Category Archives: Uncategorized

Republican Party of Racism? Think, Again


The old ‘massahs’ of the antebellum South were Democrats. So were their whip-toting overseers. So were the post-bellum white supremacists, the KKK, the enforcers of Jim Crow laws, separate but unequal schools and racism in all its hideous manifestations: lunch counters, bus seats, rest rooms and, well, everything.

The Chicago Cubs’ Cap Anson, the greatest baseball player of the 19th century and a hateful bigot, personally saw to it that the National League was a whites-only operation by refusing to play against any team that had a black player, as some did in the 1880’s;  But for his racial intransigence, Jackie Robinson’s heroism might have been unnecessary.

When Anson hung up his cleats, he ran and won, as a Democrat, the office of City Clerk of Chicago. (The greatest Cub of the 20th Century, by the way, was Ernie Banks, a black man, and like Robinson a Republican. Banks was defeated in a race for Chicago City Council.)

Continue reading

In God We Trust

Reprinted from

When official Washington wasn’t trying to figure out who said what to whom about what Herman Cain might or might not have said or done while he was running the National Restaurant Association…

In addition to its other problems, the National Restaurant Association’s acronym is “NRA.” You may remember there is another organization which has those same initials: The National Rifle Association. All week people here have been talking about the NRA and having to add “That’s the Restaurant people, not the Gun folks.”

… there was a minor issue over the House voting to re-affirm the national motto as “In God We Trust” not, as President Obama thought E pluribus unum “Out of Many, One.” The House vote was, according to the aptly named Christian Science Monitor “396-9, with 2 abstentions.”

The phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. currency on the two-cent coin in 1864 after the Congress passed legislation allowing in in April of that year. Since 1938 “In God We Trust” has appeared on the obverse (the tails side) of every American coin. Continue reading

Medicare Paid For?

Reprinted from

You know the ad we are talking about. The one where the burly-looking senior looks in the camera like John Wayne and intones something to this effect:

‘You mess with our Social Security and Medicare benefits…and we are gonna kick your butt!’

How is that for ‘thoughtful, rational civil discourse’ in America today, huh? We wouldn’t want to face that guy in a showdown death match on the golf course or the shuffleboard court. 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

Sunset Every Law


Reprinted from the

As anybody who ever watched Schoolhouse Rock in the 1970’s knows (“I am just a bill, I am only a bill and I am sitting here on Capitol Hill, but I hope to be a law one day, oh, yes I know that I will, but today I am still just a bill”), it is awfully hard to make a law in this country.

Continue reading

Nothing Small About Spending Cuts


Reprinted from the

It is easy to be fairly nonchalant about the current budget battle that has consumed the Congress.

Pundits (myself included) have pointed out that the tens of billions of dollars being discussed is chump change, especially if you consider the trillions of dollars that we owe to the Chinese.

Continue reading

Understanding Mideast Not Easy


Reprinted from the Washington Times

In 1427, a ship captain sailing for his Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator, discovered the Azores Islands. If the question of the significance of this event had been posed at the time to Sultan Murad Khan, the leader of the Ottoman Empire, to Itzcoatl and Nezahualcoyotl, the co-rulers of the Aztecs, or to Rao Kanha, one of the princes of Jodhpur in India – it is unlikely that any of them would have responded that it was an early indication of an historic explosion of cultural energy in Europe that would lead to European exploration and conquest of most of the known world. Nor would they have foreseen a renaissance of European thought that would give rise to scientific, industrial and scholarly dominance of the planet by European culture for at least a half a millennium.

Continue reading

Seeing Through Lybian Fog


Reprinted from

 I need someone to explain to me what in the world we are doing bombing convoys in Libya.

On the very first day of the anti-Gaddhafi attacks we launched a reported 110 Tomahawk missiles into Libya at a cost of about $600,000 per. The very first day of President Barack Obama’s very first war cost $66 million not including the cost of fuel, manpower, tax, title and dealer prep.

Continue reading

Government Shut Down


Reprinted from

During the Eddie Murphy years, Saturday Night Live had an iconic skit  that can best be called “Who Shot Buckwheat.” In a spoof of the media  culture that glorifies murderers and assassins, it examined why John  David Stutts shot Buckwheat.
Continue reading

Egypt: Serious Troubles for All


Reprinted from

 On December 17, 2010 a 26 year-old fruit vendor named Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest at his treatment by the local authorities in the Tunisian city of Sidi Bouzid.

Continue reading

Don’t Blame the Tea Party


 Reprinted from The Atlantic and Iconoclast.

 If the polls are right–and they are remarkably consistent–Democrats will take a drubbing next week, likely losing control of the House and barely holding on to their majority in the Senate. It is possible that such a powerful repudiation will cause them to engage in some serious soul searching and consider whether they have taken the country in a direction the people (it’s their country, after all) don’t want to go.

Continue reading

Partisanship Here to Stay


Reprinted from

Partisan polarization seems like it purchased a lifetime pass in this city.

This won’t sit well with Kumbaya aficionados — those looking for congressional Republicans and Democrats to walk arm-in-arm toward a bipartisan Promised Land.
Continue reading

McChrystal Story Still Untold


 The flash from the explosion–and implosion–of General Stanley McChrystal has faded and his story is already old news.  Lindsay Lohan, Mel Gibson and Rod Blagojevich are back in the headlines. 

 That’s too bad.   If there is any good to come of the McChrystal tragedy, if we as a society are to learn from the experience, then we need to sift through the rubble again and see if we can’t find out more about the right and the wrong,  who did what to whom, why it happened and how, and what has changed or will change as a result.  It’s important. 

 General McChrystal, as you will recall, was the U.S. commander in Afghanistan brought down by a story in Rolling Stone Magazine. McChrystal and his aides were quoted as speaking derogatorily and crudely of the civilian chain of command from Washington to Kabul.

 The story caused serious direct and collateral damage.  The coverage for a brief time was thorough, but there is a lot more for serious journalists to cover. 

  Continue reading

Appropriators Abandoned by Voters


From the Feehery Theory

No wonder David Obey retired.

Last night, Alan Mollohan, the West Virginia Congressman and proud member of the House Appropriations Committee, lost his primary against an opponent who attacked the incumbent’s behavior on the Committee.

Over the weekend, Robert Bennett, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, lost in his efforts to gain his party’s nomination to run for re-election.

Next week, it is looking increasingly likely that another appropriator, Arlen Specter, might lose his party’s primary.  Specter switched political parties because he knew he couldn’t win the nomination of the Republican primary voter.

Congressman John Murtha, who died earlier this year, was under intense scrutiny from the Ethics Committee and from the Justice Department for alleged malfeasance on the Committee.  It looks like his seat will go the Republicans.

Two years ago, the long time Appropriations Committee Chairman, Ted Stevens, narrowly lost his bid to win reelection because of an ethical cloud dusted up by a Justice Department indictment.  His case was later thrown out.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, resigned from Congress four years ago under an ethical cloud.  Duke Cunningham actually is spending quality time in jail because he auctioned off earmarks to the highest bidder.

Continue reading

Congress Needs Servant Leadership


Reprinted from the Weekly Standard

Congress has a black eye, and it’s starting to swell. As an institution, its approval ratings bounce near all time lows, creating a crisis in confidence among voters.  Can Americans count on an institution so anemic in trust to heal the difficult and major problems confronting the nation?

Many believe the legislative branch is insular, arrogant, and dominated by special interests — and not without cause.

The current Democratic majority’s polarizing behavior has only reinforced these views by passing partisan and controversial legislation — like the health care bill — opposed by a majority of Americans, according to the most recent average of polls aggregated at Real Clear Politics.

The House and Senate will never win popularity contests.  Congress underperforms other institutions when it comes to stirring good feelings.  Analyzing polling data from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s, political scientists John R. Hibbing and Elizabeth Theiss-Morse in their book Congress as Public Enemy: Public Attitudes Toward American Political Institutions show the legislature nearly always lags the presidency and the Supreme Court when it comes to public confidence.

This pattern continues today. President Obama’s approval now hovers around the 48 percent mark, but Congress’s is only half that (23 percent), according to Real Clear Politics.

Continue reading

Be Wary of Partnerships

 By John Feehery

The president and his team have a new strategy in dealing with congressional Republicans. 

Mr. Obama went to Baltimore last Friday and took more than an hour of his schedule to thrust and parry with the abused House Republican minority.

And then yesterday morning, David Axelrod, the president’s top strategist, went on “Meet the Press” right before House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and continued the administration’s efforts to promote the new theme: The House Republicans share responsibility for the White House failures.

Some have likened the Baltimore conference meeting to a marriage therapy session. Like a counseling session, it had a lot of bickering, some fundamental disagreements in strategy, but overall, a commitment to work together.

But Republicans and the president are not married. They aren’t even dating. As a matter of fact, truth be told, they don’t even like each other that much. 

For the president to make the assertion that we are all in this together is complete nonsense. Yes, in a general way, we all want the country to prosper and we want jobs to come back and we want to beat the terrorists and all that stuff. 

But Republicans disagree fundamentally with where the president wants to take this country. They don’t want the government to act as a great wealth redistributor. They don’t want the government to dictate and control the healthcare marketplace. They don’t want a stimulus package that creates hundreds of thousands of government jobs while creating few jobs in the private sector. They don’t want to add a trillion dollars more in debt in unnecessary spending. 

So, if the president can’t get that agenda through the House and the Senate, that is completely fine with congressional Republicans. 

The president says that he has incorporated some of their ideas into his proposals. That is fine. But adding a few really nice deck chairs wasn’t going to make the Titanic sail any better, and vaguely promising to expand exports to Colombia and South Korea isn’t going to make the president’s agenda any more palatable for most of this center-right country. 

House Republicans, by the way, don’t run the House. Senate Republicans, by the way, don’t run the Senate. And the fact of the matter is that the president has overwhelming majorities in both bodies, a fact he himself acknowledged in the State of the Union address. If the Democrats weren’t so incompetent and weren’t so out of touch with their constituents, they should have easily completed much of their agenda by now.

Blaming Republicans for this startling lack of production is laughable. Complaining that Republicans aren’t helping to pass an agenda that they fundamentally disagree with is intellectually dishonest. 

Some Republicans may be uncomfortable with the “do nothing” label, but when it comes to the Obama agenda, they should wear that label proudly. Yes, they should be promoting “better solutions” at every opportunity. That doesn’t mean that anyone will take those alternatives seriously until they retake the House (and the Senate, hopefully). But it is always better to say, “No, but,” than it is “No, just no,” especially when it comes to issues that the American people care about. 

The GOP needs to be wary of a clever White House strategy of prematurely linking the fortunes of Mr. Obama and congressional Republicans. When Mr. Boehner becomes Speaker, he will have to work with Mr. Obama, because that is how our Constitution works. But right now, he should continue to do what he is doing: stopping, to the best of his ability, Mr. Obama when he takes the country in the wrong direction.

The Underdog of Massachusetts

By John Feehery – 01/20/10 =-
America loves an underdog.  And Scott Brown (R) was the big underdog in the Massachusetts Senate race against Democrat Martha Coakley that culminated in Brown’s triumph.

Brown reveled in his underdog status. He talked incessantly about his old truck, his tough childhood, his rags to riches story, and his long-shot status as a political outsider.

His campaign rallies featured Doug Flutie, the ultimate football underdog, the man who threw the famous Hail Mary pass that put Boston College back on the college football map, the scrappy short guy who succeeded in the both the underdog Canadian football league and in the NFL. They also featured Curt Schilling, who helped guide the underdog Boston Red Sox to their first World Series championship in close to a hundred years.

And they featured Cliff Claven, the postman from “Cheers.” John Ratzenburger, who played Claven in the iconic television series, plays the down-and-out everyman better than anybody.  

My own theory is that an endorsement from Cliff Claven is better in most areas than one from an elitist snob like Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Watching Kerry, who recently bought a multi-million-dollar yacht, make fun of Scott Brown’s pickup truck further reminded me who the party of the rich really has become. The Democrats are no longer the party of the people. They are the party of Big Government, Big Labor and Big Business.

America loves an underdog, because most Americans see themselves as underdogs. And for most of our nation’s history, we were the underdogs.  

As an emerging nation in the 19th century, we didn’t have the culture or the vast wealth of European powers, like the English or the French. What we did have was the American can-do spirit, which came from a nation of frontier settlers.  

We were reluctant warriors when we went to end the war of all wars in 1917. We were brutally attacked by the Japanese in 1941, and we saw ourselves as the underdog in our fight against the Nazis. And, in fact, at the beginning of that conflict, we didn’t have the armed might of the Third Reich.  

Even during the Cold War, we saw ourselves as the underdog against the evil Soviet Empire. Our Olympic teams never had the resources that the Warsaw Pact countries had, and when our boys beat the Soviets in Lake Placid in 1980, it was truly a “Cinderella” story.

We Americans like being the underdog. We make a lousy Rome. We don’t want to go bailing out the rest of the world. We don’t particularly want to keep the peace in far off places. We don’t like being the lone superpower.  

China’s rise gives us an excuse to once again be the underdog. Obviously, they have more people, more money, more smarts. But, because we are America, even though we are the underdog, we will put forward all of our American ingenuity, and we will beat them.

The problem for the Democrats and for President Barack Obama is that they used to be the underdogs. Now, they are the ones trying to stop the underdogs. 

Scott Brown represents that individualistic, can-do, up-from-the-bootstraps kind of American underdog that is an iconic part of our national heritage.

Ronald Reagan was that kind of underdog. Bill Clinton was that kind of underdog. Jack Kennedy was that kind of underdog, and so was Richard Nixon.  

Barack Obama was that kind of underdog when he ran his insurgent campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton, and although there were some troubling signs that Obama was a secret elitist during the presidential campaign, his opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), couldn’t make that an issue, as he was dealing with the disastrous GOP brand which smacked of Bush snobbery.  

Obama is the snob now. He is the one who wants to tell middle-class Americans how to live their lives. He is the one telling us that we are too fat, too dumb, too rustic, too red-neck and too greedy. He is the one who wants us all to change to better fit his definition of what America should be all about.

Obama seems overly fascinated with himself. (Who can forget the picture of him carrying a copy of the GQ issue that featured the president on the cover?) He and his family appear on at least one magazine cover a week (a posed picture, not an action shot). He loves to talk, and he loves to give speeches with his nose turned slightly up at the teleprompter.  

The president’s populist demagoguery is unconvincing. He talks of reining in government spending, but does nothing to veto any spending bill from the Congress. He talks of punishing the banks, but does so by raising taxes (which will hurt lending and hit the middle class the hardest). He talks of taking on the drug industry, as he defends the deals he cuts with them.  

The president and the Democrats are not the underdogs. They are the establishment. They are running the government. They are raising the taxes. They are spending the money. They are passing unconstitutional mandates (according to some) on those who can’t afford to pay the penalties.  

It is the Republicans who are now the underdogs. Nobody gave them a shot, nobody took them seriously, nobody thought they would be back so soon.

But as Scott Brown showed, the Republicans are back. America loves an underdog, even if those underdogs are Republicans.  

Politics and the Media

By Mike Johnson

Those professional political consultants who told us 18 months ago that 2008 was going to be an election of seismic change should raise their retainers.

How many elections compare:  Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Reagan?

This was as historic as those and in some respects maybe more so.  This election produced transformational change:

  • in the way we elect our leaders, who elects them, and how they raise their money;
  • in the direction in which the country is headed, both domestically and internationally;
  • in the two parties, how they define themselves and how they now approach the incessant, interminable quest for political power.
  • in our society where change that has been occurring gradually for sometime, but never really appreciated until now.

Continue reading