Thoughts On a Wide Range of Topics Affecting South Florida and Elsewhere, From a Conservative Viewpoint
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Thank You, Rep. Grayson
This is a sincere message of thanks for Democrat Rep. Alan Grayson, who represents the fine folks of central Florida. Thank you for bringing to light the fact that there indeed are Republican health care bills (35 in all) out there. It would have been even better if you would have singled one of them out, but hey...beggars can't be choosers.
I'll willfully ignore the political grandstanding and blatant dishonesty of your remarks about the Republican plan. I recognize the immense pressure of standing there under the intense gaze of your House speaker and deliver a tough message that will make you and your friends look good at the expense of your adversaries, facts be damned.
I understand. Once again, thank you, Rep. Grayson.
My man Jim "Mad Dog" Mandich has this to say following the Dolphins' 0-3 start this season:
Now there's another long flight across country. The last time this happened Tony Sparano had a divine moment. Word came from on high for some kind of reinvention, and the Wildcat was born. Perhaps he'll get some inspiration for innovation on the way back to South Florida because we need some God-like intervention.
Following is a letter to the Miami Herald written by Carlos Saladrigas in reaction to the Juanes concert this past weekend. Saladrigas is chairman of the Cuba Study Group, a Cuban-American organization widely regarded to be moderate. Mr. Saladrigas words are in italics with my comments in regular font interspersed.
After watching the much talked-about Juanes concert on Sunday, I was left with a feeling that something transcendental had taken place.
Almost 10 percent of Cuba's population showed up -- about 30 percent of Cuba's youth. Considering the lack of available transportation, it became clear the Cuban people voted with their feet.
For a people used to speaking in code, things were said that, except during the Pope's visit, have never been said in Cuba in a public forum. The joy in their faces said it all, in sharp contrast to the taciturn faces normally seen during the interminable political gatherings of the past.
I'm not sure what Cuba's youth "voted on", other than showing up at a rare major international event for a good time.
Meanwhile in Miami, at the Versailles Restaurant, Miguel Saavedra and his Vigilia Mambisa had a steamroller crush dozens of blank CDs in yet another of their usual, but detestable, demonstrations largely aimed at intimidating dissenters from the hard line of exile politics. Unexpectedly, a spontaneous gathering of young people, fed up with a 50-year-old failed policy, outnumbered them, and gave Saavedra a dose of his own medicine. A recent poll showed that the vast majority of Cuban Americans believe his actions severely damage the hard-earned image of our community.
The only people who truly believe that the image of the Cuban-American community is severely damaged by the actions of Miguel Saavedra and Vigilia Mambisa (a small group, something Saladrigas himself would acknowledge) are those who fit one of two categories: those are already predisposed to disagree with and demonize anything and everything the hardliners put out, and those who don't have the strength and courage of their convictions to let their opinions and beliefs stand on their own. It is blatantly misguided to pin the image of an entire Cuban-American community on the actions and words of a few, just as it's wrong to think of Mr. Saladrigas and others of similar thought as comunistas or castro sympathizers. A little honest thought can go a long way, and Mr. Saladrigas as a so-called moderate should be moderate enough to realize this. However, we've been down this road before, haven't we?
There are many messages in the tea leaves of the concert. For hardliners in the Cuban government, the message is clear. The immense crowd wanted a moment of fun and relaxation, but, in a way, they were also there for a silent protest against a system that has wrought fear, poverty, hatred, bitterness, division and hopelessness. A desire for change was in the air.
Interestingly, tensions during the negotiations and words spoken by literally all of the Cuban performers gave us a glimpse of the debates and tensions that exist within the Cuban system. With a sense of déja vu, reminiscent of our own generational divide in Miami, we saw moderate and progressive voices prevail over the forces of inertia.
I certainly hope Saladrigas is right in that the concert served as a form of silent protest. But much more than that is needed. Only Cubans on the island can decide what to do with this spirit of peace and unity. Speaking of unity, perhaps it's not the "forces of inertia" in Miami that need to practice this, but the forces of oppression in Cuba. Just a thought. As far as life in Cuba after the concert, perhaps Yoani can put it in better perspective.
The tea leaves also portend a wake-up call for the Cuban-American community. After all, the hardliners failed to derail this concert. There are still those who will never change, but their numbers are rapidly dwindling. Although we at the Cuba Study Group have for years been saying that Miami is changing, it took Juanes' courageous and bold initiative to let us see it, feel it and to rid ourselves of the fear to say it that has gripped us for so long.
The massive attendance highlighted the large and growing disconnect between the exiled hardliners and the Cuban people. More Cuban Americans have come to the realization that we cannot afford to continue with failed policies to meet the challenges of the future. We need to engage. It is not reasonable to expect to partake in a new Cuba if we don't partake in the process that creates it.
Saladrigas sure sounds confident, doesn't he? I understand his desire to engage. After all, that's how humans of good faith typically function. However, when Saladrigas puts away his rose-colored glasses, it must be obvious that there's only one side willing to engage for what's RIGHT. If the other party refuses to acknowledge this, there can be no engagement. It's all hot air and dashed hopes. Ask Barack Obama and Bill Richardson how their attempts at engagement have progressed. Every time we see the castro regime time and time again thwart attempts at honest engagement, it proves most hardliners right. Every single time. This is something Saladrigas surely recognizes but seemingly can't bring himself to admit. He's hardly alone.
Juanes showed us the euphoria and effectiveness that comes from tearing down walls. The old policies of hurting the regime with collateral damage to the people need to give way to policies that help the people even when they may provide a collateral benefit to the regime. It needs to be all about the people.
Saladrigas appears to be invoking the Reagan-at-Berlin moment here. Walls are torn down when one speaks bravely and sides with the forces of right, but also and just as importantly, AGAINST the forces of wrong. Reagan did this. Juanes and his troupe did not. All the tourists, free trade and unfettered travel to Cuba do more than simply provide a "collateral benefit" to the regime. It legitimizes oppression and the denial of basic human rights endowed to us by our Creator. Unintended consequences, perhaps. But you know what they say about good intentions and the road to Hell...
During his visit to Cuba, Pope John Paul II asked the world to open up to Cuba, as he asked Cuba to open up to the world. This man knew that it takes openness -- he lived it. With his visit to Poland he nearly single-handedly brought the whole Soviet bloc to transition.
Juanes echoed his voice. Totalitarianism requires closeness. Fighting it requires openness. It is time to give openness, reconciliation and dialogue the chance they deserve. Let us all stand up to fear; it's time to change.
I'm not sure why Saladrigas concluded his letter with a comparison of the message delivered by Pope John Paul II to that of Juanes and company at a concert. Maybe he wants to lift up Juanes' message to the same righteous level as the Pontiff's in order to make it appear more significant. I don't know. Regarding openness, here's what Pope John Paul II said in his homily in that very same plaza 11 years ago (scroll down past the green text to get to the Pope's homily at the plaza on January 25, 1998):
As everyone knows, Cuba has a Christian soul and this has brought her a universal vocation.. Called to overcome isolation, she needs to open herself to the world and the world needs to draw close to Cuba, her people, her sons and her daughters who are surely her greatest wealth. This is the time to start out on the new paths called for by the times of renewal which we are experiencing at the approach of the Third Millennium of the Christian era!
Yes, openness is needed. But it's a two-part deal, which the Pontiff made very clear. The two parts are indispensable and inseparable. We've seen how our previous attempts, as well as those of others, at reaching out have resulted. A willingness to reach out should never be exclusive from a demand that wrongs be righted. In fact, it's our obligation as moral people to identify and root out the source of the wrong so that openness can take fruit. A new path cannot be taken with obstacles in the way, but only when both sides contribute to the removal of the obstacles. Our official policy to Cuba has always left this door open. Unfortunately, it's the Cuban regime that continues to block the path, much to the detriment and suffering of their people.
The Concert for Peace in Cuba is over. As the workers clean off the stage and sweep up the debris at the Plaza de la Revolución under the intense glare of El Che coming off the adjacent building façade, the obvious question is this: did the concert make a real difference? One hopes that Juanes' vague and abstract mentions of freedom for Cuba reached the hearts of the multitude at the plaza. But if Pope John Paul II's not-so-abstract message of freedom in that very same plaza 11 years ago couldn't deliver, why think any differently of this event today?
Yes, I'm glad that the Cuban people got to participate in something different today, a genuine "event". The fact that this is the most we can expect and realistically hope from the concert clearly illustrates that despite Cuba being 90 short miles from Key West, it might as well be in another galaxy. A galaxy where freedom for its own people can only be spoken in the vaguest of terms by a foreigner on the best of days, while expressing freedom for foreigners in a far-away jungle comes through as clear as day.
One of Juanes' concluding chants was "One Cuban Family". Nice sentiment, but it sounds hollow when part of that family is excluded. Hollow just like the event itself.
I find it striking that the one event closely associated with the fall of another arcane and dysfunctional system -- the East German government -- was Ronald Reagan's speech at the Berlin Wall demanding Mr. Gorbachev ``tear down this wall.''
It was an indignant message calling for greater morality and justice, as well as a decisive call to action. It was not a concert with government-endorsed artists joining hands in Red Square.
Unfortunately, the only victims here, as usual, are the Cuban people. They will have one or two nights of anticipation, excitement and possible hope, only to return to the same oppressive, hostile world where they spend every day trying to survive or escape.
Please read Pardo's entire column. It's short and well worth your time if you want a greater understanding of the conflicting emotions many, I dare say, most Cuban-Americans feel.
Obama Wasn't Aware ACORN Received A Whole Lot of Federal Money
I want to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt. I really do. Really. The office he holds demands that we do so. However, this doesn't mean we should blindly accept every thing he says and does.
Case in point, his comments on This Week With George Stephanopoulos on ABC this morning regarding the cutting off of ACORN funding. Obama claimed ignorance to the amount of federal funding ACORN has received, as well as downplayed the significance of public money funding a corrupt organization.
Really, Mr. President? Are we to believe your ignorance? I'm sorry, but this fool isn't buying it. Not only that, but your credibility deserves to suffer for claiming the fifth on this one.
Below is some uncommon Miami Herald-columnist sense today courtesy of James Burnett. I wish more journalists were this honest when it comes to distributing the blame around for the real estate downturn.
Yanira Doyle could easily be a prophetic figure in the South Florida real estate market, and all because she didn't let her eyes get bigger than her stomach.
Before the housing market began to slide sharply downward two years ago, Doyle, then a 26-year-old prospective home buyer who is not psychic, saw the future and weighed her options accordingly:
Buy a gleaming condo in a shiny tower on the beach and fit snugly into the sometimes skewed impressions distant friends and relatives have of South Florida, based on Travel Channel shows -- or buy a place where monthly expenses weren't so high that Doyle couldn't maintain it, pay her other bills, and continue to build a savings account.
Doyle, featured recently on the WLRN FM 91.3 radio show Under the Sun for her uncommon sense, opted for the latter. ``It was a no-brainer to me,'' she says. ``You buy what you can afford.''
Don't scoff at the simplicity of Doyle's logic. Unless you've had your head in the sand for the past couple of years, you know that there are plenty of South Floridians and prospecting interlopers who did just the opposite of Doyle and now find themselves in trouble.
For all the academic and government studies on what went wrong, it can be summed up like this: There is an anti-Doyle attitude pervasive in South Florida, an attitude that says, I can only achieve the American Dream by keeping up with the Joneses . . . even if the Joneses earn more money than me.
The irony is that when it comes to neighborhood trouble, we've had no end to politicians, activists and even clergy urging the public to save our neighborhoods from violent crime because of the harm one violent act can cause to everyone living nearby. But the honest pundits also tell their constituents that government alone isn't the solution. The hearts and minds of perpetrators have to change, too.
So those same authorities should be treating that keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality like crime, too. And why not? When homeowners with beer tastes and tap-water budgets stop maintaining and paying for their property, their neighbors' quality of life suffers and property values dive.
SHE STAYED AND FOUGHT
Doyle knows this firsthand. A year into being a home owner in the northern end of Miami Beach, she began to notice that maintenance on her building had slipped and garbage wasn't being picked up.
She learned that she alone, among her condo association's eight units, had been paying both her mortgage and association fees.
Doyle could've thrown in the towel, walked away from her condo and fairly blamed that decision on the deadbeats around her. But she decided to stay and fight. And after more than six months of justified nagging, she got her building back in shape by forcing its developer and negligent neighbors to pick up their slack.
``I want the American Dream, too,'' Doyle says. ``But if I try to force something I'm not ready for, then that dream can easily become a nightmare.''
OMINOUS OR GOOD SIGNS?
The Miami Herald reported recently that South Florida's real-estate market is showing glimmers of hope. Mortgage rates are lower by more than a point than they were a year ago. Home sales are rising. And home values could begin to creep back up within a year.
That's great news. But unless more would-be homeowners try to keep up with the Doyles, rather than the Joneses, the current, fading cycle of shortsales and foreclosures will repeat itself in a few years.
Let's get the minutiae out of the way: Rush Limbaugh's "we need segregated buses" remark was not meant as a true desire to segregate blacks and whites. It wasn't racist. It was a sarcastic comment within a long, sarcastic and cynical rant. The full transcript of his remarks during the 9/15 show is here. See for yourself.
Rush Limbaugh's rant points at something which has been brewing for much of the past year or so. Rush's rant is Exhibit A of the toxic environment liberal and media elites have helped to create, and I believe is representative of the way many decent Americans are feeling. Like I said before, average people are just plain fed up with all the "racist" accusations and insinuations. The result of this is a backlash of anger and cynicism, clearly obvious in the transcript of Rush's show 3 days ago.
We've seen people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright use their race as a way to bully others around. We've seen and heard the diatribes of the likes of Van Jones. From the media we've read Leonard Pitts, Eugene Robinson, Maureen Dowd, etc and ad infinitum. We've seen Hollywood and ex-presidents put down those who disagree with Obama. Even Bill Cosby, whom I have great respect for. There are many others, both black and white, who are too numerous to list. Americans are a tolerant and accepting people, and because of this and many other events that have happened in the past 40 years, we've mostly overcome the stigma of slavery and injustice. Can there be better proof of this than the man sitting in the Oval Office? After a while, though, even patient and tolerant people reach a limit. That explains a lot of what we're seeing today.
This is not an excuse for responding with racist and disgusting comments, signs and blog posts. Let's make this totally and 100% clear. There have always been and will always be racists among us. I'm referring to the vast majority of folks who trusted Obama, perhaps even gave him their vote, and now feel betrayed by the lack of positive change which was promised to all of us. Our so-called post-racial president has let them down. Instead of seeing progress, we're going backwards.
Bringing up race and racism in every important issue today is a conversation stopper, plain and simple. It prevents us from moving forward. It prevents us from disagreeing amicably and respectfully because, like I said above, Americans don't like to be called racists, especially when they're clearly not (the small minority that is racist can be excused from this group). Playing the race card is a cop out, an excuse if you will, for not wanting to address the issues honestly and openly. Playing the race card is a surefire way to muddy the waters and obscure the real issues.
While I don't think Obama is a racist or overtly supports those who make racist comments, he hasn't helped the situation, either. His race speech last year was grossly overrated, but he could be doing something right now to end all this racist accusation BS that's poisoning our culture. He could come out and, without any reservations or doubt, state that he will no longer accept the use of race or racism as a method of argument and debate from the right and ESPECIALLY FROM THE LEFT. If he's indeed previously expressed this, he needs to do it again. As our eloquent "post-racial" president, he has the ability and power to stop this insanity.
Let's hope he does. It's not too late, yet.
UPDATED 9/19 645 AM: President Obama states on Meet the Press to air tomorrow that his opposition is not race driven. According to the MSNBC report, Obama also told CBS news that the media is partly to blame for the current atmosphere. Sounds sort of familiar, doesn't it? Good for the president, although I feel he needs to come out forcefully with this.
Just awful what transpired yesterday morning at Coral Gables High School. My prayers go out to the family of the victim and the perpetrator, as well as the students, parents and staff at the school. This is one of parents' worst nightmares come true, especially when it happens in a good school in a good area.
Could schools be doing a better job of protecting their students from these type of attacks? That's a highly debatable question. I think the answer is most definitely YES, but even if we bolster security measures, it's likely that isolated and random incidents like these could still happen. I'm glad that this last article accurately points out that schools are still safer than the community at large, although it only takes one or two isolated incidents to shape a perception and understandably worry parents.
Next time someone insinuates that you're a racist, or straight out calls you a racist for disagreeing, even vehemently or perhaps rudely, with President Obama, remember the words of these mental midgets who...as hard-core leftists...should be the last people on Earth to lecture ANYONE about race and racism:
Elected on the promise to transcend old arguments of left and right, Obama has systematically reinforced them on domestic issues. A pork-laden stimulus. A highly centralized health reform.
Eight months into Obama's term, American politics is covered in the cobwebs of past controversies. Obama has supporters, but he has ceased trying for converts.
This should surprise no one. Obama did not rise on Bill Clinton's political path -- the path of a New Democrat, forced to win and govern in a red state. Obama was a conventional, congressional liberal in every way -- except in his extraordinary abilities. His great talent was talent itself, not ideological innovation.
And given the general Republican collapse of 2006 to 2008 -- rooted in the initial unraveling of Iraq, the corruption of the Republican congressional majority and the financial meltdown -- Obama did not need innovation to win. Only ability and the proper tone.
Obama, once again, relies on his political virtuosity to prevail. But he lacks the ideological tools to win unexpected allies and poach support in the middle. His main argument remains: ``I won.'' That may be enough to muscle through a comprehensive health reform bill (though I doubt Obama has changed the challenging political dynamic in Congress). It is not enough to realign American politics or change its tone.
Gerson ist's exactly 100% supportive of the current GOP either, so it's not just mindless hyper-partisan GOP blabber.
As we arrive at the eighth anniversary of 9-11, I struggle to find the right words or the appropriate tribute. I've never been good at commemorating anniversaries and things of that nature. Nevertheless, it's only fitting to at least type a few words of tribute to those who lost their lives, as well as to the families whose suffering continues to this very day and beyond.
For me, as with so many others, 9-11 was a turning point. Whatever innocence remained, whatever lingering carefree attitude toward politics and current events all disappeared on that day. The mixture of fear, sorrow and anger I felt on that day is something I will never forget, and likely will never totally leave me. I can't even begin to imagine what the loved ones of those who perished that day must feel. My heart goes out to those poor but brave souls who find a way to press on despite the crushing sorrow in their hearts.
As far as our nation is concerned, I agree with George in that perhaps we've forgotten a little. Time has a way of doing that, but we need to resist the tendency to forget what happened and why. There's a definite feeling that our nation is more divided than it has been in a very long time. Right vs left, Left vs right...this isn't the time or space to point fingers or assign blame for the state we're in as a country. What I think we all should focus on today and for the rest of our days is something basic but essential: The terrorists attacked us on 9-11 (and previously) not because we're left or right, or because Clinton or Bush was president. They attacked us because we're AMERICANS. Plain and simple. They hate us not because we lean one way or the other, they hate us because we believe in freedom and rights. As we justly and responsibly discuss and even argue the important issues of the day, let's not forget that all we have can crumble in a few minutes, just like it did on 9-11, if we don't safeguard what we have. Let's not forget that despite our differences, we're AMERICANS. Our safety and well-being depends on that.
Lots of contradictions and hard-to-believe statements in Obama's health care speech to Congress tonight. Here are the ones I considered to be most obvious:
Obama said his plan will not add a dime more to the deficit. That's not exactly what the CBO concluded, and it flies in the face of common sense and logic.
The president also said that costs would be mostly covered by eliminating waste in Medicare/Medicaid. That would be great if the federal government actually had skill in eliminating the billions in waste and inefficiencies, which we know is not exactly the case. Besides, If Obama could accomplish that feat, why doesn't he tackle it first, then go for more comprehensive health care reform? Or maybe he just needs to invoke the elimination of waste as a main selling point for his health care plan?
The rest of the plan would be paid off by revenues from drug and insurance companies. Hmmm.
Obama spoke eloquently and passionately about protecting Medicare. That's great. But if his plan is supposed to CUT Medicare costs, how is this exactly going to help keep Medicare solvent? Perhaps someone can enlighten me.
Regarding a public plan, Obama said less than 5% of Americans would have to join a government-run plan, and that the premiums collected from this small percentage would cover the costs. Does anyone really believe this, including the president himself? He did say that eliminating much of the overhead that "gets eaten up at private companies by profits, excessive administrative costs and executive salaries" would do the trick. Well, when the industry average profit margin for health plans is barely over 3%, that's not much of an overhead.
Finally, I go back to picking on the president's message of bipartisanship. He stated that his door is open to Republicans who have "serious proposals". As the post right below this one suggests, that door hasn't been as ajar as Obama would like us to believe. Perhaps the only proposals he deems serious are the ones considered as such by his advisors who absolutely, positively have no skin in this game (sarcasm).
Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the New York Times: 0. Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the Washington Post: 0. Total words about the Van Jones controversy on NBC Nightly News: 0. Total words about the Van Jones controversy on ABC World News: 0. Total words about the Van Jones controversy on CBS Evening News: 0.
If you were to receive all your news from any one of these outlets, or even all of them together, and you heard about some sort of controversy involving President Obama's Special Adviser for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, your response would be, "Huh?" If you heard that that adviser, Van Jones, had apologized for a number of remarks and positions in the recent past, your response would be, "What?" And if you were in the Obama White House monitoring the Jones situation, you would be hoping that the news organizations listed above continue to hold the line -- otherwise, Jones, who is quite well thought of in Obama circles, would be history.
9/5/09 UPDATE: The New York Times, ABC and NBC hold the line
After the Jones controversy reached a boiling point on Friday, the Washington Post published a story, "White House Says Little on Embattled Jones," on page A-3 of its Saturday edition. But the New York Times remained silent on the story.
Likewise, on Friday night the "CBS Evening News" reported the Jones matter, but ABC's "World News" and "NBC Nightly News" again failed to report the story.
Much has been said about the GOP's supposed lack of leadership. In other words, there's no single person the GOP can point to as their "leader". OK. That's caused many on the right to scratch their heads and bemoan the wayward path the party has taken over the past several years. I'm one of those people.
Then again, is a lack of a single leader such a bad thing, especially at this stage?
Word is that the "Gang of Six" negotiating a health care deal is on the verge of collapse because two of its members, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi, are against Obamacare.
Shocking! The nerve of Sens. Grassley and Enzi to oppose Obamacare! I thought the reason for the negotiations was to reach a compromise, not merely to settle on Obama's plan. Compromise involves members of totally opposite sides coming together to try to reach a solution. This is common sense, something Team O unfortunately lacks and/or blatantly ignores.
...The President is firmly committed to working with Democrats, Republicans, independents, anybody that wants to see progress on health care reform. I will say this. I haven't seen the contents of that letter. Certainly, I think the radio address over the weekend by Senator Enzi repeating many of the generic Republican talking points that Republicans are using that have bragged about being opposed to health care are tremendously unfortunate but in some ways illuminating. It appears that at least in Senator Enzi's case, he doesn't believe there's a pathway to get bipartisan support, and the President thinks that's wrong. I think that Senator Enzi has clearly turned over his cards on bipartisanship, and decided that it's time to walk away from the table.
Gibbs thinks bipartisanship only works when you agree with Obama. Considering Team O's record on bipartisanship, his comments should be taken with a chunk of salt. Hope and Change.
What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?
The conventional wisdom is that Obama made a tactical mistake by farming out his agenda to Congress and allowing himself to be pulled left by the doctrinaire liberals of the Democratic congressional leadership. But the idea of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi pulling Obama left is quite ridiculous. Where do you think he came from, this friend of Chávista ex-terrorist William Ayers, of PLO apologist Rashid Khalidi, of racialist inciter Jeremiah Wright?
But forget the character witnesses. Just look at Obama's behavior as president, beginning with his first address to Congress. Unbidden, unforced and unpushed by the congressional leadership, Obama gave his most deeply felt vision of America, delivering the boldest social democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president. In American politics, you can't get more left than that speech and still be on the playing field.
Also, make sure you go to the link in the excerpt above and read Obama's address to Congress back in February. It's long, but it serves as excellent background to the column and shows precisely why so many Americans are disappointed with Obama.
As a reminder to those who feel that poor Team Obama and the Democrats in Congress haven't had a fair chance to explain their health care plan because of those "incessant, intolerant, racist mobs" (sarcasm) at town halls screaming them down, don't feel too bad for them.
Remember this from last month?
Top White House aides gave Senate Democrats a recess battle plan on Thursday, arming the lawmakers with tips for avoiding disastrous town hall meetings while showing them polling on popular aspects of the reform effort.
Senior White House adviser David Axelrod and deputy chief of staff Jim Messina told senators to focus on the insured and how they would benefit from “consumer protections" in the overhaul, such as ending the practice of denying insurance based on preexisting conditions and ensuring the continuity of coverage between jobs.
They showed video clips of the confrontational town halls that have dominated the media coverage, and told senators to do more prep work than usual for their public meetings by making sure their own supporters turn out, senators and aides said.
And they screened TV ads and reviewed the various campaigns by critics of the Democratic plan.
“If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard,” Messina said, according to an official who attended the meeting.
Doesn't say much for an honest attempt to listen to the American people, does it?
The Obama administration sure has had trouble keeping their word lately. First, they roll back the snitch program firstname.lastname@example.org. Then they vacillate on the near-dead "public option". Now, Team O (the letter, not the number, if that's what you were thinking...) is re-writing their hopelessly clumsy lesson plan to teachers to use with the president's address to schoolchildren next week.
(An aside: speaking of Obama's address to schools, I have no problem with a president speaking to our kids about the value of education. That's great. Unfortunately, the lesson plan drawn up by the administration and the Department of Education was too much about Obama and not enough about the kids. Hmmm. Must be that cult of personality thing...)
Committed liberals must be going nuts right now at the lack of follow-through in these initiatives. Naturally, the conservative "mob", which I'm happy to be a part of, is a big reason for this, but the guy got 53% of the vote a mere 10 months ago, not to mention a nice, cushy majority in Congress to work with. What past presidents would have done to attain that much influence!
Most probably, much like the case with the lesson plans, the Obama administration has demonstrated an staggering lack of competence. The president himself hasn't helped, as demonstrated by his reliance on an absolutely inept Congress to carry the ball for him on health care. How can someone so smart make so many bad decisions in so many areas (Hmmm. Must be that lack of good judgment thing...)?
Perhaps I'm not properly considering the possibility that Team O knows exactly what they're doing. An experiment, if you will, in how far they can take their agenda before they feel pushback. This is just sheer speculation on my part, no doubt. And I certainly hope it's not this at all.
Would Juanes have performed in the right-wing Chile of Augusto Pinochet? Would he and his fellow concert headliners, Puerto Rico's Olga Tanon and Spain's Miguel Bose, have gone to South Africa to perform during apartheid? Do they know that the Nelson Mandelas of Cuba are still in prison? Didn't Juanes recently cancel a "Peace Without Borders" concert in Honduras because he didn't want to legitimize the temporary government there? Doesn't the 50-year-long dictatorship in Cuba exude enough illegitimacy? Does Juanes really want to help legitimize the same evil force that drives the FARC guerrillas in his homeland?