Skip to content

Visit my new website — www.political-woman.com

Hello, everyone!

I’ve transferred my site and commentary over to www.political-woman.com, with a whole new look and feel.  You can also follow me on twitter at @political_woman.

2012 has been one heck of a year already for politics and the economy, and we’re building up to the climax, first with the conventions, then the debates and finally Election Day 2012 on November 6.

So I hope you’ll join me for some wit, humor, and commentary as I share some of my perspectives from a middle-class, mid-west, middle-of-the-road perspective, along with links to other pundits and columnists I think you’ll find interesting.

Thank you for your interest, and thanks for visiting.  Looking forward to seeing you on my new site!

Iowa Giveth Lessons, but are the Candidates Learning?

Last night I watched the Caucus results flow in, and caught all the candidates’ addresses to their supporters.   Listening to their speeches and reactions, I was more fascinated with the messages and lessons that the Caucus voters were sending to the candidates and to us.  For what it’s worth, here’s my take:

First, Rick Santorum:  By far, he had the best night.  Was his ‘almost victory’ the result of serendipity that his turn to surge happened at Caucus time?  Or, was his ‘come from behind’ because he connected with the voters?   He had a focused, on-point message centering around the core social values that family and morals are important cornerstones of  America.  But, his smile, a firm handshake, and a genuine conversation with, not to, people, resonated with many Iowa voters.  So is Santorum a one-state wonder, or will he gain just enough traction to become a viable candidate, at least for another state or two.  Lesson:  Sometimes, it’s not what you have to say, but how you say it.

Ron Paul:  Frequently falling in to the category of  “who would vote for this guy”, because of his foreign policy views, the Iowa voters sent a different lesson with Paul, in my opinion.   I watched Paul’s speech last night, and his comment about how American needs a new monetary policy struck me. Earlier in the day, I read an article from the January 2012 issue of Vanity Fair by Nobel economist, Joseph Stiglitz.  He, too, called for a new monetary policy, and described how current Federal Reserve/Govn’t policies are lengthening our economic slump rather than ending it.  But overall, the singular part of Paul’s message that resonated with me last night and probably the Iowans who voted for him?  Lesson:  Individual freedoms, liberty, and our Constitution still matter, and they matter very much.

Mitt Romney:  Over the past several weeks, I’ve watched the reaction of Romney’s campaign to the surges of various Republican contenders.  But what’s most interesting to me, in light of a post I wrote months back as to what it would take to defeat Obama and his Chicago machine, is that Romney and his aides have carefully crafted their own machine.  I’m beginning to see that there’s more street fighter in Romney than I, and many people, initially thought.  He’s focused, learns from his mistakes and has a highly effective ground organization.  The fact that he finished 8 votes ahead of Santorum, with the few number of visits to Iowa, suggests that many Iowans may also be re-evaluating him, despite their various conservative views.  Lesson:  A candidate may not be everything I want, but I can live with him.  Keep our eyes on the prize. 

Newt Gingrich:  I have to admit upfront, I like Newt.  He’s an incredible speaker, and no one has the Congressional/Capitol Hill knowledge that he does.  He also holds his own in the foreign policy arena as well.  But Newt’s biggest problem is himself.  I heard that on or about December 1, when he said he believes he will be the Republican nominee.  Ego.  Hubris.  Icarus and the Sun.  Newt’s had his serving of humble pie in Iowa, and whether he learns from it or it’s ‘scorched earth’ in New Hampshire, I don’t see Newt leaving the race unless his vote tally is a resounding defeat.   Lesson:  There is a God; you are not Him.

Rick Perry:  From the beginning that Rick Perry entered the race, I liked him as a person and his record/accomplishments as Governor.  But the nagging anxiety for me was/is, is his heart in the race?  Is he hungry enough?   I don’t believe the “Oops!” moment was a death knell as some would have it, but when you play on the Presidential stage, you bring your A-game.  His reading last night of a letter from a Texas volunteer speaks volumes of the effect Perry has had on people.  But is his effect that of a regional candidate or national.  Iowa Caucus voters told us what they thought. Lesson: You’re not in Texas anymore.

Michele Bachmann:  She has suspended her race as of this morning.  As she regroups in her heart and with her family, I’d say to her, it was a good fight and hindsight is extremely valuable.  For me, her support began evaporating with her position on the debt ceiling crisis last year, coupled with several statements that were made without complete fact checking.  For those who remember Margaret Thatcher in her heyday, Michele’s self-comparison was puerile.  Her future is bright, continuing as a Congressman, and perhaps one day Senator, or a return to private life.  Lesson from Iowa:  There is an Iron Lady, you are definitely not her.

 

Cross-posted on my website:  www.political-woman.com and my sister blog, 1opinionatedwoman.wordpress.com

Tough Talk from a Big Spender

This is rich.  We owe them $10 trillion. Enough said.  Obama to China: Behave like a ‘grown-up’ economy

President Obama at APEC

Why Foreign Policy Matters and CBS’ Anemic Debate

Yesterday evening’s debate was a first in the foreign policy arena, and showed, in my opinion, the lack of depth and understanding of this important area by the moderators and the candidates.  Questions that should have been asked weren’t, and the answers given depict the insularity of thinking and lack of experience among some candidates. Questions that could have been asked, from my perspective:

  1. This past year, we have seen the overthrow of decades-long regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, while several other countries are experiencing riots and unrest. An Islamic government has been elected in Tunisia; Egypt’s military control may give way to the Muslim brotherhood; we’re not sure what direction Libya is heading; and Turkey’s leader, Erdogan, is turning back decades of secularism, instituting Islamic laws, and pushing for closer ties with Iran. What would you do as President to counter the spread of fundamental Islam and its taking control of governments across the Middle East?
  2. We make the assumption that if Iran is successful in developing a nuclear weapon that, a) they will use it, and b) they will use it on Israel.  But what if the part b assumption is false and Iran’s ultimate objective is control of Middle East oil.  Saudi Arabia ranks #3 on the list of petroleum exporters into the US, Iraq is #6. There is a centuries old cultural hatred between the predominantly Shiite Iranians, and the Saudis, who are Suni. Since the US has no energy policy to speak of, what would you do as President to protect our vital oil interests in the Middle East before, or should they, come under threat of attack?
  3. The rise of China as an economic superpower has been well-documented. In Europe, China was recently asked by Eurozone members for its support in the financial restructuring of several members’ debt.  In Africa, Nigeria and Congo, specifically, China is making significant inroads exchanging infrastructure building for export of much needed vital minerals. But despite its “Westernization”, China is still Communist, with Communist ideology and vast cultural differences.  What would you do as President to address the growing aggressive expansion of China into the world’s economies and natural resources?
  4. We continue to read not only of Mexican drug cartels increasingly exporting their violence and operations into US cities, but in a recent House Committee on Homeland Security report, “A Line in the Sand”  it states on page 4, “Members of Hezbollah have already entered the United States across the Southwest border.”  Other notable studies on the subject have indicated Venezuela is a training ground and safe haven for terrorist activity as well. While illegal immigration is a very serious problem for the US, what would you do as President to address the much larger picture and problem of terrorism in the Western Hemisphere and its threat to US national security?

It’s difficult to explain to, and convince people who are unemployed, who have lost homes, and who are trying to grapple with increasing financial pressures in their personal lives and work, that foreign policy matters, and matters greatly.  “Jobs, jobs, jobs” and a variation of “it’s the economy, stupid,” didn’t matter when 9/11 occurred and 3000+ people lost their lives.

Unless we have a presidential candidate who can articulate his point of view on a broader front, and not just answer the question of the moment, unless we have a presidential candidate who will surround himself with people, who, for lack of better term, “get it”, then our decline as a global power, will no longer be a theory, but a fact.

Cross-posted on my sister blog, An-Opinionated Woman

Raising Cain … and the other shoe

Sexual harassment allegations dredge up personal memories for me. When you’ve been the person on the receiving end of the harassment, you don’t forget. Ever. Unlike Herman Cain who has trouble recollecting what happened 15 years ago, I still remember 25+ years later the drunken director at the dept annual meeting, who couldn’t keep his hands, his arms, his face off of me.  And I still remember the vice-president sitting there with his glass of bourbon in his hand laughing.  It was only after several colleagues who witnessed this after dinner behavior implosion and saw I was near tears, that they stepped in and led him off, for more drinks.

A week later I went into the office of a dept director whose opinion I respected, who had been with the company for many years, and told him I was going to go to HR to file a complaint. I’d had it with the ongoing snarky comments, the innuendo, that had been ongoing for months, and tacitly watched and noticed by other people, who said nothing, did nothing.  What happened at the dept mtg was the final straw. The director shut the door, looked at me, and told me to think very carefully about what I was about to do.  Not in a mean or warning tone of voice.  He asked me how important to me was my career, because if I were go to to HR, my career would be finished at this company.  And I knew he was right.  I kept my mouth shut.  That was then, this is now.

Whether the allegations are true or not against Herman Cain isn’t necessarily the point for me.  What I don’t like is the immediate assumption by some in the conservative media that this is a “smear campaign”, and likening this episode to Clarence Thomas.

Cain’s campaign has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in one day because people believe he’s been treated unfairly.  H’mm.  I’d say, by watching and listening to his comments in the immediate aftermath, and then his interview on Greta Van Susteren, that Cain’s got a problem of his own making; it’s called selective memory loss.  And with his story changing on a continual basis, I’d say that memory loss is coming back to haunt him.

But the other shoe is dropping.  And that shoe isn’t the recent report that one of the women who filed the complaint wants the NRA to void the non-disclosure agreement so she can refute his memory loss.  No, the other shoe is more and more people taking a closer look at his proposed economic/tax plan, 9-9-9, and what it will mean tax-wise for them and their families.  The other shoe is his complete lack of foreign policy experience and his off-handed comments when asked about current world issues.  The other shoe is his lack of government experience of any kind, which some people consider a plus. I don’t.  I’ve worked in the swamp called Washington, and he’ll get eaten alive.

I’m one voter who thinks we can do better.  Who that better is, I’ve not decided yet.  I’m taking my time, taking in all the debates, commentary, news, and making up my own mind.

George H. Bush, in his 1992 bid for re-election kept hammering “character matters.”  How soon we forget.

Cross-posted in 1opinionatedworman.wordpress.com

Herman Cain and the Wonderful World of Presidential Politics

Rep. Presidential Contender Herman Cain

Politico broke the story, “Herman Cain accused by two women of inappropriate behavior” yesterday evening, and as of this writing the Cain camp and the Republican nominee himself are calling the accusations. “totally baseless, totally false”.  Rush is going off the deep-end, and calling the story an “unconscionable racially charged attack.”

Apparently, the alleged harassment has happened more than once and has been corroborated by several people.  Others mentioned in the Politico story have stated knowledge of financial settlements being reached between the restaurant association and the women involved.

While I’m not quick to condemn, there have been several times in my long career, where I’ve encountered “inappropriate” behavior, so I’m taking and and see attitude.  I’m sure before another 24 hours has passed, we’re going to know the identities of the women and more lurid details.

I’ve not been a Cain supporter, but I have watched his appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows and in the debates.  The fact that he’s now having to deal with this expose, and in my opinion, handling it rather badly, indicates to me that he, like the Perry campaign, have seriously miscalculated the enormity of the stakes and resultant scrutiny of Presidential campaigns.   While Cain has run for elective office before, it has never been at this level, and only the next few days will show whether he’s a real player and survives, or whether he joins some of the other Presidential hopefuls who don’t know when to throw in the towel.

Christie Endorsing Romney — Sanity Prevails within the Republican Ranks (for now)

Romney Snags Christie Endorsement

After Christie’s decision not to run for the Republican nomination, I thought I understood his primary reason for not running — his commitment to New Jersey.  Sure, he would have had to put in place a multi-state ground organization faster than you can “multi-state ground etc.” but given what has happened over the weekend at the Values Voter conference, I believe Christie’s unspoken reason is, the Conservative gauntlet vetting process.

Christie’s endorsement has great timing.  I’m glad he’s throwing his weight (no pun intended), supporters, and as he said, his “advice” behind Romney.  After this past weekend with the insulting, distasteful Jeffress ” Mormon cult” remarks, if the Conservative movement within the Republican party continues down this path, Obama can win a second term.  And Christie knows that.  The other Republican candidates, in my opinion, could have firmly responded that Jeffress’ comments have no place in this Republican  presidential race, but didn’t.  It could have ended with a firm collective smackdown.  Shame on them.
 
No candidate is perfect, and the debate this evening will further cement opinion.  Let’s hope opinion solidifies from an objective viewpoint, because right now, the Republican field is the best news the President’s had so far.