Saturday, March 15, 2008

Real Men of Genius

A stirring tribute.


The new religion

The new faith of "change."

(Hat Tip: Adam Graham)

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Obama's theology-or lack thereof

To his credit, Barack Obama is now speaking out more forcefully on the anti-American comments of his old preacher, Rev. Jeremiah Wright (who does not, unfortunately, give the lovely campus of United Theological Seminary a good name):

"I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies," Obama said in his blog posting. "I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue."

Fair enough. From a political point of view, this is still not an issue that will go away in a General Election , largely because I do not believe that Obama distanced himself from Wright with enough force. I do believe that he understands the gravity of the situation, and that a lot of voters who would otherwise warm to him may turn away because of this association-and that the issue will dissipate as far as the Democratic primaries are concerned.

One group that seems to think that Rev. Wright's comments were perfectly appropriate was Barack Obama's denomination, the United Church of Christ:

"These attacks, many of them motivated by their own partisan agenda, cannot go unchallenged," Thomas emphasizes. "It's time for all of us to say 'No' to these attacks and to declare that we will not allow anyone to undermine or destroy the ministries of any of our congregations in order to serve their own narrow political or ideological ends."

The UCC is not, as some in the blogosphere have mistakenly characterized it, an exclusively African-American denomination-there are people in that church from all ethnic backgrounds. The UCC claims that everyone is welcome in their churches, but having visited UCC congregations in the past, I can tell you that I, as someone who practices a traditional and orthodox form of Christianity, felt very out of place there and would not likely have been welcomed as a member. Many (but not all) UCC churches practice a sort of faux-liturgical form of worship to give them a feel similar to Catholicism or to Protestant churches such as the Episcopal Church or some Methodist churches where liturgy is also used. I've been to Methodist churches that use a form of liturgy and felt very much at home because I knew what to do and had a real sense of prayer taking place. I've visited traditional Anglican churches where, while I'm not free to take communion as a Catholic, I certainly didn't feel as though God was disrespected or Christianity misrepresented in its fundamental form.

Visiting a UCC church does not give one the same sense of a general respect and honor for the things of God as the other aforementioned churches do. Thumbing through a hymnal, I found the words to some of the most revered hymns in Christendom changed to reflect someone's "inclusive" agenda-anything the referred to Christ as the Son of God was changed to "Child of God," and the Nicene Creed, a nearly-1,700-year old statement of Christian orthodoxy, was also changed. Instead of saying "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen," the version used in the UCC I visited said "we believe in one God, the Father-Mother Almighty, maker of heaven and earth...," and lapsed into heresy with "we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Child of God." We are all children of God-Christ was his only begotten Son.

The church bulletins were filled with support for political causes that were to the Left of the political spectrum almost exclusively. While that might personally turn me off that so-called immigrants' rights groups were worthy of support while there was no mention of supporting groups like the local crisis pregnancy center, National Right to Life, or even an organization like Boys Town, I think the UCC and its leaders have a right to support the causes they believe in. I have a real problem with our current tax exemption laws, which prevent churches and ministers from speaking their mind and heart about the issues of the day as they relate to the Kingdom of God. I have even more of a problem with the fact that these laws have (until very recently) been very selectively enforced. Churches whose internal politics lean to the Left have largely been given a pass, while churches with a Rightward bent have been put through the ringer-Jeremiah can say his bit about the damnation of America and the evils of Hillary Clinton and George Bush, but if a preacher got up and said "Barack Obama is doing an evil work," or "the ACLU is filled with much wickedness," the IRS will be looking that church up in very short order.

Based on the United Church of Christ's recent history and internal political bent, it is no surprise that their leaders seek to vindicate pastors in their ranks who hate America.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Obama's Associates


A so-called "black leader" who refers to Judaism as a "ghetto religion" endorses him, and his pastor declared "God Damn America," but Barack Obama can't seem to distance himself from his most "vocal" supporters.

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Big surprise: Ragsdale's committee sticks up for Ragsdale

Members of the Knox County Ethics Committee, a body largely assembled by Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, have declared it "unethical" that County Commissioner Paul Pinkston secretly taped a conversation that he had with Ragsdale:

"That's unethical behavior, and that would cause me some concern," Frank Shanklin Sr. said. "It looks to me like that's politically motivated.

Of course it is politically motivated-Mike Ragsdale has done underhanded things to people all the time that are entirely political and the News-Sentinel seems to have thought Ragsdale's actions were fine and dandy. Paul Pinkston seems to have come to the conclusion that many of us who are well-informed have come to-that Ragsdale is untrustworthy and has no conscientious trouble lying through his teeth to your face and doing something different behind your back.

If I were in a closed-door situation with Ragsdale or someone like him, I would have no trouble believing that he might try to double-cross me. I would have done exactly what Paul Pinkston did, and I have no ethical problem with it whatsoever. Mike Ragsdale is the kind of political figure that is unsafe and that you need insurance from and if that insurance is a tape, so be it.

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The politics of cursing America

David Knowles of Political Machine is a supporter of Barack Obama. I don't often agree with Knowles politically, but I do think he is a fine writer and political analyst and I have come to read his work often for a glimpse into what the politically astute people on the other side are thinking. This is what Knowles says about the damage of Barack Obama's pastor damning America:

Hillary Clinton's campaign has shown a pattern of injecting racial divisiveness into the contest. Though I applaud her for finally coming to her senses, her response to the Ferraro controversy was much too long in the making. And while Obama has repeatedly denounced Louis Farrakhan, he seems hesitant to criticize Wright for what he is: a bigot. Because you offer large slices of truth in your sermons does not mean the whole pie isn't degraded by those bits that are contaminated by race-baiting passages.

Why is this dangerous, some say, when Reverend Wright's opinions are entirely his own? Because this isn't a matter of someone's doctrinal or religious opinions with which we can and may frequently disagree-this man has wished accursedness upon the United States of America. He didn't merely say "this religion is wrong" or "that church is bad," as many preachers often do if it is a religious belief that doesn't jibe with their own. Jeremiah Wright didn't declare, as I have heard several priest pastors of mine say (and many Protestant ministers for that matter), that God may not continue to bless America if we do not mend our sinful ways. Wright proclaimed that God either was going to curse America or that America was already damned. This is a man who Barack Obama has publicly admitted is his spiritual mentor. Barack Obama's spiritual mentor has declared "G-- d--- America," and Obama is now running for the presidency of the United States-that is a very big deal and it is not easily explained if you are Barack Obama.

Unlike many liberals and other self-hating Americans, I do believe that God has uniquely and especially blessed this great nation-and I am not ashamed to admit that. I love America, and I believe she is the greatest nation on God's good Earth. I'm sure others feel that way about their country, and I think that is a fine way to think because you should be devoted to your country. None of that means that we have no problems, that we are a perfect people, or that we have always acted in a right or a just way throughout our history-we have not. We have been blessed in spite of those things because I believe we collectively have given honor to the God who made us, and we have often had enough of a sense of justice to admit when we've been wrong-even if that has often taken many years. Our greatest fault may be that we do not use our blessings as a nation to bless others.

Whether you agree with what I've just said or not isn't the biggest issue that Obama has to deal with, it is the fact that many of the voters that Obama will need to appeal to in order to win the General Election feel just the same way about America that I do, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, or independents-and Obama won't condemn Jeremiah Wright.

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A note from Story

My friend Fabian Story wrote an Open Letter last night in response to comments left on this weblog. Normally, I wouldn't post anything like this, but I was deeply moved by Fabian's words-he has repeatedly stuck by me even when he has disagreed with something I might have said or done, and I thank him for such unbounded support:

World According to Oatney Readers;

I have the honor of working with David on an almost daily basis and have learned from personal experience that he is both a devout Catholic and a conscientious, caring human being. I have the unique position of looking at things both as an ordained and licensed minister, and as a political operative. It is with this perspective that I write these words.

I have known David approaching a year and in that time have found him to be consistent and caring in what he does whether it is blogging, Knights of Columbus, fire dispatcher, practicing Catholic, husband, or friend.

This evening David’s faith and credibility were called into question on his blog and I wanted to- from my perspective-say that the commentary degrading him is unfounded and untrue. It is easy to sit behind a computer and pass judgment when you are afraid to be on the front lines and it is easy to see things when all you have is your own perspective. Granted a blog is exactly that a perspective but to call someone a hypocrite because they fail to call out Pastor John Hagee on comments that were not in accordance with David’s faith?

The call out of the Pastor of Barack Obama’s church should be based solely on the anti-American rant and not for his religious beliefs. I have read David’s thoughts on the matter and see them as a political statement, not religious-therefore removing any alleged hypocritical or so called un-Catholic statements.

David has repeatedly demonstrated class and character in everything I have witnessed.


Rev. Fabian F. Story D.D. (H.C)


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Barack Obama's church of hate

This video of Barack Obama's pastor-the man who celebrated his marriage and baptized his children, and who has been his spiritual leader for 20 years by Obama's admission, is circulating all over the internet:

Did you hear those words? I won't repeat them here...I'll just ask my Democrat friends to please nominate Obama so that Republicans can use this in an ad against Obama in the General Election. Please nominate Obama so that it will insure he will never be elected and he will lose in a massive landslide.

I wouldn't have thought it could happen last week, but I am beginning to think that all we need to defeat Barack Obama in the General Election is more sermons from his hate-filled, anti-American, and apparently anti-Semetic pastor.

(Hat Tip: Kleinheider)

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The return of The Voice

One of the most positive things to happen to the radio waves of East Tennessee in recent weeks is the return of Lloyd Daugherty, Kelvin Moxley and Southern Roots Radio. Joining Lloyd and Kelvin as part of the new Voice team is the great Frank Cagle, the resident conservative at the MetroPulse, editor of Knoxville Magazine, campaign spokesman for Van Hilleary's 2002 Gubernatorial campaign, and perhaps East Tennessee's greatest and most recognizable conservative voice.

Hearing the Voice on the air again is as though I now have access to some beautiful music which I was for a long time deprived of but now again have at my disposal. Hearing those voices speaking truth to power over East Tennessee's airwaves again means that we will have Southern-fried anti-establishment leave-me-alone conservatism being promoted openly over the air in East Tennessee-but that's not the best thing about the return of the Voice...

The best thing is that you can now hear the Voice live on streaming audio from 10AM-Noon Monday through Friday and repeating every two hours the rest of the day.

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Democrats inheriting the wind

Geraldine Ferraro has left the Clinton campaign on her own accord after her remarks about Barack Obama being who he is and how it impacts his position in the presidential race:
The Boston Globe covers Ferraro’s resignation yesterday from Clinton’s finance committee. “‘I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign. The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won't let that happen.’”

“Earlier yesterday, the 1984 vice presidential nominee apologized to those who thought it racially insensitive for her to suggest that Obama wouldn't be the Democratic front-runner if he were not black. But she then declared: ‘It wasn't a racist comment. It was a statement of fact.’”

Both sides are likely making a much bigger deal of this than it actually is-does anyone really believe for a moment that Geraldine Ferraro is a racist? The press is focusing exclusively on her remarks that Obama would not be in the present position were he not an African-American. Everyone is forgetting that almost in the same breath, Ferraro also correctly pointed out that in 1984, she was in a very similar situation in that she was chosen as Walter Mondale's running mate because she was a woman, and she knew and understood this. Barack Obama is getting just enough of the white vote and galvanizing nearly all of the black vote to win primaries and possibly be nominated-it is a big deal, and it can't be denied that race is playing a role in the Democratic nominating process for some people. The problem is that race and gender seem to be playing a negative role between the two candidates:

Mr. Obama, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said he did not believe that there was “a directive in the Clinton campaign saying, ‘Let’s heighten the racial elements in the campaign.’ I certainly wouldn’t want to think that.”

He said he was puzzled at how, after more than a year of campaigning, race and sex are at the forefront as never before.

“I don’t want to deny the role of race and gender in our society,” he said. “They’re there, and they’re powerful. But I don’t think it’s productive.”

Yet race, as well as sex, have been unavoidable subtexts of the Democratic campaign since the two candidates began seeking to be the first African-American or the first woman to lead a party’s presidential ticket. In the primaries and caucuses this winter, too, Mrs. Clinton has enjoyed substantial support from women, while Mr. Obama has increasingly drawn overwhelming votes from blacks.

Race has been a defining feature of the primary contests. Beyond Mississippi, Mrs. Clinton was backed by 5 percent of black voters in Illinois, Mr. Obama’s home state; 8 percent in Wisconsin, where black voters made up 8 percent of the Democratic primary vote; 9 percent in Delaware; 10 percent in Virginia; and 11 percent in Georgia, all states Mr. Obama won.

Mr. Obama’s 26 percent support among whites in Tuesday’s primary was one of his worst performances with this group.

Conservatives and Republicans have attempted to warn Democrats for years of the very grave dangers of playing the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender as specific special interest groups. Some of us were polite enough to try and tell them that doing so would eventually backfire and prove to be dangerous not only to the future of their party but to the country as a whole. For the life of me, I don't know why we collectively bothered-we should have just stepped back and watched them implode while we had the opportunity to take advantage of their self-destruction.

If the Republicans had actually nominated a candidate that both the conservative base and the people of Middle America could have gotten behind in force, the GOP would be headed to one of the biggest landslide victories in its history for no other reason than that the Democrats' artificially created "base" will be bitterly divided against one another, with some claiming racism, some sexism, and still more some other -ism. As it is, the only thing that could save the Democrats in the fall is that their opposition is not enthused. That doesn't mean that any of this is good for the country: The Democrats may win in November or they may lose, but they have succeeded in doing the very thing they love to accuse Republicans of doing-they have divided America.

Proverbs 11:29:

He that troubleth his own house, shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall serve the wise.

The Democratic Party has troubled its own house. Whether this year or later, it will inherit the wind.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lindsay's Market fire

Firefighters from White Pine were among those who responded to the call for the fire at Lindsay's Market in Dandridge this afternoon. In response to news of this tragic event, a commenter at the News-Sentinel's website wrote:

I used to live in Dandridge. This sounds suspicious to me. Food City was probably eating away their business and, well, you can figure out the rest of the story. It's spelled fraud.

Reports from White Pine firefighters who were at the scene of the blaze indicate that this assumption is not correct. Sadly, the owner of the market did not see fit to insure either the building-which he owned-or the contents therein. He has lost everything, and is said to be saying that his years of business in Dandridge and Jefferson County are at an end.

The lesson here is that if you own a small business that involves the sale of goods, insure at least the contents that you intend to sell to avoid losing your livelihood.


The Democratic divide

When I began last night's radio podcast covering Mississippi's Primary results, Fabian Story, Ken Marrero, and myself all commented about how the early numbers seemed to show that while Barack Obama would come away with a win, the results appeared to illustrate that the vote would be much closer than the press was predicting, and that Hillary Clinton could come out of Mississippi with a significant number of delegates.

Not to fret about any major upset or even a faux declaration of victory by the Clinton camp, because when all was said and done Obama smacked Clinton in Mississippi by 24 points. Hidden in the results, however, are some frightening numbers for Democrats. African-American voters went for Obama 91-9 percent, while white voters went for Hillary Clinton 72-21 percent. The Democratic Party is deeply divided along racial, ethnic, and gender lines, and for all of the talk in the party opposite about "unity in diversity," the unity they seek is non-existent. Democrats love to talk about how "tolerant" and how "diverse" they are, but we see that no matter their color, race, or creed, they don't seem to be very tolerant of one another.

On top of the Mississippi results, we now learn (as reported by David Knowles) that Barack Obama has won Texas:

The Texas Secretary of State will release the official results of the Democratic primary on March 29th. But if initial estimates hold, Barack Obama will beat Hillary Clinton in the race for delegates. CNN confirms what others have been seeing for days. While Clinton won the state's popular vote, Obama racked up more caucus support, so that, now that the dust is settling, the Lone Star state's delegate total

Obama: 61 delegates from the popular vote + 37 delegates from caucuses = 98 delegates.

Clinton: 65 delegates from the popular vote + 30 delegates from caucuses = 95 delegates.

In spite of this, and Obama's lead in the national popular vote, the Democratic National Convention may very well throw the nomination to Hillary Clinton via superdelegates. If the convention does so, they will have succeeded in alienating entire blocs of their manufactured voter base in order to avoid alienating women and white working class voters-among whom are many Reagan Democrats who have no problem voting Republican at the top of the ticket. If the Democrats do throw the nomination to Clinton even if Obama has the lead in pledged delegates, they will likely anger the "leaders" in some of the communities to which they seek to cater. This is the result of over 30 years of the national Democratic Party playing politics with gender, race, and ethnicity-and using those factors to get votes. Now that has come home to haunt the Democratic Party since they have a black man against a woman in their presidential primary process. If one side speaks up for their candidate, they are racist, and if the other speaks up for theirs and against the other, they are sexist.

John McCain would be in a prime position to take advantage of this politically, but as the Democrats attempt to hand the Republicans the election, he refuses to accept the gift.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Mississippi primary


Discussion of the Mississippi Primary, the divisions in the Democratic field, and John McCain's continual ability to shoot himself in the foot. Ken Marrerro and Fabian Story join David Oatney.

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"Our business is good, even if it stinks"

By now, people in our part of East Tennessee are aware that the company Lisega and its 124 jobs are moving from Newport in Cocke County to Sevier County.

This morning on Newport radio station WNPC, it was revealed that a major reason for the move was the foul odor emanating from the Newport Wastewater Treatment Plant, which is located next to the industrial park where the Lisega plant is to be found. Further, other potential clientèle for the industrial park have apparently been shown the place and have told local officials that the facility "will not be considered." On top of that, the Newport City Council has been told that "infighting and personal agendas" on that body does not encourage business to locate to Newport and Cocke County.

The question of the century: Who's bright idea was it to build an industrial park next to a wastewater plant?

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The crunch and the remedy

Rarely do I disagree with the great Bill Hobbs, but I must part ways with him over the economic reality in Tennessee and the country:

Take a look around you. Most people have not lost their homes or their jobs. Most businesses are still open, still doing business. Yes, there are problems - high fuel prices, rising food costs, a housing sector that's taken a sub-prime hit. But the overall economy is still growing, a fact not reflected in the news coverage of the economy.

I am not one to "talk down" the economy, nor would I want to, but we have to be realistic about what is happening. Not only are fuel prices high, but those high prices are impacting the rest of the economic sector. Diesel fuel over at the Co-op in Dandridge is running at $3.40 a gallon this morning (it is running much higher elsewhere). Some of the farm implements that are used to harvest crops run on diesel, and all of the vehicles used to transport food to places of purchase use it. What cost me a dollar at the store six months ago now costs me $1.25, and that is something that I have noticed very personally.

This inflationary pressure is not being helped by the low value of the Dollar against the Loonie, the Euro, or other world currencies. The sub-prime crisis that the article Hobbs quotes is part of a larger credit crunch in which banks and credit card companies lent money to people at exorbitant interest rates who were extremely high lending risks. We can't blame only the irresponsible consumers for this-they only share half of the blame-we must also place the blame on banks and creditors which have made extremely irresponsible lending decisions over the last decade or more.

Combine the high cost of fuel, the inflationary pressures on the economy that high cost creates, the low dollar, and the credit crunch, and we don't have a very good economic situation at the moment. It is a great truism that we can't change what we don't acknowledge, and in order for conservatives and Republicans to provide a solid conservative prescription for the country's economic woes, we must first be willing to admit that for much of America, those troubles are a real and current reality.

Both political parties like to play politics with the economy whenever it is down. If Democrats are the party of executive power, Republicans are sure to point the finger at them. If Republicans are in executive control, Democrats will blame the GOP as certain as the sun rises in the morning. Whoever the next president is, if there isn't significant economic improvement during their tenure, Americans will blame that person, rightly or wrongly, for the country's economic outlook.

There is one thing that can be done to lessen the economic burden on working people in the short-term: Lower or eliminate taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel as long as crude oil and fuel prices remain in their current state. This will at least lower the price somewhat, since gas taxes are always passed on to the consumer, whether at the pump or in the grocery aisle. The other things which need to be done are (or should be) out of the purview of government, but need to be done in order to help speed a real and sustainable recovery. Banks and credit card companies need to stop lending money to people they know are very high risk, no matter the profit they might make off of interest. Eventually, those high-risk people simply won't be able to repay their debts and creditors will lose those clients and their money-and the economy suffers. Loan officers would have been fired as little as 30 years ago for making some of the consumer loans that today's creditors have made.

Secondly, and most importantly, Americans should not buy things they can't afford. Spending only stimulates the economy in the short-term. If the consumer spending is actually an accumulation of greater consumer debt, the short-term benefits to the economy are negated, and we end up with a credit bubble similar to what the country had in 1929. An economy built solely on debt will eventually see a day of reckoning no matter who holds the wheels of government. If you need that new car, save for it. It may take you longer to get there, but you'll be in much better financial shape and you won't be contributing to the credit bubble.

We can 't expect our government to live within its means if the people it serves refuse to do so as well.

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Obama throws #2 spot in Hillary's face

A great many pundits have been discussing the idea that Barack Obama would be the obvious choice for the Vice Presidency if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, since the Democratic Party has been so fractured this election cycle. It goes beyond saying, I think, that Obama would be the best political choice for Clinton at the top of the ticket. Barack Obama appeared to rule out the option yesterday that Number Two is acceptable to him:

"I don't know how somebody who is in second place is offering the vice presidency to someone who is first place," Obama said, drawing cheers and a standing ovation from about 1,700 people in Columbus, Mississippi.

"I am not running for vice president," Obama said. "I am running for president of the United States of America."

Obama aides said Clinton's recent hints that she might welcome him as her vice presidential candidate appeared meant to diminish him and to attract undecided voters in the remaining primary states by suggesting they can have a "dream ticket."

He told the audience that it made no sense for Clinton to suggest he is not ready to be president and then hint that she might hand him the job that could make him president at a moment's notice.

"If I'm not ready, how is it you think I would be such a great vice president?" he said, as the crowd laughed and cheered loudly.

No one should operate under the illusion that Barack Obama would not take the Vice Presidency were he in a position for it to be offered to him-he very likely would do so for no other reason than that it would set him up to run for the top job when Hillary is finished. However, these comments make it considerably less likely that he might be considered. Why? We know now from John Edwards' own public admission to Chris Matthews some time ago that running for Vice President under John Kerry wasn't something that he particularly enjoyed, and that he wasn't interested in being Vice President. Barack Obama doesn't want to be Vice President, he wants the top job-and if he runs for VEEP, he would be in a position to upstage Hillary Clinton on the stump. It is a normal rule of running for President that you don't pick a running mate who can outdo you or upstage you, and Barack Obama threatens to do that to Hillary Clinton.

Obama is also in the unique position of being able to eschew the Vice Presidency if he wants to because regardless of whether he is nominated by the Democrats, he has run one of the best political campaigns this country has seen in a very long time in terms of raw politics. He does not need the Vice Presidency to make him more marketable in 2012 and 2016, he is already marketable and theoretically can win without it. He has made it clear, however indirectly, that he does not need Hillary Clinton to make him a winner-he appears willing to take this to the Democratic Convention and "fight to the death."

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Hillary's experience problem

If you've ever wondered why it is that Senators rarely get elected President in modern times (this year will see a sitting Senator elected President for the first time since 1960), it may have something to do with a Senator's lack of executive experience:

“She [Hillary Clinton] hasn’t managed anything as complex as this before; that’s the problem with senators,” said James A. Thurber, a professor of government at American University who is an expert on presidential management. “She wasn’t as decisive as she should have been. And it’s a legitimate question to ask: Under great pressure from two different factions, can she make some hard decisions and move ahead? It seems to just fester. She doesn’t seem to know how to stop it or want to stop it.”

Over the last month, Mrs. Clinton, of New York, has become much more involved in the day-to-day operation of her campaign. In addition to Ms. Williams, she brought in two experienced political hands from her husband’s White House — Doug Sosnik, who was a political director, and Steve Ricchetti, a deputy chief of staff.

It is a fair question to ask: If Mrs. Clinton can't control her own campaign, how can she be rightly expected to maintain control over her administration, and manage the country from an executive position? She talks about answering the phone at 3 A.M and being able to manage the country in a crisis, but she hasn't been able to manage her own campaign with any effectiveness-so it is reasonable to assume that she will have trouble dealing with a real crisis as well. The crises she currently attempt to manage have to do with whether she wins or loses the election, but some future crisis of the next President may well involve whether or not Americans or others lose lives, and those are much higher stakes than just an election.

Despite what some say, this has nothing to do with Mrs. Clinton's gender-there is little doubt that she is, if nothing else, a strong and capable woman. Just because she is that, however, doesn't make her suited to be President of the United States. Even if Hillary Clinton manages to win the nomination, at this point she will not have done so because she successfully led her campaign to victory, but rather because
Barack Obama was the one who dropped the ball or because the superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention throw her the nomination. She has done everything in her power to let the Democratic nomination slip away from her, and has done very little to correct the problem that at least half of the country really does not think highly of her at all.

Clinton has further tarnished her campaign's image by bringing in her husband's old political advisors to help save the day. Bill Clinton had some of the finest political minds in the business working on both of his election campaigns, so it is hard to blame Hillary for hiring some of these folks. It does seem to lend credence to the argument often used by her opponents that she is depending more on her husband's legacy to get her to the White House than her own very capable abilities.

Hillary Clinton suffers from many of the same managerial problems that other Senatorial candidates for the presidency have had in the past, but this year there is just one difference: Our next President will be a sitting Senator, and America can't afford amateur hour at this time in our history.

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It's popular, but not correct

There was much talk in the press and on the State blogosphere last week about the proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution which passed the Senate that would create the position of an elected Lieutenant Governor. It has been said by proponents of this legislation that the Leutenant Governor's office should be one chosen by the people and not tied to the State Senate, as it is now. Many Tennessee Republicans have been on the bandwagon of having an elected Lieutenant Governor for some time, having endured the pain of John Wilder being chosen by the Senate as Speaker and Leutenant Governor for entirely too many times-apparently well beyond the best of his cognative abilities. What's more, the Rosalind Kurita proposal also creates an elected Secretary of State.

While I understand the desire of many Republicans to avoid a repeat of 2005, when Wilder was chosen and clearly should not have been, I fear that my fellow Republicans are failing to see the long term cause-and-effect of this proposal. They desire a short-term fix to a more complicated problem. I don't doubt that Senator Kurita's intentions are good, and so are the intentions of Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (who is essentially backing her on this), but those who favor this proposal are thinking of something that would be extremely popular that makes no good conservative sense whatsoever.

If we already had an elected Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State and the Legislature were seriously considering removing those posts from the elected rolls, that is one thing. In this case, the General Assembly would be creating two new elected offices. In the case of the Lt. Governor, he would get the same car, driver, and security detail that the Speakers of the two Houses of the Legislature would get-and rightfully so. He or she would also be drawing an additional salary, whereas under the current system Tennesseans pay the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate one salary because those offices are one-in-the-same. The Lt. Governor and Speaker, being the same person, also has but one car and driver and is very accessable to the people. Visit the Capitol and you can probably bump into your Lieutenant Governor. Creating a new office would likely end both that accessability and cost efficiency for the Lt. Governor.

Proponents of the measure also say that the "succession crisis" needs to be resolved and that this amendment would solve it. News flash: There is no succession crisis. Tennessee has a perfectly legitimate and workable line of succession if the Governor should resign, pass on, or be unable to perform the duties of his or her office. If any of those unfortunate events were to occur, the Lieutenant Governor (and Speaker of the Senate) would become Governor-period. Were that ever to occur, the Senate would simply select from its ranks another Speaker, and thus a new Lieutenant Governor. The only reason there was ever a "crisis" before is because Senators chose John Wilder as Speaker well past his prime. Blame the Senate for that, for it was they who collectively chose to create a crisis where none has previously existed. The Senate could remedy that in several ways, and one would be to amend the rules to limit the number of session of the legislature in which a member could sit as Speaker and Lt. Governor.

While well-meaning, this proposal would create new offices, more salaries, and more State bureaucracy where it need not exist. I may be going against my party on this one, but this isn't a fiscally sound or constitutionally responsible idea. This may be the only time you will ever see these words on this weblog as they pertain to the Democratic-led House: The House should block this legislation from the Senate.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

The raising of Lazarus

John 11:1-45:

Now there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary and Martha her sister. (And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.) His sisters therefore sent to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. And Jesus hearing it, said to them: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God: that the Son of God may be glorified by it. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus.

When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days. Then after that, he said to his disciples: Let us go into Judea again. The disciples say to him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee: and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world: But if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him.

These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep. His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep. Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead. And I am glad, for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe: but let us go to him.

Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him. Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave. (Now Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home.

Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live:

And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this? She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world. And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The master is come, and calleth for thee. She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly, and cometh to him. For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but he was still in that place where Martha had met him.

The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave to weep there. When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and saith to him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself, And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see. And Jesus wept.

The Jews therefore said: Behold how he loved him. But some of them said: Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it. Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to him: Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days. Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God?

They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him, and let him go. Many therefore of the Jews, who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in him.


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