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21
Recently I was subjected to a speech by columnist-commentator George Will.
 
He courageously took on Washington’s big spending. His implication was that President Obama is the culprit.
 
To his credit, Will did acknowledge that George Bush’s prescription drug benefit – which doesn’t let the government negotiate lower prices – is part of the problem.
 
But he ignored three other big causes of the deficit:
  • Bush’s war in Iraq
  • Bush’s tax cuts
  • Bush’s bailout.
If I was an umpire, I'd call Will out on strikes.
 

 

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20
The answer in a nutshell is Republicans in Washington.
 
The other morning ole Newt Gingrich, who talks the talk and has gotten himself anointed as ‘conservative thinker’ numero uno turned his attention from Washington to Lake Placid, New York and endorsed a liberal who’d make Nancy Pelosi proud.
 
Why would a deep-thinking Republican do that? Because Deidre Scozzafava has an ‘R’ next to her name on the ballot and she’s the darling (and handpicked candidate) of the Washington Republicans – John Boehner, Michael Steele and so on.
 
And who is Deidre Scozzafava? She’s the Albany Assemblywoman Republican House Leader John Boehner and the gnomes at the NRCC picked and have spent half a million dollars to elect in the Special Election in New York’s 23rd District – a district that hasn’t elected a Democrat since the Civil War. She has two opponents: A Democrat, and the nominee of the New York Conservative Party, which 29 years ago elected Jim Buckley to the Senate.
 
Ms. Scozzafava’s for gay marriage, abortion, President Obama’s Stimulus Bill and voted for 190 tax increases in Albany and Newt’s waving the flag to elect her against a conservative candidate whose stands on issues are, well, what politicians like John Boehner and Newt Gingrich say they believe in.
 
We haven’t had a good house cleaning at Republican Central in Washington since the 1970’s when the current Washington Republicans ancestors were fighting to elect anybody but Ronald Reagan.
 
It’s time to pull out the broom.
 

 

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19

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I’ve been chosen – according to the official-looking letter – to be part of the 2009 Congressional District Census!
 
And to whom do I owe this honor?
 
Michael Steele, chairman of the national Republican Party.
 
His letter tells me that I am “one of a select few” chosen for the Census in the 13th Congressional District.
 
Why me?
 
Mr. Steele breathlessly informs me it’s “because of your high level of political involvement ands steadfast commitment to the Republican Party.”
 
This is reassuring news.  No matter how bad things look for Democrats, Republicans are clearly capable of screwing up their chances.

p> 

 

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14
We Republicans are dreaming the Grand Political Gift is about to fall into our laps – at last an election is at hand where the national political tides are flowing deep and strong in our favor.
 
The odd thing about it is it took electing Democrats to about every office in Washington – to get voters to finally decide to vote for Republicans.
 
Maybe that’s justice. Or irony. Either way, a new Civitas Poll shows Independents now say they will vote Republican 2 to 1 next election. And 22% of the Democrats say they’ll be voting Republican too.
 
It’s a sea change – the whole thing has echoes of 1994 or…well, I can’t remember when there was another election where folks elected Republicans in a tidal wave.
 
Then again, sometimes, if something looks too good to be true – it is.
 
And, besides, this wouldn’t be the first time the political gods dangled a gift in front of someone – then snatched it away.
 
For instance, Barack Obama – as he proved last year against Hillary – is a world class political counter puncher. He can read a poll and it’s hard to see him rolling over and saying to his political masterminds, Look boys, we’ve lost this election, let’s move on to the next one – the one that really counts. Barack Obama’s still heavyweight champion of American politics – he’s taken some punches but he’s not anywhere near flat on his back on the canvas.
 
And consider this: There’s a big political wind growing in Afghanistan.
 
General McChrystal says flat out he needs 40,000 more soldiers or it’s curtains (and our goose is cooked) and the Republicans in Washington have chimed in with a chorus of amens, saying, Send him the troops.
 
And it looks like President Obama may do it. That once he finishes pondering and weighing and figuring how loud the left wing of his own party will holler, he may turn out to be a hawk instead of a dove and actually have his own 40,000 man surge.
 
Now, Afghanistan is one of the great tar babies of history. From the British Raj down to the Russians in the 1980’s it’s been a nightmare for anyone fool enough to fight a war there – and we’ve already been there nearly as long as the Russians, who had no qualms at all about slaughtering innocent people, while we fight our wars by Marquis of Queensbury rules.
 
So what happens if we send 40,000 more men to Afghanistan and the mess turns into a quagmire?
 
Politically, we’ll have people mad at Republicans for sounding the trumpets to charge; at President Obama for siding with the Republicans; and a good part of the Democratic Party will be saying I told you so…we ought to have cut and run – and we all know how the American people feel about wars that don’t work out.
 
That could make for a muddled election in 2010 that doesn’t look at all like a gift from the political gods.
 

 

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14
Even liberal pundits criticize the Obama White House for dissing Fox News. They say the President and his team should deal with anybody – even the devil.
 
I disagree.
 
In politics, it helps to have the right enemy. Fox is the perfect enemy for Obama.
 
By spotlighting Fox as the opposition, he pushes all his Republican critics into the Fox nest – and, by extension, the Rush Limbaugh nest.
 
But, Fox complains, we have 1.2 million loyal viewers.
 
Right, and there were just over 130 million votes cast last year.
 
That means just under 1 percent of the voters regularly watch Fox.
 
And none of them will ever vote for Obama.

 

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05
News flash: There are sane Republicans!
 
Tommy Thompson, Bill Frist and Michael Bloomberg (sort of a Republican) all say they like the health-care bill emerging in the Senate.
 
Of course, none of them can vote there.
 
If they did, the GOP Jacobins would take their heads off.
 
Why is Can Obama Pass a Bill the only story line?
 
The other side of the story: Republican lawmakers so terrorized by Fox and Rush they just say no to everything.
 
But there is justice. They’re walking a path to political perdition.

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05
An alert reader spotted this “Income Opportunities Available” banner on the WakeUp America TV ads about “corrupt Democrats.”
 

 
The reader followed the link to: http://www.wakeupamerica.com/income-opportunities.
 
There he read:
 
If you are interested in becoming a Team Leader, and building a team of commission fundraisers to help air Wake Up America TV commercials in your area as part of our organization, send an email to: Income@WakeUpAmerica.com ….
 
We’ve developed a unique fundraising and support model that provides Team Leaders with all the tools necessary to build your team.
 
Just a few of the benefits include:
 
•         a recurring commission stream
 
•         the ability to earn from the efforts of others as well as yourself
 
•         almost unlimited income potential
 
Tell us in one paragraph why you would like to join our team to help Wake Up America.
 
The reader says: “This reads like a pyramid scheme. I think politics shouldn’t be like this. I agree with some of what their message is, but not how they are doing this. It kinda smells.” 
 
Ditto that!


 

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02
I got worried when I saw the “corrupt Democrats” ad sponsored by the North Carolina conservative group Wake Up America.  But I felt better once the ad ended.
 
The ad’s beginning goes right at a real Democratic vulnerability in North Carolina: the combination of corruption and higher taxes.
 
"Are state Democrats the most politically corrupt in America?" the ad asks.
 
Ouch.
 
Then, as always, they go too far. The ad ends by accusing Democrats of promoting “radical socialism.”
 
I’m sorry, guys, but the only people who get exercised about creeping socialism are already watching Fox News.
 
It’s too big a stretch. Especially when Democratic leaders in Raleigh are getting pounded by teachers, health-care groups and others for not spending enough money on the state’s problems.
 
As always, my worries about Democrats are assuaged by my certainty that the right will overreach.

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25
The media frenzy over the last month or so has been that Americans don’t support – or understand – President Obama’s health-care reforms.
 
Bad news for Barack, the media and the pundits proclaim.
 
In Washington this week, a local executive told me, she heard one of the media Big Feet pontificating about how Obama missed an opportunity in his Sunday talk-show blitz: He didn’t spell out one-two-three exactly what he wants in a reform bill.
 
I think the “experts” are missing something because of their own obsession with the minutiae of issues. And, yes, before somebody starts screaming, the minutiae of issues is important. But let me finish.
 
What’s more important in politics is trust.
 
If people trust a politician, they trust him or her on issues, even if they disagree on specifics.
 
A perfect example was Ronald Reagan. For eight years, I listened to Democrats express amazement that the American people loved Reagan even though polls showed they disagreed with his policies.
 
Same thing with Obama. So today’s New York Times poll shows that, yes, the public is wary of his policies on health care and Afghanistan. But his approval rating is 56 percent.
 
More important, the public trusts him more than it trusts the Republicans in Congress.
 
That’s what Obama was up to last Sunday – and in his continuing media blitz. It’s not so much about issues as it is about persuading Americans he is a leader they can trust to do his best to do the right thing.
 
Besides, health care really isn’t where Obama needs to worry long term. He’ll get a bill, and he’ll claim victory. But getting a victory in Afghanistan is much tougher and much riskier – for Obama’s future and for America’s.

 

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22
A Democratic friend who was in Washington recently reports that Republicans there are “giddy.” They’re convinced they have Obama and the Democrats on the run, certain they’re finally headed for a big election.
 
But they may have miscalculated. The election is next year, not this year.
 
And they may be overreaching. Especially if the face of the GOP remains Crazy Joe Wilson, John Boehner and Rush Limbaugh.
 
They’ve forgotten a couple of things from their last landslide in 1994. Which didn’t last all that long. Namely, they forgot: 
  • They had a positive message then, the Contract With America. Not just rage.
  • Clinton took a blow, but he was reelected.
  • Democrats learned a lesson and retooled themselves to win back Congress and the White House.
I will say this: Richard Burr has avoided most of these mistakes. He has a smile, not a frown. He doesn’t go in for the ranting, raving and razzing that makes his colleagues look unhinged.
 
The winds may be with the GOP next year, and Burr looks stronger than some Democrats think. But Republicans had best not get too giddy.
 

 

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