Saturday, January 10, 2009

 

Open Thread

Da latest stuff on yo mind! Preach!

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Democrat Corruption Watch

In a one-year period: A New York governor has resigned over prostitution; a Detroit mayor has been convicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges; a New Mexico governor (and brief Cabinet nominee) is under federal investigation on pay-to-play allegations; and an Illinois governor is implicated (and now impeached) over a host of corruption issues.

The latest on the elected Democrat rap sheet: Baltimore's mayor is indicted on 12 counts:

Baltimore Mayor Sheila A. Dixon was charged today with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office, becoming the city's first sitting mayor to be criminally indicted.

The case stems in part from at least $15,348 in gifts Dixon allegedly received from her former boyfriend, prominent city developer Ronald H. Lipscomb, while she was City Council president. She also is accused of using as much as $3,400 in gift cards, some donated to her office for distribution to "needy families," to purchase Best Buy electronics and other items for herself and her staff.
Like Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick, Dixon apparently mixes business with pleasure -- of course, her boyfriend is involved!

I actually believe Barack Obama: He may well be the only honest person in his entire party. What a fun four years he has in front of him!

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

 

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Every cliche has a certain amount of truth in it. And Machiavelli was right when he wrote in The Prince, "it is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved."

Barack Obama is one of most beloved American president-elects that have come along in some time. And it is an affection that stretches across the world -- from the Africa of his father's birth to the euphoric Europeans and likely parts of the Middle East.

A problem exists though that it is unclear if anyone in his party truly fears him. And this week showed why it's necessary for Obama to show his ability to be an SOB pretty soon -- or his own party may well be responsible for causing his great plans to fall around him. In short, Obama might want to start channeling his inner Dick -- as in "Cheney," someone who didn't give a damn whether people loved (or even liked) him. It was enough that he was feared -- or even hated -- just as long as he got his goals accomplished.

That's a lesson Obama might want to absorb, because things are starting to get a bit dicey: After a month of near-universal praise for presenting mature, "adult" nominees for his Cabinet, the last couple of weeks produced some warning signs that Obama's inner circle might want to pay attention to.

1) Obama did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a favor by supporting his decision not to seat any Illinois Senate appointee of Gov. Blagojevich. Problem is -- the Senate majority leader is supposed to be helping the president (or president-elect). Worse, Harry Reid is quite possibly one of the worst poker-playing politician in the world (ironic, given that he represents a state in which sits Las Vegas).

Reid has been completely outsmarted by Blagojevich -- and the Democrats end up looking like they want to keep an honorable, qualified black man out of their elite country club.

2) Sen. Dianne Feinstein threw a snit-fit over Obama's selection of Leon Panetta as CIA director.
As Rich Galen points out, Feinstein wasn't upset over Panetta's qualifications or experience with intelligence matters:
The issue with Panetta is that Obama announced the nomination without taking the time to inform the incoming Chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that this was about to happen.
So, Feinstein helps provide the media with headlines showing a fellow Democrat's ire with Obama choosing Panetta. (In fairness to Feinstein, she is one of the few outspoken Democrats trying to get Reid out of the mess he's created for himself on the Roland Burris matter).

3) As we've discussed before, Joe Biden -- Obama's own running mate, essentially tosses his president-elect under the bus, publically declaring that it was a "mistake" not to show appropriate deference to the Senate.

This sort of behavior is unacceptable for a new president. While the Burris matter is essentially pure Senate business, Obama has to realize how much it is undermining the Democratic Senate majority -- even before any legislation has passed.

Similarly, while it may have been a breach in etiquette not to let Feinstein know about Panetta ahead of time, this sort of pique -- from both her and Biden is simply unacceptable. If Obama doesn't start throwing some elbows and kicking some behinds in his own party, reminding people that he scored the biggest presidential majority for a Democrat since Johnson -- he will be seen as weak.

And where weakness is sensed, the permanent wolves of Washington will strike.

Obama can't underestimate the ability for Congress -- even run by his own party -- can instill wounds from which it is difficult to recover. Don't take my word for it: Perhaps Obama might have thought to ask Bill Clinton at Wednesday's "President's Luncheon" how long it took Clinton to recover from what Sam Nunn did to him on the gays-in-the-military issue mere weeks into Clinton's first term.

Not only did Nunn win, he effectively exposed Clinton as someone ill-prepared to play the Washington game.

If Obama doesn't demonstrate a harder edge with allies who wonder off the reservation -- perhaps even deliver a a healthy "STFU" to Biden at some point -- those aforementioned permanent wolves will be ready to pounce at their earliest opportunity.

After all, there's another cliche that has some merit to it -- "Nice guys finish last."

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

 

Roland Down The River

Josh Marshall gets it

Agreeing with Dianne Feinstein, he recognizes that Rod Blagojevich -- disgraced in the public eye as he may be -- is still the governor of Illinois. He has the power to fill the vacant US Senate seat. He has done so. No one has charged Roland Burris with any sort of corruption -- and for an Illinois politician, that's saying a whole heckuva lot.

The longer Democrats refuse to seat him, they look, at best, politically venal -- obsessed with keeping the seat, they won't relent until someone other than Blagojevich appoints a senator who won't have the scandal hanging around their neck in 2010.

At worst, well barring one black man from taking his seat in the Senate -- when Reid "can't remember" whether he specifically told Blagojevich not to appoint Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., Rep. Denny Davis and Senate Minority Leader Emil Jones (three black men) -- may not be as racist as it looks. But it's pretty damn close.

By the way, Harry Reid might want to realize that racism takes many forms: No one is suggesting that Reid wouldn't want any of those men in the US Senate, simply because they are black.

But there is, to use one of George W. Bush's better political expressions, "the soft bigotry of low expectations." Trying to block an appointment because you think a given individual can't win statewide -- if part of your reasoning is derives from an assumption that voters won't support a black man, is, yes, a subtle form of racism -- even though it is dependent on the implied racism of others for it to be present.

As a Republican, I'm amused by the entire process.

But if Reid were smart, he would just realize that Blagojevich has outsmarted them on this, let Burris take the seat -- and move on (unless he plans on allowing Burris a three-fifths vote. Heh heh). Who knows? If Democrats have a successful couple of years -- and Obama campaigns for Burris (assuming he runs in 2010) -- maybe they can retain the seat. But the longer this situation plays out, the odds actually get better for the GOP -- regardless of whom is sitting in the seat.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

 

Lowering The Intelligence Quotient

Well, it was bound to happen! Barack Obama finally made a really lame administration pick: Leon Panetta for CIA director! Leon Panetta? In the words of Amy Poehler and Seth Myers: "Leon Panetta -- Really?"

Don't get me wrong. Panetta is considered, in the world of DC, an "adult." He's a good administrator, and served the Clinton adminstration (great, another one of them back) well as both head of the budget office and chief of staff.

But he has not a whit of experience in the intelligence field. And, you'd think it might be a good idea to have someone with some sort of background in that sensitive area given things like, oh, 9-11 and the fact that there are two "hot" wars going on, plus the ongoing War on Terror.

So, you bring in a budget analyst/administrator?

Of course, the guy that would have made a whole lot of sense -- the guy Obama wanted in the first place -- was essentially veteoed by the liberal blogosphere because of the torture issue.

So, now we are where we are.

Leon Panetta? Really?

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

 

Well, That Didn't Take Long...

First Cabinet-nominee dropout.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
is out as Commerce Secretary. "Withdraws" amid a federal investigation of his ties to a California company that won municipal bond contracts in New Mexico. Looks like 2008's Year of Democratic Corruption -- after the GOP cleaned up in the previous couple of years -- will roll over into '09.

As for Obama's "team of rivals"? Maybe not so much.

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