Archives for Politics

America needs a civic lesson

However you regard the outcome of the November 4 election, it was heartening to watch 125 million Americans cast their ballots at precincts from coast to coast.

Unfortunately, they and the many millions more who skipped the whole thing collectively know frightfully little about the government we just reaffirmed, the principles that under-gird it, and the basic documents in which those ideas are enshrined. Thus, Americans slouch into the 21st Century -- a free and confident people blissfully unaware of how we got here or how we shall continue our 232-year-old tradition of limited self-government.

Consider these staggering data:

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Obama’s false promise of change

President-elect Barack Obama promised the voters change but has started his Cabinet selection process by naming several Washington insiders to top posts.

Obama is enlisting former Senate leader Tom Daschle as his health secretary. Hillary Rodham Clinton, a well-known Washington personality, seemed more likely than ever to be his secretary of state. Clinton is deciding whether to take that post as America's top diplomat, her associates said Wednesday

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Get a grip liberals

When in doubt, blame the media. That used to be an over-used conservative tactic. Now it's being adopted, apparently, by the Kool-Aid imbibing Obama fans who are so blind to the Obamas' flaws that they scramble mightily to find someone other than the Obamas to blame for these flaws.

Let me state for the record I am neither conservative nor liberal, Democrat nor Republican, feminist nor anti-feminist. Philosophical or partisan labels make me nervous and are never entirely accurate if there is a functioning brain inside the person so labeled. We all think for ourselves and have beliefs that differ from doctrinal rigidity -- that is, unless we happen to be a partisan angling for a political appointment (the old, 'What's in it for me' routine.)

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The South: The GOP’s last stand?

In a nation turned blue, the South remains largely red. That's the takeaway from the 2008 election, and the Republicans' best hope for resurrecting their party.

John McCain, for all his political waffling and personal idiosyncrasies, still held on to the South. Except for Virginia and Florida (two states heavily infiltrated by Northerners) and North Carolina (a race so close it couldn't be called until three days after the election), the South remained solidly in the GOP column.

From Florida's Panhandle to Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee, McCain actually garnered a higher percentage of votes than George W. Bush did in 2004.

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Heading for isolation

Inexorably, the cocoon that Barack Obama will live in for the next four or eight years is tightening around him.

Already in Chicago there are concrete barriers around his house. The streets in the immediate neighborhood are closed to outside traffic. Worshippers at a nearby synagogue must go through metal detectors. And would-be renters in the neighborhood have to be cleared by the Secret Service. He no longer goes to the barber; the barber goes to him. And he travels in an armored limousine in a red-light-running motorcade.

And the cocoon will only get tighter.

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Private school may be the only choice

The moment president-elect Barack Obama and our new first lady began to shop around Washington, D.C., for a private school for daughters Malia and Sasha, proponents of school choice already had their eyebrows well prepared for elevation.

Columnist Cal Thomas commends the Obamas for resisting potential pressure from teachers unions to place their kids in one of Washington's "miserable" public schools. But he criticizes them for exercising a choice that -- he says -- they're willing to deny to millions of Americans who don't have enough money to send their own kids to private schools.

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Obama’s chance to really fix something

As America's strategic dialogue with Russia shifts into reverse over our planned missile defense in Eastern Europe, President-elect Obama has an opportunity to curtail this foolish turn of events, but only if he doesn't fear being labeled "soft" by hardliners hell-bent on protecting that astronomically costly boondoggle.

After spending vast sums, America now fields missile defense sites in Alaska and California that even ardent program defenders admit are rudimentary. If the envisioned program is completed deep into the next decade, missile expert Scott Ritter estimates the total cumulative cost could top a trillion dollars.

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Obama meets with McCain today

Once campaign rivals, President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are ready to talk about how they can collaborate on issues facing the country.

A private meeting, slated for Monday at Obama's transition office in Chicago, will be the first since Obama beat McCain, the Republican candidate, in the Nov. 4 election.

The meeting comes as Obama, who resigned his Senate seat on Sunday, has been interviewing some of his one-time political opponents to help him run the country.

Advisers to the former candidates have said they don't expect Obama to consider McCain for an administration job.

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John Podesta has seen it all

John Podesta, a leader of President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, was the Clinton administration official who worked to douse scandals, outmaneuver Republicans and keep Bill Clinton popular even through impeachment. He's now in charge of a 450-person staff whose experts — including Podesta himself — aren't always in sync with those of his new boss.

Podesta has proposed a different way to pay for universal health care than Obama — even though they both support a huge expansion of coverage. Both men say they also favor a transparent, open government that protects civil rights and liberties, but have different ways to get there.

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Obama reaches out to former rivals

Presidents typically say they want to be surrounded by strong-willed people who have the courage to disagree with them. President-elect Barack Obama, reaching out to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republicans, actually might mean it. Abraham Lincoln meant it. He appointed his bitter adversaries to crucial posts, choosing as war secretary a man who had called him a "long-armed ape" who "does not know anything and can do you no good." You could say his Cabinet meetings were frank and open. Richard Nixon didn't mean it. "I don't want a government of yes-men," he declared. But among all the president's men, those who said no did so at their peril. He went down a path of destruction in the company of sycophants.
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