Sunday, November 12, 2006

Just a few thoughts

Today I’m just getting thoughts off of my chest about a few people.

Russ Feingold: I am delighted he is not running for president. I would vote for him, would probably campaign for him if he did, but we need him in the Senate. He has great honesty, the courage of his convictions, and he works for ideals not ideology. No person in either house of the legislature is more dedicated to the eradication of the corruption that has permeated our government. I believe he is one of the very best people in government today.

John Murtha: I find much to admire in this man. His military service and his dedication to his brothers in arms literally brings tears to my eyes. I greatly admire his courage in being the first to speak out against the Iraq war, and to do so as strongly as he did.

Many want him to become majority leader, but I do not: he is too much part of “the machine.” He sits in his corner of the House and “parcels out” favors, controlling earmarks in exchange for votes on major bills.

This “trading of votes” is a big part of the problem in government. I believe that each member’s vote for each bill in Congress should be based on the merits of that bill and only on the merits of that bill. John Murtha is a major part of the machinery that trades votes to get bills passed that are bad for the country and for the people, but that benefit special interests.

Hillary Clinton: as much as I admire Bill Clinton, and as much as I admire Hillary as a person and admired her as First Lady, I just cannot warm to her as a politician. She is just too much of a politician. Too much of what she says sounds not like what she really believes but like what she thinks is politically expedient. I’ve never been able to figure out where she stands in the Iraq issue, and the bottom line is she sounds to me like she’s merely trying to cater to voters on both sides.

Nancy Pelosi: her “drain the swamp” message is one I can really embrace if, and that is a big if, it is more than mere rhetoric. She certainly appears to be the strong leader that the Democratic Party needs. If the changes which I would like to see are to occur she needs to steer a course between shutting Republicans out of the process (as they did the Democrats), and weakening the change process by being too “bipartisan.” Right now it looks like she can get it done, and I’m pulling for her.

However, in endorsing Murtha for majority leader, Pelosi is effectively saying that she supports the "business as usual" method of vote trading and pork barrel spending, and that mitigates against her being real instead of merely symbolic in her promise to "drain the swamp."

John McCain: this man is one of the most devastating examples of the corrupting influence of power. I want to weep every time he speaks.

I once admired this man so deeply that I would have been willing to walk before him sweeping the ground so that he would not dirty his shoes. Navy pilot, unbroken by horrible torture, withstanding pain and humiliation that I cannot even imagine and emerging strong and with an undaunted and even renewed faith in God. Engaged in politics in a manner that earned national respect for the “Straight Talk Express.”

But now, so corrupted by desire for high office that he can do no more than offer token resistance, when he offers any at all, to the ideology of his party’s line. He now offers empty ideology instead of ideas and platitudes instead of straight talk.

He tells us with a straight face that he has thwarted a corrupt President’s attempt to legalize torture, when anyone with even modest intelligence can see that he has done nothing of the sort and that in doing so he made no attempt whatsoever to preserve habeas corpus. He says we need more troops in Iraq but when asked where those troops are to come from he spouts absolute nonsense and accuses the questioner of being biased. He refers to a religious organization as being “evil” one year and then two years later is speaking at their college’s graduation ceremony.

He would rather be president than be honest.

Duncan Hunter: this is a wingnut whose bid for the presidency is one entirely of corrupt self interest. He knows it will not succeed and he does not care. The campaign will collect a great deal of money and that is his sole interest. This is the politico who single-handedly inserted a clause terminating the investigation of corruption in Iraq into a bill after it had passed both houses of Congress. One of the first targets of Democratic investigations of corruption in government needs to be this man, who gets reelected only because he runs in California where gerrymandering has risen to unparalleled heights. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I loathe and despise this man.

Arnold Schwarzenegger: after the defeat of his initiatives (designed pretty much to “trash” the Democratic Party) two years ago, Arnold embarked on a bipartisan course. He talked the talk, and to a very large extent he walked the walk. I have wondered how much of that was pure pragmatism and to what degree Arnold had actually embraced a bipartisan working philosophy.

Then, after the 2006 elections, he spoke quite gracefully about the value of there being “new blood” in Washington. A Republican embracing a Democratic victory. He didn’t need to do that; he could have remained neutral. I can like a man who does that.

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