Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SotU 2011: What Oil Spill?

If you’re a gay marine or a Chilean miner, you got some love from the Big O on Tuesday evening.

But there was no love to be found for Louisiana and the gulfcoast in President Barack Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address.

The president’s speech was chock full of his trademark lofty rhetoric that also included references to renewable energy, the end of the military’s rules on gay servicemen and women, previously mentioned trade agreements and increased government spending.

Hell even sputnik made it in, though the mention was ironic since Obama has cut NASA’s budget.

Not even a year ago, an environmental catastrophe took place that claimed the lives of 11 offshore oil platform workers, dumped over 200,000,000 gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico that damaged our fragile wetlands, spoiled hundreds of miles of beaches and endangered the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen.

It was Three Mile Island on the bayou.

Yet the magnitude of the disaster and the plight of the out of work petroleum engineer, bankrupt oyster harvester and contaminated porpoise ended up on the cutting room floor of his speech writer…assuming it even got that far.

In a press release issued within minutes of the conclusion of the State of the Union, the Louisiana Republican Party pointed out that Obama’s 6,826 word address contained 184 words about the rescue of the Chilean miners yet not a single mention about the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the resulting environmental and economic fallout that followed the explosion.

Sure, the president found the time to curse the darkness of oil industry profits, but failed to use his annual big speech to light a candle about the need for the federal government to rebuild the Louisiana coastline, which had been chopped to shreds for decades to satisfy the nation’s energy needs and maritime commerce.

President George W. Bush was rightly criticized after his 2007 State of the Union when he failed to mention either Hurricane Katrina or the south Louisiana and coastal Mississippi communities still struggling to recover from the most destructive tropical cyclone in American history.

Will there be catcalls beyond the Louisiana border for Obama’s snub?

The Obama Administration’s lack of leadership and poor response to the oil spill is his Katrina. It is a milestone of failure for his administration that unnerved his liberal base that assumed they were getting competency along with hope.

Perhaps the most na├»ve in our state were hoping to hear something about an aggressive wetlands restoration effort that reverse coastal erosion that increases Louisiana’s vulnerability to hurricane storm surge. But that costs money, money that could be better spent in blue or purple states.

The president has callously exploited the environmental catastrophe to advance his anti-oil energy agenda and his administration has played legal and rhetorical games regarding the resumption of offshore oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, which has hurt the region’s economy while contributing to the escalation in the price of oil.

That Obama had the temerity to talk about Americans competing for jobs in the global market is especially galling, as his ideologically rooted energy policy has sent jobs overseas. The bureaucratic skirmishes involving exploration permits have caused oil companies to lose the confidence necessary to make substantial investments in domestic energy production.

Obama obviously hopes the oil spill with all of its negative press will simply go away. And to some degree it has, temporarily camouflaged by the continued bad job market. However it’ll be there to greet him at the voting booth and/or later in the history books.

Conservative media mocked then-candidate Obama for his 57-state flub while he was on the campaign trail. As president, Obama has governed as if there are fewer states in the Union as they are stars on the flag.

And we thought the picture of W peering out the window of Air Force One was in bad taste; at least Bush was looking in the direction of Louisiana.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

End of an Error at the RNC

After the nationwide Republican debacle two years ago, I thought the Republican Party needed to mix things up.

My first choice to lead the Republican National Committee was Newt Gingrich. While his time as speaker was marred with public relation blunder after another, nobody questioned his genius as the leader of the historic conservative insurgency.

After the party had gone stale with the public as George W. Bush’s administration drew to a close, I felt Newt, who was a better revolutionary than an administrator, was the right man to develop and execute the GOP Comeback 2.0.

However, I felt there was little chance of this happening. If Newt wanted the position of RNC chairman, I had no doubt he would have secured it from the committee members with only slightly more fuss as when the national GOP governing body rubber-stamps White House-anointed chairmen.

The question was a matter of Newt accepting it for financial reasons. The job would mark a significant pay decrease and would remove him from the numerous projects and organizations he plays a key role in.

Newt punted on the idea not along after grassroots types publicly entertained it.

My next choice was the ex-lieutenant governor of Maryland, who had just lost a bruising bid for the US Senate.

On first glance, Michael Steele seemed perfect as the antithesis of the past half dozen or so RNC chairmen. The Republican Party needed to turn the corner in this new political era, aggressively breaking out of the country club stereotype.

Before clambering aboard the Steele bandwagon, I put in a call to a Maryland political operative who had dealings with him to confirm my hopes.

Instead of doing that, my source dumped a load of stories of organizational mismanagement and cronyism that would negate whatever “pop” the GOP would receive for having its first non-traditional (i.e. white male) chairman.

I went from supporting Steele to backing “Anyone But”.

During the multiple ballots that took place at the first “free” RNC election since 1998, South Carolina Republican Party chairman Katon Dawson emerged as the primary rival to Steele’s candidacy.

And here was where the Republican establishment decided to act like Jesse Jackson.

A “well poisoning” campaign was launched to portray Dawson as the “klan candidate” for having been a member of an all-white country club in his homestate.

That Dawson publicly called for the facility to end its exclusivity meant nothing to the powers that be, arguing that a Dawson election would be “spun” negatively by the media in the aftermath of the historic Obama victory.

Lord, I thought, no wonder McCain lost.

These fools never learned the lessons/consequences of putting faith in media fairness and trying to accommodate the fickle fancies of the fourth estate.

And what was the result of this gambit where “public relations points” trumped competence?

The establishment once again displayed their political ignorance and got exactly what they deserved.

The man they helped elect by unfairly demonizing his principal opponent had become public enemy number one.

Though the Republican Party achieved great success in the 2009 and 2010 midterm elections, there was considerable debate concerning how much credit should be shared with Steele.

Money was largely steered around the RNC in 2010 and Steele proved to be gaffe prone when he wasn’t running the Republican National Committee in the same manner that Kwame Kilpatrick ran Detroit.

Sweetheart deals related to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, a number of marginal GOP losses that could have gone the other way through better funding allocation decisions and a debt to the tune of $21,000,000 are the indisputable legacies of an individual who was selected for the wrong reasons to head a national political party.

The best thing that could be said about Steele was that he actively engaged the local and state parties and the auxiliary organizations.

It’s unlikely any RNC chairmen visited with the national Young Republicans more than Steele, in contrast to Ken Mehlman, who “bothered” to speak to the national YRs for only a few minutes and referred to them as the College Republicans (a different organization) throughout his hurried visit.

Hopefully newly elected Republican chairman Reince Priebus of Wisconsin will not spurn the grassroots folks while bringing stability to the national party and reassuring contributors that their dollars will be responsibly spent.

The RNC doesn’t need another Michael Steele pulling the levers; but they don’t need another Ken Mehlman either.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Liberal Libels and Loughner's Madness

Attention Paul Krugman: sick people with an inclination for violence can do terrible things.

Apparently someone with your expensive educational background, Nobel-lauded brain and Hollywood toilet-film supporting actor (appearing in that highbrow gem- Get Him to the Greek) doesn’t understand a concept so simple and plain.

Krugman, an economist by trade, has proven himself quite the leftist political hack in his bloviations on The New York Times editorial page, but then he pushed the envelope one nudge too far.

On January 9th, only a day after Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was seriously wounded by a point blank shot in the head and six others, including a nine year old girl who aspired to one day serve the public and a Republican-appointed federal judge, were killed by 22 year old Jared Loughner, Krugman took his own rhetorical shots.

The gist of Krugman’s screed is that conservatives are easily incited to violence through their demagogic media figures. Krugman goes on to accuse Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck of making jokes about shooting government officials while giving a pass to the left’s leading blowhard Keith Olbermann.

I find this ironic as Olbermann is perhaps the most hate-filled vitriolic television commentator outside of public-access cable, but back to the more educated slinger of vitriol.

Rather than go through the trouble of taking the time to discover who Loughner is or have the patience to learn of an established motive for the massacre, Krugman demonstrated he lacked journalistic professionalism and class by following Rahm Emanuel’s mantra of never letting a crisis go to waste to twist the tragedy to advance his political agenda and smear those who not share his philosophy, directly leaving the blame for the shootings on the doorstep of the GOP.

In doing so, Krugman not only libels the Republican Party (and thus its members) but by default elevates the shooter on the same level as the English knights who murdered the Archbishop of Canterbury after hearing King Henry II cry out “will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

Those with blood on their hands were malleable men merely following orders of higher-ups who didn’t watch what they said.

Loughner would only be too lucky to have Krugman testify for the defense.

What we know about Loughner NOW after the media’s fog of lies dissipated is that he was a drug user, a 9-11 “truther” and a nihilist.

Hardly the stuff of a card-carrying member of the Republican Party.

Loughner also believes that Christianity is a creation to better control society, which is a Marxist concept. But I don’t think philosophy had anything to do with what he did.

Loughner’s actions are merely the manifestation of his madness.

One former friend claimed that Loughner’s resentment of Giffords was in part to her being “fake”, a possible motive that harkens to another high profile murder that took place decades before outside the Dakota Apartments in Manhattan.

Psychiatrist Daniel Schwartz testified at the trial of Mark David Chapman that John Lennon’s murderer was driven to commit his crime because Chapman thought the musician was a phony.

Chapman made no secret of his self-identification with Holden Caulfield, the cynical, sanctimonious teenage character from the book The Catcher in the Rye. He even wrote a note saying as much in a copy of the book Chapman left to be discovered by the police.

Yet J.D. Sallinger was no more responsible for John Lennon’s death as Sarah Palin, Beck, O’Reilly, et al were for what transpired in Arizona.

Sifting for reason in this tragedy is a fool’s errand, yet that doesn’t stop the leftist media from mightily trying to discover where the flow chart connection is between Loughner and the TEA Party movement.

Liberals are inclined to believe that all that is evil in world is preventable, from poverty to sickness to bad weather to violence.

All that needs to be done is to better control society from eating certain foods, owning certain things, drive certain cars and most importantly thinking and saying certain things.

Conservatives, trusting tradition, history and common sense over Ivy League learning, know that this is simply not so.

The only thing that could have been done to stop Loughner is someone else there with a gun.

Jared Loughner, just as Charles David Whitman and Chapman before him, chose to do something terrible and senseless on January 8th, coaxed to act only his irrational inner demons.

It is absurd to even imply that a political action committee website with targets over competitive legislative districts contributed to the terrible violence. But such a theory was seriously offered for public consumption before being rejected on its merits, or lack thereof.

Krugman and his fellow exploiter of tragedy Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff who concocted that Loughner was motivated by the conservative media, have disrespected the slain and those who were scarred physically and emotionally through their own irresponsible comments by injecting partisan politics into the story.

Krugman’s caustic commentary doesn’t incite violence but disgust. Sane America sees what happened in Arizona as a senseless tragedy and not a soapbox to demonize political opponents.