Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin for VP

For the first time in a number of months I am once again excited about the Presidential Race. I was certain McCain was going to pick either Romney or Pawlenty. The more I look into the Governor from Alaska, the more excited I get. She is a true conservative. That will turn some people off, and excite others. She has only been in elected government for a few years, but she has some very clear opinions on a variety of issues. She is pro-life, her oldest son is about to go to Iraq, she is a lifetime NRA member, she has been billed as a “reformer” and has the experience to back it up. She supports developing America’s resources to provide energy independence. She got elected as Governor of Alaska by first defeating the incumbent Governor in the Republican primary, and then defeated a former Governor in the general election. She has a history of attacking both Republicans and Democrats when they make wasteful decisions in government.

She abandoned the “Bridge to Nowhere project”. She said that if Alaska needed a bridge, they would pay for it. I really admire that opinion at the State and Local level. Just imagine: an official who doesn’t believe the Federal Government is the solution to every problem. She is against gay marriage, while defending homosexuals from discrimination.

There has been a lot of criticism of McCain for picking someone with as short a resume as hers, when Republicans have been pointing out how thin Obama’s own resume is. I think there are two very large differences between Sarah Palin’s resume and Barack Obama’s. First, Palin was a Governor, not a Senator. That is a very important difference. As Governor, you are the one ultimately responsible for your state. As a Senator, you delegate, or work with others to pass laws that the executive branch then enforces. You may or may not agree with Mrs. Palin, but you can look at her experience and see exactly where she stands on most issues. The same thing can’t be said for Obama.

Secondly, she is the nominee for Vice President, not President. As President, Obama is the leader of the Executive branch of the U.S. government, and the leader of his party. As Vice President, Sarah Palin would only become President in the event something happened to McCain. Presumably, she would have some time in the office of Vice President before taking on the mantel of President. She will also be able to pick a Vice President to work with her that compliments her, much as Obama has chosen with Biden.

At the end of the day, voters will have to decide who they like more; Obama / Biden or McCain / Palin. I am very excited about the Republican ticket. I think a number of voters are going to start supporting McCain and Palin the more they learn about her.

I also think it is important to take a step back today. No matter which ticket is elected in November, we are truly living in historic times. If the Democrats win, the first Black man will have been elected President. If the Republicans win, the first female Vice President will have been elected. Both of these are historical firsts, and both dramatically change Presidential politics starting with their elections. Never again will the office of President and Vice President be the exclusive domain of old white men. For this, we as Americans should be proud.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Quick Notes: Biden and Russia

Once again, it is time for an exciting issue of Quick Notes. There has been some "exciting" news on the Presidential front, and some distrubing news on the international front. On to my thoughts...

Democratic VP Candidate Joe Biden: After a really poor performance by the chosen one last Saturday at Saddleback, Presidential candidate Obama tapped Joe Biden for his VP candidate. I think the best you can say for this pick is that it was a "safe" pick. Biden is a little closer to the middle of the road than Obama. Of course, Obama is so far out in left field it doesn't take much to get closer to the middle. Biden has some of the same "elitist" baggage that Obama has. During the announcement today, Sen. Obama introduced Sen. Biden as the next President. "President" Biden then refered to Obama as Barack America. I am hoping for a number of slip ups like this over the next couple of days to really make the DNC convention exciting.

Russia: Russia has pulled some troops out of Georgia, and entrenched others. I think very few people believe that Russia is ready to give up Georgia. Russia now controls the port of Poti. I believe this gives Putin control of oil shipments leaving Georgia. At the very least, it is a huge hold on what comes and goes to Georgia.

Talk and threats aren't going to work to get Russia out of Georgia. It is time for the United States, the United Nations, and NATO to act. I purpose the following response:

First, the International Olympic Committee needs to remove the 2014 Olympic Games from Russia. These games are set to be held a few miles from Georgia. There is no better insult to democracy than to go through with them. A boycott isn't enough. Athletes shouldn't be penalized for the actions of a nation that acts like this. The games could be sent to somewhere else, somewhere that might send a clear message to Russia. Perhaps the Ukraine?

Second, The G-8 should immediately disolve and reconstitute itself as the G-7, minus Russia. This has been an imperial grab by mother Russia, and Putin needs to know the other nations of the world will not accept this.

Third, the Ukraine and other former Soviet states should be offered expidited admittance into NATO. If Russia's actions are a message to tell the U.S. and NATO to back off, our response should be clear. We will not back down from bullying tactis.

Finally, Russia has been very unhappy with the missle agreement the U.S. has agreed to with Poland. We should offer the same agreement to the Ukraine.

Russia wants to make a play to control all oil in that part of the world, and control all of the former Soviet states. The rest of the world needs to show mother Russia that the days of the empire are done. If Russia wants to be part of the mature world, it needs to act like it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The following is from the "debate" on Saturday night at Saddleback Church:

Question: Senator Obama, as a pastor I have to deal with this all the time, all the pain, all the conflicts. I know it is a very complex issue. Forty million abortions. At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?

Senator Obama, presumptive Democratic nominee for President of the United States: "You know, I—I, eh, er – I think that whether you're looking at this from a theological perspective or, uh, a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, uh, you know, is above my pay grade."

Is that really the best answer Senator Obama could give? This is a presidential debate, and Obama can't give an answer to this question. Anyone who has thought about this issue has an answer for it. I would like to think that Senator Obama had some sort of answer to this question when he voted against abortion legislation as an Illinois State Senator. Rich Lowry writes today:

"In 2007, Obama told the Planned Parenthood Action Fund that the Freedom of Choice Act would be the first piece of legislation that he would sign as president. The act would not only codify Roe v. Wade, but wipe out all current federal, state, and local restrictions on abortion that pass muster under Roe, including the Hyde Amendment prohibiting federal funding of abortion. This is not the legislative priority of a man keenly attuned to the moral implications of abortion."

This is the "legislative priority" of a man who has a very definite belief on abortion. As a state senator, Obama voted a number of times against pro-life legislation. In the Illinois Senate, he voted against protecting the rights of babies who survived an abortion and were born. Think about this point for a minute. A baby survives an abortion and is born into the world. However, because the mother intended for the baby to be aborted, the doctor should kill the baby. Most people would do whatever they could to protect this newborn baby. Obama voted against protecting the baby more than once. He felt these babies had no rights and deserved no protections. He thought doctors shouldn't be required to provide life saving treatments to babies who were outside the womb.

His answer Saturday night was dishonest and repulsive. For someone who is running for President of the United States to take a serious question about a serious issue such as abortion and simply respond with, "…that is above my pay grade," should show the American people that the Senator is not ready to be President. Maybe we should all do Senator Obama a favor and keep him at his current pay grade in November so he won't be overwhelmed with these questions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Book Review: Dark Horse

Of the 24 books I have reviewed on this site, only one was a fictional book. That should say that a fictional book has to be something pretty impressive for me to review it on here. Ralph Reed's first fictional book, Dark Horse: A Political Thriller, qualifies as something impressive. Dark Horse is a political thriller set in a present day election. The book opens up at the Democratic Convention where the presumptive nominee, California Governor Robert Long, has the nomination stolen from him at the last minute. But as the dust settles, and some questionable facts emerge regarding the Democratic nomination (and the delegation from Virginia) Robert Long starts to consider the unthinkable: an independent Presidential bid.

The book follows the election as the three candidates (Republican, Democratic, and Independent) battle for the White House. The story is told from the perspective of those closest to the candidates; their strategists. Many of the issues covered in this fictional election could easily have been taken from the current election. There were a number of times I recognized similarities between characters in the book, and members of real life presidential politics. Mr. Reed has the experience to make the book feel like a real election. Reed served as a senior adviser to the 2000 and 2004 Bush campaigns, was chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and has been the executive director of the Christian Coalition. But don't think this is a propaganda piece for the Republican party. Two of my favorite characters in the book (and ultimately the main characters) are Democrats.

Dark Horse is a very easy read. The story is action packed with scandals hitting each of the candidates, political espionage, and an attempted terrorist attack on U. S. soil during the election. The main characters feel like real people. They aren't good or bad, but like most of us, have good and bad qualities.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense or any type of "thriller" book. The cover says it is a "political thriller", and I thought it was a page turner. I hope Mr. Reed writes a sequel using some of the characters from this book. Who knows, there is always the bid for a second term.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Return of Mother Russia

Russia has continued the war in Georgia, despite a EU brokered cease fire. This is likely to continue to get nasty, so I thought I would give my readers a quick history lesson, and bring everyone up to date on the latest reports from Georgia. I would also be disappointing my readers if I didn't weigh in on my thoughts as to what the motives are behind Russia and what the next steps in this conflict could be.


Georgia declared its independence just before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Around the mid 1990's, Abkhazia and South Ossetia began to have significant separatist movements. Prior to last week, these areas had been functioning independent of Georgia. Russia has had significant influence in the disputed areas including involvement in the government, stationing "peace keepers" in these areas, and even issuing Russian passports to residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Last week, Georgia decided it was tired of the attacks into it from the South Ossetia region and sent in it's military to try and bring the area under control. They failed. Russia responded to the attack by sending it's own military into both disputing regions, and then launching a campaign into Georgia.


Russia now has complete control of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Rumors prior to today said that the Russian military either controlled or had encircled the city of Gori. Between capturing Gori and launching an attack from Abkhazia, Russia now controls the major East West highway in Georgia, effectively splitting the nation in two. Up until yesterday, Russia stated there would be no more military operations, that Georgia had been punished enough.

Today found the Russian army moving towards the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. Reports in the capital were getting messages to, "Get out now!" Russia has also cut off the capital from Georgian Ports. This evening, it appears that the Russian military did take control of Gori. The original claims by Russian officials that they had not take Gori were based on splitting hairs on how you define the term "capture a city".

Now What?

It looks as if Russia may be intending to annex not just South Ossetia and Abkhazia (something they have wanted for a long time), but Georgia as well. Georgia also has the only major pipeline that brings oil from the Caucasus to the West outside of Russia. I think Prime Minister (Tzar?) Putin may be hoping to destroy it before this is done. Whatever Putin's motives, this war is a clear signal to the world and to the former Soviet Nations: Russia is the big gun on that side of the world and if former Soviet countries make attempts to join NATO, or become close with Europe and the U.S., watch out.

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has been dispatched to France and then Georgia to try and negotiate a settlement. She will be working with the French to do this. Hopefully this cease fire will go over better than the last one. I expect any settlement will include Russia controlling South Ossetia and Abkhazia at a minimum. At the end of the day, Putin and Mother Russia will have invaded a free and democratic nation, and will be rewarded for their effort. I hope I am wrong, but I don't believe the EU or the United Nations are strong enough to force Russia back inside her own borders. My one hope is that immediately after a cease fire that holds, NATO will grant immediate membership to any of the previous Soviet states that want it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quick Notes -- Gang of 10, Energy, and Georgia

The late William F. Buckley once said, "I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University." I wish to change that just a little. After watching the campaigns of both Senator Obama and Senator McCain, I would rather be governed by a random lottery of 1000 people in the United States than our current elected Congress and Senate. I have lamented many times that neither Obama nor McCain represent the best from their parties. This week has further depressed me on the ability of our currently elected representatives. This means you get to enjoy a somewhat expanded version of Quick Notes.

Energy. Without looking at the polling data, I think it is safe to say that Energy has become the number one issue of the election. This can always change. On a daily basis, I see more in the paper, on radio, and on TV about energy and gas prices than any other issue. There are a number of positions out there. Obama wants to stop using oil in our country in the next ten years. He also wants to give "middle class families" a $1000 check to help with prices at the pump. How would he pay for this? With windfall profit taxes on big oil companies. If we put profit taxes on oil companies, what do we really think will happen to the price of gas?

McCain has been better on this issue. He has changed his position on off shore drilling. He wants to increase nuclear power in the U.S. He even wants to increase our alternative energy production. I agree with these issues, but don't believe they go far enough. I am an "all of the above" kind of guy. I believe we need to drill for oil in our country wherever we believe it is economically feasible. If that means off shore, in ANWR, or in the Grand Canyon, then do it. We need to build more nuclear power plants in the U.S. If France can get 80% of their energy from nuclear power, why can't we. The Pickens Plan calls for more wind energy. I am skeptical, but the plan calls for it to be financed 100% from private sector funds. Any alternative energy that private financiers want to go for, I support. They use their money, they drive the market, and if they are successful, they should reap the profits. This is Capitalism at it's best.

This is a long winded way of saying that there is an issue out there that both McCain, and the Republicans can win on this year. Conventional wisdom is that this year, Obama should win, and the Democrats should pick up seats in both the House and the Senate. Imagine turning that on it's head. However, into this discussion steps...

The Gang of 10. Democrats aren't the only one trying to drive a stake in the discussion of off shore drilling. 5 Republicans in the Senate have joined the fray. There is a great article on this at Get Drunk and Vote 4 McCain. If you follow politics, and are a conservative Republican, all you need to hear is Lindsey Graham and bipartisan compromise. These two phrases generally mean Democrats get what they want, and Republicans get screwed. The Gang of 10 plan allows off shore drilling, but only in a few states, and with the permission of those states. It bars drilling in ANWR, it provides $84 billion of tax incentives for alternative fuels that are paid for with new taxes on oil companies. These senators have decided they can tax certain companies to provide incentives to their competitors. Imagine Congress taxing Microsoft and giving the money to Apple. Or taxing Starbucks and giving the money to McDonald's. It is arrogant, unwise, and against the very nature of our market economy. The five Republicans, Graham (R-SC), Chambliss (R-GA), Isakson (R-GA), Thune (R- SD), and Corker (R-TN), have shown a colossal lack of judgment.

Georgia. Turning to world events, Russia has started a full scale war with the nation of Georgia. This is a very complicated matter that I may more fully explain in a future post. However, something to keep an eye on is the possibility of a nuke being used in this engagement. When the Soviet Union collapsed, 5000 small nuclear weapons went unaccounted for. The government of Russia said they were destroyed, and that all evidence of their destruction, and all correspondence ordering their destruction was also destroyed. In addition, Georgia was sitting on some nuclear weapons, which they turned over to Russia in exchange for U.S aid. In both of these cases, there is a chance that some nuclear weapons (some as small as 44 lbs) may be in the hands of the Georgian government, or some of the smaller groups fighting in this engagement. If they feel that Russia is about to take over their entire country, Georgia may feel it has no option but to set one of these off. Keep an eye on that part of the world to see what happens.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Congress and Their 5 Week Vacation

Pack 04 has once again taken me up on an offer to write on here. Here is his guest post, hope you enjoy!

It has probably been beaten to death by now but why not pile on:

Sen. Tom Coburn: We’re fighting hard. You need to be fighting hard.

Sen. Jeff Sessions: If the government is not functioning, it’s difficult to know how to help them.

Rep. Chris Shays: If they go off on vacation for two months while our troops fight — that would be the outrage of outrages.

Sen. John Warner: An action of that consequence would send a very bad signal to the world that they don't have the resolve that matches the resolve of the brave troops that are fighting in the battle today.

Sen. John Kerry: An Iraqi Parliament that spends July and August sitting around a swimming pool while their country descends into further unrest.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi: While our troops are in harm's way there and the need for us to see strong political change, it seems they've left before their work was completed.

Words spoken around the time the Iraqi government was planning a 2 month vacation last summer. Last Friday by a vote of 213-212 the House decided to take a break and go on vacation. I suppose nothing bad is going on in America. Energy prices are high, we are in a “recession,” people cannot afford to get medicine or healthcare, the war in Iraqi is still going on. I guess these issues we were led to believe are not as critical as thought. Those are all things the House can do something about. Maybe they are just going to telecommute.

They are going on vacation using/spending money that they receive from our tax money. The Speaker of the House gets $217,400 a year, $169,300 a year for the rest of them. They also get a cost of living increase. I work for state government, most likely my promised cost of living increase is going away because the state has not collected as much. Do you think they will decide not to give themselves a cost of living increase?

They are going on vacation and my Dad who lives hours away from me had to cancel his vacation to see me because he cannot afford to travel down here. I get to see him very little every year. I cannot afford to get up to see him either for the same reason. Let’s look big picture, this month troops are going to die, people are going to get sick and stay sick because of lack of affordable health care, kids are going to go hungry because people had to choose between buying food or driving to work.

The evil republicans and a few democratic voted to stay to solve problems. They lost but I am proud of them. What do the republicans need to do now? Stay in DC and work. Send photographers out to take pictures of the Democrats on the beach. Run ads showing who is doing what. Win in November.

Friday, August 01, 2008

McCain’s VP Choices

There has been a lot of speculation on McCain's possible Vice Presidential choices. I have seen articles promoting particular choices and commentary attacking others. Since this seems to be the newest past time, I thought I would join in. There are a few generic qualities most Presidential candidates look for. The VP candidate should complement the policy choices of McCain. The candidate should be able to bring a state or two with him / or her. In McCain's case, I think the campaign would be wise to look for someone who also looks presidential. Obama and his advisers are likely to attack McCain on his age. Therefore, McCain should probably pick someone that he believes the American people would accept as a President. As such, here are my Good, Bad, and Odd predictions.

The Good. These are the candidates that I think would bring something to the table, and I would personally be excited about. First out of the gates would be Mitt Romney. Many conservatives would prefer him to McCain for President. Romney has an impressive business resume, and the economy is likely to be a center stage topic in October. Romney is also likely to take Michigan off the table, and may even deliver a few other states. A very close second could be Condoleeza Rice. I have written about her before as a great VP candidate. I think her resume looks good, I think she takes race off the table this cycle, and there are many voters who respect her and would respond to her.

The Bad. Senator Joseph Lieberman. There are a number of rumors about a possible "Unity ticket" with McCain and Lieberman. Let's put aside the fact that McCain almost did this dance with Kerry. Lieberman isn't a Republican and shouldn't represent the party on the ballot. I respect him (as many conservatives do), but I disagree with him on 90 % of the issues. Far from reassuring me, if something terrible happened to McCain, I would not want to see a President Lieberman. I call this the "doomsday option". If we see this ticket it is either because McCain really doesn't want to win in November, has been reading his press from the 2004 election cycle, or his senior staff has decided they don't like McCain or the Republican Party. If McCain picks Lieberman before the convention, I could even see a new Republican candidate coming out of the convention.

The Odd. What fun is speculating on the VP choices without throwing a curve ball that no one expects? Here is mine: Brett Favre. That's right, the record holding Green Bay quarterback who may or may not be in uniform this season. Before we dismiss this too quickly, let's look at the pluses. First, he has name recognition. A McCain / Favre ticket is likely to take Wisconsin and Minnesota. That's 27 electoral votes that went to Kerry in the 2004 election. Plus, Favre may do well in cities that have NFL teams. Many of those teams are located next to large cities. Where do Democrats traditionally do well? Second, it has been rumored that the McCain camp is hurting for cash. The Packers are rumored to have offered Favre a $20 million payoff to stay retired. If McCain could get Favre out of their hair, perhaps they could create a 527 (Concerned Packers for 2008) that could use the money advertising for the ticket. Finally, Favre looks healthy enough to take on the Presidency. Compared to everyone else in the race (Obama included) he looks like a Greek god.

Those are my picks. On the off chance we do end up with the McCain / Favre ticket, remember where you heard it first.