Sunday, December 30, 2007

Are We There Yet?

Do you remember when you were a small child, or better yet, when your own children were young? On the car trip to Grandma’s house, or almost anywhere longer than an hour, the common refrain was, “Are we there yet?”

Youth is impatient. It seems like it takes forever to get to that place we are going, wherever it may be. Every few miles you would say it or hear it once again. “Are we there yet?” And the answer was always, “No, not yet. It will be in awhile. Be patient.”

When I hear the increasingly cacophonous news from the Presidential campaign trail I keep thinking to myself, “Are we there yet?”

I am impatient. And, I know I am not alone in feeling that it is time to end this campaign crucible. I am tired of it. I feel that we have passed this stretch of road once before. Will it take much longer? We had better get their soon.

Then the kids would say, “I have to go to the bathroom.” Not that too. “We’ll be there soon. Hold it a little longer.”

I don’t think I can. “Are we there yet?”

Friday, December 28, 2007

Edwards is a One Trick Pony!

Presidential aspirant John Edwards ratcheted up his rich versus poor rhetoric today. He railed about corporate greed in Dubuque, Iowa, one of those backwater towns that progress has passed by. “Corporate greed and the very powerful use their money to control Washington and this corrupting influence is destroying the middle class,” said Edwards.

What Edwards knows about building businesses and creating jobs wouldn’t fill a small thimble. He made his money as a trial lawyer litigating so-called bad baby cases which, the trial lawyer cognoscenti know, involve flawed science. No matter, that was then and this is now.

I just incorporated a new company today. I filed the papers with my Secretary of State’s office in my state capitol. I am excited. I have created a new corporation and we are going to do some exciting business, focused on the “green revolution.”

It always offends me when Edwards and others use the term “corporate greed.” It makes the corporation some anthropomorphic creature. Corporations are run by individuals and boards of directors, most typically for the benefit of their shareholders. There are bad businessmen and corrupt businessmen and women. They will use their influence in ways that can harm the middle class.

I dare say, however, that the same can be said for certain interest groups and unions. The AARP made a mess of it with the prescription drug legislation. The NEA doesn’t exactly get excited about merit pay for teachers. The SEIU doesn’t do handsprings when productivity tools can reduce the number of employees needed to file documents.

Edwards is pandering to a relatively unsophisticated point of view. He is a forlorn excuse for a Presidential candidate. You don’t think so? Just take a look at the two minute clip of Edwards combing his hair. His vanity knows no limit.

Benazir Bhutto was a Hottie!

It was a shock this morning to read of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She was a forceful, articulate and charismatic champion for a democratic process in a part of the world that has too little respect for the rights of the individual. And she was a woman in a context where women are ill-regarded as leaders.

I think the death of a public figure is a greater shock when that person is a Hottie. Bhutto was a Hottie! That was especially the case years ago when she first came to power. Educated at Harvard and Oxford and the daughter of a powerful, then martyred head of state, she was a dashing figure. She had added weight in the intervening years but her inherent beauty was still apparent.

The shock is greater when we lose a famous Hottie than when the loss is someone who looks and acts more pedestrian. Maybe it is because the expectations are that Hotties can’t do cool things and make a difference in the world. Maybe we are more in awe of the successful and charismatic Hottie. That was certainly the case with Princess Diana. Would we have felt as much shock if Margaret Thatcher had been killed? Probably not. She has those bad British teeth which Christopher Hitchens has now repaired. It is hard to be a rake with bad teeth.

No one in polite society will talk about a powerful public figure such as Bhutto and use the Hottie term. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is still a Hottie at age 65. She must have been a real Hottie when she was younger. I think that Hotties are more exciting. They exude more sexual energy. And surprise, humans are sexual beings and we respond to human sexuality. Hilary Clinton is not a Hottie. Never has been. Never will be.

We need more Hotties active in the political arena. It energizes and invigorates the dialogue. It adds spice to the humdrum banality of most politics. And, it is a great way to stick a lascivious finger in the eye of the moral crusaders, be they born again evangelicals or turbaned mullahs. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a great loss. And, a Hottie has left the world stage.

Why I Support Obama!

For the past 16 years the President of the United States has been a member of the heralded “Baby Boomer” generation. It has been a disaster. In Presidents Clinton and Bush we have had the two sides of the boomer coin. Neither one has worked well. Both have had critical flaws. Those flaws are the expressions of the foundation coming of age experiences of boomers and the cultural imperatives that surrounded them.

The 1960s cleaved into two cultures. One was of an earlier, secure time. It was fear based and clung to institutions including church and family which provided the presumptive glue for success and salvation. The other looked ahead and threw off parental and societal norms. Mantras such as “My Country Right or Wrong,” and “Drug, Sex and Rock n’ Roll” frame the dramatic distinctions that are a wedge through the middle of the boomer generation. The War in Vietnam was a central feature of the landscape that shaped the boomer’s perceptions and increased the depth of the division. Presidents Bush and Clinton stand on opposite sides of that cultural divide.

This cultural battle has preoccupied boomers from its beginnings. Those who embraced one side can’t stand those who embraced the other. Words of opprobrium are used to describe one another; uptight, tightass, bible-thumper, or conversely just that one word, “Liberal.” We really didn’t like one another. We didn’t hang out together. In fact, one side didn’t hang out at all, while the other let it all hang out.

Little in the way of consensus building communication can happen between boomers on opposite sides of the divide. Each possesses the rarified wisdom of true belief. Governance, in the context of these disparate views unnecessarily focuses upon legislative efforts to enforce cultural points of view. Should we pray in schools? Should pregnancies terminate? Should gays marry? These are all fairly ridiculous issues in the complex world in which we live. Circumstances and general distrust cause national security issues to be equally polarizing. Calcified positions formed around Vietnam surface to color the dialogue about state-less terrorism. Boomers are frozen in time.

Barack Obama is the first candidate for the Presidency who is a product of the next generation. Although technically a boomer by three years (boomers aren’t born after 1964) Obama came of age after the full heat of the boomer cultural crucible of the 1960’s. He doesn’t have the baggage of the boomers and he doesn’t sit on one side or the other of that boomer cultural divide.

For the sake of our Nation, and our children and grandchildren who have to get past the screed of the cultural divide. I believe that Barack Obama can do that. And that is why I support him for the Presidency of the United States.

Another Republican Hopeful

Last night I saw “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Fun movie. Cryptic. The book was a compelling read and the story is a amazing. Foreign policy driven by alcoholics and idiots. We might be better off today if we had more alcoholics in Congress and they screwed around more. Oh…they do screw around….except now its with young boys rather than Charlie’s Angels and assorted bimbos.

Rudy Giuliani is sick. No, not sick, but ill. Must have been a pretty bad case of the flu to turn the plane around in mid-air and head back to the airport and hence to the emergency room. My suspicion is that they suspected he was having a stroke, or an aneurysm. He doesn’t look to be in very good shape. He looks overweight and soft. There is more to this story. Running for national political office is a marathon. You have to be in very good shape to endure the rigors of a campaign.

Giuliani was mentioned in the movie. He was investigating the alleged drug use of Charlie Wilson while he was at the Department of Justice in the early Reagan administration. Nothing came of the investigation. I do like the way it painted Giuliani as a spoiler of good times. He is a classic double-standard type of guy. There is evidence of that in every aspect of his life.

Thread Count

I just read the Noonan piece on Huckabee in the Saturday, Dec. 22, WSJ. Pair that with the long piece on Huckabee in the NYT today and I am compelled to conclude that the guy is a complete dweeb. The funniest bit is the fact that Huckabee and his wife registered for wedding gifts at Target when they renewed their vows a couple of years ago. I guess they weren’t too concerned about the thread count in their linens. I don’t want anyone in the White House who doesn’t have thread count sensitivity.