Tag Archives: president

Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election

Barack Obama

First of all, I hope everyone reading this is safe, warm and dry.

What a difference a week (or day) can make!  Just think, a month ago, President Obama’s reelection seemed almost like a fait accompli and then, BAM!  Debate number one gave Mitt Romney an opening and he’s back from political death.  I blogged in 2008 that I thought he was going to win it all then.  There’s no excuse for taking their eye off the Romney ball the way Obama clearly did.

I do not want Romney to get to move into the White House.  Not even a little bit. Why?  Mostly because I have no idea who he is or what he stands for.  He was pro-choice before he was anti.  He was pro-health reform before he was anti and then pro again when it served him.  He has taken the whole “run to the right in the primary and then to the center for the general” to levels that I never thought were possible.  Really, Mitt?  You’re now proud of your Massachusetts health care plan?  And you really still think FEMA should be privatized?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  What day is it?

The Supreme Court could be enough of a reason for me to vote for Barack Obama.  But then I also remember that the president sets the tone for the entire federal government.  I think the Violence Against Women Act was a good idea and want our Justice Department to enforce it.  You know who doesn’t?  Most of the GOP.  And don’t get me started on binders and the GOP’s thoughts on rape.

Then there’s Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).  Full disclosure, I have a pretty huge crush on Ryan.  I

Congressman Paul Ryan (R,Wisconsin)

Congressman Paul Ryan (R,Wisconsin) (Photo credit: Tobyotter)

am not proud of it.  I don’t like it but… would I kick him out of bed?  Probably not.  If he could only stop talking and just sit around looking pretty, we’d all be better off.  If he is intent on talking, maybe he can just STOP writing.  I read his plans for Medicare and they are really, really bad.  And no, Joe Scarborough, he isn’t great for being the only one to propose something about the federal program which does need restructuring (we need to deal with health care costs, a voucher program is not the answer).  This is like, the neighbor’s house is on fire!  Somebody, do something!  Ahh, Paul Ryan brought doughnuts.  Doesn’t help with the fire, per se, but technically, he has done something.  And we want this guy to be a heart beat away from being president?  I may think he is some pretty nice (and very hydrated) eye candy, I don’t think he belongs in the White House.

And now, this storm may be a game changer.  (Do Mark Halperin and Jon Heileman have copywrite on that phrase? )  President Obama gets to look, well, presidential.  Something he needs to work on. Now, should he lose the election (and he might), there will be a ton of blame bantied about.  I will blame only one person; the president.  He looked so bored during that debate that I had a hard time watching it.  He made me like Chris Christie and that’s not a small feat.  At least he appreciates FEMA.  Fuck, anyone out there thinks privatizing that important agency makes sense?  It doesn’t.  And we want the guy who wants that to be president, I know I do not.

President Obama has not lived up to a lot of our expectations but truthfully, he never really had a shot at that.  Unless he could completely change the way we approach politics (a crazy high bar to reach), we weren’t going to be satisfied.  Part of this is also his fault.  The candidate of “hope and change” became the president of “it could have been worse.”  Not exactly awe inspiring.

But not terrible either.  I wish Obama had been more hands on when dealing with Congress, though I am not convinced that would have helped woo people like Eric Cantor, who clearly were going to oppose anything he proposed.

I guess in a week we will know.  Do I have to move to France?

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Kind of ironic bok title, huh?

Kind of ironic book title, huh?

Herman Cain, aka the pizza magnate and current flavor of the month in the GOP POTUS candidate, has made some interesting choices and statements. He seems to think running for president and selling books are not mutually exclusive activities.

To give him his due, the Cain campaign has bought a lot of his books so he is definitely selling a ton while running for president. And Governor Sarah Palin would tell you her VP run and the speculation about her possible 2012 run did not hurt her book sales but just because you can do something, does not mean you should.

This is not an anti-capitalist view I am trying to promote. Sell as many books as want but it seems a little unseemly to use a presidential run to do it. Any presidential campaign is really a multi-month (or year) job interview for the most (or one of) important jobs in the country. Nothing a candidate does will really prepare anyone to be president (and it’s not supposed to, you should be qualified to run before you make that decision) but it does give the nation a chance to get to know the would be candidates. This is not a time to bring anything but your A game. When you think about that, is this really the time to split your energy between running and doing anything else?

Running for president is hard. Not has hard as being the leader of the free world but it is hard. That’s why I criticized Cenk Uygar when he said that Mike Huckabee was “too fat and happy” to run. I have a lot of respect for people who admit that it takes a lot of time and energy to run and there are no guarantees. Good for you, Governor.

Governor Rick Perry has learned how much harder it is to run for national office (I believe he thought that his track record in Texas would prepare him better for the presidential race) than any state-wide. That’s one of the reasons he has said he may not take part in upcoming debates (not that his underwhelming performances have had any role, seriously, if you cannot stay awake past 8:00 pm, how can you be president?).

Congresswomen Michele Bachmann has learned this, too. Maybe that’s why her New Hampshire staff all quit in a huff. Maybe she thought she could make up facts as she goes along in this campaign the way she does every other time she opens her mouth but it doesn’t seem to be working as well as she thought.

So we come back to the current front-runner (in national polls, though, not the state polls, where it matters more), Herman Cain. It is worth noting that the title of this post could also refer to Godfather’s pizza. With all due respect to Chicago deep dish pizza lovers, you can theoretically make pizza outside of New York, but why would you?

Full disclosure, which is pretty obvious to anyone who has met me or read what I write, I am a liberal Democrat and have every intention of voting for President Obama. Having said that, I think having two robust parties and a vigorous discussion about where we want the country to go, is in everyone’s best interest. I was really impressed when Governor Chris Christie said that he believes in “small government, lower taxes and less regulation,” not because I agree with ANY of that, in fact I do NOT, but that’s where our conversation should be.

Herman Cain is not advancing our political discourse at all. His economic plan (the “9/9/9” or “9/0/9”) would be disastrous. His ignorance of foreign policy is scary. It is his lack of interest in running for office, while he runs, that bothers me the most. With little or no campaign infrastructure, few details on his policy proposals and a general laissez-faire attitude towards the process, I am left with the thought that if he doesn’t care about his campaign, why should anyone?

My faith in our system is being tested

The Art of the Possible by Michael Crawford in the New Yorker

My faith in our political system is pretty strong.  I was nothing short of devastated when the Bush v. Gore decision was read but it didn’t make me think President George W. Bush was an illegitimate president.  When you work on campaigns, sometimes your candidate loses.  You know that going in.  Doesn’t make it any easier. (It don’t mean the world has ended a Biblical ‘end of days’ like some people suggested when Barack Obama moved into 1600 Penn Avenue).

Recently, my faith has been shaken.  I always thought that when push came to shove, our leaders would do just that.  This long, painful back and forth and he said/she said spring has been agonizing.

I understand that people can look at the same thing and come to different conclusions without either of them being crazy.  I cling to the idea that reasonable people can disagree without being unreasonable.  I understand the urge to want the people you elect to not compromise but there’s comes a time when that is what you have to do.  This is one of those times.

It is perfectly understandable for the people in Congress who want to see a smaller government see an opportunity here.  If that was their real goal, and it would have been perfectly understandable if they had told the White House, “Look we understand we are going to have to look at the debt ceiling.  We are concerned that if we let this opportunity to really trim government spending, without raising taxes, we will have failed ourselves and our constituents, we will not do that.  Will you work with us?” (They could have just as easily taken that to the Democrats in Congress).

That conversation would have happened months ago, when there was more than two weeks to do everything under the sun.

I have two reasons to see posturing now.  The first is this debt ceiling is on spending that has already been approved.  The Republicans are just as likely to tell you they were no less in favor of spending when they were in total control of the White House and Congress.  The linkage between the debt itself and the debt ceiling is only valid when frame it as above.

The second problem is that campaigning and governing are two very different things. They require different skills sets and priorities.  When they collide, strange thing happen.  As everyone in Washington likes to quote, Senator Moynihan said, “You have a right to your own opinion but not your own facts.”  It may be a pleasant thing to think that nothing bad will happen on August 3rd should we fail here I don’t think that’s teh case.

I am loathe to bring up Michelle Bachmann here because anyone who has ever met me or read about me knows I do not agree with her political ideology.  My bigger issue — and I know everyone makes gaffes, even Joe Biden whom I like a lot — is her wanton disregard for facts (the founding fathers did not fight tirelessly to end slavery and the ‘shot heard round the world’ was not in New Hampshire) and should we fail to raise the debt ceiling, it will do terrible things to our already fragile economy.

I suspect, our leaders will do the right thing but this has been hard to endure.