Tag Archives: President

My 5 Better Choices for V.P.

I’ve been on record as saying that I think Pres. Obama chickened out when he picked Joe Biden as his running mate. Biden was a boring choice. He’s the old white guy whose been in Washington for 20 years. Joe Biden ran for President the first time in 1988. Pres. Obama was in law school in 1988. So, these are five options I think would have been better.

5)Hillary Clinton

Yes, Hillary Clinton would have been a divisive choice perhaps. There are a lot of people in the Democratic Party that would have liked it if she was on the ticket, though. While I’ve read that the Clintons and the Obamas don’t really get along, a choice for Vice President is about politics not friendships. Politically, Bill and Hillary Clinton are as connected as they come both in Washington and around the world. She also is a sharp politician and watches her words more carefully the Vice President Biden.

4) Kathleen Sebelius

I must admit I’m partial to the former Kansas Governor. I voted for her. I was surprised that it took President Obama so long to offer her a cabinet post. As a former Kansas Insurance Commissioner, Governor, and co-chair of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, I thought she was a shoe-in for something like HHS.  The big advantage to Sebelius is that she would have been a bold pick. She grew up in politics. Her father was a Ohio congressman. She is very articulate, and was a popular Democratic Governor of a consistently Red State. She would not have been a divisive choice like Hillary Clinton, although she is also not nearly as well-known. Choosing a woman would have been a good move for Obama, and he let John McCain upstage him.

3)Bernie Sanders

As one of only two independents in the Senate, Bernie Sanders would have been a wild pick. Yes, Obama would have caught some flak because he picked a self-proclaimed Socialist as his running mate. Bernie Sanders does look a little like a real life version of Doc Brown from “Back to the Future”, but if you going to pick the Vice President, do it with some gusto. Could choosing Bernie Sanders be any crazier than choosing Sarah Palin? I don’t think so.

2) Anyone who realizes there are video cameras at a photo-op

Awhile ago, our distinguished Vice President went to a frozen custard shop outside Milwaukee. The Vice President asked what he owed for the custard and the manager said “lower are taxes and we’ll call it even.” A fun little jab. Biden proceeded to get in the guys face and called him a smartass. This is all well and good.I was just a little give and take between two guys. Should he really say something like that in that situation though? There are cameras and reporters. Someone is going to make a big deal about it. Has Biden never watched FOXNews? This is the kind of thing they live for.

This brings us to our #1 replacement for Joe Biden:

1) People who know how microphones work

Yes, Biden opened his mouth and out came cable news gold.  At the bill signing for landmark healthcare reform, Biden said to Pres. Obama, “it’s a big f–ing deal.” Within in reach of a microphone so it could be captured by every one in the room with an audio recording device. This is the microphone, that until the moment before, he had been speaking into. Does the man not understand modern amplification. It’s not even that modern. There have been microphones the entire time the Vice President has been alive. Seriously? If something happens to Pres. Obama, this is the man who takes over.

To sum up, I think Pres. Obama took the easy way out. I think he could have been more bold. He could have pushed the envelope. He could have picked someone who thinks before they speak. If the President wins reelection and Biden runs for President in 2016 it’s going to be some kind of ride.

I Emerge From Hibernation

It’s been a couple of days since I posted anything. Providing one post everyday has proven more difficult than I imagined. As we here in the Midwest recover from a blizzard like none I have ever seen, it is important for bloggers, journalists, and citizens to get back in the game. Politics has not stood idly by. Republicans are proposing budget cuts and in the past week tried to redefine rape. North Africa is exploding in anti-government protests, healthcare is being debated again. The budget fight is brewing and eventually we’re going to have to talk about education. The point is this. It is time to speak up. It is time to make our voices heard. Whatever your viewpoint, ideology, or political slant, it is time to make our arguments, persuade our peers, and with a little luck we may just raise the level of public debate in this country. Wouldn’t that be something?

What’s Kris Kobach Really Up To?

A couple of weeks ago newly elected Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach unveiled his new plan to eliminate voter fraud in Kansas. A video of him explaining it can be found here. He ran his entire campaign on this issue. The plan would require voters to show a government-issued photo i.d. when they went to vote. Government issued I.D.s range from a driver’s license or passport to state university issued I.D. cards as long as they have a picture. This provision seems reasonable enough. It turns out only 2 other states have such a requirement. Why so few? The issue is much more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Mike Hendricks points out some of these in an editorial in the Kansas City Star. Kansas is not a state of large cities. Most Kansas residents do need a driver’s license just to get around, but not all.  The elderly are a good example. When I was 17 I met a very interesting lady. Her name was Francis J. Koppers. She was 99 years old. I was a cashier at the local hardware store. Mrs. Koppers walked up to my register with a woman who I assume was her daughter, and wanted to pay for her purchase with a check. I asked for her driver’s license, because I was supposed to. It didn’t cross my mind that I was speaking to a very elderly woman. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Oh dear, I haven’t driven a car in 30 years.” I didn’t know what to do. It turns out that Mrs. Koppers was just giving me a hard time. She had a state issued I.D. It isn’t hard to see why she wouldn’t though. This was a woman who was 2 months short of her centennial birthday. She was born in 1899. She was older than the automobile itself. She still had the right to vote, though.

There is an even larger point here. Mr. Kobach’s intentions seem less than justified. He admits that only one case of voter fraud has been prosecuted since 2000. He says that’s because of a lack of resources among local prosecutors. I would question whether it doesn’t have to do with a lack of evidence. Mr. Kobach’s record would point to the fact that he is more xenophobic than righteous. He was a major architect of the controversial immigration law passed in Arizona last year. I understand that Mr. Kobach may want to prevent people from voting who do not have the right, but I don’t feel it’s that big of a problem. Republicans won every statewide office in the 2010 election. Remarkably the numbers were the same. Every election ended roughly 60-40. People weren’t even voting for candidates. They were voting for parties, and this time around Republicans were on the winning side.

Mr. Kobach’s problem is that he wants to win, no matter what. He is willing to spread a myth that voter fraud is a widespread problem when it is not. He knew that the Tea Party was in full swing. America’s fear of illegal immigrants and Muslims is at an all time high. White America is scared from the overblown media coverage of a rising minority population, and a growing Chinese economy. He knew he could use that to further his own extreme agenda. Mr. Kobach’s history points to a desire to keep white America where it is, on the top. It points to an attitude that minorities are always acting against the interest and values of this country. In this op-ed in the Wichita Eagle, Mr. Kobach argues that voter fraud is not generally motivated by financial incentive but a corrupt desire for power. I doubt Kris Kobach has ever encouraged voter fraud, but politics can be a game of a different kind of fraud. A “corrupt desire for power” is something that perennial candidate Kobach should think about.

News Flash: Partisanship a Thing of the Past

Reports from Washington are rolling in. The partisan divide has been crossed. Compromise is the name of the game. Bipartisanship reigns supreme.  In just about one hour, Republicans and Democrats will hear the State of the Union and they will sit together. Apparently, this year they are abandoning the standard separation in a show of unity.

I’m tired of this. Is it really possible that anyone on Capitol Hill believes this makes a difference. Do the members of Congress really think that because they can sit next to each other for a couple of hours anyone will think they actually working together. It bothers me to think that our elected officials hold us in such high regard.

If Congress wants to make the public think they are working for the benefit of the country, they should just do it. I’m tired of politicians thinking that a show of bipartisanship doesn’t actually have to involve working together. I hope that in a little while the President might say the same thing. I suppose we will see.

A Quick Thought about Tomorrow Night

Here’s a short version of what I would like to hear from Pres. Obama when he gives the State of the Union address tomorrow.

I want him to challenge Congress. He needs to stand up and say this is what we accomplished over the past two years. After partisan bickering we had the a hugely productive lame-duck session. In between fighting to win elections, legislators came together. They repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” They ratified an extremely important nuclear arms treaty. They even came together and compromised on a bill that extended both tax cuts and unemployment benefits. That all comes after a Congress that enacted sweeping healthcare and financial reform measures. A Congress that streamlined the student loan process and saved the government money while doing it.

Pres. Obama should praise these achievements, but he should tell Congress that they can work together to do better.  Education reform is still on the table. The Dream Act has yet to be passed. Much is left to be done.  The State of the Union is a chance for the President to outline an agenda for the whole year, but he must emphasize one thing. Divided government requires divided responsibility. Republicans must step up and provided ideas not just criticism and then both sides must work together to find solutions.

This is a huge goal. It is difficult to reach, but one man should start the conversation. He is the President of the United States. Tomorrow night is his chance.

My 5 Least Favorite Presidents

As with my previous list, this is in no way supposed to represent who I think the best and worst presidents were. This addresses only a number of things that annoy me about past presidents. So here are the five. Well, actually six, there was a tie for 3rd place.

5) Bill Clinton

Clinton probably shouldn’t be on this list, but I was having trouble with one thing and I think it needs to be said. My one problem with Pres. Clinton has always been that he cheated on his wife when he was President; with Monica Lewinsky.  That’s the part that pushed me over the edge.  Monica Lewinsky was the best he could get. He was the most powerful man in the world. He could’ve done better. I think it was just laziness. I mean look at JFK. That guy got Marilyn Monroe. That was ambition. JFK was a pro. I’m sorry to say it, but Clinton really let us down on that one.

4) Ronald Reagan

It is unfortunate that Pres. Reagan also has to be included. I’m no fan of Reagan’s politics, but this is not a list of who I think had the worst policies. This is about the Presidents I don’t like to talk about and why. Why don’t I like to talk about Pres. Reagan? I don’t, because I keep being forced to.  Republican’s can’t open their mouths anymore without pulling out Reagan. Try it. Ask a Republican politician a question and see how long it takes them to mention him. Who is a personal hero of yours? Ronald Reagan! What’s your favorite book? Reagan Diaries. (That’s actually a real question and answer from the RNC Chairman debate. Guess who won. It was the guy that said Reagan Diaries.) If aliens came down to Earth today they would probably believe that Ronald Reagan was the only Republican ever elected President. It’s killing me. I mean, Republicans have the guy that abolished slavery and I can’t remember his name because all I hear is Ronald Reagan.

3)  George W. Bush\Rutherford B. Hayes

This spot is a tie because both men made the list for the same reason. They were only kinda elected. For some reason our electoral system allows a guy to get elected when more people voted for his opponent. This apparently happens every 120 years roughly.
When you lose the popular vote and still win the election it makes your term less legitimate. It just goes against the foundation of democracy.

2)Richard Nixon

Nixon did a number of good things during his time in the White House. He ended the draft, and improved relations with China, among other things. Eventually, he was forced to resign because of his role in the cover-up of the Watergate incident. These things are not the direct cause of his place on this list. The main cause is that there was recorded evidence that he knew about the crime and the cover-up. He was the President and a seasoned, veteran politician. How did he not realize that there were recordings of the things he said. That’s just ridiculous.

1)William Henry Harrison

To start with the first Pres. Harrison is responsible for one of the most useless pieces of knowledge I possess. He ran his campaign on the slogan, “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.”  The slogan stemmed from his role in the battle of Tippecanoe when Harrison was a military officer.  As the oldest President to ever be elected until Ronald Reagan, Harrison gave a two-hour long inaugural address on a cold and rainy day. He didn’t even wear a coat. 31 days later he died from complications brought on by what was apparently a cold. This makes him easily one of the most ineffective Presidents, but mostly I’m mad about the slogan. When am I ever going to need to know about that, but I can’t forget it now.

My Top 5 Favorite Presidents

So I’ve decided on something I think could be interesting to post, my favorite Presidents. Before I present this list I have to make a few concessions. First, Barack Obama cannot be included in this list, because he is currently President. I don’t like the fact that people rate current Presidents among the best or worst. Until their term is complete we do not truly know how to rank them. Second, this is not a list of the best presidents, just my favorites, for various reasons. They may not have had the most successful terms. So here we go.

#5) Grover Cleveland

Grover Cleveland is possibly the United States’ most unusual president. He is the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms.  In his first term he used his veto power more than all his predecessors combined. He saw the Presidency as the one blockade to congressional overreach. That record held until FDR. In a fact I recently learned, he is also one of only six Presidents whose official portraits show them with facial hair. He happens to be the only Democrat.

#4)Jimmy Carter

It is hard to argue about Jimmy Carter. Again, I have to reiterate that I’m not talking about the best Presidents. His presidential term has never been considered among the most successful. We should consider a few things though. One, the Iranian hostage crisis was not really forseeable.  It is difficult to gauge the temperament of another country. When the U.S. embassy in Tehran was stormed Pres. Carter could have done little to prevent it. Here at home he made one very good decision that proved highly unpopular. With the U.S. economy in recession, he appointed Paul Volcker to  the Federal Reserve. Against the opinion of his political advisors, he told Volcker to do what it took to restore the economy. He never really got credit for that unpopular decision. Volcker’s actions did restore the economy. After his Presidency, Carter has continued to be the class act he always was. He and his wife Roslyn are an example to us all. This is a President of the United States, who after being the most powerful man in the world, used his bare hands to build houses for the poor. Perhaps no better man has ever held the office.

#3) James Madison

Madison has a very solid reputation in the legend of this country. He was the principal author of the Constitution. He was a major contributor to the Federalist Papers. Madison was more than that however. It is famously described that his wife, Dolly, rescued the portrait of George Washington during the fall of the Executive Mansion, and Washington, D.C. That battle lead to one of Madison’s lesser known distinctions. While many American Presidents have been military leaders, Madison is the only serving President to lead American troops into combat. That has to gain you respect, even if you didn’t write the most important document in the formation of our nation. Which he did.

#2) Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It’s tough as a liberal not to include FDR. He was undoubtedly a man of vision. At a time of crisis, he knew what needed to happen and was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish it. The United States has never come closer to having a dictator than FDR. He came to the Presidency in one of a few times when this nation could have disintegrated and he was willing to do anything to prevent that. Many Presidents may have had convictions as strong as FDR, but none was as convincing. None faced the deep problems that he did, and yet he became the longest-serving President ever. He was truly a giant among men.

#1) Theodore Roosevelt

My favorite President could have been a tie with #2. In fact, they are related. Teddy Roosevelt was by every measure of the phrase, larger than life. He was a war hero, a politician, and  a man who saw the United States and the American President, as a world power, 20-40 years before it was actually true. He was a Republican, a Progressive, and the Father of our National Parks. One of his great accomplishments was the construction of the Panama Canal. The canal is one of the most significant achievements of the 20th century. He undoubtedly possessed a once in a lifetime mind.

This was a quick list, but I think it shows what I consider important about the Presidency. Presidents need to be considered for much more than the outcomes of their actions, but for the intentions and convictions. If we continue to elect people of brilliant capacity, people in the mold of these five, will we endure as a country.