservatives and has said this:

Jon Huntsman and I served together, and while we don’t agree on some issues, there’s no question that he’s a conservative. He’s way to the right of Barack Obama for goodness sake. But yeah, I consider Jon a conservative. As I said, we have some issues that I think are important that we have different views on. But he was in the Reagan administration, elected governor of a very conservative state — elected and re-elected by the way. So if you’re asking me if Jon Huntsman is qualified to the Republican nominee for President of the United States, the answer is, of course he is.”  View it here.

Plus, Huntsman did a good job.  Taxes went down.  Job creation went up.  The Pew Center on the States found that Utah was the “best managed states” under his tenior.

And Huntsman has solid foreign policy experience and knowledge.  We live in an increasingly interconnected world.  We need someone at the help who will not need to rely on advisors in high level meetings with foreign leaders — they will not be in the room.

President Ronald Reagan — and I can assure you waxing nostalgic for him is something I never thought I would do — would look at the current crop of GOP candidates and pick Jon Huntsman because he is a competent, pragmatic, intelligent and thoughtful person.  He has been consistently conservative.  To my friends on the right, being rabidly anti-Obama doesn’t make you conservative, it makes you rabidly anti-Obama.  There are plenty of lefties who are upset with him, too.

But what about the fact that Huntsman worked for President Obama?  Reagan started off as a Democrat but more than that, he saw the value in working with the other side of the aisle.  Tip O’Neil never would have given a press conference saying that “Democrats and Republicans are drom different planets.”  Never. Would. Have. Happened.

As for the rest?  Mitt Romney would be a second choice, if we could figure out WHICH Mitt Romney would be headed to the White House.  After that, I almost thing Reagan would stay home rather than vote for someone proud of their ignorance.  Yes, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry — I am talking to you.  Newt Gingrich?  Believes his own PR too much and will self-destruct — we want a winner here, people.  Ron Paul & Rich Santorum, right, like that’s gonna happen.

I want President Obama win reelection but having Jon Huntsman as his rival — as scary as that might be for Democrats as he has the best chance of any of them to win the general, it would move our conversation to a better, more productive place.

Every four years, we have the opportunity to look at our government and decide how we want to govern ourselves, who we want to be as a people and what we can do — together — to solve our problems.  We have serious issues that deserve more of our attention that birth certificates or fighting over who knows less about what.

Seriously, when did this start bothering you? Yesterday?

Wow.

This used to be one of my favorite photos of myself. Today? Not so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this Congressman Anthony Weiner situation had happened at a different time, I would have felt differently.  (I should point out before I continue that I have been pretty merciless in my criticism of John Edwards, someone I supported and worked for and when I started doing stand-up used to say “Every time I think this story cannot get any douchier, it does.”  That joke is as true today as it was two years ago when I wrote it).  The calls from the right for Weiner to resign and the “outrage” they have been falling over themselves to express sickens me.

You see, I have a few other scandals kicking around in my head making me put this in perspective.  There is neither rhyme nor reason to the order I am using.

America’s Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.  The cheating really isn’t what bothers me.  He and his then-wife – Donna Hanover – were having very public problems.  This is none of my business.  Not until this happened; Ms. Hanover was doing an interview where she told of how they were “trying to work things out.”  As she says this, the channel goes to a split screen with the mayor giving a press conference that he was in the process of serving her with divorce papers.  Yes, that’s how she learned she was getting a divorce.  Ouch.  Where is he now?  Considering a second run for president.  Oh, he was a crappy mayor, too.

The GOP “ideas” guy, Newt Gingrich.  Three marriages and countless pieces of Tiffany’s jewelry later, everyone’s favorite “intellectual” and serial adulterer, divorced one of his wives while she was recovering in the hospital from cancer.  Doonesbury ran a cartoon of this at the time with Newt telling her to “Press hard, woman, you’re making three copies!”  Where’s this family values former Speaker?  Again, running for president.

The Governator.  Known for decades as groping women on film sets and press junkets around the globe, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “recent” antics should shock no one (not the LA Times who reported on this when he ran for governor).  Think it gets worse than fathering a child with your maid, who continues to work for you and bring her son who looks just like you to the house you share with your wife and children?  Oh, it does.  Reports have indicated when confronted with his – is it indiscretion at this point? – situation he told Maria Shriver that she had to move out.  Oh, and the premise of his new animated series (from the press release issued the week this story broke) is that a governor is living a dual life – as governor during the day and super hero at night – he even keeps a separate and secrete home under the home he shares with his wife and family that he doesn’t even tell them about.  And where is he?  Right, starring in a new Terminator movie.  He said he would be back…

David “Acorn shouldn’t get funding because they support prostitution and only I am allowed to do that” Vitter.  In 2007, the world learned that Senator David Vitter was a client of the “DC Madam.”  He had been a “client” from 1999-2001(he was in the House of Representatives where he was serving in the seat vacated when Bob Livingston – at the time Speaker – resigned following his own adultery scandal, for which Vitter praised him saying “This is what Bill Clinton should have done.”  If that doesn’t make your head spin, what does?).  The main difference between Vitter’s support of prostitution and Acorn’s is the latter was investigated and found to be false while the only standing between Vitter and a  criminal prosecution for his crimes is the statute of limitations.  Where is he?  The US Senate.

Henry Hyde – my personal favorite.  This is an oldie but goodie.  Congressman Henry Hyde – one of the chief prosecutors of the Clinton impeachment – admitted he cheated on his wife but explained it as being a “youthful indiscretion.”  He was 51 when that happened.  I have tons of time to do dumb stuff and claim it was all because of my youth.  The former Congressman has passed – at 83 after retiring with a full pension and some pretty sweet health insurance.

What people do in their private lives – no matter how public they have made their lives – is private.  None of what I wrote about is any of my business.  I was never going to vote for any of them (except John Edwards).  When Eric Cantor – Minority Whip and lead “you need to resign, Weiner!” point person – was asked about Vitter, John Ensign (affair with employee that was covered up with payments to his best friend and her husband) and Mark Sanford (flew to Argentina with state funds to have an affair) he said “We are a party of ideas, not personalities” – it makes my skin crawl.

So, no, I don’t think Anthony Weiner should resign.

All these cheaters deserve to live (but not work!) here.

My “Morning Joe” week & my monthly call for civility in politics

I write posts like this often enough that I feel a bit like a broken record but I am not going to be deterred.

This morning, someone sent me an article that lambasted Bruce Springsteen’s “41 Shots” and said he supports the killing of cops.  He continued to say “IF YOU LIKE KILLING COPS, YOU ARE A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT.”  (Emphasis HIS)  As a liberal Democrat, who does not support cop killing but lived in NYC at the time of the incident that inspired that song I think the writer has really misunderstood the situation (in the interest of full disclosure, I will blog about my thoughts about that sometime this week).

If we are going to succeed at turning things in this country around, both parties need to stop seeing each other as adversaries and more like partners.  If our economy tanks this summer, for example, it won’t be only blue or red states that are hurt; it be all of us.

While this is not solely the media’s fault, it isn’t helping.  Shows where people yell over each other or merely wait for their turn to talk without listening – these are not discussions, they are debates.  And no one really learns anything.  That was my problem with “Crossfire.”  I knew where each person stood on each issue and it became a huge waste of my time.

One thing about the popularity of some shows now that baffles me is that I hate being yelled at.   I don’t want other people’s opinions screamed at me (after admitting my political affiliation, it should be a given that I am not a big fan of FOX News) but I don’t need to have my own yelled at me either.  I am pretty clear on where I stand; I don’t need Ed Schultz to holler it at me.  And for the record; Keith Olbermann makes my ears bleed.  When my TV yells at me, I end up yelling back and I really don’t need my neighbors to think I have lost it.

Joe Scarborough

And now we come to the “Morning Joe” portion of my point.  I love this show.  LOVE IT.  It has even eclipsed “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” (love that, too but I don’t watch it for three hours a day, five days a week.)  This is something that I never thought I would write.

The show’s creator, Joe Scarborough, is a former politician.  He was elected in 1994 to represent Florida’s first congressional district and was part of the “Republican Revolution” that year.  This was not a freshman class of moderate and liberal Republicans.  It was a bunch of fire breathing conservatives.  My first job was for Senator Feinstein (D-CA) and that’s where I was working when he took office.  From my side of the aisle, he looked a bit fringy.   I am not alone in this theory – he has said it, too.  One of my friend – a former Congressman himself, one who was the only member of the Conservative Party when he was in the House asked me, “How can YOU like Joe Scarborough he was a right-wing nut job in Congress!”

One belief that I will surrender only upon my death is one of the reasons I like Scarborough.  When I meet someone who is active politically, either on a professional or volunteer basis, I assume (until/unless I am given reason to think otherwise) that they are in this business for the same reason I am – to make the country and world a better place.  If you start conversations with people who disagree with you assuming that makes them Hitler, you are never going to get anywhere.  If you start from the position that your disagreements are more akin to having differing opinions about the route you should take to the same destination, you can have a real discussion.  Have you ever heard of someone thinking someone else was evil because you thought you should take one road to the grocery store and they thought you should go another way?  No?  Right, because it is a ridiculous thought.

Mika Brzezinski

“Morning Joe” provides these kinds of discussions.  From the hosts themselves – Scarborough, Mike Brzezinski and Willie Geist – to the guests they bring on, the topics they discuss and the atmosphere they provide, real ideas can be exchanged and I learn something every morning.  I have not been keeping track of how often I agree with Scarborough on his politics but it’s not often but then again, agreeing with me has never been a prerequisite for me liking someone.  I have no patience for that sort of thing.

Willie Geist

So why was this week more of a “Morning Joe” week?  Well, I’ll tell you.  (My job does require me to keep up on the news but even if it did not, I am a total political/news junkie and all around nerd, I know this already, no need to tweet me about it.)

On Wednesday, I went to a Politico event on Capitol Hill.  Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were doing a book signing for her new book, “Knowing your value.”  I have never recommended a book as much as I recommend this one.  At first, I thought that I wanted to buy it for all the women I have ever – or will ever – meet but now I just want to buy it for the entire planet.  I was able to talk to both and it was really fun.  So when I was thinking about writing my monthly plea for people to remember we are all really on the same side, “Morning Joe” seemed like a good example of a way we can communicate and not just yell.   You can download part of the book from iTunes here.  You can also buy it from Amazon here.

As cheesy as this feels to end with, I often think about President Clinton’s line that “There’s nothing wrong with America that cannot be fixed by what’s right with America.”  I think we can say the same about our political system.

My post mortem on the Trump candidacy

Donald Trump was never in the 2012 presidential campaign for the long haul.  I am not saying he had no interest in being president, I think he did.  He probably still does.  But this is my take of how this all went down.

 The 2012 campaign began almost the day after the election in 2008 but it really started up after the 2010 campaign.  Speculation about who was going to run on the GOP side seemed to be everywhere.  If there is anyone who understand the adage that “no press is bad press,” it’s Mr. Trump.  I grew up on Long Island where we seemed to get a ring side seat to the Trump Show.  I think he had been asked to do this and thought his campaign would be credible; a credible stunt.    Now, because he has a considerable ego, had been considering this, maybe his real interest was at 10 percent.  Anyone who has worked on a presidential campaign has seen the cottage industry that springs up when someone looks like they are running for president.  Would be candidates end up surrounded by a growing chorus of people telling him to run.  I used to wonder about candidates who have no chance, do they have no one in their life who can tell them this is a bad idea?  No, no there is not.

 So after a bit of this, Mr. Trump’s seriousness may have grown but I can guarantee that he did some checking into this – before he announced he was looking into it – and one of the very first things he would have learned,  was that he would have to release his financials and anyone who has ever really followed his career understands that this was never going past the summer.  Add to that his discomfort at shaking hands (a campaign must-do) and hatred of being seriously questioned (another campaign must-do) and you’ve got your three strikes.

 I think Mr. Trump started this thinking it would get decent press and raise ratings (can they ever be too high?  Not to him).  He starts out talking about the issues that he thinks makes him a credible candidate – the economy and our relationship with China.  He makes progress in the polls but the progression is more of a stable growing of support (good for politics, not so much for TV ratings) but not the meteoric rise he was looking for (bad for a campaign of a year and a half but good for TV ratings).  What’s been the hottest topic for many on the right?  President Obama’s birth certificate.  Mr. Trump takes a hard turn right and into loonie land, his polls numbers soar and the media eats this up like crazy.

 Note to the news media:  you have what, 17 months left of this campaign to cover?  Ask yourselves if you took his candidacy more seriously – or claimed to – to give you an excuse to cover something interesting.  If your answer is that he repeated (over and over and over) how serious he was – his stunt would not have worked without that.  If you really believed this, you would take Chris Christie at his word when he tries to make that same claim the other way.  Oh, and I also have a bridge in Brooklyn that you might be interested in.

 With his poll & ratings numbers soaring (not sure about his actual show but he dominated the 24 hour news cycle), the White House sees some of the crazy rhetoric is having an effect on what average people were starting to think about the President’s place of birth.  They release the long form certificate.  Mr. Trump is a allowed a small victory lap before his Icarus (thank you Chris Cillizza) candidacy crashes to earth.  We all know what happened next, Mr. Trump is eviscerated a few days later at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and to add that last nail, his NBC show is interrupted by the announcement that President Obama caught and killed Osama bin Laden.  Done.

 I would like to draw a clear comparison between this media type candidacy and that of Mike Huckabee.  Governor Huckabee was the clear front runner, which means as much as that can in 1.5 years out.  He also wanted to be president but this is a long grueling process.  One thing I always try to remind people about campaigns is that there are two things that you always run out of.  While you can theoretically make more money (as hard as that is), you can’t get more time.  Once the race starts, you get a finite amount and that’s all you get.  I think he looked at his life and weighed the real chances – even locking in the GOP nod would not guarantee him the prize, and it probably just seemed to be too much.  I am only laying all that out to show just how genuine his reasons for ending his campaign were.  No, Cenk Uygur, he did not “get too fat and happy to run.”  That’s just petty and mean.

 PS.  Dear Mr. Trump, this might be a good time to revisit that plan you had to save the Mets.  That’s a financial/sad situation that really might need you.