Friday, November 25, 2011

November 24, 2011

The country has been kind of half a sleep these past few months-- half at war, half at peace.  Politically the slumber is about to end.


The serious swing from your chandelier political scene gets underway just a couple of months from now with the always talked about, always written about Iowa presidential caucuses:   the boom in the living room heard around the world.  I guess the front runner for the Republicans is still Mitt Romney--ink stained, tear blotted, come on "get the dog off the roof of the car" please, Mitt-- but gee, who knows?  Iowa could go to anybody--Bachmann, Cain, Perry, Gingrich…you know the list.  What a tired bunch!


I keep waiting for a knight to break loose from the lack luster field.  Barry Goldwater did just that in 1964 ("in your heart, you know he's right").  It didn't matter of course.  Right as rain or wrong as thunder, he got clobbered.  Can Romney win the White House, I very much doubt it. Can any of the rest of them?  Probably none.


Maybe that's something they should all be thankful for.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

Franklin Roosevelt, Barack Obama, surely ain't.  Neither is he Abraham Lincoln nor, for that matter, Millard Fillmore nor Warren Harding.  It seems to this retired political reporter that Obama has been an okay president – not the best, not the worst.


Sure, the economy is kind of in a mess but, if you're old enough to remember the Great Depression (and I am), this isn't even close to that league.


I think you have to give the President average grades on almost everything.  He's gotten us almost out of one (Iraq) of the two extremely foolish wars in which his predecessor, George W. Bush, involved us.  There's less progress in leaving the other trouble spot (Afghanistan) but even there we see some signs that Obama would like to leave.  He avoided committing American ground troops to Libya;  you can imagine how the mighty W. would have jumped into that briar patch. 


So, overall he has been kind of an average president.  Give him a C+, perhaps even a B-, if only because he looks so well in class.


On a few things he might rate an A+:  Osama bin Laden is dead;  the national health care bill passed;  "don't ask, don't tell" is gone. 


Anyway, compare Barack Obama and Joe Biden, almost certain re-election candidates, against what the Republican candidates offer.  It's enough to make your head spin.  Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain?  They're not in the same league.  This is not an endorsement, of course, but I don't see any of them making the grade.



Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11, 2011

This column is about the magic of presidential politics, all right, but unlike a lot of stuff you may have read already, it does not foresee doom, gloom and defeat for Barack Obama.


Neither, of course, does it foresee Obama thundering to victory, pursued by a herd of world class Republican rivals.  My vision, instead, is of an average horse, Obama, crossing the finish line in front of a lame field of GOP opponents who might have trouble qualifying for the pony race at the county fair.


Rivals, contenders?  Well, there's Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, who finished tied with somebody else in a straw poll.  Wasn't it Herman Cain in Iowa?  Or does memory blur?  With this crowd that happens quite easily. Today they are the two frontrunners.  With the allegations against Cain, his position could well change with the next poll.


Republican hopes centered briefly on Rick Perry, the allegedly charismatic governor of Texas.  It was Perry, remember, who armed with his very own hand gun while out on his daily jog shot and wounded a coyote.  Wounded only, of course.  Texas Rangers, normally armed when protecting their governors, finished the job.  This is just one in a series of Perry "oopses."  In a debate Wednesday night, the Governor could remember the names of only two of the three federal agencies he wanted to cancel:  Commerce, Education and "Oops" (which turned out to be Energy).


Don't forget the slew of others in this mix:  Michele Bachmann; Newt Gingrich; Ron Paul; Rick Santorum – and Jon Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, who may actually be qualified to be president.  At the back of the pack are some whom I guarantee you've never heard of – I least I know I never have:  Gary Johnson, Tom Miller, Matt Snyder, Vern Wuensche.  It all feels like a pile up at the starting gate.


Where's the magic in this field?  Can't the GPO do better than this?  Doesn't a race for the presidency deserve some magic?  Don't we?