Friday, November 11, 2011

Remember Our Vets Today

From the militia defending the frontier in the 1600s to the men and women on the front lines of freedom today. You all are appreciated. Thank you!

The Third Agency and the Stupid Shallowness of Debating

In the future, the Republican Party needs to shape the debate process better.

In no way, shape or form can voters make an intelligent decision about their candidates when their main national speaking forum resembles more a game show than a serious discourse.

In thirty seconds or less, explain how and why you would end Obamacare. Really? This is what an important issue gets reduced to?

Rick Perry is no debater, but he does have more executive branch experience than anyone that he might face in this election. How does eleven years of experience translate into debating? It doesn't. Pundits, based solely on his debating skills, rate him as mentally deficient. Debating skill does not necessarily equal political brilliance. Had Prince Otto von Bismarck, one of the great statesmen of the modern era, been put on stage with these GOP candidates, he would have flubbed worse than Perry.

Tell me when, outside of a campaign, does a president have to debate anyone in this fashion?

I am not endorsing Rick Perry here. In fact, if there is any way that we can set aside the personal baggage, Newt Gingrich may be the best potential president. He sounds absolutely Churchillian at times.

Gingrich, to his credit, is trying to change the game. America deserves thoughtful debate. We don't need guys standing behind podiums sweating nervously and trying not to make mistakes. Let us, just one time, sit these candidates down in comfortable chairs and let them calmly discuss the issues of the day. If it takes three hours, so be it. If America tunes out, that is our choice. But let us discuss issues in a civilized tone so we can make a truly educated choice.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Republicans Should Engage Labor Unions

A dalliance. A brief liaison. A flirtation. That might be all that is needed to spur union rank and file towards the Republican camp in the upcoming election year.

Big Labor has a problem. They face squeezes from the Left and the Right. Conservatives want to check their power in the private and public workplace. They see Big Labor's goals as a burden upon the economy and what is left of the manufacturing sector.

The Left presents even more challenges. Its "Occupy" movement embraced Big Labor, then protested the economic development that labor needs to survive. The proposed pipeline from Canada to the Gulf would employ steelworkers, Teamsters, and who knows how many others who pay their union dues. Big Labor understands that these worker intensive projects form their lifeblood in a fashion that windmills and solar panels do not. Richard Trumka a few weeks ago angered the Right by threatening violence against the Tea Party. Now he angers the Left with his grumbling recalcitrance against their hypergreenie movement.

As I said last week, the American economy is capable of paying off our debt and social programs that have been vetted to prevent inefficiency and fraud. We can also handle some of the desires of Big Labor. It is interesting that we were able to pay for all of this until the 1970s when more and more regulations served to hogtie manufacturing and energy production. Now we need not go back to the bad old days of rampant pollution, but we also need a reasonable balance between the needs of conservationists and industry.

Were I a GOP presidential candidate, and Newt Gingrich is likely the only candidate with the brass cahones to do so, I would invite the AFL-CIO in for a discussion, much as he did with Herman Cain. They can discuss where conservatives and Big Labor can realize shared goals of expanding production and prosperity while clearing the air over shared anxieties about each other. Would they come away in perfect agreement? Probably not. But traditional Big Labor liberals have more shared interests with conservatives than they do with the Left.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Tale of Two Joes

Two Joes have the spotlight today. One finally got his due, another got exposed. One was beloved by the media, the other ridiculed. Time has a way of uncovering the good and evil that men do, or at least tolerate.

Joe Frazier never got his due while he was alive, as a boxer or a man. The media always saw him as a placeholder for Muhammed Ali during his suspension, even after Frazier beat him. It took Frazier's death for the media to admit, finally, that Ali (as a Washington D. C. sports talk commentator said this morning) that Ali was a "d!&k" and that Frazier conducted himself with class.

The media always looked upon Joe Frazier with scorn and laughed at Ali's racial characterizations of him. They sounded a lot like later attacks on Condoleeza Rice and Michael Steele. Frazier bore them with pride and dignity, even in his later, impoverished years. Only now, with his death, do we finally hear that, yes, this was a great man in his own way.

Joe Paterno has always been identified as morality and rectitude itself. He comes from that greatest generation and seemed to symbolize all of its virtues. Unfortunately, he could not bring himself, when given a statement that a child had suffered sexual attack, to turn in his old friend who happened to attack at least eight other children. Paterno did the legal minimum. He told his superiors. It does not matter that Paterno knew few of the pertinent details. He knew a man with Penn State credentials had sexually forced himself on a young boy. That is all you need to know to pick up the damned phone and call 9-1-1.

So while we feel disappointment with one Joe, let us remember fondly the other. Joe Paterno was not the man we thought he was. But Joe Frazier was so much more.