As Americans, we enter 2009 riding a tidal wave of crisis: a plummeting economy, multiple wars and a nation torn apart by bitter partisanship.
Yet we ride that wave on a surfboard of hope driven by a new President, a promise of change and a commitment to approach our many problems by building coalitions and crossing the angry battle lines of partisanship.
It's no longer a question of "can we do it?" It becomes a mandate of "we must do it."Read More
The internal report prepared by President-elect Barack Obama's hand-picked investigator clears both the incoming President and members of his staff of any criminal role in the mushrooming scandal surrounding embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blogojevich.
I've read the report. It answers my questions and, according to various responses I've heard and read, it also answers the questions raised by most of the few who have the gall to question the President-elect.
I'm satisfied. Hopefully, now we can move on to the more important issues facing a nation in crisis.Read More
Barack Obama's first test of promised transparency in his new administration is anything but transparent.
He had a chance to prove his administration would not hide behind legalese and try to appease an issue by offering a less-than-full disclosure of both his and his staff's involvement in the escalating scandal over Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attempt to sell the appointment to the President-elect Senate seat.
Political hypocrisy shifted into overdrive this week when fanatical followers of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to torpedo the attempts of Caroline Kennedy to win appointment to the Senate seat Clinton will vacate when she becomes Secretary of State.
They launched web sites, organized email campaigns and flooded the New York governor's office with phone calls demanding the governor appoint someone "more qualified" to Clinton's Senate seat.
Many residents of the small Blue Ridge Mountain community that I call home in Southwestern Virginia work at the Volvo truck plant in nearby Pulaski.
Or at least they used to. Too many of them now eat breakfast at the restaurant near my office and scan the want ads, looking for work to replace the jobs they lost just as Christmas approaches.
For a dozen years - 1969 to 1981 - I covered Illinois politics as a reporter, columnist and photographer for The Alton Telegraph, a daily newspaper in the downstate portion of the Land of Lincoln.
I wrote about Paul Powell, the Illinois Secretary of State who died with more than 800 grand in cash stuffed in shoeboxes of his hotel room in Springfield, the state capital. I covered the antics of Dan Walker, the maverick Democrat who walked the length of the state as a campaign gimmick while promising to clean up the corrupt government of Illinois. He later went to jail for fraud.
The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has sent the American economy into free fall and moved the war in Iraq to the back burner.
Which is a good thing for President-elect Barack Obama because it detracts from another broken promise from the campaign of the nation's first African-American president.
The biggest obstacle that President-elect Barack Obama faces in his quest to unite America comes from partisans on both sides of the political fence.
Some Democrats already bitch that Obama's picks aren't liberal enough. Republicans complain he is too liberal and independents still don't know what to make of the first African-American President in this nation's history.
It doesn't matter what Barack Obama does with his Presidential appointments. They will make somebody unhappy.
Democrats are upset because he isn't stacking his cabinet with left-wingers bent on imposing an extreme radical agenda on American government.
Republicans complain that his cabinet isn't bi-partisan enough.
The right is mad. So is the left. Hell, even the centrists are bitching.
The unbounded joy from the Democratic side of the political universe these days is tempered by economic realities of a faltering nation.
America is in trouble -- deep trouble -- and we are not going to get out of it by simply accepting everything that Barack Obama does as gospel and blaming everything that's happened on George W. Bush.
Yes, Bush is a bad President, perhaps one of the worst in history, but the many problems that face this nation have been decades in the making and much of the relief that we see as Bush's administration comes to an end follows what many -- myself included -- felt at what we hoped was the end of a national nightmare when the Clintons packed up to leave the White House.