Monthly Archives: September 2011

GOP’s Silent Majority

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“And so tonight — to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans — I ask for your support.”

In November of 1969, Richard Nixon uttered this line in a televised address to the nation, explaining his plans in Vietnam.

At the time, the nation was enveloped in social, economic and racial turmoil. Nixon was speaking to the folks in the country who were respectful of authority, preferred order to chaos, disdained the revolutionaries and distrusted the intellectual elite who were attacking the pillars of American society.

The silent majority came to mean the white middle and lower middle class of America, and Nixon’s phrase came to be seen as a way to polarize an already polarized society. Continue reading

Mullings Subscription Drive On

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Editor’s Note: This is the annual pitch from Rich for contributions to, which we at endorse. The links in this column probably won’t work, so if you want to get Galen’s insights and subsidiary information and addendums, go to his website or send a check to the address below.

We’re almost to October and that means … Ta Da … I am going to bug you for the next month to participate in the annual MULLINGS Subscription Drive.

The suggested retail price is $30 for which you will receive each and every edition delivered to your e-mail in-box every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday night. Continue reading

Christie or Bust

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This Gov. Chris Christie. Is he running?

Yes, he’s running. No he is not running. Former N.J. Gov. Tom Kean says he’s running. Christie’s brother says he’s not.

This very strange turn of events was driven by the results of a non-binding straw poll in Orlando, Florida last weekend. For those who were out searching for wherever that dead climate satellite crashed, Herman Cain won the straw poll; with Perry coming in second and Romney third.

Nevertheless, the Punditocracy immediately determined that the results proved the GOP was dissatisfied with the field and were looking for someone else to get into the race. Continue reading

The Fox/Google Debate


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Debate night – UH-gain. This time co-sponsored by Fox News and Google – unlikely partners who make the case about strange bedfellows UH-gain.

The stock market is in free fall: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 675 points or almost nine percent of its value in the past two days alone, so it is likely the economy will be a big part of the debate. The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia Wednesday night will doubtless be a subject of discussion as well. On foreign policy, the Israel/Palestine issue is at the top of the stack; and funding FEMA – UH-gain – will probably be dealt with.

Here’s the pre-game analysis. Continue reading

The Man Behind The Last Balanced Budgets We Will Ever See

Reprinted from Telemachus

I had the distinct honor and privilege recently to introduce two talented men with high levels of expertise in the private sector who willingly straddled the line between private and public life early in their political careers and then devoted themselves completely later to serve our state and nation, former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin and Congressman Alex McMillan.

The event was the First Annual Mecklenburg GOP Martin-McMillan Day which is a fitting title given that both men served on the Mecklenburg County Commission before Mr. McMillan followed Mr. Martin as the Representative of the 9th Congressional District when Martin ran for Governor in 1984 and served for 2 successful terms.

The lists of the accumulated achievements of both men would take too long to recount here. Suffice it to say: ‘We were all fortunate they chose to take their private sector expertise into the political arena and serve us in the public trust.’ Continue reading

EBT Card Abuses Abound

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The Electronic Benefits Transfer Card is the identification card for the SNAP/Food Stamps program. It works like a credit card with a magnetic strip on the back that slides through a machine at a grocery store and some restaurants (including some fast food places).

Meant as a way to help reform the Food Stamp system in 2004, the EBT card is used in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia. It has not been without some controversy.

In the State of Pennsylvania, for example, Democratic State Auditor Jack Wagner found wide-ranging fraud in the system, including one example where one EBT card holder withdrew close to $150,000 in $1,500 increments in one day. Who knows what he (or she) did with the money. Continue reading

Obama and His Critics


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I was working out at the gym this morning (I know, miracles never cease), and I looked over briefly (I know, you don’t believe me), at the television and saw one of the hosts interviewing Rachel Maddow.

I am not the biggest Rachel Maddow fan in the world (ok, I am not really a fan at all) and I immediately assumed that the topic of conversation was on the President’s decision on “don’t ask, don’t tell”, an issue that apparently is important to the MSNBC host.

According to the headline blaring at the bottom of the television screen was “Is Obama losing his base?”

Interesting question, given that the previous day, the President struck a blow for some of his most passionate supporters by going through with change in a long standing military policy. Continue reading

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs


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The Popular Press is swooning over what they consider to be the new-found potency in President Barack Obama’s demands that the Congress pass his Jobs Bill.

For reasons which I cannot understand, the President decided to make his case for his bill by leading with who was going to pay for it, notwithstanding we have no idea how the first job will be created by the jillions of dollars of new taxes he is proposing.

You want people who make millions of dollars a year to pay more in taxes? Ok. I don’t have an answer to that.

But somehow, in the translation, anyone with a family income north of about $250,000 (husband and wife each making a little over $10 k per month) becomes the equal of Warren Buffett’s income and needs to be penalized for the family’s success. Continue reading

Obama’s Double-Dip Learning Curve

Reprinted from The Washington Times

In one of the least-needed reassurances in modern political history, President Obama’s top political man, David Plouffe, “told Democrats late last week that the White House would not suffer from overconfidence. ‘What I don’t want to suggest is that we’re sitting around and thinking everything is great,’ he said.”

With the White House’s own economists predicting 9 percent or worse unemployment on Election Day, the president at about 39 percent job approval, college graduates unable to find jobs, a quarter of American homes under water, no credible White House policy or strategy for changing things – and with most non-institutionalized Americans convinced we are in a recession that is going to get much worse – it is surpassingly odd that Mr. Plouffe, as The Washington Post said, was worried that his fellow Democrats might think the president and his men think everything to be hunky-dory. Continue reading

Kicking Butt on Bill Maher


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Some of you may remember that I told you in Friday’s MULLINGS that I was going to be on Bill Maher’s HBO program, “Real Time.” I said that I was going to be on with, among other people, Keith Olbermann.

Then I typed: “Olbermann & Maher v Galen. I think that’s a fair fight, don’t you?”

Turns out it wasn’t. I kicked butt.

The show is produced at the CBS studios in Los Angeles, and I got to the Studio at about 4:30 Pacific (it goes on live at 7 PM), so I had plenty of time to poke around and look at stuff. One of the stuffs I looked at was flipping through the channels on the TV set in my dressing room and I came upon the closed circuit channel showing the camera rehearsal in the studio downstairs. Continue reading

Taxes Paid, Benefits Gained


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Have you ever sat down and really thought about the amount of money you pay in taxes versus the direct benefits you receive from the government?

Alan Simpson’s rather salty but descriptive comment about Social Security could be politely amended to read: ‘The US federal government has 310 million teats on it to milk!’.

Depending on how many programs a person derives benefits from or tax preferences he or she uses, the number could be 1 billion for all we know.

Do this little exercise right now. Add up all the taxes you pay on one side of the ledger on a piece of paper or Excel spreadsheet. And then add up all the taxes that you saved from any tax deductions you use each year on your tax form and grants you received from the federal government in any form and put them in the other column. Continue reading

Trouble Rhymes with Carville


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One of the most enduring songs from the 1957 Broadway musical, “The Music Man” is named “Trouble.”
Trouble, oh we got trouble
Right here in River City!
With a capital “T”
That rhymes with “P”
And that stands for Pool.

Yesterday the Democrats had trouble with a capital “T” that rhymes with “C” and that stands for Carville. As in James. As in my former back-door neighbor. As in husband to Mullfave Mary Matalin.

The James wrote an essay for CNN in which he stated it was time for President Obama to panic. I am not paraphrasing. He wrote that after thinking about the drubbing Obama and his fellow Democrats got in two special Congressional elections – one in Nevada and one in New York City, he wrote: “What should the White House do now? One word came to mind: Panic.” Continue reading

Is It Still Good to Be Boss?


Reprinted from The Washington Times

Since the end of World War II, in both the United States and Western Europe, the best way to win a national election has been to be the incumbent political party. But that 3-generation-old predisposition in Western democracies may be coming to an end.

We may well be entering a political epoch in which the best way to win a national election in the West is not to be the party in power.

For the past 65 years, the world economic order has been vastly favorable to the West’s middle-class citizens and voters with their incomes going up steadily or at least flattening at a predictable and comfortable material level. Moreover, the middle-class fears of economic hardship was virtually eliminated by the existence of the welfare safety net. Continue reading

Pre-Post Look at Debate


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The President finally got around to sending his Jobs Bill up to the Hill today. In spite of the early betting it is almost all paid for with higher taxes on: people making over $200,000; hedge fund managers; oil and gas companies; and, corporate jets. The candidates’ staff spend the afternoon looking for any language in the bill which will draw applause or derisive laughter from the audience. Continue reading

Burns on Civility Worth Trip to NPC


The weeks and months following the September 11, 2001 attacks were extraordinary, filled with anger, revenge, heartbreak, sadness, patriotism, national unity and spiritualism. We were America again, all for one and one for all. That was the good that rose from the ashes of tragedy. Survey researchers said we had changed forever.

It wasn’t just the high degree of patriotism, but the spirit of civility and common cause that permeated both political thinking and behavior. President Bush threw his arm around a retired firefighter when he visited the twin towers site, reflecting how strongly Americans felt about working together and uniting against a common enemy. There were pledges and promises to keep that spirit alive, to work together and treat each other better.  It was even evident in Congress.

Continue reading

Remembering September 11th


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Here is an essay about how my day went on September 11th.

It was a clear, crisp September morning, the kind of day that makes Washington a glorious place to live in the Fall. I woke up later than I wanted to, knowing that I had to take care of two things: The Speaker’s Daily news summary and my NFL football pool sheet.

We were a week past the August recess, and I still hadn’t gotten into the old work routine. In my mind, I will still on recess time. Usually I wanted to stop by Starbucks on my way to work, but I was running too late. Continue reading

164 – Ten Years On


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Note: On September 14, 2001 President Bush went to Ground Zero. Standing atop a buried fire truck the President draped an arm over a firefighter wearing a helmet bearing the number “164.” Talking through a bullhorn, President Bush began addressing the rescue workers. When someone shouted that they couldn’t hear him, the President responded:

“I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.”

I went through a good deal of what I wrote during the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. I’ve chosen to reprise this column because it was, unfortunately, prescient in the way it portrays the ways wars start and the ways war ends. I know you may be suffering from 9/11 fatigue, but I hope you’ll spend a few minutes and re-read this column from nearly 10 years ago:

Wars start with old men telling young men there is a great cause. Young men run tell their young women they are answering the call. Continue reading

Bring Back the Draft


His bed-making skills are much more impressive than mine will ever be. He creases his sheets just so.  He could easily get a quarter to bounce high off the finished product. He tried to instill his bed-making skills onto his sons, but somehow, we never were able to follow in his footsteps.

Part of that was because we didn’t really care about making our bed. Part of that was because as teenagers, you are lucky to get to school, let alone worry about making your bed with military precision.

My dad learned a bunch of other things in the Army. He learned how to polish his boots.  He learned all about physical fitness.  He learned about different cultures in America (and in Korea).

He learned some things that he will probably never tell his grandkids, and some things he never told his mother. Continue reading

No Need to Respond


Originally written on September 7th, 2011

Ev and Gerry started the whole response thing.

Everett Dirksen and Gerry Ford, the former Senate Republican leader from Illinois and the former House Minority Leader (and later President) from Michigan used to have a radio show broadcast from the Capitol.

They turned that radio show into a televised rebuttal to President Johnson’s 1966 State of the Union Address.

Dirksen, with his mop of white hair, and Ford, with his bald pate, must have been quite a sight in the years leading up to the Age of Aquarius. Dirksen was the one who famously said, “a billion here, and a billion there, and pretty soon you are talking real money.” Continue reading

Obama the Orator, When Do You Govern?


I’ve tried to give President Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. He’s young and inexperienced. He’s never run a government before, but he’s smart, personable and has a nice family.

The problem is he keeps making mistakes that are so sophomoric the doubt just continues to grow like Pinocchio’s nose and the benefit of the doubt looks more and more like a very bad investment.

Take the speech he gave before a Joint Session of Congress on job creation the other night.

His first mistake was giving it.  Speeches before a Joint Session are very special. They are a privilege the Congress affords the President and they come with extremely high expectations. It requires that the President be, well, Presidential. President Obama had little hope of meeting those expectations. He had to issue a clarion call for consensus on a bold new economic agenda replete with innovative new ideas and a roadmap for getting us from here to there. Continue reading