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Archive for November, 2011

Shortly after Obama became President, he was quoted as saying he would rather be a good one term president than a mediocre two term one.

As the state of his presidency now stands in the public’s mind, he may well turn out to be a bad one term president. Consider—-

In Wednesday’s Rasmussen Presidential Tracking Poll, the latest one, only 22% of the country’s voters Strongly approve of Obama’s performance in office while 40% Strongly Disapprove.

This a bad omen for Obama, but a couple of caveats. Today is today. The presidential election will be in November 2012. Much can change between now and then, and it undoubtedly will change.

Mooreover, polls are known to be notoriously unreliable, and when they are off the mark, they tend to be way off. Consider 1948 when every major poll in America had Tom Dewey ahead of Harry Truman. One newspaper even went to print with the huge headline, Dewey Wins! Well, if you don’t know by now, you may never, Truman won by a healthy margin.

True, the accuracy of polls has increased dramatically since 1948, but today, that accuracy is still plagued with glitches that throw the number off just far enough to instill a false sense of security in an apparent winner and a sense of panic in the camp of an apparent loser. But in this case, the margin isn’t minor; it’s a major concern.

Polls aren’t the only factor in Obama’s worries, however. If he is smart, and he certainly is, he will remember an old adage of politics that I am making up as I type. The players are more important than the polls.

A candidate for the presidency will know the players and how they stand and leave the polls to the numbers cruyncher on his or her staff. The public often ignores the polls but is closely attuned to the important players, especially respected players, the ones who are sometimes referred to as opinion leaders. These are men and women who are respected and whose opinions are highly valued.

Bill Clinton, conntrary to his shady reputaton as a lady’s man and his impeachment for lying under oath, is today a respected elder statesman among Democrats and even some Republicans. He is clearly an opinion leader whose words and actions are meaningful beyond the plain words he often uses.

That’s why an interview he recently granted to a right-leaning media organization, subsequently reported in the Wall Street Journal, is highly significant. In fact his words bode ill for Obama. Consider—-

In the Wall Street Journal Article, Clinton praised Newt Gingrich as articulate with a desire to compromise in solving legitimate problems through the application of conservative principles.

For example, Clinton praised Gingrich for his solution to the problem of illegal immigrants to this country, a soluton that called for a red card for an illegal immigrant rather than the traditonal green card for legal immigrants. Red would signify an illegal alien who has been in the United States for a long time, has worked and paid taxes, and has family members born in this country, but whose “red” card status permits continued U.S. residence without the promise of citizenship.

Clinton characterized Gingrich’s proposed solution as a “thoughtful response.” This may turn out to be the case, but the problem for Obama and perhaps the country isn’t whether Newt is “thoughtful” but that Clinton first of all granted an interview to a conservative media orgazination and second, he praised Newt Gingrich.

Considering Clinton’s status and his respect among many segments of the American voting population, his opinion may turn out to be prophetic. His words will not effect the opinions of core Democratic supporters. Rather, he could conceivanly turn many Independents in the General Election toward the Republican presidential candidate whether that candidate is Newt or someone else.

To many observers, Democratic leaders and the party’s rank and file have been remarkably silent about praising Obama. As I have written many times in the past, Democrats show a startling ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The party is on the verge of repeating its losing history and Clinton’s words may well mean the biggest defeat of all.

The election of a Republican candidate and a Republican Congress would be a catastrophe for this country. Imagine a congress whose every act is approved by a same- party president. If both were Republicans, we could fully expect a return to 1790 as some Republicans have advocated.

Imagine, a Los Angeles freeway covered in horse manure.

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I was fooling around on the internet this morning trying to think of something to write about when I ran across an article in the Washington Post headlined “Stop beating up on federal workers.”

Since I used to be one, naturally I was interested because I’ve run across the same kind of article many times in the past.

Federal workers have been easy targets for politicians, mostly Republicans, as well as for the American public.

Republican attacks are generally strategic. But below their whining and sniveling about those slothful, overpaid bureaucrats, their attacks have less to do with conservative ideology than with just plain ole meanness. Republicans hate everybody, even their own kind.

The American public’s disdain for federal employees can be traced directly to an overload of misinformation in the media and from equally misinformed fellow private sector workers around the water cooler.

If those superefficient private workers who are perfect in every way would drink less water and make fewer trips to the water closet, maybe contaminated ground water would clear up as well as the air around water coolers.

Let me see if I can clear the air. Here’s the basic complaint about federal workers in a tea bag.

They are rich beyond compare. Every couple of weeks, they receive paychecks that exceed the annual pay check of Donald Trump’s private nann.y

Their medical benefits permit them access to the best medical care in Death Valley, plus two annual visits to top flight medical specialists in Vegas, along with unlimited trips to the Rivera on “rejuvenation leave.”

Moreover, they work when and where they choose. A few opt for regular working visits to private topless clubs for the specific purpose of inspecting the merchandise, which includes a hand on test to assure customers receive what they pay for.

And you know what? It’s their own damned fault. They have forced “the government” at the point of a gun to pay them these exorbitant salaries and grant them unlimited perks. “The government” is helpless in the face of overwhelming labor union strength and power.

I’ve met a few federal workers who wished it were all true, that their workplace was in a topless club.

Alas and a-lack-a-day. Here’s the way it really works.

Congress and Congress alone is the power that establishes wages, salaries, and benefits for federal employees. The workers have no power to alter this system other than to write their congressman. Federal labor unions have no power or authority to negotiate salaries with the possible exception of the postal union.

However, one element can and often does affect whether Congress grants a rise in salaries or not. Plain ole common sense tactical politics.

There are more than a million federal employees. They vote. And their families vote if they are of age. Politicians are many things but they are not dumb. They cater to this large group of potential voters by buying their votes with salary increases and annual raises based on increases in the cost of living. In another world this would be called bribery. But in Washington DC, it’s perfectly legal.

Federal employees are not dumb either. They gladly accept the raises and perks given to them by a greedy Congress. Republicans often bleat about the system in public while tacitly approving of it when the voting chips are down.

Well, there you have it in a tea bag. So the next time you complain about those lazy, slothful, overpaid bureaucrats, ask yourself a question, punk.

Would you refuse to accept a salary that puts you in a league with the big money boys?

Well, would you, punk?

Go ahead, punk. Make my day.

Refuse.

 

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Special to SF Bay Area from Angelo Saxon
and Our New York Correspondent Angela Emanon

If the Republican Party nominates one of the current candidates for President, Obama will win in a walk-a-way. Romney is the only candidate that might pose a threat, but a closer look at his history will reveal a man who has switched positions on the issues so often and so many times that Obama’s reelection strategists will make mincemeat out of him.

Perry, one time front runner, has proven himself to be a hollow shell, a man with a record as the governor of Texas who has presided not over a trumpeted period of economic growth but over a sham characterized by declining social norms and a virtual collapse of the Texas educational systems at the secondary level.

None of the others seems worth mentioning, including Michelle Bachmann and Herman Cain. Bachmann has consistently demonstrated her balloon-headedness, and Cain has recently been accused of sexual harassment by three women. He may turn out to be the political world’s response to Tiger Woods. The chances of him recovering from these indiscretions span the range of odds from nil to nada.

Still, Obama must be prepared. There is always a possibility that the Republican Party will wise up and choose a respected candidate with moderate leanings. As improbable as this may seem at the moment, stranger things have happened.

Moreover, only a fool goes into an election unprepared. Obama is not a fool, but he does tend to be too nice and conciliatory to enemies who have sworn to destroy his presidency.

Given these conditions, what can Obama do to win reelection in 2012? Here are seven things that are essential to a winning strategy.

  1. He needs to incite passion once again for change. He must fire up the Democratic base and independents.  These blocs of voters want and need an aggressive and hard hitting leader. These are the voters who will win or lose the election for Obama.
  2. He must directly confront the Republicans’ in all venues about their silly and retrograde ideas and point out strongly and forcefully the proven failure of lunatic policies such as the trickle-down theory of economics.  Among other things, he needs to be more aggressive in championing his policies through congress. For too long, he has permitted a small squad of suicidal crazies to drive his agenda. He must say with stern finality, “Enough is enough.”
  3. He has a fiduciary responsibility as the President to surround himself with competent, willing, and able advisors and staff members with the passion to defend the President and his programs at every opportunity. To achieve this, he must replace his relatively benign staff members with those willing to aggressively seek out and destroy Republican policies by pointing out the contradictions between Republican ideals and the real-world effects of their decisions. For example, the Republicans have touted family values as the centerfold of their version of conservative ideology. At the same time, they fight to discontinue unemployment benefits, student loans and decent health care. Worse yet, their rich clients close manufacturing facilities in the U.S. at the cost of millions of American jobs lost to foreign countries and virtual slave-wage laborers. In truth, Republicans talk a good game but they DO NOT provide for the general welfare of families in times of fiscal austerity.
  4. He must be merciless in attacking the very strategies Republicans have used in the past with virtually no rebuttal. An essential part of an aggressive tactic is to adopt the Roovian strategy of directly hitting the opponents on their strongest areas. To illustrate, Obama should repeatedly point out the un-American practice of moving America’s manufacturing capacity overseas at the selfish cost of putting Americans out of work and wrecking the American dream. Shout it out. This is un-American and it has weakened America’s national security. For too many years the Republicans have had a free pass when they’ve waved the flag. It’s time, too, to talk about the practice of sending ordinary, hard-working American men and women to die in foreign lands while their top echelon of leaders received exemption after exemption. Dick Cheney is a prime example. As the architect of the U.S. war against Iraq, he received five educational deferments from the Vietnam draft. And then had the gall to say on television that he had other things to do. One wonders what he learned after so many years of “education.”
  5. Obama and his supporters must consistently challenge the Republicans to join him in visiting homeless shelters, shelters for abused women, soup kitchens, and homeless camps beneath bridges and under viaducts. Present statistics on the abominable social standing of America in the world are an embarrassment to this country and an affront to human dignity. Arguing that the millions of poor and hungry in this country choose to live hungry and cold insults the intelligence of every thinking person.
  6. He must begin now to educate Americans about the Republican-caused stubborn and unrelenting gridlock in Congress, undertaken for no purpose other than to oppose anything Obama. Republican actions fall in the same false and deceptive argumentative category consisting of ignoramuses who are firmly convinced an atomic bomb wouldn’t explode if it were invented by a black scientist.
  7. He MUST engage average Americans in public dialogue. He and his spokespersons need to bring forward real people with real stories. Americans are sick and tired of gobbledygook from professional politicians. America is filled with average people who can articulate their real-world problems about such things as an inability to obtain student loans, a lack of health care, a reduction in benefits, and a complete lack of employment opportunities. If these real people point out that Republicans live in ivory towers and never observe or experience the real world, they will be believable. Rather than silver spoons, real people are born with plastic utensils in their mouths.

There are many more strategies and tactics that a political campaign may use effectively. But in Obama’s case, an extraordinary degree of effort, relentless pressure on the opponent and a sincere effort to educate the American public about Republican obstructionism are essential for him to win.

Finally, a note of explanation. We did not use the number seven to suggest some sort of manipulation on our part to reach the subconscious mind of American voters. True, seven is widely believed to be a lucky number. But things just fell into place as we were working through a plethora of information (there’s my favorite word again). Fate was with us.

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