Archive for March, 2009

Meeting Congressman Eric Cantor

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

At the 2009 Republican Jewish Coalition winter leadership meeting in Fort Lauderdale, I had the pleasure of meeting Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia.

http://cantor.house.gov/

http://www.rjchq.org/Multimedia/multimediadetail.aspx?id=0c20aece-925b-4c35-9fa4-a5914324743e

Eric Cantor is the House Minority Whip, which makes him the second most powerful Republican in the house behind the Minority Leader.

Given that the entire existence of the Democratic Party is held together by despising Republicans, they are struggling to find a new conservative demon. President George W. Bush is gone, and liberals were suicidal until their leaders instructed the leftist lemmings to go back to hating Rush Limbaugh. Yet he has no policy role, and besides, hating white conservatives is boring. Hating and trying to destroy minority conservatives keeps Democrats from folding altogether. Michael Steele and Sarah Palin are examples, but again, they do not make policy.

Therefore, Eric Cantor is now public enemy # 1. He is a Jewish conservative in a country where leftists do not tolerate minorities to be anything other than liberal. Yet Congressman Cantor is tough. He knows the arrows are out for him, and he is prepared.

While much of RJC Conference was strictly about policy, Congressman Cantor was there to fire up the crowd with a giant helping of political (kosher) red meat.

With that, I bring the fire of one of the great Jewish Republicans in America, Congressman Eric Cantor.

(after a very friendly introduction)

“I am glad my wife was here to hear all of those nice things.”

“The GOP went native. We built a bridge to nowhere.”

“We must not take the wrong message from our losses at the polls.”

“Contrary to Newsweek, Americans have not gone Socialist. By a margin of 40% to 20%, people call themselves conservatives vs. liberals.”

“President Obama talks about the DOW like it is a political tracking poll.”

“He makes a new blunder every week. The stimulus package was put online by Nancy Pelosi at 2am. We see the results of that type of leadership.”

“If President Obama and Rahm Emanuel spent more time on the economy than they did attacking Rush Limbaugh, we would all be better off.”

“We as Republicans must not and should not abandon the principles of limited government, free markets, and a strong national defense.”

“We are the Party of Ronald Reagan, who was an intellectual and an innovator. Yet we cannot live in the past.”

“Reagan was conservative, but his policies were relevant to what people were going through at that time.”

“Right now welfare and crime are not the greatest issues. Taxes and spending will always be important.”

“Our candidates cannot be seen as threatening the mainstream of our country.”

“Don’t just speak in ideological terms. We must communicate a vision.”

“We don’t and shouldn’t embrace Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, but we must have counter proposals.”

“On health care, the issue is choice. Rahm Emanuel’s brother Zeke is in charge of a health care board. We should choose our doctors, not him.”

“70% of jobs come from small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed. We need to show them that the future of the GOP affects the future of America, which afects the future of our youth.”

“(Ohio State Rep) Josh Mandel and (Florida House Majority Leader) Adam Hasner (both solid Jewish Republicans) are taking our message to the entire country.”

“We must combat President Obama on his plans by asking the youth of America one question. Who will pay for all of this? My GOP teammates get that.”

“The Democratic budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.”

“Before students pay their college loans, their share of the deficit will be $75,000 and climbing.”

“I am the product of immigrants. My grandmother came from Russia and worked seven days a week. Nowhere else on Earth could she help me reach the American dream.”

After a rousing standing ovation, I did get a chance to speak with Congressman Cantor for a few minutes. I thanked him for his leadership, and he thanked me for blogging. As a fairly young man, he clearly understands the importance of the new media. At some point I will interview him.

I expressed concern that as a Jewish conservative, that he would be next on the target list. He let me know that the hate campaign has already started against him, and that he is well prepared. He is not one to roll over for the sake of comity. Whips are tough, and Congressman Cantor is ready to hit back hard when necessary.

The last thing I told him was that even though he may be prepared, I would keep him and his family in my prayers. He thanked me for that.

Unlike some politicians that quickly duck out of the room, he stayed for quite some time. After all, he is a Jewish Republican. He was among friends.

He is an inspiration for Jewish Republicans everywhere. For the rest, America is lucky to have his service.

May God Bless Congressman Eric Cantor always, politically and in life.

eric

My Interview With Josh Mandel

Monday, March 30th, 2009

At the 2009 Republican Jewish Coalition winter quarterly meeting in Fort Lauderdale, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Ohio State Representative Josh Mandel.

http://www.joshmandel.com/

Notice the donation button on his site. It is not there for decoration. Please help him.

I have met Josh Mandel at previous RJC functions. He is a rising star in the GOP and a source of great pride for the Jewish community. I initially met him in California in 2008 at the Reagan Library. Yesterday I had the pleasure of seeing him again when he came to Los Angeles.

His remarks from the Los Angeles event were off the record, but my interview with him in Florida was more than enough to tell his story.

1) What is the Josh Mandel story?

JM: “I am the grandson of a Holocaust survivor. I went to Ohio State University, where I became Student Body President. Inspired by my grandparents, I joined the Marine Corps in 2000. I ended up going to Law School at Case Western Reserve. I went to Iraq in 2004, to Anbar Province. I was part of the First Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion. Mostly I was stationed on the Syrian border.

I returned home, and in 2006 was elected to the Ohio legislature. I knocked on 19,679 doors, and wore out three pairs of shoes. I led the fight on Iranian divestment in Ohio.

In 2007, I went back to Iraq as part of the surge, again in Anbar province. I came home in 2008 and was reelected to my seat. I am now contemplating a run for Ohio State Treasurer. On the personal front, I got married a few months ago.”

Josh was modest in his description of himself. He actually had to make some hard choices. In 2007, while he was in the legislature, the marines wanted him back for a second tour of duty. He made the tough but right decision. As he explained, “I didn’t join the marines so that I could say no to my country.”

When he returned to Ohio in 2008, his Democratic opponent actually accused him of neglecting his constituents by leaving Ohio during the legislative session! The voters of Josh Mandel’s Ohio visit were not fooled. Serving in Iraq was a noble endeavor, and the voters rewarded Josh with a second term.

2) What have we gotten right and what have we gotten wrong regarding Iraq and the overall War on Terror?

JM: “What we got right was that we recognized the serious threat that America and worldwide democracies face from Muslim extremism. The only language the terrorists understand is strength and force. The American military is why Iraq has turned around. As for what we got wrong, I am not going to play Monday morning quarterback.”

3) If you had five minutes to talk to President Bush or Vice President Cheney, what would you say to them or ask them?

JM: “I would thank them for recognizing the threat we face with Muslim extremism, and for giving the needed resources to the soldiers fighting abroad.”

4) What role if any has Judaism played in your military career?

JM: “I am a grandson of a survivor. I looked up to him. He had a level of toughness I couldn’t imagine. That toughness and belief in God will stick with me as I try to be a leader in our country.”

5) How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now? What would you want people to say about Josh Mandel the person?

JM: “I would like to be remembered as a man who loved his country, and his family, and who was dedicated to making us strong economically and militarily into the future.”

It was a genuine joy to get to know Josh Mandel better. As Senator Norm Coleman remarked to me in front of him that weekend, pointing to him, “Eric, this is our future.”

I will probably run into Josh many times in the future at various functions, since we associate with many of the same people. Yet while I honor his service and marvel at his accomplishments, I also take great pride in knowing that Josh Mandel also lets the world know that he is a proud Jewish Republican.

I wish him well always, and the people of Ohio are lucky to have him.

eric

My 2009 NCAA March Madness “Predictions”

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

Anybody can make predictions of events before they happen.

I hope the world appreciates my ability to try and predict results of the 2009 NCAA March Madness tournament after most of the games have been played.

First of all, I have not watched the games. If I never hear Dick Vitale say the word “baby” ever again, my life will be just fine. I may watch the final game, but for now, I will offer some thoughts on the tournament itself.

This is not in any way to be considered investment advice, especially since I have no idea what I am talking about.

There are two ways to approach the tournament. The first way is to pick the 65th best team in a 64 team tournament. The play in game featured Alabama State. I almost picked them to win the entire tournament. Apparently they lost the play in game and did not make the tournament.

Another way I approach it is to take the brain dead approach and simply pick the favorite. Therefore, I have the North Carolina Tar Heels winning it all, even though I have no idea what a Tar Heel is.

I refuse to play in office pools because in 1994, I picked the Arkansas Razorbacks to win it all. They did, and I still didn’t win the pool. Apparently those other 12, 367 games below the final game matter.

One rule that must immediately be instituted is the banning of any school where the name of the school does not tell a person where the school is located.

I know what state Virginia Tech is located in. I know where Mississippi State is located. What the heck is a Valparaiso? They should be banned. Somebody told me they did not make the tournament anyway, but their evil cousins did. Siena is a crayon in a crayon box, and it is burnt.

Perhaps an exemption can be given to Duke since they have won it before. Yet I still don’t know how they get “Sha-shef-sky” out of “Kra-zew-sky.” Until Coach K becomes Coach S, they should not win. I know he criticized President Obama, but I do not mix my sports and politics. The President picked North Carolina, but he agrees with me, not the other way around.

I am rooting for North Carolina because I have always admired Dean Smith. I met him, and he is a nice guy. Also, Michael Jordan played there, so they have to be good.

Villanova gets an exemption because I correctly picked them over Georgetown in 1985. Who doesn’t like saying the name Rollie Massimino? I did. Ok, back then I actually did watch, and Villanova played them tough both times during the regular season. Yet again, it is cool saying Rollie Massimino. He was one of the worst dressed  coaches in the game, with Louis Carnesecca and that sweater at St. Johns. Plus, I still do not know what a Hoya is.

So enough with Gonzaga, and if they made the tournament, forget Monmouth.

Also, is there any state in the union that has a State and a Tech. Is there an Oklahoma Tech or a Texas State? Why can’t there be a State and a Tech in the same state? I will lobby for it.

Also, what is the purpose of the NIT Tournament? Does the winner jump up and yell, “We’re # 66!”?

I am removing Maryland from the list of teams that should win. I learned today what a Terrapin is. It is not a bowling pin. It is a turtle.

Notre Dame should never win because I disliked Lou Holtz. Yes, I know he coached football, but the school acts like the Pope cares if they win. Also, despite being told they play in Indiana, that has not been proven by their name. President Obama is speaking there, but again this is not political. However, despite Nicolas Sarkozy, the French still should not win an American tournament. Notre Dame is too European for me. She ain’t my lady.

Anyway, I will read the papers at some point, assuming newspapers still exist, and see who I would have wanted to win. Either way, grown men getting excited over young boys is something that should draw the attention of Law and Order SVU.

Also, Duke and North Carolina are 8 miles apart. They play in the same conference. Yet they are in different brackets. Explain this to me. No, wait. Don’t. How can Duke be the Blue Devils? Devils are red, not blue. As for the Blue Demons, Depaul has not been good for awhile. Therefore, they may be eliminated under the lack of easily identifiable location clause. Wake Forest is the worst of the lot. They are Demon Deacons, which is as contradictory as Led Zeppelin. I hear they are also in North Carolina, but there is not enough for them and Duke in the lack of identity category.

What is worse is after this tournament, baseball season starts. I miss football.

Lastly, the Tennessee Volunteers will win the women’s tournament because I think they do every year. Also, I am intimidated by Pat Summitt.

If any teams I predicted to win have either already been eliminated or never made the tournament, don’t blame me. I did not watch the games.

eric

My Interview With Laura Ingraham

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

At the 2008 Republican Convention in Minneapolis, I met and briefly interviewed radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.

http://www.lauraingraham.com/

For those who do not know, Laura Ingraham used to clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

This was a quick interview because she was between interviews with television news programs. Her pace was hectic, so I kept my pace brisk.

1) Who are your three political heroes?

LI: “My political heroes are Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and Winston Churchill.”

2) What issues are most important as we head into the 2008 election?

LI: “The economy. It comes down to the economy.”

(So many people are so passionate about red meat social issues, but as in most elections, people looked at their wallets before voting. Ms. Ingraham does frequently dive into cultural issues, but she was right about 2008 from an issue perspective.)

3) How do you explain the hostile reaction toward Sarah Palin? Shouldn’t a governor and mother of five be seen as Superwoman?

LI: “It was disgusting how the media treated her, especially regarding the story about her daughter. If Bristol Palin had decided to get an abortion, she and Sarah Palin would be celebrated by the left. Because Sarah Palin is pro-life, the left hates her.”

4) How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now? What would you want people to say about Laura Ingraham the person?

LI: “I would like to be remembered as somebody who tried to do the right thing.”

Laura Ingraham is a serious person. She is very smart, and passionate about seeing conservatism get back to its roots. With plenty of discipline (fiscal and political) and a bit of luck, the next time I run into her will be as part of a celebration of the governing GOP majority.

eric

RJC in Lauderdale

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I recently attended the Republican Jewish Coalition winter leadership meeting. This one was held in Fort Lauderdale.

http://www.rjchq.org/

While many political superstars were in attendance, the coming days will give them their due. Texas Senator John Cornyn gave a preview of the 2010 Senatorial races.

http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/

Michael Barone, perhaps the brightest elections expert in the entire world, offered his brilliant insights on the political scene. RNC Chairman Michael Steele fired up the crowd with his likable style, while House Minority Whip Eric Cantor offered red meat.

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/barone/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_S._Steele

http://cantor.house.gov/

Elliott Abrams offered his wisdom as one of the top foreign policy people of the past decade.

http://www.cfr.org

Other notables in attendance included former White House Spokesperson Ari Fleischer and Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman. My admiration of Senator Coleman is no secret, and this time he greeted me with a warm hug.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Fleischer

Sam Fox, the former Ambassador to Belgium, was also in attendance. Vice President Cheney once deadpanned, “Sam Fox is one of the bravest people I know. He goes hunting with me. Sam is a big deal now because President Bush has given him a nickname. Upon finding out I was going to see Sam, the President said, ‘Say hi to Foxy for me.’”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Fox

Others in attendance may or may not be as well known, but they should be. They are rising GOP stars on different levels.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was in attendance. Mr. McCollum was a former Congressman from Florida who was one of the 13 House impeachment managers. He was targeted for defeat by the vengeful left, but he has bounced back statewide in a big way. If Governor Charlie Crist runs for the open senate seat, then Mr. McCollum may run for Governor of Florida.

http://www.myfloridalegal.com/

While Attorney General McCollum is fabulous on the issues facing people today, his best quality may be that he married very well. Mrs. McCollum may be one of the nicest people I have ever met. I was seated next to her during one of the dinners, and her sharp political mind is matched only by her kindness. A devout Christian, she enjoyed taking part in the Jewish rituals of the evening. I will not discuss my conversations with her, since she is a private citizen. I will only say that in terms of the major issues of our time, she clearly “gets it.”

While John Cornyn occupies one Texas senate seat, Kay Bailey Hutchison will be vacating her seat to run for the Texas governorship. Running to fill her senate seat is State Senator Florence Shapiro. Ms. Shapiro spoke to the RJC during the Sunday session, and she now has legions of new fans in the Jewish community.

http://www.shapiroexplore.com

The RJC has friends far and wide, all across this land. South Dakota State Senator Dan Lederman is among them. For those that do not read the Argus Leader (no loss), South Dakota is actually a politically conservative state. Senator Lederman is mainstream South Dakota, and for those not living on the coasts, that is mainstream America.

http://www.legis.state.sd.us

One man everybody should get to know real soon is Ohio State Senator Josh Mandel. At age 31, he has already served two tours of duty in Iraq. He is currently contemplating a run for Ohio State Treasurer. No less a man than Senator Norm Coleman told me, while pointing to Josh Mandel, that, “This is the future.”  On March 29th, Josh will be traveling to Los Angeles for a fundraiser. I have donated to him. You should as well.

http://www.joshmandel.com/

Veering briefly back to Senator Coleman, he offered very brief but fun remarks to warm up the crowd on the opening night of the weekend.

http://www.colemanforsenate.com/

“There is an old Norwegian joke about a man in Norway who was so overcome with emotion that he almost told his wife that he loved her. In America, this is the relationship between the Democrats and the poor. They are almost at the point of trying to care about them.”

“At a ceremonial dinner, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once stated that she would have the beef for dinner. She was then asked about the vegetables. She replied, ‘The vegetables will have the beef as well.’ Ladies and gentleman, the Republican Jewish Coalition is the beef.”

“History will prove that President George W. Bush was right.”

“The RJC knows what we are fighting for. We are fighting for the greatness of the U.S.A.”

“Being here with fellow members of the RJC. I feel like I am among family. You are all the Mishpachas.”

Politics is important, but so is friendship. I had the pleasure of meeting a young lady named Heather Robinson. While the entire world knows that I have a bias toward stunning Republican Jewish brunettes, Heather is in a class by herself because she is also a political blogger. She covered the conference as well. We actually had the paper and pen version of dueling banjos going, scribbling rapidly. She writes very well. Check her out. Then read her blog.

http://heatherrobinson.net/

Yes, the weekend was a serious policy conference. Yet of equal if not more importance was for Republican Jews and their supporters to reaffirm that we are the norm. We are the standard. We are mainstream America.

Hineni. Here I am. Republican, Jewish, and proud to be part of such a great coalition.

eric

My Interview With Chris Muir of Day By Day

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Muir. Chris Muir is the cartoonist behind the internet comic strip “Day By Day.”

http://www.daybydaycartoon.com/

I first learned about Day by Day by reading one of my favorite books, “South Park Conservatives.” The book describes the four characters. Damon is a 25 year old software worker. He is a conservative who happens to be black. Jan is a young, raging leftist. Zed is an easygoing designer that the writer of South Park Conservatives, Brian Anderson, describes as “coasting through life.” Sam is a mechanical engineer in his forties.

Day by Day is a smartly written and politically conservative cartoon.

With that, below is my interview with Chris Muir of Day by Day.

1) What is the Chris Muir story?

CM: I try to keep Chris Muir in the background as much as possible, I think it distracts from DBD. Basically, I was in Design, most manufacturing in the US went to China, which killed Design as a field (in my niche), fortunately I had been putting a lot of effort into DBD by then.

2) What is the Day by Day story? How did it come to be? Tell us about the characters.

CM: I drew some toons as a kid, didn’t touch them again until 1997 when the internet started showing promise as a way to address political and cultural issues I found interesting. It seemed no media or toons reflected what the other 1/2 of the population thought, and I sought to fill that gap in a very small way. After 9/11, blogs started up, and I saw immediately what an enriched field it was that could be symbiotic with the strip. DBD was one of the first online strips to be designed for the internet, and blogs in particular.

The characters are all blends of myself and people I know-as well as some I have read about. It took me about 4 years to get to know them, and the strip is much smoother now, as ‘they’ pretty much speak for themselves in any scenario that comes up.

3) The politically conservative character is Damon, who happens to be black. Is he based on anybody in particular? Did you deliberately want a black conservative? What was the initial readership reaction to Damon?

CM: Damon just popped in my head one day; and I selected a black conservative man to play off Jan, the white Liberal. He is based on myself and some friends of mine. I always enjoy it when Libs say ‘you can’t speak for a black man’. By such logic, they should never speak for any phenotype other than themselves, not too mention all novels, articles, analysis, etc. would be invalid with such an outlook. Truly silly people. Damon’s a conservative American man with African heritage, not African-American.That’s all.

Reaction has always been good to him, though he has ‘mellowed’ lately, with a child on the way nee Jan.

4) (Unless I am reading the strip wrong), it seems that Damon, who often sparred politically with raging white leftist Jan, is now romantically involved with her. What was the readership reaction to that decision?

CM: As in the above, Jan’s pregnant with Damon’s child, they’re engaged and funnin’ it up in Italy right now. Again, my readership enjoys the sparks that fly between them, and they have always pressured those 2 to get married!

5) Who are your favorite cartoonists and/or comic strips of all time, be they political or apolitical? What comic strips should more people know about, and who are these up and coming or underrated cartoonists?

CM: Gary Larson, David Wade, Chris Onstad, Garry Trudeau, Dilbert, Milton Caniff (Male Call), Helen, Sinfest…and there are so many others, I can’t list. Very few are political, they’re just damn good in what they do.

The best thing now is simply search, and skip around, there are so many. I typically find new ones every other week or so to read regularly.

6) Do you feel that most political cartoons are fair, or that they take cheap shots? Exempting Day by Day, which comic strips do you feel are fair, and which ones take cheap shots? Who and what in particular if anything do you feel crossed the line?

CM: The poor ones take cheap shots. The good ones are not fair-and, I don’t exempt DBD from that observation. As to crossing the line, it’s hard enough to put something of yourself out there every day online…so I give kudos to whomever is putting their work out there, frankly. ‘Crossing the line’ is too negative for me to worry about.

7) Has the change in presidential administrations made it easier, harder, or had no effect on your daily comic strip?

CM: Yes, yes, and no. I tend to hammer the Left because they are such bountiful suppliers of material; yet they could not exist without the GOP, a group so inept they make the Democrats appear professional.

Lots of material! And Mr.O is a writer’s dream, every day he produces something…memorable.

8.) Who are your 3 political heroes, be they American or global?

CM: Reagan, Vaclav Havel, Margaret Thatcher.

9) What political issues are you most passionate about?

CM: Hard to say, more like an assemblage…but with Obama, constitutional issues are coming to the fore.

10) What would you want people to say about Chris Muir the person? How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now?

Nothing. Don’t care, honestly.

 

I would like to thank Chris Muir for his time, and for writing a strip that is smart, sharp, funny, and sometimes very warm. After all, if Jan and Damon can love each other, then there is hope for all of us to get along, even while hanging on to our core principles.

eric

Mr. Obama, enough press conferences

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

President Barack Obama is officially more overexposed than the Geico Gekko.

Whenever he speaks, the stock market suffers. The market has had a nice rebound, and I really wish he would just leave well enough alone. He again spoke to the nation last night.

He praised himself for saving jobs of certain people. How does he know that somebody did not lose their job because of anything he did?

He spoke about the “equivalent” of a new tax cut. Would it kill him to give me an actual tax cut? Yeah, I know, 95% of people, blah blah blah. Not gonna happen.

He wants to make sure that we do not return to the cycle of bubble and bust. Of course we will. Speculation has existed since the beginning of time. He wants to make sure we do not face an economic crisis 10 or 20 years from now.

Will somebody please at least admit that Barack Obama cannot defeat the business cycle? We will have good and bad times in the future.

As for the rest, there were some basic themes.

1) Nothing is his fault. It was like that when he got here. His predecessor was 100% at fault.

2) We are all in this together, except when it suits him to blame the other side and absolve himself.

3) We should not demonize investors trying to make profits. What the heck does he think a corporation is?

One troublesome aspect of Obama press conferences is that he chooses in advance who gets to ask questions. He started out with Jennifer Loven of AP, a partisan hack and liberal activist married to another liberal activist. She and her husband did everything they could to deliver the AP for John Kerry in 2004.

She basically, in the form of an AIG question, asked why we should trust him. This allowed him to answer why we should.

President Obama pointed out that unlike banks, which were regulated by FDIC, AIG as an insurance company had no regulatory oversight. He is right in the sense that there is no federal insurance commissioner. Insurance is regulated at the state level.

MSNBC naturally was allowed to ask a question. The president was asked what sacrifices were expected of the public. Shockingly enough, he replied that the public has sacrificed enough. These were astonishingly ridiculous questions, even for liberal shills. The president also offered platitudes about how we have to make tough choices, and that we cannot ignore the long term. He also reminded people that AIG contracts were put in place before he took over. Nothing is his responsibility in this era of shared responsibility.

When ABC asked if him if he would promise to veto any budget that did not include cap and trade and a middle class tax cut, naturally the president bobbed and weaved. apparently he feels that the middle class already received their tax cut. I never got mine. He shifted to health care, energy, and education. These things have nothing to do with the question, but the president answers questions the way he wants to answer them.

When CBS asked him about increasing the debt 9.3 trillion in the coming 10 years, he passed the buck without stating he was passing the buck. He inherited the problem. Yet he is going to drive down the deficit in half in the next five years. Only after that does it absolutely explode.

He claims that the CBO forecasts 2.2% growth, while he assumed 2.6%. He claims that without fixing health care, energy and education, there will be no growth at all. Perhaps he does not know that spending does not equal growth. He claimed that the GOP had no alternative budget. The minority has proposed ideas. The Pelosiraptor rejects them. The president then blathered on about cutting out wasteful spending, and going through the budget line by line. Does he know he already won the election?

A reporter from Univision asked if he was taking Mexico seriously. SHockingly enough, of course he is. I know this because he intoned this in a serious voice.

When Stars and Srtipes asked him if he was going to find savings in the defense budget and money allocated for veterans, Mr. Obama explained that of course everybody would agree that savings could be found in procurement. John McCain agrees with him.

In fact, several times he mentioned that every credible person agreed with him.

Ed Henry of CNN finally offered something valuable from a reporter standpoint. He pointed out that Obama did nothing on AIG, and has blamed Bush. Will Obama leave a mess for his successor to blame him for?

Mr. Obama claimed that his job was “hard.” He then used a false straw man by claiming that the alternative was to stand pat and do nothing. He did state that he held a fiscal responsibility summit, as if that meant something. He trule does believe that words equal deeds. He does not want Chinese and Indian kids to surpass American kids, as if anybody in America does. He ducked the AIG aspect of the question.

Major Garrett of Fox News brought up the fact that the Chinese were worried about the dollar and Europe was worried about our spending.The President then claimed that we need to increase job growth, but that the dollar is strong and that investors see the strongest economy and political stability in the world here. When President Bush and Senator McCain said the same thing, Obama pilloried them. Yet did he praise President Bush for the strong economy he inherited? This man is a pretzel, yet unties himself because he is not challenged.

When asked if he regretted trying to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, he said no. He then offered a stinging and completely false justification of his absolutely dreadful proposal to raise taxes on charitable giving by lowering the deduction.

He claimed that if people were truly charitable, the deduction would not matter. Commens like that are why he occasionally disgusts me. This man will not get off of his moral high horse. When asked what he thought about charities claiming that giving will lessen, he simply stated that the charities were wrong. Either this man knows everything, or he is a gasbag.

Ebony Magazine asked him what he thought about 1 out of every 50 children being homeless. No evidence of this statistic was cited. Presidet Obama bravely pointed out that no child should be hungry, and that homeless children in America was not acceptable. He then shifted to homeless veterans. He is against veterans being homeless.

Ann Compton of ABC Radio wasted time by asking him if he felt he was still being judged by his race. He correctly pointed out that people were worried about the economy, and that the glow of a black man being elected ended about one day after the last inaugural ball.

The Washington Times wanted to know if he had any ethical concerns about embryonic stem cell research. This allowed him to state that of course he thinks issues through.  He is against human cloning.  Yet he claimed that he was only in favor of using embryos about to be destroyed. No, that was the Bush position. He is in favor of destroying perfectly healthy embryos. If science offers solutions that avoid controversy, great. He is not interested in ideological rigidity., except that he is. He respects different opinions in terms of listening to people, but that is not the same as altering his position.

A French reporter acted like a French reporter by asking an anti-Semitic question about how the Israeli-Palestinian issue could possibly be resolved with Bibi Netanyahu and Avi Lieberman in the Israeli government.

The president lamented that it will “not be easier.” He stated that the status quo was unsustainable. He left out that Hamas are terrorists.

He then praised George Mitchell and actually compared the peace in Northern Ireland to the situation in the Middle East, as if there was any basis for comparison.

He again reminded us that he inherited knotty problems. He then went on a tangent about economics, and insisted he was right about Timothy Geithner. He defended his video to Iran, and considered it progress despite their rejectionist response. In liberal minds, symbolism actually is a victory regardless of any benefit.

He is confident we are moving in the right direction, and that in four years we will be better off.

If we are not, he will just hold a press conference and blame his predecessor, all the while telling us things are fabulous anyway because of him. He will not cite specifics, nor be asked any.

eric

My Conference Call With Republican Strategists

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Yesterday I was on the telephone with some Republican new media strategists.

The session was very useful and very informative.

The main focus was the budget. After President Obama speaks tonight, a press conference tomorrow with analysis will follow.

Over the last three weeks, the main issue has been the budget. It spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much. This was validated by CBO estimates from this past Friday.

In 2009, the projected deficit will be 1.7 trillion. This is 12% of GDP. In 2010 the projected deficit will be 1.1 trillion, 8% of GDP. These are the highest levels since the World War II era.

On the tax side, this is a national energy tax in the form of cap and trade. This will be three thousand dollars per household. This is being referred to as a lightswitch tax.

On the borrowing side, in five years, 1/7 will go towards finance charges on the debt.

An organization known as Organizing For America is comprised of members of Obama’s campaign team. They will be in charge of selling the budget. They sent out 14 million emails, and got only 300,000 hits. That is a 2% success rate.

When we sent out our information about the tea parties going on around America, we received 188,000 hits. I am sure we have less than 14 million email contacts. They have work to do.

As for the AIG deal, we have no idea who and why was behind this fiasco involving the bonuses. Barack Obama seems to have ducked the issue, and let Geithner and Dodd take the heat.

Right now we are all being asked to accept a quick legislative remedy without the consequences being considered. That is what got us into this mess to begin with.

The Tygrrrr Express is leaving South Florida for Los Angeles. Upon arriving home, I will listen to what President Obama has to say. We shall see.

eric

Why Chesney Sullenberger Matters

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Despite an avalanche of media attention, one person I have not spoken or written about it Chesney “Sully” Sullenberger.

Every time I try to condense my thoughts, I end up crying.

While the story of how he and his crew safely landed a plane in the Hudson River has been told over and over, it was an appearance on 60 Minutes that had me fully grasping his significance.

I had not watched 60 Minutes in years, but he was the feature story. I had to watch. Out of all of his appearances, this one was the most meaningful. He was asked why people were so drawn to this story.

His response was simple, truthful, and important.

“People need to feel good again. They need to feel a sense of hope.”

Times are tough. People are starving for good news. They do not need a ten course meal of it. They will settle for bread crumbs.

Throughout history, during tough times, various events have lifted us up.

Sometimes it is sports.

After 9/11, the New York Giants won with courage. So did the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina.

The 1980 Men’s Olympic Hockey team beat the Russians but it was not about hockey. It was about that America was truly in a malaise. Misery was widespread. People were doubting if America itself had no longer possessed the will to be the best. We were on the decline.

I remember being in New York several years ago when the city was really down. Then all of a sudden, baseball player David “Boomer” Wells did what only 16 pitchers have ever done in the Major Leagues. He pitched a perfect game.

David Wells was an overweight drinker and brawler. Yet as the New York Post pointed out, at any given moment, even a very imperfect man for a moment can be perfect.

I was in the city when this happened. New Yorkers of all stripes hugged and high-fived each other. They also did it when troubled Dwight “Doc” Gooden pitched his no-hitter.

I do not even like baseball. I certainly do not root for the Yankees. Yet the fact that people had their spirists lifted by what some people consider to be an insignificant event does not minimize that they felt better.

Yet sports events do not ever compare to real life. The most honorable thing a person can do is save a life. Saving one life is saving the world.

Sully Sullenberger saved 150 people. More importantly, not one person died. Not one.

When 60 minutes showed Sully reuniting with the passengers, that was overwhelming. Yet he also met their families. One woman thanked him for being the reason she was not a widow. Children thanked him for saving their parents.

Somehow he kept his composure. That steely eyed resolve was what turned a crisis that lasted less than five minutes from turning into a catastrophe.

There would be tragedy in the coming days. Yet not on the day Sully flew.

Several days later there was a plane crash in Buffalo. There were plenty of deaths. Even today we had two tragic plane crashes on the same day, spreading pain all the way from Montana to Tokyo. This only magnifies the need to hang onto Sully Sullenberger.

The bad news has got to stop, or at least slow down. The bleeding has got to stop. We desperately need to feel good again. We need to feel a sense of hope. We need good things to happen. The bad stuff will never stop, but at least let it take a break.

I remember a pair of mining incidents in the recent past. One took place in Pennsylvania. Nine miners that everybody thought were dead somehow survived. When the governor of Pennsylvania came on television, his words were magic.

“All nine are alive.”

I remember pumping my fists in the air, thinking that on this day, people would not be taken from us.

I just wish that the miners in West Virginia had the same luck.

Thirteen of them were trapped, and thought dead. Had the story ended there, it would have been awful, but what occurred next made matters far worse.

A report came out that said all but one of them had survived. One death was a tragedy, but 12 out of 13 alive was something. I pumped my fists again, and the families hugged each other.

The report was wrong. The numbers were backwards. All but one of them had died. One had survived. He was coughing badly, and may never be the same.

The families were devastated, and television viewers were crushed.

I have had it with bad news. I understand that good times cannot last forever, but bad times cannot and must not last forever either. In 2009, financial markets violently crashed. Foreign policy crises exploded throughout the globe. Unemployment reached levels not seen in a quarter of a century.

Yet for a few brief moments, people reaffirmed that this nation is made up of ordinary individuals who reach levels of greatness by just doing what they do.

For once, the media did not, and I hate to use this word, “sully” this man. No stories came out about him being an alcoholic, wife beater, or anything else that would tarnish this story.

I don’t care if stuff like that does come out. Nothing will ever minimize his heroic deeds.

Yet it is still refreshing to see that he truly does seem to be a person we can look up to. His wife loves him. So do his friends. So does his crew. He might be the real deal.

An angel named Sully Sullenberger took an entire nation on his wings. As his plane was crashing, in the coming days our spirits were soaring.

150 people may have worries about America, but they have a sense of perspective we will hopefully never see.

I personally had a health scare a couple of weeks ago. My appreciation for life is far greater than it was before my scare. I am fine now, and grateful.

I also know that most of what we deal with in life does not matter.

Life and death matters.

150 people are alive today because of one man. If these 150 people spread what they were given, the whole world truly could become a better place.

If evil can be spread, it should not be so farfetched to think that good cannot be an equally powerful wildfire.

We have our divisions with daily events, but when the chips are truly down, Americans truly do come together. We are better people than we give each other credit for.

We all have some Sully Sullenberger inside of us.

Sometimes it just takes the real Sully Sullenberger to remind us of this.

When we dig down deep, some special things happen.

Thank God for Chesney Sullenberger.

Get some rest Sully. Go play a round of golf or enjoy a good steak.

We will take it from here. You have earned some peace and quiet.

May good news come to all of us in abundance.

When it does come, let’s be ready with appreciation and gratitude.

For those who truly are ready, don’t wait. Make it happen.

We need good news. We need hope. We need to believe again.

God bless us all.

eric

Spring Break 2009–South Beach Revisited

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Miami–Will Smith is 100% Right

The Tygrrrr Express is back in South Florida.

Yes, Fort Lauderdale was the site of the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting. That is for another day very soon. Delray Beach has my parents. they are fine and the food is free for me.

Next week I will predict the NCAA March Madness tournament after it has ended.

Yet this is about Miami. I am headed back to South Beach for Spring break 2009.

Below are words I wrote in one of my very first column in March of 2007. Brief 2008 and 2009 updates will follow. Real life can wait. It is time to party.

Spring Break 2007:

Last month was Honolulu, next month is Chicago and New York, and Los Angeles gets my time inbetween. However, this week is Miami. When telling a friend that I was thinking of going to fantasy camp (sports), my friend, stealing a line from Seinfeld said “Eric, your whole life is fantasy camp.”

I have to admit, I do lead a charmed life on some levels. I paid my dues. I was broke 10 years ago. Now I live the high life, and if anyone needs to know what to do to have a great time, and they are young enough to get away with it, follow the advice of that sage Will Smith, and head down to Miami.

It is almost 3am, and this will be my early night of the trip. I need to pace myself. I blogged tonight because the next few nights will be an incoherent blur, without alcohol or drugs (one can be sober and drunk from fun).

“Party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach till the break of dawn…welcome to Miami…welcome to Miami.”

Will Smith articulates what I could not. This city is one big orgy of fun. The food. The women. The clubs open till 5am. The women. The beach. 75 degrees at midnight. Oh, yes and the women. Barely dressed, barely legal, and barely coherent…a trifecta of bare perfection.

Look, as exciting as my life is in LA, television is useless, and the news is not worth watching since none of the Fox News women are willing to follow their sisters at Enron or Walmart by posing for Playboy.

(Between Julie Banderas, Rebecca Gomez, Kiran Chetry, Julia Allison, Rachel Marsden, Alison Rosen, Judith Regan, Dagan McDowell, Michelle Malkin, Jonathan Hoenig…Jonathan Hoenig? Just checking to see if you were paying attention)

As for Miami “It’s like a Mardi Gras, everybody party all day, no work, all play, hey.”

Some say a 35 year old man should not be on spring break. If 19 year old girls pretend to be 28, to impress older guys, who am I to lecture them on morality?

Like the Will Smith song, whenever I see a woman here going “Ayy Popppyyy” while holding a can of soda to her neck, I realize that this might be the one city where I do not have to fantasize about that woman dancing on a table at a club. If I wait a few minutes, she will be.

In my real life I am a man who lives a life of substance. I have intelligent conversations about topics that matter. Every once in awhile, I just want to be a guy, which means ogling women who want to ogled. If they choose to wiggle, wriggle, bounce and jiggle, then I choose to ogle. Besides, if they think I am wealthy (no idea where they get that idea), they will want me to ogle them.

Miami is a fantasy. In LA, New York and Chicago, I am a civilized businessman with a purpose. I focus on politics, sports, blah blah blah blah blah. Like I have time to worry about the war on terror when 4 girls at a bar are slapping each others’ hides. Now I know what Lee Greenwood means when he sings “God Bless the USA.”

I am here to party. I owe it to myself. One day I will be married with children. I am a single man in a city that still allows guys to wear pastel colored suits. Miami Vice was canceled on tv, not in real life. No behavior is over the top. Perhaps Howard Stern can do a sequel to his “butt bongo fiesta” video on Collins avenue. A good paddling never hurt anyone (ok it did, but that is besides the point. Mistress Evil is rough).

True, in a week, I will be back at work, and my tattered body will be angry at me for letting me destroy it night after night into the wee hours of the morning. After years of being told by rapper Coolio that “There aint no party like a west coast party cause a west coast party don’t stop,’ I realize this is not true. The action is on the east coast (I hope I do not get shot in an east coast-west coast debate). LA goes to bed too early, New York is too cold most of the year.

Miami is life. Miami is fun. Oh yeah, and the women.

Ok, off to sleep. My goal is to get up by noon, and I will be happy failing in that endeavor. I will be living the “other 9 to 5.”

Pleasure is business, and business is d@mn good. Welcome to Miami.

2008 update: the previous sexual administration and I got together 5 days before my trip to Miami got totally screwed up. So instead I froze to death in Chicago. It was a fun weekend, but not Miami.

2009: the current sexual administration, aka the Sacramento Queen, is a good woman. Therefore, while I will be hanging from a balcony people watching, I will not be able to sample the merchandise. Her parents are NRA members, hence my commitment to monogamy.

The weather is gorgeous, and on occasions when my finances are ok, so am I.

Like that half a dollar fellow, aka rapper 50 Cent, I will be in da club tonight. I have no idea what that means, but I might even get crunk. I roll large.

Don’t wait up.

It’s Spring Break 2009.

Welcome to Miami.

eric