November 22, 2006

Kramer goes Krazy(er)

Seeing as I'm not a member of any minority group, I'm most likely not qualified to comment on this Kramer incident. But then again, I’m no great advocate of political correctness. One interesting aspect of this story is that it has further burnished what Jim Pinkerton of Newsday calls the ‘You Tube phenomenon’ where one incident or comment instantly circulates around the web until it snowballs into a major story that is on the lips of almost every single American with access to electricity. Other occurrences of this include the George Allen 'Makkaka" comment and the John Kerry "botched joke" about the troops. I'm not judging this phenomenon to be a problem; merely that it exists and that it is intriguing.

Of this Kramer incident, an African American comedian by the name of Patrice O’Neal quipped, in his own inimitable way, “I didn’t think the dude was racist until he apologized! I assumed he was doing some sort of Andy Kaufman esque -I only know what I’m doing- routine.”

It seems that this ‘You Tube phenomenon’ forces people to publicly repent which often results in making a bad situation worse. However, with the Kramer incident, there’s not a whole hell of lot worse it can get. If you haven’t seen the painful footage already you can get your ear/eye full here. Oh Kramer, what were you thinking? He certainly is old school…as in pre-civil war era old school, ouch.

November 10, 2006

Powers Point

As a result of the elections, it seems that now both parties will be involved in respective internal tugs of war. This is perhaps a refreshing departure from what the Democratic answer to Karl Rove, a man by the name of Rahm Emmanuel, calls “the politics of polarization”. Rather than bitter partisanship between two diametrically opposed parties, it seems that we have entered a new era of American politics which may be characterized by internal party civil wars.

Among other issues, Republicans have to internally debate the issue of immigration reform and Democrats, for their part, will have to sort out just how far left and “progressive” their own party is. As I have previously pointed out, many of the Democrats who won last Tuesday in the closest races are not of the far left liberal progressive ilk. Many consider themselves to be "moderates" if not conservatives, which results in a blurring of the lines that usually can be relied upon to distinguish between members of each party. For example, former Republican Jim Webb, who defeated George Allen, is more of a conservative than the liberal Lincoln Chaffe who ended up being punished for being a member of a party of which he rarely holds the same opinion with.

It will be more illuminating, and in the end more productive, for each party to conduct these internal debates than it ever was to launch vitriolic attacks against the opposing side of the aisle and never arriving at a party platform.

Enter the lovely Kirsten Powers, a Democratic strategist who seems to understand that the modern day electorate prefers a more reasonable, less far left leaning Democratic Party. On her blog, she defends Joe Lieberman against elements of her own party who discarded him for essentially wanting to fight a more pro-active war on terror. And on election night, she pointed out that many of the Democrats who won in close races are considered “blue dog” Democrats who are essentially conservatives that refer to themselves as Democrats for various reasons. It is people like Powers that may yet save the viability of the Democratic Party by, among other things, making the point that there is room in the Democratic Party for those who advocate an aggressive and pro-active war on terror. I encourage you to peruse her writings @ Powers Point.

November 08, 2006

Blue Dog Day Afternoon

One of the most dedicated civil servants in American history, Donald Rumsfeld, has fallen on his sword as a direct result of yesterday's elections. But before Democrats get too exited about advancing any kind of far left leaning agenda, they might want to take notice of the fact that many of the Democrats who won seats yesterday did so because they embraced conservative values. In fact, yesterday’s elections ironically amount to a reaffirmation rather than a repudiation of conservative principles. Many ousted Republicans met thier demise because they failed to live up to their conservative obligations of ethical standards of behavior and fiscal conservatism. And on the other side of the coin, it was the "Blue Dog" Democrats and centrists like Lieberman who attained success because they find themselves closer to the political center than the modern day "progressive" far left leaning Democrat.

In a largely symbolic gesture, Rumsfeld has been thrown under the bus, and it is time for all Democrats to put up or shut up. Perhaps now we can hear something resembling leadership from the Democrats, and not just Bush bashing. Looking forward, I genuinely hope that the Democrats can bring something to the table other than vitriol against the President and cut and run in Iraq.

November 03, 2006

Cut and Run

Cut and Run…the position held by the majority of Democrats on the main issue of the elections, Iraq, is not a winning stance. Ironically, it is because the situation in Iraq has deteriorated in recent weeks that the position of cut and run, which by the way represents any position other than staying to finish the job, seems even more absurd now than it did several weeks ago. And please, let’s not kid ourselves or quibble over terminology. Any accelerated timetable for withdrawal, no matter if called immediate withdrawal or “redeployment” is tantamount to and in fact is cutting and running. As Michael Steele points out to his angry and defensive opponent in Maryland, Ben Cardin, what would the Democratic strategy be in Iraq if they find themselves in the position of determining what to do in the country? Rather than repeat Cardin’s stammering response, let me save us the trouble and tell you that Democrats have no idea how to achieve success in Iraq. The only thing Democrats can say is that President Bush is not getting the job done. Even if that is true, in the minds of thinking people, Democrats are not simply absolved from having an actual position of their own on Iraq. Also, just for the record, “Stay the course” is a quicker way of saying, “stay until the job is done”. Unfortunately, Democrats did manage to redefine “stay the course” as “stay endlessly” and so the Bush Administration no longer uses that description. Democrats can attack a description of what we are doing in Iraq all day long, but when it comes to offering their own solutions, the silence is deafening.

So which is it? Do Democrats favor cutting and running (or whatever euphemism they want to call it) or do they simply have no position on Iraq? The answer is: they themselves do not know. It is my assessment that in many races, Democratic candidates have not thought beyond the Nancy Pelosi playbook of “blame Bush”. Really, it was circulated apparently very well that if Democratic candidates just pound away on Bush enough, then it really won’t matter if they don’t ever bother to offer any solutions of their own.

So, the Democratic secret hope that things go badly in Iraq seems for the moment at least, because the insurgents are trying influence our election, to be coming true. Their hopes and dreams of chaos in Iraq were in fact realized only too well, for now it is even more apparent that we cannot leave prematurely, because it would hand victory to all of the various enemies of our country. Really, can we all not agree that Hugo Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Osama Bin Laden are hoping, in fact actively and openly advocating, that we cut and run? Gee, what a surprise, the Democrats find themselves aligned with our worst international enemies on this issue, not to mention a host of other issues.

It will be interesting to see what happens if Democrats win back a degree of political power in a few days. Will our troops be immediately withdrawn, to the utter glee of our enemies? Or will Democrats be too busy conducting the various congressional investigations into the Bush Administration attempting to re-live the 2000 and 2004 elections, to bother conducting a war on terror? I defy any liberal reading this to show me where I’m going wrong with my analysis. And please, if you challenge me, try to come up with a specific vision of what should be done in Iraq. I won’t hold my breath, for I have yet to hear any left leaning individual anywhere offer a drastically different and/or substantive solution to the major issue of the day, the War in Iraq.

November 02, 2006


In a classic blunder, John Kerry has given Republicans an implement to bash Democrats over the head with just days before nationwide elections. Speaking about the value of education at a campaign event to a group of students at a Pasadena City College, Kerry said the following:

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Ouch. Whatever Kerry insists his intent was, reading the remarks and listening to the audio of this obvious gaffe is painful, and as John McCain has said about the remarks “The words speak for themselves”.

These remarks, appropriately delivered on All Hallows Eve, play as a nasty trick to fellow Democrats and glorious treat to Republicans. Whether Kerry meant what he said or not has become immaterial at this point. Rather than apologize immediately, he elected to fight back viciously in an obvious effort to not get "swift boated" again. And apologies and disclaimers aside, the remarks speak to a pre-existing notion of Kerry as an out of touch elitist and limousine liberal who still sees everything (including the all volunteer army) through the prism of a Vietnam protestor.

And it is not just Republicans who are weighing in on the appropriateness of Kerry's remarks. Dems everywhere are running away from Kerry “…faster than embattled Republican candidates have been avoiding President Bush.” Says Clarence Page of Real Clear Politics. It's also been suggested that this is the final of three strikes for Senator Kerry on this matter. The first was his Winter Soldier testimony, famously proclaiming that our troops conducted themselves “ a manner reminiscent of Genghis Khan.” The second strike came last year when Kerry accused our troops of acts of terror in Iraq “…in the dark of night”. With this latest blunder, otherwise known as strike three, Kerry has officially jumped the proverbial shark. He no longer is a viable candidate in the next Presidential election. It is the "coup de grace" as Michael Barone said on ‘Special Report’ “…in a language.” he added, “...that Mr. Kerry is fluent in.”.

The self-immolation of Kerry paves the way for the ascendancy of her majesty herself, Hilary Clinton. The Clintons never really liked Kerry, so no love is lost, but I bet the Clinton’s shared a good laugh at Kerry’s expense in light of this most recent jaw dropping misstep. While the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls is contracting in front our eyes, it was Democratic strategist Joe Trippi who suggested that in fact it is perhaps Howard Dean who will profit most from Kerry’s epic gaffe. If the results of the mid term elections are not as spectacular for National Democrats as have been projected, Dean can now shift any blame that might come his way as head of the DNC to Kerry and his politically tone deaf gaffe.

Apparently this Kerry surprise Halloween gaffe will have implications up and through the upcoming elections. Are Kerry’s remarks a Trick or a Treat? Well…that depends on your perspective.