Monday, October 25, 2010

Dems Blue about a Red Mitten

Former President Bill Clinton came to our fair state of Michigan yesterday to speak at a ralley in Detroit. Michigan is often referred to as a left-handed mitten. As such, Detroit is the second knuckle of the thumb. It's only a knuckle, but it's a big ol' swolen knuckle, infected by the woes of the auto industry and other problems. When that knuckle aches, the whole state aches.

Funny thing about that knuckle: its also the face of the state. When people think "Michigan," they typically see Detroit, even though the rest of the state looks nothing like it.
Michigan is mostly rural with forests and lakes and people who use guns for hunting furry critters in the woods and cornfields--not for shooting each other as is more true in Detroit.
Since Detroit is the big knuckle and the face of the state; and since the face is the front of the head; some folks think Michigan is full of knuckle-heads.

Bill Clinton must think so. He showed up in Detroit yesterday and stood in a two-thirds empty high school gymnasium downtown. He'd come to tell his shrinking fan-base how to vote next week.
The Democrats have known for decades that the Detroit vote dominates the entire state. They also know that if the Detroit vote is lethargic--and it is--the cast of characters in the rest of the rest of the state gets to be heard--the rest of the fingers in the mitten suddenly matter again. It's long overdue for the rest of those fingers to count. Based on this photo, it looks like at least one of them showed itself (...maybe it was the little finger where I live), and based on the article below, I think Lansing (and thereby the whole mitten) has a chance of going red!

“These other guys are playing you. They say they’re mad, they’re frustrated and want something new,” Clinton said. “But this country is coming back.”

Bernero was joined by all the other statewide candidates at the rally. Their message was clear -- don’t be discouraged by the polls that show them trailing Republicans.

“Are you ready to win, ready to fight, ready to vote?” Bernero asked the crowd.... “You have to remember the votes, because this election is up to you, not the editorial pages, or the pollsters, or pundits or prognosticators.”

While the crowd hoisted signs that stated “Virg Surge,” the turnout at the rally was anemic. More than 500 people came to the rally, but the gym at Renaissance High School was only about one-third full, even though Clinton used to command full houses wherever he went, especially in Detroit.

Politician after politician exhorted the crowd to not let the polls keep them from voting on Nov. 2.

“They think that if they tell you often enough that you’re not doing well that you won’t go to the polls,” U.S. Rep. John Conyers said. “But we’re not buying that malarkey. If Detroit turns out as it has in the past, we win.”

Without Detroit's vote, Michigan would not be "a blue state" for the Democrats who think votes can be bought with bail-outs and warn-out faces from the past. Looks like Clinton's got the blues. Maybe we're about to see a red.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reagan Vs. Obama: The Great Debate

The first presidential vote I cast was for Ronald Reagan back in 1980. I later got to meet Ronald and Nancy Reagan in person, and attended a small ralley with him when he ran for re-election in 1984.

I must admit that the past two years have been depressing times. I miss the sound of Reagan's voice. I miss the rock-solid principles and common sense he used prior to being in office and for the eight years he was our president. I wish the Reagan we remember could debate the Obama we now know. I hope the November mid-term elections take the wind from the "windy city" speech used in the clip below.

The times have changed; the issues have changed; but Reagan picked up the pieces after Carter, and I'm looking forward to the sense that our best mornings are not behind us.

It was that phrase that prompted the poem below which I wrote the day Reagan passed away.

Mourning in America

June 11, 2004. The Funeral of President Ronald W. Reagan
"All we go down to the dust,"
his priestly friend intoned,
and the words echoed
in the stained glass silence.
Below him on the catafalque,
bound tight in stars and stripes,
was the wooden box
that throngs for days
had come to pay respect.

Outside (and all across the land)
that which tightly held our focus
waved slowly in the darkened noon,
never lower on the mast.
It, too, seemed somehow at a loss—
not knowing how to thank the man
who made it wave so proudly in his day—
and so felt all who lined the way
and watched him leave the towering spires
and pass forever
from his city shining on the hill.

Then in the West,
as if to claim the setting sun,
he came to rest upon a chosen rise
where were whispered last goodbyes
to him who kindly bid us all farewell
those many years ago.

The full weight of his absence
first hit me when we saw the empty mount
that bore his backward boots.
It was mourning in America...
draped not so much in sorrow
but belated gratitude.

© Copyright 2005, TK
Considering that President Bush's ( POTUS 43) second term is considered by many to be a continuation of the Reagan Revolution, I thought it might be appropriate to post something I wrote back in June.

President Reagan's death on Saturday, June 4, 2004, prompted a greater response from the public than even his greatest admirers would have predicted. After all, it had been a full decade since he had written his 1994 farewell letter to the nation informing us that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease which closed: "I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead."

The years passed by with little news of his status. He and Nancy lived those years quietly in their home in California's Simi Valley. He breathed his last in the room adjoining hers, and that private moment soon triggered a week of non-stop nostalgia and personal tribute to the man most credited for the collapse of the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain and the literal tearing down of the hated Berlin Wall. For the networks and cable news channels, it became a review of the 80's, which (thanks largely to the Clinton 90's) were remembered by many as the true apex of the waning 20th Century.

Reagan's last week in the news was the first memorable state funeral since JFK's, and there were many similar elements. The most obvious difference was that Kennedy's tragic assassination left the country reeling in disbelief and grief. Reagan's funeral was a celebration of sorts, a time when long-overdue tributes were shared-in some cases by partisans who never said a kind word about the 40th president while he led the nation into his "New Beginning." These same critics mocked Reagan's traditional values, flag-waving, and his Rockwellian ad campaign that proclaimed, "It's morning in America," (and continued running after his inauguration.)

The observances began in California at the Reagan Library, then on Wednesday moved east to the Capital via Air Force One. It was on this day that the horse-drawn caisson followed the empty-saddled horse that had Reagan's own riding boots in the stirrups. Friday, the last day of scheduled events, was a drizzle of sky and gray in D.C. The official service was held in the National Cathedral. One of the speakers chosen by Nancy to deliver a eulogy was former Senator John Danforth, who is also an Episcopal clergyman (and recently appointed US Ambassador to the U.N.). I heard his portion of the service live on the radio, and this opening line "All we go down to the dust" (which may have been original or liturgical) stuck with me through the day and came back to me when the casket was last seen in the glow of the setting California sun. See the images here.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Case in Point!

Remember back when Obama was ramming his ill-conceived healthcare plan through congress and our senators and representatives were voting on things that they hadn't even read....and people like me and thousands of others were trying to point out the empty promises and the unintended consequences of saying "Obamacare won't affect anyone's current coverage"?

Well, a few weeks ago, Obama and company realized just one of the many flaws of imposing a socialized medicine program on a free-market society. It looks like even the White House had an epiphany on this topic. It might have gone something like this:

Oops! If we impose Obamacare on fast-food chains, the cost of a 95 cent hamburger is going to triple; if hamburgers prices triple, people will stop buying them; if people stop buying them, the franchise will close; if franchises close, people lose the jobs and health care they currently have; if people lose the jobs and healthcare they have, they go on the government dole; if they go on the government dole, the government gets even "more broke" than they are right now. Whose idea was this anyway? We'd better make an exception to our own rule before the November election or the voters will know we're idiots who ram-rod whatever Obama says even if we don't know the consequences of our actions.

Here's how the article read in USA Today:
McDonald's, 29 other firms get health care coverage waivers

Thirty companies and organizations, including McDonald's (MCD) and Jack in the Box (JACK), won't be required to raise the minimum annual benefit included in low-cost health plans, which are often used to cover part-time or low-wage employees.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which provided a list of exemptions, said it granted waivers in late September so workers with such plans wouldn't lose coverage from employers who might choose instead to drop health insurance altogether.

Without waivers, companies would have had to provide a minimum of $750,000 in coverage next year, increasing to $1.25 million in 2012, $2 million in 2013 and unlimited in 2014.

"The big political issue here is the president promised no one would lose the coverage they've got," says Robert Laszewski, chief executive officer of consulting company Health Policy and Strategy Associates. "Here we are a month before the election, and these companies represent 1 million people who would lose the coverage they've got."

The United Agricultural Benefit Trust, the California-based cooperative that offers coverage to farm workers, was allowed to exempt 17,347 people. San Diego-based Jack in the Box's waiver is for 1,130 workers, while McDonald's asked to excuse 115,000.

...McDonald's, which offers the programs as a way to cover part-time employees, told the Obama administration it might re-evaluate the plans unless it got a waiver.

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