Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Good Night Irene!

Good Night Irene

We need a whole new Congress. It's as simple as that! The Congress that is revered by only 11 % of the people for steadfastly protecting the rights and privileges of 1% of the people has got to go. They have flunked the test of functionality by any objective standard, and it's time to send them packing.

So. next fall ( would that it were sooner) the American people get their chance to" just say no" to the "just say no" Congress by saying, Thank you for your disservice to America. It's time for you to move on! And while you're at it, you can take your moneybagging, malfeasant , malevolent lobbyists with you. And don't let the door hit you in the backside on your way out.
Move over Grover Norquist, a new pledge is on the way. Your time has passed . Your hegemony is no more, because our time has come.

To take back our Democracy, we need to not only throw the rascals out of office. We need to get the money out of politics. So let's all take a new pledge.

Repeat after me. "I do solemnly swear that I will vote out of office, any incumbent member of Congress who takes one dime of special interest money, so help me God!"
That will fix it. That's the only thing that will fix it. We need a new bunch of bananas in Congress from top to bottom, whose only interest will be to serve the American people's interests, and not themselves and the special interests who bought and paid for them. Let's say goodbye to petty partisan political agendas. The only agenda that should matter is the agenda of the American electorate and we want a Congress to make rules to insure that if you work hard, and do the right thing, and not take risks that are too risky.... you will live long and prosper.

We are not looking to be bailed out. We don't want to be bowled over any more. We want the American dream back. We are tired of repeatedly watching your do nothing nightmare Republican Congress' Groundhog Day charade. It's over . No more acting out the same old scenarios, and acting up when you don't get your way. Time to put some adults in your place, and dismiss the cry baby curmudgeons who are posing as Congressmen .

The House Republican majority says they are now passionately for, what they once adamantly opposed. (a one year extension of the 2% middle class tax hike instead of the two month compromise that was worked out bipartisanly by the Senate), that simply strains credulity . It doesn't wash.

Not too long ago ( less than a week if memory serves) they were against the middle tax cut.... period. They were against it before they were for it. It was a Democratic gimmick to assuage the masses, said they. Balderdash! . We're not buying it.

If they really think that the American people are going to be hornswaggled by their latest attempt at camouflaging their skulduggery, they'd better move to Brooklyn. and start bidding on bridges.

Do you hear us? Enough is Enough! It is you who should be out pounding the pavement, looking for a job come January 1 of 2013! That will be a wondrous New Year celebration when we can say "Good riddance to bad rubbish!" And don't let the door hit you in the backside on your way out!

Goodbye dysfunctional Congress. Welcome back American democracy . It is way past time to cut 'em off and vote 'em out. The large lady has finally stepped up to the microphone, and is singing a song we can all hum along to. Goodnight Irene! And good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Obama and Newton's Third Law

December 8th, 2011...Is it a day that will live in infamy in Presidential politics? That just may be the case. Will it be remembered as the day when the President  finally suited up,  put on his game face, and threw down the gauntlet? Have the Republicans finally crossed his political Rubicon?

    With his "enough is enough " appearance in the Presidential briefing room on the day after Pearl Harbor Day, President Obama seems to be finding a way to channel his inner Teddy Roosevelt, even if he still sounds like Woodrow Wilson. If so, the Republican obstructionists may have to finally retreat from their San Juan Hill of Obstructionsim. 

    Was this indeed a watershed moment in his Presidency? Will it be remembered as a day of infamy by his unrelenting Republican antagonists? The next few weeks will tell the tale. The countdown clock is ticking in Congress as well as  in the Presidential briefing room.

 How does the President deal with Sen Mitch Mc Connell and  his style of "Just say no, or just say... hell no" congressional leadership?
What pressure can Obama bring to bear against these illegitimate  tactics being employed by his Republican adversaries?.

    It used to be that there was at least a pretext for the Senate’s refusing to advise and consent on Presidential nominations. Now, with the refusal of the Senate Republicans to confirm former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as head of the new Consumer Financial  Protection Bureau, that pretense is no more.

It is not about qualifications or credentials. He satisfies that criteria. It is about the Republicans refusing to execute the law which is now on the books, which they don't like. They are not trying to repeal it. They are just trying to obstruct it, and to keep the agency from doing the job the law requires it to do. This rationale for rejecting a nominee has no precedent. It is a raw and unbridled attempt to politically muscle the President, and he, rightfully, must fight back with whatever appropriate tools he has in his arsenal.

    The Republicans need to be reminded that Newton's Third law of physics still applies in Congress, as in every body politic. No action takes place in a vacuum. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Obama needs to finally dig in his heels, and use his clout. He seems to be finally doing just that.

     Is there anything Mc Connell and his cohorts value that can be denied them? Obama must show that two can play at this game. He must also continue to use the bully pulpit to rail against this political skulduggery as well, but speeches are not enough. He has to search the hand they have dealt him for whatever Trump cards he may hold, and at least threaten their use, if not actually employ them.

Politics can be hardball, and when one side is playing hardball, it makes no sense for the other side to play softball. Obama has to find Teddy Roosevelt's big stick, and start swinging it. Maybe walking softly while carrying that big stick was a Rooseveltian method that he should have been emulating all along...but it is not too late. The President has to transition from walking loudly, (speechifying too much), and carrying a whiffle ball bat. Goodbye Mr. Nice Guy, hello Rough Rider!.

     He said that no options were off the table in his pursuit of persuasive devices to bring the recalcitrant Republicans around. He must, as he has promised, force the Republicans to get off their political locked boxes, and do their jobs. They must pass the tax cut extension, and get Cordray confirmed. Can the President persuade them to do it? Time will tell.  

But one thing is certain, if he fails to fight fire with fire, it's the American people who will end up getting burned. That is why the President needs to get out his blowtorch, aim the flames where needed, and start hitting back at them with real heat. Eventually, and hopefully sooner rather than later, they will feel that heat, and get out of the kitchen of their pugilistic political posturing. If not, then it will be time for the American people to guide them to the nearest exit, kit and kaboodle, and shake the cupboards bare come election time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Extending Your Own Runway!

Extending your runway!

 Let me start by explaining that I am a widower with four grown daughters. All of them are talented, loving,  bright, achievement oriented young women. For this, I am grateful. For the most part, they are focused on their careers, their partners, and the daily stresses of their own life. There is one exception. That is when Dad comes to visit, and I become the focus of their not always entirely welcomed scrutiny, and  efforts to do a Dad makeover in a day!

On a recent visit to my daughter's house in Saratoga Springs, in Upstate NY for the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a chance to visit with my two middle daughters. One is a life coach, and the other a teacher. Both have lots of advice for dear old Dad!  I probably should not have complained about my sciatica, plantar fasciitis, and other sundry annoyances of an increasingly post middle age existence.

Since my wife died, my daughters often act as parents in reverse. Without a wife to nag or cajole me, my daughters have taken up the cudgel! I have to keep reminding myself that it's only  because they love me!   
     I've gotten lessons on nutrition, temperance,  fitness, scheduling and 
partnering. Since old habits die hard, I have heard, but not heeded, much of this before.  For some reason, I was a little more receptive this time.     
Maybe it is because of my advancing years. Maybe it's because  I am mostly retired and have more time to listen. Or maybe it's because I have a Medicare milestone birthday coming up.  I am reminded of that daily by junk mail solicitation for Medicare Supplementary health plans M.ust be the government is so desperate for money these days, that they sell their upcoming eligible lists to telemarketers!
     The way I put it to them was, "Listen girls, my  plane is still flying, but the runway is getting shorter." "Well, Dad", responded one. "It's time to  lengthen your runway!" Boom! She hit pay dirt! What was it Mickey Mantle once said, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!" Mickey was a smart guy!
Too bad he had four sons instead of four daughters. If he did, perhaps  his runway might have been extended too!
     So now that I am back home in Kansas, it's time to start making lists for runway repair and extension.
So here goes: I promise to love more, listen better, eat less, laugh a lot, write more, and organize a daily bucket list. Cause you never know when the runway you are landing on might be shorter than you think.  Oh... And I promise to always be there on the other end of the phone line when they need a Dad for everyday advice, cheering and bucking them up, and just listening without always trying to fix it. 
     Somehow though, I think the parental role reversals will increase until I get my aircraft refueled, re-tooled, and ready to fly further. That way, hopefully I can   avoid too much turbulence.  Not a bad everyday life goal , eh?
      Best of all. It's just good to know they care. So, today is the best first day of the rest of my life!  And a healthy and Happy Holiday to all of you!