Archive for January, 2008

Republican Focus Group Debate Watching

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

I was on Fox News last night ever so briefly as part of a focus group of republican voters.

I signed a confidentiality agreement, so there are certain things I cannot say for ethical and legal reasons. However, after participating in a focus group, I can honestly say that I could have gotten a better feel for the debate watching it at home on television.

As you see on television, each member of the focus group is given a dial. The more they like or dislike what they hear, the higher or lower they turn the dial.

I was a Rudy Giuliani supporter backing John McCain, but I wanted to hear them to see how committed I was.

There were a few celebrities there for reasons I still do not understand. John Cleese of “Monty Python” fame was a very pleasant individual. “Entertainment Tonight” star Mary Hart was in attendance. I have always thought of her as a lightweight because of what she covers, but she is actually very intelligent, and a hard news junkie. I gained a new appreciation for her. Steven Weber and Joe Daly from “Wings” were there. Again, I can only shrug.

Pollster Frank Luntz conducted this affair. He did not come across as a very nice guy. He was abrupt with people, and was very tightly wound, as if his career would crash if one of the voters misspoke. To be fair to him, he might have been the most stressed guy in the room. I hope that his demeanor when the pressure is not on is that of a more likable guy.

One thing that he did zealously tried to guard was the integrity of the process. Yet some of the questions we were asked were vague. I was asked if I was a conservative or a moderate conservative. Because I am moderate on social issues, others would consider me a moderate conservative. However, I am hard right on economics and foreign policy, and resent being labeled a “moderate” by others. So I labeled myself as a conservative, which is truthful to me, but perhaps not to pollsters with other criteria.

As for the process, we were there for 3 hours, knowing that the entire segment that would actually be shown on television would be about 6 minutes. That would have been enough time to show comments from most if not all of the 30 voters. Instead, about a minute was given to John Cleese to discuss British politics. Another minute was spent on a Ron Paul supporter, even though there were only two of them in the whole group. This was a disproportionate amount of time that was spent on somebody that well over 90% of the group had no interest in.

So while people who know me recognized me on television, what I actually said was edited out. The only reason this irks me is because the question that was asked by Mr. Luntz about the low quality of the questions CNN asked was brought up by me.

As for doing the recap of the debate while I was there, it was impossible to type and work the dial machine. Yet it is for another reason that this debate recap will be more a synopsis.

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/01/31/reagan-vs-mccain-on-profits-business-and-the-free-market/

The debate was dreadful. The best candidate, Rudy Giuliani, was not on the stage, having dropped out earlier. Ron Paul continued to suck up airtime with pointless rants. Mike Huckabee continued to be funny, likable, and unelectable. A debate between Mitt Romney and John McCain only would have been better.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper may not be a liberal partisan shill, but he most likely is one. He asked questions designed to encourage republican fratricide, with several questions designed to try and get the candidates to criticize President Bush. Legitimate analysis is not the same as cheap shots, and this was a debate of cheap shots.

McCain and Romney hacked each other to pieces, to the delight of CNN and other liberals everywhere. This is where the ethics of rating the debate were key.

I had to judge the candidates by how I liked their individual responses, not by how I liked them personally. For instance, Ron Paul did cause me to turn the dial near zero on a couple of occasions, but when he had a rare moment of sanity, talking about economics, I did rate those remarks highly. Conversely, the McCain-Romney argument over the difference between the phrase “timetable for withdrawal” had me rank both of them low.

McCain insisted that Romney wanted a timetable for withdrawal. Romney insisted that he did not. Those who agreed with McCain thought that Romney was being weaselly and evasive. Romney supporters thought McCain was hitting below the belt and taking the remarks out of context.

Mike Huckabee had many one liners that had the crowd laughing. He is incredibly likable. John McCain had some good one liners in the first half of the debate, but this was marred by his second half spat with Romney.

The main problems were the questions themselves. There was nothing about Iran or North Korea, and virtually nothing about Iraq or the overall War on Terror. The candidates were asked who Ronald Reagan were vote for if he were alive today.

I can only imagine that the democratic debate will be worse. Does anybody think the moderators will pass up the chance to ask Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama about the controversy over whether he snubbed her by refusing to shake her hand at the State of the Union? I mean who cares about Al Queda when we have “snubgate?”

I can sum it up quickly. Yes, Obama deliberately snubbed her. He lied by saying he did not do so. Hillary is a phony by talking about her outstretched hand of graciousness. She is the least gracious woman on the planet, continuing to stare angrily with her arms folded as President Bush spoke. He is aloof, and she is nasty. She is unlikable, and he dislikes her.

This has nothing to do with policy or governing. It is nonsense.

The focus group had the potential for substance, but by reducing everything to 30 second sound bites, all it did was come across as shallow.

Bad questions by bad moderators led to bad answers. The focus group never had a chance.

One clip that I am thrilled was not aired was when each person was asked to say something to Sean Hannity. I cheerfully said, “Mr. Hannity, I met you at the 9/11 Freedom Concert. I think you’re fabulous, and I look forward to seeing you next 9/11.”

A reasonable person would assume that I meant that I wanted to see him at the next Freedom Concert to be held on 9/11 of 2008. A person wanting to manipulate that comment could make it sound that I was cheerfully hoping for the next 9/11 itself. A couple people thought the worst, but most of the group understood what I meant.

This is our world. Good people are packaged into tiny boxes with no air holes to breathe. Journalists gather like jackals waiting for a gaffe.

Most of the voters in this country are not imbeciles, but they are packaged as tightly as the candidates. The result of this is that the candidates never truly get to hear what voters want, and the voters rarely ever get to address these unknown concerns.

At least I was paid for my time, and the sandwiches they gave us were good.

On style, Mike Huckabee won the debate.

On substance, the entire process lost.

eric

Here I go again

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Quick note…I cannot disclose the details, but I will briefly be on television tonight. Watch Fox News after the republican debate, and connect the dots. I will be the guy smiling while pretending not to be sobbing like a 4 year old girl. Now back to business.

“I don’t know where I’m going…but I sure know where I’ve been…hanging on the promises, and the songs of yesterday…I’ve made up my mind…wasting no more time…Here I go again…

I know what it means…to walk along a lonely street of dreams…

Here I go again on my own…going down the only road I’ve ever known…like a drifter I was born to walk alone…Here I go again.”

20 years have passed since Whitesnake gave us that song, with hard rock romantic David Coverdale on lead vocals. I think of his words today, because like many people out there, I feel lost right now, a fellow in the wilderness…the political wilderness.

A man I deeply believed in ran for President…and did not win the nomination. As awful as I feel, politics is very similar to sports, and I do not want to become one of those fans that takes the game harder than the players.

Yes, I wanted Rudy Giuliani to be President. Yet I cannot allow myself to feel worse than the Mayor feels himself. There are three reasons I believe in him.

1) He took a city somewhere between Detroit and Fallujah in terms of livability and turned it around.

2) He was magnificent on 9/11.

3) The Jayson Blair Times hates his guts.

I want him to soldier on, attend the California debate, win it, and clean up on Super Tuesday. Then again, the people have spoken, and I respect the decision, painful as it is.

I wonder if Rudy Giuliani knows who Del Shannon is. He is the guy sang “Runaway.”

“As I walk along, I wonder, what went wrong…”

I bring up because Del Shannon had success in life, but was miserable. He took his own life. Nobody should ever reach that level. Rudy Giuliani put his pain aside, made a very gracious speech, and will continue leading a happy life. His supporters should do the same.

So where do we go from here? We choose another candidate.

I backed John McCain in 2000. He was my second choice in 2008. I have said on more than one occasion that the only man who could keep me from voting for him is Rudy Giuliani. Rudy Giuliani and John McCain admire each other. It is a shame they could not both share the top job. Nevertheless, Rudy Giuliani believes in John McCain as the next best alternative to himself. I agree with that assessment.

John McCain can defeat Hillary Clinton. Mitt Romney would have a much tougher time. Conservatives are nervous that John McCain is loved by democrats. They should take note of the fact that the democrats who will be voting for a democrats are scared to death of him. They are licking their chops at facing Mitt Romney. This has to be taken into account.

John McCain is the man who in 2000 vowed that if he won the nomination, he would “beat Al Gore like a drum.” I pray that the feistiness and combativeness he has had with some in his own party will be extended to Hillary Clinton.

I also hope that McCain extends the Vice Presidential ticket to Rudy, and that Rudy accepts it. This truly would be a dream ticket. With Mitt Romney as the Treasury Secretary and Fred Thompson as Attorney General, all we would need is a top notch Secretary of Defense. Duncan Hunter would be a good choice, and so would Dick Lugar. McCain might cross party lines and go with Joseph Lieberman.

While this is not my first and most desired scenarios, I have backed many candidates that did not win. In some cases it turned out well, and in other cases not so well.

In 1996 I saw the 4 main candidates as Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, Jack Kemp, and Dan Quayle. I decided that Quayle, despite being much maligned, would be the clear conservative. Gramm was next, and if I had to, Kemp third and Dole fourth. When Kemp and Quayle opted not to run, the candidate I first became passionate about was Pete Wilson. I enthusiastically backed him. When he dropped out, I backed Lamar Alexander, with Dick Lugar being my second choice. Everybody dropped out except for the candidates I wanted least, Dole and Buchanan. As we now know, Dole and Kemp ran on a ticket that inspired nobody. I voted for Dole by default. Pete Wilson could have defeated Bill Clinton, and Alexander and Lugar would have been competitive.

In 2000, I enthusiastically backed McCain, and pumped my fist when he defeated George W. Bush in Michigan. Yet Bush won the nomination, and unlike 1996, I enthusiastically backed him. That turned out spectacularly well, and I was perfectly content to see McCain in 2008…until 9/11 and Giuliani.

To quote Rush Limbaugh, my success in life is not determined by who wins elections. I decide my success. Rudy Giuliani can still be President in 2016. He may never get the job, but few people ever do.

(Editor’s note…just before I went to sleep, I saw a few clips that were part of the replay of the Patriots-Rams Superbowl played 4 months after 9/11 to close out the 2001. With a couple minutes left in the half, Pat Summerall and John Madden pointed to the booth to show Giuliani and Judi Nathan. Summerall and Madden praised them. What a knife in the heart way to end my night. Like the Rams, Rudy was a heavy favorite that got shocked.)

The bottom line is that the process does work. I still believe in it.

Political science classes will see the Giuliani campaign as a spectacular gamble that failed. Yet the strategy was not a mistake. It just did not work. Had anybody but McCain won South Carolina, Rudy would be in good shape right now. Had Thompson stayed in, that would have helped.

Then again, the republican party is a hierarchy that always nominates the man next in line. Yes Rudy was the frontrunner for awhile, but McCain was next in line. He fell short in 2000, and this was his turn.

Rudy Giuliani should get that Vice Presidential slot. That way he will be next in line.

If one positive thing came out of this campaign, it was that Giuliani and McCain consistently said positive things about each other. Contrast that with the democratic nominees. Their mutual admiration society was not fake. They genuinely respect each other.

McCain will be the boss, but every leader needs quality people around him. Giuliani will not be the top dog, but as he reminded us, he can still help shape history.

I hope he does. There is a war for civilization going on, and John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are prepared to take the fight to the enemy.

As for me, I believe In Rudy, and he believes in McCain. I believed in McCain in the past, and am ready to do so again.

The mourning period must be brief. I need to roll up my sleeves. There is much work to do, and not much time to do it.

Here I go again…and if I have to…on my own.

eric

The Dub–Fighting to the Finish

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

President Bush gave his final State of the Union.

While some Americans honestly disagree with him out of convictions that are deeply held, many of his opponents despise him for being alive and existing. This is not because of the War in Iraq. It is because of the 2000 election that his opponent failed to steal.

As expected, President Bush was gracious to the end, and those that disagreed with him ranged from dour and beaten to downright rude and scowling. The scowler wants the job next year, and she will be in for a rude awakening of her own if she thins her lack of decorum will be forgotten.

Before getting to the speech itself, Fox News conducted a one hour interview with president Bush entitled, “Fighting to the Finish.” Here are some excerpts.

“Those who kill the innocent to advance their political agenda cannot recruit based on ideology, only where there is hopelessness, disease and hunger cause people to be hopeless.

The country has to make up its mind, confront the conditions causing radicalism, or retreat, say it costs too much to help others.

The biggest idea internationally is the advance of democracy and freedom. I fully recognize that some want to promote stability. Stability hasn’t worked. That does not address the underlying conditions to why people join radical groups.

I am a combination of idealist and realist. I believe in this fundamental truth, there is almighty, that gift of the almighty is liberty, which is freedom. Freedom yields peace. The ideology of freedom must trump the hatred of those who spread hate.

There are killers who want to stop liberty. The job of comfortable nations is to help others realize freedom. It is the calling of our time.

Victory in Iraq is going to be gradual. It takes awhile to recover from a tyrannical situation.

People criticize me for having a personal friendship with Vladimir Putin. I don’t see how you conduct foreign policy if you don’t have a personal relationship with Vladimir Putin.

The NIE did not say Iran is not a threat. In fact it confirmed that Iran is a threat and needs to be taken seriously. I don’t know what goes through the Iranian mind, but they have a choice to make.

Whoever the candidates are, they better be ready for pressure. They have to protect America and make sure we have a vibrant economy. The fundamental question will be whether the next president will use the Presidency to advance peace. Some say we don’t move until everybody is holding hands. The right way is to say here is the vision, here is the common goal, here is what we must work to achieve, and we will take the lead and work with you. If you come, we’d love to have you on board, but if not, the United States is still going to lead.

I hope immigration is not the debate for the next election, because if it is it will turn ugly if we start bashing immigrants. An emotional debate pitting people against each other could cost America to lose its soul.

I will gracefully exit the political stage at the proper time.

Washington is an ugly town, too ugly as far as I am concerned. I worked to be a uniter, and it didn’t work.

It is important to have a set of principles from which one will not vary. Faith helps develop a set of principles form which decisions should be made.

There is no question a President gets tested, but there are tests all throughout life. Faith can bring light in moments of darkness.

I want my administration to have written the hopeful and strong first chapter in this ideological struggle that will play out over the course of our lifetime. The best legacy a President can leave behind is to say to a dad that your young son is more likely to live in peace as a result of the policies I’ve put forward.

It is normal for people not to have a sense of urgency about an attack. It is not normal for someone in government not to have a sense of urgency. If you pay attention to the realities of the world, there is an enemy out there that wants to kill us.

Lincoln based his decisions on a fundamental moral truth that all men are created equal under God. I believe in the fundamental moral truth is that there is a God and the gift of that God is that every man, woman and child on the face of this Earth is freedom. Lincoln wanted to free the slaves, and I and other Presidents want to lift people from the bonds of tyranny.”

Now, for excerpts of the State of the Union itself.

“Issues call for vigorous debate. I think it’s fair to say we’ve answered the call.”

Harry Reid sat stone faced.

“Let us show that democrats and republicans can compete for votes, and cooperate for results at the same time.

We believe in the power of individuals to determine their destiny, and shape the course of history. The most reliable guide for our country is the collective wisdom of ordinary citizens.

We must trust people with their own money, and empower them tog row our economy. America has added jobs for a record 52 straight months, but jobs are now growing at a slower pace.

Attempts to load up the (stimulus) bill will delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable. This congress must pass it as soon as possible.

Unless Congress acts, most of the tax relief we’ve delivered over the past 7 years will be taken away. Some in Washington will argue that letting tax relief expire is not a tax increase. Try explaining that to 116 million American taxpayers, who will see their taxes rise by an average of $1,800. Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome your enthusiasm. I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.”

Many clapped at that remark, while Hillary Clinton was her typically ungracious self. I am not sure if this is because she lacks human emotion, or if she fears leftist voters so much that smiling at the President could cost her votes.

“There is only one way to eliminate uncertainty. Make the tax relief (from 2001 and 203) permanent). If any bill that raises taxes reaches my desk, I will veto it.

The budget I will submit will keep us on pace for a surplus by 2012.

If you send me a appropriations bill that does not cut the number and costs of earmarks in half, I’ll send it back to you with my veto. If these items are truly worth funding, congress should debate them in the open, and hold a public vote.”

The chamber all clapped, and not one of them was sincere. When he mentioned making healthcare more affordable, Nancy Pelosi smiled and clapped, Barack Obama studiously took notes, and Hillary Clinton maintained her angry look.

“The best way to achieve that goal (health care) is to expand consumer choice, not government control. Congress must also pass Health Savings Accounts, and confront the epidemic of junk medical lawsuits. Decisions should be made in the privacy of your doctor’s office, not in the halls of Congress.

6 years ago we came together to pass No Child Left Behind. Last year 4th and 8th graders had the highest scores on record. Last year African-American and Hispanic students reached all time highs.”

He then offered Pell Grants for kids.

“I applaud the Congress for approving a trade agreement with Peru. I now ask the Congress to approve agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea. I we fail to pass these agreements, we will embolden the purveyors of false populism in our hemisphere. We must show our neighbors in the region that democracy leads to a better life. Trade brings better jobs, better choices, and better prices.”

For those who did not know, an average nondescript bald white guy named Samuel Bodman is the current Energy Secretary.

“Let us generate new technologies that can generate coal power while capturing carbon emissions. Let us increase the use of emissions free nuclear power. Commitments (to reduce greenhouse gases) will be effective only if it includes commitments by every major economy and gives none a free ride.”

He also mentioned the new skin cell breakthrough that replicates embryonic stem cells before turning to judges.

“The Constitution means what it says. I have submitted judges who will rule by the letter of the law, not the whim of the gavel.”

He then delved into illegal immigration, refusing to back down from his views.

“By the end of this year, we will have doubled the number of border patrol agents. Yet we still need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure our border until we come up with a lawful way for foreign workers to come here and support our economy. This will allow law enforcement to concentrate on those who wish us harm. Illegal immigration must be dealt with in a way that upholds our laws and our highest ideals.”

He then shifted to foreign policy.

“In the last 7 years we have witnessed stirring moments in the history of liberty. We have seen people in Lebanon take to the streets to demand their independence. We’ve seen Afghans emerge from the tyranny of the Taliban…we’ve seen jubilant Iraqis holding up ink stained fingers and celebrating their freedom. These images of liberty have inspired us.

We have also seen the images that have sobered us. We have seen wedding guests blood soaked, staggering in Jordan, Afghans and Iraqis blown up in Mosques in Markets, and trains in London and Madrid ripped apart by bombs. On a clear September day, we saw thousands of our fellow citizens taken from us in an instant. These horrific images serve as a grim reminder…the advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists.

Since 9/11 we have taken the fight to these terrorists and extremists. We have stayed on the offense, we will keep up the pressure, and we will deliver justice to our enemies.

For the security of America and the peace of the world, we are spreading the hope of freedom.

We are adding 3,200 marines to our forces in Afghanistan.

While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraq surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago. Many said that containing the violence was impossible. Killings are down. Al Queda had sanctuaries in Iraq. Today it is Al Queda searching for safe passage. Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al Queda is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.”

Somebody yelled from the balcony “You’re wrong,” which means that either Al Queda infiltrated the building, or a Moveon.org supporter burst in. Either way it is hard to tell the difference among these unwashed and unshaven creatures.

“(Turning to the soldiers in the room) In the fight ahead, you will have all you need to protect our nation. Congress must meet our responsibilities to these men and women by fully funding our troops.

More than 20,000 of our troops are coming home. Any further drawdown will be based on conditions in Iraq. General Petraeus has warned that too fast a drawdown could result in the disintegration of the Iraqi security forces, Al Queda regaining lost ground, and a marked increase in violence. We must not allow this to happen.

The Iraqis have a distance to travel, but after decades of dictatorship, reconciliation is taking place and the Iraqi people are taking control o their future. It is in the vital interests of our nation that we succeed.”

He then reiterated why a free Iraq benefits us and a failed Iraq harms us.

“We will not rest until this enemy has been defeated. We must do the difficult world today so that years from now people will look back and say that this generation rose to the moment, prevailed in a tough fight, and left behind a hopeful region and a safer America.”

He then offered hopeful words regarding Israel and the Palestinians that I ignored.

“Wherever freedom advances in the middle East, the Iranian regime is there to oppose it. Iran continues to enrich uranium, which could be used to make a nuclear weapon. Our message to the Iranian people is clear. We have no quarrel with you. We respect your traditions and your history. We look forward to the day when you have your freedom. Our message to the leaders of Iran is also clear. America will confront those that attack our troops, and America will stand by our allies, and defend vital interests in the Persian Gulf.”

“In the past 6 years we have stopped numerous attacks, including a plot to fly a plane into the tallest building in Los Angeles, and another to blow up passenger jets to America over the Atlantic.

We need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and where they are planning. Unfortunately Congress set the legislation to expire February 1st. That means if you don’t act by Friday, our ability to track terrorists threats will be weakened, and our citizens will be in greater danger. Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the effort to defend America. We have had ample time to debate. The time to act is now.”

He then offered warm fuzzy sentiments about Darfur and other 3rd world nations in an attempt to make liberals like him. Of course, that will fail.

He called for buying crops from developing nations, and proposed another 30 billion dollars to fight AIDS over the next 5 years.

He then shifted to reforming Veteran’s benefits.

“Troops should be able to transfer their unused education benefits to their spouses or their children.”

“The secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lays not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people. So long as we continue to trust the people, our nation will prosper, our liberty will be secure, and the state of our union will remain strong.

So tonight, with confidence in freedom’s power, and trust in the people, let us set forth to do their business. God Bless America.”

The history books will be very kind to this man. I will help right this history, and I will be right. I already am, but vindication will be sweeter when there is a more peaceful world. For some, it is not about winning elections, or tearing down good people. It is about actually improving the world.

Well done Mr. President.

Luv ya Dubya.

eric

Rudy Giuliani Must Win

Monday, January 28th, 2008

While I have consistently backed Rudy Giuliani for President, I have gone out of my way to praise his competitors, and have written very few articles about Mayor Giuliani himself. Simply put, blogs that become one trick ponies bore people quickly. I am making an exception today, since time is critical.

I had planned to discuss President Bush today and Mr. Giuliani tomorrow, but I can cover the State of the Union tomorrow. I cannot wait until people go to the polls on Florida Tuesday. I need to get to them on Pre-Florida Monday.

First, here is a clip of Mayor Giuliani speaking at a Synagogue in Boca Raton, Florida.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNPAHKFuOsc

For those who wish to help right now, which I hope is everybody in America eligible to vote. Make sure you are registered.

http://www.joinrudy2008.com/

Below are previous columns about Mayor Giuliani. As I said, there have been very few.

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/03/why-rudy-is-right/

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/10/my-meeting-rudy-giuliani/

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/10/rjc-in-dc-rudy-giuliani/

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2008/01/why-a-rudy-giuliani-win-benefits-american-politics/

I want to say for the Milli Vanillionth time that the other republican candidates are fine men. If Mitt Romney or John McCain win the nomination, I will enthusiastically back them. I would have done the same with Fred Thompson. I hope that supporters of other republican campaigns give Rudy one last look. I hope undecided voters flock to Mayor Giuliani. For those in my Jewish community…there is no comparable option.

There are no moral electoral victories. Those who win elections govern. Those who govern have power to affect the world. Those who lose elections get to sit on the sidelines and wonder what went wrong.

There is no question in my mind that all of the aforementioned republican candidates would be fabulous in the War on Terror. The democrats were asked whether winning or getting out is more important. The democrats stated that getting out is most important. They are wrong. Winning is the only option. We lose, we die.

All of the republicans would be better on taxes than the democrats. All of them would be best for those that understand that free trade works, and protectionism does not.

Yet issues are meaningless if the candidate loses.

I could say a ton of positive things about Fred Thompson, but he has withdrawn from the race. I wish him and his family well.

Mitt Romney is a good man. I admire much about him. I also fear that he would lose in November. He has no experience in foreign policy, and we are at war.  He is already being painted as a flip flopper. He is a Mormon, which many people cannot accept. To vote against him based on his religious beliefs is bigotry. His supporters argue that America is better than that. I pray they are right. If he wins the nomination, I will go to the wall for his campaign. His executive experience is phenomenal. He is a good candidate in a normal year, but this is not a normal year. He is simply not the best candidate.

I supported John McCain in the primaries in 2000. He is a hero, and somebody made a great point about his time in Washington. It is hard to say he has spent his life in Washington given that major years of his life were in Hanoi. My fear of McCain is that too many conservatives are saying that he will rip apart the republican party. If he wins the nomination, I will be the first person to scream at the complainers to fall into line, and to get into line now. If any other man besides Rudy Giuliani was running, I would be fine with McCain. Nevertheless, we need to be united for the general election, and too many republicans are hostile towards McCain. I believe this hostility is misplaced, but I am only one person.

I have met all of these men in person. I have shaken their hands, asked them questions, taken pictures with them, and looked into their eyes. I met Romney in Los Angeles at a party convention in Century City. I met John McCain on the University of Southern California campus. I attended an event in Washington, DC, where both of those men attended, although I did not speak to them on that day. That day I did meet and question Fred Thompson.

Rudy Giuliani was at the DC event, and I also saw him at Sean Hannity’s Freedom Concert on 9/11. I did not meet him on either occasion. I met Hannity at the concert, but not Rudy. Yet sandwiched inbetween those events, at a private home in Beverly Hills, I did meet Hizzoner. I spoke to him, looked into his eyes, and listened to his words.

He is the only candidate that traces the War on Terror back from its origins to the current situation. I do not understand why the other candidates do not just repeat his words.

It is not just 9/11. There is so much more.

This is a man who keeps mentioning the coldblooded murders of Israeli athletes by Palestinian animals at the 1972 Munich Olympics. This is a man who reminds the world about Leon Klinghoffer, an innocent man in a wheelchair who was thrown overboard from a cruise ship by Islamofacists, left to die in the water. This is a man who keeps reminding the civilized world about the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He reminds us about the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the bombing aboard the U.S.S. Cole.

Yes, this is a man who was confronted with the horrors of 9/11. Millions of people panicked, cried, and flailed uncontrollably. This is understandable, and human. Yet leaders do not have time to do this. They have to lead. The worst terrorist attack in the history of America, worse than Pearl Harbor, was confronted by a leader that vowed to fight back.

Yes, this has been said over and over. Good. It needs to be.

For those who need an endorsement, the Jayson Blair Times hates his guts. If that is not the best endorsement on Earth, I do not know what qualifies. Below are some reasons why the Jayson Blair Times despises Rudy Giuliani.

“The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.”

Crime dropped everywhere, especially black on black crime. He did it without placing his head squarely inside the rumpuses of well known criminals and racial hustlers. So the black leadership hates him, but more young black men are alive because of his methods of dealing with crime.

“He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight.”

So on the one hand the crime policies were terrible, but on the other hand the man who supposedly helped the mayor implement them was a good man. Double standards aside, the Mayor can fire anybody he wants for any reason. That is another aspect of leadership. It is called making tough, unpopular decisions. Truman fired MacArthur. It was unpopular at the time.

So why does the Jayson Blair Times support John McCain? For all the wrong reasons. The areas that McCain is right on are where the paper disagrees with him.

“In 2006, however, Mr. McCain stood up for the humane treatment of prisoners and for a ban on torture. We said then that he was being conned by Mr. Bush, who had no intention of following the rules. But Mr. McCain took a stand, just as he did in recognizing the threat of global warming early. He has been a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, working with Senator Russ Feingold, among the most liberal of Democrats, on groundbreaking legislation, just as he worked with Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration reform.”

On the above issues, John McCain is well intentioned, noble…and forgive me sir, since you are a hero…wrong.

The Jayson Blair Times is ill intentioned, which makes them even more wrong. They are wrong on the issues, and morally.

The Jayson Blair Times, through ideologically clenched teeth, had this to say.

“Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?”

President Bush did not go AWOL, but today is not a day for rebutting every disgusting assertion that this rag magazine makes.

So what about the man discussed above?

That man is still here. He is just as good, if not better.

He will lower your taxes. I know this because he has done it.

He will fight to win the War in Iraq. He has consistently supported this cause.

He will fight to win the War on Terror. He is prepared to hunt down every single terrorist.

He fights those that want to spread religious bigotry by showing paintings of crosses in urine and the Virgin Mary in feces.

He will defend Israel because Israel is a democracy, and because they are fighting the same war on terror that America is fighting.

This man has fought teachers unions and the Jayson Blair Times. Does anybody think he will be scared of Iran? This man cleaned up New York City. Fallujah would be doable.

This man led the city of the state where I was born and raised. I have been to Ground Zero, most recently 3 weeks ago. I saw the hole in the ground. I saw the souls of 3000 Americans that have been taken from us due to pure evil.

I also saw heroes in the form of firefighters, police officers and EMTs. They are good men, but good men can only do their job effectively if they are led well.

They were. Rudy Giuliani is a hero, and a leader.

The world needs leadership. America needs heroes. It needs giants.

A giant is about to give his last State of the Union Address. I pray that one year later, another giant will give his first.

We are at war. We need a warrior who is battle tested.

We need Rudy Giuliani. He must win.

Vote for him, and find every single person you know, and insist they do the same.

Good luck Mayor Giuliani. You are the right man, and you are in my prayers.

Godspeed sir.

eric

Dead Week

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

This is Dead Week, the worst week of the calendar year. There is no NFL Football this Sunday, since the Superbowl is not until next week.

I hate Dead Week. It is a reminder that while the Pro Bowl is in 2 weeks, in 3 weeks there will be no football. I will have nothing to do. Every offseason gets tougher for me. I have no other hobbies, nor do I care to develop them.

This makes my column on Sundays a practical blank piece of paper. I could take Sundays off, but until my blog is established to my satisfaction, it will be a 7 day adventure.

Some have asked me how I write a column every day, but the truth is I do have a lot of “filler,” although that filler is still helpful to some. One example is the recap I do of Presidential debates. Any monkey can transcribe, and I am happy to be that simian. Yet within a month, that well will run dry.

So what should I write about on Sundays starting 3 weeks from now? I would prefer it not be straight politics, since I do that Monday through Saturday. Here are some ideas below. I would like feedback, but may or may not listen.

1) I have written 70 songs in my lifetime. I could just post song lyrics from one song each Sunday, with the story or inspiration for the song.

2) Jdate horror stories. Jdate is a Jewish dating website, and while most of my experiences have been positive, train wrecks do make for good writing.

3) Links to other articles…a complete copout.

4) I did a radio show for 15 years where I played rock music. I could transcribe my comments from one show per week, or perhaps play the clips if I can figure out how to transfer them from cassettes and cds to internet files. The show was called “Hard as a rock.”

5) I could have people submit me articles from their blogs, and the very best article would be published on my site, with me only providing bookend comments.

6) I could provide links to You Tube videos I like, but then I would have to actually go on You Tube. I suppose I could. In the meantime, here is a hysterically funny clip somebody sent me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2triiYXSY8

I could just play a video clip of me holding a remote control and sobbing uncontrollably, knowing that no matter how furiously I change the channels, there is no football.

About 25-30 Sundays with nothing to do. I hang out with my friends or go on dates in the evenings, but during the day?

I have 3 weeks to figure this out. Otherwise, the quality of this blog is going to drop 14.2%, or 0% for those who already feel it has dropped 100% from its early promise.

Oh yeah, and the democrats had the South Carolina Primary yesterday. Wake me up when the Panthers improve.

Happy Dead Week everybody.

eric

Why young single Jews are totally…(censored)

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

Young single Jews in America today are completely (redacted bad word inserted here). I can honestly say that our plan at self immolation is working splendidly. What Hitler failed to do, we are doing to ourselves through intermarriage, and remaining childless as long as possible. Yet if there is one thing that is decimating Jewish singles, it is their political activism. I say “their,” because I am not an activist.

Personally, I think activists should be ductaped, strapped to a chair, and forced to watch video presentations of other activists. Then they would realize what it is like to listen to somebody ramble on about a social cause that only the speaker seems to care about.

Animal rights activists could be forced to listen to somebody rail about illegal immigration. Environmentalists could be subjected to pro-life lectures. Feminists can be pilloried with NRA members trying to shoot boll weevils. Do you know how hard it is to put an AK 47 through a boll weevil? Also, they do destroy cotton crops, and if there is one thing that will keep people of all stripes enthralled, it is a video about agriculture.

Yet Jewish liberals remain activists, or as I call them, “lacktivists,” because they lack…well…everything.

This is not just about liberalism, although that is part of the cancer eating away at Judaism. The bigger problem is that if civilizations do not reproduce, they die. The only way to reproduce is for people to meet each other. Being in the same room is not enough. There has to be actual human interaction. A Jewish social event I attended last night is a prime example of the problem. The only reason I attended was because it was one block from my home, so I could walk there and back. Plus, even if I did not meet a potential romantic partner, friends of mine would be there, making it bearable.

First there was a prayer service. People cannot talk to each other while they are praying, which is fine. However, afterwards there is a meal, and at some point, people at the same table should be able to converse.

Yet the pre-meal rituals must take place. Again, this is understandable. Rituals are important, and I do love my religion. However, this event had an environmental theme. All the food had environmental connections. I told my friend, “I think the potatoes are made out of hemp. Wanna try and smoke them later?”

Then the speeches came. It is not that they were liberal, boring, pompous and worthless. I have come to expect that out of liberalism. It is that I could not hear the people at my own table. Luckily they were friends of mine and not romantic prospects, but still…it was a nuisance. I tried to say hello to friends at a nearby table, but every time we reached a couple sentences, the next speaker would come on. Even my columns end faster, and I can be paused online.

Then the last speaker asked what we in the audience could do to be better based on what we had learned. This led to a speech about vegetarianism, at which point I began to pray that somebody would quote Howard Stern and recommend that we recycle toilet paper. Short of an oil tanker crashing into the room carrying scantily clad republican Jewish brunettes bearing sodas and hamburgers, this night was not going to get better.

Yes, the event was environmental, but it was still billed as an event for young single Jews to meet other young single Jews. How can we mingle when we cannot hear each other?

After the speakers were done, we almost had moments of conversation. However, then the organizers had to do “introductions.” Is every other person in the room a committee member? Apparently. After the introduction came “announcements.” Trips to Israel, planting trees, blah blah blah.

By that time, dessert had come out. After a few moments of mentioning how delicious the dessert was, it was time for the after meal prayers. After that the head of the event announced that everybody was to take their chairs and form a circle. They would be passing around bongo drums, or drums of some sort.

As I waited for people to start singing, “May the circle…be unbroken…by and by Lord, by and by…,” my friend asked me if I was joining in the drum circle. I replied, “Well as much as I love a good drum circle as much as any other straight man, I think I am calling it a night.”

Some could fault me for not realizing how many true believers liked the evening the way it was. This is not the case. Even the zealots cannot recruit new zealots unless they can talk to them on a more personal basis.

This is the Jewish community in a nutshell. Bleeding heart do gooders are in the Synagogues, and they divide into two groups of people. The first group could care less about the audience. The social cause of the week is all that matters, whether it be “save the homosexual mosquitoes” or “allow wildlife to have abortions.” The “I hate evil republicans Museum of Tolerance” is a very popular one.

The second group of people actually want young single Jews to meet. They are just too self absorbed to understand how to avoid making things worse. My advice to these activists is simple.

Shut…up…just…shut…up…for five minutes…just…shut…up.

I am not saying they have to become conservatives. I doubt liberal Jews will ever embrace the NRA, but if the entire room was armed, they could have demanded silence long enough to have decent conversation. Liberals have every right to be boring and wrong, but pause for a few moments. Take a breath. Understand that some of the people in the room are trying to scope each other out, and we cannot impregnate anybody and bring new life into the world if the only thing we know about the person we may lust after is that they are as bored and fed up as we are.

Young single Jews today will remain (censored) until the event planners realize that the event is secondary, and that the attendees themselves are the primary focus.

The next time I have to sit through an evening of “Jewish transsexuals for peace in the West Bank,” all I ask is that if there is a hot girl across the table from me, let us get to know each other before she rips her name tag off in disgust and goes home out of boredom.

I would prefer my community of Jews stop being leftist liberal lacktivists to begin with. That is too much to ask. If they can just reduce their acid-base ratio to 95% useless mindnumbing, self righteous zealots, and 5% quiet docile, silent people, that would be a good start. 5% is better than nothing, and babies can be conceived in a short amount of time.

Or at least have the girls wear hemp skirts that the guys can bury their face in like a good bong if the event planners run out of earthy potatoes. Oh, who am I kidding…with my luck the girls would be liberal in every way except one…they would be morally conservative.

Ok, off to buy ductape. My friends and I will chat with each other next time, lacktivists be d@mned. We are young, Jewish, lusty, and in need of less social justice, and more socializing.

eric

2008 Republican Florida Debate

Friday, January 25th, 2008

First, a quick housekeeping note that I beam with pride in mentioning.

Yesterday my blog reached 100,000 hits. This was done in about 320 days, or 10 1/2 months. That averages 312.5 hits per day, although given how few hits I had when I started, my daily average is much higher. I had about as many hits yesterday as my entire first month, which was 20 days instead of 30. I remember looking excitedly at the counter the first few days, and was thrilled when my number of hits doubled from 10 to 20. Now I hope that the next 100,000 hits will come in less time. Nevertheless, from March 11th, 2007 to January 24th, 2008, hard work paid off. Heck, I even won the 2007 Bloggers Choice Award for Most Passionate Fan Base. That is humbling.

I hope my blog grows, and that I have not leveled off. I thank everybody who has supported me, and I hope to keep my commitment to writing quality columns, and being a place where conservatives find common sense and liberals find they will be treated fairly and respectfully even in disagreement. I look forward to raising the level of discourse.

Now back to business.

Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee debated in Florida. Fred Thompson was not there since he had dropped out. Unfortunately, Ron Paul was there. The debate was held at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. I go there whenever I go to Florida, so I am an honorary Owl.

The moderators were Tim Russert and Brian Williams, proving that Ron Paul would not be bringing up the dumbest issues of the evening. Paul Tash of the St. Petersburg Times was also asking questions.

The candidates were asked about President Bush’s stimulus package.

Mitt Romney wished the plan went further. He wants to increase FHA loans, and appreciated that President Bush proposed this.

John McCain would make the Bush tax cuts permanent and cut corporate income taxes. Only Japan has a higher rate among industrialized nations. People should be allowed to expense new investments in equipments.

Rudy Giuliani pointed out that we need to cut down on regulations. London could surpass NYC as the financial capital of the world. The stimulus package is ok, he would support it, but it is not aggressive enough. He also wants to reduce the capital gains tax. We are overregulating and oversuing, which means businesses go elsewhere.

When asked if he was weak on economic issues, McCain pointed out that he had support from Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm, and that he was at the forefront of the Reagan revolution.

Huckabee was asked if he trusted Romney as a tax cutter. Huckabee said that was for the voters to decide, and then discussed his own record, such as eliminating the marriage penalty. He felt that the stimulus package might benefit China more because the rebate checks will go to buy Chinese products. He also discussed infrastructure, including building more lanes to I-95, which 1/3 of the population travels on.

Romney conceded that everyone on stage wanted taxes and spending reduced. He met a 3 billion dollar shortfall in Massachusetts without raising taxes, and balanced the budget all four years. He pointed out that he supported the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which McCain opposed at the time but now wants to make permanent.

McCain was asked if the fees Romney raised counted as raising taxes. He replied that the people that paid the fees felt that way. He again stated that he voted against the tax cuts because there were not offsetting spending cuts. Republicans lost Congress in 2006 because of out of control spending, and that if we had stopped spending, there would be even more tax cuts now.

Ron Paul was asked if government should have any role in stimulating the economy. He said there should be lower taxes, less regulations, and have sound monetary policy, rather than just print more money and expand the deficit. He pointed out that the “dollar is crashing.” He then stated that we are “spending money overseas on our empire.” He is Ron Paul on economics, but on the War he is back to being Rupaul again. He did state that he was against Sarbanes Oxley from the beginning, which is a very valid point.

Giuliani was asked if it was unamerican for U.S. financial services firms to seek money from foreign governments such as Saudi Arabia. He explained that unlike the blood money from Saudi Prince Alaweed, which he refused, private businesses have more latitude than governments. A different circumstance exists between a country, and one bigoted individual. He mentioned how America was scared of Japan in the 1980s, but that free trade works, and the global economy should be seen in terms of how much we can sell and invest in other nations.

Moderator Tim Russert asked why republicans should be trusted with an economic record that is seen as dismal in terms of higher deficits and gas prices.
McCain stated that democrats will raise taxes, spend more, and regulate more. They will not restore stability to government programs such as social security. He mentioned the 35 billion spent on pork barrel projects in the last 2 years, which could have been used for $1000 tax credit per child.

Huckabee said he was not there messing it up. He did say that he did not think the President messed things up, that he was busy trying to keep us safe. He also mentioned “trickle up economics,” and that had we listened to those at the bottom, we would have known bad economic times were coming.

Romney said he would not run on the republican record. He would run on his own record, and run away from the record of Washington. Both parties have failed for the last 30 years, and when republicans act like democrats, America loses. It was a good line.

Giuliani stated that he was the only one on stage that had turned around a government economy. He stated that the package in Congress that the Club for Growth supported was his plan.

Ron Paul said we were moving into a new era, and it was not a good one.

McCain was asked about an unsustainable economy and military, and how can we keep troops in Iraq. McCain shot back that no military general agreed with the question from a military standpoint, and then laced into Hillary Clinton’s Iraq position. We can have an American presence provided we reduce the American casualties. We have presences around the world. Hillary wants to “wave the white flag of surrender.”

Romney was quoted Barry McCaffrey, who said the U.S. Army was “too small and poorly resourced.” He was asked what to do, without a draft. Romney spoke of the “welcome home bill,” paying tuition for those that serve. The GI Bill has gotten old and needs to be updated in terms of funding. He then ripped the democrats for saying that they would not commit to winning in Iraq when asked if winning or getting out was more important. “It was audacious and arrogant for the democrats to say that they were responsible for the success in Iraq. General Petraeus gets the credit, not General Hillary Clinton.” The crowd clapped.

Each candidate was asked to say if the war was a good idea, worth the blood and treasure, and we should stay.

McCain pointed out that the war was right, but the Rumsfeld strategy was flawed. We are now on the right track. It was a good idea, not worth the failures, but worth it at the end of the day.

Giuliani pointed out that when the polls favored the war, so did Hillary. He was always for it. A stable Iraq is an ally of the USA.

Rupaul was against it. The crowd erupted in applause, which made me wonder how so many democrats made it into the theatre.

Huckabee said he supported the President, as did the democrats, and that we owe him thanks. Just because we did not find WMD does not mean they were not there. That was a fabulous point.

Romney said it was the right decision, and that he supported it then. It was not well managed and underprepared and underplanned. However President Bush and General Petraeus have turned it around. Democrats talk about the beginning, we have to talk about what we do now.

The candidates were then allowed to ask each other questions.

Romney asked Giuliani how trade can be level, where we compete with China but protect our economy. Giuliani stated that free trade reduces military hostilities. The rise of China is good. 20 or 30 million people coming out of poverty equals 20 or 30 million new customers. We can sell them health and information processes, and energy independence. We have to think like aggressive American entrepreneurs. We must substantially rebuild the military to make up for the damage Bill Clinton did.

McCain asked Huckabee about the FAIR Tax, and the criticism that a flat out sales tax would hurt lower income Americans more, and why people like it. Huckabee responded that people want the IRS abolished. The FAIR Tax encourages earning and saving. The regressive aspect is mistaken. The poor do ok because of a “prebate.” People under the poverty level get credits to make sure they do not get penalized. This hurts the “underground economy, such as drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps…and democrats.” The crowd laughed. It is transparent, as opposed to now where “everybody is working under the table.”

Huckabee was asked how a 30% sales tax would help the 93% of Americans only paying 15% now. Huckabee pointed out that when the embedded hidden taxes are included, the rate is 33%, not 15%. It was a solid question by Russert and an equally solid answer.

Rupaul asked McCain that was so convoluted that it took a moment to understand it. It dealt with who he would rely on regarding economics. McCain mentioned Kemp, Gramm, Warren Rudman and the Concord Coalition, among others.

Huckabee asked Romney about the Second Amendment, and Romney’s being ok with the Brady Law and the “so called” assault weapons ban. Romney stated that we do not need laws, but current laws should be enforced. He did state that the assault weapon’s ban initially was ok. At least I think he did. I honestly was not sure if he was for or against it at first. He was obviously uncomfortable. He stated it was a bill worked out between pro and anti gun lobbies, which is not entirely true. He stated that the current President would sign it. President Bush did not sign it.

Giuliani asked Romney about the difficulty of people obtaining property insurance. McCain is against an emergency fund as a backstop, while Giuliani supports it. Romney stated that he, like Giuliani, did support it. Romney stated that people in one state should not subsidize people in other states, but that in high risk areas a fund was necessary. When Giuliani pointed out that Romney’s plan involves mandates, and that Romney was against mandates, Romney was flustered. He said, “That is another question, I’ll come back to it.”

McCain said the issue can be addressed regionally, insurance should be spread across state lines. The bill that came through Congress was a bad bill. He stated “we can work together,” but did not say how.

Russert turned into Al Gore and asked Giuliani why he was against a cap on greenhouse gases, which would destroy Florida. Giuliani mentioned nuclear power, and pointed out that we have more coal reserves in the USA than Saudi Arabia has oil. We should look at liquid natural gas. “Caps are negative incentives that would destroy the U.S. economy, as China and India would release more greenhouse gases. We must solve it as a world problem, not just a United States problem.”

McCain says he is in favor of capping trade, not greenhouse gases. A global agreement must include China and India. Climate change is real. McCain then said one thing that was awful, that if there was no climate change problem, meaning if we were wrong, it would still be ok if we did something because our kids would have a cleaner world. While he did say this was better than being right and doing nothing, no, it is not. It means wasting money and crippling industry on a fruitless cause. If we are wrong, and the climate change people are wrong, spending one dollar would be a dollar squandered. Insisting they are right is one thing. Stying that it is irrelevant if they are wrong is foolish.

Giuliani was asked why he has cratered in the polls. He stated that he will surprise everybody just like the New York Giants did. All the candidates are good, but he will win the nomination.

McCain was asked how he could unite the party when so many conservatives are troubled by him. He stated that he was proud of his record, including voting for justices Alito and Roberts. He stated that he won a majority of republicans in New Hampshire, which is debatable. He stated that the main issue was the War, which he is conservative on. He also mentioned climate change for some reason again, and then mentioned his support for Israel. However, he then went after Rumsfeld again, as well as Jack Abramoff. He would “put his country above his party every single time, but I am a proud republican.”

Romney was asked how he would run against Bill and Hillary Clinton. Romney joked that he “can’t imagine Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do.” The crowd laughed. He stated that Bill is not the issue, Hillary is the candidate, and she is wrong on issues from taxes to health care to the War in Iraq. “She is exactly what is broken in Washington. She is Washington to the core.”

Romney was then asked by Russert how much of his own money he spent on television commercials in Florida. It was an obnoxious question, and Romney refused to give in to the stupidity. Romney stated that he will disclose it by law on the required day, and not a minute earlier, saying, “You’ll just have to wait, Tim.”He then made what could be seen as a gaffe by saying, “I’m not concerned about the voters, I am concerned about the other guys on the stage.” He then went on by saying that divulging his resources could affect his competitive advantage. From a strategy standpoint it makes sense, but one should never say they are unconcerned about the voters. Yes, it would be taken out of context, but he allowed it. He then stated he has raised more than the other candidates, not including his own money. He contributed less personal wealth than John Corzine, Steve Forbes or Michael Bloomberg. Nobody owns him, he is not beholden. He made it clear that he earned his money, and running for President is putting it to good use.

Romney was then again asked about his Mormon faith, and the poll showing 44% of Americans would not support a Mormon. Romney refused to believe the American people would make an issue of it. He then blasted Hillary again, saying that the race was about freedom, not religion.

Rupaul was asked about his statement wanting to abolish social security. Rupaul stuck to his guns, to his credit. He still wants to abolish it, but not all at once. He went back to being Ron Paul again on that answer, albeit temporarily. The program is a failure, and never should have been created. The benefits will never keep up with costs.

Huckabee was asked how he would save social security. He first stated that Romney had five wonderful sons, and the solution for all would be to elect Huckabee President so he could make America better, and let Romney leave his wealth to his sons so everybody wins. The crowd liked the joke. I did not. He went back to the FAIR Tax as a funding system for the social security. Yet when pressed that the FAIR Tax was unlikely to pass, Huckabee refused to concede that point. He offered feel good rhetoric of us being “can do people,” but that is a copout.

Romney was asked if he would do for social security what Reagan did in 1983, in terms of raising payroll taxes and the retirement age. Romney said he would not raise taxes, which would be the worst idea. It takes money from people, slowing down the economy, putting people out of work. The solutions are to sit down with the democrats and compromise on personal accounts, recalculate wealthier Americans in terms of benefits, and raise retirement age. Of course the democrats will refuse to compromise, making his first pillar pure fantasy.

Giuliani was asked why he was airing an ad in Spanish if all immigrants should learn English. Giuliani stated that English was vital, but that learning additional languages on top of that is positive. We can stop illegal immigration, have tamper proof ID cards, and “teach new behavior.” Additional languages are great for America, but English is a must.

Giuliani was then asked why Cubans can stay, but not Mexicans or others. Giuliani responded that the Cuba policy goes back to the 1960s, and that Castro is the longest serving dictator, and a murderer. Other cultures have to prove persecution, with Cuba it is already proven.

Huckabee was asked about Chuck Norris’s comments about McCain being too old. Huckabee handled this one well. He stated that he did not disagree at the time, “because he was standing next to him.” The crowd laughed. Huckabee then stated that McCain has the rigor to be President. We can pick on him for other things, but not that.

McCain made the crowd laugh by stating that now that he has the endorsement from Sylvester Stallone, he was sending Sly to beat up Chuck. He also stated that he was proud to have the endorsement of Norman Schwarzkopf.

Giuliani was asked about the Jayson Blair Times supporting McCain in the republican primary, and their vicious editorial attacking him. Giuliani nailed this one. He stated that in eight years as Mayor, he did nothing the paper liked, and if the paper did like him, it meant he would not be seen as a conservative republican. The crowd applauded. He pointed out that welfare reform is not mean. It is real compassion.

Romney was asked about his “changing positions with the wind.” He was pointed out that the Jayson Blair Times rated Romney as the “most disliked of the five (remaining republican candidates). Romney stated that he did not care about their opinion. He said that “to understand where he stands, look at his record as Governor.”

McCain was asked about his temper, and if it was an impediment. McCain replied, “I don’t.” The crowd laughed. He stated that he had close and warm friendships across the aisle and in his own party. He called Giuliani an American hero, and how he united America after 9/11. He respected all of his fellow candidates, and “will respect them after the campaign as well.” The remarks were very gracious and sincere, and echo previous positive comments Giuliani made about McCain. It is easy to be warm and fuzzy when one is seen as winning. Time will tell if McCain shifts if he falls behind.

Huckabee was asked about his faith making others uncomfortable. He said that he would never use government to push his faith, but he would not run from it, because it defines him. We should respect people who do not have a faith at all. People do not need to share his faith to share his love of America, but if they hate him for having faith than they are not a good American. It was a solid answer.

Rupaul was asked if he would form a 3rd party and hurt republicans. He stated that he had no intention of leaving, but it was the other candidates deserting the party principles. He then stated that leaving might “keep them on their toes.” It was not a complete disavowal.

It was also an appropriate ending in the sense that the entire debate was worthless.

From a strategy standpoint, I cannot tell who won. None of the candidates were thrilling, and none were a disaster. Rupaul does not count since he is an afterthought.

Usually a tie is helpful for the frontrunner, but at this point I cannot tell who that actually is. Some say Rudy Giuliani is slipping, but the polls do not factor in the large number of absentee ballots that have already voted, many from Jewish New York snow birds. Virtually every nominee has been in front and written off, often within days of each other.

Nothing is certain, and this debate settled nothing. It was a four way draw.

eric

Grow up! All of you!

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Yeah, I’ve had it. There is a time for graciousness and a time to be strident. Welcome to strident central. Too many adults are acting like a bunch of spoiled children. I have a simple message to these crybabies. Grow up! All of you!

Hillary Clinton…grow up. Knock it off. Stop trying to have it both ways on every single issue. Take some clear stands. Tick people off for the right reasons. Tick people off because they disagree with what you stand for. Stop ticking people off for refusing to stand for anything. Enough obfuscating, triangulating, and calculating. Stop treating every person that disagrees with you as either an imbecile or evil. Stop talking about how tough you are and then hiding behind your husband when the boys hit back. You are not the girl who got beat up in school. You are an adult. Fight your own battles.

Bill Clinton…enough! Quit blaming the media for the fact that your wife is stiff as a board. You had a quarter of a century to teach her how to be likable. She failed. It is either your fault…or more likely, hers. The media had their heads so far up your hide in the 1990s that it was tough to tell where you began and they ended. Now they like Barack Obama. Are they biased? Sure. You were fine with this when they were fawning over you. You kept claiming it was about the people. Prove it. Be quiet, let the campaign unfold without you, and let the people decide. You have bullied enough people. Now you are trying to bully liberal reporters and even liberal voters. I would tell you it won’t work, but knowing you, it will. It does not make it right. I know you grew up in the 1960s, but enough already.

Disenchanted conservatives…stop it! Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and (recently departed from the race) Fred Thompson are all fabulous. They are not perfect. Giuliani is not a social conservative. McCain is not your illegal immigration guy. McCain and Thompson supported that awful campaign finance law. Romney is liberal on social issues, or at least was for a long time. So what? Ronald Reagan raised taxes. We are electing a President, not a saint.

Some conservatives want to form a 3rd party to teach the republican party a lesson. You will be marginalizing yourselves, not the party. No sane conservative is happy about the spending under GOP rule in this century. Then again, no sane conservative wants Hillary in the White House. For those who think a moderate republican is no better than Hillary, just remember how Bill Clinton made you feel. Multiply that 100 fold…that is Hillary. Stop craving perfection. You sound like 40 year old women crying because they rejected every man at age 25, and are now childless at 40. There is no perfection. There is good enough. Support your candidate in the primary, and when the nominee is decided…Fall into line!

Investors…stop crying. The stock market is gambling. It will not go up every day. There will be losses. Do not blame your brokers, your God, or the person who gave you the stock tip. Stop trying to get rich overnight. Oh, and you might want to actually read your statements, and the company reports. Buy real companies with real earnings. If you are too busy to do the research, then shut up, by a boring mutual fund, and check back in 20 years. If you want to buy individual stocks, either go along for the ride. If riding roller coasters makes you airsick, by bank CDs. Just quit crying.

For those of you who bought subprime mortgages, it’s the irresponsibility stupid. You would have screwed up your life in some other way given the chance. You wanted something for nothing. You blame greedy lenders, but nobody forced you to buy, and nobody denied you the right to read what you signed. I would love to buy, but prices are high. I rent. I have seen guys drive $100,000 cars, and then have those cars repossessed. They laugh at my car, but I own my car. The bank does not own it. It is 100% mine.

Populists…shut up. Profits are good. Higher corporate profits are better. Corporations make stuff or provide services. If they lose money, they stop providing stuff. If you confiscate their profits through punitive tax measures because you are jealous of their success, they will stop researching cures for diseases, insuring homeowners, heating your homes, or providing the food and drink on your kitchen table. Businesses are not hear to work for free. Do you individuals work for free? Do you want 1/2 your money taken away? Well neither do corporations, which last time I checked, were run by people.

Hollywood…Stay on strike. I only watch news and sports. This is not a labor-management dispute that anywhere near rivals the issues that real businesses that matter deal with. This is not the right to earn overtime, have safe working conditions, or feed a family. These are millionaires fighting with billionaires. It is liberals who write about republican greed fighting with liberals who produce shows about republican greed. They are at each other’s throats because they are all greedy. Let them cannibalize each other. Or better yet, act like adults, and reach an agreement, or the 12 people who still care might stop caring. These parasites are replaceable.

I wake up in the morning, and realize that nobody will benefit my existence but me. My boss, my friends, and my family can listen to me up to a certain point, but they cannot give me what I need. I lead a happy life because if I don’t, nobody will care, so I might as well be happy. Plus, there are worse things than being young, caucasian, and successful in America today. I wouldn’t mind being taller and wealthier, but life is not perfect. Would I like to take Shannon Doherty until we shatter the headboards? Sure. Will anybody care besides me if I don’t? No.

So what do I do? I look down, and notice that I have a pair of testicles. I recommend that if any man does not have them, grow a pair immediately. For those who are female, grow something that makes you act in the same tough and dignified way men act when they have aforementioned appendages. Everybody, just grow a pair already.

Then get ready to celebrate my favorite holiday. I call it “Shut the hell up and go to work day.” It should be celebrated 40 hours a week, 50 weeks per year, and perhaps even when on vacation.

For those who I forgot to verbally rap upside the head, snap out of it before I do get to you. For those of you that actually do possess (not so) common sense, thank God for you. You may be diminishing in number, but you are appreciated in terms of quality.

eric

Deputy Dog should take Bubba with him

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

One quick piece of business…I was on Political Vindication Radio last night. As always, Frank and Shane are fabulous. It was a two hour program, but I was the guest for the second hour. 

http://www.politicalvindication.com/

Now for the world beyond me. 

Deputy Dog, aka Fred Thompson, has ended his campaign for President. Perhaps he can take Bubba Bill Clinton, the man who has been campaigning for the last 20 years, with him.

I want to make it clear that I like Fred Thompson. When I call him Deputy Dog, it is meant in an endearing way. Had he won the republican nomination I would have enthusiastically supported him in the general election.

Below are previous columns I wrote regarding Fred.

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/03/from-the-king-of-the-hill-to-the-white-house/

http://tygrrrrexpress.com/2007/10/rjc-in-dc-fred-thompson/

One of the biggest criticisms of Fred was that he was lazy. He was seen as not having the fire in the belly. What many people fail to understand is that Thompson exited the way he entered it, as a man completely comfortable in his own skin. He freely admitted that he did not spend every moment of his life hungering to be President of the United States.

Some would say his approach was aloof, bordering on arrogant. Others would say he was laconic. Others still would say that he was dignified, and did not want to compromise his dignity, specifically with regards to certain campaign rituals.

One example was his refusal to put on a fireman’s hat. He said that he had a rule against funny hats. Now some would say this is incredibly condescending. Yet how many times have we seen candidates wearing idiotic outfits? John Kerry put on a space suit and looked like a giant condom. He was ridiculed for it. If one puts on the funny outfit, they get ridiculed on You Tube. If one refuses to wear the funny outfit, they risk alienating voters.

Fred Thompson did not want to look foolish. He wanted to do everything on his terms. He entered late because he wanted to do so. Yet the other candidates have their own unconventional attitudes as well. Rudy Giuliani skipped the early primary and caucus states despite being told he could not do so. John McCain advocated a full escalation of an unpopular war despite being told this was political suicide. Fred Thompson had his convictions, and he stuck to them.

He also exited the stage gracefully. Some people refuse to leave the stage. They hang on indefinitely, because they are more interested in getting publicity than actually winning. This explains people such as Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. An elderly man (rest his soul) who resigned as the Chairman of the Board of a university once said to me that, “it’s better to have people question why you are leaving than when you are leaving.” Fred left with his dignity intact. Some people would rather hang on forever.

That somebody is Bubba, aka Bill Clinton. I have repeatedly compared Bill Clinton to Bill Murray n the movie “What about Bob.” He just won’t go away. He has been campaigning his whole life, and he cannot stop. He cannot leave the stage. Everything is about him and his narcissism.

Bill Clinton claimed that Barack Obama is not ready to be President yet. He cited his own decision in 1988 to stay out of the Presidential race until he was more seasoned. This is nonsense. In 1988, the Gary Hart scandal over Donna Rice exploded. Bill Clinton had plenty of “bimbo eruptions,” to be dealt with, and the country had not lowered its standards far enough into the gutter for him to be a viable candidate. The only thing that changed between 1988 and 1992 was that the economy had a brutal recession. It had nothing to do with Bill Clinton.

In his first two years, he blundered repeatedly, lost the congress, and then played defense for the last six years of his Presidency. He was not bad. He was just peripheral, aka the Seinfeld President. He won reelection against a weak candidate in good economic times fueled by an internet age that he was lucky enough to preside over.

In 2000, he wanted to keep campaigning, this time for Vice President Al Gore. Gore refused his help, a stinging rejection (that in all fairness might have cost him the election). So instead, Bill plunged himself into his wife’s Senate campaign. Al Gore lost a narrow election, while Hillary Clinton won in a state that tilts heavily to democrats anyway. Yet for Bill Clinton, the campaign was proof that, as he protested years earlier, he was still relevant.

After barely containing their glee at President Bush defeating John Kerry in 2004, Hillary began her 2006 Senate reelection campaign, which was just to kill time until the 2008 Presidential race. Hillary Clinton was supposed to cruise to a coronation, and then Obama got in the way by being the one thing Hillary cannot figure out how to be…likable.

The codependent relationship that is the Clintons continued to benefit both of them. Hillary needed Bill to save her faltering campaign, because she has never achieved anything in life without him. Let the feminists have their heads explode. Hillary Clinton owes her entire career, which to her is her entire self worth, to the fact that she married well (on some levels). Hillary needs Bill. Bill needs to be needed. He depends on her dependence on him.

Some former presidents stay on the public lecture circuit and make millions. Bill Clinton has done this, but the crowds are hundreds, not millions. Money has always been less important to him than power, and power for him is adulation. He could build houses for poor people, but that would only be useful if the cameras were on.

Bill Clinton cannot stop campaigning. It is a narcotic for him. A good parallel would be the late (rest his soul) coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Bill Walsh. Walsh retired after the 1988 season, but spent the next 20 years hovering, missing his job. George Siefert and Steve Mariucci were on the sidelines, but Walsh was always behind the scenes, offering advice. Yes, he was brilliant, but he cast a long shadow.

Bill Clinton will not let go. He can’t. He sucks the oxygen out of a room because the campaigning is his oxygen. He needs it to breathe, and it is his oxygen alone.

Fred Thompson had sound policy proposals, but was not into the politics aspect of becoming President. For Bill Clinton, the politics are the ends, and the policies are merely the means. If Hillary becomes President, Bill’s life will be dedicated to her reelection. Then they will try and choose her successor. One day a democrat not beholden to the Clintons will run for President. The fight for the one oxygen tank will be intense.

Fred Thompson leaves with his head held high, and his dignity intact. He has his lovely wife, his adorable children, and his successful career outside of politics.

Bill Clinton has nothing else. Politics is his existence. He cannot become an elder statesman. He needs to be an attack dog for his wife. This should be beneath him. It would be beneath most men. It would be beneath a man with dignity and self respect. It would be beneath a man comfortable in his own skin.

Fred Thompson will be missed, but he will put his talents to use no matter what he does. If Arthur Branch cannot get his old job back, he can always be useful to the next republican president as the next Attorney General.

Perhaps you can hire Bill Clinton in case your daughter runs for student council one day. It is never too early to prepare. Just keep him away from Geri Thompson. She does have a weakness for southerners.

Then again, never mind. She prefers men of substance.

Take care Alpha Dog. It was fun while it lasted.

eric

The Dr. King Suckup Debate

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Several days ago I was a guest on News Radio Magazine. The conversation with Kevin Liger was enjoyable, and very general.

http://www.directradionetwork.com/NRMGuests.html

Tonight I will be a guest on Political Vindication. The topic I will be discussing is Ideological Bigotry. Other topics may be discussed as well. I will be on 7:05pm PST.

www.politicalvindication.com

Oh, and the democrats had a debate in South Carolina on MLK Day. Here were the instructions from the moderator.

“Good evening, and welcome to South Carolina. You are all as candidates instructed in your answers to keep your lips no more than six inches from Martin Luther King’s rhetorical anus at all times. You are to mention him in every third sentence.

You are to castigate republicans, conservatives, and George W. Bush in particular. You are then expected to speak about unifying people in the great tradition of Dr. King.

You are to treat the audience like black sheep, refusing to discuss issues in any way except to insult their intelligence. Every issue in 2008 must be related to Selma, Alabama.

You are allowed and expected to use provocative words such as lynching and nooses provided it is related to the republican party, and anyone in the Bush Administration. Dick Cheney and Halliburton should be related to slavery.

You may make one gratuitous football remark to convince people you know anything about football. Hillary Clinton has always been a New York Giants fan, John Edwards can feel the spirit of the Carolina Panthers, and Barack Obama can mention Tony Dungy or Lovie Smith for no reason.

You must mention how nothing has changed since 1863, but that if you get elected, racial harmony will immediately begin.

Good luck, and remember to pucker up. If you can fit your whole head inside Dr. King’s rumpus, extra points will be given.”

With that, here is the recap.

Hillary Clinton was asked about her stimulus plan. President Bush has not taken the mortgage crisis seriously. She wants to freeze interest rates for 5 years. She is offering people rebates, which is exactly what President Bush proposed. She mentioned “green collar jobs” again. However, her rebates are the “right” rebates, and his rebates are wrong rebates. She complains that the Bush plan does not help peope who do not pay taxes to begin with. Her praise of Dr. King and the Congressional Black Caucus was brief.

Barack Obama claimed that Dr. King’s “I have a dream,” speech was mainly about jobs. He then bashed President Bush. He asked for rebates before Hillary thought of it. He seems to have been against or for everything from the beginning of time. Nobody else ever thinks of anything first. He wants a $500 rebate, Hillary wants $650, Bush wants $800. He also wants extra social security payments.

John Edwards does not offer a rebate. He then pursed his lips perfectly, in keeping with the moderator’s instructions. Wolf Blitzer tried to rein him in, and he explained that he supports benefits in green infrastructure, and long term solutions, not just short term solutions. He then bashed the Peru trade deal, which his colleagues supported. He then refused to elaborate on why he refuses to give a rebate.

Obama correctly pointed out that long term solutions are good, but short term solutions are necessary. He astutely mentioned the financial markets dropping. He pointed out that he was against NAFTA while Hillary supported it. He stated that he supported the Peru trade deal because it had safeguards that NAFTA did not. He pointed out that Edwards favored normal trade status with China.

Hillary again announced she did not want the Bush tax cuts to be permanent. The Bush package is bad. She mentioned green collar jobs again. She then praised Oakland Congressman Ron Dellums, and mentioned solar power for some reason.

Edwards said his plan would have an impact within 30 days. He again mentioned his father the mill worker, who actually did own the mill. He “would not trust George W. Bush to enforce anything”

Obama got off the first great line by saying that in a year “it will be me that is enforcing” the rules.

Obama was asked about Hillary’s criticism of his economic plan. He responded that her assertions were “not true.” He then went after Bill and Hillary Clinton, saying that they were the “same old politics.” Hillary pursed her lips as well, but in anger. Obama hit the Clintons very hard.

Hillary said, “I could not agree more,” and reiterated her claim that Obama praises Ronald Reagan and republicans in general. Yes, she took his remarks out of context, but the key would be if he could survive the attack. Hillary believes that “elections are about the future,” before going after Obama’s credibility. She praised Obama’s opposing the war in 2002, but said that in 2003 he reversed himself.

Obama tried to speak and Hillary kept interrupting. He pointe dout that while “he was on the streets helping people, you were a corporate lawyer at Walmart.” The crowd erupted. He then mentioned that it was Bill and Hillary playing political games, and praising Reagan in books.

The last debate was a lovefest. This was a smackdown.

When Hillary announced that she was on stage, and not her husband, Obama remarked, “Sometimes I do not know who I am running against.” Hillary kept trying to tie Obama to the republicans, and he kept rebutting her. Hillary then tied Obama to Rezko, a slumlord, and the crowd booed Hillary.

Edwards played the role of peacemaker, and stated that the squabbling between Obama and Clinton would not help children get healthcare. Going back to fiscal responsibility, Edwards claimed he had the most “aggressive and progressive agenda.” He also pointed out that Hillary has no plan to save social security, and that Hillary will refuse to admit that taxes need to be raised. He tied himself to Obama.

One moderator currently stated we were in an “economic mess.” A race card question was asked, whether or not the subprime mortgage situation was racially tinged.

Edwards took the bait, and agreed emphatically. He brought up slavery, segregation and discrimination. Apparently greedy lenders only want to hurt black people, since most of America is white and their money is no good.

Hillary said her plan for a moratorium is a “workout, not a bailout.”

Obama said we have a “history in this country in praying on low income people.” Like Hillary, he did not say it was anti-black overtly. He did mention opening up bank branches in all neighborhoods. He was against the bankruptcy bill while Hillary “voted for it but hoped it would not pass.”

Obama also answered Hillary’s charge about being a slumlord. He then mentioned that we must be able to trust our leaders, or nothing can get done on issues. “Consistency matters. Truthfulness in campaigns matters.”

Hillary stated that she regretted voting for the 2001 bankruptcy bill, and she opposed the 2005 bankruptcy bill. She then said Obama “did the bidding of insurance companies.” She said Obama had a “hands off attitude about his record.” Hillary claimed Obama was against a 30% ceiling on credit cards.

Edwards stated that Obama favored no limits on interest at all.

Hillary then stated that “Obama never takes responsibility for any vote.” The crowd booed loudly. She stated that Obama voted “present” on sex shop bills, sexual abuse victims bills, etc. “It is very difficult to get a straight answer out of Barack.”

Obama pointed out that the sexual abuse bill was one that he personally sponsored. He mentioned his own daughters. He accused Hillary of distorting his record, and that Hillary will “say anything to get elected.”

Edwards asked Obama why he voted present so often. Obama explained that sometimes that was procedurally necessary. Edwards responded that Obama was cherrypicking votes in the same way Hillary was doing.

Obama spoke of reforming the death penalty in Illinois, keeping juveniles from being charged as adults, opposing the Iraq War, all decisions that were not popular politically at the time.

Hillary was asked about a comment about how she played the race card involving AIDS, stating that the problem gets ignored because it affects black women more. She spoke of her own health plan, and then bashed the republicans and health care companies. She ignored the question itself.

Obama was asked about charges that his plan does not cover everybody, and should illegal immigrants be covered. Obama said he would not cover illegal immigrants because we have limited resources. He stated that Bill and Hillary Clinton messed up health care reform because they acted in secrecy in 1994, excluding the American people from the process.

Edwards stated that he believed that none of the three candidates favor covering illegal immigrants, but spoke that undocumented people who became citizens could get coverage. He stated that he and Clinton cover everybody, but Obama does not. Obama takes money from drug companies, and Hillary takes money from insurance companies.

Obama stated that mandating coverage for all adults is problematic because it forces people to buy health insurance. He stated that at least Edwards states how that mandate would be enforced, while Hillary does not. Obama stated that the key is not mandates, but out of control costs. He threw in a brief dig at President Bush in passing. Also, Edwards and Hillary have a “hardship exemption,” which defeats the concept of universal coverage.

Edwards compared Obama’s “opt out” plan to President Bush’s social security opt out provision.

Hillary stated that everybody had to be covered. She would “not leave 15 million Americans out of healthcare.” She pointed out Obama’s shifting positions away from a single payer system.

Obama claimed that people would rather pay a fine as opposed to coverage they cannot afford. So they pay the fine and still have no coverage. He stated that we should never try to have a single payer system, that it was good in theory.

The debate shifted to Iraq, and Hillary was confronted with good news. Does Hillary want to end the war or win it?

Hillary said she wanted to bring the troops home, and that she supports the troops. “There is no military solution.” She refused to say she wanted to win the war. Republicans should make that the first general election campaign issue. She is “committed to withdrawing the troops.”

Edwards was quoted John McCain saying “we must win.” When asked why the surge was wrong, he stated that even President Bush realized it was wrong. He then said, “If even President Bush realizes it was wrong, then you know it is wrong.” Edwards said he would bring all combat troops out of Iraq in his first year.

Obama stated we must get combat troops out safely as well as quickly. He stated that it is not just the tragic loss of life, but the financial unsustainability of the war. Money could be spent on broadband in South Carolina. He stated that Al Queda is more powerful than at any time since 2001.He got that fact from himself.

Hillary stated that nearly all the troops would be out within a year. She then stated that President Bush is negotiating a permanent base in Iraq, without going to congress. She is against permanent bases. Perhaps she wants to remove the troops from South Korea.

Obama was asked about comments by Rep. Charles Rangel, who supports Hillary, that voting for Obama is a feel good gesture. Obama replied that he agrees with Rangel in principle, but that Obama can unite and inspire people most effectively. He looks forward to working with Rangel when he becomes President.

Edwards was asked that voting for a black man would be good for black America, and what he thought. Edwards stated that he does not have the right to tell anybody who to vote for, but that he has been the best on issues such as ending poverty.

Hillary spoke about working for Marian Wright Edelman on children’s issues 35 years ago. She stated that black people did better under her husband than the current President.

Out of nowhere, the camera panned to Dave Chappelle. Nobody knows why, except that he is a celebrity.

Obama reiterated that he started out working out in low income neighborhoods. He then stated that the media has been focused on race throughout South Carolina. People want to move beyond those divisions. The crowd cheered. He said, “I don’t want to sell the American people short.” He then bashed republicans for not going to diverse forums.

Edwards spoke of his work with urban ministries in North Carolina. He then bashed Bill O’Reilly. He then offered one of his heart tugging stories.

Obama was asked about Bill Clinton being the first black President. He did praise Bill Clinton’s “affinity with the black community.” He then joked about investigating “Bill Clinton’s dancing abilities before accurately judging that he was a brother.”

It was a stupid question, a pathetic answer, and Bill Clinton was caucasian because race is about pigmentation, not attitudes or feelings. Hillary offered platitudes about how proud she is of her fellow candidates. Out of nowhere, her smile was replaced by a scowl as she lambasted President Bush. This woman wants to unite people. Hillary thinks we should “act like Americans,” whatever that means.

Obama pointed out that Edwards and Hillary were coming after his because he was “doing pretty good.” He clarified that while people should not be elected based on race or gender, but that race issues should still be spoken about. He cited the disparities in criminal sentences.

Hillary pointed out gender disparities in pay. She complained that “republicans are not talking about any of this.” Apparently they are trying to win the War on Terror, which she is against based on her prior comments.

Edwards spoke of things that democrats don’t talk about either. He stated that we need to start living together. He spoke of the 9th ward in New Orleans.

Hillary was asked about her husband’s voice becoming too loud, and overshadowing her. Hillary praised her husband and then quickly deflected to who has the most experience.

Obama was very careful in discussing the issue, but stated that he was troubled by how the former President portrayed his record. He then stated that the political map needs to be redrawn. He can reach out and inspire independents and even republicans. He said the one thing Bush and Cheney have done that is good for democrats is to give their own party a bad name.

Edwards stated that McCain will likely be the republican candidate, and that Edwards can compete against him in all 50 states. Democrats can compete in urban areas, but he can compete in rural areas. He then went on to differentiate himself again as not being beholden to special interests.

Obama spoke of reaching out to all people. He spoke proudly of his Christian faith, and spoke of reaching out to evangelicals. He felt that vote should not be conceded.

Hillary pointed out that if McCain is the nominee, the election will be about national security, making her the strongest democrat to face off against him.

Edwards stated that given McCain’s cleaning up the money in politics, Hillary would not be the best choice to face off against him. He challenged Hillary not to have lobbyists in the White House. She demurred. He challenged her again, and she pointed out that he took on people that worked for and married to lobbyists. When Hillary said that trial lawyers supported him, he stated that trial lawyers were for democracy. When he stated they had divergent views, Hillary disagreed. She said, “You’ve got to say no and stand up to lobbyists.”

Obama disagreed with Hillary’s assertion that she was prepared from a national security standpoint. Obama stated that he would contrast McCain more, while Hillary voted for the war. He again stated that we should talk to our enemies.

Edwards labeled our foreign policy as belligerent.

The candidates were then asked one final dopey question about why Dr. King would endorse them if he were alive today.

Edwards mentioned his commitments to equality and ending poverty.

Obama smartly replied that Dr. King would not endorse any of them. He would hold them all accountable. His career was about transparency and accountability.

Hillary mentioned John Lewis and James Clyburn, but did not answer the question

This debate was hard to gauge. The exchanges between Hillary and Barack clearly had Barack as the winner. Yet in the last debate, Edwards sided with Obama. This debate Edwards sided with Hillary. Edwards won his exchanges with Obama.

Hillary was booed on several occasions, and Obama was cheered the most. Edwards did not make any mistakes, but he took the racial bait question, which was disgusting. He also failed to break through, knowing he was on the verge of being on the outside of a two person race.

Hillary clearly lost, but between Obama and Edwards, it was a standstill. Given that Obama was ahead of Edwards, this is a win for Obama.

eric