Michael Steele: Stupidest Comments Ever, or Just Top 5?

July 6, 2010

As you may be aware, Michael Steele, the chairman of the RNC, was caught on camera recently saying the war in Afghanistan was a war of “Obama’s choosing” and went on to suggest that it may not be winnable. I’ll pause so you can read that again. Got it? Yes, the GOP chairman has said that.

This has got to be the most ridiculous comment I have ever heard. If I were a member of that audience I would be profoundly insulted that he thought somebody might believe that. I’ve seen where he says the quotes are misconstrued, but I can’t envision any context in which that would make sense. Virtually everybody knows we went to war in Afghanistan after 9/11, when George W. Bush was President. This was, and to some extent still is, the popular war (relatively speaking). This is the one everybody agreed on at the time and many continue to do so. This is the war where we have international allies playing significant (again relative) roles.

My problem with Michael Steele here is two-fold. First, as I have alluded to, he must think he is talking to either very impressionable or very dumb persons. I say this giving Steele the benefit of the doubt that he isn’t trying to intentionally sound like a jackass. Second, and more important, the war in Afghanistan IS a war of our choosing. Even Jimmy Carter would have done something similar in this situation! Americans would and did demand decisive action after 9/11, and we, America, set out to take it. Bush’s war is in Iraq. Afghanistan is a conflict which has been mostly supported by Americans (especially immediately after 9/11), and I believe America has too much at stake not to be there.

If I had any say, I would call on Steele to resign because these comments show either a complete absence of good judgment or complete absence of intelligence; or, frighteningly enough, both.


Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, and The Race for Florida’s Senate Seat

June 29, 2010

When Florida Senator Mel Martinez announced he was stepping down from his post last August, current Governor Charlie Crist fairly quickly announced he would not seek reelection to that office and instead run for Martinez’s seat. Crist is a long-time political figure in Florida and has generally been viewed favorably by Floridians (the recession has hurt his approval numbers more recently). He was considered a lock to win the seat at the time. Along comes Marco Rubio riding a backlash of conservatism after Barack Obama is elected, and just a few months ago Governor Crist had to switch from Republican to Independent because it was clear Rubio would win the GOP primary.

So now you have the back story in case you were unfamiliar with the situation. Enter: this article. A great read from Adam Smith that really raises some interesting points. Most poignant, has Charlie Crist, in effect, benefited from the Gulf oil spill? And is Marco Rubio starting to lose momentum because he doesn’t have a primary opponent or is it because Floridians are beginning to learn more about him and his questionable history? Read the rest of this entry »

Fun With Surveys

June 22, 2010

This post may be a bit less political than others, but when I read this article from AP, I had to write about it. The article is basically just a bunch of interesting bits and factoids about Americans’ state of mind, opinions, beliefs, etc. It comes from the Pew Research Center and is really quite typical in terms of methodology; they surveyed 1,546 American adults over the course of a few days and the margin for error is +/- 3 points. Read through the post, my goal is to progress from the least interesting to the most curious bits from the article. Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on President Obama’s Address

June 15, 2010

President Obama just wrapped up his first nationally televised address from the Oval Office. The focus of the address was obviously the Gulf oil spill, but it contained a bit more than just that. Implicit in his speech was the selling of his leadership abilities and explicit was his call for a move away from fossil fuels to more renewable energy sources. My reaction just a few minutes after the speech would be to give it a 5 out of 10, and I’ll tell you why.

Obama reiterated the liability of BP regarding damages both environmentally and economically. The creation of a fund administered by a third party to ensure all legitimate claims are paid is a good idea, certainly better than leaving it to BP or the government doing it. However, I am skeptical as to the ability of anybody to compensate individuals and businesses in a timely manner. Will we really be able to replace what are typically stable (or relatively so) streams of income with what I would presume will be one-time payments somewhere down the road? If I was one of those firms that gave out loans based on future payments a person is entitled to, I would be moving to the Gulf coast. Read the rest of this entry »

America Needs More Choices

June 9, 2010

I hate the two party system. Virtually every single election in America (in my lifetime at least) is little more than a replay of the same old ideology. The same old ideas from the same old people for the most part. As a voter and a pragmatic centrist, I yearn for new candidates who bring fresh ideas and perspectives to America–and are viable.

Why aren’t there more viable third parties in America? I can’t think of any reason constitutionally or institutionally preventing this…maybe some of my more politically aware colleagues can cure me of my ignorance on this point. From my perspective, it all boils down to money which is tremendously unfortunate. There is no telling how many qualified candidates we’ve overlooked or discarded on the basis of them not fitting into one of the major parties (Charlie Crist is in danger of falling into this category). Read the rest of this entry »

I’m On Your Side, Israel

June 8, 2010

Israel (and Egypt up until a couple days ago) have a blockade around the territory of Gaza which is governed by the terrorist organization Hamas. Without the blockade, Hamas transports and smuggles things like weapons and concrete for bunkers, and they like to fire missiles indiscriminately at Israeli cities. Some folks, understandably so, feel the blockade is a bit heavy-handed and want to run the blockade to deliver humanitarian supplies. Such is the origin of the Turkey flotilla, as I’ve heard it called, which tried to run the blockade only to be boarded by Israeli commandos before reaching Israeli territorial waters. Something ensued, nobody is quite sure who started it, but it ended up with 9 dead activists and some injured Israeli soldiers. This has caused quite the stink in international news lately.

Well, I say good for you, Israel. Don’t give in to the international pressures for a U.N. investigation and what not. Can you imagine if Mexico or Canada were launching rockets at the southern U.S? Like we would not be clamoring for even more decisive action than what Israel has taken. If people want to fuss about Israeli soldiers opening fire on these supposedly peaceful activists, you’ll need to explain why they were carrying clubs and other weapons and seemed to attack as soon as the commandos boarded the ship. That doesn’t sound peaceful to me, and video appears to corroborate this sequence of events.

If people and/or organizations want to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, why are they refusing to allow the ship to be inspected at an Israeli port and then transported over land into Gaza? I don’t understand the problem there if humanitarian aid is truly the goal. Also, I get why they are sending some of the supplies, but concrete confuses me. Is there a huge humanitarian crisis resulting from a lack of concrete in Gaza? Maybe they build their homes with it, you say; use lumber, I say. Things just do not add up (and routinely so) when I hear or read about goings on in Israel and Gaza. Maybe it is a bit of blind faith, but I think Israel does well given their situation and I think people give way too much credibility to Hamas and associated organizations. As for me, I’m on your side, Israel.

What Are They Putting in the Water in Florida?

June 1, 2010

I just got back from another trip home to the sunshine state where I spent some good time with family and friends. One of the more interesting things I noticed while I was down there was the political advertisements for two candidates in particular. Jeff Greene, who is running for the same U.S. Senate seat as Charlie Crist, Marco Rubio, and Kendrick Meek, and Rick Scott, who is running for governor. The fact that these two retards are running for public office is the reason behind the title of this post.

Jeff Greene…let’s start with him. Perhaps not surprisingly, he is running on a platform of being a political outsider while touting his business credentials and past success. Upon closer look, one may discover that Jeff Greene amassed his fortune trading credit default swaps in real estate. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that is exactly the same thing that gets blamed for causing the whole financial market meltdown not too long ago. Millions of Floridians have had their homes foreclosed or are facing foreclosure as a result of the irresponsible lending and mortgage industries, but not Jeff Greene. He made a fortune off of it, and now he wants Floridians to elect him as a United States Senator. Perhaps it is a sincere effort to repay Floridians and Americans through public service…but if you’re willing and able to believe that then please send me an e-mail because I have a business plan I would like to discuss with you.

Rick Scott. A member of the GOP, running for governor against likely GOP nominee and current front-runner Bill McCollum. McCollum is the Attorney General of FL, a career politician I suppose–a fact which Rick Scott is quick to point out. Rick Scott? He founded and was the head of a company which owned hospitals which were found to have committed Medicare fraud. His company was ordered to pay the largest ever fine for this offense. It happened on his watch, he was CEO. What does he cite in his campaign commercials for why he should be governor of Florida? His “successful” business experience and his accountability, among others. One of his commercials mentions the history of his company (kind of hard to ignore it) and concludes with him saying the important part is that he was not charged with anything or fined personally, and oh yeah its important to learn from it and move on, like he has. So he is accountable…now.

Ridiculous. Somebody should inform these people, and whoever told them they should run, that simply NOT being a politician is not adequate qualifications public office. This anti-establishment fervor, for lack of a better term, is mucking up candidates who wouldn’t necessarily be a good public servant, rather just anybody rich enough to finance their ambition.

In my opinion, politicians and public servants should be individuals who the public can look to as a good example, people who value service to their state, community, and country. Instead, it seems like more and more these days we look to politicians for examples NOT to follow. People like Rick Scott and Jeff Greene.