stusegal: (Default)

This is my public announcement that I’m withdrawing my support for Barack Obama, meaning I’ll actively support someone else for President in 2012.

I’m publically declaring this for 2 reasons:

  1. About 14 months ago, the morning after the President was elected, I blogged urging all my friends to throw their support behind him.  No, I was not one of his supporters, but I felt strongly that the only way we could end this incessant polarization was if we all genuinely got behind our new President, and gave him a fair chance to prove himself.
  2. A few days ago, my friend Mike wrote in one of his Facebook exchanges with me “ . . . but I read your blog and I am skeptical that you have ever, for more than the briefest instance, expressed optimism in the election of Barack Obama.”

Let me address the second point first  -  “briefest instance”.  In the 14 months since I called for unity, I have spoken out in my journal against the President’s actions twice  -  both times as a result of the U.S.’ weak response to the North Koreans’ missile tests.  Conversely, in the same time period, in my daily life, I have spoken in defense of the President and urged support countless times.  I am not obliged to blindly support him forever  -  14 months is long enough.

Since I declared I would support him, I now feel obliged to explain why I will not continue (and it should be noted I have waited until the right moment to make this announcement, as I wanted to do it at the best possible time so the President wouldn’t lose sleep over losing me at a critical time):

It’s been a year since he took office  -  not a terribly long time, but long enough to observe the general modus operandi of the administration, the President’s commitment to his campaign promises, and his ability to lead the country.  And there are two key things I’ve been looking for  -  the first is his promise to bring a change to Washington, and the second is his ability to lead.

  • OK, so the first, bringing a change to Washington.  Throughout his campaign he spoke of this, repeatedly, endlessly.  Never any specifics, but the way he spoke made it sound like there would be an end to lobbyists, an end to backroom deals.  It sounded like we would have honest, transparent government.  Like the political animals should head for the hills because there was a new sheriff in town.

This message resonated with many, including me.  I am tired of Washington shenanigans, the lies, the bait and switch.  The only difference with me being older than most of you is, I have had to tolerate it longer than you.  Washington has been a hornet’s nest for as long as I remember, with Republican ne’er-do-wells (engineering things like break-ins to their opponents campaign headquarters) and Democratic ne’er-do-wells (eliciting oral sex from interns in the Oval Office) - - and we have occasionally had brief glimpses of selfless individuals sacrificing their energy and their lives for their constituents.  Brief, far too brief.

So when someone declares they will bring a change, I will listen.  I could go on and on about what’s happened in Washington this year, but the bottom line is . . . Where’s The Change?  Changing one set of conniving politicians for another set is not the change I hoped for.  I have to assume from the President’s silence and lack of action to clean up the hornet’s nest, it is OK with him.  It is not OK with me.

  • And the second matter, leadership.  And the definition is - “the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.”

I thought I saw this in Obama.  He showed the ability to motivate a very lot of people to work for him, and to vote for him.  He showed the ability to get people like myself, who have a lot of trouble identifying with the message of the major parties, to listen.

I, and I think many others, assumed (or hoped) that he would have the same effect on our Senators and Representatives, and would easily get them to follow his lead.  And, his own party took a majority in both houses of Congress . . . . a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate . . . . which means that the Democrat controlled Congress was positioned to pass any legislation they wanted, and could not be stopped by the Republicans.  I won’t go into long tiresome detail here, but what significant legislation has Obama led the Congress to pass in the last year?  Health Care, his number 1 goal, has been stalled for the entire year, even though his party had the votes to pass it any time they wanted.  Has he been able to convince his own party to get behind him?  Remember, the Republicans and the Independents didn’t have the votes to stop the Dems.

(And now that the people of Massachusetts have replaced Ted Kennedy with a Republican, the Dems have lost their filibuster-proof Senate.  And Obama suddenly is meeting with the Republicans for the first time.  On the surface, to gain their support  -  more likely to be able to say he tried, they blocked him, and be able to blame them for stopping his legislation.  Even though he could not convince his own party to pass the legislation when they were unstoppable.)

I could go on, but the reality is, he can’t get even his own party going in the right direction for long enough to pass his most important bill, let alone being able to “reach across the aisle” and get any of the opposition to support him.

So my conclusion is:

  1. He has not brought the change he promised to Washington.  Whether his intentions were pure is academic – he hasn’t delivered, and there’s no indication that he’s going to.
  2. He has not displayed the ability to lead the government, even though he continues to show the ability to get people to like him through his speeches and his rockstar persona.  Again he hasn’t delivered.

So I go back to the old axiom “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  I am done being fooled.  The results, or lack thereof, speak for themselves.  We clearly need a change in Washington, starting with the do-nothing incumbents who control the Congress this November, and the say-a-lot but do-nothing residents of the White House in 2012.

(ps.  -  I hope my timing was okay Mr. President – I would hate you to lose sleep over this)
stusegal: (Default)
A piece of Photoshop editing from George Mahlberg, a New Jersey DJ who saw something in Oswald's face that made him look like he was screamin' the blues. "Wired" ran this in August '97.

BTW - to say the original incident was an image indelibly burnt into the memories of the baby boomers would be an understatement.

Oswald in a Jam
stusegal: (Default)
Like most people from my generation, I have felt for a long time like I know the Kennedy's . . . almost like they are extended family.  Over the years, the decades, we have celebrated with them, and we have cried with and for them.

A viewer wrote in to one of the cable channels today, in response to the question "Just what is it about the Kennedy's?"  And I thought his/her answer was right on: 
"They were rich, handsome and famous, and all they ever cared about was helping people less fortunate than themselves".

I've never agreed with Ted Kennedy's politics, but I've always admired his determination and sincerity.  I'm glad to have been here to see our first "young" President elected, glad to have cut school one day to see Bobby on the campaign trail, and glad to have heard Ted's 1980 DNC speech.

With Ted's passing we have lost the family who can only be described as America's First Family, even in the hearts of conservatives like me.
stusegal: (Smoke til ya Croak)
About 6 weeks ago I posted about North Korea's test firing of a missile.  I expressed my concern that if allowed to do so, the North Koreans would forge ahead with their nuclear armament plan, and ended my post with  "And, by the way, when they all said during the election that "the new President would be tested"  -  well, this is it, this is the test, and the terrorists and terror nations of the world are watching."

So from what I could see  -  "we" (meaning the US, led by President Obama) did nothing.  Yes, I know, we went to the UN and got the UN to issue harsh words, and we continued our sanctions.  Maybe our new administration hasn't noticed, but North Korea has ignored the UN for 60 years, and our sanctions have been ineffective.  So my conclusion - we did nothing.

From a North Korean paper yesterday  -  "It is a laughable delusion for the United States to think that it can get us to kneel with sanctions," it said in an editorial. "We've been living under U.S. sanctions for decades, but have firmly safeguarded our ideology and system while moving our achievements forward. The U.S. sanctions policy toward North Korea is like striking a rock with a rotten egg."

I believe 6 weeks ago was the "test" of our new President, and terrorists everywhere observed his "retaliation" (speech).  So this week North Korea actually performed an underground nuclear test, and five (yes 5) test firings of missiles.

Do you think it's just a coincidence that this is happening now?  Do you think it's a coincidence that the first test firing came  less than 100 days after our new President took office?  Do you think it's a coincidence that one month after the first test firing North Korea moved to nuclear testing?

I'm pretty sure it's not a coincidence, and I'm also pretty sure that President Obama and Prime Minister Brown making more speeches condemning the North Koreans won't have any effect.  I think something needs to be done before these people develop an atomic bomb and use it to blackmail the world (or sell it to other equally crazy terrorists or terror nations).
stusegal: (Default)

When I was a kid, and even a young adult, I had certain expectations of what would happen in the world.  This year I’m going to be 60 . . .and I’m thinking about those expectations, and realize some have happened, in some cases way beyond my imagination. . . and some have not, and may not.

Are you surprised or disappointed by “the future”?

Click here for what I thought, back in the 50’s and 60’s: )

stusegal: (Default)
Today North Korea tested a missile.
  • I am told the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) declared the test a failure, as no satellite was put in orbit.
  • I am also told that since the "satellite" story was just a big lie, and the real goal was to test the missile (which did launch correctly, and separated, and the second stage fired correctly), NORAD's position is just ridiculous  -  as this was a successful missile test.
  • And now I'm hearing that this means North Korea can hit all of Europe or North America with a missile; and presumably with a nuclear warhead.
  • And further, that given their relationship with Iran, it puts this capability within Iran's reach
So today  -  North Korea thumbed their nose at the rest of the world and through their actions declared their intention.  And so far, we made a speech (Gordon Brown and Barack Obama "condemned the action, and indicated we were going to go to the Security Council - which seems a little strange since North Korea has defied the world repeatedly and clearly couldn't care less about UN sanctions).

There are two events I remember pretty clearly:
  • The Cuban Missile Crises - and President Kennedy's response was to deploy the US Navy to blockade Cuba, and examine the contents of every incoming ship.
  • The Russian Invasion of Afghanistan - and President Carter's response was to "condemn" the actions of the Russians and to boycott the Moscow Olympics.
In the next couple days we'll find out if Obama has the heart of JFK or Jimmie Carter.  And, by the way, when they all said during the election that "the new President would be tested"  -  well, this is it, this is the test, and the terrorists and terror nations of the world are watching.
stusegal: (Default)
Most of you know I was not a supporter of Barack Obama, but now is the time for all Americans to be proud of our new President and support his ideas and initiatives.

We have had 16 years of unyielding, uncompromising bickering and fighting, with half of America on one side and half on the other.  The Clinton years are over.  The Bush years are over.  Let it end.

If you're a Republican open your mind to the ideas and ideals of President Obama; he's an honorable man with honorable intentions.  If you're a Democrat, open your mind to the ideas of your Republican neighbors; they want the same fine country that you do.

If we all work together with our new President we can once again have the unity and pride that we did during the FDR, Kennedy and Reagan years.   I know we can do it  -  yes we can.

My 1960 campaign button ( I was 11 and my Uncle Ben, rest his soul, gave it to me)

stusegal: (Default)
@list l0:level1@list l0:level1@list l1:level1

Six months ago we had what was looking like a "historic" election, and not just because of the race or gender of the candidates:

  • On one side we have Barack Obama, who has managed to rally many long-disgusted voters with his call to action, his call to change.  And he manages to do this despite tepid, or no, support from the traditional Democratic Machine; in fact the Party was clearly behind anybody/everybody but Obama.  But we got to see the beauty of our system – the voters were behind Obama, and the Democratic Party was stuck with him.  Why stuck?  If elected, to implement his promise of Change, Obama simply cannot allow the status quo within the Party or the Beltway, and this will mean a serious rocking of the powerful Democratic Party.
  • On the other side John McCain, a man long hated by Republican Party loyalists.  The Republican Party’s worst nightmare, the one man they’ve never been able to control.  The man who has actually worked with, and befriended the Enemy (Dems).  But again, the voters were behind him – and the Party is not just worried about him keeping his promises if elected, they know he'll simply ignore the Party if they won't go along with him, so they're as terrified of the prospect of a McCain presidency as they are of an Obama presidency.

So what I believe was making the election so historic, and so interesting, is we had two candidates who were marching to the beat of their own drummers.  Two candidates who were clearly not their parties’ preference.  Two candidates exhorting ideas which were not simply one more re-hashing of the same old Red and Blue dogma.

And it certainly looked like Obama was attracting voters who heretofore had been apathetic to the entire process.  And McCain was attracting non-Republican middle-of-the-roaders who heretofore had looked to alternatives like the Libertarian Party. 

New Voters!!  Can you imagine?  The highest voter turnout we’ve seen in the past 50 years was 1960, with a 63% turnout.  But in recent years, when we have all supposedly been so concerned, the turnout has been  -  2000=51.3%,  2004=55.3%.  So let’s just say that roughly ½ the population has been so apathetic, or disenfranchised, as to not even exercise their vote.  New Voters are a fantastic development.


Now I look around and suddenly I see the same people supporting the Dem and Reps as were in 2000, and 2004, and saying the same things.  And the polls are confirming it; Obama & McCain neck-and-neck.  Sure looks to me like the same old same old.

How did this happen?  Was it Hillary throwing her support to Barack?  Huckabee praising McCain?

I don’t think so.  I think it was, bizarrely, (bizarre because they say the VP candidate is meaningless) the selection of the Veeps:

  • First Obama selecting Biden.  A guy who has spent the last 25 years playing Washington politics.  A Washington insider (just please forget Biden’s claim that he’s not an insider because he commutes to Wilmington.  This would be like Jon Corzine, when he was CEO of Goldman Sachs, claiming to not be a New York Financier because he commuted to Jersey).  A guy who will toe the party line.  A guy who can make all the party bosses, and the traditional Democrats, feel warm and fuzzy, because he’s one of them (and maybe he can even influence Barack).
  • Then McCain selecting Palin.  A woman who represents all the viewpoints of the Conservative Right.  Right to life.  Right to bear arms.  Traditional marriage.  Etc. etc.  A woman who can make the Conservative Right feel warm and fuzzy (and maybe she can influence McCain).

So what they effectively both did was cave to the fear of not being able to be elected without the traditional base of support provided by their respective parties.  And the result is  -  they have both attracted the historic supporters of their parties.  So the country is once again divided the same way we were in 2000 and '04.  50/50 amongst actual voters (of course there are still at least 40% of potential voters who will stay home).

The question is  -  did they trade their principles for votes?  Of course we won’t be able to answer that until a year or so after the election  -  but the tactics which have turned an election between two independent thinkers into just one more Dem/Rep polarization of the country is both concerning, and disappointing.

I leave you with a verse from “Mrs. Robinson”, written by Paul Simon in 1967:

Sitting on a sofa
On a Sunday afternoon,
Going to the candidates' debate,
Laugh about it,
Shout about it,
When you've got to choose,
Every way you look at it, you lose.

Paul’s words were quite insightful, as the choice in ’68 was Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey or George Wallace.  Let's hope they don't apply to '08.

stusegal: (VICTORY)
Omigosh - what a disappointment.

With substantive issues to present and discuss, whoever's running the Convention decided a mix of movie stars flitting about, music with 8th Grade lyrics, Ted Kennedy making the same speech he has for the last 30 years, and Michelle Obama trying to convince us she's a good Mom, that we should feel for her because she had a sick Dad,  and she really is just a regular struggling hausfrau is the kind of pablum that should be fed to the American public.  They couldn't have made a more boring, irrelevant program if they tried.

Tonight & Wednesday  -  It's the Billary Show!!  (I hope it's the last I ever see of either of them, but I guess I know it won't be).  After reading the Official Podium Schedule I've decided I have a pressing engagement rearranging my underwear drawer.

Thursday night  -  the Main Event.  I'll be tuned in. 

I guess my real commentary on Monday Night is  -  what a missed opportunity to educate and impress us.

September 2011

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