Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

Campaign 2016: What’s in a Name?

June 11, 2016

     Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

     By any other name would smell as sweet.”

     Romeo and Juliet (II,ii, 1-2)

Hillary Clinton is a “crook.” ” Donald Trump is a “fraud.”  ABC reporter Tom Llamas is a “sleaze.” South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is an “idiot.” Donald Trump is a “jackass.” Bernie Sanders is a “communist.” Donald Trump i s a “pathological liar.” “Bernie Sanders is a “maniac.” Donald Trump is a “nutcase.”  Marco Rubio is a “clown.” Donald Trump is a “con artist.”

Those are just some samples of name-calling in the 2016 race for the White House.  While this election seems particularly notorious when it comes to name-calling, there have been some in our nation’s history that could rival it.

It started with our Founding Fathers.  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had hatchet men do their dirty work.  Among other things, John Adams was called a “fool.” “hypocrite,” “criminal,” “tyrant,”  and Jefferson was called a  “coward,” “weakling,” “atheist,” and “libertine.”

When Adams’ son John Quincy ran against Andrew Jackson in 1824, things really got ugly. Adams was called “pimp,” and Jackson’s wife was called “slut.”

So, name-calling in presidential elections is nothing new.  Too bad that sometimes it appears to work.  I’d really prefer to hear more from the candidates about the important issues facing the nation at this time and how they would deal with them.

 

Advertisements

“Mind the Gap”

August 8, 2015

No not the gap between a London tube platform and a train’s car that signs warn riders to “mind,” but the very wide income gap between America’s wealthy and it’s shrinking middle class. That’s going to be the key issue in the  upcoming  presidential  election.  I didn’t hear it mentioned in the Republican debate Thursday night on Fox News.

One of the reporters did ask how Republican candidates are going to respond to Hillary Clinton’s claim, that, in essence, all Republicans care about are the wealthy. The main answer was that Republicans will grow the economy which will provide more jobs. Will  it? The economy has bounced back since the 2008 Great Recession. The trouble is that the improvement was soaked up by those at the top. The average worker’s income remained virtually flat. Money that could have been used to raise the incomes of employees and provide jobs went to the top. CEOs are doing very well. Just ask Donald Trump.

Wedge issues like Planned Parenthood and immigration got a lot of attention during the debate, but they didn’t derail President Obama and they won’t derail the Democratic candidate this time around, either.  Again, the main issue will be the economy. Growing it is not enough. Making sure that a fair share of that growth goes to America’s working class is the issue.  The Democratic candidate can win the  election, but will that solve the problem? Well, a Democrat has been sitting in the White House for almost 8 years now and the problem is still very much with us. 

My Take on “Rather Outspoken” by Dan Rather

June 26, 2012

Dan Rather’s book “Rather Outspoken” was especially interesting to me, having met with him personally a few times, and having followed his career with CBS News.

Just as he did, I always thought of CBS News back in the old days as being the gold standard of broadcast journalism.  We both had great respect for the news organization that Edward R. Murrow built starting during  World War II.

Murrow’s gutsy reporting got too much for CBS head Bill Paley and he was forced out, but others, people  like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather continued that tradition, and were backed at crucial times such as the Watergate scandal by CBS President Frank Stanton and Paley.

But, Rather now says that changed and the network decided not to continue in  the CBS News Murrow and Cronkite tradition, opting to trend toward entertainment, and forcing him out in the process.  He also says the switch didn’t work, ratings fell, and now the network has decided to, fortunately, go back to practicing serious journalism.

Meanwhile, though 80 years old, he continues to do weekly news documentaries for the HDNet. And, as the flap of the book says, he would like to see more investigative journalism programs like his, “even in the face of corporatization, politization, and trivialization of the news”.

The flap also says, “Dan Rather also makes an eloquent case for the critical importance of a free and independent press as a check on political power, and its responsibility to be the voice of the people, to force government to be fair, reasonable, and democratic.” Amen.

He spends a lot of time in the book defending the report about former President George W. Bush’s alleged disobeying a direct order, and either going AWOL or being a deserter while in the Texas Air National Guard. That was the story that caused the network to force him out, he says. To this day, he maintains the report was correct.  Not everyone agrees.

All in all, the book was a page-turner for me.  He made a lot of enemies during his tenure at CBS News,  and he admits that and thinks making people angry is going to happen when investigative reporters do their jobs.  But, the fact is, he was and still is a courageous reporter, and it paid off for him for a long time. And he’s still at it.

Ben Holden and I Both Got it Wrong

January 16, 2009

When I read Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Executive Editor Ben Holden’s column this morning about his conversation with his daughter about the election of an African-American president,  I had to reflect that I had said the same thing to a number of my friends.

Ben said he was doing the same thing his father had done for him when he was child,  trying to protect his child from being hurt by unrealistic expectations.   He told his daughter that Barack Obama could not be elected president because no African American would achieve that accomplishment in his lifetime.

When I first got the feeling that the Democrats might actually nominate President-elect Obama, I told friends that the Democrats had once again  figured out a way to lose an election.  It wasn’t that I was against Obama, because I wasn’t.  I just thought America was not yet ready to elect an African-American for president and wouldn’t be in my lifetime, especially since I am  78 years old.   (Should 78-years-old be hyphenated?  I need an editor.)

I was wrong and glad I was wrong.  The election of Barack Obama is a huge historical event.  The rest of the world is ecstatic over it.  Remember, he drew an incredible crowd of 200,000 people when he spoke in Berlin.  Frankly, I think President Bush likes him,  as evidenced by the smooth and helpful transition he is facilitating – that luncheon at the White House for him and the living presidents  was especially noteworthy – and I think a lot of other Republicans like him and understand what his election means.  He is reaching out to them and does appear to want a bi-partisan effort to get this country out of the monumental mess it is in.   

Ben said he will be in Washington for the inauguration. I won’t, and that suits me fine.  It’s going to be cold,  and I had just as soon not be in a crowd that is projected to be 3-million strong.  I am going to be watching the event with a crowd at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center.  There will probably be over a hundred people there for the Inauguration Celebration Luncheon,  hosted by the Working Excellence Ministries, Inc.  I don’t know if any tickets are available, but you could call Adam or Pat Parkman at 706-563-7298 of 706-289-9304 to find out.   By attending that you get to experience a crowd reaction to the swearing-in ceremony on big-screen TV and stay warm at the same time.  Actually,  I think you get to see such events a lot better on TV, anyway.

It Takes A Fake News Show to Get to the Truth

January 6, 2009

  The place to get to the basic truth about world events is a fake newscast.  Beneath the outrageous comedy routine’s on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a very serious look at the underlying, unvarnished truth in the important issues facing our country and the world.

  No where had I seen on television, or read in newspapers or news magazines, about something I suspected from the moment Israel launched its devastating attack on Gaza,  until Jon Stewart said it last night.  Israel picked now to launch this attack because it knew it had the full support of the Bush administration in whatever it did, but it was not certain that President-elect Barack Obama would continue the anything-Israel-does-is-right policy of the Bush administration.

Jon Stewart, a Jew, dared to do something that no national political leader, Democrat or Republican, would  do: look at the other side of the Israeli-Palestinian endless disaster.  He showed a parade of Democratic and Republican politicians, including Senate majority leader Harry Reed, and independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, all coming down on Israel’s  side in its response to rockets fired by Hamas into Israel, with no qualifying comments about the complications involved, no recognition of the suffering going on in Gaza.

Stewart, and his guest David Gregory, new host of Meet the Press, and also a Jew, said the situation in Israel and Palestine is complicated, but political leaders, when coming down on the side of Israel, would not get into those complications.

Stewart summed up the endless conflict in the Middle East by saying that Israel was promised the land by God, but, he added, God also made that promise to the Palestinians.

Is the Money Going to the Wrong Place?

October 18, 2008

  This is not 1932, you might say when we compare today’s financial disaster with the Great Depression. No, it’s not.  But, there are similarities. You know, things like the stock market crashing and banks failing.

  This time is also different in that the government is pumping money into the banking system to keep it viable. However, there are those who say that’s the wrong way to go.

Franklin D. Roosevlet Library)

Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1932, Whistlestop Campaign, New Albany, IN (Courtesy: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Library)

  They are not opposed to the government intervening in the crisis, but they think the intervention needs to give relief to the average American, not just the banks. They point out that this is a good time to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. That harkens back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s public works programs.

   “There is no way a modern economy can function without good roads, telecommunication, rail transport and an educated labour force,” Allan Mendelowitz told , a member and former chairman of the Federal Housing Finance Board, told  Adrianne Appel of Inter Press Service.

  Using money for those things provides jobs, which means that people will have money to spend, and since our economy depends heavily on consumer spending, it makes sense to target working Americans when deciding on where to prop up the economy.

  Appel’s article reports that critics of the Bush administration say he waited until he could wait no longer to do something to stop the economic bleeding. They don’t believe he really wanted to do it because it flies in the face of the ideology he has been espousing. But, he really has no choice if he wants to prevent another Great Depression.  But, the way he is doing it follows his philosophy of giving to the wealthy and hoping it will trickle down to the rest of us.

  “Just think if we used those billions directly on jobs,” said Lewis Pitts, a public interest attorney in North Carolina.

  “In the developed world we have the worst income distribution of any country. A smaller and smaller portion of our population has a larger claim on wealth. This manifests in that the working poor have less and less income and have a harder time making ends meet,” Mendelowitz said.

  So, in that sense, we are back to 1932.

  Congressional Democrats plan to start working on help for the average American, planning to allot $150 billion for roads and other infrastructure programs.  But, Senate Republicans would probably filibuster any attempt to do that, or, if they didn’t, President Bush would probably veto the bill. That would mean a delay, but he’ll be gone in January and, if Sen. Obama is president, it will probably become law. McCain? It’s hard to tell. He did buy into the Bush economic program, but he is not, as he says, Bush, and he does have a habit of changing his mind.